What is Digital Television (DTV)?
Digital Television (DTV) is a new type of broadcasting technology that will transform television. Because DTV is delivered digitally, it allows for the delivery of a signal virtually free of interference. DTV broadcasters will be able to offer television with movie-quality pictures and Dolby digital surround sound, along with a variety of other enhancements.

Why Are We Switching to DTV?
DTV is a more flexible and efficient technology than the current analog system. In the same bandwidth in which WZZM provides one analog programming channel, we may provide a super sharp "high definition" (HDTV) program or multiple "standard definition" DTV programs simultaneously. Providing several program streams at one time is called "multicasting." The number of programs we can send on our digital channel depends on the level of picture detail, also known as "resolution," desired in each programming stream.

In the future we may also use DTV to provide interactivity and data services that were not possible with analog technology. This national conversion to DTV will also free up parts of the scarce and valuable broadcast airwaves, allowing those portions of the airwaves to be used for other important services, such as advanced wireless and public safety services (police, fire departments, rescue squads, etc.).

What Is High Definition TV (HDTV)?
HDTV is a type of DTV service. HDTV provides high resolution programming in a widescreen format. A current analog TV picture is made up of 480 horizontal lines. An HDTV picture can have up to 1080 lines, allowing for stunning picture detail. Widescreen format refers to an image's aspect ratio, which is a comparison of screen width to screen height. Analog television has an aspect ratio of 4 by 3, which means the screen is 4 units wide by 3 units high. The aspect ratio of HDTV is 16 by 9, the same as the wide scope of a movie theater screen. HDTV programs can include Dolby Digital surround sound, the same digital sound system used in movie theaters and DVDs.

How Can I get DTV?
WZZM-DT broadcasts over the air on Channel 39. Currently you will need an appropriate antenna pointed at our transmitter site and capable of receiving UHF channel 39. (Reminder, our transmitter is located north of Grand Rapids, so you will need to point your antenna toward southern Newaygo County.)
We use PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol) to indicate that you are watching WZZM on a signal we call "13-1" PSIP is a section of the digital broadcast signal that allows us to name, describe, and provide schedules and information about DTV programs. PSIP can also be used to program your DTV receivers to refer to broadcast channels by their native or original broadcast channel number even though they're actually broadcasting on another channel. NOTE: Some older DTV receivers may not have the ability to use the PSIP data to rename a broadcast channel to its native channel.

Can I receive WZZM-DT via Cable or Satellite?
Both of the major cable operators in the area (Comcast and Charter Communications) are currently carrying WZZM-DT and some other local stations.
You will need a special converter box (provided by the cable company) to watch local DTV stations, as well as any other HDTV programming the operator may provide. If you are not served by Comcast or Charter Cable, please contact your cable operator for a timetable for DTV rollout in your area.
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has issued orders for "Plug-and-Play" television set standards. Once these sets are available, there may be little or no need for any sort of "set-top-box". More information on "Plug-and-Play" equipment can be found on the FCC website at: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-238865A1.pdf
At the current time there is no planned carriage of local West Michigan DTV signals by either of the major (DirectTV or Dish Network) satellite TV companies.
Both satellite companies do offer HDTV packages of various programming. Some of the HDTV satellite receivers are built to accommodate an off air antenna input. You would then use the HDTV satellite receiver as your DTV converter or "Set top box".

When is it on the air?

WZZM-DT is on the air 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What programming can I get on WZZM-DT?
WZZM-DT currently simulcasts the same program schedule as WZZM-13. If the program is originated in Standard Definition, WZZM-DT converts it to 720p and rebroadcasts it. While this is a very high quality display, please note this is not HDTV.
ABC is broadcasting nearly all of its scripted series and theatrical movies in HDTV through a partnership with Zenith and Sears. Additionally, selected sports programming, is being shown in HDTV. Good Morning America? is also broadcast in High Definition 7 days a week.
The shows are being broadcast by WZZM-DT in 720 progressive format high-definition, and Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.
More than 17 hours a week of prime-time programming is in HDTV, during the 2005-2006 broadcast season.

How Can I Find Out What Programming is Available in HDTV?
WZZM-DT and HDTV listings are available from TitanTV. This can be accessed through the "Whats On TV" link on our home page, or directly through www.titantv.com Make sure you choose the listings for WZZM-DT to see the HDTV programming coming up.

Is digital cable the same as HDTV and DTV?
No these are all different things. Digital Cable is a product provided by cable operators that allows for the compression and distribution of many more channels through your standard "cable" connection. In most cases you will need a "set-top box" provided by your cable operator to view these additional channels.

Definitions and Frequently Used Terms
With all the new digital technologies and television services it's easy to get confused about what Digital Television is all about and what all the acronyms stand for. First, let's define a few terms and acronyms.

  • ATV - Advanced Television. ATV refers to Digital Television, including standard and high-definition versions.
  • DTV- Digital Television. DTV refers to digital methods of recording, reproducing and transmitting television pictures and sound.
  • ATSC- Advanced Television Systems Committee. The ATSC was formed to establish standards for advanced television systems, referred to as ATV. ATV usually refers to a new terrestrial DTV service mandated by the FCC. All current television broadcasters have been assigned an ATSC or what is commonly referred to as a DTV channel. The mandated sign on dates have been scheduled according to market size.
  • NTSC- National Television Standards Committee. The NTSC established the standards for the current method of television broadcasting used in North America today. This service is currently scheduled to cease operation in the United States by 2006.
  • HDTV- High Definition Television. HDTV refers to a number of new video formats. The most common HDTV formats used in advanced television in the United States are 720P and 1080I. With 720P, 720 horizontal lines are scanned progressively or in succession in a vertical frame that is repeated 30 times a second. With 1080I, 1,080 horizontal lines are scanned in an interlaced pattern, in a vertical frame that is repeated 30 times a second. In an interlaced scan the odd and even numbered lines of a picture are scanned alternately as two separate interleaved fields. This effectively makes the vertical repetition rate 60 times a second and is a technique used to reduce the amount of flicker, which the human eye can detect.
  • SDTV - Standard Definition Television. Standard Definition TV is typically what we're all accustomed to looking at. It refers to 525 horizontal lines of video in a vertical frame that is reproduced 30 times a second. It can be Interlaced or Progressive scan, and any aspect ratio.
  • 16:9 Aspect Ratio - Aspect Ratio is the ratio of the horizontal width to the vertical height of the television picture. NTSC and our traditional TV sets use a 4:3 aspect ratio. In HDTV it is typically 16:9 and is often called wide-screen, referring to a wider screen display, more like what we see when we go to a movie. A 14:9 aspect ratio is often used as a transition standard and can also be referred to as wide screen. Aspect Ratio is not necessarily related to SDTV or HDTV. It is possible to have 16:9 SDTV, and although when we refer to HDTV it is usually16:9, it is possible to have a 14:9 or 4:3 Aspect Ratio HDTV picture.
  • PSIP- Program and System Information Protocol. PSIP is a section of the ATSC digital data stream that allows program suppliers and DTV broadcast stations to name, describe, and provide schedules and information about DTV programs. PSIP can also be used to program DTV receivers to refer to broadcast channels by their native or original broadcast channel number even though they're actually broadcasting on another channel. NOTE: Some DTV receivers have the ability to use the PSIP data to rename a broadcast channel to it's native channel and some don't. Generally, the early model receivers did not have this ability but the more recent models now do. This could be confusing to some people, but it's intended to make it easier for viewers to find their favorite stations and enable broadcast stations to maintain their brand identity.

    Additional links:

  • An FCC Fact Sheet on Digital Television: http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html
  • Internet discussion forumson just about everything to do with DTV and HDTV http://www.avsforum.com/
  • ABC FAQ on Digital Television and HDTV http://abc.go.com/site/hdtvfaq.html
  • TV Listings (You will need to register with site to customize your local listings).http://www.titantv.com


    How do I get a copy of one of your recent newscasts?
    Copies of WZZM 13 broadcasts are available from Great Lakes Video for a fee of $35.00. Please contact Great Lakes Video at 454-2002.

    If you need a copy of a WZZM 13 broadcast for litigation purposes, please contact Kathy at (616) 559-1412.


    Where is WZZM 13 located?
      WZZM 13
      645 Three Mile Rd. NW
      Grand Rapids, MI 49544

    How can I reach WZZM 13 with a question or comment?
    You can reach WZZM 13 by calling our phone number at (616) 785-1313 or email us at comments@wzzm13.com.

    What is your news tip line phone number?
    You can reach WZZM 13's tip line by calling (616) 559-1300.


    How do I arrange a station tour for my group or classroom?
    If you would like to arrange a station tour for your group you will need to call 785-1313 for times and scheduling details. Please schedule your station tour at least a month or two in advance of the anticipated tour date.


    Who can I call or write regarding an ABC program question, suggestion or complaint?
      77 West 66th Street
      New York, NY 10023
    If you have a question or complaint about one of ABC's programs call (212) 456-7477. Operators are on duty M-F from 10:00am-12:30pm and 2:00pm-4:00pm. All other times you will get an automated response.

    How can I get a tape or transcript of an ABC News program such as Good Morning America, 20/20 or World News Tonight?
    Tapes and transcripts of an ABC News program can be purchased from the ABC News Store http://www.abcnewsstore.com/

    Toll Free Order Line:
    To contact the video tape order line call: 1-800-505-6139 or Fax us at: 602-870-4760

    Toll Free Customer Service Line
    To contact an operator concerning your videotape or transcript order call: 1-800-505-6139 (Hours: Mon. - Sat. 8am-6pm EST) or Fax us at: 602-870-4760

    or write us at:

  • P.O. BOX 807
  • New Hudson, MI 48165

    TRANSCRIPTS are available from http://www.transcripts.tv/

    Customer Service Line
    To place an order or contact a representative concerning your transcript order call: 818.848.6500 x101 (Hours: Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST) or Fax us at: 818.556.4150

    Or write us at:

    The Transcription Company
    4100 West Burbank Boulevard, 3rd Floor
    Burbank, California 91505
    818.848.6500 / FAX: 818.556.4150
    Customer Service Desk


    How do I get my groups upcoming events listed on your Make a Difference/ Community Calendar?
    Please send your groups information including time, place, contact name and phone number at least three weeks in advance to:
      WZZM 13
      Attention: Community Calendar
      Box Z
      Grand Rapids, MI 49501
    You can also fax your information to 616-785-1301
    Attn: Community Calendar


    What is closed captioning and how do I turn it on?
    Closed Captioning (CC) is a visual display of the audio portion of a television program, which is in the form of words across the screen. This allows viewers to read the TV program's dialogue and other information. Most newer TV sets have receivers built inside them, which can decode and display captioning. So you have the option of turning it on or off. Consult your television operating instructions booklet for details on how to program your set. It usually appears in the "set-up features" section of the booklet. If you have an older set and want closed captioning, a separate decoder box can be purchased. Consult a local electronics store.

    Are your newscasts and ABC programs closed captioned?
    Our local news (Monday-Friday at 5:30pm, 6:00pm and 11pm) are closed captioned live as the show is airing. This means you will get all of anchors and reporters scripted and non-scripted words, including the conversation between them that is not scripted. However, WZZM 13 receives programs from ABC and program distributors, which already has closed captioning embedded onto the shows.

    How does closed captioning work?
    A Grand Rapids company called Closed Captioning Services provides this captioning for us. A transcriber listens to the audio portion of the broadcast and transcribes the program using a machine similar to the one used by a court stenographer. Since the captioning is done live, you will notice some misspellings. Our live closed captioning is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

    Do your morning, noon and weekend newscasts offer closed captioning?
    Our morning, noon and weekend newscasts are captioned through the newsroom computer system, which displays the scripts created by the producers, anchors and reporters. This means you will not see the non-scripted comments made by the anchors and reporters.

    Are all broadcast programs closed captioned? Unfortunately, no but in a recent ruling new FCC regulations require 95% of all new programming to be captioned with eight years as of January 1, 1998.


    Why are commercials louder than programming?
    Commercials, promotion spots, and public service announcements are all recorded and broadcast within strict technical guidelines for both audio and video.
    In some instances a commercial might appear to sound louder than regular programming. The program may have a scene in which the characters are speaking softly. We naturally listen more intently or sometimes even turn up the volume to hear the dialogue. Then when the program cuts to a commercial that has energetic music and announcing, the commercial may sound louder than the program.
    We know that "loud" commercials are annoying to viewers, so we strive to prevent commercials from actually being louder than our other programming. WZZM 13 engineers use electronic measuring instruments to make the sound we broadcast never exceed a certain volume level limit.


    I have a satellite dish. Can I get WZZM 13's news and programming?
    Yes, WZZM 13 is now on the EchoStar Dish Network! DIRECTV will be adding WZZM 13 to its service soon.

    WZZM 13 became available on Echo Star Dish Network satellite service on May 22, 2002. DIRECTV has announced it will add local TV stations sometime after July 22, 2002. Both the Dish Network and DIRECTV have chosen WZZM 13 as the host for all the stations in the market.

    The Satellite Home Viewer Improvement Act of 1999 created a compulsory copyright license to allow satellite carriers to uplink the programming of local television stations and deliver it to satellite subscribers within each station's DMA. This service is called "Local to Local?.


    I would like to get a satellite waiver under the Satellite Home Viewers Act, who should I contact?
    WZZM does not issue waiver requests. All waiver requests need to go through your satellite company.


    How can I receive a signal measurement request form?
    WZZM does not issue signal measurement request forms. You can receive a signal measurement request from your satellite company.


    How do I apply for an internship at WZZM 13?
    If you are interested in interning in one of WZZM 13's various departments such as Production, News, Graphics or Creative Services you can find out more information by mailing a letter of interest to WZZM at:
      WZZM 13
      Attention: Internship Request
      Box Z
      Grand Rapids, MI 49501