Monday, June 22, 2009

DTV Update - Why Is VHF An Issue?

We received an article from Friend of TSMW Rich Emery last week about the problems with VHF signals nationwide, including here in Cincinnati, where WCPO-TV/DT 9 and WKRC-TV/DT 12 both are experiencing trouble.

I spoke with Kurt Thelen at WKRC, and he had a few things to say about it.

Thelen tells us that he and his team have driven around the I-275 loop with portable equipment, and have had a good signal at that range. However, the station has lost quite a few viewers around the area, and Thelen says it was a combination of bad equipment being sold to viewers as well as bad modeling by the FCC.

According to Thelen, some antennas and converters are leaving the upper half of the VHF band completely out, and aren't picking them up. For whatever reason, the converters "drop off about mid-band and then pick it back up in the UHF band", Thelen tells us.

Thelen tells us that he knows an engineer who is going to a symposium being held by the FCC, and the FCC is expected to address the issue later today.

Thelen also blames flawed computer modeling by the FCC for the reason WKRC, WCPO and other stations have had issues with VHF broadcasting, as it looks like those stations may have needed double the amount of power to keep all of their viewers. Thelen says, "I think broadcasters and viewers got the short end of the stick."

However, some of the problems are end-user related. Thelen tells us that many of the issues with individual viewers have been easy fixes so far, including cases where the converters and TV's weren't picking up the new DT 12 signal because they were stuck on the old RF 31 information. In those cases, deleting all the information that was in the converter, followed by a re-scan, has worked.

We'll keep you informed as to what happens with the VHF situation here at TSMW and TSDTW...

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