Questions About DTV?

Published On: Oct 27 2011 11:27:15 AM EDT
Updated On: Aug 14 2009 08:26:14 AM EDT


WPLG's Chief Engineer Darren Alline has put together a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding the digital conversion.

1: I have a converter box and antenna. I used to get your digital channel but now cannot. Why?

Because of the conversion, WPLG switched the actual frequency upon which it transmits from VHF channel 9 to VHF channel 10 on June 12th at 9a.m. Other stations (7,23, 51) did the same thing Friday evening. You need to re-scan the box to re-acquire the channels.

One problem we have been running into is some boxes and digital TV's will not add the new channel 10 because old one is still in the channel list. If that's the case there usually is a channel delete function in channel scan menu. Delete channel 10 (or 10.1) and then rescan. Another trick would be to perform what is called a double rescan to clear the receiver or TV memory. This involves unhooking the antenna, performing a channel scan and hooking the antenna back up and then doing the scan again.

2: I've scanned and am having trouble receiving any signals. What should I do?

The standards for reception were set up with the expectation that viewers would be using outdoor antennas. If you are using an indoor antenna, your reception can be spotty and only get worse the further away from the tower you are. We strongly recommend using an outdoor antenna that works for both VHF and UHF reception.

Here is a Web site that is very helpful when it come to antenna selection:

3: I receive every channel but WPLG and WSVN. Why?

This problem sounds like you are receiving the DTV channels that are transmitting in the UHF Band (4,6,33) and are not receiving the VHF channels (7,10). Make sure you are using a VHF/UHF antenna and play with the VHF portion of the antenna (telescoping dipoles). A full wavelength of channel 10 is 29 and a quarter inches, so you will want to extend the dipoles to that length if possible. You will want the antenna at a 90 degree angle to our tower at the Miami-Dade/Broward county line close to Landshark stadium. If you are using an indoor antenna, getting the antenna near an opening (door or window) that faces the correct direction is helpful.

As you are trying to receive channel 10, keep in mind digital is different from analog. You will only see a picture when you can receive enough data. This is called the digital cliff. A signal meter can be very helpful getting around this problem. Consult the manual for your converter box or TV to see if it has one. You may have to rescan several times during this process and remember in digital as you move the antenna there is some lag time before the TV responds, so move..stop... move... stop...move...

4: I'm using an amplified antenna and I still can't receive channel 10, can that be?

If you are using the correct outdoor antenna, you should only need an amplified antenna if you are a great distance (50 plus miles) away from our tower. It is hard to say if an indoor antenna should be amplified because the type of structure and how much it attenuates the signal is a big factor.

Keep in mind that amplifiers are indiscriminate. They amplify undesirable things like noise and reflections as well as signal. They also can have roll off at certain frequencies when overloaded. If you are using an amplified antenna and are having problems, try disconnecting the amplifier by unplugging it.

5: I see the channel numbers are different. How do I check to if I'm receiving your channel?

Different TVs and converter boxes do things differently, but in general, entering a channel in the new DTV world will involve entering the "major" channel number, a dot (usually indicated by a dash below the number pad of the remote in the left or right hand corner of the remote) and the sub-channel. To enter what used to be analog channel 10 in digital you would enter 10.1 or ten dot one.

6: Is WPLG operating at full power?

Yes. There is a great amount of misinformation going around about this topic. The FCC assigns the channel we operate on and the power level. WPLG has been operating at its full allocated power since 1999. We have applied for, and have been granted, power increases by the FCC when they have allowed it.

I think the confusion arises out of the fact that many people think the FCC has not granted VHF stations like WPLG enough power when compared to UHF stations. That may or may not be correct, but WPLG has always operated the power levels it?s been allocated by FCC. As of July 4, 2009 we operate at 60KW ERP and hope to go higher as soon as we can finish construction of our facility.


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