Hey Verizon : Where are the new HD channels? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 287 Old 10-02-2007, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Will somebody please call and wake up Verizon and tell them EVERYONE else is announcing new hd channels EXCEPT them!! What exactly is the problem over there?

I hear plenty of excitement in the air over at D* and now cable.

Around Verizon FiOS, all I hear are crickets chirping.

What gives?

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post #2 of 287 Old 10-02-2007, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fastep View Post

Will somebody please call and wake up Verizon and tell them


I'd love to get FIOS. Have you called them to find out why no additional HD channels?
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post #3 of 287 Old 10-02-2007, 09:08 PM
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FiOS doesn't have the hardware at the VHOs and COs necessary to use much of their capacity. They are working to upgrade, but this is apparently requires another 6+ months of work. Why they waited so long (summer?) to begin these upgrades is anyone's guess.

Verizon has told people they will add a few new channels -- presumably the most popular ones -- in November. But significant new additions aren't expected until 2008.

One channel they won't be adding this year is TBS-HD. Verizon won't be ready to add new channels before late October and they feel that the bandwidth they still have available (until the VHOs and COs are upgraded) is better spent elsewhere.
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post #4 of 287 Old 10-02-2007, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

FiOS doesn't have the hardware at the VHOs and COs necessary to use much of their capacity. They are working to upgrade, but this is apparently requires another 6+ months of work. Why they waited so long (summer?) to begin these upgrades is anyone's guess.

Verizon has told people they will add a few new channels -- presumably the most popular ones -- in November. But significant new additions aren't expected until 2008.

One channel they won't be adding this year is TBS-HD. Verizon won't be ready to add new channels before late October and they feel that the bandwidth they still have available (until the VHOs and COs are upgraded) is better spent elsewhere.

That's interesting info that I didn't know. One thing, tho; what are VHO's and CO's?

Hal
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post #5 of 287 Old 10-02-2007, 09:42 PM
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great promises, baffling execution. it feels like dejaVoom all over again.
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post #6 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 01:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigma View Post

That's interesting info that I didn't know. One thing, tho; what are VHO's and CO's?

Verizon is relatively unique among cable systems in their design.

They have two SuperHeadEnds (SPEs), one for redundancy. These SPEs aggregate all digital cable content using fiber, dozens of big ugly dishes (BUDs), and a warehouse full of receivers, SD MPEG-2 encoders, and commercial insertion equipment.

The SPEs send the MPEG-2 video via SONET to video hubs (VHOs) in each region. I don't know the current count, but I believe there are now somewhere between 7 and 13 VHOs. The VHOs modulate the MPEG-2 channels from the SPEs into RF (QAM) for delivery to the home. A section of RF (QAM) spectrum is reserved for locals. The VHOs receive the local networks from broadcast affiliates in the region (typically via fiber) and modulate them onto the reserved QAM channels. The combined QAM signal is sent via fiber to each Verizon central office in the region with guide data.

Your local office receives that modulated QAM video from the VHO and combines it with voice and high-speed data. From there is sent to your home via fiber.

Verizon has 135 6MHz channels available between the CO and your home. The problem, as I alluded to above, is that the VHOs and COs evidently have the hardware to support only 103 of those 135 channels today. Depending on the VHO, anywhere from 54 to 63 of those channels is allocated to QAM, with the rest allocated to analog. The oldest VHOs may have 54 slots available for QAM while newer VHOs may have 63.

More comprehensive upgrades are apparently required to upgrade the VHOs and COs to use the remaining 32 channels, so for now, Verizon is working to eliminate the analog channels. It's not a matter of just switching off an analog channel and switching on a QAM channel because both use separate equipment at the VHO and CO; hence, new equipment must be installed in every VHO and CO.

Each QAM slot provides a minimum of 38.8 Mbps usable. Verizon currently allocates 7-9 SD channels per QAM and 2 HD channels per QAM. The average FiOS system probably uses 52-53 QAM slots today.

Verizon's first step may be to make all VHOs and COs capable of using 63 QAM slots, because the newer VHOs are already capable of that. Verizon rolls out channels nationally, not regionally, so some in newer FiOS markets are probably stuck waiting for older markets to upgrade their equipment.

Updated Friday, October 19

Verizon responded to this post on Engadget with, Ben, there is no "technological limitation” in our video hubs and central offices. In our fiber system it is just a matter of adding new equipment to increase capacity. That's certainly true.

The problem is that the equipment upgrades necessary require many months of work. In some cases, building upgrades are required because Verizon didn't include storage space for that equipment in their plans. Verizon is relying on contractors outside the company to perform many of these upgrades, which slows the process. It is possible some timetables have changed recently, but as of three months ago, Verizon engineering did not expect to have the capacity necessary to add most of the new DirecTV HD channels for another year (i.e. 4Q 2008). This information was supplied by employees working in the FiOS TV engineering department under Frank B.

There is now talk that Verizon could eliminate the analog channels by June or July, which would free up capacity for about 80 new HD channels. Whether management will authorize the resources necessary to make this happen is unknown.
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post #7 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 03:26 AM
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Well, if Verizon hasn't installed FiOS yet, and are going to in, say, January or February 2008, how would my area be? All the new and good equipment to make use of all of the channels? Or the old ones that the VHOs have now?
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post #8 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdtv View Post

Verizon has 135 6MHz channels available between the CO and your home. The problem, as I alluded to above, is that the VHOs and COs evidently have the hardware to support only 103 of those 135 channels today. Depending on the VHO, anywhere from 54 to 63 of those channels is allocated to QAM, with the rest allocated to analog. The oldest VHOs may have 54 slots available for QAM while newer VHOs may have 63.

Thanks for the detailed and well written explanation. I did a QAM channel scan and found only 54 QAM channels for my Sterling, VA location, so I may have an "older" CO setup. They must be using the 63 QAM channel setup at the Mercer County, NJ and Anne Arundel - Howard County, MD areas to provide the HD locals from two cities and the 3 HD RSN in NJ.

I now see the reason for the push to get rid of the analog channels if they have equipment for only 103 channels. Why 103? That is a odd limit; would have expected some multiple of 8,16,32 for equipment racks.

Verizon obviously made a serious mis-calculation on future digital bandwidth needs when they started to build the system. They started TV service only 2 years ago; one would think they would have been better prepared for a HD flood. If they had decided to not bother with putting the little watched local public access and government channels on the analog tier and made them digital only, they could have gone with, say, a total of 30 analog channels. Then they could have built out a total of 73 or so QAM channels and they would not have this bandwidth crunch for the new HD channels starting up this fall and early 2008. 54 QAM channels is only 40% of the available 135 QAM channels.

I would venture that a team or consultant did the analysis that said 54 QAMs is plenty for the channels that currently exist, so the bean counters directed to put only 54 QAM cards in place to cut costs. Now they have DirecTV firing a full HD broadside and they can't shoot back. penny wise, pound foolish.

My QAM analysis did find two half filled national QAM channels for QAM 85 with Lifetime Movie HD and QAM 103 with Nat Geo HD as the only channels at those QAMs, so they probably have room for two more HD channels in those slots. I also did not see any subchannels for QAM 93, so that may be open. But if they are limited to adding 4 or 5 HD channels for now, they will have to choose carefully. In that light, not adding TBS-HD for only two weeks of MLB playoffs may be the right decision. I rather see Discovery-HD, Sci-Fi HD, CNN-HD and when it is available, FX-HD.
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post #9 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sansri88 View Post

Well, if Verizon hasn't installed FiOS yet, and are going to in, say, January or February 2008, how would my area be? All the new and good equipment to make use of all of the channels? Or the old ones that the VHOs have now?

I'm sure the newest VHOs have most the equipment needed.

However, as I noted above, Verizon doesn't roll out new channels until they can deliver them to all service areas. Hence, it doesn't matter whether your region is ready or not if there is still work to be done at others.
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post #10 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 09:56 AM
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how do you scan for QAM's?
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post #11 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:03 AM
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There will be no TBS-HD until June 2008. I strongly doubt there will be ANY, repeat ANY new HD channels added before June. The upshot? THat is way too late for FiOS to survise. I spoke with somethere there at length about this and this person, not in the decision making chain of command agrees. What a total waste of money. Glad I don't own any Verizon stock.
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post #12 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:15 AM
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One thing to keep in mind is that Verizon is JUST getting into the Video Business. What they are providing now is quite amazing if you think about Cable Companies and Sat Companies being around for YEARS. FIOS is a brand new technology. I know all the channels aren't here yet, but be patient. Verizon's stock has been climbing due to the success of FIOS. Verizon was told a few years ago that we'd never get Franchise Agreements, much less get the technology to work. Because Verizon has overcome both of those in a relatively short time period, the future of FIOS is looking super for FIOS.

Stick with it, because before you know it, Verizon will have the most (or as many as) HD channels of anyone, with capacity to keep growing and to give you faster internet access at the same time.

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post #13 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:22 AM
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MPEG2 to MPEG4 conversion, maybe?
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post #14 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:22 AM
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I strongly doubt there will be ANY, repeat ANY new HD channels added before June.

I'm scheduled for the install of FIOS TV for the 16th... I may change my mind if that's the case. I always thought that Fios capacity was NOT an issue, therefore I was sure that D* recent HD marathon would have put some pepper on V *** to add more HD.
Time to re-think I guess.

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post #15 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tonybradley View Post

One thing to keep in mind is that Verizon is JUST getting into the Video Business. What they are providing now is quite amazing if you think about Cable Companies and Sat Companies being around for YEARS.

I'd swap for FiOS in an instant if I had the choice. TWC just announced 3 new HD channels for my area (the first announcement in about 8 months), bringing their grand total to 12 nationals with no technical indications they will be able to add any others this year. Even if FiOS can't update until June, they'll still probably be ahead in the channel count. Not to mention the broadband capacity. There is no way TWC will be offering 20Mbps connections.

And TBSHD is an abomination outside of baseball. They even stretch programming presented in OAR.


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post #16 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonybradley View Post

One thing to keep in mind is that Verizon is JUST getting into the Video Business.

Stick with it, because before you know it, Verizon will have the most (or as many as) HD channels of anyone, with capacity to keep growing and to give you faster internet access at the same time.

Why should I stick with Verizon if the competition is providing more channels. It is easy to go back to them once they are ready. If enough people vote with thier wallet, Verizon will have to change thier strategy. Just getting into the Video business should be an advantage since they can avoid mistakes the cable business made.

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post #17 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:32 AM
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I have FIOS available and this is exactly why I chose D* for the next 2 years. FIOS is not the place to be yet folks. Its gonna take them awhile to add the channels and to upgrade that POS DVR they have. There is no guarantee that verizon is not more interested in SD customers at this point. That is where the money and numbers are.
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post #18 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:39 AM
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Well, I know of about 30 people around the country who are dropping FiOS because of this after my posting on TVPredictions.com. I have also been in contact with people at Verizon who now see that they have really dropped the ball on this one. Even thoug they are new, they should have the foresight to have know that this channel would be a must have before the MLB playoffs. Most other providers seem to have. If I weren't going to be away most of November I would drop them myself,. Too many other things to deal with so I will wait till I get back.
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post #19 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:55 AM
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Wow! Very interesting post. Verizon is really pushing current users to bundle their services at a GREAT price ($109 for all three), but you had sign a two year commitment

I have Fios internet and phone and wasn't interested in leaving D* (Sunday Ticket). I had no clue about their HD limitations. I imagine a lot of people will be salty a year from now if other provides are miles ahead in the HD game while Fios is still finding their footing and they are locked into long commitments....
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post #20 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 10:58 AM
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Does anyone know if FIOS got Center Ice or if they are still trying to get it?
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post #21 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 11:05 AM
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You guys are being waaaaay too Chicken Little about this. I'd wager good money that, come May 2008, Verizon subs still have more HD channels that 75% of all cable subscribers.

Is D* going to be above and beyond? Of course, but plenty of people would rather have broadband internet and fewer HD channels than pay a premium for 150 HD channels (most of which have little to no HD and will remain that way well beyond June 2008) and a premium for broadband internet from some other provider. D* might now be the provider for HD (and sure that gets a lot of credit with people on this forum), but some of you are being incredibly myopic.

Let's be honest, however crippled Verizon is from now until June 2008, much of the former Adelphia territories are going to be crippled well into the next decade, to say nothing of lesser providers. Where's the doom and gloom for Comcast and everyone else? I mean, hell, out in Charlottesville, VA (now Comcast, former Adelphia), they don't even have the capacity for ESPN Gameplan, and last I checked the HD offering was locals (no CW or MyNetTV), ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and HD Theater.

If you want to talk about incredibly inept Verizon mismangement, let's talk about the IMG. Not this.
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post #22 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by URFloorMatt View Post


Is D* going to be above and beyond? Of course, but plenty of people would rather have broadband internet and fewer HD channels than pay a premium for 150 HD channels (most of which have little to no HD and will remain that way well beyond June 2008) and a premium for broadband internet from some other provider.


If you want to talk about incredibly inept Verizon mismangement, let's talk about the IMG. Not this.


You can keep phone and internet with V* and not pay a penalty. The penalty is attatched to internet service. I am very close to switching my tv service to D* while maintaining the Verizon "double play".

I am just waiting for D* to release the HR21 pro dvr and the balance of the new hd channels before I pull the trigger. And honestly, I hope by then V* announces at least the addition of History HD and the Discovery HD stuff. The kids stuff, cnn, weather and all the additional movie stuff can wait (at least for me).

If that announcement does come from V*, I'll stick and with V* and invest in the tivo3.

Come on V* - you can do anything you put your mind to (and $$). You just have to make it a priority.

We'll see....
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post #23 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastep View Post

You can keep phone and internet with V* and not pay a penalty. The penalty is attatched to internet service. I am very close to switching my tv service to D* while maintaining the Verizon "double play".

I am just waiting for D* to release the HR21 pro dvr and the balance of the new hd channels before I pull the trigger. And honestly, I hope by then V* announces at least the addition of History HD and the Discovery HD stuff. The kids stuff, cnn, weather and all the additional movie stuff can wait (at least for me).

If that announcement does come from V*, I'll stick and with V* and invest in the tivo3.

Come on V* - you can do anything you put your mind to (and $$). You just have to make it a priority.

We'll see....

FIOS is there priority at the moment. Seriously. They've invested mega bucks over the past few years for the FIOS undertaking. Verizon also sells DirecTV service under one of their package offerings. They may not do it in areas they offer FIOS TV, I'm not sure. I know they do it in areas they do not offer FIOS TV. I have D* and am happy with the channels. If Verizon FIOS was in my area, I would think long and hard about it just because of the 'current' channel counts. I think I'd quickly turn to Verizon because I could have the phone, SUPER HIGH SPEED INTERNET and Video in one package. You will see a plethera of HD channels eventually. Especially HD ON DEMAND. Verizon's bandwidth far exceeds that of any other provider. But, if you are "for the now", FIOS may not be the best option for channels. As another poster said, you can always switch back to FIOS WHEN they have more channels.

Tony
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post #24 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 12:17 PM
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So... after reading the AVS this morning, and realizing the limitation for FIOS TV in adding new HD channels, I reviewed the D* special package offer I have. Now here's the beauty: Verizon still packages Direct TV with their bundle for FIOS Internet (20mb download - 5mb upload) and telephone, thus giving a freedom essential credit of $26 per month for at least 24 months..
Result: Direct TV premier pkg, fios 20/5 internet, phone (long distance included) = $133

I hope all of you out there with the ability to get FIOS internet can take advantage of this as I have. Glad to share it with you all.


I'm so excited I started a new thread !!!

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post #25 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by vurbano View Post

I have FIOS available and this is exactly why I chose D* for the next 2 years. FIOS is not the place to be yet folks. Its gonna take them awhile to add the channels and to upgrade that POS DVR they have. There is no guarantee that verizon is not more interested in SD customers at this point. That is where the money and numbers are.

I suspended my D* account and went to FIOS last month. First off FIOS has fast guides, no reboots and MUCH better SD signal...there is no comparison there. I have a decent amount of HD stations and the HD stations are better than D* (overall)....even compared the MPEG 4 locals from D*.

Like a few people mentioned the amount of "real" HD content just isn't enough and won't be for a while....so I have my RSN (which I could not get with D*), much better SD and better HD.....albeit less stations in HD, though.

Now, I have not checked out their (D*) new HD line up and the PQ, but from what I have read there are mixed reviews.

I did enjoy D* and would go back to them if I had to. Their CS is decent, outages are rare and they have done me well over the 7 years I had them.
FIOS is "new" and will take time to catch up, but I am optimistic that as FIOS grows bandwidth issues will be less of a problem.

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post #26 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by URFloorMatt View Post

You guys are being waaaaay too Chicken Little about this. I'd wager good money that, come May 2008, Verizon subs still have more HD channels that 75% of all cable subscribers.

Is D* going to be above and beyond? Of course, but plenty of people would rather have broadband internet and fewer HD channels than pay a premium for 150 HD channels (most of which have little to no HD and will remain that way well beyond June 2008) and a premium for broadband internet from some other provider. D* might now be the provider for HD (and sure that gets a lot of credit with people on this forum), but some of you are being incredibly myopic.

Let's be honest, however crippled Verizon is from now until June 2008, much of the former Adelphia territories are going to be crippled well into the next decade, to say nothing of lesser providers. Where's the doom and gloom for Comcast and everyone else? I mean, hell, out in Charlottesville, VA (now Comcast, former Adelphia), they don't even have the capacity for ESPN Gameplan, and last I checked the HD offering was locals (no CW or MyNetTV), ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and HD Theater.

If you want to talk about incredibly inept Verizon mismangement, let's talk about the IMG. Not this.


Sorry, but after speaking with verizon and knowing what it will take to get more bandwidth to add more HD channels, I have no confidence at all that there will be any more than 2 or 3 HD channels added before the end of 2008. They are WAY behind the curve and slipping badly.
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post #27 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JWhip View Post

There will be no TBS-HD until June 2008. I strongly doubt there will be ANY, repeat ANY new HD channels added before June. The upshot? THat is way too late for FiOS to survise. I spoke with somethere there at length about this and this person, not in the decision making chain of command agrees. What a total waste of money. Glad I don't own any Verizon stock.

But that is not the result of my QAM analysis and I get only 54 QAM channels. Even with that limited number of QAM channels, they have two 1/2 used QAM channels, 1 unused QAM channel in what appears to be a national channel block. Now those may used by a HD RSN somewhere which is why I would like people to go to the diagnostics page when their 6416 is tuned to the RSN and report what the tuner frequency is for that channel. If we can figure out where they put the HD RSNs and local HDs, we have some insight into how they using their available bandwidth.

Some national HD channels don't come close to using the full 19.2 MB/sec data rate such as Universal HD or HBO-HD. Some simple channel reshuffling by moving a few SD sub-channels into the QAM channels with two less than full rate HD channels, move some of the SD sub-channels around so they have 9 per QAM & clear out several SD only QAM channels, will free up bandwidth for a few more HD channels. Now I expect some of the VHO and COs with 63 QAM channels are using some of the 9 additional QAM channels for local and RSN HD channels, but they are probably not using them all. I should periodically hook up the Fios cable and do a QAM channel scan to see if 9 QAM channels have been added to get to 63.

There have been repeated reports from people who have claimed to talk to the higher ups at Fios, that they will add some more HD channels this fall. The question is when, how many, and exactly which channels? There will be a bunch to choose from. We don't need to panic and spread that much FUD around. I suggest that a balanced understanding of the current situation is more helpful.

The issue is how fast can they kill the analog channels and replace them with QAM? Even if they could do the swap right away, they likely have to get approval from some of the local government oversight boards first and send out the DCT 700 boxes. It is obvious that having to shut down the analog channels barely 2 years after starting up the service, that it was a expensive mistake to offer any analog at all. Likely a lot of fairly new expensive hardware is being yanked and put aside.
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post #28 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 01:02 PM
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Sorry, but after speaking with verizon and knowing what it will take to get more bandwidth to add more HD channels, I have no confidence at all that there will be any more than 2 or 3 HD channels added before the end of 2008. They are WAY behind the curve and slipping badly.

How are they way behind? They already have more national channels than TWC. If you think Verizon doesn't have the hardware try switching to a cable market that hasn't installed SDV yet. Which is most of them. The rollout for the TWC SDV timetable stretches until the end of 2008 and until that's installed they are even more screwed for bandwidth.

Take a look here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=419472

and note that what it says at the top is an estimate for cable users. You might get some of those but not everyone does. For example the total for nationals in this area is 14, and that includes the channels they are adding this month. And not everyone is getting those.


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post #29 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 01:18 PM
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I am fully aware of their infrastructure and what they have the capacity to add or not add now. They are moving at a snails pace to increase their capacity and make no effort at all to make public their plans. I am sorry but I have little faith that they will be able to deliver or should I say make an effort to deliver more than a handful of new HD channels next year. One would have thought that a start up service that had the chance to built a system that blows away cable would have had the foresight to max out on their capacity from the gitgo. They have not and now have to spend a lot of cash to do so, which is why you hear the talk about removing analogs. That is not the anwser and may take years. They will have a hard time catching up with Directv with all the HD channels they are adding. Verizon had the chance to strike when the iron was hot and have now blown that opportunity. They may not get a second chance. Not having TBS-HD available when they could have added it right now technically, is inexcusable. If they are not able to grasp this now, I wonder if they ever will. Sorry, just my humble opinion.
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post #30 of 287 Old 10-03-2007, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by afiggatt View Post

Some national HD channels don't come close to using the full 19.2 MB/sec data rate such as Universal HD or HBO-HD. Some simple channel reshuffling by moving a few SD sub-channels into the QAM channels with two less than full rate HD channels, move some of the SD sub-channels around so they have 9 per QAM & clear out several SD only QAM channels, will free up bandwidth for a few more HD channels. Now I expect some of the VHO and COs with 63 QAM channels are using some of the 9 additional QAM channels for local and RSN HD channels, but they are probably not using them all....

.

EXACTLY.
Besides the channel re-shuffling you mention, If they lower the data rate, (even "temporarily" until end of '08), on a few HD channels, such as LifeMovie, Wealth & TNT, to "Universal HD" or Satt type "HD lite" quality, that would open up even more bandwidth still for addtnl channels NOW.
My guess is that with both of these ideas, they could add most of the "important" HD's right now (SciFiHD, TLC, USA, Disc ect ..) without waiting till end of '08 ...
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