Are All Your QAM Channels Scrambled? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 520 Old 06-03-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I have read in many threads that soon all clear QAM will go away and digital cable will be scrambled. This will affect many people. I am looking for comments from cable users that have lost all clear QAM.

 

I'm interested in the cable company, location (zipcode is ok), and what have you done or are going to do about it.

 

I understand some cable feeds want to encrypt everything because of stealing cable or reducing their carbon footprint. That's what's been said. I am curious what has been done.

 

Thanks, Joe [See post #2]

 

edit: A new wrinkle. If you do not receive digital cable, this becomes a gray area. Having all your digital cable scrambled does mean you have no clear QAM. But if it's your choice and not a cable feed issue, please state such. I did start the thread by saying you lost clear QAM, not that you chose to block it.

 

If you lost your "locals" and that's the only digital you receive, that counts.

 

This is very interesting:

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1498949/samsung-gx-sm530cf-cablecard-tuner-and-media-streamer/0_50

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post #2 of 520 Old 06-03-2013, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
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See also:
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and...ic-encryption/

So far my list is:
-
Detroit, MI (Comcast)
Magnavox thread
Northern Michigan (Traverse City region) (Charter)
-
Minneapolis, MN (Comcast)
St. Paul
It has been reported that Comcast has encrypted all digital channels including locals. They seem to have left some analog channels come though as of May, 2013. Frequently analog channels are part of a "lifeline" service similar to what phone companies offer low income households.
post #240
-
Chicago, IL (Comcast) - Area reports:
Decatur, IL
Peoria area (Comcast) has now encrypted all channels. The EAS seems to be ok if you can get to it. See post #44
Evanston, IL (Comcast)
post #219
-
Bloomington, IN (Comcast)
post 278
Lafayette, IN (Comcast)
post 326
-
NYC, NY (Cablevision)
Most headends.
Queens (TWC)
Amherst, NY (unknown)
-
Western Mass (Comcast)
Northwestern suburban Boston (Comcast)
Post #174
-
Montreal Canada provider, Videotron, scrambles everything except the FM radio stations, barker channels and the majority of free video-on-demand QAMs that your neighbours ordered, comes with the pause, rewind and fast-forward results.
-
Naples, FL (Comcast)
Waiting for verification
Belleair, FL, just south of Clearwater. (unknown)
-
Nashua, NH (Comcast)
Post #91
Londonderry NH (Comcast)
Post #242
-
Hartford, CT (Comcast)
Post #101
Ledyard, CT (Comcast)
Post #134
-
Roseville, CA (?)
Post 112
-
Reno/Sparks NV (Comcast) (Charter)
post 335
-
Youngstown, OH (Comcast)
post #140
-
Pittsburgh, PA (Comcast)
post #200
Philadelphia, PA (Comcast)
post #244
Western, PA (Armstrong Utilities)
-
Bowie, MD (Comcast)
-
Washington, DC (Comcast)'
-
Egg Harbor Township - South Jersey - Atlantic County (Comcast)
-
Pueblo, CO (Comcast)
post #206
-
San Francisco Bay Area, CA (Comcast)
Post #167 , #171
Pittsburg, CA (Comcast)
post #169
Monterey area, CA (Comcast)
post #183
Orange County, CA (TWC)
-
Olympia, WA (Comcast)
post #232
-
Atlanta, GA (Comcast)
post #267
Albany, GA (Mediacom)
post #275
-

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post #3 of 520 Old 06-04-2013, 01:24 PM
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Cablevision has been encrypting basic broadcast channels in NYC and surrounding areas for a few years now. They had special permission from the FCC.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #4 of 520 Old 06-04-2013, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

Cablevision has been encrypting basic broadcast channels in NYC and surrounding areas for a few years now. They had special permission from the FCC.

I have heard NYC has been using the "cable theft" reason to encrypt their feeds. Would this mean all NYC Metro Cablevision feeds need a STB/DVR or cable card to receive any cable channels?

 

Since you are my first response, I must ask if your TV receives nothing via the rf input?

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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post #5 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 06:14 AM
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http://www.avsforum.com/t/1465875/iview-3500stb-dvr-tuner-owners-thread/330#post_23392991
Post related to this one, not exactly sure where the user is located though.
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post #6 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1465875/iview-3500stb-dvr-tuner-owners-thread/330#post_23392991
Post related to this one, not exactly sure where the user is located though.

Thanks. Comcast is only a county away from me. I hope they stay there.

 

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/limited-basic-encryption/

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post #7 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeKustra View Post

I have heard NYC has been using the "cable theft" reason to encrypt their feeds. Would this mean all NYC Metro Cablevision feeds need a STB/DVR or cable card to receive any cable channels?

Since you are my first response, I must ask if your TV receives nothing via the rf input?

Thanks for the feedback.

I am not in NYC, but my sister lives in Montville, NJ (Comcast), and they had to get boxes for all of their TV's 2 or 3 years ago. There was nothing but maybe the shopping channels showing without the box.

I had converted them to WMC/Ceton + 3x Extenders to aleviate the $10/month charge for each box (first year was free). They now pay $2.50/month for the CableCard and TA rental (compare to $50/month for 1 DVR and 3 boxes) and can use all 4 of their TV's with full access to all the channels.

My parents are in the Bronx (Cablevision), and they can't receive anything without the box, at all. Not even the shopping channels. I converted them to WMC/Hauppauge dual cablecard tuner + 1x Extender. They only have 2 TV's.

Both Comcast and Cablevision went to "all encrypted" about 2 or 3 years ago. Both offered free boxes for a year, and then started charging.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #8 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post


Both Comcast and Cablevision went to "all encrypted" about 2 or 3 years ago. Both offered free boxes for a year, and then started charging.

I guess since the big guys have the power they can do whatever they want. I'm sensing a trend here. Or maybe I should say they do whatever the government lets them do. But I want to stay on-topic. Thanks for the feedback.

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post #9 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 09:31 AM
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I guess since the big guys have the power they can do whatever they want. I'm sensing a trend here. Or maybe I should say they do whatever the governemnt lets them do. But I want to stay on-topic. Thanks for the feedback.

To be honest, I don't really care if they encrypt everything, if it means I pay less for cable TV. The way I see it, they have to pay local stations for the rights to reboradcast. And if most of the people are not paying for local TV service, that means people like me who are paying for it, have to carry a heavier burden. What I do care is that they support CableCards and don't mark everything "record never"

I am using a mix of CableCard and ATSC tuners. I used to use a combination of CableCard and ClearQAM, but as soon as legislature passed, I got an antenna and swiched over, without waiting for Verizon to encrypt locals.

Tuning the same channel, let's say NBC with an antenna and over Verizon is night and day! OTA is much clearer, and I don't have to worry if the local franchise will be able to negotiate with the local station for the re-broadcast rights. I am simply using CableCard to tune Cable channels, which are all encrypted on Verizon, and ATSC tuners to tune locals.

I am using a powered antenna and a drop amp to feed 2x older style SDHR which have individual inputs for each of the 4 tuners. With the antenna, I can pick up some Canadian stations too (hockey games), which Verizon does not carry at all.

WMC allows you to merge them all nicely for transparent user experience.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #10 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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To be honest, I don't really care if they encrypt everything, if it means I pay less for cable TV. The way I see it, they have to pay local stations for the rights to reboradcast. And if most of the people are not paying for local TV service, that means people like me who are paying for it, have to carry a heavier burden. What I do care is that they support CableCards and don't mark everything "record never"

I am using a mix of CableCard and ATSC tuners. I used to use a combination of CableCard and ClearQAM, but as soon as legislature passed, I got an antenna and swiched over, without waiting for Verizon to encrypt locals.

 

I understand. It's great to live in a major metro area. When you live in the middle of nowhere, it's cable, dish, or the internet. My cable company now lists the "retransmission fee" as a seperate item just to twist that knife a little more.

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post #11 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 10:50 AM
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My cable company now lists the "retransmission fee" as a seperate item just to twist that knife a little more.

That sort of "unbundling" of charges is of course old hat among telephone companies. It's often nothing more than a sneaky way of letting them advertise a lower price than what anyone actually pays. After all, do they even offer a package with no local channels, so you can avoid the "retransmission fee?"

I'm satellite rather than cable, and I actually do have a very old Dish package that doesn't include the $5/mo fee, but those packages aren't available any more. Any change to my Dish service - upgrade or downgrade - and I'll have to start paying their retransmission fee for a bunch of channels I already get OTA for free.
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post #12 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 11:23 AM - Thread Starter
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That sort of "unbundling" of charges is of course old hat among telephone companies. It's often nothing more than a sneaky way of letting them advertise a lower price than what anyone actually pays. After all, do they even offer a package with no local channels, so you can avoid the "retransmission fee?"

I'm satellite rather than cable, and I actually do have a very old Dish package that doesn't include the $5/mo fee, but those packages aren't available any more. Any change to my Dish service - upgrade or downgrade - and I'll have to start paying their retransmission fee for a bunch of channels I already get OTA for free.

Sounds normal. I get DSL, as a backup, for $20 a month. If I even change my billing credit card I lose the rate. But in defence of my little cable company, for $20 a month you can still get 2-23 analog and all the "locals" in HD. Now if I could just convince my mother that there is a difference.

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post #13 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

To be honest, I don't really care if they encrypt everything, if it means I pay less for cable TV. The way I see it, they have to pay local stations for the rights to rebroadcast. And if most of the people are not paying for local TV service, that means people like me who are paying for it, have to carry a heavier burden.

I seriously doubt that encrypting the locals would make any difference in your cable bill. A cable MSO can easily deal with cable thieves by encrypting the cable-only channels. I doubt even one person in a thousand would steal cable only to get local stations.

I agree they shouldn't mark every encrypted channel as copy-protected though. (Slightly OT, but my understanding is that Comcast encrypts everything but only copy-protects the premium channels, while TWC leaves the local channels in the clear, but copy-protects everything else!)

I think the reason Joe started this discussion is that encrypting everything (even the locals) makes all QAM devices useless unless they support CableCARDs. That's a lot of equipment to brick. And even if all your devices do accept CableCARDs, you're likely paying your cable company every month for those cards. Probably not much, but it adds up over time. Ideally, I'd think a cable company should leave the local channels in the clear so QAM tuners could get them, encrypt the other channels to deter cable thieves, and only copy-protect HBO, Showtime, etc.

What would reduce those rebroadcast fees, though, is a cable version of DirecTV's AM21 OTA tuner that would let you hook an antenna up to your cable box, thus avoiding the fee, but still integrate the OTA channels with the cable channels so you didn't have to switch inputs, remotes, or guides. Such a tuner would also eliminate the temporary loss of some local channels whenever there's a spat between the cable co. and some TV station ownership group (which seem to be happening more and more often). I've heard rumors some cable companies are looking at this idea, and I hope the rumors are correct.
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post #14 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
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We'll know it's the End when some OEM comes out with a TV that doesn't support QAM. Maybe there will be a TV that is HDMI only? But isn't that how flat panels started? I'm getting dizzy.

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post #15 of 520 Old 06-05-2013, 11:58 AM
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Yes, I believe a TV that's HDMI-only is called a "monitor" wink.gif But I can certainly imagine an Internet TV with an Ethernet connection instead of an RF tuner, and firmware to access YouTube, NetFlix, Vudu, etc. That is pretty similar to how flat panels got their start (laptop PCs).
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post #16 of 520 Old 06-06-2013, 09:46 AM
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I seriously doubt that encrypting the locals would make any difference in your cable bill. A cable MSO can easily deal with cable thieves by encrypting the cable-only channels. I doubt even one person in a thousand would steal cable only to get local stations.

I agree they shouldn't mark every encrypted channel as copy-protected though. (Slightly OT, but my understanding is that Comcast encrypts everything but only copy-protects the premium channels, while TWC leaves the local channels in the clear, but copy-protects everything else!)

I think the reason Joe started this discussion is that encrypting everything (even the locals) makes all QAM devices useless unless they support CableCARDs. That's a lot of equipment to brick. And even if all your devices do accept CableCARDs, you're likely paying your cable company every month for those cards. Probably not much, but it adds up over time. Ideally, I'd think a cable company should leave the local channels in the clear so QAM tuners could get them, encrypt the other channels to deter cable thieves, and only copy-protect HBO, Showtime, etc.

What would reduce those rebroadcast fees, though, is a cable version of DirecTV's AM21 OTA tuner that would let you hook an antenna up to your cable box, thus avoiding the fee, but still integrate the OTA channels with the cable channels so you didn't have to switch inputs, remotes, or guides. Such a tuner would also eliminate the temporary loss of some local channels whenever there's a spat between the cable co. and some TV station ownership group (which seem to be happening more and more often). I've heard rumors some cable companies are looking at this idea, and I hope the rumors are correct.

I do think that cable thiefs are causing cable bills to go up every year. It seems that cable companies are constantly battling the local network franchises about the fees. So, if they have to pay those fees, why should someone who is clearly stealing the feed not pay for it?

I would love to decouple local TV from my cable service on the bill side. I have physically done that in our house, but we are still paying for it.

Ideally, I would love to get just the channels we watch, and not pay for the rest of the junk, but it is not offered.

Instead of paying $65/month for the triple play, I would love to get rid of the local rebroadcast, and channels that we don't watch and pay $40 for the triple play. We'd still get the internet and phone, but only the channels that we watch. I have already removed them from the guide listing. So, instead of 1000+ channels, we only have 25-30 in the guide that we watch regularly.

Once the providers start encrypting everything, there is really no need for TV manufacturers to install ClearQAM tuners, which will lower the cost of the TV by $5 -$10. How many TVs sold today have NTSC tuner in them?

They will just come with ATSC.

As to bricking a lot of TV's.... back in the late 90's early 2000's many TV's came with CableCard tuners, and slots to install cable cards. It was great! You did not need an STB, you'd just get a CableCard from the provider, and were done.

Then Cable Labs changed the standard, and all those tuners became obsolete since there was no way to update/upgrade them in the field.

The only similar solution to this, today is to use the DLNA enabled TV with a Silicon Dust HomeRun Prime running Beta firmware over the network. Where the TV can tune SDHRP over the network without the need for an STB.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #17 of 520 Old 06-06-2013, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I do think that cable thiefs are causing cable bills to go up every year. It seems that cable companies are constantly battling the local network franchises about the fees. So, if they have to pay those fees, why should someone who is clearly stealing the feed not pay for it?

I would love to decouple local TV from my cable service on the bill side. I have physically done that in our house, but we are still paying for it.

Ideally, I would love to get just the channels we watch, and not pay for the rest of the junk, but it is not offered.

Then Cable Labs changed the standard, and all those tuners became obsolete since there was no way to update/upgrade them in the field.

The only similar solution to this, today is to use the DLNA enabled TV with a Silicon Dust HomeRun Prime running Beta firmware over the network. Where the TV can tune SDHRP over the network without the need for an STB.

There have been periodic attempts at "a la carte" selection, some recently. Since ABC controls a bunch of content like NBC, I don't feel optimistic I'll see it in my lifetime.

 

But please, take your thoughts to a better thread. I'm still trying to track headends that are devoid of clear QAM.

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Do any cable customers from Houston read this thread? It's been reported that Comcast in Houston no longer broadcasts any analog channels, but I can't confirm that they've encrypted all QAM channels as well (though, based on the Comcast link given in post 2, I suspect they probably have).

BTW: Blueiedgod, no one is arguing that anyone should be allowed to steal cable. That's just a silly straw-man argument. (Oh, and the plural of "thief" is "thieves." rolleyes.gif )
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post #19 of 520 Old 06-06-2013, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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You are being very nice about this whole concept. As you know, videobruce started at thread of current DVRs and it's a great service. Being cable only, I wanted to help him by having a thread where those people can go and see if they can NOT get clear QAM channels. OTA is pretty much part of America, but cable is the only solution for some Americans.

 

Like some cable users my PSIP data is missing. I learned that the hard way when I bought a CM7400. Amazon, like Walmart, has a great return policy. I have a small Series 4 TiVo that, with some help, can handle my needs for now. If I get "scrambled only", I will need to upgrade or go dish.

 

Now, I need to see what Verizon means when they gave me a coupon to upgrade my service for free. My DSL backup is 1Mbs, but has never failed even when my regular phone serice died.

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Westchester County, NY...Ossining North....Cablevision.

Analog tier had all "basic" cable channels and broadcast channels. Movies, Sports and premium content were digital and scrambled. (they also carried the HD versions of basic cable, in clear QAM)

About a year ago, the system went fully digital. Cablevision then scrambled everything, save Broadcast OTA channels. They gave a "free" box for a year, but now, the only clear QAM are the major networks, channels 9 and 11, and PBS. Also open are public access channels, and a few Home Shopping channels.

The requirement for a box was a great $8.00 per month per TV ($96.00 per year) hidden rate increase...you are already paying for the programming, and now they make you pay for a box you must have to see it.

I have two TiVo units with cablecards, which at least minimizes the money Cablevision gets. My other TV sets (kitchen, spare room) are clear QAM only, as they normally are used for brief news snippets in the morning, and I'm not paying extra for that.

The FCC agreed to overall allow QAM scrambling except for broadcast OTA channels....the exception was NYC, where they were allowed to scramble everything.

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The "free" box for a year was the tradeoff the companies made when they got FCC permission to encrypt everything. It's not like the FCC would protect the consumer....we know better than that. If I recall correctly, there were two free years for folks on the bottom tier basic service.

I wonder if they ever got permission for this clear rate increase, or if it slid under the wire as "equipment rental" or some such......

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post #22 of 520 Old 06-07-2013, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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The "free" box for a year was the tradeoff the companies made when they got FCC permission to encrypt everything. It's not like the FCC would protect the consumer....we know better than that. If I recall correctly, there were two free years for folks on the bottom tier basic service.

I wonder if they ever got permission for this clear rate increase, or if it slid under the wire as "equipment rental" or some such......

My cable company sent me a DTA in 2009. They have, on my bill, $1.95 for the DTA and $1.95 as a credit for the DTA. Who knows how long it will last. I have never opened the box.

 

Are you stating that your "locals" are still not scrambled?

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post #23 of 520 Old 06-07-2013, 07:09 PM
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Just checked mine here in western WA. 'Limited Basic' is still unscrambled (SD and HD) and all of our Analog is either dark or has a CG that says 'If you can see this you need a convertor' or something like that. I have five tuners of CableCard and one set up as Clear QAM.
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post #24 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 04:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. I expect loss of analog to keep growing and clear QAM can be change for many who don't like change. The future ain't what it used to be.

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post #25 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 06:15 AM
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......... The FCC agreed to overall allow QAM scrambling except for broadcast OTA channels....the exception was NYC, where they were allowed to scramble everything.
Really? The only exception is NYC, and the locals remain Clear QAM everywhere else?
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post #26 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Really? The only exception is NYC, and the locals remain Clear QAM everywhere else?

That's what I'm trying to determine. Cable companies are allowed to scramble everything but few have chosen to do so. I would buy stock in Cisco if I knew it was going to happen soon. There is an active market now for QAM DVRs that will all be scrap since they don't support a cable card. Some have non-rf inputs that could be fed from a STB with non-HDMI outputs. That's not a very good solution.

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post #27 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 08:21 AM
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How many TVs sold today have NTSC tuner in them?
I think they all do, or at least nearly all of them. There are too many devices still out there that connect via coax and use analog ch 3 or 4, like those wonderful Comcast DTAs.
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post #28 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 08:25 AM
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Now, I need to see what Verizon means when they gave me a coupon to upgrade my service for free. My DSL backup is 1Mbs, but has never failed even when my regular phone serice died.
Don't you have Service Electric?
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post #29 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Don't you have Service Electric?

Verizon is a backup. I didn't have a cable modem at first. This isn't my house and I could be "evicted" at any time. Plus I was very poor when I moved in. For $20 a month I keep the DSL. I dropped my PTD cable modem service to 5Mbs to reduce the temptation to stream Amazon or Netflix. I don't have Vudu access and nothing on Hulu+ appeals to me. My Sony TV has 50+ video streaming channels. I never use them.

 

If something really good is out there I buy the Blu-ray. I'm bigger on audio than video. But even TV through my AVR still great. I haven't used TV speakers in 10 years or more.

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post #30 of 520 Old 06-08-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

How many TVs sold today have NTSC tuner in them?
I think they all do, or at least nearly all of them. There are too many devices still out there that connect via coax and use analog ch 3 or 4, like those wonderful Comcast DTAs.
And (at least for now) there are still low power community NTSC stations and a few NTSC repeaters.
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