Home Miami TV DTV Transition: Sub-Channels Edition – Useful Choice or Useless Clutter?

DTV Transition: Sub-Channels Edition – Useful Choice or Useless Clutter?


Part of the promise of this painful move to digital television was the availability of more channels and with that more “choice”, in addition to High Definition. Which the @MiamiNewTimes isn’t so thrilled with when it comes to some local newscasters, it  “is like watching tales from the Crypt” they say. Ouch!

I made a list of all over the air channels available in the Palm Beach and Miami-Dade markets from the broadcast stations. Check it out here

What do you think? Is the DTV transition all that and more or did we just get a bunch of TV clutter?


  1. Bunch of clutter and much ado about nothing. Digital TV really is only important to the engineers and money grubbers.

  2. WTVX has 34.4 which is Retro Television Network, I cannot believe you all forgot that!

    Also, I asked WPTV about the possibility of getting Universal Sports. To my surprise, I got an emailed response from their general manager. He stated that there was not enough room in their digital spectrum, and they had a huge commitment to their crappy weather channel. So I emailed him back and mentioned what WTVJ does with 3 subchannels (he probably didnt know i was aware of such technology). He came back at me and said that they actually just dont want to carry Universal Sports since they didnt think it would garner enough attention. Of course, a non existent 5.3 is better than actually having something there…..

    WPTV is lucky to have any viewers, when the Miami stations are in such close reach. This is why i prefer WTVJ for NBC than WPTV.

  3. Does anyone else without cable not get WPBT-Channel 2’s digital channels? I’m wondering whether the analog Channel 2 and the “How to” they have on DTV is preventing the digital channels from getting through.

  4. I found a really good indoor antena the “Terk5″” does a remarkable job pulling the these stations in. I got mine from Amazon for $29.99 (free shipping)

  5. The list may not be up to date. Here’s what I’ve seen the last time I looked at the OTA English channels I can pick up:

    2-2 is ‘Create’ (as is 42-2) most of the time.
    2-4 & 2-5 don’t exist
    4-2 doesn’t exist
    7-2 is ‘pseudo-weather’ (“weather show loaded and ready to run”)
    17-2 now has different programming than 17-1
    33-2 doesn’t exist
    63-2 doesn’t exist

    The best sub-channel ever was ‘The Tube’, once broadcast over 29-2 and 39-2. A true shame they left the planet. That channel was what MTV started out to be. As for current sub-channels, I’d have to go with the weather channels. Spanish sub-channels on English primaries is simply absurd.

    Digital and HD in general are simply awesome innovations. Analog to HD is as AM is to a CD. I could never seriously watch analog again.

  6. Each station only has 6MHz of bandwidth available, just like in the old NTSC analog system. With the digital ATSC system, the more standard definition subchannels a station adds, the worse the main HD channel looks. They have to steal bits from the HD channel to make bits available for the extra SD subchannels.

    WFOR is a CBS O&O and CBS Engineering believes that ATSC is barely adequate for just one HD main channel and nothing else. I am inclined to agree.

    By inference, if WPTV added a third SD subchannel for sports, it would make theiir main HD channel and/or thier WX Plus 5.2 channel picture quality decline.

  7. I believe the number of sub-channels affects picture quality but not signal strength.

    Re: WFOR – Sure, a single channel using all the bandwidth is best, but they’re still not doing local HD. If CBS is so concerned about picture quality, then why are they waiting so long to upgrade WFOR to local HD?

  8. Freddy….I live in North Broward and pick up all the ch2 substations including their latin station. I live in a private house and use a Terk indoor antenna. Maybe you live in a high rise apt or maybe something is blocking the signal where you live.

  9. Joe,

    CBS laid plans to do all-HD local news at all of the O&Os, beginning with WBBM in Chicago and one othe that I can’t recall.

    As to why they didn’t follow through with the rest, my guess is lack of $$$.

    • Dave, if that’s true it’s pretty sad. You’d think that now, years after the fact, they’d have had a budget in place and had it done already. I guess considering the big picture, local news isn’t all that important. Big mistake IMO.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here