TV station likely cause of time jump
We might have solved at least part of the mystery of why digital clocks jumped several hours recently ("Kokua Line," June 20
), thanks to responses from many readers expressing the same problem and offering possible causes.
Three pointed us to KHET, the local Public Broadcasting Service station, which seems to be the most probable link to the jump in time on VCRs and other devices receiving TV signals.
One reader e-mailed, "VCRs whose clocks are automatically set typically receive time data from the local PBS station. The clock at PBS Hawaii seems to have been fixed early this week."
Another also noted the PBS signal, saying his VCR and CD player "started getting three hours off. Now they don't record the time at all -- I have to set them manually. I would like to know ... why (the PBS) signal isn't carrying an automatic time set for VCRs anymore."
Actually, it is, but there was a "technical difficulty" about two weeks ago that has since been resolved.
Steve Komori, vice president for content delivery at PBS Hawaii, was willing to accept responsibility for some VCRs and DVRs -- basically for any device that is hooked through cable or takes a signal off the air.
PBS does send out a time signal that can reset VCRs, DVRs and some television sets, if the "time clock set circuitry" is in them, he said.
Not all devices have such circuitry, he said, and "there's no way we could ever get to someone's clock radio or microwave oven clock or separate digital clocks."
About two weeks ago, KHET had to switch to a backup delivery system, which entailed discontinuing the time signal.
"Right now, we're delivering by fiber optics to our transmitter -- before, we were doing it by microwave," Komori said. "So, we had some technical difficulties in getting that time signal onto the new feed to our transmitter and to cable."
The signal, which provides a universal time standard, was "there for everyone to use again" as of Monday, Komori said.
But a device has to be set on the "auto" mode, not on "manual," he said. Setting a device on manual would cause it to "ignore our time signal."
He also said there are times that another local station, KHON, will send a prerecorded time signal from the West Coast.
Noting that a clock will reset if a device is turned off, a device will then take the first time signal it detects, sometimes picking up that West Coast time.
Komori said KHET has been sending out a time signal for "quite a while" and that most PBS stations do so, as part of a subscription service.
Meanwhile, KHET sends a "secondary signal" for the Gemstar electronic program guide.
However, some customers who subscribe to the guide might not be receiving it because equipment needs to be updated from analog to digital, Komori said.
He is hoping to put in "a temporary solution" by tomorrow to allow viewers to receive the program guide.
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