Hard-to-Get TV

Monday, October 22, 2012
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Does anyone watch public-access television anymore? Well, Cox has made it much more difficult to do just that. On its website, it lists channels that are included with the “Standard TV” package. All of the local public access channels are listed – and next to them is an asterisk. I read the fine print at the bottom of the page, and was informed that receiving public TV with your cable package “Requires a digital receiver or CableCARD rental. TV sets with a built-in (Clear QAM) digital tuner will receive local broadcast channels without equipment rental.”

Recently, a colleague called to try and get this mysterious receiver so he could watch the City of Santa Barbara Government Access Channel 18, only to find out that there was an extra fee for a Cox employee to come to his house and install the box.

Why is community-access TV, produced with our tax dollars and broadcast on the public airwaves, not available to the public in Santa Barbara?


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Yeah! It really ties in with the corporate conservative Romeny platform to kill Big Bird and Jim Lehrer. Cox is obviously broadcasting a signal but Cox can't broadcast the traditional TV signals on the lower analog channels, except corporate broadcast TV? And nixed is only Public Access and PBS? So now we need to expense a Rental, newer TV/LCD in every room where you might want the enlightenment of public participation at City Council meeting? A 20' antenna on the roof?

There may be a legitimate technical reason but I suspect it is a corporate business decision. If my choice is more yahoo commercialized NASCAR, Top Gear, Reality Housewives, Hillbilly Handfishing and Ow My Balls type shows, then I guess all I can do is switch to a competitors more dependable and cheaper DSL and stream something more selective and enlightening.

DonMcDermott (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2012 at 6:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Meg, you need a new TV that is digital ready. Your set must be at least ten years out of date. Then you should be able to receive all those stations no problem. Somehow you missed the big transition 5 years ago, you could have gotten a free digital converter- perhaps you still can.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2012 at 10:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

If you do not like that, just buy your local government and community access TV from the competitor of Cox, which, of course, is....

John_Adams (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2012 at 11:05 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Why not watch Channel 18 on your computer - streaming video on demand or scheduled. Channel 18 is Government Access, Channel 17 is public access (SB, streaming video on the website and on Ustream. Channel 18 info is also on the SB city website.
SB Channels was recently censored from Ustream for uploading a show that included a video of a natural birth, don't know if the ban is still in effect, but Channel 17 shows prior to this were always available.
Cox's attitude towards access channels hasn't changed since their original franchise agreement with the city of Santa Barbara. We should credit Dick Flacks for his extensive lobbying/monitoring during the original contract negotiations between SB city and Cox . SB's locally produced public TV is an invaluable community asset, since it's not subject to restrictions or censorship imposed by commercial sponsors. Public and educational access have been managed by non-profit South Coast Media Access under contract with Cox since Jan. 2003.
City council meetings include a vote on consent calendar items, which have been discussed by cc in closed session prior to meetings. Controversial issues and those subject to public opposition or unfavorable political PR are increasingly restricted to the consent calendar. Anyone interested in city council meetings would probably want to check out the consent calendar and attachments on the city's website.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2012 at 5:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's a simple fix for the lady, she just needs to update her TV with either a converter box or new TV. Hopefully she can get to an electronics store of some kind.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 24, 2012 at 10:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I get PBS no problem--even up here in Solvang.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 24, 2012 at 11:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The "PEG" (Public/Education/Government) channels on Cox Cable aren't the only ones being converted to digital-only.

By the end of this year, *ALL* analog channels provided by Cox Cable will be gone.

The "PEG" channels were just the first analog channels to be converted to digital. The rest will be completed before or by the end of 2012, according to Cox.

Cox estimates there are about 1,400 customers in Santa Barbara who will be affected. So those with old analog TV sets will definitely need to get a converter box or digital TV this year if they want to keep watching cable TV. Details here:

Each analog channel makes room for up to 5 digital channels (depending on resolution, level of compression, etc.).

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 27, 2012 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Compression is my mortal enemy.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
October 27, 2012 at 5:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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