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I need the digital box because why/Will new TV help?

by cruciatus / February 28, 2009 12:50 PM PST

After too much searching, I think I'm finally starting to understand that I will need a digital box come April 1, 2009. That's when my small, local cable company is going all digital.

Am I right so far? I hope so. The cable company just gave us the boxes without any explanation whatsoever. So I ask you--why is the box necessary? Would it not be necessary if the cable company were, I don't know, partially digital (I guess this means still using an analog signal as is the case with many cable companies--just not ours). If someone could explain just for my own knowledge I would appreciate it.

I've read something about digital tiers and analog tiers which I'm guessing is the issue here (guessing, people!) Is it that the TV is made for the analog tiers and the digital tiers are the problem? But if so, I've read about cable companies with both analog and digital channels that don't require any digital box. What is different in my situation? What makes "all digital" so different?

My next question within a question is about the digital box and TVs. The cable company handed out 3 of these digital boxes for free but never asked us what kind of TVs we had--so this may not matter at all. I do think our TVs are old and not ready for "all digital" but would a newer TV free us from this box? I just want to be sure since the cable company never asked us what we already have. Or does the digital box need to be hooked up to any kind of TV, new or old?

I was thinking up buying a flat-panel TV but if I still need the box no matter what then I may just put it off until prices are even lower than they are now. I kind of hate the idea of this box (it's just more stuff) and hope that a newer TV will fix this problem! Also, if a new TV CAN fix this problem is there any feature I should be sure the TV has?

I hope someone can answer my questions.

Thanks in advance!

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More info needed
by Pepe7 / March 1, 2009 1:18 AM PST

Which CATV service/provider are you working with and which TVs are you using at home? This is a good starting point anyway before talking about upgrading.

Before knowing this, it's true though. If your local franchise is upgrading their service it would typically be necessary to upgrade your boxes (at no charge). Depending on the provider, services you require (on demand, etc.) and which newer HDTV(s) you ended up with, it might not require any boxes whatsoever. Many of the newer models have the sufficient tuners built in to receive a great deal of the content you pay for already. Do you view on demand movies or premium channels such as HBO? That's where the boxes may be required by the Cable firms.

-Pedro

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No equipment fee or monthly charge for the extra boxes?
by ahtoi / March 1, 2009 2:09 AM PST

I say take it and thank them. You will need them come April.

If these boxes are free then I wouldn't worry about whether the new digital TV is equip with/without QAM card or tuner. Just use the box.

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cable co infrastructure/system upgrades
by Pepe7 / March 1, 2009 7:49 AM PST

FYI, when a cable co upgrades from analog to digital they typically comp you for new boxes if you are a current subscriber with no outstanding balance. The OP's already paying for at least one box rental. Upgrading to HDTVs might mean the OP would not have to pay for *any* box rental. YMMV according to the services the OP wants.

-Pedro

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