Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WCPO Finally Makes Move to 22 Next Week

We can finally say that there's a "drop dead" date for WCPO-TV 9/Cincinnati to get off of its VHF signal, and go to UHF.

That date is next Wednesday, December 8, at 2:05 AM. (That is right at the start of "The Insider" entertainment show, for those who are insomniacs like yours truly.)

WCPO has, if you recall, been working over the last few weeks to get their signal switched from RF Channel 10 to RF Channel 22. (Your TV displays that RF number as channel 9, through the use of PSIP technology.)

Here's the WCPO release from their own website:

CINCINNATI - WCPO, Channel 9, the Tri-State’s ABC affiliate, announced today that on Wednesday, December 8 at 2:05 a.m., the station will transition to its new, 910 kilowatt (Effective Radiated Power) transmitting facility. WCPO’s signal will move from its current VHF frequency to the stronger UHF band. The new transmitter and antenna will increase WCPO’s power by 300% and allow the station to broadcast a stronger signal to all parts of the Tri-State.

According to WCPO Vice President & General Manager Bill Fee, “The investment in the new, more powerful broadcast equipment will address over-the-signal issues some viewers have experienced since the digital transition, and prepare WCPO for exciting new services such as Mobile Television. This project powerfully demonstrates WCPO’s and its parent company, Scripps Media’s belief in, and commitment to, over-the-air broadcasting in the Tri-State.”

On December 1st, the station will kick off its “Plan to Rescan” campaign to make Tri-State viewers aware of the upcoming changes, and what they need to do to receive the new, stronger signal. Because of the move to the new transmitter and antenna, viewers who watch WCPO over-the-air (with an indoor antenna such as rabbit ears or an outside rooftop antenna) will need to rescan their digital televisions and/or digital converter boxes. Viewers may rescan any time after 2:05 a.m. on December 8 to receive the improved signal. For questions, WCPO will operate The “Plan to Rescan” hotline on December 8 from 5 a.m. to 12 midnight. The number for the hotline is 513-749-9400.

People who watch WCPO on televisions with DirecTV, Dish Network or cable service will not be affected. Cable and satellite service providers will automatically place WCPO on the correct channel.

Something we need to note, as it seemed to be a point of confusion: If you normally view WKEF-TV 22/Dayton over the air, you should NOT be concerned about losing that channel. WKEF uses RF Channel 51, NOT RF 22 - your TV only displays it as 22 through that PSIP technology. Nor does it affect any of the WKEF/WRGT subchannels; again, none of them are on RF 22 as it was a vacant allocation.

Another point: You'll recall that the switch was originally set to happen on November 15. WCPO decided to delay the switch at the last minute, to prevent confusion and to not interfere with November's "sweeps" period.

That ended last week...but since WCPO opted to warn viewers in advance, it's not happening for another week...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TSMW FIRST: NBC, Fox Going Mobile In Cincinnati

This news, as far as we know, has NOT yet been posted to the Kiese Blog, or anywhere on the Enquirer site, so as far as we know, it's something we're getting to before any major news operation in town.

And it involves...well, two of the major TV stations, WLWT-TV 5/Cincinnati and WXIX-TV 19/Newport.

These stations, along with 38 other NBC and FOX affiliates and O-and-O (Owned and Operated) stations, will be able to broadcast to mobile devices that contain DTV receivers by the end of next year, meaning people can watch TV from their smart phones.

TV Newscheck posted about it Friday morning here.

The thinking is that while it'll launch with no subscribers at first, mobile device manufacturers like Apple, Research in Motion and others will start including DTV receivers in their devices, which would launch Mobile TV viewing.

On paper, it seems like a nice idea. We're on the go constantly, it seems of late, and we'd kinda like to be able to watch WLWT news at 5 if we're on the way to an appointment, or the WXIX 9-10 am hour.

The downside, however: It's another potential distraction to drivers. Since yours truly doesn't drive, it wouldn't be a problem for us...but for others, it just might. Although more and more states are looking to outlaw driving while texting or calling from mobile phones, the laws will have to be re-done when this technology hits the market.

Now, we have to note: Most stations have apps for smartphones already, many of which DO include mobile video. And WXIX just launched a weather app for Android phones (with an iPhone version expected soon).

But this is different. This would be, essentially, the live TV signal, optimized for mobile phones.

That, and there's the possibility that you might need an entirely independent app to view the signal in the first place...but, that's kind of putting the cart before the horse at the moment...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sinclair/Time Warner Flap

There's a BIG elephant in the room, and as of right now - it's not looking good for Cincinnati or Dayton viewers of Time Warner Cable.

Here's what we know: Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns and/or operates WSTR 64/Cincinnati, WRGT 45/Dayton, WKEF 22/Dayton, WSYX 6/Columbus and WTTE 28/Columbus, is in negotiations with Time Warner Cable for their retransmission agreements, along with 28 other station agreements. These negotiations come up every so often, about roughly every 5-6 years.

As usual, the fight is about money, and how much Time Warner has to pay Sinclair. As of 3 days ago, Sinclair was, shall we say, less than optimistic. (The previous link is from MediaWeek.com.) Sinclair says they'll yank programming off of Time Warner systems in the affected areas if there's no agreement on December 31.

Hmmmm...doesn't this sound like something that's happened before? If yours truly recalls, FOX was threatening the same thing last year at this time, impacting several cable stations, against Time Warner.

It's somewhat ironic - now, several FOX stations that weren't even involved in last year's issues between News Corp and Time Warner, though they have a News Corp network affiliation, are now in danger of being yanked off air.

We're following this one CLOSELY. By the way, as of this writing, WRGT and WKEF's websites are flat inaccessible - or at least very slow. Even WSTR isn't working. We've got no idea why - but stay tuned, we're going to see if it's working later today...and then see if it has anything to do with the negotiations...

FSO Bouncing Several Balls Around

There's a few balls that'll be bounced around by Fox Sports Ohio tomorrow, and so far, we can only tell you how it'll impact Southwest Ohio...with no word on Northern Kentucky just yet.

Here's what's set to happen:

Big 12 Football 12:00 PM Oklahoma State vs Kansas: Cincinnati and Dayton - FS Ohio

UC vs IPFW Basketball 1:00 PM: Cincinnati and Dayton on Time Warner 310, DirectTV 661, Dish Network 427 and AT&T U-Verse (If available in your area) 732. Dish Network, DirectTV and AT&T U-Verse are FS Cincinnati channels. Insight still not announced. We have no idea if they will use channel 99 for any analog customers who haven't switched over yet, or what they'll do for those who have switched to the digital mini-boxes.

Missouri vs. Iowa State 7:00 PM: Cincinnati: FS Ohio SD channel. Satellite providers will have it on FS Cincinnati in ALL AREAS.

Cleveland Cavaliers vs San Antonio Spurs 8:30 PM: Cincinnati on Alternate Channels listed above except satellite providers on FS Ohio (we're presuming). Again, Northern Kentucky Insight customers should probably check around the dial at 8:30 PM.

Columbus Blue Jackets vs San Jose Sharks 10:30 PM: Cincinnati on FS Ohio, except probably on FS Cincinnati on Satellite.

Check the TSMW Twitter later today or tomorrow. As soon as we find out what's set to happen on Insight, we'll let you know.