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April 15, 2017 8:28 pm  #1


Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

This only applies to people who use an over-the-air antenna to get WIVB-TV from Buffalo and not if you get it by cable or satellite. 
 
I find Channel 4's output one of the least reliable here in Northern North York, with anything from an excessively cloudy day to a rainstorm all but obliterating the CBS affiliate’s HD signal. Which is why I’m hopeful things will improve when the oldest TV station in this area moves to a new transmitter by the end of the year.
 
Well, it’s not exactly new – it’s the one currently being used by co-owned WNLO, Channel 23 (of The CW fame) which is one of the most reliable and strongest signals into Toronto. The reason for the change has to do with an auction of the station's spectrum by former owner Media General and a takeover of both entities by a new (reportedly cheapskate) owner by the name of Nexstar.
 
Although it will continue to appear on your TV as Channel 4.1, when WIVB moves off its current frequency, (which at this point is actually channel 39) anyone who pulls it in off the air will have to rescan to continue to receive it. No one’s sure yet exactly when the change will happen but it’s likely to be late this year or early next, according to The Buffalo News.

Hopefully, that will result in a much stronger and more reliable off air signal north of the border. And us tower people can see CBS a lot more reliably. (Or as Trump supporters might put it, we can See BS a lot more reliably!)

Either way, it can't happen soon enough.

 

April 15, 2017 11:01 pm  #2


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

It's a good read. Further down, one might easily conclude...RIP Bounce TV. 
It'll be interesting to see what really happens...

 

April 16, 2017 7:17 am  #3


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

Actually, we will have to re-scan for many GTA channels once the dust settles over the repack realignment. According to 
https://www.rabbitears.info/repackmap.php
These channels will have new homes:
7 CKNY Huntsville
8 CFTO Toronto
9 CKVR Barrie
9 WHAM Rochester
11 Global Bancroft
11 Global Muskoka
13 CKWS Kingston
14 CITS Burlington
16 WNYO Buffalo
16 CITY-2 Woodstock
17 Global Toronto
18 OMNI1 Toronto
21 WROC Rochester
22 TVO Belleville
22 WXXI Rochester
23 Global Paris
24 WPXJ Batavia
26 OMNI2 Toronto
28 CHCH Muskoka
29 Global Durham [CHEX2] Oshawa
29 CKVP Fonthill
30 CITY Toronto
31 WNED Buffalo
34 WKBW Buffalo
36 WUTV Buffalo 
 

Last edited by andysradio (April 16, 2017 2:13 pm)

 

April 16, 2017 8:29 am  #4


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

That's very useful, thanks for that. I didn't realize there would be so much disruption. There are a few hopeful signs there. I notice that WPXN, the Ion Network, which currently appears on Channel 51 and is hard to get here on a regular basis, will be moving to the same antenna as WKBW. Hopefully that will improve reception on both stations. 

I just hope nothing gets weaker into T.O. but I guess we won't know until it happens - whenever that is. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 16, 2017 9:59 am  #5


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

I'm usually up on most things OTA, but I have to admit this one somehow completely eluded me. And believe me, this looks to be a very big deal, the largest change since the full conversion from analog to HD a few years ago. And all because wireless cell phone companies are demanding more space for their signals.
 
It's actually been in the planning since around 2013, when the idea was first announced by the FCC. And the spectrum auction just finished recently, with the U.S. regulator laying out the timetable last week. (I have no idea where the CRTC stands on this, but since many Canadian stations are affected, including several here in Toronto, we obviously must have been involved, as well.)
 
From my limited technical knowledge, I’m very afraid this may turn out to be one giant fustercluck. It has all the elements. A staggered timetable, a lot of uncertainty, stations getting in each other's way during the lengthy transition, and a whopping 957 stations being forced to relocate against their will. Add to that articles that indicate some stations may actually lower their ERP with the move, putting already fragile and weak digital signals into potential non-receivable mode for those of us more than 100 km away from the border.
 
The roll out starts with tests in Sept. 2018 and continues gradually until 2020. And I can only wonder what the general public will make of the mandated public service announcements and crawls that must be shown every quarter of the day beginning a month before each channel shifts. Those who don’t understand this stuff will likely be worried they’re losing their stations, prompting what’s sure to be a flood of angry calls to affiliates all over the U.S.
 
And then there’s this, from the Communications Law Center in the U.S.:
 
“Given the FCC’s announcement that 957 stations will be involuntarily changing channels and that 30 more will be voluntarily moving to a VHF channel in return for an auction payment, the TV industry and its viewers are about to see a level of technical disruption that may be unprecedented. 
 
“During the transition to digital TV, the far longer time frame, awarding of simulcast channels (from a larger TV band), and ability to ultimately operate a station’s final digital facilities on its original analog channel made for a transition that was complex and difficult, but orderly.  With the stated 39-month repack time frame, the numerous deadlines listed above, and the number of stations squeezing into a now much smaller TV band, the repack has the potential to be a much more frenzied affair.
 
It’s going to be a crazy time for TV stations…”
 
Not to mention for over-the-air viewers like many who gather here.. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 16, 2017 11:07 am  #6


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

TVO Belleville is now allocated ch. 22. I see a problem with that though as WXXI is suppose to move to 22 as well with 223kWs.
Aside from you comments above RadioActive, I know American broadcasters are being compensated to change channels but I know of no such scheme in Canada. How will Canadian broadcasters react to that?
There is also the whole transition to ATSC 3.0 that will confuse matters further. If say Bell is forced to change CTV Muskoka [CKNY] from Ch. 11 to 7, will they also install a new ATSC 3 transmitter?

Last edited by andysradio (April 16, 2017 2:09 pm)

 

April 16, 2017 12:03 pm  #7


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

I wondered about some of the smaller channels, as well. Didn't the CRTC order the big guys to keep their OTA feeds alive and well or lose mandatory cable carriage and priority channel positioning? If memory serves, Bell & Rogers wanted to shut down a number of their TXs in more remote locations, insisting it wasn't worth the hydro and maintenance to keep them running for the number of people getting their signals that way. Complaints rolled in and the Commission said the status quo must remain,

And wasn't it just a few months ago that TVO was forced to reverse its decision of letting a number of their rural sticks go dark, keeping only Toronto lit? 

If those rules are still in place and unless the CRTC changes its mind, when  ATSC 3.0 comes to pass, I guess it's rock meet hard place, and they'll have to pony up the money to do it whether they want to or not. And my guess would be they'd rather not, especially since they run cable and satellite conglomerates that are losing subs to the Internet and OTA on an ongoing basis. 

For the moment - and the foreseeable future, since I rarely watch Canadian TV beyond the news - my real concern is for U.S. border stations and how this change will affect reception in The GTA.  

     Thread Starter
 

April 16, 2017 12:42 pm  #8


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

As far as I am aware, Bell still plans to close many analog TV repeaters at the end of August including these in Ontario:
Wingham, Wawa, Deseronto, Cornwall, Hearst, Chapleau & Parry Sound.
I don't think the CRTC can force Bell to keep them on the air. After all when CBC and TVO shut down a large number of analog repeaters in 2012, the commission said ".....also notes that licences, such as those held by the CBC, are authorizations to broadcast, not an obligation to do so." Further, "In other words, while the Commission has the discretion to refuse to revoke broadcasting licences, even on application from a licensee, it cannot direct the CBC or any other broadcaster to continue to operate its stations and transmitters." [Broadcaster magazine].
http://www.broadcastermagazine.com/broadcasting/crtc-approves-cbc-application-to-remove-all-analog-transmitters/1001548989/
 

 

April 16, 2017 1:43 pm  #9


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

I think you're right about that, but if I recall correctly, the threat was that they would lose their preferred positions on cable if they shut down their over-the-air signals. OTA stations get priority on the lower tier which, for reasons I can't fathom given the creation of a little thing called a remote control, seems to still be important. The logic appears to be that if you're no longer technically over the air, you're no longer entitled to that special treatment and your competitors can theoretically put you wherever they want.

Thus CFTO could supposedly wind up in the 100s or higher on Rogers if Bell abandoned Channel 9, while City TV could be in the nosebleed section and lose their longtime spot at Channel 7 on Bell if they turned off their TX on the CN Tower.

I could be entirely wrong about this, but I seem to remember this was the threat to keep OTA alive when everything went digital. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 16, 2017 1:54 pm  #10


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

Isn't the "preferred" placement with the mandatory basic basic tier -- the one BDUs must offer at $25 or less?

For me, channel number is irrelevant as I have a Cogeco TiVo and simply scroll the subscribed EPG and click <select> when I see something I like.  Mostly, though, I search by program name and add it to TiVo's "One Pass" subsystem and it finds the show searching the subscribed channels, on-demand offerings and NetFlix.  That's quite convenient!

All this channel placement is more a throwback to when TVs had two dials (UHF/VHF) and the plum allotments were on the top dial, channels 2-13.

 

January 18, 2018 12:42 pm  #11


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

Ive now read that Ch 26 WNYB from Jamestown NY will switch to VHF?

The station will switch to low VHF channel 5 in 2017 or 2018 as part of the FCC's spectrum incentive auction.[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNYB#cite_note-5][5]

Talk about going backwards.  They will need a whole new antenna system and us in southern ontario probably wont receive it very well anymore.[/url]
 

 

January 18, 2018 4:33 pm  #12


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

Channel 26 only comes in sporadically at the castle here in northern North York. But it's one of the oddest HD stations I've ever seen. It's the only one I've heard of that has its HD signal on subcarrier 26.2, instead of the main channel. Never been sure why they did that. If the repack means some of the main network Buffalo affiliates come in better OTA in Toronto as a result of the change, I'm all for it. 

Just wish there was a better timeline on this thing.    

     Thread Starter
 

January 18, 2018 4:57 pm  #13


Re: Why Antenna Users Will Have To Rescan To Get Buffalo’s Channel 4

RadioActive wrote:

Channel 26 only comes in sporadically at the castle here in northern North York. But it's one of the oddest HD stations I've ever seen. It's the only one I've heard of that has its HD signal on subcarrier 26.2, instead of the main channel. Never been sure why they did that. If the repack means some of the main network Buffalo affiliates come in better OTA in Toronto as a result of the change, I'm all for it. 

Just wish there was a better timeline on this thing.    

Yes weird channel along with some of the programming although 26-3 Light TV isnt too bad.  They have a massive 1500ft tower on a hill near Erie which is insane.