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DTV Transition Mostly Smooth, Windows Media Center Problems

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the muh-tv-dun-broke dept.

Government 223

dritan writes "While most of the transition to digital seems to have gone smoothly, those who use Windows Media Center saw their screens go dark. Users are complaining that Media Center did not pick up changes to channel assignments that took place on Friday. Someone forgot to update the static channel lists distributed with the program guide. Users either have to wait for Microsoft to fix the problem, or manually edit the configuration files." Reports indicate that the FCC received upwards of 300,000 calls on Friday from consumers seeking late help with the transition, but they were prepared, with over 4,000 operators available to handle problems. The FCC's DTV website also had over 3 million hits on Friday. Both phone and Internet traffic have now tapered off, and supplies of converter boxes appear to have held out just fine.

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In Soviet Russia... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326493)

...digital TV controls YOU!

Unprepaired? (0)

mcfatboy93 (1363705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326499)

Friday from consumers seeking late help with the transition, but they were prepared, with over 4,000 operators available to handle problems

ok can i say that it was the FCC who delayed the whole thing because the people would be unprepared.

Anecdote (5, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326501)

One local station was completely dark for about 8 hours, another delayed the switch until after game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and was off the air for about 2.5 minutes. The third had already switched in February after their analog transmitter blew up (or broke down in some more mundane fashion).

Still some teething problems here, for instance, guides not matching programming, the SAP being fed alongside the main audio programming, and occasional blank screens. Some stations are convinced that they have to broadcast SD in 4:3 (or they think it will help old people, or something, I wish they would use 16:9).

Re:Anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326531)

Well, most SDTVs are 4:3 so I think it's normal.

Re:Anecdote (3, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326561)

Most digital tuners can crop the 16:9 down to 4:3, and the most common case of what I am talking about is SD programming being broadcast on a second subchannel, a channel that is often going to be received by a set that is 16:9. So the stations could give people with 16:9 sets the full video and everyone else could crop it down (I have a 4:3 set but tend to prefer the bars when the video was shot in 16:9...).

I guess there might be problems finding enough bits, but one station here is broadcasting two 16:9 channels, so I doubt it.

Re:Anecdote (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326789)

I would bet that the type of people who still receive OTA signals are the many times type of people who would think their TV is broken or that they're getting ripped off seeing those black bars. There's a non-trivial portion [playstation.com] of the population who thinks that someone is hiding video from them when they see those black bars...

Re:Anecdote (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327459)

Entertainingly, if those people went out and bought a new flat screen they would see bars on the sides of their new televisions when they tuned to the channels I am talking about.

If I got my way, a button that is on most remotes would be the thing in control of it.

(Looking at your link, it doesn't really support what you are saying, the guy is disappointed that it doesn't fill the screen, not paranoid, and the rest of the comments explain what is going on in a reasonable tone...)

Re:Anecdote (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327467)

I would bet that the type of people who still receive OTA signals are the many times type of people who would think their TV is broken or that they're getting ripped off seeing those black bars.

Oh you would, would you?

And I would bet that you're an elitist asshole with entitlement issues.

Re:Anecdote (2, Insightful)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327169)

All my local stations had some problems around that time. On Thursday night, CBS had an audio problem (using the wrong channels from the surround sound, I think, so music came through but voices did not.) On Friday morning, ABC was dropping frames, so movements looked jerky. An analog repeater station also somehow switched from PBS to religious programming for awhile. Then on Friday night, PBS digital, a Spanish station, and NBC all went black for awhile (during the hockey game!) But I think they're all settling down now.

Re:Anecdote (2, Interesting)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327249)

I feel that the UK has done/is doing the whole digital switch-over thing better.

Here, each region (roughly equivalent to each local-news region) has it's own switch-off date, with the whole thing spread over about 4 years (and this in a country with a smaller population, more densely packed, meaning the switch-over would probably be easier anyway). This means that, for one, the broadcasters and government agencies only have to worry about nurse-maiding small numbers of people over at once. For two, it gives people a lot longer to get used to the idea and upgrade (I just happened to need a new TV a year or so ago, and it just incidentally happen to be DTV-ready, without me needing to worry about it). For three, it means that the odds of broadcasters in any given area being up to speed with full-power transmissions is very high, meaning less chance of down-time or missing channels.

Why a large, sparsely populated country of ~300 million people would decide to do the switch-over all at once I can't figure out. Maybe THAT'S the easier way and the UK is doing it awkwardly, but it just doesn't seem like that to me.

Re:Anecdote (1)

symbolic (11752) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327465)

I'm wondering now - I have cable, but suddenly started seeing closed-captions for all of the programming. I've checked the TV settings, and the CC is off. At first I thought it was the the age of the TV showing, but now I wonder if it might have something to do with this.

It Worked (5, Insightful)

Surbius (1133357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326519)

I must say, a federal government agency actually worked; albeit to the tune of two billion dollars.

One can only wonder what one-thousand billion dollars can do.

[/sarcasm]

Re:It Worked (5, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326779)

Since the cost of the transition was financed with a small portion of the proceeds from the sale of the old Analog spectrum, the whole thing was pretty clearly a net gain.

Re:It Worked (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326961)

I must say, a federal government agency actually worked; albeit to the tune of two billion dollars.

The spectrum sale was quite successful from the government's point of view.

The migration to digital frees a lot of space for other uses - and the geek - the techie - directly and indirectly is quite obviously one of the prime beneficiaries.

Since he rarely admits to ever watching broadcast TV - I am not quite sure what he is complaining about.

Re:It Worked (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327189)

I think they made something like $18 billion on the VHF auction so they're still ahead. They probably could have done better still if they had made prospective buyers bid a rental fee for the spectrum license, or a percentage of their revenue, and both would have increased the participation of small players, but I guess that's a bad thing to some people.

Definitely not a feature (0, Troll)

adosch (1397357) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326529)

What broke in Windows Media Center isn't what I call a bug that needs to be fixed... Microsoft will make that "fix" an "enhanced feature" that only users who purchase or upgrade to Windows 7 Home Ultra-Premium-Enhanced-Elite-Super-Ultimate Edition.

Wow manually edit configuration files. (5, Funny)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326533)

This is more complicated than the kernel update I did last night.
Almost as bad as updating alsa to 1.0.20. (stupid jaunty jackassalope shipped with 1.0.18)
At least windows is starting to be a real OS with the typing and such.

Re:Wow manually edit configuration files. (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327083)

I had a chuckle at the "manually edit" part, as well.

The fact is, editing by its vary nature is manual, so the modifier is redundant. The shopping list or letter to grandma in Word, or the one-liner email in Gmail are all manually written and manually edited. The only way the process could be automated is if you designed a mechanical robot to press keys on the keyboard for you.

But if you can build, assemble and program a robot, why not just write a program that can find differences between files, and then write another program to apply those differences? Oh, wait ...

Which brings me to the instructions on the blog. Reading those, like reading most all Microsoft documentation, is an exercise in frustration, both for the novice user and the expert. The novice user has to faithfully execute a large number of steps and if successful, won't understand what was done. The expert has trouble understanding what needs to be done because of the verbiage describing all the steps.

So if "manually edit" is taken to mean "You can't do this with a mouse alone", then I guess the only conclusion is that editing is indeed Hard(TM). However, I'd suggest that for those jobs where a mouse is appropriate, the mouse may seem easy, but trying to interpret a few hundred words of detailed instructions (or, alternatively, multiple pages of screenshots) never is. And to the extent it is, you've learned nothing.

At least windows is starting to be a real OS with the typing and such.

To which the Windows user responds:

I use Windows because I need Microsoft Office. Never mind that I type and edit all day, editing a configuration file or typing

patch < patchfile

is impossible for me, and contradicts everything I've learned.

Re:Wow manually edit configuration files. (4, Insightful)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327125)

Never mind that I type and edit all day, editing a configuration file or typing

What they type all day is English. What you're trying to get them to do is type in some weird computer-ese language that they don't understand.

Re:Wow manually edit configuration files. (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327245)

What they type all day is English.

I don't know if I'd go that far...

Re:Wow manually edit configuration files. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327703)

Yeah, my elder sister types "lolz" a bit too much ;).

I hope my mom doesn't start sending me messages with "I can has CD? lolz"

Re:Wow manually edit configuration files. (3, Insightful)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327279)

The only way the process could be automated is if you designed a mechanical robot to press keys on the keyboard for you.

Or if the guide software edited the configuration for you, like it's supposed to. That would be automatic editing, would it not? Last I checked "mechanical" was nowhere in the definition of "automatic", therefore it can, by definition, be carried out by software.

Re:Wow manually edit configuration files. (1)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327505)

I run a Windows7 Media Center. The "editing" they are talking about was done from the MCE remote while sitting on my couch.

I had to do the same thing on my standard HDTV. Went into the setup menu and told it to re-detect all the available channels. It took 5 minutes to re-scan and then another 5 minutes of telling it not to add Fox News, Trinity Broadcasting, Home Shopping Network, and other drivel like that.

Progress (5, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326537)

Now everyone will experience beautiful, high resolution broadcast video of quality programming.

Ha, ha! Just kidding, I made that second part up.

Not Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326569)

Half my channels are gone and about 7 new channels are religious garbage. Is that progress?

I use to have about 15 local channels and 7 or so a little fuzzy. Those 7 are gone. Damn digital - perfect or nothing.

Further, my emergency hand-crank TV doesn't work.

Re:Not Progress (0, Troll)

LVSlushdat (854194) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326727)

Big Whoop... I gave up tv about ten years ago.. With the stupid mindless drivel I hear about from my coworkers who still are addicted to it, I say "Good Riddance".... Oh how I wish there was a giant jammer to block all tv.. cable, OTA, satellite.. Then the American sheeple might wake up from their hypnosis and realize what destruction has been worked on this country in the last 50 or so years, and then get REALLY FUCKING MAD!!! Its gonna take that to keep this wonderful country from becoming the USSA (United Socialist States of Amerika)

Re:Progress (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326667)

It's kind of funny you mention that. Oh that high quality is nice, if you don't mind the blocks, and audio dropping out. For all those years of the CRTC worrying about "Canadian Content" and FTA, the Americans solved the problem overnight.

My grandmother who lives in the middle of no-where Ontario, about 20mins from any major city, and 1.5hrs from Detroit/Buffalo/Port Huron lost all of the normal stations she used to get. NBC(Erie), ABC(Somewhere in PA) and CBS somewhere, along with PBS(Erie), and Fox(Toledo), a couple of other PBS stations, and a few others. Now the new stations Fox(Erie-ish), ABC(Detroit), ABC(Another in the Michigan area), and a CBS station somewhere in Michigan. No PBS or NBC stations at all.

Well I suppose that's fine, she's tech-savvy and understand this stuff. It's more of an irritation that what she did get, she no longer does. And what she does get, is in some cases poorer quality. And the first person to say satellite gets a beanbag to the head, for some reason the CRTC has something against US dishes.

Re:Progress (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326751)

you can get a grey market dish, an al7bar.tk ROM and a viewsat. works fine in ontario.

Re:Progress (2, Funny)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326929)

I live in middle of -no-where Texas and I used the DTV box for several months before the switch, and now my channels have dropped to near no signal since everyone else is using the signal. Last week my average signal was in the high 80%s, now its around 40% if at all. I guess its good I only watch one show and usually watch it later online anyway.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327291)

I wonder if comments like these are a symptom of humanity heading towards an Idiocracy-like future or if it's just a matter of more idiots finding the internet. The amount of tech-voodoo and superstitions surrounding modern technology is staggering.

Re:Progress (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327299)

If you're not using an outdoor antenna you need to be, all the sets I have connected to the outdoor one are fine, but the rabbit-ears have problems with some channels.

Re:Progress (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327437)

Its an outdoor grade antenna, but its in my attic, so that could easily be the problem.

Re:Progress (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327065)

She could do what millions of American have done and bought an atsc tuner. Some models have an ntsc passthrough, so that any non digital Canadian stations will still get through.

Re:Progress (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327265)

Personally it would have been better if Canada had been in the same step as the US and done the transition at the same time. Nope gotta wait another 2 years or so. By that time she'll probably be living in a city instead of out in the middle of no-where. It's not a bad idea, I thought of it but she decided against it. She's as stubborn as I am.

Re:Progress (for the suburbs) (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327495)

Living out in the country, I now only get 5 channels. Three are in Spanish, one seems to be non-stop evangelical sermons, and the last one is my local TV station. Also, the image frequently stutters, goes to a black "no signal screen", and comes back a minute or two later. It's completely unwatchable.

Yes, I've tried getting a better antenna, but website I've checked out indicate I would need a huge, expensive, directional one to have even a chance of getting good signal.

They've essentially turned off public television, and sold the profits to the highest bidder. At least I still have Hulu.

Why can't windows media player scan of channels? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326595)

Why can't windows media player scan of channels?

Re:Why can't windows media player scan of channels (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326675)

I'm not entirely sure, but it's probably similar to the issue I had setting up my Beyond TV based DVR. To record things it needs both a program guide as well as a list of channels. The program guide it uses is from Comcast, my cable provider, which is feeding the QAM tuners that feed into the DVR. As far as the guide goes, it sees the ABC digital channel as 703, which is what would show up on the cable box. The actual channel is something like 91-8, which is what the tuner finds on a channel scan. There's a portion of the DVR setup where you have to associate the channels from the guide with the actual channel numbers, or else you won't be able to record or watch anything.

Re:Why can't windows media player scan of channels (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326955)

This is what your listings source is for. Whatever place you get your program guide
from should have that list of channels and how they translate into radio frequencies.

The only thing the consumer should have to do is to rescan the available channels.

Even that is something that should be automated in a "professionally developed"
product like MS Media Center.

Re:Why can't windows media player scan of channels (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327151)

It is automated, Mr Snark, even the updates are automated. The only problem here is that the updates for some areas weren't pushed out in time for the switchover. Where I live, in the Seattle area, my DTV channel list has been updated for ages. I dunno where the non-updated areas are.

Re:Why can't windows media player scan of channels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327675)

I know! AND then I accidentally the whole thing!!1!1oneone1

TV went to snow (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326607)

And i just thought it was because i had comcast and it rained.. Go figure.

I was pleasantly surprised... (5, Interesting)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326613)

I got eight new channels on Friday -- the MHz and ION networks went digital in my area, so now I can watch Bollywood movies, English-language Russian TV, NHK Today, and some Chinese thing, among others.

These actually can be quite interesting to browse -- the Russian take on the Iranian election was kind of interesting.

Re:I was pleasantly surprised... (5, Funny)

Penguin (4919) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326845)

I got eight new channels on Friday -- the MHz and ION networks went digital in my area, so now I can watch Bollywood movies, English-language Russian TV, NHK Today, and some Chinese thing, among others.

These actually can be quite interesting to browse -- the Russian take on the Iranian election was kind of interesting.

Caveat: These reports origin from foreign dubious sources and haven't been processed by the US News un-bias-o-matic.

Re:I was pleasantly surprised... (2, Funny)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326941)

US News un-bias-o-matic

Its more of a US News uber-bias-o-matic

Re:I was pleasantly surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327563)

You mean it's not Fair And Balanced????

There was a "Homicide Attack" the other day. Thanks to FoxSpeak, I don't actually know if that meant the attackers are still alive to do more of them or not.

Re:I was pleasantly surprised... (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327007)

mhz went all digital a couple of years ago. Since they broadcast four SD subchannels, each with its own content, it made more sense than wasting money on a analog transmitter. The mHz stations in my area have ganged up, so I can choose from eight different foreign language programs.

Re:I was pleasantly surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327869)

I got eight new channels on Friday...

Well, I only got one new channel on Friday - which brings me up to a total of five watchable channels (four of which are sub-channels of one public television station).

Granted, I live in an apartment complex so a roof mounted antenna is not an option - but I did go to the trouble of making myself a Gray-Hoverman antenna (for only slight improvement over rabbit-ears).

I live in a densely populated area (Inland Empire - essentially part of the greater Los Angeles area) so it's puzzling to me that the TV stations aren't providing a better signal.

Really Cool things happened. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326621)

I no longer receive a couple of local channels that were cheap bastards and did not buy a new transmitter, but now I get Green Bay channel 2 and Channel 22 out of South bend.

The weird part is that there are a couple of stations still broadcasting analog and normal programming.

Re:Really Cool things happened. (4, Informative)

crazyprogrammer (412543) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326665)

The weird part is that there are a couple of stations still broadcasting analog and normal programming

The countless number of PSAs that aired concerning the DTV transition stated that low power stations would not be affected. Are these couple of stations you speak of major network affiliates for a large metro area or a local community college station?

Re:Really Cool things happened. (1)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327037)

Are these couple of stations you speak of major network affiliates for a large metro area or a local community college station?

For me these are major networks in a large metro area. That said, all they are showing now are PSA's on the DTV switch (most likely for those who haven't made the switch and don't know WTF is going on). But they certainly are still transmitting on analog.

Re:Really Cool things happened. (3, Informative)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327179)

That's built-in to the legislation. They can broadcast an analog signal that's nothing more than "hey where's my TV program?" for 30 days, I believe... maybe 60.

Re:Really Cool things happened. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327679)

It's kind of creepy to think that they're transmitting television that nobody is ever going to watch. Kind of like everything on CBS.

Re:Really Cool things happened. (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326733)

One local station here is still running the converter box video in analog, and a translator for another local station is still in analog.

Another local station did a flash cut, for real. I had both channels showing on two different screens, and they both went out at the same time. It took me a minuter or so to convince my cable box to tune into the other channel without doing a rescan, but I'm sure it was quick. And a PBS station in an adjacent market that I've been wanting to receive also did a flash-cut. It's a bit intermittent, but I should be able to get it reliable if I work on it, possibly a pre-amp will help.

And Saturday morning I picked up a station from 350 miles away for an hour or so.

Re:Really Cool things happened. (3, Informative)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327667)

That's your analog nightlight [wikipedia.org] at work...

Well Done (5, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326691)

Reports indicate that the FCC received upwards of 300,000 calls on Friday from consumers seeking late help with the transition, but they were prepared, with over 4,000 operators available to handle problems. The FCC's DTV website also had over 3 million hits on Friday. Both phone and internet traffic have now tapered off, and supplies of converter boxes appear to have held out just fine.

Much of my comment history has been dedicated to chastising the government when they get things wrong. I should also recognize when they get it right.

Nice work, guys!

Re:Well Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327107)

Nice Work?

The picture quality is great when it does not drop frames which it does all the time.

Analog always has a picture, digital just disappears.

It was really helpful during the massive storms we had on Friday, loosing access to TV when it raining to hard. TV is better than Radio during these type of storms because of radar images help give you perspective. Even if was analog was blurry it is WAY BETTER than digital's total lack of picture or sound.

SEE THE PRETTY PICTURE...does not work when really needed.

Re:Well Done (0, Troll)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327439)

Not to mention that the new system's radiation is so strong that it seems to have entered your brain and completely messed up your understanding of the words "loosing" and "to."

Other than that... just get a higher gain antenna, if you're not going to use cable, fiber, or satellite service.

I agree (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327521)

The government weather service should run some guaranteed to push through any possible crap dedicated TV signal with the local weather map, updated constantly. They have the radio weather alert of course, but seeing that radar image makes a big difference, digital TV in storms is the suxxorz. And I wouldn't care if that meant having to get another gadget, or maybe they could pick some analog freq so people could still use their old TVs in storms. The converter box we got has that analog pass through feature, just turn it off, back to analog.

Re:Well Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327753)

Too bad all they can get right is the brain rot we call TV.

Wish they could get some useful things right. You know, little stuff like economic reform, healthcare, and massive over reactions to terrorism.

Hi. I'm a Mac (0, Flamebait)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326693)

or manually edit the configuration files.

Can someone explain to me what this means. Do I need to buy a special $50 screwdriver or something?

I made the switch. I switched to OFF (1, Flamebait)

BanjoBob (686644) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326703)

We never have been able to get UHF channels here so the new-fangled whoop-dee-doo Digital TV means NO TV here.

However, for those with reception issues, visit www.tvfool.com [tvfool.com] and look at their tools/toys. They have some interesting tools that you may find useful. Where we are every station says, "These channels are very weak and will most likely require extreme measures to try and pick them up."

Since we rarely, if ever watch brainwashing ads, extremely biased news, inaccurate weather or bad programming, we decided we really don't need an idiot box anyway. We'll keep the big screen for movies but now, we'll spend more time outside enjoying our world.

Those extreme measures the say we need to take will be to feed the landfill with more toxic waste. I guess I could send the TVs to India or China instead.

Re:I made the switch. I switched to OFF (4, Insightful)

sponga (739683) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326903)

You are enjoying the outside world so much you came to post on Slashdot?

Where do you live that you have no UHF and can enjoy the outside world? Usually those two don't go hand in hand.

Re:I made the switch. I switched to OFF (3, Interesting)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326919)

Not all DTV is on UHF. The High VHF range was preserved. If you had such a station in your market, they had the option to remain on their old antenna. I have two in my area and they are now the strongest DTV transmitters I get. Even with a UHF specific antenna.

Re:I made the switch. I switched to OFF (2, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327005)

We never have been able to get UHF channels here so the new-fangled whoop-dee-doo Digital TV means NO TV here.

Most broadcasters on VHF 7 - 13 are going to continue to broadcast on their old VHF channels, so you're just making a fool of yourself.

Also "can't receive (frequency)" is completely baseless nonsense. You COULD SAY that your antenna doesn't work well for them, but that's about it.

Re:I made the switch. I switched to OFF (1, Redundant)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327425)

but now, we'll spend more time outside enjoying our world.

So you're sitting indoors bitching on Slashdot... why?

get some ideas (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326825)

YouTube [youtube.com]

Only in Slashdot will a totally unrelated... (5, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326833)

...discussion on something as mundane as Digital TV turn into Microsoft Bashing.
Its Incredible.
I mean we are discussing the transition from analog to digital TV and somehow the submitter thought to add his two cents in bashing up Microsoft.
MythTV has it.
Ubuntu has it.
BUT NO! He has to bash Microsoft.
What an asshole.

Re:Only in Slashdot will a totally unrelated... (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326909)

MythTV has it.
Ubuntu has it. BUT NO! He has to bash Microsoft.

Has what? A DTV transition bug?

Re:Only in Slashdot will a totally unrelated... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327021)

Tuning bug.
Try the Elisa or Ubuntu Media center.
They too have the same channel search issues.

Re:Only in Slashdot will a totally unrelated... (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326991)

Maybe because people running MythTV and Ubuntu are slightly more tech savvy than the ones using Windows Media Center, and could fix their own problems and not make a giant scene over loss of channels for some amount of time?

It is reasonable (4, Informative)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327045)

A bit thin skinned?

First, Microsoft has in excess of 80 to 90% of the market, and Linux is "desktop irrelevant" at 1 to 5%. Given those figures, isn't Media Center the ONLY TV application that matters? If there is a problem, it really only affects Media Center, right?

So, it's not "Microsoft Bashing". It's simple reporting. And, on a tech oriented website, I would certainly expect some tech slanted coverage.

Re:It is reasonable (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327059)

I care less about Microsoft than i care about Apple.
But that is not the fact.
90% Windows != 90% Media Center Windows.
Apple is way more popular as a media center than Windows.
Ask anyone who bought the Mac Mini.
Mini too has the same tuning issues until Apple updates the channels.

Re:It is reasonable (1)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327859)

The mini doesn't have a built-in tuner of any kind, nor does Apple provide TV software. The AppleTV doesn't even have a tuner. Thus, as an Apple fan, i don't really know what you're talking about.

Seriously, why should we care? (5, Insightful)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326861)

I "get" the background and the technological reasons to switch to digital TV and all that. But honestly, how many millions of our tax dollars are being wasted on this "dear god we need to drop everything and help everyone switch because lord knows we can't trust them to handle their own affairs!" game? Seriously. Why should we care? It's only television.

Having to hear every four seconds about how it's going to be some kind of goddamned tragedy because some portion of lazy motherfuckers sitting on a couch somewhere can't be arsed to replace or upgrade their own equipment (or get someone to do it for them!) when we've been listening to the same goddamned twitter about this switch for three fucking years is really wearing thin. Now we're going to have to hear three more years of whining about how the new digital TV is no good, so-and-so can't get such-and-such channel anymore, and woe is me, my reception sucks now. I have a better idea: Why don't we just turn the whole thing the fuck off? I quit watching TV when I was a teenager and honestly, my life hasn't been any less enriched because of it. I have a TV, but it's an old analog one that I use as a monitor for my game consoles. I don't have cable, I don't have a converter box, and I don't even have a damn antenna for the thing. I don't care, and I don't see why anyone else should care enough to be treating this like some kind of disaster.

Way back when this digital switchover was announced in the first place I held the vain hope that some portion of people might wake up and decide to do something else with themselves instead of park in front of their (soon to be useless) TV. Like, I dunno. Read a book. Learn some stuff on the Internet. Go the fuck outside for some reason other than to go to work or to the liquor store. Interact with real people. Learn something about the world.

I don't characterize myself as a very smart person compared to most, and I'm fairly young and therefore am automatically assumed to lack experience. Yet somehow I am continually amazed at the sheer ignorance that many people I meet display about absolutely everything. Science, literature, fiction, history, geography, mechanics, anything. Yet they can recite to me chapter and verse what happened on Survivor or American Idol. The one that gets me is how they can complain to me about the war in Iraq, yet they don't actually know where Iraq is. These are people who are older than me -- people who should be "old enough to know better." Yet the only thing they know about the world is what they see through the damned box at the other end of the living room.

And it pisses me off. These people don't need pampering. Let them flounder. Maybe it'll force them to learn something about the world, even if it's just some tiny inconsequential thing that they need to hook up to get their fucking idiot box working again.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (4, Interesting)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326999)

It was only nominally about the viewers. The converter box program was so stations and advertisers wouldn't suddenly see a huge drop in viewership numbers, impacting revenues since advertising is essentially charged on dollars per thousand viewers. As the whole DTV thing was an arbitrary government mandate to force an incompatible technology that the market was greeting with indifference, you best be sure that the lobbyists were there saying there had to be some return for the imposed cost. So, the givebacks were multiple channels which could be used for alternate programming (or paid services, ka-ching) and government cooperation in transitioning the audience. Throw in 9/11, as the analog spectrum will be partly sold and partly reserved for emergency services, and, mmmmm, can you smell what the FCC was cooking?

I did, I thought it stunk, so I gave up the tv.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327215)

DTV is the classic forced update of a technology that had worked just fine for decades.

They can talk all they like about picture quality (true, if you have a good signal), but the truth is they are forcing the sale of a lot of new hardware, and are making it easier for broadcasters to control what people do with the signals they receive. It's all about control and money. Isn't everything?

...laura

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327581)

Perhaps you should take a wider view of the picture ... analog tv was sitting on some very nice spectrum. The portion that sold for 18 billion was only a quarter of it. Switching to digital gets a 4 to 1 multiplier of programming, and/or provides high definition signals. For me, HD is a huge improvement.

Now let's look at that spectrum ... I have a poor business in providing wireless broadband in rural Michigan. The unlicensed frequencies don't go thru foliage for crap (well, 900MHz does to some extent, but it is filthy with other uses). If it pans out, TV whitespaces devices will give people in my area more than ten new channels. Each one can transfer 19Mbs. Each one will work thru trees, probably providing 100% coverage for six miles from an access point. The cable companies aren't running wires down our dirt roads, Verizon is hit-or-miss on provided dsl. And FIOS isn't in my state at all. At least we have a chance for a third provider with wireless.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327687)

They are actually forcing people into a choice between spending money and/or effort to watch TV (they DID offer coupons; I didn't even know about the coupon program until after it was over twice (okay, I heard about the extension, but forgot to get one) because I don't actually watch TV. I just thought it would be cool to have one, in case I needed it for my second TV; my new TV has a digital tuner.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327247)

"But honestly, how many millions of our tax dollars are being wasted on this "dear god we need to drop everything and help everyone switch because lord knows we can't trust them to handle their own affairs!" game?" About 10 billion were spent on it... a fraction of what the government made by selling the (spectrum) space freed by switching to digital. Net gain in money by quite a bit.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327423)

RAAAAAAGE. I'm sorry. I just had to do it.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (1, Troll)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327441)

And it pisses me off. These people don't need pampering. Let them flounder. Maybe it'll force them to learn something about the world, even if it's just some tiny inconsequential thing that they need to hook up to get their fucking idiot box working again.

Translation: I'm better than them, even though I lack the skills or intelligence to express my point without profanity, rants, insults, and belittlement. Really, I'm better than them! I'll even explain why. Someday. Somehow.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (2, Insightful)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327455)

Translation: I'm better than them, even though I lack the skills or intelligence to express my point without profanity, rants, insults, and belittlement. Really, I'm better than them! I'll even explain why. Someday. Somehow.

Translation: I'm better than them, even though I have nothing interesting to say, so I'll go insult and belittle someone for their choice of language.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327729)

well, you know the difference between Parent and GP?...GP was belligerent, unpleasant, and aggressive first, without provocation. A response to said aggressiveness and unpleasantness is warranted, and to point out unpleasantness will require some negativity to be expressed. I just love people like you...you get so indignant because of your "attitudinal relativism." If people feel rubbed the wrong way by your unsocial, obnoxious personality, you attack them for being intolerant of who you are, when who you are is aggressive and belittling. It is self-centered of you.

"Idiot box" is Green's favorite derogatory term... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327519)

they need to hook up to get their fucking idiot box working again

Oh, I'm sorry... you were doing really well, and you blew it right at the last minute. ;-)

Any mention of "idiot box" results in an automatic link to this article [theonion.com] and Godwinning of the original post. (^_^)

Re:"Idiot box" is Green's favorite derogatory term (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327763)

Curses! You posted the joke first.

MOD PARENT UP.

Zero_DgZ == Annoying Onion Guy

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327549)

Because poor people, and non-English speakers, are getting screwed over so that corporations can squeeze some money out of what once belonged to the public.

It's nice that you don't watch TV. If I were closer, I'd give you a gold star. Lots of other people do watch TV though, and they're pissed about having that taken away for no good reason.

Re:Seriously, why should we care? (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327723)

Mine got better. I had good analog signals for NBC and CBS and FOX but poor reception for ABC (basically, between the transmitters that serve my market). The NBC station now broadcasts ABC on a subchannel.

I was looking for a reason to give up TV (1, Interesting)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326997)

Thank you, federal government, for imposing on me enough force to guide me in the right direction.

Digital went to shit when analogue died (4, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327417)

Here at my house in St. Paul MN I went from having about 18 digital channels before the transition to 12 now. I thought when they dropped analogue most broadcasters were going to boost their power. Instead it seems the opposite has happened, here at least. I'm pretty unhappy that I can't seem to get a signal from towers that are less than 20 miles away. If this is how it will stay than must say I wish we had stayed analogue .

Re:Digital went to shit when analogue died (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327609)

I live in the St. Paul area, well Roseville anyway, and I get exactly 16 channels. Maybe you need a better antenna.

Re:Digital went to shit when analogue died (1)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327621)

I'm in St. Paul, and I'm only getting channel 25 & 4 & 23. Oddly enough, the channels I have no interest in watching(spanish language gospel) are the ones coming in the clearest. There seems to be no way to manually set channels myself on this Apex box.

Oh well, that's why I have cable.

Re:Digital went to shit when analogue died (1)

Flying Scotsman (1255778) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327633)

I've had about the opposite experience just south of you in Dakota county. On Saturday morning, I had my converter box do a channel re-scan. Most every channel was about 20% higher on the box's signal meter, with TPT coming in at near 100%. However, KMSP (channel 9) completely vanished. I entered tried entering the channel manually, but still nothing. Oh well.

Re:Digital went to shit when analogue died (3, Informative)

Titoxd (1116095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327725)

Make sure you rescanned the box after yesterday. TV stations were switching from their temporary ATSC frequencies (typically UHF) to their permanent frequencies (which may or may not be the same) throughout the day on Saturday. If it doesn't fix it, check http://www.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/maps/ [fcc.gov] and see if the channels are still available in your area (weak signals will probably will not be received, unless you have a badass antenna)...

THANK GOD NO MORE COMMERCIALS (0)

Angeliqe (1390757) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327541)

So now they can shut up about it now that it's finally happened?

RTFA pays off for once (1)

kefler (938387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327651)

Well, I'm glad I saw this.. I thought because one of my channels moved from UHF to VHF I couldn't pick it up. But I followed the guide in the link and found the physical channel was wrong. Checked antenna web, updated the channel and it's working again. Thanks to the submitter for posting this!

When you live in the sticks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327689)

Since DTV has less range, many of us can no longer get any over the air TV. In an emergency, will TimeWarner be there with a reliable cable TV signal? Doubt it.

Analog TV at least had the range to deliver information to towns (pop 30,000) like mine which are 60 miles from the real world.

I call BS (4, Informative)

DrJimbo (594231) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327711)

IIRC, this reason for this forced transition was to get small rural communities to switch over to DTV. I live in rural New Mexico. All our signals arrive here via repeaters.

Only one out of five stations (ABC) made the transition. NBC simply went off the air (because making the transition to digital would be too expensive). PBS is also off the air but this may be becausetheir repeater got hammered in a storm.

So right now our local station, FOX, and CBS are still broadcasting in analog while ABC is only digital. The Zenith converter box I got (because it had analog pass-through) does not pass through analog signals without loss so I have to actually replug wires to switch stations.

For my little piece of rural America, this transition was about as smooth as sandpaper toilet tissue.

I lost several channels. :( (2, Informative)

antdude (79039) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327841)

I had most of the channels working on both analog and digital before the change. But now, I lost them due to VHF and DB2 bowtie antenna. Both rabbit ears and bowtie separately can't get all stations like KTTV 11, etc. Funny how all transmitters are in one location but yet I have to rotate, tilt, etc. my Terk rabbit ears. I never had to do that with my DB2 antenna before the 12th. :(

People think it is my old Air2PC HDTV tuner cards [www.bbti.us] (2005) due to third generation vs. the newer ones. I really don't want to have to spend money to buy new cards nor buy cable/sattelite (subscriptions suck and am not rich). I also can't put an antenna on the roof and in the attic since owners refuse and I am disabled to do it myself.

Bah.

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