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Attn Buzz Crew: Why grouse about analog cable channels svc?

I keep hearing this subject come up on BOL: Cable companies, under the guise of the DTV transition, are trying to hoodwink people into getting digital cable service. Or, I hear just complaints that analog channels are disappearing.

Do you understand that each analog channel occupies the same (and quite often, more) bandwidth as a corresponding digital channel? For each analog channel that exists on a cable, at least one less digital channel can exist. I say "at least" because digital channels are frequently compressed or multiplexed, yielding more effective bandwidth. Nevertheless, there is finite bandwidth available on a coax cable delivery system.

I don't know about you, but I want more digital and hence, more HD- channels. I don't need SD analog, particularly when each OTA (over the air) channel will become digital-only in 2009, save for the possibility of some very low power stations. Most are already doing digital.

Disclaimer: If cable companies drop analog solely to beef up their PPV offerings, I'm totally with the "don't drop analog" crowd. But given the increasing competition from satellite services offering more and more HD channels, it behooves cablers to do the same.

Plus, think of it this way: In 2009, you'll be expecting the cable company to take in an OTA digital channel, and then convert it to analog and feed it back into their cable system, duplicating the separate digital channel on the system. What a waste.

Digital OTA channels are much easier to receive at the same power output than their analog counterparts. Why? Because either they are there, or they aren't. There's no "snow" or ghosting to contend with. If you don't have a sufficient signal, the channel either doesn't appear, or it will freeze up on a frame. It's been named "the cliff effect". But the point is that many who live in metropolitan areas can get a very inexpensive indoor antenna and do just fine with OTA reception. It's just a matter of pointing the antenna in the right direction. One of the many popular models is called the "Silver Sensor" antenna.

I'm no fan of cable companies and I don't work for one. Yeah, they nickel and dime ya to death. But the DTV transition might be just the key for many to DROP cable altogether, as they find they can easily receive many if not all of their local DTV channels with a simple indoor antenna. Obviously rural residents and those who live in geographically challenging areas will need other solutions, such as an amplified outdoor antenna that's rotatable.

The bottom line is we are heading to all digital, and some of the complaining sounds like it's coming from the luddite crowd. That's ironic given the emphasis here on what's new and exciting in tech. Come on, get with the digital program.

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It's not the analog that I want.

What I like about analog is that it just works. My TV, My VCR, my Computer, all take analog signal and I can work with what I want where I want how I want in any room that I want.

Digital could do the same but odds are the cable company won't. Now I'd need something like 8 Cable Boxes to let me do what I can do now, but with the extra hassle of dealing with 8 Boxes that I flat out don't want. I just want my video enabled things to work on their own without assistance in the form of a box complicating my life.

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miss the point?

In reply to: It's not the analog that I want.

or maybe i missed yours,

but OTA digital is cable co free... and if you get OTA analog right now then you should be able to get OTA digital too... no?

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In reply to: Attn Buzz Crew: Why grouse about analog cable channels svc?

I don't want to have to get a cable box for my older TVs. I don't need digital on my upstairs TV, but I do want all the channels I like to watch (I've heard rumors that Food Network, one of the only channels I watch will be effected). Also, I find flipping on a digital box / TV painfully slow.

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(NT) maybe is time for new tv? 100 bucks?

In reply to: Because

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Not everyone lives in cities

In reply to: Attn Buzz Crew: Why grouse about analog cable channels svc?

You pretty lightly dismissed all who don't live in metro areas!

And Tom has talked about the problems, even with metro, with being able to point in the right direction when you've got an apartment that only faces one way.

I also don't know how this works in terms of VCR/DVR. If the antenna needs to be rotated for different stations, how would you set up unattended recordings of various shows on various stations?

Finally, I have thought the "grousing" has almost entirely been about "don't piddle on leg and tell me it's raining". That some cable companies have been using the DTV transition for lots of disinformation to scare customers into service upgrades that they don't really need.

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I'd be willing to give up analog cable channels if...

...they used the freed bandwidth to improve the quality of the SD channels dramatically for those that don't have an HDTV yet. When I first got digital cable the statement my cable co made was true about digital channels having a better picture than analog channels. Not anymore! As they started to add more digital SD and HD channels they started compressing some of the SD channels to the point where they have become unwatchable - way too many compression artifacts! A good quality analog signal actually looks clearer than the same channel in digital in some cases, due to the overcompression.

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Cable companies use public land

In reply to: Attn Buzz Crew: Why grouse about analog cable channels svc?

to deliver their product. We, the public, allow our municipalities to grant them monopolies.

If this were a totally free market situation then I would say cable companies were free to make whatever business decisions do they want. But its not. cable companies, by the nature of the way they deliver their product have a certain public service obligation The fact that many of them are using the confusion surrounding the digital broadcast to up-sell their customers to more expensive digital tiers is slimy and unethical.

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