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Phoenix Cox HDTV rollout

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Telleria, Aug 1, 2002.

  1. John Telleria

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    http://www.arizonarepublic.com/busin...0801cox01.html
    Looks like I'll FINALLY be able to enjoy HD programming on the Toshiba 65" digital-ready widescreen tv I've owned for the past couple years. Cox is rolling out it's HD service in Phoenix sometime in August/September. The converter box will cost $500, a little steep, but probably better to buy it than pay a rental fee every month. I am disappointed to see only ABC Channel 15, HBO and Showtime will be available at rollout. I was hoping the other local networks broadcasting in HD would also be available, but the article does say Cox will double the number of HD channels in the next 12 months.
     
  2. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    That's great, but doesn't Phoenix already have OTA HDTV? Of course, cable is a LOT more convenient. We here in the backwater will have to wait a few more years though, no doubt...

    It's nice to see that more and more cable companies are starting to carry HDTV!

    I wonder what this refers to:


    Something to do with copy protection and digital interface perhaps?

    /Mike
     
  3. John Telleria

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  4. John Telleria

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    Does anyone know how many HD channels can be carried via cable? My understanding is HD programming uses A LOT more bandwidth than current analog and digital cable channels, so there must be a practical limit to the number of HD channels they can offer without dropping existing channels.
    I'm already seeing that Cox is converting to near all-digital in some areas. My parents live in South Tempe not too far from me. Earlier this year they were required to get a Cox Digital Cable converter. All their cable channels above Channel 20 or 21 were no longer being offered in analog format, only digital. They aren't too happy about the change since they used the PIP function of their 65" widescreen tv a lot, and now they can only do PIP with the remaining few analog channels. So far I'm still getting all my Cox channels in analog, and hope it stays that way since I too use the PIP a lot.
     
  5. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    IIRC HD uses about 4 times the bandwidth of a regular channel, so I image they'd have to either drop some channels, or compress them even more (I hope not, Encore and the music channels are way too riddled with compression artifacts as it is).

    I have the digital channels, so I can't use PIP on all channels either (I can use it on the non-digital ones, but it's a hassle). Same with recording one show while watching another, I can only do that with the analog, unless I pay $10/month extra for a second digital box.

    This is a major hassle, I hope they find a way around that, can't be good for manufacturers of hardware that some of their most used functions no longer work when used with cable TV.
     
  6. phil-w

    phil-w Stunt Coordinator

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    I am looking forward to this as well since I do not have line of sight to the transmitters either. I am currently using DirecTV so I probably will not make the move unless Cox gets more stations. I am not sure there is really anything worth watching on ABC at the moment.

    Another thing to consider is that they may pull the plug on this if there is little interest. If so, what happens to the box you purchased for $500?

    Also, it is hard to justify purchasing a box this late in the game that has no way to record off of it. With STB's coming out shortly with firewire to link with the JVC DVHS VCR, it seems a waste to buy the scientific atlanta box.

    In order here is what I would like to see Cox carry in HDTV

    1.CBS
    2.PBS
    3.NBC
    4.WB (if Enterprise will be in HD)
    5.Discovery
    6.HDNET
     
  7. John Telleria

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    An update regarding the Cox HDTV rollout in the Phoenix area... It goes live on 8/30, but sadly only three channels; ABC, HBO and Showtime. What I don't like is you're required to purchase the STB from Cox for $500. You can't rent it month to month like they're doing in other markets. I'm going to ask them if they'll provide upgrades as new STB's with more features become available. I don't like the idea of paying $500 for a STB that'll be obsolete in one or two years and not be able to upgrade it.

    Here's the email I received from Cox...


    Thank you for your recent e-mail to Cox Communications regarding Cox
    new HDTV.

    We appreciate your interest in High Definition TV service. Yes, Cox
    Communications has plans to offer High Definition Television starting
    8/30/02. We will be adding the following three HDTV channels: ABC HD,
    HBO HD and Showtime HD.

    Please note that in order to subscribe to our HDTV service, you will
    need to be a Cox Digital Cable customer. You will also need to
    subscribe to HBO and Showtime premiums to receive these channels in
    HDTV.

    Your TV will need to meet the following specifications to receive
    HDTV.
    To find out if your TV meets these specifications, please either refer
    to your TV owner’s manual or contact your TV manufacturer.

    HDTV Requirements:

    HDTV compatible or HDTV ready
    Must support 1080i input
    Must have either YPbPr or Red, Green, Blue (RGB) connections

    Please note that there will be no monthly fee to subscribe to our HDTV
    service. However, customers will be required to purchase an HDTV
    converter from us. Our HDTV converters cost $499.95. Please note that
    if your TV has only RGB connectors, you will be required to purchase
    an
    adapter in addition to the HDTV converter, which currently costs
    $109.95. The installation fee is $49.95.
     
  8. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Thanks John. It's nice to see that (for now at least...) there's no additional fee for the HD programming.

    Yeah, a rental fee of say $15/month would be preferrable to buying the box, especially since cable companies have always touted as an advantage over satellite equipment that you don't have to buy anything that will become obsolete (Cox was running commercials on that theme).

    /Mike
     
  9. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    Curious. Cox in Las Vegas is allowing you to rent the box (a Scientific Atlanta box) for $9.95 a month plus $.20 a month for a lousy remote. I agree that it may be a tough sell if you gotta pay $500 for a box. The box doesn't have DVI or Firewire either, so even less of a reason to buy. We also have Discovery HD and PBS HD, which may be a local choice, and our CBS affiliate has HD. The guy that installed mine says he's doing 15-20 HD installs a week.

    Cheers!
    Pat
     
  10. John Telleria

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    I'm too puzzled why Cox can offer converter rentals in Las Vegas but require us here in Phoenix to dish out $500 for converters that are already obsolete. Doesn't make sense...
    If you're an HDTV enthusiast in Phoenix or anywhere else in AZ, there's an HDTV Society of Arizona Yahoo! group. I just happened to find it today. There are already 107 members and growing. Lots of discussion regarding the state of HDTV in Arizona. Check it out... The URL to view messages and sign up is
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hdtvsocietyofarizona/
     

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