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Broadcast television engineering related tech topics, rants and motorcycles!

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DTV “coupon” converter box put to the test. Does it work?

18 March, 2008 (09:47) | Analog Transition, DTV, HDTV, TV | 1 comment

No “film at 11” drama here; yes, it works and it works surprisingly well for a $60 piece of electronics ($20 after the $40 coupon is applied). For those that don’t know, this Insignia brand NS-DXA1 DTV converter box is one of a few available devices which are part of the US government’s effort to […]

How the format war has changed my purchasing habits.

5 March, 2008 (16:00) | HDTV, rant, TV | 1 comment

To be succinct, I simply don’t (and won’t) buy as much as I did before. For the past few years I didn’t think too hard about buying the week’s more popular DVD release of the latest blockbuster (or near blockbuster). This is why my DVD collection sprang to over 400 titles! I didn’t always buy […]

Is the NAB Show going the way of COMDEX?

17 February, 2008 (14:07) | Computers, NAB, rant, TV |

For those that don’t know, COMDEX was a computer centric convention that ran in Las Vegas from 1979 to 2003 before lagging attendance from competing conventions and the convergence of consumer electronic devices ultimately made it uninteresting and killed it off. Back in November of 2007 Avid, currently facing too much competition from Final Cut […]

TV Broadcasters struggle to remain relevant. Probably too little, too late.

15 February, 2008 (01:12) | Analog Transition, DTV, NAB, rant, TV |

Traditional, over-the-air TV broadcasters are pretty screwed. Time and technology are rapidly shooting past and only now are they collectively looking for ways to recapture a lost audience. Only now are they, as a majority and as part of a coordinated effort, actively promoting the DTV transition, by way of shutting off the analog transmitters […]

Visiting an SF Landmark. Sutro Tower.

1 February, 2008 (09:00) | Analog Transition, DTV, Fun, HDTV, TV | 1 comment

Not many people get inside Sutro Tower, so I consider myself pretty fortunate. My current employer doesn’t have transmit facilities or other interests at Sutro, so I was escorted through the gate and into the facility by a contract engineer, John Buckham, that our SF station has who also maintains a radio station there for […]

Video reasons why local news is such a running gag with viewers.

25 January, 2008 (01:08) | Fun, TV |

Today I had a brief reminiscing with some fellow engineers about having to deal with the local news crews at former jobs and told a few tales of the regular stampede of useless, re-hashed content, multiple yet pointless liveshots and how they were more funny than informative. I believe that local news bloopers are one […]

Treating analog TV transmitters like sickly inmates on death row. Keep ‘em alive… For now…

24 January, 2008 (18:00) | Analog Transition, TV |

All across the nation there are TV stations headed toward the analog shutdown mandated by congress on February 17th, 2009. At which point, only the station’s high power digital transmitter will be authorized to stay on the air along with the Class ‘A’ and low-power TV stations and their low-power translators (for the moment). So, […]

Why media ownership caps are important. Censorship in action.

21 January, 2008 (12:41) | rant, TV |

I’m a dedicated Capitalist. I work for money. Money pays my mortgages and rent, keeps my fridge full, and house warm in the winter. Obviously, money is important and I want to earn as much of it as I can before I decide I’ve had enough of this “work” thing. That said, there are times […]

What broadcasters need to know about the core demo.

14 January, 2008 (19:44) | Computers, rant, TV |

They don’t watch TV. Mostly. Get it? OK, I’ll repeat myself. Broadcaster’s (and many cable networks) are not relevant to young people most of the time. This is not news any longer, however it bears repeating, because thick-headed, narrow field-of-view TV execs, GMs and news directors keep fooling themselves into believing they are just one […]

TV Engineering. This ain’t your dad’s Heathkit transmitter, baby!

8 January, 2008 (09:00) | Projects, TV |

For those of you that recognize the ‘Heathkit’ reference you get a cookie. Well done. Unlike the Heathkits of yore I”m using some nice, mostly modern test gear here and servicing a fairly modern transmitter (circa 1998). This is one of those occasions where broadcast engineers get to leave the desk, the whiny news department […]

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