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post #691 of 11169 Old 08-15-2005, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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TomCat,

Can you explain what you mean by "DBS must-carry"? I have never heard that term applied to sat, so I canonly imagine what it means.

Cheers, Dave
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post #692 of 11169 Old 08-15-2005, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCat View Post

It is also easy to take a 8VSB OTA channel that tops out at 14.5 Mb/s and squeeze that into a single QAM channel (still at MPEG-2), as QAM is more efficient than 8VSB in the first place, and 8VSB is broadcast with extra overhead and sometimes extra program streams, so channel for channel, a QAM channel will not have any restraints on remodulating an original SINGLE 8VSB channel.

The QAM256 channels Cox is using have 38.8 mbit/s available to them, which means that there is plenty of room to fit 2 original 8VSB channels without recompression. Or, this also allows for 10-12 SD digital channels at the ~3.2 mbit/s Cox compresses their digital channels at.
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Short answer? DBS is currently behind the curve due to bandwidth, but that could change in the next couple of years with possible scenarios of them overtaking cable in that area. But the single advantage DBS used to have over cable (PQ) began to fade with DBS must-carry, and is becoming an even playing field as more services are delivered as digital, with leadership in providing HD at the forefront of that change, and currently tipping to cable.

Cox still has channels 2-75, 95-99, and 113-125 available for possible digital channels. I don't think they'll be running low on bandwidth for many years to come. 113-125 may or may not work well in all areas due to system age or signal fade issues, but the other channels can be converted once they get digital simulcasts working, and especially once we start seeing the $25 STBs that we've been promised all these years. There are cable systems in this country that already require the use of set-top boxes to receive anything. GCI in Anchorage, AK, comes to mind. Once digital-only STBs appear for next to nothing, it would be possible for Cox to give them away, or charge a very low price for renting them. There are a lot of people who don't want to pay an extra $20 or $30 a month for a couple more digital channels, but $5 a month for far-better picture and sound on existing channels would be worth it.
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post #693 of 11169 Old 08-16-2005, 03:09 PM
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I just received my Samsung 5668 TV along with Dish Network. Both look fantastic. I live in Maricopa and need to put an antenna for OTA HD. I've purchased a large antenna from Radio hack, but have not put it up yet. I'm worried about attaching such a heavy pole to stucco. Any suggestions on a smaller but effective antenna? I have no attic.
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post #694 of 11169 Old 08-16-2005, 03:13 PM
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I read on this and other forums that HDTV's should be calibrated by an experienced technician. Does anyone know of a technician in the Phoenix area?
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post #695 of 11169 Old 08-16-2005, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregoryharding View Post

I read on this and other forums that HDTV's should be calibrated by an experienced technician. Does anyone know of a technician in the Phoenix area?

Michael Hamilton is one of the best in the Phoenix area.

Email: mhamilton@therealpicture.tv

Don
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post #696 of 11169 Old 08-16-2005, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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You can do a thread search for "Hamilton" and you will find some past posts referencing the excellent work Mike does. I have never seen a post by someone who was disappointed with Mike's work. Be advised though that he usually is a pretty busy guy and when he does make it, the calibration might take all day and then some, so plan accordingly.

Cheers, Dave
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post #697 of 11169 Old 08-16-2005, 03:39 PM
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^ I'm almost afraid to even inquire what he might charge.
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post #698 of 11169 Old 08-16-2005, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I've seen references from $300-$700 during various discussions, but don't recall specifically what anyone said they actually paid Mike. I believe the wide range is due to the amount of time/work required depending on brand/model HDTV. I've read at least one post saying he spent over 12 hours tweaking. It doesn't cost anything to get a price quote though and then you can decide. I assume all you have to do is email him with your specifics and he'll simply email back a quote.

If you haven't done anything to your HDTV other than take it out of the box and hook it up, you need to at least get one of those Tuneup DVDs (DVE/AVIA) and tweak the brightness, contrast, etc. That alone can make quite a bit of difference and minimize burn-in concerns if you have a CRT-based HDTV.

Cheers, Dave
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post #699 of 11169 Old 08-17-2005, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

TomCat,

Can you explain what you mean by "DBS must-carry"? I have never heard that term applied to sat, so I canonly imagine what it means.

Not sure of the date(1-1-2002?), but DBS that carries any channel LIL in a market must also carry any channel that has a typical rating of 2% of that market. Up until then, DBS was cherry-picking, and carrying only the big 4 in a lot of markets. This was pre-spot beam, and caused them to press a lot of aging equipment into service quickly, and caused significant compression artifacts on all channels for at least 6 months, some of which has still not been alleviated.

There's no place like 127.0.0.1
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post #700 of 11169 Old 08-17-2005, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

The QAM256 channels Cox is using have 38.8 mbit/s available to them, which means that there is plenty of room to fit 2 original 8VSB channels without recompression. Or, this also allows for 10-12 SD digital channels at the ~3.2 mbit/s Cox compresses their digital channels at...

That's true. And quite different than the situation DBS finds itself in, which is that they currently have difficulty fitting a practical number of HD-quality channels into typical transponders without down rezzing. Individual cable channels receivable by digital STBs are each clearly 6 MHz wide. Currently it is not practical to stack more than one service in each channel, but that is changing.

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Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

...Cox still has channels 2-75, 95-99, and 113-125 available for possible digital channels. I don't think they'll be running low on bandwidth for many years to come. 113-125 may or may not work well in all areas due to system age or signal fade issues...

"Signal fade" is not an issue in closed-system coaxial broadband delivery. If the system is engineered and maintained for an original bandwidth, it will maintain that capability over the lifetime of the system.

2-75 are not available without relocating or removing analog channels. 95-99 are in the FM band, and ingress could be preclusive of using them. Channels in the 750-1000 MHz range are indeed possible as long as the system is originally built and maintained for that frequency. Cable typically began building/rebuilding for 1GHz a few years ago, and cable plants last 15-20 years. If a system has been rebuilt recently, it qualifies. If not, it cannot be retrofitted, it needs a complete rebuild. It is not unusual to push up a rebuild schedule just to increase bandwidth.

Bottom line, there are fewer services available than there are channel berths to put them, which will not change soon, meaning that relative bandwidth availability is OK for now, will be for some time. DBS currently has a crunch, which will be alleviated over the next couple of years.

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post #701 of 11169 Old 08-17-2005, 11:43 AM
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Mike Hamilton has agreed to calibrate my 5668 in Sept for $375. I will pick up a calibration CD today. I'm still struggling with the whole OTA issue. I really don't want to install a large outdoor antenna. The 5668 is in a niche. Is there a small antenna I could put behind the 5668 in the niche? My Dish Network 942 tuner skips over OTA channels. Why?
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post #702 of 11169 Old 08-17-2005, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCat View Post

Individual cable channels receivable by digital STBs are each clearly 6 MHz wide. Currently it is not practical to stack more than one service in each channel, but that is changing.

I don't know where you get your infomation, but all of Cox's HD channels are paired with another HD channel in the same 6MHz. KSAZ and KASW are on 76, KNXV and KPHO are on 79, and KPNX and both KAET subchannels are on 81. All the premiums are also paired, though I don't know the channel numbers off the top of my head. This is by no means unique to Cox. Cable providers around the country have at least 2 HD channels per RF channel, and in some cases, 3.
Quote:


"Signal fade" is not an issue in closed-system coaxial broadband delivery. If the system is engineered and maintained for an original bandwidth, it will maintain that capability over the lifetime of the system.

By signal fade, I mean signal attenuation over distance issues for people who are far from the distribution box or have extremely long internal runs in their houses.
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2-75 are not available without relocating or removing analog channels. 95-99 are in the FM band, and ingress could be preclusive of using them. Channels in the 750-1000 MHz range are indeed possible as long as the system is originally built and maintained for that frequency. Cable typically began building/rebuilding for 1GHz a few years ago, and cable plants last 15-20 years. If a system has been rebuilt recently, it qualifies. If not, it cannot be retrofitted, it needs a complete rebuild. It is not unusual to push up a rebuild schedule just to increase bandwidth.

Nearly all (if not all) of Phoenix has been rebuilt since Cox bought the territory from Dimension, TCI, and the other former local providers.
Quote:


Bottom line, there are fewer services available than there are channel berths to put them, which will not change soon, meaning that relative bandwidth availability is OK for now, will be for some time. DBS currently has a crunch, which will be alleviated over the next couple of years.

As the analog channels are converted to digital only (which is already starting to happen: witness the removal of HBO and Showtime from analog on Cox this past February, and the previous removal of the PPVs), there will be more bandwidth available for full-quality HD channels. DBS still faces more problems than cable, and while MPEG4 will help, it's going to be a huge moneypit for D* to replace all the old receivers still in use if they convert all the SD to MPEG4 at some point down the road. Although the only plans that I've seen so far are for HD locals in MPEG4, even the cost of replacing all the current HD receivers is not small.
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post #703 of 11169 Old 08-17-2005, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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TomCat,

Thanks for the clarificaion on must carry. I figured it was something like that and that's pretty similar to cable rules, I guess. I just never heard anyone mention that before, though I don't pay that much attention to sat discussions.

As for the 6Mhz, I believe coyoteaz is correct, all Cox HD channels are paired and this can be verified by looking at the frequency for each channel, each has at least one other channel on the same frequency. It's been awhile since I checked them, but I doubt that has changed.

Cheers, Dave
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post #704 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 10:56 AM
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Anyone jump on the $299 - $100 MIR HD-Tivo this week from DirecTV? I couldn't resist. I am drooling at the thought of being able to watch all the network stuff in HD, while I'll continue recording all the SD recording with my other SD Tivo. That way, I get the best of both worlds.
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post #705 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones17 View Post

Anyone jump on the $299 - $100 MIR HD-Tivo this week from DirecTV? I couldn't resist. I am drooling at the thought of being able to watch all the network stuff in HD, while I'll continue recording all the SD recording with my other SD Tivo. That way, I get the best of both worlds.


I did! I'm extremely excited. I'll be having it installed on the 26th of this month.

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post #706 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones17 View Post

Anyone jump on the $299 - $100 MIR HD-Tivo this week from DirecTV? I couldn't resist. I am drooling at the thought of being able to watch all the network stuff in HD, while I'll continue recording all the SD recording with my other SD Tivo. That way, I get the best of both worlds.

Is that offer still available, I cannot find it. The only one I could find was this one,"Only $549 after $100 mail-in rebate".

TIA,

Rich
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post #707 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 01:57 PM
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I did! I'm extremely excited. I'll be having it installed on the 26th of this month.

Mine is getting done on Tuesday the 23rd. Could've had it tomorrow, but stupid work got in the way.

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Originally Posted by sytyguy View Post

Is that offer still available, I cannot find it. The only one I could find was this one,"Only $549 after $100 mail-in rebate".

TIA,

Rich

There's a huge thread over in hardware. Basically call up customer retention at 1-800-600-8977. Ask for the "shoppers HD-DVR" deal. They should offer you the HDTivo for $299 + shipping + tax, minus $100 MIR. People have also been getting other credits and upgrades (usually $$ off your package, $$ off the HDTV pack, $$ off the Superfan Sunday Ticket Package or cheap or free pay HBO/Showtime). Usually that depends on how long you've been a customer.

I ended up getting $5 off my programming for 6 months, $2/month for both Showtime and HBO for 6 months, and the MIR. That was the best I could do, because they started nixing the really good service credits late on Tuesday night. Overall, I'm more than happy with what I got.

Good luck.
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post #708 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones17 View Post

Mine is getting done on Tuesday the 23rd. Could've had it tomorrow, but stupid work got in the way.

Yeah, they told me they could install it on Friday (8-19-05) but I opted for 8-26-05 b/c of work.

I called a week ago when I was thinking about getting it at 600, now I'm glad that I waited.

I have a question for any of you. Has anyone tried getting OTA reception in the North Scottsdale area? Greenway Parkway between Greenway Rd and Hayden Rd to be exact. I maybe moving to that area in about a month and I'll be using the same indoor antenna that I'm using now.

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post #709 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 03:12 PM
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Hey guys,

Thanks for the heads-up on the Directv Hd-DVR, they are coming out tommorrow morning to install....can't wait. I have the SD Tivo, which is great, but has some limits on capabilities.

Again thanks,

Rich
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post #710 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by AFH View Post

I have a question for any of you. Has anyone tried getting OTA reception in the North Scottsdale area?

I live at Via Linda & Shea, so not too far away. I have a roof mounted antenna and pick up all the locals - my house already had the antenna so I never tried with an indoor. I think if you had a directional antenna pointed towards Tucson, you can get some of their stations as well.
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post #711 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 10:57 PM
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Almost everything I have read in this thread mentions Cox or Direct TV. I was told that Cox doesn't broadcast Dolby or DTS but Dish network does. If this is true, does anyone have surround sound with their reception? I looked at the stats (uneducated novice) and Dish looked better than Cox or Direct TV. What is the consensus on this, is digital satellite better than cable and is Direct TV better than Dish Network? My Samsung 5667 comes in Monday so I am cramming to find out everything I can. I didn't try OTA because of the distance to Buckeye.
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post #712 of 11169 Old 08-18-2005, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ronjon2 View Post

Almost everything I have read in this thread mentions Cox or Direct TV. I was told that Cox doesn't broadcast Dolby or DTS but Dish network does. If this is true, does anyone have surround sound with their reception? I looked at the stats (uneducated novice) and Dish looked better than Cox or Direct TV. What is the consensus on this, is digital satellite better than cable and is Direct TV better than Dish Network? My Samsung 5667 comes in Monday so I am cramming to find out everything I can. I didn't try OTA because of the distance to Buckeye.

Cox passes whatever audio is provided on their digital channels. The premium SD channels and all HD are Dolby Digital 5.1 when available. I've never heard of anything being broadcast with DTS, so I can't speak for that.
Cox has local networks in HD, while E* and D* don't, except for Fox on D*.
Each provider has different channels available, so check the first post in the thread to see who has what. As for which is better overall, there is no concensus because different people value different things. I happen to prefer Cox because they compress the channels less and because their HD can be recorded over firewire.
Cox wins the upfront costs category hands-down, because you rent the equipment and there's no contract, so if you're a bit light on cash after that big purchase, it's something to keep in mind.
OTA reception has been known to reach 90 miles with a good antenna, so don't count yourself out of the running just because you're in Buckeye. A good, high gain, directional antenna like the CM 4228 should be more than enough to pick up the locals OTA if you have a clear shot towards South Mountain.
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post #713 of 11169 Old 08-19-2005, 10:54 AM
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Still not sure about this price thing. Their ad says the only thing you have to buy is the HDTV, everything else is free equipment. You do pay $4.99 for DVR rental and $9.99 if you want the HD package (I don't). Check out http://www.dishnetwork.com/content/g...ha/index.shtml
maybe I'm missing something. I like the idea that I might still be able to get OTA, thanks. What type of recorder would I have to buy then to record HDTV at the broadcast DPI? Any suggestions?
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post #714 of 11169 Old 08-20-2005, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coyoteaz View Post

...Cable providers around the country have at least 2 HD channels per RF channel, and in some cases, 3...

I'm sure you are correct and my information is now out of date. I knew that was coming, just didn't think it was here yet. That only widens the gap between DBS and cable in the realm of available bandwidth. But, it means little, since there is not a surfeit of services to put in those channels. It also does not help them on converting to fully digital, as subs will still need STBs or CableCards to get digital or even analog digitally-stacked channels, meaning they can't turn off analog cable, and probably won't until years after analog OTA goes dark. That bandwidth is in use exclusively for analog and will be for some time.


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...By signal fade, I mean signal attenuation over distance issues for people who are far from the distribution box or have extremely long internal runs in their houses...

Signal fade typically refers to a dynamic performance variable. Cable is designed to not vary dynamically in level (although a bit of that is unavoidable), and so it is unusual to hear it characterized using that term, but OK, I get your point now.

Cable is also designed to give subs approximately the same signal level either close to or far from a bridger or line extender amplifier. Due to the nature of frequency attenutation over copper the high channels are typically tilted forward (higher in frequency than the lower) close to the distribution amp, and reverse-tilted when farther away. IOW, If I live close to the amp and you live at the end of that distribution leg, channels in the mid-range should be approximately the same for both of us. Higher channels will read higher at my house, and lower channels will read lower, while the opposite would happen where you live, but essentially the same level of signals, generally speaking, should ideally be available to all customers. Only if there is an unusually long run after the tap should there be level issues in a properly balanced system, and there are ways to compensate even for that rare situation.

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...Nearly all (if not all) of Phoenix has been rebuilt since Cox bought the territory from Dimension, TCI, and the other former local providers...

True, but much of that was done over 10 years ago, when 650-750 MHz systems were the norm. There may be pockets that still do not give a full GHz of b-width, and they would certainly be targeted first, which is what I was referring to when I spoke of rebuilding plant that was still within its useful lifespan, just to increase bandwidth.

The primary rebuilding was not a copper for copper swapout, but a change from long copper cascades to fiber/copper hybrids, where fiber (which does not have the afforementioned tilt issues and has much less loss) is used to transport the signal to nodes where 2 or 3 cascaded conventional amps then deliver the signal by copper, in a sort of cellular pattern. Bandwidth on fiber is plenty wide, and that took care of the bulk of increasing bandwidth system-wide.

Also, there is likely fiber directly into our homes. The telephone drops installed for over 20 years now have included a glass fiber (unused) and the RG-6 drops used by some cable companies have dark fiber in them also, just waiting for the day when all cable is delivered by fiber and the STB's can handle it. If it ever becomes practical to deliver cable entirely by fiber, they will enjoy huge bandwidth as well as freedom from ingress inteference and egress issues, and will also enjoy severely-reduced maintenance costs. Their future is pretty bright.

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post #715 of 11169 Old 08-20-2005, 06:43 PM
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...I like the idea that I might still be able to get OTA, thanks. What type of recorder would I have to buy then to record HDTV at the broadcast DPI? Any suggestions?

For some time now, the premiere PVR for HD has been the Hughes HR10-250 Tivo. It is marketed as a DirecTV PVR (DirecTivo) that also records OTA, but in many circles is considered primarily a standalone OTA HD PVR that also just happens to be able to record DirecTV signals. The only thing about using it strictly as a dual-tuner OTA recorder is that you must pay the monthly $4.99 DVR charge to DirecTV to be able to use the PVR functions and do EPG recordings or Season Pass or Wish List recordings. If you already have DirecTV, that's a pretty simple add-on. If you don't, it's almost worth getting the basic DirecTV package just so that it becomes easy to own and use a HR10, even if you only want it primarily for OTA (95% of what I record on mine is OTA).

Having owned some 9 different PVRs since 1999, IMO there is nothing even close to it in user-friendliness, features, and reliability. It sold for $1000 just a few months ago, but has recently become available (though DirecTV) for $199! (including the $100 rebate). Many folks are also getting significant free programming and other perks when buying it even at the $199 price point.

It's a 30-hour recorder, but can be upgraded to up to 100 hours from Weaknees and other vendors. I paid $849 for one in February (and upgraded it to 83 hours), and just added a second one at $199 the other day. It is the most-impressive piece of home entertainment gear I have ever seen, and unfortunately there is currently nothing that can even begin to compare to it on the market. You can browse the Tivo Community or go to Weaknees, 9th Tee, or PTVupgrade to get an idea what the HR10 is all about.

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post #716 of 11169 Old 08-22-2005, 06:45 PM
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What the heck is the deal with 15.1? Everytime I try to watch it, the volume is about half of what the other channels are. Sort of annoying to have to adjust everytime I flip there.
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post #717 of 11169 Old 08-22-2005, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Get used to it because it hasn't changed any for a long time now and probably won't in the near term.

Cheers, Dave
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post #718 of 11169 Old 08-23-2005, 12:06 AM
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CBS and ABC not coming through in HD and I live 2.7 miles from the towers on top of South Mountain.

I'm scratching my head. The Direct TV installer came out today and installed my dish and a antenna attached to the dish. NBC and Fox come in, but ABC breaks up and CBS doesn't come in at all. The thing I can't figure out is all 4 major networks broadcast from South Mountain and I'm close enough that I thought the channels would come in perfectly.

Is there anything I can do to improve reception or are there any antennas that are recommended?
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post #719 of 11169 Old 08-23-2005, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleDAZ View Post

Get used to it because it hasn't changed any for a long time now and probably won't in the near term.

Which I noticed last season, but it certainly wasn't this bad. I can remember during Lost having to up the volume sometimes, but during the football game last night, I really had to crank the sound.
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post #720 of 11169 Old 08-23-2005, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapercy View Post

CBS and ABC not coming through in HD and I live 2.7 miles from the towers on top of South Mountain.

I'm scratching my head. The Direct TV installer came out today and installed my dish and a antenna attached to the dish. NBC and Fox come in, but ABC breaks up and CBS doesn't come in at all. The thing I can't figure out is all 4 major networks broadcast from South Mountain and I'm close enough that I thought the channels would come in perfectly.

Is there anything I can do to improve reception or are there any antennas that are recommended?


The antenna you're using may not be that effective. I live about 15 miles from South Mountain and I get all of the local hd stations with a antenna that sits on top of my tv. A settop antenna allows you more flexibility in terms of moving the antenna around to get the best possible reception. With the antenna being attached to your dish, you don't have much flexibility when it comes to dealing with reception issues.

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