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post #3331 of 3356 Old 10-07-2014, 03:23 PM
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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.

Apparently only 1 channel (Encore) I was not getting. i tried an auto refresh by calling in but that did nothing. I got a so called service person on the phone whose cable card and English language skills ran a dead heat at just about zero. He talked about my box when I have none (CC tuner) and about how a refresh could damage equipment and such drivel. He even asked what service I had so he could not even read his screen of my set up. He then put me on hold to get to the tech people, came on after 10 minutes and said they were not answering, would I try them myself in the AM (this was 11:30 last night). I did so today and they claim they sent a card refresh which takes 45 minutes or so. I will have a look tonight when I get home, but it was a lousy experience. The Europeans are paying about half of what we do because cable is regulated like a utility (which it is). Here it is neither competitive nor regulated for most of us and were pay big $ for crappy product.
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post #3332 of 3356 Old 10-07-2014, 04:55 PM
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Apparently only 1 channel (Encore) I was not getting. i tried an auto refresh by calling in but that did nothing. I got a so called service person on the phone whose cable card and English language skills ran a dead heat at just about zero. He talked about my box when I have none (CC tuner) and about how a refresh could damage equipment and such drivel. He even asked what service I had so he could not even read his screen of my set up. He then put me on hold to get to the tech people, came on after 10 minutes and said they were not answering, would I try them myself in the AM (this was 11:30 last night). I did so today and they claim they sent a card refresh which takes 45 minutes or so. I will have a look tonight when I get home, but it was a lousy experience. The Europeans are paying about half of what we do because cable is regulated like a utility (which it is). Here it is neither competitive nor regulated for most of us and were pay big $ for crappy product.
Did you call the CableCard line? That always works for me when I have a CableCard issue... Our cable is so expensive because of the programming contracts. That's why everything, including satellite is expensive.
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post #3333 of 3356 Old 10-08-2014, 07:53 AM
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Did you call the CableCard line? That always works for me when I have a CableCard issue... Our cable is so expensive because of the programming contracts. That's why everything, including satellite is expensive.
Yes, the CC line. Both times ineffectual, including the refresh attempt of yesterday am did nothing. This happened once before. The mapping at the head end is probably screwed up. Today I will be calling the tech line number, provided by the CC line number person who failed with the refresh. These are clearly encrypted premium channels (Starz and Encore are both not working, maybe 1-2 others.)
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post #3334 of 3356 Old 10-08-2014, 10:09 AM
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Yes, the CC line. Both times ineffectual, including the refresh attempt of yesterday am did nothing. This happened once before. The mapping at the head end is probably screwed up. Today I will be calling the tech line number, provided by the CC line number person who failed with the refresh. These are clearly encrypted premium channels (Starz and Encore are both not working, maybe 1-2 others.)
And now the tech person (so called, but not sounding very techy) is sending a HARD hit to me, so we will see about that. If that fails they want to send someone out so I will have to skip some work for that probably. He will then see they are screwed up at the head end most likely. The cable industry brought the card concept down on us and still a decade later cannot manage it right.
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post #3335 of 3356 Old 10-08-2014, 06:00 PM
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And now the tech person (so called, but not sounding very techy) is sending a HARD hit to me, so we will see about that. If that fails they want to send someone out so I will have to skip some work for that probably. He will then see they are screwed up at the head end most likely. The cable industry brought the card concept down on us and still a decade later cannot manage it right.
Interesting. Weird that they have a headend issue that's messing with the consumer cable cards, but no their own. I can't help in terms of comparing to my experience, as I have "only" XF Preferred, HBO, and sometimes sports (for my roommates who watch RedZone during eggball season).
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post #3336 of 3356 Old 10-09-2014, 07:50 AM
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Interesting. Weird that they have a headend issue that's messing with the consumer cable cards, but no their own. I can't help in terms of comparing to my experience, as I have "only" XF Preferred, HBO, and sometimes sports (for my roommates who watch RedZone during eggball season).
Well, my fourth phone call shed some light on the matter. In August I reported to Comcast that my cable card device had been removed from service and replaced with a new one, hence a new host ID number which I reported. I was assured in a day or so they would make the change. Last night I find they did not do so!!!!! So today I called the area office in MA and a lady is going to work on the matter. Incorrect host ID results in no card validation and no reception of premium channels. We will see if this 5th phone call fixes. VERY disappointing is that each person on these calls asked fro my host ID, had to see that it did not match what was on the account and then proceeded to send out varying kinds of hits. These people must have been trained to believe you can run through a brick wall is you just get a good running start!
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post #3337 of 3356 Old 10-09-2014, 03:15 PM
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Wow, that sounds like a nightmare!
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post #3338 of 3356 Old 10-10-2014, 07:30 AM
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Wow, that sounds like a nightmare!
Sure has not been fun but last night it got fixed. The regional office of Comcast out of Plymouth, MA really jumped in and made an excellent impression. First, they corrected the pairing issue and when I got home I saw no more error message, but still was not getting my premiums. A very involved second level fellow jumped in and worked with the head end to understand why. At 8:30 it was determined I needed a truck roll to see why no IP address was loading. At 9:30 I read my mail from Ceton (Cable Tuner Maker) responding to the diagnostic file I had sent them. Turns out that since I had to reload The Windows7 OS last month, the entire digital cable setup had not been fully enabled so had to re-run the Digital Cable Advisor in the Windows Media Center. That did the trick. What is wierd is that I was getting all channels except 2 premiums just fine, which tricks one into thinking the issue cannot be in your own equipment. Anyway Comcast offered a nice credit for the fact they did not do the pairing 6 weeks ago and I just canceled the truck roll so there is now peace in the valley again. Now if we can just get ourselves up to 750-850 land for some more HD.
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post #3339 of 3356 Old 10-10-2014, 02:49 PM
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Sure has not been fun but last night it got fixed. The regional office of Comcast out of Plymouth, MA really jumped in and made an excellent impression. First, they corrected the pairing issue and when I got home I saw no more error message, but still was not getting my premiums. A very involved second level fellow jumped in and worked with the head end to understand why. At 8:30 it was determined I needed a truck roll to see why no IP address was loading. At 9:30 I read my mail from Ceton (Cable Tuner Maker) responding to the diagnostic file I had sent them. Turns out that since I had to reload The Windows7 OS last month, the entire digital cable setup had not been fully enabled so had to re-run the Digital Cable Advisor in the Windows Media Center. That did the trick. What is wierd is that I was getting all channels except 2 premiums just fine, which tricks one into thinking the issue cannot be in your own equipment. Anyway Comcast offered a nice credit for the fact they did not do the pairing 6 weeks ago and I just canceled the truck roll so there is now peace in the valley again. Now if we can just get ourselves up to 750-850 land for some more HD.
That's good. Yeah, they really need to finish the 860mhz rebuilds, and do H.264, and then they would be in great shape. I had a tech come out one time to look at an internet problem, and his comments were that "it's all electronics", which doesn't bear well for more plant rebuilds. I'm surprised that they aren't in more of a hurry with the U-Verse buildout, maybe Frontier will pick up the pace and force Comcast to be a little bit more proactive with upgrades.
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post #3340 of 3356 Old 11-08-2014, 02:50 PM
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Due to an SNR issue that we're having intermittently, we had a Comcast guy out the other day. He said that Groton is a 625mhz system that Comcast inherited, and apparently it can't reliably deliver signals at 615mhz due to high-frequency roll-off. WHOA. That's even worse than I thought.
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post #3341 of 3356 Old 11-09-2014, 12:30 PM
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We may be in the same boat in Clinton, which Comcast inherited from Storer. I did not know there was anything below 650.....O U C H. Man we need an upgrade. I went into the Clinton office and none of the 3 people there could even tell me what 650/750/850 was, so it isn't important to them I guess.
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post #3342 of 3356 Old 11-09-2014, 06:04 PM
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We may be in the same boat in Clinton, which Comcast inherited from Storer. I did not know there was anything below 650.....O U C H. Man we need an upgrade. I went into the Clinton office and none of the 3 people there could even tell me what 650/750/850 was, so it isn't important to them I guess.
Some plants are 550mhz. UConn is running a 600mhz plant, but it's mostly analog, a little clear QAM, and it's unidirectional, so it's very different from Charter's plant in the area. They get their programming mostly from Charter on a fiber feed, and then generate the analog signals centrally on campus.

Yeah, I think Comcast got Groton from Storer. You would think they would upgrade, it's a bit ridiculous how little capacity they have. 860mhz should be the standard system-wide by now!
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post #3343 of 3356 Old 01-12-2015, 07:20 AM
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Anyone watch both NFL games yesterday? The NFC Game on Fox (Packers) looked very sharp, I could see crowd faces and grass texture clearly (4K set), then I went to the AFC game on CBS (WFSB). For the first quarter we had a small pixilation band dancing across the screen (top 5th or so) and the grass looked like it had been painted on, crowd faces blurry....just awful, really SD like in quality. The pixilation was cured after a while but the overall bad pq remained. Wonder if it is WFSB, their network feed or Comcast's antenna or other equipment.....and to whom I need to complain.

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post #3344 of 3356 Old 01-12-2015, 03:55 PM
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Anyone watch both NFL games yesterday? The NFC Game on Fox (Packers) looked very sharp, I could see crowd faces and grass texture clearly (4K set), then I went to the AFC game on CBS (WFSB). For the first quarter we had a small pixilation band dancing across the screen (top 5th or so) and the grass looked like it had been painted on, crowd faces blurry....just awful, really SD like in quality. The pixilation was cured after a while but the overall bad pq remained. Wonder if it is WFSB, their network feed or Comcast's antenna or other equipment.....and to whom I need to complain.
Comcast. They are heavily compressing WFSB. I rarely watch WTIC, but it looks a lot better. They also heavily compress WEDH and WNET, which sucks, but they don't compress WGBH nearly as much, so that's good for those of us on the WGBH/WEDH side of the state.
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post #3345 of 3356 Old 01-13-2015, 07:35 AM
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Comcast. They are heavily compressing WFSB. I rarely watch WTIC, but it looks a lot better. They also heavily compress WEDH and WNET, which sucks, but they don't compress WGBH nearly as much, so that's good for those of us on the WGBH/WEDH side of the state.
Well I make the bitrate for Sunday's game at 10.5 which is a low I have never seen before. It's surprising there was any picture. If I ask Comcast for a hit, that probably won't help a bit (ouch, bad pun!) right?
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post #3346 of 3356 Old 01-13-2015, 03:58 PM
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Well I make the bitrate for Sunday's game at 10.5 which is a low I have never seen before. It's surprising there was any picture. If I ask Comcast for a hit, that probably won't help a bit (ouch, bad pun!) right?
What is a hit? Their compression is the problem, and they're not going to do anything about it as long as they have a bunch of <650mhz systems out there that are beyond out of capacity. They may be better up in Boston, as I think they have upgraded all their systems, and they have to compete with FIOS. 10.5mbps isn't the worst of it. WEDH can be as low as around 8, which is unbelievable. I don't know how it even renders an "HD" picture at that bitrate.
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post #3347 of 3356 Old 01-14-2015, 07:42 AM
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What is a hit? Their compression is the problem, and they're not going to do anything about it as long as they have a bunch of <650mhz systems out there that are beyond out of capacity. They may be better up in Boston, as I think they have upgraded all their systems, and they have to compete with FIOS. 10.5mbps isn't the worst of it. WEDH can be as low as around 8, which is unbelievable. I don't know how it even renders an "HD" picture at that bitrate.
I'm going to complain to Plymouth anyway....not that it will do much good...
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post #3348 of 3356 Old 01-14-2015, 03:33 PM
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I'm going to complain to Plymouth anyway....not that it will do much good...
Probably not going to help. The only thing that might is the DPUC or local cable franchise advisory groups, but either of those is a total long shot.
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post #3349 of 3356 Old 01-15-2015, 11:18 AM
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Probably not going to help. The only thing that might is the DPUC or local cable franchise advisory groups, but either of those is a total long shot.
I hear ya'. As I recall one node is about 38; when they put two HD stations on one, we get about 19 which yields a nice picture. When they cram in 3, we get about 12 and change and that can bring a pretty mushy picture. An on the 550 and 650 systems, they are very "node-challenged", right?
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I hear ya'. As I recall one node is about 38; when they put two HD stations on one, we get about 19 which yields a nice picture. When they cram in 3, we get about 12 and change and that can bring a pretty mushy picture. An on the 550 and 650 systems, they are very "node-challenged", right?
Yeah mean one channel or one QAM? A node is where the fiber converts to coax for the "last mile" (which could be anywhere from several miles in a rural area to a part of a building in NYC). They are bandwidth challenged, because there are not enough QAMs to fit everything in. However, you need to separate picture quality from channel lineup. Comcast compresses their channels for the whole market or region, so customers in Madison (Branford plant), which is an 860mhz Moto system rebuilt in 2011 have the same poor picture quality on many of the local channels. However, on channels that just don't fit on the 625mhz and 650mhz systems, like ESPNUHD and AJAM, the picture quality is actually quite excellent. Basically, the bandwidth constrained systems are the lowest common denominator, and are pulling the picture quality down for everyone, and the high-bandwidth systems have enough room that the additional channels they get are running at rather high bitrates. A few channels run at high bitrates everywhere, like HBO, ESPN/ESPN2, and RedZone, likely because of contracts with the providers of those channels that prohibit Comcast from compressing them beyond a certain point.

Then they went to a new low recently. They significantly improved their compression in the past 2-3 years, and have gotten the tri-muxed channels to look pretty darn decent at around 12mbps, which is kind of a scary thought. However, that apparently wasn't good enough, so now they have a handful of channels running at 8-10mbps. This is a new and unprecedented low in HD picture quality, and it means that they are either quad-muxing HD channels, or they are running tri-muxed HD channels with a couple of SDs thrown in on the same QAM.

The other challenge they have is that out of the 200 or so HD channels that are out there, and are available on U-Verse, FIOS, and TWC (TWC through the use of SDV), Comcast is only running around 120, even on their high-bandwidth systems, so there is still a lot of relatively specialized channels missing in HD. They do have some bandwidth left on their 860mhz systems, and they might be able to get upwards of 200 HDs on there if they really crammed them, likely with at least the upper tier stuff in H.264. However, if gigabit internet or UHD channels are going to be a reality, the math doesn't work on for current purely linear systems, even at 860mhz, which is about the practical upper limit of the bandwidth of a cable system (Cox runs a number of 1ghz systems, but they are a complete PITA to keep running, and have all sorts of problems with stuff above ~870mhz in the "nosebleed" spectrum). In order to offer a top-tier HD lineup, UHD channels, and gigabit internet, they are going to have to employ some combination of the god-awful SDV, as well as the excellent H.264. My sense is that they could probably keep the core SD lineup and a core lineup of ~70 HD channels fully linear in MPEG-2 and improve their quality a bit, and then have SDV using H.264 for the remaining ~130 HDs and oddball SD channels, along with the existing D3 and D3.1 gigabit internet deployments, although even that is a really, really tight fit on an 860mhz system.
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post #3351 of 3356 Old 01-16-2015, 08:33 AM
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Yeah mean one channel or one QAM? A node is where the fiber converts to coax for the "last mile" (which could be anywhere from several miles in a rural area to a part of a building in NYC). They are bandwidth challenged, because there are not enough QAMs to fit everything in. However, you need to separate picture quality from channel lineup. Comcast compresses their channels for the whole market or region, so customers in Madison (Branford plant), which is an 860mhz Moto system rebuilt in 2011 have the same poor picture quality on many of the local channels. However, on channels that just don't fit on the 625mhz and 650mhz systems, like ESPNUHD and AJAM, the picture quality is actually quite excellent. Basically, the bandwidth constrained systems are the lowest common denominator, and are pulling the picture quality down for everyone, and the high-bandwidth systems have enough room that the additional channels they get are running at rather high bitrates. A few channels run at high bitrates everywhere, like HBO, ESPN/ESPN2, and RedZone, likely because of contracts with the providers of those channels that prohibit Comcast from compressing them beyond a certain point.

Then they went to a new low recently. They significantly improved their compression in the past 2-3 years, and have gotten the tri-muxed channels to look pretty darn decent at around 12mbps, which is kind of a scary thought. However, that apparently wasn't good enough, so now they have a handful of channels running at 8-10mbps. This is a new and unprecedented low in HD picture quality, and it means that they are either quad-muxing HD channels, or they are running tri-muxed HD channels with a couple of SDs thrown in on the same QAM.

The other challenge they have is that out of the 200 or so HD channels that are out there, and are available on U-Verse, FIOS, and TWC (TWC through the use of SDV), Comcast is only running around 120, even on their high-bandwidth systems, so there is still a lot of relatively specialized channels missing in HD. They do have some bandwidth left on their 860mhz systems, and they might be able to get upwards of 200 HDs on there if they really crammed them, likely with at least the upper tier stuff in H.264. However, if gigabit internet or UHD channels are going to be a reality, the math doesn't work on for current purely linear systems, even at 860mhz, which is about the practical upper limit of the bandwidth of a cable system (Cox runs a number of 1ghz systems, but they are a complete PITA to keep running, and have all sorts of problems with stuff above ~870mhz in the "nosebleed" spectrum). In order to offer a top-tier HD lineup, UHD channels, and gigabit internet, they are going to have to employ some combination of the god-awful SDV, as well as the excellent H.264. My sense is that they could probably keep the core SD lineup and a core lineup of ~70 HD channels fully linear in MPEG-2 and improve their quality a bit, and then have SDV using H.264 for the remaining ~130 HDs and oddball SD channels, along with the existing D3 and D3.1 gigabit internet deployments, although even that is a really, really tight fit on an 860mhz system.
Yeah mean one channel or one QAM?

Sorry, not node; I guess I mean QAM, i.e. where they can put 1 (never, ha ha), 2 (if we are lucky), 3 (typical) or 4 (help us all!) channels.
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post #3352 of 3356 Old 01-16-2015, 07:38 PM
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Yeah mean one channel or one QAM?

Sorry, not node; I guess I mean QAM, i.e. where they can put 1 (never, ha ha), 2 (if we are lucky), 3 (typical) or 4 (help us all!) channels.
Yeah, that's a QAM or a channel. 6mhz on a cable system, ATSC-QAM modulation. ATSC-8VSB (OTA) gives 19mbps per 6mhz channel, which, in theory, is one HD channel, but almost all broadcasters cram multiple subchannels in. ATSC-QAM (cable) gives 38mbps per channel, which gives you 2 at the "golden standard" of 19mbps, which is as high as you'll ever see on a consumer-facing system, and as high as MPEG-2 needs to be. The highest I've seen on Comcast are around 16-17mbps, which means there are 2 HDs and an SD or three on one QAM. The 8-10mbps channels are just downright scary. It's awful.
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post #3353 of 3356 Old Yesterday, 12:57 PM
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Yeah, that's a QAM or a channel. 6mhz on a cable system, ATSC-QAM modulation. ATSC-8VSB (OTA) gives 19mbps per 6mhz channel, which, in theory, is one HD channel, but almost all broadcasters cram multiple subchannels in. ATSC-QAM (cable) gives 38mbps per channel, which gives you 2 at the "golden standard" of 19mbps, which is as high as you'll ever see on a consumer-facing system, and as high as MPEG-2 needs to be. The highest I've seen on Comcast are around 16-17mbps, which means there are 2 HDs and an SD or three on one QAM. The 8-10mbps channels are just downright scary. It's awful.
Just for the heck of it I taped both the CBS and FOX NFL games yesterday. As usual CBS looked "mushy" compared to Fox. The bitrates were about 12 for WFSB and nearly 14 for WVIT. Don't know if this explains all the difference, but guess it well could. Amazing WFSB/Comcast can't pump a bit more for such a sports event, but maybe they don't have that ability.
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post #3354 of 3356 Old Yesterday, 05:25 PM
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Just for the heck of it I taped both the CBS and FOX NFL games yesterday. As usual CBS looked "mushy" compared to Fox. The bitrates were about 12 for WFSB and nearly 14 for WVIT. Don't know if this explains all the difference, but guess it well could. Amazing WFSB/Comcast can't pump a bit more for such a sports event, but maybe they don't have that ability.
WTIC you mean? It's a Comcast issue. They get a really good fiber feed from WFSB, and then they compress the snot out of it. A lot of the problem is the low-frequency systems that they refuse to upgrade, and the number of channels that they are trying to cram onto them. They need to upgrade everything to 860mhz. Unfortunately, CT is not a very competitive market. Even in Groton, where we have Thames, they aren't really a credible competitor, and AT&T left, and Frontier is completely incompetent and can't keep their service working reliably. The systems up in MA that compete with FIOS were all rebuilt to 860mhz a decade or so ago, and they will offer gigabit internet, and UHD, and all that. The systems down here that have no space left just can't until someone at Comcast decides that they should actually bother rebuilding them.
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
WTIC you mean? It's a Comcast issue. They get a really good fiber feed from WFSB, and then they compress the snot out of it. A lot of the problem is the low-frequency systems that they refuse to upgrade, and the number of channels that they are trying to cram onto them. They need to upgrade everything to 860mhz. Unfortunately, CT is not a very competitive market. Even in Groton, where we have Thames, they aren't really a credible competitor, and AT&T left, and Frontier is completely incompetent and can't keep their service working reliably. The systems up in MA that compete with FIOS were all rebuilt to 860mhz a decade or so ago, and they will offer gigabit internet, and UHD, and all that. The systems down here that have no space left just can't until someone at Comcast decides that they should actually bother rebuilding them.
Yes, WTIC of course. Now I know why my brother in Acton, MA on FIOS has a much better PQ. Thanks. Looks like w are stuck unless Comcast has a fire or there is an earthquake and their equipment all has to be rebuilt.
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Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post
Yes, WTIC of course. Now I know why my brother in Acton, MA on FIOS has a much better PQ. Thanks. Looks like w are stuck unless Comcast has a fire or there is an earthquake and their equipment all has to be rebuilt.
Until Frontier gets their act together, we are stuck with the various incumbents. FIOS has far more bandwidth, since they have 860mhz, but they don't have to deal with internet, voice, VOD, and security on their QAM system like Comcast does, although even FIOS is out of bandwidth now. It's a much better out of bandwidth though, with over 200 HD's, compared to 120 even on Comcast's 860mhz systems, 400+ SDs, and amazing picture quality. Comcast could pretty much do everything FIOS does, with the exception of internet upload speed with HFC, but they would need H.264 and/or SDV, and at this point, they are going to have to move to SDV if they want to offer a significant number of UHD channels and/or gigabit internet... My guess is FIOS will move to IP, since they have their BPON/GPON system available for IP in addition to the QAM side of things.
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