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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I called AT&T Broadband and they told me they are finally offering some HD channels for digital cable subscribers in Chicagoland. As they indicated before, they are NBC, FOX, HBO, and SHO. Not bad considering their time frame was 3-6 months as of a few weeks ago. Granted there's not a whole lot to go on yet in terms of programming (FOX and NBC are pretty much a waste of bandwidth), but finally those of us who can't have satellite can at least start getting HBO and SHO in HD...


I'll leave the disagreement as to whether HBO or Showtime's programming is truly HDTV to another thread :)

CORRECTION: AT&T is NOT yet providing HDTV service to subscribers in the Chicago market as of 6/11/02. The information relayed to me by 3 sales reps was false. I apologize for the error. (Please see later post)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Set-top boxes is where AT&T's service gets a little hazy. My understanding always was that most digital cable boxes are not able to receive HD content and new cable boxes capable of receiving HD programming would be required. I could be incorrect, however. I'm going to have to go searching through the archives here again to see if anyone else posted information on that from a different market where they already have cable HDTV.


AT&T told me they are installing Motorola set-top boxes and claim that those are capable of receiving HD content. I too am skeptical however because they say they've been using those for about a year or so and haven't been using any boxes specifically capable of HDTV, though they claim their current boxes already are. After speaking to 3 different technicians, none of them knew of any new boxes specifically designed for HDTV. Again, I'll have to peruse the archives here to be sure of that.


Also, AT&T told me there are no additional fees and they provide those HD channels to all digital cable subscribers. Subscription starts at $42.99 for digital cable, and with the HBO/Starz/Encore package (which includes HBO-HD,) it is $49.99.


I'm probably having it installed within a few weeks (after I find out a little more information), so we'll see how it goes.
 

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I posted a thread not too long ago (AT&T in HD with HDD 200) about a conversation I had with AT&T Broadband.


The STB she said they would be using is the General Instruments HDD200.


There is a link in that thread pointing to the General Instruments web site with information on that particular box. I'm pretty much a newbie, but I was able to find out that the box would not work for OTA broadcasting.


More recently I had a conversation with Mr. Pat Kennan (if I recall correctly...VP of Communications AT&T Broadband) about when and what AT&T would be rolling out in HD...here is a cut and paste of his return e-mail to me....


--Begin C&P--


We are planning the specifis of our HDTV launch to happen around the

July-Aug timeframe. We will offer Fox, NBC, HBO and Showtime HD programming

immediately. Your area is one where or cable plant is upgraded and you can

receive the signals. I can provide more details next month.


--End C&P--


I live in Schaumburg and am anxiously awaiting HBO and Showtime in particular in HD...recently got my Samsung SIR T150 up and running with a $50 RS antenna (the 190 model) and I seem to get all my locals very nicely - including CBS -.


Tom
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike2567
What kind of set top box is to be used, and what are the costs?
Except for HBO and SHOWTIME what is the purpose of a cable STB?


AT&T is currently sending CBS-DT and FOX( so called digital) via 8-VSB (just like over the air) on standard analog cable channels. What is their problem with the other local broadcast channels?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by gmichael



Except for HBO and SHOWTIME what is the purpose of a cable STB?


AT&T is currently sending CBS-DT and FOX( so called digital) via 8-VSB (just like over the air) on standard analog cable channels. What is their problem with the other local broadcast channels?
Aside from HBO and SHOWTIME, there really isn't much purpose of an STB. I do want to get one if not both of these though in HD, so I am eagerly awaiting that. I suppose some people having reception issues with NBC may have those solved if AT&T broadcasts NBC in a format other than 8VSB, but with their lack of HD content, there really isn't much reason for getting cable as an alternative to OTA HD right now.


As far as lack of channels goes, I'm sure bandwidth is a big concern as HD channels do eat up a lot of it, especially when transmitted via cable in 8VSB. However, I'm hoping that will change in the future as cable companies get more efficient at providing HD channels. One webpage of interest I ran across:

http://www.guidetohometheater.com/shownews.cgi?1314


Apparently it can squash down 4 HD channels into the space of one analog cable channel without a loss of quality. Hopefully if cable companies start to employ this method, we can start to expect more HD channels without a loss of quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by STayfair
More recently I had a conversation with Mr. Pat Kennan (if I recall correctly...VP of Communications AT&T Broadband) about when and what AT&T would be rolling out in HD...here is a cut and paste of his return e-mail to me....


--Begin C&P--


We are planning the specifis of our HDTV launch to happen around the

July-Aug timeframe. We will offer Fox, NBC, HBO and Showtime HD programming

immediately. Your area is one where or cable plant is upgraded and you can

receive the signals. I can provide more details next month.


--End C&P--


I live in Schaumburg and am anxiously awaiting HBO and Showtime in particular in HD...recently got my Samsung SIR T150 up and running with a $50 RS antenna (the 190 model) and I seem to get all my locals very nicely - including CBS -.


Tom


Unfortunately I have to take back my original post as a false alarm. After speaking to three more AT&T Sales reps I finally got someone who knew what they were talking about. Apparently AT&T has NOT yet launched HDTV service here in Chicago. The post by STayfair seems more accurate as far as the July-August timeframe. The rep I spoke to could not provide me with an exact date of availability, but I did request a call when the service is finally available.


AT&T really should do a better job educating its sales reps about the services they provide.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gmichael



Except for HBO and SHOWTIME what is the purpose of a cable STB?


AT&T is currently sending CBS-DT and FOX( so called digital) via 8-VSB (just like over the air) on standard analog cable channels. What is their problem with the other local broadcast channels?
Actually, AT&T does ONLY CBS-HD. It does NOT offer FOX-DT but merely FOX-Analog.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by FrankS
Actually, AT&T does ONLY CBS-HD. It does NOT offer FOX-DT but merely FOX-Analog.
Ah but this is not true.


CBS-DT is on channel 61 and 88

Fox-DT is on channel 31 and 81
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gmichael



Ah but this is not true.


CBS-DT is on channel 61 and 88

Fox-DT is on channel 31
Channel 31 is USA Network NOT FOX-DT.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mike2567
Good news if it's true. Don't mean to be a skeptic. What kind of set top box is to be used, and what are the costs?
The box that I have heard they will use is the General Instruments HDD200. The cost I've heard is $10.95/month to rent the box from AT&T.


You have to be a subscriber to AT&T digital cable and currently live in an area with "upgraded" service...what that means, I don't know.


Tom...holding my breath...
 
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