HDTV and your friendly cable monopoly

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ScottW, Feb 5, 2001.

  1. ScottW

    ScottW Auditioning

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    Just thought I would post a short story about my e-mail conversations with my local cable company regarding HDTV. Has anyone else had this experience with cable companies? I e-mailed insight communications to see if they any intention on carrying the local HD broadcasts (primarily the NBC and CBS affiliates) and HBO and Showtime HD programming. My first response was "what HDTV signal"..."There is no one broadcasting an HDTV signal." I assume he meant locally, but he is wrong both locally and obviously via satellite. I replied by saying that at least two local network affiliates are broadcasting an HD signal (with limited programming). Insight countered by telling me even if it is true, that they were not going to take up valuabel bandwidth space on their digital network with programming duplications. Furthermore, HDTV would have to get "alot more popular" before they would even consider carrying HD signals.
    **Small Rant Warning**
    I wonder how Insight expects HDTV to become more popular if cable, 70% of how people receive television, will not consider carrying HD on their precious bandwidth. They are so proud of their digital network capabilities and are ignoring the possibilites with next generation of HD broadcasting. If they would remove their heads from their asses, they might see that consumers are flocking to DTV sets. These same consumers should expect that cable companies would carry any available HD programming. The hell with it...now I have a headache.
    Scott Weaver
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I believe that the cable TV industry's lack of HDTV support will be one of the biggest impediments to the growth of HDTV. As Scott mentioned, over 70% of the households in the U.S. receive their television signals via the local cable companies. Until the FCC decides to force the cable industry to transmit HD signals in the same manner that the broadcast networks and local affiliates are being held to, the majority of households will not have easy access to HDTV signals.
    While satellite companies offer an alternative, their current pricing is not practical for many people. The cost to connect multiple televisions via satellite can be very high compared to cable (extra receivers plus additional subscription charges). Keeping cable for the extra TV's and adding satellite for a single HDTV will double a person's monthly fee (on average).
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  3. Timmy

    Timmy Stunt Coordinator

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    Scott, I just stepped back 20 years installing an outside TV antenna and will be canceling cable TV next month, for good!
    From 35 miles away I get all 4 DTV networks via outside antenna, and I have Dish Network to get all the "cable" channels.
    So long Time Warner!
    Good riddance!
    BTW, I am getting a much better picture or my local analog tv channels than I did with the cable TV source.
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  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Dish Network or DirecTV are not practical for our situation, since (1) we have 6 TV's connected to cable (I would need a DSS receiver and pay a surcharge for each set) and (2) we receive our home Internet service via cable modem.
    I would love a small dish, but sometimes CATV is the best option.
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  5. Jeff Beverly

    Jeff Beverly Extra

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    thankfully, my experience with the cable company (TWC) has been different... here in orlando, they seem very committed to bringing as much HD content as possible as soon as possible...
    they even went so far as to get the CBS HD feed before the local affiliate even had its transmitters up. TWC and the local CBS affiliate reached an agreement that TWC could pass along the CBS network HD feed. i was able to wath the superbowl in HD while those with sat & OTA attenae were not.
    so far, i have been pleasantly surprised with my cable company's commitment to HD
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  6. ScottW

    ScottW Auditioning

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    I have heard tale of cable companies in far away lands that actually want to bring HDTV to consumers. I wish that was the case here. As much as I loathe the idea of government involvement in anything, I think that the FCC should issue a shall carry rule to cable companies. I have to believe that this would be the jumpstart that HDTV needs. I can't see how all this haphazard HD transmission can grow or even continue in the long term without forcing the issue with cable companies. For the people who have HD via cable, I am offically jealous. For Insight Communications, I am offically pissed.
    Scott Weaver
     
  7. Jeremiah Joyner

    Jeremiah Joyner Auditioning

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    I have TWC in North Carolina. They are transmitting the HDTV signal for 4 channels. Time Warner even has the Scientific Atlanta 2000HD reciever for viewing HDTV and there is no extra cost for the box.
    Only problem is my video projector uses RBG and I have been unable to get anything other than a beautiful green image. If I didn't mind seeing everything in green I would be happy. (also tried a Proxima 9310 video projector with RGB inputs and got the same thing, so it's not just my set).
    I have had 2 service people out, returned 1 box and talked with the local guy who knows the most about the 2000HD box. TWC has no real idea what the problem is. This was only the second HD box the service guy had seen. All they really know to look for was that the connections were made.
    They suggested I contact someone else about the problem.
    So I have a $1000 HDTV reciever and only using the s-video on it. That is until I can figure out what the problem is myself.
    But at least others in my area can watch HDTV.
     
  8. Darren_F

    Darren_F Auditioning

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    Jeremiah,
    This simple suggestion may be something you have already explored, but this sounds like your TV/projector is expecting RGB signals, but the SA box is sending component.
    A similar "green" screen occurs when my 61HS10 is set to "RGB" and connected to component output of a DVD player. Switching the TV into "YPbPr" mode sets the colors correctly.
    Just make sure your SA box is set to RGB, or your projector is ready to receive YPbPr. If your projector and cable box cannot be switched from one standard to another, you will need a converter to convert YPbPr to RGB. I know converters are available to go the other way (RGB-->YPbPr) and have been listed on this site for around $130, but I don't know about going YPbPr-->RGB.
    Hopefully, this quick fix will correct your problem. If your equipment can not change its input standard, you may want to test your box out on a display system that is YPbPr capable to ensure this solution works before shelling out the money for a converter.
    Darren
     
  9. MarcS

    MarcS Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeremiah--you lucky dog!! What 4 channels are in HD besides Showtime and HBO??
    I just got the HD box (SA 2000HD)in Wilmington, but only subscribed to Showtime, and only have HBO available as the other HD offering...
    Also, after many conversations with the local tech, I discovered that he was very loosely using the term "RGB" output, just because it had 3 cables... I don't think I was able to convince him that RBG and component are very different.
    For a while, I thought I'd have to get an RGB->component converter. But the SA boxes are set for component. According to their website, the boxes have an internal jumper that can be set for true RGB output--but of course, you can't do that yourself, and TW doesn't want different output boxes floating around...although you could try to get them to change it.
    And, at least here, they require a home visit to make sure you have a 16:9 tv, doesn't matter if it is an "HD Ready" 4:3...
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  10. Daryl L

    Daryl L Supporting Actor

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    Here in Pembroke NC(about an hour west of Wilmington) I get TWC's HD channels(FOX-250, CBS-255, HBOhd-406 and supposedly SHOHD-445 but it's off for some reason) which is pretty cool. I'm using the SA Explorer 2000HD box. They also came out to make sure I had a HDTV(which is the Toshiba TN50X81 4:3 set) and they saw it was a 4x3 set and gave me the box with no questions asked. [​IMG]
     
  11. orestes

    orestes Second Unit

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    I had similar problems with AT&T Broadband (what a joke of a name!) cable company here in San Francisco. I live in a very smalll apartment, but I do have a Toshiba TW40x??; anyway, most people like me (or 75% of all San Francisco) can't install any dish period; so unless the stupid cable company carries HD signal, I will not get any. I am unable to get a good signal with an indoor antenna, nor am I allowed to install an outdoor antenna. I am very sure lots of people in San Francisco are in my same shoes.
    What I am the most angry about all this is that neither the FCC nor the government (including local, state and federal) has any intention to enforce cable companies to carry HD. For one thing, San Francisco local government is probably getting a lot of revenue from cable to do anything for the consumer. I guess the local government here does not want to upset a good source of revenue for the city. I don't think anyone is willing to confront "cable" as you don't want to bite the hand that fees you.
    Just my $0.02.
    Sincerely,
    orestes.
     
  12. Scott_G

    Scott_G Second Unit

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    I've got the SA2000 from TWC and also get WRAL(255) and Fox (250) for free with digital cable (not a bad deal).
    It's going to a TW56x81 with component from the box. I haven't been able to find any user parameters I can set on the box and guess it's putting out 1080i because the Toshiba locks in full. I use SVideo for all the other channels because non HDTV looks soft and somewhat fuzzy thorough the component inputs. Anyone else see the same with this STB ?
     
  13. Wolf Jenkins

    Wolf Jenkins Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I'm a very happy DirecTV owner getting my new Mitsubishi set top box fairly soon. However, I would DEFINITELY switch to cable (even though I hate them) if they would carry more HDTV programming than DTV (unlikely.)
    To me, it's all about the HDTV support right now - who's got it is who I'm using (oh yes, I do have an OTA antenna installed - it is definitely the 'way back' machine... ) :)
     
  14. David_Jr

    David_Jr Supporting Actor

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    I can certainly appreciate your frustration over cable and lack of HD. But what about those of us who live beyond suburbia? Where I live, it's satellite or nuthin!! I live about 50 miles from the nearest city (Albany, NY). I have read in our local paper, The Berkshire Eagle, that we are considered part of the Albany area for satellite purposes, these "local" channels are not available on the DISH network and probably never will be, let alone in HD. 2 of the 4 Albany stations still broadcast in mono!!! They certainly won't be going HD until absolutely forced by the FCC. Even then, OTA is out of the question due to distance and mountains. With no cable here my only shot at HD is the dish. Will they ever put locals on the dish in high def? And if they do, will the FCC let you view them out of market? (As I'm sure our "market" will never see HD until last!) This same FCC tells me that I'm in the Albany market for satellite, but I'm in the Boston market for sports. I guess people in this situation are just stuck, huh? At least I can control my urge to by an HD set because I'm not buying one just for progressive DVD and Sat HBO!! To me that doesn't justify such an expensive purchase. Bottom line: Its not just cable customers who are frustrated by lack of HD. (Hope this is not too far off topic, and thank you for letting me rant.)
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  15. RobH

    RobH Auditioning

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    I'm with Jeff. Here in Orlando, TWC has actually done a decent job in getting HDTV in their system. We even have a local network feed (CBS) that's not OTA yet. They set it up in time for the Superbowl.
    I'm glad that they have taken the initiative. Hopefully other cable service providers will catch on to what's going on.
     
  16. MarcS

    MarcS Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, so I can't get those other HD channels in Wilmington, but I can be at the beach in less than 20 minutes!!! Oh well, apples and oranges...
    Our CBS feed is a local small station that in turn gets its signal from WRAL, however it's not even in stereo, so getting it in HD probably won't be soon.
    My Showtime HD is 217... maybe I should try some surfing to see if I can find "hidden" HD channels. At least for Showtime HD, it doesn't show up using the on-screen guide--do you find that for the other HD channels? If so, I can check the guide for missing channels and see if those are HD...
    Daryl, do you know if you are getting feeds from Charlotte? That would be my guess as to how you're getting CBS...
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  17. RobH

    RobH Auditioning

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    Hmmm, well I can be at the Atlantic Ocean in 45 minutes, or up to Daytona Beach in just over an hour. I can be on the Gulf of Mexico in under 2 hours. I can do that and I have HD cable. Now if I could take the cable to the beach ....
    There is a solution, do like everyone else is an move to Orlando. (just kidding)
     
  18. Daryl L

    Daryl L Supporting Actor

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    Scott_G,
    Yes, my non-HD channels look slightly soft or fuzzy through the componant inputs. Also it appears that the Explorer 2000HD is setup for a widescreen set only, because on my Toshiba 50" 4x3 set the HD channels fill the screen top to bottom and look squeezed in on the sides to fit the widescreen image on my 4x3 an non-HD stuff looks squeezed with barndoors(black bars on the sides). Thats why I ordered the Toshiba DST3000 HD STB Friday(Feb, 2nd). It shipped Monday(Feb, 5th) and scheduled for UPS delivery on Moday(Feb, 12th) according to UPS website tracking. And Since CBS WRAL5, ABC WTVD 11, NBC WNCN 17 and FOX WRAZ 50,s towers are on my side of Raleigh it should pick them up cause I get their analog signal(opposite side of Raliegh) good with my rooftop amplified antenna. [​IMG]
    MarcS,
    Actually the CBS HD channelsTWC is transmitting is WRAL-DT(DD Surround not 5.1) channel out of Raleigh. We also get the analog WRAL ch.5 CBS(stereo surround) out of Raleigh and WBTW ch.13 CBS(non-stereo) out of Florence SC. No Charlotte channels. Wish there was Charlottes WB channel on cable cause we get Florences analog WB 18(non-stereo) on cable. [​IMG] Also all you need to do to see all the channels they are carrying is hit the Settings button then the A(for Advance Settings, scroll to Favorite Channels hit the Right Arrow > and you will see a list of all the channels, even the hiddens ones not listed in the EPG. Saves on channel searching. [​IMG]
    Also our HD channels don't show up on the EPG either.
    Update
    Later lastnight after posting this reply I noticed they added ABC WTVD-DT ch. 11's HD on ch. 211 and the analog version digitized on ch. 212 out of Raliegh area, but still no signal or program data on them yet.
     
  19. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    RobH,
    OK, smarty! Then run over to Ron Jon's and pick me up some new T-shirts! [​IMG] I haven't been down to visit my relatives in a couple years so my current T's are starting to fade!
    Brian
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  20. Timmy

    Timmy Stunt Coordinator

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