Monday, June 29, 2009

DirecTV and KFTL

Let me start off this little rant by saying that I don't really watch KFTL. Most of their programming is either home shopping or the same religious whacko jabbering on and on about whatever. Not my cup of tea.

But they do run classic TV during the night (rather than infomercials), and once in a while when I've run past them with the analog tuner (before they transitioned last week), they were showing Victory At Sea, which has an amazing musical score, if nothing else.

Since they transitioned to digital, KFTL is somewhat difficult to pull in. The HDHomerun has them sort of in-and-out, depending on the weather conditions. The Samsung tuner brings them in a little better.

But the DirecTV receivers don't show KFTL in the channel list at all.

The DirecTV HR20/HR21/HR22 can tune local channels (the HR21 and HR22 need to have the AM21 ATSC tuner add-on), but they get the list of channels over the dish from DirecTV along with the program guide. You can't "scan" for channels with these receivers, you must pick and choose from the available channels they say you can have.

The good news is that you can pick two markets, in case some of the channels are from an adjacent market. This is how I am able to get the tuners to see KSBW and KCBA (you tell it 95050 for the San Francisco bay area DMA and 95060 for the Santa Cruz/Monterey/Salinas market). But if you get a channel that is not on their list... Well, then you *don't* get that channel.

KFTL is not on their channel list.

I've attempted to bring this up with DirecTV. The response I got from their customer service department was that KFTL was not on the list because it is an out-of-market station.

KFTL transmits from Mount San Bruno. There is no possibility that they could be any more in the San Francisco market than that unless they were on Sutro tower, which is one mile north and actually in the city of San Francisco.

In short, their assertion is factually incorrect.

I rather suspect that the issue is that since KFTL is a low power broadcaster that they're just to lazy to add it to the list.

Note that I'm not demanding that DirecTV carry KFTL over the dish as part of the local channels they provide for those who don't have an OTA antenna. But for those of us who can receive them, I think they should not stand in the way.

If you agree and are a DirecTV customer in the bay area, why not drop them a line? Tell them that if they want to lie about why they don't have KFTL in the lineup, they should try coming up with a lie that isn't demonstrably false.

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