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Thread: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

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  1. #1
    Member dougiedude's Avatar
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    Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    I watched the NBC coverage of the ball drop in Times Square last night, and was disappointed that on NBC. they were 13 seconds late!! This is by my watches: RC controlled Casio, and my COSC Ball.

    It's my understanding that the networks automatically build in lag time of a few seconds during live coverages, but 13 seconds?!? I double checked my Casio RC synch log, and it had synched on 12-30, and 12-31 at 0005 EST, just as it does every night...

    Did anyone else experience the same disappointment?
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  2. #2
    Seiko, Cartier Moderator Athram's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Well I know most broadcasts have at least a 7 second delay to give them time to sort out technical malfunctions or cover up any accidental profanities. They probably just used a greater delay.
    Also compressing and decompressing the signal as well as travel time probably adds further time (albeit usually a very small amount).
    Last edited by Athram; January 2nd, 2013 at 00:06.

  3. #3
    Member dougiedude's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Yeah, I suppose that explains it. At the time I thought perhaps I was in DVR mode, and not 'live', but such was not the case...

  4. #4
    Moderator Uwe W.'s Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Funny you should mention it.

    I noticed the same thing while watching the local countdown in Toronto on TV. I think it was around 8 seconds behind my atomic clock synced Skyhawk, so I assumed that it was built-in station lag and broadcast signal travel that put it behind. However, what was really strange was that I could hear the fireworks start downtown the exact second when the countdown on the TV hit zero.

    In theory they should have started the same time my Citizen said it was midnight.


  5. #5
    Member drunken monkey's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Don't know if it applies to you guys in the US but that 7-10 seconds delay was often quoted for our old analogue signal in the UK.
    During the period when there was both an analogue signal and a digital signal being broadcast, the digital signal in my house was 3-4 seconds behind the analogue.

    In other words, it suggests that in my house, the digital signal delay has always been about 10-14 seconds.


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  6. #6
    Seiko, Cartier Moderator Athram's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Quote Originally Posted by drunken monkey View Post
    Don't know if it applies to you guys in the US but that 7-10 seconds delay was often quoted for our old analogue signal in the UK.
    During the period when there was both an analogue signal and a digital signal being broadcast, the digital signal in my house was 3-4 seconds behind the analogue.

    In other words, it suggests that in my house, the digital signal delay has always been about 10-14 seconds.
    Digital has a higher delay than analogue because the signal has to be compressed and then decompressed.

  7. #7
    Member dougiedude's Avatar
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    Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    10-14 seconds is a pretty significant delay in a 'live' broadcast. I wonder at what point a broadcast delay is no longer considered 'live' by the networks... 60 seconds? 5 minutes? Who knows..
    WUS Tourbillon, Moonphase, & ST5 Aevig Huldra Lew & Huey Spectre Glycine Combat Sub Blue/Orange, Golden Eye Armida A7 Black Halios Tropik B Steinhart OVM Benarus Bronze Moray 44 Green, Moray 42 Blue Ball E Hydrocarbon Spacemaster, Engineer II Moonphase, Fireman NightTrain Deep Blue DayNight Recon Prometheus Baiji Vostok Amphibia, Comandierskie Sea-Gull 819.380, China AF 1963 Re-issue Ordered: Bernhardt B Diver blk yellow, green H2O Kalmar 2 Lew & Huey 'Legends' O/B, 'Orthos' Red

  8. #8
    Member tiger roach's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Yep. The local NYE broadcast I was watching last night was also close to 15 seconds behind. For a few seconds I had this delicious feeling of being the only one in the room who knew it was 2013.

  9. #9
    Member mike120's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Having worked for a TV station here, I can tell you that there are literally a thousand different factors which influence that. With live broadcasts there is indeed a built in delay to cover up mistakes as well as to ensure that the transition to and from commercials is as smooth as possible. It is possible that they simply used a longer delay to ensure that there would be no perceptible stumble should something go wrong, but what I would imagine is more likely is that you have satellite instead of cable. The compression and upload standards used in satellite transmissions combine to make the signal lag 5-8 seconds behind a cable signal if the two sets are in the exact same place. I guarantee that the ball dropped on time (if not early) and it was just the technology and decisions made behind the scenes which made your TV be a bit late.

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  10. #10
    Member dougiedude's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone else notice NBC Network Ball drop coverage lag?

    Quote Originally Posted by tiger roach View Post
    Yep. The local NYE broadcast I was watching last night was also close to 15 seconds behind. For a few seconds I had this delicious feeling of being the only one in the room who knew it was 2013.
    I know, right? I was with my GF watching, and at first she wouldn't believe me when the countdown was still at 13 seconds and I announced to her 'Happy New Year!'

    Afterwards, I asked her who she believed to be right, me or the TV, and she correctly answered, 'my man, who lives by the watch, of course!'
    Perseus likes this.
    WUS Tourbillon, Moonphase, & ST5 Aevig Huldra Lew & Huey Spectre Glycine Combat Sub Blue/Orange, Golden Eye Armida A7 Black Halios Tropik B Steinhart OVM Benarus Bronze Moray 44 Green, Moray 42 Blue Ball E Hydrocarbon Spacemaster, Engineer II Moonphase, Fireman NightTrain Deep Blue DayNight Recon Prometheus Baiji Vostok Amphibia, Comandierskie Sea-Gull 819.380, China AF 1963 Re-issue Ordered: Bernhardt B Diver blk yellow, green H2O Kalmar 2 Lew & Huey 'Legends' O/B, 'Orthos' Red

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