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February 22, 2021 12:43 am  #1


Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

A crawl I haven't seen before went out over Channel 29 Sunday night. It was about co-owned WNYO, Channel 49, and the changes happening next month.

It's pretty self explanatory and while there were reports it was coming, up until now we didn't know when. Here's what it said:

WNYO/MyTV Buffalo intends to relocate its ATSC 1.0 signal to ATSC 3.0 on March 18, 2021. If you currently use an antenna to receive WNYO, you may need to obtain new equipment or need to rescan your TV on or after March 18th. Cable or satellite viewers will not be affected.

My question would be: why are they doing this? Switching to a signal no one can get OTA makes absolutely no sense. And yes, the majority still pull in their signals off of cable or a dish, so it won't bother them. I can't remember the last time I watched Channel 49, so I suppose I'm not going to miss it. But it' s taking away Comet and GetTV, two subcarriers I liked a lot. So unless WUTV picks them up, it appears they will be gone for good and that's a bummer.

 

February 22, 2021 2:02 am  #2


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

This is part of Sinclair's test/foray into ATSC 3.0...   however, I thought they were still required to keep a "night lite" of the ATSC 1.0 signal (ATSC 1 and 3 are two different modulation schemes, 1.0 is 8VSB, while 3.0 is OFDM)

Viewers who are on cable or satellite will not realize any of the benefits/features of ATSC 3.0. And, as I understand it, consumer TV manufacturers have not moved to producing TV sets with the new ATSC 3.0 capable tuner installed in them...  so... whats the rush?
 

 

February 22, 2021 4:43 am  #3


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

 

February 22, 2021 10:32 am  #4


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

The video states that the ATSC 1.0 will be located to another frequency.  That suggests it will end up on WUTV's transmitter.   So a re-scan would be necessary for some TV's and set top devices to "find" the new sub.  Similar situation to WIVB when it shut down Ch. 39 and migrated, at that time to RF. 32.

ATSC 3.0 is a chicken and egg situation.  My prediction is that there will be no significant off-air viewing in this decade.  Sinclair probably would argue, that "someone" has to go first, and then consumers will follow.  I doubt that the content on Ch. 49 would compel more than a tiny percentage of their off-air viewers to buy new TV's or set-top boxes in the next 5 - 10 years.  I can't recall having watched a program on that station in many years.  IMHO, for any chance of success, the "big 3" network affiliates would have to go ATSC 3.0 in their markets, to cause even a "ripple" of consumer take up.    I suspect that WUTV's content will also appear on the WNYO transmitter (ATSC 3.0) before long.  

Last edited by tvguy (February 22, 2021 10:33 am)

 

February 22, 2021 10:43 am  #5


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

...and I also doubt people are rushing out in droves to pay 200 bucks. https://shop.silicondust.com/shop/product/hdhomerun-connect-4k-p-n-hdhr5-4k/

 

February 22, 2021 10:44 am  #6


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

They have already done this in Detroit.    They will share a transmitter with another station for ATSC 1.0, using virtual channel to keep their placement on people's tv's.   They will then launch ASTC 3.0 on their licensed frequency.    If they partner with others like they did in Detroit, they will offer other operators space on their 3.0 frequency/transmitter using the same virtual channel approach,   3.0 has way more bandwidth, so they are able to offer most in market stations on one transmitter.    Viewers at home will not notice much difference after rescanning other than perhaps the signal  coming from a different direction.   MYTV 49 will still be available on 1.0 and 3.0 in the end so I hardly think it will be a end of the world for anyone.    And zero equipment is required.      I personally think though if I was to buy a new TV today... I would want one with 3.0 available built in.

Last edited by radiokid (February 22, 2021 10:46 am)

 

February 22, 2021 10:59 am  #7


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

So let me get this straight. Does this mean come March 18th, the rescan would be on WUTV's signal to keep getting WNYO? How many signals can Channel 29 piggyback on their own frequency? They currently have two there now, aside from the main one and if you count the HD channel and the subcarriers on WNYO, there are four stations. Does that mean something has to go from WUTV? 

I think Sinclair is crazy doing this so early. It hasn't really been that long since everyone was forced to buy a new HDTV set. As previously expressed here, I doubt anyone will upgrade just to get a mostly uninteresting rerun based network like MyTV. Although I doubt they care about OTA viewers. 

It's a strange move at too early a time. But then again, as we've seen before, Sinclair is a very strange company

     Thread Starter
 

February 22, 2021 2:58 pm  #8


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

When you rescan on the 18th on an ATSC 1.0 receiver, you'll get WNYO 49.x showing up via the WUTV transmitter on RF - what, 32, I think? Since WNYO and WUTV are on the same tower on Grand Island, if you get WUTV now, you'll get WNYO as well. 

And yes, WUTV's ATSC 3 signal will be on WNYO's transmitter (RF 34, I think?). If Sinclair has the same arrangements in Buffalo that it's making in other markets, that ATSC 3 transmitter will probably be carrying other stations' signals, too - Nexstar (WIVB/WNLO) partners with them for ATSC 3 testing in a lot of places. 

No, there won't be many viewers on Day 1. But the TV you get at the big box store next year will probably pick it up, and the one you buy in 2023 definitely will. The signal will be more robust, which means it ought to be easier to receive for Canadians. There are other benefits promised down the road, too - data transmission to mobile receivers, extra audio channels, 4K ultra-hi-def video (which won't matter much on anything on MyTV but might on Fox sports via WUTV), and so on. 

It's not just Sinclair pushing the new tech. Most of the big US players are investing. 

 

February 22, 2021 3:47 pm  #9


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Scott, don't disagree with you, but ATSC 1.0 was a different time.  Everyone was upgrading from CRT based TVs or 525 line early flatscreen technology (i.e. plasma).  Those TVs had run their course and prices dropped for ATSC sets dramatically month-to-month.   No parallel situation in the 2021 onward period.  I know of no one about to replace an ATSC 1.0 4K set anytime soon.   What's the average lifespan of an LG or Samsung these days 7 or 10 years?  I know in our house we're upgrading 1080i flatscreens with FireTV Sticks or similar devices for under 75 bucks, all of which are capable of HD streaming content. So I think that the consumer electronics market for 8K ATSC 3.0 sets, if/when they become available will be a very hard sell.  The consumer electronics companies will also probably shoot themselves in the foot if they charge too much of a premium for ATSC 3.0 capability - because what %age of the population is ever going to use the OTA capability of the sets?  10% 15%?  Or if they only add ATSC 3.0 to QLED or other high end displays versus rolling ATSC 3.0 in all models, at all price ranges without attaching a premium cost..

Last edited by tvguy (February 22, 2021 3:49 pm)

 

February 22, 2021 5:15 pm  #10


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

With all these changes now with this one, coming up in the future.  The investments networks and stations have made first with analog to digital then repack and now ATSC 3.0 it seems like a never ending thing depending on what has to be replaced.  

 

February 22, 2021 5:26 pm  #11


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

It never ends. I am positive I saw a headline today saying Apple is already working on 6G technology. 5G is just getting rolled out!

 

February 22, 2021 5:43 pm  #12


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Tardis wrote:

It never ends. I am positive I saw a headline today saying Apple is already working on 6G technology. 5G is just getting rolled out!

I remember reading an article about 6G earlier this month. A quick search brought up this earlier Bloomberg piece:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-02-08/forget-5g-the-u-s-and-china-are-already-fighting-for-6g-dominance

PS  The same search also produced links to the Apple story including this one:

https://www.wkbw.com/news/apple-already-working-on-6g-technology

 

 

February 23, 2021 12:23 am  #13


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

tvguy, I don't disagree with you either. This one won't be a revolutionary change the way that the NTSC to ATSC 1.0 transition was. That one was mandatory for broadcasters, which meant government funding in the US for converter boxes and the FCC allocating a second 6 MHz channel to each station. 

This one is optional for both broadcasters and consumers. If you're happy with ATSC 1.0, you can keep watching that way for at least another 5 years and probably quite a while longer. 

As markow202 pointed out, technology these days is a "never ending thing." I don't expect ANYTHING electronic that I buy to have more than a 10-15 year useful lifespan now, whether on the consumer side or whether it's broadcast engineering gear. The 55" set on my family room wall that I'm watching right now is already past 10 years. Maybe I get another year out of it, maybe five... but by 2025 or so, I expect it will be replaced by something new, probably for a third of what I paid for this set in the late 2000s, and that next set surely will have ATSC 3 in it. 

The same is true, on an even faster scale, with mobile devices. If the goal is to get ATSC 3 reception in your phone, maybe it's not in this year's Samsung or iPhone, but a couple of cycles down the road, it will be. 

 

February 23, 2021 9:13 am  #14


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

fybush wrote:

If the goal is to get ATSC 3 reception in your phone, maybe it's not in this year's Samsung or iPhone, but a couple of cycles down the road, it will be. 

Now that TV stations are squished into the lower UHF band, the issue for ATSC3 reception in a phone becomes dependent on the antenna.  Tough to get an efficient antenna, for those frequencies, in a little phone (much like FM receivers in a phone where I have to wear ear buds because the headset cord is the antenna).  Still, ATSC3 will probably be the last hurrah for OTA TV broadcast. Difficult to continue to pay for those tall towers with their inherent power bills and maintenance costs, not to mention the dwindling number of techs to keep them running.  Much easier to provide a "stream" and let a third party look after distribution.

I already have TV on my phone.  It's called the "Bell TV app" and is part of my package with Bell.  Works on cellular and WiFi anywhere in Canada.  Pretty cool actually.
 

 

February 24, 2021 11:17 am  #15


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

For those like me who are less than clear on the advantages (and disadvantages) of ATSC 3.0, here's a plain English guide from 2019. The one thing that stands out to me from the article is this sentence, which comes up a few times in the piece. 

"...the existing channels, broadcast under the older ATSC 1.0 standard, aren't going anywhere, either – at least not right away. The FCC is requiring broadcasters to continue offering ATSC 1.0 broadcasts alongside the new 3.0 standard for five years from the date of transitioning over to 3.0."

So we'll see if Channel 49 remains available somewhere OTA in regular mode after March 18th.

As always, to get this new standard you will need a new TV. And at least in the U.S., unlike the conversion to HDTV, no one is forcing broadcasters to convert to anything. (Who knows if or when Canada might get on board, since we always seem to lag behind the U.S. on upgrades like this. They had colour TV, UHF stations and HD long before we did.)  

There are also issues of privacy when networks and stations can use Internet-connected sets to not only monitor what you're watching, but send you commercials specifically targeted to you by gender, age or interests. In other words, what you already get on the web. And that's always felt creepy to me. 

Then there's the ability to adjust everything from the sound (which for a neurotic like me, will never let me rest in peace) to the picture and the ability of broadcasters to exercise Digital Rights Management - which could theoretically allow them to stop you from DVRing your favourite show.    

 As always, I'm left with these questions, just as I had during the HDTV conversion: Who asked for this in the first place? Is this really something you can't live without? Just because you CAN do something, does that mean you should? Are you prepared to shell out the money for one or more new TV sets in the coming years? 

Anyway, here's the article in layman's language. I'm sure those more engineering-oriented may take issue with some of it. But I found it helpful. 

ATSC 3.0 explained: How NextGen TV will deliver 4K HDR broadcasts for free

     Thread Starter
 

February 24, 2021 12:43 pm  #16


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Sounds like Sinclair group might be in FCC violation if the ATSC 1.0 is shut down then, unless they have special clearance with FCC to do so...?

 

February 24, 2021 12:46 pm  #17


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

It's possible, as has been suggested here, that they could move the main Channel 49 signal over to a subcarrier on Channel 29 and continue it that way. I guess we'll find out in March.  

     Thread Starter
 

February 24, 2021 1:08 pm  #18


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

The FCC says if you only have to make the channel available in ATSC 1.0 for up to 5 years min when converting to 3.0.

This is how it's being done in Detroit on Channel 20

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WMYD 

"On December 7, 2020, WMYD turned off its ATSC 1.0 signal and activated its ATSC 3.0 transmitter on UHF 31. The station's ATSC 1.0 subchannels were moved to other broadcasters for simulcasting, while WMYD became the host for the new ATSC 3.0 signals of WJBK, WDIV-TV, WXYZ-TV, WMYD, and WWJ-TV.As for WMYD's subchannels, WMYD 20.1 was moved to sister station WXYZ-TV, while 20.2 was moved to WDIV-TV and 20.3 was moved to WJBK."


On your TV, WMYD will show on channel 20.1, but really be from WXYZ's transmitter/frequency.

I would expect, they will do the same with Fox 29.   49-1 will show on your tv, but it will come from the FOX 29 transmitter/frequency. 

Last edited by radiokid (February 24, 2021 1:09 pm)

 

February 24, 2021 1:10 pm  #19


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Radiowiz wrote:

Sounds like Sinclair group might be in FCC violation if the ATSC 1.0 is shut down then, unless they have special clearance with FCC to do so...?

Although they aren't clear on which RF channel they are moving WNYO ATSC 1.0 to (presumably WUTV), they won't be in violation as this will be their "night light" service (as required).  WNYO will become a sub-channel on WUTV.  After a rescan, most people in the primary service area won't see any difference.  The new WNYO ATSC 3.0 signal will be transmitting to no receivers initially.  As noted by tvguy, this is a chicken and egg situation.  Without TV stations transmitting in ATSC 3.0, there is no incentive for consumer electronics manufacturers to make receivers.  Sinclair is pushing the envelop to create the need.
 

 

February 24, 2021 3:47 pm  #20


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

RadioActive wrote:

For those like me who are less than clear on the advantages (and disadvantages) of ATSC 3.0, here's a plain English guide from 2019.  <snip>

Just because you CAN do something, does that mean you should?  <snip>

Anyway, here's the article in layman's language. I'm sure those more engineering-oriented may take issue with some of it. But I found it helpful. 

ATSC 3.0 explained: How NextGen TV will deliver 4K HDR broadcasts for free

The article is very good in explaining the possibilities of ATSC 3.0.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, ATSC 3.0 offers nothing new to the consumer. The only benefit is an improved robustness in the signal and some services, like traditional "TV channels" can be received "for free".  The reality is that no business likes to give anything away for free.  Not all data offered through ATSC3 might be free.

As stated, "one of the biggest changes coming with ATSC 3.0 is a pairing of over-the-air broadcast and internet connectivity. That connectivity adds an extra dimension to the ATSC 3.0 system, allowing for a dedicated return channel – an active stream of data back to the broadcaster, which makes the new broadcast system a two-way IP-based standard".  Well, its not really two-way.  OTA broadcast is only one-way.

"It also lets broadcasters gather far more information about what people are watching, and when".  Nope.  Not without that "dedicated return channel".

The "dedicated return channel" must come from an existing internet connection that the consumer has. If you already have a two-way internet connection, why do you need OTA ATSC 3.0?

ATSC 3.0 will no doubt offer some great advantages over the existing ATSC 1.0 but I think it will be a challenge to get consumers to widely adopt it.

As always, its about the content, not the transmission method, that consumers care about.

I love this stuff.....   https://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons3/cool.png

 

 

February 25, 2021 10:49 am  #21


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

WNYO will absolutely continue to be available in ATSC 1.0, it will definitely be coming from WUTV's transmitter, and it will be completely transparent to the viewer after a rescan. When Sinclair owns two stations in a market, as they do in Buffalo, that's the standard way they're doing this. 

Yes, "lighthouse" 1.0 operation is mandated to continue for no less than five years. That doesn't mean it can't continue for longer, and it will continue as long as there's demand. In a duopoly/"twinstick" operation like WUTV/WNYO, it's not a huge burden to keep on going indefinitely with one signal carrying both stations in 1.0 and the other carrying both (and probably eventually WIVB/WNLO, too) in 3.0. 
 

 

February 25, 2021 11:00 am  #22


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

What happens to the subcarriers that are on WNYO now? Do they get carried over, too? Or do the "night-light" rules only apply to the main channel? WUTV already has two stations on the sub-channels, while WNYO has three. How many do they have room for on the Channel 29 signal?

And when it comes to the rescan, I'm assuming from this that it's the WUTV signal that will need to be rescanned. Will it show up on your TV as 49, in the same position, or as a subcarrier on 29? 

     Thread Starter
 

February 25, 2021 11:27 am  #23


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

In most cases the companies who lease/provide subcarrier programming are not related to the main channel broadcaster.  So they would have to negotiate with other ATSC-1 stations for continued carriage of their programming.  Sinclair might assist them, since it is effectively their landlord, and may have reciprocal agreements with other stations in the market for ATSC-3.  

I would agree, depending on your make of TV, a single channel rescan of RF 32 which is WUTV's transmitted UHF channel should add all subcarriers including WNYO.  If you were to do a full rescan, there could be a risk that if on that day particular stations that you receive were weaker than normal, they might be erased from the TV's memory.  So first try the rescan RF32.

 

February 25, 2021 11:51 am  #24


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

I generally always rescan by channel, instead of doing the whole thing, for the exact reasons you cite. Some days, those stations are there, some days they're not. But if you get rid of them altogether, they no longer appear even when the conditions are right. So if you care about things like that, single frequency rescans are definitely the way to go. 

     Thread Starter
 

February 25, 2021 4:15 pm  #25


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

RadioActive wrote:

What happens to the subcarriers that are on WNYO now? Do they get carried over, too? Or do the "night-light" rules only apply to the main channel? WUTV already has two stations on the sub-channels, while WNYO has three. How many do they have room for on the Channel 29 signal?

And when it comes to the rescan, I'm assuming from this that it's the WUTV signal that will need to be rescanned. Will it show up on your TV as 49, in the same position, or as a subcarrier on 29? 

It is the WUTV signal on 32 that will need to be rescanned... and WNYO will show up as 49.1 when you do.

Remember, the virtual channel is just whatever is entered into the encoder, and scanning into your TV builds a "virtual channel table" that matches streams of audio and video content from specific RF channels to a list of virtual channels. All you're doing when you rescan is taking the entry in your TV that says "49.1" points to video stream 3 and audio stream whatever on RF 16 and instead telling it "49.1" is now video stream 5 and audio stream whatever on RF 32. 

It's no different, really, than having your internet browser know that "fybush.com" now means IP address 199.83.212.134 instead of 198.15.66.146. You shouldn't ever have any reason to know what the underlying IP address is, at least not in normal usage circumstances.
 

 

February 25, 2021 4:37 pm  #26


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Here is where the subcarriers will go, according to an FCC filing by WNYO in the last few days: (source AVS Forum - Buffalo OTA)

"WNYO made their next gen filing, these will be their ATSC 1.0 simulcasts:
49.1 MyNetworkTV will be on WUTV's RF 32 signal
49.2 Stadium will be on WKBW's RF 34 signal
49.3 Comet will be on WGRZ's RF 33 signal
49.4 GetTV will be on WNLO's RF 36 signal


In exchange, they (or their sister stations) will get a NextGen simulcast on WNYO's RF 16 signal"

According to a further post on AVS, other stations will transition to 3.0 on WNYO's Ch. 16 ATSC 3.0 transmitter:
"So far with the filings it is confirm that WNYO will host ATSC 3.0 and WUTV and WKBW will be ATSC 3.0 streams on WNYO, I suspect since WGRZ and WNLO are carrying WNYO subchannels they will also have streams on WNYO, but so far they have not filed, (at least not as of this morning) with the the FCC. And in the STA WNYO filed they will not be streaming any of their current subchannels in ATSC 3.0 format"

 

 

February 25, 2021 4:41 pm  #27


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Thank you all. That is exactly the info I was looking for. It appears there will be more than one channel that will need rescanning on or around March 18th. And here I thought we were done with all that after the great repack. 

     Thread Starter
 

February 26, 2021 1:22 am  #28


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

Well something is going on, because I was just watching Magnum PI on 29-3 wutv signal with a good signal and suddenly the tv read “mode not supported”.  When I tried again it was no signal.  At the same time 49-1 is also off air.

 

February 26, 2021 10:26 am  #29


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

According to AVR OTA Buffalo:  At 1230am 2/26, WNYO RF 16 & WUTV RF 32 are both running ATSC 3 tests.

 

March 1, 2021 12:25 pm  #30


Re: Antenna Users To Lose Buffalo's Channel 49 & Subcarriers On March 18th

More subcarriers shuffled.   As of Monday March 1st WPXJ - 51 has the following subcarriers:
51.1 Ion; 51.2 CourtTV; 51.3 Grit; 51.4 Laff, 51.5 QVC, 51.6 HSN.
WKBW has added 7.5 HSN.  

That means some current subcarriers from Ch. 49 are likely to be relocated to other stations by March 18th.

If you watch programs on any of those services, you will need to rescan.
Anyone having trouble receiving WGRZ Ch. 2?   Very spotty in mid-town the last few days.