Does the cable company know what you watch? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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For the past few months, I've been paying for limited basic cable (networks, plus some other crap, and HD networks over QAM) but I've also been getting expanded basic because the company screwed up and didn't know (standard cable package in analog). I'm considering getting an HD-DVR from them, but in activating the box, will they then learn of their mistake and be able to tell that I'm getting a better cable package for free? If so, I clearly do not want the DVR. Anyone know what the outcome would be?
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 06:00 AM
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Does the cable company know what you watch?

Only;
1. If you tell them,
2. If they look inside your window
Except for PPV or SDV (switched digital video), the answer is no.
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I've also been getting expanded basic because the company screwed up

Sorry 'bout their luck. Lets see, how many hundreds of millions did they pull in last year??

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. I just don't like to leave things up to chance. Getting ESPN for free is better than having a DVR (for me, anyway).
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by schwagner View Post

Thanks. I just don't like to leave things up to chance. Getting ESPN for free is better than having a DVR (for me, anyway).

Well, enjoy it while it lasts. The cable company probably hasn't gotten the truck out to your house to install the trap to limit you to just Limited Basic. Right now, there's no way for them to block the Extended Basic channels from getting to you without a physical trap installed outside of your house.

Maybe their techs are back-logged or something. Just don't get too upset if one day, out of the blue, your Extended channels go away.

As for a DVR, you might want to check out getting your own DVR or DVD Recorder. If you look hard enough, you might be able to find a used (or closeout) Sony DHG-HDD250 (or the larger HDD500). The LG-3410A is also a respectable DVR. Both of these will be able to record analog and HD that you should be getting.

On the DVD Recorder side, you can get the Philips HDD/DVD unit for about $300 at Walmart. You'll be able to record everything that you get through cable, but the HD channels will be recorded in widescreen-SD.

Good Luck!
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, I know. What happened was, when I moved, my new apt. had no cable. So I ordered limited basic, the guy came, and then I had expanded basic but they began charging me for limited. Clearly the tech screwed up, so how can they know that I'm receiving extra channels? That's my real question.

As far as QAM, in Rhode Island it's limited to the networks and PBS, which they've just recently stopped broadcasting in HD for some reason.
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright, this question is somewhat related. I got the DVR activated through the cable company, and even though I get the expanded basic analog lineup on my other set w/o STB, they don't show up through the DVR. I'm not surprised, I guess, but it was my understanding (from both the cable company and this forum) that the only way to "block" those channels was through outside work. Yet somehow the DVR is doing so. I'm taking it back tomorrow, I'm just curious as to how this occurred.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Does it have something to do with the Motorola M-Card? Does that enable them to restrict access?
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 01:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schwagner View Post

Alright, this question is somewhat related. I got the DVR activated through the cable company, and even though I get the expanded basic analog lineup on my other set w/o STB, they don't show up through the DVR. I'm not surprised, I guess, but it was my understanding (from both the cable company and this forum) that the only way to "block" those channels was through outside work. Yet somehow the DVR is doing so. I'm taking it back tomorrow, I'm just curious as to how this occurred.

schwag,

The DVR will absolutely be able to restrict your viewing to just the channels that you subscribe to. In your case, Limited Basic. It's programmed to block out the channels you're not supposed to get. Cable companies can do it with a trap or a STB. Doesn't stop you from plugging straight into the TV to bypass the STB's encryption, but you do lose the guide and OnDemand.

Now, as long as they don't install a filter, you'll be able to watch the Extended Basic channels as long as you don't use the DVR. Just plug it in the TV and you're good to go.

That doesn't solve your problem of being able to record Extended channels, but you do have several options.

1. Get a Sony DHG or LG-3410A.

2. Get a Tivo Series 2.

3. Get a HTPC with a NTSC and QAM tuner.

ft
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-27-2008, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I get it now. Looks like the DVR goes back tomorrow and I go back to looking for a good PVR for ubuntu. Thanks for your help.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-28-2008, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by schwagner View Post

Clearly the tech screwed up, so how can they know that I'm receiving extra channels? That's my real question.

They don't know automatically, but they apparently do send out techs to go around and visually determine whether basic customers have a trap installed or not, since the trap is usually installed on the pole which is visible from the street. When they see one, they will go and install it.

It doesn't mean that it will happen, as they don't have the man power to check everything frequently. But my guess is you will be checked eventually, perhaps in a year or two or more, so enjoy it while you can.
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post #11 of 14 Old 03-28-2008, 03:32 PM
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3. Get a HTPC with a NTSC and QAM tuner.

Get a USB HD tuner w/ 8VSB & QAM capability.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #12 of 14 Old 03-28-2008, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ftaok View Post

On the DVD Recorder side, you can get the Philips HDD/DVD unit for about $300 at Walmart. You'll be able to record everything that you get through cable, but the HD channels will be recorded in widescreen-SD.

Good Luck!

Or you could wait for the Echostar TR-50 DVR when it becomes available this summer.
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post #13 of 14 Old 03-29-2008, 05:23 AM
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Entering any STB's diagnostic mode usually has a page showing current channel(s) tuned--plus last channel(s) tuned. Customer service, as I've experienced, can read STB diagnostic information. So it seems feasible that computers could scan STBs and store such data. -- John
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post #14 of 14 Old 04-02-2008, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by ciwsguy View Post

Or you could wait for the Echostar TR-50 DVR when it becomes available this summer.

I haven't been following, but I thought the TR-50 was ATSC/NTSC only. No QAM.

Am I wrong?
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