Channel 21 Concord NH down to 2 subchannel while Channel 68 is up to 4

Scott Fybush
Sat Dec 29 23:14:35 EST 2012

On 12/26/2012 2:36 PM, Laurence Glavin wrote:

> Another shopping channel? Will Comcast be required to add it to its
> lineup per must-carry?

Must-carry applies to only one program stream per must-carry station. 
Everything else is negotiated, and ion doesn't have the leverage to 
force its subchannels on cable.

> They just duplicated an all-jewelry
> home-shopping channel to #48 that's already on a high-numbered slot
> around #180, and it continues there as well. It's a puzzlement why
> channel 48 had been kept actually vacant for so long. Just clicking
> the 'up' button if you were watching the Weather Channel used to take
> you to one of the ESPNs. Now it's the aforementioned all-jewelry
> channel TWICE. Grrrrr.

Is this through a cable box, or analog cable tuned directly? Keep in 
mind that with digital cable, "channel numbers" are just mapping 
addresses that tell the box what physical channel to tune to, and those 
physical channels aren't even always fixed. (Google "SDV" to see how 
some cable systems do it.)

Many of the channels that appear "vacant" in analog tuning on a modern 
cable system are actually being used for digital data. The 6 MHz 
bandwidth used by a single analog cable channel can transmit two (and 
sometimes three) HD digital channels or up to eight SD digital channels 
(even more if they're being compressed to death)...which is why cable 
companies are eager to end their analog service whenever possible.

Back to ion: they've been trying a few things with their OTA DTV 
spectrum that may explain why 21 and 68 have a different complement of 
subchannels. In some markets, ion has been leasing some of its spectrum 
to a subscription service called "Airbox" aimed primarily at Hispanic 
consumers. I believe stations running Airbox only have two unscrambled 
video channels. In others, they're launching this new iShop service that 
has appeared (or is appearing) on 68-4.


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