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Being dragged into the world of digital-only cable TV

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Being dragged into the world of digital-only cable TV

Old 12-30-2013, 02:14 PM
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Default Being dragged into the world of digital-only cable TV

Our cable TV provider, Charter Communications, let us know that they are converting our area to an all-digital system next month. So, my 3 analog TVs will no longer be able to tune in programming without a set-top box.

Charter will happily rent me a set-top box for each TV, adding ? to the monthly cable bill. If I have a suitable video equipment of my own, Charter will provide a CableCard to decode their encrypted cable signal, and (possibly) a tuning adapter.

Figuring that we are in a low population area, I suspect several of you have already been through this conversion. Any advice on the best thing to do for these analog TVs?
Old 12-30-2013, 02:33 PM
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Replace those TV's with flat panels.
Old 12-30-2013, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Snoozin View Post
Replace those TV's with flat panels.
Doesn't solve the problem.
Old 12-30-2013, 03:02 PM
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Get the set-top boxes and keep watching tv . . . or stock up on books.
Damn, I thought I lived in the middle of nowhere, and we lost analog 6-7 years ago.
Old 12-30-2013, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
Doesn't solve the problem.
Sure it does, if those flat panels have cablecard slots.
Old 12-30-2013, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Crabpot Man View Post
Sure it does, if those flat panels have cablecard slots.
Yes, but not all flat screens have a cablecard slot.

I've been reading specs for flat screen TVs and can't seem to find the right term to identify those TVs that have a cablecard slot. My current Samsung U40EH6000 does not.
Old 12-30-2013, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
Doesn't solve the problem.
I thought everyone changed over to digital a couple of years ago--- and the govt had a coupon program;?
Old 12-30-2013, 03:17 PM
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Maybe check Charter's website?
Old 12-30-2013, 03:43 PM
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We just changed. You may get some of the boxes for free. Both of my businesses were free. Or cancel and do without for a month and then reup with them. Maybe then it will be free.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dillard88 View Post
I thought everyone changed over to digital a couple of years ago--- and the govt had a coupon program;?
The gov't forced broadcast TV to all-digital. Cable wasn't affected by that, Charter is changing to all-digital to free up bandwidth for more digital channels.

Charter's cable digital signal is encrypted and requires either their custom programmed set-top box or their cablecard. Their website is remarkably unhelpful for people who want to do something other than rent Charter set top boxes.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:04 PM
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Simple! perhaps.

Run the cable through through your desktop or more conviently laptop PC. I run every TV in my home and out on the patio through the best - imo DVR WMC. I have used most of them including that pos TIVO in the master.

WMC is the bomb. You will need a tuner in the PC/laptop or use - which I do as well in addition to the internal tuners in the PCs a tuner from SiliconDust which accepts the cable card. In my case I am to cheap and fore go the cablecard since they charge me more.

That is the main difference between WMC and Tivo you can map the local cable providers cahnnel lineup to the guide within WMC.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by clink View Post
We just changed. You may get some of the boxes for free. Both of my businesses were free. Or cancel and do without for a month and then reup with them. Maybe then it will be free.
We get one set-top box free for a year, then rental rates apply. Went to the local Charter office today to talk to their people and explore options- the line of customers waiting for service was so long I gave up.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by magua View Post
Simple! perhaps.

Run the cable through through your desktop or more conviently laptop PC. I run every TV in my home and out on the patio through the best - imo DVR WMC. I have used most of them including that pos TIVO in the master.

WMC is the bomb. You will need a tuner in the PC/laptop or use - which I do as well in addition to the internal tuners in the PCs a tuner from SiliconDust which accepts the cable card. In my case I am to cheap and fore go the cablecard since they charge me more.

That is the main difference between WMC and Tivo you can map the local cable providers cahnnel lineup to the guide within WMC.
PM sent
Old 12-30-2013, 04:33 PM
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Another government screw up that cost the tax payers money.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by phillipgo View Post
Another government screw up that cost the tax payers money.
I think you are confused.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by yarcraft91 View Post
The gov't forced broadcast TV to all-digital. Cable wasn't affected by that, Charter is changing to all-digital to free up bandwidth for more digital channels.

Charter's cable digital signal is encrypted and requires either their custom programmed set-top box or their cablecard. Their website is remarkably unhelpful for people who want to do something other than rent Charter set top boxes.
This is the scummy part that most people are missing. There was already quite a bit of digital programming, but recently many cable companies have taken to ENCRYPTING their digital signal, which renders the digital tuner in your TV useless. It's not about freeing up bandwidth, although that sounds nicer. The boxes will be free "for a certain time" and then you will start getting charged for them.

They try to make it sound like there's a good reason for it, (conversion, freeing up space, gov't mandate, etc) but it's all about greed. They switch to all digital and then encrypt it, so you cannot use a splitter for two tv's - you need two of their cable boxes (or cablecards) to use two tv's, even if the TV's are brand new. By the way those crappy tuners they force you to use will change channels a lot slower than teh one in your tv -they are the absolute cheapest that the cable company could get away with.

I solved the problem by dumping them and going back to an antenna in the attic. It's all digital, and you cannot tell it's from an antenna, but it depends on where you live as far as reception goes. Unlike analog, the signal either comes through or it doesn't - no more ghosting or fuzzy pictures.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by magua View Post
Simple! perhaps.

Run the cable through through your desktop or more conviently laptop PC. I run every TV in my home and out on the patio through the best - imo DVR WMC. I have used most of them including that pos TIVO in the master.

WMC is the bomb. You will need a tuner in the PC/laptop or use - which I do as well in addition to the internal tuners in the PCs a tuner from SiliconDust which accepts the cable card. In my case I am to cheap and fore go the cablecard since they charge me more.

That is the main difference between WMC and Tivo you can map the local cable providers cahnnel lineup to the guide within WMC.
Won't work any more. They encrypt the signal to stop you from doing that without one of their devices.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:55 PM
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Easy fix, hopefully.

Go buy a good ol' regular/digital antenna (that you mount outside, the "indoor" types suck) and run it to your TV's.

As long as you have good exposure (Up high, pointed proper direction, etc.) you'll be good to go.

Forget the conversion box thingy at first but also save the receipt for the antenna until you are sure you're happy with the channels you get from the antenna.

This website helps out a bit too :
- http://www.antennaweb.org

Last edited by Esuomm1; 12-30-2013 at 05:10 PM.
Old 12-30-2013, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by jobowker View Post
Won't work any more. They encrypt the signal to stop you from doing that without one of their devices.
Really. 15+ years and counting Using WOW

Last edited by magua; 12-30-2013 at 04:57 PM. Reason: WOW
Old 12-30-2013, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Esuomm1 View Post
Easy fix, hopefully.

Go buy a good ol' regular/digital antenna (that you mount inside, the "indoor" types suck) and run it to your TV's.

As long as you have good exposure (Up high, pointed proper direction, etc.) you'll be good to go.

Forget the conversion box thingy at first but also save the receipt for the antenna until you are sure you're happy with the channels you get from the antenna.

This website helps out a bit too :
- http://www.antennaweb.org
^^^ This....if the OTA delivers the channels you want to watch, don't pay the cable company a dime. Now, if they have something you want, time to $ up.

Do you need 3 unique signals? I have one cable box that I watch on 4 different TV's --- but only 1 channel at a time - with a matrix switch. Of course, my teenagers watch a lot more netflix these days so there's not a lot of competition for the cable.

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