No HD local channels for Scoble (Hint: there’s the Internet as a workaround)

Alright, I live in Half Moon Bay. A mere eight miles from Silicon Valley. A 30-minute drive from Sand Hill Road. An hour from Google. But I can’t get HD.

Oh, I’ve tried to give money to the content industry.

Over the air antenna? Nope. Not a single signal received. Mountains are between me and the main transmitters.
Comcast cable? Oh, we have cable. I’m typing to you on it. But no HD.

So, I go off to DirecTV and spend around $300 on the DirecTV HD PVR and get a satellite dish and all that. It works great. Except when I want to look at NBC, CBS, ABC, or PBS in HD. No, those channels are locked out. So, I call up DirecTV and ask what’s up. Turns out I can’t even buy them. They are kept from offering them by the local station owners.

Hmmm, let me get this right. I can’t buy access to Lost or any of those other shows that you guys offer on NBC, CBS, ABC, or NBC, but I can watch ESPN. Got it.

I also can’t see any local news in HD. Wonderful.

Yeah, I get all those channels in standard def. Wonderful. Here’s the thing. Dave Winer showed me how to get good stuff hooked up to my TV over the Internet.

I haven’t had any TV since moving from Microsoft, by the way. I survived by renting movies and playing more Xbox and by watching more YouTube (hell, if I can’t get HD I am gonna at least watch some original content — first thing that came up on my TV? Dr. Phil. Hey, Dr. Phil, can you tell me why this industry is doomed and why we won’t even shed a tear? Just like we didn’t really shed a tear when Tower Records went out of business?

Amazing.

I can get video off of DivX’s Stage 6 which looks just as good as any standard def TV channel does.

TV is dead. Mark Cuban, you need to step on the gas on HDNet. These guys have left a seam for you to drive a truck through.

Ahh, the guys who brought us Skype are gonna maybe provide the answer with something they call the Venice Project. Gizmodo says it’ll kill YouTube. Oh, hell, don’t kill that! Kill my local freaking TV stations who are too clueless to figure out how to get me HD. That’s who we need to club with a ClueStick.

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37 thoughts on “No HD local channels for Scoble (Hint: there’s the Internet as a workaround)

  1. Comcast don’t give you HD local tv?
    I live on an island north of seattle (where i didnt get broadband until 2004) and now Comcast gives me ( OK , I pay for it) local channels-KOMO, KING, etc, and all the rest, Discovery, PBS,HBO, etc.

    My fav, is gallery, showing the masters works, on a slooow slide show.

    From dial up in 2003 (on a puget sound isle) to beating the silicon coast (in HD) in 06.

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  2. Comcast don’t give you HD local tv?
    I live on an island north of seattle (where i didnt get broadband until 2004) and now Comcast gives me ( OK , I pay for it) local channels-KOMO, KING, etc, and all the rest, Discovery, PBS,HBO, etc.

    My fav, is gallery, showing the masters works, on a slooow slide show.

    From dial up in 2003 (on a puget sound isle) to beating the silicon coast (in HD) in 06.

    Like

  3. I lived 20 miles outside of Denver in the mountains and was a Dish subscriber. I had to sign a little form stating that I was unable to receive local stations by antennae and only then would they let me get them for an additional $5 per month.

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  4. I lived 20 miles outside of Denver in the mountains and was a Dish subscriber. I had to sign a little form stating that I was unable to receive local stations by antennae and only then would they let me get them for an additional $5 per month.

    Like

  5. That’s a drag. 😦 We just hooked up Comcast’s HD service to our new altar to St. HD the Divine, and successfully turned the entire family into couch potatoes.

    Merry Christmas to you and Maryam and Patrick!

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  6. That’s a drag. 😦 We just hooked up Comcast’s HD service to our new altar to St. HD the Divine, and successfully turned the entire family into couch potatoes.

    Merry Christmas to you and Maryam and Patrick!

    Like

  7. I myself have been waiting for a broad roll out of HD on DirecTV or even our local cable company. Heck I get NBC/CBS/etc from both coasts plus local news plus everything on DirecTV but I have been told there are only like 6 HD channels out of the hundreds offered. My local Cable company is just about as bad, the offer only a handful of selected HD channels. It just plain sucks. I have a huge Sony TV with HD, all my AV equipment supports HD, just no HD signal to watch for the most part. it is a conspiracy by TV manufactures and the Networks I tell ya!

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  8. I myself have been waiting for a broad roll out of HD on DirecTV or even our local cable company. Heck I get NBC/CBS/etc from both coasts plus local news plus everything on DirecTV but I have been told there are only like 6 HD channels out of the hundreds offered. My local Cable company is just about as bad, the offer only a handful of selected HD channels. It just plain sucks. I have a huge Sony TV with HD, all my AV equipment supports HD, just no HD signal to watch for the most part. it is a conspiracy by TV manufactures and the Networks I tell ya!

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  9. The news channels are going to have to hire some better looking anchors. I noticed watching CNN in HD that you can really notice the imperfections much more clearly and it takes away some of the mystery.

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  10. The news channels are going to have to hire some better looking anchors. I noticed watching CNN in HD that you can really notice the imperfections much more clearly and it takes away some of the mystery.

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  11. I wonder what would happen if you got a friend of yours in a nearby area that has local DirectTV HD to let you use their address for DirectTV mail (tell DirectTV that you have moved to their address). Then they would have to activate those channels on your existing box.

    I doubt they use GPS or anything to figure out where exactly you are.

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  12. I wonder what would happen if you got a friend of yours in a nearby area that has local DirectTV HD to let you use their address for DirectTV mail (tell DirectTV that you have moved to their address). Then they would have to activate those channels on your existing box.

    I doubt they use GPS or anything to figure out where exactly you are.

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  13. A few months ago in your rants about HD, you claimed that not only is most content available in HD but that it is provided. Now that you are out of Seattle, you realize that there is the real world out there.

    So, now… TV is dead. Right.

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  14. A few months ago in your rants about HD, you claimed that not only is most content available in HD but that it is provided. Now that you are out of Seattle, you realize that there is the real world out there.

    So, now… TV is dead. Right.

    Like

  15. LayZ: HD is still worth it. Even in an HD-less ghetto. But, you’ll need NetFlix and a BlueRay or HD-DVD player to really get any value out of it then.

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  16. LayZ: HD is still worth it. Even in an HD-less ghetto. But, you’ll need NetFlix and a BlueRay or HD-DVD player to really get any value out of it then.

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  17. Goebbels: it doesn’t take much to get things to tip. You do notice that Tower Records is dead, right? Ten years ago if I predicted they’d be out of business you’d be calling me an idiot too and CD players are a dime a dozen.

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  18. Goebbels: it doesn’t take much to get things to tip. You do notice that Tower Records is dead, right? Ten years ago if I predicted they’d be out of business you’d be calling me an idiot too and CD players are a dime a dozen.

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  19. Robert, I am in a similar situation to you. We live in Madrona and have DirecTV and are on the wrong side of the hill to receive over-the-air HD signals from the towers in Seattle.

    However, you should be able to get local HD channels from DirecTV. You can go to http://directv.com/DTVAPP/packProg/localChannels.jsp?assetId=900018 to enter your zip code to confirm what’s available.

    The catch is that you need to get the new 5-LNB dish. The older 3-LNB dish that can be used for HD won’t work for receiving the local channels. You may also need a new receiver. Of course, the folks at DirecTV should have told you all of this when you got your system setup.

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  20. Robert, I am in a similar situation to you. We live in Madrona and have DirecTV and are on the wrong side of the hill to receive over-the-air HD signals from the towers in Seattle.

    However, you should be able to get local HD channels from DirecTV. You can go to http://directv.com/DTVAPP/packProg/localChannels.jsp?assetId=900018 to enter your zip code to confirm what’s available.

    The catch is that you need to get the new 5-LNB dish. The older 3-LNB dish that can be used for HD won’t work for receiving the local channels. You may also need a new receiver. Of course, the folks at DirecTV should have told you all of this when you got your system setup.

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  21. In your location you must receive at least few HD stations over the air despite the mountains. Even if the path to the transmitters is blocked, in hilly terrain you’ve a lot of bounced off (the mountains) signal. If the signal is strong enough and you’ve got a decent antenna+preamp, over-the-air reception might be possible.

    P.S. … and check your situation at AntennaWeb, it is supposed to account for the terrain.

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  22. In your location you must receive at least few HD stations over the air despite the mountains. Even if the path to the transmitters is blocked, in hilly terrain you’ve a lot of bounced off (the mountains) signal. If the signal is strong enough and you’ve got a decent antenna+preamp, over-the-air reception might be possible.

    P.S. … and check your situation at AntennaWeb, it is supposed to account for the terrain.

    Like

  23. If TV is dead (which, of course, it isn’t), then sites like zudeo.com might play a role. It’s a legal bittorrent site (no, that’s not an oxymoron) offering purely HD content. Furthermore, BBC even announced a partnership with Zudeo (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6194929.stm), though that’s certainly not going to be free. I tested a couple of the files (you don’t have to use Azureus–I used uTorrent) and they were well seeded and came down quickly.

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  24. If TV is dead (which, of course, it isn’t), then sites like zudeo.com might play a role. It’s a legal bittorrent site (no, that’s not an oxymoron) offering purely HD content. Furthermore, BBC even announced a partnership with Zudeo (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6194929.stm), though that’s certainly not going to be free. I tested a couple of the files (you don’t have to use Azureus–I used uTorrent) and they were well seeded and came down quickly.

    Like

  25. On a related note, I’d like to point out this article:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2155505/

    In it, a guy wants to buy an HDTV on a $1,500 budget. You’d think it be easy, but it’s not. He ended up not buying any. It reminded me of my recent quest to find a 20″ widescreen LCD computer monitor without laying out for the top of the line. There’s something wrong with every single model I researched in the $250-$400 range, though I did end up settling.

    Like

  26. On a related note, I’d like to point out this article:
    http://www.slate.com/id/2155505/

    In it, a guy wants to buy an HDTV on a $1,500 budget. You’d think it be easy, but it’s not. He ended up not buying any. It reminded me of my recent quest to find a 20″ widescreen LCD computer monitor without laying out for the top of the line. There’s something wrong with every single model I researched in the $250-$400 range, though I did end up settling.

    Like

  27. Well us Tv Ant guys have been complainging about this for years but no one would listen.

    Soone everyone will know how bad the new HDTV format is. It just wont work in weak signal areas and drops out all the time when it does work. Its a unusable format for weak signal areas.

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  28. Well us Tv Ant guys have been complainging about this for years but no one would listen.

    Soone everyone will know how bad the new HDTV format is. It just wont work in weak signal areas and drops out all the time when it does work. Its a unusable format for weak signal areas.

    Like

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