Originally Posted by DLK
The Cisco HD Digital Transport Adapter supplied by WOW appears to function as advertised. However, if you are using the coax output (as opposed to the HDMI output), it appears to be incapable of sending a QAM signal out. This means that you get analog TV quality picture, even on the tunable HD channels. As my computer has only a tuner card with coaxial input. I can't get HD quality from this device on my PC (does anybody make an HDCP-compliant HDMI input device for a PC? I suspect the content providers will only see that over their dead body). I can run the HDMI directly into my monitor, but I have no way of grabbing the audio packets from the bitstream (I have no HDMI Audio De-Embedder or modern-enough HT receiver to do this).
On the plus side, I get more HD content than I was expecting. I'll try to post a list of HD channels I get with my "Expanded Basic" service, when the TV in the house frees-up. Also, the channel numbers from the list actually match those displayed from the box. Imagine that.
It may be moot, but my 'bundle' price with these folks has gotten quite outrageous. Obviously, customer loyalty means absolutely nothing to the folks at WOW. I'm seriously looking for an alternative, but the only other high bandwidth service currently available in my neighborhood is MediaCom, which doesn't sound like an improvement. I will probably dump the cable and keep internet/phone part. Internet service has been pretty good, although I'm still pissed about losing usenet service. Phone service is also pretty good, although we have minimum service (no long distance out, etc.) as we mostly use cellular.
This local market used to have pretty good cable service pricing, due to competition. This is no longer the case. There may be a whole bunch of price-fixing going on in this business, methinks.
If you want HD input on your computer, your only real choice is Ceton pci-e card or external USB tuner or a Silicon HD Home run Prime. All of those use cable cards and use Windows7 Media Center as the software. WOW rents cable cards for about $2.50 a month.
Your output to your display also has to be either HDMI or DVI with HDCP capabilities. There is a system verification test built into Windows Media Center(WMC). I've been using one for years as my DVR system. The Ceton tuner can record 4 channels simultaneously and the HD Home run Prime can record 3. You can also use Media Center Extenders elsewhere in your house to watch live and recorded TV from your WMC computer.
I suspect that WOW will eventually scramble everything, even local OTA channels as the braindead FCC allowed the cable companies to do so. Clearwater QAM will be a thing of the past.
The DTAs are OK for what they are, to allow older TVs to work with the all digital system. It will be interesting to see what happens in a couple of years when they start charging rent for them. The cable companies probably don't like them much since you can't do PPV with them where cablecos really make money. They are a necessary evil to get the FCC to go along with an all digital scrambled format.
BTW, all of the analog channels still available on WOW are also being broadcast digitally right now. The roll out dates for channels under 100 are really when they will turn off the old analog cable availability for those channels. I took my analog card out of my WMC computer yesterday and can receive everything I did before. I won't miss the analog a bit. In most cases the digital broadcast is much cleaner, which is to be expected.
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