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3.5 Digital Cable

The "digital" part is actually done by a converter box. In order to recieve digital channels, you have to have this converter.

Any TV without the converter will just receive what they always have (regular analog TV).

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Should be noted that in some areas the cable companies are removing analog service completely. This means the home owner would need go get a digital adaptor from their cable service provider. These boxes need to be authorized in some cases and usually do not have the same features as standard digital terminals.

    2012-02-14 06:02:46 (J E F F See Profile)

  • I recently rx'ed the Motorola DCH70 STB in preparation for Comcast going "digital" in March in the SF Bay Area. I had analog service before but my HDTV was able to pick up both analog and digital signals (from major stations e.g. ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX)- which was much clearer than what I'm getting now w/ the STB. In researching the DCH on the Motorola web site it appears that it outputs only analog signals on chnls 3/4 - which means that I apparently have lost the ability to get the quality that I did w/o the STB on the major stations. Not to mention that with the current hookup that I cannot watch one station while recording on another w/ my VCR. Any thoughts whether the "quality" will improve in March when Comcast supposedly goes to all digital? I'm tempted to get a couple of coax A/B switches to bypass the STB when I want to watch the major channels or record on my VCR.

    2009-02-15 12:52:01

  • They are KNOWN as CableCards, not just often. Also, CableCards are not responsible for lack of bi-directional communication and related services. The host device (TV's built-in tuner, set-top box, etc.) is responsible for this capability. Currently, there are no two-way devices available via retail.

    2007-10-07 10:03:36 (defiant See Profile)

  • tvs now are coming out with "built in" digital tuners, but in order for the cable company to regulate what the tv can or can not tune in, there is a card that must be installed into the tv. these are often known as CABLEcards, and they are about the size of a long credit card. you can contact your provider to see if they are available. usually they are cheaper to rent then the converter box, but they are not two way (this means no program guide or pay per view via the remote)

    2007-09-22 03:12:31 (jpalen See Profile)



by Raydr See Profile
last modified: 2002-03-15 09:13:13

It's probably a bad wire between your cable box and your TV (this includes VCRs, etc).

Your digital channels should look much better than your analog channels. They don't quite look like DVD, but they should be somewhere in between.

Your digital box outputs a very nice picture, and if for some reason it looks bad on your TV, it's usually just a loose connector or bad wire AFTER the cable box.

Those "push-on" wires that come with VCRs are notorious for doing this. I know we all hate those screw on ones, they are a pain in the butt to use, but use them anyway. You'll notice a difference.

Of course, there's always the possibility that your TV is no good or a connector on the TV or digital box may be bad.

ALSO: Just a recommendation. If your TV has an S-Video input or RCA jacks (Yellow, Red, White), use them for your digital cable instead. It looks much nicer.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Q: "What exactly does it look like using an RCA jack? What connects to what?" A: RCA jacks are the same connectors used on stereo systems and other audio equipment to intrconnect the various signals. Using RCA cables bypasses the cable box's RF modulator which is the item which generates the channel 3 or 4 signal and typically causes mild, but noticible picture degradation. Also, some boxes (like my Motorolla DCT-700, used my tons of cable companies) only put a mono audio signal on the RF signal. RCA cables allows getting the full stereo sound, and give you the best possible picture. Be sure to use good cables, with metal connector barrels and not the plastic ones. That also adds quality to the picture and possible the audio too. As far aw wehat goes where, look at the markings on the box. There should be " Video", "Left", and "Right". They are also color coded in a standardized way: Yellow = Video Red = Right audio White = Left audio. (You can remember the audio simply knowing Red/Right. Both the cable box and the TV RCA jacks should have the same colors. Once connected, instead of tuning channel 3 or 4, you would switch the TV to use the "external" or "video input". Infact by switching back and forth, you can directly compare the quality differences.

    2009-09-23 00:57:16 (dlconkey See Profile)

  • Q: "What exactly does it look like using an RCA jack? What connects to what?" A: RCA jacks are the same connectors used on stereo systems and other audio equipment to intrconnect the various signals. Using RCA cables bypasses the cable box's RF modulator which is the item which generates the channel 3 or 4 signal and typically causes mild, but noticible picture degradation. Also, some boxes (like my Motorolla DCT-700, used my tons of cable companies) only put a mono audio signal on the RF signal. RCA cables allows getting the full stereo sound, and give you the best possible picture. Be sure to use good cables, with metal connector barrels and not the plastic ones. That also adds quality to the picture and possible the audio too. As far aw wehat goes where, look at the markings on the box. There should be " Video", "Left", and "Right". They are also color coded in a standardized way: Yellow = Video Red = Right audio White = Left audio. (You can remember the audio simply knowing Red/Right. Both the cable box and the TV RCA jacks should have the same colors. Once connected, instead of tuning channel 3 or 4, you would switch the TV to use the "external" or "video input". Infact by switching back and forth, you can directly compare the quality differences.

    2009-09-23 00:27:55 (dlconkey See Profile)

  • What exactly does it look like using an RCA jack? What connects to what?

    2008-12-19 20:23:11



by Raydr See Profile

This is usually a low signal issue or there is a lot of noise in your line. Check your connections.

Note by liamsdad23 See Profile: Digital channels can also freeze and tile if the signal is too high!

Please refer to my modem troubleshooting section regarding low/bad signal.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Tiling can also be caused by grounding issues/electrical backfeeds. I lived in a house that was built in 1949 (with older electrical wiring) and the TV was feeding electrical current into the cable lines via the set top box. Backfeeds can also be caused by faulty equipment like the Sony TV that ended up on the curb at 2 years old.

    2011-09-14 20:40:27 (IowaCowboy See Profile)

  • improperly crimped connectors can cause this... if the dielectric is too far back from the inside of the F-connector (not flush) it will interfere with the center conductor and cause this (known as "pixelation" but the correct term is "macroblocking")

    2009-01-13 20:19:45

  • It is also a shielding issue - bad connectors, loose connectors, chewed cable, old TV coax with no foil shield. This lets in off-air interference frequencies that may affect specific channels or channel groups.

    2008-09-30 01:15:31 (bbgrunt0 See Profile)



by Raydr See Profile
last modified: 2005-05-17 09:54:12

There is NO SUCH THING AS A DIGITAL CABLE DESCRAMBLER.

There are TONS of ads for these "digital descramblers". They are NOTHING MORE THAN A HIGH PASS FILTER! They do not work!

What these things do is prevent a cable modem or digital cable box from talking back to the cable company, therefore it will not report Pay-Per-View purchases back to the cable company. Here's the catch though: The cable company is constantly polling the digital box for signal levels, purchases, and troubleshooting information. If it doesn't hear back from the box, they will flag your account and roll a service call truck on it. Since there is no way for you to clear the PPV purchases out of the boxes' memory, you're going to end up getting charged someday anyway.

Don't waste your money.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • please tell me more. Interested, thanks DarShawn

    2010-05-30 06:00:11

  • how long will it be before they figure out how to clear the ppv purchases out of memory?

    2010-02-28 22:59:25

  • Filter Scam, see link. http://www.digital-cable-filter-scam.com/index2.html Sam O. - Houston, Texas

    2008-01-05 11:58:00

  • What about there calm that they can clear the memory from the box? I understand that without a digital box you wont be able to unscramble the signal but I think that you can clear the memory

    2007-12-10 13:34:52

  • so resetting the box as they mention in the ads will not clear out the PPV memory?

    2007-11-26 16:24:51



by Raydr See Profile