Weather Star III

Infobox generic
style0 = class="infobox bordered" style="width:20em;"
color = red
name = "Weather Star 3000"
lbl2 = Family:
row2 = WeatherStar
lbl6 = Release Date:
row6 = January 1985
lbl7 = Status:
row7 = Discontd.

Weather Star III (usually dubbed the Weather Star 3000 since the introduction of the 4000) was an enhanced version the previous WeatherStar model, the WeatherStar II. At that time of its deployment the FCC began a plan to create more room for geosynchronous satellites, thus The Weather Channel needed to change the way their current WeatherStar were receiving data. It first appeared in 1986.

With some help from Wegener Communications and 2 million dollars later, The Weather Channel had once again upgraded the WeatherStar. When hooked up at these cable companies, the WeatherStar 3000 would dial-up to receive the latest weather conditions and forecasts for its local area. Then, when queued by The Weather Channel, the Weather Star III would override The Weather Channel's viewing signal with its current conditions and forecast broadcast product, and transmit that through cable wires to its viewer's TV sets.The Weather Star 3000 performed much more smoothly than the "WeatherSTAR I". In 2004, the FCC decommissioned the Weatherstar 3000 because of its inability to sound an audible tone after the first display of a weather warning.

Standard Features

The WeatherStar 3000 is similar to the WeatherStar Jr, but with a pixelized font that only uses capitalized letters. The features include:

Current Conditions- Displays the current weather, winds, barometric pressure, temperature, visibility, dewpoint, heat index/wind chill, and current monthly precipitation for your area.

Latest Hourly Observations- Shows the current weather conditions (weather, temperature, winds) in seven nearby cities.

Conditions Across The Region- Shows the current conditions in seven major cities in the region. Also featured some Canadian and Mexican cities along the borders.

36 Hour Forecast- The forecast for your area over the next 36 hours. Provided by the National Weather Service until 2002. Provided by TWC from 03-04.

Almanac- Shows the local sunrise and sunset times for your area, as well as the average high and low temperatures.

_____(Monday-Sunday)'s Air Quality Forecast- Found only in Southern California. Shows the next day's forecast air quality level(Good,Unhealthy,Very Unhealthy, or Hazardous) for 2-3 locations on the right of the screen, with the forcast amount of pollutants in PSI on the right of the screen for the locations. Data was provided by either the US or California State Environmental Protection Agency.

Forecast Across The Region- The forecast for seven major cities in the region.

Travel Cities Forecast- The forecast for major cities across the country.

Extended Forecast- A weather forecast for the next three days (when shown on a Monday, the forecast would be for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday). Originally a 1-2 page, often incomprehensible paragraph directly from the NWS, this was later simplified into 1 page with three columns (example: MONDAY TUESDAY WEDNESDAY SUNNY PARTLY SHOWERS CLOUDY HI: 89 HI: 85 HI: 74 LO: 74 LO: 68 LO: 61

30 Day Outlook- A prediction from the National Weather Service which predicts what the temperatures and precipitation going to be like in the next 30 days (above average, normal, or below average). Discontinued in 1997.

Tides- Showed the high and low tides for two locations, as well as local sunrise and sunset times in selected coastal areas.

Watch & Warning Scroll- Displayed weather watches and warnings on a red scroll (which would only tone at the beginning of the first display of a warning), and special weather statements and advisories on a tan scroll. The fact that the STAR 3000 could only tone once was the main reason for its decommissioning.

In addition, the WeatherSTARs I-III had a jack on the back of the unit that could be used to connect via phone line to the local NWS radar feed. Only a few cable companies took advantage of this feature, which usually replaced the 30 Day Outlook. Sometimes, the cable company would put the radar feed on a separate channel with audio from NOAA Weather Radio [http://www.twcclassics.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8870]

Backgrounds

From 1986 to 1988, The Weather Channel would air decorative backgrounds during their local forecasts. Then, depending on the cable company, the WeatherSTAR III unit would either output only text or override the national feed and use its standard purple background [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFD4gAht0rk] . Occasionally, the national feed would be accidentally knocked out, in which case the STAR would go back to its purple background [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1gB7d_OBaQ] . In 1988, The Weather Channel discontinued the backgrounds after receiving complaints that many of them made the STAR's white text hard to read. At this time, the satellite forecast had not yet been created, so satellite viewers would see only the backgrounds (or a black screen) with music [http://www.twcclassics.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=8815] .

Timeline

1986: After several hardware upgrades, the Weatherstar II is dubbed the Weatherstar III. The Weather Channel begins broadcasting its decorative backgrounds for the local forecast.

1988: The decorative backgrounds are discontinued after complaints are received that many of them made it hard to read the Weatherstar III's text.

1989: The first version of the satellite forecast, an interrupted-scrolling Travel Cities Forecast on a black background, is created [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JQzoHa_3QI] .

Early 1990: The Weather Star 4000 debuts in select cable systems and the first signs of the Weather Star 3000 degradation was reported. Also at the same time, the Weather Star III began being dubbed as the "Weather Star 3000", though its official name remains the same.

February 20, 1991: The L Flavor Local Forecast is born.

July 1991: Dan Chandler re-records the narration for the Weather Star 3000.

Fall 1992: Dan Chandler does one final set of narration for the WeatherStar 3000.Also, the 36 Hour Forecast is now narrated to have come from The National Weather Service.

Fall 1993: The Extended Forecast becomes simplified - The text forecast from the National Weather Service is replaced with a tri-column quick glance 3 day forecast. Also, widespread signs of the WeatherSTAR 3000 degradation had been reported. Plus, the page title for the 36 hour forecast changes from "NWS 36 HOUR FORECAST - ZONE XXXX" to just "NWS 36 HOUR FORECAST" on the first page.

April 1995: Dan Chandler's narration had been discontinued.

November 2002: The page title for the 36 hour forecast changes from "NWS 36 HOUR FORECAST" on the first page to "YOUR TWC FORECAST" on all 3 pages. This is due to The Weather Channel's discontinuation of using NOAA's text forecasts in place of The Weather Channel's own text forecasts.

December 31, 2004: The Weather Star III was put out of commission by the FCC because it did not have the capacity to sound an aural tone each time a severe weather alert displayed on screen. Although it was a fixable situation, it would have cost The Weather Channel millions of dollars to make such a hardware upgrade to a 20+ year old computer.

Flavor Lineups on the Weather Star III


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