Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Life in HIgh Definition

I have entered the High Definition world at my house, and it’s a lovely place. I’m getting a dozen or so HD channels on my satellite service and several more over the air. Sadly, I am not getting NBC. My old pals at KTAL aren’t broadcasting in HDTV, and the station’s owners, apparently strapped for cash, have asked the feds to give them more time before they put up a signal. Not having High-Def coming from the Beautiful North Highlands Broadcasting complex is disappointing. The fact that I can’t even get channel 6’s digital signal on my TV is maddening, particularly since NBC has prime-time NFL games now.
I have tried diligently to pull in KTAL’s digital signal with my antenna. I’m getting KSLA, KTBS, KPXJ, KMSS and KLTS just fine. I went to a local electronics store and bought an amplifier for my digital antenna. Still no NBC. I called the place where we got the TV to ask for suggestions about pulling in channel 6’s digital signal. The store manager said, “We have a digital antenna forty-five feet in the air and we can’t get it here in the store. You’re wasting your time.”
I asked the guy who sold the amp to me if folks were having trouble getting 6’s digital signal. He said yes, “Because they broadcast from Texarkana.” That was a weird moment for me. I haven’t worked at the station for more than a year, but I spent two decades doing my best Don Quixote impersonation over the perception that the station broadcasts from Texarkana. For the record, they have exactly one news person in Texarkana and a couple of sales folks, which is about the same as the other stations in town. The studio is in north Shreveport and the transmitter is in Vivian.
There’s no excuse, though. Vivian, Texarkana, who cares? The bottom line is: I can’t bring in their digital signal with my antenna, and HDTV apparently is a distant, faint hope. I know they’re putting out a digital signal, because the station’s general manager has told me so many times. He’s told me how good the digital signal is. There’s a monitor in Master Control which shows the digital picture. Unless I can get it in my house, though, it’s all irrelevant to me.
The good news is, many of my favorite NBC shows are shown subsequent to their network broadcast on HD cable/ satellite channels. So, I’ll set the TiVo and watch them when it’s convenient. Of course, that does me little good with NFL games. I’m not willing, at this point, to invest any more time or money trying to bring in KTAL’s signal. It looks okay on satellite and that will have to do for now. Feel the power.

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Workman said...

I could go on for hours on this subject. Unlike you folk down in Shreveport with your fancy "newsroom" and your "front office" with its "receptionist" to answer all the "calls" from various "lunatics," in Texarkana we had to answer our own phones. About 3 times a week someone would call to curse me out for KTAL not having a HD signal. Then they wanted me to sign some form allowing them to get NBC HD programming from some source other than KTAL.

So I'd let them swear some more and give them the Shreveport number. I figured it wasn't my job to tell them that KTAL would never sign such a waiver.

I don't miss that place for one minute.

Darrell said...

We must cut Matthew some slack. he is the father of newborn twins, who technically were not scheduled yet to be born. He is under some stress. Vent, my brother.
See photos of the boys by clicking on the "Workman's Waste of Time" link to the right.

Winter said...

I'm so jealous..

Anonymous said...

We are thinking of going to a High Def receiver on our satellite. Are you getting KSLA and KTBS in High Def?

Darrell said...

I'm getting every local station except KTAL, which isn't broadcasting a HIgh def signal. I'm getting them over the air, with an antenna. You can run it through your satellite receiver. The high-def channels will appear on your menu, along with all the others.
For instance, you will see "KTBS," but you will also see "KTBS-1," KTBS-2," and so on.
The high def channels directly from stellite, such as ESPN, ESPN2, HBO, and others appear on the program guide adjacent to the local stations.
It's really worth it.