Sometime over the past week, this humble blog had its 100,000th reader.
Thanks for continuing to tune in to see the latest in over-the-air TV in Houston.
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I’m going to dip into the comment bag for some blog comments that I felt deserve a longer response than I can provide in a comment reply. Dissenting opinions are always welcome.
Hello, I produce a couple of tv shows and I am interested in pitching them to some of the local DTV channels. How many households in Houston would you say actually watch dtv channels? Do people really watch? Is it worth it to air via DTV? Do advertisers buy time on DTV channels? Thanks!
Let’s look at the numbers. There are 2,177,220 households with TV in the Houston market.
According to the most recent statistics, 83.4% of TV households in Houston subscribe to cable or another pay service. 55.3% subscribe to cable, while 28.8% subscribe to either satellite, SMATV or MDS services. (The 0.7% difference between the total of those two figures and the 83.4% cited earlier is for households that subscribe to both cable and another delivery service.
If 83.4% of households subscribe to a paid delivery service, then 16.6% (or 361,418 households) don’t. This does not take into account households that have both a paid delivery service and over-the-air sets (for example, satellite only in one room, while other rooms rely on antennas, or sets with both cable and over-the-air hookups, like mine.)
KUHT cites a statistic that shows 37.8% of Hispanic households in Houston rely on over-the-air broadcasts only.
So how many actually watch? I don’t have those statistics, but you can assume that it’s somewhere around 361,000 households.
The digital transition put the low-power stations on a more equal footing in signal quality if not in reception area. The low-power stations that broadcast from Missouri City (all but one) will have reception issues in most of northern, eastern and southeastern Harris County, and most likely no reception at all outside Harris and Fort Bend counties.
I don’t see that many local advertisements on the English-language secular channels. I do see a lot of local ads on the Chinese, Vietnamese and Spanish channels, and I see some on the urban-formatted channels.
Is it worth it to air on a low-power channel? Probably more so if your program is in Vietnamese, Chinese or Spanish. Costs would be lower on an LPTV channel than on one of the full-power stations. Only you can answer this question. Keep in mind that the only LPTV stations on Comcast are Multimedios KHLM channel 43.1 and Visión Celestial KZHO channel 38.1.
We’ve recently discontinued our Comcast service to explore HDTV land. While we enjoy live-streaming most of our favorite programs from network websites, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there’s one problem we’ve been unable to solve. What is the secret to getting KHOU & CBS? We live in an apartment complex near the Galleria, so we can’t put up an exterior, roof-top antenna (best solution so far). We have a small, interior reflecting antenna that works well for everything else. Have emailed the tech address at KHOU, but the most recent post on their page dates from 2009, so am not optimistic about receiving an answer.
DTV on VHF channels can be problematic. In fact, nationwide, a number of channels that were assigned VHF frequencies in the transition have moved back to UHF because the signal travels better with less interference. One of the biggest examples is KTVT, CBS 11 in Dallas, which moved to channel 19 after losing a lot of its audience on VHF channel 11.
With DTV even a small change in antenna position can make the difference between receiving the signal and not receiving it.
Another possibility is multipath — where the signal reaches you directly and also by reflecting off a building somewhere between you and Missouri City. The two signals would cause enough interference to each other that your TV wouldn’t be able to decode it.
There’s a lot out there on digital TV in Houston. Beyond the major networks, there are a lot of low-power channels that offer varied programming. I plan to follow the rapidly-changing DTV landscape and be a program guide of sorts. Welcome!