[mythtv-users] US cable companies and mandatory OTA channels

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Wed Jan 9 19:00:42 UTC 2008

On 01/09/2008 01:22 PM, Sean Goodpasture wrote:
> On Jan 9, 2008 12:17 PM, Mitch Gore <mitchell.gore at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Jan 9, 2008 12:09 PM, Florin Andrei <florin at andrei.myip.org> wrote:
>>> Question for the US users:
>>> I've heard that cable companies are required (by law? regulation?
>>> agreement?) to include in their cable listing all stations that would
>>> otherwise be accessible in that area OTA.
>>> My question is - does that apply to just the content, or the actual
>>> format too? In other words, if a station can be received in HD OTA, does
>>> that mean that it will be received in HD via cable too? Or can the cable
>>> company just provide that station in SD, even though OTA it's being
>>> broadcast HD?
>>> I'm asking because I need to decide whether it's worth the trouble to
>>> install an antenna on the roof, or whether just using cable is fine.
>> I would just go with antenna.  QAM channels seem to be more of a headache
>> from what i see.  The channels change and you will mis recordings etc.  Plus
>> the quality of OTA HD is better than QAM cable.
>> If you get good signal on you antenna it will be much more reliable.
> The quality of QAM HD is just as good as OTA for me (Dallas area).  I
> also don't get rain fade or "airplane flying overhead" artifacts with
> my QAM channels either.

It all depends on your cable company.  Many requantize the OTA streams 
to a lower bitrate so they can fit more on their system.  In my area, 
the cable rebroadcasts of the OTA HDTV are significantly lower quality 
(though it's still a big step up from NTSC ;)--especially on the 
high-bitrate OTA channels (NBC and CW are most affected; PBS, CBS, and 
MyTV affiliates are less so, though still noticeably affected; and ABC 
and FOX are the least affected).

I also admit that I'm a big fan of OTA HDTV (and especially of my 
$0.00/mo bill for it).


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