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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My local cable company offers "Digital Cable" and I went and got the digital cable box. But the picture and audio do not look or sound better at all, it just seems they were able to fit more channels in with the digital cable but everything looks normal.


Is digital cable supposed to be the same picture quality of DSS?
 

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Usually the channels 99 and lower are analog. 100 and above are digital. The quality will vary based on where you live and the cable company. I tried Time Warner digital for a month and a half. There was a ton of pixelization and the guide on the box was terrible. I went back to DBS.


-Robert
 

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When you compare digital cable to cable, I would much rather have the digital box. If you compare it to satelite, I would much rather have the satelite. Some of the digital cable boxes will allow you to use s-video out-puts to your TV as well as a digital output for the audio, just in case any channels are available as Dolbly Digital broadcasts.
 

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Digital cable really is digital (although some channels are still analog), but digital has no implied quality. You can have a horrible digital picture just as you can have a horrible analog picture. I think the cable companies are interested in digital cable for 2 primary reasons and PQ isn't one of them:

1. "Digital" is a very hot term for consumers and marketing, people tend to think it means "better"

2. digitizing the signal allows compression to be performed, giving the cable co more effective bandwidth for more channels.

they can control the quality:

more compression=lower quality, more channels;

less compression=higher quality, fewer channels

---- guess what they'll pick?


the same thing happens with DBS, except there are no analog channels at all. DBS typically looks better, however, because they've traditionally sold themselves as better quality than cable. most will say that even DBS PQ has suffered lately with the addition of so many new local channels. DirecTV has alleviated some of this by launching a new spot beam satellite that allows locals to overlap each other by sending certain signals to certain parts of the country only.
 

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I tried digital cable for a week or two and took it back. The picture quality was really poor compared to D*, even with the s-video hookup, and the menus were slower than my UTVs. The cable companies have gotten away from making any comparisons. Probably the two biggest reasons cable companies want digital cable is no signal piracy and the additional channels. Basically the digital box is activated using its MAC address, much the same as a network card. I'm sure they can't wait to shut down the analog signal.


just my .02


Sean
 

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I too fell into the "Digital Cable" trap. I quickly returned to Directv, even though the quality of Directv is headed south as well.


Heres how ATT Digital Cable ( in Mass) outright LIES to get your money:


1. They put a Dolby Digital logo on the box, but only analog connections.

If you call technical service, they will try to convince you that plugging in your RCA cables will give you Dolby Digital sound, if you don't know the difference between an analog and a digital connection, they will tell you that its digital sound you are hearing.


2. Only channels higher than 200 are digitized. Guess whats on channels higher than 200? a) pay channels B) channels you would probably rather pay them to REMOVE them ( like the countless channels of USELESS music)



Satellite is deffinitely the better choice. Just get your locals from an antenna.


Gus
 

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Jake, You hit the nail on the head.
 

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I live in the state of washington. I have seen a huge difference in piople with digital cable. Whenever you ar at someones house, you can tell right away if they have digital or not. Waaaaay better picture quality, sound. I will add that Paul Allen (MS) owns all the companys around here and has strung new cable, thousands of miles of new digital "fiber" cable. I don't know what they mean by

"Fiber" Cable, but that's what the guy said when I asked what they where doing.

We also can get Fiber Optic (not cable) internet connections here. 7 times faster then DSL, "Makes DSL seem like Digal Slow Line." ($39.95).

Just my 4 cents worth, Huge difference in quality of digital cable. HUGE Difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
YOU CAN GET PERSONAL FIBER CONNECTIONS FOR $39.95???!?!?!!!!!


for some reason i am skeptical...


but if it is true i think it is time to move to washington.
 

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Digital transmission gives the transmitter more control over the signal - they can choose to use the bandwidth for higher quality transmission (and limit the number of channels) or maximize the number of channels (by limiting quality). Some cable providers go for one of the extremes, and some go for a balance.


In my experience, the average cable customer - who is NOT a member of this forum - cares more about their specific channel selection than absolute picture quality. This is changing somewhat as the average TV size increases and satellite accordingly gobbles up more and more market share, but it is also balanced by the fragmentation of the TV audience. When more people care about niche channels than ever before, the cable companies feel that they can't just drop one to bump up overall bandwidth. And they don't want to drop the (low bandwidth) music or (high profit) pay-TV channels.


I'm not trying to excuse the often egregious behavior of our friendly cable monopolists, just trying to explain their logic.


-avi
 

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Regualtor,

just a little more on the fiber. In my county, we have the cheapest electric rates in the country. Last month, my bill was 56 cents (I was gone a lot) average at the peak of the year is about $20 tops. We have hydro electric from dams.

I live right on the columbia river where there is several dams. The PUD controls the dams by fiber optic lines. I said last year, but I went to chelan county PUD webpage and found it was 2 years a go that they got started to sell to privetly owned ISP's to be able to buy access to the lines. Here, all isp's have fiber optic available, one for as low as $35.99.

Can you beleve I still have dial up? My 50,333bps connections seem good enough for me.

Other then webpages loading faster, what things could I do with fiber that I can't do now?
 

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If you ever expect to get any HDTV content from your cable provider then you will have to sign up for their digital service. No ifs, and, or buts about it. I've been fairly satisfied with mine (Time Warner), but I really don't watch that much TV to begin with. I only signed up so I could receive the HDTV channels (2 HBO and 2 Showtime). The digital box they use is the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 2000 HD. This box has component outputs for the HD channels and composite and/or S-video for the SD channels (you can also use the coax cable connection if you don’t mind inferior picture quality). Audio connections include standard RCA left/right channel connectors and one coax digital audio connector. Cable service is almost mandatory where I live because geography prevents decent reception of over the air broadcasts. Satellite is not an option for me due to restrictions placed on the property I’m renting by the owner.


Ken
 

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Gus/Jake--Right on. I have Comcast 'Digital Cable" in Metro-Detroit and channels 1-100 are analog and 101 and above are Digital. The box says "Dolby Digital" and is anything but!! there is no digital optical out or coax out for audio, just R/L analog outputs.


Totally misleading the customers here...The people at my local Comshaft office told me (from behind the bullet proof glass) that they would not even look for a different box with digital audio output because they have 10 guys like me a week come in and ***** about the logo on the box and their false advertising. By the way, Canton is a fairly affluent suburb, so I questioned the bulletproof glass and they smart-assed me and said it was to protect against angry guys that complain about their service and boxes not having digital outputs.


*******s.
 
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