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#1 02-14-2005 1:56:05 PM

markjrenna
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Registered: 02-13-2005
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Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

In my area they have started to test/implement Digital Simulcast (DS).  Channel 13 which is WNET is being Digitally Simulcast.

General Information on DS.

No STB = 13 is analog

Digital STB = 13 is Digital. The signal comes in QAM (in this case 256 QAM) and you see it Digitally on 13.

Since the signal (from the originator) 13 is sending is still analog, a Headend conversion needs to take place to convert it to digital. It won't be as good as a digital signal, of course. But, should, and I say should, be better than its analog counter part. Since the HE receives the signal analog it will never be better than how they receive it. Only true digital from the originator will look the best.

It probably won't look as good as most all digital channels and even some analog channels will still look better. It all depends on the A to D conversion.

In my area they have some bugs to work out. Hopefully the Digital Simulcast will happen soon after.

One other note... I am able to buffer about 75 minutes of the Digitally Simulcast channel 13 on my 6412 DVR.

For those that want to see if a channel is analog or digital on a 6412 you can do the following:

Tune the 6412 to any channel. Turn the box off. Within 2 seconds hit "OK Select". You will be presented with a diagnostic screen. From this screen arrow to the following:

"IN-BAND STATUS" will indicate xxx QAM (Digital) otherwise it will indicate ANALOG

Also you can check "CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" That will indicate DIGITAL and the higher frequency. Typically above 550 MHz.

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#2 02-14-2005 1:59:55 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

markjrenna wrote:

[...]
For those that want to see if a channel is analog or digital on a 6412 you can do the following:

Tune the 6412 to any channel. Turn the box off. Within 2 seconds hit "OK Select". You will be presented with a diagnostic screen. From this screen arrow to the following:

"IN-BAND STATUS" will indicate xxx QAM (Digital) otherwise it will indicate ANALOG

Also you can check "CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" That will indicate DIGITAL and the higher frequency. Typically above 550 MHz.

Mark -

Does your simulcast channel show the Dolby Digital (Double D) logo when you hit "Info?"  This may be an easier way to check for the presence of a digital simulcast if it does.

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#3 02-14-2005 2:05:28 PM

markjrenna
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Here is what is currently Digitally Simulcast on my system:

8 CN8 (QAM 256)
9 WWOR (QAM 256)
11 WPIX QAM 256)
13 WNET (QAM 256)
15 WNJU (QAM 256)
*24 ShopNBC (QAM 64)


* Digital, but not part of the DS package

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#4 02-14-2005 2:08:44 PM

markjrenna
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Frank wrote:

markjrenna wrote:

[...]For those that want to see if a channel is analog or digital on a 6412 you can do the following:

Tune the 6412 to any channel. Turn the box off. Within 2 seconds hit "OK Select". You will be presented with a diagnostic screen. From this screen arrow to the following:

"IN-BAND STATUS" will indicate xxx QAM (Digital) otherwise it will indicate ANALOG

Also you can check "CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" That will indicate DIGITAL and the higher frequency. Typically above 550 MHz.

Mark -

Does your simulcast channel show the Dolby Digital (Double D) logo when you hit "Info?"  This may be an easier way to check for the presence of a digital simulcast if it does.

I'll have to check when I get home.  I seem to recall they are all different.  I'll post back what I find.

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#5 02-14-2005 2:12:11 PM

SCANPA
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From: Campbelltown, Lebanon Co. PA
Registered: 02-13-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Frank wrote:

markjrenna wrote:

[...]For those that want to see if a channel is analog or digital on a 6412 you can do the following:

Tune the 6412 to any channel. Turn the box off. Within 2 seconds hit "OK Select". You will be presented with a diagnostic screen. From this screen arrow to the following:

"IN-BAND STATUS" will indicate xxx QAM (Digital) otherwise it will indicate ANALOG

Also you can check "CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" That will indicate DIGITAL and the higher frequency. Typically above 550 MHz.

Mark -

Does your simulcast channel show the Dolby Digital (Double D) logo when you hit "Info?"  This may be an easier way to check for the presence of a digital simulcast if it does.

It does on all the DS Ch here on the Hershey PA Comcast system.  DD for DD2.0 / DD3.0 & D5.1 for 5.1 sound.

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#6 02-14-2005 2:17:51 PM

SCANPA
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From: Campbelltown, Lebanon Co. PA
Registered: 02-13-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

markjrenna wrote:

Here is what is currently Digitally Simulcast on my system:

8 CN8 (QAM 256)
9 WWOR (QAM 256)
11 WPIX QAM 256)
13 WNET (QAM 256)
15 WNJU (QAM 256)
*24 ShopNBC (QAM 64)


* Digital, but not part of the DS package

Here is what the Hershy Pa. Comcast feed has simulcast in digital on top of the Analog Ch.

Ch- 14  HBOE
Ch- 15  HBO2E
Ch- 16  SHOE
CH- 17  TMCE
Ch- 18  MAXE
Ch- 22  StarzE
Ch- 47  Fox Sports Net East
Ch- 48  Comcast Sports-net East

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#7 02-14-2005 3:25:54 PM

tall1
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

So how is the PQ on the DS channels?  Is it better than say D* ? Is it as good as SD programming on the HD channels?

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#8 02-14-2005 3:51:00 PM

dmlove51
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

How do you know when digital simulcasts have started?

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#9 02-14-2005 4:20:58 PM

markjrenna
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

tall1 wrote:

So how is the PQ on the DS channels?  Is it better than say D* ? Is it as good as SD programming on the HD channels?

Well...

IMO Digital/HD is the best, followed by DS and then Analog.

There is a lot of tunning when the signal is Analog and has to be converted to Digital.  Some may say it looks blurry and the colors are not consistent between channels.

Overall, I'll take DS over Analog any day.  Plus you get about 75 minutes of buffer with a DS'd channel instead of the 45 on an Analog channel.

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#10 02-15-2005 6:32:31 AM

markjrenna
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Posts: 383
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Frank wrote:

markjrenna wrote:

[...]For those that want to see if a channel is analog or digital on a 6412 you can do the following:

Tune the 6412 to any channel. Turn the box off. Within 2 seconds hit "OK Select". You will be presented with a diagnostic screen. From this screen arrow to the following:

"IN-BAND STATUS" will indicate xxx QAM (Digital) otherwise it will indicate ANALOG

Also you can check "CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS" That will indicate DIGITAL and the higher frequency. Typically above 550 MHz.

Mark -

Does your simulcast channel show the Dolby Digital (Double D) logo when you hit "Info?"  This may be an easier way to check for the presence of a digital simulcast if it does.

Looks like there are a variety of DD as SCANPA mentions.  Keep in mind that DS is still in a testing phase so what we see now may be different when they are complete.

So far it looks more like March for the resumption of the DS conversion.  When I get more, I'll post.

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#11 02-15-2005 6:40:54 AM

SCANPA
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From: Campbelltown, Lebanon Co. PA
Registered: 02-13-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

markjrenna wrote:

tall1 wrote:

So how is the PQ on the DS channels?  Is it better than say D* ? Is it as good as SD programming on the HD channels?

Well...

IMO Digital/HD is the best, followed by DS and then Analog.

There is a lot of tunning when the signal is Analog and has to be converted to Digital.  Some may say it looks blurry and the colors are not consistent between channels.

Overall, I'll take DS over Analog any day.  Plus you get about 75 minutes of buffer with a DS'd channel instead of the 45 on an Analog channel.

I have a 60 min Buffer on Analog, Digital, and HD Ch. The Buffer resets at the start of every hour or when you change ch.

Did 3 hours of tests on it last night.

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#12 02-15-2005 6:45:08 AM

SCANPA
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From: Campbelltown, Lebanon Co. PA
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

dmlove51 wrote:

How do you know when digital simulcasts have started?

When you select a analog ch on your 6412, the ch info bar will show name, ch, call sign, rating ect. You should see a quick shift on the display and  Either a DD or D5.1 in the upper right of the info bar.

This will indicate that your now getting a digital audio signal.

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#13 02-15-2005 12:20:07 PM

rrg
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From: NJ
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

markjrenna wrote:

Here is what is currently Digitally Simulcast on my system:

...

*24 ShopNBC (QAM 64)


* Digital, but not part of the DS package

What "package" are you referring to?

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#14 02-15-2005 12:42:47 PM

markjrenna
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Posts: 383
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

dmlove51 wrote:

How do you know when digital simulcasts have started?

I would refer back to the first post.  Look at the bottom for detailed instructions.

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#15 02-15-2005 12:58:29 PM

markjrenna
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

rrg wrote:

markjrenna wrote:

Here is what is currently Digitally Simulcast on my system:

...

*24 ShopNBC (QAM 64)


* Digital, but not part of the DS package

What "package" are you referring to?

The Digital Simulcast package.  ShopNBC (SNBC) in my system is coming in Digital through some older equipment.  That is why it is QAM 64.  It will be part of the DS package at a later time and then will be QAM 256.  Just not yet.

Sorry for the confusion.

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#16 02-16-2005 2:21:45 PM

stoli412
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From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 02-16-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Hi all,

First post in the new forum....glad to be here! We have quite a few DS channels on my system now (Philadelphia, Center City). I've noticed two things so far:

First, the sound is really low on the DS channels when listening with my A/V receiver through the digital output. I have to crank up the volume pretty high for a comfortable listening level and then get blasted when I switch to an analog channel. There have always been sound level variations when using digital output: Analog channels were the loudest, then Digital channels (100+). But the new DS channels are MUCH quieter than even the digital channels above 100. When listening through the TV speakers or analog outputs, all channels have about the same volume level, so it seems to me the problem lies in how they're encoding the DD bitstream for the DS channels. They must not have the gain up high enough or something.

Second problem: Some of the less popular DS channels (e.g., UPN) have a lot of artifacts, motion blur, black level problems, etc. The picture isn't breaking up or anything like that, they just look like they're being encoded at a very low bit rate. The more popular DS channels (e.g., CBS, ABC, NBC) have this problem but not nearly as bad, which makes me think they use a higher bitrate for more popular channels. The effect is not very noticeable on smaller TVs, but on my 42" HD set it can get pretty distracting sometimes.

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#17 02-16-2005 2:26:27 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

The more I hear about the digital simulcast the less I look forward to it.  I'm hoping these are temporary issues that will improve over time.

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#18 02-16-2005 2:32:02 PM

stoli412
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From: Philadelphia, PA
Registered: 02-16-2005
Posts: 60
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

I think they will improve. They're most likely only doing a few channels right now so they can test and tweak and get all the bugs out.

As far as the artifacts, I'll put it this way: it looks like DirecTV local channels if you have any experience with that. On a regular set, it looks almost perfect; on a big/HD set you really notice the overcompression. As far as the sound, I think that would be easy for them to fix: just boost the gain. The DD bitstream doesn't take up very much space at all, so bandwidth shouldn't be an issue.

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#19 02-16-2005 2:34:27 PM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

The quality of the DirecTV locals is why I'm moving back to all-Comcast!  I couldn't take seeing people's faces swimming around on their heads any more and backgrounds that looked like impressionist paintings.

Keeping my fingers crossed.

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#20 02-16-2005 3:42:19 PM

markjrenna
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Registered: 02-13-2005
Posts: 383
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Comcast will resume their DS now through March.  OTA's first and even the major ones too.  Digital Program Insertion (DPI) is still and issue.  DPI is used to insert the local commercial in Digitally.  Some more (and unexpected) equipment needs to be purchased and installed.  Once that is tested and completed then we will see the remaining channels go to DS.

Regarding CN8 on Comcast of NJ.  The channel was over modulated so they took it off.  There are many issues with DS.  Most notably the ones mentioned; audio levels, black levels, color levels, blurriness, and audio and video differences between channels just to name a few.

Keep in mind the plan is this year, not this week.  There will be some trial and error but by the end of the year we will be fully Digitally Simulcasted.  Fingers crossed.

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#21 02-20-2005 10:14:17 AM

mike
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From: Ewing, NJ - Comcast Trenton
Registered: 02-20-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Now I'm confused.  When I first heard about DS I thought it would take care of the SD PQ issues.  Now it sounds like one problem is being substituted for another.  Is all this an effort to free up bandwidth to allow for more HD channels in the future?

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#22 02-20-2005 10:22:28 AM

Frank
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From: Bucks, PA
Registered: 02-12-2005
Posts: 2881
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

mike wrote:

Now I'm confused.  When I first heard about DS I thought it would take care of the SD PQ issues.  Now it sounds like one problem is being substituted for another.  Is all this an effort to free up bandwidth to allow for more HD channels in the future?

Well, the Analog PQ is absolutely terrible.  There's nothing they can do to make it better.  The Simulcast PQ is, right now, apparently not without trouble, but they can tweak it to take care of the difficulty.  In other words, the simulcast PQ is fixable.

They can't totally take away the analog counter parts because the majority of people (those without digital boxes) use them for their viewing.  It may at some point, after noone uses analog anymore, free up bandwidth.  That's still a way off.

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#23 04-02-2005 12:53:55 PM

Fromanotherstate
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

None of my channels below my digital ones are using DS... hmm Fort Lauderdale Fl. We never get anything fast... mad

Last edited by Fromanotherstate (04-02-2005 12:54:15 PM)


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#24 04-02-2005 8:48:40 PM

Christine85
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From: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Registered: 02-21-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Fromanotherstate wrote:

None of my channels below my digital ones are using DS... hmm Fort Lauderdale Fl. We never get anything fast... mad

HAHA so true. We are the last ones on the map to get anything new lol

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#25 04-13-2005 9:13:23 AM

Stevehof
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Registered: 02-14-2005
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Re: Digital Simulcast Information: All Areas

Digital simulcast channels currently active in Boston area Comcast:

3 CN8
12 WLVI
14 WSBK
15 WBPX
16 WGBX
17 WUNI
18 WNDS
20 WMFP
21 WUTF
23 WYDN
24 DIS
44 CSPAN
45 CSPAN2
70 HSN
71 QVC

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