Friday, March 17, 2006

WBNS-TV Full NCAA Tournament Coverage

A quick review on WBNS' coverage of the NCAA tournament.

First, great props to WBNS for using the full spectrum of the ATSC standard for digital brodcast. For those not in Columbus, or without an ATSC tuner (or digital cable), WBNS turned off their HD signal, and turned on four digital SD channels. What that means, is that DT 10-1 went away, and DT 10-2, 10-3, 10-4 and 10-5 appeared, and each showed the four CBS feeds, for free, over the air.

Even better was that WBNS made a no-brainer partnership with local cable to take the digital signal and show it on digital cable. So if you didn't have a digital tuner in your TV (as I did) you could also use your cable box to check it out.

Now, what is the downside?

Well, for starters, it seems that when you put that may subchannels on the digital signal, that the picture quality begins to degrade. So I think 10-5, as an example, came across rather blocky at times during fast motion shots. I'm not sure if this is the fault of WBNS, or the fault of the technology. FWIW, the digital cable signal also had the same problem.

The other downside for viewers with widescreen tvs is that the signal was all SD. No HD signal at all. I was fine since my TV is 4:3, but others and bars who advertised HD games might have been in for a shocker depending upon how they received their signal....technically it would have been false advertising.

But regardless of the quality issue...this was a great job by WBNS. This is the selling point for digital tuners in TVs. Props to them.

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