Chief Engineer Blog

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Chief Engineer

  • Aspect Ratio
    WKTV is now transmitting AFD flags as part of our HD signal on over-the-air channel 2.1. These flags embedded in the digital stream are used to control the aspect ratio on your converter box and on downconverters used by cable companies. Program and commercial providers can insert a flag for letterbox or centercut, depending on what they want viewers with older 4x3 TV's to see. For example, Saturday Night Live is created to be viewed in letterbox format. If you've been seeing graphics and actors cut off on the sides of the screen, it's because you've been watching in a zoom mode which cuts off the sides of the picture. If your converter box has the ability to accept AFD flags and is set in that mode, you will now see Saturday Night Live (and other NBC programming) with a black bar at the top and bottom of the screen but full content left to right. Not all converter boxes have this feature. You will need to look in the menu for picture, picture size or aspect ratio, and see if there is a setting for "Auto" or "Set by Program." Set this for channel 2.1 only. This does not pertain to channel 2.2 which is SD only and will always be in a 4x3 aspect ratio. If you're seeing black all around your picture on channel 2.2, you will need to set your converter box to zoom mode for that channel.

    Our analog feed to Time Warner is fed from a downconverter at WKTV which is controlled by AFD flags, so it switches the picture size based on the flag being sent by NBC. When we're not in NBC programming, we are always feeding 4x3 standard definition and we are inserting a flag to forcre 4x3. If you have any questions about this, email engineering@wktv.com
  • Battery Operated Converter Box & Digital TV's

    We've had many viewers asking if there is a battery operated converter box available.  Winegard has come out with a battery pack for their converter.  It takes six D batteries.  Here is a link for information:  http://www.winegard.com/dtv/dig_r.php
    Winegard products are available at JK Satellite in Rome, NY

    There are also many new battery operated TV's on the market. You can find them at local electronics retailers such as RadioShack & BestBuy. We purchased the Accurian 15-454 at RadioShack to use on remotes where our meterologists need to see their graphics that are on-air. This TV has a bright crisp picture (widescreen so you can watch NBC HD) and reception is great when you're not moving around. We've had varied success while moving. It has rechargeable batteries and comes with a charger, cigarette lighter adapter and a magnetic roof mount antenna for your car. This model is available in the store and there are many models available online.

  • Ready or Not, Analog Has Gone Away

    If you're still trying to find WKTV over-the-air on analog channel 2, you're not going to find it.  On 2/17, our analog transmitter was shut down for good.  The only way to receive an over-the-air signal now is with a digital TV or a converter box.  Those watching us on Time Warner Cable TV did not see a change and can still receive us the same way they always have and do not have to do anything for the time being.

    If your TV is newer and has a digital tuner, you will just have to scan for digital channels to find WKTV at 2.1 and our CW channel at 2.2.  If your TV is older and only has an analog tuner, you will need to replace it with a digital TV or buy a converter box to connect to the analog TV.  When purchasing TV's or converter boxes, do your homework.  There is a wealth of information on the web rating digital TV's and converter boxes.  Read user comments on store sites as well.  We have found that there are three converter boxes that outperform others in regards to reception.  Those are Zenith (all models), Insignia (all models) and Dish Network's DTV Pal.  The DTV Pal is more expensive but has many features not found on other boxes, including an auto background scan that will find channels as they come online so you don't have to rescan manually.  The worst performing boxes on the market are all models made by Magnavox.

    When you get your box or new TV, connect it to your existing antenna and try it.  If you have a directional antenna, make sure it's pointed at our transmitter site in Middleville.  A compass bearing from your home to our transmitter can be found at these websites:

    http://www.antennaweb.org

    http://www.antennapoint.com

    Do a channel scan on the box or TV.  If you can't receive us, you may have to update your antenna system.  Here are a few key things to check:

      • Is your antenna UHF capable?  All of the digital channels in Central NY are UHF
      • Rabbit-ear antennas do not perform well with digital.  There are many other options available for indoor or outdoor use.
      • Is your wiring up to date?  You will need a good 75 ohm coax between your antenna and receiver.  The old 300 ohm twin-lead cable will not perform well.
      • If you have amplifiers and splitters in-line, are they UHF capable?

    Area electronics retailers and home stores sell a variety of antennas.   We suggest our good friend Joe at JK Satellite in Rome.  He can suggest a good antenna for where you live, as well as amplifiers that might help your reception.  Joe also sells the DTV Pal converter boxes and accepts the government rebate coupons.  His phone number is 315-339-1930.

    We have found reception to be very good in all areas where our analog signal was previously received.  We have been broadcasting our digital signal at full power for 2-3/4 years now and have had plenty of opportunity to test in various locations.  With the proper antenna installation, you can receive our digital channel.  In all cases where we have had complaints about reception, we have tested with an RV antenna on our Live Truck connected to a Zenith converter box and have had a 75 to 100% signal level at heights under 20 feet above ground.

    Once you start receiving our digital signal, you'll be happy to see how great it looks!  And with our over-the-air signal, you can receive NBC programming in HD.

    If you have questions, email engineering@wktv.com or call 315-793-3477 x251.  You will have to leave a voicemail.  At the end of the long greeting, leave your name and phone number, and a convenient time for a callback.  We will call you back within 48 hours.

  • Analog Channel 2 Broadcasts Have Ended

    On February 17, 2009, ceased broadcasting on analog Channel-2.  The FCC chose that date for TV stations to cease broadcasting analog channels.  Every station is currently broadcasting a digital channel as mandated by the commission.  Some stations will continue broadcasting their digital signals on their assigned channels and others will move their digital signals to the channels that their analog signals occupied.  WKTV’s current digital channel is 29 and we will remain on that channel after 2/17/09.  The low frequency of channel 2 is susceptible to noise, especially AC noise created by old power grids or noisy motors and other devices nearby to receivers.  In the analog world, this shows up as noise in the picture and sound.  In the digital world, this noise can block the signal at the receiver.  Several transmitter and transmit antenna manufacturers suggested against going back to channel 2 with our digital signal after analog transmission ends.  So we will stay on channel 29. 

     

    We have the ability to brand our digital channel with our analog channel number.  So even though your digital receiver or converter box will find us on the frequency for channel 29, the display on your TV will show channel 2-1.  Some receivers will display a table showing the RF channel, in our case 29, and the associated virtual channel the station has assigned to it, in our case 2-1. 


     

    So as an over-the-air viewer, what do you have to do to continue to receive WKTV?  

     

    • If you have one or more analog TV’s, purchase a converter box for each TV  
      • - This will cost you approximately $10 each for the first two under the rebate program as explained in an   earlier article  
      • -The cost for each converter box after the first two will be approximately $50 each  
      • - Connect your current antenna to the converter box antenna input  
      • - Connect a separate cable between your converter box output and the antenna input on your analog TV  
      • - Initiate a channel scan on the converter box – WKTV should display as channel 2-1 
         
    • If you have a TV with a digital tuner (DT capable), make sure it is connected to a good antenna and the antenna is pointed in the direction of Fairfield (north of Middleville), then initiate a channel scan  
      • - If your TV finds WKTV, it should display as channel 2-1  
      • - Check the signal strength – most TV’s with digital tuners have a menu item for this  
      • - If the signal is low, your picture may cut in & out – in this case, you may need to move or upgrade your antenna  
      • - If the signal is in the middle of the scale or above and steady, you shouldn’t have a problem with receiving us

          

         
     

    In August 2008, we began transmitting in High Definition.  Virtual channel 2-1 is WKTV HD and your TV will pickup virtual channel 2-2 which is our CW network programming in Standard Definition (SD).  NBC programming is in true HD (1080i) and for the time being, all other programming will be upconverted to HD.  Those with SD TV’s or converter boxes will still see the HD signal but will view it in SD.

  • DTV Conversion Rebate Coupons

    CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO OF DISCUSSION ABOUT DTV FROM 5PM NEWSTALK ON 2/12/2008.

    TV Converter Coupon ProgramThe Federal Communications Commission has ruled that all analog television broadcasts in the country will end on February 17, 2009. Digital television broadcasts will take the place of the old analog broadcasts. Most television stations have already met deadlines set to start broadcasting digital signals on channels assigned by the FCC. This decision does not affect those that receive their programs via a Cable TV or satellite provider. Only over-the-air reception with an indoor or outdoor antenna will be affected.


    The FCC decision will mean an end to WKTV analog channel-2 over-the-air broadcasts on the designated date, February 17, 2009.
    WKTV has been broadcasting a standard definition digital signal on channel-29 since May of 2005. Viewers that have been watching our digital signal have had very good reception in areas where the channel-2 analog signal is marginal. Digital signals are free from noise and ghosting experienced in analog broadcasts, thus producing a much clearer and sharper picture. In order to receive the digital signal, viewers must have either a digital television set (with a built-in digital tuner), or a converter box to receive the digital channel, then feed it as an analog channel to an analog TV. Digital tuners in TV’s or in converter boxes have a function to scan for channels. Once connected to an antenna, either indoor or outdoor, users should initiate a scan. If WKTV digital is received, the tuner or box will display as RF Channel-29 and Virtual Channel-2-1. WKTV plans to add additional Virtual Channels by August of 2008, those being WKTV HD on 2-2 and CW on 2-3 (all contained within RF Channel-29). The tuner or converter box will let you choose the virtual subchannels to view.

    The Federal Government is offering each household up to two rebate coupons that they can use towards the purchase of converter boxes. These coupons are valued at $40 each. Applications for these coupons will be available during the first week of January, 2008 and the NTIA (National Telecommunications & Information Administration) will start sending the coupons on February 17, 2008. The coupons can be used at any of the NTIA certified retailers. A current list of certified retailers can be found at this link: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/dtvcoupon/DTV_CertifiedRetailers_121107.pdf

    There are several converter box manufacturers. Use this link for a current list: http://www.ntiadtv.gov/cecb_list.cfm

    There are four ways to apply for rebate coupons:

    Online http://www.DTV2009.gov

    By Phone 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009)

    By Mail PO Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208

    By Fax 1-877-DTV-4ME2 (1-877-388-4632)

    You must complete an application obtained online or requested via one of the other options above.

    For more information about the DTV transition or the rebate program, visit one of these websites:

    http://www.DTV2009.gov

    http://www.dtvtransition.org

    http://www.dtv.gov

    http://www.ntia.doc.gov

    If you have questions about receiving WKTV’s digital transmission, email us:
    engineering@wktv.com

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