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post #1 of 2383 Old 07-23-2003, 03:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Yinz Guys,

Just got official word from Comcast (a rep and the website) that HDTV will be premiering in Pittsburgh on August 15th. According to the representative I talked to, the lineup is as follows:

WTAE-DT (ABC HD) 720p
WQED-DT (PBS HD) 1080i

Showtime-HD 1080i
ESPN-HD 720p (although he didn't mention it at the time, shortly after our conversation, Comcast announced that ESPN-HD carriage would commence immediately in all markets carrying HD, and that it is not likely that it would be any later than September in any market)

As for Fox, UPN, and WB, the rep said he was wondering why they didn't bother with those stations, but I have to guess that when Sinclair starts actually passing HD at those local affiliates, they may get them. Until then, I don't think anyone really cares...

You may be asking -- are you sure about CBS HD? I thought since we are in a CBS O&O market, we wouldn't be likely to see any CBS from Comcast anytime soon. Well, I asked the rep repeatedly if he was sure it was CBS and not maybe PBS, and he assured me that the documents he'd received from the company clearly stated that the "big three locals, CBS, NBC, and ABC" would be available at launch. I even questioned him regarding the Comcast/Viacom bargaining problem, and he just said that he was sure that he'd been told CBS would indeed be a part of the Pittsburgh package at rollout. I can only conclude from this that the rumors of late regarding some new announcements from Comcast may indeed include the official announcement of a deal with Viacom. (edit: Accodring to our friendly Comcast buddy JWhip, because our previous system was AT&T, it is likely that carriage of CBS in HD would be grandfathered into Comcast's system. Good stuff!)

EDIT: Shoulda known better. Grossly misinformed Comcast rep. PBS, ABC, Showtime, and ESPN are all we get. HBO will no doubt be added very soon, and I have to wonder why on earth they don't have WPXI yet. KDKA... sigh... mabe next year. Who knows. Come on, Comcast and Viacom!

The receiver (Presumably the Motorola DCT-5100. I didn't ask.) will be $5.99 a month.

If anyone has anything constructive to add, anecdotal or otherwise, anything I might've missed would certainly be welcome!


Dan

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"Shoot it."
"Not yet. I want to study its habits."
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post #2 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 10:34 AM
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Good news, MrGonk. Where on the website are you seeing this news?

And, does anyone know, would this include the entire Pittsburgh area, or just the city for now? I'm in Westmoreland County, near Jeannette, and currently have Comcast (formerly AT&T Broadband, formerly TCI) out of Greensburg. Usually whatever Pittsburgh gets, we get too, but I'm not sure about timing.

Although I have had an HD-ready monitor for over two years, I still haven't gotten a STB/antenna. I still may opt for Satellite at some time (for HDNET, etc.) but this would be a quick and easy way to get some good HD content for now, especially if CBS is included and now ESPN-HD too. That would be great for football season. Not having CBS or ESPN would probably make me pass on cable HD.
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post #3 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm still skeptical about CBS in O&O markets, regardless of what I was told by the CSR.

A good way to find out if you'll be able to get HD (and the way I found out) would be to go to www.comcast.com and click on "what's in my area?" in the top right of the screen. Put in your address and zip code and see if the "HDTV available August 15" icon is on the page anywhere. I would take that as a good indication that you're on what Comcast considers the Pittsburgh system, and HD would be coming your way. They need to have their fiber laid in your area, so chances are if you are able to get broadband internet access via cable, then HDTV is probably on its way sometime soon too. Keep us posted if you find anything out about Westmoreland county.

By the way, once we finally get hooked up with HD in Pittsburgh, we're going to have to start trying to figure out when we'll be seeing ESPN-HD. Though I doubt it'll be much later than sometime in September.


Dan

"There's a... big machine in the sky... Some sort of... electric snake. It's headed right for us..."
"Shoot it."
"Not yet. I want to study its habits."
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post #4 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 11:37 AM
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Hmm. I typed in zip code 15212 (North Side, where I lived as a child) and I see that message "Available August 15th Experience High Definition TV". But when I put in my Jeannette zip code the message isn't there.

I do have Comcast broadband internet access, and while I only have basic expanded cable, Digital Cable is available in my location. I don't see what else they'd need to deliver HDTV.

I'll give the local office a call sometime to inquire when I get a chance, but they probably won't have a clue.

Hopefully, they would add ESPN-HD right off the bat since it appears to be rolling out already in some of their other markets.
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post #5 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 12:42 PM
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question is that if i got d* 'cause the cable looked bad on my xbr 400. what is this really doing for me except that I cant get channel 4.

so how much is it going to cost me just to see alias in HD?

I currently have the min package due to multiple sets rain fade and the $5 a room hook up plus wiring issues for d*
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post #6 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 03:27 PM
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I just called the Greensburg office customer service and talked to Bonnie, who was very nice. I told her about the August 15 note on the Comcast website. She immediately knew what I was talking about and said that yes, it is her understanding that HDTV service will be rolled out in the entire area. She said I'd need the converter box for HD ($5.99/month) and Digital Cable. I don't think that's entirely true; according to their FAQ on HDTV you can get a box for HDTV without actually subscribing to Digital Cable. But I may go for Digital anyway for Turner Classic Movies.

I asked her about channels. She thought any station broadcasting in HD would be included, plus HBO and Showtime if you subscribe. Again, not sure about that (PBS?). I pressed her about CBS, but it was apparent she really didn't know.

She put a note in my "file" to have somebody contact me when it's ready to go. I'll call them back in mid-August if I don't hear anything before that. Hopefully there will be no delays, but I won't count on it.

I guess I'll need to buy another set of component cables soon. (Hopefully)
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post #7 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 04:00 PM
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This sounds like great news. I have had an HD ready tv for almost two years and have not yet "bit the bullet" and gotten into HDTV yet. I am currently a Directivo user and was thinking of getting a second receiver for HDTV. Can't give up TIVO, haha. I live in Imperial and typed in my zip, 15126. It did come up with the message about HDTV, however, the link gave me an error saying it could not find the page? My only real question is, if anyone really knows if I would have to suscribe to a digital cable package? I don't want to do this. If anyone has any info or suggestions about the best way to go Hi-Def, I'd love to hear it! Thanks...

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post #8 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 05:02 PM
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Here is the page (it wasn't actually the FAQ, but in the "press room") that describes what's needed for HDTV.

http://www.cmcsk.com/pressroom/cable_hdtv.cfm

It's a little confusing, but look at the footnote ** at the bottom. Seems to indicate that if you don't subscribe to Digital Cable then they will rent you a box to decode HDTV. But how is that box different from the HD box anybody has to get? I don't know.
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post #9 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 06:00 PM
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Hondo21- Great, thanks for the link, that is exactly what I was looking for. I will be looking forward to Monday Night Football in HDTV this year. And, this is much cheaper right now than buying a new Directv receiver! Hopefully, it won't take too long until they get more HDTV programming, i.e., ESPN. Thanks!
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post #10 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 08:19 PM
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I wonder if I'll be able to just plug in cable to my Sony HD-200?

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post #11 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 10:26 PM
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I don't think so Mark. Cable uses a different DTV modulation system (QAM) vs. Satellite/OTA (8VSB) -- I don't fully understand it, but I think the bottom line is your box decodes 8VSB and the cable signal is QAM, and they aren't compatible.
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post #12 of 2383 Old 07-25-2003, 10:34 PM
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Hoss28, reading that link I provided a little closer, maybe you *do* need Digital Cable to get ESPN-HD. The ** note says broadcast HD signals. They could mean just the local broadcast channels, not cable ones? I'm not sure. Maybe somebody from another Comcast market already getting HD could answer, but they probably aren't reading this thread.
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post #13 of 2383 Old 07-26-2003, 07:19 AM
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Hondo21, you just read my mind. I was reading some of the other ESPNHD threads and I was starting to get that feeling. I only suscribe right now to very basic cable, just to be able to get the news in the kitchen and another bedroom as I have Directivo on the bigscreen. As of right now, at least this way I'll be able to get MNF and a couple other football games in HD. Just not the Sunday night games. I will have to see if the price of digital cable would be worth it. I don't have a clue as to how much that will cost, now over to comcast to check on pricing! I am looking forward to seeing HD on my 61" Hitachi. I guess this way I could do away with locals on my Directivo and save that 5 a month. Thanks again for the info, Hondo.
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post #14 of 2383 Old 07-26-2003, 08:09 AM
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Did ATT Broadband have a carriage agreement with KDKA (CBS) before the Comcast merger which was grandfathered?
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post #15 of 2383 Old 07-26-2003, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Hoss-

Usually digital cable is only a couple bucks more expensive than analog cable. I think companies are marketing it very aggressively in an attempt to push to a full conversion to digital, which would allow the cable company to trounce any dish provider in terms of PQ, channel selection, HD offerings, locals, and just about everything else...

mgpt6-

Considering AT&T Broadband wouldn't have had any HD up and running for roughly another century in Pittsburgh, I seriously doubt they had any kind of digital carriage mapped out before Comcast bought them. However, there may be enough loopholes regarding digital in the current contract that AT&T had for regular CBS carriage so as to not effectively prevent Comcast from putting HD CBS on the air in the burgh. In other words, it's possible that the contract CBS had with AT&T allows Comcast to air CBS HD by virtue of the fact that there is no language forbidding it, and any agreement at all could be taken as implication of consent for digital broadcast. Or I could be wrong. It's just speculation.


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"Shoot it."
"Not yet. I want to study its habits."
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post #16 of 2383 Old 07-26-2003, 07:18 PM
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MrGonk-Thanks for the reply. I just was looking into it and it first it seemed like a good thing. However, I currently only suscribe to BASIC cable, whereas the site says digital is only $10 more than STANDARD cable, which is around 40. So, I may just get the box and get the broadcast HDTV stations, so I won't get ESPNHD, better than nothing. Maybe I'll bite the bullet and get the Directv HDTV package and get locals OTA. Anyone know how easy they are to pull in around the Imperial/Oakdale/Robinson area? Thanks again MrGonk, I always appreciate more info as I'm fairly new to all of this.
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post #17 of 2383 Old 07-27-2003, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Hoss- are you on the Pittsburgh side of Mt. Washington or are you on the South Hills side?

From your location, I'd guess that it'd be pretty easy to get KDKA-DT, WPGH-DT, WPXI-DT, and WQED-DT with an OTA antenna, as long as you don't have too much in the way of hills to the north and east to block your reception. Mount a good one on your roof with a rotor so you can swing it around to pick up WTAE-DT, which might be iffy if you're not at a relatively high altitude. The problem with OTA stations in Pittsburgh is that they're in all sorts of different locations, which generally means you want a non-directional antenna, but the varied terrain means lots of obstructions and reflections, which demands a directional antenna. This has got to be the worst city on earth for OTA reception...

"There's a... big machine in the sky... Some sort of... electric snake. It's headed right for us..."
"Shoot it."
"Not yet. I want to study its habits."
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post #18 of 2383 Old 07-27-2003, 03:27 PM
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MrGonk I am about 5 min East of the Pittsburgh Airport. I was hoping to get away with an indoor antennae, but I guess that won't be possible. Especially since my TV is down in the basement in my game room. What do you think about mounting one in the attic. If I can easily get a cable down to the basement I would consider something like that. I don't really want to have to put a big one up outside if I don't have to. Going with DirecTV HD and OTA I guess I would get that much more programming. The initial cost of setting up is going to be tough to ease past the "accountant" of the household though, haha. I have had an HDTV ready TV now for two years, I'm dying to see what it looks like. I would love to have it calibrated as well, uh oh, a couple hundred more to slip through.
Thanks MrGonk
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post #19 of 2383 Old 07-27-2003, 07:30 PM
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I recently bought an infocus x1 and needed an additional digital decoder for it. Knowing that it was a matter of time until Comcast would have HDTV in the 'burgh, I wanted to find out if they were close to launch.
The comcast rep I talked to on the phone told me that she had just received information that KDKA and Comcast were proud to present the August 16th Steeler game against Philly in HDTV as a promotion for their Aug. 15th launch. I then asked if they had HDTV decoders ready for pickup at their offices, but she wasn't sure.
So I went to the Coraopolis office to find out. Unfortunately they hadn't heard anything about the promo, and didn't have any idea when they would have HDTV decoders, but they "will notify me when HDTV is available"
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post #20 of 2383 Old 07-28-2003, 03:14 PM
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Anyone else kind of bothered that WQED-DT isn't in their current plans?

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post #21 of 2383 Old 08-01-2003, 06:22 AM
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In todays (Fri Aug 1st) paper edition of the Post-Gazette there is an article about the comcast HDTV turn-up on Aug 15th. I can't find the article on the PG's web site, so you'll have to grab a paper edition to read the full article. . The article says that the 4 initial channels will be ABC(WTAE), PBS(WQED), a special ESPN Channel, and select movies on a Showtime channel. The article goes on to quote Chuck Redpath, general manager of the Adelphia South Hills office, stating they plan to launch HDTV sometime this fall.
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post #22 of 2383 Old 08-01-2003, 09:56 AM
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Info straight from comcast.com. I wonder what the other 2 channels will be. HBOHD and CBS?

Welcome to Comcast of Pittsburgh, PA



High-Definition Television is coming!

Comcast is committed to bringing you a variety of advanced communications products and services. In addition to Digital Cable and High-Speed Internet service, HDTV will soon be available in many areas. Comcast currently offers six channels - WTAE(ABC), WQED (PBS), ESPN and Showtime.

To receive HDTV service you will need a High-Definition TV set. Comcast will provide you a digital box with an integrated HDTV decoder and provide professional standard installation of the equipment.

TV fans and technology enthusiasts know about the most exciting technological advance to hit the industry: HDTV, or High-Definition Television. HDTV is now the new standard of television. The trademark of true HDTV is the rectangular "wide screen" and the high resolution of the display, Dolby® Digital surround sound and better visual and audio quality.



What do I need to get HDTV?

- HD-Capable sets have a High-Definition receiver/decoder built in

- HD-Ready sets are essentially a monitor and require an external receiver/decoder (which Comcast provides)

- A Comcast HDTV decoder is needed for either HD-Capable or HD-Ready sets.







What is Showtime HDTV and how can I get it?

Showtime HDTV provides the ultimate television viewing experience with the best picture resolution (using the highest HDTV format, 1080i) and Dolby® Digital 5.1 enhanced audio. HDTV is available on Showtime East and programming includes theatricals, original pictures, original series and special events. Showtime HDTV has earned a grade "A" from Sound and Vision Magazine in March, 2001: "Showtime's high-def offerings are HDTV the way it's supposed to be."

When you subscribe to Showtime and Comcast Digital Cable you receive at least 10 channels of Showtime. If you would like to receive Showtime HDTV, in addition to at least 10 digital channels, you will need a HDTV set and subscribe to Showtime and Comcast Digital Cable.

For more information on program listings click on www.sho.com and then click on "Schedule".









A step-by-step guide to walk you through the ordering process.




© 2002 Comcast Corporation
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post #23 of 2383 Old 08-01-2003, 01:00 PM
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The other two channels may be the two INHD ones coming in September.

I'm disappointed that CBS-HD isn't offerred, but that is consistent with other Comcast markets. CBS has the SuperBowl this coming season. Not to mention the best primetime TV HD schedule. I sure hope they come to some agreement to carry it soon.

BTW, the Post-Gazette article mentioned above is on page B-11 of today's paper, continuing on B-17 (not B-16 as it says).
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post #24 of 2383 Old 08-01-2003, 01:34 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by MrGonk
A good way to find out if you'll be able to get HD (and the way I found out) would be to go to www.comcast.com and click on "what's in my area?" in the top right of the screen. Put in your address and zip code and see if the "HDTV available August 15" icon is on the page anywhere. I would take that as a good indication that you're on what Comcast considers the Pittsburgh system, and HD would be coming your way. They need to have their fiber laid in your area, so chances are if you are able to get broadband internet access via cable, then HDTV is probably on its way sometime soon too. Keep us posted if you find anything out about Westmoreland county.
Dan

I tried that with my 15317 Canonsburg address and it does not show the HDTV available. But I called Comcast early this morning after reading the PG article, and 15317 was a HD delivery area.

Right now I have HD CBS with Dish and I really hate to give it up with football season approaching. Getting MNF would not be a trade worth making.
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post #25 of 2383 Old 08-01-2003, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Ugh... just got a more "official" summary of the lineup from the CSR I spoke to while I was ordering today. The debeut lineup is four channels: WTAE-DT (ABC), WQED-DT (PBS), ESPN-HD, and Showtime-HD. HBO-HD coming soon. KDKA-DT will do the Steelers/Eagles game in HD, a one-time-only deal... just to tease us. KDKA-DT (CBS)-- no carriage as of yet, except for that one game. Now that's some cruel sh*t... ::sigh::... Of course, I still ordered anyway and (surprise surprise), they're understocked on boxes, it may be a few weeks before they get enough in. They estimate about 500 by the 15th, ideally.


Dan

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"Shoot it."
"Not yet. I want to study its habits."
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post #26 of 2383 Old 08-02-2003, 05:30 PM
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I live in McCandless next to Allegheny Community Collge. I will be able to get Comcast's HD cable but with the meager offerings in the near future I am swaying towards OTA. Does anyone live this way and is able to reliably get OTA HD or digital channels including fox, wb? Or is reception hit and miss that would justify going cable?
joe
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post #27 of 2383 Old 08-04-2003, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
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reception is very difficult to predict anywhere in pittsburgh. usually your success comes with pure altitude and size of antenna. outdoor antennas are definitely best. i wouldn't be too concerned with the wb and fox ota stations, as sinclair owns them and it'll be about a million years before they pass through the 720p and 1080i feeds.

"There's a... big machine in the sky... Some sort of... electric snake. It's headed right for us..."
"Shoot it."
"Not yet. I want to study its habits."
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post #28 of 2383 Old 08-04-2003, 02:43 PM
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It's upsetting to see there won't be much coming from Comcast at the start, especially as far as regular broadscast stations. This may be pushing me further towards getting setup for HD through Directv. I am a bit worried about the difficulty of pulling in the OTA. I guess there is only one way to find out. I'm told Directv will give me the new dish if I call and tell them I'm going to drop them. But that still leaves me with a 500-600 purchase for a new Directv/HD receiver. I need to get MNF, at least I can get that right away through Comcast.
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post #29 of 2383 Old 08-04-2003, 02:52 PM
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MrGonk, Thanks for your input, guess I'll need to just try it out to know. Actually, if I can even get the standard digital broadcast from fox and wb I'd be happy since I project this onto a 100" 16:9 screen and even with time shifting the analog ota/cable to a DVHS tape which encodes it digitally and scaling it up to 1360x1024 there still is some video noise. I've heard that the digital broadcasts have very little noise(artifacts?) in the signal.
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post #30 of 2383 Old 08-04-2003, 04:37 PM
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I have done some installs in the Mccandless area, and just like most of the Burg, it can be hit or miss. Outside on top of a roof is better than an attic install.

Greg C.
www.pghcustomht.com
CEDIA University Designer CAT Member
CEDIA University Instructor
Crestron DMC-E
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