“Digital” Cable Woes in Nashville

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Hinson, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. Dan Hinson

    Dan Hinson Stunt Coordinator

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    I should prep this story by pointing out that I have a relatively new Mitsubishi 65” Widescreen HDTV.

    I am currently in the process of moving to Nashville. I say “in the process” because my wife is already there. I have to finish up my job here in Texas, and I will join her in a few weeks.

    Anyway, she decided to have Comcast “digital” cable installed, as there was apparently some kind of special at the time. I believe installation was only around $10.00 and we get HBO free for two months. In any case, I was in town the day the “cable guy” arrived to hook it up.

    He brought in a General Instruments cable box with only coaxial and RCA-type video/audio connections. I asked if boxes were available that had either s-video or component video connections. He claimed not to know and said I could call Comcast to request such a box. Even if I could obtain such a box, I am not sure if the picture quality would be any better. As I understand it, only channels above 100 are actually “digital.”

    I began to sense that this guy was clueless, but I did not realize just how clueless until I asked my next question. I said that I knew that Comcast now has HDTV boxes, and asked how I might obtain such a box and how much it would cost. While standing no more than 6 feet from my TV, which was ON and displaying a digital signal (being received over my attic antenna), he proceeded to ask me, “Do you have an HDTV?” I kid you not! I just stared at him for a period of a few seconds and finally managed to blurt out, “uh… yeah,” and just pointed to the TV.

    It was at this point that he took note of the quality of the picture on my TV. “Is that over the air?” he asked. I explained to him that yes, it was, and that it was a digital signal being received by my antenna. I flipped over to CBS so he could he see the high definition picture. He seemed mesmerized.

    He then proceeded to tell his companion (a teenager) that “hey, they are broadcasting HDTV signals over the air now.” I said, “Uh…, many stations across the county have been broadcasting HDTV over the air well before they have been on cable. “I haven’t heard about this,” was his response. These guys were TOTALLY clueless. I was dumbfounded.

    In any case, can anyone tell me if cable boxes exist (and if Comcast in Nashville has them available) that have s-video or component connections? Is it even worth it or is the picture quality improved? We get good DTV reception, and can get more HDTV/DTV stations over the air than what Comcast carries anyway, so I will probably not go that route.

    Also, what about Satellite? How are sat boxes connected? (I have no experience with satellite, so I must claim ignorance.)
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  3. Bob Jr.

    Bob Jr. Stunt Coordinator

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    There are many digital cable boxes that have S video inputs. Scientific Atlanta is probably the most popular - that's what I have. I would guess that most satellite receivers have both S video and component cable inputs and many have the DVI connection and RGB as well. I have a Toshiba DST 3000 that has S video, component and RGB. Although it is a direct TV receiver, I just use it for OTA transmissions.
     
  4. Randy Noel

    Randy Noel Stunt Coordinator

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    Comcast in Nashville uses the Motorola HD box, and it has both S-Vid and Component. You simply take your regular digital box to Comcast and they will swap you out, no charge, no extra monthly fee. PQ on HD broadcasts is excellent, non-digital channels are pretty poor but watchable (I have a 65" Toshiba), digital channels are a bit better. Hopes this helps.
     
  5. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    Yeah you should be able to take it in and swap it for an HD box at no cost, I work for Comcast in Washington State (formerly AT&T Broadband) and thats all you've got to do up here the picture quality on HD is far superior to Satelite HD since Satelite down converts to 720p for transmission and then upconverts it back to 1080i at the box, Comcast runs completely uncompressed so you're getting full 1080i all they way through from the source. And if you dont believe me they covered this in one of the home theater magazines recently I just cant remember which one. Plus to get full HD capability with Satelite you have to have 3 LNB's on your dish its pretty bad.
     

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