Misleading Dolby Digital insignia on my cable box?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike__D, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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    Hi all,
    I was wondering, my digital cable box has Dolby Digital written on it, yet there are no 5.1 outputs or digital outs. Just plain old 2 channel outs, so this means when movies are broadcast in 5.1, I'm still only getting Prologic. Is this still considered Dolby Digital?
    Thanks,
    Mike D.
     
  2. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    I had one like this. My guess is they were to cheap to put the jack in, but didn't want to correct the logos when painting the boxes. Nope, there's no way to get DD out of that thing. Somewhere they probably distribute them with the jacks.
     
  3. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    If the box has only analog outputs, you are definitely not receiving DD.
     
  4. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    From what I've heard, the boxes are available with or without S-video and digital outputs. Apparently a lot of the cable companies are pinching pennies and buying the boxes without the outputs. This probably means that they're only providing 2-channel (that is, DD 2.0) signals on their digital channels anyway.
    The logo is likely there because Dolby Digital compression is being used on the digital channels, even if it's 2.0 instead of 5.1. I still think that the existence of the logo should require the existence of a digital output. After all, would you buy a DVD player that had a DD logo but no digital output?
    KJP
     
  5. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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    I figured they were being cheap... The box doesn't even have S-Video! I think I might switch to DirectTV or something similar. The fact that they broadcast the lowest digital signal they can get away with (my friend actually works for motorola/GI and worked on the box) and it's noticable... On certain scenes you can see pixelation. They also ripped away Speedvision from me.
    Anyone hear have DirectTV? Do you like it? What other systems are good? Thanks.
    Mike D.
     
  6. Jerry Gracia

    Jerry Gracia Supporting Actor

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    The cable companies have no reason to offer anything special to consumers. If I don't like what my local cable company provides I can't switch to any other provider. Why should they offer the highest possible quality when they don't have to?
    I have a "digital" cable box. It does have some nice features in it though. I wish it had s-video and digital audio outputs though.
    ------------------
    LuvLBX
    [Edited last by Jerry Gracia on August 21, 2001 at 10:56 AM]
     
  7. Kevin Reckelhoff

    Kevin Reckelhoff Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, I had my digital cable (AT&T, Motorola box) hooked up this morning, and had the same reaction. There's a slot in the back of the box for an s-video out, but it's covered by a metal plate. No digital outs. That logo is taunting me--anyone know if you can upgrade the box? The AT&T website is pretty useless, but logically wouldn't they benefit from selling upgrades?
    Kevin
     
  8. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    All the Motorola boxes are upgradeable with SPDIF and S-Video but I'm not sure that you can buy it directly from Motorola. You probably have to go back to your cable provider and they may not have even thought about it. If they haven't then you can be guaranteed there aren't any 5.1 programs coming soon.
    And, the Dolby Digital log on the front does not mean it will provide 5.1. It just means that the box can decode DD2.0.
    Patrick
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    If you live in Vancouver, B.C. or the surrounding areas, take a look at the Local Home Theater Forum Meets section for a Vancouver meet.
    My DVD Collection
     
  9. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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    What's even worse, with the Motorola boxes, is even though they lack the S-Video and digital outputs, they are referenced in the manual. A friend of mine, who just bought a Wega (lucky fella! [​IMG]) was asking me about the S-video, and I suggested that he try both composite and S-video and decide which looks better, since I bet the box would have a crappy comb filter and the analog channels would look better in composite anyway.
    Today I get an email from him, and he discovered that the box doesn't have S-video at all, even though the manual claims it does! Cheapskates...
    KJP
     
  10. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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    I emailed my good friend who works for Motorola and I'm waiting to hear back from him. I might see if he can get me some upgrades :) But, They have a tamper sticker on the box, so they'll know if I opened it up.
    I'm also thinking of just calling Comcast (my cable provider) and ask them if they have any boxes with those options. Something tells me I'll need to talk to a tech, but even doing that won't guarentee they will have a clue as to what I'm talking about.
    Mike D.
     
  11. MatthewJ S

    MatthewJ S Supporting Actor

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    Fred,
    I must tell you first,that I HATE selling directv....
    It has become a commodity item that, for most retailer salespeople, means we're gonna do a lot of explaining with little chance of selling and not much money in it at that!
    This being said, I regard any person who owns their own home, has a clear view of the southwestern sky , and a healthy HT system a LITTLE DIM if they don't own either a dish network or directv system.
    Here's why:
    1.) there are only @ 5 cable companies in the country that offer dolby digital 5.1 (damn few that even have an operational digital output at all) ,whereas directv offers 5.1 on 4 hbo channels(at select times) and 1 starz channel, and several ppv channels.
    2.) most standerd cable feeds don't even do mts stereo well enough to properly implement DPLII ,whereas satelitte has true stereo on nearly every channel
    3.)most cable companies manage @220-270 lines of horizontal resolution as compared to directv which outputs (on average)@450-500 lines (sorta' like vhs vs. dvd)
    4.)satelitte can deliver hdtv ,whereas the only cable co. to do this is in manhattan
    5.)more programming for the dollar from satellite.
    in fact the only reason that everyone doesn't get directv/dish network is because it "COSTS SOOOOOO MUCH TO INSTALL IT TO MY 12 TVS"......
    BUT WHEN MOST PEOPLE ARE INFORMED THAT IT WILL MAKE THEIR TV AND SURROUND SYSTEMS LOOK AND SOUND TWICE AS GOOD THEY SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE VALUE ...
    IF YOU HAVE A $3000 RPTV AND A $5000 SURROUND SYSTEM WHATS ANOTHER FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS TO MAKE THAT KIND OF IMPROVEMENT
    LOOK AND SOUND TWICE AS
     
  12. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom Supporting Actor

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    I have the same issue with my digital cable box. I have ATT through their local provider Insight. If any Illinois members have any luck getting a box that S-Video and digital output jacks let us all know.
     
  13. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    I don't think that you're going to get that box from any CATV company. If you can find them, you'll have to buy it ($200.?) and swap it out. As to if the S-Video socket will allow you to get a better picture, I don't know, but you'd have to have a large screen TV to see any difference.
    Also, they are DD boxes. As was stated before, DD is just a compression system, as all DVD's are. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly is DD - but mono. It only comes out through the center speaker. Got that?
    Some other cities have started up HDTV via CATV, and they say it is great. Charlotte has it, and I think Orlando too, but my opinion is that when all of the other stations switch to HD, CATV is going to have a serious problem.
    Glenn
     

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