Fargo, ND - HDTV - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1959 Old 04-14-2004, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Check out http://brian.glaeske.name/ht/Fargo-HDTV/index.html for the latest information on current broadcast status in Fargo/Moorhead.

Note: This thread is also serving the Grand Forks, ND market as well. Please send me a private message for any specific updates you would like to see about the status of GF HD.

---

For all those lurking around the Fargo, ND and Moorhead, MN area who are chomping at the bit for a little bit of HDTV, then I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that we have 3 of 5 stations broadcasting in DTV, the bad news is that only 1 of 3 is broadcasting true HDTV and the other two have no plans in the works for passing the HD signal from their respective networks. Somewhat good news is that the NBC and CBS stations are starting the transition but are still months away.

KFME (PBS), channel 23 is broadcasting PBS's 1080i from 7pm CT to 10pm CT, multi-casting the rest of the time. KVRR (Fox), channel 19 is broadcasting a standard definition signal, but not Fox's widescreen enhanced format. WDAY (ABC), channel 21 is broadcasting a standard definition signal and have no plans to show ABC's 720p broadcasts. It should also be noted that WDAY is not even passing a stereo signal with their broadcasts and instead are sending a mono.

The station managers of both WDAY and KVRR have been actually pretty rude to me regarding my inquiries. WDAY won't reply if they don't like the question and KVRR just doesn't care.

KVLY (NBC), channel 58 and KXJB (CBS), channel 38 are not currently broadcasting even a digital signal. According to the station manager (these stations are in a cost sharing agreement), the signals will be turned on sometime around Thanksgiving of this year and they intend to pass the 1080i signals from both NBC and CBS to us. This is sort of good news, but I wish it was in time for the Olympics and the fall season.

The only FM cable provider, CableONE, is providing a minimal set of HD programming in the form of HBO and Showtime HD with plans to add ESPN-HD and Discovery. However, the cost of these channels is pretty prohibitive in my book. It is nearly cheaper to just get VOOM and keep your CableONE connection.

My only request for those reading this in the FM area... Please call and e-mail the station managers of these stations asking them about HDTV. The only way that they will know what the demand for HDTV is, is if we let them know we exist.

Brian G.
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post #2 of 1959 Old 04-16-2004, 07:40 AM
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Brian,

Thanks for the info. Good to hear that KVLY & KXJB are planning to provide HD signals. I hope once they do, CableONE will pick them up. If they do, it would finally be worth buying an HDTV set.

I am hoping that maybe someday before I die, I will get to her WDAY in stereo. Geez. The whole world went stereo 20 years ago. I guess the Foolum spills over to their TV also. Any word on wether KVRR will go 720p when the FOX netowrk does this fall?

Also, CableONE is planning to launch soon, the DCT-6208 DVR digital box. They have info on it, on their web site. Can't wait to get one.


Dale.
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post #3 of 1959 Old 05-17-2004, 08:11 PM
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Hey Far/Moorhead folks,

I'm up in GFK. Seeing as how the posibility of getting OTA HD anytime soon is small, have any of you had luck getting waivers from the local stations? I'd love to be able to get CBS HD, but you need to live in an O&O market or have a waiver.

J-
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post #4 of 1959 Old 06-06-2004, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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A quick update... KFME (PBS) has settled on the following channels:
- 23-2, normal SD feed
- 23-3, PBS HD feed 24x7
- 23-4, PBS Kids

23-4 is a bandwidth limited channel. On material other than cartoons you can really see some bad artifacting. This was intentional as they are devoting most of the bandwidth to 23-3.

GFJay: I've never heard of anyone getting a waiver and I have been told several times that they do not offer waivers based on technology.

Brian G.
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post #5 of 1959 Old 06-17-2004, 01:40 PM
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Brian, thanks for the updates (and greetings from Horizon).

The state of HDTV availability in the Fargo area is absolutely dreadful. I have been bugging WDAY, KXJB, and KVLY for a long time now, and continue to email them every couple of months. I haven't found much in the way of contact information for KVRR, but haven't tried *that* hard.

CableOne, while at least providing a feeble attempt at some HDTV, is not doing anything interesting yet. It's really up to the local networks, as the 4 major networks are where most of the HD content comes from at this point.

VOOM is an interesting option for us, but they provide no way to get major network programming, and I can't say that most of their proprietary channels interest me much.

I firmly believe that the best hope for HDTV here in the Fargo area is through satellite providers, but even that option will probably not be viable, as it will require congress to allow for the retransmission of distant HDTV networks into areas that do not receive the networks locally. SHVIA is up for renewal and is before congress as I write this. The satellite industry (Dish, DirecTV) is proposing that they be allowed to retransmit distant HDTV networks into areas they do not receive them locally (much the same as they are currently able to do for analog networks). I have written Conrad, Dorgan, and Pomeroy to encourage them to support this language in the bill. See http://www.iwantmyhdtv.com for details and an easy way to contact our representatives in D.C.

In the meantime, the only other option is to "move" to a city with a CBS O&O station, which will allow you to receive a distant network CBS HDTV signal over satellite. It's not a lot, but if you watch much CBS, it's probably worth doing. It allowed me to watch last year's superbowl in HD, probably making me one of a very few homes in Fargo with that ability).

For my part, HDTV is nearly useless without a DVR that can record it. I have become so accustomed to my 2-tuner DirecTiVo that I simply don't watch live TV anymore. Even if I had all the HDTV networks, I'd watch very little HD content because of other obligations during primetime (think 20 month old son).

Granted, DirecTV does have the HD TiVo available (or somewhat available, since supply is still limited), but for $1000, there simply isn't enough HD content availabe locally and through DirecTV to justify the price. If DirecTV gets off their rear's and adds some more HD channels, I'll think about pulling the trigger on the HD DirecTiVo. Hopefully it will come down a couple hundred before then. Now that DirecTV has their 7S satellite in the air and are finally offering locals here in fargo, perhaps they will be able to concentrate on new HD channels.

VOOM is still the wildcard. They will supposedly be offering a DVR this fall (tho I'd bet spring of '05 is a more realistic date). By that time we will probably have more local HDTV content available as well, assuming KXJB and KVLY are able to make good on their promises. VOOM may end up being a good option a few months down the road.

Anyway, I'm with DirecTV now, and I think they are probably the best bet for HDTV here in Fargo at the moment. If congress does what is right for the consumers and allows the retransmission of distant HDTV networks, we'll be set. In the meantime, it's DirecTV with their minimal HD content and their HD TiVo (when I can justify one).

Basically, we don't have many options but to wait for the local stations or for congress, and neither will happen overnight.
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post #6 of 1959 Old 07-05-2004, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quick update on one station in town... KFME the local PBS affiliate. KFME is now broadcasting the PBS HDTV feed 24 hrs/day on subchannel 3.

They have also settled out to broadcast only 3 channels, 13-2 the plains old PBS feed, 13-3 the HDTV subchannel and 13-4 a broadcast of PBS Kids.

It should be noted that PBS Kids is bandwidth limited thus allowing most of the bandwidth to be sent to the HD material.

KFME also broadcast the most recent Soundstage showing of Sheryl Crow in 1080i and 5.1 DD. I was worried that I was not going to be able to hear as well as see.

Brian G.
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post #7 of 1959 Old 07-14-2004, 06:22 AM
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Latest update from KVLY/KXJB:

I received the email response below yesterday. I got the response very shortly after I sent the email, which was nice for a change, and is more than I can say for most of the other local affiliates.

Unfortunately, the news isn't great, and it looks like the date may be slipping further.

Quote:


I'm sorry we won't be offering the Olympics in HD this year.

Our DTV plans currenly place our signal on the air sometime the first quarter of 2005.

Doug Jenson
KVLY/KXJB Engineering

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post #8 of 1959 Old 09-12-2004, 02:23 PM
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Has anyone heard of wether KVRR has any plans go to with the FOX 720p HD signal? Now that FOX is showing all national NFL games in 720p, we really need to get KVRR to get their HD signal up, and then on CableOne. I know the theory is that the F-M area is a little behind, and doesn't want/isn't ready for the technology, but some of us are. We can't get the HD signals from anywhere else because of FCC franchise/market rules, and we're stuck with an affiliate who doesn't want to serve its customers/users. Also, CableOne has added ESPN HD on channel 452, and TMC HD on 453.
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post #9 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 06:36 AM
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Yep, 'twas finally nice to see ESPN added to the Cableone Box in the two weeks I was gone - had forgotten exactly how incredible football can look in HD. Am looking forward to some baseball this week sometime...

Of course the bad news is that the Vikes have exactly ONE game on ESPN this year (October 17 I believe).

Can someone with an OTA tuner (Glaeske?) verify that our glorious FOX affiliate is still broadcasting in 480p (or is that 480i?) on their digital broadcast as opposed to the true HD signal? I'm curious to hear how good the widescreen non-HD broadcast looked yesterday during the Vikes game...
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post #10 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 06:38 AM
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I don't see any reason why Cable One should not be carrying the Fox Sports North channel in HD - that CAN'T be too expensive for them to pick up can it? I know they're broadcasting a few scattered Twins games on that channel in HD now and of course getting the Wolfies in HD this winter would be nice...
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post #11 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 06:57 AM
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It would wonderful, if CableOne would pick up FSN North HD. Having Twins, Wolves, & Wild games in HD!!! I would even pay for an HD tier, if it included that.

Also, I saw that NFL Primetime last evening, is now being shot in HD, from their digital center, and they even showed High Def. highlights of games the FOX/CBS had in HD.
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post #12 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 08:28 AM
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I watched the Vikes on KVRR via OTA last night. It's certainly not HD but it still looked pretty good. The only problem was my signal quality. Although I'm showing 100% strength the picture is often jumpy during fast moving plays. I'm assuming this is a reception problem on my end but I suppose it's possible that KVRR is messed up. I'd be interested to hear if anyone else can comment on the quality of KVRR OTA digital TV.

Also, does anybody have any contact info for KVRR? I think we need to start making ourselves heard!
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post #13 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 09:46 AM
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I watched the Vikings as well via OTA. My HD tuner was a Dish 6000 with an outdoor UHF antenna pointed toward the KVRR office (which has the tower sending their digital signal).
I typically got 80% or better signal strength throughout the game with no dropouts.
The only issue I had with the broadcast were the sound levels being very low for the game, and high during commercials. I was probably adjusting my receiver at least 5 db between the 2.

later,
Gary
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post #14 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 10:23 AM
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Here is contact info for KVRR:

KVRR TV-Fox
PO Box 9115
Fargo, ND 58106
701-277-1515

I sent them a letter by US Mail about 3 weeks ago specifically requesting if they would be passing the network HD signal for Vikings games, but never got a response.

Perhaps if they get enough requests for HD they will get their act in gear. Based on some of the other FOX threads here on AVS Forum, all KVRR has to do is provide a 720p signal (upconverted is fine). Then FOX will provide them with the necessary equipment to pass the network HD feed.

From what I understand, FOX is no longer using 480p widescreen at all -- they only have 480i SD and 720p HD signals. I briefly tuned into the Vikings on KVRR OTA, but watched most of it from DirecTV. I have my antenna in my attic, and I'm getting dropouts on KVRR, and don't receive our local PBS at all. The OTA picture from KVRR was nothing spectacular. It looked OK, but obviously couldn't compare to the Broncos game on ESPN-HD last night (which looked very good).
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post #15 of 1959 Old 09-13-2004, 08:19 PM - Thread Starter
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And while you're at it, give WDAY a call. You can either call them at:

WDAY TV
301 8th ST S
Fargo, ND 58103
701/ 237-6500

Or send Sue Eider an e-mail at: seider@wday.com

For good measure, I also e-mail the station manager Mark Prather at: mprather@wday.com
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post #16 of 1959 Old 09-14-2004, 06:56 AM
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I emailed WDAY a few weeks ago. Here's there response:

Paul:

Thanks for the inquiry! At this time WDAY has not set a timeline for a HD signal. We are still learning, along with the industry, the challenges of working with digital equipment and troubleshooting it. This must be very solid before we proceed further into this new technology.

WDAY appreciates your patience,

Sincerely,

WDAY TV
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post #17 of 1959 Old 09-14-2004, 12:50 PM
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Hmm...

I hope that the pace of change for WDAY to jump to a digital signal will be faster than the pace that they've adopted a stereo analog broadcast....
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post #18 of 1959 Old 09-14-2004, 02:09 PM
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Well, technically, WDAY is broadcasting a digital signal. The problem is that it is just a SD picture. They are broadcasting on their assigned Digital channel (21), but it is not a HD picture. They need to get a HD signal on that channel, and then to pass the ABC network HD feed along. Then, we need it to get picked up by CableOne, and sent off to us. Too bad that all couldn't happen before next monday night ... to only be able to see the Vikes in HD. (drool)
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post #19 of 1959 Old 09-14-2004, 06:18 PM
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I have to chuckle at this statement:
"This must be very solid before we proceed further into this new technology"

HD isn't exactly new anymore. Maybe if they wouldn't have kept blowing it off and filing waivers to avoid moving to digital, this wouldn't be such a technical challenge and they wouldn't be behind and "still learning". I think the "industry" has been doing this for a few years now.

Those of you tuning the WDAY digital signal, how does it look? I have an outdoor directional Radio Shack UHF antenna pointed at the KVRR studios to get their signal. So, the WDAY signal is very weak, probably 50-60%. I still get the picture, but its rather soft/fuzzy and generally sucks. Those of you that get a stronger signal, does the picture look good?
My fox signal is about 80% and looks very good compared to what I could get via analog and was a huge improvement for me. I get a good signal for PBS HD too and that looks great.

I'll probably need to get an omni-directional uhf antenna to get all the local digital feeds, so is anyone using one now and having good success?

Thanks,
Gary
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post #20 of 1959 Old 09-15-2004, 06:17 AM
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Gary - interesting question about the quality of the WDAY digital signal - and an interesting andectode to go along with it. I'm thinking that your noting of a "soft" SD picture on their digital channel fits their norm.

My wife was recently in Orlando and watched a show on a different ABC channel for pretty much the first time ever after growing up in WDAY land and watching their crappy picture her whole life (we don't watch too much TV when we travel - esp. not the drivel that's on ABC). She was amazed at how much better the picture looked. I asked for details thinking that the signal she was watching was just better but she said that wasn't the case - it was actually a much more vibrant picture to her. Now this is after watching WDAY on many different TV's on different OTA antennas and cable systems over the years, so I don't think it was just the TV. Pure and simple, WDAY has always put pure CRAP out on the airways... And mono sound to boot.

So I wouldn't be surprised if they were still sending the same crap through their digital channel as well. Hopefully when (if??) they ever push the HD signal through they won't find a way to screw it up as well...

Sped
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post #21 of 1959 Old 09-15-2004, 06:49 AM
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WDAY's digital SD signal looks terrible. It looks like they've taken a marginal analog picture (like what I would receive OTA at my home) and then encoded it digitally for retransmission. It almost looks like there is static in their digital signal. We all know that with digital television the consumer will not see static in the picture unless it was encoded that way, so they are obviously starting with a poor signal before encoding.

Unfortunately, Monday Night Football in HD here in Fargo likely won't be happening anytime soon.
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post #22 of 1959 Old 09-15-2004, 12:45 PM
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Warp, I'd have to agree with you when you say it looks like there is static in the signal. I see that too, but wrote it off because of poor signal strength. Although, I didn't think poor signal strength would impact a digital picture like that since it's either you have the digital signal or you don't have it and get drop outs.
I get some static on my analog signal from WDAY. It looks worse on the digital signal.
I watched a little bit of MNF this week, but did so on the analog signal because the digital picture was worse. I didn't really get drop outs on the digital, just a really bad picture. It's been like that ever since they started broadcasting their digital signal. I've never seen improvement.

The VHF (and UHF) signal from the locals is tough to get around here. I wish they didn't have their towers out in the boonies, making Fargo (which is probably their largest market) on the fringe of being able to receive their signals. At least KVRR is broadcasting their digital signal from Fargo.
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post #23 of 1959 Old 09-20-2004, 02:07 PM
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From what I am finding on the internet, it sounds like FOX is going to do most, if not all, of the NASCAR on FOX races in 2005, in HD. We really need to get KVRR to pass the FOX network HD feed along, and then on cable. I don't understand what their holdup is? Most broadcast markets are getting most if not all of the local signals in HD. I guess Fargo is just out again. If we all write and send letters, maybe we can make a difference, and get KVRR-HD on the air. I can only dream of seeing NASCAR in 2005, in HD. WOW.
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post #24 of 1959 Old 09-20-2004, 03:10 PM
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Racing in HD does look great!!!. I've seen some F1 racing on HDNet and it looks/sounds phenomenal. I've seen some "Nascar" branded (not the big Nextel series) racing on HDNet and TNTHD as well, and as expected, it looks great. I'll have to pass on that Nascar info too some friends who are fans and have HD equipment. Thanks for posting the info.
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post #25 of 1959 Old 09-23-2004, 11:49 AM
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Hmmm, sounds like I need to get HDNet, to see the NASCAR divisional races and IndyCar races they do in HD. Has anyone heard wether CableOne is close at all, to adding HDNet & HDNet Movies?

Now that I have seen some HD programs, especially ESPN Sunday Night Football, SD channels just aren't the same anymore. I sure hope we see more HD programming added in the near future.
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post #26 of 1959 Old 10-04-2004, 12:16 PM
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MLB playoffs, Twins vs Yankees : Tuesday 7pm on FOX HD. Damn ... no HD signal from KVRR yet.

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post #27 of 1959 Old 10-07-2004, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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KVRR update...

KVRR simply does not have the equipment in place right now to handle the 720p feed from FOX. Fox gave them the switch to take the satellite feed and turn it into something an encoder could handle, but KVRR doesn't have an encoder or transmitter capable of broadcasting HD.

The engineer (Chuck I think) said that they are 2 years away from passing the 720p feed to us. The current digital transmission is basically in place so that KVRR can keep their broadcasting license past
2006.

I myself don't quite understand why a SD digital feed can be done, but not HD. Next call to make, the ever lovely WDAY. Ugg!

Brian G.
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post #28 of 1959 Old 10-07-2004, 05:46 PM
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Thanks for the bad news.
2 years away?? That is just rediculous. I don't understand why KVRR doesn't want to get the HD signal on the air. I guess that would involve them spending some money. And so my HDTV sits with no 2004 NFL, no MLB playoffs, and no 2005 NASCAR on FOX, in HD.
I have sent a message to FOX, asking if they have plans to make these programs available to cable operators, whos FOX affiliate wont be broadcasting in HD. I'm sure they wont/can't, but it's worth asking anyway.
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post #29 of 1959 Old 10-07-2004, 06:36 PM
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Greetings Fargoans....

Many of you probably knew this but I ran across a cool tool at www.antennaweb.org that allows you to put in your address and it will draw you a map showing direction and distance to the towers. I'm guessing this could help tremendously with antenna selection and aiming. Don't know if it's necessary but I use a neighbor I don't likes' address in case they're collecting them and selling to a marketing firm

Cheers!
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post #30 of 1959 Old 10-08-2004, 09:52 AM
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Cable One DVR (6408) Update:

So I got home on Wed night and it looks like my DVR's hard drive went belly up (Luckily the good old standby ReplayTV got the Twins game for me) - all of the recordings were gone and I couldn't pause or rewind watching live TV. Didn't have anything much on there anyway so I ran it in yesterday and got it swapped out for a new one.

I've seen on the boards that Motorola is rolling out the 6412 in a lot of places so I asked if they were getting any newer DVR models in any time soon - she surprised me by saying that she thinks they are - something with two tuners in it (which makes it sound like the 6412). She thought it would have a bigger hard drive as well I asked her to sign me up for a "VIP" list like they had for the 6408's - she didn't think one existed so I told I'd just call them every three days until they come in.

She also said that TNT-HD is the next channel coming down the pipe (BFD).
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