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post #91 of 973 Old 03-04-2007, 10:16 AM
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Checking in here after a month or so of seeing my friend's SureWest cable TV/Internet service in Natomas. Surewest's Internet service seems to be stable, fast and reliable.

Of course, SureWest still does not offer "all-digital" TV service, in spite of their misleading advertising. Unfortunately, their digital signal is converted to analog at the box that connects to your TV. Still the SureWest HD picture quality is very good even with this analog down-conversion to component video. However, the picture quality on SureWest standard definition channels still is just terriible -- about as bad as fuzzy, over-the-air analog from distant stations on rabbit-ear antennas and as soft and fuzzy as VHS tape. I cannot imagin this level of quality would be acceptable to any reasonable customer.

On the other hand, Comcast's SD picture quality is now all digital (if you have a reprogrammed cable box or DVR to get it), but their SD signal quality still fluctuates from being absolutely terrific on some days and very bad on others (though still not quite as bad as SureWest's SD channels). This variation in quality has been going on for several weeks in Comcast's metro Sacramento area. However, during just the past week, the situation has improved here (in Elk Grove), and the SD channel quality suddenly has been excellent once again. Time will tell if Comcast has crossed some threshold...

Geo
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post #92 of 973 Old 03-20-2007, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

Checking in here after a month or so of seeing my friend's SureWest cable TV/Internet service in Natomas. Surewest's Internet service seems to be stable, fast and reliable.

Of course, SureWest still does not offer "all-digital" TV service, in spite of their misleading advertising. Unfortunately, their digital signal is converted to analog at the box that connects to your TV. Still the SureWest HD picture quality is very good even with this analog down-conversion to component video. However, the picture quality on SureWest standard definition channels still is just terriible -- about as bad as fuzzy, over-the-air analog from distant stations on rabbit-ear antennas and as soft and fuzzy as VHS tape. I cannot imagin this level of quality would be acceptable to any reasonable customer.

On the other hand, Comcast's SD picture quality is now all digital (if you have a reprogrammed cable box or DVR to get it), but their SD signal quality still fluctuates from being absolutely terrific on some days and very bad on others (though still not quite as bad as SureWest's SD channels). This variation in quality has been going on for several weeks in Comcast's metro Sacramento area. However, during just the past week, the situation has improved here (in Elk Grove), and the SD channel quality suddenly has been excellent once again. Time will tell if Comcast has crossed some threshold...

Just saw that Surewest now has FSNBA-HD. Here is a listing of all providers with FSN-HD as well as the schedules for the Giants and As.

http://www.fsnbayarea.com/FSNHD.jsp
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post #93 of 973 Old 03-27-2007, 01:00 PM
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HD Froze up again last night, except for 611. I was on hold for 40 minutes. Works today.
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post #94 of 973 Old 03-30-2007, 05:34 PM
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Well, I just got a flyer on my door today mentioning that SureWest is upgrading our neighborhood to fiber-optics. Currently, I am happy with Vonage as my phone service. It is cheaper and has more options than either SureWest or Comcast offer.

I've looked at the differences between SureWest and Comcast for cable TV, primarily looking at HDTV. It appears SureWest does not have MHD (MTV in HD), InHD, ESPN2 and the My58 channel (which I never watch anyways), but it DOES have National Geographic and Mark Cuban's HDNet and HDNet Movies. I'm willing to do that BUT... I don't see a current DVR giving me the function of my current 6412 from Comcast.

How do the SureWest television boxes connect? I believe I read somewhere that they use CAT5 cabling. Does it run multiple CAT5 feeds off the main box, like one for Internet traffic and one for television traffic? Does SureWest provide any interior wiring? I've been needing to wire my house for a while with Ethernet. This may be the impetus I need to do the project, but I need to know how many lengths of Ethernet I'll need to the different locations.
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post #95 of 973 Old 03-30-2007, 05:48 PM
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Surewest provides the wiring right up to the box for the tv and the computer (yeh, checking the wiring now, its CAT5). They place a large box outside the house where they run the wiring from. Alas, no HD dvr. There should be one within the next 6 months. Stay tuned to this thread. I think its still too premature to switch providers.................
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post #96 of 973 Old 03-31-2007, 06:31 PM
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I just called SureWest and they said that they charge $75/hour to fish wire through walls. I do NOT want them to run the wires around the outside of the house and drill through an outside wall in, which is what Comcast does and what SureWest told me when I called. That type of work is completely unacceptable.

I do believe I'll wait until they offer HD-DVR service. When I called SureWest, they said they have been hearing that from many potential customers. I can't make the switch now anyway. Apparently the flyer was just an advanced notice of it becoming available. I'm guessing I'll be seeing them in my yard, as I have a large SureWest "manhole-cover" in my front lawn that I'm told services much of our neighborhood... more than just my house.
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post #97 of 973 Old 04-02-2007, 01:09 PM
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I took advantage of one of the 3-fer specials - VOIP,TV and Internet - specifically asked them to waive installation which they did! They ran underground from the sidewalk to the side of my house, placed the 'router/switch' box near my other utilities, then ran CAT5 (5 cables) through one of the soffit vents. From there, they went through the attic to each room and dropped a line - 2 in the office. They also added a backup power supply for the VOIP. Very neat installation.

Now if the HD service was a little more consistant, I would be 100% satisfied.

Mike
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post #98 of 973 Old 04-02-2007, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmin View Post

Now if the HD service was a little more consistant, I would be 100% satisfied.

Mike

Yeah, I had quite a few dropouts this last week with HD. Buggy audio with no picture.
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post #99 of 973 Old 04-17-2007, 03:49 PM
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Are you sure SureWest only is installing Cat 5 cable? Minimally, SureWest should be running Cat 5e cable (not mere Cat 5), or better yet, Cat 6. The lack of Cat 5e or 6 cabling will make a big difference in taking full advantage of jumbo frames support and gigabit Ethernet speeds on your home network routers and switches, and will be critical as broadband services ramp up to 100GB. If you have to, provide your own Cat 5e or 6 cable, and insist SureWest installs it instead.

SureWest may be using a proprietary digital connector at the cable box, and the connection may be digital, and not analog as a I previously thought. However, it sure looks a lot like an S-video connection.

Geo
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post #100 of 973 Old 04-17-2007, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

SureWest may be using a proprietary digital connector at the cable box, and the connection may be digital, and not analog as a I previously thought. However, it sure looks a lot like an S-video connection.

Surewest, at least when I had them about 3 years ago in the Arden area, had a very limited analog limited basic lineup, probably to be in line with the Cable Commission charter. It had the local channels, I think WGN, and the access channels, and that was it. Even at that time, the rest of the television channels were delivered via coasx, not the fiber! I asked the tech at the time, and he had said it was coming, but wasn't quite there yet.

I'm sure that it's "there" now, but just throwing in what they had done back in the early days.
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post #101 of 973 Old 04-18-2007, 05:09 PM
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Looking at the cable it says that "verified (UL) Category 5E or C". However, further down it says "cat 5--tested to 350 MHZ". Specifically, I am not sure which the cable is.


The connection that looks like an S-video is actually the box end of the component cables (kind of like Sony does with the Playstation). The Cat 5 cable runs directly to the box at the TV. Pretty cool for wire management, they just need a better cable box, or HD DVR of any kind.
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post #102 of 973 Old 04-19-2007, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by nightowl View Post

Surewest, at least when I had them about 3 years ago in the Arden area, had a very limited analog limited basic lineup, probably to be in line with the Cable Commission charter. It had the local channels, I think WGN, and the access channels, and that was it. Even at that time, the rest of the television channels were delivered via coasx, not the fiber! I asked the tech at the time, and he had said it was coming, but wasn't quite there yet.

I'm sure that it's "there" now, but just throwing in what they had done back in the early days.


SureWest first launched their IP Video service in the fall of 2003. It is now available to all areas in Sacramento, Elkgrove, and Lincoln that are served by FTTH (fiber to the home).
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post #103 of 973 Old 04-25-2007, 08:29 AM
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For those with fiber service, how do the television receivers connect? I'm told that CAT5 is used. Is it split via an Ethernet switch? Is the video a separate system than the Internet? I'm planning on wiring soon and wanting to figure out how many wires to connect and in what way to terminate them. I'm thinking that at my distribution location I'm setting up in the house I'll set up two patch panels, one for video and one for Internet. If I do this, will SureWest provide the distribution switch, allowing me to connect several outlets or do I need to supply this?
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post #104 of 973 Old 04-25-2007, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

For those with fiber service, how do the television receivers connect? I'm told that CAT5 is used. Is it split via an Ethernet switch? Is the video a separate system than the Internet? I'm planning on wiring soon and wanting to figure out how many wires to connect and in what way to terminate them. I'm thinking that at my distribution location I'm setting up in the house I'll set up two patch panels, one for video and one for Internet. If I do this, will SureWest provide the distribution switch, allowing me to connect several outlets or do I need to supply this?

From the distro box outside (fiber in from the street, cat5e out to the house) I have one wire that runs to the back room for my internet and one wire that runs to the living room for the tv. The Cat5e for the TV hooks into the STB and the STB uses an RCA type setup to hook to the TV. I don't recall if the distro box on the house has a ethernet switch inside or not. The installer did show me the fiber wire that came into the box and it looked like he installed a board into the box from which he ran the cat cables. Not sure if this helps....
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post #105 of 973 Old 04-26-2007, 08:50 AM
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SureWest was back on our Elk Grove street last night going door-to-door trying to attract more Cable TV/Internet/Phone customers. They now were promising 30 HD channels and a DVR with 120GB HD by the end of the year. While SureWest does have the fastest Internet, we passed, and told the sales rep the following:

- We dropped land line phone service for all-cellular two years ago. SureWest is just way too late with phone service for some customers, especially with the Apple iPhone coming out this June.

- 30 HD channels won't cut it competitively by the end of the year (when 40-80 HD channels should be available nationally) and that is what at least one satellite competitor is promising.

-The number of SD channels is irrelevant to HD customers. Now that we have a widescreen HDTV, we're primarily looking for HD and/or full widescreen programming at DVD-quality (480p). Cable cannot deliver this second option, which requires a zoom to full screen feature when wide screen movies are shown on 4:3/480p channels...

- While SD is not a primary consideration, SureWest's SD picture quality is truly awful in the one area I've seen it working (Natomas), and a real barrier to considering the service. It is vastly inferior to Comcast's SD, which recently was upgraded to all-digital and is now quite good, although Comcast's SD channels still are a bit over compressed.

- A DVR with a 120GB HD will be completely insufficient storage for 30 or more HD channels (much less 40-80 channels). A 120GB HD barely is enough temporary storage for Comcast's 13 HD channels over the course of a week. SureWest will need 300-500GB HD's with more HD channels. (Of course, SureWest may use MPEG-4 rather than MPEG-2, and this would change my calculations, but 120GB still seems a bit small for a large number of HD channels).

- The sales rep could not answer questions about Comcast Sports Net HD or Fox Bay Area Sports Net HD. Local sports fans want to see the Kings, Warriors, Sharks, Giants and A's in HD.

- Finally, cable Video On Demand may not be compelling either (It isn't from Comcast as far as we are concerned). Even now, for about the same price of a single monthly Premium cable channel (from Comcast our current provider), we can watch as many DVD movies as we can receive and return by mail each month -- from a much larger library of 40,000-50,000 movies. By contrast, most of Comcast's On Demand offerings are 4:3 standard definition TV, and many of their HD movies rentals are too expensive at $5.99 each.


SureWest seems to be putting together a 2008 HD upgrade plan that only competes with (and just surpasses) 2007 Comcast offerings, and does not seem to be taking into account competition from the satellite companies or IPTV providers like Apple or Netflix. This is a mistake, especially since HD customers probably have the additional choice of more serious a'la carte programming from Netflix and/or Apple (through Apple TV) by 2008 (we have some HD and near-DVD content available even now). We would be foolish not to consider these programming options as well continuing to rent low cost Netflix or Blockbuster online movies by mail. In addition, the IPTV options (especially those from Apple) will allow us to view our content on high definition computer screens and new video iPods and the iPhone that are coming.

To be competitive, SureWest needs to put together a more compelling HD package for late 2007, early 2008.

I also e-mailed most of these observations to SureWest's Darla J. Yetter
(Corporate Secretary and Assistant to the President), who promised to pass them along.

Geo
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post #106 of 973 Old 04-27-2007, 08:23 AM
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gmwedding,

Did they mention if this was an hdmi-enabled dvr box?

Brandon
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post #107 of 973 Old 04-27-2007, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gmwedding View Post

SureWest seems to be putting together a 2008 HD upgrade plan that only competes with (and just surpasses) 2007 Comcast offerings, and does not seem to be taking into account competition from the satellite companies or IPTV providers like Apple or Netflix. This is a mistake, especially since HD customers probably have the additional choice of more serious a'la carte programming from Netflix and/or Apple (through Apple TV) by 2008 (we have some HD and near-DVD content available even now). We would be foolish not to consider these programming options as well continuing to rent low cost Netflix or Blockbuster online movies by mail. In addition, the IPTV options (especially those from Apple) will allow us to view our content on high definition computer screens and new video iPods and the iPhone that are coming.

To be competitive, SureWest needs to put together a more compelling HD package for late 2007, early 2008.

I also e-mailed most of these observations to SureWest's Darla J. Yetter
(Corporate Secretary and Assistant to the President), who promised to pass them along.

While I agree with a few points, one thing I always come back to is that Surewest is a small company in the sceme of things. It wasn't too long ago they were just Roseville Telephone. I agree they should be more competative, but I also realize they are a growing company.

One sticking point for me is the lack of a current DVR, but this is new for me as in the past I was content using a VCR . If they have one in the works I might just stick it out longer. That, and they have UHD (not sure if Comcast does or not). To be honest all I've watched since getting Surewest are the HD channels they have available. I rarely visit the SD channels any more. So, if they are adding more, that's a bonus for me. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. More HD channels is a plus. A HDMI DVR would be nice. VOD is not really necessary for me. They're internet service has been outstanding for me. I have no interest in satellite service (personal preference). Maybe I'll shoot them some emails of my own to help "push" them along on what customers want.
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post #108 of 973 Old 04-27-2007, 12:51 PM
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While I agree with a few points, one thing I always come back to is that Surewest is a small company in the sceme of things. It wasn't too long ago they were just Roseville Telephone. I agree they should be more competative, but I also realize they are a growing company.

One sticking point for me is the lack of a current DVR, but this is new for me as in the past I was content using a VCR . If they have one in the works I might just stick it out longer. That, and they have UHD (not sure if Comcast does or not). To be honest all I've watched since getting Surewest are the HD channels they have available. I rarely visit the SD channels any more. So, if they are adding more, that's a bonus for me. I guess it all comes down to personal preference. More HD channels is a plus. A HDMI DVR would be nice. VOD is not really necessary for me. They're internet service has been outstanding for me. I have no interest in satellite service (personal preference). Maybe I'll shoot them some emails of my own to help "push" them along on what customers want.

Comcast does have UHD, it was a recent addition.
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post #109 of 973 Old 04-29-2007, 06:52 AM
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Comcast does have UHD, it was a recent addition.

Hmmm... I may have to call Comcast the next week and see what they have to sell.
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post #110 of 973 Old 05-15-2007, 05:17 PM
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Thanks for the update Lloyd. Once they get of their behinds and start offering an HD DVR solution, or at least announce what they will be offering as far as a DVR goes, I'll be able to schedule an appointment for my install.

I was talking to some of the installers in the area and they stated that the reason for delays in equipment like the HD DVR is due to the fact that they use a unique system, like no other company uses for providing TV to end customers over fiber. They can't just start using a device from Motorola or Scientific Atlanta like traditional cable companies and their system is different than Verizon, which also provides TV over FTTH. They are carving their own path, which means they need to develop much of their own devices. I'm not sure how true this is, but this is what I heard.
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post #111 of 973 Old 05-15-2007, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I was talking to some of the installers in the area and they stated that the reason for delays in equipment like the HD DVR is due to the fact that they use a unique system, like no other company uses for providing TV to end customers over fiber. They can't just start using a device from Motorola or Scientific Atlanta like traditional cable companies and their system is different than Verizon, which also provides TV over FTTH. They are carving their own path, which means they need to develop much of their own devices. I'm not sure how true this is, but this is what I heard.

They use IPTV.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPTV

One of my friends just got the full bundle of services last week. I took a look at his HD service and menu options on the Aminet 120 STB. The features are closer to first gen technology. I don't know if this is going to step up quickly since IPTV isn't real widespread and the choice of vendors for the STB is real limited. The picture quality seemed ok, but the remote response was really slow in navigating the guide and menus.
I also saw the SW guys feeding fibre on my street today. It should be about 30 days before I can order. I'll go ahead and get one STB with some limited service anyway, but I'm keeping my D* and my DVRs.
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post #112 of 973 Old 05-15-2007, 09:23 PM
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I was just reading the Wiki on IPTV and read something that really intrigued me. Something that SureWest COULD do to provide DVR function. That would be "Network Personal Video Recording." I haven't researched any further than the blip from Wiki, but the little hamster-wheel in my skull started spinning with ideas. If SureWest could set up a large array of hard drives, amassing probably several terabytes, software could be written into the "cable" boxes for setting up recording, which would be done on this array. It would then be on-demand and accessible by all units on the account. If SureWest wanted to save some space, the software can evaluate everyone's list of shows they want saved and only keep one copy of the show until no one wants it saved. Customers could be given an option for how much space they want and can be upgraded without deleting old content. Say someone started with a 20GB account and realized that this was WAY too small for recording HDTV; they could upgrade to 100GB and on up. People always complain about their DVR not having a big enough hard drive. With this type of system, if you want to pay more, you can have more. With Comcast, I have no choice as to how big a hard drive I have. If I have a faulty DVR, all the content is lost. This would be a thing of the past with it stored elsewhere on a RAID.
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post #113 of 973 Old 05-16-2007, 01:30 PM
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I was trying to do more research on this networked DVR and found that Cablevision is being sued by "Hollywood" for providing this service. In my opinion, this just points to the idiocy of the entertainment establishment. Apparently they do not wish people to watch their content. I seldom have time to watch my favorite shows when they are on. Sports and news are the only events I'll watch when they are on, and that is not too frequent. I never have time to watch "normal" TV when it is on. I stop and watch commercials if they catch my interest. I just read an article about this here. . This system could actually create MORE revenue than losses, yet they are too dense to realize it. Apparently they don't realize that this system would allow for tighter control of content and more data in actual viewership. Viewing habits of homes could be automatically tracked, providing feedback. I'd think the studios would actually pay for the setup themselves to get this going, as it benefits them greatly. It is true that people would rather fast-forward over commercials, but a compromise can be reached with advertisers. I've viewed CSI: Las Vegas a few times on Comcast's HD-VOD service, where there is just one commercial in-between and found this reasonable. I don't mind teasers for other network shows, as it let know what else I may want to record.
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post #114 of 973 Old 05-24-2007, 05:06 PM
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I was just approached by a couple of surewest reps this past weekend and they offered me a bundle package of tv, internet, and landline phone that seems pretty good. Now we've had their phone and internet service for years and we're very happy with these services. With this new package, we increase our internet from 2mb to 10 mb for the same price (we get a $10 dollar a month discount for a year). Now we've had Comcast for the past 3 years with HD but their number of HD channels has stalled for some time now. The Surewest HD deal is significently cheaper especially for the first year. Does anyone have their TV package and how is the HD picture? I visited their office near Trader Joe's but they didn't have any tv showing a HD picture. Also has anyone run into serious problems with their Surewest TV package. Any feedback would be appreciated. We're not having it hooked up until late June.
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post #115 of 973 Old 05-25-2007, 09:46 AM
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I understand it, but I was not happy to come home to see a bunch of "graffiti" courtesy of SureWest to the front of my house. My lawn has grown colored flags and the lawn, my neighbor's bushes, two of my sidewalks and my driveway have multi-colored spray paint markings. In one of my lawns has been a SureWest "manhole" cover where fiber runs. I had once asked the guys pulling the fiber if conduit was in place for running to each home and he told me that there was. He also mentioned that there were multiple extra conduits in case there was a problems elsewhere. It was then a surprise for me to see my lawn marked up for underground digging service. Not that I would have said "no" if they had asked, I find it rude that they never asked or at least gave prior announcement of marking up the lawn and concrete.
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post #116 of 973 Old 05-25-2007, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cklim55 View Post

Also has anyone run into serious problems with their Surewest TV package. Any feedback would be appreciated. We're not having it hooked up until late June.

No serious problems. I'm just not thrilled with the little STB they use. It would be nice to have a DVR available.
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post #117 of 973 Old 05-29-2007, 06:25 AM
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I had Surewest out last week to swap my SD box for the HD box for my new HDTV . Turns out when they did my install last year, they used the existing coax drop from the attic to the bedroom. The installer wanted $75 to drop a new CAT5 cable.

Does anyone know if coax should work for HDTV?

Thanks
Mike.

Tried swapping boxes - HD box did not work in the bedroom. Not sure if it is the coax and balun or some setting on the outside box.
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post #118 of 973 Old 05-30-2007, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by madmin View Post

I had Surewest out last week to swap my SD box for the HD box for my new HDTV . Turns out when they did my install last year, they used the existing coax drop from the attic to the bedroom. The installer wanted $75 to drop a new CAT5 cable.

Does anyone know if coax should work for HDTV?

Thanks
Mike.

Tried swapping boxes - HD box did not work in the bedroom. Not sure if it is the coax and balun or some setting on the outside box.

It should work better... SureWest uses IPTV. It is a totally different beast than traditional cable. It is streaming data/packet switching as opposed to radio frequencies.
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post #119 of 973 Old 05-30-2007, 09:55 PM
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I thought they use CAT5 for their set top boxes instead of coax.
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post #120 of 973 Old 05-31-2007, 07:20 AM
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All of the other drops are CAT5 - I guess the installer wanted out of the attic so he just used the existing COAX in that one room.

Anyway, I was on the phone for almost an hour with customer service and they are going to redo that one drop, apparently bill me for the cost, which is around $75, then I have to call to get a credit! Seems like a screwy way to run a business.
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