Just cut cable --- have a few noob questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-07-2012, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all --

Please bear with me as I get to my point, it's kinda tough to explain.

So my cable service has been 'off' for a month or two now... yet I still get my cable channels as long as I connect the RF cable directly to the TV (instead of going thru a DVR).

Keep in mind, I have NO added antenna (no rabbit ears, no outdoor antenna, etc).

I just now connected the RF cable on my living room TV... and I get the normal cable stations PLUS their HD counterparts, which surprised me. For example, CH 5 will be CBS, and CH 5.1 will be CBS HD. The HD (aka ".1") channels display an antenna signal strength icon when I hit 'info' button on the TV remote, while the SD 'cable' channels do not. I've never dealt with channels with decimal points... with my cable box, HD channels were in the 1,000's as opposed to the SD channels roughly being in the 2-20 range.

My question is --- is the RF Cable that plugs into my cable outlet somehow strengthening my OTA signal? Or more specifically, am I getting these ".1" channels from the cable company? I'm getting all the local HD channels, and the antenna signal strength icon is 100% all the time.... yet I'm 25 miles out from the stations, and have no antenna other then whatever is inside my TV. If (or when) the cable company decides to cut me off completely --- will I somehow lose those OTA signals?

Thanks in advance....
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-07-2012, 08:01 PM
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The TV does not have an internal antenna.
The cable you are connecting to the TV antenna jack is picking up the signal, it may be the OTA signal or it may be from the cable company.
I would suggest connecting it to the cable in jack and tell the TV to do a full channel scan.
You may have lots of cable channels that are not scrambled.
If you cancel the service and they are still sending you a signal it is legally a gift, and we all know it is rude not to graciously accept all gifts.

Regards,
Charlie

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-07-2012, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chashint View Post

The TV does not have an internal antenna.
The cable you are connecting to the TV antenna jack is picking up the signal, it may be the OTA signal or it may be from the cable company.
I would suggest connecting it to the cable in jack and tell the TV to do a full channel scan.
You may have lots of cable channels that are not scrambled.
If you cancel the service and they are still sending you a signal it is legally a gift, and we all know it is rude not to graciously accept all gifts.

Thanks for the reply. smile.gif

Sorry I wasn't more clear... I did just as you suggested before posting the OP, and get up to CH 99. So I get SD channels such as AMC, TNT, TBS etc.

The part that confuses me is getting those seemingly OTA channel numbers (such as CH 5.1) -- in HD no less-- and on a perfectly clean, full 'strength' signal even though I have no antenna.

I'll never look a gift horse in the mouth ---- but I'm worried if they do decide to fully cut me off from cable (instead of just shutting down my cable box), that I'll loose all those HD OTA channels.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-07-2012, 08:46 PM
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If you are not subscribing to any level of cable TV service, you should not be receiving any channels at all from the cable company.

It sounds to me as though all of the channels that you are receiving are from the cable company.

 

The channels that you describe sound like an analog cable package.

An analog cable package does not require a set top box, but it usually does include channels such as TNT and TBS, which are definitely not OTA broadcasts.

 

As for the local stations, such as 5.1, those are typically provided as digital signals even when you subscribe to an analog package.

That's because if you were to put up an antenna, the signal that you would receive for those stations would be digital because analog broadcasting ended in 2009.

So, what the cable company does with an analog package is supply the cable channels such as TBS as analog signals (with -0 suffixes on the channel numbers) and also supplies analog signals for the local channels (so that people who do not have digital sets can receive those channels without a digital-to-analog converter box).

 

But, as part of the same package, the cable company also supplies the local channels as digital signals (with -1, -2, and so on as suffixes) that can be tuned by sets that have digital tuners.. If the programming on the digital local channel happens to be in high def, then you will see

a high def image. Your digital TV set uses an internal tuner called a QAM tuner to tune those channels. The cable company assigns a QAM channel number to each local channel that

it carries, but your TV translates that into the displayed channel number (such as 5.1 or 5-1) via something called PSIP.

So your set displays the same channel number 5.1 that you would see if you were receiving an OTA signal, but in fact the signal is being provided by the cable company through the cable, not OTA. (If you were receiving an OTA signal via antenna, the QAM tuner would not be involved. Instead, a second internal tuner, called an ATSC tuner would tune the OTA broadcast signal.)

 

Anyway, there is no way that you could be receiving actual OTA broadcasts at a distance of 25 miles without an antenna.

You should contact the cable company if they did not discontinue your service as you requested.

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post #5 of 7 Old 11-07-2012, 08:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Good info, Veedon. Maybe I'll subscribe to the basic cable package now that I know I can at least get HD local channels out of it... without having to deal with antennas.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-07-2012, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JP32 View Post

Good info, Veedon. Maybe I'll subscribe to the basic cable package now that I know I can at least get HD local channels out of it... without having to deal with antennas.

 

If you decide to do that, just be aware that most cable systems will be phasing out their analog cable packages within the next few years and converting to an entirely digital system. The FCC has given all-digital cable systems permission to encrypt the digital signals for the local channels that they carry on their basic packages. So, if the channels are encrypted, then you need either an adapter that decrypts the signal so that your QAM tuner can then tune it, or else a set-top box that handles the decrypting and tuning itself. You can't just connect the cable directly to the set as you could in the days of analog cable and cable-ready analog TV sets.

 

Either way, the cable company wants to make you deal with its hardware.

The only way around that is to go OTA and take control of your own hardware (called an antenna).

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post #7 of 7 Old 11-08-2012, 04:26 AM
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You're receiving what is called "clear QAM" from the cableco.

Enjoy it while it lasts.
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