[extropy-chat] META: Cable Speeds and delays [was: related to SecondLife]
brian at posthuman.com
Tue Dec 12 17:37:07 UTC 2006
Interesting hypothesis, but I do know a little more and that isn't how it works
currently. In the case of "regular" channels, either analog or digital, the
signal is semi-permanently assigned a slot in Comcast's available frequencies,
and broadcast continuously to all subscribers at once. It's just a one way fixed
feed, and is not interacting or competing with the internet service or
video-on-demand that run on completely separate frequencies.
The initial lag you see in tuning channels is mostly an artifact of the MPEG-2
compression used for the digital version of the channels. You'll see the same
delays (compared to flipping analog channels) if you've ever had satellite tv
service which also uses MPEG-2. It takes time when "tuning" to an MPEG-2 feed to
build up the picture. Also HDTV over-the-air uses similar encoding, and also has
a tuning delay.
The moral of the story is: rent a DVR from Comcast, and stop watching live tv.
Not only do you not waste a ton of time looking for something good to watch, you
can skip all the commercials. In the next few months in addition to Comcast's
standard DVR, they will have a Tivo service offering available on that same box,
and also will be coming out with a new 3-tuner box so you can record 3 things at
once if you need even more capacity.
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence
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