Personal Technology & Gadgets

Digital converter coupons

Got my digital converter coupons in the mail this week. The end of analog TV is nigh! February 2009 is the turn off date.

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Personal Technology & Gadgets

Tower construction underway


Finally, tower construction at Lookout Mountain (near Golden) for HDTV television antennas is underway. I’ve been following this issue for some time, so this is a real step forward.

Technology & Gadgets

HDTV Colorado

I’ve been watching the HDTV situation for some time in Colorado, and I must say, I don’t agree with any of the issues that are brought up to stop the supertower for HDTV on Lookout Mountain in Denver. These folks are all ignorant of the science, pushing their ill-founded fears on the rest of us, when if they bother to do some research, they’d actually understand the benefits of the supertower. It’s bothersome to me mostly because these not-in-my-backyard naysayers understand little or distrust the science that’s gone into EMI (no, it doesn’t cause cancer!). As a frequent reader of comp.risks, the source of these fears is well-known (risks you don’t understand = EMI vs. risks you do = driving a car). Maybe if one person in C.A.R.E. (the supertower detracters) would read this blog, I could convert them:

  • EMI has never, ever been shown to cause any health risk. This includes brain cancer (remember those bogus cellphone = brain cancer stories?) Early statistical studies were flawed, but popular thinking has never been “corrected” of this. Raised EMI in certain regions is caused by the superior coverage of the taller antenna. Since raised EMI doesn’t cause health risks (I would live under a power line), this only means better coverage.
  • Moving to digital television will save lives. Emergency services personnel are hampered by poor communications over an analog system with limited bandwidth. The FCC mandate to move to digital is designed to free up this analog bandwidth for the firefighters, EMTs, ambulance and other emergency personnel who will save your life (I had a heart attack, but died because the communications weren’t working). Everyone within the coverage area benefits from this, especially those near the tower where analog broadcasts are causing all the problems.
  • Lookout Mountain will look better. Really. It’s an eyesore from any distance right now. Here’s a picture I took:

Coming from the Bay Area, where I could get close to 20 OTA High Definition stations, I’m very dissappointed that at similar range, I can only get 3 in Denver (PBS, NBC, ABC) of any value.

I happened to catch the trail end of an ad from hdtvcolorado on ABC showing an animation of how the extremely ugly Lookout mountain would look after a good part of the tower farm is replaced by a supertower (6 to 1!). It’s impressively cleaned up, and would actually turn Lookout Mountain into more of a destination rather than an eyesore. Here’s the picture version I found.


To pretend to balance this entry, here’s the website by the people blocking the supertower. For those with a scientific background, pay special attention to the gross misuse of statistics in the bullseye or sharpshooter fallacy (explained here) on this page (misused here). To summarize, you can’t draw the bullseye after you’ve randomly shot up the wall vis-a-vis cancer cases (see great Frontline episode “Currents of Fear” here, nice write-up here).

Technology & Gadgets

Success with Hi-Definition in Denver

I finally got around to putting up a UHF antenna on my roof in Boulder Heights. To my pleasure and surprise, with my ChannelMaster Titan 7777 amplifier and ChannelMaster 4228 UHF 8 Bay antenna, I am able to pick up NBC and ABC without dropouts (among other, less important channels). Here’s a picture of my setup:

My ATSC tuner is the Hughes HR10-250 HD TiVo + DirecTV PVR.

For those who are in the Denver area, I’m about 45 miles from the low-power transmitters in downtown Denver (no Lookout mountain tower!). says I’ll get nothing. I was able to get waivers to receive CBS and FOX from the Left Coast in HD, so ABC and NBC were the only holdouts. Now all my important networks are high-def.

Here’s some screenshots of high-def content in Denver:

NBC local news with a 16th street mall story:

ABC Desperate Housewives (recorded):