Originally Posted by Tubaruba
Had a technician out to replace a faulty power supply this week. He indicated the new whole-house DVR will be out in December. Existing customers will have to make a request to switch to the new unit as they will not actively replace all existing units. He did not know if the hard drive would be bigger but could only assume so. Hopefully there are no delays and this comes to fruition.
On another note, since my cable was out over the weekend, I watched the Niner game at a neighbor's house. They recently switched to U-verse. I must say Surewest HD quality is like night and day compared to U-verse. Static pictures looked fine in HD, but any fast moving action (i.e. plays), I could detect noise throughout the picture. Also, there were several picture/audio freezes throughout the game (a known problem with U-verse from what I've read).
With an updated and hopefully better quality DVR on the horizon, my last request/want/need from Surewest is to add the NFL Network to the current channel line-up.
Part of the issue with U-Verse and its quality is due to less bandwidth and higher compression ratios. Most of the U-verse customers receive their signal via a DSL connection... much as the new television customers Surewest is expecting to receive. The problem is the overall bandwidth is barely adequate for even a highly compressed signal. This creates a two-headed monster of a problem. Less overall bandwidth reduces compensation for bandwidth fluctuations. Due to other devices on the network, the flow of data is not a constant... there are ripples. I have no idea what the size of the ripples are, but lets say it could be 5 Mbps. I've heard AT&T has been able to boost DSL speeds up to 25 Mbps theoretically... a 5 Mbps ripple on 25 Mbps would be 20% less bandwidth. On our fiber, we have 100 Mbps, so a 5 Mbps ripple would only be 5% less... no big deal. Keep in mind
, these numbers are entirely fictional
, but used to make a point. The other head of the monster is compression. Compression reduces quality. It is no secret that it reduces quality, but the art of compression is to find the "sweet spot" of how much loss in quality will not be noticed. I recall a press release
a while ago where SureWest was purchasing new equipment to qualify their compression. This may work well in-house, where there is very little interference and congestion, but if you have dropped packets, you start to lose more quality. Especially when you are dealing with fluctuations in bandwidth, it is possible to drop packets, further reducing the quality of the picture. Under slow moving video, you may not see huge differences in picture quality, but when you have fast action, such as a live sporting event, you notice a lot of compression artifact. When I switched from Comcast to SureWest, compression artifact disappeared, because SureWest uses much less compression.
I'm afraid that SureWest's copper customers will receive a very similar experience as AT&T's U-verse customers when it comes to quality issues. I'm hoping, due to a much wider bandwidth, fiber customers will receive the same quality we currently have with this change in middleware/hardware.