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From the author of Watching ATSC TV

Watching ATSC TV

Once you've configured your TV signal, you can return to the WMC main menu and open the Guide (Figure 4).

Figure 4 Preparing to open the TV Program Guide.

Digital TV channels use decimals to indicate each subchannel, as you can see from a typical program guide listing (Figure 5).

Figure 5 A typical listing of digital broadcast TV channels in TV Program Guide.

Current programs are shown in white; future programs are shown in light blue. To watch a program, click it with your mouse or WMC remote, or use your keyboard and press Enter after moving to it with the cursor keys.

Good, Bad, and Missing ATSC TV Channels

Although you might see many ATSC TV channels in the Program Guide, it’s no guarantee that all of them can actually be picked up by your system. Select different channels and look for results similar to the following.

Good Digital TV Reception

A digital TV channel that produces good digital TV reception provides clear, well-synchronized audio and video and a crisp picture with little or no picture breakup (as shown in Figure 6).

Figure 6 Good digital TV reception.

Bad Digital TV Reception

A digital TV channel that produces bad digital TV reception may produce unsynchronized audio and video, frozen video, and, in extreme cases, partial or complete video breakup (Figure 7).

Figure 7 Bad digital TV reception; the channel is unwatchable.

No Digital TV Reception

A black screen, followed by a No TV Signal message after a few seconds, indicates that no signal at all is being received by your TV tuner for the channel.

By using the Digital TV Antenna Signal Strength task, you might be able to adjust antenna positioning and improve the picture on some TV stations.

Checking Digital TV Antenna Signal Strength

To check digital TV antenna signal strength, return to the Windows Media Center main menu and open the Tasks menu strip. Select Settings (Figure 8).

Figure 8 Opening the Settings menu.

In the Settings menu, click TV > TV Signal > Digital TV Antenna Signal Strength. Click Yes if prompted. The Signal Strength wizard opens. Click Next to continue.

The wizard scans each digital TV channel and displays a signal strength graph. Green (five or six bars) indicates a very good signal. Orange (four bars or less) indicates an acceptable signal. Red (one bar) indicates a poor signal that is unusable. Figure 9 illustrates acceptable and poor signal scans.

Figure 9 Scanning digital TV signal strength, channel by channel.

The wizard repeats the scan again and again, which allows you to adjust your to improve signal quality. Be sure to note the antenna settings that produce the best signal strength for each channel.

After you have positioned the antenna to produce the best picture quality for each channel, clear the checkmarks in front of channels that have no signal. The wizard will skip these channels as it continues to scan. In Figure 10, note that some channels no longer have checkboxes, as they were skipped during a previous scan.

Figure 10 Skipping digital TV channels that don't produce usable signal strength.

Make sure only channels with usable signals (green or orange) are selected, then click Next to continue. On the following screen, click Finish.

When you return to the program guide, only digital TV channels you selected in the antenna strength wizard are listed (Figure 11).

Figure 11 The digital TV channel listing after unselecting channels with poor signal strength.

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