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analog vs digital cable

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analog vs digital cable

Old 10-01-05, 10:15 PM
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analog vs digital cable

I currently have analog cable and the PQ leaves something to be desired. My OTA (over the air) HD STB (set top box) has a much better PQ even when the signal is only "digital" and not "HD". This makes me wonder if digital cable (or satellite) would be preferable to analog. Of course, it may be that my analog cable simply sucks. I stick with it because I get a good package price for wideband and TV but I'm seriously considering a change. Do you think digital is much better, a little better or about the same as analog?
Old 10-01-05, 11:19 PM
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I switched from DirecTV to Comcast analog cable. The difference in PQ is very noticable. If you are hooking up to 2 TV or less then I suggest to go with satellite route. Plus, the TV listing feature is cool. I can find out what I am watching with just a click of a button.
Old 10-02-05, 03:24 PM
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Keep in mind that even with "digital" cable, not all of the channels are digital. Everything below channel 100 (which usually includes all the major networks) is still regular analog cable.
Old 10-02-05, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JM
Keep in mind that even with "digital" cable, not all of the channels are digital. Everything below channel 100 (which usually includes all the major networks) is still regular analog cable.
Comcast around here claims that while what you're saying is true, their digital tuners include circuitry that cleans up even the analog signal to make it look better.
Old 10-02-05, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jimmy James
Comcast around here claims that while what you're saying is true, their digital tuners include circuitry that cleans up even the analog signal to make it look better.
I have Comcast. The analog tuner in the Motorola boxes they supply is widely regarded to be WORSE than ones in most TVs. I have found that to be the case. Comcast is, of course, trying to sell you on their more expensive package. The reality is that the analog channels are going to be the same, possibly a little worse, when viewed via the set top box they provide.
Old 10-02-05, 04:29 PM
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That's good to know, and it is also why I put it the way I did -- I really can't tell a darned bit of difference on my meager 27" screen.
Old 10-02-05, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by JM
Keep in mind that even with "digital" cable, not all of the channels are digital. Everything below channel 100 (which usually includes all the major networks) is still regular analog cable.
Good to know, thanks. I can compare NTSC and DTV signals of the same program on my OTA STB + 65" Mits and they look identical so I have concluded there is nothing to choose between digital and analog. The difference I see in PQ must be due to other factors.
As for cable vs satellite I really don't know. I had a guy tell me his locals looked slightly worse on DirectTV than they looked on his OTA STB. He blames compression of the signal. I have no idea but I'm getting the impression cable and satellite are about the same and OTA beats both. Shameful that free TV has better picture quality than TV you pay to see.
Old 10-02-05, 07:08 PM
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I recently upgraded from analog to digital. I can't really tell a difference in picture quality, but I get a few more channels for what amounts to about $1.50 more per month. Plus, I wanted HBO for new episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Sopranos, and they charge $12 for the one analog HBO channel and $12 for the 5 channel HBO package. To be honest, the only reason I have cable is because the basic package is included with my apartment, so I'm really only paying $10 for the upgraded service. Plus I don't have a landline for phone, so my only internet option is via cable.
Old 10-02-05, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Easy
Shameful that free TV has better picture quality than TV you pay to see.
That is a very true fact. I'm an HD fan but cannot receive it OTA and Comcast doesn't offer it here yet. It leaves me with DirectTV as my high def source and it's outrageous how much they compress the signal over what people receive OTA for free. The difference is so great that calling it HD seems like false advertsing.
Old 10-02-05, 10:05 PM
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If you have a TiVo, keep in mind that TiVo works infinitely better without a cable box in the picture.

Also, you'll find that OTA digital will always have a better picture quality than satellite or cable digital (unless your signal strength drops down below useable levels).
Old 10-02-05, 10:20 PM
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I never noticed much difference in quality. I would only bother if you want channels that are digital for content (i.e. ESPNews).

Of course satellite is the way to go if that's an option, as then you get all digital (not just 100 and above) and it's generally much cheapter standard. You can get the cable company to match if you call and threaten to got to dish, but I don't see the point in hassling unless dish is not feasible for you.

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