Cable machines and sound quality

Discussion in 'Satellite TV, Sky TV & FreeSat' started by Dak, Sep 23, 2002.

  1. Dak

    Dak
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    Hi
    Having just moved into a conservation area I am going to have to move from Sky to Telewest (Highbury, London).

    Telewest tell me that I have no choice in the box that they supply and when I asked what sound (Prologic/DD/Nicam) quality they send me, they got very confused, went into a huddle and came back with a 'Yes, we think so, maybe....er no'.

    HELP! Can anyone tell me the following please?
    What sound comes down cable, is it a ssurround decodable signal at all?

    Can I request a particular make of box?

    If so, which is best and why?

    Can I get one with a hard drive in to record like my sky+ used to?

    If Telewest can only supply one box, can I sugn up and purchase a new box elsewhere then plug that in myself?

    Again, if so which is best and why?

    PS I have to go for cable, the Counsel own the freehold and have made the previous occupants take down their satellite dish......

    Many thanks,
    Dak
     
  2. nunew33

    nunew33
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    If itconservation doesnt that mean yoy simply get planning permission, Its not an automatic no. previous occupants may have simply failed to apply. Will you get planning rejected if you can guarantee that it isnt visible from the street?
     
  3. Dak

    Dak
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    Hi
    No, it is not a planning thing, I have been into the planning office (and met a fellow sufferer of the same problem). They are banned wholesale in the conservation area evidently.

    Anyway the Freeholder will not allow one to be put up anyway. What a pain.

    Dak
     
  4. nunew33

    nunew33
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    Hmmm. What irks me is that a spiky steel terrestrial arial is acceptable and you cant get much uglier than that. Its also this idea that terrestrial ariels are in keeping with a conservation area when they are a very modern invention.
     
  5. jim.rae

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    I live in a Grade 2 Conservation Area and have a mini dish attached to the back of a chimney.

    Other people have them on poles on the backs of the houses looking over the ridge.

    The main issue is that you should not able to see them from the street.

    Our Planning Authority actually publishes a leaflet showing you where they can and cannot go.

    As long as you have line of sight of the satellite they can be at ground level on a pole in a back yard or wherever.

    Have you actually spoken to the Planning Authority - I usually find them very helpful...
     
  6. Starburst

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    Not 100% upto speed on TW but if you can recieve a stereo signal then it you can extract a Dolby Prologic/Surround signal from it assuming the program carries the information.
    Of course without the neccesary outputs for Dolby Digital on the STB and the will from TW to transmit the extra data then you won't get DD 5.1 from Telewest for some time.
    Telewest like NTL only "loan" you the STB for the duration of your subscription and do not allow you to buy STB's, the upside is they have to cover all maintenance costs for the duration.
    TW have no STB with hard drive recording and until they reduce their debt significantly they will probably not be in the postition to buy and then "loan" out the very expensive HD recording STB's.
    You can take out a second reduced price subscription, TW will supply you with a second box (You can not buy a STB to use on the TW network) although I do not know how much they charge for this service (NTL is £15 a month).

    There must be a TW subscriber out there with better information:)

    Another useful forum.....DS-Cable
     
  7. glynndenniss

    glynndenniss
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    My brother only pays an extra £5 a month for the extra receiver from ntl
     
  8. Starburst

    Starburst
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    Good for him:)
    The current price for a second digital STB from NTL is £15 a month.
     
  9. Dak

    Dak
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    Thanks for all the input guys.
    Believe me, I have exhausted the options for putting up a dish and it is no go. My neighbour IS the local planning officer and I have even had him over for supper to see what we can do: even if I get permission (very unlikely even if obscured) I only own the lease and the Freeholder (the Council) do not allow fitting dishes to their properties. On top of this I have the basement flat so a dish on my wall is going to point straight at a factory......

    SO I am forced to go cable and stilll need help with the following questions:

    Telewest tell me that I have no choice in the box that they supply and when I asked what sound (Prologic/DD/Nicam) quality they send me, they got very confused, went into a huddle and came back with a 'Yes, we think so, maybe....er no'.

    What sound comes down cable, is it a surround decodable signal at all?

    Can I request a particular make of box from Telewest?
    If so, which is best and why?

    If Telewest can only supply one make of box, can I sign up and purchase a better box elsewhere then plug that in myself?
    Again, if so which is best and why?

    Many many thanks,
    Dak
     
  10. ultimatenyle

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    i'm not aware if you can ask for a particular box, but there are different versions of the same pace box. when the guy comes round to install it, give him a coffee/tea and have a chat with him about the boxes/future service/problems likely to occur - suggest u want the latest version of box - they usually have a couple in the van - also get him to set attenuation properly and test the input signal.

    the older versions crashed a lot and often gave poor picure and sound quality - a revised version (lets say 1a) was then released and given to customers who had problems with previous boxes. then when telewest went "pseudo" digital just b4 the world cup (great timing - to sort out problems) the newer boxes showed some weaknesses too. a newer version was then given to customers (1b). when the telewest technician was last round (july) he said that there was a completely new silver version (with digital out) coming out but he said that it may be a while before telewest do a deal with pace because of the finacial situation, also tw will not broadcast dd/dts in the near future (6-12 mts).

    tw also had 2 different companys producing the software for the digital service, 1 a local company i'm familiar with but not sure of the second - could find out if u really want to know. this then led to incompatibility problems and crashes of the customers box -software was not realising memory properly "a la" M.S. not that there is much anyway. recently 1 of the companies was/are about to be binned.


    the difference between versions i'm aware off:
    '1a' had more memory and a slightly different circuit layout
    '1b' had a more 'direct' circuit board power and video outputs at opposite ends, more memory again and tweaking of the modem circuitery.

    i've had some picture/sound/box problems over the last 13 mts since i've had tw cable.
    the staff tend to be actually freindly/polite over the phone and seem to want to help but unfortunatley there has been problems on the software/hardware side and they are not very knowledgeable - also it seems the right hand does not know what the left is doing (i.e. sales and technical). :clown:

    we were offered free installation and 1 month free to entice us to sign up - but we were actually overchraged above standard rates. took many phone calls and 6 weeks to sort out - very hard to get money back from them - they prefer to deduct fromyour next bill/s. :devil: :mad:

    the only people who actually know much about these boxes/hardware/network are the senior "engineers" who come out to fix problems, the two that i've had round were very knowledgable and experienced, working previously with sky and in america sothey knew their stuff.

    problems i've had at various time (resulting in visits 3 times over 13 mts).
    box crashing
    no sound
    blocky picture/picture break up
    box crashing/hang up - unable to soft reset
    continous interactive problems - givin up on that
    poor sound quality
    poor picture quality

    standard fixes from telewest helpline:
    switch off box for 30s then back on (to reset/lear memory) - usually works.
    switch off box, remove card - switch on they then remotely reset switch back off replace card the on again - done twice and worked.
    check/replace remote batteries - juice hungry, worked
    check scart leads - doh!
    replace scart leads, even if they previuosly worked and were untouched - :confused: sh*t methinks. but a good way to blag decent quality scart leads from tw engineers - got 3 - just incase :cool:

    i've had technicians/engineers round to fix these problems - which resulted in replacement of box for newer version and increased signal strength/attenuation.
    also if someone is using a chiped box or a modified analouge box on the same main "street box" as you then you will get poor sound/picture. the modified boxes create signal noise which affects your signal/reception. if u call up about poor picture/sound they send out a technician to test the street signal and see if someone is getting free channels, thats how they can catch you.
    but there are ways round this ;)
     
  11. poggs

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    At the moment Telewest have only 3 boxes that they supply.

    The pace 1000, 2000, 4000. (scientific alpha boxes in final stages of testing but not slated until next year)

    They are all the same except that the 2000 + 4000 have more memory as standard (32mb) but as the 1000 is upgraded with an extra 16mb chip that point is moot. The only other difference with the boxes is that the 4000 will accept an Ir remote signal rather than the IrDa that the 1000 + 2000 are stuck with. This means that if you are using a multi remote control such as one for all it will not work with the 1000+2000 boxes but will with the 4000 version.

    As for the sound, it is prologic/stereo. Exactly the same as sky (I know sky+ has DD on widescreen movies)

    The 2nd box cost £15 from telewest and mirrors the main subscription.

    As for a hard disk recorder, get a Tivo. It works the same way as a sky+. Nope correct that. It works, unlike the sky+. Tivo has much better software and is dead easy to upgrade with a pair of nice 120gb hard drives. However, for Tivo to change channels on the telewest box you need to make sure that they supply the 4000 pace box. Or you need a £30 adapter from Pace.

    As for getting the 4000 box. Tell them on install that you have Tivo and must have the 4000 box as its the only one that works. Telewest are aware of this fact and reserve the 4000 boxes for those who remind them of this fact. (It is on their internal FAQ sheet)

    Good luck

    Ps Telewest dont do Sky sports extra AND IT ****ES ME OFF!!!!!
     
  12. Guest

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    Hi all
    Does the same apply to ntl digital?
    Im upgrading from analogue to digital and have a second box upstairs(currently free). Can I buy a box anywhere as at £15 per month it doesn't take long to pay for one.
     
  13. poggs

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    Cant buy them rental only. NTL use the same boxes as telewest
     
  14. MAW

    MAW
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    To clarify the sound question, Cable digital is stereo, but not NICAM, and if you record it on a stereo VCR via a=RF it will be mono, likewise nicam TV of course. Stereo is output via scart, and on some boxes via phono, but beware! Just cos it has 2 phonos, don't assume the output is stereo, it's not always. Do it with scart, you can't go wrong. The engineers I've spoken to don't know what prologic is, and will probably tell you it's not supported...
     

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