# What Ever Happened with Digital TV?

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#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
I honestly have not been watching the news or listening to the radio.

What ever happened to the big digital change?

I have my converter box all ready but I only get a few stations on it and my analog TV antenna is still working.

#### Pippen

##### Well-Known Member
The deadline was extended until June 12th but some stations are going ahead with the transition as scheduled.

We just checked and it looks like half of our stations made the switch. I'll have to wait until my kids get home because I haven't a clue how to rescan the stations.

I have a tv that the converter box isn't working on. Anyone run into that?

#### JRThro

TRF Supporter
I have a tv that the converter box isn't working on. Anyone run into that?
It may just be that the TV, or the output on the box, is set to the wrong channel. Both should probably be set to channel 3 or channel 4.

Also, when our converter box scanned for digital channels, it did not find the local NBC or PBS stations, and several channels barely come in and are all pixellated. So I'll have to fiddle with the antenna on top of the TV, or get a better indoor antenna. And then scan again. The channels that we *do* get look just great, btw.

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#### bobkrech

##### Well-Known Member
Until a few weeks ago, the FCC mandated change over date was February 17, but for whatever reason (since it has been publicized for more than a year, the new administration decided to extend the mandated change date to June 12. There is no requirement that prevents the changover however, and in some markets, sevral station changed over starting several months ago when their analog transmitters failed and and the cost to repair could not be recovered.

An interesting observation. It's really easy to tune in an analog TV station. You simply tune to the station and slowly adjust the antenna orientation until you start to see a picture and then keep turning until it's optimized. This method does not work with digital signal TV because you either have a picture or you don't. But all is not lost. Most TVs (and I assume converter boxes) have an autofind menu, and if you look further down the menu you will see a DTV signal strength meter option. Simply manually select the station you want to see, flip the menu to the signal strength meter and turn the antenna to the peak strength. It's really easy that way.

Another hidden gem is https://www.antennaweb.org

Simply click gtet started and input your zip code (only unless you want to get more spam) and graphically locate your address on the map, and then continue. You will get a listing of all TV stations within range and their compass directions. If you view this graphically and you have an antenna you can manually rotate, you don't even need a compass to point the antenna!

The converter boxes are the cheapest way to go to receive DTV, but they do not receive HDTV which is truly amazing. DTV is basically VGA 640x480 quality which is much better than analog TV. HDTV has even higher resolution, and is labeled as 720 i and p and 1080 i and p, but don't get too worked up on the high priced hype. A $300 HDTV works just as well as a$3000 HDTV, the biggest difference is the screen size and the name on the box, and for practical purposes, there isn't much viewing difference between 720p (which includes 1080i) and 1080p unless you have 20/10 vision.

https://www.dtv.gov/

Bob

##### Well-Known Member
I'm amused by this question on two levels:

1) You asked it on a rocketry forum.

2) You could simply have googled it or searched Wikipedia and found good answers to any questions you have and even more answers to questions you have not thought of yet. Relying on rocket folks to find and retype information here is somewhat silly. And the retyping process is not always executed well.

Oh well, here are the links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_tv

https://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/fda_prepares_nation_for?utm_source=a-section

I honestly have not been watching the news or listening to the radio.

What ever happened to the big digital change?

I have my converter box all ready but I only get a few stations on it and my analog TV antenna is still working.

#### RimfireJim

##### Well-Known Member
Maybe because he knew you'd be good for at least one link to an Onion article?

#### Peartree

##### Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Global Mod
Many current antennas are optimized for VHF channels and not so good for UHF channels. Virtually all of the DTV station allocations are UHF so your local station will move on the "dial" as it were. As a result, an antenna that did well before the switch to DTV may not pull in your local station even with a good converter box. It's still there but you may need a different antenna and the gov'ts not going to help you with that.

#### Der Red Max

##### Well-Known Member
...but for whatever reason...
Hmmm, every article and news story, I've ever read about the "change-over" extension, has stated the administrations reason.

#### Gillard

##### Well-Known Member
in Britain it's coming in region by region, my area is one of the last to change in 2011. i think some areas have already swapped.

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
Many current antennas are optimized for VHF channels and not so good for UHF channels. Virtually all of the DTV station allocations are UHF so your local station will move on the "dial" as it were. As a result, an antenna that did well before the switch to DTV may not pull in your local station even with a good converter box. It's still there but you may need a different antenna and the gov'ts not going to help you with that.
I have a twofold problem.

I am currently and will continue to get the majority of my TV broadcast from Canada. They don't switch over for at least another 2 years.

Currently only one network (NBC) affiliate has changed over to digital but both of the PBS station that I'm in range of have already completely changed over.
So basically all I've been watching is Canadian TV and the've just mentioned it.

I aslo have one Canadian digital station, it's the only one I've found and it's on channel 19 the same as one of my PBS station.

My converter box is getting real confused by that.

#### luke strawwalker

##### Well-Known Member
Until a few weeks ago, the FCC mandated change over date was February 17, but for whatever reason (since it has been publicized for more than a year, the new administration decided to extend the mandated change date to June 12. There is no requirement that prevents the changover however, and in some markets, sevral station changed over starting several months ago when their analog transmitters failed and and the cost to repair could not be recovered.

An interesting observation. It's really easy to tune in an analog TV station. You simply tune to the station and slowly adjust the antenna orientation until you start to see a picture and then keep turning until it's optimized. This method does not work with digital signal TV because you either have a picture or you don't. But all is not lost. Most TVs (and I assume converter boxes) have an autofind menu, and if you look further down the menu you will see a DTV signal strength meter option. Simply manually select the station you want to see, flip the menu to the signal strength meter and turn the antenna to the peak strength. It's really easy that way.

Another hidden gem is https://www.antennaweb.org

Simply click gtet started and input your zip code (only unless you want to get more spam) and graphically locate your address on the map, and then continue. You will get a listing of all TV stations within range and their compass directions. If you view this graphically and you have an antenna you can manually rotate, you don't even need a compass to point the antenna!

The converter boxes are the cheapest way to go to receive DTV, but they do not receive HDTV which is truly amazing. DTV is basically VGA 640x480 quality which is much better than analog TV. HDTV has even higher resolution, and is labeled as 720 i and p and 1080 i and p, but don't get too worked up on the high priced hype. A $300 HDTV works just as well as a$3000 HDTV, the biggest difference is the screen size and the name on the box, and for practical purposes, there isn't much viewing difference between 720p (which includes 1080i) and 1080p unless you have 20/10 vision.

https://www.dtv.gov/

Bob

Question Bob, and sounds like you're the man to know...

Whats the difference between 720p, 720i, 1080p, and 1080i??

I don't get it... (course I'm still using CRT's... OL JR PS. which is better (ok pros/cons) of LCD's vs. plasmas... TIA!

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
Our local stations all switched over to all-digital signals yesterday, the original switch date. Everyone where I live is either on cable or on satellite, because we cannot pick up broadcast signals (too far away, too many mountains) -- so we didn't need no stinkin' converter boxes, anyway. And since I watch everything on my 8 year old tube TV, it all still looks the same.

MarkII

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
I guess my point of asking here was what have you guys experienced.

Hey I don't get to talk to anybody else all day since I work from home!

Fred, real sorry that bothers you. It's a legitimate question for the technically minded not. Not political enough?

Some stations have switched some have both and some haven't changed yet.

It's kind of hit and miss right now but I gotta say the digital signal is crystal clear!

I can see why they extended the deadline...too many people are just plain cluless as to what to do.

These are (we are) the same people that have 12:00 still flashing on thier VCR's.

As for tuning in my converter box has a "signal strength button.

I can hit that while I rotate (I have a powered rotor) my antenna and watch for the best signal on the meter. That coupled with a 50' tower pre-amplifier on the antenna and a signal booster distributor gives me a whole bunch of TV.

There just isn't anything on worth watching.

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#### o1d_dude

##### 'I battle gravity'
TRF Supporter
It's not like this was sprung on us suddenly...the mandate was given back in what 1996?

The delay on the mandatory switch to digital only broadcasts was extended until June 12th but stations were allowed to start broadcasting digital transmissions if they were so inclined. Many stations have already done this.

My guess is those folks who aren't prepared for the digital switch now probably won't be ready in June either but whatcha gonna do?

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
I guess my point of asking here was what have you guys experienced

....

Some stations have switched some have both and some haven't changed yet.
Although all of our stations have made the switch, they are still broadcasting the local news in both formats for now.

It's kind of hit and miss right now but I gotta say the digital signal is crystal clear!
With our cable (which went digital about 10 years ago) it always has been.

I can see why they extended the deadline...too many people are just plain cluless as to what to do.
Also, the Federal government promised financial assistance in the form of coupons that would cover the lion's share of the cost of those converter boxes, and then saw the fund that was paying for them run out of money well before the conversion date. There has been such a relentless public service campaign for the past 18 months reminding everyone of the impending conversion, and breathlessly warning us all of the dire consequences of not preparing for the day (as if it was the Last Judgment or something), that I'm sure plenty of people who ordered those coupons didn't actually need them because they either had cable or satellite but felt pressured by the PSA campaign. That may have been a factor in why the fund ran out of money earlier than expected.

There just isn't anything on worth watching.
That's the perennial irony, isn't it? ("Ninety-six channels, and nothing's on...")

MarkII

#### georgegassaway

There just isn't anything on worth watching.
You get to get away with that only because Mythbusters was a repeat tonight, and because American Idol is still in existence.....

- George Gassaway

#### Peartree

##### Cyborg Rocketeer
Staff member
Global Mod
Also, the Federal government promised financial assistance in the form of coupons that would cover the lion's share of the cost of those converter boxes, and then saw the fund that was paying for them run out of money well before the conversion date. There has been such a relentless public service campaign for the past 18 months reminding everyone of the impending conversion, and breathlessly warning us all of the dire consequences of not preparing for the day (as if it was the Last Judgment or something), that I'm sure plenty of people who ordered those coupons didn't actually need them because they either had cable or satellite but felt pressured by the PSA campaign. That may have been a factor in why the fund ran out of money earlier than expected.
MarkII
Partially true. The stories on the news and in print two years ago were pretty clear that the federal government had set aside *some* money to help with the cost of converter boxes but they knew even then that it wouldn't be nearly enough (and was never intended to be enough) for everyone to get a coupon. That was one reason they began pushing the coupons early because they knew (and said so) that if you didn't get your request in early, the money would run out and you'd be on your own. The government never intended to pay for everyone to switch, only to help out. That said, I'm sure a lot of people got coupons who didn't need them.

#### MarkII

##### Well-Known Member
You are correct, John. I missed the part about the fund being limited.

MarkII

#### JRThro

TRF Supporter
That said, I'm sure a lot of people got coupons who didn't need them.
I got two "coupons" even though I only have one TV, but I gave one to my brother-in-law, who didn't get one.

The "coupons" are physically the same as gift/debit/credit cards: plastic cards with a magnetic strip on the back.

#### henry8minus1

##### Well-Known Member
Question Bob, and sounds like you're the man to know...

Whats the difference between 720p, 720i, 1080p, and 1080i??

I don't get it... (course I'm still using CRT's... OL JR PS. which is better (ok pros/cons) of LCD's vs. plasmas... TIA!
The 720 and 1080 represent the number of horizontal scan lines of the tv or signal. Basically this is the resolution of the screen. Thus 720 normally has a screen of 1280 horizontal pixels x 720 vertical pixels (16:9 ratio -- widescreen) or 921,600 pixels total; 1080 is 1920 x 1080 or 2,073,600 pixels total.

The i or p stand for interlaced and progressive. Interlaced is when half of the lines are updated each time the screen refreshes, while progressive updates all the lines.

Most HDTVs will be either 720p or 1080p. TV channels broadcast in 720p and others in 1080i, to my knowledge only blueray movies are in full 1080p. In addition you will not see many 1080p TVs smaller than 40 inches, because the screen needs to be that large before your eye can notice the better resolution of the 1080p signal.

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#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
A problem you run into on some of the digital HD stations is the broadcast image is smaller than your set's screen.

You wind up with bars not just at the top and bottom but on the side too. That's because that is the size of the HD signal's image.

So suddenly your 32" TV now only has a 24" picture.

Fortunately most digital stations have a non-HD signal with it.

You can get like chanel 25-1 will have the call letters of WEYI HD and 25-2 will have a full size picture just not in HD with call letters of just WEYI.

It's really confusing for my wife.

There is a button on the remote that says "zoom" but when you push it a message comes on the screen that says "The aspect ratio for this channel cannot be changed".

Now one great way for us more technically gifted people to "pay it forward" is to help some of your neighbors figure out digital TV. Like the elderly couple down the block that just don't have a clue.

It's really getting complicated to watch TV now!

#### JRThro

TRF Supporter
The 720 and 1080 represent the number of vertical scan lines of the tv or signal.
The scan lines are horizontal, not vertical. So the 720 and 1080 represent the number of horizontal scan lines, or vertical pixels, on the screen.

If I'm not mistaken, normal analog TV pictures have 525 horizontal scan lines.

#### WiK

A problem you run into on some of the digital HD stations is the broadcast image is smaller than your set's screen.

You wind up with bars not just at the top and bottom but on the side too. That's because that is the size of the HD signal's image.
We had that problem with our cable box when we first got HD, but there was a setting somewhere that you could turn to 'HDTV Widescreen' mode, which zoomed in on the picture and got rid of the sidebars. Maybe there's something similar in whatever you're using?

Phil

#### MKP

##### Well-Known Member
My converter box has got several settings for screen size such as zoom, 16x9, 4x something or other. It gets it to the right size, but it drives me nuts, when you change the channel, you have to find the setting the look the best. Sometimes even a different show requires a different setting.

Whatever happened to turning the TV and finding your show?

#### flygrimm

##### Well-Known Member
Whatever happened to everyone crowding around the radio? Raido? What's that?

Stuart

#### davel

##### Well-Known Member
My converter box has got several settings for screen size such as zoom, 16x9, 4x something or other. It gets it to the right size, but it drives me nuts, when you change the channel, you have to find the setting the look the best. Sometimes even a different show requires a different setting.

Whatever happened to turning the TV and finding your show?
Best route *usually* is to set the set top box to it maximum and let the TV downconvert if needed.

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