Time Warner added four HD channels here in Columbus last week. This is great, since I now have two HD sets since we picked up a 26" Panasonic on clearance for the bedroom a few weeks ago (thank you tax return).
There's just one small problem. "Free HD" really means that you need a digital cable box to view the channels.
Not so free when you need to pay to rent a cable box.
You see, the Panasonic has an ATSC tuner with Clear QAM. QAM is the technology that handles transmitting a digital signal across cable lines. If the signal is in the "clear", then it can be decoded by a TV that supports Clear QAM.
In Columbus, we get CBS HD, PBS HD, PBS Ohio, PBS Plus, Columbus Sports Network, NBC HD, NBC Weather Plus, CW HD, ABC HD, My TV and Fox HD in the clear. All of these are broadcast over the air, so Time Warner is required to transmit them over cable in the clear.
According to Time Warner, "Free HD" includes Discovery Theater, TNT, STO, FSN, Vs/Golf, TBS, A&E, HGTV, and NatGeo.
If it was truly "free", I'd be seeing these channels in my bedroom like the 60 odd analog channels being picked up without a cable box.
That would be something worth marketing.