The HDTV Expert:
Receiving WKYT-DT off-air
Digital television, and the process of receiving it, can be confusing. This is made even more complicated by the fact that when you successfully tune in WKYT-DT, your television tells you that you are watching 27-1 (or 27- 2 or 27-3), when in reality you are tuned into channel 13. Your television shows 27-1 because of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandated lookup tables called PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol) that are broadcast along with the television images.
Channel 13 is in the VHF television band (which includes channels 2 - 13). Most digital channels in the Lexington market are not VHF channels, but rather UHF channels, which includes channels 14 - 59.
The primary difference for most viewers who wish to receive these VHF signals off-air, as opposed to satellite or cable, is that a different type of antenna is required. VHF television reception is very poor if a UHF antenna is employed. Simply put, a VHF antenna is strongly advised, and in many cases, required. Many companies, like Channel Master, Winegard, Antennacraft and TDP, manufacture these VHF, or multi-band antennas. Many electronics stores carry these and other brands.
Whenever an outdoor antenna is to be employed, please consider the technical and safety implications of mounting outdoor antennas and coaxial lead-in wires. It is suggested that a professional installer be consulted.
If you are located in an area that requires an outdoor antenna, please remember that since 1996, homeowner association covenants cannot prevent you from installing outdoor antennas. The rule "prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming". Masts higher than 12 feet above the roofline may be subject to local permitting requirements. This FCC rule can be found at http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html.
Once these guidelines are followed, WKYT-DT believes that you will find direct, off-air reception of digital television to be extremely reliable and robust.
QUESTION: How is HDTV different from the way I see TV now?
ANSWER: The first noticeable difference is HDTV's much wider screen. In the current analog system, the width of the picture divided by its height gives you a ratio of 4/3. HDTV, on the other hand, has a width to height ratio of 16/9, which closely resembles that of a movie screen. The second key feature is that HDTV has more than six times the sharpness and clarity of analog TV. The HDTV picture contains 1080 vertical picture elements (pixels) by 1920 horizontal pixels, for a total of more than two million. The analog picture contains a total of 230,400 pixels.
Finally, HDTV has six channels of CD-quality surround sound (left, right, center, left rear, right rear, and low frequency effects). This combination of super-sharp video and digital sound promises a spectacular viewing experience. Best of all, it can be received for free! See WYMT's HDTV promo by clicking the video to the left.
QUESTION : You say WKYT-DT broadcasts over the airwaves on Digital Channel 27.1 and WYMT-DT broadcasts on Digital Channel 57.1. Does this mean I can't see it on my current cable system?
ANSWER: That's correct in most cases. You need an antenna to view WKYT or WYMT's HDTV signals, though it doesn't have to be a "digital antenna." Some cable systems have added or are adding WKYT-DT to their systems. Check with your local cable provider.
QUESTION: Does this mean you broadcast an HDTV on Digital Channel 27.1, and 57.1 and an analog signal on Channel 27 and 57 at the same time?
ANSWER: Yes, we "simulcast" both signals from our transmitter sites. We'll do so until the time comes to switch off our analog signal.
QUESTION: If I want to watch HDTV I'll have to buy a new set, right?
ANSWER: The best way to view HDTV in all its glory is to buy a high definition television with a high definition tuner included, or buy a separate HDTV tuner. You can connect a high definition tuner to your old set, though the picture won't be much better than the one you currently receive.
QUESTION: Where can I find a high definition set, and how much do they cost?
ANSWER: They're showing up all over Kentucky and, as you've probably heard, they're still quite pricey. But, like VCR's and computers, the cost is coming down. We recommend you do some research and shop around.
QUESTION: Will I be able to watch 27 NEWSFIRST and WYMT Mountain News in HDTV?
ANSWER: No, currently you'll only be able to watch network programming. We're installing a digital transmitter and making other internal strides toward being HDTV ready, and will be broadcasting in HDTV later this year.
QUESTION: If the program you're showing isn't being broadcast in HDTV, what will I see on my new high definition set?
ANSWER: You'll see an analog picture in 4/3 ratio.
QUESTION: I live on the outer edge of your viewing area. Will my signal have any of the "snow" or "ghosting" that I currently have to put up with?
ANSWER: No. Because the signal is digitally transmitted, the picture will be perfect as long as you're within the WKYT or WYMT viewing area. This can be affected by your surrounding terrain. If you're outside our viewing area, there will be nothing to see at all.
QUESTION: I'm not sure when I'll be ready to make the change. How long before my old set is obsolete?
ANSWER: Relax. Regulations tell us we must keep our analog signal going until 85 percent of the homes in the market own at least one high definition television set. How long will that be? It's difficult to say. As a point of reference, however, it took 20 years for 85 percent of the homes in the market to own a VCR.
QUESTION: What HDTV programming is available on WKYT-DT and WYMT-DT?
ANSWER: WKYT and WYMT will have whatever HDTV programming CBS provides to us. Most of the primetime schedule, many sporting events including college football, NFL football, and NCAA basketball games will be broadcast in high-definition. And there's more to come!
For more information: CBS HDTV programming; e-mail us any questions you have about WKYT-DT or WYMT-DT at firstname.lastname@example.org.