Comcast is taking away my ClearQAM--what to do? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-22-2012, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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The day I feared is coming next month, Comcast is "improving" their service to all digital, and in the process is taking away ClearQAM and making me use little digital boxes for tuning. That kills my recording setup, which uses a Mac Mini and HDHomeRun tuner. Other than ditching cable and getting a good antenna is there anything I can do?
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-22-2012, 06:51 AM
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You may still be able to record some clear QAM even after "going all digital," so wait until next month to be sure. I have Limited Basic with Comcast and am supposed to use a DTA wherever I want to watch anything, but I still get all the major networks and PBS in HD in the clear just like I always did with coax hooked up to the TVs and EyeTV tuners.

Other options for you besides OTA remain what they've been for a while now: record over component out with a USB tuner like the Hauppauge HD PVR or EyeTV HD, or record with a CableCARD tuner like the HD HomeRun Prime in Windows.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-22-2012, 07:00 AM
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Pretty sure the "all digital" means just that, they are doing away with their analog offerings, not clearquam which is already digital.

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post #4 of 21 Old 09-22-2012, 08:36 AM
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I got that mailer too. It didn't say one thing about about QAM. It just said they want everyone to have a box. Technically speaking, we don't know what will come out the pipe.

The one thing, I haven't heard or read anything about the FCC granting permission for cable companies not giving clearQAM channels on the local broadcast, the stuff you can get OTA. So, I wasn't worrying about it. If they did, it just means I really need to get off my butt and hook up the antenna for who house distribution, and probably needing to get a antenna amp. Plus, it's kind of getting pricey for limited basic.

In otherwords, don't worry about it if you get limited basic.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-22-2012, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
I got that mailer too. It didn't say one thing about about QAM.

And it never will, even mentioning "clear QAM" is a nightmare for the Comcast support folks so they just ignore it. There's no upside: their only goal is to help you rent more of their equipment, use their video on demand services and bundle phone with video and hi-speed internet.
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Pretty sure the "all digital" means just that, they are doing away with their analog offerings, not clearquam which is already digital.

It's what comes after that really matters, hence the hint of fear in FredT's post...what Comcast (and every other cableco) really wants is all of those digital clearQAM limited basic channels to be encrypted, to be locked down requiring additional equipment. That would mean a current HDTV with a built-in QAM tuner or an EyeTV clear QAM tuner like the HD Homerun FredT mentioned, would no longer be able to record the "must carry" locals in HD just by plugging the bare coax in. Most of us view that depressing development as an eventuality. (See FCC filing 11-169 if you're interested in this...)
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-22-2012, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey, thanks everyone for your replies. The language in the mailing led me to the assumption that ClearQAM was going away, but you guys made me step back and read through it more carefully. And at the bottom in small print it says "QAM tuner TVs will continue to receive limited basic channels without a digital device." So I panicked over nothing. This was all about old analog sets not losing service. Sorry for wasting your time, but again thanks for easing my mind! But as Chef said, it's almost inevitable that some day it really will happen.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-24-2012, 01:04 AM
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I'm not so confidence the cable cos will win the encrypting local channel battle. I know for some, if they did, it would really be aweful because they don't get a strong enough signal OTA. Others, not quite the issue other than the inconvineince of setting up the antenna for the whole house.

I have a coworker who worked at Comcast around eight years ago or so. And back then, and probably still, they wanted every house to have a box. So, i'm not surprise they want it.

I had Comcast call me last month wanting me to upgrade and this that. I just told the guy, I don't want it, don't need it and I was more than aware of what they offer since I've been a customer for over ten years.
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-24-2012, 07:12 AM
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My father-in-law just got an Xfinity notice that he'd be required to use boxes on all TVs. They shipped him the boxes. I had just read FredT's note about the fine print, looked at the notice, and confirmed my f-i-l won't require the boxes. Just another two to store...

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post #9 of 21 Old 10-01-2013, 01:19 PM
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October 1 on Comcast: ALL clear QAM channels on ALL devices with digital tuners now show ALL TV channels (including local channels on basic) as scrambled.

The following statement from Comcast is completely false: "QAM tuner TVs will continue to receive limited basic channels without a digital device."

First I had to discard thousands of dollars in analog TVs so that communications companies could buy spectrum at bargain-basement rates. Then I had to spend tens of thousands on lovely, huge HDTVs with digital tuners and on digital DVRs. Now that money has proven to be a completely waste.

And DirecTV won't allow us to buy broadcast network channels.

Welcome to 1951 when we needed an antenna tower with a rotator and a deep-fringe antenna to receive over-the-air television. The came community antenna television (CATV) and it was a good choice.

Now the cable companies (Comcast, anyway) have achieved their ultimate dream: the 55-inch high definition television receiver is now completely useless without a cheesy little converter box hanging off it and your massive TV with auditorium sound gets its input only on channel 3 or 4. And every TV in the house needs its own cheesy little box.

Thanks again, Congress.[

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post #10 of 21 Old 10-02-2013, 06:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldensign View Post

October 1 on Comcast: ALL clear QAM channels on ALL devices with digital tuners now show ALL TV channels (including local channels on basic) as scrambled.
Well it finally happened, just a year later than I first feared. October 1 was the magic date here as well. It was fun while it lasted.

So here's a question to those of you who have lost unencrypted cable: what are you doing to replace it? We have Comcast limited basic and almost never watch live television, so our routine was to record to a Mac Mini (three tuners) using EyeTV and convert and dump most content into iTunes for consumption on Apple TVs. It was not the most elegant of solutions, but it worked remarkably well for us. Now I have to come up with an alternative. Whatever I do, it has to be a whole-house solution, so renting Comcast boxes is out, as their new system is not not available here. Plus I don't want to get trapped with one of their expensive packages. Here are the options I'm looking at:

1. Get an antenna and continue recording as I have. I've already tried some moderately powerful antennas with no success. I might be able to pick up the major networks stations from San Francisco with some really powerful antennas, but there's no guarantee that I'll be successful, and just trying it out will be a major undertaking. I will probably forget this option.

2. Keep my Comcast limited basic and get a TiVo Roamio Plus. The Roamio is a really good unit, and it would pretty much give us the same capability that we currently have. But it is fairly expensive, considering that we don't get any additional content (not that we need it).

3. Get Dish or DirecTV. Only slightly more expensive than TiVo plus Comcast limited basic, we'd get a lot more content, but as I said we don't really need it. I really don't want to get locked into a two-year contract, however, and though the Dish Hopper and DirecTV Genie DVRs seem to be pretty good, they also appear to have some problems.

4. Cut the cord. I've been giving Hulu+ a try, and I have to say that it works pretty well. I just don't know that I can stand sitting through the commercials, though. Sure they're shorter than on broadcast TV, but they can't be skipped, so they're really longer. The real fly in the ointment is CBS: not on Hulu+ and their content cannot be easily put on the big screen. I had to use their web site a couple of times last year when I missed recoding shows, and the experience was not good.

Anyway, if any of you have comments or suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing from you.
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post #11 of 21 Old 10-02-2013, 01:35 PM
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If you're willing to go the Windows route you could use your Limited Basic (with a CableCard from your Cable Co) and get a CableCard Tuner using Windows Media Center.
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post #12 of 21 Old 10-02-2013, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rdb4133 View Post

If you're willing to go the Windows route you could use your Limited Basic (with a CableCard from your Cable Co) and get a CableCard Tuner using Windows Media Center.
If I stay with Comcast and have to go the CableCard route, it will be with TiVo.
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-03-2013, 04:20 PM
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I can't get anything by antennae here. I've never paid for any type of TV. I used to use Comcast for internet but I switched to DSL.

The Coax that runs to my house still gives ABC,CBS,NBC, FOX, and PBS (and maybe a few others here and there too.)

Someday ... They may kill it... I don't know ... I'm always tempted to shut it off myself.... I don't like commercials.
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post #14 of 21 Old 10-03-2013, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Brian Hampton View Post

I can't get anything by antennae here. I've never paid for any type of TV. I used to use Comcast for internet but I switched to DSL.

The Coax that runs to my house still gives ABC,CBS,NBC, FOX, and PBS (and maybe a few others here and there too.)

Someday ... They may kill it... I don't know ... I'm always tempted to shut it off myself.... I don't like commercials.
If that's a Comcast cable, you can be sure that they'll kill it. As for commercials, that's why we DVR!
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-04-2013, 12:55 AM
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I have Comcast too with their Napa office. I run Windows 7 on a Mac Mini with a HDHomerun3CC. I had to get the CableCardM because they encrypted all channels. Unfortunately, your options are limited, like you said. Either put up an antenna or get cablecard to use with the PC or TiVo.

You are correct about CBS being kind of weird about their online presence. CBS.com does have the shows, but they're only there for one week for most shows. I don't think they choose to give have a lot bandwidth for streaming. It will do HD, but I rarely could get it when I tried for a few shows.

The other option, not that it's right, but you go get some of your shows through the torrents. You're already time shift viewing.

As for OTA, I would suggest putting up a temporary one and see what you actually get. You can go to various sites and see what you may get. I had an antenna, and we literally threw it on the roof and get a quite a few channels. I know we can get channels with a property mounted and installed one. I'm just using the cablecard and crappy set top boxes till I can find someone to install the antenna. I like Comcast's internet service, so I'm just going to run cable directly to the office. Let the rest of the house use OTA. I was already annoyed paying $25 a month just to get local channels.
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-04-2013, 05:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FredT View Post

If that's a Comcast cable, you can be sure that they'll kill it. As for commercials, that's why we DVR!

I had comcast before for Internet and they are somewhat a monopoly for people here who don't use sat.

I keep hearing they will kill it and someday I guess.

I uses samsung h260f and all I watch is football. Even so,.. What a waste of time. Kind of wish they would encrypt it already. There's so many other things I can watch.
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post #17 of 21 Old 10-06-2013, 11:27 AM
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Father-in-law's reception (Cupertino, CA) zip w/o box on 1OCT2013 (a day that will live in infamy forever), as Comcast (aka: The B@$t@rd$!) promised. I use TiVo w/cable cards & antenna so didn't notice. A do-nothing congress, EXCEPT for collecting payola for screwing the "represented".
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post #18 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 10:46 AM
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All, I just got the letter that I need a comcast tuner or some other comcast equipment. I recall getting this letter before (maybe a year ago). I didn't panic and nothing happened with regard to Clear QAM. I have no idea if the analog channels are scrambled because my HDHomerun grabs digital only. Is it time to throw an antenna up on the chimney? This is really a pain in the ass.
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-16-2013, 12:19 PM
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I am really hoping a solution for cablecard tuners comes soon, and is compatible with eyetv.

(Alternatively, I would love a new app to come along and dethrone eyetv, I have been very disappointed with them for several years now, even using the latest eyetv HD with a rented cable box paired with a 2011 iMac.)

The only hope on the horizon is Silicon Dust's new transcoding cablecard tuners, hopefully they will spur the development of solutions for those of us with OSX computers.
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post #20 of 21 Old 12-09-2013, 11:27 AM
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Comcast is scrambling clear QAM in 2 days. I live in GA. I went and got me a RCA indoor antenna. I pick up ABC FOX NBC and CBS except PBS. I am happy. I can still record with my WMC. Screw Comcast! Do not pay to watch TV.
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post #21 of 21 Old 12-10-2013, 04:54 PM
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I've using an antenna for years. Works great. Never paid for cable.
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