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Cox dropping ABC HD signal

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  • #4204

    September 29, 2006

    Dear Valued Cox Customer,

    As you know, Cox strives to provide you with a wide variety of programming choices, including
    a growing number of high definition channels. Unfortunately, due to a decision by Hearst Argyle
    Television, the parent company of KOCO (the local ABC affiliate), we may no longer be allowed
    to carry the Channel 5 signal on high definition Channel 705. This will not affect continuing
    broadcast of the KOCO signal on Channel 8.

    The 1992 Cable Act passed by Congress says that local stations must grant permission for a
    cable company to carry their local signals, including the regular over-the-air analog signal and
    the high definition one. This is normally not a problem, but Hearst Argyle recently insisted that
    Cox should begin paying millions of dollars to carry the HD signals for their various local affiliates
    in several cities, including KOCO in Oklahoma City. Keep in mind that this is the same signal
    carried for free over the airwaves and is free to Cox high definition customers.

    The result of this situation would simply be unacceptable – higher costs to us and our subscribers.
    We have negotiated with Hearst Argyle for some months concerning this issue, but unless they
    extend their permission for us to carry the KOCO HD signal, that permission will expire at
    midnight on October 1 and Channel 705 will no longer be part of the Cox HD lineup.

    We will continue negotiations with Hearst Argyle, to resolve this matter in the best interests of our
    subscribers. Thank you for choosing Cox; we’ll keep you updated on this issue, and on our plans
    to add new HD channels very soon.

    David Bialis, President
    Cox Oklahoma


    Here is a copy of a letter I sent to the Cox executives listed in the above comments:


    I wanted to let you know how frustrated I am with the impending drop of KOCO’s HD signal from the Cox Oklahoma City market. The same frustration has been here regarding the KOKH HD signal owned by Sinclair as well. The way I see it as a paying customer, Cox has only two options in order to keep my dollars every month.

    1. Provide a ‘locals in HD’ tier for $5 or so as an option for your HD customers, which would allow you to satisfy the station owners who want to get paid for their HD signal.

    2. Provide DVR equipment that has the dual cable TV tuners like now, but also have an OTA tuner to pickup local broadcasts and be able to DVR them.

    If KOCO’s ABC HD signal is dropped this weekend, I see my only choices as going with the Tivo Series 3 HD DVR with Cablecard capability, or going with Dish network, which allows OTA recording in addition to their satellite HD channels. I do not really want to do either of these, since the Tivo is very expensive and I’m very happy with my Cox tri-bundle and don’t want to go satellite, but given the sports and primetime programming that ABC-HD offers, I will definitely be leaving Cox if this isn’t resolved. Again, the easiest/cheapest solution for me and I’m sure the rest of your HD customers would be to make HD locals in their own tier for $5 or so…I’d gladly pay that instead of making the switch.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, and good luck in getting these negotiations resolved.


    I know this is an old issue, and this might not even work for someone on the south side or in norman, but if you have cox cable in any capacity, including just cox internet, you should try plugging in your cox line to your digital ota tuner and seeing if koco dt comes in. It does come in on mine when I scan using my atsc+qam tuner. Although it’s listed under my digital cable, it’s definitely the over the air feed that it’s getting, NOT QAM. The modulation is listed as 8vsb.

    I can’t see how it could be getting the signal from ambient airwaves since coaxial cable is well shielded. I’d be curious to see what happens with those people in norman or the south side if they try this…

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