Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - Page 24 - AVS Forum
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post #691 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

We'll just have to agree to disagree about that. DirecTV's advertising campaign was one of the most effective I've seen in years. It totally changed the focus of attention of vast portions of the customer-base. Utterly remarkable.

The advertising does seem to have worked, the new D* commercials, and some FiOS commercials I've seen while watching the Yankee's games this week are capping hard on cable.
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post #692 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

No way to know for sure unless Motorola is willing to say one way or another. If Motorola doesn't have any to sell, the price being paid won't matter a bit.

It could be that Motorola is stuck trying to supply legacy boxes while at the same time ramping up for production of the new MPEG4 cable boxes.

I know that my brother in SF tried to get a HD-DVR from a Comcast office awhile back and he said the line went around the corner, they simply didn't have enough for everyone who wanted one.

...or maybe it was that they had too many because folks were dumping the service.
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post #693 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

It could be that Motorola is stuck trying to supply legacy boxes while at the same time ramping up for production of the new MPEG4 cable boxes.

I know that my brother in SF tried to get a HD-DVR from a Comcast office awhile back and he said the line went around the corner, they simply didn't have enough for everyone who wanted one.

...or maybe it was that they had too many because folks were dumping the service.

I doubt that. I think this has to do with the fact the FCC is making them buy and deploy only boxes with cablecard in them, which are more expensive than the old boxes. Comcast has taken them to court over this, and if they win, they get to save a lot of money by still buying old boxes. So I think they are trying to buy as few as possible of the new more expensive boxes until they know how the court is going to rule.

This has nothing to do with mpeg4 stuff. It's all about price, which was the point I was trying to make before.
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post #694 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thoots View Post

Bottom line, Scripps synched up the HD channel schedules to the SD channel schedules, essentially doing away with the HD version of the channels. What utter absurdity!!

I could be wrong, but I thought the HD channels were showing all their HD offerings (reruns) simply as a short-term introduction/enticement. Now they've sync'd the schedules. All this means is that whatever is produced in HD will be available on the HD channel at the same time as the same show is aired in SD on the SD channel. Based on the schedule here in Phoenix, it looks like there is only a single HD feed, so the HD schedule is 3 hours earlier here than the SD feed for the West coast. For example, tonight's only HD offering on Food is Challenge. Tomorrow there are 5-6 offerings in HD.

Cheers, Dave
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post #695 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

I doubt that. I think this has to do with the fact the FCC is making them buy and deploy only boxes with cablecard in them, which are more expensive than the old boxes. Comcast has taken them to court over this, and if they win, they get to save a lot of money by still buying old boxes. So I think they are trying to buy as few as possible of the new more expensive boxes until they know how the court is going to rule.

This has nothing to do with mpeg4 stuff. It's all about price, which was the point I was trying to make before.

I had forgotten about that. Plus, I think they have been restricted from re-deploying non-CC boxes in the field. So yes, it does appear to a money thing.
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post #696 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I had forgotten about that. Plus, I think they have been restricted from re-deploying non-CC boxes in the field. So yes, it does appear to a money thing.

No, they can re-deploy non-CC boxes, but there aren't many of those available.

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post #697 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:15 PM
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As long as the non-CC boxes were deployed before the cut-off date they can be redeployed. My local Comcast office was giving out the older boxes the other day. Comcast is not fighting using CC on their regular HD boxes any more. They do want to deploy a cheap converter box or better put (add-on) that goes in back of the TV to translate the basic digital channel to analog so they can get rid of the analog channels. They can hold the cost down by not using a CC in this solution.

One of the reasons Comcast was basically giving away the DCT700 boxes before the deadline is they invested in purchasing a lot of these cheap boxes and did not want to be stuck with them.
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post #698 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

No, they can re-deploy non-CC boxes, but there aren't many of those available.

Does anyone think the "shortage" might be due to the coming release of tru2way and compatible boxes from Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc., that were shown at CES in January? Aren't these supposed to hit retail stores later this year?

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post #699 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

Does anyone think the "shortage" might be due to the coming release of tru2way and compatible boxes from Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc., that were shown at CES in January? Aren't these supposed to hit retail stores later this year?

I don't think that is it. The boxes you talk about are for retail sales - not cable use (with the except of Motorola, which is not for retail). Cable boxes have always been 2-way. The "tru2way" bit relates to OCAP boxes and I believe that all the CC boxes are OCAP capable.

There has been spot shortages of HD cable boxes since the FCC 7/1/07 mandate. The FCC delayed a final ruling on that, the CC boxes cost quite a bit more, so cable delayed ordering them. That, plus the higher than anticipated demand for HD has probably created a backlog that they haven't caught up with.

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post #700 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I could be wrong, but I thought the HD channels were showing all their HD offerings (reruns) simply as a short-term introduction/enticement. Now they've sync'd the schedules. All this means is that whatever is produced in HD will be available on the HD channel at the same time as the same show is aired in SD on the SD channel. Based on the schedule here in Phoenix, it looks like there is only a single HD feed, so the HD schedule is 3 hours earlier here than the SD feed for the West coast. For example, tonight's only HD offering on Food is Challenge. Tomorrow there are 5-6 offerings in HD.

OK, that helps me understand what might be up, at least a little bit. But....

I haven't seen anything anywhere REMOTELY resembling "HD" on HGTV HD for at least two weeks -- and I'm talking about episodes of the same shows that were previously in the best-quality HD that I had ever seen.

There's enough confusion in some of what I've read so far -- "merging the HD channels with the SD channels," perhaps in more than just "schedules."

In the end, the bottom line remains -- "the HD is gone."
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post #701 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

I don't think that is it. The boxes you talk about are for retail sales - not cable use (with the except of Motorola, which is not for retail). Cable boxes have always been 2-way. The "tru2way" bit relates to OCAP boxes and I believe that all the CC boxes are OCAP capable.

Not sure what you are talking about, but I'm talking about tru2way (OCAP) compatible STBs, HDTVs, etc., that will work with (any) cableco and will be sold in retail stores.

Quote:


Four of the world's leading consumer electronics companies, representing more than 28 percent of global television sales (iSuppli Corp., 9/07), demonstrated tru2way-based products at CES 2008:
  • Panasonic – Displayed 42" and 50" tru2way plasma televisions, part of their Viera line that will operate without a set-top box from a single remote and that will be in the marketplace by the 2008 holiday season.
  • Samsung – Demonstrated a tru2way HD set-top box that was running the Comcast/TV Guide program guide, model DCB-H670C.
  • LG Electronics – Showed its Model 42LG51 - LCD television with tru2way functionality.
  • Thomson – Exhibited a tru2way set-top box, the "9000 Series – HD MPEG-2/4 Interactive Cable Decoder for the North American market".
At the show, Panasonic and Comcast also teamed to announce a new portable digital video recorder (P-DVR) that uses tru2way technology. The device, called AnyPlay™ P-DVR, allows customers to record programming at home and take it with them for viewing wherever they go.

http://www.cablelabs.com/news/pr/200...es_011508.html


Cheers, Dave
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post #702 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 08:15 PM
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From the Cox thread- They intend to do three HD channels in a 6Mhz QAM

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Originally Posted by vegggas View Post

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6529086.html

Q&A: Cox's Steve Necessary (Cox Corporate VP of Video Product Development and Support)

George Winslow -- Multichannel News, 2/4/2008 4:12:00 PM
As the satellite operators and telcos tout their ability to deliver more HD tonnage than cable, major operators are scrambling to free up bandwidth for bulked-up HD packages. Cox Communications vice president of video product development and support Steve Necessary spoke to HD Update about the tool box Cox is using to free bandwidth for more high-def content. An edited transcript follows:

Q: We've seen a lot of very dramatic announcements about the amount of HD channels satellite and telcos will be offering this year. Is this marketing hype or does it mean that they are ahead of cable in terms of the amount of HD channels they can offer?

A: There is a lot of rhetoric. But I suspect that it is rhetoric that passes legal muster. We all have lawyers and they look at everything. So, one would have to assume that the tonnage claims are backed by fact.

That said, the fundamental question behind those claims is simple. How much of that tonnage does the consumer actually care about?

If 20 of those channels or some large number of the channels being offered are regional sports networks, what's the value in that? Most of us are not very interested in out-of-market regional sports.

You can also make the same argument about some of the unbranded content or niche content that is part of those packages. The channels that have strong name appeal will have highest value for consumers. Having a large number of channels that no one knows about will have commensurately less value.

But when you peel that onion, you see that we are offering the same amount of high value content. Then, on top of that cable has the advantage of being able to augment its high-def offering by literally orders of magnitude with the choices you'll find in our HD on-demand offering.

So we are not particularly worried about tonnage itself. Ultimately quality is what matters. We are confident that our variety of choices will ultimately dwarf the number of HD choices that satellite can offer.

Q: That will require a lot more bandwidth. What are you doing to get the capacity for more HD choices?

A: The good news is that we have a pretty good tool box. We basically are using all of the tools at our disposal.

A quick laundry list would be bandwidth expansion -- we've taken all of our markets or are in the process of taking all of our markets to at least 860MHz. We are deploying switched digital video in several markets. We are selectively and modestly looking to take away analogue channels, which frees up capacity.

We are also looking to increase our compression ratios, which you have to do carefully so it doesn't have a negative impact on signal quality. But there are some things that can and are being done that yield great pictures with a little less bandwidth with MPEG-2, and in the future MPEG-4 will be another tool in that mix.

Last but not least, is the physical architecture of our systems. You can reduce node sizes so that your capacity -- particularly your on-demand capacity -- is shared over a smaller footprint, which effectively increases the capacity in that node.

So we have a pretty full tool box. We are very confident that with the number of tools we have available that we will be able to provide a superior HD experience for our customers.

Q: What is your timetable for switched digital?

A: We have it operational in our Northern Virginia system and then we have two other large markets in the deploying in the first half of this year, Phoenix Arizona and Orange County California.

Q: How much new HD content have you added as a result of switched digital in Virginia?

A: It will obviously allow us to add more. But, Cox has a very high emphasis on quality. So we have been and will continue to be very deliberate in assessing the utilization and how much bandwidth actually gets freed up by switched digital before we try to fill all that capacity back up.

Said differently, the last thing we want is for a customer to turn to a channel and get an error message that says that channel is not available. We have not had that scenario and hope to never have that scenario. It is working very well and we are very encouraged by that.

Q: What are you dong in the area of compression?

A: The typical implementation of high definition would mean that we would carry that content on a system at somewhere around 19 Mbps.

We have found that with improved MPEG-2 encoders, that we can get equally good pictures to the eye in the 13 Mbps to 14 Mbps. So basically, that means you can squeeze three high-definition channels into one of the 6 MHz blocks instead of 2 channels.

Q: With increasing broadband speeds, do you have plans to offer more HD content online?

A: There is an opportunity to utilize the IP path as a means of delivering video. But our plans for it would at best be considered nascent. Frankly there are easier and more efficient ways to deliver HD content with MPEG-2 over QAM as opposed to MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 over an IP path. Yeah, it is ultimately another tool but it is a tool that we will leave at the bottom of the box for a while.

vegggas

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post #703 of 2079 Old 04-02-2008, 08:43 PM
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Cox is already running some channels at 3 per QAM here in Phoenix, and their claim about improved encoders giving equal quality is a load of crap. If they actually had the ability to feed the encoders an uncompressed or lightly compressed source it might be OK on most stuff, but supplying one with the 14.5Mbit/s feed of Food HD, the 17Mbit/s feed of History HD, and the 17Mbit/s feed of Vs/Golf and having it compress them down into a single 38Mbit/s QAM channel results in 3 crappy looking HD channels. Hockey games on Versus look worse than the local NBC affiliate who have a first-gen HD encoder putting out about 14.75Mbit/s, and on Food HD the picture falls apart into blocks on anything more complex than a slow pan. The few remaining channels with no recompression (ESPN, HD Theatre) look spectacular, but the new channels lack the "looking through a window" aspect of good HD.
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post #705 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 03:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

I could be wrong, but I thought the HD channels were showing all their HD offerings (reruns) simply as a short-term introduction/enticement.

Yes that was my understanding as well. It would make no sense to maintain two program schedules in perpetuity, and given the sucky economy, I'm surprised that so many of the HD channel maintained a separate program schedule so long. This was long overdue.

WGBH basically did something similar last month.
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post #706 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 03:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Plus, I think they have been restricted from re-deploying non-CC boxes in the field.

That is not the case. The regulation allows re-deployment of non-CableCard boxes into the field, unconditionally.
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post #707 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 05:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

Cox is already running some channels at 3 per QAM here in Phoenix, and their claim about improved encoders giving equal quality is a load of crap. If they actually had the ability to feed the encoders an uncompressed or lightly compressed source it might be OK on most stuff, but supplying one with the 14.5Mbit/s feed of Food HD, the 17Mbit/s feed of History HD, and the 17Mbit/s feed of Vs/Golf and having it compress them down into a single 38Mbit/s QAM channel results in 3 crappy looking HD channels. Hockey games on Versus look worse than the local NBC affiliate who have a first-gen HD encoder putting out about 14.75Mbit/s, and on Food HD the picture falls apart into blocks on anything more complex than a slow pan. The few remaining channels with no recompression (ESPN, HD Theatre) look spectacular, but the new channels lack the "looking through a window" aspect of good HD.

Ugh... What's the point of HD if we are just going to compress the crap out of it?
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post #708 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Yes that was my understanding as well. It would make no sense to maintain two program schedules in perpetuity, and given the sucky economy, I'm surprised that so many of the HD channel maintained a separate program schedule so long. This was long overdue.

FWIW, I did record what was supposed to be an HD version of Challenge last night and it looked the same as the SD version I recorded on the SD channel. I'm going to record some more today, but I'm beginning to think something is not right in Food HD land. All I've got to go by is the HD indicator in the IPG, but Challenge was not HD last night on Cox here.

Cheers, Dave
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post #709 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NetworkTV View Post

They must have changed things at some point.

Must have been a bunch of years ago. I don't remember seeing any of that when I watched some stuff via analog and definitely not since I went HD. I would have liked to have seen those "weird NY color bars".

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post #710 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 08:26 AM
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Quote:


Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ
Does anyone think the "shortage" might be due to the coming release of tru2way and compatible boxes from Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc., that were shown at CES in January? Aren't these supposed to hit retail stores later this year?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

Quote:


Originally Posted by davehancock
I don't think that is it. The boxes you talk about are for retail sales - not cable use (with the except of Motorola, which is not for retail). Cable boxes have always been 2-way. The "tru2way" bit relates to OCAP boxes and I believe that all the CC boxes are OCAP capable.

Not sure what you are talking about, but I'm talking about tru2way (OCAP) compatible STBs, HDTVs, etc., that will work with (any) cableco and will be sold in retail stores.

I didn't see how the future release of RETAIL "tru2way" boxes would create a current shortage of LEASED cable boxes. Still don't.

BTW: It could well take some time before such retail purchased boxes will work with ANY cable system (in the sense that such boxes would work with ALL systems). The system needs to have implemented OCAP, and many cable systems have not apparently moved in that direction (Time Warner SARA based systems for example). Also, although the FCC is apparently considering rulings along these lines, they have been moving with their usual (slow) speed on this.

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post #711 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 09:14 AM
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Great thread. Just a few questions if anyone can help me out.

1. How do you determine how many HD channels are on a QAM slot?

2. Is there any way to determine an approximate bit-rate of recorded programs from looking in the diagnostic screens on a scientific atlanta 8300 HD-DVR (SARA interface from COX)?

thanks
Jeff
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post #712 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 12:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

I didn't see how the future release of RETAIL "tru2way" boxes would create a current shortage of LEASED cable boxes. Still don't.

Retooling of manufacturing lines can result in a decrease in production overall, and then a redirection of production from older models to newer models.
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post #713 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 12:50 PM
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I threw in a mention of this problem and thread in a WaPo Chat

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post #714 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 02:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I just compared last week's recordings of Color Correction - ''It's Not Easy Being Green'' from HGTV. VideoRedo reported the FiOS version at 13.78Mbps and the Comcast version at 11.20Mbps.

The HGTV source feed is clearly overcompressed. Blocking and blurring is common on this channel with both Comcast and FiOS. It is not specific to Comcast. Comcast is responsible for some added noise on both static and moving images, but the differences really pale in comparison to the problems with the original source feed.

I would say this is one of the worst quality channels on both providers.

HGTV on FiOS


HGTV on Comcast


HGTV on FiOS


HGTV on Comcast


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post #715 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Retooling of manufacturing lines can result in a decrease in production overall, and then a redirection of production from older models to newer models.

1. Retooling of manufacturing lines for products such as these take negligible down-time.
2. The shortage is in SA & Motorola boxes. The new boxes are retail brands - so we were talking about different boxes.

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post #716 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

I just compared last week's recordings of Color Correction - ''It's Not Easy Being Green'' from HGTV. VideoRedo reported the FiOS version at 13.78Mbps and the Comcast version at 11.20Mbps.

The HGTV source feed is clearly overcompressed. Blocking and blurring is common on this channel with both Comcast and FiOS. It is not specific to Comcast. Comcast is responsible for some added noise on both static and moving images, but the differences really pale in comparison to the problems with the original source feed.

Even more reason why Comcast shouldn't be doing any additional compression, when you start with crap, further compression sure isn't going to make it any better.
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post #717 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 03:12 PM
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Hey, your also in the new Sound & Vision...
http://bitstream.soundandvisionmag.c...ssed-sign.html
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post #718 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

2. The shortage is in SA & Motorola boxes. The new boxes are retail brands - so we were talking about different boxes.

Motorola is putting out a new line, the DCX-series. The point is that that could be reducing their capacity to product DCH-series boxes. I hope that is clearer.
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post #719 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 03:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Motorola is putting out a new line, the DCX-series. The point is that that could be reducing their capacity to product DCH-series boxes. I hope that is clearer.

They are making more of whatever they have more orders for.
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post #720 of 2079 Old 04-03-2008, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by bicker1 View Post

Motorola is putting out a new line, the DCX-series. The point is that that could be reducing their capacity to product DCH-series boxes. I hope that is clearer.

But that is not a "retail" box. That was the initial question (impact of retail boxes) that DoubleDAZ raised.

However, you may have touched on something. I wonder if the cable companies are ordering the next generation boxes (the Moto box you refer to and the next generation SA/Cisco) box and there are issues with the new boxes.

Dave Hancock
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