Tuesday, October 16, 2007

WCMH NBC4: The Varsity Team They Are Not

Some of you may remember when I pointed out local NBC affiliate WCMH's horrible failing during Red, White and Boom. Now they seem to be confused by HD programming.

Many show that are to be in HD, like Jay Leno, NBC Nightly News, etc, start in HD then pop into regular, or SD. It seems that out of the three main stations in Columbus, WCMH always seems to be having problems.

Not to be one to bitch to myself, I dropped them an email tonight asking why this is. To their credit, they answered… Not to their credit, they first blamed me, implying I must understand what I am looking at, but then, oh yeah, mentioned their equipment is busted. Way to go... Blame the viewer before your equipment. Ugh. Below is the email:

From: Bearing Drift Ohio
To: WCMH News Desk
Sent: Tue Oct 16 18:34:57 2007
Subject: What is up with HD

Why does WCMH pop OUT of HD for Nightly News, Today and some primetime shows? It starts out as HD then pops out.

Please flip the switch... Why pay for an HD TV and service if WCMH blocks it.... Why watch WCMH when the other two stations are in HD.

Brian, The Squeaky Wheel

From: "dgrivois@wcmh.com"
To: bearingdriftohio@gmail.com
Sent: Oct 16, 2007 7:18 PM
Subject: FW: What is up with HD

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your message. When we air local commercial breaks, we switch to the SD server to play the commercials. NBC does the same thing except where it has an actual HD commercial.

Are you seeing the program content switch from HD 16x9 to SD 4x3?
During the live segments of NBC's TODAY show, in order to execute the live weather cut-ins through our production control room, we have to go back to upconverted SD for a brief time. Our production control room is not HD yet.

Additionally, the HD receiver we have had intermittent failures that started over the weekend. When that happens, we have to switch to the SD NBC feed. Unfortunately that happened quite a bit on Monday and this morning. We contacted NBC on Saturday and its HD engineer shipped us a spare receiver while the one assigned to WCMH-TV is repaired. That spare receiver is now in service. We expect that the HD programs will be fine tonight.

I hope that helps answer your question. Thank you for watching NBC 4.

Debra J Grivois
Director, Engineering & Operations

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