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Open Letter to UNC-TV Regarding Over-the-Air UNC-KD UNC-ED Public Television Broadcast Changes September 2008

roadskater's picture
I watch free TV, meaning I have an antenna (up in the attic no less, as I'm not sure I want to attract lightning, deal with installation woes, and risk the oak trees damaging the antenna when limbs land on the roof). I receive digital broadcasts, and don't pay for cable television (but do for internet). On good days I can get programming I would not get on cable, including broadcasts from Durham, Raleigh, Roanoke and more. Some days, however, I admit I have trouble getting WXII in Winston-Salem, or WUNC-TV from Chapel Hill or Winston-Salem. Until February, I can still watch the analog signal via my VCR, into separate inputs of which I am sending both the analog and digital signals.

I only really miss cable during Tour de France. Most of the time I don't know what I'm missing, and I don't really miss it. I've even learned to live without 162 Atlanta Braves games running in the background of my brain.

UNC-TV having three or four channels at once was helping a great deal! Recently, however, due to bandwidth allocation choices, UNC-TV removed the UNC-ED (non-NC, non-kids-cartoons) channel from the air. They started delivering UNC-TV as an HD signal, I think. That meant they had to choose among the KD, NC and ED channels and provide two. It seems the KD channel often (not always) uses less bandwidth (due to solid color cartoons having better compression ratios).

There's much more at the following link, including explanations of the decision, and a place to comment...please do!

Due to implementation of technology called statistical multiplexing where the bandwidth is dynamically allocated between the program streams as needed, this permitted UNC-TV to have a minimal impact on the quality and put on a full time HD channel along with 2 full time SD channels...The system favors the HD channel and gives minimum bandwidth to the KD channel since the solid-color minimum detail cartoon type programs require far less bandwidth.
http://unc-tv-dtv.blogspot.com/2008/10/message-from-wayne-estabrooks-for... " target="_blank">http://unc-tv-dtv.blogspot.com/2008/10/message-from-wayne-estabrooks-former.html
Here's where you can comment...
Here's my comment, but please add yours even if you don't agree, and even if you do:
I want over-the-air (OTA) educational programming above all else, for everyone, as nobody else provides this. I love kids and their eduction is paramount, but sleep is important too, so I don't see the need for a 24-hour OTA kids cartoons channel. Older kids and adults could be watching something else incredible while the kids are safely asleep.

UNC-TV has switching capabilities we know. I propose one of these:
* sharing the OTA digital channel now used by UNC-KD and delivering a predictably switched OTA mix of UNC-KD and UNC-ED streams, rebranding the OTA broadcast as UNC-OA, if necessary;
* or, if this can't be done, switching the two channels (UNC-KD and UNC-ED) on and off using a predictable schedule as was done before with UNC-HD vs. UNC-NC and UNC-ED, with an onscreen message: "UNC-KD is available daily xAM-xAM and xPM-xPM.";
* combining content among NC and ED and reducing repetitions within a 24-hour period, switching from NC to ED as the channel, as not all content on NC is NC-focused in the truest sense anyway;
* or, my least favorite choice, replacing the OTA UNC-KD channel with the OTA UNC-ED one.

I propose the UNC-OA (or whatever over-the-air) broadcast now used by KD switching automatically on a daily basis to provide ED programming when UNC-TV is already showing kids' programming, and also from 9PM to 6AM (or whenever your ratings show educational-cartoon-watching kids are asleep). Thus, I'm proposing showing KD programming from 6A-7A and 530P-9P, or perhaps 5A-7A and 5P-9P.

Surely UNC-ED over-the-air programming would achieve your mission to a greater extent in the remaining hours, especially overnight.

KD programming 24/7 is a nice offering for cable, and if you increase bandwidth or compression capabilities, and I am all for providing free over-the-air educational cartoons. But the vast historic and current catalog of non-NC-focused non-kids' cartoon public television educational programming deserves airwaves. Imagine all the literature, arts, travel/geography/sociology and historical programming available! Please don't leave this to YouTube, since internet access is not free, and rights holders must protect their rights in that medium!

Give us our rich past and present over the airwaves, free for all who've cut the cable, educating everyone, especially those who can least afford it. And while the kids are asleep or already have the main channel devoted to them, please get back to providing non-NC-focused, non-kids-cartoons educational programming for the rest of the age and interest groups you serve. And by the way, thanks for decades of enriching my life and giving my parents and myself so much to share and discuss!

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