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Old 09-17-2010, 05:32 PM   #1
WOODMO
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Tuning Adapter Question - Does This Make Sense?

I have Cablevision with my Premiere connected with a M steam card.

I get HD and SD channels fine, but recently I upgraded my cable plan to include many more channels. Of these 40-50 new channels, many of which are HD, about 3 of the HD channels won't come through. When I called the company they told me I'd need a tuning adapter.

Granted I don't know much, which is why I'm asking here, but it seems strange to me that I'd get hundreds of HD and SD channel fine, only having a problem with 3 but I'd need this new piece of hardware.

Is the problem that requires an adapter usually this specific to such a small amount of channels or is this another problem the cable rep didn't catch?

If this does require the adapter, do I have anything to worry about? Is this something that is buggy or lowering of my HD quality?

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Old 09-17-2010, 08:10 PM   #2
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...

I get HD and SD channels fine, but recently I upgraded my cable plan to include many more channels. Of these 40-50 new channels, many of which are HD, about 3 of the HD channels won't come through. When I called the company they told me I'd need a tuning adapter.
Yeah, that makes sense.

Your cable company has implemented switched digital video, meaning that the headend of the cable system only transmits the obscure channels when someone is watching them. And since a particular channel can be reused, the channel number changes frequently.

Because you added channels, there's a likelihood that a number of them that are good candidates for SDV. And because you don't have a tuning adapter, there's really no way for your Tivo to know where the video is being transmitted.

I'm getting set to enjoy the same level of fun you're seeing now. It is what it is.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:03 AM   #3
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Will I notice an impairment of video quality or a new slew of bugs and glitches or are these Adapters fairly trouble free?

Little concerned about opening this new can of worms, almost considering accepting the loss of 3 incidental channels if it's a problem causing add on.

Thanks for the reply btw!
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:28 AM   #4
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Will I notice an impairment of video quality or a new slew of bugs and glitches or are these Adapters fairly trouble free?

Little concerned about opening this new can of worms, almost considering accepting the loss of 3 incidental channels if it's a problem causing add on.
It will not affect video quality in any way. It is not a "tuner", it is really a device which sends and receives channel changing requests to the cable company over a built-in cable modem. (And yes, it is stupid that this cannot be done through the Ethernet port, if you are already using a cable modem; so you end up with something else to fail, another power outlet needed, more power use, more space, etc).

I have no experience with one yet, because Cox had only been dabbling with SDV. But I just got the letter last week that they are starting a real rollout of SDV over the next few months. They listed the channels that will be lost if not using a TA for devices like the TiVo, and a few (unfortunately) are channels I need. So I will be forced to get/use the damn thing soon. At least there is NO CHARGE to get or use one, and they can be SELF INSTALLED.

I have seen others on the forum complain about tuning adapters and having to reboot them and/or the TiVo's they are attached to. Seems to vary depending on the model of tuning adapter and the cable company it is attached to. I am hoping Cox will have their act together.

Like you, I am very interested to know if people (especially on Cox) have had any problems.
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:31 AM   #5
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it seems strange to me that I'd get hundreds of HD and SD channel fine, only having a problem with 3 but I'd need this new piece of hardware.
Is the problem that requires an adapter usually this specific to such a small amount of channels or is this another problem the cable rep didn't catch?
It is perfectly "normal". They will start with just some channels, and then gradually more and more channels will switch to SDV over time and require the tuning adapter to receive them.

Quote:
If this does require the adapter, do I have anything to worry about? Is this something that is buggy or lowering of my HD quality?
Yes, you do have to worry about it if you want to get the channels that are moving to SDV. A tuning adapter is not a tuner. It will not affect video quality in any way. Buggy- possibly.
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the help, I guess I'll be picking one up this week at my cable company. I was thrilled to hear them tell me I can install it myself, I'm fairly capable with electronics and there's nothing I hate more than waiting around all day for some guy to do what I could do in 30 mins tops.
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:36 PM   #7
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Like you, I am very interested to know if people (especially on Cox) have had any problems.
I have Cox and received a TA when Cox first started using them. It was a disaster. It would lock up and when it did it locked up all the channels. I'd miss every recording I had set to record until I noticed the TA was locked up. I had it changed out but that didn't help. It finally caused me to miss something I was really mad about so i disconnected it. Fast forward to today, when I installed the new TP I had them connect a new TA and it downloaded new software and has operated without issues since. It's only been a few weeks but that was much longer than I ever got before. My father has one on his S3 and it has only locked up a couple of times over about a two year period. My old THD that had so many problems with the TA is now at my brother's house with a new TA that also downloaded the latest firmware and has functioned without issues for the same two week period. So maybe there is hope!
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Old 09-19-2010, 08:11 AM   #8
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gespears: Cox did try to roll out SDV here years ago, and it was a huge disaster. Suddenly my THD couldn't get many of the new HD channels. Tech support was totally clueless, they didn't even know what they were doing. It took hours and hours on the phone going through people to find someone what would help, and they had to research it for days. This was before tuning adapters were even available. It was such a FUBAR that a week later, the whole thing was dropped and moved back to normal/non SDV.

That nightmare still has me very upset and sensitive about SDV. I hope they did learn their lessons and don't repeat. Sending out a letter, this time, to the cablecard users was a good start. I am going to try to attach the letter to this post...
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File Type: pdf coxletter.pdf (58.1 KB, 32 views)
File Type: pdf coxletter2.pdf (88.2 KB, 40 views)
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Old 09-20-2010, 02:29 AM   #9
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Good luck with it CRXSSI. We got the same letters a couple of years ago. The rollout wasn't too bad but they didn't have TAs so we couldn't get any of the switched digital channels. I fought hard to get a TA and was one of the first to get one. That was a bad decision. Anyway, the good news is that it now seems to be working for three weeks straight. Although I just tuned to 721 IDHD (the first HD switched digital channel) and the first time I tuned to it, it did not come up. It said there was a TA error and that I needed to tune to it again. I did and it came up working and is actually playing without errors or problems. I wonder what would have happened if I has set it to record and it had that error.

Anyway, again, good luck. I’m on cox in Phoenix. Where are you again?
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:19 AM   #10
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Good luck with it CRXSSI. We got the same letters a couple of years ago. [...] Anyway, again, good luck. Iím on cox in Phoenix. Where are you again?
Cox Hampton Roads. I *hate* the whole idea of SDV- aspects of it makes almost no sense. All it takes it ONE PERSON requesting a channel and a whole neighborhood has to get it, or won't get it at all because there is no "space" available for it. I just can't wait for the first time I miss a recording because of an error or simply because my "request" to have a channel was not able to be "accommodated". Oh well.
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Old 09-20-2010, 06:35 AM   #11
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Cox Hampton Roads. I *hate* the whole idea of SDV- aspects of it makes almost no sense. All it takes it ONE PERSON requesting a channel and a whole neighborhood has to get it, or won't get it at all because there is no "space" available for it. I just can't wait for the first time I miss a recording because of an error or simply because my "request" to have a channel was not able to be "accommodated". Oh well.
We've been living with SDV on Cox since 2006 here in N. VA and what you've described has NEVER happened to me, nor have I heard anyone complain about it happening. Further, since getting my TiVo almost 2 months ago, I've yet to have a single CableCARD or tuning adapter issue. Not saying they don't happen, but Cox VA seems to have its act together now. They did just put out a PR saying they were partnering with TiVo and will help support the Premiere boxes on their networks, so maybe that's behind all the "luck" I've been having.
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Old 09-20-2010, 07:00 AM   #12
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We've been living with SDV on Cox since 2006 here in N. VA and what you've described has NEVER happened to me, nor have I heard anyone complain about it happening. Further, since getting my TiVo almost 2 months ago, I've yet to have a single CableCARD or tuning adapter issue. Not saying they don't happen, but Cox VA seems to have its act together now. They did just put out a PR saying they were partnering with TiVo and will help support the Premiere boxes on their networks, so maybe that's behind all the "luck" I've been having.
I thought the earliest roll out of SDV happened in fall 2008...
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:03 PM   #13
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Cox Hampton Roads. I *hate* the whole idea of SDV- aspects of it makes almost no sense. All it takes it ONE PERSON requesting a channel and a whole neighborhood has to get it, or won't get it at all because there is no "space" available for it. I just can't wait for the first time I miss a recording because of an error or simply because my "request" to have a channel was not able to be "accommodated". Oh well.
I think you've got the wrong idea about Switched Digital. Switched digital is a method of time division multiplexing that makes it possible to squeeze more channels in the same bandwidth. The do not come and go nor are they requested by anybody. They are just sent with this TDM scheme. Certain channels are placed on the Switched part of the network and if you have a standard cable box you don't know any different unless your box doesn't flash with the latest firmware that makes the box capable of handling the TDM. The TiVo cannot handle the TDM so you have to have a TA to decode the TDM for the TiVo and send the decoded channel to the TiVo when it calls for it. In my area most everything in the 100-200 channel range and most all of the Variety pack channels are on the Switched Digital network so if I bypassed the TA I wouldn't receive any of those channels. Whomever explained the Switched Digital to you did not understand how it works.
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:29 AM   #14
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I think you've got the wrong idea about Switched Digital. Switched digital is a method of time division multiplexing that makes it possible to squeeze more channels in the same bandwidth. The do not come and go nor are they requested by anybody. They are just sent with this TDM scheme. [...] Whomever explained the Switched Digital to you did not understand how it works.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_digital_video

Nothing is multiplexed. When there are more channels than there are "slots", then there is an automatic scarcity introduced. For example, if there are 100 channels moved to be SDV and have bandwidth for 20, then there is the absolute possibility that people in a neighborhood want more than those 20 channels currently assigned on-demand slots and will have to wait their turn to fill their "request" for a channel. That is exactly how SDV works- having more channels than there is bandwidth.

This is not like Ethernet, where everything just slows down but everyone is serviced, this is real-time TV. If there are no slots, somebody is going to lose.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:17 AM   #15
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Sorry man it's not like that. All channels are on the cable at the same time and available to everybody at the same time. The system just "sends the digital video in a more efficient manner so that additional uses may be made of the freed up bandwidth. " as the Wicipedia artical says. Every person can tune to the same switched channel at the same time. They are available just like any other channel. The PPV and On-demand are a different issue and perform more like what you are describing.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:39 AM   #16
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Sorry man it's not like that. All channels are on the cable at the same time and available to everybody at the same time. The system just "sends the digital video in a more efficient manner so that additional uses may be made of the freed up bandwidth. " as the Wicipedia artical says. Every person can tune to the same switched channel at the same time. They are available just like any other channel. The PPV and On-demand are a different issue and perform more like what you are describing.
No, only the channels that are requested and able to be filled are available on the cable at the same time, to that neighborhood or "node". So if one person requests, and gets, Discovery then yes, everyone in that node can watch Discovery. But if all the slots are full and being used, and someone then requests yet another channel not already in a slot, then there is an overflow condition, and they will be denied access to that channel. That is the nature of SDV, it is very much like on-demand/ppv.

The whole point of SDV is to have more channels than there is the ability to carry on the wire at the same time. They are not "encoded" nor "multiplexed", they are simply broadcast on a given slot in a first-come, first-served manner. The head-end also has to keep track of how long the channel is "needed" (being actively watched) so it can be deallocated when not needed to make room for other "requests" to tune something not already showing. This is why DVR's have to add code to retune the channel periodically so the head-end doesn't rip away the channel during a recording.

The "tuning" requests and fulfillment are very complex, so there are a myriad of other issues and potential problems with SDV. I am not sure how better to describe it to you. Try http://electronics.howstuffworks.com...ital-video.htm
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Old 09-22-2010, 07:53 PM   #17
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It's important to note that no one will 'not' get a channel. The network already has the capacity to handle all of the TV traffic, they are just choosing to allocate the channels on an 'as needed basis' to make room for Internet bandwidth needs. In theory, and in practice, if everyone tuned into CNN during a disaster, for example, all users would get that channel. Of course, because everyone was tuned into that channel, the network can turn down other unwatched channels to accommodate the crowd watching CNN.
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Old 09-22-2010, 11:35 PM   #18
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It's important to note that no one will 'not' get a channel. The network already has the capacity to handle all of the TV traffic, they are just choosing to allocate the channels on an 'as needed basis' to make room for Internet bandwidth needs. In theory, and in practice, if everyone tuned into CNN during a disaster, for example, all users would get that channel. Of course, because everyone was tuned into that channel, the network can turn down other unwatched channels to accommodate the crowd watching CNN.
Wrong. There isn't enough bandwidth to have unlimited channels. That is the whole point of having SDV, so the cable company can add more and more channels to the lineup without adding more and more bandwidth.

There is absolutely the possibility that someone will not get a channel they *request*. That is the nature of SDV. There are X number of slots assigned for different channels per node, and X+Y number of different channels available. If everyone wants the SAME channels, then of course everyone will get what they want. But that is not the case if everyone wants something different at the same time. Yes, the cable company *could* steal/borrow some bandwidth from their Internet side and open up more channels on the fly and slow down their Internet customers, but that doesn't mean they WILL.

Rough analogy: A bar has 10 TV's. That means they can display, at most, up to different 10 channels at once, period, to the customers of the bar. If someone walks in the bar and wants to watch the golf TV, the bartender will look and see if it is already on one of the TV's. If it is, he will direct the customer to watch that TV. If it is not already playing, the bartender will look to see if any TV is not being watched. In that case, he will tune that TV to golf and direct the customer there. If all the TV's are already on different channels and everyone is busy watching them, the request for golf will be denied and he will have to wait for a TV to become free.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:10 AM   #19
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Sorry man you are just not correct on this one. Think about it. I live in Phoenix. If cox had any channels that were temporarily not available, there would be a lynch mob. And there is no way that in the 5th largest metropolitan area there are channels that aren't being watched by somebody. Look at the wiki link you sent. It clearly shows that SDV is used to cram more channels in the same bandwidth so you have available bandwidth for other things.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:26 AM   #20
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Sorry man you are just not correct on this one. Think about it. I live in Phoenix. If cox had any channels that were temporarily not available, there would be a lynch mob. And there is no way that in the 5th largest metropolitan area there are channels that aren't being watched by somebody. Look at the wiki link you sent. It clearly shows that SDV is used to cram more channels in the same bandwidth so you have available bandwidth for other things.
If done *correctly*, not getting a channel you request with SDV would be a rare event. Doesn't mean it is not possible.

Not sure how else to convince you. I give up. It is whatever it is!
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:54 AM   #21
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Sorry man you are just not correct on this one. Think about it. I live in Phoenix. If cox had any channels that were temporarily not available, there would be a lynch mob. And there is no way that in the 5th largest metropolitan area there are channels that aren't being watched by somebody. Look at the wiki link you sent. It clearly shows that SDV is used to cram more channels in the same bandwidth so you have available bandwidth for other things.
The only way you can cram more channels into a fixed bandwidth is to either have those channels use less bandwidth through higher compression or using a more efficient compression algorithm (such as MPEG-4), or switch out unused or under-utilized channels. The only way SDV allows you to cram more channels into the same bandwidth is to turn off the ones no one is watching. That's the whole point, and it's explicitly laid out in paragraphs 2 and 3 of your cited Wiki article. SDV does not magically make a 15 megabit MPEG-2 HD stream now consume 7 megabits.

Whether or not there's frequent conflicts depends upon how aggressive the company wants to be in its offerings. But make no mistake about it, the only benefit of SDV is that it permits the cable company to oversubscribe their services with respect to total available bandwidth. They hope to mitigate the risk of conflicts with (hopefully) careful management, statistics and probability analysis. Even with all of that, the risk will remain because this is a classic pigeon hole principle problem (N holes for pigeons, but N+1 pigeons).
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Old 09-23-2010, 10:01 AM   #22
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Sorry man you are just not correct on this one. Think about it. I live in Phoenix. If cox had any channels that were temporarily not available, there would be a lynch mob. And there is no way that in the 5th largest metropolitan area there are channels that aren't being watched by somebody. Look at the wiki link you sent. It clearly shows that SDV is used to cram more channels in the same bandwidth so you have available bandwidth for other things.
You are missing the very important point that the SDV allocation happens at a local neighborhood node which servers a few hundred customers, not the entire customer base. The fat pipe from the headend to neighborhood nodes which is usually fiber DOES have enough bandwidth to carry all channels, the coax running from nodes to houses MAY NOT, hence the need for SDV. Therefore it is possible for some in a neighborhood to request a channel and not get it, but the chances are pretty small since the sample size is small. BTW this is also why there is incentive to reduce node sizes from say 600 to 300 (by adding additional nodes) as part of SDV deployment. The less people per node the more aggressive SDV allocation can be.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:37 PM   #23
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You are missing the very important point [...] Therefore it is possible for some in a neighborhood to request a channel and not get it
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[...] The only way SDV allows you to cram more channels into the same bandwidth is to turn off the ones no one is watching. That's the whole point, [...]
Whether or not there's frequent conflicts depends upon how aggressive the company wants to be in its offerings. [...] But make no mistake about it, the only benefit of SDV is that it permits the cable company to oversubscribe their services with respect to total available bandwidth.
Thank you both. It is good to know there *are* others out there who also know how SDV works. I was beginning to wonder.
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Old 09-24-2010, 01:25 AM   #24
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All right you guys win. I was told by a cable engineer that SDV is a TDM/PCM type thing. Anyway I'm still not seeing how you can serve the greater Phoenix area and have certain channels drop out. Phoenecians would freak.
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Old 09-24-2010, 06:17 AM   #25
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All right you guys win. I was told by a cable engineer that SDV is a TDM/PCM type thing. Anyway I'm still not seeing how you can serve the greater Phoenix area and have certain channels drop out. Phoenecians would freak.
Well, the guy was very wrong (which is scary, if he is an "engineer"). Like we said, if it is done right, it would be rare that a customer wouldn't get the channel they want... but it is possible. Consumers already freak over lots of things (I know I do, like every time the cable bill goes up again).
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:17 PM   #26
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crxssi, stop spreading FUD. While it is possible to have your doom statement occur, it won't. Why? Because it depends on the amount of customers on any particular node. Cox has not put any more customers on any node than are available for the bandwidth needed. So, no there will be no problem with receiving any channels requested by any customer.
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Old 11-14-2013, 12:24 AM   #27
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It looks like Cox by looking at the pdf letter and the one's Omaha just got looks like Cox is moving alot of channels to SDV.
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Old 11-15-2013, 03:55 AM   #28
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This thread makes it sound like it couldn't actually work. The cite from WP, clarified everything for me with some example numbers.

http://www1.arrisi.com/staticfiles/V...ideo%20(2).pdf

So it depends on the magic of statistical aggregation. The key concept I was missing, is you should only be switching (out) the niche / long-tail channels. The switched video savings only comes from the unpopular channels that are occasionally used. I assume that might mean foreign language packages in some neighborhoods or premium channels in some other neighborhoods. The NBC/CBS/ABC or USA/CNN is like the opposite, you assume someone is always watching it so you want to leave that in your broadcast allocation.

Another thing, it was talking about having only 100-200 homes on a shared cable segment. If you have 300 channels in your lineup, the pigeon-hole principle goes the otherway, there's 100 channels nobody is watching.
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