Here is what is on most (not all) Cable Systems:1) Analog NTSC channels: "Bare Bones"
, ALL Local stations plus a few Govt. & Shopping.2) Analog NTSC channels: "Expanded Tier"
channels UNDER Ch100...enabled via a Tier Filter.3) Clear QAM channels: Local stations (Hi-Def when avail.)
plus a few Govt. & Shopping.
[BTW: It is a Federal MANDATE to include this on their "Bare Bones" entry tier.]4) Encrypted QAM channels:
Low-Rez "Digital Simulcast" of Local stations (very rarely in Clear),
SD versions of the "Expanded Tier" and extra cost SD/HD Digital Tier channels.
There are a few "NOT QUITE ALL DIGITAL"
cable systems that have eliminated
most Analog "Expanded Tier" channels, releasing as many as 50 channels, which
means the "Expanded Tier" is no longer viewable without a CableCard in a
"Digital Cable Ready" (DCR) DTV...or a CableCARD in a TiVo...or in a Cable Box.
And there are a few "ALL DIGITAL"
cable systems that have ALSO eliminated
Analog "Bare Bones" Local+ channels, releasing perhaps another 20 channels.
Usually, there is available a lower cost Cable Box or Analog Only Converter.
And just to keep things interesting, some Cable Systems (e.g. COMCAST,
Charter, etc) are trying to use alternative Encryption methods....which
might be incompatible with CableCARD DCR DTVs and TiVos.....
As I said earlier: Even if they are NOT "Digital Cable Ready" (DCR)
(look for a CableCARD slot), many DTVs will receive "Clear QAM"
digital cable signals in addition to OTA ATSC and, of course, Analog
signals will work with ANY TV. Check your DTV manual...
If your DTV has a CableCARD slot (like PCMCIA), then it WILL decode
"Clear QAM" without the CableCARD....and WITH CableCARD enabled,
can decode the many ENCRYPTED, extra cost, digital channels, which
usually INCLUDE SD Low-Rez versions of the Local Analog channels.
If your DTV doesn't decode "Clear QAM" digital signals, you'll only see
Local channels in ANALOG. To view the Hi-Def Local channels, you could
buy an external HD-STB (Set-Top-Box) or HD-DVR...or rent an HD Cable Box:http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=179095
PS: If you use a TiVo (e.g. Premier) DVR, pay a few more bucks/mo for
a CableCARD, which is needed for correct sub-channel number decoding
between the cable system and the downloaded TiVo channel grid...which
in turn requires a monthly access fee....and a CableCARD installation fee...