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post #61 of 973 Old 08-24-2006, 02:14 PM
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I still have an open ticket - I have to go through the 'authorization' sequence almost every day on the HD box - drives my wife nuts. The picture will just freeze or go away, last night the sound went off but the picture was ok. If this continues I may just drop the HD.
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post #62 of 973 Old 08-26-2006, 02:18 PM
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Call them up and have them come out. They are having growing pains with the HD, but that is more than I am having in Carmichael. I rarely go through the authorization sequence. I do get the picture freeze occasionally. More commonly, everything just seems to go in slow motion for about five seconds. When the picture just goes away (once or twice a week now), I usually can resolve it by turning to a standard channel and then back to HD. I guess these are all problems with the IP format that are still being worked out. I see similar problems on the AT&T threads. Until these issues are resolved (plus I need the closed captions fixed as well as have them add a few more channels, specifically FSNBAHD and ESPN2HD), I am keeping Directv as my primary source.
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post #63 of 973 Old 08-27-2006, 06:39 PM
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We have been considering switching from Comcast, because we are unhappy with their lack of HD channels and the marginal quality of their analog AND digital channels (except for the HD, which is excellent). Also, Comcast's standard Internet bandwidth (6Mbps/384kbps) is narrower than SureWest (10Mbps/10Mbps), and Web surfing speeds rise and fall with neighborhood usage. Comcast is just starting their A/D conversion, and so the company probably is a year away from having the bandwidth to add even a limited number of new HD channels in the metro Sacramento area, although some outlying areas have more channels...

However, if SureWest is proving to be unreliable during these first few months, it looks like it may not yet be ready for prime time. Except for the absence of Fox Sports Net Bay Area, they have a decent HD lineup, though it still is inferior to DISH's 25 channels. But SureWest does not have an HD DVR and they try to hide this fact on their Web site and in their brochures. Also, the HD DVR and additional HD channels apparently are over a year away, according to a telephone sales rep. Like Comcast, SureWest's On Demand appears to be SD only, with little or no HD, or even 480p widescreen content, which means it's not all that compelling for widescreen HDTV owners. SureWest's Premium channels (HBO, ShowTime, etc.) are less expensive than Comcast's and by all accounts, the HD picture quality seems to be competitive with Comcast's.

While DISH has more HD content, reports indicate their customer service may be suspect and legal developments just last week make it look like their HD DVR service could be yanked by the courts for ripping off TiVo's patents. To my knowledge, DISH also does not yet carry Comcast Sports Net or Fox Sports Net Bay Area in HD (is this correct?).

With their down-rezzed HD, DirecTV is not in the running in my estimation.

So, all the HDTV services have shortcomings and I'm not sure what we are going to do. We may just wait things out a little longer with Comcast and continue to rent DVDs from Blockbuster for our widescreen content, all the while hoping that Apple steps into the fray by introducing a 480p widescreen movie rental download service.

Geo
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post #64 of 973 Old 08-28-2006, 12:23 AM
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Geo, that pretty much sums up everything. The internet is far superior on Surewest (although it has been about a year and a half since I have had Comcast, so I can't say if they have improved) and I get unlimited California phone service for $35 a month. Unfortunately, on the television side, the weaknesses are glaring. I am hoping that the series 3 Tivo will work with the system that Surewest has. I do have serious doubts that it will. There are no coaxial lines what-so-ever. Its fiber-optics the whole way, which by the way makes for a nice night light from the back of the cable box. I was not aware that future HD channels were so far away.
I agree that waiting for Comcast to finish the analog-digital conversion might be the way to go. I am waiting on either Surewest or Directive to get their act together.
I have seen rumours on other boards that Dish will start doing RSNs within the next few months. While I see some things changing with the Dish DVRs, there is no way that 3 to 4 million DVRs are going to be shut down. If I was just starting to get into HD, I would say that Dish is the way to go.
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post #65 of 973 Old 09-27-2006, 03:49 PM
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Can someone describe the details of their install? I curious if they connect the fiber to the coax cabling in the house, or do they run fiber into the rooms getting service? Basically my question is how is the cabling set up?
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post #66 of 973 Old 09-27-2006, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dchrie View Post

Can someone describe the details of their install? I curious if they connect the fiber to the coax cabling in the house, or do they run fiber into the rooms getting service? Basically my question is how is the cabling set up?

They connected a whole new box to my house to run the FO from the pole to the house. From there they ran a Cat5e line to the STB. No coax was used in the new install. They also installed a battery backup for the internet and phones.
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post #67 of 973 Old 09-27-2006, 09:27 PM
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I called a couple of days ago to see if they can work with the Series 3 Tivo. Still no response. The people I talked to didn't even know what a cable card was. Oh well. Anybody out there know if the Series 3 will work, and how?
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post #68 of 973 Old 09-28-2006, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Dude 1 View Post

I called a couple of days ago to see if they can work with the Series 3 Tivo. Still no response. The people I talked to didn't even know what a cable card was. Oh well. Anybody out there know if the Series 3 will work, and how?

SureWest uses an Amino 120 set top box with component video out for HD. If your Tivo has component video in and the IR dongle to change the channel on the STB it should work. Also the Tivo would need to have the IR remote codes for the Amino 120 STB. SureWest delivers encrypted IP video over CAT5 to the back of the STB. This will not connect to devices that use cable cards and tuners because those devices are built to descramble the cable tv digital signal (QAM) that is sent thru the coax. I hope this helps to explain the SureWest service.

Look at aminocom website for more specs on 120 STB. I can't post the link here.
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post #69 of 973 Old 09-28-2006, 11:42 AM
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When I talked to the rep at Surewest last week, they said a new DVR was "under development". Does that mean that it will record HD? Hopefully. They made no mention of supporting the new Tivo series 3 coming out.

What would be nice is if SW would support a newer STB box with more connection options than what the current amino 120 box offers. You currently only get the HD signal via component from the 120. If the Series 3 box supports geting a progressive signal via component in then it would be good to go.
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post #70 of 973 Old 09-28-2006, 08:22 PM
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Yeh, that DVR under development is about a year out. Long time to wait. mxr662, thanks for answering the cable card question.
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post #71 of 973 Old 10-10-2006, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Dobler View Post

When they hooked me up with their HD service, I wasn't offered an HDMI connection, only a component video. To the best of my knowledge, the AmiNet 120 doesn't offer an HDMI connection. Perhaps the next generation boxes will???

I just got service two weeks ago and got the AmiNET 120. I was very surprised to not get an HDMI connection. They connect the ten-pin "Audio Visual Out" output on back of the STB and the cable then splits into component and audio. That is a big bummer. I had bought an HDMI cable in anticipation. Does anyone know if I can just buy another Amino STB off eBay and replace the 120? Amino offers boxes with HDMI and even a hard disc recorder option. Or does SureWest have to do some customization / programming to the STBs? (BTW, have had no problem with freezing HD programming like others have reported.)
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post #72 of 973 Old 10-12-2006, 11:24 AM
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The Amino boxes that SureWest use have custom programming on them.
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post #73 of 973 Old 10-23-2006, 12:56 AM
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According to the ComcastSportsNet web site, the Kings game on Friday was supposed to be on in HD. Anyone know why we ( at least in my household) didn't get it?
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post #74 of 973 Old 10-24-2006, 08:34 PM
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My wife (whom I bought the 50" plasma HD for) just called me in - tonights Kings game is on 699 in HD.

She had noticed that when she had been turning to 699, the screen had been displaying INHD instead of the black sceen. Would have been nice if Surewest had sent something out with the last bill.
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post #75 of 973 Old 10-27-2006, 11:17 AM
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SureWest broadcasts the home games in HD. Last Friday's game was not on due to problems with the feed. This should be resolved.
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post #76 of 973 Old 10-27-2006, 05:46 PM
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I wish you all good luck and happy viewing. I have just terminated the cable service from Surewest. I'll be watching here to see when all the bugs get worked out and a good dvr is in working order.
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post #77 of 973 Old 12-19-2006, 03:55 PM
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SureWest is a regional cable company serving the metropolitan Sacramento area. In some local zip codes, it competes with Comcast Sacramento, as well as DISH and DirecTV satellite services. SureWest (formerly, the Roseville Telephone Company) offers (via IP and fiber optic to the home) Cable TV, Internet and telephone service as well as a regional wireless cellular service.

I'm a Comcast customer who has been helping a friend set up two Sony LCD HDTVs (40- and 32-inch models) with new SureWest Service in Natomas (a suburb in Sacramento north of the American River). To get a thread started for this service, I made some initial notes about the main challenges we encountered:

- The SureWest signal is delivered digitally via fiber optic to the house. The signal is distributed to rooms from a box attached to the house using Cat 5e RJ45 Ethernet cable. The HD looks very good. However, the SD picture quality is worse than Comcast's SD picture quality, and I did not think that was possible (In Elk Grove, Comcast recently improved their analog SD quality...see my reports in the Sacramento Comcast thread). Also, I have not yet been able to find a way to disable the cable box's 4;3 Override setting so that the Sony TV can control the SD scaling and conversion to 480p.

- No DVR (for HD or SD). We're told DVR's will not be available in 2007...

- SureWest uses the Amino AmiNET120 set-top box for HD and the AmiNet 110 for SD. The SureWest box only offers analog connections to the TV (Component video and RCA Audio, no HDMI or optical audio). So, like Comcast, the service is not yet fully digital -- in spite of the SureWest advertising.

- We've been told there is no box support for a Universal Learning Remote. but I have not yet checked this out. If true, this could be be a real bummer for those wanting to connect these to AV/Receivers.

- By the way, SureWest's cellular service did not appear to be working very well along the Sacramento River and Garden Highway. Of course, their field techs use SureWest, but could not get a signal...They've got a dead spot there...

- Setting up the SureWest Internet service with a router was more difficult than with Comcast. You have to give them the MAC address of the router, and the tech then had to call the office and wait for someone to enter it in a database field and update the system. If you change routers or main computers connections, you have to call them to get it set up again...

- I believe their Internet Service is faster than Comcast's (maybe 10- and 20-Mbps options??) and this is good...

- SureWest's phone and field support seems to be on par with Comcast -- which is to say we did not have a very good initial experience. Their phone tech was not prepared to discuss the lack of support for HDMI, digital optical audio or an HD DVR and totally screwed up my friend's work order. Initially, they had the field techs install SD boxes for the HD service he had ordered and no Internet connection. Then, it took two weeks for a tech to return and correct the problems...The second tech was quick and pretty good though...

Geo
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post #78 of 973 Old 12-20-2006, 02:18 AM
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post #79 of 973 Old 12-20-2006, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

- The SureWest signal is delivered digitally via fiber optic to the house. The signal is distributed to rooms from a box attached to the house using Cat 5e RJ45 Ethernet cable. The HD looks very good. However, the SD picture quality is worse than Comcast's SD picture quality, and I did not think that was possible (In Elk Grove, Comcast recently improved their analog SD quality...see my reports in the Sacramento Comcast thread). Also, I have not yet been able to find a way to disable the cable box's 4;3 Override setting so that the Sony TV can control the SD scaling and conversion to 480p.

Don't remember offhand, but I'm pretty sure there is a setting in the Tools menu of the box. I'd have to look again.
I've found the SD quality to be just OK, but not too bad (but, I've had no other service to compare with as of yet with my new TV).

Quote:
- No DVR (for HD or SD). We're told DVR's will not be available in 2007...

Hmmm, about a month ago, the CS rep I talked to said they had one in development for this next year. Too bad if they don't.

Quote:
- SureWest uses the Amino AmiNET120 set-top box for HD and the AmiNet 110 for SD. The SureWest box only offers analog connections to the TV (Component video and RCA Audio, no HDMI or optical audio). So, like Comcast, the service is not yet fully digital -- in spite of the SureWest advertising.

Yeah, I'm not at all thrilled with this wierd little box. I asked if they would be coming out with an HDMI box, but could not get a straight answer.

Quote:
- We've been told there is no box support for a Universal Learning Remote. but I have not yet checked this out. If true, this could be be a real bummer for those wanting to connect these to AV/Receivers.

No, there is no support for a Uni remote. On the flip side, you can have the STB remote control other devices (lame, I know, but it works for now).

Quote:
- Setting up the SureWest Internet service with a router was more difficult than with Comcast. You have to give them the MAC address of the router, and the tech then had to call the office and wait for someone to enter it in a database field and update the system. If you change routers or main computers connections, you have to call them to get it set up again...

- I believe their Internet Service is faster than Comcast's (maybe 10- and 20-Mbps options??) and this is good...

I've yet to try to set up my router, but this info doesn't bode well. I've been VERY happy with the speed ot the connection though.

Quote:
- SureWest's phone and field support seems to be on par with Comcast -- which is to say we did not have a very good initial experience. Their phone tech was not prepared to discuss the lack of support for HDMI, digital optical audio or an HD DVR and totally screwed up my friend's work order. Initially, they had the field techs install SD boxes for the HD service he had ordered and no Internet connection. Then, it took two weeks for a tech to return and correct the problems...The second tech was quick and pretty good though...

I've run into this myself. It's been hit and miss if I can get a knowledgable person on the phone to answer my HD connection questions or future support and hardware.

I might just have to look into going back to Comcast (had prior to owning an HDTV). Heck, having digital connections and a DVR should be enouth to switch. Hmmmm....
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post #80 of 973 Old 01-12-2007, 01:03 AM
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Comcast is getting close to completinmg their ADS conversion. We now have all digital service in Elk Grove (instead of the old analog) for channels 3-99. However, users have to switch out their existing DVR or digital boxes since Comcast has not yet pushed the upgrade to the existing installed boxes in this zip code.

Comcast's digital SD channels can look great one day (or hour of the day) and terrible the next -- the signal quality fluctuates regularly. And they have bandwidth limitations that force them to overcompress the data being sent to channels. Occasionally, even the HD channels are affected, but usually, their HD looks GREAT. I suspect they have the technology to change compression levels for channels on the fly, and compensate if too many users in a given neighborhood are watching HD or ordering a PPV movie. I'm only guessing at the cause though. I do know the digital picture quality fluctuates and occsionally is no better than the old analog -- and it shouldn't. That said, I've also seen some pretty medicore SD quality on the SureWest system a friend has....

Geo
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post #81 of 973 Old 01-13-2007, 10:50 AM
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Is there any place to find out if they will offer CableCard service?

Also, has there been any update on the HDMI STB issue?

Brandon
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post #82 of 973 Old 01-22-2007, 05:48 PM
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Just ordered HD through Surewest today - I live in the Natomas area. Talked to the rep a little bit about the forthcoming DVR unit. He indicated it will be dual channel and will have HDMI capability. Hopefully they will offer it sooner rather than later...
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post #83 of 973 Old 01-23-2007, 08:56 AM
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Did he give no indication as to when a new DVR unit was coming and who the manufacturer is?

Brandon
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post #84 of 973 Old 01-23-2007, 11:43 AM
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Didn't ask about the manufacturer. He implied they were close to a release date.
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post #85 of 973 Old 01-24-2007, 08:44 AM
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Thanks for the info...it's appreciated. I'll keep an eye out for more news.

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post #86 of 973 Old 02-03-2007, 12:31 AM
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Sorry if this is old news, I've been away for a while. Did anyone else notice the addition of the National Geographic HD channel on 611, as well as Fox SportNet Bay area on 634? I just saw them today.
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post #87 of 973 Old 02-03-2007, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lloyd Dobler View Post

Sorry if this is old news, I've been away for a while. Did anyone else notice the addition of the National Geographic HD channel on 611, as well as Fox SportNet Bay area on 634? I just saw them today.

Nope, not old news at all. I just noticed this yesterday as well. I was scratching my head wondering exactly when it showed up and if I had just not noticed it before . NG sure looked good, too. I didn't see 634, but will check tonight. Now, to get that DVR going.....
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post #88 of 973 Old 02-04-2007, 05:30 PM
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Nice additions. Thanks for the info
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post #89 of 973 Old 02-17-2007, 04:18 AM
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Just got fiber available in my area and the tech who was out said the HD DVR was due around July 07. He had heard dual record capabilities and up to 100 hr HD space. He did not have any idea on brand, MPEG4 etc. I would still say it is speculation at this point.

Let's hope they actually get it working.

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post #90 of 973 Old 02-17-2007, 11:03 AM
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What are of Roseville are you located? I saw them working in my neighborhood about a month ago and haven't heard anything yet. It was Surewest contractors and they were going street to street woking at the cable access cone/boxes.
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