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What would I need to get the best cable picture (analog and digital)? Im going to build an HTPC for use with a RCA MM52110. Im planning on getting the accessdtv card, will that work with the DTV software to get the best picture from cable or will I need a different piece of hardware? Thanks for the all the useful information I have found thus far, im just a little unclear as to this.


Greg
 

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As a AT&T cable customer in Palo Alto I can vouch for the bad quality signal. The only reason I keep the service is because my teens have memorized the various channels. When something good comes on my 13 year-old yells out "dad, please switch to the OTA digital channel for this show."


That's my boy.
 

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Believe it depends heavily on your cable source. I've been receiving cable via Time Warner (and its predecessors) for decades here in NYC and have always been satisfied with the service. Fiber optics now plays a crucial role. They've used it as a 'backbone' for many years here, trimming the number of cable amps between me and the headend. That usually reduces noise in images (more amps, farther from the headend, more noise, either barely perceptible or annoying).


About one year ago I believe they made our building a fiber-optic node, which in a city often consists of several hundred potential subscribers. This, essentially a direct optical fiber to the headend, plus digital cable startup, also improves the images and provides many more options . The source of your digital cable, and how much compression is used, is also crucial. Haven't seen many complaints online from most Time Warner subscribers, which uses its own compression scheme, but there are numerous complaints from ATT users.


All this isn't to say you might not receive a better OTA NTSC channel compared to the cable version (slightly less noise and perhaps more bandwidth and resolution), but suspect it would take some close A-B observation. Some of the premium (digital and analog) movie channels are so good here, I suspect at times it's being piped down the cable at greater than standard OTA bandwidth. That's a limitation of OTA signals, which needn't be adhered to on a cablecast (although it still must be compatible with bandwidth limitations of standard NTSC tuners). Just to make this 'HDTV': T-W here also pipes some HDTV channels down the cable (8-VSB and QAM), although not enough of them, and they haven't issued HDTV cable converters to the masses yet as they have in Houston. -- John


------------------

STOP DVI/HDCP AND DFAST




[This message has been edited by John Mason (edited 04-28-2001).]
 

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To get the best picture, get rid of cable.


In most areas, the video and audio quality are seriously compromised.


Les
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have 5 tv's and internet service through cable so that really isn't an option for me. I don't want to have to get sat. boxes for each tv.


Thanks,

Greg
 

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I agree with Les,


I have satellite and basic cable. When I switch to cable, the picture quality is noticably worse. When I had just cable, I thought it looked pretty good. If got to use cable, run the cable directly to the primary target, after that you can split it up, which makes the picture even worse. Also, PC tuner cards require a very strong signal, so you should send it there first.


Glenn
 

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I was on the board of directors of our local cable company for some years; we recently sold to ATT.


The quality of cable audio and video is seriously compromised. In fact, it is the worst program source you can get. The entire cable industry is simply not set up to deliver anything like quality. Even if your local cable TV company wants to do a good job, its almost impossible.


I bought an HDTV/DTV receiver, new antenna an DirecTV dish for HBOHD, and WOW is the quality better! Even standard definition programming is so much better on OTA DTV.


I still have cable for the internet and the rest of the family, but am now trying to figure out how to reduce my cable needs with the idea of eventual elimination.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all of your info, we currently have Charter Communications (owned by Paul Allen of Microsoft). They just changed completely over to fiber this past fall so I guess i'll just have to try it and see. Thanks again all.
 
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