TWCNYC HDTV Madness. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 09:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi All,

I have subscribed to DirecTV for over a year now receiving HBO and HD Net in HDTV. Pre 9/11 I also used to receive numerous OTA HDTV broadcasts.

Two days ago I checked out the Time Warner NYC website and discovered that for $107.95/month I would get HBO, Showtime, ABC and CBS in HDTV plus more premium and regular channels and also Road Runner Broadband. This essentially is for the same money I am paying now for DirecTV and a slower Verizon DSL service.

Seems like a good deal right?

I called customer service and asked for some more HDTV info, needless to say they couldn't help me but did give me a phone # for HDTV info. I called and it transpires this department is one person(!) who happened to be out of the office. I called back this morning and whilst she didn't know anything about the technology she was able to tell me the following.

To receive TW HDTV I need a special cable box ($35).

First I must sign up and have regular DTV installed and then they will come and swap the DTV box for a HDTV box.

Why, I asked, can you not install the HDTV box at the same time as the basic installation and save a trip? And here it is. Apparently HDTV is so popular in NYC they do not have enough HDTV boxes so there is a waiting list. This waiting list will service existing TW customers first and they expect this to happen sometime in July/August! In my experience make that January/February.

Why would a company lose customers ( I am sure I am not the only one) for at least three months due to lack of hardware.

Surely a company as big and powerful as Time Warner could bully their manufacturers/suppliers to step up production of these boxes particularly as it would seem to be in TW's financial interest.

I am baffled.

Does anybody out there know of a solution to this?

Any information, comments, thoughts or commiserations gratefully received.

Regards,

Andrew

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post #2 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 04:21 PM
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HDTV at TW (and really all cable outlets, OTA and satellite services) are still in beta testing stage. The revenue lost from not being able to provide HD converters is chump change to them. The investment required to order all those set top boxes is a significant outlay, and given that the industry has not agreed on copyright issues, I don't think we'll see TW ordering too many STBs.
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post #3 of 10 Old 05-07-2002, 07:19 PM
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there is much on this subject. search.

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post #4 of 10 Old 05-08-2002, 05:38 AM
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Why would a company lose customers ( I am sure I am not the only one) for at least three months due to lack of hardware.
That sound you just heard was the ball being dropped...
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post #5 of 10 Old 05-08-2002, 07:28 AM
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Apparently HDTV is so popular in NYC they do not have enough HDTV boxes so there is a waiting list.
Haven't solved the TWC HDTV mystery myself, but as a 3-decade cable customer in Manhattan, without practical access to DBS, here's a few suggestions.

I'd probably research as you're doing, but sign up for the package you outlined ASAP. If you'd need to get a non-HDTV box first (SA2100, I think) then that's the way to go. I'd suggest the d'ultimate(?) package, BTW, slightly more expensive but worth it, IMO, to get all the premium-movie channels plus Road Runner. Then I'd immediately get on the waiting list for a HDTV converter (SA2000HD or upcoming SA3100HD). These HDTV cable converters from Scientific Atlanta, required for NYC's cable system, seem scarce nationwide judging from other posts.

While waiting, you're a lot better off than many urban dwellers since you can get HDNet and HBO etc. via DBS. In addition, if you have an OTA HDTV tuner or module, you could get CBS HDTV as an OTA-type 8-VSB signal via a direct-cable hookup and 1-GHz splitter. You could/can get CBS OTA, too. If you got a HDTV cable converter fairly soon, you'd receive HBO, CBS, Showtime, and NBC as cable's 256 QAM signals (WNBC-DT was destroyed 9/11 but TWC has a fiber link to NBC's studios). TWC, nationwide, has been better than most systems adding HDTV, although NYC hasn't matched Houston yet--or some Canadian systems using U.S. channels available to TWC! Seems likely ABC, PBS, Fox (no HDTV), and perhaps others will soon join the list.

Some of the latest cable news was discussed in this thread , including a chart I ran indicating how NYC's TWC seems to be using its 750-MHz+ hybrid fiber/coax bandwidth. Seems crucial, since that bandwidth appears almost 'full' unless more space is found by digitizing more analog channels or other techniques.

And hopefully such techniques won't involve continued MPEG-2 'squeezing' of digital channels (not HDTV) until artifacts become very irritating. You see pro and con views on this problem with DBS. I often comment TWC's fidelity seems excellent. In recent months, I've noticed excessive MPEG-2 compression on a few channels, and hope to determine how much the programmer, such as Sundance or IFC is at fault, or whether TWC, perhaps using a Cisco video router or other hardware is contributing to apparent overcompression. Last night, the Mystery Encore channel replayed a BBC film about a woman police DCI, and even moderate movement within scenes created 'stuttering' blurred images. HDTV channels, in my experience, come through nicely without any tinkering. -- John
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post #6 of 10 Old 05-09-2002, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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This from TVinsite.com

<<<"HDTV, technically speaking
It's a logical question: Why should a cable operator transmit HDTV signals to an audience that is almost nonexistent? The answer may be, to hear words seldom used by cable customers.

"Our HD customers have used the word love to describe our service," says Bob Watson, vice president of programming and business development for Time Warner Cable New York. "So we think we're doing a great thing and will have those customers for quite a while."

New York HD viewership is approximately 1,000 customers, but Watson thinks the declining cost of sets will drive those numbers up. In addition, Scientific-Atlanta has just started shipping its 3100HD set-top box, which will allow the system to provide a good HDTV service with more channels.

Time Warner Cable currently offers WCBS-DT, WNBC-DT, HBO and Showtime and is considering WABC-DT and WNET-DT (PBS), as well as the local Fox stations.

"It's just a matter of a different digital box for the customer," says Watson. "It's a replacement for the digital box, and there's no extra charge."

As far as the plant is concerned, the signal is the same as the high-speed data or digital signals that transport digital tiers today. For those plants passing the signals using QAM, consumers can use digital cable set-top boxes alone (like the 3100HD) or may have to have a sidecar box that handles the HD signals. For those few systems that pass signals using VSB, a box like the RCA DTC100 HDTV receiver set-top box will do the job.">>>

I particularly enjoyed "It's just a matter of a different digital box for the customer," says Watson. "It's a replacement for the digital box, and there's no extra charge."

I guess Bob Watson missed the memo about the $35 charge for exchanging boxes, or maybe there is no charge as Time Warner doesn't have any boxes to exchange.

Andrew

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post #7 of 10 Old 05-10-2002, 05:36 AM
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In addition, Scientific-Atlanta has just started shipping its 3100HD set-top box, which will allow the system to provide a good HDTV service with more channels.
Thanks for that post Andrew. Missed that article. Here's a mention of another model, the pvr-type 8000 being tested. You'd hope the 8000 had HDTV features, or a 8000HD exists. -- John
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-11-2002, 05:49 PM
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Do I still need to get a HDTV decoder for my Samsung 2795, if I get the new HD capable set-top box from Time Warner Cable - NYC? -Tae
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-12-2002, 05:22 AM
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No, Tae, TWC's SA2000HD delivers all the HDTV currently available over the air (OTA) in NYC: (CBS), plus three not available (HBO, Showtime, and NBC). Fox (non-HDTV), ABC, and PBS are rumored for addition soon. An OTA set-top box offers flexibility in case TWC is down (a few channels), or the possibility of picking up more distant signals with a good antenna. -- John
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post #10 of 10 Old 05-17-2002, 12:23 PM
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There was a rumor floating around that the digital versions of ABC, FOX and WNET were going to be carried over TWCNYC. The source was supposed to be Bob Watson's assistant and TWC was supposed to start carrying the digital signals for those stations as of May 15 or soon after.

Any news on if there is any validity to this claim and when it might come to pass.

EDIT: I noticed another thread mentioned an update to this after I posted - Nevermind.

-Brett
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