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Old April 2nd, 2006, 11:46 PM   #1
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PBS Flunks Test of Time

One thing that's worse than having no information, is having incorrect information. For two years, I've struggled with keeping the time of day correct on my DV/S-VHS dual-deck VCR. No matter how often I've set it, the next day, it's 3 minutes fast again. When we shifted to DST last night at 2 am, I finally figured it out. It has an auto time-setting feature that is run by the broadcast signal of local PBS stations, which have the contract to carry this service. Only they don't know the correct time. I pulled the antenna connection out and thought the problem was solved, as I never use its tuner, anyway. Not so. The PBS signal is so strong, that it gets into the VCR with nothing but the RF jack exposed. What's next, putting aluminum foil around it as a shield? I can't find a way to turn off the auto time feature. It's not a real problem, but it still annoys me. Anyone who depended on this service for their timed-programming, would always miss the previews for the next show. Good thing the time isn't 3 minutes slow or they'd miss the opening murders on "Law & Order".
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:29 AM   #2
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There's the same problem in another northwest town (on the issue of really strong signals)... It aired on KING-TV's Evening Magazine once.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #3
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You think that's bad? The time is encoded into ALL the digital broadcasts, and many stations do not do well at keeping time. The worst part is that I have a Samsung SIRT165 over the air tuner, which is especially valuable, since it has a firewire connection to my DVHS VCR. The problem is, the tuner does all the recording scheduling, and controls the DVHS over firewire. Now comes the rub. The tuner starts the recording based on the time from the STATION BEING RECORDED. I can't wait until the analog goes off, so they'll pay attention to the digital.
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Old April 8th, 2006, 05:46 PM   #4
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I think the muppets just like messing with you :)
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Old April 9th, 2006, 07:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Forman
I think the muppets just like messing with you :)
The Muppets would do a better job of keeping time. I think I've figured out one way the PBS stations give us the wrong time. As David says, all their digital broadcasts have the time encoded in them. So, if a program is scheduled for broadcast at 9:00 pm, when it starts running, it sends a message to all the digital tuners that it is 9:00 pm. Only problem is, that PBS stations don't always adhere to a tight time-schedule, as commercial stations do. They often start a program late, needing to spend time cajoling us to contribute money. It would be well-deserved for them to lose the time-service contract. Why not just end the service entirely? Have people become so helpless they can't even set their own clocks?
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Old April 9th, 2006, 01:00 PM   #6
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Do the VCRs flashing 12:00 across America answer your question? It is really sad these days, eh?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 09:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith Forman
Do the VCRs flashing 12:00 across America answer your question? It is really sad these days, eh?
And if that doesn't, the advent of the venerable VCR-Plus thingy does for sure.

My old Sony VCR (ca. 1992) doesn't have the auto-clock feature. The Comcast cable box is self-sufficient, and apparently accurate. I adjust all my clocks and timepieces to station WWV twice a year (spring-forward and fall-back) and most behave themselves.

Still, why does Fox often start the Simpsons (even repeats) a minute early? Why does ABC start a number of programs exactly 1 minute after the hour? I've heard it's an anti-Tivo thing, who knows?
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Old April 12th, 2006, 09:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Boze
Still, why does Fox often start the Simpsons (even repeats) a minute early? Why does ABC start a number of programs exactly 1 minute after the hour?
I've read that these schedule oddities are done as a way to catch channel surfers during the credits or commercials on another network....
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Old April 13th, 2006, 06:39 AM   #9
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A strong PBS signal is good, no? I'm thinking of going to rabbit ears myself so a strong PBS signal from Seattle would be a nice addition to CBC. :-)
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