WLUK-DT Windows Media Center tuning problem workaround

FoxCitiesTV's picture
FoxCitiesTV
Green Bay
administrator

OK, for the last week or so, I've been getting absolutely ZERO signal from WLUK-DT in Appleton. I used to get reasonable signal from a couple places in my apartment I put an antenna, but trying two different antennas (a Philips silver sensor and a generic CM 4221) in many locations, I can not pull even a measely WLUK signal.

Same goes for WPNE. And that's weird because I know they're not on the same tower, so you'd think I'd get one of the two. I get strong WBAY, WFRV and WGBA.

What's weirder... I'm getting a very strong WIWB signal... something I've NEVER gotten in Appleton anywhere I've lived, and something I hadn't gotten until about a week ago.

Anyone seeing anything similar? It's pretty frustrating, and yet again a glaring reason to put a channel on cable/satellite... for those of us with distance/geographical anomalies to contend with.

Posted March 24, 2008 1:12am in
Anonymous's picture
 #

Did you find a solution yet

Did you find a solution yet Mark? I have 4 HDTV's receiving perfect OTA from every station. But for some reason on my media center PC WLUK-DT dropped to zero! All channels are 95 to 100 percent, like WLUK was, and now it's gone. Crazy thing is it comes in perfect on all the TV's but nothing on the PC?

 
FoxCitiesTV's picture
 #

Well it's good to know

Well it's good to know someone else is having the exact same dilemma I am. I'm still not seeing anything on WLUK-DT. I thought maybe it was a hardware issue with one of my tuners. I'll have to try pluggng one of my antennas into a TV directly to see if that works. Worse comes to worse, I have a spare ATSC tuner around that I may throw into the PC to see if it is in fact a hardware problem.

Still nothing on WPNE either. Same zero-signal issue I'm seeing with WLUK.

But now I'm getting WIWB-DT clear as day, just about as strong as all the other channels. Something weird's going on.

 
Anonymous's picture
 #

WPNE is working fine for me.

WPNE is working fine for me. It's just WLUK. So strange, there is just no signal at all! I don't know what could have changed to have it receive with a TV tuner and not with a PC tuner? They are both ATSC tuners.

 
Anonymous's picture
 #

This problem has been

This problem has been happening across the country.

Stations are applying to the FCC for Construction Permits for their final digital channels. WLUK must have applied to switch back to VHF channel 11 and Microsoft is grabbing that data prematurely and downloading it to your computer instead of leaving it at channel 51 until February. I found a workaround on a site called “The Green Button” and everything works great now. (See below for example of fix)

Posted for everyone's benefit as TV stations are continuously updating their PSIP streams, or channel mappings with additional information, and in many cases, you might suddenly not be able to receive their signal. When you review the signal strength its 0 or red. Here's the full instructions on how to resolve this issue...
Before you begin, you need to configure Vista/XP such that you can see the hidden files you will need to edit, so CLOSE MEDIA CENTER and then:
1. Open My Computer – Click on Start and then My Computer
2. Press the ALT key to have menus show in Vista
3. Click the Tools Menu
4. Select Folder Options
5. Click on the View tab
6. Select “Show Hidden Files and Folders” and uncheck “Hide protected operation system files”
7. Click apply
8. Now click the “apply to folders” button to make the settings hold for all folders.
Find the file you need to edit in the c:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\EPG\prefs directory:
1. Open My Computer – Click on Start and then My Computer
2. Double-click on the C drive
3. Double-click on ProgramData directory
4. Double-click on Microsoft directory
5. Double-click on eHome directory
6. Double-click on EPG directory
7. Double-click on prefs directory
Edit the atscchannels.xml file to remove the channel from Media Center: In this example, the TV station is KCRG which currently broadcasts on 52 but has a major channel of 9 and the default 1 minor channel. Do a quick google to find the physical channels for the stations in your area....
1. Right-click the file atscchannels.xml and select Edit from the popup menu
2. Find the line that reads:
3. Delete the line
4. Save the file (File, Save) and Close (click the X in the upper right-hand window)
Start Media Center and add the channel back:
1. Start Media Center
2. Select settings from main menu
3. Select TV
4. Select Guide
5. Select Add Missing Channels (you deleted the channel by editing the xml file above)
6. Select Add DTV Channel
7. Enter the Major number of 9 (substitute your station here) and the minor number of 1 should be automatically entered.
8. Select Next
9. Enter assigned frequency of 52 (substitute your frequency here - google for it)
10. Select Next
11. Select Finish
12. Select Done
13. Select Back on your Remote
14. Select Digital TV Antenna Signal Strength (if you have scheduled recordings, answer YES)
15. Select Next
16. Watch the channel checks as they scroll by and you should now have a signal from KCRG

This process has worked multiple times as one of our stations in the area "tweaks" the channel mappigs quite a bit.

 
FoxCitiesTV's picture
 #

That has to be what's going

That has to be what's going on, though I have not yet verified the method you posted. Thanks to whoever sent this in!

I looked up WLUK's FCC record and there is an application on file for switching back to channel 11 at the end of the DTV transition. The other channel I am having problems receiving right now -- WPNE -- apparently is also applying to move their digital channel back to channel 38 next year. That would make the most sense. I'll be doing some digging into this to see if this helps and if so, I'll do a feature piece on it.

 
Dave_in_Porterfield's picture
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I don't think this explains

I don't think this explains my problems with OTA ATSC reception of ch 11.1 on my tv. I hope they are not testing the "broadcast flag" system or some other "feature". I know when they changed copy protection on dvd's I had to buy a new player to watch rented dvd's on I don't have the funds to buy a new tv every time they muck around.

 
Dave's picture
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After the work around,

After the work around, channel 11 works great. WPNE is (and was) working great for me so I did not make any changes to that. If you look in the file, atscchannels.xml, you can see them all listed correct except WLUK, which is listed as 11 and 11 instead of 51 and 11 in the string. Crazy! It shouldn't be so hard to watch TV :)

 
Dave's picture
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Looks like the fix only

Looks like the fix only worked until the program guide updates or something. Today it didn't work again. I rescaned the channels and it's back to reading 11 and 11 instead of 51 and 11. Changing it every day would be a pain.

 
FoxCitiesTV's picture
 #

I was going to update my

I was going to update my article but haven't had a chance to do it in earnest yet.

I did the fix last night and it worked beautifully. I took the extra step to remove out-of-town channels I can't get (WTMJ, WWAZ, etc) from the channels file while I was in there, which made it easier to use the signal strength guide.

However, I went home to work on a video project over lunch and all the out-of-town channels now appeared on my Xbox 360 extender, and NO ATSC channels except for 2.1 worked. I didn't have time to tinker with it, but it seems like tweaking the channels file will work since Windows updates it. I think that preferences file may be more where to do it. I'll keep tinkering.

 
Gungistoker's picture
 #

Until there's a permanent

Until there's a permanent fix,after making the change, create a backup copy and then paste it into the folder whenever the channels are updated. If you also create a shortcut to the file's folder, replacing the file shouldn't take long at all. I also recommend unchecking 'hidden' in the file's properties before making the backup.

 
Dave's picture
 #

OK, I tried the fix again

OK, I tried the fix again and it's seems to be working perfect, even after a guide update. When I deleted the string I left a blank line the first time and this time I moved everything up to eliminate the gap. Not sure if that had anything to do with it or if Fox was actually down when I checked it yesterday. Who knows, but it works.

 
thosj's picture
 #

Here's a modified version of

Here's a modified version of the post above with what I hope are step-by-step instructions on how to setup WLUK in Vista Media Center. It is copied and edited from the long post above, hopefully I'm not stepping on anyone's toes here.

First, remove the channel from Media Center as below:

In Vista, find the file atscchannels.xml at: \ProgramData\Microsoft\ehome\EPG\prefs
1. Right-click the file atscchannels.xml and select Edit from the popup menu
2. Find the line that reads:
3. Delete the line
4. Save the file (File, Save) and Close

Start Media Center and add the channel back:
1. Start Media Center
2. Select settings from main menu
3. Select TV
4. Select Guide
5. Select Add Missing Channels (you deleted the channel by editing the xml file above)
6. Select Add DTV Channel
7. Enter the Major number of 11 and the minor number of 1 should be automatically entered.
8. Select Next
9. Enter assigned frequency of 51
10. Select Next and type in WLUK-DT where prompted
11. Select Finish
12. Select Done
13. Select Back on your Remote
14. Select Digital TV Antenna Signal Strength (if you have scheduled recordings, answer YES)
15. Select Next
16. Watch the channel checks as they scroll by and you should now have a signal from WLUK

This creates a new file called atscprefs.xml in the same directory as above. This file will override the atscchannels.xml file and when that file gets overwritten by the guide, this one will still override IT and WLUK will stick…….at least it works for me.

 
Dave's picture
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Well here we go again. Now

Well here we go again. Now WFRV is being listed as channel 56 (instead of 39) in the atscchannels.xml file. So you have to do the same work around (above) as we had to do for WLUK. I believe channel 5 WAS on channel 56 for a time, and because of signal problems the FCC allowed them to switch to channel 39. So maybe Microsoft got some old listing or something, who knows. I just thought I would give a heads up for any media center people out there that may be having problems with channel 5.

 
Mare's picture
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I am not getting My New 32

I am not getting My New 32 as of last night.
Had that same prob with Fox 11 and had to use the other channel to get it in yesterday afternoon.

 
Drew's picture
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After much hardwork and $ I

After much hardwork and $ I finally have all the local digital stations coming in fairly consistant. Now I hear fox 11 is going back to it's original VHF Ch11 from it's UHF 51 they are presently broadcasting digital on. My concern is, if they will broadcast enough power for non-local reception. They are currently broadcasting 500 kw's on 51. On their analog 11 station they have a 316 kw transmitter. I know VHF traditionally has a slightly larger range than UHF. But there is less interference on UHF and it is more clear if you can receive it. Fox 11 will have the only VHF Station in our area transmitting a digital signal. Hopefully this will workout quality and range-wise as it is presently. I don't understand why they want to take a chance on ruining a good thing? It looks like we better not throw our older combination VHF/UHF antennas away for a smaller UHF antenna.

 
Willscary's picture
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When the switch occurs,

When the switch occurs, channel 11 will have a 17.2kw transmitter transmitting on physical channel 11.

Bill

 
Drew's picture
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17.2 kw's won't even be

17.2 kw's won't even be enough to make it down that big hill into Titletown, lol. I think my cordless phone has more power :) I just emailed Mike Nipps at Fox 11. He said when the switch occurs digital 11 will have the same coverage area as present analog 11. So it should be greater than what we now receive off 51.

 
Willscary's picture
 #

The main reason for the

The main reason for the national switch to digital is the power savings. Digital TV will use far less power than the current analog system.

Stations can petition the FCC for which physical channel they wish to broadcast on. The FCC looks at their selection and tells them whether it will be granted or not. If not, then they re-petition for a different channel or they file for an FCC hearing on the matter. As an example, WFXS Fox 55 out of Wittenburg (Wausau market) must move thier physical channel, since channel 50 will be the highest available channel per FCC regulations beginning on Feb. 17, 2009. Because the station was not a working, transmitting station when this entire digital process began, it was not allowed to petition for a physical channel at the onset of the process. Now, after all of the other stations nationwide have been granted physical channels, WFXS was alloted physical channel 50. The higher the physical channel (radio frequency), the greater that the signal is affected by rain, moisture, trees, etc. WFXS would like a lower physical number. A lower broadcast frequency would mean better reception in the trees and rolling hills of the Wausau market. It would also mean that a better signal could be achieved with less power output, saving money on electricity. In the Wausau market, channels 7 and 9 will broadcast at physical channels 7 and 9. Channel 20 will broadcast in 24 and channel 12 will broadcast on 16. Although tiny little channel 46 (a 4 channel digital only station affiliated with Ion and a religeous network) will continue to broadcast of physical 46, it is a very small regional channel only received within about 30 miles of the tower...which happens to be WFXS main tower.

The reason all of the other Wausau stations have low channels is because they provide better reception with less power output in the heavily treed hills of the market area.

Once the FCC table of allotments for physical channels has been set, then studies are done which determine how much power is needed to cover a certain geographic area, taking into account the terrain, ground cover and average atmospheric conditions (weather). Also considered are the broadcast of co-channels and adjacent channels in nearby markets. The FCC models predict adjacent channel and co-channel interference when all stations are powered to provide full coverage in their market. Adjustments are made until an agreement is reached with all FCC officials and with the U.S. Congress. The stations can petition for changes, but they usually will not be allowed a change.

After this long-winded response, I will tell you that 99.9% of all broadcast TV stations in the United States havehad their broadcasting parameters finalized by the FCC in the 7th Table of Allotments last fall. (Over 99% had been finalized in the 6th Table of Allotments nearly a full year ago.) The 8th Final Table of Allotments can be found on the FCC website. There you can find EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about every TV station on U.S. controlled soil.

WLUK has been alloted physical channel 11 broadcasting with 17.2 kw of power. You can find this information here: (the first is the actual document, the second is the table with the listings. These documents have been rewritten several times over the last 11 years, but below is the newest...from about 6 weeks ago)

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-72A1.pdf

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-72A2.pdf

VHF needs less power than UHF. Hence, only 17.2 kw of power output.

Bill

 
Drew's picture
 #

Sorry Bill, But you are

Sorry Bill,
But you are wrong. One of Fox 11's small translater stations on VHF 11 is currently operating on 17.2 kw's of power. That is not going to be their main transmitter come the switch. A 17 kw transmitter on VHF would be very hard pressed to make it 20 miles on a good day. It is obvious VHF has a greater range and will be less affected by bad weather, atmospheric conditions, etc. But there is no way possible you will get the same coverage from a power cut from 500 kw's currently on UHF to 17 kw's as you stated on VHF. That is ridiculous! Before you come back with another long winded FCC reply, go contact Mike Nipps at Fox 11. You will save your fingers from getting worn out and see they will be transmitting on their current 300 some kw transmitter which Mike informed me will have the same range as the 500 kw transmitter they are currently using on VHF. You were wrong about them not having a DVD Recorder with digital tuner and hard drive in one of your previous postings and you are wrong again my friend :)

 
Willscary's picture
 #

Drew, Did you check the DTV

Drew,

Did you check the DTV Table of Allotments? It is quite clear.

If you do not wish to believe the FCC table, then look up the local OTA stations on www.tvfoolool.com. You will get the same results. You will also find that Wausau channels 7 and 9 are also transmitting at the same general power output (right around 17kw) after the digital transition.

WLUK's signal coverage will decrease slightly after the switch. Read the FCC documents, then visit tvfool.com. They will both agree with me.

Of course, you will not do this simple act because you already are sure I am wrong.

As far as my being "wrong" about the DVR with a built in digital tuner...I asked that question specifically because I had not seen one in a few years and when I looked for one online, I came up empty. I can not open the Best Buy ad and find one, and I was not able to find one in a store. I guess that made me "wrong". However, I asked the question hoping for a positive answer that did not involve a HTPC and you were knowledgable to give me a viable alternative. I will admit that I have not looked up the model that you recommended as of yet, but it does not mean that I won't. I thank you for that positive reply.

Unfortunately, my fingers are getting tired, so I must end my post.

EDIT: I just looked up the current broadcast transmitter Power ratings for WGBA Channel 26 and WBAY Channel 2 (analog for both). WGBA transmits their analog signal on physical channel 26 with a power output of 5000kw. WBAY transmits their analog signal on physical channel 2 at 100kw. Their coverage area is very close to the same. Frequency matters. The lower the frequency, the less power is needed for the same coverage.

Bill

 
Bill M's picture
 #

I've just stumbled onto this

I've just stumbled onto this page. Interesting discussion.
I'm a broadcast engineer and at one time worked for WPNE FM / TV.
Since I now work for another state agency, I have not followed all of the details of the Green Bay DTV transition but have some general observations. Some of the strange signal reception problems may be related to many of the original DTV assignments being sort of short spaced with existing analog channels. There are areas of interference. An example, In Appleton this has been seen as noise in the analog reception of Ch 26 due the interference from DTV 26 in Madison.

Also many of the stations have not been running their DTV transmitters at full power since there is not really a large base of viewers yet.

In regards to power costs. In general it takes more transmitter power to generate a watt of digital vs a watt of analog because the digital DTV signal is a linear power level across the the entire 6mhz channel vs. peak power needed in the analog world.

Although, in many cases I think most TV stations will see a savings in electrical costs because current technology transmitters are more efficient than the their older analog rigs now in use.

 
jeremy l's picture
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I just had to use the above

I just had to use the above method to take care of the same issue with WFRV in Green Bay. The channel should be 39 and not 56 which is recorded in the media center data table listed in the directions above.

 
Tom's picture
 #

I'm just jealous that some

I'm just jealous that some of you got your Media Center PCs and XBox 360s to work. I tried every trick on the internet.. the Xbox 360 will go to the internet, but not recognize the computer. ARGH! (no special firewall, virus scan, hard-wired network..).

If anyone ran into some 'A HA!' moment, post 'em.
If you all plugged it in & it worked out of the box... I hate you. :)

Tom

...Also, the freezing of the ground causes changes in transmission/reception patterns. I get weird reception things around this time each year.

 
Anonymous's picture
 #

WLUK stubbornly insisted on

WLUK stubbornly insisted on switching back to VHF from UHF broadcasting of digital signals, while all the other Green Bay stations are broadcasting in the UHF frequency. WLUK's ridiculous choice makes everyone's UHF antenna (which works just great for all the other local channels) useless for WLUK. Hence, I and many others have simply given up and dropped WLUK from our regular viewing.

 

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