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Brad Fitzpatrick

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that's it. [Aug. 13th, 2002|02:25 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
Tomorrow I order cable TV. Sick of craving it. But none of that over-compressed digital crap full of MPEG artifacts... it looks terrible and you can't change channels quickly. No thanks. I'll just use some quality cables and things will be fine, even without HBO West #9 and Discovery Channel Frogs #42.

I tried to sleep at 9:30, but my cough returned. It had stayed away all day (I didn't even cough up a ball of greenish-gray phlegm this morning!) but it just had to return to keep me from sleeping. Fuck you, sickness.

One of these days I'll be at full power again.

Okay, back to Digital TV: the other reason I hate it is that there are advertisments in the channel selection menus. Because it's not like you didn't already pay for the service or anything, ya know?

I hate it when companies treat their users like idiots and play off buzzwords like "Digital". Digital clarity! The power of digital! The only reason they're using digital is to make more money. They obviously don't care about quality or they'd reduce the compression.

I know I've ranted about that all before, but it's appropriate to reiterate. Maybe if I keep spreading the word, people will tell their friends and we can have a huge anti-digital uprising. That'd be cool.

My bagel was cool, too. Mmm.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: jwz
2002-08-13 02:49 am (UTC)

you shouldn't <i>need</i> to change channels quickly

It took me a little while to Become One with Tivo, but once I had, I realized that changing channels was like downloading a file with ftp, but sending it to /dev/null and leaving tcpdump open. If you're watching realtime tv, you're doing it wrong!

A friend who works at Tivo says that DirecTV's resolution will be going up soon, because they've recently deployed new satellites that let them send out locale-specific versions of certain channels: so channel N can be one thing in one state and a different thing in another. (Adding all the local channels squeezed their bandwidth pretty badly last year.)

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[User Picture]From: brad
2002-08-13 03:01 am (UTC)

Re: you shouldn't <i>need</i> to change channels quickly

I haven't seen DirecTV quality myself. I've only seen AT&T Broadband Digital cable, which my parents got tricked into upgrading to. What I'd like to find is a spec comparison between the two: how much total bandwidth, bandwidth per channel, codecs used, etc.

Do you pay the $12/month Tivo service? Do you need to in order to use it? I fear them raising prices over time.
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[User Picture]From: niko
2002-08-13 01:52 pm (UTC)

Re: you shouldn't <i>need</i> to change channels quickly

You could just pay the one-time $250 lifetime (of the device) fee and not worry about monthly Tivo charges.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2002-08-13 02:52 pm (UTC)

Re: you shouldn't <i>need</i> to change channels quickly

I've got a DirecTivo, the integrated unit, so I only pay DirecTV (presumably Tivo got a cut on the back-end.) The integrated unit is the way to go, because then you're not re-sampling the images, but are just saving the raw MPEG stream from the DSS encoders.

I'd be interested in seeing those stats too, but I never have -- lemme know if you find them. I think they allocate different amounts of bandwidth to different channels, though.

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[User Picture]From: greg
2002-08-13 03:16 pm (UTC)

Re: you shouldn't <i>need</i> to change channels quickly

Supposedly that's one of the reasons that DirecTV and Echo Star will use in arguing their case against the FCC. That they need to merge in order to optimize bandwidth for all those localized channels.

Not sure if this is the place to ask, but can you ask your friend at Tivo that if I bought a DirecTV Tivo, will I need to subscribe to the Tivo service since DirecTV already has a programming guide?
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[User Picture]From: supersat
2002-08-13 03:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, digital cable is shit. If I recall correctly, the color resolution is only 16 bits, creating lots of "color banding" effects.
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[User Picture]From: whitaker
2002-08-13 05:55 am (UTC)
But dude! Look what "the power of digital" has done for our cell phones! :-P
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From: evan
2002-08-13 11:59 am (UTC)
haha. :)
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[User Picture]From: firelegend
2002-08-13 07:27 am (UTC)

sorry to post so much.. :D

but your entries are sparking my interest..

I have an uprising myself! Mine is against DSL/CABLE/IDSN.

I think it's rediculouse for me to have to pay for Cable TV, Cable Modem, A host for my websites, A telephone bill, a long distance bill, and a cell phone.

It's sooooooooo stupid to have all of those! Thats like $200 a month!

So I refuse to get a cable modem.. and I refuse to get anything beyond basic cable. It's just to much money! People used to not even HAVE cable, back in the day it took YEARS to get my parents to get it. Now it's NORMAL for everyone to have cable tv, or special cable with a satelite and 300 channels. Then there is TIVO, that has a monthly charge as well!

I HATE IT! All the money just disapears! Plus I hate AT&T.. so I refuse to pay them any money. So i sit with my 56k and get made fun of by my peers :) but i don't mind because i have more money to play with and besides.. I am on a T1 all day long at work.. if I need to upload something.. i can do it from there.. it's probably healthy for me to GET OFF the computer anways.. plus with basic cable I get Sci-Fi and TLC, what more could a girl want?
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[User Picture]From: notjohndavid
2002-08-13 07:32 am (UTC)
i'm with you digital cable pretty much blows.

[vent]

there's a nasty lag when you change a channel. sometimes when i'm trying to surf i'll hit the channel up... nothing.. hit it a few more times and then suddenly it'll change 3 channels at once. even if there weren't lag you still couldn't surf because you can't tune out the channels you dont subscribe to (all 700 of them) say you only get 2-300 and you hit channel up from 300 to go to 301. "you don't subscribe to this channel" hit up again and you go to 302, not to channel 2 like you should. those damn nazis.

not to mention that the decoder will lose sync fairly often and i have to unplug it. and the damn guide... instead of starting at the channel you are on at the time it is it seems to only start at channel 1 2 hours ahead of what it is now. that pisses me off to no end

[/vent]

digital is the only way i can get independent film channel and sundance so I live with it
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[User Picture]From: gregw
2002-08-13 07:43 am (UTC)
Digital cable - yeah, I agree, not being able to change channels quickly gets old really quick. Unfortunately, digital cable is the only way I can get TechTV and G4 up here in Seattle (lame, I know, but fun).

Greenish-gray phlegm - mmmmm. Breakfast time!
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[User Picture]From: film_girl
2002-08-13 08:22 am (UTC)
I'm totally agree - but I still have digital cable.

My dad got WAY too excited when it came to our neighborhood in '99 and we paid over $100 a month for the longest time just for over-compressed "digital" channels (not to mention the fact that we paid for HBO twice, got Showtime on the non-digital TVs and Cinemax on the digital TVs...but not both on all sets...so stupid). Because we were early adoptors, I became addicted to ZDTV (now Tech TV), Noggin (Classic PBS and Nickelodeon shows), Game Show Network, and M2 (now MTV2).

My parents have been HBO subscribers since 1972 (I'm so not even kidding...my dad ran cable lines himself in the late 60's)...so last year in the dorms, basic cable and no HBO kind of sucked. We eventually bought HBO just so we could watch the second half of Sex and the City Season 4.

In my apartment - one of the conditions was that I would get digital cable. I hate what it stands for - it is overpriced...but dammit, I want my MTV2!!
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[User Picture]From: dakus
2002-08-13 09:01 am (UTC)
They moved MTV here last year, so you had to have the highest package analog to see it and moved MTV2 to digital only...they made me change. The picture does suck so does that hi-freq ear stabbing whine in the audio. I have a directTV box, thinking I hack dat and say fuck off to cable...

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[User Picture]From: niko
2002-08-13 01:55 pm (UTC)
I've been quite happy with our DirecTV service, however I'm severly bummed that they stopped making DirecTivo boxes. I shoulda bought one and hacked it while I had the chance.

Oh well.
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[User Picture]From: jillithian
2002-08-13 10:49 am (UTC)

But the music channels...

I didn't have cable for almost a year then just recently moved in with a friend and she required HBO. So we have digital. I agree with ya, the picture sucks balls, but the stereo sound is much better through the digital box than not. Plus, I love the music channels. How can you not adore commercial/talk free New Wave? 24/7 Golden Oldies without the annoying djs that come along with it on regular radio? (Don't pretend you don't like the Beatles...)

eh, but then you have high-speed internet so you probably have a million mp3s you can listen to anyway... ;-p
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From: alanj
2002-08-13 02:29 pm (UTC)
What sucks even more is digital movie projection. Expensive, poor quality, and it's preventing better non-digital systems from taking off.

Stupid buzzwords.
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