Cox LV HD Specifics and Facts (FAQ?) - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 7 Old 08-03-2002, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Reading through the forum, I have noticed a lot of talk and speculation about COX Las Vegas HD. Here are a few specifics and facts to answer most questions - Got a question - ask?

1) FACT: COX LV uses QAM digital tuning for transmission for all digital content, including HD. No 8VSB (OTA) signals are being sent so integrated tuners will not work. 8VSB (OTA) signals take up the space of about 4 channels and use up too much bandwidth.
SPECULATION: It is possible that after the local TV stations DROP their analog broadcast (Jan. 1, 2007) maybe the 8VSB signals will be piped down the old "Must Carry" local analog frequencies so that integrated tuners can pick up those channels.

2)FACT: COX is currently showing 7 HD channels - HBO E&W, SHO E&W, Discovery HD Theater, CBS and PBS. More feeds to come as local channels start broadcasting. ABC was in the lineup and taken off for public launch because they could not keep their transmitter working correctly.
SPECULATION - almost FACT: NBC launches their HD content feed August 15. ABC should have their problems resolved before the end of August. These will be rebroadcast as soon as they are available.

3)FACT: COX does NOT do any of the programming or make changes to the signal other than putting it out on their QAM transmitters. HBO, SHO and Discovery HD are off a Sattelite feed - Locals are currently off an 8VSB tuner ( yes, an antenna) and piped via QAM to the 700's of digital cable. If the source is not in HD, it doesn't go out HD (other than 1080i upconversion)
SPECULATION: Fiber feeds from the broadcasters may improve the reliability of source feeds in the event a transmitter goes down. As the valley gets rewired, this may be a possibility in the near future.

4)FACT: The STBs in use are the Scientific Atlanta 3100 series with Component video out for all channels at 1080i. HD signals can't be viewed through the s-video or composite jacks. Some TV's do not accept the 1080i DTV or Component signals. If the TV is capable of HD but only through RGB, a converter may be bought from COX for a fee to convert from the STB's native component output to an RGB output. The component output is not scaleable to different formats. If you have a 16x9 TV and watch 4x3 material, you WILL have the black bars on the sides viewing through the HD output. Most TV's will not allow you to change the format while viewing the DTV input. In those cases, switch to the s-video or composite source input and change your viewing mode to prevent burn-in.
SPECULATION: New boxes are being tested for a possible roll out in the first half of 2003. These boxes have the following reported features: Scaleable output (4x3, 16x9, zoom, etc) to eliminate the black bars. PVR based on "REPLAY" technology that will record the HD signal and have multiple tuners for viewing and recording at the same time.

5)SPECULATION: COX is not making any money directly off the HD offering. I put this as speculation because I do not actually know the profits from HD, but it's very high on the probability list for these reasons. The cost of the equipment to roll out HD has not and will not be compensated by the new users (YAY!!!) The additional fees are priced only for the completely new Discovery HD channel ($5 as agreed by the original broadcasters for rebroadcast) and installation (<$50) to offset training and cost associated with contractors and crews. HBO and SHO are added at no extra cost as long as you subscribe to those channels on regular digital cable and the locals are free to subscribers. The box rental is on par with a regular digital cable box (~ $11/mo) and far cheaper than buying one outright ($455 each)
I think that they are hoping to offer a better package for all users and possibly get new accounts from other non-terrestrial HD users.

6)FACT: HD NET at this time should not be on any major cable system due to liscence agreements with certain "other" companies not providing cable services.
SPECULATION: Rumor is that ESPN may launch an extreme channel this year called EXPN (???) that is all shot in HD, sort of like Disovery HD theater. Also rumored is an addition to the Fox Sports family that may be broadcast in HD. Discovery denied the HD channel up until a few weeks or so before it went live, so there may be hope for other channels to step forward as they test and go live. Typically they will not say they are going to do something unless it is already in the final testing stage for fear of getting bad press.

7)FACT: PPV is not currently in HD. As stated earlier, COX is not processing any signals, just re-transmitting what they get. They get all PPV from an outside source.
SPECULATION: Currently "IN-DEMAND is the PPV provider and if they decide to have an HD channel feed to COX, it is plausible that COX will retransmit that too.

More facts to follow as questions are asked - this is a bit more time consuming than anticipated...

Vegggas
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post #2 of 7 Old 08-03-2002, 05:00 PM
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What is the minimum package you need to get the HD local channels. Can I just pay $10 for the box and get the locals only or do I need an analog plan besides. I would like to just get a cable modem and the HD locals. Is this possible.

Thanks,
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post #3 of 7 Old 08-03-2002, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by lvthunder
What is the minimum package you need to get the HD local channels. Can I just pay $10 for the box and get the locals only or do I need an analog plan besides. I would like to just get a cable modem and the HD locals. Is this possible.

Thanks,
Although I'm not a sales rep for COX (it does look like it though) I can only give a guidline to current pricing as mentioned in ads and materials.

To actually get the HD channels, you currently HAVE to be a digital subscriber or become one. Some areas of the valley may still not be upgraded from Prime cable's old wiring (COX bought them out a while ago and are refurbishing / replacing all of the lines and moving to fiber). All of the HD, digital and cable modem signals require higher bandwidth and acceptable return frequencies, so older sections of the valley (i.e. center and NE) may still experiece poor signals at those frequenies.
It looks like the bare minimum would be a digital package with HD local (only CBS and PBS) is probably around $50, but I think an HBO/SHO package is about $75. Also there is a $49 installation fee to consider.
As far as local channels go, CBS is displaying HD mostly during primetime and for one of their soaps during the day all else is SD. PBS is showing the national PBS feed loop. For just these two channels, it might be better to get an OTA STB from a retail store's clearance table. I almost picked up a panasonic for $150 a few months ago at RC Willy's before I heard about the cable feed.
Call 383-4000 for service and see if it's available in your area first (99% coverage?) and then to see what packages are availabe. Good luck!

(Opinion: The monthly charges for HD are not really any more than current charges if you are a current digital customer (except $50 installation of the box). If you are converting from or trying to add to sat signals, then it becomes much more cost effective to bundle just the cable signals - Why subscribe to the same channel packages of sat and cable and pay fees for both? This is probably how they are trying to convert customers from sat to cable service.) - No flames please, just an opinion and possible explanation of pricing.

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post #4 of 7 Old 08-23-2002, 12:25 PM
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Any word on NBC and ABC's switch? How about UPN/WB/Fox?

Thanks,

Tim
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post #5 of 7 Old 08-23-2002, 01:21 PM
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When is Cox going to come out with a Nationwide HD rollout schedule. Are the avalablity of the HD boxes slowing this rollout.

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post #6 of 7 Old 08-24-2002, 08:43 PM
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I imagine the boxes are part of the slow roll-out. But also the "training" of the installers.

After all that's why they're chargin a lousy $50 to install the things... and won't let 'ya pick one up at the "storefront".
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post #7 of 7 Old 08-27-2002, 03:09 PM
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I had mine installed yesterday. The tech heard that they would be getting 4 or 5 more HD stations fairly quickly. He didn't know which ones other than ABC and NBC (and possibly Fox). So far, everything is wonderful, Discovery HD is incredible and I watched CSI in HD yesterday. Life is sweet.
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