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post #4381 of 5002 Old 04-21-2011, 12:51 PM
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According to info here, Comcast is quietly offering access to its 3D TV channel. "Northern U.S. (Mass., Maine, Ill., Mich., Conn., and N.H.): channel 334."

"Free" = $1.99 onetime service charge.

I say "maybe" because I am not sure this applies to the Brunswick, Maine Comcast "orphan." Comcast also has a small wire plant in very Southern Maine near the NH border in Kittery and the Berwicks closer to Comcast's MA. and NH operations.

Might be worth a call to 800-266-2278 if you have a 3D TV. (I don't.) Let us know if you do inquire what you find out.

Dana

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post #4382 of 5002 Old 04-21-2011, 01:10 PM
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The Office of the Public Advocate in Maine state government posted a notice last fall that might deserve our attention.

Here's the report.
Quote:


Ever since Time Warner began offering Digital Phone and Comcast began offering Digital Voice telephone services in Maine, there has been an uneasy ambiguity about whether those companies were subject to regulation and consumer protection rules that normally apply to telephone service in Maine. In October, the Public Utilities Commission finally put an end to that ambiguity after approximately two years of litigation. The Commission agreed with the Public Advocate and the Telephone Association of Maine, and ruled that the telephone services of cable providers meet the State's definition of telephone utility service and that no federal law or policy preempts the State from regulating the telephone services of cable providers.

The practical result of this ruling is that cable operators now need to be licensed to provide telephone service and that various consumer protection and billing rules will apply to those cable companies. In addition, the Commission's Consumer Assistance Division will have the authority to resolve billing and disconnection disputes between customers and cable operators. The Commission has deregulated pricing by competitive telephone companies, so we won't be seeing rate proceedings involving Time Warner's or Comcast's phone services, or any other burdensome regulation of those services.

In the case of the Comcast Brunswick operation, oversight of the gang that can't shoot straight might be a good thing.

Dana

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post #4383 of 5002 Old 04-23-2011, 08:11 AM
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Since I have tended to be a "nattering nabob of negativity" when it comes to Comcast Brunswick, I think it's worth reporting when there are positive things to say.

Better PQ.

I don't have any basis for comparison but Chris says the picture quality is a recent improvement. Certainly it beats anything I ever saw before on cable - and I was a long time subscriber when it was SusCom. And it beats what I was seeing on D*! There - I said it.

Recently I watched a few minutes of golf on one of the HD channels - probably GolfHD - and it was the best HD picture I've ever seen! Eye popping! Then I watched on Turner Classic Movies in standard def "Song of the Thin Man," a 1947 B&W flick and I just couldn't get over how good the PQ was! Even the static pictures on the music channels look good!

And Dolby Digital audio is terrific, too, when available.

Unless there's something else going on behind the scenes, I think it has to do with bandwidth. More = better. I think it likely that the rollout of Xfinity has prompted the improved PQ. Comcast wants to sell phone, internet and TV on one cable and somehow has found the bandwidth to do so. Maybe isolating Bowdoin and Bowdoinham accounts for some of it. Or, new equipment at the head end. Or both.

About a new onscreen program guide.

I switched recently to a Comcast/Cisco/Scientific Atlanta 8300 HDC DVR. I've written before about these SA boxes. They are at least five years old and are no longer in production. I can easily find fault with the box as it compares unfavorably with the modern HD boxes D* has rolled out - at least five (!) - in the last five years.

The best thing you can say about them is that they work. But, the box interface is in standard def. I'm not a power user of a DVR. I like it mainly to mimic the features a BD/DVD player offers. I can put the program I'm watching on Pause while I answer the phone, get a cup of coffee, etc. and not miss anything. I can start recording a program before actually viewing it and fast forward through the commercials when I start watching.

Power users of this box - time shifting by recording for later viewing - report that it works well. Of course these users have become very familiar with it over a long period of usage. Any significant function changes are likely to be disquieting.

Comcast is in the process of "upgrading" the onscreen guide and functionality of all SA STBs nationally to resemble the Motorola STBs also in use. Comcast Brunswick is a SA equipped system which is determined by what brand of equipment is in use at the head end.

We have been used to seeing this onscreen program guide.



Eventually we will see this one.



I have been reading about the transition elsewhere and it's a mixed bag. Comcast cites the pluses of course.

Quote:


So, what’s new? For starters, check out the color-coded TV grid, a new On Demand menu that loads faster, more detailed program information, an improved search feature and a convenient menu of shortcuts (we call it the Quick Menu).

Some other new features include:

• expanded parental control options
• multiple favorites lists
• additional channel grids
• a message center
• local weather available anytime, right in the Guide.

We should see it by the end of June - maybe. I'll post links to info about the new guide then.

This is a separate initiative and is not connected to Xfinity.

Dana

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post #4384 of 5002 Old 04-23-2011, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post


Comcast is in the process of "upgrading" the onscreen guide and functionality of all SA STBs nationally to resemble the Motorola STBs also in use.

I have been reading about the transition elsewhere and it's a mixed bag. Comcast cites the pluses of course.

It's funny that you're being "upgraded" to i-Guide. This software itself is almost 20 years old, and was released the same time Windows 3.1 was.

We're running the same software here on our Motorola boxes with TWC. I find it horrible to be honest. It lacks even the most basic features. No keyword search, no recording history. It doesn't even support channel logos. The favorite lists are poorly implemented so I don't even bother with them. You can't set up a list and have the box remember it, so you have to go into the menu and select a favorite list each time you want to look at the guide.

I'm a former DirecTV customer, so maybe I was just spoiled by their guide, but it was light years ahead of this archaic software. It's the one thing I really miss.
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post #4385 of 5002 Old 04-24-2011, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Phrozen View Post

It's funny that you're being "upgraded" to i-Guide. This software itself is almost 20 years old, and was released the same time Windows 3.1 was.

We're running the same software here on our Motorola boxes with TWC. I find it horrible to be honest. It lacks even the most basic features. No keyword search, no recording history. It doesn't even support channel logos. The favorite lists are poorly implemented so I don't even bother with them. You can't set up a list and have the box remember it, so you have to go into the menu and select a favorite list each time you want to look at the guide.

I'm a former DirecTV customer, so maybe I was just spoiled by their guide, but it was light years ahead of this archaic software. It's the one thing I really miss.

Note that I put "upgrade" in quotes. I'm not naive.

I have been reading the comments online from other areas - notably Houston, TX - where the changeover is underway. There's plenty of minuses. One glaring example for me is that we'll lose the picture in picture feature, the small live window of the channel we are currently viewing, when using the new onscreen guide. That's a "downgrade" for me.

The Comcast spokesperson on this project whose blog I linked to admits candidly that this change is primarily for the benefit of Comcast. A uniform onscreen display. Standardized firmware.
Quote:


This new guide is just one step of a multi-step process of improvements, enhancements and new features for our customers in our SA areas. You should expect to see additional improvements this year. The path for future features and quick innovation is through this new guide - features that a majority of our customers have been asking for and features that are already available in the majority of Comcast areas.

The main reason why we are implementing this on-screen guide change is to be able to deliver additional features and services to all of our customers a lot quicker. Some examples of these future features include Caller ID to the TV, myDVR Manager (scheduling your DVR via your phone or from the internet) and AnyRoom DVR. These are features that cannot quickly be delivered via the current software that you have on your cable box today.

Some Comcast Moto territories in New England have been using a beta onscreen guide provided in partnership with TiVO. Maybe this SA guide change ultimately will allow a migration of TiVO firmware throughout the Comcast system nationally. One can only hope.

Dana

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post #4386 of 5002 Old 04-25-2011, 05:38 PM
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Thinking some more about the forthcoming Comcast changes aka "upgrade" of its HD DVR OSD which I think represents a downgrade of features that even the archaic SA8300 HDC offers with its current OSD, I decided to look at what TiVO now offers. Of course it's apples vs. oranges in some ways. Comcast owns the SA8300HDC DVR and leases it to subscribers while the Tivo is privately owned by the subscriber (who nonetheless pays a monthly usage fee to TiVO).

Putting costs aside for the moment, I decided to see how the latest TiVO compares with the SA8300 HDC DVR. TiVO is 'way ahead of me. It actually promotes its new Premiere HD DVR by comparing it to the SA 8300 HD DVR. You know why. It makes the TiVO box look good.

My problem is the one Phrozen made a couple of posts ago.

Quote:


I'm a former DirecTV customer, so maybe I was just spoiled by their guide, but it was light years ahead of this archaic software. It's the one thing I really miss.

Guess I'll revisit the idea of switching to TiVO if the Comcast "upgrade" is as bad as I fear it will be.

Dana

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post #4387 of 5002 Old 04-26-2011, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post

Guess I'll revisit the idea of switching to TiVO if the Comcast "upgrade" is as bad as I fear it will be.

I've seriously considered this myself. After the initial cost, TiVo would actually be slightly cheaper for me. I don't know what the Comcast rates are, but I'm currently paying $23/month for my DVR. TiVo with a cable card and tuning adapter would be cheaper, and I'd own it too.

On a side note, I've heard that Comcast has their own TiVo box, but I dunno if that's available to you. I'm guessing probably not.
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post #4388 of 5002 Old 04-26-2011, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phrozen View Post

I've seriously considered this myself. After the initial cost, TiVo would actually be slightly cheaper for me. I don't know what the Comcast rates are, but I'm currently paying $23/month for my DVR. TiVo with a cable card and tuning adapter would be cheaper, and I'd own it too.

On a side note, I've heard that Comcast has their own TiVo box, but I dunno if that's available to you. I'm guessing probably not.

Comcast charges $7./mo. for its own DVR. Considering how old it is, it should be free! It's silver color to match CRT TVs.

After more thought I decided life is too short to put up with something I don't like that I use every day so I ordered a refurb TiVO. It comes with a one year commitment @$12.95/mo. That's the lowest monthly charge available anywhere. The regular rate is $19.95/mo. The first cablecard from Comcast is free.

Nothing is perfect and some say the latest TiVO Series 4 Premiere HD DVR needs refinement - when compared with the Series 3. But, it's already light years ahead of the SA8300 HDC. I was satisfied with SA equipment circa 2005 when I didn't know any better but after several years with DirecTV, now I do know better.

So, no more bleating from me about SA equipment here.

The rumor about Comcast having its own TiVO DVR has been around for years actually. The same applies to the "new" TiVO DirecTV DVR. Any day now.

Dana

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post #4389 of 5002 Old 04-28-2011, 02:12 PM
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... in California.

So, why post the news here? Because I thought how they reportedly managed to do so is instructive.

Quote:


Comcast is creating space for the HD channels by moving its SD channels from analog to digital.

Comcast Brunswick has announced it is moving to an all digital lineup possibly as soon as late July. Maybe - just maybe - more HD channels are in the offing. And maybe Comcast will then free up a channel to carry the Red Sox in HD on NESN's alternate channel when its regular HD channel is carrying hockey, basketball - whatever.*

* This has now happened!

Dana

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post #4390 of 5002 Old 04-30-2011, 07:26 AM
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They have already put all the local channels on the digital side (keeping the analog also, for now) and told all the basic-basic folk to get a box. So if you have a digital TV, you can presently get everything that was on analog in digital (which may be one reason for the better quality SD signals. They are coveting digital into analog instead of the other way around. Those who have analog sets need the box.)

If you have a digital set, you can get all locals in SD and most in HD for a total of about 26 channels in the clear on your coax and no box. Which is great for me as I have two dvrs so can record two shows at the same time (which is what I had with Direct in 1080i and not 540p upgraded to 1080p. Still a very decent picture when recording HD channels).

I am on Basic basic ($15/month) after transitioning from first, expanded basic, then to Directv and now the very basic basic Comcast. I added Netflix and total savings are $65/month compared to what I was paying Direct. Plugged my netbook into the TV and stream most all the cable channels that are not carried in the BB package except sport channels like espn and nesn. But I only like football, so survive with CBS/Fox/NBC in HD and the internet. Only miss ESPN Monday night football.

It is amazing the streaming video you can get on the internet, including sports. In essence, you could watch or listen to most of what is on ESPN except full games.
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post #4391 of 5002 Old 05-02-2011, 09:51 AM
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We just went live here at WPXT with our new digital sub-channel, Me-TV Portland - available on channel 51.2.

Here is the press release that was sent out last week:


For Immediate Release
April 27, 2011

ME-TV's NEW DIGITAL CLASSIC TELEVISION NETWORK TO LAUNCH ON CHANNEL 51.2 IN PORTLAND MAY 2ND

Portland, ME - April 27, 2011 - Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television), the new digital classic television network from Weigel Broadcasting Co. and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) is coming to Portland, launching Monday, May 2nd, on channel 51.2. New Age Media of Maine is the owner of channel 51.2. Me-TV has surpassed the 45% clearance mark including 14 leading station groups.

You couldn't design a better channel for Maine than Me-TV, said Doug Finck, General Manager. The classic programming will have great appeal to the baby-boomer generation and we are excited about introducing these timeless treasures to a whole new audience.

For now, the station will broadcast over-the-air on 51.2. Starting Saturday, May 7th, blocks of Me-TV programming can be viewed on WPME every Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. WPME can be found on channel 35 over-the-air and on satellite, and channel 17 (517 for HD) on Time Warner Cable.

Me-TV features a wide range of classic television programming, some of the best programming written for television, that audiences and advertisers find comfortable and engaging. Me-TV's library includes series from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and CBS Television Distribution as well as independent series owners and producers. Me-TV's programs are some of the best television programs ever produced including: M*A*S*H, Perry Mason, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Bob Newhart Show, the original Star Trek and Hawaii Five-O series, in addition to 60 other programs.

The station groups clearing the Me-TV Network include: Hearst Television, Raycom Media, Cox Television, Newport Television, Media General, Capitol Broadcasting, Bahakel Communications, Gray Television, Quincy Newspapers, New Age Media, MPS Media, London Broadcasting Group, Bonten Media Group, and Titan Broadcast Management.

For schedule highlights, viewers may check their local listings or visit www.metvnetwork.com

About New Age Media, LLC
New Age Media, LLC. owns, operates through JSA agreements or manages 17 TV stations in 6 markets along the eastern seaboard. The group includes affiliates of FOX, CBS, NBC, The CW and MyNetworkTV in the Portland, ME; Boston, MA; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA; Chattanooga, TN; Tallahassee, FL and Gainesville, FL. DMA's. With the addition of five MeTV affiliates the group will expand to 22 TV stations reaching approximately 4.3 million U.S. television households or approximately 3.7% of all U.S. television households.

About Weigel Broadcasting Co.
Weigel Broadcasting Co. and affiliate companies own and operate WCIU-TV/26.1 The U, UToo WCIU-TV 26.2, Me-TV WCIU-TV 26.3, Me-Too WCIU-TV 26.4, THIS WCIU-TV 26.5, WWME-CA 23, The U Too/WMEU-CA 48 in Chicago, IL; CBS/WDJT-TV 58.1, WMLW/WDJT-TV 58.2, THIS/WDJT-TV 58.3, Shorewest TV/WDJT-TV 58.4, WMLW-CA 41, WMLW-LD 41.1, Me-TV/WBME-TV 49.1, Telemundo/WBME-TV 49.4, Telemundo/WYTU-LD 63.1, Me-TV/WYTU-LP 63 in Milwaukee, WI; and ABC/WBND-LD 57.1, Me-TV/WBND-LD 57.2, CW/WCWW-TV 25.1, THIS/WCWW-TV 25.2, My Michiana/WMYS-TV 69.1 in South Bend, IN.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music, and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world's largest library of modern films, comprising around 4,100 titles. Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Distribution Co., MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in domestic and international TV channels reaching over 130 countries. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.

# # #

Media Contacts:

New Age Media
Doug Finck, 207-774-0051, ext. 155, dfinck@ourmaine.com

Weigel Broadcasting Co.
Molly Kelly, 312-705-2632, mkelly@wciu.com

Rubenstein Communications, Inc. for MGM
Rachael Risinger, 212-843-8046, rrisinger@rubenstein.com
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post #4392 of 5002 Old 05-02-2011, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDin View Post

We just went live here at WPXT with our new digital sub-channel, Me-TV Portland - available on channel 51.2.

Discovered the new sub-channel today. Nice! I receive it OTA on 51.2 but the PSIP data seems to be missing. There is no EPG information.
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post #4393 of 5002 Old 05-02-2011, 08:27 PM
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I'm grateful to WPXT for putting ME-TV on the air here in Maine. It's considered to be the best classic tv station currently available in the country.

However, there is an issue with the OTA signal since you went live with the ME-TV programming today. The PSIP information is incorrect which wreaks havoc with the tuner. A rescan for WPXT won't allow the channel to be stored in memory and a message of "PSIP error" is displayed. I can receive the channel manually by entering 43-1 on the tuner. It displays the primary channel for a few seconds then is replaced by the .2 broadcast (ME-TV). Manually tuning to the RF broadcast on channel 43 should cause the tuner to remap the MPEG2 stream to virtual channels 51.1 and 51.2 and then store the station in memory. Instead, you receive the PSIP error message. Hopefully, it's something simple like a bad entry in the TVCT (terrestrial virtual channel table)?



Quote:
Originally Posted by DogDin View Post

We just went live here at WPXT with our new digital sub-channel, Me-TV Portland - available on channel 51.2.

Here is the press release that was sent out last week:


For Immediate Release
April 27, 2011

ME-TV's NEW DIGITAL CLASSIC TELEVISION NETWORK TO LAUNCH ON CHANNEL 51.2 IN PORTLAND MAY 2ND

Portland, ME - April 27, 2011 - Me-TV (Memorable Entertainment Television), the new digital classic television network from Weigel Broadcasting Co. and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM) is coming to Portland, launching Monday, May 2nd, on channel 51.2. New Age Media of Maine is the owner of channel 51.2. Me-TV has surpassed the 45% clearance mark including 14 leading station groups.

You couldn't design a better channel for Maine than Me-TV, said Doug Finck, General Manager. The classic programming will have great appeal to the baby-boomer generation and we are excited about introducing these timeless treasures to a whole new audience.

For now, the station will broadcast over-the-air on 51.2. Starting Saturday, May 7th, blocks of Me-TV programming can be viewed on WPME every Saturday and Sunday from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. WPME can be found on channel 35 over-the-air and on satellite, and channel 17 (517 for HD) on Time Warner Cable.

Me-TV features a wide range of classic television programming, some of the best programming written for television, that audiences and advertisers find comfortable and engaging. Me-TV's library includes series from Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution and CBS Television Distribution as well as independent series owners and producers. Me-TV's programs are some of the best television programs ever produced including: M*A*S*H, Perry Mason, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Bob Newhart Show, the original Star Trek and Hawaii Five-O series, in addition to 60 other programs.

The station groups clearing the Me-TV Network include: Hearst Television, Raycom Media, Cox Television, Newport Television, Media General, Capitol Broadcasting, Bahakel Communications, Gray Television, Quincy Newspapers, New Age Media, MPS Media, London Broadcasting Group, Bonten Media Group, and Titan Broadcast Management.

For schedule highlights, viewers may check their local listings or visit www.metvnetwork.com

About New Age Media, LLC
New Age Media, LLC. owns, operates through JSA agreements or manages 17 TV stations in 6 markets along the eastern seaboard. The group includes affiliates of FOX, CBS, NBC, The CW and MyNetworkTV in the Portland, ME; Boston, MA; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA; Chattanooga, TN; Tallahassee, FL and Gainesville, FL. DMA's. With the addition of five MeTV affiliates the group will expand to 22 TV stations reaching approximately 4.3 million U.S. television households or approximately 3.7% of all U.S. television households.

About Weigel Broadcasting Co.
Weigel Broadcasting Co. and affiliate companies own and operate WCIU-TV/26.1 The U, UToo WCIU-TV 26.2, Me-TV WCIU-TV 26.3, Me-Too WCIU-TV 26.4, THIS WCIU-TV 26.5, WWME-CA 23, The U Too/WMEU-CA 48 in Chicago, IL; CBS/WDJT-TV 58.1, WMLW/WDJT-TV 58.2, THIS/WDJT-TV 58.3, Shorewest TV/WDJT-TV 58.4, WMLW-CA 41, WMLW-LD 41.1, Me-TV/WBME-TV 49.1, Telemundo/WBME-TV 49.4, Telemundo/WYTU-LD 63.1, Me-TV/WYTU-LP 63 in Milwaukee, WI; and ABC/WBND-LD 57.1, Me-TV/WBND-LD 57.2, CW/WCWW-TV 25.1, THIS/WCWW-TV 25.2, My Michiana/WMYS-TV 69.1 in South Bend, IN.

About Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. is actively engaged in the worldwide production and distribution of motion pictures, television programming, home video, interactive media, music, and licensed merchandise. The company owns the world's largest library of modern films, comprising around 4,100 titles. Operating units include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc., United Artists Films Inc., MGM Television Entertainment Inc., MGM Networks Inc., MGM Distribution Co., MGM International Television Distribution Inc., Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Home Entertainment LLC, MGM ON STAGE, MGM Music, MGM Consumer Products and MGM Interactive. In addition, MGM has ownership interests in domestic and international TV channels reaching over 130 countries. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.

# # #

Media Contacts:

New Age Media
Doug Finck, 207-774-0051, ext. 155, dfinck@ourmaine.com

Weigel Broadcasting Co.
Molly Kelly, 312-705-2632, mkelly@wciu.com

Rubenstein Communications, Inc. for MGM
Rachael Risinger, 212-843-8046, rrisinger@rubenstein.com

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post #4394 of 5002 Old 05-04-2011, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post

...

So, no more bleating from me about SA equipment here.
...

Dana

I wrote the above comment anticipating that the much vaunted TiVo Series 4 Premiere HD DVR would blow the Comcast SA8300 HD DVR away. The comment remains accurate, but not for the reason contemplated. The new TiVo has a winning user interface - but delivers a softer picture than the Comcast SA HD DVR.

In a brief search on the internet I found another similar report - the new TiVo delivers a softer PQ vs. a cable HD DVR. Two reports do not constitute a trend. TiVo was more than willing to exchange DVRs in case mine was defective. It was tempting; after all, it was a refurb. But, I decided against it. My first impression left me disappointed. Once I made it clear I wanted to return it, TiVo was very cooperative. I had to pay the return shipping but my original purchase price will be fully refunded once the TiVo is received by them.

Suddenly I wanted the Comcast SA 8300 HD DVR back again! So, I took the cableCARD to the local office this AM and swapped it for an SA8300 HD that so far, seems to deliver the outstanding PQ my first one did. And no audio dropouts on music channels as I also experienced with the TiVo.

A power user of an HD DVR would find the TiVo a great device. But, for someone who just wants to pause a TV program for a few minutes without missing anything, it's overkill. In any event the softer PQ is an unacceptable trade-off. There are reports on the WWW that while the new TiVo has dual processors, only one is in use because using both processors simultaneously resulted in instability. It may be that a single processor is so burdened with running the jazzed up user interface that its ability to upscale standard def content has been crippled.

Just one man's experience.

Dana

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post #4395 of 5002 Old 05-04-2011, 05:36 PM
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As recently as April 26, 2011 NESN reported that the alternate NESNplus HD channel used typically for Red Sox telecasts when another Boston sports program - Bruins, Celtics playoffs, etc. - has priority on NESN's primary HD channel was not available on Comcast Brunswick. On other Comcast cable locations, channel 894 is used.

By accident I discovered that channel 894 is now live on Comcast Brunswick, too! Tonight there is simply a video placeholder card but the audio is a simulcast of the Red Sox game on the primary NESN HD channel 522.

How long this has been in existence I don't know. But, good news in any event!

Dana

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post #4396 of 5002 Old 05-05-2011, 04:30 AM
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A conversation with another Comcast technician and recent developments suggest to me that the company is finally committed to operating the Brunswick cable MSO as a full-fledged part of its cable operations.

This technician has been transferred from NH. The last one I talked with had been transferred from Comcast in Worcester, MA. Apparently, bringing Comcast techs in from elsewhere is both to support the installation of the newly available Xfinity phone service here, but also because the Brunswick wire plant has not been well-maintained. He tended to be critical of the local technicians, but it may simply have been the ambivalence of Comcast about the status of the mid-coast operations that led to negligence. Rumors a few years ago were that the Brunswick operation was up for sale. It had been acquired as part of Comcast's purchase of SusCom, the primary attraction being its York, PA. operation. If the Brunswick location was an afterthought and Comcast hoped to sell it, it isn't likely its local technicians would have been assigned a lot of maintenance and upgrade work.

Other pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, suggesting that finally mid-coast Comcast has become a full-fledged part of the Comcast Eastern NE operation. Technicians call the Boston area to talk with dispatchers. Xfinity has arrived. (Comcast trucks carried the Xfinity logo before the effective date of the new phone service.) And the arrival of a NESNplus HD channel carrying the same channel number as other Comcast locations, trivial as it may seem, suggests that Comcast locally is finally connected to the Comcast NE backbone.

More puzzle pieces. I just noticed that the receipt for equipment I signed at the local Comcast office has a Chelmsford, MA. address for Comcast.

(Connecting to the Comcast backbone was something promised when Comcast took over SusCom operations here in 2005. The claim was that Comcast Brunswick would resemble in every way Comcast operations elsewhere in New England. I think it has finally happened.)

Dana

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post #4397 of 5002 Old 05-05-2011, 09:21 AM
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That phrase goes back to a time over 100 years ago ...

Now an analysis suggests that what has happened recently in Maine with Comcast's mid-coast operation is part of a national effort to reduce its loss of TV subscribers.

Quote:



Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2011) -- Comcast this week reported that it 'only' lost 39,000 video subscribers in the first quarter, less than half of what the cable operator lost in the previous first quarter.

The news is significant because Comcast said in February that it lost 135,000 video subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2010 -- and it had lost nearly 1.4 million video subscribers in the last two years.

So, how did Comcast stem the tide in the first quarter? ...

... Comcast has done a tremendous job of expanding its High-Definition lineup in small and mid-size markets across the country over the last year. ...

Until recently, subscribers in many small to medium Comcast markets were offered fewer than 50 HD channels while rivals DIRECTV, Verizon and Dish Network offered nearly three times as many. Some Comcast markets had as few as 20-30 HD channels.

But Comcast has recently invested heavily in small and mid-size markets to expand their high-def offerings. Now many of those markets have close to 100 HD channels, if not more. And subscribers in those towns have less reason to drop Comcast and switch to DIRECTV, Dish or Verizon.

The high-def expansion hasn't received much media attention, particularly in the national press, because it has occurred in relatively small markets. But the impact of Comcast's work is being felt now in the national subscriber totals. ...

If true - and this analysis seems right to me based on our experience in the mid-coast - then it may well be that Comcast will add even more HD channels once it converts fully to all digital channels by mid summer.

When Comcast first arrived in 2005, we expected big things encouraged in part by what Comcast said at the time. But it didn't happen. And while there are no public statistics to prove it, anecdotal evidence at the time indicated that dissatisfied Comcast mid-coast subs left in droves for better HD programming on Dish and DirecTV.

Let's hope Comcast has learned a lesson.

Dana

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post #4398 of 5002 Old 05-05-2011, 09:32 AM
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Another year has gone by and we still don't have any local programing in HD. It seems like it has gotten worse. Watching the local news, we see HD 16x9 screens, that are squashed down to 4x3, with tall skinny people.
I can't believe that it is taking this long to get local HD. Other small markets have had it for a long time.
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post #4399 of 5002 Old 05-06-2011, 02:30 PM
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Check your NESNplus channel for the Red Sox tonight. The schedule is here.

Quote:


NESN:
5:30 p.m.: Friday Night Fenway
6 p.m.: Red Sox First Pitch driven by Your New England Acura Dealers
6:30 p.m.: Red Sox GameDay Live Presented by UNO
7 p.m.: Bruins Face-Off Live presented by Hess
8 p.m.: Flyers vs. Bruins, Game 4
10:30 p.m.: Ace Ticket Bruins Overtime Live
11 p.m.: NESN Daily

NESNplus:
7 p.m.: Twins vs. Red Sox
10 p.m.: W.B. Mason Extra Innings
10:30 p.m.: Red Sox Final
11 p.m.: NESN Daily

Titan TV confirms that Comcast mid-coast viewers can watch NESNplus HD on channel 894!

And, no, boys and girls. That does not mean that Comcast mid-coast actually has 894 channels.

Dana

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post #4400 of 5002 Old 05-06-2011, 05:14 PM
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How time flies. Tonight's game on NESNplus on Comcast is razor sharp in HD. But, back in 2008 I posted this explanation for why the Red Sox were't in HD on its alternate channel.
Quote:
... NESN ... explained that because of the enormous amount of satellite bandwidth used in the delivery of an HD broadcast, it's not technically possible for them to deliver two at the same time. Thus, the NESN broadcast of the Bruins will be in HD, while the broadcast of the Red Sox game, no matter which system you're getting it on, will be in Standard Definition.
Dana

"If you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right." Mark Twain
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Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post
How time flies. Tonight's game on NESNplus on Comcast is razor sharp in HD. But, back in 2008 I posted this explanation for why the Red Sox were't in HD on its alternate channel.


Dana
Dana, how does it compare, in PQ, to what you had on DirecTV?

DirecTV shows both Channels showing the baseball game, in their guide, but 628 has the Bruins game and the baseball is on 628-1.
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Originally Posted by loudo38 View Post
Dana, how does it compare, in PQ, to what you had on DirecTV?

DirecTV shows both Channels showing the baseball game, in their guide, but 628 has the Bruins game and the baseball is on 628-1.
Hi Stan,

I actually think it has the edge on the PQ I got from D*. It's hard to be sure but I don't see how the picture could be any better than what Comcast is delivering using the SA 8300 HD DVR. It may be technically an obsolete STB but it puts out a helluva picture. The TiVo I had produced a softer picture with everything else - HDMI cable, receiver, TV input, etc. - the same. The only variable was the STB.

Dana

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Quote:
Originally Posted by loudo38 View Post

Dana, how does it compare, in PQ, to what you had on DirecTV?

DirecTV shows both Channels showing the baseball game, in their guide, but 628 has the Bruins game and the baseball is on 628-1.

Stan, I was too sleepy last night to get the import of what you wrote. Did you switch from TWC to D*?

Dana

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post #4404 of 5002 Old 05-07-2011, 06:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post

Stan, I was too sleepy last night to get the import of what you wrote. Did you switch from TWC to D*?

Dana

This is Lou, not Stan. I still have DirecTV but was curious how Comcast PQ compared to DirecTV. I only have TWC for Internet.
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post #4405 of 5002 Old 05-07-2011, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loudo38 View Post

This is Lou, not Stan. I still have DirecTV but was curious how Comcast PQ compared to DirecTV. I only have TWC for Internet.

Gosh, I was really asleep! Sorry!

Dana

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post #4406 of 5002 Old 05-07-2011, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drbonbi View Post

Gosh, I was really asleep! Sorry!

Dana

The real reason is that it is me that you expect to be needling you about any difference between cable and Direct. ........... and I am glad to see that you, now, recognize the superiority of cable. ............ Just tugging on the chain again, Dana.
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post #4407 of 5002 Old 05-10-2011, 03:52 AM
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Originally Posted by loudo38 View Post

Dana, how does it compare, in PQ, to what you had on DirecTV?
.


When I shifted from Comcast to Direct I kept CC for several weeks before I dropped it. Ran a picture-in-picture with both side by side and saw zero difference.
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post #4408 of 5002 Old 05-10-2011, 06:27 AM
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According to a report here -

Quote:


Washington, D.C. (May 10, 2011) -- In a major blow to TiVo's subscriber hopes, Comcast has ended its set-top development partnership with the DVR company.

In March of 2005, the companies signed a multi-year agreement to offer TiVo's Digital Video Recording service to Comcast customers, starting in mid to late 2006. However, aside from some trials in the New England area, the launch barely got out of the gate.

Company officials have been tight-lipped for the reasons behind the delays, but most analysts believe the problem focused on software development and compatibility issues...

I believe the Comcast-TiVo partnership may have involved beta tests in part of the Boston metro area and NH with Moto STBs. My guess is that Comcast's own software upgrade initiative in Scientific Atlanta equipment territories has superseded its TiVo partnership. Supposedly all Comcast SA MSOs - that includes the Brunswick area - will get the new user interface by the end of June.

Dana

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post #4409 of 5002 Old 05-12-2011, 01:27 PM
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Well, the local mid-coast office of Comcast has been exposed again as having no involvement in the management of its 11 community cable system. DéjÃ* vu all over again. See the bold face sentences below.

The story is in tonight's Brunswick Times Record newspaper.

Quote:


BRUNSWICK — Unnerved by unmarked cars with out-of-state plates in their driveways and strangers knocking on their doors, a handful of Brunswick residents have contacted local police in recent weeks about the often-unannounced visitors claiming to work for Comcast and offering to upgrade their cable boxes at no additional cost.

As it turns out, those claims are true.

As part of an ongoing effort by the cable television and Internet service provider to upgrade its customers to digital cable, “A variety of representatives have been canvassing local areas … to provide necessary digital equipment” that will allow customers to receive more channels, as well as high-definition and on-demand TV, Comcast spokesman Marc Goodman said Wednesday.

The changes are not due to affect Bowdoin and Phippsburg, although all other Comcast customers in the Brunswick service area — Bath, West Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Brunswick, Durham, Freeport, Harpswell, Phippsburg, Topsham and Woolwich — must upgrade their equipment to receive digital channels. Networks will begin to digitize in July and continue for several months, he said.

Comcast “sent communications to our customers” and notified them during in-home service calls and at the local Comcast office on Bath Road of the coming upgrades, Goodman said.

Information about the representatives — including license plate numbers and cellphone numbers — was provided to “relevant local police departments,” Goodman added. “Our requirement is that any representative working on behalf of Comcast wear clear identification.”

But according to Brunswick Police Cmdr. Marc Hagan, that notification didn’t arrive until concerned residents had already begun to call police about “suspicious” visitors knocking on their doors. Hagan said officers were dispatched to about a half-dozen calls.

When the first complaints were made in late April, police contacted Comcast’s Brunswick office, but representatives there said they were not aware of any upgrades under way, Brunswick Police Sgt. Russ Wrede said Tuesday.

Then police called Comcast in Massachusetts — at about the same time Comcast notified Brunswick police that contractors would visit homes to upgrade equipment, Hagan said.


Hagan said he’s glad residents called the police with concerns, particularly given a slew of door-to-door sales scams in the area during the past couple of years.

Goodman said Comcast requires the contractor’s cars to bear a large magnet identifying them as working for Comcast.

Still, he said any customer who suspects a potential scam should request identification, “and folks should feel free to call us at 1-800-Comcast.”

Equipment for upgrading up to three televisions is free, and additional boxes cost $1.95.

Self-installation kits are available at the Brunswick service center at 330 Bath Road, by calling 877-634-4434 or by visiting www.comcast.com/digitalnow.

Mac Goodman is Director of Public Relations for Comcast in the Greater Boston area. Until now I didn't know Maine's mid-coast was part of the Boston metro area. Learn something every day.

Dana

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post #4410 of 5002 Old 05-13-2011, 08:43 AM
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Boy, they really don't have it together, do they?
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