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post #9091 of 15305 Old 02-19-2009, 08:41 PM
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It's very simple, Tom. Limited Basic is about $16/mo these days and it includes all the clear QAM channels. That's what I have also.
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post #9092 of 15305 Old 02-19-2009, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Koegel View Post

How does that work out? Are you grandfathered into some old plan and only receiving the HD locals? I can't imagine how you could get HD for this price even if only using a QAM tuner.

The local HD channels are officially part of Limited Basic, and I use CableCards with TiVos.
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post #9093 of 15305 Old 02-19-2009, 09:06 PM
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...and I use PC QAM tuners without cablecards. This works for all the locals, HD or SD.
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post #9094 of 15305 Old 02-19-2009, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by matticus008 View Post

Yes, lower prices. Alternative services have always been priced below cable TV. Price increases are inevitable, but the level of inflation at cable companies is currently the subject of numerous FCC complaints. Cable bills have more than doubled in the past ten years; satellite services have increased by much smaller margins.

A mathematical impossibility, sorry. Comcast SD bitrates are 1.5-2Mbps MPEG2--an inferior codec requiring substantially higher bitrates to maintain accuracy. DirecTV and U-verse, both on MPEG4 (same quality at roughly half the size), both offer 3Mbps SD channels.

Again, a technical impossibility. AT&T is delivered over an IP network. The content is national, and picture quality is the same all over, unlike the cable broadcast/headend system which does result in strong quality variation. Signal integrity is an issue, but that affects artifacting, macroblocking, and other signal problems, not the quality of the image data received.

MPEG4.

My point exactly!

The infrastructure in that case referring to the physical plant, not the central equipment, which was already discussed.

No, coaxial cable was always designed for a specific data bandwidth, hugely in excess of what the POTS system can provide. Copper pairs are absolutely at their limits. Coax is still a question of efficiency. You can run gigabit ethernet over coax--not physically possible with POTS. Just like fiber has a massive capacity benefit on coax, coax has on POTS.

For that reason alone, cable speeds should be at least an order of magnitude better than DSL at the same price--but they're not.

Tell it to Consumer Reports and JD Power. Your propensity for streams of question marks and an obvious lack of technological foundation speaks more to the issue than anything I've said.


That's the entire point--this "predicted demise" of non-cable systems reeks of fanboyism, and these responses just reinforce that view.

I didn't take a position to advocate either satellite or IPTV (Fios/U-verse) service--I simply rejected the claim that cable is so rah-rah superior that it doesn't have a thing or eighteen to learn from its competitors.

No. Clearly based on the inclusion of AT&T and DirecTV in my post (and by implication Verizon and Dish), not to mention my statement about AT&T's terrible customer service, that is not the case.

That doesn't have anything to do with content offerings. Just look at the channel lists. Comcast has the fewest number of HD channels--everyone else has more. Comcast just recently added such basics as SciFi and Food Network, for crying out loud. They rely on the number of titles available on demand, which is a pretty strange metric when you're talking about television service. If they want to claim being the biggest HD rental service, fine, but they are intentionally misleading customers into thinking that they're getting more HD channels than everyone else, when in fact that is simply not true.

The VDSL system is in a world of hurt? Get real. Every vendor has its share of supplier issues--it doesn't affect the

Coming from the land of the freezing, 80s-vintage UI, and super slow land of the DCT, I think just about anyone would take an HDMI bug.

The codec directly determines the quality.

That's bitrate, not codec choice. MPEG2 streams are starved of bits--just look at the obvious and significant decline in Comcast picture quality when they switched to triple-packing last year. It's horrible, because bitrate reduction is a much more significant issue with MPEG2 than MPEG4/H.264.

AT&T took the accessible route, with the minimum interruption of services, and can bring the service to areas faster, more inexpensively, and where laying fiber isn't an option. They're choosing different paths. Once the service is widely available, individual communities can make the upgrades and provide the fiber, which enhances capacity. Verizon is doing it all at once, and thus will be confined to particular geographic areas.

Cable has also taken the cheap way, resting on its own hardware, so the point you're trying to make is moot. They continue to push more and more of this wasteful broadcast technology when they were presented with the perfect opportunity to go IPTV, which would allow them to offer full-quality video by delivering only channels being viewed. But they recently invested in an incredibly expensive digital broadcast backend infrastructure and want to sit on it for as long as possible, just like the phone company.

TVs don't have IP tuners, so obviously a STB is required--just like with digital cable. You want to talk proprietary? I've got two words for you: Cable card. The whole thing has been botched by cable companies who don't want to give you a cheaper substitute to their own boxes. Two-way communication and full featuresets are still a myth, and forget about un-encrypted channels sticking around. Completely proprietary, indeed.

Comcast is not providing an innovative service. They're pushing DOCSIS 3, which squeezes some more speed out, but they're continually degrading quality, refuse to address their dated UI, and are unwilling to invest in a modern, packet-based delivery system. All of these could be done and could make cable providers a technologically competitive force.

You can poo-poo IPTV and transmission upgrades of satellite services all you want, but cable is simply wasting its potential, and the doom and gloom you rain on competitors--and quickfire defense of an aging, crumbling system is totally unwarranted. You're not in an ivory tower or leading any technological charge--you're in the same class as all the competitors, all of which have flaws and none of which is so much more deficient that cable will crush them.

In short, don't proclaim victory over all the land while riding on the back of a dinosaur.

matticus008,

Wow, where do I start..... You know what, I'm not going to.

If you have a problem with cable and what they provide then by all means go where you get the best deal for your money. You are not willing to listen to anything that I or anyone else will say, it's obvious to me that you have already made up your mind.

For myself, I still try to work with cable to try and get things fixed and I try and help people when they are having problems with Comcast, I've been doing this for over 5 years now. I don't pretend that cable is the greatest thing on earth nor is it the worse. You don't want or need help and it seems you don't want cable either so I will end this with one thought. Read what your responses were and tell me you are unbiased and don't have an agenda. I do have an agenda and that's to work with cable to get this done right, not lambaste other providers with total BS.

Laters,
Mikef5
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post #9095 of 15305 Old 02-20-2009, 11:27 AM
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matticus008,

What is the cheapest AT&T Internet plans that gives above 1Mbps upstream and minimum 6Mbps down, without requiring a phone line? Does bandwidth still depend on 'distance from the exchange' or is it guaranteed for all?
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post #9096 of 15305 Old 02-20-2009, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bobby94928 View Post

Patty, KFTY is an all digital channel on cable. It is located on channel 199 on Comcast.

Ah, so they do carry it, just not where I can see it. (Although that will be changing soon when my neighborhood gets migrated to digital cable.) Do they carry the Fort Bragg station, too? I guess they must, if they're required to carry all the full-power stations in their DMA.


Patty
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post #9097 of 15305 Old 02-21-2009, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by wintertime View Post

Ah, so they do carry it, just not where I can see it. (Although that will be changing soon when my neighborhood gets migrated to digital cable.) Do they carry the Fort Bragg station, too? I guess they must, if they're required to carry all the full-power stations in their DMA.


Patty

No, they don't carry the Fort Bragg station, specifically. KUNO, the Fort Bragg station, is a repeater of KTNC, an Azteca station, and is available on Comcast on channel 42.

Bobby 

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post #9098 of 15305 Old 02-21-2009, 05:34 PM
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Basic cable is $16 but to "record 4 HD channels" you'd need 2 Tivos which adds significant up-front hardware costs as well as monthly subscription fees. You could avoid the monthly fees by building your own PC with tv-tuner(s) but that will cost even more in hardware and requires technical skills that are, let's be honest, well beyond the average mainstream consumer. I think that last point is important to remember too, most of us here probably do NOT fall into that category.

Personally I don't see AT&T Uverse as a real competitor, though again, I'm not a mainstream consumer. It's possible that one could look at their prices (which are lower than Comcast's) and their HD channel lineup (which is higher than Comcast's) and go for it.
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post #9099 of 15305 Old 02-21-2009, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by walk View Post

Basic cable is $16 but to "record 4 HD channels" you'd need 2 Tivos which adds significant up-front hardware costs as well as monthly subscription fees. You could avoid the monthly fees by building your own PC with tv-tuner(s) but that will cost even more in hardware and requires technical skills that are, let's be honest, well beyond the average mainstream consumer. I think that last point is important to remember too, most of us here probably do NOT fall into that category.

Agreed that HTPC skills are not in the mainstream (although that is how I do most of my own recording) and I suspect that many eschew TiVo because of its mandatory subscription hit (and more would do so if they fully appreciated its stupid kWh hit). However, those are not the only alternatives available. As one example of those, I've been beta testing a TViX R-3310, which records clear QAM, plays it back in full HD, has no subscription fees, does TiVo-type timeshifting of live TV, and is about as easy to use as a VCR--i.e., it is fully qualified for Joe&Jane 6pak's use. Right now, it only comes in a 1-tuner version, but twin tuners (and maybe more) are coming down the pike. I suspect that the DTV conversion date will be the "tipping point" for a deluge of these into the market.
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post #9100 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 12:50 AM
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In terms of TiVo's subscription fee, I have owned various TiVos since 2001, all with lifetime service. Because of its resale value, the effective monthly subscription cost can be much lower. Or, if you consider the cost of hardware+lifetime as the cost of the equipment, the subscription is "free".
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post #9101 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by TPeterson View Post

Agreed that HTPC skills are not in the mainstream (although that is how I do most of my own recording) and I suspect that many eschew TiVo because of its mandatory subscription hit (and more would do so if they fully appreciated its stupid kWh hit). However, those are not the only alternatives available. As one example of those, I've been beta testing a TViX R-3310, which records clear QAM, plays it back in full HD, has no subscription fees, does TiVo-type timeshifting of live TV, and is about as easy to use as a VCR--i.e., it is fully qualified for Joe&Jane 6pak's use. Right now, it only comes in a 1-tuner version, but twin tuners (and maybe more) are coming down the pike. I suspect that the DTV conversion date will be the "tipping point" for a deluge of these into the market.

TP (if I may call you that),

I'm still struggling with how you get Comcast to less than $20, even if you are content with the HD locals in clear QAM. Do you really have four recording TV tuners without cablecards? Also, is there a resource about what channels are now clear QAM--I thought that unless you were grandfathered, even cable "basics" like ESPN required some kind of decryption for the HD channel?

I'm not tweaking you here--if I could really get the Comcast non-premium HD channels without need for a cablecard and the digital outlet fee, and the bottom line were really below $20/mo, I might bring Comcast back up to play around with HTPC and housewide distribution on my PC network. But since I don't think the HD locals alone are interesting enough, I completely pulled the plug on Comcast when I switched over to DirecTV. And what are you using to tune four streams at once? Four QAM tuners?
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post #9102 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 11:01 AM
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Tom, ESPN is not "Basic". The Basic Cable subscription includes only the locals, in principle. Rght now all of the Expanded Basic SD channels appear to be nonencrypted, but I expect that that's a transient effect of the changes to the lineup. (Once upon a time, about 3 years ago, all of the HD QAM channels were nonencrypted for at least 6 months in a similar situation) To get the non Basic channels reliably without Comcast's hardware, you do need a cablecard solution.

I have no cablecards or, indeed, any cablecard-capable tuners. I seldom find more than 2 programs of interest on at the same time, but I do have at least 4 QAM tuners here that can independently capture them. (I haven't counted them lately, but I think that the actual number is closer to 10--I do a lot of beta testing as a hobby. The testing is my hobby interest, not the TV watching. ) If you want an idea of the current line up on your cable, try putting your zip code into the box at this URL.

--Terry
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post #9103 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 11:42 AM
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I recently noticed that all of the analog channels are now unencrypted digital on Comcast in Los Altos. That means that if you have Expanded Basic you can get all those channels (CNN, ESPN, TNT, E!, MTV, etc) on a HDhomerun or TV with clear QAM. I would expect that a Limited Basic customer would have a filter installed that would block these at the RF level just like they do for analog 32-72 (approximately). However, looking at how they have the channels allocated on my head end, it would appear likely that a Limited Basic sub could get channels like ESPN in clear QAM. For example, RF channel 84 has all of the following channels on it: KNTV, KICU, KSTS, KTEH, KKPX, CSNBA, TNTP, ESPN, ESPN2, TBSP. They could certainly filter RF 84 because, a Limited Basic sub would still have access to all those broadcast locals in analog. However, I thought that the filter didn't go that high. Also, RF 79 has the HD locals KPIXDT, KTVUDT, KTVUDT2 and they are not filtered.

I'm sure this is in preparation for the termination of analog transimission of Expanded Basic channels that Comcast is planning. The simple free STBs that they provide customers so they can receive these digital channels cannot decrypt anything. Therefore, if your Comcast feed has no filters, then you should get them all in clear QAM. Like Terry said, this is probably transient. After they shut off the analog channels, they'll probably move the Expanded Basic channels into the filtered band.

- Mike
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post #9104 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by TPeterson View Post

Tom, ESPN is not "Basic". The Basic Cable subscription includes only the locals, in principle. Rght now all of the Expanded Basic SD channels appear to be nonencrypted, but I expect that that's a transient effect of the changes to the lineup. (Once upon a time, about 3 years ago, all of the HD QAM channels were nonencrypted for at least 6 months in a similar situation) To get the non Basic channels reliably without Comcast's hardware, you do need a cablecard solution.

I have no cablecards or, indeed, any cablecard-capable tuners. I seldom find more than 2 programs of interest on at the same time, but I do have at least 4 QAM tuners here that can independently capture them. (I haven't counted them lately, but I think that the actual number is closer to 10--I do a lot of beta testing as a hobby. The testing is my hobby interest, not the TV watching. ) If you want an idea of the current line up on your cable, try putting your zip code into the box at this URL.

--Terry

Yeah, I knew that ESPN wasn't "Basic" in the term of art that Comcast uses. But I think most people would consider receiving ESPN to be a pretty "basic" requirement of any television service. Apparently the transition away from analog cable transmissions (at least for the channels at 35 and above) has created a little window in the availability of ESPN (but not ESPN HD, I would guess?). But one does have to expect that they will find a way to close that window down. So the $15.43 (according to the Comcast site) per month in the long run will probably really only end up getting you 2 to 34 plus the HD locals.

I currently have an ancient Sony VAIO PC with an analog tuner capable of tuning analog cable transmissions. The old VAIOs used to come with apps called Gigapocket Server and Pico Player that would allow you to broadcast low def TV over your home network. I would use this so I could, for example, keep an eye on the Giants game on my wireless laptop while I was supervising my son's viewing habits as he enjoyed the real TV. Since Channel 35 plus are going away in analog cable (for Comcast's reasons that I fully understand and respect), this utility isn't available to me any more. Much as I share your love of tinkering, I'm not going to invest in a clear QAM tuner to attempt to recreate the old VAIO experience only to have Comcast pull the plug on me when they get themselves reorganized after removing the analog channels from 35 to 82. I'll probably wait to see if DirecTV expands the functionality of their DirecTV2PC app to include live broadcasts. (At present, it will only show recorded programming--but it does do it effectively, even over a wireless connection, and in HD.) I recognize I could probably get the same functionality by some kind of HomeTheaterPC with a cablecard. But then Comcast would be into me for AT LEAST $59.99/mo (once the six month promotional rate of $29.99/mo expires).

Come to think of it, I think I'm missing the easier solution. I guess I could hang some version of a Slingbox off on the of the D* receivers and then connect to the Slingbox from inside the home network . . . . But I wander far off topic.

I did poke around the Comcast website to see if there is any info that is helpful in determining what is in the clear vs. what is not. Nothing useful, of course. I did have to laugh at this, though, found when clicking through to the "print your channel lineup" for Marin:

Quote:


Channel Lineup
PrintLocation: MARIN

Last updated: April, 2006

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post #9105 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 12:57 PM
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You laughed because of the ungrammatical comma, right?

Did you also look at the HDHomerun page that I referenced?
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post #9106 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 01:10 PM
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I did poke around the Comcast website to see if there is any info that is helpful in determining what is in the clear vs. what is not. Nothing useful, of course. I did have to laugh at this, though, found when clicking through to the "print your channel lineup" for Marin:

It's ridiculous, for being the nation's largest MSO and also the largest internet provider, the information at Comcast's websites is virtually worthless.

I'll say it again, I believe it's Comcast corporate policy to keep the consumer in the dark as this level of uselessness simply can't be by chance, the odds are way against it.
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post #9107 of 15305 Old 02-22-2009, 03:11 PM
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Terry, yeah, you got me: I'm a stickler for grammar. I did look at the HDHomeRun page, thanks. The listings were pretty helpful, although they still left me with the question of whether Comcast in the future will pull the rug out from under the channels that are currently north of 34 on their system.

My post of the "April, 2006" thing is kind of a cheap shot, since the channel lineup itself seemed (at a quick glance) to be accurate to the most recent changes in my area (e.g., ScifiHD, National Geographic HD, etc.), although one wonders if Marin were actually graced with the latest upgrades available in other areas of the SF Bay they would've had the information up. They just forgot to change the "last updated" date. I do suspect that the description of what is available in what tier of service is wrong--and, as Keenan noted, a lot of the obfuscation seems to be deliberate rather than mere incompetence. Take this for example, from the bottom of the Marin channel listing:
Quote:


Limited Basic + Expanded Basic = Standard Cable

*You must subscribe to a specific tier to receive certain channels. Premium Services: You must subscribe to the individual premium service and a digital receiver in order to receive the multiplex version of that same channel. High-Definition Programming: Only available to customers with an HDTV set (not provided by Comcast.) Digital receiver with HDTV compatibilities is required. Subscription to premium services is required to receive HDTV version of that premium, where available. HDTV Digital Classic: You must subscribe to the Digital Classic Tier to receive these channels. All Digital Services: Viewing of these channels requires a high-definition television set and may also require a Comcast High-Definition digital receiver or CableCard.

On the page that leads into this, there is a price quote for Basic Cable (that's the $15.43/mo), and for Digital Starter, but nothing for "Expanded Basic" or "Standard Cable." So who knows what all this means?

I do think there is some irony in Comcast's struggles with the limitations of both their technology and how they have chosen to implement it. They love to poke fun at the telcos about the technological limitations of DSL (e.g., the "Slowski" commercials). I presume that cable internet really now is much faster than DSL, even though at one point reliable, neutral reporters such as PC Magazine made it clear that the theoretical maximums for cable were never really achieved and that you could get more throughput on DSL. But similarly, with the satellite companies sucking up the difficulties with their customers in order to implement MPEG4 technology, and the ability to employ identical technology every where they have service, they have a real advantage over the way that Comcast has set itself up. Comcast has to cope with different bandwidths in different neighborhoods and then for whatever reason makes it worse by implementing different transmissions schemes even in those areas with the same bandwidth. And they do not seem to have the human resources structure to be able to communicate effectively to their customers about the effects of the different schemes, and they seem to have a culture of "hide the ball" or stonewall them. I dunno, maybe the other providers have the same approach. I haven't been with D* long enough to know. But D*, at least, doesn't have to struggle so much with the technology.

P.S. I see they are now charging $15.95/mo for the Motorola box these days. Which in Marin is still the DCT-3416 (not that the DCH line is said to be any great improvement other than in box styling). $15.95/mo? Wow.
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post #9108 of 15305 Old 02-23-2009, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Koegel View Post

Terry, yeah, you got me: I'm a stickler for grammar. I did look at the HDHomeRun page, thanks. The listings were pretty helpful, although they still left me with the question of whether Comcast in the future will pull the rug out from under the channels that are currently north of 34 on their system.

My post of the "April, 2006" thing is kind of a cheap shot, since the channel lineup itself seemed (at a quick glance) to be accurate to the most recent changes in my area (e.g., ScifiHD, National Geographic HD, etc.), although one wonders if Marin were actually graced with the latest upgrades available in other areas of the SF Bay they would've had the information up. They just forgot to change the "last updated" date. I do suspect that the description of what is available in what tier of service is wrong--and, as Keenan noted, a lot of the obfuscation seems to be deliberate rather than mere incompetence. Take this for example, from the bottom of the Marin channel listing:


On the page that leads into this, there is a price quote for Basic Cable (that's the $15.43/mo), and for Digital Starter, but nothing for "Expanded Basic" or "Standard Cable." So who knows what all this means?

I do think there is some irony in Comcast's struggles with the limitations of both their technology and how they have chosen to implement it. They love to poke fun at the telcos about the technological limitations of DSL (e.g., the "Slowski" commercials). I presume that cable internet really now is much faster than DSL, even though at one point reliable, neutral reporters such as PC Magazine made it clear that the theoretical maximums for cable were never really achieved and that you could get more throughput on DSL. But similarly, with the satellite companies sucking up the difficulties with their customers in order to implement MPEG4 technology, and the ability to employ identical technology every where they have service, they have a real advantage over the way that Comcast has set itself up. Comcast has to cope with different bandwidths in different neighborhoods and then for whatever reason makes it worse by implementing different transmissions schemes even in those areas with the same bandwidth. And they do not seem to have the human resources structure to be able to communicate effectively to their customers about the effects of the different schemes, and they seem to have a culture of "hide the ball" or stonewall them. I dunno, maybe the other providers have the same approach. I haven't been with D* long enough to know. But D*, at least, doesn't have to struggle so much with the technology.

P.S. I see they are now charging $15.95/mo for the Motorola box these days. Which in Marin is still the DCT-3416 (not that the DCH line is said to be any great improvement other than in box styling). $15.95/mo? Wow.

Technically, it's $6/month for a normal STB, plus $10/month for the DVR. I assume somewhere else you are also paying for the HD channels too.

It's a lot of money, though if you are using SageTV with the HD homerun, you can remove $10/month for the DVR and get the normal non-DVR version of the HD box.

There is another option for recording digital cable, the R5000-HD, which I have a couple of and several others on the forum also have. It's more expensive than the HD homerun, but gives you the native digital recording that the cablecard does, minus the restrictions... It's only supported with SageTV and VMC though.
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post #9109 of 15305 Old 02-23-2009, 12:44 PM
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Yep, it's $15.95 for the DVR, but then if you want another HD box (non-DVR) it's $8 (HDTV) + $6.99 (add'l outlet) or $14.99... so I'm not sure which is worse.

I'm currently paying $0 for the D* DVR and $5 for a 2nd HD box...

In other news, internet was totally unusable almost all day on Sunday again. Called Comcast, went thru the usual backflips, the guy finally said it must be my modem and I should swap it. This is after I already swapped it out once, and had the whole house re-wired and the signal adjusted.
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post #9110 of 15305 Old 02-23-2009, 11:02 PM
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anyone else?

i've been episodically losing KTVU and KPIX HD on both my QAM tuner on my TV (Sony Bravia) and my computer (Miglia HD on Mac) this past few days.

it comes in and out...the other channel in the 555 mhz (KTVU-2.2) band seems fine...
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post #9111 of 15305 Old 02-23-2009, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Mikef5 View Post

If you have a problem with cable and what they provide

It is this sort of ignorant and short-sighted reading that is precisely the problem. Nowhere did I suggest this was the case.

I have a problem with cable users not understanding fundamental technologies and with people predicting failure without any sort of coherent support for such a claim. It's ignorant, stupid, baseless FUD and propaganda.
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You are not willing to listen to anything that I or anyone else will say, it's obvious to me that you have already made up your mind.

On the contrary, in your obvious zeal to knock yourself down defending cable, you simply failed to notice the content of the discussion and that no type of service, nor any single provider, was highlighted by myself as being superior to the others.

You claim that you perceive an obvious bias, but this is simply not the case. Responding to a claim with counterexamples does not mean that anyone is advocating the other side; saying "you're wrong" does not imply that the other side is "right".
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Read what your responses were and tell me you are unbiased and don't have an agenda.

I do not. It's called equalization--no type of service is so clearly superior to the others that it can be defended above all others. It's your own bias you're responding to and nothing else. Cable providers are facing enormous problems, just as DSS and IPTV likewise have deficiencies. What cable advocates like you have, however, is a demonstrated lack of understanding of the technology behind the others and a bizarre tendency to get your feathers ruffled over nothing.

My original post on the subject quite simply and plainly suggested that predicting the doom of a relatively new service with unsubstantiated criticisms when the very cause of creation and the ongoing momentum behind them is deficiency in cable providers is mistaken. Then some high profile cable zealots decided to get all riled up and roll out the FUD machine.

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Originally Posted by raghu1111 View Post

What is the cheapest AT&T Internet plans that gives above 1Mbps upstream and minimum 6Mbps down, without requiring a phone line?

You'll have to check with AT&T for that. None of the U-verse services requires a phone line. Visiting their website, it appears that they offer such a service for $35 in my area.
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Does bandwidth still depend on 'distance from the exchange' or is it guaranteed for all?

Service depends on distance as with all systems (copper, cable, fiber), but Internet bandwidth without TV service is available to a minimum of 18Mbps wherever VDSL service is offered, since the absolute minimum sync rate offered by AT&T is 19Mbps, and up to ~90Mbps on copper single pair. FTTP installations, where available, including some AT&T and most Verizon service areas, offer at least an order of magnitude better capacity on the physical layer (but for now and the near future, no service provider is going past about 75Mbps sync rates, so the key benefit to fiber is not its available capacity per se, but rather the benefit of only having to upgrade once instead of incrementally as with AT&T).

Coax, in comparison, offers 38-150 Mbps for data (out of 1.2-1.8Gbps total on RG6) depending on whether DOCSIS 2 or 3 is deployed. Future capacity could be extended to 300+, at the expense of QAM and analog slots. But this all traces back to a hub shared by 200-1000 customers, so even with a 150Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 connection, if 150 users try to use their connections simultaneously, only 1Mbps is available to them, regardless of their account type (though obviously this is a rare occurrence). The only way to improve this performance is to reduce the number of customers sharing a single node. That's why cable companies want to squeeze out their analog channels--that way, they can reduce data load without spending money on replacing TV infrastructure and physical plant. This is also why they are so concerned about "campers"--using the service nearly 24/7, which effectively reduces total available bandwidth and makes congestion events much more common than they used to be.

The way the system is designed, if dedicated bandwidth were offered, it would sync up at 10Mbps on a light node--barely enough for broadband, let alone television. So while it's true that copper twisted pair is pretty limited, so is coax thanks to cable oversubscription and hence why cable companies can't simply switch to packet-based television delivery without running a huge amount of new wire. But they also can't allocate any additional space to television, so cable can't go all-HD. This is why all Comcast HD channel additions come at the expense of picture quality and why they have a bigger on demand selection than other delivery types--there's simply no more room for broadcast channels and they have no choice but to try to get people watching on demand programming (but not too many people at once, because there's a finite number of on demand slots in each node, too).

They're boxed in, in other words, by being a shared service. 30 years ago, it was a huge advantage for TV delivery because of signal quality. They could offer up to 600 analog channels. 15 years ago, they had a huge advantage in Internet delivery, since they had unused space to deliver a fat pipe when ADSL was a new technology. Both of those advantages are now limitations.

AT&T is boxed in, too, since it can only reach customers in a limited distance, but they have a more flexible infrastructure because they were forced to invest in one. U-verse in particular is quite flexible. Installed over fiber or copper to the home, it links up to a fiber backbone offering massive bandwidth (and typically fairly high percentages of "dark" fiber in the bundle for future expansion). Copper pair to the premises can be replaced by homeowners and communities with fiber, or they can employ pair bonding to extend some combination of range and sync rates (by using two sets of phone pairs, they can nearly double the service distance or nearly double the sync rates). Most current customers have 25Mbps dedicated lines with max possible rates from 40 to 75Mbps available for future expansion on POTS.

Verizon's approach is a little different. They take fiber all the way to the premises in nearly all cases, which means they don't have to worry about any incremental upgrades to the last segment. However, fiber is not currently necessary to carry their existing and planned services, so it imposes higher rollout costs and a different kind of range limiting compared to AT&T.

The simple fact remains, though, that it's cable's infrastructure that is least future-ready, because it is a community asset with limited bandwidth shared by too many users to deliver future increases in HD and high-bandwidth broadband applications without massive overhaul. DOCSIS 3.0 is a stopgap for the Internet side, and eliminating the analog tier is a stopgap for TV service, but that's the end of the line without something radical and truly innovative.

To say AT&T's cardinal sin was not investing in FTTP is to highlight cable's more egregious problem with its physical plant. To say AT&T will fail because of it necessarily implies that cable will, too--and neither is true.
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post #9112 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Derek87 View Post

anyone else?

i've been episodically losing KTVU and KPIX HD on both my QAM tuner on my TV (Sony Bravia) and my computer (Miglia HD on Mac) this past few days.

it comes in and out...the other channel in the 555 mhz (KTVU-2.2) band seems fine...

I've noticed it as well -- in Fremont (you don't say where you are). I don't see it go dark -- tends to freeze, lose audio or audio sync, stall, then resync itself after a 5-10 second pause. Last night I noticed it on House, as House was delivering the diagnosis to his team (IIRC).

Hasn't become annoying enough yet to precipitate a call, since my experience is that any call to Comcast turns into 3 -- the first to purportedly fix stuff, it'll fix the TV, but break the internet, then 2 more calls to get it totally working again. It's gotta get really bad to force a call :-(
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post #9113 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 08:22 AM
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I noticed that glitch on House as well, I doubt it had anything to do with Comcast though.
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post #9114 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 09:24 AM
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If you are pulling the plug on Comcast, CANCEL AUTOPAY FIRST. I terminated service on 2/11, paying the pro rated charge for the first part of the month. I just got a notice today of an intended autopayment for the month of March. This caused me to check my recent credit card transactions online and, sure enough, they billed me for the remainder of February through the online credit payment. I just spent 15 minutes on the phone with Comcast, most of which was on hold. They are taking the position that they won't ULTIMATELY charge me for the period from 2/12 through 2/28, but that they "are required" to charge me until a technician actually comes out to pull the plug (physically?) on service on the 26th (they are too busy to do it any more quickly than that, apparently), at which point they will rebate the charge back. Of course, if I had thought to end the autopayment mechanism, I just wouldn't have paid any bill at all and they never would've had my money.

Rather than go through the hassle of explaining all of this to the credit card company and challenging the charge, I'm just going to wait it out and see if the promised rebate arrives at end of this week. But words to the wise who are departing Comcast.
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post #9115 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 09:35 AM
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sorry: yeah. i'm having problems in Santa Clara (95054).

i don't every completely lose signal either on my Sony TV, but from time to time, i'll get "no signal" for a couple of minutes or frozen screen on my computer based tuner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nereus View Post

I've noticed it as well -- in Fremont (you don't say where you are). I don't see it go dark -- tends to freeze, lose audio or audio sync, stall, then resync itself after a 5-10 second pause. Last night I noticed it on House, as House was delivering the diagnosis to his team (IIRC).

Hasn't become annoying enough yet to precipitate a call, since my experience is that any call to Comcast turns into 3 -- the first to purportedly fix stuff, it'll fix the TV, but break the internet, then 2 more calls to get it totally working again. It's gotta get really bad to force a call :-(

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post #9116 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 10:48 AM
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I had a similar situation when I pulled the plug last year. My rebate did arrive but it was almost a month later. They got to hold on to my money a little longer than I would have liked but, in the end, it didn't matter much to me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Koegel View Post

If you are pulling the plug on Comcast, CANCEL AUTOPAY FIRST. I terminated service on 2/11, paying the pro rated charge for the first part of the month. I just got a notice today of an intended autopayment for the month of March. This caused me to check my recent credit card transactions online and, sure enough, they billed me for the remainder of February through the online credit payment. I just spent 15 minutes on the phone with Comcast, most of which was on hold. They are taking the position that they won't ULTIMATELY charge me for the period from 2/12 through 2/28, but that they "are required" to charge me until a technician actually comes out to pull the plug (physically?) on service on the 26th (they are too busy to do it any more quickly than that, apparently), at which point they will rebate the charge back. Of course, if I had thought to end the autopayment mechanism, I just wouldn't have paid any bill at all and they never would've had my money.

Rather than go through the hassle of explaining all of this to the credit card company and challenging the charge, I'm just going to wait it out and see if the promised rebate arrives at end of this week. But words to the wise who are departing Comcast.


Bobby 

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post #9117 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by matticus008 View Post

[blah blah blah]
... Internet bandwidth without TV service is available to a minimum of 18Mbps wherever VDSL service is offered, since the absolute minimum sync rate offered by AT&T is 19Mbps, and up to ~90Mbps on copper single pair. FTTP installations, where available, including some AT&T and most Verizon service areas, offer ...
[blah blah blah]

ok man you made your point. a *detailed* description of someone else's service (while educational and fairly interesting i have to admit) is off-topic. you really need to talk about comcast or start a new thread.
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post #9118 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 11:55 AM
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I read this somewhere. Is it true that if you get HSI you automatically also get basic cable for free because Comcast can't encrypt basic cable?
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post #9119 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I noticed that glitch on House as well, I doubt it had anything to do with Comcast though.

Same thing happened to me, at the same time. That's Benicia, Santa Rosa, and Fremont all having the same signal problem at the same moment. Besides the HD signal itself (from KTVU) and whatever Comcast uses to receive the signal (and is there one single reception point for the Bay Area Comcast stations, or do different areas have their own), is there anything else that could have caused it in three different cities?

-- Don
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post #9120 of 15305 Old 02-24-2009, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by viperx116 View Post

I read this somewhere. Is it true that if you get HSI you automatically also get basic cable for free because Comcast can't encrypt basic cable?

Comcast charges more for HSI without cable TV, so they cost about the same.
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