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cable-ready is obsolete

On Tue, Jun 30, 2009 at 10:36:04PM -0400, Tom Metro wrote:
> Christopher Schmidt wrote:
> >Tom Metro wrote:
> >>This pretty much explains why cable companies have no pressure on them 
> >>to supply clear QAM. If they're regularly succeeding in getting 95% of 
> >>their subscribers to make the switch to digital service 
> >>voluntarily... then the vast majority of customers have learned to
> >>accept the limitations and  are putting up with them without complaints.
> >
> >Because most customers don't *see* any limitations, most likely? I
> >wasn't aware of a switch being made until after it was made.
> ...
> >MythTV users suffer, as do users of DVRs...but is there anyone else?
> >Those classes would seem a pretty small minority to me.
> I would expect there to be a large class of people who bring home a new 
> digital TV with a built-in QAM tuner and are disappointed to find that 
> the tuner built-in to their new TV is useless and they'll have to attach 
> a cable box. Do the vast majority of cable subscribers subscribe to 
> premium programming where a box has always been a requirement?

I've never watched TV anywhere where I was not watching it through a
cable box in the past 5 years. I'll admit that I don't watch Cable most
places I go, but I would be surprised to watch TV through something that
isn't a cable box (or a DVR).

> Something has changed, because there once was a time when "cable ready" 
> on a TV or VCR was an actual selling feature that seemed to matter. From 
> what I've heard, CableCard, the supposed remedy for this problem, hasn't 
> taken off, so I don't think that explains why there aren't more 
> consumers complaining.
> The most likely explanation I can think of is that over the last decade 
> cable companies have reset consumer expectations, so no one questions 
> the necessity of a cable box. Once you've gotten past that, then it is 
> just a minority of users that need better control than what a cable box 
> can provide.

Right; I think a cable box is now just an expectation of part of having

> What do non-cable company DVRs do to address this? Some TiVOs use 
> CableCard, no? Do they also use IR blasters? Getting HD reliably from a 
> cable box is yet another challenge.

Top end TiVos have CableCard, and lower end ones use IR blasters. The
TiVos that I'm aware of which support HD (I think) are all CableCard
ready, and Comcast in Cambridgeport has been good about giving out (one)
CableCard. (A second one, like a second cable box, costs $5/month.)

> Supposedly DVR usage is getting up near 20%[1][2], though that's 
> inclusive of the DVRs the cable company supplies. If most are using 
> cable company DVRs, then I guess there won't be many complaints.

I think that's likely the case; additionally, the instructions for
setting up my TiVo put "How to set up an IR blaster or serial cable"
first, "how to connect to the cable maually" second.

Christopher Schmidt

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