Falling off the edge


The problem digital TV is that you either get the picture or you don’t. I was watching a show this evening when everything went black. I tried other stations and they were black too. I’m fairly certain there is some sort of weather going on between me and the stations antennas. In the old analog days, just a couple of months ago, the stations would have filled with static, and I could have watched the end of the show. Now I just have to wait until I can watch it on the net (and they don’t seem to have fast forward), or catch repeat. I think I’ll just skip it.

I started thinking about this digital drop point. Why should they drop off so quickly? I haven’t studied the technology behind it yet, but I wonder why a digital signal should just drop off to nothing. On occasion, I’ve noticed the pixelated views of the digital signal when the wind starts blowing, or rain falls. I’m thinking that an advanced receiver could capture enough pixels to keep the sound and video going for a bit. A time delay buffer should be able to mix and fill in the missing data. It’s done in digital videos and photography, so why not on TV. Just wondering…

5 thoughts on “Falling off the edge”

  1. Compression is one thing to think about. Remember that digital TV enables broadcasters to compress several channels into one digital stream – and what that means is when one channel needs more bits, the other channels suffer. In other words, you’ll see more pixelation or artifacting when the bits are needed elsewhere 🙂

    Are you watching on an SD (standard def) digital set? Or are you using an A/D converter with an analog set? All of these impact your quality as well, so keep that in mind.

    As for the black you experienced on multiple stations – yep it’s one of the drawbacks to digital – especially if you are near the end of the range from the broadcast tower. Instead of the gradual fading as the signal attenuates, digital drops off to black 🙁 It’s like a light switch – it’s either on or it’s off.

    Good luck to you

  2. Lisa,

    I’m at the extreme range right now. I felt lucky to get a signal at all. What gets me is that most of my ‘local’ stations went to complete digital on the Feb 19th date. They supposedly upped the signal strength at that time too. I’ve gotten worse reception since the 19th, and I don’t think the signal strength was increased that much.

    I still have one station that doesn’t have a digital signal that reaches me. I hear they have a hard time getting the digital signal 10 to 15 miles from the transmitter. 1/4 power or less and the antenna is not even at the top of the tower.

    I’m using a converter box and my old (6 year old) TV. I’m not getting a new one until the old one dies. Even then, I can watch DVDs on my computers and now some of the TV shows I watch are available on the internet a day or two after they are on TV.

  3. The problem with digital TV is the bands they reserved were previously reserved for live audio applications… This means many wireless mic systems, including the ones your’s truely invested in, cannot be used anymore as the frequencies have become reserved for digital tv. 🙁

    In fact, most high-end wireless systems operated in this range (UHF Band) and will no longer be usable. Thanks congress & the FCC…

  4. Are you saying the microphones are actually illegal to use now, or just aren’t useful anymore due to interference from digital TV?

    And J, you may be waiting awhile for that new TV- I’m still using my nearly 20-year-old RCA tube!

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