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One Good DTV Turn Deserves Another

WPIX(TV) New York and WNET(TV) New York are helping each other get on-air with new digital television services. WNET provided the antenna that WPIX will use to transmit a DTV signal to the NYC market; WPIX will give WNET a portion of its signal for use in transmitting a standard-definition DTV local feed.

The two stations' transmission facilities are co-located at the Empire State Building, and WPIX has received FCC permission to broadcast an over-the-air signal on channel 12.

"We're still working out how we'll get the signal from WNET to our station because, when the signals get to Empire, they're already encoded," says WPIX Chief Engineer Mike Gano. "We need to figure out a way for them to deliver an embeddable MPEG stream to WPIX."

The WPIX technical team is working on it, Gano says, but a decision has not been made yet. The VHF antenna is located on the 81st floor, and he has been impressed with the coverage despite its being a low-power 125-W signal: It can cover almost the entire market.

Feedback from viewers has been available mostly through the AVS Forum, a Web site on which DTV set owners post messages related to a variety of DTV issues.

"A lot of people put up UHF antennas, so one of the challenges is they're trying to receive a VHF channel 12 and aren't having great success," says Gano. "People with combination antennas are receiving us okay."

The station hasn't begun serious discussions with regard to cable carriage with Time Warner, but that will be in the works. The station will bring viewers The WB HDTV lineup and also plans to offer New York Mets baseball games in HD, something it had done from the World Trade Center facility. WPIX had broadcast a digital signal from January 2001 until Sept. 11, 2001.