SteveQL

HD versions missing in ON DEMAND

36 posts in this topic

I am a  TCM cable user who relies on ON DEMAND to watch movies when I wish after airing .  TCM has drastically reduced titles in On Demand which is bad enough.   But, now I observed among the few titles that have been added in the last day or two are only available in SD version not also in HD version. 

Perhaps it is my cable provider at fault.  Any others aware of this?

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End of postings since I may be the only TCM user  experiencing  SD only ON DEMAND .  I just opened TCM On Demand and tried to play on my HD TV  MY FAIR LADY.  Postage stamp  picture. No point calling my cable provider since last time I did they stated they can only load content TCM sends.

Hence, sorry for unnecessary postings.

 

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4 hours ago, SteveQL said:

End of postings since I may be the only TCM user  experiencing  SD only ON DEMAND .  I just opened TCM On Demand and tried to play on my HD TV  MY FAIR LADYPostage stamp  picture. No point calling my cable provider since last time I did they stated they can only load content TCM sends.

Hence, sorry for unnecessary postings.

 

Steve, I am going to make an assumption that when you say "ON-DEMAND" you are referring to your TV Provider's ON-DEMAND feature and NOT TCM's On-Line streaming ON-DEMAND features that is available for customers who choose to access it via their PC's or other portable devices.

Regarding TV Provider HD channels and TCM movies.
Most of the movies that TCM airs are only available in native 4:3 ratio and SD format (480p).
A few of the older movies and some of the later wider-screen "Letterbox" movies that TCM airs have been restored and digitally converted to HD, as I've seen some state that they are in 1080p and even 2K.
But the vast majority are not.
TV Providers generally offer SD channels and HD channels, often with the same programing.
TCM is often stated as being available on both SD and HD channels.
TV Providers have the ability to "Upscale" or "Downscale" programs that are either native SD or HD so that they can be viewed on both SD & HD channels.
A native SD 480p feature can be up-scaled to a 780i (interlaced) format. 780p is the threshold of what is considered HD (high definition).
Current TV Provider receivers and flat-screen TV's both have computer chips and software to recognize an up-scaled (or down-scaled) transmission and present it in as a reasonably viewable picture.
On screens no larger than 32" (when viewed at the proper distance) there is generally no noticeable difference in picture quality from native 480p up-scaled to 780i and a native 780p. Or from a native 780p that has been up-scaled to 1080i and a native 1080p.
However on larger HD screens (esp. when viewed closer than recommended) the lack of pixels can be readily apparent, as no manner of "up-scaling" can actually turn a Standard Definition image (native 480p) into a High Definition image of 1080p or higher (or a 1080p 1k, into a 2k or 4k image, etc.). There will likely be some noticeable digital corruption, especially when there is much up-scaling and De-interlacing involved. 
Point of all this is is that there is little actual viewing benefit achieved when one views native SD movies on an HD channel.

All that said, there may be additional variables at play here, esp. regarding TCM.
Sometimes (much more often in the last several months) TCM has provided their ON-DEMAND customers movies in an altered "Window-Box" or "Postage-Stamp" format.
This generally occurs when a native wide-screen movie (shot in 16:9 or wider ratio) has been previously "Letter-boxed" (with normal black spaces both above and below an image) to fit a 1.33:1 (4:3) ratio screen, and then modified again into "pillar-box" format (with black spaces on both left & right sides of an image) to fit a 16:9 ratio (or wider) screen.
This creates an image that is centered in the screen with black space on all four sides.
These movies have essentially been "shrunk" or modified twice creating a picture which is much tinier than it "normally" should be and often creates distorted figures (actors, etc.) with a widened and squashed appearance.
The "Window-Box" effect is also called "Match-Box," "Gutter-Box," and "Postage Stamp" displays.  
Refer to this thread for more info.

It is not uncommon to see "window-boxed" commercials on HD television networks, because many commercials are shot in 16:9 but distributed to networks in SD (standard definition), with "Letter-boxed" images further blocked to fit the now older 1.33:1 (4.3 ratio) screens.
Also, Occasionally, an image is deliberately "window-boxed" for stylistic effect.
Sometimes the opening sequence of movies (even TCM's older classics) will be "Window-boxed" during the title and initial credits sequence, but afterward be in their normal (4.3 ratio) "Pillar-Boxed" format (or worse, "Pan & Scan" if a later "Widescreen" movie has been "reedited" in such a manner).

But too often what TCM is making available for ON-DEMAND viewing these days are movies that they have previously aired in their native formats and screen ratios, but now are broadcasting or streaming in this heavily edited and modified "Window-Box" format.
If this is what you are seeing, then it is highly likely that the fault lies with TCM.
If such is the case then there is not much anyone who subscribes to TCM can do about it as TCM has remained persistently unresponsive to it's viewers regarding any of their inflicted problems over the years.
And ALL TCM streaming customers are currently enduring a far less than satisfactory WATCH TCM website revision, with many inherent issues of concern.

However in your situation (lacking any direct TCM feedback) the only way to truly verify this is for you to provide much more information, such as the name of your TV Service Provider, and region of the country. Also the specific channel and movies that you are trying to watch.
Even the time of day and your time zone, can be helpful. And the size and type of monitor or TV that you are using (i.e. Samsung 32" HD 1080p, etc.).
Then hopefully someone who is in your area (with the same provider and similar equipment) may be able to cross-check and respond more precisely.  

I will share that three or four days ago I watched "The Fugitive" and "Santiago" (both from WATCH TCM ON-DEMAND), and they were presented in their normal (native) formats i.e. "The Fugitive" was presented in 4:3 ratio and was  Pillar-boxed on my 16:9 ratio monitor, and "Santiago" was presented in 16:9 ratio and therefore filled my 16:9 ratio screen with no Letter-boxing.
But I viewed them from On-Line streaming and NOT from a TV Provider's On-Demand source, so that info is not likely to be very helpful to you, except to verify that as of three days ago, those movies were NOT being streamed in Window-Box format, which may narrow the problem down to your particular HD channel.

What I suggest is for you to try to watch those same movies on your TV Provider's non-HD, SD On-Demand channel and see if the problem goes away.
If that is the case, then I would consider that the problem lies in the channels up-scaling conversion process, since neither "The Fugitive" nor "Santiago" has been recently digitally restored and converted to HD format.
I would also suggest that since the vast majority of what TCM broadcasts is NOT in native HD, that you are likely NOT deriving any benefit from attempting to view them from an HD channel (irregardless of the quality of your TV monitor). In fact, the channels up-scaling and your TV's de-interlacing process may be having an ill effect on your viewing.
If this proves to be the case then I recommend watching TCM's native SD programing on an SD channel, and save the HD channels for programing that was natively produced in HD format.

Just a suggestion, take it or leave it.

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Thanks for your reply.   Hence, Camelot and The Music Man On DEMAND viewings best to watch on my CRT SD TV to avoid postage stamp format.  However, I just turned ON DEMAND HD version of 'A Hard Day's Night' aired last night on My HD TV. Beautiful crisp wide screen picture fills entire screen edge to edge.  In closing, still too many titles not available after airing.  Can't help suspecting A T & T/Time Warner is calling the shots on which films to allow TCM to play. 

As I stated before --- end of an era!  And, my cable provider already stated they are limited to content TCM sends.

 

Thanks again,

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Addendum:

Just turned on TCM live and 'North By Northwest' on.  I wonder if it will be butchered to SD only if even downloaded to ON DEMAND.  Fortunately, I have numerous DVD (50th anniversary issues  etc.) and BluRay copies.

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3 hours ago, SteveQL said:

Thanks for your reply.   Hence, Camelot and The Music Man On DEMAND viewings best to watch on my CRT SD TV to avoid postage stamp format.  However, I just turned ON DEMAND HD version of 'A Hard Day's Night' aired last night on My HD TV. Beautiful crisp wide screen picture fills entire screen edge to edge.  In closing, still too many titles not available after airing.  Can't help suspecting A T & T/Time Warner is calling the shots on which films to allow TCM to play. 

As I stated before --- end of an era!  And, my cable provider already stated they are limited to content TCM sends.

 

Thanks again,

RE C-151 mins, CC
Music Man, The (1962)

As of this PM --- a  HD version is now in ON DEMAND.  However, in info see in the upper left corner run time is 17 minutes (same with SD version 17 minutes).  So can't be resumed.  TCM obviously has problems.

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On 6/27/2018 at 4:35 PM, SteveQL said:

Thanks for your reply.   Hence, Camelot and The Music Man On DEMAND viewings best to watch on my CRT SD TV to avoid postage stamp format.  However, I just turned ON DEMAND HD version of 'A Hard Day's Night' aired last night on My HD TV. Beautiful crisp wide screen picture fills entire screen edge to edge.  In closing, still too many titles not available after airing.  Can't help suspecting A T & T/Time Warner is calling the shots on which films to allow TCM to play. 

As I stated before --- end of an era!  And, my cable provider already stated they are limited to content TCM sends.

 

Thanks again,

Steve, most of the old Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) televisions had a more square shaped (4:3) ratio screen.
They were perfect for their time because most of the older (pre-1953) films and television shows were shot in that format.
When widescreen movies came into vogue (to better compete with TV's home audiences, in effort to get them back into the theaters again) more and more movies were shot in 16:9 ratio and even wider Panavision (2.35:1 ratio) or Cinerama. These widescreen movies would not fit on the old 4:3 ratio CRT's, hence many of them were edited for TV viewing in "Pan and Scan" format.
In an effort to restore the original movies format "Letter-Boxing" was presented, which showed the entire widescreen picture. But on a 4:3 monitor it left black bars above and below the picture that many people were not used to and some became uncomfortable with.
The first flat-screen digital monitors were also offered in 4:3 ratio, as well as a more rectangular 16:9 ratio. 
When a movie filmed in 16:9 is viewed on a 16:9 ratio monitor it naturally fills the entire screen. However when an even wider 2:35:1 ratio film is viewed on a 16:9 screen, there will still be the appearance of letter-boxing.
Regardless, all of this is superior to Pan & Scan as it allows the entire film to be viewed as shot and intended.
Of course when older 4:3 ratio films are shown on a wide-screen they will no longer fill the screen as they once did on the CRTs, and there will be the appearance of pillar-boxing (with vertical black bars on either side of the picture). But again, the viewer is seeing the entire picture as shot and intended, it just doesn't fill the rectangular screen.
Today's Film makers can produce movies using any manner of aspect ratios to enhance their creativity, but for now, the most common widescreen TV compromise is the 16:9 ratio screen.

The problem with Window-Boxing arises when wide-screen movies are edited (letter-boxed) for a 4:3 ratio screen and again reedited (Pillar-boxed) to fit a 16:9 screen. The result is the tiny, distorted "Postage Stamp" image that has black bars on all four sides.
This has nothing to do with Standard or High definition, and everything to do with screen aspect ratios. 
A Window-Boxed movie will appear with black bars on all four sides regardless of the size or aspect ratio of the screen it is shown on. Be it a 4:3 CRT, or a 16:9 flat-screen monitor. 
It is a defectively re-edited product and TCM has no business showing it whether it is a broadcast, or an internet stream, or an On-Demand product shown by your TV Provider.

Definition has everything to do with lines and pixels that make up the image on a screen, along with faster (or higher) refresh rates (i.e. 60 frame per second and higher) to avoid jitter and blurring of fast action.

Television signals are transmitted either through the air or through lines, and frequently a combination of both.
The signals are now digitally encoded and are scaled to fit bandwidth requirements and limitations. 

In the United States the National Television System Committee (NTSC) first established the analog television (ATV) color system that was used in North America from 1954 until digital conversion was mandated in 2005.
In analog television technology the video and audio are carried by analog signals.

Digital television (DTV) is the transmission of television signals, including the sound channel, using digital encoding, which is far more efficient and frees up more signal bandwidth than analog signals.

The Digital Transition Mandate was noble in rationale. The initial goal was to make TV and the internet more widely accessible to the public at large by maximizing the carrying capacity of existing lines and bandwidth by forcing Broadcasters, TV Service Providers and ISPs to transition from use of analog to digital signals.

"Standard definition" (SD) 480 was established by the NTSC in 1954, with a vertical resolution of 480 lines of pixels and 720 horizontal lines of pixels (720x480) which is approx. 345,600 square pixels on the TV screen.

When The Digital Transition and Public Safety Act of 2005, was passed (with a deadline for the end of broadcasting of analog television in the United States planned to cease in 2009), 720p was considered "High Definition" (HD).
HD 720 is a vertical resolution of 720 lines of pixels and 1280 horizontal lines of pixels (1280×720) which is approx. 921,600 pixels on the TV screen. 

When the Digital Transition "standards" were set in 2005, 720p was the most common of the progressive scan TVs because it was 25-35% cheaper than the early 1080p counterparts at that time.
Analog CRT TVs were still available, but gradually being phased out at that time.

720p is still considered the low-end of HD, and has the advantage that it can be up-scaled and displayed as a 1080i. And 720p uses much less bandwidth and is cheaper than 1080p.

P stands for progressive scan technology and I stands for interlaced scan technology.
The interlaced scan does every other line on one frame then refreshes and goes back and does the opposite set of lines on the next, whereas progressive scans starts at pixel lines 1 and goes through to the last pixel line before going back to the beginning.
The difference is the amount of information being generated by the TV each frame, a progressive frame rate carries a much larger amount of data. Which is why, when broadcasters went from analog to digital, they used the i technology of the day (it was less expensive to implement).
When transmitting digital signals (p) technology gobbles up more bandwidth than (i), and 1080 uses more bandwidth than 720, and 720 uses more than 480, and analog was already a bandwidth hog, so the TV providers went (i), relying on the user's home Televisions ability to De-interlace and progressively up-scale the signals.

However, by the time The Digital Transition Act was actually being implemented in 2009, the "new" HD standard was HD 1080p, with a vertical resolution of 1080 lines of pixels and 1920 horizontal lines of pixels (1920×1080) which is approx. 2,073,600 pixels on the TV screen.

The term High Definition in television has always been relative.
First coined in 1936; HD regarding those systems were only high definition when compared to earlier systems that were based on mechanical systems with as few as 30 lines of resolution.
The ongoing competition between companies (and nations) to create true "HDTV" spanned most of the latter 20th century, as each new system became more HD than the last. In the beginning of the 21st century, this race has continued with 2K and 4k, and recent 8K systems.

The more commercialized use of high carrying capacity broadband fiber optics and higher native resolution HD programing, along with digitally converted video to HD Blu-ray media, and 2K and 4k (along with 8k and beyond) big-screen Ultra HD TV's is changing the way we "see" the world.
But profit motivated U.S. broadcasters, and TV and ISP's, are still lagging far behind, as the cost of fully upgrading to P and Ultra HD technology would cost them more than the mandated effort to switch from analog to digital technology. And ISP and TV Service Providers charge way too much as is.
And we have yet to feel the repercussions of the recently repealed Net Neutrality Rules in which the once public minded FCC voted on Dec. 14, 2017 in favor of deregulation of businesses against the public's best interest. 


In the meantime, the vast majority of TCM content is still being broadcast in Standard Definition 480 (at present).

Watching TCM on an HD channel isn't going to turn their native SD broadcasts into HD. No amount of adaptive up-scaling can do that. At best the equipment can merely make those broadcasts view-able in non-native format HD, but not without some degradation.
Progressive HD up-scaling can only enlarge the appearance of existing pixels (on larger screen TVs) and smooth out some of the rough edges by filling in the gaps left by missing pixels, but it cannot actually add more more pixels than what was originally there to begin with (i.e. a 1 million pixel 720 can never become a 2 million pixel 1080).
But depending on the size and quality of your monitor, and the distance between yourself and the screen (and of course the acuity of your eyesight), you can watch a native 720 on a 1080 (and vice versa) and likely not notice any negligible difference.

However, even with today's De-interlacing hard and software, interlaced modes can sometimes result in motion blur (more noticeable during fast action or sporting events), esp. in the cases of dropped frames and when the viewer is sitting very close to the TV.
But when sitting at an appropriate distance and esp. with 32" and smaller TV's there is generally no noticeable difference in appearance between 1080p and 720p other than the actual covered resolution.
So it really only pays to go 1080p (or 2k and 4k and beyond) with the larger and larger TV screens, and only then if the broadcast or video itself is native to those much higher resolutions.
But as of today, with most stations still broadcasting content in SD 480, and some at HD 720p, the only way to truly appreciate all that expensive pixel power is by watching a native 1080p (or higher) HD DVD or Blu-ray.

There are some streaming services (i.e. PBS, Netflix, and YouTube, etc.) that have offerings of up to (and occasionally beyond) 1080p HD.
But ISP accounts and home equipment must also be capable of handling the greater data. And all that data gobbles up Gigabyte caps quickly and costs ever more money...
So many variables to consider...

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1 hour ago, SteveQL said:

TCM obviously has problems.

That is the understatement of the day! :rolleyes:;)

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13 hours ago, SteveQL said:

RE C-151 mins, CC
Music Man, The (1962)

As of this PM --- a  HD version is now in ON DEMAND.  However, in info see in the upper left corner run time is 17 minutes (same with SD version 17 minutes).  So can't be resumed.  TCM obviously has problems. 

Just loaded the movie from WATCH TCM ON-DEMAND.
The run time monitor at the bottom of the picture has it at 2.34.45 hr (154.45 min)
It was broadcast last night so the time difference is due to the inclusion of Alicia Malone's intro and outro.

If you can watch TCM on a portable PC, it's easy to view the picture on your larger TV screen, assuming you have an HDMI port on the computer and an HDMI input on your TV (most of today's PCs and HDTVs do) and of course you need an HDMI cable that can reach from one to the other.
There are other ways to do same without the cable, via WiFi, but I prefer the security of a relatively closed system. 

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12 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

That is the understatement of the day! :rolleyes:;)

My Fair Lady HD version disappeared from TCM's ON DEMAND title (thus only SD version remains).  So again, TCM obviously has problems.  I'm sticking with watching on TV and not streaming to accommodate TCM's inadequacies.

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12 hours ago, Stephan55 said:

Just loaded the movie from WATCH TCM ON-DEMAND.
The run time monitor at the bottom of the picture has it at 2.34.45 hr (154.45 min)
It was broadcast last night so the time difference is due to the inclusion of Alicia Malone's intro and outro.

If you can watch TCM on a portable PC, it's easy to view the picture on your larger TV screen, assuming you have an HDMI port on the computer and an HDMI input on your TV (most of today's PCs and HDTVs do) and of course you need an HDMI cable that can reach from one to the other.
There are other ways to do same without the cable, via WiFi, but I prefer the security of a relatively closed system. 

Same here when streaming on WATCH TCM.  But, does not resolve ON DEMAND TCM listings to watch on TV.

Thanks again for your idea.

 

Music Man, The

1962 . 2h 31m . Musical . TV-G

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9 hours ago, SteveQL said:

This is reply whenever I use contact us to report TCM problem.

http://www.tcm.com/cfu/

Absolutely useless.
As is the current Home Page for Watch TCM
http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm?ecid=mainnav1watchtcm

The old schedule, at least had a "Help" button at the top with a link to contact TCM.
http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/schedule/east/

That link no longer exists.
http://www.tcm.com/watchtcm/settings

But it was useless anyway, just as is the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of the the Message Boards pages.

I discovered years ago that there is literally no way to communicate directly with, or to receive any direct response from anyone at TCM.
Only received generic replies when using their "Contact Us" or "Help" links. All were dysfunctional to our purpose or deliberately "broken."
Sent numerous emails, made phone calls, and even used snail mail (as have several others) but none of us ever got anywhere with anyone at TCM.

One person spoke with someone from TCM while on a cruise, was provided some lip service about certain issues and concerns, but nothing more resulted.
Some of us  joined the Defunct "TCM Insiders Club" with the hope that it might be an avenue to present some of our concerns. No such luck.
Have no idea if anyone is attempting to use the "TCM Backlot" or "Wino Clubs" to pursue a dialogue over the problems experienced with TCM... But probably not likely. 
TCM generally only responded back to any of us when we were purchasing something from them. Or when TCM was trying  to sell us something. But as to any other type of query... zippo!

TCM doesn't want to talk with any of us about "problems" or "concerns." They have made it abundantly clear that they have isolated themselves from any meaningful viewer contact, by deliberately refusing to provide any functional avenue of communication with them (outside of sales) that they will respond to.

So despite the friendly "Happy" faces and congenial demeanor of the presenters, the real TCM is merely another ruthless and unresponsive commercial entity, whose only interested in making an insensitive buck off of us.
They are only "different" in that they just happen to use the movies that we love to watch as their foot-in-the door teaser product.
And they only provide those movies as a means to either directly reach into our pockets, or to secrete themselves into our on-line devices, to gather information and monitor our activity for the sole purpose of mining and selling our personal data ...

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Thank you. Agree with you 100% 

Time Warner merged with A T & T, of course!

TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES, INC. A TIME WARNER COMPANY

 

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Since TCM is useless to resolve problems http://www.tcm.com/cfu/ ----------- I just posted on my cable provider's website MY FAIR LADY HD version was  inexplicably removed from ON DEMAND leaving only the SD version (postage stamp size if watched on my TV).  Hopefully, they can contact TCM as they have on other TCM problems (video and audio out of sync etc.)

Was worth a try. We'll see!

 

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RE: TCM has problems and/or incompetence:

Unreal: Foreign Correspondent (1940) which aired last Saturday 23rd  finally appeared last night in ON DEMAND but only HD Version.  However, It was late and so I was in bed using my CRT SD TV and since no SD version could not watch. Wasn't about to get up and use HD TV in living room to watch.   And, again no way to alert TCM of problem: http://www.tcm.com/cfu/

I give up!

 

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Don't give-up, or give-in Steve, rather allow yourself to adapt and overcome...

Open your mind to considering the option/s that I have already discussed with you.
Nothing is "perfect" but it may be a viable "work-around" to allow you to still enjoy your movies from TCM when your preferred method/s is/are disfunctional. ;):)

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Thank you.

RE: your preferred method/s is/are dysfunctional.  My preferred method  is why I pay nearly $280.  per month to my cable provider.

Thanks again,

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1 hour ago, SteveQL said:

RE: your preferred method/s is/are dysfunctional.  My preferred method  is why I pay nearly $280.  per month to my cable provider.

Thanks again,

These problems occur. And they frequently occur with TCM.
We all overpay to receive TCM, and are justifiably outraged when we are paying for something that we are not receiving, in the manner we contracted.

"Work-arounds" are not the preferred solution to problems that are inflicted upon us, they are (hopefully temporary) "band-aide" fixes that we wish we didn't have to resort to.
However, when TV Service Providers play the "blame the other guy game." And when "the other guy" (in this case) is a totally unresponsive TCM, we have few options left to us.

We can get  p  i  s  s  ed  to the point where we cancel our subscriptions (always a final option).
Or we can use a hopefully temporary "work-around" solution to wait the problem out.

More often than not there are numerous complaints from a host of others about the same problem.
While TCM apparently remains oblivious to this, sometimes TV Service Providers become more responsive and, while not accepting responsibility, they eventually take steps to resolve the problem from their end.

TV Service Providers have a "contract" with TCM and avenues of communication that are denied to us.
If they actually determine the problem not to be at their "equipment" end then they can possibly "inform" TCM that their subscribers are unhappy and threatening to cancel.
Sometimes it works, sometimes not...

In any event, we subscribers can either follow-through and cancel our subscriptions, or we can apply whatever "work-around" options are available to"wait-it-out," our choice. 

I am big on ranting when  p  i  s  s  ed off (and TCM gives me plenty of reason to be  rant), but it also serves to energize me into seeking out and applying various alternate options to avoid the frustration (because I really do not wish to deny myself those movies that TCM shows, unless I have no option for otherwise).

Watching TCM has been one frustrating "compromise" after another.
Eventually I may just quit them completely and say good-riddance.
But in the meantime I have been enduring my TCM travails by applying one "work-around" after another.
It is not what I prefer, but it is what I have resorted to.
But that is me.

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I just called my cable provider whose system is down ---unreal! I, however, was ultimately able to speak with a U.S. based CSR (in Houston).  I explained to her TCM ON DEMAND titles are inconsistent ---not all in both SD and HD.  I gave her examples: My Fair Lady in SD only so postage stamp view on my HD TV and Foreign Correspondent in HD only so can't watch on my SD CRT TV.   With her system down I could not guide her to TCM's On Demand site to show her lack of both SD and HD versions.  She responded that as an agent (CSR) she cannot contact TCM and told me not all movies were filmed in HD (wide screen) blah, blah blah!!!  She said she will escalate my complaint to someone else.  But, I doubt she will be able to explain if she can't grasp (fully understand) the issue.  I told her I am not the only customer having the problem.

To sum up another waste of time!

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10 hours ago, SteveQL said:

.... To sum up another waste of time!

Been there and through that way too many times....

My cable TV Service Provider in my residential area is COX, I also use them as my ISP.
I have had a long and fretful relationship with them over the years, with many of my travails related to efforts at trouble-shooting problems experienced with TCM, so I can well relate with what you are going through.

Most of the Customer Service Representatives that I have dealt with, though cordial, are very low-end of the employee scale and generally read from a script when attempting to "help" their customers "resolve" an issue.
In all fairness though, many folks who call in with problems are quite un or ill informed themselves about basic issues, so routinely making sure that ones device is plugged-in, and has been rebooted, etc. may resolve a majority of the CSR issues that they deal with on a daily basis.
When trying to escalate a concern to a CS management, or supervisory level, is also often fruitless, as there are several levels there as well, and also varying degrees of competence.

Dealing with technical support staff fairs better, as their level of understanding and competence is more often superior, and they generally understand what an informed customer is talking about.
However COX farms out both their CS and Tech service to 3rd party contractors all over the country, to include Canada, with most located in areas which aren't even served by them. So the persons I speak with are often not personally familiar with the COX product from a customer perspective.
There is no longer a direct line to a local office in my community, nor even my state, and no one can deliberately route a call to an area which is actually serviced by COX, so it is the luck of the draw when I actually speak with such a person.
However, over the years I have directly communicated with a few of the field techs in my area and have their personal numbers. So now, when I get a generic run-around I have the option of contacting one of them to find out what is really going on in my area.

Off the top of my head I have three honestly "positive" things to say about my ISP and TV service provider, which have kept me doing business with them thus far.
One, My ISP now has a basic 1 terabyte monthly data cap, which I have yet to exceed.
Two, COX has the option of a month to month contract, which allows me the option of quitting them anytime without penalty if I am dissatisfied enough to do so.
And Three, whenever my TV or ISP service has been at a deficit, or there has been any sort of outage (from a few hours to a few days) I inform them before I pay my bill, and receive an immediate adjustment. 
I have a habit of writing down times and dates whenever such a problem occurs, and where I called and whom I spoke with about it, to back me up when asking for a prorated adjustment.
COX billing may be aware that there is or has been an outage in my area, but they do not automatically credit their customers so one must ask for it to receive it.

COX has finally been upgrading some of the ancient infrastructure in my area the last couple of years, so my TV and ISP problems (which used to be practically monthly) are now infrequent.
Wish I could say the same about TCM.

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Thanks for this discussion, SteveQL and Stephan55.  I noticed that multiple TCM films through Comcast's On Demand are offered in HD only, in addition to My Fair Lady available only in SD. 

A similar problem occurred a few years ago with TCM's list of On Demand films available through Comcast--no new films were being added to the list as others expired.  The list dwindled to a single film at one point. Although the problem was discussed in posts here and on the Xfinity help forum, TCM replied once and then went radio silent.  Xfinity at least replied to the help forum posts but calls to Xfinity Customer Service were pointless. 

SteveQL, I think you posted on the Xfinity help forum about the current problem, and I've added my own.  And Stephan55--you are a wealth of information.  Thanks again to you both.

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