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post #1 of 592 Old 03-05-2004, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I have RCN coming tomorrow to address my constant pixelation problems since they went HD> It hasn't gotten worse in recent weeks.

Last night 3-4. severe pixelation/audio dropouts every 30 seconds on Fox enhanced, cbs, discovery. I hope they can fix it.. Paying almost $30 extra for constant sound dropouts and pixelation. Last night on Discovery was the worst I have ever seen. Complete screen freeze-ups on some Jaquar program.

Hd Net Hockey on Wed night pixelation on still bench shots besides the motion artifacts...

I have a Moto DCT 5100 into a Toshiba 50 cinema.

If they don't fix it I am going over to Time Warner
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post #2 of 592 Old 03-08-2004, 10:03 AM
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I am thinking of switching to RCN from Time Warner. I can get full RCN digital in my building in Queens. Any update on this?
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post #3 of 592 Old 03-08-2004, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Just as I expected on Sat morning... some pixelation on some glass art show on pbs. However when the RCN technician came no pixelation. I am
supposed to have another technician come on Thursday night. They said they have to be present when the pixelation occurs to figure out what causes it.

Very frustrated.........Will let you know how it goes this week>
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post #4 of 592 Old 04-03-2004, 12:59 PM
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I have had the same problems you speak of with RCN. First they came out and checked my signal levels. My levels were low. They upgraded all of my coaxil cables in the house. This helped but the problems still occured just less often. Then they came out and did some work on the Telephone pole. The problems even occured less after that, but still occured. They checked my signal levels again and they looked good so they gave me a new cable box last night. I have not experienced any signal drop outs since last night, but the motion artifacts are still present on certain programs. CBS looked great with no motion artifacts while PBS did have some motion artifacts. Mostly with PBS the problem with pixelation is when the camera angle changes. But after a few milliseconds the picture looks crisp.

I bet they have a problem delivering the higher frequencies with a super clean signal. The more motion you have the more complicated the signal becomes. Maybe the RCN plant can't deliver the signal properly over all the lines until it get to your house. But, that does not answer the question why some HD channels don't have problems and others do.

Keep being persistent with having them to come out and solve the problem. They will try to reset the box over the phone many times and cancel any appointments you have. Make sure they come out and check all your signal levels at the tap all the way to your Display. They need to fix your problems.
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post #5 of 592 Old 04-03-2004, 03:01 PM
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I have had problems before with HDNET and HDNet Movies. I think this is because these channels are not as compressed and the Motorola box chokes on it. Hasn't happened in a while though. No other problems.
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post #6 of 592 Old 04-03-2004, 03:14 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by sanjoseskater
I have had the same problems you speak of with RCN. First they came out and checked my signal levels. My levels were low. They upgraded all of my coaxil cables in the house. This helped but the problems still occured just less often. Then they came out and did some work on the Telephone pole. The problems even occured less after that, but still occured. They checked my signal levels again and they looked good so they gave me a new cable box last night. I have not experienced any signal drop outs since last night, but the motion artifacts are still present on certain programs. CBS looked great with no motion artifacts while PBS did have some motion artifacts. Mostly with PBS the problem with pixelation is when the camera angle changes. But after a few milliseconds the picture looks crisp.

I bet they have a problem delivering the higher frequencies with a super clean signal. The more motion you have the more complicated the signal becomes. Maybe the RCN plant can't deliver the signal properly over all the lines until it get to your house. But, that does not answer the question why some HD channels don't have problems and others do.

Keep being persistent with having them to come out and solve the problem. They will try to reset the box over the phone many times and cancel any appointments you have. Make sure they come out and check all your signal levels at the tap all the way to your Display. They need to fix your problems.

Signal strength from the pole to the cable box is important. But if you get crystal clean reception with some channels and not with others, the problem might be with how the cable company acquires the signal.

This goes way back, but for years the cable companies would receive local channels from over the air antennas. So if there was bad weather or local interference at the cable head-end, there would be static in the signal the cable company passed along to subscribers. It was only in recent years that local channels had hard lines delivering their signal to the cable head-ends. But not all stations have the hard lines to Time Warner and/or RCN head-ends.

Another issues with acquisition is compression and security. Another layer of possible errors is created if a station compresses or scrambles the signal it feeds cable providers. With bandwidth in such high demand, almost every channel is delivered with some sort of compression.
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post #7 of 592 Old 04-05-2004, 08:27 AM
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Mentioned earlier I started subscribing to RCN in Manhattan along with TWC just to get RCN's 4-channel HD tier (2 HDNets, ESPN-HD, and Discovery Theater, the latter also now on TWC). I now use my RCN DCT6208 HD converter DVR (digital video recorder) for most HD viewing because it doesn't have the faint contrast-spoiling fog of my TWC SA3100HD converter. My earlier RCN DCT5100 also provided a better (fog-free) picture. If RCN can supply stable, clear images in Manhattan, via fiber links and good cable linkups to sets, IMO similar-quality images should be possible elsewhere.

I've found, with 3+ decades of dealing with TWC/RCN here, that it requires persistence to get the quality that's possible with cable. There's endless minutia that can screw up. A month of so back I added all the premium channels to my RCN basic/HD subscription. But while basic (noisy analog) and HD came through, none of the premiums did. A technician found a bad cable link from the building hallway; analog cleared up and the premiums worked.

Duplicating the premiums, which I also get on TWC, is required for a while to make full use of the 6208's single-tuner DVR so I can record anything playing on the RCN 6208 while watching anything else being cablecast via TWC. If RCN introduces the dual-tuner 6408 DVR/converter this summer, it lets you watch one channel while recording another. RCN can tell you whether they're distributing 6208s in your area. -- John
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post #8 of 592 Old 05-25-2004, 12:16 PM
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The RCN/Starz news release just says RCN will add new Starz packages, including free Starz HD, throughout 2004. Please post if you uncover the startup date for NYC. (A call to RCN resulted in being put on an endless music hold). --John
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post #9 of 592 Old 05-25-2004, 06:53 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by John Mason
The RCN/Starz news release just says RCN will add new Starz packages, including free Starz HD, throughout 2004. Please post if you uncover the startup date for NYC. (A call to RCN resulted in being put on an endless music hold). --John

Interesting announcement. It's nice to see that even as RCN flirts with bankruptcy, it still expands its network and offerings. "throughout 2004" isn't really that long considering that we are almost in June.

I've had RCN HD for about a month now (got the cable box two days after they upgraded my building to Digital service). The quality is very good and the selection of HD channels is adequate (at least compared to Time Warner's HD). I just wish there were more offerings - WPIX-HD, WWOR-HD, MSG HD, Fox Sports HD, INHD, TNT-HD, Cinemax HD, Bravo HD and future offerings from WPXN, Yes Network, NFL Network, and NBA TV (no, I wouldn't watch all of those, but I like choices).
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post #10 of 592 Old 07-06-2004, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Mason
The RCN/Starz news release just says RCN will add new Starz packages, including free Starz HD, throughout 2004. --John

Pleasant surprise when I called about a billing problem today. They've added both Starz (199) and Cinemax (194) in HD. You need a standard-TV subscription for these program sources. Supposedly started on July 1, but without a cold boot to refresh my 6208 DVR/converter the program menus only said "To Be Announced," so I never tried tuning them in. Asked about the dual-tuner DVRs slated for this summer, but they're not available yet. So, including RCN's special HD tier, they're developing--even in bankruptcy--a nice HD lineup. -- John
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post #11 of 592 Old 07-07-2004, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Mason
They've added both Starz (199) and Cinemax (194) in HD.... Supposedly started on July 1, but without a cold boot to refresh my 6208 DVR/converter the program menus only said "To Be Announced," so I never tried tuning them in [earlier].

A cold boot, unplugging the AC briefly, failed to clear the "To Be Announced" on the menu for StarZ and Cinemax HD, plus several other new channels in the 190-200 series, which appear to be musical-variety channels (seemingly 480i). So, discovering what's playing requires either jumping to the non-HD Starz/Cinemax channels or checking my NY Times weekly TV guide. It prints "HD" with the few true-HD movies playing and appears to exclude that designation for upconverted 1080i movies. -- John
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post #12 of 592 Old 08-02-2004, 10:36 AM
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Hmmm... might be a good time to bump the RCN NYC thread thanks to the TWC MSG/FSNY outage.

I just called them and they don't have the DVR in queens yet. Bummer.
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post #13 of 592 Old 10-10-2004, 02:16 PM
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RCN quietly made a few lineup changes at in the last two weeks.

Announced changes so far:
Deleted
38 G4TechTV (still available without a converter box at 38; available on 147 for Digital Vision customers)
175 Fox Sports East
176 Fox Sports Central
177 Fox Sports West

Added
175 NFL Network
265 Here! TV

Unannounced changes:
Added
250 ABC News Now
600 HBO-E HD
601 SHO-E HD
700 EPPV1
701 EPPV2
702 EPPV3
703 EPPV4
704 EPPV5
705 EPPV6

Moved
428 Cinemax HD (was 429)
429 Cinemax OnDemand (was 428)

A source inside RCN has told me that more changes might be coming this week with a formal announcement coming from the Digital Life show at the Javits Center October 14-17.
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post #14 of 592 Old 11-07-2004, 09:40 PM
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HD channels as of today:

185 ABC
186 CBS
187 NBC
188 FOX
189 PBS
190 Discovery
191 ESPN
192 HDNET
193 HDNET Movies
194, 429 Cinemax
195, 407 HBO
196, 436 Showtime
199, 463 Starz!

190 - 193 is HD Digital Tier and costs extra (around $12)
premium channels are duplicate channels (not two separate shows)

Digital channels

142 - 198 -- can't tell if any HD channels lurking in here but don't think so
45 additional music only channels (this is Digital Tier and also costs extra)

RCN service is getting better (well, at least the people managing the phones. The technician who installed my dvr didn't connect my component video cables and told me incorrectly that the current box has two tuners -- I wanted to use PIP).

The two tuner box is not out yet.
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post #15 of 592 Old 11-07-2004, 09:41 PM
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Should have mentioned mine was from Manhattan
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post #16 of 592 Old 11-07-2004, 09:49 PM
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I never thought I would say it... but currently TWC has a better Hi-Def lineup currently than RCN.

After a little watching... I would take INHD, INHD2, and TNT over Cinemax and Starz.

Of course that may all change whoever gets any of the following channels first (MSG, FoxSports, WB11, UPN9).
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post #17 of 592 Old 11-18-2004, 08:20 AM
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I'm a Manhattan RCN customer with digital service (though my current TV is of the analog, standard-def variety) and the digital but non-HD converter box. I have a new HDTV coming on Saturday with a built-in HD tuner.

My question is this: will I get RCN's HD channels just by plugging the coax from the wall into my new set? It's my understanding that I should get all the basic network HD channels but that I need an HD-capable box -- which is different from my current digital box -- to get the premium HD channels. Correct? Are there any HD 'freebies' I might get without the converter as some in other areas have reported?

Another way of putting it: which, if any of the channels on Buddha44's list above will I get without RCN's HD set-top-box?
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post #18 of 592 Old 11-18-2004, 09:36 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by AgWagon
I'm a Manhattan RCN customer with digital service (though my current TV is of the analog, standard-def variety) and the digital but non-HD converter box. I have a new HDTV coming on Saturday with a built-in HD tuner.

My question is this: will I get RCN's HD channels just by plugging the coax from the wall into my new set? It's my understanding that I should get all the basic network HD channels but that I need an HD-capable box -- which is different from my current digital box -- to get the premium HD channels. Correct? Are there any HD 'freebies' I might get without the converter as some in other areas have reported?

Another way of putting it: which, if any of the channels on Buddha44's list above will I get without RCN's HD set-top-box?

It would be nice if you could just plug it the wire, but it doesn't work that way (yet).

All RCN stations above 82 (excluding the cable access stuff around 100) need a converter box. RCN transmits all of those channels in a digital package that you need a special knife to open. RCN offer the HD channels for free, but you have to rent a converter box to get them.

There is a new technology called CableCard that the TV manufacturers and cable operators are supposed to be rolling out. Instead of renting a cable box, you rent a small card that slips into your TV. The card deals with all the de-scrambling and you just need to plug the cable into your TV. The TVs are available (but are usually the high end models) and the cable operators were supposed to be offering CableCards to subscribers since July 1. I haven't heard of anyone using a CableCard with RCN yet, but I know they have to offer it by law. Time Warner has them, but they have been very flaky and hard to get.
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post #19 of 592 Old 11-18-2004, 12:33 PM
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That is too bad, as I wanted to be able to sample HD programming right off the bat, rather than having to wait for an RCN service appointment to get a box. BTW, the TV is a Sony XBR and it is CableCard compatible. But similar to what you said, though the July 1 date has come and gone, it is difficult to find anyone at RCN who has even heard of the technology (though I suspect some of this ignorance is actually "trained" by RCN management for purposes of protecting pay-per-view and VOD fees.)

So, just to be clear, though RCN is currently transmitting the digital package to me, my TV's built-in tuner won't be the proper "knife" to open the HD? This knife must be an RCN box... and that goes even for the basic network HDs as opposed to premium ones? Seems that the HD channels are hardly free if you need to rent a box to get them.
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post #20 of 592 Old 11-18-2004, 05:32 PM
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hi AgWagon!

you may be in luck after all. IF your Sony has a QAM digital tuner(which decodes UNscrambled digital cable) & IF RCN doesn't scramble HD locals you could get CBS, ABC etc. without an HD box. i would just plug the cable drop directly into your HDTV & see what happens(may need to do a ch. scan)
TWC subs can get some HD chs with an outboard QAM tuner(like the LG 3500) so if your Sony has one built-in you're good to go. Hope it works & enjoy if it does!!

jim

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expensive"- R. A. Janek
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post #21 of 592 Old 11-19-2004, 08:14 AM
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I seriously doubt that you'll be able to tune in any of the free RCN HD channels with just the QAM. All of RCN's content above 130 is transmitted in a MPEG2 Transport Stream. But it's worth the 5 minutes to try. Let us know how it goes. The one positive about the RCN cable box is all the connections it offers - a Motorola DCT-6208 with DVI out, component out, FireWire out (and active - Time Warner disables theirs), and Dolby out. It also downconverts the HD channels to the RF outs.

VOD and pay-per-view are not issues with the current CableCards (version 1) - they just aren't supported. Version 2 of the CableCard will support the two-way communication needed for VOD and PPV. Right now, the Time Warner customers need to get a new card every time there is a lineup change - TWC can't flash the card remotely. New technology, lots of promise for the future, lots of bugs right now.

If you're trying to get more information about offerings and tech issues from RCN, talk to the manager of your building and find out if you have a sales rep. assigned to your building. RCN has several reps. in the city that strictly deal with Manhattan condos/co-ops. They are more in touch with your building, know of any locals deals or issues, and will spend time with you. The customer service reps. at 800-RING-RCN are not local, work off a script, know nothing about local deals, and are generally only good as a last resort if you have an issue overnight.

As an aside - the TWC forum is discussing the picture quality of RCN-HD vs. TWC-HD. All tests show that RCN is pumping out a cleaner picture with more lines of resolution.
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post #22 of 592 Old 11-21-2004, 12:09 AM
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just a little bump here.

BTW thanks for the excellent info ghostman!! if RCN is ever available in my neighborhood....(sigh).

Agwagon how went the install-any luck getting HD locals w/o a cable box? and what model Sony do you have? hows the PQ? hope its workinng fine.

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post #23 of 592 Old 11-21-2004, 12:50 PM
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Here's the update. Ghostman, you are partially right in that the TV's (34XBR960) autotuner doesn't pick up anything over 130. But it does pick up about 20 channels between 120 and 130, including all the basic network HD channels. For example, ABC-HD is 120.1, PBS-HD is 120.2, NBC-HD is 121.2, FOX-HD is 121.3 and CBS-HD is 122.1. I am currently enjoying the NFL in high-def.

In addition, I pick up about a dozen to 15 other channels in this region that are not in HD but include a lot of movie channels. The problem is I can't figure out what they are because by getting the feed without a converter I don't get the channel or programming info. One or two seem to be various HBOs, b/c I've flipped past shows like Family Bonds and Sex in the City. On the other hand I've also seen some porn. Another wrinkle is that some of the channels that were first detected with the autoscan show "no signal" at other times. I almost think that I pick up other people's pay-per-view orders sometimes. This theory was somewhat validated when I was watching a movie that all of the sudden started to rewind.

So the good news is that I get network HD without the box. The other news is that I get a bunch of other stuff that I need to figure out. I should mention if I didn't already that I am a digital subscriber with the HBO package. HD PQ is fantastic, SD PQ is okay, as others have reported on this set.
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post #24 of 592 Old 11-21-2004, 02:48 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by AgWagon
Here's the update. Ghostman, you are partially right in that the TV's (34XBR960) autotuner doesn't pick up anything over 130. But it does pick up about 20 channels between 120 and 130, including all the basic network HD channels. For example, ABC-HD is 120.1, PBS-HD is 120.2, NBC-HD is 121.2, FOX-HD is 121.3 and CBS-HD is 122.1. I am currently enjoying the NFL in high-def.

In addition, I pick up about a dozen to 15 other channels in this region that are not in HD but include a lot of movie channels. The problem is I can't figure out what they are because by getting the feed without a converter I don't get the channel or programming info. One or two seem to be various HBOs, b/c I've flipped past shows like Family Bonds and Sex in the City. On the other hand I've also seen some porn. Another wrinkle is that some of the channels that were first detected with the autoscan show "no signal" at other times. I almost think that I pick up other people's pay-per-view orders sometimes. This theory was somewhat validated when I was watching a movie that all of the sudden started to rewind.

So the good news is that I get network HD without the box. The other news is that I get a bunch of other stuff that I need to figure out. I should mention if I didn't already that I am a digital subscriber with the HBO package. HD PQ is fantastic, SD PQ is okay, as others have reported on this set.

Interesting news. Let us know if any of those extra channels turn out to the secondary signals from the locals. RCN only passes a limited list of those along.

4.2 - NBC's new weather channel - not available on RCN
5.2 - WWOR - UPN - not available on RCN
7.2 - ABCNewsNow - available on RCN channel 250
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post #25 of 592 Old 11-21-2004, 03:08 PM
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I think everyone who has seen it will say that RCN's picture quality is excellent. But RCN seems to be falling behind in the content battle.

Local Digital/HD Stations not on RCN

4.2 - NBC Weather Channel
5.2 - WWOR - UPN
11 - WPIX
13 - ThirteenWorld, ThirteenKids OnDemand, Thirteen OnDemand
21 - Create

Cable HD Stations not on RCN

BravoHD (soon to be rename under the Universal moniker)
TNT HD
Fox Sports NY HD
MSG HD
InDemand
Encore HD
The Movie Channel HD
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post #26 of 592 Old 11-22-2004, 07:34 AM
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ABCNewsNow is one of the channels I am able to tune.

My next step is to have an RCN tech come out with an HD box. I never meant to give the impression that I wanted to avoid this. After all, it won't cost me any extra. I'm glad to hear that the Motorola they provide has all output connections working -- I don't think I've ever heard of another cable provider leaving the firewire output active.

As for falling behind in content, I guess I'll cut them a little slack for the bankruptcy and all. What has anybody heard on the CableCard front? Last I checked (in September -- and yes, it was with an RCN sales manager stationed in the lobby of my building for a couple of days) no one had a clue. I even needed to educate the guy about what it was and how it worked.

RCN Guy: "So the card goes in the box?"
Me: "No. The card goes in the TV."
RCN Guy: "Oh. To let the TV talk to the box, right?"
Me: "No. There wouldn't be a box anymore. The card is the box."
RCN Guy: "But you need a box."
Etc., etc.

On the other hand, I've heard mixed reviews on the CableCards from people in other areas. One problem seems to be the unbearably slow response time when changing channels.
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post #27 of 592 Old 11-23-2004, 10:33 AM
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to be fair to RCN:

WPIX-HD; WWOR-DT(WNYW-DT subch.); TMC & ENCORE-HD; Bravo-HD-no cable system in NYC(that i'm aware of) carries these chs. WWOR-DT PQ is pretty bad BTW.

Fox Sports NY & MSG-HD-exclusive to Cablevision & IMO likely to remain that way for now.



AgWagon that was an amusing story about dealing with the RCN rep. he's far from alone in not knowing about CableCard. the big drawback with CC is its one-way-no on demand,no ordering PPV with your remote. i've heard there have problems just adding new chs. to the card as well. keep enjoying the HD!!

jim

"increasing vision is increasingly
expensive"- R. A. Janek
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post #28 of 592 Old 01-18-2005, 11:03 AM
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RCN has made a few changes to their standard definition offerings.

Deleted:
CNNfn
iTV

Added:
16 - RNN
116 - NTV (Russian)

Moved
38 - Fit TV
42 - TV Guide

Changed
Discovery Wings is now The Military Channel

Nothing new on the HD front yet. But RCN has a large block of channels in the 600 range that they sometime use to test (currently HBO-HD is on 600 along with its publicized channels).

One major surprise was the complete drop of iTV - it was a horrible channel IMHO, but it was owned by RCN. Seems like they would have reprogrammed it first.
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post #29 of 592 Old 01-20-2005, 06:01 PM
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RCN's offerings are very limited and quite pathetic for the country's most demanding videophiles. TWC just added several free on demand channels


Quote:


Originally posted by ghostman
RCN has made a few changes to their standard definition offerings.

Deleted:
CNNfn
iTV

Added:
16 - RNN
116 - NTV (Russian)

Moved
38 - Fit TV
42 - TV Guide

Changed
Discovery Wings is now The Military Channel

Nothing new on the HD front yet. But RCN has a large block of channels in the 600 range that they sometime use to test (currently HBO-HD is on 600 along with its publicized channels).

One major surprise was the complete drop of iTV - it was a horrible channel IMHO, but it was owned by RCN. Seems like they would have reprogrammed it first.

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post #30 of 592 Old 02-02-2005, 03:22 PM
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That's great, but RCN is cheaper than TWC and some of us don't really have a choice.
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