Converter Box Required For Cable Television?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by willranless, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. willranless

    willranless
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    I am a campground owner who provides Cable TV (and Wifi) at no additional cost to my guests. Recently I was informed that my cable provider (Comcast) is changing the way it delivers the cable signal to require each TV to have a converter box w/remote attached directly to the set in order to receive cable. This is a system-wide change for entire metro area. I am concerned about how this will affect my guests, because the TV sets in RV's are not easily accessed to connect such a box. If they are doing it in my area it could soon happen nationwide. I would like feedback from RVers and campground owners about this.
     
  2. John Blue

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    You are correct about not easy to get at. Think about this as well, tons of older analog sets in use with converter boxes in use plus lots have been changed over to the new DTV sets. Now you add TV sig. into the TV cable under service bay but that will not help you at all. Comcast will need to work on this problem or lots of RV people will be up the creek soon. Not everyone has a dish to pick up TV.
     
  3. Florida Native

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    This is going to affect a lots more than RV parks. Usually the local government grants a monopoly to a company and the local politicians have great power with them. I would go see your local representative and demand that they fix it.
     
  4. willranless

    willranless
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    I've looked at this from several angles, but only see it as a Lose-Lose situation for RVers and Campground owners. Here are some reasons why:
    Each guest would have to be issued a box and remote control upon check-in. Upon departure, they would need to return these. As an overnight park, this would just not be feasible to do. I have a lot of "regulars" who enjoy being able to pull in at anytime of day or night without having to look up the hostess or myself. Forgetting to return the box will also be a major concern.
    Second, getting the box connected is going to be very difficult for some. In other words, "more trouble than it's worth". Besides, some rigs have 3 or more TV's onboard. Under this new arrangement, each one will need it's own box.
    These two aspects pretty much render the cable useless to everyone except a few who are willing to go thru the effort to hook up the box, possibly limited only to those who are on an extended stay.
    As a campground owner, I had to sign a ten-year agreement in order to get the cable at a "bulk rate". I'm not sure if I can get out of this agreement (five years left on contract) even though they are changing the service in such a drastic way. One huge disappointment for me is that I will basically lose an amenity that has been popular with my guests. Many who have satellite dont want the hassle of having to set up their dish for just a one night stay. So in effect, many would expect to pay less per night, because they are not getting as many amenities as they used to.
    I would like to be able to prevent this from happening, but doubt that my small voice will be heard by such a large company. I plan to contact my Comcast rep again now that I have been able to poll my guests and get feedback from them. My next step will probably be to contact the local governments that act as the franchise authority for this area. I will keep you informed of what happens.
     
  5. willranless

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    Ok, I just spoke with my Comcast rep. He has given me some hope that they may be able to leave my service as it is by installing some sort of special equipment that allows my vicinity to operate as a separate "node" from the rest of the system. He has not received final word yet from the higher-ups, but I'm optimistic about it right now. I'll sleep better tonight. Thanks
     
  6. meatwagon45

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    I dont see why they would not try to help you. Under your circumstances, you cannot ask everyone to have a box just to use your campground. As stated, it would/could be a pain to install for overnights or weekends.

    A reason they would help you - viewers. Cable companies need consumers to have as many tv's on as much as possible so they can show advertisers how many people in an area see an ad. The cable company will be more than willing to help when they realize that they will lose 100 (or how ever many sites you have) viewers. A sudden drop like that hurts them when the advertisers look at the viewer numbers.
     
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  7. willranless

    willranless
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    Yes, we have been able to continue to receive Cable TV without any special converter boxes. So far the system is working as planned. Our campground and a nearby hotel are isolated in some way from the rest of the area by some special equipment.
    Long-term campers do have the option of getting a digital box to be able to access features like On-Demand and On-screen TV Guide, plus they get a few more channels. However, I've learned that, while digital signal does give some benefits in the way of features and better picture quality, it demands near perfect connections throughout the entire system. This has proved to be problematic, not only in my park for the few who obtained digital service, but for the entire area. Frequently, even at my house, I experience momentary loss of sound or the screen will freeze or "pixelate". Comcast Technicians reported they had hundreds of service calls as soon as the conversion to digital was done. Most of these were simply to repair a connection that was fine for analog, but was not sufficient for digital signal.
     
  8. Lynnstephany

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    Hello, I am a campground owner in North Carolina I am experiencing the same frustrations in this cable fiasco. Who is your cable company that worked with you? Can you tell me the name of the "equipment" they used? Any help will be greatly appreciated!
     
  9. NYDutch

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    What you're looking for is a digital to analog headend master distribution system. This is basically like having a separate digital cable box for each subscribed channel, with the analog RF outputs all combined together and fed to the individual sites, rooms, apartments, etc. Your cable company's business account department should be able to design a set up for your campground with either a lease or purchase arrangement. If they don't offer anything, than talk to Dish or DirecTV, they do.
     
  10. jimbob07

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    We have been trying to resolve our recent cable issues for the past several months after being notified that cable boxes would be required for each TV. This is a problem for RV's and boats at the marinas. We are a destination campground at a lake, so the issue is impacting many businesses and their customers. The cable company has been no help at all. They have provided little information and no help in addressing the issue. We have found out that the boxes can be installed in the power pedestal and operated with the RF remote control. We have a few sites set up like this for trial. I am about to drop cable completely. If out internet service was not supplied via the cable, I would have already shut off the service. We don't have many choices out here, but we continue to look for a solution. BTW....we spend about 10 K / year on cable now...increasing the budget for a headend system is probably not an option.
     
  11. NYDutch

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    Without a head end set up, the converter at the power pedestal is likely your best option if you don't want the hassle of loaning out the converters to guests. Have you considered using a head end and adding a modest daily add-on charge for cable to cover the additional costs?
     
  12. drfife

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    We have satellite TV in our RV and have not used park cable TV for many years. We like wifi if available but not required.

    Does Comcast offer a cable Internet only package without cable TV? That might be a solution so you don't have to install a box at every pedestal.
     
  13. Jack B

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    I don't understand much of this but I do know that I stayed at a campground that came up with a solution. Robidoux RV Park, Gering, Neb. is very popular and rated excellent. Maybe someone in this discussion has stayed there recently and can explain.
    They gave us a remote control to use, it was numbered for our site. Mounted on the utilities pedestal was a cable converter box that we tied into. We set our tv on chan. 3 and pointed the remote at the converter box. It worked great! The only odd thing was that the person in charge of the remote had to sit by a window in view of the box on the pedestal, so he could point-and-shoot.
    Don't forget to drop off the remote when you leave.
     
  14. Nineoaks

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    It always amazes me. How far these companies will go just to make a buck, and the customer is ignored, I hope the system works for you and they can get the mess they are making straightened out..
     
  15. NYDutch

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    The cable companies switching to all digital isn't being done just to make money. In fact it's a very costly conversion for them. By going all digital, they can carry more channels and offer higher Internet speeds, something that customers are demanding.
     
  16. DPer

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    I'm at an ownership RV park that has Charter "All Digital" (proprietary encoded) service from the street that is converted upon entry into the park into standard NTSC (analog) service before it is delivered to the RV sites via the park's coax (Cable TV) delivery system. The downside of analog (NTSC) is poorer picture quality than "All Digital" (Charter's proprietary digital that requires a converter box) and only delivery of SDTV (no delivery of HDTV). I stayed at another park that does the same thing with one large difference. That is, the incoming signal is converted to ATSC digital (North American standard digital that does NOT require a converter box) before distribution throughout the park. In comparison to my own analog distribution park, at that park the picture quality was vastly superior and the reception of HD channels was also a VERY large plus. I am having trouble finding information on conversion to such a system for my own park. Does anyone have info. or experience that they can provide? Thanks!
     
  17. NYDutch

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    If Charter doesn't offer any ATSC solutions, try searching on "cable TV headend systems". There are a number of equipment suppliers, and many installation contractors. Similar systems are used in apartment buildings, hotels, hospitals, etc.
     
  18. jimbob07

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    The problem with the head end systems is that they are very expensive. We are seeing more and more people moving to satellite and even digital antennas. With the newer flat screens and the antennas, we can pick up 15-30 channels, depending on exact location and tress. Of course, we are close to cities that have several broadcasts.
     
  19. NYDutch

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    Well, "digital" or "HDTV" antennas are nothing but marketing terms, an antenna is an antenna, period. All it does is receive (or send) radio frequency signals without regard to what kind of modulation is used to place information on the signals. Yes, head ends are expensive, but that's just the cost of providing a marketable feature to the clients that should be incorporated into the pricing structure, the same as providing a usable WiFi service, electricity, water, and sewers.
     

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