Digital Cable boxes?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DavidVTHokie, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. DavidVTHokie

    DavidVTHokie Stunt Coordinator

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    I know we are often at the mercy of our cable providers for what cable box we have. I was thinking about going down to my local Time Warner branch office and see if I can get an upgrade. I've had the same box for 2+ years and I'm sure there has to be someething better out there.

    Do cable boxes do any special processing to the signal (akin to DVD player digital processing)?


    Do we as consumers know anything (I obviously don't) about what different models of cable boxes are out there, and what are the newer ones?
     
  2. Brian Ruth

    Brian Ruth Supporting Actor

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    David:

    I think you're likely stuck with the model you have. You MAY be able to get a digital cable box if your area has been upgraded, but if not, you're probably stuck with the one you have, and even if you can switch, it's likely to be more expensive, and, from what I've heard, its not much better than standard analog cable.

    If you don't have many TVs (say, under 3), you may want to consider switching to satellite, or if not, at least expressing your discontent to your cable company. I have been EXTREMELY unhappy with my cable, and were it not for the high number of televisions in our house (and were it not for the fact that my parents pay the household cable bill), I would likely switch to satellite. I suggest that you make your voice heard if you are unhappy with your cable.
     
  3. Jim Lenneman

    Jim Lenneman Stunt Coordinator

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    Just kind of depends on the company. It sure wouldn't hurt to go down there. If you do, look for the setup in their reception area. Many times this setup has the latest box.

    In my case, my cable company has upgraded boxes twice in the last year alone. The last time, the box added SPDIF and S video out. They are currently upgrading again to a box with HD capability. None of these upgrades added (or will add) additional cost. YMMV.

    Jim L
     
  4. Bill Ferguson

    Bill Ferguson Auditioning

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    I had TimeWarner digital cable in Austin, TX (2 years ago), and I had a box that had Dolby Digital out (coaxial) and S-video out.

    Now I have AT&T digital cable in Richmond, VA. In the past week I inquired about upgrading my bare bones box, and I went to the office and traded up to a box that has Dolby Digital out (coaxial and optical) and S-video out.

    In both cases, nobody in the cable companies really knows what you're talking about when you ask about these features, so it takes awhile to get to someone who does.

    I get DD 5.1 on HBO, Starz, and Showtime (and maybe more). Everything else is DD 2.0 or PCM 2 channel.
    On the TimeWarner box, the audio from the analog channels was not output digitally, but on the AT&T box, it is.
     
  5. Tom McA

    Tom McA Stunt Coordinator

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    David -

    Idunno about analog, but if you have digital cable, definitely call your cable co to ask if a new box is available. I called Charter to gripe about my Scientific Atlanta box (slow channel changing, occasionally going dumb, etc), and they told me there was newer model in service with more up-to-date firmware and more internal memory. (and it was smaller!)

    I've found that my company has good service and prices, but you sometimes have to twist their arm to make sure you're getting all that's available. I have a whole-house package that includes 2 digi boxes, all pay channels, and broadband internet with modem for around $93/mo. Screamin' deal, but I had to harangue the phone sales agent to get the package. From talking to neighbors, a lot of people don't even know it exists.

    I also read in an industry trade mag that we're about to get cable boxes with built-in PVR's, but when I ask the cable co people about it, nobody knows nothin'.

    Warning from experience: If they do invite you to stop into the office for a new box, MAKE SURE THEY GIVE YOU A POWER CORD TOO. grr...

    Bill F -
    Good to hear that some boxes output the audio from the analog channels digitally. Mine doesn't. Whenever I click from an analog channel to one with DD 5.1, I have to switch receiver inputs - big pain in the neck. Mebbe I'm due for another call to the cable co...
     
  6. VincentY

    VincentY Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Jim Lenneman

    Jim Lenneman Stunt Coordinator

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    Analog not being output over the digital connection seems to be more common than not. In my case, analog audio is available for the digital channels. Digital audio is available only on digital channels. So yes, you have to switch inputs on the receiver to listen to it (at least in my case). 'Course that's why most of the better univeral remotes have macro capability, makes life easier [​IMG] .

    Jim L
     
  8. Bill Ferguson

    Bill Ferguson Auditioning

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    Yes, one would generally have to switch inputs to compensate for the analog audio not being converted to digital.
    But my receiver (and others) have an autosensing input with a preference towards digital, so it it wasn't a real inconvenience to me.
     

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