As many of you heard, 1400 KLIN took the leap and tried to sync up the Husker Sports Network audio with the TV video of the Nebraska-Iowa State game. We have heard from many of you who tried it. Many of you were happy with the results, some of you were not. I knew going in that we would not be able to satisfy everybody because of the seemingly infinite combinations that people use to receive their television. With more combinations comes more built-in delays. We are likely going to try this again for the Texas A&M game using some of the lessons learned from our first experience.
Meanwhile, to better explain why the radio sync worked for some and didn't work for others, I will use this email from longtime listener Joe Eisenberg. Joe is a very technically savvy person who is a ham radio operator and works with the Lancaster County Storm Spotters network and I think gives a pretty good explanation of the various delays built into today's television transmission and reception situation.
As you know, I am a technical type of guy, and so here goes…
The sync effort was absolutely perfect if you were watching the HD feed from KETV on TW cable. Any other combination did not work. It was amazing to me that even when the band was playing, there was NO echo at all, and they even sounded to be perfectly in phase..an amazing feat! Obviously, there are just so many different ways to receive television now that you really have to pick the one you prefer to sync with. (off air/cable/cable with converter/satellite/standard def/HD/Tivo) Back in the good old days in the late 70s early 80s, network TV still came via coaxial cable or point to point microwave relay. When satellites came into general usage for network TV delivery to affiliates, the delay became an issue. Add to that the invention of the time-base corrector which made analog TV signals better and less prone to shifts in color and sync, added more delay. Digital TV is even more complex. Try going to a place like Walmart, where they have a wall of digital TVs all hooked to the exact same digital TV demo source, yet each set plays at a slightly different time, with the seemingly random echoing being rather unsettling. In the good old days, a store display wall full of analog TVs had no echo since there was no difference in sets when it came to display rates. Now, with digital signals it is different is because each individual TV set performs the digital decoding and buffering of the digital data and displays the video and audio at a slightly different rate. (think 720p/1080i, etc. each having different data rates and amount of data for the set to interpret) Now, add to that the added delay to prevent visual or audio obscenity, and the delay becomes a moving target. Also, each individual network TV affiliate does things differently, including how they receive and process the HD signal and transport their signal to the transmitter and the nuances of their digital modulator at the transmitter itself make for an infinite number of combinations. So, to reliably do the sync (I still loved it!) you have to pick a broadcast partner and delivery method and stick to them to make the sync work right. Because of the variation in the decoding performed by the individual TV sets, you will never be able to be perfect for every viewer. In my case, my TV is a Philips 42” plasma (about 5 years old) connected to TW Cable, without a converter box, just using the Clear QAM feed they provide for HD. Over the air reception would have been different yet. In the good old days, I used to turn down the insipid babbling of the network announcers who had no clue what football is like in Nebraska and listened to the wonderful descriptions of Lyell Bremser. I applaud your attempt to do this again, and if you simply promote a “partnership” with a particular TV provider/delivery path, people will have a better chance to experience it the way I did..and that was perfect or near perfect synchronization.