Cablevision WTF



  • Next Feb, TV transmissions here in the US will switch from analog to digital format. Ok, so if you have an over-the-air antenna, you have to get a converter box. The government even offers you two $40 coupons toward the purchase of the converters. If you have cable TV, the cable company will handle the switch for you.

    However, you only need a cable box (Cablevision) to take advantage of the IO/on-demand/DVR capabilities. If you just want to play the channels in real time, you don't need the box; you can plug the cable directly into your TV.

    Once the switch from analog to digital comes along, in this scenario, you'd need the converter box to convert the digital signal in the cable to analog so your TV could deal with it. No problem, lots of folks get the coupons and buy the converters.

    Now Cablevision decides that they're going to start "converting" (aka encrypting) certain channels now, and more to come, until ALL are "converted", for the purpose of "better serving your needs". Mind you, this isn't switching certain channels to digital in advance; it's encryption. This renders the converter boxes useless, and forces you to buy/lease the cable box for every TV in your home (currently $12/month for the first one and $6/month for each additional box). That means that if you've got 3 TV's, it's an extral $24/month.

    Of course, Walmart, etc, won't take the unopened boxes back, even with a receipt, because they were "bought with government coupons". As such, anyone who bought into this fiasco is now stuck with converter boxes that they have no way of using, and forced to get cable boxes that they don't really need.

    Personally, I can swallow it, but lots of folks don't make what I make, and many are on modest fixed incomes. As a matter of principal, I switched to DirecTv (they have always required a box for each set, but it's still significantly cheaper).

    It just seems wrong...

    Thoughts?

     



  • Sounds like someone needs to screw Cablevision



    in the ass



    with a shotgun.



  • I do understand they want to protect their assets, but I think it is taking it too far. I've been a DirectTV customer for years, and I viewed the fact that you might not need a cable box as almost the last advantage of cable, since satellites always required a separate reciever box for every TV. The only time I have any problems with satellite are in terrible storms or heavy snowfall, which isn't often.

    However, I think it is sort of an unrelated move, and almost doesn't make any sense. I might not have a full understanding of anything, but I was assuming that the conversion would have only affected people who didn't buy cable or satellite. So those people who were picking up the local channels via antenna will now need a convertor box to be able to process the digital signal coming over the airwaves to be able to display on an analog tv.  I might be wrong here, feel free to correct me.



  • @snoofle said:

    Thoughts?
    Torrents?



  • Cable TV providers suck.  Plain and simple.  They nickle-and-dime you to death, deny services, etc., etc., etc.  Move to satellite and stop supporting these bastards.



  • For minor clarifiation... Cable companies don't have to switch to digital.  It's only over the air broadcasts that are affected by the law.  If your cable company is telling people that they're switching because
    of the law, the FCC would probably like to have a word with them.  I've
    heard anecdotal reports of unscrupulous cable companies/TV salesmen not
    only telling people that they have to go digital, but that they have to
    go HD as well.  (Now, there's probably nothing illegal about your cable company just saying they don't want to keep supporting an obsolete format)

    As for proprietary cable company boxes to decode the content? Yeah, they've all been doing that since digital cable came out.  I don't know if there was a lack of standards in the beginning or what.

    Even with a lot of analog plans though, you were supposed to pay extra for more rooms.  This just gave them an opportunity to enforce it.




  • @Daid said:

    Sounds like someone needs to screw Cablevision



    in the ass



    with a shotgun.
     

    How many barrels?



  • @James Shields said:

    Cable TV providers suck.  Plain and simple.  They nickle-and-dime you to death, deny services, etc., etc., etc.  Move to satellite and stop being able to watch TV when it's raining.

    Fixed. While I agree with your position on cable TV, satellite isn't much better. I just stick to DVDs (plain old DVDs, not HD/Blu-ray crap) for entertainment and the Interweb for news.



  • @DOA said:

    @snoofle said:

    Thoughts?
    Torrents?

    And killing off the "taping movies off TV" practice as well. Maybe to enforce those TV shows that the broadcasters send with "don't record" flags?

    Even more thoughts: wouldn't the converters work if you stick them into the cable box, and convert that output to analog?



  • @DOA said:

    wouldn't the converters work if you stick them into the cable box, and convert that output to analog?

    Probably not as the converters are expecting digital input and the output of the cable box (at least in my case) was analog.

    I spoke with my wallet and went to satelite. I've had it before and only lost may 5 mintues of TV in over a year to the weather. I lose more than that every time some idiot drives into the pole next to the cable junction box outside my development (about every 4 months or so - IIRC, it's on a level straight stretch of road - no curves - no clue why they keep veering off the road there).

     



  • @snoofle said:

    no clue why they keep veering off the road there
     

    Don't worry, I am sure it has nothing to do with the two young girls who live there that are fascinated by boobs.



  • @snoofle said:

    no clue why they keep veering off the road there
     

    "Sorry, occifer! That tree just jumped out into the middle of the road!" 



  • @snoofle said:

    I spoke with my wallet and went to satelite
     

    So um, silly question here but doesn't satellite not only force you to have a box in every room, but to have a separate dish for every room (or the dishes with multiple tuners in them?

    Probably cheaper though. 

     

    / My antenna + netflix + torrent combination works great.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    @snoofle said:

    I spoke with my wallet and went to satelite
     

    So um, silly question here but doesn't satellite not only force you to have a box in every room, but to have a separate dish for every room (or the dishes with multiple tuners in them?

    Actually, a lot of satellites have multiple transponders (mine has 3 right now). I have 2 used for my dvr so I can watch one channel and record another. The other one is in my bedroom.  Works for me, I just don't like cable that much, but I guess I'm biased because I've had satellite for so long.



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    So um, silly question here but doesn't satellite not only force you to have a box in every room, but to have a separate dish for every room (or the dishes with multiple tuners in them?
     

    No. If you do buy the "wrong" setup it can be "difficult"  to upgrade later, but generally this isn't true. The problem is that the sattelite transmits on multiple frequencies bands and with multiple signal polarisations. The combined bandwidth of all these channels/streams is greater than that of the coax cable used to hook up to sat boxes / TVs. What instead happens is that, using DISEQ signals, the cable box can select one of the frequency bands. Over here, there are 4 frequency bands in use.

    The cheapest way of building a sat dish + LNB (the decoder) is to integrate this de-multiplexer into the LNB and have one cable coming out of the LNB going to the sat box. With a setup like this, a second sat box can't be hooked up to the LNB (or the two sat boxes would have to watch the same subset of channels.) To expand a system like this, you either need a LNB with more ports (i.e. 4-way demultiplexer), which are just as cheap as single output LNBS, or you need a LNB that ouputs the four "raw" signals. The four possible signals per sattelite can then be sent to a switch with as many outputs as you need.

    The switches can serve 8, 12 or even more cable boxes. You can also have multiple sattelites (LNBs really) feed into the switch. That's the point where  it starts to get expensive though 🙂

     



  • @snoofle said:

    Once the switch from analog to digital comes along, in this scenario, you'd need the converter box to convert the digital signal in the cable to analog so your TV could deal with it. No problem, lots of folks get the coupons and buy the converters.

    Now Cablevision decides that they're going to start "converting" (aka encrypting) certain channels now, and more to come, until ALL are "converted", for the purpose of "better serving your needs". Mind you, this isn't switching certain channels to digital in advance; it's encryption. This renders the converter boxes useless, and forces you to buy/lease the cable box for every TV in your home (currently $12/month for the first one and $6/month for each additional box). That means that if you've got 3 TV's, it's an extral $24/month.

    Of course, Walmart, etc, won't take the unopened boxes back, even with a receipt, because they were "bought with government coupons". As such, anyone who bought into this fiasco is now stuck with converter boxes that they have no way of using, and forced to get cable boxes that they don't really need.

     

     As has been said a few times, cable is 100% unaffected by this change.  It is only for over the air broadcasts.

     @vt_mruhlin said:

    So um, silly question here but doesn't satellite not only force you to have a box in every room, but to have a separate dish for every room (or the dishes with multiple tuners in them?
     

    Nandurius got it pretty much perfect.  Satellite doesn't allow dumb splitters for the mentioned bandwidth reasons, so you need a multiswitch with enough inputs for the number of satellites and polarizations you are tracking and enough outputs for your number of tuners.  On Dish Network right now, I have two dishes, but that's only because my local channels in HD are on a satellite so far off from the rest that it's impossible to use a multi-bird dish.  Typically there are two polarizations (horizontal and vertical), so a setup like mine would have eight wires from the dishes.  Dish has some proprietary "Dish Pro" technology that combines two signals on the same cable (requires high quality RG6 cable) and my 3-way wide dish has an internal 4x3 switch that gives it a spare input so I actually only have three wires coming off the dish, each one capable of handling a pair of signals and thus a dual tuner DVR.



  • @lolwtf said:

    @James Shields said:

    Cable TV
    providers suck.  Plain and simple.  They nickle-and-dime you to death,
    deny services, etc., etc., etc.  Move to satellite and stop being able
    to watch TV when it's raining.

    Fixed. While I agree with
    your position on cable TV, satellite isn't much better. I just stick to
    DVDs (plain old DVDs, not HD/Blu-ray crap) for entertainment and the
    Interweb for news.

     

    agreed.  Hell, my service goes out sometimes when it's just cloudy(DirecTV).  And the fact that I can't get my local ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX in HD pisses me off even more. 



  • This sounds odd.  I thought the cable companies were simply going to continue to provide their feeds (which they already receive digitally) in analog format to those without boxes.  What the TV stations are doing should be irrelevant, as the cable companies don't merely repeat the broadcast signal.  That would be as silly as, say, bottling water and selling... never mind.



  • @operagost said:

    That would be as silly as, say, bottling water and selling... never mind.

    With the quality of tap water over here ... bottled water is the only thing you can safely drink.



  • @operagost said:

    I thought the cable companies were simply going to continue to provide their feeds (which they already receive digitally) in analog format to those without boxes. 

    No, the reason teh cable companies want to use digital TV is that they can use less bandwidth per channel, enabling them to transmit more channels over the same cable. Continuing to support analogue would make SD digital entirely pointless.



  • @Physics Phil said:

    @operagost said:
    I thought the cable companies were simply going to continue to provide their feeds (which they already receive digitally) in analog format to those without boxes. 

    No, the reason teh cable companies want to use digital TV is that they can use less bandwidth per channel, enabling them to transmit more channels over the same cable. Continuing to support analogue would make SD digital entirely pointless.

    That would explain why here in Mexico City they decided to do the "digital switch" for free. New contracts will automatically get "the box", and older ones are being gradually converted, and given "the box" for free.


  • @James Shields said:

    Cable TV providers suck.  Plain and simple. 

     

    Agreed. My cable company started skinning everyone by charging for all sorts of useless crap. Annual fees, monthly fees, service fees, installation fees, you name it. Fortunately, they were entirely analogue at the time. I cancelled my subscription, so they went out to our street and installed band-stop filters in the cable boxes to block out everything but public information channels. Waited until they left, went out and removed the filters and voila, free cable. Has worked for 6 years now 🙂 Don't know if they will switch to digital anytime soon, I'm guessing they're sensible and await HDTV, the signal quality through the cables is great anyways. And waiting for the bloody boxes to fill they're buffers when changing channel is a PITA IMO.



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    @operagost said:

    That would be as silly as, say, bottling water and selling... never mind.

    With the quality of tap water over here ... bottled water is the only thing you can safely drink.

    Yeah, but in the US and Canada, many brands of bottled water are simply bottled tap water, which may not be obvious to the general public (see story).

     


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