My OTA reception for NBC Buffalo is spotty at best. I have to be watching it live and be willing to move my indoor antenna when the signal starts to break up (this makes taping shows from NBC with the timer feature of my OTA box and VCR less reliable than Cable TV). I only get FOX Buffalo occasionally and PBS Buffalo only comes in clear when I don't seem to care about the programming that's on at that time.
I don't have an HDTV, so I love being able to watch CTV etc. in widescreen mode (on my 4:3 Tube TV) via OTA, so I don't lose part of the picture when CTV SD (etc.) via Rogers Cable shows the same programs in cropped 4:3.
If Canadian TV stations would stop airing cropped full screen versions of TV shows and movies on the SD versions of their channels, I would watch even fewer OTA broadcasts. I realize that the HD versions of the channels show the widescreen versions, but now that widescreen is more common than 4:3, I'm hoping that all of the 4:3 cropping on the SD channels will be gone after September 1rst (though I doubt I will be so lucky).
I don't know what deal lizardwolf got with Rogers, but my $10.13+tax deal for each month of over 100 channels is a great deal for "new" subscribers. I also get to keep the digital box after the year contract is up. If I cancelled the deal early, I would have to pay Rogers $20 a month for the unused portion, so why pay more to cancel something that is a steal of a deal anyway? That's why I doubt lizardwolf got the same deal as I did.
My Rogers package includes: E!, NFL Network, the many different Canadian channels from the different timezones, Rogers On demand, the main US channels and a bunch of other channels not available via OTA.
I also got Super Channel, TMN and Playboy free for 2 months (which is available as a promotion for most or all of Rogers subscribers) and there are some limited free previews for other channels that pop up each month.
- Avoiding Simsubs
- NO Full screen cropping on my 4:3 Standard TV (unless I choose to change the aspect ratio through my digital to analog converter box to 4:3)
- Better sound quality (louder) and perhaps slightly better picture (though with SD, the picture difference between Digital Cable is very minor in most cases).
- Extra channels not available through Cable (even without the Tropo)
Cable TV Cons:
- Simsub errors and lost minutes of programming due to CRTC simsub guidelines, or Mediastats' programming errors that the Rogers staff fails to catch ahead of time.
- High Regular Prices, often even with negotiated prices (means I will cancel after my year is over).
- The new search feature of the Rogers digital box still fails to find all the programming that I'm looking for, even when I can find it with the standard programming guide search or simply by browsing through the guide.
- Digital audio and picture sync problems that are not always fixed (even without using the digital box when possible, other TV sets and complaining to various people about it):
a) The Women's Network (ch. 27) has been out of sync (even without using the digital set top box) since I got Rogers a few weeks ago. Sometimes the audio and video are only a millisecond out of sync, but other times it's a full second out of sync (even for the commercials). Calls to Rogers' Tech support and a email to W have failed to fix the problem. It's a good thing I rarely watch that channel.
b) OWN (Oprah's Channel) - Love Story
movie was out of sync for both showings, but the rest of the programming was not out of sync.
c) YTV (ch. 25): All widescreen versions of iCarly have tracking bar at bottom of black bar for the entire show. No other widescreen showings of other YTV shows seem to have that problem. E-mail to YTV failed to do anything. The YTV On Demand showings are shown as Full Screen cropped versions (just like the DVDs).
Note: When out of sync problems occasionally occur with OTA broadcasts (due to weak signal), I simply change the channel and then return to the channel I was watching to get the audio and picture back in sync.
Bottom line: The high cost of Cable TV and the annoying audio/video sync and simsub problems that happen on different channels each week (as well as some remaining for far too long without any hope for a fix) will most likely make it much easier for me to cancel Cable TV after my year is up. I will miss some of the channels, but at least I won't be bothered as often by the out of sync audio/video problems and cropped 4:3 versions of widescreen programming (hopefully the move away from OTA analog broadcasts will make 4:3 cropping less frequent on Cable TV SD broadcasts in the future).