The Final Countdown: Only 7 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

The Digital Transition will be completed one week from today and if you’re still making plans or having problems with your Digital reception, NOW is the time for taking care of those situations, before it’s too late.

If you receive your local channels from an outdoor antenna and you are not getting all of the available channels for our area, it could be that your antenna has a problem of some sort or it could be worn out. It could be that you need a new antenna or it could be that it is just not pointed in the right direction. Although there are other reasons why your reception leaves something to be desired, usually the problems are related to the antenna or connects between it and your Tv.

Keep on watching “the NTV View” and you will probably find the answer to your question or questions. We are here for you…if you have questions, just leave a comment by clicking on the “comment” link at the bottom of this article.

The Final Countdown: Only 8 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

The time is NOW if you haven’t taken care of your transition from analog to digital Tv reception. If you receive your local broadcast signals (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc) and you are not getting all of the channels you think you should in your area, Norman Tv wants you to be ready for June 12, 2009. Over the next 8 days tune in to the NTV View, right here at www.norman-tv.com. Check out all of our information on the Digital transition right here. Got questions?? Leave a comment…

If you use “rabbit ears” (a set top antenna) you may find that reception of the Digital Channels is difficult at best. It is possible that you can get most or all of the available digital channels, but it is more likely that one or two may be missing; Or, you may find you have to adjust your antenna for almost every channel.

Don’t worry about it being something you did or that you have a problem with your TV or converter box — It just means that “rabbit ears” are not going to wokr well for you. You may want to consider an outdoor antenna, or at least one in the attic (if that is possible for you). I won’t go into the details at the moment but you may find some interesting info in one of these articles from Norman Tv:

The Final Countdown: Only 11 More Days to the Digital Transistion Completion

Stay tuned to Norman TV over the next twelve days for some helpful information about exactly what is about to happen. Just in case you don’t know (or have forgotten), the final date for the Digital Transition is June 12, 2009 and it is coming fast. If you haven’t made plans for keeping your local channel reception from antenna, you are running out of time…

What does all this mean to you?

Several things:

  1. If you receive your locals from antenna reception of some sort, you will be losing your high power analog channels in 12 days.
  2. If you haven’t already, you need a digital to analog converter to continue receiving your locals via your antenna system.
  3. Even though you have good reception of your local analog channels through your antenna system does not guarantee you will have good reception of all of your available digital channels.
  4. If you have heard that you can get your digital channels through a set top antenna, (rabbit ears), you may be disappointed to find you can’t.
  5. If you receive your locals from satellite or antenna, you are fine for now.

Over the next twelve days, as we count down to the completion of the digital transition, we will be talking about what is and what isn’t happening. You may be surprised at some of the questions we have been asked, so, check back with us everyday to catch a short report in the NTV View (our video magazine). Everyday over the next twelve we’ll present a short video presentation (plus the written version) of some of those questions and a countdown to the final transistion.

the NTV View: Update on the Digital Transition

This edition updates you on the digital transition and a little discussion on some of the problems we’ve noticed with some of the antennas people have been using and hoping for the best…hope you find the info interesting and helpful – Rusty

Click Play below to watch the latest NTV View – the video magazine from Norman Tv with your host Rusty Norman.
(Sorry, this one is broadband only and it will take a few seconds to start)

(PLEASE BE PATIENT…AFTER YOU CLICK PLAY, THE VIDEO SHOULD START WITHIN 20-30 SECONDS)

Check out our video magazine – the NTV View

Click on the play button below to catch our first issue of the NTV View. (This is just the beginning of great things to come!)

COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK!
The demo of the CM 3010 tutorial is coming soon…

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© March 2009 Norman TV & Video Systems

and Rusty Norman

THE DIGITAL TRANSITION: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (part 4)

As a little review of the last three articles (maybe even the last four), we have taken a general look at the  The Digital Transition itself where we discovered it was coming whether we were ready or not.  We also touched on some of the new nomenclature like the difference between interlace scan and progressive scan.

We took a very short look at  The Good side of it where we found the best features are probably the quality of the pictures that we see as compared to the old analog pictures. Another Good part was the lack of snow and reflections (ghosts) in the pictures and that was a great improvement over the way the analog signals were viewed on many TVs.

After a look at those good points we talked about what I call  The Bad parts of the transition and they included a short discussion on some of the bad parts of making the transition from analog to digital.  In that discussion, we found that making the transition was not at all as easy as some would’ve had us believe. It came with its own set of complications as well.

Now I want to tell you some of ” The Ugly” parts (at least that’s what I call them) of the digital transition.

Let me start by asking a question:

When you were being told how easy the transition was going to be, did anyone ever make it clear to you that you would need one converter box for each TV in your home?

I think the answer to that question is more than likely going to be answered with a “Yes”, but, I am not sure how many were really listening at the time. It seemed to me at the time, the people making the ads for the transition simply ASSUMED people would  understand that part. Now, I do have to admit I did hear it mentioned at times, but it seemed to me it was only in passing.

It is my opinion one of  The Ugliest facts of the transition is that I don’t think it was ever really made clear to the general public that needed a converter box to make the transition that they may actually need two converter boxes at one viewing location.

The reason I make that statement calling for two is, if they want to be able to record a program different than what they are actually watching, they would need one for the TV and one for the VCR or DVD recorder. This came as a shock to many and I did receive several calls about this particular situation. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone say anything about this in preparing the nation for the “coming digital transition.” (They may have, but I sure don’t remember it.)

Some of these customers actually do use  two converter boxes at one location so they can continue their viewing life according to the way they are familiar with. Others chose to stop recording all together because it became too complicated and, now, only watch their programs live. Some now record some of their favorites while they are out with a single converter box, but watch the rest of their favorite programs live or not at all the first time around and wait for the reruns.

The next UGLY fact has to do with their set top antennas. It seems no one really told them they would need at least one set for each viewing location,  (if they had more than one TV in the house). If they wanted to record and the signal wasn’t strong enough to pass through a splitter, they would need one for the VCR or DVD recorder and one for the TV along with that second converter box.

(Let’s see, now, Rusty… You’re telling me if I want to view one program and record another, I will need two converter boxes and possibly even two sets of  set top antennas? )

Yep … that’s true.

Are you beginning to see a pattern developing here? Yeah, I kinda thought you would. You see, even in hind sight, you wonder if anybody ever thought far enough ahead to make these facts clear to the consumers. In fact, I wonder if they ever really thought about it until it was too late to tell them properly.  I’m sure the information was available, it’s just that people in charge, once again, ASSUMED that people would just understand or know about all of this stuff. Unfortunately, the results have not proved that to be the case.

Now, lest you think I am just picking on places that only have set top antennas, I can tell you I have also run into reception problems with existing antennas that received all of the analog signals clearly and yet do not get all of the digital signals. This is probably one of the most frustrating things I have come across in this Digital Transition.

It appears to me that some of the antennas are possibly just too old and tired and don’t have enough gain anymore to pull enough signal for all of the digital signals. Of course, we do have to leave room in this part of this  discussion for the possibility that the problems mentioned back in part 3 could also be the problems with these antennas. Those problems of  which I speak, of course, are the possible multi-path problems or data stream corruption problems of some sort, that affect the digital signals differently than they did the analog signals.

Now I come to a thing I call a really “unfortunate UGLY ” part.

Because for some, this transition has been quite a bit more complicated than some made it seem, sometimes the average consumer has needed to call in service personnel to help them hook up their converters for one reason or another. It’s not because they didn’t try to do it themselves, it’s because they tried and became totally frustrated.  The unfortunate thing about this is it adds to the individual’s expense for making the transition.

Generally, myself and the service people I know best in the business, have tried to be as reasonable as we can with our charges on calls such as this, but, it has to be remembered that much of what we do is often covered by service calls that are figured by estimated time on site and travel time rates. Depending on what the service company has figured for time on site to make their business profitable tells how much time they are willing to spend trying to make the adjustments or fix the problem. I find many are more than willing to go the extra mile to help. (But, like it or not, our time is our most valuable asset along with what we know, or have learned, through our experience in working on, or with, the equipment we service  in this business.)

I realize I have only scratched the surface of all that has been involved in making this transition and a few of the problems encountered in this discussion. It is my hope, as time progresses, to have answers for some of the more complex and frustrating issues concerning Digital Signal Reception that I do not have at this very moment.

As it is, the transition is new to all of us.  As a technician I want to understand what causes these things so I can better help solve your problems with the transition.  I also want to better help you understand  what you are facing. All of this will take time …

In closing this part, I want you to understand that part of the problems we face in the transition are because we aren’t completely getting rid of the old analog system. Until everything switches totally over to Digital, we have to try and work with what we have been given.

For now, we are having to make two different types of technology work together as one and that is not easy. In the not too distant future, I believe things will get easier for two reasons. The first is because we will understand it better. The second is because everyone will eventually get rid of their analog only equipment and switch over to digital.

Until that happens, we must work with what we have and try to make it work as best we can…

Don’t forget to leave your comments or questions about all of this below in the comments box…

Tune in next time as we will discuss my opinion and possible recommendations for antennas to use, especially in our DMA (Naples-Fort Myers, FL).

See ya next time …

Rusty

©February 2009 – all rights reserved

Norman TV & Video Systems and Rusty Norman

THE DIGITAL TRANSITION: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about The Digital Transition (Part 3)

Okay, we’ve spent a little time talking about the good parts of the digital transition, but no conversation can be complete without mentioning some of the “bad” that comes along with the transition.

There is a reason why I call this article what I do.

According to the people that wanted to make this transition appear to be less complicated than it really was, all you had to do to make the the transition, (if you used either rabbit ears or outdoor antenna for reception), was plug in your antenna or little set of rabbit ears to your new little digital to analog converter and you will have made the transition.

Simple, huh? Well…that’s the way they made it sound…kinda… and unfortunately, it just hasn’t quite worked out that way.

Many have already experienced some of the frustrations of working with digital signals. The reason I know this is because of the many phone calls I receive concerning problems with receiving the digital signals. Having said that, I can tell you that I have not, as yet, figured out why there is a problem with certain channels.  I’m not admitting defeat and I haven’t given up yet, but, I must admit that some of this has slowed me down a  bit.

I think that is because some of it just doesn’t compute when you take years of working with analog television reception and all of the different situations there. A person would think, “Since I already can receive my locals on my rabbit ears and the pictures are decent, I should be able to receive the digital signals well also?”

Unfortunately, that is not the case.

At first, I assumed the very same thing. I just thought since they got the Analog channels clearly (very little interference) they should get the Digital channels as well. That was my first rude awakening and “bad” experience with the new signal reception. I have had many since then and, to tell the truth, I am more than a little confused at times.

I have just about come to the conclusion that “set top” antennas are just not going to work for everyone, at least in our area.  I do know there are places I have been where they do work, but I have been to more places where they either only get a couple of channels or they get everything but our local CBS affiliate (Naples-Fort Myers DMA).

In communicating with customers about this situation I have run across a lot of frustrated people.

  • First, they were told the Digital transition was going to be almost transparent, (the analog would disappear and the digital would take its place.
  • Second, they were told all they would need to continue watching their favorite local stations was a digital to analog converter box.
  • Third, the government was making it affordable by offering a $40 coupon to go towards the purchase of those converters, (two coupons available per household.)

None of the above statements were made to mislead anyone, they just proved to be very short-sighted and an over-simplification of the entire process.

I’m not here to condemn the conversion, but I do have to point out that it has not gone as well as some might have expected and it is proving to be more of a challenge for some than even I expected.

Let’s face it, there are some that only wanted local channels and nothing else.  For many good reasons, they chose to use the signals they could receive with a very inexpensive “set-top” antenna and got very good reception for years via the analog signals. They were happy and didn’t have to pay extra for it as they would have if they had satellite or cable.

Some live in Condos  (commonly known to satellite and cable people as MDUs or Multiple Dwelling Units) and are not required to have a connection to cable as some of those units do require. Their inexpensive set of “rabbit ears” worked fine and they enjoyed the programs available via the analog signals through them. With the loss of those analog signals and only the digital being available, often their favorite station, or stations, were no longer receivable. For one reason or another they had no reception of the channel via the digital signal…

And that, my friends, is where much of the frustration comes in. I have received numerous calls about one channel, in particular, missing from the digital lineup. It strikes me as strange that the hardest station for people to get with their set-top antennas used to be one of the easiest to get at least in my experience over the years.  I have struggled more with gaining reception of WINK 11-1 (CBS) (in particular while using peoples existing or even a newer set of set top antenna), more than any other channel in the present digital spectrum in our area.

I have no answer as of yet, but I really do think I am getting closer to understanding why it is so hard. I am in contact with some people that I know are a little smarter than I am on this particular subject.

I have learned through experimentation that it seems to take a more directional antenna than the other channels in our area. I have not had the time to try a bunch of VHF/UHF set top antennas because, for one, there are bunch of them out there, and for two, I don’t have the kind of money to invest in something that really won’t matter to many other than my own understanding of it.

What I can say is, if you come back and visit us on a regular basis, we will spend more time on that subject later.

Coming up in part 4, we’ll talk about what I consider to be “The Ugly” of the digital transition…

See ya next time…

Rusty

©February 2009 -all rights reserved

Norman TV & Video Systems and Rusty Norman