WCHS-TV8 Frequently Asked HD Questions

This guide will provide background information along with useful tips to set-up an antenna and configure a television set for over-the-air reception of WCHS-DT High Definition (HDTV)

Does WCHS-DT offer their programming in high definition?
Yes. WCHS-DT has offered all ABC High Definition (HD) programming since February, 2005. Most, but not all, of ABC network programming is presented in HD.

What is WCHS's digital channel?
WCHS-DT is physically broadcasting on Channel 41, but the signal will appear as 8-1 on most digital receivers.

Where is the WCHS digital transmitting antenna?
The antenna is at the top of our new 1,500 foot tower located near St. Albans, West Virginia.

How much power is WCHS-DT transmitting?
The Effective Radiated Power is 475,000 watts which blankets the Charleston-Huntington viewing area. If you can receive our analog signal on Channel 8, you should also be capable of receiving our digital signal.

What equipment do I need to receive your signal for my "HD-Ready" TV?
"HD-Ready" televisions are monitors and do not include built-in HDTV tuners. A Set-Top Box (STB) is required for reception of over-the-air broadcast HDTV. The STB is simply a digital tuner that sits outboard of the HDTV set. The STB requires an antenna connection to receive the HDTV signal. Consult your owner's manual for details. On July 1, 2005 the FCC is requiring all television sets with a screen size 36" and larger to include integrated over-the-air digital tuners.

Is it necessary to use an outdoor antenna to receive WCHS-DT?
Outdoor antennas are recommended because they will gather the most signal strength for your HD receiver to decode. However, many viewers are successfully receiving our signal with an indoor antenna. There is a greater need for an outdoor antenna the farther you live from the tower site.

My homeowners association does not allow outdoor or roof top antennas. What are my options?
It is against federal regulations to prohibit outdoor antennas for the purpose of receiving broadcast signals. The law is on your side if you decide to put one up. If you do not want to challenge your homeowners association, place your antennas on the back side of your house to block their view from the street. Some people have installed antennas in their attic. Use the following link for more information:

Is the attic a good place for an antenna?
It works for some people in some locations. The structure of the house will reduce the signal strength. Physical space in the attic may prevent proper alignment of the antenna. If you live in an area where the broadcast signals are strong, the attic antenna is a viable option. If you have a metal roof don't even consider an attic antenna because the metal covering shields the signals.

How Much Does An Antenna Cost?
The best outdoor antenna for most locations is a Yagi style UHF antenna that sells for less than $50. We recommend RG-6 coaxial cable between the antenna and the digital receiver. The cost of the cable depends on the required length.

If a $50 antenna can pull in the digital signal, is a $100 antenna even better?
Not necessarily. Many of the "high tech" amplified antennas are often times shaped like a helicopter blade or round tube. They cost twice the price and do not work very well for many households. The pick-up pattern of the antenna is most often omni-directional, which pulls in signals from all directions. Omni antennas will receive the primary signal and often times signal bounce on the back side of the antenna. Signal reflections are multipath interference. Strong multipath reflections can confuse the receiver and result in the blue screen of death. Digital receivers will display a perfect picture or nothing at all.

My outdoor antenna receives a good signal from the other stations but I need to realign the antenna to receive WCHS-DT. Any ideas?
The pick-up pattern of your antenna could be too directional. It is not necessary to purchase a long range antenna if you live in the Charleston-Huntington area. Long range antennas are more directional by design so path alignment becomes ultra critical. Try using a lower cost antenna with less gain and a broader pick-up pattern.

Do I need to replace my existing antenna with a "digital ready" antenna?
No. Any UHF antenna will receive the HDTV signal.

Where is WCHS's HD Channel on Cable TV?
At the present time WCHS is not available through most local cable systems, except SuddenLink on channel 783, because a retransmission consent agreement is not in place with the local providers. If you want to get WCHS-DT on cable, you should contact your cable operator and let them know you want WCHS-DT.

Is WCHS's HD Channel available on satellite TV?
WCHS-DT is currently carried by Dish Network and is available in High Definition but not by DirecTV. Some HD receivers from the satellite companies also include a terrestrial HDTV receiver. If you connect an UHF antenna to a receiver with terrestrial HDTV capability, you should be capable of decoding our HDTV signal.

What High Definition format is the ABC Television Network using?
The ABC network standard is 720p, which offers 720 active lines progressively scanned. The frame rate is 60 frames per second.

How does 720p compare to 1080i?
Don't let anyone fool you, they both look great. There are trade offs with both formats. The 720p format streams 60 razor sharp frames each second, which make it ideal for sports coverage. Progressive scanning is the technique utilized by all current computer monitors and flat panel technology.

The 1080i format utilizes 1080 active lines and interlace scanning. There are more active lines of video and more pixels per line than utilized by the 720p. The 1080i format streams 60 half frames per second. The odd number lines are scanned on the screen followed by the even number lines 1/60 second later. 1080i has a full frame rate of 30 per second. The interlace approach can result in jitter and other artifacts. Interlace is the scanning technique native to most CRT displays.

Since 1080i is interlaced and 720p is progressive, the number of active lines is not an apples to apples comparison. The number 720 was selected because in progressive scanning, 720 lines progressive, is the mathematical equivalent of 1080 lines interlaced. In theory the resolution is almost identical.

How does 720p look in comparison to 1080i?
They both look great if they are displayed on a monitor capable of 720p or 1080i. Some of the older HDTV sets are not configured for 720p and the resolution is down converted to 480i even though the aspect ratio remains 16x9. The resolution of a down converted signal is identical to standard definition.

What will I see if a program is not offered in high definition?
WCHS "up converts" all standard definition programming to make it appear as a 720p HD signal. The unconverted programming will look better than an analog standard definition feed, but it will not look as good as a program that is natively high definition.

Any programming originally produced in the 4x3 aspect ratio will appear in the center of the screen with blank panels filling the sides. Programming that is natively high definition will fill the entire 16x9 wide screen display.

Why do the side panels have a gray appearance most of the time?
WCHS fills the side panels with gray to prevent burn-in on 16x9 HD sets displaying 4x3 programming. Plasma and CRT HD sets are susceptible to burn-in if the screen is parked for long durations on 4x3 programming with black side panels. The burn-in will appear as a ghosted image at the point where the screen transitions from active video to the inactive side panels. When gray is displayed, the contrast ratio is reduced and burn-in is less likely.

Does WCHS-DT broadcast in DD5.1 sound?
Any ABC program offered in Dolby Digital 5.1 is broadcast on WCHS-DT in DD5.1. A true 5.1 audio mix will contain six full channels of audio. The channels are designed to feed a right front, center, left front, rear left, and rear right speakers. The sixth channel or the .1 channel is for a low frequency effect channel (LFE), often called a sub-woofer. DD5.1 audio creates a sound field that closely resembles the sound field in a movie theater.

What's the DT in WCHS-DT?
The FCC assigned call letters on a digital channel are designated with DT. The call letters on an analog channel are designated with TV. In other words WCHS-TV is analog. WCHS-DT is digital.

Here are some web resources to learn about the technology of digital television, high definition programming, and how to receive our signal with your outdoor antenna.