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Why do station use OTA Translators?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by nrnoble, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. nrnoble

    nrnoble Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    I have been wondering about this for decades:

    Why do TV stations use translators?

    In the Seattle area several, but not all, the local TV stations use translators. What is the purpose and why are the translators channels all over the map? Example, local Fox Channel 13 also use 14, 25, 28, 43 and 7. And channel 7 is already in use by the local CBS station. If the goal is to be a repeater, why not simply stick with the Channel 13 in those areas where they are repeating the OTA signal?

  2. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

    Jul 24, 2001
    Milwaukee, WI
    Translators fill in an area where a television or radio station's signal does not reach, generally because of geographic characteristics, like valleys or mountains.

    If a translator operated on the same frequency as the parent station, it would cause interference for both the translator and the parent station. It would defeat the purpose of having the translator in the first place. The nice part is that with digital TV, even though the translator operates on a different frequency from the main station, it can appear to be the same channel number through what is referred to as PSIP.

    Translators cannot interfere with any other stations. As a result, they have to kind of scavenge for whatever clear frequency is available (hint: not many.) For instance, one area might have channel 13 free, so they use that; in another area, it might be too near another TV station using channel 13, so they have to try and find another frequency.
  3. nrnoble

    nrnoble Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    Thanks, that makes sense.

    Years ago back in the 70s I lived in very rural area and we barely could get any TV stations; a snowy picture at best, and everyone in the area had a problem in the fall where we'd get channel interferrence from stations from the Midwest, several thousand miles away. I believe the signals were bouncing off the atmosphere. The stations from the midwest came in so clear that it totally over powered the closet stations that was about 150 miles away.
  4. stoli412

    stoli412 New Member

    Nov 22, 2003
    Philadelphia PA
    A few digital channels are now operating with a distributed transmission system, or single-frequency network. Instead of having 1 main high-power transmitter with several repeaters on different frequencies, they scatter several low-power transmitters around their coverage area that all operate on the same frequency. We have a station here in SE Pennsylvania: WTVE. Their main analog transmitter used to be in Reading. When they went digital, they wanted to expand into the Philadelphia market, and they used a SFN to accomplish it.

    You can check out their Wikipedia page, which has links that give more info on SFN: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WTVE

    As far as which system works better, I don't know.
  5. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    Some public TV or Radio stations used to acquire translators to increase their reach for $$$$ pledge time. I don't know if that many do it today.

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