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Larry the Loafer5,352 posts since 2 Jul 2005
Granada North West Today
So I came across an old Scientific Atlanta cable box in my parents' loft from the merry Cable and Wireless days of the late 90s. I don't have the leads to connect it up to a TV (the output is a coaxial socket, rather than RF or composite) and I was wondering what - if at all - would that box display if it was plugged in and hooked up without a cable service to supply it with? Would it just be a blank screen or would there be some level of OSD?
Mike W4,796 posts since 30 Apr 2006
Nothing, because they used analogue cable I believe (if it's a digital cable box it probably won't work either as Virgin Media hardware lock and encrypt their service, even FTA stuff going through their network I believe).

EDIT: In fact my nan had in her spare room an analogue Birmingham Cable box (one of these beauties)
*

And one day in 2004/5 it stopped working, she called Telewest as it was then out to look at it (as she had the Active Digital box in the living room, a horrible PACE thing she hated as it kept on overheating and dying) and they laughed and said it should have been replaced at some point in 2003!

EDIT 2: Just did some reading on this, Virgin Media began turning off Analogue in 2008 - alongside DSO, and by November 2013 there were no analogue services offered at all, withdrawing them totally from Milton Keynes and Westminster (where BT own the cables). Customers there can't get digital cable either from VM and BT don't offer the service!
Last edited by Mike W on 30 November 2018 3:53am - 2 times in total
Oh it's such a perfect day, I'm glad I spent it with you...
noggin13,887 posts since 26 Jun 2001
The only thing you could do with that box is extremely nerdy... Believe it or not, now it's possible to use 'Software Defined Radio' or SDR techniques to generate radio signals, people are writing GNU Radio (a language for driving SDR hardware) code to generate defunct analogue broadcasting standards. Some enthusiasts have got SDR-generated D-MAC running into original BSB receivers for instance Smile
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DJ Dave1,798 posts since 4 Jan 2003
Granada North West Today
Nothing, because they used analogue cable I believe (if it's a digital cable box it probably won't work either as Virgin Media hardware lock and encrypt their service, even FTA stuff going through their network I believe).

EDIT: In fact my nan had in her spare room an analogue Birmingham Cable box (one of these beauties)
*

And one day in 2004/5 it stopped working, she called Telewest as it was then out to look at it (as she had the Active Digital box in the living room, a horrible PACE thing she hated as it kept on overheating and dying) and they laughed and said it should have been replaced at some point in 2003!

EDIT 2: Just did some reading on this, Virgin Media began turning off Analogue in 2008 - alongside DSO, and by November 2013 there were no analogue services offered at all, withdrawing them totally from Milton Keynes and Westminster (where BT own the cables). Customers there can't get digital cable either from VM and BT don't offer the service!

Brings back memories and sitting in front of the TV turning over on this box as a kid when it was called Nynex by me Smile
Whataday9,152 posts since 13 Sep 2001
HTV Wales Wales Today
Nothing, because they used analogue cable I believe (if it's a digital cable box it probably won't work either as Virgin Media hardware lock and encrypt their service, even FTA stuff going through their network I believe).

EDIT: In fact my nan had in her spare room an analogue Birmingham Cable box (one of these beauties)
*


Jesus. We had one of those from CableTel, which then became NTL. I'd like to say they seemed uber modern in the 90s but they looked like clunky old things then too.

Of course, unscrupulous types had their boxes chipped by Sid down the pub and got all the channels for free*. A family member was persuaded to have this done and was subsequently terrified to watch TV for fear of getting arrested.


* Sid could also make your Playstation play copied games.
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