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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Cable - Local channels in the clear?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   makaiguy

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:41 PM

Coudn't find a forum where this seemed to fit, so I guess this is as good as any...

We put a digital flatscreen tv with ATSC/NTSC/QAM in our little-used guest room a few months ago. The only signal feed we have there is a very basic cable connection (our bottom-feeder package contains just local stations plus a small list of extras like Weather, CSPAN, couple of shopping channels). Was quite pleased to find the set was also able to receive and decode the HD versions of the locals along with their low res basic cable versions, plus the sub-channels that were not available via NTSC. I thought I recalled that the legislation requiring the conversion to digital said something about basic cable being required to provide the digital versions in the clear of any local stations they carried in the clear.

But yesterday I was playing around with this set and the only HD locals being received were the main and sub-channels for the two PBS broadcasters in our region. All the SD locals are still there.

Before I call to complain -- am I all wet that they are supposed to carry local digitals in the clear?
DirecTV customer since 1997
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#2 OFFLINE   longrider

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 10:25 PM

AFAIK carrying HD locals in the clear is voluntary, I believe some systems are now 100% digital which would mean even SD locals would need a box
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#3 OFFLINE   makaiguy

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 02:24 PM

Thanks.

Turns out to be a non-issue anyhow, as the missing HD stations are back today.:icon_da:

Once in a long while I take refuge in there to watch local network tv live when both dvr tuners are tied up with satellite channels. Our cable's SD is even worse than DirecTV's, so I' sure hate to be stuck watching that!
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#4 OFFLINE   jamieh1

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 04:56 PM

Most cable companies have its locals in the clear. I believe it is a requirement that these digital channels be unscrambled.
I have internet only and the locals are unscrambled. I get these locals plus.
UNC PBSHD
WITN NBCHD
WNCT CBSHD
WCTI ABCHD
WEPX IONHD
WYDO FOXHD
UNC EXPLORER CH SD
UNC KIDS CH SD
WITN2 ME TV/ MY NETWORK TV SD
WITN3 LIVE DOPPLER SD
WCTI2 THIS TV SD
SHOPNBC SD
WGN AMERICA HD

#5 OFFLINE   fluffybear

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 05:20 PM

Most cable companies have its locals in the clear. I believe it is a requirement that these digital channels be unscrambled.
I have internet only and the locals are unscrambled. I get these locals plus.


While they may have them i the clear, there is nothing to say that they have to mapped to the number you are use to seeing them on. I have cable internet through Comcast and thought I would see if I could hook one of our TV's up directly & see what I could get.
What I discovered was a bunch of channels in the clear (maybe 30 or 40) but most of them were mapped as sub-channels off 124 & 126.

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#6 OFFLINE   jamieh1

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 05:25 PM

My company which is Suddenlink actually has the channels on the same # that cable customers with digital boxes see, and they even have the Channels name on the display.

They also have all analog channels duplicated in digital. The digital duplicates have a -1.
Example
ch 2 Cspan
ch 2-1 Cspan

#7 OFFLINE   makaiguy

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 05:46 PM

While they may have them i the clear, there is nothing to say that they have to mapped to the number you are use to seeing them on. I have cable internet through Comcast and thought I would see if I could hook one of our TV's up directly & see what I could get.
What I discovered was a bunch of channels in the clear (maybe 30 or 40) but most of them were mapped as sub-channels off 124 & 126.


Yeah, that's the way mine re too -- they're all sub-channels of 83 and 89. They must not have the same sub-channel bandwidth limits as over the air, as I've got several full HD channels that look really good subbed to the same channel.
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#8 OFFLINE   xmguy

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 07:29 PM

I have DirecTV as well as Basic Charter TV & Internet. I can get "in-the-clear" or Clear QAM channels on my Vizio HDTV. For a while I could get my locals in SD and HD PLUS all the Music Choice channels. Now the Music Choice is gone and some of the sub channels that were I.E. 30-2 are now 81-1. I just rescan from time to time and see what is available.
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#9 OFFLINE   Beerstalker

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:06 PM

I believe the way that it works is if the cable company carries the local channels (and I think the free informational channels like C-Span and Book-tv) then they are supposed to be supplied in the clear. So if they carry the HD versions of your local channels they should be in the clear. Like others said though, they won't necessarily map to the correct channels on your TV. That is dependant on how you cable company includes the channel information, and how your TV interprets it. You may find that two different brand TVs map the channels completely differently within the same house. Also some cable companies like to move their channels around from time to time so you have to re-scan for channels and re-map everything. They do this to annoy you and try to get you to just pony up the cash to rent receivers from them.

That said the cable companies are able to apply for wiavers that will allow them to encrypt all channels including the locals and informational channels. This is mostly supposed to only be used if the cable company can prove that people are still stealing cable service, but now days it seems like it's getting pretty easy for them to get this waiver.
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