WIN TV goes HD in Canberra

Last night I went to the official opening of the new Bing Lee store in Fyshwick, Canberra. Nice store. I’ll be writing about that for Appliance Retailer sometime today (if you’re reading, James :-). There, one of the speech-makers disclosed that WIN TV (the regional version of Channel 9) had started high definition digital TV broadcasts that afternoon.

Checked it out today. Sure enough, it’s now on. Kind of. Actually, it’s only a loop of HD material (I think the same loop that Channel 9 used to use). But it is in 1080i and some of the detail is simply spectacular.

One interesting side effect, though, is increased ‘judder’. That’s nothing to do with WIN but with the 1080i. This shows 25 frames per second (50 interlaced fields, thus the ‘i’). Because the image is sharper than standard definition, camera pans and the like resolve the movement of detail more clearly so the pans become less smooth as you see the finely detailed image in one position, then slightly displaced one 25th of a second later, and again a bit later, and so on.

This is less likely to be noticed on most movies (when they get around to putting actual program material on) because competent cinematographers balance their shutter speed/aperture to ensure a small amount of smearing during pans and significant subject motion and this irons out the judder. (For an example of this, watch the opening moments of A Bug’s Life — as the ‘camera’ pans up over the mud flat, the sharp edges of this clearly clunk down bit by bit. Yet throughout most of the movie, particular on the characters, the computer programmers have introduced an artificial ‘camera smear’ to avoid this during character movement. Freeze the picture during fast motion and you’ll see this quite clearly.)

Anyway, for those in Canberra who have a high definition tuner and want access the new WIN HD service, you will need to adjust your digital TV receiver’s settings. The easiest way is to note on what station you receive the SD version of WIN (UHF Channel 65 or 788.5MHz for Tuggeranong and Western Creek, VHF 11 or 219.5MHz for those with direct reception from Black Mountain Tower), go into the receiver’s settings menu, select the ‘manual’ search option and key in the channel or frequency as appropriate, then hit search. The tuner will find two stations, entitled ‘WIN TV Canberra’ and ‘WIN TV HD’. These are generally numbered 8 and 80 respectively.

If you would rather re-do the whole tuning, I strongly suggest that you find the ‘Factory Reset’ option first and use this to zap all the current settings. Then when you do the scan you won’t double up on stations (some tuners don’t handle this at all elegantly).

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