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  1. Member
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    Originally Posted by MOVIEGEEK
    To clarify the misinformation from the internet and Worst Buy employees:
    The analog shutoff date of 2/17/09 only effects those who use OTA signals on tv's with analog tuners,it does not effect those on cable or satellite.
    I have two analog TVs connected to cable service but without the converter box (using the TV tuners to change cable channels). Will they stilll work?
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    Originally Posted by edong
    Originally Posted by MOVIEGEEK
    To clarify the misinformation from the internet and Worst Buy employees:
    The analog shutoff date of 2/17/09 only effects those who use OTA signals on tv's with analog tuners,it does not effect those on cable or satellite.
    I have two analog TVs connected to cable service but without the converter box (using the TV tuners to change cable channels). Will they stilll work?
    Ask your cable service provider
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  3. Originally Posted by edong
    I have two analog TVs connected to cable service but without the converter box (using the TV tuners to change cable channels). Will they stilll work?
    I am using Comcast, and I expect them to work, because Comcast is running ad on their channel that stated "Comcast will services their cable customers without the need of equipment changes"
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  4. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by edong
    Originally Posted by MOVIEGEEK
    To clarify the misinformation from the internet and Worst Buy employees:
    The analog shutoff date of 2/17/09 only effects those who use OTA signals on tv's with analog tuners,it does not effect those on cable or satellite.
    I have two analog TVs connected to cable service but without the converter box (using the TV tuners to change cable channels). Will they stilll work?
    FCC requires local TV stations to be carried as analog NTSC on cable until at least 2012. Analog cable channels may or may not continue to be carried as the local cable system sees fit. Every current analog channel can be converted to 8-10 SD or 2 HD MPeg2 digital cable channels.

    There is a "hardship" provision where small cable systems can avoid the analog requirement if they provide a digital cable box at no cost to basic analog plan customers. The cable company needs to apply for special waiver from the FCC.
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    I have two DISH Network CECB's. Having compared the output from one of them to the same show on analog cable, digital cable, analog broadcast, and digital broadcast, using a borrowed SD digital CRT TV, I have to agree that the picture is soft.

    Using one with my small analog CRT TV's, I had to live with it for a few weeks to notice its faults with respect to picture quality. With those TV's the picture looks nearly as good as an analog cable station, most of the time, though it can resemble a good SLP-mode video tape under some conditions. To be fair, some of this may be related to a too low bitrate on some digital channels, but having tested it against various souces on a better TV, I doubt that all of it is. That being said, only one analog station ever comes in for me with the clarity of the picture provided by this box. There is no snow, no ghosts, and no static noise in the audio. I have to move the rabbit ears around to get a good signal on three of the 17 channels, but even that is an improvement over analog broadcast.

    HDTV it ain't. None of these boxes ever can be, but even mine, with mediocre picture quality for CECB's, beats the pants off analog reception, and the ability to bring up a program guide on the TV is very convenient.
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  6. Originally Posted by SingSing
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10037052-93.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0

    And almost immediately, TV broadcasters and the FCC hotline were inundated with phone calls from local residents in the area who weren't prepared for the transition or couldn't figure out how to use the converter boxes...
    Imagine what's it's going to be like on Feb 17, 2009!

    What they should do, rather than simply switching off the analog signal, is broadcast instructions on what's happened and what people need to do. Where to get a converter box, how to hook it up, etc. Continue broadcasting that for a month or so.
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  7. According to the Journal, by mid-afternoon roughly 74 calls had been placed to two TV stations, WSFX-TV, a Fox affiliate, and WECT-TV, an NBC affiliate. The newspaper also reported the FCC received about a hundred calls on its toll-free help line in the first few hours after local broadcasters shut off their analog signals. Most of the calls were from people who needed help programming the new digital converter boxes, the newspaper said.
    It is good news because among the callers, most of them have the DTV converter boxes.
    The lesson is that DTV channels are similar but not exactly the same as the old ananlog TV channels.
    Also, the analog TV channels that came thru in VHF may not come thru in the all UHF DTV channels. So the viewers are wondering why their DTV boxes are not picking up all their favorite channels.
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  8. "All UHF DTV Channels"??? Three of my local stations will still be VHF after the transition. WWMT (Analog 3), WOODTV (Analog 8 ), and WZZMTV (analog 13) will be on 8, 7, and 13 respectively.
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    Wilmington tried especially hard to inform people about what they needed to do, since they are the first city to make the transition, but that probably won't happen everywhere. It doesn't seem to me that the current public service spots about the transition will be enough.

    They refer viewers to a website as the primary means for getting more information. While it's fine for most people, it is not helpful for the millions who have no access to the internet. Sometimes there is a phone number too, but if one calls the number, it is necessary to go through three menus before speaking to a living person, and there is no voice-recognition in place, requiring users to have a touch-tone phone. Even now, some people have pulse/rotary phones, or have a disability that makes using button-based menu systems difficult.

    Continuing to broadcast information on former analog channels is a good idea, although, it might not be possible to use all current analog channels to provide information after February 17, 2009. In some places, frequencies now in use for analog are going to be re-used for digital after the switch.

    However, there is nothing the government can do that would be as helpful as individuals reaching out to people they know who might be having difficulty with this, assuming they will accept help.

    "All UHF DTV Channels"??? Three of my local stations will still be VHF after the transition. WWMT (Analog 3), WOODTV (Analog 8 ), and WZZMTV (analog 13) will be on 8, 7, and 13 respectively.
    Maybe he was speaking of Wilmington? I do think there is some confusion about DTV and UHF, though. Some digital channels will still be using VHF frequencies after February 17, 2009 where I am too, although it is my understanding that the plan is to move all TV broadcasts to the UHF band eventually.
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  10. 91% of digital channels in the U.S. are UHF. There are some areas that use VHF, most don't.

    You can look here to see if there are VHF channels in your area:
    http://www.solidsignal.com/antennas/dmamarkets.asp

    They probably put the channel numbers the same on the converter boxes as the analogs were to keep from confusing people, that doesn't mean they are VHF channels.
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    I already checked. What I said is definitely true for my area. What is really strange is that one of the UHF stations here currently has no digital broadcasts because they must wait for their assigned "permanent" digital freqency in the VHF band to become available. That frequency is currently in use by another local station for their analog transmissions.

    [Edit] Solid Signal's list gives the true channel numbers, but it looks to me like they are temporary/pre-transition channel assignments and only for HD channels.
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  12. When I sited the channel numbers I was referring to the broadcast frequency assignment, not the digital "label" that's displayed on the cable box, but let me be more clear.
    WWMT is currently broadcasting their digital signal on 2 (54-60 mHz) and their analog on 3 (60-66 mHz). It will switch to 8 (180-186 mHz) at the transition when WOODTV stops broadcasting their analog signal. WOODTV is currently broadcasting their digital signal on 7 (174-180 mHz) and will continue to do so after the transition. WZZMTV is currently broadcasting their digital signal on 39 (620-626 mHz) and will switch to 13 (210-216 mHz) once they stop their analog broadcast, currently on 13. In all cases the digital channels carry their analog label and will continue to do so, (WWMT channel 3, WOODTV channel 8, and WZZMTV channel 13)

    Edit: After looking again, I see that my local PBS is also broadcasting their digital signal VHF, on channel 11 and will continue after the transition, but their analog signal has always been UHF 35. I didn't think anyone would be switching UHF to VHF, but there it is...
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  13. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Long term the FCC wants all TV to exit the lower VHF band (Ch2-6) and eventually the upper VHF band (Ch7-13) but transmitter/tuner tests in early 2000's showed that ATSC had greater distance reach with VHF so they permitted stations to request any VHF/UHF channel for their permanent digital frequency. Most broadcasters that selected upper VHF are in the west or rural areas where stations are more geographically spaced.

    In the meantime, the UHF TV band has been reduced from 14-83 to 14-51 (less two channels used for special purposes) leaving 37 UHF channels in common use for TV broadcasting in the USA (post Feb17,2009).

    Ch 2-6 have special noise and interference issues so these were only requested by a few locals. That left the 7 upper VHF channels plus UHF for most markets.

    ATSC modulation allows both closer channel spacing and greater useful geographic overlap (two stations using the same frequency) allowing more potential transmitters in far fewer channel slots.

    That said, each local market has a unique set of issues that affect reception and antenna requirements. The best database I've found that details local channel assignment is
    http://www.rabbitears.info/dtr.php

    The stations are listed by former analog channel number, temporary (2003-2009) digital assignment and the final digital assignment effective Feb 17, 2009. Each station has a real and virtual channel number. For example WNBC-DT New York will show up on tuners as 4.1, 4.2 (virtual) while the real transmitter is on Ch 28. You need to know the real channel numbers for antenna selection.

    If all stations are on UHF, simple UHF antennas can be used.


    If a mix of VHF and UHF is found, a larger combo VHF/UHF antenna will be needed.


    If you are within 20 miles of all the desired transmitters, an indoor antenna may be sufficient. If the transmitters are scattered in direction, you will need an omnidirectional antenna or multiple antennas.
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by gadgetguy

    Edit: After looking again, I see that my local PBS is also broadcasting their digital signal VHF, on channel 11 and will continue after the transition, but their analog signal has always been UHF 35. I didn't think anyone would be switching UHF to VHF, but there it is...
    They did it because the other guys were upper VHF. That way a single upper VHF only antenna can be used for all. Upper VHF only antennas can be much smaller than those covering lower VHF as well. Hopefully their towers are close together.

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  15. The first three are relatively close together, but IIRC, from my location the PBS station is about 100 degrees off from the others. On the other hand, it's really close and I could pick it up with a gum wrapper for an antenna.
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  16. ArsTechnica has a good report on the Wilmington switch:

    http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080910-analog-tv-cutoff-in-wilmington-nc-sees-m...d-results.html

    Of the approximately 14,000 houseolds that receive over-the-air analog TV in the area, around 1,200 called the FCC's DTV helpline with various concerns on Monday and Tuesday. But the vast majority knew about the transition and just needed converter box help.
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    I have the Zenith mentioned in the original post in this thread. Connecting it via coax yielded a strange audio hiss undertone. I used the Y/R/W composite cable and the connection was perfect. For $25 (including tax) I can't complain. Makes my analog set look new. Certainly better quality than any analog cable I've ever received.
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  18. They make pretty nice widescreen recordings with a good DVD recorder. Definitely worth the $20 plus tax.
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    As far as Wilmington goes, all the news sounds great so far, but they prepared for this for months. Converter box sales have been brisk, but if Wilmington is any example of what is to come, a significant percentage of those who need them haven't been able to use them successfully yet, or will wait until the last minute to get one.

    I live in a mid-sized city and have heard nothing whatsoever about local preparations for the analog cut-off date. Anybody here having a different experience?
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  20. Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    As far as Wilmington goes, all the news sounds great so far
    You call 1200 out of 14000 households calling the stations/FCC with problems great news? I imagine for every person that called the stations/FCC there was another, or, more likely, several others, that called a friend or relative -- or a TV repair shop. This is going to be a disaster when the big cut-off comes. The stations and FCC won't be prepared for 12 million phone calls.

    I'd like to see the sales spike in converter boxes in the week or two after the cut-off. That will indicate how many people were completely unprepared and desperate to get their TVs working again.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    I'd like to see the sales spike in converter boxes in the week or two after the cut-off. That will indicate how many people were completely unprepared and desperate to get their TVs working again.
    I'm not sure it will. In my area, they can't seem to keep the RCA, Zenith and Insignia boxes in stock now, and a box isn't the right solution for everyone.

    My father's 87-year-old mall-walking buddy resented this change being imposed on him and was going to give up TV after the cut-off date. When I heard that, I offered to help him find a converter box, but he didn't want an unfamiliar device, so I found a 20" SD CRT TV for him instead. He seemed pleased with that idea, but hasn't bought it yet.

    The TV listings in the local newspaper are only for cable, and the digital broadcast sub-channels aren't covered. He didn't seem to know that digital broadcasts are available now, before Dad told him. [Edit] I don't think enough people really understand what is happening.
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    FCC requires local TV stations to be carried as analog NTSC on cable until at least 2012. Analog cable channels may or may not continue to be carried as the local cable system sees fit. Every current analog channel can be converted to 8-10 SD or 2 HD MPeg2 digital cable channels.

    There is a "hardship" provision where small cable systems can avoid the analog requirement if they provide a digital cable box at no cost to basic analog plan customers. The cable company needs to apply for special waiver from the FCC.
    I read the FCC's unofficial statement regarding the ruling which requires carriage of local broadcast stations in analog form after February 17, 2007, written on September 11, 2007. It is available here: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-276576A1.pdf

    According to that statement, what edDV says, is not the full story. All cable operators can convert their systems to all digital any time they wish. If they don't qualify for a waiver, all they have to do is provide a set top box (at no additional cost) that will provide the required local channels in analog form.

    This would be expensive, if there are lot of households in the system with analog service, but my provider, Comcast, is already making every effort to diminish that number. They are reducing the number of analog channels, and raisng rates so there is little difference between the the regular price of standard analog and digital starter service. Until September 30, they are offering reduced rates on service for 6 months and a free digital set-top box (for one year, if I remember the ad correctly).

    This is a voluntary program, which has been highly successful here. So much so that they can't keep up with the demand for boxes. I predict that the vast majority of standard analog cable customers will switch to a digital package before 2012. They won't force people to accept a box right away after February 17, but they will continue applying pressure.

    There will be some people who won't switch but if the number is small enough, Comcast might be able to risk loosing them, if they won't accept a free box as part of their service. It isn't like there are going to be any box-free alternatives after February 17, 2009 for analog service, unless one's local broadcast service is limited to low-powered transmitters.
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  23. Member edDV's Avatar
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    This has been discussed in detail in other threads so I summarized above. There are usually "basic analog" ~$14-18/mo. and "extended basic" ~$50/mo up with additional cable channels in analog form. I think you are comparing the latter to "digital starter" plans.

    The FCC is interested in the first class of customers. Basic service consists mostly of retransmission of local OTA stations with a few local college, community and C-Span channels added by the cable company. OTA stations fall under either "must carry" or "retransmission consent" rules. All local DTV stations are required to be carried in converted analog form until 2012 with an additional requirement that all "must carry" stations be provided in clearQAM digital (without encryption) for direct digital tuning without a cable box. The clearQAM "must carry" channels are required to be passed in HD if they are broadcast in HD.

    The analog tuning rule can be implemented with either analog dedicated channels or a digital QAM to analog converter box that provides SD analog outputs similar to the ATSC "coupon" box tuners. Only one box needs to be provided free of additional charge to basic analog service customers. These don't need to be full feature digital cable boxes and aren't required to tune other than the local TV stations.

    The FCC isn't regulating the extended basic analog channels. The cable companies decide whether to continue this service or convert these channels to digital for expanded digital service.

    Those with older TV sets, or those wanting to analog feed the spare bedroom TV could be required to rent converter boxes beyond the first "free" one. If you have a digital plan, there is no requirement that a free box be offerd at all. You would just lose that analog option for additional TV sets, VCR, DVD Recorders or computer tuners.
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    Originally Posted by edDV
    There are usually "basic analog" ~$14-18/mo. and "extended basic" ~$50/mo up with additional cable channels in analog form. I think you are comparing the latter to "digital starter" plans.

    The FCC is interested in the first class of customers.
    Yes definitely. Comcast doesn't call it "extended basic" anymore, and haven't for some time, They call it "standard", instead. "Digital starter" is roughly equivalent to that with respect to the channels offered.

    While nobody receiving analog cable servide has the legal right to view anything beyond "must carry" channels, the FCC is protecting the interests of all analog cable customers with this ruling, not just those with the lowest level of analog service available. The CECB's are more-or-less about the same thing with respect to OTA TV. The FCC is also protecting the interests of all digital cable subcribers, with respect to digital broadcast channels, though they have the additional right to the see their protected channels in the same quality as the original broadcast, and after 2012, the current protections for analog cable customers will expire, unless they are renewed.

    I can deal with the inconvenience of having an cable box and an extra remote to watch TV. I'm using 2 CECB's now, so what's the difference? What I hate is being faced with the choice of A.) having to rent additional cable boxes for recording anything from cable but what I am watching, or B.) renting recording devices from the cable company. To top it all off, my 80+ folks are planning to switch to FIOS after the 1st quarter of nest year, because Comcast has raised their rates for standard analog service too much. I am not looking forward to dealing with that either. They can barely use their new digital TV's and VCR correctly now.
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  25. Originally Posted by usually_quiet
    While nobody receiving analog cable servide has the legal right to view anything beyond "must carry" channels, the FCC is protecting the interests of all analog cable customers with this ruling, not just those with the lowest level of analog service available.
    Where do you get that? It only covers local BROADCAST stations. For most people that's around a half dozen stations. Yeah, it covers those with extended analog service -- but only as far as local broadcast stations are concerned.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo
    Where do you get that? It only covers local BROADCAST stations. For most people that's around a half dozen stations. Yeah, it covers those with extended analog service -- but only as far as local broadcast stations are concerned.
    I actually did mean what you said. Regardless of the tier of analog service subscribed to, one is entitled to receive the local broadcast stations, with service provided directly or using a cable box. Yes, anything beyond that is at the discretion of the cable company.

    As I understand it, with satellite service or FIOS, there aren't any similar protections for subscribers. Locals may be provided, but they don't have to be provided.
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    I dont watch tv for ages.
    Sometimes I check the news, but even that sporadically (local news I mean)

    I can list all events I've watched *live* on tv since year 2000 on fingers of just one hand:
    crooked election's night, 9/11, another elections, olympic games opening in beijing... thats all.
    Oh yeah, attack on Iraq.
    Hmm, thats just 5 LOL in 8 years
    BTW: I've seen more movies and tv series than most of people, and Im more in touch with all the news too

    who cares about tv
    BUY MORE
    BUY THIS AND THAT
    AND BUY EVEN MORE
    every 5 minutes LOL
    - Im surprised anyone can stand it and is willing to pay for it


    Maybe when few million of people suddenly will have no tv, maybe at least few of them will discover there is whole wide world out there outside of the propaganda-delivery-tube...
    Its a good thing if it all gets screwed up in February (unfortunately I doubt it... too much $$$ is involved in it to let it slide down even a notch)
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    Originally Posted by DereX888
    I dont watch tv for ages.
    Sometimes I check the news, but even that sporadically (local news I mean)

    I can list all events I've watched *live* on tv since year 2000 on fingers of just one hand:
    crooked election's night, 9/11, another elections, olympic games opening in beijing... thats all.
    Oh yeah, attack on Iraq.
    Hmm, thats just 5 LOL in 8 years :D
    BTW: I've seen more movies and tv series than most of people, and Im more in touch with all the news too ;)
    From some of your other posts, it looks like you merely shifted most of your TV viewing from broadcast TV and cable to the computer via broadband Internet. So what would you do if you had no broadband Internet service?

    Most the millions who won't have TV after the shutoff date probably don't have broadband Internet service. Some don't have a computer. Some who have a computer only have dial-up service available. Many have never used a computer, are over 70, and have trouble learning new things.

    I met someone my age who actually has no TV in his house. He even has a bumper-sticker on his car encouraging others to shoot their TV's. He doesn't watch via his computer either. I don't think he has one at home. He listens to the radio and reads the newspaper or magazines to get news. He goes to the movies or live theater instead of renting DVD's. That's really life without TV, and it makes him happy, but it isn't for everyine.
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet


    From some of your other posts, it looks like you merely shifted most of your TV viewing from broadcast TV and cable to the computer via broadband Internet. So what would you do if you had no broadband Internet service?
    Some things, yes. Lack of broadband to me would be similar to lack of broadcast, youre right to some degree - I would be out of "visual" news for sure.
    But generally, regarding tv programming and reheated movies that are on cable/broadcasts - I never watch them. Since my early teens I preferred "delayed viewing" through VCR rather than wasting ~16min of my life per each hour of live programming (which has increased in past 10 years into 20+min of ads per hour! It is at least 1/3 of what ppl watch live, its just insane).

    I have really great audio/video toys at home, but still I prefer watching movies (of course if its worth it) on imax screens.
    And tv series I rather wait year or even few and buy them on DVD and watch it when I want rather than on tv.
    I never understand the 'rush' or 'urge' many ppl have towards "new film" or "new episode". IMO they are deep brain-washed ads/commercials victims. What is "new" about any "new movie" that hits the theaters, tv or dvd - they all are at least few months old! (and sometimes even years old if they hit other countries LOL ) "Dark Knight" included long-dead actor (that guy Ledger) yet ppl flock to theaters to see it "first" during premieres like it would become stale few days or weeks later... ROTFL

    DVDs to me are replacement of VCR from my teen years


    I met someone my age who actually has no TV in his house. He even has a bumper-sticker on his car encouraging others to shoot their TV's. He doesn't watch via his computer either. I don't think he has one at home. He listens to the radio and reads the newspaper or magazines to get news. He goes to the movies or live theater instead of renting DVD's. That's really life without TV, and it makes him happy, but it isn't for everyine.
    thats for sure its not for everyone.
    I had an uncle like this (long dead). However his reasoning was just anti-technology resistance.
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