Thursday, January 11, 2007

Gingerbread House Construction

When I got home tonight the kids were decorating the Gingerbread house. Yea, that's something we probably should have done before Christmas, but hey, we're rebels like that.

And I didn't mention this before, but Ginger messed around with the new Digital TiVo a bunch and figured out how to get the TiVo to view all the over the air channels (she did this the day after we called TiVo and their tier one support was less than helpful). For now there's no reason to pay Cox extra. Woo! It's nice that Cox actually puts the over the air channels on the cable line in digital form, but it's kind of annoying that they don't publicize the fact that they do. And by publicize I mean the TiVo channel list for Cox in our area doesn't have any information about where the digital channels are in the lineup, we had to do channel scans and then Ginger had to go through all the digital channels it found to locate the ones we were interested in and have TiVo 'learn' about the channel. The only bad thing now (and this is a pretty significant bad side) is that TiVo doesn't "know" about the programming on the digital channels. We have 4-1 (NBC), 5-1 (FOX), 7-1 (ABC), 9-1 (CBS) and 50-1 (CW) (as well as the WETA channels and some public broadcast stuff), but while the TiVo can now see those channels (finally), it doesn't know about what's on those channels. So from a programming perspective, I can't use the Season Pass feature if I want to record a show in HD. Like if I wanted to record Smallville in HD, I have to set it up to manually record from 8 to 9 on Thursday on channel 50-1. If I didn't care about it being HD, TiVo would record it on the regular cable channel in standard definition since it knows about that channel. But recording it in HD means that the TiVo "What's Playing" section doesn't have the names of the show, but instead the time and date it was recorded. Feels sort of like it was back when I had all these VCR tapes everywhere that I never labeled. It's not as bad as the VCR tapes though because while the shows aren't named, at least they have the date and time. You look at the list and you have to think "Okay, that was Thursday at 8 on what appears to be channel 50, that must be Smallville". The good news is that watching the shows in HD is totally worth the inconvenience. Ginger has already told me I've become an HD snob, which I don't think I am, but I'll be darned if there are some shows that just are really enhanced by viewing them in HD (for stuff like the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, I don't think it matters). All that was a really long winded way of saying I really enjoyed watching Smallville in HD tonight, it's good stuff.


Barry said...

beware, there has been some talk on avsforum of the cable companies encrypting the HD the feeds.

JamesF said...

To be honest, I was shocked the HD feeds are there on the basic feed and unencrypted.

I wouldn't mind them being encrypted if the price structure the cable company has for access wasn't so ludicrous. I believe they charge $2 a month cost per cable card (of which I would need three if they go that route), but the extra charge of $7 a month for no reason other than you want access to the over the air HD channels is just plain wrong. Obviously they're trying to price it so that you'll just go to the next tier of service instead.

Anonymous said...

why don't you whip out a UHF antenna and tune into them over the air (rather than over the cable wire)? I've heard that the signals are plenty strong in this vicinity. Maybe the tivo setup doesn't honor that (i.e. they still won't appear in the guide)?

JamesF said...

why don't you whip out a UHF antenna and tune into them over the air (rather than over the cable wire)?

I tried that. Even with an antenna that supplied gain to the signal, there were massive amounts of dropout (to the point where the screen would only update once or twice a second, and even then not all the pixels on the screen would update). We've tried two different antenna models and neither worked. I think the fact that we're fairly far out coupled with the fact that we seem to be in a valley type area (we have a cell phone dead zone that's about half a mile around our house where signals are always weak to non-existent) prevents us from getting the signals. And you're correct, TiVo still wouldn't know what's on those channels since they don't supply the over the air guide info.