By Michael Laemers
Director of Engineering
WOOD TV / WOTV / WXSP
We have received many emails and telephone calls from ourviewers who have indicated they watch the WOOD TV analog signal butcannot pickup the digital signal when they purchase a converter boxor a new TV.
WOOD TV does not recommend indoor antennas for digitalreception. We do understand that many people have used indoorantennas with varying results for analog reception. The reason wasthat a certain amount of degradation of the signal still producedacceptable results. Viewers were able to accept some pictures thatwere slightly snowy or had a limited amount of ghosts. With digitalthose kinds of imperfections may cause the receiver to unlock,resulting in no signal at all.
Rabbit ears may work if the viewer is within 15 miles of thetower. In this area, WOOD TV, WXMI TV, WOTV, WLLA-TV, and WWMT areall located in the geographic center of the intended coverage area.WOOD TV and WXMI TV are just Southwest of Middleville, MI. WWMT TVis located east of Shelbyville and WOTV and WLLA-TV are locatedEast of Orangeville. All of these are about 20 miles from thepopulation centers of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Holland and BattleCreek. Muskegon is about 50 miles.
In areas like Detroit, most viewers are within 15 miles of thetower, because the population center is a metro area, many timesindoor antennas work in this type of area. Grand Rapids isconsidered a hyphenated market because it serves multiple citiesand their transmitters must be located in the center of the areaintended to be served.
What makes the indoor antenna problem worse is that manyretailers are selling amplified indoor antennas that supposedly aredesigned for digital television. There is no difference in antennassold for digital and the old tried-and-true antennas used for thepast sixty years for analog.
These amplified antennas are usually designed for UHF signalseven though the box may say UHF/VHF. Testing has proved theseantennas as having worse performance than plain $8.00 rabbit earsantennas at VHF channels. This area is mostly VHF. WWMT-TV (CBS),WOOD-TV (NBC), WZZM-TV (ABC) and WGVU-TV (PBS) will all be on VHFchannels eventually. If the viewer has no other choice than to usean indoor antenna, we recommend a simple set of rabbit ears antennalocated near a window that has a view to the Gun Lake area betweenGrand Rapids and Kalamazoo. WOOD-TV will come in best with theelements collapsed to half of their length.
WOOD-TV highly recommends that you buy your converter box early.This will give you the time and weather to acquire our signal byhaving an outdoor antenna installed. Make sure the antenna is aVHF/UHF model. They may be purchased from places like Radio Shack,T&W Electronics in Grand Rapids, Bursma Electronics, Menards orany antenna dealer that also may do installations. A listing ofantenna dealers that do installations can be found at Techhome.comor http://www.homeblue.com/electrical-1-antenna.htm
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