HDTV Random Stuff

A digital TV how-do-you do, from Northeast Ohio and beyond:

WEATHER WHERE?: We haven’t seen it on digital TV yet, but we understand WOIO/19’s “WeatherNow” channel is indeed up and running on WOIO-DT 19.2, the second digital subchannel of the Raycom Media CBS affiliate in the Cleveland market.

The channel, according to those who’ve seen it, has a continuous loop of weather forecasting, weather radar shots, news reports, and live camera shots. Add in the news, and subtract the national end of things, and it’s likely quite similar to WKYC/3’s “NBC Weather Plus”.

We haven’t seen it here at OMW World Headquarters because WOIO-DT is the second hardest digital signal to receive if you don’t have a rooftop antenna. Our indoor antenna can get it, but only out the correct window, and with our hands on the aerials similar to the old “FOX Viewing Position” once skewered on that network’s sitcom, “Married…with Children”. (And of course, long-time local viewers are chuckling because WOIO was the Cleveland market’s original FOX affiliate.)

The winner (loser?) of the Hard to Receive Digital TV sweepstakes is the horrid DT channel 2 signal of WKYC-DT, which will thankfully move to DT 17 when the analog to digital transition happens in 2009. WDLI/17 Canton, in turn, will stay on its current DT 39 facility.

Anyway, we also can’t get WOIO’s new “WeatherNow” channel because Time Warner Cable has yet to give it clearance. We’d expect it to show up here on the former Adelphia system somewhere in the 180’s digitally, near WKYC’s “WeatherPlus” placement.

HDTV fans have actually been grumbling about the new WOIO subchannel for some weeks. It appears the bandwidth needed to support it has been sliced out of the WOIO-DT signal for a while now, resulting in more blocking and pixellation on the formerly pristine CBS HDTV Sunday NFL broadcasts. Of course, those broadcasts don’t generally involve the struggling Browns.

WEWS HD/DIRECTV BLIPS: While we’re at it, OMW hears that ABC affiliate WEWS/5 is said to have done work on its end to squash a bug that affects HDTV recordings via the “local-into-local” HDTV feed on DirecTV – recordings made with the satellite company’s new HR20 HD DVR. But more work apparently needs to be done on the DirecTV end to make this problem go away once and for all.

WFMJ PUTS UP THE POWER: We can’t get it at OMW World HQ yet, but we hear that Youngstown market NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 has fired up the full-power upgrade to its WFMJ-DT 20, which also carries CW affiliate subchannel “WBCB”.

Since we’re still waiting for WBNX/55 to turn on the digital juice for the CW in the Cleveland market, this might be a digital – if not HD – option for those looking for CW programming.

ERIE MEDIA: A plug for a media-related blog that appears to have been inspired, at least in part, by OMW.

Erie PA media veteran Jack Tirak – with a background in broadcasting and in advertising – has put up Erie Media-Go-Round. OMW readers will find it similar to what we do here, but Mr. Tirak has a broader mission which prompted him to put up the blog.

Unlike even markets like Youngstown, Erie has no full-power commercial digital stations running HDTV. Even the digital outlets that are up do not pass through network HDTV programming, at least not right now. Only PBS affiliate WQLN/54 has had HD running in the Erie market.

And to top that off, the Erie market’s DT signals are generally quite limited, and difficult to receive outside of, well, Erie.

Jack’s trying to up the ante to get public pressure to change some of that. Unfortunately, the biggest problem there is that the Erie market TV stations are owned by notoriously cheap – or even financially shaky – owners, and that’s the bottom line…

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