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What is Digital Cable?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John DeSantis, Nov 17, 2001.

  1. John DeSantis

    John DeSantis Stunt Coordinator

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    My local Cable Company (Armstrong N.E. Ohio ) is offering Digital Cable. Is this really going to be a Digital signal? I have basic cable along with HBO. The Digital Cable requires a STB I would imagine. ( bummer ) But, it appears that the added channels I would get with the "digital cable " is just compressed signals that are decompressed by the STB. It's not really going to be a digital signal is it? ones and zeroes? If not, why do they call it digital?
    ------------------
    It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.
    Jack Handy
     
  2. RoyGBiv

    RoyGBiv Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, the signal is being sent digitally. That doesn't mean, though, that the picture quality is necessarily any better than regular cable or even OTA. Digital cable sends a signal the same way DTV and DISH send their signal. They start with receiving the analog signal, convert it to digital, perform various compression techniques, send it to a receiver (or STB), the receiver converts it back to analog to go to your TV. Just because it's digital doesn't mean it is high definition. The digital transmission just allows more material to be sent with less loss over the transmission medium. Here in RI, the digital cable picture quality I have seen is no better than the terrible analog cable quality. That's why I have DirecTV. People will argue that DirecTVs picture quality is awful because of all the compression, and it is. But it's better than the alternative here. Plus I get several HD stations both from satellite and OTA using my satellite STB which I wouldn't get with digital cable.
    SMK
     
  3. John DeSantis

    John DeSantis Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks; That's kind of what I thought. I still think they try and mislead by saying "digital" even though they're partially correct.
     
  4. BobPeck

    BobPeck Agent

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    We may have the same cable company, as I live in NE Ohio, as well: Adelphia. I can tell you a little about them.
    I can tell you the picture quality will in fact be better, but on digital channels only.
    What are digital channels? I think those 100 and above. I'm actually not sure if this is the cutoff of digital signal or if all channels are digital. However, under channel 100 I lose audio when using the digital coax connection for audio (which is what's making me think the channels below are not digital.)
    Why is the picture quality better 100+? I don't know, but the picture quality for channels 02-99 is extremely variable. Some look great. Some look static ridden and (if the station had a terrestrial antenna), I'd bet you I could get a better picture using rabbit ears.
    Over channel 100, every channel is uniform in quality.
    Back to the digital sound over 100 (but not under. . . . this is a very strange setup)I don't know if DD will ever be transmitted (may not be enough bandwidth????? Anyway, all the movie channels are over 100.
     
  5. Matty B

    Matty B Stunt Coordinator

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    He's correct. Channels 1-100 are analog. I dont know why you would be experiencing better picture quality above 100 though since it's only digital to compress the picture. as everyone knows, you can lop off %50 of a signal and expect it to look %100 better when your STB decompresses it. Out here in Denver, the compression begins at channel 75 I believe. Digital Cable is a hoax. It's not TRUE digital picture and sound like Direct TV and Echostar (One in the same now) it's a compression algorithm.
     
  6. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I had Digital Cable here in California for about 6 months. Since we had a recent upgrade in the area, the digital signal looked nearly the same as the analog.
    But some of the channels showed snow/dropouts!
    It turns out, the non-network stations like WB, UPN, etc, were picked up by an ANTENNA at the CATV office and converted to digital for the trip through the coax.
    And even the network stations are sometimes received at the CATV office as analog and digitized for the trip through the coax.
    My understanding is that Dish/Direct put digitzation equipment in the studios. It DOES go through a compression step at the uplink site, but thats it. Not like the ANALOG-transmit-DIGITIZE conversion offered by Digital Cable. I think this is why people are seeing snow/problems even with the "Digital" feed - there is a analog transmission in the chain.
     
  8. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    In my experience digital cable is just a way to get a lot of channels. The picture quality I am receiving is subpar. A lot of times I see a movie I would like to watch and then see how bad the picture quality is and end up changing the channel. The cable guy has been by several times and says everything is okay. [​IMG]
    Jon
     

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