Comcast HD Quality Reduction: Details, Screenshots - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

A&E HD on Cox is averaging between 6.5 and 8.5Mbit/s during The Matrix tonight. Anyone on Comcast able to take a look for comparison?

I have seen the future of cable HD and it looks like upconverted DVD.

9~11 Mbps on Comcast in Minneapolis, formerly TWC, on Sci Atl equipment.

I found A&E HD and HGTV HD are on this frequency, but I couldn't find the other programs using my STB. It looks like we are 4-to-a-mux here. No wonder it looks like total shite.


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post #182 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Tom, DirecTV is not doing hdlite anymore, at least not on its mpeg4 channels, and I think not even on the old MPEG2 channels, now that they moved almost all HD channels to the new bird.

Please stop accusing them of doing HDlite unless you can provide some evidence they are still doing it.

Is that a challenge
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post #183 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmil View Post

We are in Central Illinois and were just switched over to Comcast from Insight, without of course any input from us. I will contact the Chief Engineer in our area and discuss the "compression" issue with him. I want to find out what, if anything, Comcast might be doing to affect the quality of our signal. Our signal appears to be different than it was with Insight Communications..........that is to say, not as crisp and sharp. Somehow.....call it a gut feeling I just don't trust Comcast! I will get back to you folks and fill you in with any new information I might glean!

Well I found out some sad news, my area (Comcast of NNJ) will be seeing 3:1 compression awful soon as well. I was hoping not until after SDV so they would rethink going this route, but it's not gonna happen.
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post #184 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 01:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

Unfortunately:
  • Right now the GOALS database is over a year old
  • The GOALS database does not show what is on what QAM - so you can't figure out how many HD channels per QAM.
Back to the diagnostic screens.

Well yeah of course you need to use the diagnostic screens for the freq of each channel, I was referring to COALS to find out the size of a system (750, 860 Mhz).

Also, the Annual Cable Operator report should be filed next month so it'll be up to date.
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post #185 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 02:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

That's one of the recordings I am comparing this week. It is recording on both Comcast and FiOS right now.

It looks to be >18Mbps on FiOS.

What are you using to transfer the FIOS recordings to your PC? I was under the impressing that they have everything copy-protected.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExDeus View Post

9~11 Mbps on Comcast in Minneapolis, formerly TWC, on Sci Atl equipment.

I found A&E HD and HGTV HD are on this frequency, but I couldn't find the other programs using my STB. It looks like we are 4-to-a-mux here. No wonder it looks like total shite.


0x1fff is nullpackets, not a separate program. However, those 5Mbit/s burnt in nulls which could be better used to make some or all of the channels not look like crap.

I'm very disappointed in the quality of the new channels on Cox to the extent that I am actually considering D* when I've been fundamentally opposed to their practices and contract requirements in the past. Where's FIOS when you need it .
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post #186 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 11:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

What are you using to transfer the FIOS recordings to your PC? I was under the impressing that they have everything copy-protected.

FiOS protects all cable channels with the DRM and RC flags. The FiOS' Motorola DVR respects those flags so it will not output those channels to a PC via Firewire. Thankfully, the TiVo ignores the DRM and RC flags so it can transfer everything.

The same is true of Comcast in my area on most channels.
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post #187 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 01:31 PM
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This thread is great and I'm glad there are individuals out there that are documenting it and keeping the rest of us in the loop. But what now? It's great that we're getting educated on what Comcast is doing, but is there anything else we can do to stop or reverse it short of changing providers? Perhaps that is the best/only thing we can do...

Does anyone have the ear of a major Comcast operative? Can we as the public request they not do this? Prior to now, the one HD factor they had over the others was not playing around with the signal. Now if they're taking that away, well, there's not incentive to go/stay with them.
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post #188 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 01:46 PM
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Now I'm even more glad I just converted my friend with a 50" plasma from Comcast to D*.
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post #189 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 02:32 PM
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This is a quote from a headend tech in my area when I asked him:
Quote:


How is 3:1 compression going to be in our area? Will it be as bad as it is in most areas? Or have you guys grouped the right channels together to get the best PQ...

Response:
Quote:


Multiplex is designed nationally. I'm hoping to avoid any PQ problems.

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post #190 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeKlim View Post

This thread is great and I'm glad there are individuals out there that are documenting it and keeping the rest of us in the loop. But what now? It's great that we're getting educated on what Comcast is doing, but is there anything else we can do to stop or reverse it short of changing providers? Perhaps that is the best/only thing we can do...

Does anyone have the ear of a major Comcast operative? Can we as the public request they not do this? Prior to now, the one HD factor they had over the others was not playing around with the signal. Now if they're taking that away, well, there's not incentive to go/stay with them.

But they perceive that what the public wants is MORE HD! This 3:1 (instead of the normal 2:1) gives them a 33% increase in HD channels. They are likely to look at it as offending a few purists in order to provide more HD channels.

Yes, there are other ways to offer more channels - but this way is more immediate and does not disenfranchise legacy analog viewers.

I'm not defending them - just pointing out how Comcrap management is likely to look at this.

Dave Hancock
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post #191 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sansri88 View Post

This is a quote from a headend tech in my area when I asked him:


Response:

Right, the channels in question are from CMC/HITS(Comcast Media Center/Headend In The Sky) which sells(re-sells) the channels/packages to other cable systems across the country as well as sending them to their own systems.

AFAIK, there's nothing the local systems can do about the PQ. I suppose they could break apart the 3 channels per QAM, but they'll still be left with the compressed bitrate per channel so there probably isn't any point, they'll just pipe them out the way they get them.

I suppose Comcast can still claim they pass the channels as they get them, it's just that they're getting them from themselves, after having already reduced the bitrate.
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post #192 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeKlim View Post

This thread is great and I'm glad there are individuals out there that are documenting it and keeping the rest of us in the loop. But what now? It's great that we're getting educated on what Comcast is doing, but is there anything else we can do to stop or reverse it short of changing providers? Perhaps that is the best/only thing we can do...

Does anyone have the ear of a major Comcast operative? Can we as the public request they not do this? Prior to now, the one HD factor they had over the others was not playing around with the signal. Now if they're taking that away, well, there's not incentive to go/stay with them.

The FCC is holding an en banc hearing (that means all 5 commissioners are attending in person) at Stanford on April 17th to get testimony and get public feedback on comcast's ********** filtering. Folks should show up at this meeting and tell FCC about the problem and demand an investigation. Maybe print out some high quality pictures of FIOS vs Comcast and point out to the FCC that despite paying more for HD, Comcast is degrading our quality WITHOUT PUBLICLY TELLING US they are doing it. Just like with **********. It's one thing to tell everyone you are doing it so consumers can make the choice themselves, but they are not telling people about what they are doing with degrading our HD!

Also, folks should contact the FCC's media bureau in Washington and file a formal complaint. Make sure they formally file the complaint and give you a case number...

The FCC is serious about policing cable these days, esp. when it comes to them cheating consumers of choices and making us pay more for less. Given the price increases we got in 2007 and 2008 allegedly so they could offer us more HD, what they are doing by the degrading this signal is terrible.

Also, contact your local newspaper, and explain to them what's going on in simple matter. People love to write about how the cable industry is screwing you.

Also, write the folks at Sound and Vision, Home Theater, and others to let them know about this practice. If they gets out into wider HT community, then I think it's going to hurt the cable guys competitively.

Lastly, wasn't there a lawsuit about DirecTV downgrading HD back in the old MPEG2 days? It would be great if someone like that would file a case against Comcast and the other MSO's for doing this. Maybe even Verizon and DirecTV would be willing to help pay for it. :-)

In short, there is a lot that can be done. We just need to get in gear and make the price the MSO's pay high enough and they'll stop. Don't sit around and be pissed, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
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post #193 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Right, the channels in question are from CMC/HITS(Comcast Media Center/Headend In The Sky) which sells(re-sells) the channels/packages to other cable systems across the country as well as sending them to their own systems.

AFAIK, there's nothing the local systems can do about the PQ. I suppose they could break apart the 3 channels per QAM, but they'll still be left with the compressed bitrate per channel so there probably isn't any point, they'll just pipe them out the way they get them.

I suppose Comcast can still claim they pass the channels as they get them, it's just that they're getting them from themselves, after having already reduced the bitrate.

COrrect, if they get their feed via HITS, they are powerless to do something about it. I bet a bunch don't even know about it, which is why calling your Cox or TW or Charter local manager is important!
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post #194 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

But they perceive that what the public wants is MORE HD! This 3:1 (instead of the normal 2:1) gives them a 33% increase in HD channels. They are likely to look at it as offending a few purists in order to provide more HD channels.

Yes, there are other ways to offer more channels - but this way is more immediate and does not disenfranchise legacy analog viewers.

I'm not defending them - just pointing out how Comcrap management is likely to look at this.

I hear you. The irony is that now D* can turn around and say "hey, we have all these channels AND better PQ!" I never thought I'd say this, but I may have to hold my nose and switch back to D*--though if MPEG4 looks as good as many here are saying it does, I may not have to hold my nose as much.
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post #195 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 04:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

They are likely to look at it as offending a few purists in order to provide more HD channels.

Absolutely correct.

Let's not forget how many people buy a widescreen set, keep their SD channels stretched, and think they are watching HD.

Those relatively few who can actually see and appreciate the difference between a good source signal sent unaltered and an altered signal from Dish, DirecTV, and just about every other provider will continue to be disappointed and have to settle for what's available.

AFAIK, other than BUD, Fios is the only chance to see the original signal unaltered. And even then, those with Fios will have to do with those source signals that are now being downgraded at the request of E*, D*, and the cable companies.

Quantity will continue to bury quality. Blu-ray is soon going to be the only choice if top PQ, and SQ, are the goals of the viewer.
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post #196 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by townofturley View Post

Absolutely correct.

Let's not forget how many people buy a widescreen set, keep their SD channels stretched, and think they are watching HD.

Those relatively few who can actually see and appreciate the difference between a good source signal sent unaltered and an altered signal from Dish, DirecTV, and just about every other provider will continue to be disappointed and have to settle for what's available.

AFAIK, other than BUD, Fios is the only chance to see the original signal unaltered. And even then, those with Fios will have to do with those source signals that are now being downgraded at the request of E*, D*, and the cable companies.

Quantity will continue to bury quality. Blu-ray is soon going to be the only choice if top PQ, and SQ, are the goals of the viewer.

Excuse me, but this is crap. Comcast could dump 10 analog channels (moving them to digital) and deliver tons of HD and at full quality. DirecTV is delivering the most HD these days, and at full quality as well.

You can get both quality and quantity with both FIOS and DirecTV. With cable you get neither, as no MSO has a comparable HD lineup to FIOS and esp. DirecTV. They used to have at least quality, and now they are losing that too.
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post #197 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Excuse me, but this is crap. Comcast could dump 10 analog channels (moving them to digital) and deliver tons of HD and at full quality. DirecTV is delivering the most HD these days, and at full quality as well.

You can get both quality and quantity with both FIOS and DirecTV. With cable you get neither, as no MSO has a comparable HD lineup to FIOS and esp. DirecTV. They used to have at least quality, and now they are losing that too.

I think that we have not seen any proof (like bfdtv provided on Comcrap vs FiOS) that DirecTV has superior quality. There has been a lot of conjecture (on both sides) that MPEG-4 resulted in better quality, when, in reality all we know for sure is that MPEG-4 has a higher efficiency, which DirecTV is using to lower the bitrate (and provide more channels per transponder).

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post #198 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehancock View Post

I think that we have not seen any proof (like bfdtv provided on Comcrap vs FiOS) that DirecTV has superior quality. There has been a lot of conjecture (on both sides) that MPEG-4 resulted in better quality, when, in reality all we know for sure is that MPEG-4 has a higher efficiency, which DirecTV is using to lower the bitrate (and provide more channels per transponder).

We're likely never to know for sure unless someone from DirecTV can provide some documentation since, to date, there hasn't been any way to capture D* data to analyze it.

As far as MPEG4, I don't know about a "better" quality claim, "as good as" the source might be more accurate.

Comcast is clearly not sending "as good as" the source for the channels in question in this thread.
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post #199 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sansri88 View Post

This is a quote from a headend tech in my area when I asked him:


Response:

No response whatsoever to my inquiry. Actually, my last TWO inquiries.

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post #200 of 2079 Old 03-23-2008, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

Also, contact your local newspaper, and explain to them what's going on in simple matter. People love to write about how the cable industry is screwing you.

Also, write the folks at Sound and Vision, Home Theater, and others to let them know about this practice. If they gets out into wider HT community, then I think it's going to hurt the cable guys competitively.

Why do I think if that caused subscriber loss, Comcast would raise their rates to compensate?
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post #201 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 03:57 AM - Thread Starter
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I posted a new section for video clips to the first post. I also added bitrate details for MHD.

I'll try to post some comparison screenshots for MHD (Red Hot Chili Peppers Live in Milan) and A&E (Matrix) tonight.
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post #202 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 08:08 AM
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where is the video post?
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post #203 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 09:34 AM
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Thanks bfdtv for keeping up with the latest on the Comcast HD compression. I guess they didn't expect anyone to notice the quality difference or just really don't care what people think. Over the weekend, I watched several NCAA basketball games on CBS in HD with Comcast. I noticed artifacts and even blurring at times. I think I'll go with the QAM signal this weekend and should hopefully get a much better picture. I pay Comcast $196 a month for their triple play services and this includes the movie channels...guess I can't blame anyone but myself for feeling ripped off. For now, the only way to go for television is Comcast or the dish but AT&T may be in here and up the stakes soon. Until then, I only see it degrading further in the future if Comcast has a monopoly in some markets.
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post #204 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 10:01 AM
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There's no two ways about it - that is HORRIBLE compression.
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post #205 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 10:12 AM
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I have to say "The DaVinci Code" on Starz HD last night looked no better than watching it via 480P on a standard DVD player with good component cables.

Really lacked the pop and detail.

Starz HD is on the same mux as A&E and Food I think.
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post #206 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeSM View Post

The FCC is holding an en banc hearing (that means all 5 commissioners are attending in person) at Stanford on April 17th to get testimony and get public feedback on comcast's ********** filtering. Folks should show up at this meeting and tell FCC about the problem and demand an investigation. Maybe print out some high quality pictures of FIOS vs Comcast and point out to the FCC that despite paying more for HD, Comcast is degrading our quality WITHOUT PUBLICLY TELLING US they are doing it. Just like with **********. It's one thing to tell everyone you are doing it so consumers can make the choice themselves, but they are not telling people about what they are doing with degrading our HD!

Also, folks should contact the FCC's media bureau in Washington and file a formal complaint. Make sure they formally file the complaint and give you a case number...

The FCC is serious about policing cable these days, esp. when it comes to them cheating consumers of choices and making us pay more for less. Given the price increases we got in 2007 and 2008 allegedly so they could offer us more HD, what they are doing by the degrading this signal is terrible.

Also, contact your local newspaper, and explain to them what's going on in simple matter. People love to write about how the cable industry is screwing you.

Also, write the folks at Sound and Vision, Home Theater, and others to let them know about this practice. If they gets out into wider HT community, then I think it's going to hurt the cable guys competitively.

Lastly, wasn't there a lawsuit about DirecTV downgrading HD back in the old MPEG2 days? It would be great if someone like that would file a case against Comcast and the other MSO's for doing this. Maybe even Verizon and DirecTV would be willing to help pay for it. :-)

In short, there is a lot that can be done. We just need to get in gear and make the price the MSO's pay high enough and they'll stop. Don't sit around and be pissed, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!


One other thing that can be done is to bring this to the attention of content providers like GE which owns NBC, USA, Sci-Fi, Universal and other channels, as well as Scripps Media (TLC, Food, etc.) and others that Comcast is degrading quality of their programming and thus reducing the incentive to watch their content and that will directly affect the advertising revenue these companies will be getting. Since dollar talks louder than anything else it may induce these content providers to have a word with Comcast and ask them "politely" to cease and desist that type "bandwidth management" on video from these companies.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Comcast is not just compressing the HD channels into 3:1 but also standard definition video as well. I just did a scan with my PC QAM tuner card and most of the national SD channels are on 16:1 ratios now. That means that a single MPEG-2 SD channel gets approximately 2-2.4 Mbps. That is a rather low number. On average I believe SD MPEG-2 video should be in 3.5-4 Mbps range to achieve a good quality video.
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post #207 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 10:16 AM
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MHD 17.73 Mbps 13.21 Mbps -34.2%

i'm surprised at that - i think it looks and sounds awesome. i wonder what it'd look like in 17.73 Mbps....
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post #208 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by briansemerick View Post

MHD 17.73 Mbps 13.21 Mbps -34.2%

i'm surprised at that - i think it looks and sounds awesome. i wonder what it'd look like in 17.73 Mbps....

Looks great here.

MHD is at 639 MHz along with 8 other SD channels and 9 Music Choice Channels.
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post #209 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 11:59 AM
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Watching SD on Comcast is no better than watching Youtube, that's what I can compare it to!!! I don't think Comcast any SLA agreements so they can play games like this and you have no recourse other than looking for a new provider. Their time is coming to an end.
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post #210 of 2079 Old 03-24-2008, 12:15 PM
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I have a layout of how my system is loading SD/MC/and HD.
http://home.comcast.net/~cypherx/qam.htm

Listed is everything that my TV's QAM tuner lists. If there's no name in the slot, my TV acknowledges a stream there, but it is encrypted and I'm not sure what is in that slot. For the encrypted HD material, I turned the box off on every HD channel and recorded the frequency.
For stuff like HBO and Cinemax, we just got over a free preview, so I was able to find the exact location for those.

I can pull up an all channel list on my Samsung HP-T4254 plasma, and the grey ones are encrypted, the white ones are selectable. VOD is on 83-1 through 86-12. A busy night will reveal 8 or 9 VOD randomly assigned across all 4 QAMs. No they do not go in order, 83-1, 83-2, 83-3, etc... You could have one or two on 83, and four on 84 and maybe 2 on 85 and one on 86. Not sure how the system assigns the random PID (random number generator???)
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