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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Got caught by Comcast

    I was getting free [analog] cable for last couple of years because they forgot to disconnect cable when I cancel their servie. But last week they discoverd their error as they are upgrading in my neighborhood and cut me off

    My Tv is still analog and don't get any local channels at all. So I am at cross road as what the next best step would be:

    Get a digital convertor ($60)
    Or get a new 37 inch HDTV (budget kind of tight)
    Or get a cheap 32 inch HDTV ($299)
    Or get a smaller HDTV (22 inch) that have digital tuner ($200) that can be used s PC monitor also.
    Or get cable ($40)...no satellite allowed in my apt.
    Or be like Poltergeist and stare at blank TV

    I look at couple of smaller HDTV (20-22 inch) at store today, and picture look like crap especially with local channels. So that option might be out.

  2. #2
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    My first inclination would be, "what a great excuse to buy that new HDTV". All HDTV's should have the digital tuner to pull in over the air stations. If you get cable the expense will be on going. If the HDTV was using an antenna the picture should have been spectacular. Over the air HD will look far superior to a non-HD cable feed and anything you get over the air will be HD, remember, no analog exists over the air any more.

    Of course, your cheapest option is the digital converter which will give you all the over the air stations but they must be scaled down to work with old TV's, so picture quality won't be nearly as good as with a HDTV with ATSC tuner. Have you ever tried Hulu or other online TV programming? You can just watch a bit of TV online.

    Or, you could just watch your DVD collection, forget TV and use the extra time to practice goat roping

  3. #3
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Or, you could just watch your DVD collection, forget TV and use the extra time to practice goat roping
    Goats are also not allowed in my apartments

    As you know bought a PC last month and that pretty much kill my budget for a HDTV. So was planning to wait untill holidays to find a good deal as budget might allow it. But now looks like that plan is DOA.

    But you are right about cable as that is one expense I can do without. But still miss my shows on cable and local such as PBS.

  4. #4
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    What about the online TV programming? I haven't done it myself but a friend at work says he watches Fringe, The Event and several new shows online.

  5. #5
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    What about the online TV programming? I haven't done it myself but a friend at work says he watches Fringe, The Event and several new shows online.
    The problem is I don't watch those shows

    I downloaded couple of Family Guy and King Of Hill Tv shows and was floored by picture quality. It even looked better than on cable TV. But still it is not same experience as watching it on TV where many more choices are available.

  6. #6
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I think I'd just get something like this...

    http://www.ecost.com/detail.aspx?edp...LAID=522101441

    As long as you're watching digital over-the-air channels, there's no reason it shouldn't look great. The local channels you saw must not have been the high-def channels.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    You left out one option, SMOKEY, and that is a HDTV tuner card for your COMPUTER.
    Any computer that is not a total dog will run it. Also, I work about 25 miles from a major
    metropolitan area, and we recently got a 19" 720p VIZIO to watch a gate.
    We put an old antenna from a FM radio and it picks up all stations save one.
    With secondary channels thats nine(one music channel and a few weather channels).
    With a decent indoor antenna we'd get all of them, but we are not really supposed to be using this set that way.
    But it does have a decent picture, and INFO, which tells you about the program that is on and whats next(Comcast strips this from their straight non box feed).
    COMCAST is currently going through something called the "digital migration", don't know
    what it is but even the SD channels are really looking good. AND IF YOU SUBSCRIBE
    you get a free converter box(you will need one, no analog service). I have installed a couple of these. And then theres' UVERSE if you qualify, this is what I am considering.
    ABOUT THE SAME as cable but more channels.
    And the days of free cable are about over, with this changeover you will need a addressable
    decoder to watch COMCAST, at least. I have had to activate every one I HAVE INSTALLED. Probably one of the considerations for going all digital, although a hack is
    always right around the corner.
    Good luck.
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  8. #8
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    In other words Comcast is finally starting to live up to its potential that its fiber optic network has always promised, a pleasant surprize.
    I MEAN, I finally get used to crappy SD, AND I turn over to an SD channel the other day, and while not HD, COLOR SATURATION and picture stability was first rate.
    I hardly watch SD anymore no matter whats on it, but this SD is really decent, will keep me from UVERSE at least until this "migration" business is over. Might have something to do with the huge UVERSE folder we got in the mail, with a great offer for six months.
    VERY timely, what?
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    The problem is I don't watch those shows

    I downloaded couple of Family Guy and King Of Hill Tv shows and was floored by picture quality. It even looked better than on cable TV. But still it is not same experience as watching it on TV where many more choices are available.
    HAVE you tried hulu and vuze? ALSO when I miss a net show its always on their website.
    I STARTED watching the GATES, and went back and caught up with episodes online.
    TAKES some getting used to, but their is actually more program content online,
    just takes more work and an inventive mind.
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  10. #10
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    As long as you're watching digital over-the-air channels, there's no reason it shouldn't look great. The local channels you saw must not have been the high-def channels.
    It might have not been. But the picture was fussy and dark that I imagine even HD signal would not cure it. The one I was looking at was this 22 inch from Radioshack. $259 regular price, and it is on sale for $189:

    http://www.amazon.com/22-W-HD-LCD-Tv/dp/B001O4RW9I

    One thing I can't believe is how expensive the convertor boxes are ($60). I mean one can buy a 19" Tv that have digital tuner for $100, but box alone cost more than half.

    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    And the days of free cable are about over, with this changeover you will need a addressable decoder to watch COMCAST, at least.
    But I thought by law, they are required to offer local channels in anlog format also. My friend also had to get a adaptor from Comcast to get channels above 30, but he still get analog channels below 30 without an adaptor.

  11. #11
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    You might check around on Craigslist for a cheaper converter box, just buyer beware.

  12. #12
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    It might have not been. But the picture was fussy and dark that I imagine even HD signal would not cure it.
    That does sound like standard def on a HDTV. My little Viewsonic looks bad with a standard def signal and better than DVD with over-the-air digital.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    It might have not been. But the picture was fussy and dark that I imagine even HD signal would not cure it. The one I was looking at was this 22 inch from Radioshack. $259 regular price, and it is on sale for $189:

    http://www.amazon.com/22-W-HD-LCD-Tv/dp/B001O4RW9I

    One thing I can't believe is how expensive the convertor boxes are ($60). I mean one can buy a 19" Tv that have digital tuner for $100, but box alone cost more than half.



    But I thought by law, they are required to offer local channels in anlog format also. My friend also had to get a adaptor from Comcast to get channels above 30, but he still get analog channels below 30 without an adaptor.
    thats what the converter box does, and its free to subscribers. So no one can say that
    anybody is being left out in the cold.
    I would just go ahead and get a TV before I WOULD PAY 60$ FOR A CONVERTER,
    especially since with a converter you wind up with SD.
    That was what the "big" controversy was about the HD switch-over(digital switchover).
    IT WOULD require new equipment.
    I DON'T see what the big deal is, I have been watching OTA for a week, and its a decent product. My first set that I bought in the early eighties was a 19" Magnavox(a decent
    size at the time) and had no remote! 400+ dollars!.
    AND I had to walk 20 miles up hill to school
    IMHO there is no cause for complaint about buying a HDTV 19 " set for under 200 bucks.
    Flat screen, info button, a program guide on some sets, stereo.
    A NICE piece of kit, really. `19" has no home theater pretensions whatsoever but it is very
    watchable.
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  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Good gawd Smoke! While you were posting all that stuff about cable cutting, little did we know that you were getting all that programming through backchannels!

    Basically, if you want all of your programs and you want to watch it on your TV, it's time to pony up and actually PAY for your cable service. You already got two years of freebies and nobody's asking you to pay it back. Consider that a bonus.

    As others have said, if you want to go OTA, just upgrade the TV (DO IT MAN, JUST DO IT!). The cost of the converter box alone will get you about 1/3 of the way to a new TV, and if you buy a new TV, you don't need the converter box. If the local channels looked like crap on a HDTV, it was probably not a digital signal. A digital OTA channel on a HDTV will look better than anything you currently have.

    Also, check Comcast's barebones basic service. I have that service for our other TVs in the house (it's cheaper than paying for the additional Directv boxes), and even though Comcast blocks out the extended basic channels on the analog signal, I actually get most of the extended basic channels on the digital signal. Of course, you won't know what Comcast actually gives you until you get a TV with a digital tuner!

    C'mon, you post more HDTV topics on this board than anybody ... why prolong the holdout?
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  15. #15
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Good gawd Smoke! While you were posting all that stuff about cable cutting, little did we know that you were getting all that programming through backchannels!
    Stealing cable, an American pasttime
    Basically, if you want all of your programs and you want to watch it on your TV, it's time to pony up and actually PAY for your cable service. You already got two years of freebies and nobody's asking you to pay it back. Consider that a bonus.
    THE "BONUS" is that he won't go to jail, lucky they don't usually prosecute first offenses

    As others have said, if you want to go OTA, just upgrade the TV (DO IT MAN, JUST DO IT!). The cost of the converter box alone will get you about 1/3 of the way to a new TV, and if you buy a new TV, you don't need the converter box. If the local channels looked like crap on a HDTV, it was probably not a digital signal. A digital OTA channel on a HDTV will look better than anything you currently have.
    HEAR HEAR

    Also, check Comcast's barebones basic service. I have that service for our other TVs in the house (it's cheaper than paying for the additional Directv boxes), and even though Comcast blocks out the extended basic channels on the analog signal, I actually get most of the extended basic channels on the digital signal. Of course, you won't know what Comcast actually gives you until you get a TV with a digital tuner!
    they also give you local channels in HD, and national geographic(at least on mine) in HD ALSO.
    C'mon, you post more HDTV topics on this board than anybody ... why prolong the holdout?
    iF HES' A RETIREE its entirely understandable.
    One told me that he couldn't upgrade his gear because he preferred Alpo to the Walmart brand.
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  16. #16
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    Well, actually as far as going to jail, no one could probably prove Smoke took advantage of the companies over sight, UNTIL, now, it's here in B&W

    Did you all see that new reality show Confessions Of A Distressed TV Viewer? LOL

  17. #17
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    You guys are funny

    Actually Comcast is pretty lenient when trying to keep their old customers, even if they owe money and haven't pay. They have a program call Amnesty where they forgive your owed balance if it is over 1 year (or 18 months) old and want to get cable again. I think they ar trying to keep as many customers as possible as AT&T U-Vers is on their heel.

    As many of you suggested, the best option probably is to get a new TV. I went to Walmart and Bestbuy and look at some of their TVs in 32 and 37 inch sizes. The models that caught my eye (all 1080p) which had good price was...

    Vizio 37 E370VL inch for $468...

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Vizio-E370VL/13904833

    Toshiba 37 inch 37E200U for $499....

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+...&skuId=9868051

    And LG 37 inch 37LD450 for $549...

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/LG+-+37%...&skuId=9878998

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooch
    Also, check Comcast's barebones basic service. Even though Comcast blocks out the extended basic channels on the analog signal, I actually get most of the extended basic channels on the digital signal. Of course, you won't know what Comcast actually gives you until you get a TV with a digital tuner!
    Are you getting those channls thru TV's QAM tuner?

    I've heard about that and was looking at TVs that also have QAM tuner as I was planning to hook it to cable to see what I would get. But somebody throw a monkey wrench in my plan

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Actually Comcast is pretty lenient when trying to keep their old customers, even if they owe money and haven't pay. They have a program call Amnesty where they forgive your owed balance if it is over 1 year (or 18 months) old and want to get cable again. I think they ar trying to keep as many customers as possible as AT&T U-Vers is on their heel.
    Actually, when we first got the bare basic service from Comcast, all of the extended basic analog channels were unscrambled. This went on for over a year, and then Comcast cut off the extended basic channels. They sent us a letter basically explaining that they indeed cut off the channels, and invited us to subscribe to their extended services with some special offer. I'm not sure that giving us the additional channels was entirely unintentional, since my coworker got the same thing much later.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Are you getting those channls thru TV's QAM tuner?

    I've heard about that and was looking at TVs that also have QAM tuner as I was planning to hook it to cable to see what I would get. But somebody throw a monkey wrench in my plan
    Yep, everything I receive is through the QAM tuner. I basically get all of the digital channels including the music channels, but not the HD feeds.

    As before, I think Comcast is "inadvertently" giving us the digital channels for free. I'm sure at some point we'll get another letter informing us that the feed got cut off and we'll get another discounted upsell offer.
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  19. #19
    Forum Regular budgetaudio76's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    My first inclination would be, "what a great excuse to buy that new HDTV". All HDTV's should have the digital tuner to pull in over the air stations. If you get cable the expense will be on going. If the HDTV was using an antenna the picture should have been spectacular. Over the air HD will look far superior to a non-HD cable feed and anything you get over the air will be HD, remember, no analog exists over the air any more.

    Of course, your cheapest option is the digital converter which will give you all the over the air stations but they must be scaled down to work with old TV's, so picture quality won't be nearly as good as with a HDTV with ATSC tuner. Have you ever tried Hulu or other online TV programming? You can just watch a bit of TV online.

    Or, you could just watch your DVD collection, forget TV and use the extra time to practice goat roping
    one of my ex co workers is a goat herding champ! /Though he preferred goat roping champ. Guess what he did while roping them sheep?
    Audio exploits of the past year
    :D
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/budgetaudio6/

    even more here!
    http://s574.photobucket.com/home/budgetaudio6/index
    and yes its been a slow but full 3 or 4 years yet!

  20. #20
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    You guys are funny

    Actually Comcast is pretty lenient when trying to keep their old customers, even if they owe money and haven't pay. They have a program call Amnesty where they forgive your owed balance if it is over 1 year (or 18 months) old and want to get cable again. I think they ar trying to keep as many customers as possible as AT&T U-Vers is on their heel.

    As many of you suggested, the best option probably is to get a new TV. I went to Walmart and Bestbuy and look at some of their TVs in 32 and 37 inch sizes. The models that caught my eye (all 1080p) which had good price was...

    Vizio 37 E370VL inch for $468...

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Vizio-E370VL/13904833

    Toshiba 37 inch 37E200U for $499....

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+...&skuId=9868051

    And LG 37 inch 37LD450 for $549...

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/LG+-+37%...&skuId=9878998



    Are you getting those channls thru TV's QAM tuner?

    I've heard about that and was looking at TVs that also have QAM tuner as I was planning to hook it to cable to see what I would get. But somebody throw a monkey wrench in my plan
    I thought that was pretty much universal by now.
    Comcast will give you a few HD channels, mostly local channels.
    AS FOR vizio my 37" 720p is going on 4 years or so and still going strong.
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  21. #21
    Forum Regular BadAssJazz's Avatar
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    I'm no fan of Comcast. They "discount upsell" and la carte you to death. And you can best believe that no matter what the deal is, someone somewhere is paying cheaper for the same package than you are. Happened to me and my next door neighbor. We compared bills and found out that he was paying almost $25 more for the same feature package.The poor chap.

    But it's not like we have any real options, is it? AT&T U-verse doesn't compare favorably. Not even close. It's not even available in all areas. As for the satellite cable providers...well, they're not much help with their "unobstructed view of the Southern sky" limitation. Most apartment residents won't easily convince the owners to install. And then there's the elements and unclement weather factor to consider.

    Yep, Comcast wins by default. Fortunately, they're as good as they say. But unfortunately, they still charge WAY too much for what you get.

    Sorry for the rant. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to log Comcast.com and pay my bill.
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  22. #22
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAssJazz
    I'm no fan of Comcast. They "discount upsell" and la carte you to death. And you can best believe that no matter what the deal is, someone somewhere is paying cheaper for the same package than you are. Happened to me and my next door neighbor. We compared bills and found out that he was paying almost $25 more for the same feature package.The poor chap.

    But it's not like we have any real options, is it? AT&T U-verse doesn't compare favorably. Not even close. It's not even available in all areas. As for the satellite cable providers...well, they're not much help with their "unobstructed view of the Southern sky" limitation. Most apartment residents won't easily convince the owners to install. And then there's the elements and unclement weather factor to consider.

    Yep, Comcast wins by default. Fortunately, they're as good as they say. But unfortunately, they still charge WAY too much for what you get.

    Sorry for the rant. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to log Comcast.com and pay my bill.
    sorry but you're wrong on several counts.
    SURE Comcast is the Rodney Dangerfield of providers(no respect) and are actually quite good, but there is better.
    FOR STARTERS the "inclement weather " rap of SAT providers is not true. Once ,
    in 45 mph winds my Dish service didn't even stutter, while cable subscribers lost
    service for days while the company restrung wires. During another blow my Direct dish
    went flying like a saucer, but I GOT IT BACK UP in less than an hour. Again, most
    of town went without for several days. And I only lost service a few times, for a few minutes.
    U-VERSE seems the best choice, 87 bucks for the top of the line, with everything,
    not only cheaper than Comcast but has more premium channels and more HD.
    I am awaiting this "digital migration" Comcast is talking about, if it disappoints, then
    its Uverse for me. Already know they kick butt on quality, camped out in the ATT store
    for several hours, made a real pest outta myself(yeah, I KNOW, HARD TO BELEIVE...)
    and the ergonomics(multiview, four dvr recordings at once, unreal PQ).
    Not to mention that everything is state of the art, and service should be reliable.
    ANYWAY, COMCAST is good, they have improved s lot lately, especially in the area of PQ, but if this whole "digital migration" is just a bunch of hooey then the door won't hit me on the butt on the way out.
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  23. #23
    Forum Regular BadAssJazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    sorry but you're wrong on several counts.
    SURE Comcast is the Rodney Dangerfield of providers(no respect) and are actually quite good, but there is better.
    FOR STARTERS the "inclement weather " rap of SAT providers is not true. Once ,
    in 45 mph winds my Dish service didn't even stutter, while cable subscribers lost
    service for days while the company restrung wires. During another blow my Direct dish
    went flying like a saucer, but I GOT IT BACK UP in less than an hour. Again, most
    of town went without for several days. And I only lost service a few times, for a few minutes.
    U-VERSE seems the best choice, 87 bucks for the top of the line, with everything,
    not only cheaper than Comcast but has more premium channels and more HD.
    I am awaiting this "digital migration" Comcast is talking about, if it disappoints, then
    its Uverse for me. Already know they kick butt on quality, camped out in the ATT store
    for several hours, made a real pest outta myself(yeah, I KNOW, HARD TO BELEIVE...)
    and the ergonomics(multiview, four dvr recordings at once, unreal PQ).
    Not to mention that everything is state of the art, and service should be reliable.
    ANYWAY, COMCAST is good, they have improved s lot lately, especially in the area of PQ, but if this whole "digital migration" is just a bunch of hooey then the door won't hit me on the butt on the way out.

    You may opine differently and disagree with my assessment, but please don't tell me I'm wrong. I'm speaking from experience.

    My brother uses a dish system, and all I hear from him in a storm is that he's experiencing issues with his reception. He's not the only one. Well documented fact, although I grant that not everyone may have trouble all of the time. (BTW, if your satellite dish goes flying like a frisbee in a storm, I do think we can safely include that as an issue for purposes of this discussion. It's not like many will brave their rooftops in order to make repairs...for those who have access to their roof. )

    As for U-verse, again, it simply is not available in all areas yet. I can't get it at my place after a year of inquiries. Until AT&T's overall service area improves, I can't consider U-verse an option.
    *Panasonic 60" Plasma HDTV
    *Marantz AV7005
    *Marantz MM7055
    *Oppo Digital BDP-95
    *Silverline Audio Sonatina MK II
    *Silverline Center Stage
    *Silverline Audio SR11
    *SVS SB12

    http://www.panasonic.com
    http://www.marantz.com
    http://www.oppodigital.com
    http://www.silverlineaudio.com
    http://www.svsound.com

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BadAssJazz
    You may opine differently and disagree with my assessment, but please don't tell me I'm wrong. I'm speaking from experience.

    My brother uses a dish system, and all I hear from him in a storm is that he's experiencing issues with his reception. He's not the only one. Well documented fact, although I grant that not everyone may have trouble all of the time. (BTW, if your satellite dish goes flying like a frisbee in a storm, I do think we can safely include that as an issue for purposes of this discussion. It's not like many will brave their rooftops in order to make repairs...for those who have access to their roof. )

    As for U-verse, again, it simply is not available in all areas yet. I can't get it at my place after a year of inquiries. Until AT&T's overall service area improves, I can't consider U-verse an option.
    When you're wrong you're wrong.
    WHEN MY direct dish went flying it was hurricane weather, when the remnants of another
    hurricane came through at 45 mph I NEVER lost service. If you're losing service during
    a regular storm you need to remount or re-aim your dish(or both).
    The main point is that you have control, when your dish is down you can fix it, when
    a tornado or hurricane has knocked out the entire city the cable company will get to
    you when they get to you, usually after the ritzer parts of town, could take days.
    You have control over fixing a dish, negatory on fixing cable, is what I AM SAYING.
    All of those ads saying that a dish goes out in a storm never mention that if your cable goes you have to wait for them to fix it...which could take days. Sure you have to wait
    for the storm to lift to fix a dish, but the cable company will wait also, and you will get your dish fixed a lot faster than the cable, and if your dish is still on the mount the signal will
    come back after the storm lifts, or before. JUST SAYING, I didn't lose service in a 45mph
    wind, the cable was out all over town for a week.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
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  25. #25
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    And sorry bout the UVERSE, it seems nice.
    LG 42", integra 6.9, B&W 602s2, CC6 center, dm305rears, b&w
    sub asw2500
    Panny DVDA player
    sharp Aquos BLU player
    pronto remote, technics antique direct drive TT
    Samsung SACD/DVDA player
    emotiva upa-2 two channel amp

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