Originally Posted by bestlab
-When I talked to the Comcast head-end here in 974xx they said they have no TVGuide insertion equipment - any signal would have to be a pass through from the broadcaster - which apparently isn't happening - The PBS affiliate engineer told me that if the video signal is run through a proc amp (rebuilds the VBI) the data will possibly be lost. -proc amps are common in head-end operations - where local ads are inserted etc..
I have seen a couple of internal Comcast memos that address TVG problems. They were shown to me confidentially, so I cannot reproduce them here. One of them was dated early in 2005, so Comcast has long been aware of this issue at some level of the company.
The way I understand it, the Gemstar equipment resides at the local station, such as PBS. Comcast should have no trouble passing the VBI part of the broadcast signal on an analog channel, except when your home setup involves passing that channel through a digital-only box (like the DCT-700) or a DVR (like the 6412), which internally changes the signal to digital so it can be recorded on the HDD. Yes, the cableco may lose the Guide data if such a signal passes through certain equipment (edge decoders) at the headend, but that equipment can be bypassed in the case of the Guide host channels.
Comcast has an agreement with TVG to figure out how to pass the Guide data in all possible scenarios. TVG has agreed to render technical assistance as needed. Comcast is also working with Motorola with regard to the DVR's and digital boxes.
Eventually, the encoders, edge decoders, and set top boxes will all have to be upgraded. Also, when cablecos go totally digital, they will need to maintain one or two analog versions of host channels. I heard a while ago in these forums that TVG was working to come up with data generation equipment that is all digital, but the Comcast memos do not address this at all. Nor do we know if our current consumer units would work with such future digital equipment.
The bottom line is that Comcast is well aware of all the Guide issues, has a plan to address them, and is working with TVG all along the way. The wheels, however, turn slowly.