December 6th, 2009


The Joys of DTV

Post 11 June 2009

On air TV broadcasts in the U.S. have been digital DTV/HDTV signals since this summer. You've needed either a TV with a digital tuner, a converter box or cable/satellite. Now I am all for technologies... that work. And I've had some reservations about this particular implementation of DTV for some time.

This weekend it all fell apart.

Since The Snow Arrived On Friday...

... the local CBS channel has been pixelating, freezing and occasionally losing the sound. Interesting that the sound is much more resistant. This is on an analog cable TV, so it's a reception problem on the cable company's end. Not sure where the broadcast antenna is, but Ch. 3 is a Kalamazoo station, not Grand Rapids.

Today they're also doing a bad job on the analog signal -- half of the NFL on CBS score at the top of the frame is cut off. Good job, guys. Check your output signals much?

It's getting worse. 60 Minutes on CBS tonight was borderline unwatchable. Hell, even part of the late NFL game on the local FOX station was pixelating. You want to impress people with your superior cable TV signal? Make sure someone's managing the signal on a Sunday afternoon during football season.

The finale of The Amazing Race? Really annoying echoing audio, then the video got lost -- all green with a black bar at right and a blue bar across the top. When it came back, the aspect ratio was wrong -- too narrow -- but eventually we could turn the sound back on. Then the picture came back. Hmm, maybe somebody brushed the snow off the receiving antenna.

Then there's my sister in Atlanta. She's receiving DTV signals over the air. In the city. Flights in and out of Atlanta Hartsfield, a minor little-used airport, cause her signal to break up. Hardly even notice it. Yeah, right.

Law Of Diminishing Returns

Charter Communications, our cable company, is busy moving channels again. The public access channels have gone to the digital channels. No long any attempt to make them available to those with analog TVs. Same with C-SPAN2. We don't get that any more either. Truth be told, it's been an iffy thing over the years. Between the cable here and in the U.P., it's been on and off and on and off with whether we get C-SPAN2.

Lost Oxygen and G4/Tech TV last year. Speed Channel just moved -- no more Pinks: All Out in the middle of the night.

Sigh. Tis a messy end of a technological era, methinks.

Dr. Phil