Originally Posted by SirDracula
So is it possible to get the 130 boxes even if I don't subscribe to HDTV? I was planning on getting HD but I'm renting and I'm not allowed to do any drilling/re-wiring and the living room only has coax. The 2nd tech that came out said that they just started using some amplified converters from CAT5 to coax and back to CAT5 to the setup box and he had excellent results with those for HDTV, they can get full-duplex over coax.
I'm not that interested in HD, while it looks great, there isn't much interesting content to watch to justify $11/box/mo. (or is it per account, regardless of the number of 130 boxes?). If I just want to admire an HD channel, I can do that with a room antenna for the OTA channels, but as far as the content goes, I'd still be watching std channels 99% of the time, hence they need to look good.
Now, I'd be interested in a couple of 130 boxes if they don't require me to get the HD service. Having HDMI is reason enough, it simplifies the hookup, but having a TiVo in the picture would still be a hack. I can't wait for the Surewest DVR, it would get rid of lots of cables behind my A/V rack.
I asked for 130 boxes despite only having one HDTV. Soon, everyone will need a box at least as new as the 130, as it is the first to support H.264 (aka MPEG4/AVC or MPEG4v10). Another difference is the newer boxes use a changeable smart card. This is apparently both a plus and a minus. I don't like the look of having my box sticking it's tongue out at me.
I believe the rental price is the same. You only pay the HDTV fee once per account, not for each box, as you would for a premium movie package. I can tune the HDTV channels even without a HDTV connected. It will letterbox the HDTV signal using the composite output.
I actually prefer to watch HDTV or nothing when I'm in front of my big screen. I am really enjoying National Geographic, even though a lot of their material is not true HDTV. Many things on Food Network and HGTV are not true HD either. It doesn't look terrible, but it is obviously a lower resolution that is just cut at the 16x9 ratio.
That sucks that you can't have the proper wiring. I understand being in a rental and being "stuck" with what you have. There are substitutes for the proper way, but they are bound to have some drawbacks... most notably dropped packets, seen as splotching or stuttering video. While wireless lists speeds adequate, those speeds are theoretical maximums, not a speed that can be expected to be reliable. I used to try to stream SD video from one ReplayTV to another over an 802.11g network. This theoretically should happen without any problem, but alas, there were many problems. Now that everything is hardwired with quality equipment, I'm running close to theoretical maximums. My work was tough and definitely not for everyone, but I'm happy with my system now. I use to rely on wireless for several computers in the house, now it is only there for convenience; as it should be (laptop).
I see you mentioned you could get HDTV OTA. That is not an option for me... I've tried. I happen to have a single-floor residence surrounded by two-story homes to the east, west and south... I can't pick up squat with an antenna unless I were to put it on a mast taller than my neighbor's homes.