Originally Posted by BenCJedi
I'd say their benefit would be a reduction in cable theft since the only way to get a usable signal after they have transitioned every channel is have one of their boxes to decrypt the signal. I would expect the serialization and tracking of these boxes to be tightly monitored. Do the boxes have a card like the sat companies use?
The cable company will say the benefit is more channels and more HD, but I think the underlying reason is more towards control and loss prevention of their service.
It's amusing that 5 or so years ago the mom and pop cable company in my wife's hometown did the whole digital transition to cutting off analog and requiring a tuner box for their service. Cable theft must have been very high in that little Indiana town. I guess it is more difficult in a larger market like Insight is in to be able to pull off the transition until now.
Insight claims that the benefit will be more available bandwidth on their trunks so that they can provide more HD channels (claiming 50+ in the future), and higher speed broadband. Both of these are supposed to be accomplished by removing the "fat" analog set of channels that take about 6MHz bandwidth each to transmit using analog, and replacing those with a digital equivalent that can be sent in much less than 6MHz bandwidth window. Therefore, this process is supposed to free up bandwidth so that more "stuff" can be added to their service.
That's the theory as I understand it... but nothing specific from Insight yet. They appear to be moving a few channels each week. Supposedly to be completed by the end of the year. If you're still receiving "analog" channels, Insight is running a banner across the channel saying you need to get a DTA and soon.
Most places where I eat out in Lexington have their TV's scrolling this banner... I guess these establishments will figure it out when the last "analog" channel disappears.
My experience so far has been better quality picture (even on my Tivo-1 that now has it's own DTA and direct connected IR cable for control). I also have a Tivo-3 with 2 cable cards and a flat screen with an additional cable card. I don't have the Motorola DVR from Insight anymore since it overheated all the time and seemed to get stuck on FF and REW more often than not, and I could not add any more storage to it. My Tivo-3 has a 1TB external eSATA drive plugged into it providing plenty of extra storage.
The only downsides so far for me have been when my wife has all three Tivo's recording something in prime time... And I want to watch two sports events simultaneously. I only have the cable card in my TV that can tune in "one" channel... whereas before, my TV with PIP could tune two unique channels, and my extra smaller 15 inch flat screen could tune it's own channel as well... oh well, I think those days are gone. And I guess we'll eventually see the PIP disappear as well as tuners in TV's in the not too distant future. Probably to be replaced with a network interface connection and the likes of NetFlix for streaming services.