A tip: Clear your cookies and visit the Uverse website to learn all you want. Uverse is now available in Charlotte. I usually enter a New York or Charlotte zip code when I visit the Uverse website. Uverse does use the Cisco set-top boxes.
As far as I have been able to determine, there are only 3 manufacturers of IPTV set-top boxes, but we must assume there may be some small independent companies that have a box or are working on one. Scientific Atlanta/Cisco and Motorola are the two major manufacturers and I cannot remember, or maybe the article I read did not mention, the name of the other company. Sorry, it's been a lot of reading and a lot of articles and that's one I did not copy or retain the source for.
Some things to keep in mind: IPTV is a relatively new product. FIOS is not all it's cracked up to be, so don't get too excited about that. Go to their support pages and there are hundreds of pages there. I even found one thread where users were hoping to switch to the Cisco boxes. By the way, FIOS USES THE MOTOROLA BOXES. Please don't attack me, I am merely pointing things out.
In fairness: The TelusTV system in Canada has been using these Cisco boxes since at least 2007 and was having the sound issue then. TelusTV started in 2005 and may have been using these boxes then. Even with the problems they have now grown to over 115,000 subscribers. Both TelusTV and FIOS with large subscriber base are going to have a lot of FAQs, support, etc. as compared to Northstate with no discernable FAQ, discussion board other than this, or forum, and maybe a customer base of a few hundred or at best a few thousand at this point in time. Of course, FIOS's guarantee of 30 Mbps is more favorable to families/power users/HDers/gamers than Northstate's 20 Mbps offering. A little note here: Tandberg's published bit rates are; SD-2 Mbps, HD-6 Mbps (per stream, per TV); you do the math for your own home.
The audio problem is evident on SD TVs also. The bad news is that one week after the download, 16 of my channels began converting the audio to Spanish, while a few had no sound at all. Of course, the box was replaced. I had clear audio for 24 hours, then the problem resurfaced. In conversations with the TV manufacturer about compatibility, they suggested two things. Check to make sure that the manufacturers specialized audio circuitry is not bypassed by the method used in your connections and in the case of an SD TV, the free trial feeds of the HD channels you get may be causing the audio problems.
On the TelusTV forum users have tried a method where they use the pause and play buttons on the DVR to I guess use the buffering to solve the audio difficulties with the HD sets. There was one or two mentions of trying to use CAT 5 or 5e cable instead of cable TV cable to the box, but to me it would depend on the cables involved. The stats I have, the cable TV cable and connectors should carry more bandwith with less loss. I think there were more suggestions, but I can't remember.
Cisco is apparently aware of the problem and is supposedly working on a solution. By the way, the FAQ and support for these Cisco boxes can only occasionally be found and you have to sign up at Cisco once you do find it.
Tandberg, as of 2008 provided 80 percent of the VOD for the North American market. In a conversation with tech support at Northstate, another company provides VOD content for Northstate. Whether or not there is an affiliation, I do not know. Tandberg has redone their website and renamed themselves to reflect their owners name as EricssonTV. They do not state how many subscribers they serve, but, as of September 2008 Tandberg/Ericsson now has 230 contracts worldwide. This number may, however include satellite contracts. It is not clear.
For broadcast details on local broadcast stations go to rabbitears.com; some national staions are listed, but if not details might be found in Wikipedia or elsewhere on this site, but never on the channel's website. It was noted on the TelusTV forum that Telus does change the broadcast characteristics and/or has the capabilities to do so. Also of note, when troubleshooting my own TV setup Northstate asks me to restart and change channels. They only do this as a courtesy. I have, on occasion, sat on the couch, while observing them restarting my system from the central office and changing channels. The software installed on the system enables them to monitor and control, if they want to or need to, but they leave it alone unless and until you have a problem. There is no reason for me not to believe that Tandberg and maybe even Northstate can also change the broadcast characteristics, if necessary.
Link to TelusTV forum audio problem:
»www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthr ··· t=100159
TelusTV forum home page:
»www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdi ··· der=desc
Telus.com; then select any province, go to TV help, then select the center column; This will only be a guide, as they do not have the same system as we do, and it doesn't get very technical here.
A little bit of encouraging news: Two days ago, my trial period for the HD and movie channels apparently ran out. As I think I made clear previously, I am using an SD TV, and now I am left with two HD feeds. They're still doing some kind of promotion with Starz Kids and Family and for some reason I get the FOX8 HD feed still. The audio issue has settled down, being only evident on the commercials right now, but it's still early yet. we'll see what things are like in a month or two to see if my TV manufacturer was correct. I do not know what HD users can do, except maybe think about adjusting the provisioning to their home. My reasoning would be that, if it is the problem of putting an HD signal into an SD TV, then it would follow that in the quest for the greatest picture quality and audio quality, we and our providers are putting too much signal into the system. Sound too far-fetched, I don't know. Just another idea.
Oh, I just noticed that Telus has a forum on this site, along with the others mentioned.
And now for the bonus, most obvious url of the year award goes to (in case you don't already know): speedtest.northstate.net