I just ordered a HDHomeRun tuner to use with BeyondTV, and I'd really like to get good HDTV locals, but this situation has been bugging me for awhile, and I'd like some clarifications. I am very familiar with OTA and cable HDTV setups in the past. I now live in an apartment complex that is stuck in a contract with Grande Communications (www.grandecom.com
) for phone, internet, and tv (mistake #1).
I live on the north side of the building, and am not allowed to put a dish on the only eve that could view the southern sky, even though there was one before I moved in (mistake #2). I've asked, but haven't pushed very far with management. As I understand it from my reading they can't keep you from having a dish if it's entirely within your balcony and doesn't overhang causing a safety issue, but this isn't the case, so I think I'm just out of luck for satellite.
For the past year Grande has not offered any digital cable tv service, only basic/expanded analog cable. When I first moved in I called and was told it was coming, but no known timeline. I had since given up there. I assumed I couldn't fight the battle with Grande for HD if they didn't have digital, and I don't know if regulations really required them to carry digital signals. This doesn't seem much different than the past issues with satellite offering locals (what's the latest here?).
As a final option, I can receive OTA signals, although not as reliably as I'd like. The main problem is WFAA on VHF. I tried a variety of antennas, including full size outdoor ones. They too need to face south, and must be inside, obviously not ideal. For some reason my living room almost appears shielded. The only thing I can get to work is a terk hdtva in my bedroom with a 50ft cable running through the hallway. This is what I've been doing for some time now.
Recently, Grande had a big promotion introducing digital 'cable' at our complex. I noticed techs installing 3 large dishes on the side of the office building for the big roll-out. Obviously our digital 'cable' is just a shared dish (Dish Network I believe). I went in to talk to the reps on site for the day and was glad to hear about the HD package (still no DVR). I went on to ask if the locals would be provided "in the clear". He didn't have to understand the question, instead he actually answered that unfortunately they don't have to ability to offer any local channels in HD at the moment. (I also asked why can't they just put up a shared antenna and distribute that as well, but that went over his head.) The only good thing about Grande is the bundled price, but I can't justify paying an additional $30 for digital to include the HD tier if I can't even get locals. I've tried a couple times to check that it didn't magically appear with my tuner (LG-3510A tuner, capable of QAM). Since I haven't had digital installed maybe there is still something to hook up at my end that might enable it. I did notice the channel guide lists the locals, but haven't called back in the past month to see if anything has changed.
I'm trying to understand the FCC regulations. The most involved description I've found is that the basic cable tier must include domestic broadcast stations, and that this tier must be unencrypted, and that this is interpreted to mean both analog and digital (not necessarily in HD).
I've seen a couple discussions, but here is an example...http://archive2.tivocommunity.com/ti...2957&p=2201139
Now, that I've detailed my situation I'd really just like to further understand the FCC regulations and any loopholes in the legal stuff before I call Grande again. I've read that the FCC is overloaded as it is, and doesn't much care if you contact them. I'm hoping though that if I knew my stuff I could talk it up. To them it probably sounds like I want something for nothing, but I'd consider upgrading to digital if I could get the locals in HD. But then again, that doesn't sound right, because if they can do that, I shouldn't have to upgrade, right?
I think there's several issues here...
If they can offer 2 HD packages and a long list of channels, shouldn't I be able to get locals?
I'm not sure about the latest on regulations for satellite in different markets, but I noticed you can get locals on Dish if you pay $5/month.
Now, if Grande is a cable company (which isn't supposed to encrypt locals), but they're actually getting programming from Dish (which can charge more), what rules apply?
I also welcome any other suggestions or explanations if anybody knows what Grande is up to here. Thanks!