Most Basic Cable (1 Viewer)

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guapoharry

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 19, 2006
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32ºN 111ºW
I read somewhere on Satellite Guys about a most basic type of cable service. Your cable company by contract in their franchise is usually required to offer really cheap, really basic service.

However, customer service reps play ignorant and try to avoid selling this type of service.

How do I ask for this type of cable service? There was some term I can not find now....

Thanks.
 
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gary s

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Oct 9, 2003
319
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Southern Cal
I saw somebody post, sorry don't know who or where, that it was called something like lifeline package.

I called Time Warner cable today and after asking about lifeline and them acting like they had no idea what I was talking about, they finally told me they called it broadcast service and it was available for $16/month. I called several times and was told different things about this package each time it seemed. I was told it is channels 2 through 25 and includes KCET which is PBS but is actually channel 28 and then I was told it is channels 2 through another number which all I can remember was thirty something. They said it has all my available local channels, which are actually the L.A. locals. Also, I couldn't get a real clear answer, but I'm pretty sure they said with an $8.95/month hd box I could get the local networks, KTLA which is channel 5 and shows quite a few Clippers games, KCET, and a couple other channels (one of which I know was TNT and I think one was Discovery) in HD. I need to find out how much an HD DVR would be.

They did say there is normally a $29 installation charge.

One thing they told me is I would get $10/month for 12 months off my normally $44.95/month internet service. One thing I find hard to believe is they told me I would get the $10/month off my internet for 12 months even if I cancelled my cable tv.

I am mainly interested in getting this cable service for whatever L.A. sports teams I can get in HD. Mostly, during basketball season, I would like to get the Lakers in HD. The thread I saw originally about lifeline cable said the Lakers games on KCAL, which is L.A. local channel 9, were now being broadcast in HD. Time Warner said they are not broadcasting KCAL in HD. However, they did say if I get the HD package (I haven't found out yet how much that is per month) I could get what they call Universal HD and that shows a lot of the L.A. local sports including Laker's games in HD. Does anyone who has Time Warner HD in the L.A. area know if this is true?

I have an installation scheduled for early Feb
 

gary s

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Oct 9, 2003
319
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Southern Cal
I couldn't finish my previous long winded post--could not type anything.

Anyway, I plan on going through with my planned installation as I feel I can't lose if I keep the $10/month discount on my internet. I need to find out if there is some catch such as an disconnect or uninstall charge.

They did say if you can use a cable card on your tv it is less than $2/month instead of the $8.95 for an HD box.
 

dishrich

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
3,290
342
Springfield, IL
Your cable company by contract in their franchise is usually required to offer really cheap, really basic service.

This is NOT always the case - there are SOME instances where cable co. of a certain size, MUST offer a "lifeline" basic tier, but if a community is considered to be completely deregulated, then there is NO requirments of a minimum pkg, what channels are in it, price, etc.

For example, there is a small local cable co. (Greene County Cable) that serves 5 very small towns north of Springfield. They have NEVER, EVER offered a stripped down "broadcast basic" tier since day 1. And starting about a year ago, they NO longer will sell residential subs cable modem only service - if you want it, you MUST pay for full basic cable, which is about $40 now. :rolleyes: :mad: (if you are a business, then they WILL sell it only, but charge a LOT more for business subs)

The sad part is - their analog cable service totally SUCKS big time - it has some of the WORST picture quality you ever saw. NO HD or DVR's & the digital service is minimal at best. Hmm, no WONDER they force people to take it with cable modem. (in most of these towns, most people CANNOT get DSL, either!)
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
Many franchise authorities simply make it part of the "deal" that the cableco offer a lifeline type service.

I've gotten the same runaround with them pretending such a package doesn't exist. I had the 2nd lowest service level but wanted lifeline to get my local channels since D* and E* didn't offer them years ago. I said "I want to downgrade my service" and was told I've got the lowest package they offer.
 

HDTVFanAtic

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2005
1,973
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I don't know why people are calling it lifeline. Its just the most basic analog package of channels 2-13 in most cases. They filter above that. The problem is they put a filter to trap any of the higher channels - and thus it could easily trap the HDTV locals.
 

gary s

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Oct 9, 2003
319
0
Southern Cal
I don't know why people are calling it lifeline. Its just the most basic analog package of channels 2-13 in most cases. They filter above that. The problem is they put a filter to trap any of the higher channels - and thus it could easily trap the HDTV locals.

I spoke to Time Warner cable a few more times tonight with mostly different answers each time. I think the final answer which makes sense is the "broadcast service" is channels 2-25 plus a few in the thirties. You can not get the HD package or any HD channels without signing up for the digital tier which gets rid of the trap on the cable line which does not allow access to the higher channels.
 
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HDTVFanAtic

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2005
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I spoke to Time Warner cable a few more times tonight with mostly different answers each time. I think the final answer which makes sense is the "broadcast service" is channels 2-25 plus a few in the thirties. You can not get the HD package or any HD channels without signing up for the digital tier which gets rid of the trap on the cable line which does not allow access to the higher channels.

I suppose in LA perhaps the basic goes up to 25 because of the high number of signals.

In most markets you have 3 tiers

1) Basic 2-13 analog with filters on anything above 13 (usually in the $9-$13 range)

2) Analog Service - which will get you all the analog service roughly Channel 2 - 75. Again, you need no STB for a cable tuner equiped TV. This can cost $25-$35 depending on the area. As there are no filters on the line, you can get the HDTV QAM channels if you have a digital QAM tuner.

3) Analog and Digital Service - this gets you the channels over 100 which are digital in nature.
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
My local TWC told me that filters/traps were the reason they couldn't sell me "lifeline" plus their HD-DVR. They could block channels 79-699 (digital channels) via the set-top box, but could not trap out channels 26-78. They simply didn't have traps that would do it. I was told that such traps do exist but the head of engineering at my TWC said because of differences in their plants (they're a hodgepodge of many, many systems now combined into one), the trap may not block things 100%.
 
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Splicer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 18, 2007
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2 traps are needed to block channel 14 and up. Cost consideration is most likely the reason NOT to offer as a single trap that combines the original 2 is a custom order and pricey. Not to mention that traps have a tendency to cause more problems than they solve.
 

HDTVFanAtic

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 23, 2005
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There is no way anyone is going to sell you basic cable with a Digital HD-DVR. You will need digital service for that.

Basic is pure analog designed to be used with no STB and a filter (usually starting at Channel 14 but 26 in your location).
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
There is no way anyone is going to sell you basic cable with a Digital HD-DVR. You will need digital service for that.
Sorry, you're wrong. There are people in the Dayton area with TWC, basic cable, and an HD-DVR. I've asked others in the "Dayton local HDTV" thread at AVS and more than one has it.... I know some still receive channels 2-78 'cause TWC never came out to install the traps though.

Also, you can order "standard" (analog) service, channels 2-78, and get the HD-DVR. I helped a co-worker get that package. What you do is order the lowest digital package, in our area, DigiPic 1000, and tell them to drop the "value" tier. In fact, here's the quote from the customer service supervisor I dealt with:
Yes, that is the price for the dig pic 1000. Just tell him to say that he does not want the value tier that comes with that package. That is the 40 extra channles that comes with the 1000 package. That is why the difference in price. Tammy
In fact, you may or may not be familiar with user "Rakesh S" (or is it Rakesh H ?) from AVS. He lived in the area for a while and was one of the first to get this service level. It's referred to as the "Rakesh S package" in the above-mentioned thread.
 

stevenl

SatelliteGuys Master
Jan 2, 2006
10,839
2
Disney World
I beleive their was a law passed recently, that requires cable companies who rent digital boxs, to not force customers into buying the "digital tier of service" But allow them to get the box. So in BHN you can essitianal order a box just for the "basic/Standard" package.. You can also order the box get the basic, and then say the spanish tier.. The only requirement is you always have to get the basic/standard as a minimum... I also beleive you can get the HD box without digital tier channels (those above 100) but you still have to pay the "HD box rental fee" whatever that is now..
 

mdovell

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 8, 2005
226
0
It would seem a bit weird to have a HD dvr box and to have basic cable but I think it could be possible. On public access a few years ago there was a women who was ranting a bit about the cable to the town selectman...one thing she brought up that was legit was that the tv guide channel has the video portion get larger and larger...the only way to get the IPG was to get the digital box (although I have a generic pvr that can pick it up but it's been discontinued for a few years now)

Personally I think if you put in say a dvd recorder with a decent pvr with a guide that it could do very well for some people...

Rates on things have varied...I remember when disney was a pay channel and so was local sports...now they pretty much raised the price and included it anyway.
 

stevenl

SatelliteGuys Master
Jan 2, 2006
10,839
2
Disney World
It would seem a bit weird to have a HD dvr box and to have basic cable but I think it could be possible. On public access a few years ago there was a women who was ranting a bit about the cable to the town selectman...one thing she brought up that was legit was that the tv guide channel has the video portion get larger and larger...the only way to get the IPG was to get the digital box (although I have a generic pvr that can pick it up but it's been discontinued for a few years now)

Personally I think if you put in say a dvd recorder with a decent pvr with a guide that it could do very well for some people...

Rates on things have varied...I remember when disney was a pay channel and so was local sports...now they pretty much raised the price and included it anyway.

Some tvs like RCA tvs have "TV Guide PLUS" Built right in which most cable companies send the signal for out, so you can have your own tv guide built into your tv. Also your local sunday paper usally has one in it.... and tvguide.com :)
 

Hall

SatelliteGuys Master
Feb 14, 2004
18,409
3,194
Germantown OH
It would seem a bit weird to have a HD dvr box and to have basic cable but I think it could be possible.
Why would that be weird ?? At the time we were considering it, the majority of our viewing was from the (4) big networks and we almost never watch anything live, hence the DVR. The HD set-top would get me my local channels in both analog (ch 2-25) and digital (in my area, 702-750). I'd also get TNT HD and Discovery HD. I might even have been able to add the HD tier for another $7/mo just to get HDNet, HDMovies, etc, etc.
 

dishrich

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
3,290
342
Springfield, IL
My local TWC told me that filters/traps were the reason they couldn't sell me "lifeline" plus their HD-DVR. They could block channels 79-699 (digital channels) via the set-top box, but could not trap out channels 26-78. They simply didn't have traps that would do it. I was told that such traps do exist but the head of engineering at my TWC said because of differences in their plants (they're a hodgepodge of many, many systems now combined into one), the trap may not block things 100%.

Well that's kind of sad that TWC can't figure something like this out, considering that our cable co. (Insight) has used this very kind of trap here for years. ;)

Insight here uses these all the time, to trap out expanded basic channels 24 thru 72, WITHOUT trapping out anything above it. They have been using these traps for the past few years for subs with broadcast basic w/modem only service. (our broadcast basic tier is considered to be ch 2-23) If you have an HD set w/QAM tuner, you also can pull in ALL the local broadcast HD channels, as well as a few local digital broadcast channels, (doppler radar & 3 extra PBS feeds) all with this trap in place, since the digital streams for digital cable service & modem are all above ch 80 on our system.

Insight ALSO uses another type of trap for modem-only subs, that knocks out ALL analog TV service on ch 2-78, but it WILL let you still get the local broadcast HD/digitals on a QAM tuner, even with this trap in place. ;)
 

cablewithaview

Stand against retrans!!!
Supporting Founder
Apr 18, 2005
398
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DeKalb County, AL
You can get negative/tier traps to cut out basically any channel or group of channels you want. The only thing about using traps to cut out a group of channels, you have to have it cut to cut out audio on the low end and video on the high end to keep from cutting out the adjacent channel. When I worked with Falcon, we had one trap that cut out ch.23-55 then later ch.23-70 after adding more channels. I think Charter kept the trap at 70 because the digital cable is inserted between 73-77 or something like that.
We don't offer basic and expanded basic. The bunch I work for now is a small rural provider and it's something we don't get request for, not to say we wouldn't offer it. HBO/Max is the only thing we use negative traps for now.
Dishrich, those other services are inserted above ch. 78 so the trap does not interfere with them. Nothing special about the traps they use.
 
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