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Think DTV Switchover Will Fix This?
Old 02-02-2009, 08:01 PM   #1
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Think DTV Switchover Will Fix This?

Our Suddenlink cable service isn't that good. On one channel, there's a strong whooshing background sound. Two channels have poor image quality. The sound levels vary dramatically from one channel to another.

I complained, and they had a cable guy come over. He said that it's not worth worrying about, because the DTV switch will fix these problems. If I understood him correctly, the broadcasters will now send the programming to Suddenlink digitally, fixing the problems.

Think so?
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:26 AM   #2
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My understanding is that you either have picture or don't have picture with digital. The sound variation though I think is permanent since the channels individually set their own levels (I think its obnoxious on my directtv as well). The whooshing sound should theoretically go away but I am not as sure about sound.

I am sure on the picture thing. Our new TV brought in the already digital channels and they were crystal clear. No worries there.
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Old 02-03-2009, 12:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Caoineag View Post
My understanding is that you either have picture or don't have picture with digital.
Kinda true - but there is a marginal zone, where the picture alternates
between clear and none, with badly pixelated and frozen images in
between.
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Old 02-04-2009, 07:46 AM   #4
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RustyShackleford is correct. I have three converters hooked up to old T.V.s in the bedrooms and garage. They kinda work like the old Comcast commercial against dish T.V. Signal goes in and out, much pixelating. Sound goes out when signal goes out or when pixelating. Seems to depend on the weather--happens most with high wind, and sometimes heavy snow. I have that U-tube thing about building your own antenna tabbed, but am waiting until the switchover because I've heard that when the stations shut down the dual system, they may be putting more power to the digital signal. May be just me, but seems to happen when the game or drama is on--commercials don't seem to be affected. Here's what I haven't been able to figure out. Read that the digital signals will be on UHF, not VHF, so the weak or internal UHF antenna is drawing the signal. If so, are the large rabbit ears I have on the T.V. doing anything at all? I live in the middle of Indianapolis, so am not that far away from the broadcast signals.
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Old 02-04-2009, 08:30 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Our Suddenlink cable service isn't that good. On one channel, there's a strong whooshing background sound. Two channels have poor image quality. The sound levels vary dramatically from one channel to another.

I complained, and they had a cable guy come over. He said that it's not worth worrying about, because the DTV switch will fix these problems. If I understood him correctly, the broadcasters will now send the programming to Suddenlink digitally, fixing the problems.

Think so?
Not likely. The cable service provider does the mixing of the various channels into the cable. Thus the cable provider sets signal levels. This is true weather you have analog or digital service. Noise on any channel is most likely cable company's doing.

Me thinks the cable guy fed you a line, they have a problem and are not willing to fix it. Maybe they are waiting for the switchover to re-mix and re set line levels.

In receiving digital channels out of the cable, I also find different audio levels. The differences I find are between channels transmitted in true HD or upconverted analog to HD channels.
Note, I don't use a cable company converter, just receive digital channels sent in the clear.

In any case, unless the congress weenies decide to postpone the switchover, you'll know it on the switchover day.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:36 AM   #6
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[quote=Payin-the-Toll;780103]....I have that U-tube thing about building your own antenna tabbed,.....quote]

I built that antenna after a freind suggested it. I had tried using some rabbit ears and was having all the same problems you described. The antenna helped some but was not a cure all. I think ones location is an issue with digital just like it was with analog. The further out of town and the more hills/mountains, the less likely you will get an acceptable signal.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:40 AM   #7
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I think ones location is an issue with digital just like it was with analog. The further out of town and the more hills/mountains, the less likely you will get an acceptable signal.
We're 60 miles from the Austin towers and there are a couple of pretty big ridges between us and the towers. But with the help of a "91XG" antenna, mounted on a mast bolted to the side of the garage, I get all the full-power Austin stations very well. The tuner we have for it indicates signal strength well over 80% in most cases and over 90% in many others. (This box only needs about a 40% signal to show a good, usable digital picture.)
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:32 AM   #8
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I suppose a different antenna would help, especially one outside and up high versus my little indoor version.

or......maybe it is because we have trees!!

Just kidding
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Payin-the-Toll View Post
RustyShackleford is correct. I have three converters hooked up to old T.V.s in the bedrooms and garage. They kinda work like the old Comcast commercial against dish T.V. Signal goes in and out, much pixelating. Sound goes out when signal goes out or when pixelating. Seems to depend on the weather--happens most with high wind, and sometimes heavy snow.
Yes, my current rig, Antennas Direct DB4, about 35 miles from stations,
works quite nicely in good weather, but starts fading in even cloudy wx.

Quote:
I have that U-tube thing about building your own antenna tabbed ...
I missed that, could someone please re-post.

Quote:
... but am waiting until the switchover because I've heard that when the stations shut down the dual system, they may be putting more power to the digital signal.
I had hoped this too, but I'm afraid it's mostly untrue. Instead of looking
at the usual recommended site antennaweb.org, check out the far superior
TV Fool - TV Signal Locater

... which will tell you the station lineup before AND after the transition.
At least in my area, very few of the stations are increasing their strength.
I suppose it's possible this is subject to modification if there are lots of
complaints.

Quote:
Read that the digital signals will be on UHF, not VHF ...
This is mostly true, but not entirely. All the VHF frequencies are being
used for the old analog signals now. But after the switch, some of them
will be re-assigned to digital channels. So it's possible that perhaps one
of your usual stations WILL be broadcasting in VHF after the switch. See
the above website ...
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:24 PM   #10
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This is mostly true, but not entirely. All the VHF frequencies are being used for the old analog signals now. But after the switch, some of them will be re-assigned to digital channels. So it's possible that perhaps one of your usual stations WILL be broadcasting in VHF after the switch. See the above website ...
Yep, I second the recommendation of TV Fool. It's excellent and far, far superior to AntennaWeb.

One case in point to the paragraph above is the Austin area FOX affiliate, which is currently on analog channel 7 and digital 56. Well, after the transition there will be no full-power stations above channel 51, so 56 has to go -- and they'll be going back to channel 7 for their digital. This also benefits them in terms of cost, since VHF signals propagate with a LOT less power than UHF. A typical UHF digital signal could need as much as a megawatt whereas a typical VHF signal can travel as far with 5-10% of the power.

That also means that anyone in this market who only has a UHF antenna (since all the non-Spanish full-power stations in this market are UHF currently) would need a "high VHF" antenna (high VHF meaning channels 7 to 13) in addition to the UHF antenna.
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Old 02-05-2009, 04:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Our Suddenlink cable service isn't that good. On one channel, there's a strong whooshing background sound. Two channels have poor image quality. The sound levels vary dramatically from one channel to another.

I complained, and they had a cable guy come over. He said that it's not worth worrying about, because the DTV switch will fix these problems. If I understood him correctly, the broadcasters will now send the programming to Suddenlink digitally, fixing the problems.

Think so?
I'm at Suddenlink's corporate office. More on me here. I'd like to ask senior managers in your area to follow up and double check what you were told, but will need some additional information to do that. You can reach me at pete.abel@suddenlink.com. Thanks.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:05 PM   #12
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Update: Pete (above post) got some things moving, and a senior tech came out to the house. He fixed the poor image quality by replacing a corroded connector, and found that the whooshing sound was related to some kind of channel-specific interference from our DVR.

Thanks Pete!
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Update: Pete (above post) got some things moving ...
Was Pete a regular here, or is this the new trend I've read about
where companies have folks scanning forums like this one for people
who have bad things to say about their products and services ?
Seems like a good trend for the company and the consumer ...
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Update: Pete (above post) got some things moving, and a senior tech came out to the house. He fixed the poor image quality by replacing a corroded connector, and found that the whooshing sound was related to some kind of channel-specific interference from our DVR.

Thanks Pete!
Good to hear they fixed the problem. though it is a sorry state of affairs when it takes a senior tech to diagnose a corroded connector.
It is true that after the diagnosis it seems like an easy problem, it rarely is while tying to come up with a diagnosis. The diagnostic process is where the skill lies in all fields, electronics, mechanics, medicine, even science.

However in the the cable industry as well as other systems using radio frequency transfer via cable of any sort, it is well known that corroded connectors are common and easy problem to fix, and solves for multiple symptoms.
Still the original tech's assertion that it will all be better after the digital switch over, was bunk as I said in my earlier response. That fool should be canned pronto.

To re-iterate, the digital switchover will have nothing whatever to do with cable service or cable subscriber's reception of TV programming.

It is nice to see that vendors troll the various boards for customer satisfaction info. Maybe that will actually improve customer service, though I will not hold my breath.
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Old 02-06-2009, 01:55 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post
Was Pete a regular here, or is this the new trend I've read about
where companies have folks scanning forums like this one for people
who have bad things to say about their products and services ?
Seems like a good trend for the company and the consumer ...
Pete was a first time poster. We've had company representatives find mention of their company and show up here on a few occasions - and not always in response to saying bad things about their company. I recall a guy from USAA coming on to answer a question someone had posed regarding USAA auto insurance.

However, our largest showing came from a long, heated thread on *nnuities. A horde of salespeople descended upon us like buzzards on fresh road kill...
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:00 PM   #16
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I wish someone from DISH Network would read here. I cancelled
my installation in outrage recently, after a tech failed to show up for
the install after the third promised appointment. But meanwhile they
very promptly billed the $99 fee to my credit card. Hard to believe a
company can be so bone-headed about customer satisfaction in these
troubled economic times ...
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