View Full Version : Digital channels on analog basic?


Rod Beauvex
04-02-2014, 02:47 PM
Recently, an old lady I walk a dog for downgraded her service through Charter cable, so now she is just getting straight basic from the wall, no converter box. I had to come set up the channel list. It was mostly the usual analog channels, but I noticed there was a handful of digital channels as well. This was unexpected. Does anyone else have an analog service like this? Do you get some digital channels in basic?

Jeffhs
04-03-2014, 01:54 PM
I have Time Warner expanded basic service, no cable box. Most of the channels are analog, but the local broadcast channels are digital, with the stations' analog (NTSC) feeds along side them (e. g. 3.0, 3.1, the first channel being the analog signal). My best guess is the cable operator is keeping the analog feeds, which can still be viewed without a box simply by connecting the cable directly to the set, for those few folks with older TVs; however, the goal is to eventually do away with all analog service, so don't be surprised if, some day in the not too distant future, you get a letter in your mail from the cable service saying that, from this moment on (or soon after you receive the notice), you will need a cable box on your TV (even flat screens) to receive anything, even local TV channels. Comcast has eliminated analog service as of 2012 or '13, with other cable operators sure to follow suit, if they haven't already. Too bad for VK members with old knob-tuned TVs, but that's the way it is. There are other ways you can use your old sets without bothering with cable, such as with DVD players, Roku, et al. streaming video boxes, VCRs (!), OTA digital-to-analog converter boxes, and so on, but as far as cable goes, it will eventually be down to two choices: either use a box or go without TV.

tvtimeisfun
04-03-2014, 04:40 PM
We have brighthouse cable we have the same deal..

Jeffhs
04-04-2014, 01:08 AM
In regard to my statement that eventually all subscribers to Time Warner Cable will need cable boxes to receive anything on their sets, even if the TV is a flat screen: A friend of mine just moved to a new apartment in another town and told me, when he had cable installed, he had a cable box installed on his 32" flat set; however, where he formerly lived, he was able to connect the cable directly to the set without having to use a box. I don't know what changed between his old apartment and his new one, unless it is now standard procedure for most cable operators to use cable boxes for new installations--even with flat screens.

That makes sense to me, as almost all late-model flat screens have at least one HDMI port (some of the newest 4K ultra-HD sets have as many as four such ports, with most older HDTVs having two, plus one VGA for use with home computers and a USB port), and most recent-model cable boxes have only HDMI outputs. This connection is the only way to get true HD on a flat-screen HDTV; a coax connection from the wall directly to the antenna/cable coax jack on the set will work and will produce a good picture, but it will not produce a high-definition one. My own 19" flat screen is connected directly to the cable coming from the wall, no box, so I'm sure I am not receiving full 1080p HD picture quality. However, that doesn't matter to me since I don't think I could tell the difference between standard definition and HD. My Blu-ray player is connected to my flat screen via an HDMI cable; the player supposedly has a feature that upscales standard DVDs to 1080p HD, but again, I can't tell the difference in picture quality.

jr_tech
04-04-2014, 02:00 PM
My own 19" flat screen is connected directly to the cable coming from the wall, no box, so I'm sure I am not receiving full 1080p HD picture quality. However, that doesn't matter to me since I don't think I could tell the difference between standard definition and HD. My Blu-ray player is connected to my flat screen via an HDMI cable; the player supposedly has a feature that upscales standard DVDs to 1080p HD, but again, I can't tell the difference in picture quality.

Couple of things here... many of the smaller, inexpensive flat screen tvs are only 720p not 1080. Are your sure your set is *capable* of 1080p or 1080i?

The "upscale" quality of Blu-Ray players varies but will never look as good as it does when playing a real Blu-Ray disk. Have you tried it on a Blu-Ray disk?

jr

user181
04-04-2014, 05:17 PM
1080p is too much data to broadcast (via either OTA or CATV), so you're only receiving a 1080i signal.

If your CATV company transmits digital (ATSC) channels unencrypted (most likely only the big 3 networks), then you can view them on your HDTV without a set top box. But most of the other channels are encrypted.

Note that OTA HD channels are actually better picture quality because the data is not compressed, as it is on CATV systems.

Jeffhs
04-04-2014, 06:40 PM
I received a notice in my mail today from Time Warner Cable (my cable provider) to the effect that several channels are being moved from expanded basic to one of the digital tiers of service. This is the beginning of an effort by TW to move most programming, except broadcast channels, to digital. Before long, most if not all programming now seen on analog channels will be encrypted (QAM) and, therefore, will no longer be available on standard TVs without a cable box. Some cable operators, such as Comcast (which is in the process of merging with Time Warner), have already moved all of their programming to digital tiers of service, requiring every Comcast cable subscriber to use a box ahead of their set if they are to receive anything on cable.

The timetable for the start of the realignment process is as follows (info is from the letter I received):


May 6, 2014 or earlier: EWTN, WGN America (15), CSPAN (16), Golf Channel(29), VH1 Classic (70)

On or before May 28, 2014: WRLM (2), WDLI (17), WGGN (21), and WVPX (23) (ION)


Note that these channels will still be available if you have a flat screen TV with a QAM tuner. Note also that public, educational and government (PEG) channels, the availability of which varies by area, will still be viewable on flat TVs with QAM tuners.

QAM channels may be distinguished from standard TV channels by the channel number which appears on your TV's info box, on most sets appearing in the upper right corner of the screen; e. g., on TW's systems in the northeastern Ohio area, channel 12 will appear as channel 96.12, channel 20 will appear as 96.20, and so on.

I believe Time Warner is already providing cable boxes for new installations, regardless of whether the subscriber has a standard (CRT) television or a flat screen one. These boxes will, I also believe, have only HDMI outputs, which means they can be connected only to flat screens with one or more HDMI ports (most FS TVs have at least two). If this is indeed the case, I cannot help wondering how owners of older sets with only coax or 300-ohm antenna connectors will be connected to the service, as there are no other types of RF input connections on the newer boxes. The only thing I can come up with is that an adaptor (HDMI to coaxial) will be used in these cases, but since most viewers have flat screens these days I don't think there will be much, if any, need for such adaptors.

Robert Grant
04-11-2014, 08:55 PM
I've never heard of a cable system that does not offer an SD converter box with 480i analog V/L/R out (still far too many 21st century sets without HDMI still in use, and they don't want to lose customers to satellite), though a LOT of cable providers are going to 100% encrypted digital mode on their cables that go to the boxes.

TW is actually not correct about "flat" TVs and CRT sets - there are a few CRT sets that do have QAM tuners, and some older flat sets have only an analog tuner.