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  1. Member
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    I think as many of you know, February 2009, we all need to go digital. I'm not quite sure what that means.

    So I was wondering if you could recommend a dvd recorder that is prepared for this. I currently own a pioneer dvr-420hs with a 80gb hard drive. It records cable channels, but only to a certain number. For me, channels above 100 cannot be tuned. Here are some of my "ignorant" questions:

    1. Will my pioneer still be above to tune these channels when the switchover occurs?
    2. Is their a dvd recorder with hard drive that can tune all the channels that a cable box can? You know channels in the 500's, 600's, etc.
    3. A dvd recorder that can do the above, with a hard drive, and can playback DL media and divx.

    Thank you!
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    No need to worry... digital converter boxes are just now appearing. These will provide a DVDR or TV with a digital signal. Just an external digital tuner. Govt will allow each home that need them two $40 vouchers to help offset the cost of the new converters.

    Here's one for MSRP $69.99... 1st one approved by govt.

    If you want to explore new HDD DVDRs with digital tuner, here's some info on the Philips DVDR3575H. No consumer digital DVDR can tune above ch 135 on the digital side or 125 on the analog side. Cablcos do "mirror" some/many of their channels in the lower ranges. I get 7 digital channels in my basic analog feed. Another person with a 3575 on FIOS gets 37 digital channels in the clear (no box).
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    Well, I have digital cable, all the HD channels, etc. I'm just wondering will the switch over have any effect on my pioneer dvr-420hs. Right now it's tuning about 90 something channels, and I was wondering if it will still tune those channels.
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    Cablecos are supposed to keep sending their "normal" stuff to subscribers thru 2011 or 2012 (?), so should be no changes on cable.

    If you went OTA, the converter box would feed your DVDR and your TV with OTA broadcast TV, which is the ONLY thing that will go all-digital in 2009.
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  5. Member oldandinthe way's Avatar
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    Your cable company is only required to offer the OTA channels in anlog after the cutover, and it appears they can give you that by supplying a cable box with analog output.

    There is no requirement to provide any of the basic cable stations (under 100). What your cable co does will vary by their bandwidth needs. In some areas recorders like yours are already limited to what comes in from the cable box (usually channel 3). This will be the case in more areas. Your recorder is like a cable ready TV - how it operates in the future in solely at the mercy of your cable provider.
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  6. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Philips 3575 has an ATSC/QAM digital tuner, and is a good machine (SP mode only suggested, nothing longer, maybe 2 at most).
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  7. Member oldandinthe way's Avatar
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    Having an ATSC/QAM tuner will give you some digital capabilites but you may also need a recorder with cablecard capabilities to record certain tiers of programming and premium channels.

    The safest way to be sure of recording is to use your cableco's DVR, and that carries restrictions on what you can record to digital media and may have retention limits.
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  8. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Cablecard is on the way out, supposedly, not in. At least that's what both Sony and Charter have told me.
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    Originally Posted by siratfus
    I think as many of you know, February 2009, we all need to go digital. I'm not quite sure what that means.
    I have heard that before, but never repeated it. Over the air analog TV broadcast are scheduled to end on that date. What happens with your Cable TV service is largely up to your Cable TV provider, and partly up to how their customers react to any announcement to transition to digital only service. My reaction (and I believe I am not part of a small minority on our cable system) would be to cancel my Cable Service.

    You received good info here regarding the Phillips unit. But my best advice is not to worry about the future or to make purchases now based on what the future may bring. Future proofing is for fools. Buy what you need when you need it. And if you really like it, buy another one before they quit making it.
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    [quote="SmokieStover"]
    Originally Posted by siratfus
    You received good info here regarding the Phillips unit. But my best advice is not to worry about the future or to make purchases now based on what the future may bring. Future proofing is for fools. Buy what you need when you need it. And if you really like it, buy another one before they quit making it.
    Exactly! That's why I have three Philips 3575s!
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  11. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by siratfus
    Well, I have digital cable, all the HD channels, etc. I'm just wondering will the switch over have any effect on my pioneer dvr-420hs. Right now it's tuning about 90 something channels, and I was wondering if it will still tune those channels.
    Analog will continue to work but as others have said, the trend is reduction of two digit analog channelsog to make room for more three digit digital channels.

    The FCC requires the local cable company to continue the analog locals until at least 2012 and to provide certain locals in QAM digital as well. Alternatively, the cable company has the option to go all digital so long as they offer basic service customers a no extra charge cable box.

    Some "extended basic" analog cable channels will need to move to digital (three digit) to satisfy demands for more HD and sports. Each analog channel removed clears space for up to ten SD or 2 HD digital channels.

    If you buy a new DVD recorder get one with a QAM cable tuner built in. These tune non-encryped digital cable channels and many also allow SD 16:9 recording from clear QAM HD channels.
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  12. So you don't need to change depending on who your local cable company is.
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  13. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by handyguy
    So you don't need to change depending on who your local cable company is.
    Cable is evolving to full digital over a number of years. Small systems with limited bandwidth (550MHz) will need to either upgrade bandwidth or be forced to go all digital sooner. The situation varies down to the neighborhood. AVSForum has chat groups down to the city level. Ask their members what is happening locally.

    http://avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=45
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  14. Member oldandinthe way's Avatar
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    The cable companies WISH that cablecard is on the way out.

    The FCC has made the use of cablecard in new cableboxes mandatory to force the cost of cablecard down.

    Both the big cable companies and SONY are in alliance because the death of cablecard will reduce their costs.
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Sony pulled CableCard on its newest tv sets.
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  16. Member oldandinthe way's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lordsmurf
    Sony pulled CableCard on its newest tv sets.
    In the short term this is no risk to SONY. The consumer has shown no interest in CableCard.

    In a post-analog world who knows?

    Postulate a world where the consumer wants HD and wants to ability to receive and RECORD televison from his cable system. If cablecard is unavailable due to lack of interest from companies like SONY the cableco's DVR will be the easiest and most desireable product on the market to meet the need. Its limitations will be the limitations of the capabilities.

    On some small systems like Metrocast the HD box is the DVR box - $10/mo for both capabilities. No cablecard - no market for DVRs. For SONY a situation with more control of DRM, but no recorder business. Perhaps some other hardware suppliers will make a different decision since they do not have businesses with the same conflicting goals.
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  17. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Sony is looking for cost reduction and nobody buying a new HDTV wants Cablecard even though like ...dietary fiber?... it is good for them. Also Cablecard is being resisted by cable companies so they redirect support load to Sony.

    Cablecard was forced by FCC chairman at the time Michael Powell who insisted cable companies should not be allowed to force formerly analog customers into cablebox rentals because of the broadcast switch to digital.

    Cable is leaving more clear QAM open for now but expect that to quickly change as cable tightens up.
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  18. Originally Posted by wabjxo
    No consumer digital DVDR can tune above ch 135 on the digital side or 125 on the analog side.
    I was intending to buy a DVDR with QAM capabilities, but if that's the case, I'll be out of luck with my cable company since most of the digital channels it provides in the clear are in the 900 range.
    I wonder if that is going to change (to get the full channel range), otherwise why bother to get a digital DVDR in the first place? Might as well just keep on using the cable box as the video source.
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    Originally Posted by tac7
    Originally Posted by wabjxo
    No consumer digital DVDR can tune above ch 135 on the digital side or 125 on the analog side.
    I was intending to buy a DVDR with QAM capabilities, but if that's the case, I'll be out of luck with my cable company since most of the digital channels it provides in the clear are in the 900 range.
    I wonder if that is going to change (to get the full channel range), otherwise why bother to get a digital DVDR in the first place? Might as well just keep on using the cable box as the video source.
    You left out part of what I wrote in the quote you included. I said:

    No consumer digital DVDR can tune above ch 135 on the digital side or 125 on the analog side. Cablcos do "mirror" some/many of their channels in the lower ranges. I get 7 digital channels in my basic analog feed. Another person with a 3575 on FIOS gets 37 digital channels in the clear (no box).

    All my cablecos "digital" channels are in the 3-digit range, but I still get 8 digital channels (used to be 7), and I'm on a BASIC ANALOG subscription.
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    Originally Posted by tac7
    Originally Posted by wabjxo
    No consumer digital DVDR can tune above ch 135 on the digital side or 125 on the analog side.
    I was intending to buy a DVDR with QAM capabilities, but if that's the case, I'll be out of luck with my cable company since most of the digital channels it provides in the clear are in the 900 range.
    I wonder if that is going to change (to get the full channel range), otherwise why bother to get a digital DVDR in the first place? Might as well just keep on using the cable box as the video source.
    As I understand digital cable, Channel 900 would be a virtual channel which is mapped to a specific digital freguency or channel via the cable box. If channel 900 is broadcast in clear QAM and you can only receive it via the cable box, how can you know it's clear (not encrypted)?
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  21. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Digital cable channels are not hard-coded into channel numbers.
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  22. Member edDV's Avatar
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    North American digital cable channels that you tune on cable boxes use virtual numbers. Each real 6MHz analog channel modulated with 256QAM can manage 38.4 Mb/s which can be divided into 7-12 SD or up to 2 HD MPeg2 channels or a combination*.

    Cable channels fall into bands where ch2 to ch78 are traditionally analog. 2-13 follow broadcast analog frequencies, the rest are different frequencies for cable divided into bands.

    Typical 552 MHz system channels

    T channels
    2-6
    FM Radio
    95-99
    14-22
    7-13
    23-78

    Typical 750 MHZ systems add these channels

    79-94 (digital channels)
    100-116 (digital channels)

    Wider systems up to 1GHz add these channels

    117-158 (digital channels)


    When you direct tune QAM channels they often start at 79.n where n is the subchannel. Some systems start lower with digital. Most QAM tuners display these subchannels with virtual ID names such as "KNTV-HD" or "KRON-SD".

    Cable boxes display the same subchannels as arbitrary three digit numbers.


    * more subchannels can be stuffed in using "statistical multiplexing"
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    JFTHOI, here's a channel map from my basic analog cable feed to both my new LCD TV and my Philips 3575, just to show a "live" example of how TW digital channels work for me (don't have box so don't know what virtual ch #s are):

    Net.........TV CH.....3575 CH
    CW21.......60-703...60.1
    Fox6HD....60-706...60.2
    My68........60-711...60.3
    DiscHD.....75-10....75.1
    ESPNHD....76-1......76.1
    TNT.TV.....78-300...78.1
    TBS.com...83-205...83.3
    ESPN2HD..83-754...83.4
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    Originally Posted by edDV

    * more subchannels can be stuffed in using "statistical multiplexing"
    On analog cable, is their something similar to "statistical multiplexing" which causes one channel to be faintly visible, appearing, disappearing, and reappearing, and often slowly drifting across the channel that I am watching? Have seen this many times when watching or recording the Sci-Fi Channel. The culprit always being the Nick Channel. These channels are widely seperated by number.

    Have noticed a similar thing on TV Land, but the underlying channel is always text and it does not drift...just darkens then fades away. Seems to be a more common occurence with the Original Star Trek episodes.
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  25. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV

    * more subchannels can be stuffed in using "statistical multiplexing"
    On analog cable, is their something similar to "statistical multiplexing" which causes one channel to be faintly visible, appearing, disappearing, and reappearing, and often slowly drifting across the channel that I am watching? Have seen this many times when watching or recording the Sci-Fi Channel. The culprit always being the Nick Channel. These channels are widely seperated by number.

    Have noticed a similar thing on TV Land, but the underlying channel is always text and it does not drift...just darkens then fades away. Seems to be a more common occurence with the Original Star Trek episodes.
    That sounds more like analog modulation harmonic distortion or some other interference. What are the channel numbers?

    Statistical multiplexing is a technique where a group of digital channels share a fixed bandwidth. VBR is distributed based on need so that channels in instantaneous high motion can take more bitrate while those that are static use less. Average bitrate can be much less per channel allowing more channels to share the same fixed bitrate. Also individual channel average quality can be set so that channels like HBO or ESPN can get more average bitrate than say MTV or MSNBC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_multiplexing
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV

    * more subchannels can be stuffed in using "statistical multiplexing"
    On analog cable, is their something similar to "statistical multiplexing" which causes one channel to be faintly visible, appearing, disappearing, and reappearing, and often slowly drifting across the channel that I am watching? Have seen this many times when watching or recording the Sci-Fi Channel. The culprit always being the Nick Channel. These channels are widely seperated by number.

    Have noticed a similar thing on TV Land, but the underlying channel is always text and it does not drift...just darkens then fades away. Seems to be a more common occurence with the Original Star Trek episodes.
    That sounds more like analog modulation harmonic distortion or some other interference. What are the channel numbers?

    Statistical multiplexing is a technique where a group of digital channels share a fixed bandwidth. VBR is distributed based on need so that channels in instantaneous high motion can take more bitrate while those that are static use less. Average bitrate can be much less per channel allowing more channels to share the same fixed bitrate. Also individual channel average quality can be set so that channels like HBO or ESPN can get more average bitrate than say MTV or MSNBC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_multiplexing
    Sci-Fi is channel 53, Nick is channel 46. Several complaints to the Cable Company over a 2 week period resulted in a fix on their or the programers end. Still is a problem now and then.

    TVLAND is channel 47. I never could figure out what channel was fading in and out in the background...it didn't drift...was stable in position. I was able to make out a 1-800 number once when watching live, but had nothing with which to write.

    I did archive several episodes with these problems from both channels to DVD....documents the problems very well.
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  27. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV
    Originally Posted by SmokieStover
    Originally Posted by edDV

    * more subchannels can be stuffed in using "statistical multiplexing"
    On analog cable, is their something similar to "statistical multiplexing" which causes one channel to be faintly visible, appearing, disappearing, and reappearing, and often slowly drifting across the channel that I am watching? Have seen this many times when watching or recording the Sci-Fi Channel. The culprit always being the Nick Channel. These channels are widely seperated by number.

    Have noticed a similar thing on TV Land, but the underlying channel is always text and it does not drift...just darkens then fades away. Seems to be a more common occurence with the Original Star Trek episodes.
    That sounds more like analog modulation harmonic distortion or some other interference. What are the channel numbers?

    Statistical multiplexing is a technique where a group of digital channels share a fixed bandwidth. VBR is distributed based on need so that channels in instantaneous high motion can take more bitrate while those that are static use less. Average bitrate can be much less per channel allowing more channels to share the same fixed bitrate. Also individual channel average quality can be set so that channels like HBO or ESPN can get more average bitrate than say MTV or MSNBC.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statistical_multiplexing
    Sci-Fi is channel 53, Nick is channel 46. Several complaints to the Cable Company over a 2 week period resulted in a fix on their or the programers end. Still is a problem now and then.

    TVLAND is channel 47. I never could figure out what channel was fading in and out in the background...it didn't drift...was stable in position. I was able to make out a 1-800 number once when watching live, but had nothing with which to write.

    I did archive several episodes with these problems from both channels to DVD....documents the problems very well.
    Those are all analog channel interference problems that the cable company should fix. 53, 46 and 47 are all in what is called cable "Hyper Band" (301-468 MHz.).
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