[SATLUG] AT&T to introduce data caps on DSL

John Pappas j at jvpappas.net
Fri Mar 18 17:09:00 CDT 2011

On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 01:18, Robert Pearson <e2eiod at gmail.com> wrote:
> After reading this article---
> "Cutting the Cord on Cable TV's Pricey Monthly Bill"
> <http://www.walletpop.com/2011/02/22/savings-experiment-cutting-the-cord-on-cable-tvs-pricey-bill/>
> After reading this second article I am not so sure it will happen---
> "AT&T to introduce data caps on DSL"
> <http://news.cnet.com/8301-30686_3-20042839-266.html>
> [Article excerpt]
> To put this type of usage into context, Comcast says on its Web site
> explaining the policy that customers would have to do any one of the
> following to exceed its 250GB cap:
> <http://www.comcast.net/terms/network/amendment/>
> This means the alternative to Cable TV might be more expensive?
> I looked really hard at MythTV and other Myth and DVR alternatives but
> could not get excited. Lots of maintenance issues plus there has to be
> a ready source of Content for them. Netflix is only $8-$10 per month.

For the work, the DVR that results is much better though.  I built a
SageTV DVR (SD capture, have not upgraded to HD capture yet) with 3TB
RAID5 video storage that allowed for multiple TVs & PCs to watch the
same content simultaneously via network connected STBs, plus allow for
"place shifting" ala SlingBox, and such; All with a web interface.
The problem is that you have to use the vendor STB to capture from,
and thus channel changes must be done via IR Blaster (USB IrCommander
or such) as cable providers do not allow anyone but Tivo (the actual
company) to use/integrate "cable cards".  Thus there is no OSS system
that I know of that can use a PCMCIA adapter to use the cable cards to
decrypt/descramble the channels directly.

> Any quality differences? There is pride of ownership and lack of DRM
> harassment.

Since my SageTV DVR captured from the STBs, the videos were straight
MPG files that could be "transcoded" on demand to MP4 and copied to my
iPhone via RSS/PODCast feed in iTunes.

> Now with the download caps coming does this affect DIY DVR's?

Bandwidth caps only matter if your DVR uses Torrents/eMule/etc to get
content, or heavy streaming use.  Most streams are MP4 encoded so
unlike the "RAW" HD MPG2 streams at ~2GB/hr, it turns out to be more
like 500MB/Hr, but as with audio compression (CD->MP3), it is lossy,
so there are some visual impacts.  I figure that HDTV has better
resolution than my eyes at this point, so if I am streaming Netflix to
my HDTV, it is not as good as direct HD, but "good enough".  Much like
watching a DVD on HDTV.


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