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Digital Cable Box, Uh-Huh, Sure...

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Jon_Welker, Nov 2, 2003.

  1. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Well-Known Member

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    Two Fridays ago I was helping out a good friend install her HT system which consisted of the following:

    Marantz SR6300
    NHT M5 L/C/R
    NHT CS 8.3 surrounds
    Marantz DVD Changer (DV4300 I believe)
    Philips 34" Widescreen HD CRT
    and, this cable box that Charter says is Digital

    Digital, huh? Best video output on the thing was composite. It had a S-video area, but the plug-in wasn't there, just a piece of metal over it. And, audio? It had analog ouputs. Doesn't sound very digital to me. I'm in the process of trying to get her to convert from the dark side to satellite. Digital cable box my ass...
     
  2. Tim K

    Tim K Well-Known Member

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    well, I'm sure SOME of the signal transmitted to the box is digital. And I'm sure the box converts those signals to analog for her.

    I love how they call it digital cable even though only channels 100+ are transmitted digitally. Of course, all of the channels YOU want to watch are between 2-99!!! Thank God that I get a good digital picture on the Euro-techno-digi-punk-rock all music channel 437. Who wants to be able to watch Seinfeld reruns anyway!
     
  3. Ryan Patterson

    Ryan Patterson Well-Known Member

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    "Digital" is becoming an overused term for cable and even satellite companies these days to fiercely compete with each other. For cable companies, "digital" simply refers to some channels being transmitted through the cable stream as a digital signal as opposed to analog. I'm not surprised that composite-only cable boxes are still out there, considering it seems that many channels only broadcast a composite signal. I watch my satellite programming through the S-Video connection, and see dot crawl and other composite artifacts on many of the channels.

    I'm finding that the whole "digital" thing is seriously overrated, particularly after owning a Bell ExpressVu satellite system for the past 4 months and watching it through a 43" 480p TV. Sure, the picture is free of analog noise, but macro-block compression noise is annoying on many of the channels. When I hooked up my analog cable using the RG-6 cable that I bought for my satellite system, the analog signal was much better and sure gave the satellite system a run for its money. (Kind of ironic that cable companies don't push the RG-6 cable as much as satellite companies do).

    My 2 cents,
    Ryan
     
  4. RyanSoares

    RyanSoares Well-Known Member

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    what is an RG-6 cable is that regular coax?
     
  5. Ryan Patterson

    Ryan Patterson Well-Known Member

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    RG-6 is a type of coaxial cable, but it has a thicker core (ie. the metal thing sticking out at both ends) and sometimes comes with more isolation (thicker cable overall). This helps prevent signal degration over long distances. Since the wall where my cable comes in from outside is about 40' away from my living room, it made a very noticable improvement in quality over using standard RG-59 cable that you would get at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, etc.
     
  6. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Well-Known Member

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    The digital cable box I had was like that, it even had the DD logo on it, but no digital output whatsoever. I believe some of the movie channels occasionally send DD, so if those boxes actually had the output you could use it. At least from what I've heard of Comcast's HD support you can use the component and digital outputs for all channels, analog and digital.
     
  7. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Well-Known Member

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    The DD logo means that it can decode a DD signal and downmix to two channes and output via analog cables. Remember DD isn't always 5.1, it can be 4.1, 4.0, 1.1,.1, etc whatever.

    Daniel Smith
     
  8. Tod Golden

    Tod Golden Well-Known Member

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    I might be able to clarify since I had the same issue with my cable company. (Comcast)

    After purchasing a 61" RPTV I wanted the DD box with the S-Video output. Found out they were available and contacted Comcast. They told me to "stop on by" and they would exchange it for me. So, I bring the old one by for replacement only to find out they wouldn't exchange it because I don't subcribe to their silver package. The one with all the movie channels. It would've been nice if they would've told me that over the phone. A friend who works at Comcast says those thing are like gold and are hard to get if you don't have the silver package. He told me to subscribe to the Silver for a month and then cancel. They typically don't send a truck out for a box.

    As for the Comcast HD package, four lousy channels. Not worth the 30.00 install and the five extra dollars a month. I get more HD channels from my built-in OTA tuner on my TV.

    If she is getting the movie channels my advice would be to contact the cable company and see if the DD box is available.

    Tod
     
  9. Tim K

    Tim K Well-Known Member

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    I guess I am luckier with Comcast around here. I have the HD box (Moto 5100) and it doesn't cost anything extra...same price as a regular digital box (1 is included, $6 for each addtl). That box has S-video, Component, RGB, and composite out for video. And has Digital Coax and composite out for audio. I get alot of digital audio via cable. Alot of the movies and movie channels, and most of the HD programming. Quite a bit of 5.1 mixes surprisingly. Of course, overall the price for cable is absurdly rediculous. If you want HBO you have to get the package with 19 HBOs and 20 Starz, and this that and the other station. Basically, its like $30 for 50 channels I would never ever watch. As soon as Sex and the City is off the air, HBO is GONE.

    If I tried to cancel it now I think my wife would rename it "No Sex in the city!".
     
  10. Jon_Welker

    Jon_Welker Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm a satellite lifer anymore. Heck, I bouth an open-box Samsugn SIR-S75 for about $80, and it has a optical output for when movies are played on HBO in 5.1. Now that's living up to what is advertised. None of this downmixing stuff. I just have a general disliking for cable companies I guess, especially Charter. Heck, half their Sr. Management was brought up on fraud charges. Just blowing off steam a little...
     
  11. Wayde_R

    Wayde_R Well-Known Member

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    Digital is overused.

    I think it came to a head for me in the late 80s when I saw a pair of speakers with the claim imprinted on the front "digital ready". You know the kind, a six inch woofer then a 12 inch passive radiator underneath.

    I work in software where marketing schpeil regularly tries to get passed off as "geek-speak". The term "multimedia" so abused nobody knew what it meant anymore. The same thing is happening now to the term "Synchronization".

    Synchronize is two things becoming the same or at least sharing their repositories. I've heard it so abused...IE, it can "synchronize" you data... that they've had to append the very term to include a sub form of synchronization called... "One Way Synchronization". Yes, an oxy moron if ever I heard one. Software has another albeit lower tech term for the "one way synchronization" it's called "Copy".
     

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