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Comment Re:Saving Money (Score 1) 246

Maybe, maybe not. They may really be throwing in basic TV with the super-fast service. They want to keep the number of potential TV viewers up because it's good for the advertising revenue on all the TV channels they own. The free premium channel is probably a limited time offer, though.

Comment Re:Saving Money (Score 1) 246

The NFL is now available as a streaming service, sort of. If you can't subscribe to DirecTV (either because you live in a multi-unit building and can't put up an antenna, or your address has been verified as one where you can't receive the satellite signal) you can sign up for a streaming version of NFL Sunday Ticket. That includes live viewing of all the Sunday afternoon games except the ones on your local broadcast channels (you're expected to watch those over-the-air), as well as after-the-game on-demand streaming of every game including your local ones, and the Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games. (This season it presumably also includes the Saturday afternoon games on Christmas Eve; the NFL has moved most of its schedule to that day rather than Christmas Day.) If you can get DirecTV you're not eligible for the streaming-only package, you have to get a dish instead. (But you can still stream the games so you can watch away from home.)

Comment Re:Cable already owns Hulu (Score 1) 246

Comcast owns NBC and all the cable channels with "NBC" in their names, Spanish-language Telemundo and its sister channel NBC Universo (which was formerly known by the much more clever name mun2, which was pronounced just like the "mundo" in Telemundo with an S added to the end), as well as Chiller, Cloo, Syfy, USA Network, Bravo, E!, Esquire Network (joint venture with Hearst, the publisher of the magazine), Oxygen, Sprout, and Universal HD.

Comment Re:Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss? (Score 1) 246

In part it depends on what package you have. Some cable providers offer a minimal TV tier that doesn't add much to your monthly bill, but only includes local channels and a small selection of cable channels - plus all the home shopping and religious channels you can stomach because those channels PAY the cable company to carry them. It's likely to be called something like "basic" cable, and you often have to search for it. They'd really rather sell you at least what they call "standard" cable (which includes all the usual things like sports channels) and then perhaps upsell you on additional channel packages or some premium channels like HBO, but at least if you have basic they're getting SOMETHING from you and they also have the opportunity to try to sell you pay-per-view programming or premium channels since you have the equipment to get it.

Comment Re:dust (Score 1) 286

I'll go ahead and date myself... the first hard drive I saw held 2 million BCD digits of data. It was used with an IBM 1620, which was a decimal computer rather than binary. It was nearly the size of a washing machine. Next up was the cartridge drive used with the IBM 1130, which held 512K 16 bit words - in other words, a megabyte. That's right; both of those hard disks had less capacity than a high density floppy.

The first hard drive I ever personally owned was a 40 megabyte drive connected to an AT clone. The 20 megabyte ST-225 was still very popular at the time but I scraped up the extra money for the larger and faster drive, helped by the discount I got because I was working at a computer store.

Comment Re:Why not coax? (Score 1) 156

Because twisted pair is what is already in the walls. Higher speed standards for wired internet lets you squeeze more out of the installed base of cable. Replacing the cable is far more costly than replacing the equipment at the endpoints - not because the wire is expensive (though it has become a bit more so in recent years), but because of the labor costs of installing it and repairing the damage done to walls and ceilings.

Comment Will only help a few people (Score 1) 317

So long as Wikipedia exists, removing ages from IMDB will accomplish little. Removing ages and dates of birth from Wikipedia isn't going to happen because it would attack the fundamental nature of a reference work. Upcoming actors who are not yet sufficiently notable to merit a Wikipedia page may benefit.

Comment The comparison tool works fine here (Score 1) 110

In my experience, the "price plus shipping" rankings are accurate and even include the effect of tax. In other words, the first offer listed has the lowest total delivered cost, and so on. Shipping charges are omitted for most shipments from Amazon because I'm a Prime member and thus shipping is free - the listings even say "free shipping with Amazon Prime" and how long the shipment will take. There are some things that are not eligible for two day delivery - those are either especially large and heavy items that would be too expensive to use two day shipping for, or things that must be shipped ground such as large quantities of liquids or big lithium ion batteries. And occasionally something says "may take an extra 1-2 days to ship" - I think some of those are products that they produce on demand, which can include books, videos, and printed items like T shirts.

If the difference is small, I'm likely to choose the shipment from Amazon because I'll get the package faster and because their return policy is good. If there is a big difference in cost I may take another deal.

Comment Re:Cool, and no 4K content (Score 1) 207

I checked a couple of my recordings from cable channels. AMC is 1080i at 7.2Mbps, which is about half the bit rate that my major local broadcast channels use. (The main PBS station and the major commercial networks use 14-15Mbps for their primary channel and give the rest to one subchannel.) Disney Channel is 720p at 6.4Mbps; that's an ABC property so 720p is probably its native resolution. The bit rates do seem to be somewhat more variable program-to-program than the broadcast channel bit rates. Cable multiplexes a few digital channels on each traditional channel slot; current digital cable confine each bundle of TV channel to one slot (combined with a few others) rather than bonding multiple channels and spreading channels over all of them. (Internet over DOCSIS 3.0 does bond multiple channels, potentially up to 16 depending on your cable system and the capabilities of your cable modem.) Comcast is probably dynamically adjusting the compression rates of the multiplexed channels to optimize the results depending on program content, so a given show may get more or fewer bits depending on how visually demanding it is and how demanding the shows on the other multiplexed channels are.

All in all, not as good as it could be, not as bad as it might have been, and much better than what I've seen on a friend's satellite TV setup. I don't have any way to check the bit rates on satellite but visible artifacts abound.

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