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The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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fiosity
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Registered: ‎03-05-2009

The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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I'm interested in signing up for FiOS, with the simple goal of reducing the $220 I'm paying every month to separate companies for TV, cable, and high-speed internet, but do not want to deal with mounting a set-top box above/below every one of my five televisions.  What are the options here?

 

We could care less about HD quality, as we watch more TV Land and Nick at Nite than sports or movies, and half our TV's are still CRT's anyway.  The real problem is that, with the exception of our living room television, all the others are mounted on small shelves, walls, or articulating arms (kitchen, office, bedroom, work shop) where there is just no room or way of mounting a set-top box.  The cable company allows us to use the set-top box on the living room TV to acces HD channels, on-demand, and other custom features, but we can also plug the kitchen CRT into the cable without any set-top box and get all the basic channels.

 

Also, what do they charge per month for these boxes?  With five set-top boxes and a second phone line, I may find my bill with FiOS is no less than what I'm paying now.

 

Thanks!

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matcarl
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Posts: 1,426
Registered: ‎08-05-2008

Re: The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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The boxes aren't cheap. The smallest one and cheapest one is $3.99 a month, it has no guide and offers no VOD, but may suit your needs. The next one up is going from $5.99 to $7.99, don't know if price changed yet. It's way bigger but you get guide and VOD.
prisaz
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Registered: ‎08-23-2008

Re: The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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One other consideration. You could use a RF out from one STB to your other TVs, but it would be what ever channel STB is set for. Also the user guides for the HD QIP 6xxx boxes show an RF out but they do not have one. I am not sure about the 7100 series. Even some cable companies have anounced they are moving to all digital and will require a set top box once the analog is cut off. I know one that has done that and only provide the local channels in analog. Hard to tell how long that will last once the NTSC broadcast is stopped and everything goes digital. It may be a good idea to plan ahead. The DCT700 digital adapters are small 6"x6" and about and inch thick. They run a bit warm so I would not strap one to the bottom of a TV. The DCT700 is only an adapter to provide the subscribed SD channels. It will not provide a channel guide, VOD, or widgets. Next move up is a STB that is larger but provides the features.
chinorider
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Registered: ‎12-10-2008

Re: The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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I also did not want a bulky STB in our kitchen for our LCD TV.  I put the STB in the garage, directly behind the TV location and ran the component cables thru the wall behing the TV.  I used a RF Remote Extender (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000C1Z0HA) and all works great.  No STB to mess with in the kitchen but we gett all the benefits of the STB.

 

 

fiosity
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Re: The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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It's very frustrating that Verizon decided to use this encoding for their TV LAN, putting their interest in renting out set-top boxes above the convenience of the consumer.  I've read conflicting reports of people being able to use regular QAM-ready televisions on FiOS TV LAN's without set-top boxes versus TV's with Cable Card slots for decoding the signal from the ONT on QAM-ready TV's.  Not sure what to make of it (no one seems to completely agree, and it may vary by installation), but it sure seems much easier to just stick with Comcast, at this point!  I do like the idea of remotely mounting the converter box, and then using an RF remote to make it work, but it still seems like a lot of hassle for saving a few dollars a month!  With Comcast, I get to use my original full-function TV remotes, and am not forced to deal with renting or using STB's on all my TV's.

 

matcarl
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Registered: ‎08-05-2008

Re: The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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That's because Comcast still has several analog channels, eventually they will dwindle down and you will have to get a box for every TV with them also.
fiosity
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Registered: ‎03-05-2009

Re: The skinny on set-top boxes and converters

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Not to get too far askew from the thread, but I am not sure this is true.  Comcast keeps adding digital channels, and our newer LCD TV's with digital tuners pick them up just fine, but they have continued to promise they will not drop any of the (now duplicate) analog channels.  Our TV's with digital tuners pick up every station to which we're subscribed, while the old CRT's continue to pick up every channel we had ca. 2005.  Comcast has spent a lot of money advertising that they will not drop any of their analog signals.

 

Verizon could have gone that route too, as they're are completely in control of the signal coming out of the ONT.  They just chose to go with a modulation scheme requiring STB's, so they can charge customers monthly rental fees for the boxes.  It's not a bad business decision, assuming people don't mind having STB's or converters on every TV.  It just becomes difficult when you have wall-mounted, shelf-mounted, or even under-cabinet mounted televisions in kitchens, offices, excercise rooms, etc.

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