desperate times

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jimmy vb, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. Jimmy vb

    Jimmy vb Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm near the end of my rope looking for creative solutions to getting hd signals into my house.

    1--I live in a region that has almost no over the air television. We get one nbc affiliate that just went digital and one pbs station. That is all there is and that is all there will ever be.

    2--I live in the woods--I have had four satellite guys from both companies come out and all say that I have no hope of satellite signal.

    3--My cable company will be the very last on earth to do anything with hd. Emerging from bankruptcy, they seem to have lost focus on the whole hd issue. AFter getting the runaround at the national office and the regional office, I finally talked to the local service manager who said they have not even talked about implementing it in my area. I don't know of anyone with this company(rhymes with Shmadelphia) in ANY market is getting hd--even though other companies within 90 miles of here are offering hd on cable out the yingyang(kudos especially to comcast).

    Rather than continue a rant--I have a question. My company uses the Scientific Atlanta boxes for digital cable. If I could somehow get my hands on a Scientific Atlanta 3100hd box--would it decode and deliver an hd signal to my set--or does that have to be arranged from the cable company "headend". Is it just a matter of the box or does the whole system have to be set up for it. I am reaching here--I think I am doomed to wait until my company, which will drag their feet as much as possible, starts delivering hd cable. In the meantime I am looking for any solution I can. At least the dvds and even the digital pay channels look great.
     
  2. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Yeah, you're screwed. The cable company, which I believe rhymes with Screw-the-consumer-I'm-raping-this-company-for-all-I-can-skim-adelfia, will eventually have to provide digital TV (not necessarily high-def) when analog broadcasting ceases 1-1-06 (if the FCC has its way).

    There are advantages to living in a smog-ridden, crime-plagued metropolis. One is Trader Joe's grocery stores, the other is high def TV. Life is full of trade-offs.

    Jan
     
  3. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    I may be wrong, but I don't believe there's anything that says a cable company will have to deliver digital signals... the regulation only applies to OTA broadcasters.

    Satellite is still your best bet for HD. I had installers tell me that I could not get Dish or DirecTV, because I live in the woods and they had no line of sight. After hearing that, I got out my hiking compass with altimeter and did my own site survey. With creative placement of a dish and creative tree pruning, you'd be surprised where you can pick up a signal... however, most installers are not going to try that hard. I installed my Dish system myself. It shoots through a "hole" in the foliage about 10deg wide. I use two dishes, since the hole is too small for the 110deg and 119 deg birds from one dish location. I do not get HD content, yet...

    If you're ONLY looking for HD, it bears mentioning that your dish needs to be pointed in a different direction than for the core DBS content. Potential installers should know this when they do the site survey.

    -Scott

    -Scott
     
  4. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Scott,
     
  5. Jimmy vb

    Jimmy vb Stunt Coordinator

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    My most promising lead was a dish network guy who said he could definitely get me the regular signal and that he thought he could get me the high def--if I was willing to have the high def dish in my front yard. I have to convince my wife that it is a rhododendron--not a satellite dish for that plan to work. The trees in question belong to my neighbor--limiting some of my options. I will revisit the issue in the Spring.

    It is discouraging talking to the cable guys about it. I know FAR, FAR more about hdtv, digital signals, the fcc, etc. than any of these guys. I expect that at Circuit City but I swear alot of these guys(customer service reps, service manager, installers) know diddly about technology coming down the pike. If you're lucky they have heard of it but most of them seem to think digital cable is the same thing as high def. signals and that they already have that. MOST of the customer service reps. think that on digital cable ALL of the channels are digital--neglecting the fact that the first 72 or so are just pass through analog.

    My other hope is highly sophisticated booster antennas. The nearest abc signal is 60 miles away over two sets of mountains. The nearest Fox and CBS are nearly 80 miles away. Forget about wb and upn--over 120 miles. Is it possible any rooftop antenna could get a signal 80 miles away--with some mountains lurking?
     
  6. KevinJ

    KevinJ Supporting Actor

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    it's not 1-1-06 it's 1-1-07 btw
     
  7. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  8. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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  9. Jimmy vb

    Jimmy vb Stunt Coordinator

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    I think what I really need to do is to keep talking to installers or to figure it out myself. The dish guy who said he could get me at least something was the only one who spent time walking around, using a gizmo to measure signal strength, etc.. The Directv guys pointed their compass up, spent two minutes at the house and left.

    Question about Directv. On dish, you get hbo and showtime AND they give you cbs(I can't get locals but can get the distant networks package that includes cbs) all in hd. Does the distant networks package in Directv include any hd channels--this is a big plus for dish--it would mean that if I could get Dish then in my area I could conceivably get nbc and pbs over the air and cbs via dish--leaving fox and abc as my unattainables. This probably belongs in another topic area(hd programming or content).
     
  10. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    KevinJ,

    Thanks for the correction re: 1-1-07.

    I've been trying wading through FCC regs to get first-hand info and it gets confusing really quickly. For example (from the FCC):

    * The FCC said that it will set new dates for replication, maximization and channel election in the next periodic review. These new deadlines may be earlier than but will not be later than the end of 2006 or the date by which 85% of the television households in a licensee's market are capable of receiving the signals of digital broadcast stations, whichever is later.

    * The Commission provided that television stations may operate digitally at a reduced schedule by providing, at a minimum, a digital signal during prime time hours. This modified operating requirement does not affect DTV licensees' simulcast obligations. Thus, starting on April 1, 2003, a DTV station must provide a digital signal at least 50% of the time it transmits an analog signal; on April 1, 2004, 75%; and on April 1, 2005, 100%.


    This latter paragraph is especially interesting. It sounds as if we'll have a full digital roster by April 1, 2005, even though analog broadcasting is continuing!

    Jan
     
  11. Jimmy vb

    Jimmy vb Stunt Coordinator

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    I finally did what I could about it. I went and spoke at our local city council meeting last night during the cable franchise relicensing phase. I submitted comments about how this company, much beleagured of late--is among the last in the industry in adoption of new technologies, is heavily weighted down with debt and potential lawsuits, has not always been forthright in approaching new technologies, etc. and that there were better options in the cable world for them to pursue. I backed it up with stats showing how far behind our region is in digital tv and with no ota stations--how dependent we were on our cable provider. I also showed how cable companies were now offering hdtv packages in 91 of 210 markets and that our company wasn't even beta testing anywhere.

    It is kind of like tilting at windmills--but at least I can say I did what I could.
     

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