They’re At It Again But It Happens All The Time

There’s a continuing Broadcaster/Provider battle over pricing – but who really loses in the end?

First of All, This is MY Opinion:

I want to say that right up front so there are no misunderstandings and make it clear I am not in the attack mode. This is an article based on this writer’s opinion, and that opinion is based on personal experience over several years in dealing with these situations personally and in business. Though I subscribe to Dish Network as my TV service provider, I do not presently sell Dish Network services and I am not directly associated with them in any way. I do admit though, I like them as a company and have for many years and for many reasons. 

Also, this particular situation does not affect me in any way since I learned long ago, having an antenna was to my advantage rather than having to depend on a middle man to provide my locals. As long as the broadcast stations are live, on the air and broadcasting at a normal power range, I have access to their signals no matter what the weather is like or what the relationship between them and the Satellite or Cable providers may be.

Now back to the matter at hand.

If you are a Dish Network customer in the Fort Myers/Naples DMA, you’ve probably noticed you’re missing your local CBS affiliated station, WINK TV. If you’re wondering why, they explain it very well where you would normally go to watch WINK Channel 11 CBS on your Dish Network satellite receiver. They do present some pretty thorough and factual information and you really should take the time to take it in. If you’re not on Dish, read on because you will likely be affected by the same thing sometime in the future.

I haven’t checked to see if anyone else is being affected by this situation with WINK (and probably other CBS affiliates across the Nation) but, I can tell you this: It really is nothing new!

Actually, (whether concerning Cable or Satellite companies) if the TV provider’s contract comes up for renewal at a time when the broadcasters know they will have more leverage, this is the ploy they use to make it inconvenient for the customers of either the satellite or cable companies. You see, it doesn’t really matter whether it is the CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX affiliates or others. They would rather blame the providers and inconvenience the customers until their demands are met or the leverage of the popular programming goes away. In this case, it happens to be more about the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl they are using as leverage although other programming is affected, also.

It happens quite often and it really doesn’t matter which network affiliate it is, they all do it when the opportunity arrives. The problem is, the customers suffer the most and they are the ones being inconvenienced while the broadcasters use them as leverage to try and gain a better bottom line.

Honestly, it is rather tiring to see this happen almost every year, if not every year, and to see my customers deal with this situation much too often. It has become a regular happening and is being expanded in its use by the broadcasters to inconvenience customers of whichever TV provider they are leveraging for more funds. Of course the blame can be somewhat placed on both sides but the broadcasters are the ones demanding higher than normal fees for the providers to continue with what they call the privilege to carry their programming. Meanwhile they suggest the consumers should change to a different provider that is willing to pay the higher access fees. Unfortunately, and this is particularly my own opinion, If they do move to another provider, that provider may be the next one they use the customer to leverage a higher fee from.

Sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it?

This sounds like a vicious circle, doesn’t it? Well… it is but it doesn’t have to stay this way. There is something you can do about it whether it is contacting the broadcasters, providers or politicians and offering your opinion and suggestions. Remember… the broadcast signals are available with no monthly fees if you have an antenna and can reliably receive the Over-The-Air signals without having to go through the continuing grab for more of your hard earned money.

Oh, and just an afterthought… well… I think maybe I should save that for next time…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© January 8, 2019 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, The Norman TV Vantage, Norman-TV.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions
All music used is Two Buck Themes by Mike Stewart unless otherwise s
tated

New Indoor Antennas — Don’t Be Fooled By The Advertising

Press play button below to listen to the podcast version of this article…


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How many times have you been fooled (or perhaps better stated, at least slightly mislead) by advertisements you’ve seen or heard on your TV or radio? Advertisers really do know their craft don’t they? It’s true, they definitely know how to make just about anything sound like the greatest discovery since… well… (you can insert the greatest discovery you know of at this point.)

I’m sure you’ve recently seen the latest advertisements on TV (or possibly seen the ads in your newspaper or other publications) that talk about how much FREE STUFF you can watch with a simple off-air antenna. Well, it’s just my opinion but, “Don’t Be Fooled By the Advertising.”

Some of the latest antennas to hit the scene are being hailed as a way for you, the consumer, to watch a lot of free movies and other types of programming without having to pay a fee. Trust me, they do work but may or may not work for you… AND you really need to look more closely at the way they are being advertised.

I found out about these latest “new items” a year or so ago when a customer of mine called me and asked me about one he had received information on. When I answered that I knew nothing about it, he mailed me the ad from the paper and asked me to check it out for him. He explained he was going away to a summer home and would like to stay in touch but didn’t really want the expense of paying for cable or satellite. He and his wife wanted to use this item if it would work for them in the location they were going to. Naturally, I told him I would be glad to check it out and happy give him my opinion.

Well… after I received the ad from him and saw what it said this item could do, I have to admit it “sounded” very good (at least from the way the ad read) and I was intrigued enough to research it further.

I quickly discovered the ad was talking about something I had seen before and it was actually nothing new; it just had a different look – it was packaged a bit differently.

What was it that was not-so-new about this antenna? Well, it was a glorified UHF rabbit ear antenna. Actually, years ago we called them UHF Bowties and they usually clipped on one of the VHF telescoping ears either built in to the older TVs or later added by the consumer and the two together allowed the person using them to receive both the VHF and UHF Analog signals from their local broadcast stations. Although rabbit ears worked, they didn’t always work that well and reception was often limited by where the TV was situated in the home and how far away the broadcast towers were from the consumer’s location.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these antennas don’t work… I’m just saying the advertising is a bit overstated on what it delivers, at least in my opinion. I have to admit, the advertisements DO make it sound good but let’s look at what they are really telling you about this device and what it can do.

One of the first things I noticed about their description of what you could get by using this “New Antenna” was stated in such a way as to make you think it was all because of a new ruling. The ads state something similar to, “because the Federal government had “mandated” that Digital broadcasts be delivered in a way that a consumer could receive them without cost, there were thousands of “movies and other programs” a person could now watch without having to pay what cable or satellite would charge them for watching them. (In other words, if the consumers had the equipment that allowed them to receive the broadcast signals, they could not be charged for watching them. They also make it sound as if you are able to receive these many “movies and other programs” without cost while others are paying exorbitant fees to watch the same thing.)

Trust me when I tell you… there is nothing new about off-air broadcasts except that we now enjoy the advantages of digital signals as opposed to analog (at least for the present time.)

To be honest with you and fair to them, their ads do tell the truth. The stretch comes because they know they are talking to people that really don’t understand the difference between “Off-Air” broadcast TV and “Pay” TV or have had their signals delivered either by cable, satellite or some other means for so long that they don’t remember the “broadcast signals” have been, and are, available.

It has been my experience, when people think about watching “Movies” on TV, they’re thinking about things like HBO, The Movie Channel or Showtime and like channels. They relate their understanding of what they hear or see in the ads to how they generally receive these offerings from Cable, Satellite or some other form of delivery that they have been paying for.

It is true they can receive movies and other programs from their local broadcast stations, and have always been able to, but not “PAY” offerings like HBO, Showtime and the others delivered only by pay TV services.

What the ads for these glorified rabbit ear antennas are actually talking about is the movies and programs available from the local broadcast stations that can be, or are, received via some form of antenna from their Local Broadcast station’s towers but not those “Pay TV” channels that are generally delivered via a different source rather than being able to be received by antenna.

Of course the new advantage they talk about is the new “Digital” signal delivery that is much clearer than the old “Analog” signals. These signals have always been available for reception via antennas from the Local Broadcast towers in Analog, and now in the Digital format, but so many have been receiving their programming from some Cable or Satellite provider, and paying for that service for so long that they have forgotten the Local Broadcasts are available from antenna as well as from their “Pay TV” provider. To hear they might be able to receive something similar without payment is music to their ears, especially in these days of paying for so many channels they never watch to get what they do want to watch along with the continuing tough economic times.

First of all, let’s be real. There are many places a set of rabbit ears will work to receive the off-air broadcast signals and do a very good job but only if, they can deliver a decent signal at a usable strength.

Depending on the strength of  the old Analog signals, they would show pictures in differing degrees of good to bad reception and possibly along with a thing called “Multi-Path” (or ghosting as it is referred to by many familiar with the “old days.”) In comparison, Digital broadcast signals either show you a clear picture or they don’t and often the “new antennas” will deliver some, but not necessarily all, of the available channels in your area. It is a matter of signal strength and that signal needs to be at a certain level to show a picture.

Digital signals are also susceptible to Multi-path but it may show up as things called “pixeling” or “freeze-framing.” (In general, these symptoms describe themselves.) Of course these can be extremely frustrating, especially when a person is trying to watch their favorite programs and that is why good reception of the digital signals is a must to most consumers that are used to other forms of signal delivery.

Generally speaking and in my professional opinion, an outdoor type antenna will give the best reception of these local “off-air” signals but also remember outdoor antennas can be somewhat susceptible to the same problems I mentioned above. Just remember it’s not like the old days… the antennas don’t have to be extremely large and they don’t necessarily have to be as high as they used to. In fact, they can sometimes be mounted in your attic or elsewhere and work quite nicely. In my experience, many of them work better with amplification of some sort (especially depending on whether you want to distribute the signal to multiple TVs), but generally, things are much simpler in these “digital” days once you receive a signal of proper strength to deliver to your TVs.

(I promise, I’ll talk more about antennas in another article, soon.)

In the next article I will be talking about a few things you need to think about before you actually decide to “cut the cord.”

See ya next time…

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© June 23, 2015 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman, The Norman TV View, The Norman TV Vantage, Norman-TV.com

All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PCN Productions

Norman TV & Video Systems: A History – (Updated October 9, 2014)

 

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Hello again… my name is Rusty Norman and I am the owner of Norman TV & Video Systems. I am so glad you’re visiting the site today and I am here to tell you I have some exciting things planned over the coming weeks, months and, yes, even years and I can’t wait to get started. In fact, I am working on several new aspects for the near and distant future and hope you will become a regular visitor to my site.

Before I move on to other things, I guess you would like to know more about my company (and me), especially if you are not familiar with Norman TV and Video Systems.

We have actually been around since early1973. That’s when we were simply called, Norman TV and located on Fort Myers Beach. That is the year my dad bought the business from the man he worked for about 10 years. Before that time it was known as, Chase TV. At that time I was going to college at FSU in Tallahassee, FL. My dad and my mom had a couple of employees and pretty much ran the business in that way for the next 12 years.

During that span of time, before and after I departed FSU, I was head mechanic at an AMF bowling establishment in Fort Myers, FL known as Miracle Lanes. Even though it is no longer in business and has been torn down, I started working there in 1969 and worked there until 1985 when I went to work for my dad at the store on Fort Myers Beach. Unfortunately, my dad died in January of 1990 and I had a big decision to make over the next few months.

Simply because of the way times change, our sales and service business on the Beach had become much too seasonal and suffered a little because of that. This had been going on for five or six years. Add to that the fact that the owner of the property we were on (and the building we were in) decided to increase our rent by almost double. That was bad enough but, they also wanted to cut the building in half and rent out the other side. To me, that meant they had just increased our rent almost 4 fold. There was no way we could justify that expense to stay in our storefront so my mom and I decided to close the store front and I took over the business from my mom in July of 1990. (Honestly, she didn’t want to continue in the business any longer – her heart just wasn’t in it any more especially since the death of my dad.)

At that time, it was hard to find an affordable storefront, good help and be able to afford to pay them year round so I decided to become a mobile repair company and try to service our regular customers, both residential and commercial, in that way. It was a busy time for me and I worked many hours since I was by myself. I used to get up early in the morning and work on TV’s that I had to bring in for repairs, by 9-10am I was out on service calls and deliveries and back generally somewhere between 6-8 pm. Then I would work on the things I had either brought in earlier or from that day, eat supper with my family go to bed and start all over again early the next morning.

That worked for a while but I admit it did wear me out, particularly during the busy season. After a time of a few years, once again the changing business climate caused me to re-evaluate where my strengths were.  Even though I remained as a mobile service TV and electronics repair company, I slowly switched over to mostly signal delivery and maintenance of distribution systems for properties like hotels, motels, private schools, residences both large and small, which I had already been doing along with the other parts of the business. In 1997 I started branching out into the smaller satellite services like Dish Network and DirecTV, in particular maintaining the previous MATV (Master Antenna TeleVision) systems my dad had previously installed and updated some of those systems to SMATV (Satellite Master Antenna TeleVision.) I also worked with other types of properties as well and installed many satellite, antenna and satellite/antenna head end systems for commercial and residential customers and others.

Since most of what I did and do is on property, I used to recommend a couple of friends of mine for TV service. Unfortunately, they closed their doors in July of this year (2014)  and I really do not recommend other repair services locally because I don’t know them well enough. I can still diagnose TV problems but since most repairs on the newer sets are relatively expensive and generally require shop time, I do not make a habit of recommending all that many repairs anymore. With my friends out of the service business, I don’t make recommendations for other repair places but that doesn’t mean there are no other servicers available but I am not familiar enough with them and cannot comfortably make recommendations so I don’t.

Just because I don’t service that many TV’s these days doesn’t mean I have lost touch with the newer technology. I do try my level best to stay up to date on the new technology and still do preliminary diagnostics on many TVs especially in the places where I perform the services I offer with people and companies I have dealt with for years.

So what do I mean when I say I have switched over mostly to signal delivery and maintenance? Well, I mean I work with and on systems that deliver programming to your TV, Radios and “other types” of reception equipment. To clarify, that means satellite, antenna and streaming media products, some of which I will go into more detail in articles in the future, hopefully a minimum of once a month and sometimes more often. I even work with and on that type of equipment in RV’s although I do put certain limitations on the work I will perform.

What are some of those “other types” of equipment? Well, to get the best answer to that question you will need to visit this site often. I know you will find things of interest here on a regular basis when you do…

See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© October 9, 2014 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, The Norman TV Vantage, Norman-TV.com
All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions

Three Reasons I Like Portable Satellite Dishes

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In my recent journeys through RV campgrounds for service calls and differing problems for satellite reception, I’ve been asked what I think of the newer Portable Satellite Dishes and I just couldn’t let the opportunity to comment on them go by. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, seen advertisements and pictures of them and some of you likely already have them.

I’m sure you know, RV’ers have yet another option for getting their satellite signals. If you haven’t checked on them yet, you just might want to… You’ll never know whether or not they’ll work for you unless you do.

Three reasons I like the newer Portable Satellite Dishes…

Although I intend to say more about these portable satellite dishes in future articles, Let me just offer my opinion and three reasons why I like them. Remember this is only my opinion and there is other information I will cover in future articles that you do need to know about them. Okay, here are my top three reasons…

1. These portable dishes give you versatility. Since permanently mounted domes can’t generally be moved when you have blocked or limited reception of your satellite signals (that is, unless you move your whole RV) the portable dishes allow you the ability to move the dish quite simply by repositioning it to an area that has an open shot to your satellite locations in the sky.

2. They are now more affordable than they used to be for how easy they make setting up for your satellite reception. They aren’t cheap, but compared to the dome on the top of your RV that you can’t easily move, they are well worth the expense. (Some may find they would rather have the portable unit instead of a permanently mounted unit. Just remember, if you decide to go with one of these and you’ve been used to watching TV while traveling down the road, you may or may not be able to do that with many of these.)

3. They simplify setup and don’t take up much room in storage for travel. Usually, setup is fast and easy. Once you are familiar with these portable units, you won’t want to have to go to the trouble of putting a dish and mount together and find the Azimuth (or compass heading) and elevation every time you stop. Instead, with an automated portable satellite dish, you just have to find your best location, hook it up, let it run through its programmed setup which only takes a couple of minutes and you will be watching TV.

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Well, that’s it for this time but, there is still much you need to know about the satellite system in your RV. Yes they have made them very easy to use but there are still some very basic things you need to know, (because the RV manufacturers don’t generally tell you a lot about how to use them.) Next time, we’ll be talking about some real life reception problems and how to solve them…

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Just so you know, I will soon have a book available (it will first be on Kindle) and it will be called, “Understanding Satellite Reception – For RV’ers (So You Can Enjoy It Rather Than Fight It)” – by Rusty Norman. I think you will find it to be full of simple, straight forward information that will help you enjoy your satellite system more and work at it less…
I’ll let you know how you can get your copy, soon…

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See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 16, 2013 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman, The Norman TV Vantage, Norman-TV.com

All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PodCastNorm Productions