Dish Network - Local Stations non-HD?

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Ted
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Dish Network - Local Stations non-HD?

Postby Ted » Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:41 pm

I just switched to Dish Network, and got the local channels options for $5.99 a month. I have an HDTV, and I was somewhat surprised to learn that the local channels are not in HD. If you go to the Dish Network website and drill in, it does appear that the local channels are not HD, but the only way that you can tell that is by the absence of "HD" after the name of every local channel. (In other words they don't say "LOCAL CHANNELS NOT IN HD") hehe So now I will probably have to go out and get a UHF antenna and mount it myself to get the local channels over the air in HD. My questions are: Are all the local over-the-air channels in HD? Does dish network have plans to upgrade the local channel programming to HD? What is the technical reason they are not in HD now?

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Postby depinmad » Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:48 pm

that sucks. i was wondering about that and have gotten mixed messages from people i know with dish network.

aaron
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Postby aaron » Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:57 pm

I have Dish and I do not think local channels are HD.
However, as for me, I find the whole HD thing vastly overrated. The programming I get on Dish is about as clear and defined as anyone could possibly want. The minimal difference HD would make is hardly worth the worry to me.

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Postby depinmad » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:26 pm

aaron, describe the television you are watching your dish programming on, if you would...

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Postby jammybastard » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:47 pm

no, the locals are not HD via Dish
BUT

You can get them for free OTA.
Here's how:
Radio Shack sells an HD antenna for $30.
Buy it.
(You don't need a fancy schmancy Terk flying wing from Best Buy no matter what they tell you)
The back of your Dish reciever has a coax spigot you screw the antenna into.
Then you get your remote and do the following:

Menu
System Setup
Local Channels
Scan Locals
Select All (or the onese you want)
Done

then call Dish and cancel your local package.
:D

PS, one more suggestion....
sign up for the forums here:
http://www.dbstalk.com/
The definitive and non-biased source for all DISH and Direct TV info.

depinmad
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Postby depinmad » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:54 pm

there are plenty of places in madison (my neighborhood of dudgeon monroe, for instance, and i've heard tell of nakoma as well) where ota signals for sd or hd are sketchy at best. not a reliable source of transmission.

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Postby jammybastard » Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:58 pm

aaron wrote:I have Dish and I do not think local channels are HD.
However, as for me, I find the whole HD thing vastly overrated. The programming I get on Dish is about as clear and defined as anyone could possibly want. The minimal difference HD would make is hardly worth the worry to me.


I'll guess that you have not seen a true HD signal on a proper monitor/tv.

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Postby jammybastard » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:04 pm

depinmad wrote:there are plenty of places in madison (my neighborhood of dudgeon monroe, for instance, and i've heard tell of nakoma as well) where ota signals for sd or hd are sketchy at best. not a reliable source of transmission.


No. It has nothing to do with the reliability of the "transmission", it has to do with the signal being highly susceptible to reflection.
A good antenna can handle that.

I live in U Heights on the downward slope heading towards Camp Randall, without direct line of sight to any of the HD towers. Reflection central.
The LOWEST signal strength I get is 82 out of 100 on all the locals and that's with a glorified set of rabbit ears on top of my TV.

One other tidbit...all of the HD transmitters for the locals, except for WMTV, are located on the "Candelabra" tower on the West Side near Menards.

Ted
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Postby Ted » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:14 pm

Thanks JammyB. I kinda figured that was the situation... The only issue I might have is I'm on the far east side and the TV is in the basement, and I need to point the antenna westward, and from my basement I will be pointing through a couple tons of dirt. I suppose I could try it and take it back if it doesn't work, but I am thinking I need to go outside with the antenna. Many years ago I tried over the air from my basement with bunny ears, and it was terrible reception, totally unusable.

It is interesting that Charter expanded non-digital basic (I just switched from Charter) had the local channels in HD. That's why I am wondering why, technically, Dish doesn't have it. I guess their "feed", whatever that is, is simply not HD!

Aaron: IMHO HD is waaay better than non-HD. I was watching LOTR the other night in HD , and WOW! I do notice that you can have HD programming that has poor source material that has been up-sampled or compressed too much, or is noisy to begin with. I think the source material hasn't really caught up with the HD world just yet. But when you have a good clean source video, it's awesome. Perhaps you saw someone else's HD TV with a crap source, or maybe a small TV or whatever....

I went with a 40" 1080p set, although many argue that 720 is sufficient, but if I'm going to hang onto this set for 10 years, and 1080 is the limit, I figured, why cheap out, I may regret it later when the source material gets cleaner.

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Re: Dish Network - Local Stations non-HD?

Postby Kenneth Burns » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:08 pm

Ted wrote:Are all the local over-the-air channels in HD?


Yes, with the possible exception of one or more Jesus-related stations. I don't really pay attention to those.

It's worth pointing out that you can get the CW network in HD over the air, but NOT FROM CHARTER, for some reason. (Gots to have m'"Gossip Girl" in HD.)

Over the air you also can get certain interesting standard-definition, digital-only channels, like the public television subchannels. The latter broadcast in the day, then go off the air at night when WPR's HD channel kicks in. One of the WPR subchannels rebroadcasts PBS programs like "American Experience"; another is for kids' programs; etc.
Last edited by Kenneth Burns on Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Kenneth Burns » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:12 pm

jammybastard wrote:Radio Shack sells an HD antenna for $30.
Buy it.
(You don't need a fancy schmancy Terk flying wing from Best Buy no matter what they tell you)


You don't even need to buy an "HD" antenna, as such. I get HD over the air just fine with some crappy old rabbit ears.

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Postby aaronetc » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:41 pm

Kenneth Burns wrote:You don't even need to buy an "HD" antenna, as such. I get HD over the air just fine with some crappy old rabbit ears.


It really depends where you are. I'm on the isthmus near Tenney Park and get occasionally spotty reception with an amplified "HD" antenna. I know the amplification helps, because the signal gets way worse if I turn it off; not sure if the HDness of the antenna actually matters.

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Postby Kenneth Burns » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:27 pm

aaronetc wrote:
Kenneth Burns wrote:You don't even need to buy an "HD" antenna, as such. I get HD over the air just fine with some crappy old rabbit ears.


It really depends where you are. I'm on the isthmus near Tenney Park and get occasionally spotty reception with an amplified "HD" antenna. I know the amplification helps, because the signal gets way worse if I turn it off; not sure if the HDness of the antenna actually matters.


Yeah, I was probably overstating the case a bit in saying that the rabbit ears experience was fine. It was okay at best. I debating buying a better antenna but finally ordered Charter's HD service and HD DVR instead. I'm happy with these, if nervous about the expense. I just watched 2010 in HD on HD Net Movies, which was strangely thrilling.

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Postby jammybastard » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:46 pm

aaronetc wrote: I know the amplification helps, because the signal gets way worse if I turn it off; not sure if the HDness of the antenna actually matters.


Amplification is not always good.
Sometimes it makes it harder for you to get a good signal.
I often work with the chief engineer of a local TV station and when I told him that I had an amplified antenna he told me to return it and get a non-amplified one.
Again, it goes back to the issue of "reflection" of the digital signal and all an amplifier does is increase the likelihood that you'll receive more noise than signal.
I wish I could find a link to post to explain it better, but I'd suggest that if you aren't getting a good signal with the amped antenna you should try a non-amped one.

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Postby Ted » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:48 pm

I don't own any amplified antennas yet, and have always wondered what the deal with them is. The first stage of amplification in any good RF receiver device should possess low noise and high sensitivity. The purpose of the antenna should be to provide directionality and gain by virtue of the antenna geometry. It has to do with signal to noise ratio(S/N). If you have a poor S/N right from the output of a raw (non-amplified) antenna, no amount of amplification is going to make the S/N any better, in other words, if S/N =1 before you amp it it's going to be 1 after you amp it. This is why you really want a good "raw" antenna to feed everything. Now a caveat to this might be if the front end of the receiver has lower gain to avoid overload or something, and an amplified antenna overcomes this, but I would think you should spend your antenna $$$$ on a nice piece of hardware and not on the amplification, that is the job of the receiver.


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