website hit counter Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch - Chris Lanier

Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

Reports suggest that the Digital TV switch in the US went by with little confusion or problems.  Of course, if you rely on Windows Media Center your experience likely wasn’t in line with those reports.  Ben said the transition is causing grief for Media Center users, but for most that might be an understatement. 

Microsoft seemed to think they were prepared; after all they deployed a nice Service Alert tile in Media Center on the 9th that explained the issue.  What they didn’t do is update their servers and other online components to reflect the frequency changes that came with the switch.  Unlike most setups, Media Center replies on online data instead of communication with the ATSC broadcasters.  Microsoft is aware of the issue and seems to be making progress in various places, however this is one of those key updates that Microsoft had loads of time to prepare for and when the switch came it caused mass confusion among users.

The interim fix for the issue in Windows Media Center is to edit the atscchannels.xml file in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\EPG\prefs with the updated frequencies.  You can find those frequencies at various websites including TV Fool (just input your zip code) and the FCCs own database.  You can also delete the atscchannels.xml and manually create the channels within Media Center.  To do this navigate to Settings > TV > Guide > Add Missing Channels.  The frequency is the same as the “real” number shown in the TV Fool website.  Doing this manually requires you to assign the EPG listings to the channel through Settings > TV > Guide > Add Listings to Channel.

Update: This should now be fixed, re-run your Guide setup.

Published Sun, Jun 14 2009 16:51 by chrisl


# re: Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

It is rather sad. There were similar problems after the 'first' round of switching.

Monday, June 15, 2009 8:23 AM by PeterFnet

# re: Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

What's really sad is this was a known issue with stations that changed early. Take a look on Microsoft owned The Green Button and you will see quite a few posts, including one of mine.

Monday, June 15, 2009 12:04 PM by Ryan COnway

# re: Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

Microsofts support here is dismal.  Media center still doesn't have at least 2 major channels remapped.  More important (for me) is that NONE of the secondary channels (minor channel numbers > 1) are in the M$ atscchannels database, and while it is pretty easy to add those manually, there is no way to find and map the channel listings properly, as those channels don't show up in the listings editors.

Monday, June 15, 2009 10:15 PM by MWB

# re: Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

Wow, Microsoft is officially in the same DTV camp as Grandma's. I am reminded of that DTV conversion commercial of the elderly lady holding the DTV converter box up to her ear next to a jumble of cables.

All that brain power at Microsoft and they still can't figure out Media Center. Simply amazing.

Monday, June 15, 2009 11:56 PM by Funny

# re: Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

This is still not fixed - evening of 6/17/09

Thursday, June 18, 2009 12:53 AM by Ralph Knox

# re: Microsoft Unprepared for Digital TV Switch

Ha what to you mean STIIL? I get no KABC (ABC), no KCAL (Ch 9), no KTTV (Fox home base) and no what used to be UPN (Ch 13).

Unable to watch/record the IRL race on ABC in HD (OTA) unless this is fixed, I tried the XML trick, I don't wanna delete the whole file when other channels work.

Whatever... MS you hacks nevermind the Low Bit Rate error I have never seen before (Vista, XP)

Friday, July 03, 2009 5:26 PM by Anthony