BASIN PBS DIGITAL TV RECEPTION FAQ

Why is Basin PBS changing its operating channel?

Several years ago, the cellular phone providers approached the FCC about re-aligning the television operating spectrum so that they could offer their customers additional services.  The FCC determined the television spectrum was poorly populated, and that the television broadcasters should re-align their operating channels to use the spectrum more efficiently.  To do this, the FCC developed a “reverse auction” where they (the FCC) would buy back television stations’ operating channels from those stations that would voluntarily surrender their channel.  After the conclusion of the “reverse auction”, the FCC conducted a “forward auction” to sell the newly acquired spectrum to the cellular/mobile providers and recoup the money they had spent buying the television stations’ channels.  Finally, the FCC mandated that all television stations operate below channel 36 in the UHF band.  Basin PBS operates on channel 38.  In order to retain our license, we must comply with the FCC directive and change our operating channel.  Our new channel, channel 28, was assigned by the FCC.  The date that we are to cease broadcasting on our current channel and commence broadcasting on our new channel (November 30th/December 1st) was determined by the FCC.  More information is available at https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/consumer-faqs-tv-spectrum-auction?from=home and https://publicfiles.fcc.gov/tv-profile/kpbt-tv.


Q.

When trying to receive Basin PBS digital TV channels over the air with an antenna, I see a picture which freezes, has little squares in it (pixelated), or is not there at all. At times, I may also see a “Weak Signal” or “No Signal” error message on my screen.

A.

Pixilation, or a “No Signal” or “Weak Signal” error message on your screen is a sign of an insufficient antenna. In the old days of analog TV, a poor quality signal from an insufficient antenna translated into a snowy picture, or a picture full of distortions (picture fading, hosts, etc.). In the digital world, the picture from an insufficient antenna becomes pixelated, freezes, or is just not there at all. There is no such thing as a snowy picture or ghosts with digital. This is simply how digital transmissions work.

Q.

What is the best type of TV antenna?

A:

For proper digital TV reception, a traditional VHF/UHF rooftop antenna (with the typical metal rods sticking out horizontally) is by far the best choice. Attic antennas may work in some situations, but there may be as much as a 2/3 loss of signal by installing the antennain an attic as opposed to a rooftop or outdoor wall mount installation. Random signal reflections and absorptions may also drastically degrade the performance of an attic antenna. Outdoor antennas such as the Clearstream 2MAX or antennas made by Digitenna would be suggested. (Digitenna antennas are available from professional antenna installers). These are usually installed on the roof or wall mounted with the antenna mast extending above the roof line.

Q.

How do I aim an antenna for digital television?

A:

Times have changed. The days of just moving an antenna and watching the screen for best picture are gone! All new flat screen TVs have a built in signal meter which is used for antenna aiming. The on-screen signal meter is accessed through the menu system of your TV. Tune in the channel you are having problems with, then press the menu button on the TV remote control and follow the instructions in your TV owner’s manual to use the signal strength meter in your TV. Move the antenna for maximum reading on the signal meter.

Q.

Are indoor VHF/UHF antennas really any good?

A:

Indoor antennas have undergone substantial improvements since the days of “rabbit ears” that sat on top of the television set.  An indoor antenna MAY work in your case.  If you currently use an indoor antenna and you’re satisfied with its performance, it may perform as well on our new channel.  Bear in mind that over-the-air television signals encounter serious impediments as they pass through roofs, walls and windows, and where they are exposed to noise from electrical circuits.  Amplified antennas may actually make matters worse, as they amplify electrical noise and signal reflections (which cause digital reception problems) just as much as they amplify the desired signal.

Q:

What can I try if my indoor antenna does not work?

A:

Random signal reflections and absorptions in a room will greatly degrade indoor TV reception. Electrical interference from fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, and electrical appliances (including the TV itself) will also degrade indoor TV reception. An indoor antenna should be located well away from anything electrical.

The best place for an indoor TV antenna is in an upper floor window facing our tower located about 3 miles north of the intersection of Highway 158 and FM 1788, just off FM 1788. If the cable included with your antenna is too short to place it in a window, a longer RG-6 antenna cable can be purchased from almost any hardware store.

If an indoor antenna will not work at your particular location, you will need use an outdoor antenna.  Outdoor antennas such as the Clearstream 2MAX or antennas made by Winegard (www.winegard.com) and ChannelMaster (www.channelmaster.com) are suggested. Websites such as www.nocable.org, www.antennasdirect.com and http://tvantennainstallations.weebly.com/tv-antenna-installers-in-odessa-midland.html provide more extensive information about over-the-air antennas. These antennas are usually mounted on the roof or on the wall of a house with the antenna mast extending above the roof line.  They are occasionally mounted in the attic space of a house.

Q:

What about professional antenna system installation and repair?

A:

Rooftop antenna installers in our area are few in number and hard to find.  Local electronics stores such as Commercial Electronics Supply, Inc. and Best Buy may sell antennas and may be able to recommend installers.

If you already have a rooftop antenna and are still having reception problems, please have your antenna system checked by a qualified antenna  installation and repair company or other experienced antenna professionals. 

If you do not have a rooftop antenna system and want reliable reception on all over the air digital TV channels in the Permian Basin, consider having a traditional rooftop antenna system professionally installed. It is a one-time investment which will last many years.

All TVs in the house can be hooked up to one rooftop antenna. Best of all, there is no more fiddling with old style rabbit ears to try to get a stable picture every time you change channels. Additionally, you will be able to receive over the air digital TV channels which are not carried on satellite or cable.