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post #3301 of 3356 Old 04-28-2014, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

That makes sense. Tonight NBC News looked quite good, the peacock was not all fuzzy etc, so it seems to me this is a situation that varies up and down quality-wise, but as noted way short at its best, of what folks in Tampa, Chicago etc. are seeing.

It depends on their provider too, or are you talking about Comcast subs in those areas?
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post #3302 of 3356 Old 04-29-2014, 09:00 AM
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It depends on their provider too, or are you talking about Comcast subs in those areas?

I always ask if it is Comcast since I am trying to compare apples to apples and i am stuck with them for my town.
I did talk to a Comcast line guy I saw coincidently in Madison this morning. He said I should call the tech in anyway and if they can't improve the line person could come. He seemed to think an 11 bitrate was not right.

But here is my question. Other than compression that is done by some human at the controls, can anything else cause a low bit rate on some stations? Malfunctioning amp, line ingress, weak signal (no, right?) or someting else? Second, does the tech that comes to the house first have a device that reads bit rates or only db of signal? How about the line tech?
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post #3303 of 3356 Old 04-29-2014, 03:34 PM
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I always ask if it is Comcast since I am trying to compare apples to apples and i am stuck with them for my town.
I did talk to a Comcast line guy I saw coincidently in Madison this morning. He said I should call the tech in anyway and if they can't improve the line person could come. He seemed to think an 11 bitrate was not right.

But here is my question. Other than compression that is done by some human at the controls, can anything else cause a low bit rate on some stations? Malfunctioning amp, line ingress, weak signal (no, right?) or someting else? Second, does the tech that comes to the house first have a device that reads bit rates or only db of signal? How about the line tech?

As I have said before, the bitrate is determined by the encoding way far up the stream. It's not right, but it's a decision made by Comcast on a market or national basis, and it has nothing to do with Clinton's system or Branford's (Madison's) system, or your installation.

The encoders are set up by humans, the number of channels for a given amount of bandwidth is set up by humans, and they *might* have some sort of "bias" to give one channel a percentage advantage over the others sharing a QAM, but that's my speculation. Beyond setting something like a bias, or tweaking parameters, once they're going they just keep doing whatever they were programmed to.

If your local system is functioning properly, you will get the signal. If it is not, you will not get the signal. It is completely impossible for your local system to affect the compression on a signal unless it was re-compressing it, which, other than local access, they are not. This is digital. You can't lose part of the signal and somehow still have it display.

No tech would read a bitrate of a signal. It's irrelevant. The network engineers that compress the signal for the market or nationally would be watching bitrates, but they would be monitoring them at the point of compression (or remotely from that location) and that has exactly diddly squat to do with your local system. In fact, that bitrate is the same even after it's traveled through MoCA or ethernet, like with a TiVo whole-home DVR system with TiVo Minis, or through Media Center with XBOXes or other extenders.

The over-compression is a market and national policy of how Comcast manages their systems. It has nothing to do with Clinton, CT, and nothing to do with Groton, CT. The only differences you will see are on the Branford system, some of the channels that are not on the lower frequency systems like ESPNU HD look amazing, but that's because the 860mhz systems have a ton of room after they have most of the national channels smushed into the equivalent of a 650mhz, so they let the bitrates go way up on some of those channels. But again, that's a national decision, as it would affect any 750mhz or 860mhz system the same way.

EDIT: ESPNU HD, not ESPNU
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post #3304 of 3356 Old 04-30-2014, 08:59 AM
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Another factor to take into consideration when comparing PQ is the video processor. Unless your cable box has a ATSC tuner and that's how you're viewing your OTA channels, you're talking about two different video processors. The common scenario would be a video processor in your cable box for your cable channels and a video processor in your TV to handle your OTA channels. I seem to recall seeing an improvement in PQ just by changing box models at some point. So, while you're viewing the same channel from two different sources, you're also viewing them through two different processors which may be affecting your results (if even just slightly).

Unless things have changed in the past few years, most multi-channel providers take the signal from the broadcast side of the station's encoder. This may be by antenna reception or by a direct fiber connection (or other means), but I haven't heard of any cases where the multi-channel provider has a better source than the OTA viewers by having access to an uncompressed signal.

My posts are my own opinions and suggestions and do not represent those of my employer or other staff members.
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post #3305 of 3356 Old 04-30-2014, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by terryfoster View Post

Another factor to take into consideration when comparing PQ is the video processor. Unless your cable box has a ATSC tuner and that's how you're viewing your OTA channels, you're talking about two different video processors. The common scenario would be a video processor in your cable box for your cable channels and a video processor in your TV to handle your OTA channels. I seem to recall seeing an improvement in PQ just by changing box models at some point. So, while you're viewing the same channel from two different sources, you're also viewing them through two different processors which may be affecting your results (if even just slightly).

Unless things have changed in the past few years, most multi-channel providers take the signal from the broadcast side of the station's encoder. This may be by antenna reception or by a direct fiber connection (or other means), but I haven't heard of any cases where the multi-channel provider has a better source than the OTA viewers by having access to an uncompressed signal.

Interesting, but I have no STB. I use a Ceton InfiniTV 4 Channel Tuner and even though that does a 4 way split I seem to have plenty of signal. Set is a Sony XBR6 which was decent enough in its day at least. I think in my case I think the compression story fits as to whom or where probably not helpful to even learn. It is ridiculous we get crap pioctures so Comcast can squeeze in a bunch of channels nobody wants so they can say they are offering more. Sh-- is always sh-- no matter how much of it you deliver and more is not better
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post #3306 of 3356 Old 04-30-2014, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by terryfoster View Post

Another factor to take into consideration when comparing PQ is the video processor. Unless your cable box has a ATSC tuner and that's how you're viewing your OTA channels, you're talking about two different video processors. The common scenario would be a video processor in your cable box for your cable channels and a video processor in your TV to handle your OTA channels. I seem to recall seeing an improvement in PQ just by changing box models at some point. So, while you're viewing the same channel from two different sources, you're also viewing them through two different processors which may be affecting your results (if even just slightly).

Unless things have changed in the past few years, most multi-channel providers take the signal from the broadcast side of the station's encoder. This may be by antenna reception or by a direct fiber connection (or other means), but I haven't heard of any cases where the multi-channel provider has a better source than the OTA viewers by having access to an uncompressed signal.

Interesting. I thought that they would get a higher bitrate (certainly not uncompressed) signal. Maybe not. That's a good point, I may get better qualtiy than a typical setup with a TiVo Premiere XL4 running through a DVDO EDGE and into my TV. I also have the DVDO EDGE handling de-interlacing, so I'm biased towards 1080i channels over 720p channels.
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Interesting, but I have no STB. I use a Ceton InfiniTV 4 Channel Tuner and even though that does a 4 way split I seem to have plenty of signal. Set is a Sony XBR6 which was decent enough in its day at least. I think in my case I think the compression story fits as to whom or where probably not helpful to even learn. It is ridiculous we get crap pioctures so Comcast can squeeze in a bunch of channels nobody wants so they can say they are offering more. Sh-- is always sh-- no matter how much of it you deliver and more is not better

So? Your PC is your STB, and is doing the decoding and processing. Something has to do it, and in your case it's your PC, so you have that exact same problem. The fairest comparison of all would be an OTA card in the PC vs. CableCard, although even then, are there hardware MPEG decoders involved that could be different from card to card? And you can't use the same card, since there's no more Clear QAM...

And the bad part is, they aren't even offering a good HD lineup these days. Many other providers have way more HD.
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post #3307 of 3356 Old 05-01-2014, 12:39 PM
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Makes sense technically I guess. Also no doubt Comcast's offers especially in 650 Mhz towns like mine is poor HD-wise. In a competitive environment, they would be down the tubes in an instant.
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post #3308 of 3356 Old 05-01-2014, 03:05 PM
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Makes sense technically I guess. Also no doubt Comcast's offers especially in 650 Mhz towns like mine is poor HD-wise. In a competitive environment, they would be down the tubes in an instant.

Or they would have upgraded to 860mhz with MPEG-4 everywhere years ago.
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post #3309 of 3356 Old 05-02-2014, 10:16 AM
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Or they would have upgraded to 860mhz with MPEG-4 everywhere years ago.

That's what the Germans would have done......not sure about our super "cost conscious" companies.
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post #3310 of 3356 Old 05-02-2014, 04:59 PM
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That's what the Germans would have done......not sure about our super "cost conscious" companies.

I think the Germans would be offended by that idea! They would have run fiber to every house to replace coax!
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post #3311 of 3356 Old 05-05-2014, 08:50 AM
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I think the Germans would be offended by that idea! They would have run fiber to every house to replace coax!

Yep, you are right. Nothing half way.

By the way, on Saturday several of my HD channels just went blank, no signal. An auto signal refresh by Comcast brought nothing. Maybe they dumped or moved them. One was 1806 which in my area is AMC HD. The non-HD version is still it is place so they did not dump AMC itself. Some others went also in the same channel area. Maybe they moved them, but I have no cable box so cannot find unless and until the channel line up grabs them and that could be a couple of weeks in Windows Media Center.
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post #3312 of 3356 Old 05-05-2014, 02:52 PM
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Yep, you are right. Nothing half way.

By the way, on Saturday several of my HD channels just went blank, no signal. An auto signal refresh by Comcast brought nothing. Maybe they dumped or moved them. One was 1806 which in my area is AMC HD. The non-HD version is still it is place so they did not dump AMC itself. Some others went also in the same channel area. Maybe they moved them, but I have no cable box so cannot find unless and until the channel line up grabs them and that could be a couple of weeks in Windows Media Center.

That's really weird. I don't think they are moving channels now that they have the 1XXX HD lineup nationwide.
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post #3313 of 3356 Old 05-14-2014, 01:15 PM
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That's really weird. I don't think they are moving channels now that they have the 1XXX HD lineup nationwide.

Well I called in to the techs and the lady (very nice lady in MA I had spoke to a couple years back) said she would look into it. That night I was back in business. I have a feeling they had to replot some folks cable cards and if they don't do it thoroughly you can miss a channel or three.
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post #3314 of 3356 Old 05-14-2014, 02:16 PM
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Well I called in to the techs and the lady (very nice lady in MA I had spoke to a couple years back) said she would look into it. That night I was back in business. I have a feeling they had to replot some folks cable cards and if they don't do it thoroughly you can miss a channel or three.

Could be. Their CableCards are sort of unreliable...
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post #3315 of 3356 Old 05-15-2014, 05:47 AM
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Could be. Their CableCards are sort of unreliable...

Yes, I have heard that though I have been lucky for two years now with mine. Also, I have a sense they are upgrading or tinkering in Clinton and that probably they have to rejigger stuff occasionally....then there is an opportunity for a flub up of course
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post #3316 of 3356 Old 09-29-2014, 07:26 PM
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Does anybody else here have limited basic cable with Comcast in New Britain? All of a sudden, I'm no longer receiving TBS on cable channel 16. I've had absolutely ZERO notice that they would be pulled or moved to a higher tier.
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post #3317 of 3356 Old 09-30-2014, 09:08 AM
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Does anybody else here have limited basic cable with Comcast in New Britain? All of a sudden, I'm no longer receiving TBS on cable channel 16. I've had absolutely ZERO notice that they would be pulled or moved to a higher tier.
not only is TBS not part of limited basic, but its also not part of digital economy! I've had both. if you were getting it it was probably a glitch in the system. i was getting it and others once when i had limited basic. i was using the analog digital adapter. i then asked them if i could have the digital adapters with hdmi. as soon as i switched i lost channels.

on a side note, i also subscribe to internet with them. even though i don't get channels like espn, tbs, fx and others with digital economy, i can watch them on their website. try going to http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/watch-live-tv and see if you can watch any channels. make sure you're logged in to account
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post #3318 of 3356 Old 09-30-2014, 09:10 AM
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anyone currently getting channel 30 NBC via OTA? I decided to scan all my channels sunday night so I could watch the cowboys/saints game. Absolutely nothing from channel 30 came in, even though all the other channels came in clear. I live in WHTFD and used to never have a problem getting 30. Did they shut it down?
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post #3319 of 3356 Old 09-30-2014, 04:15 PM
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Quote:Originally Posted by BiggAW 

Could be. Their CableCards are sort of unreliable...


Yes, I have heard that though I have been lucky for two years now with mine. Also, I have a sense they are upgrading or tinkering in Clinton and that probably they have to rejigger stuff occasionally....then there is an opportunity for a flub up of course
Yeah. Hopefully I don't jinx myself here, but mine flaked out several times in the course of a few months, but it's been stable for the past year or so... I wish we would get upgraded in Groton... we're stuck on a 650mhz system...
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post #3320 of 3356 Old 10-01-2014, 06:11 AM
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Yeah. Hopefully I don't jinx myself here, but mine flaked out several times in the course of a few months, but it's been stable for the past year or so... I wish we would get upgraded in Groton... we're stuck on a 650mhz system...
Yes, same as here in Clinton. 650 is really the Yugo of cablecasting. Difficult to tell what is HD and what is not. We are seeing bitrates in the 12-13 area on the networks.....ridiculous.
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post #3321 of 3356 Old 10-01-2014, 07:23 AM
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Just for fun, I hooked the cable to the TV directly this morning and scanned. The only thing which came up was Comcast's channel looping their available services over-and-over again (Yuk!). There was also one channel with a black screen but with full signal (showing on the meter under the channel number). Since I don't even use Comcast's little converter (always unplugged), I just put it in the closet and took out the coaxial cable from the wall jack. Again, my relative uses the box all the time in her room, so I will keep the cable...for now.
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post #3322 of 3356 Old 10-01-2014, 06:42 PM
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Yes, same as here in Clinton. 650 is really the Yugo of cablecasting. Difficult to tell what is HD and what is not. We are seeing bitrates in the 12-13 area on the networks.....ridiculous.
Bitrates have nothing to do with the system frequency. Those are muxed regionally. The difference is the number of over-compressed channels you get. They need to do system upgrades AND move to H.264 to get more channels at better quality.
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post #3323 of 3356 Old 10-02-2014, 10:51 AM
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Bitrates have nothing to do with the system frequency. Those are muxed regionally. The difference is the number of over-compressed channels you get. They need to do system upgrades AND move to H.264 to get more channels at better quality.
hmmmmm....I thought low hz (650) forced them to use more compression bringing low bitrates and mushy pq. Not so? I know Branford has 750 and it looks to me like their pq is better.
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post #3324 of 3356 Old 10-02-2014, 06:54 PM
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hmmmmm....I thought low hz (650) forced them to use more compression bringing low bitrates and mushy pq. Not so? I know Branford has 750 and it looks to me like their pq is better.
AFAIK, the channels are compressed regionally, and the completed tri-muxes are sent to the various head ends. Branford is an 860mhz system now, although based on back of the napkin calculations looking at QAMs for HDs, it appears they are running it to around 750mhz, with about 100mhz empty, although they may have used that for more DOCSIS QAMs and VOD QAMs... The 650mhz systems are missing about 40 HD's and many SD's compared to Branford or other 860mhz systems. ESPNU HD (only notable if you follow a team like UConn that plays on ESPNU) and Al Jazeera America being the two most notable channels, along with Smithsonian HD and a bunch of others that apparently aren't notable since I don't know what they are.
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post #3325 of 3356 Old 10-03-2014, 07:50 AM
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AFAIK, the channels are compressed regionally, and the completed tri-muxes are sent to the various head ends. Branford is an 860mhz system now, although based on back of the napkin calculations looking at QAMs for HDs, it appears they are running it to around 750mhz, with about 100mhz empty, although they may have used that for more DOCSIS QAMs and VOD QAMs... The 650mhz systems are missing about 40 HD's and many SD's compared to Branford or other 860mhz systems. ESPNU HD (only notable if you follow a team like UConn that plays on ESPNU) and Al Jazeera America being the two most notable channels, along with Smithsonian HD and a bunch of others that apparently aren't notable since I don't know what they are.

.....and it is a dead certqinty I am being billed the very same price for my XFinity triple play as the folks in Branford, despite the fact they are getting a lot more product.
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post #3326 of 3356 Old 10-03-2014, 06:18 PM
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.....and it is a dead certqinty I am being billed the very same price for my XFinity triple play as the folks in Branford, despite the fact they are getting a lot more product.
Same here. At least I have a promotional deal for now, and another cable company to threaten them with...
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post #3327 of 3356 Old 10-06-2014, 08:08 AM
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Same here. At least I have a promotional deal for now, and another cable company to threaten them with...
That's good. I got a choice between Comcast and Comcast. I will say yesterday for the first time I saw NFL games on both Fox and CBS and neither had those smears around the titles and the overall picture did look sharper. Maybe they pulled off some compression just for those sports events.
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post #3328 of 3356 Old 10-06-2014, 01:49 PM
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That's good. I got a choice between Comcast and Comcast. I will say yesterday for the first time I saw NFL games on both Fox and CBS and neither had those smears around the titles and the overall picture did look sharper. Maybe they pulled off some compression just for those sports events.
No U-Verse at your location? Yeah, they have kicked it up a notch, either with tweaking their existing encoders or getting new ones. It seems they are hell bent on getting the absolute maximum out of their bandwidth, but at least they have figured out how to partially engineer their way around the problem. There is no way to ever get back the quality lost from the full 19mbps MPEG-2 (for channels where that's available in the first place, or the equivalent in MPEG-4), but at least now that they are doing more to get rid of artifacts and other problems, it looks a lot better. CBS seems to still be a mess, although maybe it's gotten better too. We'll see when basketball is on CBS. Last year, they were one of the worst.

For some reason, WEDH is horrible, and was running at 9mbps during the Roosevelts documentary. Maybe it got robbed by the stat multiplexer because the Ken Burns documentaries use so much stationary pictures, but still, it looked horrible. After the first one, I switched over to WGBH, and it looked WAY better, excellent in fact, and it was averaging 12mbps, again with the Ken Burns style that may compress better and get robbed of bandwidth by the stat multiplexer in the process. I now watch This Old House off of WGBH as well. Looks like you guys have WNET, like Branford. I haven't checked out how that looks recently compared to the WEDH mess.
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post #3329 of 3356 Old 10-06-2014, 07:56 PM
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When I get a moment I will take some measurements. I watch CH 1013 more than 1024 for my PBS. That is WNET Ch 13 out of NYC and tonight it looked pretty decent, again free of title smear. When I get a moment I will try to look at some bit rates and report. No, we have no U-Verse here in Clinton, at least not on my kind of rural street. Tonight I am missing a bunch of high end channels, so I have to call for a hit I guess. What else is new with Comcast......?
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post #3330 of 3356 Old 10-07-2014, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post
When I get a moment I will take some measurements. I watch CH 1013 more than 1024 for my PBS. That is WNET Ch 13 out of NYC and tonight it looked pretty decent, again free of title smear. When I get a moment I will try to look at some bit rates and report. No, we have no U-Verse here in Clinton, at least not on my kind of rural street. Tonight I am missing a bunch of high end channels, so I have to call for a hit I guess. What else is new with Comcast......?
A hit? Box or CableCard refresh?

U-Verse is very hit or miss. There are some VRADs out in the middle of freaking nowhere in Guilford and Madison, and other, more populated areas that don't have them. There are a number of crossboxes that don't have VRADs that would be very logical spots for them, and other locations that would be great for them, but again don't have them. It looks like some managed got trashed one night and threw darts at a map to determine where the VRADs went.

Although I hate U-Verse and hate Frontier, I hope Frontier finishes the U-Verse buildout, and gets U-Verse to 80%+ of CT residences, just to turn the heat up even more on the cable companies.
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