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[Czechlist] TECHNOLOGY: channel numbers for cable and satellite TV

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  • Jirka Bolech
    Hi there: I have encountered a surprise by an American about Czech cable and satellite TV providers not having a channel number assigned to each channel on
    Message 1 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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      Hi there:

      I have encountered a surprise by an American about Czech cable and
      satellite TV providers not having a channel number assigned to each
      channel on their websites. It makes me wonder whether this information
      is really not just published this way (I don't have any such arrangement
      at home) or if things work differently in the US from the Czech
      Republic. Any comments appreciated...

      Jirka

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    • Josef Hlavac
      This might indeed work differently in CZ vs. US. In CZ, a channel (=TV station, such as CT1, CT2, Nova, Prima etc.) did not have a fixed channel number (=
      Message 2 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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        This might indeed work differently in CZ vs. US.

        In CZ, a "channel" (=TV station, such as CT1, CT2, Nova, Prima etc.) did
        not have a fixed "channel number" (= frequency to which a broadcaster is
        tuned). Instead, it used to have different channel numbers (frequencies)
        in different regions.

        I use past tense because it worked like that in the analog era. However,
        AFAIK, all analog transmitters in CZ have already been switched off. In
        today's digital world, it is even more complicated - multiple "channels"
        (= TV stations) in a single "multiplex" share a single "channel"
        (frequency), which again differs in different regions. And there are
        several "multiplex"-es.

        The above concerns terrestrial networks. In cable networks, channel
        numbers are again assigned pretty much arbitrarily by the cable
        provider, potentially with different assignments in different regions.

        HTH,
        Josef


        On 10.12.2013 20:07, Jirka Bolech wrote:
        > Hi there:
        >
        > I have encountered a surprise by an American about Czech cable and
        > satellite TV providers not having a channel number assigned to each
        > channel on their websites. It makes me wonder whether this information
        > is really not just published this way (I don't have any such arrangement
        > at home) or if things work differently in the US from the Czech
        > Republic. Any comments appreciated...
        >
        > Jirka
        >
        > _______________________________________________
        > Czechlist mailing list
        > Czechlist@...
        > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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      • Jirka Bolech
        Hi Josef, Thanks for your input. I see it the way that a channel number may mean two different things: assignment to a frequency or assignment to a (channel
        Message 3 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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          Hi Josef,

          Thanks for your input. I see it the way that a channel number may mean
          two different things: assignment to a frequency or assignment to a
          (channel selection) position on (remote) control. As you point out, a
          single channel in terms of freuqency has several digitally multiplexed
          channels in terms of contents whether it's terrestrial or satellite
          broadcast. If it's cable, I believe channel assignment is just a matter
          of convention while I feel it is customary for people in the Czech
          Republic to assign those to their personal preferences, and the TV
          providers allow them to, whereas I can only speculate it is customary in
          the US for the TV providers to have each channel fixed to a number that
          the customer can't change.

          However, I am not sure about either country. That's why I would
          appreciate any hands-on experience shared here...

          Jirka


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        • James Kirchner
          In the US, the channel number appears to depend on your cable or satellite provider and location. Sometimes they even move the channels around on rare
          Message 4 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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            In the US, the channel number appears to depend on your cable or satellite provider and location. Sometimes they even move the channels around on rare occasions.

            With the advent of digital broadcast, the channel number displayed by the station on screen and the actual channel its broadcasting on might be very different. Since Americans have customarily referred to their local channels by number, VHF channels like 4 and 7 retain those numbers as a sort of brand identity, even though they are now broadcasting from somewhere up in the UHF range.

            It gets stranger, because Americans traditionally refer to broadcast TV stations by the number AND the local station's assigned call letters AND the name of the network, so where I live, some of the broadcast channels are:

            2 = WJBK = Fox
            4 = WDIV = NBC
            7 = WXYZ = ABC
            9 = CBET = CBC
            62 = WWJ = CBS
            etc.

            The call letters for each network's station are different in each city, and the numbers often are too.

            Cable and satellite channels that have never been broadcast channels are referred to by names and not numbers.

            Jamie

            On Dec 10, 2013, at 2:29 PM, Josef Hlavac wrote:

            > This might indeed work differently in CZ vs. US.
            >
            > In CZ, a "channel" (=TV station, such as CT1, CT2, Nova, Prima etc.) did not have a fixed "channel number" (= frequency to which a broadcaster is tuned). Instead, it used to have different channel numbers (frequencies) in different regions.
            >
            > I use past tense because it worked like that in the analog era. However, AFAIK, all analog transmitters in CZ have already been switched off. In today's digital world, it is even more complicated - multiple "channels" (= TV stations) in a single "multiplex" share a single "channel" (frequency), which again differs in different regions. And there are several "multiplex"-es.
            >
            > The above concerns terrestrial networks. In cable networks, channel numbers are again assigned pretty much arbitrarily by the cable provider, potentially with different assignments in different regions.
            >
            > HTH,
            > Josef
            >
            >
            > On 10.12.2013 20:07, Jirka Bolech wrote:
            >> Hi there:
            >>
            >> I have encountered a surprise by an American about Czech cable and
            >> satellite TV providers not having a channel number assigned to each
            >> channel on their websites. It makes me wonder whether this information
            >> is really not just published this way (I don't have any such arrangement
            >> at home) or if things work differently in the US from the Czech
            >> Republic. Any comments appreciated...
            >>
            >> Jirka
            >>
            >> _______________________________________________
            >> Czechlist mailing list
            >> Czechlist@...
            >> http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist
            >
            >
            > _______________________________________________
            > Czechlist mailing list
            > Czechlist@...
            > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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          • Jirka Bolech
            Hi Jamie, Thanks for your explanation too. You basically confirm it is a kind of convention to have numbers or other codes fixedly assigned to specific TV
            Message 5 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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              Hi Jamie,

              Thanks for your explanation too. You basically confirm it is a kind of
              convention to have numbers or other codes fixedly assigned to specific
              TV channels in order for people to be able to refer to the channels
              using these numbers or codes as appropriate. I don't think this is the
              situation in the Czech Republic where people almost exclusively refer to
              TV channels by their brand names and numbering convention probably never
              goes beyond a household as it's bound to be different house to house...

              Jirka


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            • James Kirchner
              In the US, the cable and satellite providers do fix the channel to a number that the customer can t change. That s my experience with cable, anyway. They try
              Message 6 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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                In the US, the cable and satellite providers do fix the channel to a number that the customer can't change. That's my experience with cable, anyway.

                They try to match the channel number with the number of the original broadcast frequency, or as I mentioned, the number the channel still uses as its identity, but it's not always possible.

                Jamie

                On Dec 10, 2013, at 2:53 PM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

                > Hi Josef,
                >
                > Thanks for your input. I see it the way that a channel number may mean
                > two different things: assignment to a frequency or assignment to a
                > (channel selection) position on (remote) control. As you point out, a
                > single channel in terms of freuqency has several digitally multiplexed
                > channels in terms of contents whether it's terrestrial or satellite
                > broadcast. If it's cable, I believe channel assignment is just a matter
                > of convention while I feel it is customary for people in the Czech
                > Republic to assign those to their personal preferences, and the TV
                > providers allow them to, whereas I can only speculate it is customary in
                > the US for the TV providers to have each channel fixed to a number that
                > the customer can't change.
                >
                > However, I am not sure about either country. That's why I would
                > appreciate any hands-on experience shared here...
                >
                > Jirka
                >
                >
                > _______________________________________________
                > Czechlist mailing list
                > Czechlist@...
                > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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              • James Kirchner
                Here s an interesting example of how this plays out: When Comcast, our local cable provider from hell, wanted people to switch from analog to digital service,
                Message 7 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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                  Here's an interesting example of how this plays out: When Comcast, our local cable provider from hell, wanted people to switch from analog to digital service, they pushed customers along by moving their favorite analog channels up to the digital range that they could not receive. If that didn't work, they moved channels to the digital range and replaced them with "the blue screen of death" and a skull-cracking noise. We can block channels, but we generally can't change their locations.

                  I don't know how it is in CZ, but in the US, we also have little power to choose which channels we get on cable or satellite. They're sold in "packages", which is more or less the way movies were sold to local theaters in the pre-TV days. If you want to add a specific channel, it's going to be part of another "package" that you'll pay dearly for. So I can't get Univision and Telemundo without subscribing to "the Hispanic package" and getting every Spanish-language channel the cable company offers. If I want one channel in French, one in German, one in Russian, etc., I can't do that, and to get one channel, I have to order the whole package for that language. It quickly becomes financially infeasible.

                  Just for extra information...

                  Most radio and TV station call letters starting with W are west of the Mississippi river. So the US broadcast TV stations I can get in Detroit have names like WXYZ, WWJ, WGPR (which stands for "where God's presence reigns", believe it or not), WDIV, etc.

                  Most radio and TV stations west of the Mississippi have call letters starting with K -- KNBC, KORN, etc.

                  Stations based in Canada have names beginning with C -- CKLW, CKWW, CBET, CBEFT (the F is for French), etc.

                  If the call letters start with X, they're in Mexico.

                  One disadvantage of having cable where I live is that it carries almost nothing but US stations. Here we consider several Canadian stations to be local, but once we get cable, they're gone.

                  Jamie

                  On Dec 10, 2013, at 3:23 PM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

                  > Hi Jamie,
                  >
                  > Thanks for your explanation too. You basically confirm it is a kind of
                  > convention to have numbers or other codes fixedly assigned to specific
                  > TV channels in order for people to be able to refer to the channels
                  > using these numbers or codes as appropriate. I don't think this is the
                  > situation in the Czech Republic where people almost exclusively refer to
                  > TV channels by their brand names and numbering convention probably never
                  > goes beyond a household as it's bound to be different house to house...
                  >
                  > Jirka
                  >
                  >
                  > _______________________________________________
                  > Czechlist mailing list
                  > Czechlist@...
                  > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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                • Jirka Bolech
                  Great thanks, Jamie, for a deep insight. It does explain a lot to me. I imagine that in the Czech Republic if you re technically capable you either set up your
                  Message 8 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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                    Great thanks, Jamie, for a deep insight. It does explain a lot to me. I
                    imagine that in the Czech Republic if you're technically capable you
                    either set up your receiver by yourself or change the channel settings
                    as you like later on. Less technical people may go on using what the TV
                    guy installs for them or have a friend assign the channels for them...

                    Jirka


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                  • James Kirchner
                    This would not be allowed in the US, because everything is geared toward contact with a phone representative or a technician at the home to create
                    Message 9 of 9 , Dec 10, 2013
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                      This would not be allowed in the US, because everything is geared toward contact with a phone representative or a technician at the home to create opportunities for them to sell the subscriber more services.

                      This is one reason Americans in droves are canceling their cable and satellite TV services and streaming things through the Internet.

                      Jamie

                      On Dec 10, 2013, at 4:18 PM, Jirka Bolech wrote:

                      > Great thanks, Jamie, for a deep insight. It does explain a lot to me. I
                      > imagine that in the Czech Republic if you're technically capable you
                      > either set up your receiver by yourself or change the channel settings
                      > as you like later on. Less technical people may go on using what the TV
                      > guy installs for them or have a friend assign the channels for them...
                      >
                      > Jirka
                      >
                      >
                      > _______________________________________________
                      > Czechlist mailing list
                      > Czechlist@...
                      > http://www.czechlist.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/czechlist


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