TV over phone lines


Staff member
Yahoo! posted an article (AP) about how large telephone companies have been discussing TV over phone line for a while now, but it looks like these companies are finally doing more than some talking and are investing billions of dollars in the equipment needed to do this. It looks like they will try to compete with cable companies, so this could get rather interesting.

Read the article
There's no doubt that the fiber-optic cables and digital technologies they are deploying are robust enough to deliver interactive services such as Caller ID on the TV screen or more heavy-duty offerings like video-on-demand without the current limitations on selection.

How cool would that be. Caller ID on the TV so you don't even have to change the channel or get off the couch to see whos calling. I can't wait because i have been wanting to get rid of comcast ever since i got it simply because of the price. Comcast is too stuborn to lower their prices. They would just give lots of free channels and service installations to try and make themselves look good.

Come on competition!
well you could just announce CID using TTS you know :eek: As for CID on TV, if you don't use hi-def cables, you can do it using a bob3 module, it allows you to print any message on the tv screen (overlay) using the serial port of that device, pretty cool, but only supports the basic connections.
I bought something a long time ago that said it would put CID on my tv but it was a gimic. It required my TV to be on channel 3 at all times and required me to use a VCR as the channel tuner. When the phone rang the entire screen turned blue and usually didnt even display a number. POS! Can't remember the name of the device but it sucked.

Overlay sounds pretty cool. Can you overlay on any channel?
Remember, with things like the Bob you can put anything on the tv, not just CID. It's a generic device.

But, it means you can never use your TV to tune - it has to be overlayed on incoming video.

You can also use something like this to feed a modulator. When the phone rings, change to channel 100 to see who's calling.

You can always view it through PIP if your tv is so equipped (to avoid changing channels or limiting tuning capability).
I have it, or I should say I have had it for over three years. And yes, my CID and VoiceMail is shown on the TV screen (as it happens).

It's quite a slick system. There is only one controller box that goes anywhere (closet, attic, garage, etc.) and all the TVs in the house connect to the RG that, hopefully, exists. TVs just tune to different channels to watch different shows. All is controlled by a number of RF remotes that change channels, on/off, volume, etc. Works like DTV but you don't have to have a STB on each TV. The only feature that I would like is HDTV, which they assure me should be available this year.

Almost forgot, the controller box also provides broadband internet access too!
Ideally, a TV should offer a jumpered connection between its tuner/AV input switcher and its video monitor circuitry so that you could break that path and insert an overlay device or whatever you want.
Guy, that's almost exactly what I have in an old Pioneer component TV I still use. It has tuner out and well as video in, and I just use the video out from my AV receiver so the receiver can switch all video to the TV, which is used as a video monitor. I use a satellite receiver and VCR now, so I haven't bothered to actually hook up the TV tuner outputs, but could if I needed to (have done so in the past). It also has audio in and external speakers out, but I don't use those features, either, electing to go with the 5.1 receiver instead.

When this one dies, I'll probably be looking for something similar in an HDTV-capable display, but I hope that doesn't happen soon as I can't afford to change out the whole system to support HDTV right now!
Actually, newer high end TVs tend to become more "componentized", making the tuner an easier part to detach to insert things like this. The gradual switch to digital tuners is contributing a lot to making this more common.
But as people switch to digital, are they going to want to use composite or svideo feeds to their TVs? I don't know of any overlays (at least cheap ones) that work with component, DVI, etc.

Of course, if you just put a computer in there instead of the tuner, you're all set. Feed all video through a PC and out through component or DVI.
Guy Lavoie said:
smee, good point about the component signal types now being used on high quality TVs.
I personally don't have a problem right now. All of my video is composite since my TV doesn't even have svideo inputs. Still living in the dark ages, I guess.

The best video picture I get, though, is when I play DVDs in the computer and display them on my DVI-connected LCD.
Ringgold Telephone Company, Ringgold, GA about 15 miles from me, just over the TN GA state line has been offering TV (187 channels), Internet and voice for a couple of years now. (A real small town)

e's link, if I read/understood it (just a quick scan) seemed to focus on wireless phones? but the discussions appeared to be referencing landline applications.

Ringgold Telephone Co does pop caller ID on the TV screen, any channel you happened to be watching, since 2002.

Guess its easier to rebuild a telephone plant for a small town, then in a metro area.
Having worked for one of the companies in question, don't hold your breath waiting for this. The only time I would believe it is going to happen is when I start getting telemarketing calls selling the service.

The large phone companies are notorious for spending tons of money on something, then changing their minds and writting off the investment. My old company ran a computer software project for several years, averaging ~1400 people working directly on the project. Half were employees and half were consultants. Salaries for computer analyst in the DC area during the 90's were NOT low, not even mentioning the costs of a vary generous benefits package. Add on the consultants, and the cost jumps even higher (for those of you not in the IT field, consultants bill between $70/hour and $180/hour). Add in the costs for all the new equipment, new workstations for all the call centers, mainframe expansions, and data storage, and you come up with a pretty penny. Then one day they decide that the software isn't what the company wants, and the project gets killed. 75% of the software gets put on the shelf, and 90% of the employees get the pink slip. And oh yes, they gave the CEO an addition $100,000,000.

Of course, as I was one of the 90% that got the shaft, er pink slip, I might be just a tad biased on the subject.