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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had a cablecard installed by Time Warner here in KC this afternoon. The tech had only installed 1 cablecard before and said to his knowledge only 15 have been installed by TWC in the KC metro so far. Wow, I never thought I'd be such an early adopter.


Anyway, he plugged it in and within a couple minutes a black screen popped up with my set's specific cablecard and host id #. He waited while they turned on my card by adding it on their end. They added the HD tier as well. The entire process took around 30 minutes due to a miscommunication on the host id.


He walked out and I was happily enjoying looking through my new window to the world. Wow, amazingly clear. INHD offers images that blow away anything I've seen OTA on the major networks. Truly a window experience. (and I only have a 42" Panny ED plasma!) All channels are automatically labeled too which is a nice touch.


However, the card has been flakey on some HD stations all afternoon. Some of the HD tier is just coming in sporadically. They'll freeze and I'll come back after a few seconds and they'll be fine. Only the upper HD tier seems effected so far. I made a service call and they had no idea. They said the cards are so new all they can do is send a tech and let him "fiddle with it." Greeeat.


Other issue: The set lags on certain commands since the card was installed. For example, sometimes when I punch in a channel number nothing happens for a moment. Also, the menu will pause between screens longer than it used to.


All minor pains, but just FYI for anyone considering diving into the early adopter pool. I'd be interested in hearing from other Panny cablecard users if there are any out there yet.
 

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Early Adopters always pay, one way or another.


I expect some "issues" like housecor describe (lagging channel tuning, etc.), but I hope it isn't too bad, considering the rental of the card is only $2 per month, with $30 installation. I have to wait till 10/29/2004 for the next available installation schedule, though -- I hate waiting (wanted it install this coming Friday, but...)...


I live in Southern California, and Cox is just OK, IMHO! The order lady said I will not have to pay additional for the second TV where this CableCard goes, other than the $2 card rental month. She confirmed I will not be charge for a 2nd digital line - is this true for you Cox subscriber out there?


Will I be able to get HD channel since I already have the HD tuner built-in on my Panny 42pd25u/p? I currently pull a few HD channels over my OTA antenna.


thanks...
 

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housecor,


Where at's in overland park are you.


I know Time Warner went the cheap route when they did the digital upgrades and I used have these same drop outs and hesitations. But they sent someone out to boost the signal and all was fine.


Though yours maybe be more set related it may help to lean on them to get you a stronger signal. In digital even weak signals provided good picture and its hard to figure out exactly what the problems are.


I'm on Everest now though and they have been just fine.


How many HD channels do you get. What quality are they?

Might defect cos Everest only get about 20 HD channels (including HBO & showtime) and they charge you over $10 for it.
 

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Hey guys,


This might be a stupid questions (so I apologize) but once you get the cablecard installed...how would you run the sound portion to your receiver for example?


Since there is no cable box anymore...would you then run a toslink out from the TV into the receiver?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by miken168
Hey guys,


This might be a stupid questions (so I apologize) but once you get the cablecard installed...how would you run the sound portion to your receiver for example?


Since there is no cable box anymore...would you then run a toslink out from the TV into the receiver?
Yes, Optical digital connection from the TV's out to the receiver does the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dusty144 - Thanks for the tip on signal strength. That's exactly what another friend recommended. I'm getting around a dozen HD channels for 4.75/mth. Not a bad deal since it includes all the networks, ESPNHD, INHD 1 & 2 , DiscoveryHD, and TNT. PQ is mediocre on the networks and astounding on the dedicated HD networks.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by housecor
Yes, Optical digital connection from the TV's out to the receiver does the trick.
When using analog outs from a TV out to a reciver - the audio quality was diminished. Is this a different story with optical digital? Just wondering if anyone has compared the difference from running straight from the device vs out from the TV with optical.



JCPZero
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by housecor
dusty144 - Thanks for the tip on signal strength. That's exactly what another friend recommended. I'm getting around a dozen HD channels for 4.75/mth. Not a bad deal since it includes all the networks, ESPNHD, INHD 1 & 2 , DiscoveryHD, and TNT. PQ is mediocre on the networks and astounding on the dedicated HD networks.
TWCKC is fairly notorious even nationally for poor signal strength. Some thing to do with their not replacing equipment in the last mile when they went digital.


Did you get a chance to identify the cable card and manufacturer. I'm sure the manufacturer will be more responsive than TWCKC. One of the reasons I'm no longer with them.


Are they charging you that for the card? Seems they should give you a discount for not having a box. The plan at one time had been for consumers to be able to buy these cards so cable companies don't get to make that tax free money on the depreciated boxes of their customers.
 

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housecor,


I have Comcast in the Baltimore, MD area and had virtually the identical experience - stations freezing up - mostly HD or high numbered digital stations. Technicians came out and tested the signal strength - which was fine. They didn't know what else to do. They couldn't diagnose the problem or offer a solution for the card problem. I couldn't live with the sporadic freeze-ups. I too felt like a proverbial guinea pig.


A Comcast engineer offered to swap the card out for their Pace HD box until they receive an updated card. Scientific Atlanta, who makes the card, is coming out with a firmware upgrade #141 which should be available through Comcast in late November. While the program guide from the HD box is nice, unless it's an HD signal you must choose the box's zoom or stretch modes to fill the screen - they both suck. The CableCard connection allows my consumer Panny 50" to use it's internal picture scaler modes - zoom, full and just - and they're much nicer on the eyes.


I'm definitely going back to the CableCard assuming they work out the bugs. Good luck with your Card's reception.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
dusty144 - I'm paying only 1.75/month for the card. Much cheaper than the 12/month box. I haven't pulled the card yet simply for concerns that I might have to reenable it by calling in the hostid# again, but I may if the next tech visit doesn't fix my upper HD channels.


zima - Wow, thanks for the feedback. Did you happen to pull the card and put it back in? Just curious if it needs reactivated if you do. And yes, the PQ issue is one of the biggest reasons I chose a set with cablecard - I don't want to put up with subpar set top box processing.
 

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It took me three trips from a Comcact technician here in southern NJ but the Cablecard is finally up and running (for the last month). I have had zero problems since it started working properly and my channels are even labeled! PQ is outstanding, although it is my first HD set so it better be! I can't wait to get more cablecard sets for my basement bedroom etc! Comcast does not charge for the card and installation was free, so it's not a bad deal at all. I even called Comcast a couple days later and they offered me cable for $29.99/mo for an entire year, with the HD channels! So to me, who would rater rent a dvd and don't really miss the channel guide, cablecard is the real deal once you get it to work. I thought not having the channel guide would be a big deal, but it doesn't really bother me at all. I figure that in a year or two I'll be getting a cablecard Tivo that will resolve that issue anyway, and in the meantime I will save some dough.


BTW, changing channels is not too slow, but not superfast like the old school tv's. The HD box I had while waiting for cablecard to work was much faster. In fact, it was much faster than my old digital box too. Supposedly because of more memory. But the ability to use PIP more than makes up for channel change speed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
ritewinger - Man, Comcast is cutting you a great deal. I assume you're in an area with competition. TWC is my only option (other than sat), so pricing is a bit higher. So what did the tech do on his 3 trips to get your cablecard up and running? Thanks for the input.
 

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The tech did nothing different on the last, successful trip to my house. However, he did bring a new card which may have helped. Everything for these cards is done at the programming point on their end. The user really only plugs the card in and provides the codes to the head-end for them to program.


And I am not in an area where there is competition. Only other option for me would be to go with satellite, but then I would not get Comcast Sportsnet which shows all local sports, except Eagles football. However, when I called I mentioned the fact that the Flyers will not be playing due to lockout and Sixers aren't that important to me so satellite had suddenly become a viable option.
 

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My local TWC (Milwaukee) doesn't offer digital pricing packages with the card yet. So the money you save about $5 using the card is more than eatin up by having to buy ala carte programing instead of packages. Any one else having this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Just an update for anyone interested - The solution to my sporadic cutouts and blacked out channels was simple: pull the plug. TWC suggested I reboot my TV. After pulling the plug for a few seconds and plugging it back in, my cablecard is tuning all channels properly and my menus are no longer acting slow/strange.


Also. FWiW, I'm using a scientific atlanta cablecard, so we can at least confirm this brand works on this Panny.
 
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