Chat with Sunflower Broadband general manager Patrick Knorr about the digital transition
May 30, 2008
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Patrick Knorr, general manager of Sunflower Broadband and chief operating officer of The World Company, will answer questions about Sunflower's digital transition during an online chat at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
People may submit questions in advance or during the live chat.
Hello. This is Mark Fagan, business editor, and I'll be moderating today's chat with Patrick Knorr. He has arrived here at The News Center and we'll be starting the chat in a few minutes.
Thanks to everyone for joining us for today's chat, and to Patrick Knorr for participating.
Now it's time for some questions...
This is a ridiculously simple question, but how do I know if I need to upgrade my tv or get the box or whatever it is we are supposed to do? I keep seeing the information about the change on tv but not what we are suppose to do exactly or how we tell if our tv will work with digital as it is.
The great news is with Sunflower you do not "have to" upgrade your TV, but HD is worth it if you do. The key thing is to have a digital box from us; if you already have one on your TV you are fine. If you don't have a box on a TV, even an old TV, you will still get channels but not as many us you did before, about 30-40 instead of 70 ish you get today with our expanded basic service.
Will Sunflower be improving the DVR's it has available for HD recording in the near future?
I am a current satellite subscriber and have been considering switching to Sunflower, but the DVR is holding me back. Sunflower's DVR is only 20% the capacity of the DVR from my satellite provider (10 hours vs. 55 hours). This is a deal breaker since I travel frequently and will routinely have 20+ hours of HD backlogged for later viewing.
Unlike satellite, our current DVR's support SATA drives which allow you to add as much memory as you would like or need.
We've received a couple questions on this next topic,...
Why can't there be an "a la carte" chioce of cable channels, or a possibilty of creating a customer choice "tier" package?
Also, why does Sunflower have bandwith limits for internet?
I understand that customers want to be able to pick their channels. Two issues. First the programming networks prohibit us from offering channels al'la'cart. Second individual channels would cost more, just like buying one soda costs more that buying a 12 pack (on a per-can basis). BUT some people just want one soda and we should be able to that... I hope we will someday. Currently we try provide as many choices as we are able to do and more than most (maybe any) other cable company.
Bandwidth limits allow us to keep our speeds higher and our rates lower by charging the top 10% of our bandwidth users more money. 90% of our customers are not affected by this policy and we think it is far better than blocking high traffic users or restricting what services they use.
Please list ANY reasons why we should use your service instead of Direct tv or Dish Network. As far as I can see the cons outweigh the pros................
We are very close in price (not counting their short-term offers) and we are even cheaper when you take into account all of their extra charges and contract penalties.
We have Channel 6 providing focused coverage on our customers for news, weather, and sports.
Video ON Demand... this is fantastic! 1000's of shows that you can watch whenever you want anytime, pause, rewind... most of them for free.
As of next week we have more HD to offer including HD VOD.
Thanks for giving lower priced internet access to people who might not otherwise be able to afford it. Is that accesss high speed broadband like your regular customers get?
It is high speed but not quite as fast as what most customers get.
Why are all of the local channels not carried in HD? Also, why are most of the "bonus" channels not carried (KTWU Enhance or KPXE digital channels)?
We have limited capacity and we want to focus on providing as much as possible. We do not think it is the best value to provide a second NBC or ABC when the HD proramming is the same. The syndicated shows are not in HD and the news in Topeka is not in HD. We should have more bonus channels later this year.
We have a follow up question to an earlier answer...
Current we try provide as many choices as we are able to do and more that most (maybe any) other cable company.
pa-lease!!!!!!!!!! get real................this is not true.......
We have Broadcast only, expanded basic, a movie, sports, and variety digital tiers. We are looking at adding more if we can. Let me know who has more options?
When are you going to get the Big 10 network on? I was told late last year that it would be here in Feb. 2008.
Still working on it... Fox currently is not allowing anyone outside of the Big 10 markets to offer it. We are hopeful though.
What bitrate will the digital video be compressed to? I noticed a significant *drop* in picture quality when I switched from analog to digital video--compression artifacts on fast-moving images like football games were nasty. By comparing the video side-by-side, I know the compression isn't happening upstream as I was told by one CSR, as the analog picture was crystal-clear. What steps will be taken to ensure that the digital video will be clean and clear and not look like an overcompressed youtube video?
Our bits rates are higher than satellite but I am not sure exactly what they are... I texted my engineer and I am waiting on an answer... they should be clear... but compared to HD they will look worse.
do you think sunflower will ever add any equipment so users
on broadband dont have the afternoon slow down
that grinds usage to a halt, and makes it impossible
to naviagate?. for the last few years all we get
is the runaround and alot of verbage.
like unplug your modem? other servers
dont have this problem,why do we
have to endure it? the rest of the time
of day service is acceptable. should i just
discount my broadband bill when i get it ?
i hardly use my computor from 10 pm to 6 am
so do you thing it would be better if i slept
days and worked online at nite to better
untilize my connection?
That should not happen, send me an email and I will make sure someone looks into it... email@example.com
Our cable box is only showing the Program Menu but will not display the program. We can get the programs by by-passing the cable box. Will service be restored to the cable box when the transition is made on Monday?
That should not happen. Please call us at 841-2100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org... the problem you are describing should not be related to our transition.
I'd really like AMC on Demand. on the AMC website, it says it's available, but I haven't seen it on sunflower
We do carry AMC on Demand (Mad Men is coming soon) but they do not always make VOD programs available every month. Whenever AMC does have VOD we will have it, no extra charge.
Thanks for participating in today's chat, Patrick, and to all the people who sent in questions.
I'm sure you're getting more questions in the office. Are there any other topics you think people might want to know about?
First the correct email is... email@example.com I fat fingered it above...
Something that a lot of people have asked about is... is this change FCC mandated? The FCC has mandated that broadcasters move to digital February, 2009. For the record the FCC has NOT mandated that we as cable operator make this change or make it on June 2nd. However the FCC has mandated that we carry broadcast HD channels. They have told cable operators that want them to move to digital. The same companies that own the broadcast networks like NBC and ABC also own cable program networks like ESPN and Sci-Fi and they are moving cable networks to Digital and HD without a mandate. Customers because of all this are buying HD TV's at a very high rate and so for all of these reasons we are moving to digital and HD. We will be able to offer more to our customers because of this transition.
Bit rate follow-up... I am told 4-6 MBs is our average bit rate for standard definition digital channels.
If you need a box from us please check our web site at www.sunflower.com for digital box pick up location information and for extended lobby hours information.
Thanks again to all who participated, either by sending in questions or just following along. And thanks to Patrick for his answers.
A note about another chat coming up: Michael Johnston, president of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, joins us at www.ljworld.com/chats at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The authority, you'll recall, is busy with plenty of road work -- both occurring and on the drawing board. If you have questions, log on and send them in...