Trip to Futureshop - Gave some ATSC and QAM Lessons
I went to futureshop and found the product we're all talking about... it's a USB device no bigger than a USB wireless adapter. At futureshop it retails for $110, however I also saw it at bestbuy for less, I think $80?
Anyways, I caught the eye of a IPG employee and asked him what he knew of the device. He was honest, and said he didn't know and was meaning to take a look at it (okay it's new, I'll give him that). I told him that it'll allow a laptop or desktop the ability to watch over-the-air HD signals. He was impressed, and asked me how many HD channels there were in Vancouver. I said two, CBC and CTV. With that, he started telling others in his department, and before I left, there were three IPG employees looking up the employee cost into the computer, all seriously considering it as a staff purchase. OTA 1, BDU's 0. Potentially three new OTA believers.
Then I walked over to the home theater department, where I saught out a HDTV that had a cable connection hooked up to it. I found one, it was also hooked up to a Shaw HD box (cable was split before entering both TV and HD box), it was a Sony TV so I was familiar with the remote and OSD menu, so I made sure it was on cable, then went to search for digital channels. This caught the eye of some product experts which said that I wouldn't find anything indoors, they're already tried. I explained, yes I know, but this is scanning for digital cable channels without the digital cable box. They also replied with, you won't find anything. The scan takes a while, and in about 10mins it has found 46 digital channels. With a grin, I flag over the skeptical PE, and show him what was being picked up without a DCT (36 or so music channels on various subchannels of ch63 and 64, CBC HD ch79.12, 63.9 some kind of shaw how to work your digital cable box channel that I wasn't able to get at home, and two french language music video channels 106.2 and .3).
He wasn't impressed, in fact he looked kinda pissed that I taught him something. So I said, you can use this to sell HDTVs that have built in QAM tuners as added value. He replied, and I quote "I've been doing this for 7years, I don't need selling tips. <started to walk away> I don't want customers to know about this, I'd rather sell them a HD cable box". I was thinking about stopping him as he left the area, and tell him, that he has a duty to the customer to inform them of what their TV can fully do with respect to OTA and clearQAM especially when they pay thousands of dollars for the pleasure... but I decided not to.
Instead, my impromptu demo caught the eye of many other HT employees, and even one very interested employee from merchandising. I went through the whole demo with him, putting on CBC-HD, and to prove it wasn't coming from the HD box (playing music on ch.407) I temporarily turned it off. I demo'ed the fact that the digital music channels were also coming through, I found the real channel that 407 is on... 64.17. The feed from the box was playing through the receiver, and the feed straight from the TV was playing through the TV speakers.
Interesting note... on the digital music channels, through the HD box there is a slight delay compared to the feed the TV was decoding... it was noticable but not significant (on the scale of a fraction of a second). I'm assuming the decoding abilities of the HD box are slower than the decoding abilities of the TV. This should of course vary from TV to TV.
Also interesting, is that the CBC-HD feed is different on Shaw than it is on *C (playing on a TV nearby). The main program is the same, but the commercials are completely different. The TVs were different, and too far away from eachother to compare the difference in PQ.
Sony 32XBR1, Antennas Direct CS2, Xbox360 & BD. Gamertag: "DT Vancity" <-- get it, DTV?