Rookie

DTA requirement...........

I just ordered the Starter package for my tv service, I remember before when I had it they gave me the DTA box and said that I might need it. At the time I didn't, I could just plug the cable into the back of tv and the tv's digital tuner did the rest.  Today I picked up a Cisco DTA box from my local office, they specified that I need to call a number to get it activated once its connected. Are these now a requirement? Or can I still use my tv's tuner once the service is activated. If it matters I have 2016 Samsung smart tv........

4 REPLIES
Observer

Re: DTA requirement...........

As far as I know except for a few channels like the radio stations, you need the DTA box.
Rookie

Re: DTA requirement...........

So far, without the DTA box, 148 channels with some HD.
Expert

Re: DTA requirement...........

there's still 30+ analog ch's and duplicated in clear qam aa few more are being pulled this month per the letter we received last week.

And yes, DTA's are one way and require you to call in to activate as well as leave them connected and powered up, if they loose signal/ powerand miss an update you call TWC again.

 

Highlighted
Spectrum Employee

Re: DTA requirement...........

Not sure what the point was for all the ...'s in the title, but anyways...

 


ohiophotog wrote:
So far, without the DTA box, 148 channels with some HD.

 That's excellent you have so many boxless channels.  Most towns only have a few, some cities might have a dozen or two.

 

The answer to @ohiophotog primary question is: it depends on where you are.

 

I'm glad you can access all those additional channels now, but please don't fall into thinking it will always be like that ("boxless", meaning one can connect a coax direct to the TV's built-in QAM tuner).  I'm saying that so you'll be forewarned should things change in the future.

 

I've said this before, multiple times, but I'll say it again I guess (maybe with a bit more detail)...

Some of the main reasons why "boxless" TV is going away, eventually, and why having 2-way communication (upstream & downstream both) TV boxes is not a bad idea:

  1. Internet is the future.  More and more speed.  The USA been slipping further and futher behind in the ranks for which nation has the best internet speed.  To make this happen with broadband digital waveform systems, you've got to clear some more frequencies to use for internet.

    There is a finite amount of total MHz given approval by the FCC to use on the coax wires.  It depends on the location, but from 0 to 750 MHz is pretty typical.   The lowest frequencies below 10 MHz are not ideal to use because they are more prone to noise at that low of a frequency.  To make enough room, some of the cable TV channels need to have the number of EIA channels reduced (this means getting rid of analog, and some channels being a SDV that can hold like 6 or so channels on a single frequency).

    For stuff like SDV to work, you need to have 2-way addressable communication, something DTAs and boxless TVs cannot do, period.   So it's one of those "it's a sign of the times" kind of things.

  2. Troubleshooting is much easier to check over the phone with tru-2-way addressable boxes (like the ODN boxes).   The tech support agent (phone or chat) would be able to check the actual signal levels coming to and from the box, as reported by the box.  This will better help identifiy which things need a truck roll for a tech to come out on-site, and which do not.  More information = less time (especially the customer's time) and money wasted

  3.  It used to be that physically installed traps were used to control everything from who had HBO to who had internet only or basic TV only.  Premiums like HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, etc. have for many years now been "addressable equipment only", they are only viewable on serial #'s and MAC addresses that are assigned to an account which actively has the service.  In other words, it's controlled from the server side, no tech needed to enable or disable.   It's why you needed a STB or a DVR to have premium channels and preferred tier channels.

    Traps are also a physical point of failure.  If a trap goes bad it can cause issues with specific channels, or even create a point for water to creep in on the line, eventually causing water damage over the years.  If every TV had to have an addressable box, traps would be able to be done away with completely, which is a good thing in the long run.  (and a cost saver, as you wouldn't have to send out techs just to remove a trap)

  4. Cable theft & non-pay management.
    Currently on some systems, if somebody can connect themselves to the tap, they can steal cable TV.  It's an issue in apartments especially.   Not only is this illegal, but many times the people doing this have subpar coax wiring and fittings, which causes ingress, which causes noise, which causes issues for their paying neighbors' internet.

    Paying customers deserve reliable quality service.  People who knowingly access services they have not paid for are (and IMHO should be) subject to statutory damages, fines, and/or criminal charges.  By having it controlled server side, it won't matter if somebody connect to the tap or not, the TV won't be able to give service.  Internet is already like this, been like this since it's inception really, why should TV be any different?   This is ugly to talk about, but we live in a real-world where there are dishonest people, so things get a little more complicated for everyone else.

  5. Failed QAM tuners on boxless TVs can backfeed voltage on the lines.  I'm not talking the millivolts and fractions of millivolts the RF signals are being sent in up and down the coax lines, but rather actual AC voltage that can fry a residential/household amp, damage a tap, or just simply shock the anyone working on the line.  This isn't an issue on newer TVs (at least it's almost never) much due to quality control enforcement in later years by consumer electronics certifications put on the manufactures, but older  CRT TVs (such as those from the early 90's and older) can have this issue.  At least this way, if it breaks anything, it'd break the cable box first and stop there.  It's much easier to diagnose the issue and replace a cable box.

 

It's a slow, and rather political process.  Charter has made it clear they don't like DTAs.

Getting rid of boxless (eventually) was part of the package with not having a data cap.

Lots of TWC customers and employees (including myself) advocated strongly that Charter not have a data cap -- unlike AT&T and Comcast that limit your data usage.

Spoiler
 Which is crazy IMHO because data is NOT a finite resource, bandwidth is finite, data quantity itself is not.  I hate data caps, personal opinion.

These were part of the FCC's conditional approval for the merger of Charter, TWC, and Brighthouse:

  • not to impose any data caps or charge more for extra data used;
  • allow online video providers like Netflix to “interconnect” with its network for free;
  • not discourage or obstruct online video providers from selling to its subscribers;
  • expand its broadband service to another two million homes
  • respond to consumer complaints regarding the DTAs

 

I hope that settles the rumors before they start.

DTAs are not liked by Charter corporate for their lack of tru-2-way addressable communications and the lack of a proper Guide menu (which is actually the main complaint I've heard about them, no Guide to browse for shows and TV channels).

 

My postings on this site are my own, off-the-clock, and don’t necessarily represent TWC’s/Charter's strategies or opinions.