Editorial for February 2008

by | Feb 1, 2008 | Editorial | 0 comments

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EMI Classics is sending a pair of their recent CD releases to a dozen lucky AUDIOPHILE AUDITION readers following this month’s Drawing/Giveaway: One is an exciting new work for two voices and an expanded symphony orchestra using texts from the Gospel of St. Matthew and The Book of Job. Silence, Night & Dreams comes from noted film composer Zbegniew Preisner. [Reviewed Here.] The other features Gabriela Montero in her on-the-spot piano improvisations on 15 baroque themes including Albinoni’s Adagio and themes from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. [Reviewed Here.]   Register here to be entered in the drawing for February

The two lucky winners of the Felston DD740 lip sync delay devices we awarded in last month’s drawing were:  Carol Strand, Waupaca, WI & Doug Long, Rio Rancho, NM   Congratulations to both! 


The following is a letter sent to the Duluth, MN News concerning DTV, OTA, the analog converter boxes, and HD Radio. The writer – Bruce F. Elving – publishes the FM Atlas book, the FMedia! newsletter and an electronics catalog.  He holds a Ph.D. in instructional communications from Syracuse University.

Your recent article of Jan. 12, “Relax. Converting to digital television may be easier than you think,” overlooks some points, especially for the viewer who does not use either cable or satellite sources.

It speaks of the new converter boxes; I have yet to see them in wholesale catalogs. However, converter boxes were available a couple of years ago, and I bought one and have since enjoyed DTV, but not HDTV. My eight-year-old granddaughter knows how to turn on the digital TV and associated devices in order to see all the children’s programming available over the air.

The extra channels on digital are nice, and I think DTV is a better technology than the new HD Radio being touted. But be aware of some problems with digital:

1)     DTV in most markets is on UHF, not VHF. To get digital reception here in a basement in Esko, it’s been necessary to play with a variety of antennas, amplified and non-amplified. I settled on an outdoor-type UHF antenna, placing it on a home-built wooden stand, aimed at the stations. Those stations are not at the same power as comparable VHF stations. KQDS-DT (channel 17, but reading “21” on the digital box) is at 1 million watts, but to be comparable to channel 2-6 analog, it would need 5 million watts. Often reception fades out when it snows outside, or if there is some other reception anomaly. I tried a mast-mounted booster, but amplifying the signal did not seem to help. People as far as I am (22 km from Duluth) might need outside antennas. Old timers may remember Channel 38, and seeing houses in town with UHF antennas on their roofs. I think, with time, the local stations will increase their power, but the problems inherent with UHF reception (vs. VHF) will continue.

2)     Uncle Sam will help with two $40 coupons per household toward the purchase of set-top boxes. I’d like to convert all my TVs, including several old black-and-white models!

3)     It’s easier to convert TVs with the proper input jacks, but older TVs can be converted, using either a VCR or a special “modulator.” My problem is a shortage of AC outlets; a power strip may be needed for use with each older TV in a home.

4)     After February 2009, audio services from TV as we know it will be gone. That means no more tuning in below 88 on a car FM radio to hear Channel 6 audio, no more use of a TV-audio radio for TV sound, and no TV-SAP channel or TV Pro Channel. The SAP channel is used in other cities for such things as Spanish translation of the news, described video for the blind, or reading services to the blind, while the TV Pro channel is used for signaling to news crews in the field;  Channel 10 has used the Pro channel for its own productions.

5)     Even without high definition, the digital picture is improved over that of analog, with no ghosting or interference. It’s either perfect or it is nothing. Analog does, however, provide for a gradual deterioration of the signal before you completely lose the program, while digital provides more opportunity for stereo and high fidelity surround sound.

6)     Signal strength metering, station memories and audio mute are some of the features that make digital nice.

Digital TV is something to look forward to, albeit with a little trepidation as to how it will be received at different locations in one’s home.

[Bruce F. Elving, Esko MN – 218-879-7676;  FmAtlas@aol.com



General Editorial 

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