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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How is it? I have DirecTV with TiVo now, but the "almost free" HDTV decoder is a very tempting offer, especially with DVI threatening all current STBs.


I want to get into the HDTV game, but my concerns are with digital cable. What about this:


1) Is pixelation a problem? Does the picture appear in "bits" as you change channels?


2) How does the on-screen guide compare to DirecTV?


3) Do you have to wait long for the picture to appear?


I have only had analog cable and then been a DirecTV customer for about four years now. I just can't stomach spending over $400 for a STB that could be obsolete, then installing another ant. just to get local HD channels. Cable seems easier, especially with keeping up with the new merger.


Comments, suggestions?


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1) pixelation:

Horrible on some of the regular digital channels, but not all of them.

Analog channels are have terrible picture quality.

HDTV channels are fantastic, very little pixelation.


2) On screen guide sucks. Advertisements take up half of the screen. You can only see one time slot at a time. Dish Network's boxes (which many people claimed were inferior to DirecTV's guides) were MUCH better than the Time Warner box.


3) It takes a 2-4 seconds when you switch to an HD channel. I've found that sometimes hitting the "Exit" button on the remote right after channing to a HD channel will make it appear about 1 second earlier (but it might be my imagination).


Comments: HDTV channels are nice. We get 9 of them (HBO-HD-E, -W, Showtime HD-E, -W, PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX). It is sad it costs roughly $70/month to get this package and I hardly ever watch the non-HD channels. (I wish they just had an "HD" package for $20/month.)
 

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You're going to notice most of the same things in cable that you have grown used to in satelite.


Pixelization, pictures in bits, etc. that's a fact of digital transmission, not the media of transmission. The picture is sent in bits and when you switch, the system syncs up in the middle of a visual field.


Personnaly, I don't like the cable guide. It's got ads on every page, the show titles are abreviated to the point where imagination is a bigger part of knowing what's coming up than the information devulged by the guide.


SD channels appear very quickly but, with the HD boxes in Houston, when you switch an HD channel, the 16:9 output has to wait for the SD resolution guide title to timeout (5 sec.) before it can display HD. If you press exit after making the change, this will rush the guide off and HD on (2 sec.).


TWC was running a dish buyback promotion but I'm don't know how long the offer ran/is running, up to $260 in free install, rebates, discounts, etc.


I had DirectTV HD but when I moved from Corpus Christi to Houston, the cable local, HBO and SHO content and price just totally beat DirectTV's offering.


Installations and infrastructure conditions have been a problem for several HD customers in Houston including myself, it has taken considerable time and patience to get the bugs worked out of the house, neighborhood and node of the digital cable to get a reliable picture. If you live by yourself, I sure this would be more of a hassle than it was for me with a family at home to let the techs look at symptoms/results.


But, when it is good it is very very good.


TerryB
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This is more or less what I expected. I had actually signed on with TWC in June, just after Allison hit (we moved here that weekend). I ended up firing TWC before they could get anything done because it took so long (2+ weeks) to even get a digital picture. I ended up going back to DirecTV.


The TWC offering seems great because of the HD content, but the problems I mentioned seem to be unavoidable ones.


My wife HATES digital cable.


This is a tough choice:


1) Fantastic HD programming on almost ten stations with ZERO equipment cost, but with horrible SD content.


2) Superior SD content with very limited and costly HD programming and hardware (DirecTV, Dish Network).


Anyone know of any other TWC specials that I should ask for besides the dish buyback?


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