Mexican Virtual Channels

Mister B

SatelliteGuys Pro
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Pub Member / Supporter
Jun 3, 2008
El Paso County Texas
I recently did a rescan and found four of the stations in Juarez, Mexico have changed their virtual channel identification as is reflected on the Rabbit Ear site. It seems that they are not bound by the same restrictions as U.S. channels which are required to show their formal analog position as the virtual channel.
The station that was on analog 11 in Juarez (rf 34) had been displayed as 11.1 since their transition but now shows as 1.1. The only reasoning I can see behind this is to "get ahead of the pack".
A new channel on rf 31 is displayed as 3.1. Again, I suppose a lower dial position is always preferable. There never has been anything on 3 in this area.
The biggest surprise was that the oldest channel in Juarez, XEJ, which was well known on analog 5 and until now used virtual 5.1 has moved to its rf identification as 50.1 I would hope they did public service announcements to alert their long time audience.
Finally, XHJUB which was anaolg 56 and had been virtual 56.1 (rf 33) now shows as 5.1. I can see the logic to this as it is a repeater of a station in Mexico City which uses an on-screen bug as 5.
I actually feel that the freedom to change virtual channels makes more sense than our restrictive system. I would think there was some confusion with the Juarez viewers, but the owners of these media outlets evidently felt the changes were worthwhile.
Hello, one NM Aggie to another.

Not sure what you mean by the requirement that US channels show their formal analog position as the virtual channel. Perhaps former?

Anyway, I'm not sure that's a requirement, it's just done by the station for continuity (the station itself wants viewers to be able to find it).

I may be wrong (not the first time) but if a US station wants to change its virtual channel designation, they may be able to do so with an amendment to their license, or when the license is renewed, maybe just do it, but that runs the risk of viewers not finding them.

Here in Lubbock we have even had several sub channels that have the same virtual channel number but transmit on different real channels, and so far all of my tuners have been able to handle it. Several owners have multiple real channels and are adding SD sub-channels willy nilly showing everything from To Tell The Truth to selling jewelry.
I rather have real RF channels than fake remapping stuff IMHO!:p

I can see both sides to it. The real and virtual channels numbers can make it confusing to "non-techies" when they do channel searches. From a marketing perspective, a channel that has been known as "NBC 5" for 60 years probably wouldn't want to be branded as "NBC 34.1" now. Some of the old stations' histories are deeply connected to and invested in their old analog channel number.

Sent from my iPhone using the SatelliteGuys app!
Not sure what you mean by the requirement that US channels show their formal analog position as the virtual channel. Perhaps former?
Sorry, yes I did mean former analog channel. I know that at the time of the digital transition there were regulations on the identification of virtual channels. Perhaps those rules have been softened somewhat. I am sure Trip could enlighten us. It would be interesting to hear from a member along the northern border on how the Canadians handle this.
It would be interesting to hear from a member along the northern border on how the Canadians handle this.
As a resident of Canada, I can tell you that it is the same here, at least in my local market. The stations use their former analog channel as the PSIP label.

This does get a little confusing for the technically-minded, for example the station that used to broadcast on RF14 got re-assigned to RF20 after the switch to digital, but shows up as 14.1. Another station that was on RF6 got re-assigned to RF14, but shows up as 6.1. Depending on the receiver I'm using, punching 14 into the remote either takes me to 6.1 or 14.1 (depending on the manufacturer's concept of "user-friendliness"!).
I'm living in Mexico City, I understand that change was nationwide few weeks ago.

Not sure of the real reason behind it.

Let me provide a specific example:

Here in Mexico City, analog 13 well known for years as Azteca 13 and for years on virtual 13.1, now moved to 1.1, still with the Azteca 13 name and logo, I fail to see the logic in that, :imconfused other than as the OP said the reason is to get ahead of the pack.

I read this change had to do with allowing some channels that are available nationwide, to be found on the same virtual channel no matter what city you're in, so that for example Mexico City's Chanel 5 (5.1) would be found in 5.1 all across Mexico, (now. the case with XHJUB in Juarez, Mexico, across El Paso, TX). except in border towns where there might be already a channel on that position on the US side.

I'm sure this change generated some confusion in viewers but I would imagine, they can adjust quickly.
A few points to add:
  • Neither Mexican nor Canadian stations are subject to U.S. law, outside of the Memorandums of Understanding that they sign with the U.S. They make their own laws as suit their needs.
  • The Mexican virtual channel switch officially occurred October 27, although stations were allowed to make the changes up to a week in advance.
  • Unlike the U.S., Mexico does not have a strong local station presence. Most stations are owned by the national network and are merely repeaters of the Mexico City flagship stations. Furthermore, many network names reflect the former analog channel of the network flagship (Canal 5, Azteca 7, Azteca Trece (13), Canal Once (11)). Hence, it makes sense for Mexico to align its virtual channels, whereas that would cause massive confusion in the U.S. if we tried it here. There may be a little confusion initially from the transition, but audiences should find things much easier in the long run.
  • Most Mexican stations have a virtual channel that corresponds to the analog RF channel of the Mexico City flagship, however, Azteca Trece as given permission to use virtual channel 1 and Imagen TV was given permission to use virtual channel 3, putting the major networks on virtual channels 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9, with the next national network getting virtual channel 6 (perhaps coming 4Q2017).
  • New Ciudad Juárez lineup:
    • Channel 1: Azteca Trece - XHCJE RF 34 former analog, virtual 11
    • Channel 2: Las Estrellas - XEPM RF 29 former analog 2 (Las Estrellas flagship is XEW, which was on analog channel 2 also)
    • Channel 3: Imagen TV - XHCTCJ RF 31
    • Channel 5: Canal 5 - XHJUB RF 33 former analog 56
    • Channel 20: Azteca 7 - XHCJH RF 36 former analog 20 (cannot use virtual channel 7 due to KVIA El Paso)
    • Channel 32: Local Televisa - XHJCI RF 30 former analog 32
    • Channel 44: Local station - XHIJ RF 45 former analog 44; will move to RF 32 during Mexican repack
    • Channel 50: Gala TV - XEJ RF 50; will move to RF 35 during Mexican repack (cannot use virtual channel 9 due to KTSM El Paso)
  • Imagen station XHCTCJ just received permission to add three subchannels. Look for this new lineup within the next month:
    • 3.1 Imagen TV
    • 3.2 Imagen TV (1 hr delay)
    • 3.3 Imagen TV (2 hr delay)
    • 3.4 Excélsior TV
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