Thursday, March 01, 2007

Pulling cable

Cable service here in Charlottesville, VA hasn't been much to write about. Most recently we've been served(?) by Adelphia Cable, who were much more adapt at losing money than providing quality service or maintaining their infrastructure. The result? Poor reception on many of my favorite channels and a lack of digital and HD broadcasting

The only thing stopping me from moving over to DirecTV was the lack of local channels in our market's packages. That, and the expense of setting up the system I really wanted -- an HD package with built-in Tivo PVR. I'm stingy enough to wait for prices to come down a bit.

So, it was a relief to me to see Comcast take over local operations recently. Now I could hope to see my snowy picture improve, at the very least. Some consolation whilst I await my dream system. Several months in, the news isn't too good yet -- my picture looks the same, and I'm paying more money. At least Comcast is good at sending out glossy brochures enticing me to sign up for digital cable.

However, hope remains. Through the local A/V grapevine I've been able to track down occasional SDTV and HDTV broadcasts on unused subchannels. This has been erratic at best. On some evenings I'll pick up beautiful HD signals on my Sony 34" TV, but more often than not, my explorations have come up empty, with "No signal" showing on channels I was watching the night before.

The other positive development has been the regular appearance of work gangs pulling new cable through the system. Nothing's hooked up yet, but the appearance of bundles of cable springing daffodil-like out of the ground is like a sign of spring after a hard winter.

I can only hope.

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