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How long will HD signals be considered a premium service?

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by [email protected], Jan 6, 2004.

  1. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    This was touched on in another thread, but I wanted to explore the issue a little more...

    For those who cannot put up an antenna or don't live in an area that is covered by over-the-air HD signals, when do you think signal providers (Cable & Sat) will switch fully to HD as their base service.

    There are many people who think that government mandates will force signal providers to convert to HD in the near future, but I have heard that the mandate now reads that no conversion will be force till 85% of the population has a digital TV.

    Clearly this could take a decade or more...and signal providers would continue to offer HD only as a premium ($) service for years to come.

    I have a number of friends who are clamoring for advice on HD sets, but have no clue where they will get an HD signal or what it will cost.

    When I ask them if they would be willing to pay a premium for HD signals, they usually balk (thinking that some free conversion is right around the corner).

    Personally, I don't see regular ($42 per month) Cable & Sat packages including HD for many years.

    I personally don't watch alot of TV at night (mostly DVD), so this isn't much an issue for me; if I bought an HD set, it would be for the benefit of a 16x9 screen with prog scan for movies.

    But since most people are budget-oriented TV watchers with fewer DVDs, I have a hard time telling them that an HD set is great investment at this time.

    How long will HD signals be considered a premium service?
     
  2. Bill MacAdoo

    Bill MacAdoo Stunt Coordinator

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    My cable company (Time-Warner) isn't presently charging any extra for HD-compatible converter boxes. When I got my HDTV it was just a matter of swapping the old non-HD box with a new one.
     
  3. Jason Harbaugh

    Jason Harbaugh Cinematographer

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    You could get the satellite service Voom which offers around 39 HD channels so far with more promised in the future, all for $40/month. Local stations are only received with an indoor antenna so if you don't live in an area with OTA HD then you are out of luck with Voom I believe if that starts to take off then cable companies and other satellite companies may follow suit.

    Comcast doesn't charge for HD channels either. If they have it in your area, it is just included in your packages.
     
  4. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    Bright House, formerly Time Warner, doesn't charge anything more for HD than for their existing Digital service that I know of. I guess you could conisder the digital cable a premium service, but its really a negligible difference compared to their analog cable.

    I live in a an area where I can get HDTV OTA, but most TVs I've looked at don't have built in decoders, and the price of one is nearly $400 (last time I looked which was awhile). Therefore the HD box Bright house offers for no extra charge than I'm paying now doesn't seem like a premium to me.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    It is not likely that satellite services will provide local stations in HD in the foreseeable future. This is because of the bandwidth necessary to provide local stations all over the country in HD.

    Cable companies do not suffer from this restriction as they only need to provide a single additional set of local HD channels at each location.
     
  6. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Comcast in the Boston area only charges $2 extra a month for the HD box rental. All HD channels are free (PBS, ABC, NBC, CBS, FoxFakeHD, ESPN-HD and INHD) and the premiums (HBO-HD and Show-HD) are no extra charge if you subscribe to the SD versions. This includes free HD coverage of all Bruins and Red Sox home games on INHD.

    Not bad for $2 a month.
     
  7. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Wow, I guess I had it all wrong.

    Every time I get a fee sheet from my cable company they're raising charges on everything.

    More recently I got an updated channel card and saw 6-7 HD channels in the mix.

    Guess I should call and find out about it...
     
  8. Nathan_F

    Nathan_F Second Unit

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    Well, technically Comcast here in Indy als0 only has a $2 upcharge for HD services. Right now that includes NBC, CBS, PBS, ESPN and InHD1&2. However, since you must subscribe to digital cable ($14.99) and have a converter box ($3), the total true charge is $20 a month for that content. Considering on how little content I actually get-- and the fact that I was content with analog cable-- I will most likely drop the digital/HD package after my 6 month intro period expires (only $12 month total for the first 6 months.)
     
  9. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    With the new cable HD standard that will get implemented over the next year or so in new sets and by cable companies, you should eventually be able to purchase HDTV's where you can plug a RG6 coax cable directly into your TV or external tuner and get HD over cable -- no special HD converter from the cable company will be required as it is now.

    Right now, I pay Comcast an extra $5 per month to rental a HD converter to receive their HDTV signals. It's still a good deal, IMO, but I would love to eliminate the box altogether.
     
  10. GeraldK

    GeraldK Agent

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    Here in San Antonio, Time Warner charges 6.95/mo for the HD box only, or $5/mo if combined with a package. FWIW, we get a choice of boxes for HD also, though they don't promote it. Choices are Scientific Atlanta Explorer or Pace. I chose the Pace as it has a DVI output. Otherwise, the two seem to operate virtually the same way.
     
  11. Gary Tjia

    Gary Tjia Stunt Coordinator

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    In Mpls, we have Time Warner cable and there is no extra monthly cost to convert to HD from Standard Digital, except an installation fee of $30 to replace the SD box with HD box. TWC has been offering HDNet and INHD for free in the month of Dec. However, as of Jan 2004, they were offered as a HDTV package for an additional $6.95 per month charge. When I asked about it, TWC said that they were previously available as a free preview. The only free HD channels available is the local PBS, CBS, NBC, and DiscoveryHD. If you subscribe to HBO and SHO, their HD channels will be included.

    Gary
     
  12. JeremyFr

    JeremyFr Supporting Actor

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    Theres no extra charge here in Seattle for HD channels just $5 a month for the convertor through Comcast.

    The one thing to think about is the FCC has mandated Digital TV conversion not HDTV conversion. So truely HD will probably be considered "premium" for quite some time.

    Jeremy
     

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