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post #1 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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This thread continued from...

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=357896

Thank you.

(Copy of First Post)

San Francisco Bay Area Comcast Information
============================================================ ==============

This thread contains posts regarding Comcast HDTV service in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Bay Area. (This covers San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties.)

For Solano County see note below.

To summarize status as of August, 2006:

HD Channels:

Note: Not all channels are available everywhere. Check with your local Comcast office, or better yet, post the question here as you will get the most accurate, up to date, information from this group. Having a location/city in your profile helps tremendously.

702 KTVU-DT (FOX) 720p & DD 5.1
703 KNTV-DT (NBC) 1080i & DD 5.1
704 KRON-DT (MyTV) 1080i
705 KPIX-DT (CBS) 1080i & DD 5.1
707 KGO-DT (ABC) 720p & DD 5.1
709 KQED-DT (PBS) (on air 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) 1080i & DD 5.1

719 INHD (encrypted in most areas) 1080i
720 INHD2 (encrypted in most areas) 1080i (FSNBA-HD see note below)

FSN Bay Area HD (some Warriors, A's and Giants games inserted onto 720, pre-empting INHD2 programming) FSN Bay Area Website-- HD Schedule

722 Discovery HD Theater 1080i & DD 5.1
723 ESPN HD (encrypted in most areas) 720p & DD 5.1
725 ESPN2 HD (encrypted) 720p & DD 5.1
HD Special Events
-- NFL Channel HD (NFL Game of the Week, Weds. and Thurs. Evenings)
-- INHD programming (third INHD feed) whenever NBA game is on INHD
-- Other HD programming TBA

730 HBO HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1
732 Cinemax HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1
734 Starz HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1
736 Showtime HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1

Note re encryption: This varies from one head end to the next. Some premiums and/or ESPN HD and/or InHD may be unencrypted in your area, but that will change as soon as Comcast gets all the necessary equipment to encrypt. Only the local HD channels will be "in the clear" once all the head ends have the proper equipment.

Note re ADS: ADS, or Analog-Digital Simulcasting, is when the analog channels are duplicated as digital subchannels. This allows for cheaper, smaller digital boxes as the analog tuner is not needed. ADS also eliminates the need for MPEG encoders in the DVR's. The primary advantage is the elimination of interference typically associated with analog signals.

Most 750/850MHz systems in the Bay Area have implemented ADS. The surest way of obtaining the digital versions of the analog channels is to incorporate at least one Motorola 3412 STB in your household. Once the headend receives the signal that you're in an "ADS-ready" area, your other STB's will automatically start using the digital channels. To find out if you're receiving the digital channels, tune both of your tuners to channel 2, go in to the diagnostics menu, and go to "d06 CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS". If both tuners say 'QAM 256" then you're receiving the digital version of the channel. If they say "Analog" then you are receiving the analog version of the channel.

Note re 550 Mhz systems: Not all (or any) HD channels may be available in some Bay Area systems because they are not yet "rebuilt" to either 750 mHz or 860 mHz and thus have less bandwidth to devote to HDTV. As it stands August 2006, there doesn't appear to be any plans to upgrade these systems to bring parity with the rest of the SF bay area. The prevailing assumption is that as we move closer to the analog OTA shutdown date, Comcast will be moving analog channels to digital, and thus, freeing up bandwidth for more channels and services on these systems. This looks to be a long and slow process covering years so don't expect anything new to appear on these systems anytime soon. On these systems you will NOT get: INHD*, INHD2,* FSN Bay Area HD*, Showtime HD, KRON HD and/or HD Special Events among others depending on the particular system.

But, you will pay the same rates as subscribers who do receive the full complement of channels and services. This is an inequity that Comcast, to date, has not addressed and continues to remain silent on.

These systems are located in, among other areas,

Antioch
Hayward
Los Gatos
Milpitas
Pittsburg
San Leandro
San Lorenzo
Santa Rosa
Saratoga
Sunnyvale(parts)
Vallejo

* INHD and INHD2 are available in areas of Saratoga, Milpitas and Los Gatos even though these are primarily 550 Mhz systems.

Note: Solano County. Information obtained from Comcast subscriber heyjjjaded in Vacaville.

1. Our local HD channels are all out of Sacramento
2. Unlike Sacramento though, all of our HD channels are in the 700's (the way they are in San Francisco)
3. We get standard network non-HD channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox) from both Sacramento & San Francisco
4. The 800 telephone number on our Comcast brochure puts us through to the bay area
5. Our HD problems (break-ups, audio-drops, failure to switch from INHD2 to FSN HD) almost always coincide with the same problems reported by the Sacramento customers

For further Sacramento information, see the Sacramento Comcast Thread


HD Capable Set Top Box/Firmware:

Motorola 5100 and Motorola 6200

The 6200 has a faster processor and two firewire (IEEE 1394) ports.

Firmware 7.15 (7.10 in some areas). DVI and Firewire are activated with both versions but are more stable and user friendly with 7.15.

Current software is 51.88-2002.

See the rest of the thread, below, or the 5100/6200 thread in the HDTV Hardware forum for more specific information.

HD-DVR/Software:

Motorola 6412-- first became available in December 2004. (6208 was originally projected to be available November/December 2003). Costs extra $9.95 per month (or $4.95 per month more than a non-DVR HD STB rental from Comcast) above what you are otherwise paying for now.

Software for the HD DVR the iGuide, by Guideworks, a joint venture of Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide. Software for all other HD boxes will eventually be the iGuide but has not yet been downloaded to them as of February 17, 2005.

Current firmware version for the 6412:

Current software version for the 6412: 71.44 1203 (revision should be coming in the next couple of months)


Motorola 6412 PIII--same as 6412 listed above but has HDMI video output vs DVI for the above 6412.

Current firmware version for the 6412-PIII: 12.31


Motorola 3412--same as 6412 PIII only it has no analog tuner. The 3412 is a digital-only DVR and can be used only on systems where ADS has been implemented.

Current firmware version for the 3412: 12.22


Costs:

Limited basic cable, which is required for all subscriptions, ranges from $9 to $17 per month depending on your area. HD STB rental (non-DVR) is $5 per month. To get INHD and ESPN HD, if encrypted, you need Digital Classic tier at $9.95 per month. Premium HD channels, if encrypted, are received with any a la carte or package subscription that includes the SD versions of those channels.

HD-DVR (6412-3412) cost: $4.95 more per month than the standard HD STB. To be eligible to rent the DVR you must have a subscription to Standard Cable and at least Digital Classic--average cost--$57

Note: All the above prices prices and packages will vary somewhat from area to area, check with others in your location and/or contact the local Comcast office that serves your area.


I will update this summary as information changes. If anyone has different or updated information to the above, please post it to this thread and I will incorporate it.

David Bott
Founder - AVSForum


DISCLAIMER: All spelling and grammatical errors done on purpose for the proofreadingly challenged...:)

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post #2 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:27 AM
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What happened????? Did it get too big??
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post #3 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Nothing...But when threads start to get real large that can actually hurt the site in performance. Thanks

David Bott
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DISCLAIMER: All spelling and grammatical errors done on purpose for the proofreadingly challenged...:)

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post #4 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:36 AM
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Darn, composed a message and couldn't send it. Will try again.

Thanks to all who replied regarding signal strength and use of splitters/amplifiers.
I'll probably wait till it warms up a bit before tackling the task of running another RG6 line.

BTW, what is the range required on a splitter for use in a cableTV, cable/internet setup?

Brian...reporting from the left coast...
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post #5 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:39 AM
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Does anyone know why KQED-HD does not carry Masterpiece Theatre in HD? They just started up a new season with a BBC co-production of Jane Eyre, and it seems only to run on the SD channel. I know there isn't much overlap between the SD and HD broadcasting, but it seems bizarre to me that PBS wouldn't run an HD feed of their premiere show.
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post #6 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bott View Post

Nothing...But when threads start to get real large that can actually hurt the site in performance. Thanks

Gotcha. Thanks!
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post #7 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Koegel View Post

Does anyone know why KQED-HD does not carry Masterpiece Theatre in HD?

Uh...$$$?
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post #8 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 10:48 AM
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this post exists only so i can have a dot on this new thread icon.

btw is our local thread the most popular in terms of views and replies?
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post #9 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 10:59 AM
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Does anyone know how the Motorola HD cable boxes provided by Comcast handle 1080i to 720p conversion? Do they deinterlace 1080i and then scale to 720p, or do they convert it to 540p and then scale to 720p?

The reason I'm asking is that we have a Panasonic 50" plasma (768p) and I've set the Comcast tuner to output HD at 720p, mostly because we watch a lot of sports on ABC, Fox, ESPN, etc. These networks look great, but, the 1080i networks (CBS, NBC, etc.) look a bit soft at times. The picture for these channels seems to improve a bit if I switch to 1080i output, but switching back-and-forth is a PITA. I wish the Motorola boxes had a pass-through mode.

-Steve
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post #10 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nikeykid View Post

btw is our local thread the most popular in terms of views and replies?

We were third in terms of replies (behind "St Louis, MO - HDTV" and "Denver, CO - OTA") and second in terms of views (behind the Denver thread). Looks like all of these, and a few more, got similar treatment to alleviate load on the servers.
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post #11 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fender4645 View Post

Are you sure this includes the games on INHD? Or is it just the Extra Innings package? The big difference between the NFL and MLB is that MLB games are, for the most part, shown on local stations...not national broadcast stations (with the exception of some ESPN games an FOX games on Saturday). This is what allows Superstations to broadcast nationally from their home territory. All of this on top of the Extra Innings package. While I could see D* getting an exclusive on the Extra Innings package (as stupid as that is), I don't see them taking games off the Superstations, and possibly INHD. I think the term "exclusivity" is used differently between MLB and NFL (at least I hope so).

As far as I can tell, it's just for MLBEI games. No more EI on INHD or Dish, or whoever else carried them, only DirecTV. Although, the scuttlebutt seems to be that Congress may have something to say about, I don't know what they could possibly do though, this is no different from Sunday Ticket with the NFL.

I guess I should be glad that we got FSNBA-HD up here instead of INHD, I hear that INHD puts up a big bug on their movies and don't adhere much to OAR either.
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post #12 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandude View Post

Darn, composed a message and couldn't send it. Will try again.

Thanks to all who replied regarding signal strength and use of splitters/amplifiers.
I'll probably wait till it warms up a bit before tackling the task of running another RG6 line.

BTW, what is the range required on a splitter for use in a cableTV, cable/internet setup?

I would make sure it's good out to at least 1GHz.

Like these for example,

http://www.yourbroadbandstore.com/pr...php?pid=209661
Buy 2-Way Cable Splitters for Cable TV at YourBroadbandStore.com
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post #13 of 15275 Old 01-23-2007, 12:01 PM
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Grandude,
You can also go down to your local Comcast store and get a splitter or two. I even picked up a 3-way down at my store.
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post #14 of 15275 Old 01-24-2007, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TPeterson View Post

Uh...$$$?

What dollars are you thinking about? They seem to show any number of series on KQED-HD that were shot on film and converted to HD (no doubt by PBS on a national basis). Why wouldn't they do that with their showcase product, Masterpiece Theatre?

To ask the question another way, is this a KQED issue or a PBS issue nationwide? Wait, I'll answer my own question. Google reveals an Oregon public broadcasting site listing an HDTV broadcast of the show. Of course, it could be an HD transmission of a 4:3 SD signal, I dunno . . . .
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post #15 of 15275 Old 01-24-2007, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I would make sure it's good out to at least 1GHz.
Like these for example,
http://www.yourbroadbandstore.com/pr...php?pid=209661
Buy 2-Way Cable Splitters for Cable TV at YourBroadbandStore.com

I decided to try one I had here already, somewhere in the 900 to 2050 range. I was worried that the low end would be too high but apparently not.

Ran a temporary cable from the next room which had an existing outlet to hook up and ran a scan on my LG 37LC2D and it found 345 stations. WOW. I'm on the Healdsburg cable system here in far north Santa Rosa which is a newer system.

Going through the channels it found, I discovered that it found all the scrambled ones which I can't view, of course, and many music/no video channels. I spent over an hour trying to delete the channels I don't want, but it never showed the scrambled ones in the delete menu.

Anyway, the results were so successful that I will now run a permanent cable to the proper location when the weather improves and I get a 'round tuit'.

Thanks again for all the good info.

Brian...reporting from the left coast...
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post #16 of 15275 Old 01-24-2007, 09:42 AM
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about how many times can the cable be split off before bad signal loss is noticed? i'll have to look whether there's a booster on the lines but it's split a few times under the house and then again in the house too. So far most things "seem" ok. would it make a diff to run a dedicated cable for the vonage?

wendek
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post #17 of 15275 Old 01-24-2007, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendek View Post

about how many times can the cable be split off before bad signal loss is noticed? i'll have to look whether there's a booster on the lines but it's split a few times under the house and then again in the house too. So far most things "seem" ok. would it make a diff to run a dedicated cable for the vonage?

wendek

What are you trying to fix? You say "so far most things 'seem' OK." Are you trying to get a better signal?

Bobby 

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post #18 of 15275 Old 01-24-2007, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by slb View Post

Does anyone know how the Motorola HD cable boxes provided by Comcast handle 1080i to 720p conversion? Do they deinterlace 1080i and then scale to 720p, or do they convert it to 540p and then scale to 720p?

The reason I'm asking is that we have a Panasonic 50" plasma (768p) and I've set the Comcast tuner to output HD at 720p, mostly because we watch a lot of sports on ABC, Fox, ESPN, etc. These networks look great, but, the 1080i networks (CBS, NBC, etc.) look a bit soft at times. The picture for these channels seems to improve a bit if I switch to 1080i output, but switching back-and-forth is a PITA. I wish the Motorola boxes had a pass-through mode.

I don't know what goes on exactly, but I have noticed that the output (of 1080i channels) looks better with the box set to 1080i. I have a small LCD in the bedroom, and I've tried it with my friend's new 50" plasma as well. Maybe those extra few pixels really make a difference (1366x768 vs 1280x720) or maybe the Moto box just sucks at conversion...

(I have a 1080i CRT in the living room, which naturally looks better set on 1080i for everything).
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post #19 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 09:39 AM
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With the onslaught of HDHomeRun, My-HD, Fusion, OCUR, QAM Tuners on New TVS...

How long will Comcast continue to leave the broadcast channels in the clear?

Everyone refers to the FCC regulations and they have to keep it in the clear, but from what I understood, it's a must carry rule, not a must carry in the clear rule...

I subscribe to Basic Cable with HD and I pay for an extra HD box. But I have 2 HD cards and am adding an HDHomeRun device... I prefer QAM to OTA, because it's just more consistant, but I'm worried that relying on Comcast to keep the channels in the clear might be short sighted.

I was wondering if anyone had any information for the Bay Area that indicated that Comcast would never be encrypting those channels?

Just wondering.

Russ
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post #20 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendek View Post

about how many times can the cable be split off before bad signal loss is noticed? i'll have to look whether there's a booster on the lines but it's split a few times under the house and then again in the house too. So far most things "seem" ok. would it make a diff to run a dedicated cable for the vonage?

wendek

I've got a lot of splits in my line, but I also put in that motorola signal booster/splitter to the main run that comes into my house. Before I added the booster, I had some signal quality issues on some of the splits furthest down the line, but now everything seems to be good enough for me to tune everything. As for the quality, not sure, but I haven't been getting any drops or anything.

http://broadband.motorola.com/consum...ignal_booster/

From the signal booster, that output cable is then split at least 3 times. Then each of those splits are probably split at least 3 or more times down the way.

So from one cable into my house I feed 6 rooms. Then in one room, it's split at least 4 more times (cable box, TV, and 2 HD tuners on the HTPC, will be split more once I add the HDHomeRun to that). In two of the rooms, it's split at least twice (one for the TV and one for a Tivo and HTPC).
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post #21 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russwong View Post

I was wondering if anyone had any information for the Bay Area that indicated that Comcast would never be encrypting those channels?

Just wondering.

Russ

Never is a long time. The last I was told about this, was that the channels will remain like they are, locals will not be encrypted. I take them at their word. Can they encrypt the locals ?? Yes, it's their cable system. Will they ?? I wouldn't expect them to do it any time soon if ever but with new technology coming down the road, like Switched Video, it could be a thing of the past.

Laters,
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post #22 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russwong View Post

Everyone refers to the FCC regulations and they have to keep it in the clear, but from what I understood, it's a must carry rule, not a must carry in the clear rule...

The must-carry rules also state it must be included in a "basic-tier". Definition of basic-tier includes not being encrypted.

The contention for *some* cable companies (not Comcast) is whether must-carry applies to:

1) analog only
2) analog *and* digital
3) analog *or* digital, but not necessarily both

That was my understanding from a while back of why some cable companies encrypt the locals and others don't. I don't follow the issue that closely so maybe this has been clarified in further FCC rulings, so please feel free to correct me.
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post #23 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 11:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfhub View Post

Definition of basic-tier includes not being encrypted.

Can you elaborate on this portion? What implies that basic-tier includes not being encrypted?

I can see the point of analog and/or digital debate. I'm hoping it's "AND", especially since everything is supposed to be moving to digital. So as long as they keep the broadcast channels in the basic tier, that makes sense. Otherwise, all my HD cards and tuners are worth nothing for QAM.

The question really comes down to: Will the cable company prevent me from receiving this basic tier with other devices except their own?

So say fast foward to 2009 or 2010 and everything has moved to digital as supposedly mandated... no more analog broadcasts, all those analog tv's are outdated (good bye to my hauppauge cards and Tivo Series 2), you will either need a digital TV with an antenna or a TV and a cable box. Would the cable companies allow digital TV with out a cable box (unencrypted) to tune that basic tier again? Obviously paid for via comcast subscription.

Just wondering if I'm putting money in technology that Comcast could render useless by flipping the switch. I some what think we're lucky here in the bay area, because our digital broadcast channels are unencrypted, but I look at the Tivo Series 3 thread and these other threads and lots of places have them encrypted, thus requiring cable card for Series 3 and making these other tuners useless for QAM.
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post #24 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 11:28 AM
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I tend to think that Comcast will continue to provide the local HD in the clear for quite some time to come. Although, with nets like CBS coming up for contract, and the fact that they have stated very clearly that they want a "substantial" amount of cash for their signals, who knows how the cable companies will handle that. They may provide an analog version of the net's signal while charging for the digital signal.

Either that, or the cost of Basic Cable will probably raise in price, something that will probably happen anyways with state awarded franchises with local control being out of the picture.

OTOH, cable companies are getting a lot of heat from Congress on the skyrocketing cost of cable so who knows what will happen.
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post #25 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russwong View Post


So say fast foward to 2009 or 2010 and everything has moved to digital as supposedly mandated... no more analog broadcasts, all those analog tv's are outdated (good bye to my hauppauge cards and Tivo Series 2), you will either need a digital TV with an antenna or a TV and a cable box.

You can just about take to the bank that the cablecos will still provide some analog signals past the OTA analog cutoff.
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post #26 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 03:30 PM
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You can just about take to the bank that the cablecos will still provide some analog signals past the OTA analog cutoff.

Comcasts CEO has already stated that they will be providing a limited number of analog channels to some areas well past the 2009 analog drop dead date, by reconverting the digital signal to analog or paying big bucks to the stations for an analog feed. The drop dead date is for over the air broadcasting of the analog signal and does not apply to cable.

But if they go to a switched video system, which to me makes a whole lot of sense, I don't know if they would provide an analog channel or not. In theory it shouldn't matter, in a switched video system, if the channel is analog or digital. The whole reason for going to all digital is to free up the wasted bandwidth that analog takes up and to add more digital content. I think that analog will go the way of the dinosaurs and a lot sooner than most people think. Bandwidth is tight even in areas that are upgraded and analog is just wasting space, it makes good business sense to get rid of analog.

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post #27 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 04:24 PM
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it makes good business sense to get rid of analog.

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Well, it depends on how much it will cost, with at least 50% of cable subs still analog only, that's a huge expenditure to supply all those TVs with converters, for what would have to be next to nothing, It may be cheaper to continue to supply the basic 30 or so channels for the next 10 years or so in analog versus the expense of converters for subs who only pay around $18 a month, or less, to begin with.
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post #28 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 07:38 PM
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Well, it depends on how much it will cost, with at least 50% of cable subs still analog only, that's a huge expenditure to supply all those TVs with converters, for what would have to be next to nothing, It may be cheaper to continue to supply the basic 30 or so channels for the next 10 years or so in analog versus the expense of converters for subs who only pay around $18 a month, or less, to begin with.

Well, the problem with that is that if you can't add content, because there isn't enough bandwidth to do that, then the cable company will never get a greater revenue in that area, you are basically stagnated with what you have now and will never see anything else. The business is profit at the least cost to you. Analog is stopping you from adding content, without adding content how do you justify increasing prices without driving customers away because they don't get what they can get from another source at the same or lower price ?? You are seeing that Comcast has realized that they have to upgrade all the areas it serves or lose those customers in that area, think 550 MHz areas. The Sat companies and the other providers like Version and AT&T will take advantage of that situation and gain a foothold in the cable areas that are not getting what they are paying for.

It's time people get over this fixation with analog and move into the digital age. They are already thinking of having tv manufacturers put warning labels on all new analog tvs letting people know that they will need a converter box to get over the air signals after 2009. If you look further down the line at what the cable industry is thinking about using to help with this dwindling bandwidth, like switched video, everyone that has cable will have to have a box, just like the Sat companies do now. If you think you can go somewhere else to get analog then where are you going to go. All the Sat companies require that you have a box, AT&T requires that you have a box ( not sure about Version but we're not in their area ) so there's no place to go. This is going to happen eventually, already switched video is being used in a couple of areas back East, so it's not if this is going to happen but when.

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post #29 of 15275 Old 01-25-2007, 10:34 PM
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... 'cause the apocalypse must be near: FSN-HD is up in Sunnyvale!!! I never thought I'd see the day
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post #30 of 15275 Old 01-26-2007, 09:54 AM
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... 'cause the apocalypse must be near: FSN-HD is up in Sunnyvale!!! I never thought I'd see the day

Hell muthafuggin' yeah!! I can't wait to watch the Ws play in HD.
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