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HD Programming Question


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21 replies to this topic

#1 of 22 Bryan X

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Posted September 02 2003 - 02:06 PM

I've got HD through Time Warner. One of the channels offered in HD is NBC. I've watched some programming in HD, such as the Tonight Show.

Tonight, I just watched the beginning of Law and Order. When the show came on, it said available in HD where available. So I figured I'd be able to flip over to the HD channel to watch it. But even on the HD channel it was in 4:3 Standard Def. What's going on? I thought any show on that network that was available in HD I'd be able to see in HD. Do some station affiliates not transmit every show in HD that is available in HD?

#2 of 22 Glenn Overholt

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Posted September 02 2003 - 03:25 PM

This is a common mistake that many people have. HD does not equal WS.

HD just means that there are more horizontal lines of picture, but it does not specify that the lines have to be in a WS format.

Yes, it should, but I think (I am not sure here) that it will take a few years for the studios to upgrade their equipment, and eventually - all will be WS.

Glenn

#3 of 22 Rob TT

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Posted September 03 2003 - 12:39 AM

I thought that if its HD, it has to be Widescreen. I thought that all HD cameras are widescreen format. Maybe it was being broadcast in 480p??

#4 of 22 Eric Samonte

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Posted September 03 2003 - 12:51 AM

I think it does depend on the affiliates if they r transmitting HD or not...that's y they say "where available"....
This site should provide u with the stations that do give u HD...http://www.antennawe.../aw/welcome.asp

#5 of 22 Rob TT

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Posted September 03 2003 - 01:10 AM

From NBC:

What are the advantages of HDTV?

There are several benefits to viewing programs in high-definition.

Clarity. The digital signal is crystal clear and noise-free.
Wide-screen picture. Traditional televisions use a 4 by 3 aspect ratio, which means the screens are 4 units wide by 3 units high. However, theatrical films are usually much wider, taking advantage of the actual human field of vision. HDTV uses a wider 16 by 9 aspect ratio, which delivers movies with less "edge cropping" and provides a more intense viewing experience.

#6 of 22 Al Shing

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Posted September 03 2003 - 01:43 AM

US Customs definition of High Definition TV:

8. For the purposes of this chapter, references to "high definition" as it applies to television receivers and cathode-ray tubes refer to
articles having:
(a) a screen aspect ratio equal to or greater than 16:9; and
(b) a viewing screen capable of displaying more than 700 scanning lines.
================================================== =======

The 16:9 aspect ratio, it seems, is integral to the definition of high definition.

#7 of 22 Lew Crippen

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Posted September 03 2003 - 01:57 AM

The L&O episondes that I have seen in HD, have also been 16:9. You do seeHD programs sent out in the SD format (and resolution) from time to time.
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#8 of 22 Todd Henry

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Posted September 03 2003 - 02:11 AM

I don't have HD, but I seem to remember some people saying that the local affiliate needs to "flip the switch" to provide HD content and sometimes they forget.

Todd

#9 of 22 Bryan X

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Posted September 03 2003 - 04:06 AM

Quote:
I don't have HD, but I seem to remember some people saying that the local affiliate needs to "flip the switch" to provide HD content and sometimes they forget.

Is this 'flip' on a per progam basis? Because shows like ER, and the Tonight Show on the SAME channel do come through in 16:9 HD.

#10 of 22 Nathan_R

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Posted September 03 2003 - 04:55 AM

Lew and Todd are correct. The night before, they same thing happened. The L&O episode in question was sent out in SD everywhere. The Criminal Intent episode that preceeded it was however in HD. Someone messed up. I can't remember when that particular L&O episode was originally broadcasted.

It's possible that
1) The episode originally aired before L&O was being presented in HD and some mo-mo tacked on the "In HD" banner by mistake
2) Post holiday hangovers happen and someone forgot to flip the switch at NBC national to send out the HD version.

This isn't the first time NBC has sent out an SD L&O and still run the "In HD" banner at the bottom. Sometimes, I wonder if they forget that they are broadcasting L&O in HD.

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~~Nathan
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#11 of 22 BrianS

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Posted September 03 2003 - 05:41 AM

Quote:
US Customs definition of High Definition TV:


That's funny. I called my local FOX affiliate the other day and asked when they were going to start broadcasting in HD as all the other networks are doing. She (rather crabby) told me that the "government has not provided a proper definition of HDTV and until they do this, FOX will not spend the money to broadcast in a format that has not been properly defined."

When I started to mention technical terms she just repeated the above.

#12 of 22 Dave Poehlman

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Posted September 03 2003 - 05:58 AM

Quote:
local affiliate needs to "flip the switch"

This is a common problem with our ABC affiliate here in town. Sometimes they wont flip it until a few minutes into the show. On occasion, one of the local HD enthusiasts even has to call the station to remind them.

They're also notorious for turning it off too early. On more than one occasion, after watching the final set of commercials for a program, the program's finale returns in SD!

Admittedly, alot of stations scrambled to get HD equipment to get programming on the air. So, their setups aren't as advanced as they could be.

#13 of 22 Ken Chan

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Posted September 03 2003 - 08:34 AM

Quote:
government has not provided a proper definition of HDTV
Guess it depends on what you mean by "proper". There are 18 different standard DTV formats, six of which are HD (at least 720 lines). All the HD ones are 16:9 square pixel. If anything, that's too many.

Quote:
When I started to mention technical terms she just repeated the above
Ah, truth by emphatic repetition Posted Image

//Ken

#14 of 22 Wayne Bundrick

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Posted September 03 2003 - 10:05 AM

Quote:
Guess it depends on what you mean by "proper". There are 18 different standard DTV formats, six of which are HD (at least 720 lines). All the HD ones are 16:9 square pixel. If anything, that's too many.

The crab at the Fox station is somewhat correct. Yes there are 18 formats (36 if you want to nitpick and say that "drop-frame" and whole integer frame rate deviations such as 29.97 vs. 30 and 59.94 vs. 60 are different enough to count as separate formats), but the government did not officially approve any of them.

The government doesn't require high definition and did not define what HDTV is. Instead, the government defined only digital TV. Digital TV can be any format as long as it includes at least one stream of programming that is free to the public and has a quality at least as good as NTSC analog.

Guess who gets some of the blame for the government not having an official definition for HDTV? Bill Gates.

The FCC chairman at the time, Reed Hundt, went to Microsoft and personally invited Bill Gates to throw a monkey wrench into the FCC's HDTV standards proceedings, because apparently he didn't like how the TV industry was "railroading" their ideas for HDTV through the approval process without much involvement from the computer industry. Mr. Bill got major companies in the computer industry to oppose the proceedings on the grounds various things in the ATSC's proposed 18 formats that weren't exactly friendly to their much-prophesized convergence of computers and television, such as the interlacing in the 1080i format, and resolutions being so high that the CPUs on the market at that time weren't fast enough to handle it. Microsoft, Intel, and Compaq formed the "DTV Team" and proposed a standard for DTV that started with DVD resolution plus 720p only at 24fps (the most their CPUs could handle at the time) and planned for not one but two future upgrades to full 720p and then 1080p.

And some misguided Hollywood cinematographers had their panties in a bunch because for some reason they didn't like 16:9 widescreen, maybe because it wasn't exactly 1.85:1 or maybe because it was too close to 1.85:1 and they wanted wider, I don't know.

It was at a stalemate until a compromise was reached in which the 18 ATSC formats were officially dropped from the proposed government standard, allowing the computer industry to put alternative formats in use but at the same time allowing the TV industry to use the 18 formats if they wanted to. The FCC then quickly ratified the compromise before further disagreement broke out.

The 18 ATSC formats are a voluntary standard, not officially recognized by the government, but the computer industry quickly found out that it made no difference because none of their ideas had any traction whatsoever.

Nevertheless, the crabby woman at the Fox station really ought to read the press releases put out by her own network.
Wayne Bundrick

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#15 of 22 Samuel_M

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Posted September 03 2003 - 10:16 AM

Hello:

Just wanted to jump in real quick and add my two cents worth.

High Definition Programming (720p and 1080i formats) are broadcast in widescreen. It is THE standard for how HD programming is broadcast.

You can only take advantage of this if a) you have a widescreen HDTV or b) you have a 4:3 HDTV that allows for 16:9 conversion. If you have neither, then chances are you will see a picture that is stretched or cropped.

As has been mentioned before, the networks send out programming in HD, but it is up to local affiliates to do their job and see to it that it actually happens. You will have to get in touch with the engineers at your local affiliates to ask them what the deal is if they opt not to broadcast a program in HD.

Lastly, Fox won't start broadcasting true HD programming until Fall 2004. That may change, but as of right now, don't expect them to do anything sooner. Remember Enhanced Definition does NOT equal High Definition. Big Difference!

If anyone else has questions about HD programming, I highly suggest that you visit the AVS HD Forum at:

http://www.avsforum.....php?forumid=34

#16 of 22 Glenn Overholt

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Posted September 03 2003 - 10:57 AM

Yes, it was probably the 'switch' that they forgot to flick. Has anyone ever tried to call a station 'after hours' - only to get a recording?

And who remembers to complain the next morning?

As for customs - I had to laugh at that because that is only the standard for the TV's - and not the signal. Are any of the 18 signals 4x3?

Al - as long as it looks like you have access to customs regs and rates...

If it was impossible to buy a 19" NTSC HD WS TV in the US, and I could get one overseas and import it, I understand that since I cannot buy it here there would be zero import tax. Is that correct?

Glenn

#17 of 22 Al Shing

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Posted September 03 2003 - 01:16 PM

Quote:
If it was impossible to buy a 19" NTSC HD WS TV in the US, and I could get one overseas and import it, I understand that since I cannot buy it here there would be zero import tax. Is that correct?

No that would not be correct. If you bought a one of a kind Picasso worth millions and imported it to the US, do you think it would have zero import tax? Some Customs agent would figure out the tax based on a complicated table of tariffs.

Anyone with Internet access can have access to the tariff schedule. Here is the schedule for the electronics stuff we care about:

http://dataweb.usitc...iff/0310c85.pdf

#18 of 22 Steve Schaffer

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Posted September 03 2003 - 01:56 PM

You'll always get a recording if you call a tv station after business hours.

However most stations will have a separate number or a choice on thier voicemail for the news department so people can report crimes or accidents and such. If you dial that number or get the news department via thier voicemail choices you can then politely ask to speak to someone in the engineering department.

Our local ABC station's been doing HD since April of 01, and just recently installed the automated "switch flipper" so we don't see the last 10 minutes of NYPD Blue in SD anymore.

The NBC affilliate has only been up since June. At first they didn't do a flip at all, just left the HD network feed on all the time. So during breaks for local commercials we got a rather cool peacock screensaver, and never had to worry about the switch not getting flipped. Lately they seem to have also gotten the automated equipment.

I've also encountered several instances in which L&O was SD rather than HD. Usually the guide on my DirecTV capable tuner indicates the particular episode involved was first broadcast prior to the show ever being on in HD.
Since my local NBC station has never had a switch flipping problem I think the "show too old to be in HD" explanation fits this particular case.

Off topic, but our local CBS station is up with digital but not HD, and keeps remapping itself every few days. The analog channel is 47, and on any given day it can show up at 47.1, 34.1 or 34.2--34 being the actual broadcast channel. I called the engineer and got the impression their budget for digital was practically nonexistent and they keep having to remap due to encoder problems.
Steve S.
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#19 of 22 Bryan X

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Posted September 03 2003 - 02:17 PM

Just FYI, the Law & Order episode on tonight (Wednesday) is showing up in HD Widescreen. Posted Image

#20 of 22 Nathan_R

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Posted September 03 2003 - 03:54 PM

If it's after normal business hours, just call the newsroom. They'll patch you through to the engineer on duty. Posted Image
...just lost drunken men who don't know where they are and no longer care.

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