Question about Cable TV

Hey All,

As you will all be able to tell, I am a complete newb when it comes to HDTV but I actually have a question about regular cable.

I do have an HDTV and will eventually subscribe to the HD channels but for now I just want to stick with regular cable and get the 100 or so channels.

My question is this: What do I need to do in order to get regular cable? It looks like the service I can subscribe to offered by the apartment I'm moving into offers the regular 23 or so channels in addition to the few local channels. It's either this service for $23 a month or upgrade to Dish for as no less than $45 a month.

I know there has to be a way to get those extra channels that go up to like channel 70 or 80 but I'm really not sure how to do that. Do I need a cable box? Should I get an HD digital cable box since I'll eventually get HD channels and would I even be able to use that box for regular cable? If I eventually get a DVR, is that separate from a cable box?

Basically I have no Idea how television service works and what I have to do to get the different kinds of service. I know how to go about getting internet from them, that's easy. But this cable thing is difficult for me to understand for some reason. If someone could help me out in explaining this, I would really appreciate it! Also, I already have an hdmi cable that I will be using. I'm really just confused on this whole cable box business and the different types and how I go about using them.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. apartment complex's that offer cable television for a monthly fee means they are paying for the monthly bill, and they have a license to distribute the service to any and all apartments that want it.
    the main cable goes into the building and gets sent to a splitter (with an amplifier)
    the splitters split the signal so each apartment can have the cable.
    basically, if you pay for the cable.. they screw your cable in, and if you dont pay for the service.. they leave it unplugged.

    to pay for your own service (internet or cable) .. a new cord comes into the building and gets directed towards your apartment.
    they upgrade the service to the cable that already goes into the apartment building, and then each apartment is required to use a cable box to lock them out of all the channels they dont pay for.

    you should ask if a cable box is required to view the channels they the apartment offers.
    when the apartment is big enough, sometimes there are 'central servers' that stream the channels to each output for whatever channel the television turns to.
    they dont really do this for digital cable.
    IF you can get digital cable without renting a box from the cable company.. it would likely be the basic channels only.
    and if your television doesnt have a digital tv tuner, then you would need to go get one of those digital tv to analog old school (1990's - 2000 era) convertors.

    tv tuners are all about the format they are capable of reading.
    if the cable company is using a format that your television doesnt support.. you will need a box.

    the cable boxes are usually already a DVR .. and if you want the DVR service, you pay an extra fee for the hard drive to be functional.
    trying to use the DVR will be like going into the menu and pressing 'okay' to record something, and the software inside the cable box is going to tell you no if you dont pay for it.
    some cable boxes are older from the late 1990's and early 2000 era.. they dont have a hard drive inside, and they completely lack the capability to record anything.
    these are digital cable boxes, but they are not high definition capable.
    they are also perhaps slightly old for the pay per view service.. and that depends on what the company wants as far as which method is used for the data transfer for the pay per view service.

    in an area that is expected to see a lot of customers using the DVR service.. you would probably get a DVR box.
    and they might give you a DVR box anyways to keep you staring at the feature, hoping one day you finally decide to use it.

    i really wouldnt expect the very old cable boxes to work with the pay per view service, unless absolutely nothing has changed with how the data is sent and received in the last 10 - 12 years.

    you should ask if getting internet is going to be difficult for the apartment.
    maybe they try to say 'no more holes in the walls' or 'we dont want to mess around with wiring up your apartment specifically when it is already wired up for something else'
    anyways.. those are unlawful, unless you were told about it specifically during the rental agreement process.
    you could always start a petition against the chosen decision.. and a judge could overrule the building owners choice, but i wouldnt count on it when a lease is usually only 1 to 3 years long.
    you would need something like 5 or more years for the lease before that petition would be taken seriously.
  2. This is all good information. Now, since you brought digital cable into question, it would be safe to state that I would not need to worry about analog signals due to my TV having a QAM Tuner already installed, correct?

    As I should have previously stated, all I really want for now, is to have the 70 or so channels (the package just above basic cable) and not have it look like crap because of the old 4:3 ratio, whether that means subscribing to HD to get those 70 some channels in HD or whatever. I've noticed a lot of people saying that the size of the TV matters when it comes to this but honestly I'm not so sure it does. Either way, it's a 40" samsung TV; the LN40D550 model.

    Thanks for the reply!

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