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post #2041 of 4174 Old 08-05-2006, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jacmyoung View Post

While we appreciate the effort above, the information provided by the high level local Comcast rep was known by the AVS members for some time...

Sorry, but while some of this information may have been previously known by some AVS members, it had not been definitively reported using relevant quotes from a knowledgeable Comcast rep. Also, to my knowledge, Comcast's timetable for completing the ADS conversion had not been detailed, just speculated on. Finally, no one had summarized all this information in a single post.

Typically professional reporters would obtain this sort of information from multiple sources, but few (if anyone) here does this, myself included. That said, when viewed in conjunction with previous, less detailed reports that sometimes were not sourced, this newest information serves to validate some of the older information...

Geo
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post #2042 of 4174 Old 08-05-2006, 08:16 AM
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I just wanted to make sure people understand Comcast is not rebulding or upgrading for HD like the rep wanted us to believe, this "new project" is no more than the digital simulcast we all heard before, and adding new HDs will not be dependent on how the simulcast is done, rather when the analogs are ready to be removed in order to vacate the bandwidth for more HDs.

And to remove analogs from thousands of thousands old time cable subs who loath the use of an extra STB, and are used to hooking up their VCRs directly to the cable line, is going to be a more daunting task than they think. I would not hold my breadth for the end of 2007.
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post #2043 of 4174 Old 08-05-2006, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

Sorry, but while some of this information may have been previously known by some AVS members, it had not been definitively reported using relevant quotes from a knowledgeable Comcast rep.

I never used the name of the person who I recieved my information from precisely because I didn't want the information to dry up. He provided good information, and was the person making decisions at the local level for Comcast here in Sacramento. If I had put his name out there, and had many other local folks contacting him, I felt that he was less likely to provide any futher information to me.

That said, since I dropped my primary television sub from Comcast, I have passed the contact information on to a few others. I'm glad to see that the information is still consistent, and I'm glad that I dropped Comcast when I did. The only way to truly get their attention is to drop service and specifically tell them what your reasons are. That's what puts the most pressure on them. My $120+ a month sub is now gone for them, and won't be back until HD channels increase and the value for services is increased as well.
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post #2044 of 4174 Old 08-06-2006, 10:42 AM
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jacmyoung, nightowl & others:

I hear what you are saying and you each have made good points. At least we seem to have a definitive answer to the question of how long Comcast expects the analog-to-digital service transition to take, and Comcast subscribers can make service decisions accordingly. Based on the latest information, our familial experiences as Comcast customers, and other AVS Forum reader reports, my conclusions are these:

Currently, Comcast Cable probably provides the very best HD picture at full resolutions, but offers less than the half the number of HD channels as the market leader, DISH Satellite. DirecTV offers a number of HD channels and is competitive with Comcast Sacramento's offerings, but reduces HD resolutions on some channels to save bandwidth and this may be noticable to the most discriminating viewers. As of today (August 6, 2006), only Comcast offers the two regional sports networks (RSNs) in HD. Comcast Sacramento is transitioning their local network from all-analog to all-digital, but in the metropolitan Sacramento area, we can expect the company to offer fewer HD channels than DISH network, at least through the end of 2007 (many terrestial cable companies are grappling with similar bandwidth capacity problems as they switch to digital technology). Some outlying suburbs, and other regional cities served by Comcast Sacramento may receive more HD channels than areas in Sacramento County.

While the HD quality is unsurpassed, the quality of Comcast digital and analog channels can be inconsistent. For instance, the image quality of some Comcast analog channels can be surprisingly good (such as CNN and FOX News), but other popular analogs, such as the USA Network, FX, and Sci-Fi channels, may be mediocre at times.* Comcast customers share bandwith in neighborhoods, and the picture quality may change from day-to-day or throughout the day. Even the quality of some Comcast digital channels may not meet expectations, as some are degraded by low bandwidth. These criticism's aside, Comcast currently is managing the ADS conversion as quickly as possible, and by being very aggressive in offering reduced interim prices to new and existing customers for both Cable TV and Internet services. We expect at least some ongoing technical issues and bandwidth limitations to affect Comcast service until the analog-to-digital transition is completed and all analog channels are removed from the local system, which could take another two-to-three years.

* Comcast analog channel quality can be affected by how your TV processes and scales analog signals. Consequently, your HDTV may have better internal processing for 4:3 analog signals than the Comcast digital box. If so, turn "off" the 4:3 Override setting using the setup menu on Comcast's Motorola DCT-6200 or DCT-6400 series boxes.

HD Sports fans:
Stick with Comcast until the Satellite services (particularly DISH) begin to offer the two regional sports networks (RSNs) for this area in HD. Rumor is that Comcast Sports Net and Fox Bay Area Sports Net in HD may soon be available on DISH and/or DirecTV, but the status for SureWest is unknown.

Widescreen movie, documentary and home improvement/lifestyle programming fans:
As of August 6, 2006, it is difficult to ignore the 29 HD channels available from DISH Satellite. Several of these channels are the old Voom Network channels, which may not necessarily provide the best programming, but DISH still offers twice as many HD channels as Comcast and probably will remain ahead in HD offerings for the next couple of years. For the most part, DISH offers full HD resolutions. If DISH adds RSN's, many more Comcast Sacramento HD-customers may be tempted to bolt to satellite. Some current customers staying with Comcast rely on DVD rentals to affordably supplement widescreen/enhanced resolution viewing. Four of Comcast's Premium channels are available in HD, but the programming is limited and the rates may be deemed too expensive by some. Comcast's much hyped "On Demand" service largely recycles 4:3 content, and to date, offers little in the way of widescreen and HD programming.

Roseville's SureWest is expanding in the area (laying fiber optic cable in Elk Grove for instance), and is a wild card. Locally, both SureWest and DirecTV offer about the same number of HD channels as Comcast, but to date, no regional sports networks in HD.

Finally, expect these companies to become more competitive as they battle to hang on to existing customers and expand their base during the next year or two. Watch for incentives and special offers. Others may want to comment of the strengths and weaknesses of DISH Network, DirecTV or Surewest, in the context of choosing a service. Rumored new, downloadable content services from companies such as Apple Computer may change the competitive landscape in the near future. Ironically, it is conceivable that this could benefit cable TV, if a complementary download service is offered and if current Comcast subscribers choose to supplement their existing cable service with downloadable, widescreen movie content. However, if Apple's rumored new video content service is focused on iPod playback, the impact would be minimal.

Perhaps we need to set up a sub-forum called Broadband Sacramento, so that we can discuss the differences between all the services, and leave this forum to discuss Comcast only.

Geo
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post #2045 of 4174 Old 08-06-2006, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

Perhaps we need to set up a sub-forum called Broadband Sacramento, so that we can discuss the differences between all the services, and leave this forum to discuss Comcast only.

There's already a Surewest thread, DBS thread, and OTA thread, so all areas should be adequately covered.

Otherwise, you have summed up the Comcast situation well. Just one note, however. Directv downresolutions ALL national HD channels at this time. Local channels in MPEG4 vary by market. Dish offers all of the national HD channels, except NFL-HD and Starz HD, in their full, native resolution. The Voom channels have some great programming, but also repeat a lot. I was frankly suprised by the number of good programs and movies on the suite of channels.

Comcast nationwide is behind Dish in national HD channel additions. For some subs, the missing channels aren't a big deal, and for others they are a glaring omission. I would expect that nationally, Dish and Comcast will be pretty much equal next year, and who knows beyond that.

The state of the Sacramento franchise, however, is a great disappointment, lagging only behind the SaraMilGatos area of the Bay Area in channel offerings.
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post #2046 of 4174 Old 08-06-2006, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nightowl View Post

T Directv downresolutions ALL national HD channels at this time. Local channels in MPEG4 vary by market.

All except the 720p native channels like ESPN, etc..
Quote:
The Voom channels have some great programming, but also repeat a lot. I was frankly suprised by the number of good programs and movies on the suite of channels.

I was surprised as well, Filmfest and World Cinema are great channels for those that like movies. For me, those two channels alone are worth the cost for the whole Voom suite.
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post #2047 of 4174 Old 08-06-2006, 08:17 PM
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I've been watching the Raiders/Eagles game and have been havng problems with picture quality on my 6412... but only with channel 903. I get a lot of digital artifact and occasionally the screen goes blank with a message that channel should be available soon. I ALSO have a CableCARD installed in my TV and the picture quality was excellent. Picture quality is ALWAYS better using my TV's built-in tuner.
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post #2048 of 4174 Old 08-07-2006, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by heyjjjaded View Post

Anybody else having occasional reception problems across the board? Since the heat-wave, our channels all look great about 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time, we get bad break-ups on all HD channels and a "fuzzy" picture on all non-HD channels. The problems seem to occur randomly (early morning, in the heat of mid-day, late at night, etc.) and effect all TVs in our house.

Just got back from vacation, turned on the TV Monday morning, and noticed that this problem is still here. Around 9:30, we got bad "fuzz" on all the non-HD channels and bad break-ups on all HD channels. The problem lasted a couple of minutes and is back to normal now. My next-door neighbor confirmed that this problem has continued to occasionally & randomly pop up. It is frustrating that this has been happening for almost 3 weeks now & Comcast will not admit to me over the phone that they have a problem that needs to be fixed.
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post #2049 of 4174 Old 08-08-2006, 09:41 PM
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Just noticed myself tonight that fox channel 908 on comcast is experiencing lots of drop outs about every 45 seconds or so. Whats odd is before that we were watching some of the A's game on FSN which comcast places over INHD2 when an A's game is on and we didnt notice any dropouts on that channel. Havent noticed dropouts tonight on any other channels yet though athough I know in the past they have been hapening on most expecialy on 910 or KTXTV.
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post #2050 of 4174 Old 08-08-2006, 11:46 PM
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FWIW: ZAP2IT.com recently added TNTHD Channel 926 to the listings for this area. Nothing visible yet.
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post #2051 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edDV View Post

FWIW: ZAP2IT.com recently added TNTHD Channel 926 to the listings for this area. Nothing visible yet.

That site lists that my area has ESPN2HD, which is still false.
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post #2052 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Bananko View Post

That site lists that my area has ESPN2HD, which is still false.

It also shows ESPN2HD on 924 and that is true here in the Grass Valley - Nevada City area since the World Cup. I just wish ESPN2HD had some actual HD on it. After the World Cup that channel has been 95% upsized SD. You can go for days without a single HD broadcast on ESPN2HD. This is a waste of bandwidth. I wish they would replace it at least on weekdays with HD-Net or Universal-HD.

And another thing. Why does ESPN put "HD" in the pillars when in fact they are showing upscaled 4:3 SD. The pillars should read "SD".

We have a recently upgraded 750MHz system up here connected by fiber to Sacramento via Marysville. Picture quality has been excellent since the upgrade.
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post #2053 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edDV View Post

And another thing. Why does ESPN put "HD" in the pillars when in fact they are showing upscaled 4:3 SD. The pillars should read "SD".

Because the name of the channel is ESPN HD whether the program is HD or an upconvert.
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post #2054 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 12:01 PM
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Need some info, we're updating the first post in the SF bay thread and I have a question, is Solano-Vacaville/Fairfield in the Sac area? We have mention of it in the info section but I'm not sure it belongs. The below is what was posted way back when.

Quote:


Note re parts of Solano County: No HD local channels are available in parts of Solano County (Fairfield, Vacaville) despite Comcast having enough bandwidth to add those channels. The reason for this is not currently public known.

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post #2055 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 02:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Need some info, we're updating the first post in the SF bay thread and I have a question, is Solano-Vacaville/Fairfield in the Sac area? We have mention of it in the info section but I'm not sure it belongs.

Outstanding question, keenan. I am in Vacaville and will admit that it is a little confusing.
1. Our local HD channels are all out of Sacramento
2. Unlike Sacramento though, all of our HD channels are in the 700's (the way they are in San Francisco)
3. We get standard network non-HD channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox) from both Sacramento & San Francisco
4. The 800 telephone number on our Comcast brochure puts us through to the bay area
5. Our HD problems (break-ups, audio-drops, failure to switch from INHD2 to FSN HD) almost always coincide with the same problems reported by the Sacramento customers
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post #2056 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by spwace View Post

Because the name of the channel is ESPN HD whether the program is HD or an upconvert.

I have no problem with the "ESPN2HD" bug in the lower right to ID the channel.

When the program is HD, it is 16:9 without the pillars. When in 4:3 SD upconvert, they add the pillars. 95%+ of ESPN2HD is SD so why does it follow that they put "HD" in the pillars when they are only present when the show is SD?

I still think Comcast is wasting bandwidth with this essentially SD channel.

Today, like most days, there is not even one HD program on ESPN2HD.
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post #2057 of 4174 Old 08-09-2006, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heyjjjaded View Post

Outstanding question, keenan. I am in Vacaville and will admit that it is a little confusing.
1. Our local HD channels are all out of Sacramento
2. Unlike Sacramento though, all of our HD channels are in the 700's (the way they are in San Francisco)
3. We get standard network non-HD channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox) from both Sacramento & San Francisco
4. The 800 telephone number on our Comcast brochure puts us through to the bay area
5. Our HD problems (break-ups, audio-drops, failure to switch from INHD2 to FSN HD) almost always coincide with the same problems reported by the Sacramento customers

Well, I guess that makes it as clear as mud.

Having dual SD channels from both SAC and SF must chew up the bandwidth, are they analog, or are you on ADS?

I think what I'll do is put the above info in the post with a link to the Sac thread.
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post #2058 of 4174 Old 08-11-2006, 09:18 AM
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We've had regular audio drop outs in Elk Grove for the last few days, mostly on various HD channels, but I htink I recall a few dropouts on SD channels (My neighbor, also a Comcast sub, had similar problems). Yesterday evening (8/10), the DCT-6412 audio locked up a couple of times. I re-established a signal to my AV Receiver by unplugging the cable box and plugging it back in.

Later, both the Audio AND Video locked up, with a scene frozen on-screen, and I had to disconnect the power to the cable box once again. When the signal came back up, I had no optical audio for the rest of the evening, until this morning.

Today, I got the optical audio partially working again (by powering off using the Comcast remote and going into the setup menu a couple of times). However, the AV Receiver's Advanced Movie (5:1 Dolby) no longer is working properly. When the cable box is set to an analog channel, I get no stereo, only audio that is being downsampled to the center channel.

Also, on analog channels, the video appears to be 480i not 480p, even though I have set the cable box's 4:3 Override to "Off" so that the TV can upconvert the video to 480p.

So do I have a cable box problem or is this a system-wide problem? (Secretly, I am hoping against hope that Comcast is converting some more analog channels to digital this week). Is anyone else in the Elk Grove or other areas experiencing problems?

Geo
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post #2059 of 4174 Old 08-11-2006, 11:21 AM
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I've noticed lots of frame lockups and audio drops on the HD channels this week - so much so that I've gone back to watching the lowend numbers (digital simulcast I believe). I've seen it on all the 9xx channels.

I'm in Folsom.

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post #2060 of 4174 Old 08-13-2006, 11:28 AM
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Yep, we have regular video break-ups and audio-drops now here in Vacaville. Recent history has shown that problems like these take a pretty good while before they're fixed. Step 1 is getting Comcast to admit there is a problem and they won't admit it to me on the phone.
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post #2061 of 4174 Old 08-13-2006, 08:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edDV View Post

It also shows ESPN2HD on 924 and that is true here in the Grass Valley - Nevada City area since the World Cup. I just wish ESPN2HD had some actual HD on it. After the World Cup that channel has been 95% upsized SD. You can go for days without a single HD broadcast on ESPN2HD. This is a waste of bandwidth. I wish they would replace it at least on weekdays with HD-Net or Universal-HD.

I wish I had your "problem".

Where I live, there's literally no channel 924 - literally no ESPN2HD at all.
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post #2062 of 4174 Old 08-13-2006, 09:00 PM
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Couldn't Comcast Sacramento already delete all the analog channels currently placed in the 300 channel range to free up some bandwidth for more HD channels, or must they complete the entire analog-to-digital conversion before deleting anything?
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post #2063 of 4174 Old 08-13-2006, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bananko View Post

Couldn't Comcast Sacramento already delete all the analog channels currently placed in the 300 channel range to free up some bandwidth for more HD channels, or must they complete the entire analog-to-digital conversion before deleting anything?

They would have to deploy converter boxes to all their analog only customers which would be a considerable expense.
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post #2064 of 4174 Old 08-14-2006, 09:06 AM
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Not to mention convice all customers that having a box is a good thing.

When it comes to this - box rental better be cheap. Not having to rent boxes for my other TVs is one of the things making Cable a better alternative to Sat for me.

Who is the more irrational, the man who believes in a God he does not see, or the man who is offended by the God he does not believe in? -Brad Stine
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post #2065 of 4174 Old 08-15-2006, 09:48 AM
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Last night we lost some channels like MTV and others plus audio drops on the HI Def side. Did anyone have this happen to them?
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post #2066 of 4174 Old 08-17-2006, 04:45 PM
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Those break-ups are happening to me right now. Just turned the TV on & I have break-ups every couple of minutes on ESPN HD (Rangers/Tigers game). Called Comcast & got nothing.
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post #2067 of 4174 Old 08-17-2006, 06:24 PM
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SureWest finally has turned on their operation in the older neighborhoods of Elk Grove, and is now soliciting, door-to-door, with offers for Digital TV, Internet, Residential Telephone and Wireless Cellular services. They've been laying new fiber optic cable for several months now. Of course, SureWest has provided these services in the newest Elk Grove subdivisions for some time now. We live in the 95758 zip code, where homes originally were constructed between about 1985 and 1995. It's nestled between Elk Grove Blvd. and Laguna Blvd.

While their network is fiber optic to each home, unfortunately, SureWest only offers 13 HD channels (one less than Comcast). Also, I believe they do not offer the Kings in HD, nor Fox Bay Area Sports Net. They appear to offer TIVO, but offer no information in the flyer handed out on whether it is HD or not. They were emphasizing the number of services offered (4) under one bill, Internet speeds (10Mbps and and down), though underplaying the HDTV service...

Geo
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post #2068 of 4174 Old 08-17-2006, 09:33 PM
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There is a Sacramento-CA-Surewest thread you can post in, and no they don't have HDDVR, their HD hardware is very primitive at this point.
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post #2069 of 4174 Old 08-18-2006, 05:26 PM
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Comcast Stockton just messaged that: "Effective on or after 9/20/06 iNDemand HD channel 920 will no longer be available."

Previously we were told that TNT HD would be coming on channel 926 so I'm hoping the soon to be available channel 920 will carry KMAX HD or UHD.
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post #2070 of 4174 Old 08-19-2006, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

They would have to deploy converter boxes to all their analog only customers which would be a considerable expense.

Then how are the boxless customers receiving the already-converted channels (channels 3-23) now?

After all, those boxless customers currently can't watch channels 303-323 anyways, right? So why still have those 300-range channels taking up bandwidth?
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