nwtv20038,143 posts since 5 Jan 2003
Granada North West Today
So when did cable companies switch to the feed of The Box that Sky Digital were using?

I’d say autumn/late 2000 from memory. The switch was obvious as the NTSC feel had been removed and the channel sported a DOG for the first time. I’m cuerious to know at its peak how many versions there were. I think most Cable operators had their own version and there was also the feed that was shown on Granada Plus whilst it was off air.
james-20012,780 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
It varied between cable companies- ours actually switched to the Sky version back in the autumn of 1999. Which was annoying as our cable company's version didn't charge to call them whereas the national version was premium rate. That and the addition of the DOG were the indicators for us it had changed at the time.

The switch, on the national version at least, to the new system was September 2000. I'm sure some cable companies kept their own versions and the laserdisc system for a brief while after this. They probably didn't appreciate having to keep making laserdiscs for the cable company's systems. I wonder if any of those discs are still around, I presume a massive amount must have been made down the years.
james-20012,780 posts since 13 Sep 2015
Central (East) East Midlands Today
Oh, another thing about the national Sky version of the Box (when it was still laserdisc) is that on some videos for some reason the firsr few seconds of some videos started getting cut off, usually starting after they'd been on the playlist for a couple of weeks. Usually after they'd been on there for a few weeks. And because of that the graphic with the selection number (which was generated live) appeared out of sync with the song captions (which were burnt in to the video). I'm never really sure why that happened, and it's something that never happened on our own cable company's version.

There was also a period for a couple of days not that long before they switched to the new system where the picture quality increased quite dramatically (but still noticably lower than other channels), but the graphics for the song selection numbers and the full screen playlist screen appeared slowly- like when trying to download a big image over a dial-up internet connection. After a couple of days the picture quality went down again, and the graphics loaded at normal speed again. That left me wondering if there was something more to the lower picture quality than just the PAL>NTSC>PAL conversion. I'd be really interested to know exactly how the old laserdisc system worked and what it looked like. I wonder if it was anything like the Laser Juke systems you saw in places in the 90s (there used to be one in Butlin's I remember), but presumably a lot bigger.