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Digital tuner cards and Verizon

Back in April I asked:

> ...has anyone tried:
> HDHomeRun Networked Digital TV Tuner
> or any other digital video tuner card with Comcast or Verizon and
> been  able to tune in digital channels?

To which Dan Ritter replied:

> I have an HDHomeRun which tunes in the unencrypted Comcast
> channels very nicely.

I've been avoiding the nuisance of renting a digital converter box, but 
would like to start receiving channels that are only available from 
Comcast, Verizon, or RCN on their digital tiers.

I've been a long time subscriber to Comcast's analog offering, but at 
$51/month, I'm realizing that this is an increasingly poor deal for the 
few fuzzy quality channels it offers.

Each of the three companies seems to offer a digital equivalent to 
"extended basic" on the analog side of things - not the same channels in 
digital, but an additional batch of common channels, like BBC America, 
Do It Yourself Network, The Science Channel, G4, IFC, National 
Geographic Channel, etc.

In addition to that, most offer a package with a few movie networks 
thrown in, like Encore and Showtime.

The minimum package they have that offers the "extended basic" of 
digital channels is their "Digital Preferred" for $68, which includes 
Encore, but not Showtime.

They don't seem to offer an "extended basic" for digital channels that 
doesn't also include premium movie channels. The closest they had was 
"Basic Cable TV with DigitalVisionPlus" for $69, which also includes 
Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, and The Movie Channel. On the up side, 
RCN includes one digital receiver box in the price, though I'd prefer to 
use a service that was directly compatible with a tuner card.

(On a side note, RCN was the only site that required entering a 
validated street address before they'd offer pricing. I plugged in a 
neighbors address and it told me they were already an RCN subscriber. 
Kinda scary.)

Their "FiOS TV Premier" fits the "extended basic" for digital channels 
description at $43. For another $13 you get 45 movie channels, such as 
Starz, Showtime, Encore, TMC, Flix and Sundance, so $56.

It would appear that Verizon is trying hard to undercut the competition, 
and looks to be the best deal at the moment, especially as I don't have 
a need for the extras Comcast and RCN are throwing into their packages, 
so Verizon $43 offering is what I'm comparing against.

Given this, I'm interested to know if anyone has specifically used a 
digital tuner card with Verizon's service, and if so, what channels were 
in the clear.

Another related issue is how comprehensive is the digital coverage? 
Clearly the channels with numbers > 100 are digital, but it seems a 
little nebulous from the information online whether the channels < 100 
are also being distributed in digital form. This probably varies 
depending on the provider. For the packages above, Comcast says, "more 
than 100 digital cable channels," RCN claims, "More than 130 
digital...channels," and Verizon claims, "Over 200 digital channels."


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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