A brief history
Cable television service on the island of Trinidad was originally provided by several independent cable television companies (AJ Cable, Cableview, Rainbow Cable, Transcable). These companies were eventually merged to form the Cable Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (CCTT). In February 2006, it was annnounced that Columbus Communications Limited, a multi-national telecommunications company with investments throughout the Caribbean, had purchased CCTT. Columbus stated that the island would be upgraded to an all digital cable television service as it prepared to offer “triple-play” service, that is, television, data (Internet access) and voice phone service over the same line. According to its website, several areas were to be upgraded by the end of 2006. There were delays and only now (2007) are those areas being fully upgraded to digital cable television service.
At this time (2007), Flow/Columbus Communications Limited does not provide cable television service on the island of Tobago.
What happens first
The first step in the process is the installation of the new cable in neighborhoods which are scheduled to receive the digital signal. Flow and/or its sub-contractors will run new cable, for the most part, parallel to the layout of the existing cable television line which carries the analog signal. In the second step, the cables will be terminated to provide the necessary interface to the signal. Step three occurs when Flow and/or its sub-contractors disconnects the existing line between the cable which carries the analog signal and the building and reconnects it to new “digital” line. Step four involves Flow and/or its sub-contractors removing the old cable television line (the one which carried the analog-only signal).
Time to switch
When Flow decides it is time to upgrade you to digital service, a customer service representative will contact you to arrange a day and time for Flow employees to come to your premises to do the installation.
Several things need to be done:
- A new line may be run from the pole to the building (at the discretion of the technician).
- All existing wiring inside of the building may be kept or may be removed and replaced with new cable at the discretion of the technician.
- A box will be installed to house the connection from the pole to the building. All outlets on the premises originate from this box.
Once all the external and internal wiring is done, the technician will install the digital cable terminal (DCT). This action consists of attaching the coaxial line (with the tv signal) to the input of the DCT and then connecting the coaxial output of the DCT to the coaxial input on the television. The television must be tuned to channel 3 in order to receive the signal. Almost immediately the digital service will be available. No more “staging” as was done with the analog descrambler.
When it is time for the technician(s) to leave, they will take all analog descramblers as well as the remotes that were on the premises. You will be required to sign the work order to confirm the job was done as well as to confirm the serial numbers of the analog descramblers that were collected.
- Expect the entire process to take a minimum of 90 minutes. Weather, number of outlets to install, removal of existing wiring, etc. will influence the time required.
- The technicians may need to drill holes in walls and floors so it would be wise to protect furniture, carpets and other such items from possible dust and dirt.
- The line from the pole connects to the building wiring inside of a grey plastic box which is mounted on the side of the building. The box is secured with a “tamper-resistant” screw.
- Choose a suitable location for the “grey box”: it must be mounted in a location where it won’t be in the way, won’t be easily damaged and won’t be directly exposed to the weather but will still be accessible by Flow technicians in the future.
- The box is grounded to a copper rod similar to that which is used for domestic electrical installations.The copper rod needs to be buried in soil.
- Remove the batteries from the remotes for the analog descramblers before handing them over.
- The number of analog descramblers you currently have will determine how many DCTs the technicians will install. For example, if you have 4 analog descramblers, they will come prepared to install 4 DCTs. CAUTION:your monthly fee for the digital service includes the use of only ONE DCT! Flow charges a fee for each additional DCT. Refer to: Fees and charges for further details.Yes, the remote(s) for the DCT(s) come with batteries.
You may receive a folder with various items from Flow:
- A Flow brochure.
- Flow Digital Channel line up card. Available online at: Channel line-up. (“basic” digital package only)
- Flow Digital Quick Tips Guide. Available online at: Digital Quick Tips Guide (PDF format).
- Flow Digital Getting Started Guide. Available online at: Digital Getting Started Guide (PDF format).
- Flow Digital Cable Rates and Packages flyer. Available online at: Packages and monthly rental.
- Read them for further information on the fees, services, channels and features of the digital service.
- Both the DCT and the remote will have their own user guides.
- If you receive a spanish-only users guide for the DCT, you can download an English language guide from http://broadband.motorola.com/consumers/products/dct700/downloads/DCT700_User_Guide.pdf.
The DCT currently being offered by Flow is the Motorola DT700. You can read about this DCT at the Motorola website: http://broadband.motorola.com/consumers/products/dct700/.
The remote for the Motorola DT700 is the CheckMate V model RT-U50. It is a universal remote which, by default, is set to operate your cable box but you can program it to operate your TV, DVD player, VCR, audio system, etc. Read the guide that came with the remote for further instructions.
You can download a PDF version of the guide from: http://www.sunwave.net/PDF/CheckMate_V_RT-U50.pdf.
No fibre optic lines are used for the domestic installation. All cable used (from the pole to the building, “wiring” of all outlets, from the DCT to the television) is standard 75 ohm copper coaxial cable.
ALL LINKS IN THIS SECTION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT FURTHER NOTICE
The Flow Trinidad website is annoying to use (on both dial-up and “broadband”) because flash has to be installed in order to use the navigation elements. User must also waste time waiting on bloated and un-necessary flash animations to load.
To minimise this annoyance, here are some direct links to cable TV related information:
- Website: www.flowtrinidad.com/.
- List of areas scheduled for digital upgrade.
- Compare analog to digital service.
- Channel line-up. The list for the digital package shows only the channels available for the “basic” package.
- Contact information.
- Online form for submission of queries and comments.
- Fees and charges.
- Packages and monthly rental.
- How to sign up, equipment policy, blackout policy, terms and conditons of service.
- Bill payment options.
- Technical Support.
- Digital Quick Tips Guide (PDF format).
- Digital Getting Started Guide (PDF format).
The creator(s) of this page and the TTCS are not affiliated with:
- Flow (or its agents/representatives).
- Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited (or its agents/representatives).
- Any other telecom provider (or its agents/representatives).
- The Telecom Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT)(or its agents/representatives).
This page has not been endorsed in any way by any of these entities.
Information on this page is subject to change without further notice. If you use any information from this page, you do so at your own discretion and risk and you are solely responsible for any and all: financial loss, damage to your equipment or loss of data that may result directly or indirectly from such use.
In other words, if you screw-up, or your equipment or data gets screwed up, it is 100% YOUR fault! Don’t blame anyone else.
original article by CR