Satellite vs. Cable (particularly about HD)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Ryan*Pr*, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. Ryan*Pr*

    Ryan*Pr* Agent

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    I'm moving into a new house in the next month or two (yey!) and will be purchasing a HD projection TV. To take advantage of my newfound picture resolutions, I have compared services. For the channels/packages I have looked at I think cable is the way to go. They have HD locals and the hardware per month fee is pretty low.

    How good are HD signals (of course all providers will differ, but on a general basis) through digital cable? I called DIRECTV up and they said the cable signal would be analog and the digital box would convert it to digital and there would be signal lost. This makes sense, but does it make much difference? The way I figure it, the satellite doesn't support local HD anyway, so wouldn't digital cable have a much better picture for locals?

    I guess I COULD get a TV with a built in HD tuner and use air signals for locals, but I don't really want to look at an antenna, nor deal with trying to get in a nice picture with it.

    The other large reason I am straying away from satellite is a $500 HD receiver.

    What do you think I should do?
     
  2. Michael_Victor

    Michael_Victor Stunt Coordinator

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    Depends on if you live near the local channel Antennas. I have had DTV for over 5 years but I am switching to voom. there is no contract so its not going to kill me to try.
     
  3. Brajesh Upadhyay

    Brajesh Upadhyay Supporting Actor

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    I'm trying VOOM also myself. Their $0 upfront deal w/no equipment to buy & free install is enticing. VOOM has the most HD content right now, so for those of us who crave more HD, it's almost a no-brainer.
     
  4. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    This is true of standard digital cable where an analog station is concerned. For instance, the standard ABC station will be sent over the cable analog and then upconvereted to digital by your box.

    HD is different, but FCC mandate is has to be digital, so you will be getting a digital signal for those channels. Or, for instance, your box will still get the standard ABC channel, but somewhere else (the bottom of the dial on my box) will be the HD ABC channel.

    As to the differences in quality, between HD on dish and cable I don't know. But, like you said, dish doesn't have the local HD channels, and if you live far enough from the boradcast point, an antenna might not be the best choice.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    No satellite service has local HD channels. Nor, most probably will they ever. The bandwidth necessary would be enormous.

    If you live in the right area, where your local ‘CBS’ station is Owned and Operated (O&O) by CBS, both DirectTV and Dish will provide the CBS HD network feed. This is supposed to happen for Fox as well—but I may be wrong.

    If you can easily get your local HD channels with an existing antenna (or a simple indoor antenna) you might be better with a satellite. But if you can get local HD channels on cable that may very well be the best.
     
  6. Bryan_O

    Bryan_O Agent

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    I don't know your particular area, but I've been very happy with cable HDTV for a while now...

    At first, cable HD sucked. I live in a 50 year old house that had RG-5 cable throughout. I had to have the line to my house replaced, along with just about all of the interior cable.

    After the initial installation, and changeover from RG-5 to RG-6, I've had no problems. In fact, I have been very happy. I have a decent selection of channels (see below). Oveall I think it's cheaper for the amount of channels I get. I didn't have any equipment to buy, the only real additional cost I have is the $5 rental for the HD box.

    Good luck on the quest for HD. It can be a pain in the A, but it's worth it in the end.



    HD stations I recieve:

    ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX-wide, INHD 1 & 2, HBO, ESPN, a couple of Comcast sports nets, and my favorite Discovery HD Theater
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Why would the bandwidth for a local station be any different than the bandwidth for Discovery HD or HBO HD?
     
  8. Tony Kwong

    Tony Kwong Supporting Actor

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    Currently I'm using cable because I can cheaply record HD on a D-VHS deck. For dish only other way after the dish network 5k was to do the 169time solution, which has too many problems in my config.
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Because you have hundreds of local stations—not six networks and only a handful of satellites.

    Since cable companies service only single cities or portions of cities on their infrastructure, they only have to provide the local stations for that specific area.

    Satellite providers have only a limited number of satellites to cover all of the US. DirectTV has only three satellites. So they can have Discovery HD for all of the US (or perhaps east and west service), but to get the local stations in HD in LA and San Francisco and Dallas and Denver and Tucson and Evansville and Toledo and Miami and on and on, will require a major increase in bandwidth.

    An easy way around this is for the satellites to make the network HD feeds available (as in the case of CBS). But you can bet that the local stations will resist this with all their might, as they want the ads to be seen by their local audience. CBS may well decide that there is an acceptable tradeoff, as they get the audience to watch ads on their national feed and as where they own the local station, they can make the decision. Especially as it no doubt gives them an advantage over NBC, for example.

    But independent owners don’t have any upside to their local audience watching the national feed.
     
  10. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    For my local HD channels, I could not notice any difference in picture quality between Comcast HDTV service and my Samsung over-the-air receiver (which I no longer use). I doubt that there is any noticable difference in picture quality between cable and satellite for HDTV signals (basic analog cable is another story).

    Cable is the better cost option in our case, since we have six TV's connected. Comcast's HD offering is decent -- in the Detroit area we receive CBS-HD, NBC-HD, ABC-HD, Fox-DTV, PBS-HD, ESPN-HD, INHD1, INHD2 and Discovery HD.
     
  11. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    I have to disagree that cable does'nt carry Hi def locals. I'm in Western Mass and Comcast offers my NBC, CBS, and Fox locals in Hi def only absent is ABC becasue the local is not ready for Hi def yet. In addition we get Nesn for the Sox Bruins games, ESPN, PBS, Showtime, HBO and Starz in Hi def (Unfortunately no Discovery yet) in addition to InHD 1 and 2. Of course we pay the price, the cable is pretty pricey compared to Direct TV and Voom. I'd like to give Voom a try but would be giving up alot to do so.
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Dave, I think they were saying that satellite does not carry HD locals. No one said cable does not carry them.
     
  13. Andy_Bu

    Andy_Bu Supporting Actor

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    Ryan,

    You might also want to give some thoughts to PVR support. If you are as addicted to TIVO's as many are, the Direct TV solution might be the best.

    I will be doing this fall which should give me the best of all worlds

    Local HD OTA
    Sat HD via Direct TV

    all bundled together and recordable via Direct TV's new HD Tivo satellite receiver.

    If you think HD is cool, wait till you can record at and time shift at will [​IMG]

    Andy
     
  14. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I just got HD service through Charter Cable on Sunday and am disappointed in it. Though like Bryan the problem may be that our house is 16 years old and likely has older cable. Also we're using splitters that I'm sure are diluting the signal.

    We get ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox which to me offer only a bit of improvement over what I saw through digital cable

    ESPN - better, but not dramatically so, the World Series of poker broadcast didn't look any better. Sportscenter did. The only area of huge improvement is the onscreen graphics.

    HBO and HDNET Movies - Movies look at about DVD quality

    HDNET Entertainment - This is the only channel we get that really looks HDef to me. Their programming is all over the map. The first time I turned it on there was an interview with Neve Campbell. The second time it was an MSL soccer game.

    We also get a channel for the Braves games but they didn't show Sunday's game at Philly so I'm wondering if they only show home games in HD?

    Also through the HD receiver all the non-HD channels look much worse than they did through regular digital cable. Going to the big screen the cable already looked bad, but now many of the channels are close to unwatchable, not that I watch much TV anyway. I really wanted the HD in anticipation of football season.
     
  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    You'll love football in HD. Fox will be doing up to 6 games per week, ABC carries MNF, ESPN does Sunday Night NFL and Saturday night NCAA, and CBS should be doing a few Sunday NFL and one Saturday NCAA game in HD each week. It's too bad that ABC does not carry any NCAA football in HD, since they have the Big Ten contract. I would love to see some Michigan games in HD.

    The only reason I have HD service is for the sports. It was a real treat to watch the Pistons beat up the Lakers in the NBA Finals in glorious HDTV. [​IMG]
     
  16. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    Ok, so how do I find out what programs are actually broadcast in HD? The ESPN HD web page has no information on it.

    Is the Thursday night College Football game in HD? I want to see my Missouri Tigers pound Troy St. in high def!
     
  17. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    These are all the shows broadcast in true HD (plus SportsCenter).

    ESPN HD Listing
     
  18. Ronald.H

    Ronald.H Agent

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    I have Time Warner Cable in Kansas City and have been pretty pleased with the HD offerings. Currently I'm receiving the local channels (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, PBS), TNT and Discovery HD Theatre. For an additional fee, I could get INHD1, INHD2, HDNet, HDNetMovies. So far, I've chosen not to subscribe to those. Also available are HBO, HBO West, ShowTime, and ShowTime West. I don't subscribe to those channels, so I don't receive those either. I did have HBO a year or so ago, and the HD version was included.

    The only disappointment is the continued absence of ESPN HD. I wish TW and Disney would get their acts together and get this ironed out!!!

    Later this summer, they will offer a DVR box with HD channels. That will be the ultimate.
     
  19. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Last season ESPN only broadcast their Saturday night game in HD. If this year follows the same pattern, you'll be out of luck for this Thursday night game. Of course, there is always a chance that the network will continue to expand it's HD schedule this fall.

    As you can see by the schedule provided in Jeff's link, if you are not a baseball fan there is not much to watch on ESPN-HD until football season starts. That's why my HD cable box has been pretty much unused since the NBA Finals ended (except for checking out Discovery HD occasionally).
     

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