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post #211 of 879 Old 09-22-2008, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

I disagree. For Analog, they have said Ltd. Basic will be around for a while. Expd. Basic is being phased out, as we know it has just started recently....

In an email from the prior Comcast CTO he stated Comcast wanted to get rid of all analog channels after two year from the over the air cut analog date (it may be sooner in some areas).
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post #212 of 879 Old 09-22-2008, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post


At least, when they drop Analog Expd. Basic, they can replace those filters with the ones for Digital Expd. Basic, it will be $ and time, but it will be progress for bandwith reclamation.

They don't need to replace anything. Once analog expd. basic is removed, digital expanded basic can move into the newly opened frequency spot, which would be covered under the same traps as now.

Absolutely nothing would change. Just digital signals under the trap instead of analog ones.
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post #213 of 879 Old 09-22-2008, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

In an email from the prior Comcast CTO he stated Comcast wanted to get rid of all analog channels after two year from the over the air cut analog date (it may be sooner in some areas).

They have periodically revised their plans, and I apparently missed this latest plan. You did say two years or sooner from now, and seeing as they only plan to have 20% of markets dropping Expd. Basic Analog this year, I didn't think they would have drop Ltd. Basic Analog so soon, but they surely may.
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post #214 of 879 Old 09-22-2008, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by cypherstream View Post

They don't need to replace anything. Once analog expd. basic is removed, digital expanded basic can move into the newly opened frequency spot, which would be covered under the same traps as now.

Absolutely nothing would change. Just digital signals under the trap instead of analog ones.

Good point.

My other point still holds, though. They saved time and $ not having to trap out Expd. Basic in Digital while also trapping the simulcast in Analog. Rather, they have been using encryption for the Digital until it can replace the Analog.

Don't you think though that they will eventually abandon traps like they wanted to? One obvious way is to get an FCC waiver on encryption. The other is to have enough Digital QAM TVs in the field, that those with Analog or Digtial w/o QAM TVs will be few enough, that Comcast will have no problem telling them they must rent a CC Digital Box. Any guesses when that will be?
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post #215 of 879 Old 09-22-2008, 05:38 PM
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If they could get a waiver from the FCC, along with still be able to get DTA's with security functions cheaply massed produced, then yeah I think Comcast will encrypt all of expanded basic. Even in the few RCN All Digital markets, they've started locking down EVERYTHING, and people with QAM tuners are pissed. The Cable operator doesn't care if people are pissed or not. They just care about protecting their signal.

Even if it was unencrypted digital, someone could still open a lock box and simply attach their cable to the tap port, or remove the expanded basic trap if it's there. Then they can get cable TV with off the shelf QAM tuners. So all digital + Encryption would be the ultimate form of signal security.

Does the rising cost of adding security decoding to the DTA's merit the cost of theft and truck rolls for connections/disconnections? Maybe it does, but they will have to convince the FCC from there. And if the boxes can 'cheaply' be engineered to use Motorola's Privacy Mode, is that enough encryption to keep them and their content providers happy? What about Scientific Atlanta systems? Do they have a simular cheap encryption? Or are they going to use another format like DVB? But that would be a waste of bandwidth because that format would still need to be simulcast in QAM MPEG2 for the people with real boxes and DVR's.
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post #216 of 879 Old 09-22-2008, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

In an email from the prior Comcast CTO he stated Comcast wanted to get rid of all analog channels after two year from the over the air cut analog date (it may be sooner in some areas).

Facing the heat from FiOS, cutting off analog is pretty much required if Comcast wants to stay in business.

Ryan, N2RJ

Opinions expressed are solely my own, and not that of my employers, its parent company, affiliates and subsidiaries.
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post #217 of 879 Old 09-23-2008, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

Don't you think though that they will eventually abandon traps like they wanted to? One obvious way is to get an FCC waiver on encryption. The other is to have enough Digital QAM TVs in the field, that those with Analog or Digtial w/o QAM TVs will be few enough, that Comcast will have no problem telling them they must rent a CC Digital Box. Any guesses when that will be?

10 years from now, easy. They were still selling analog TV's a couple of years ago, and digital QAM tuner TVs are still too expensive in comparison for secondary set replacement. Might change if they get cheap enough, but if your old set still works, why switch?

I think they would love to get rid of traps, but I also think (hope) that they are scared of what happens if they force everyone to get boxes for all sets.
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post #218 of 879 Old 10-14-2008, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast Tunes Up SDV Tuning Adapters
OCTOBER 08, 2008

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) confirmed Wednesday that it is making a new breed of Tuning Adapters for customers who use inherently one-way CableCARD-capable digital TVs and stand-alone TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO - message board) digital video recorders (DVRs) that require help accessing channels delivered in the operator's switched tier.

A spokeswoman said the Tuning Adapters are already available to customers in Cherry Hill, N.J., confirming reports from Comcast customers earlier this week.

Cherry Hill is one of the few markets where Comcast is testing switched digital video (SDV), a technique that improves bandwidth efficiency. There, Comcast is using Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO - message board)'s SDV platform as well as the vendor's overarching digital platform.

Cisco has developed a Tuning Adapter called the STA-1520, while Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT - message board) offers one called the MTR700. (See Cisco Intros SDV Tuning Adapter .)

The cable industry shifted the Tuning Adapter (previously dubbed the "Tuning Resolver") project into high gear following complaints from TiVo that the DVR pioneer's unidirectional, CableCARD-capable units would not be able to access the channels delivered via SDV. Channels in an operator's switched tier are streamed out only when a customer in a given service group selects them for viewing. (See NCTA Sees Solution to Switching Snag.)

CableLabs published the Tuning Adapter specs last November. The device itself hooks in via a USB 2.0 connection and uses that link to modify the firmware of the DVR or digital TV. (See CableLabs Spec Brings SDV to the Masses.)

Balance of article at:

http://www.lightreading.com/document...65548&site=cdn
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post #219 of 879 Old 10-27-2008, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Tru2way Platform for Bidirectional Cable Communication Launches

Comcast Corporation and Panasonic have announced the first deployment of tru2way bidirectional digital cable technology. Tru2way was developed by CableLabs based on the OpenCable specification and is a Java-based open application platform. It is being promoted as a digital CableCARD system that enables two-way communication between a digital-cable-ready TV set or other device and a cable operator's head end to provide viewers with a rich interactive experience. According to a statement from Panasonic, "the technology creates a common software platform that will enable cable companies, consumer electronics companies, content developers, network programmers and others to extend interactivity to the TV set and other kinds of devices."

On October 15, 2008, Comcast activated the technology on its cable systems in Chicago and Denver. Panasonic HDTV sets with tru2way capability were also made available at selected retail outlets in these areas. The new Panasonic 42" and 50" Viera sets have built-in tru2way CableCARD slots enabling consumers to receive the cable electronic program guide and access two-way digital cable programming, like video on demand, pay-per-view, and other services, without a cable operator-supplied set-top box. To see the announcement from Panasonic and Comcast click here. Another announcement, from the Consumer Electronics Association, is available here.

The advantage of the bidirectional cable card f or consumers is that it removes he need for another set-top device around the TV and potentially reduces the equipment fee cable operators charge to lease their set-top components. However, it also enables other DTV devices to have bidirectional cable capability.

Comcast will supply tru2way CableCARDS to subscribers who request them and will provide Multistream cards, which enable tuning up to two channels simultaneously for recording one while watching a different program. While the initial tru2way products rolled out by Panasonic in Chicago and Denver are integrated televisions without recording capability, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January this year, Panasonic and Comcast announced that a tru2way set-top box with DVR was undergoing trials and would be available later in 2008. At CES, they also showed a tru2way-enabled portable digital video recorder (P-DVR) known as the Comcast AnyPlay, expected to be available in 2009. This device incorporates DVR functionality into a portable DVD player, which, when placed in a docking station connected to cable, functions as a full-featured DVR.

This deployment of a bidirectional cable card system is the end of a long-drawn-out process. In the Communications Act of 1996, Congress first sought to provide cable television customers with the opportunity to purchase their own navigation devices (i.e., set top boxes). This finally led to the FCC's Plug and Play Order of September 2003 that provided consumers with the possibility for purchasing an alternative to the set-top box rented from the cable company. However the adopted specifications provided for a one-way system only, with no upstream or bidirectional capabilities and no support for services such as electronic program guides, video on demand, pay-per-view or other interactive features.

As reported in TV TechCheck of July 9, 2007, the cable industry and the consumer electronics industries subsequently submitted different proposals for bidirectional plug-and-play systems, neither of which gained acceptance. This eventually led to the FCC in June 2007 releasing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making, stating that consumers had not shown significant interest in one-way services and soliciting comments on the two different proposals for bidirectional cable solutions. In reply comments to that NPRM, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) set out the case for adopting the OpenCable platform developed by CableLabs.

The OpenCable platform was subsequently renamed tru2way and announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January this year by Comcast and several consumers electronics manufacturers as an agreed software platform to enable digital televisions and other devices to access cable's two-way interactive services without the need for a set-top box. This was confirmed by binding memorandums of understanding on tru2way technology signed in June 2008, between six U.S. cable operators (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, Charter, and Bright House Networks) and consumer electronics manufacturers including Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and also with set-top box makers ADB and Digeo, and chip manufacturer Intel.

While not codified by the FCC, it does seem that tru2way will be the de facto cable industry standard for interactive cable systems. Its capabilities are summarized in the Host License agreement (click here) and the full OpenCable specifications are available at www.opencable.com/specifications.

http://naob-advocacy.informz.net/nao...ve_170687.html
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post #220 of 879 Old 12-05-2008, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Although this is a local story it appear Comcast systems throughout the country will be doing a similar transition to digital.

Comcast changes affect mid-valley
By Steve Lathrop
Albany Democrat-Herald



Additional channels and services are available to cable TV customers in Linn and Benton counties beginning this week, according to Theressa Davis of Comcast.

Digital reception will be provided to customers who receive Standard Cable and Expanded Basic Cable channels (2 through 71) beginning Feb. 11. The company is making available digital converter boxes at no charge starting this week.

“Our customers have told us they want more high definition and more digital delivery,” Davis said.

Letters began going out this week outlining the change. Standard and Expanded Basic channels have been carried in both digital and analog formats allowing customers to use the service without the need for additional equipment.

According to Davis, the conversion lets Comcast better utilize its available bandwidth.

Each customer will receive a free upgrade to digital including high-definition television, on-demand choices, an on-screen interactive guide and digital music channels.

Customers receiving Limited Basic cable service (channels 2 through 31) on analog signals will see no change.

Chris Banker at Global Communications in Lebanon, which offers DirecTV satellite systems in Linn and Benton counties, said the Comcast announcement has no impact for satellite viewers.

“We already are all digital and our customers have boxes,” he said.

With the change, Comcast will add up to 20 additional channels. Davis said monthly service fees will not increase.

The letter outlines steps customers need to take to receive the equipment. Standard and Expanded Basic analog customers will get a digital set top box which accesses all added services. Up to two adapter boxes for use on other televisions will also be provided. Adapters will receive the television signal only.

Customers receiving digital service with televisions not hooked up to their set top box will need adapters to get digital channels. People needing more than two adapters can get them for $1.99 each.

Those choosing not to take the equipment will receive only Limited Basic channels 2 through 31 after Feb. 11.

Customers can order equipment by calling 1-800-266-2278. Shipping is free and subscribers can install the systems themselves. Professional installation is available at a cost of $16.99.

Davis emphasized that the change is not connected with the mandated federal change due in February, when over-the-air transmissions switch to digital.

http://www.democratherald.com/articl...astchanges.txt
LL
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post #221 of 879 Old 12-05-2008, 07:46 PM
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Hands on with the Pace DTA over in the Broadbandreports ComcastTV Forum:
http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r215...nboxing-Photos
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post #222 of 879 Old 12-31-2008, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Panasonic, Comcast: tru2way Now Active in Chicago and Denver
Posted on December 29, 2008 by itvtwp
-Funai to Launch tru2way-Enabled DVR at CES

Panasonic and Comcast recently announced that tru2way is now active in the Chicago and Denver areas: Comcast says that it has activated its first tru2way headends in those regions, and Panasonic says it is now offering its tru2way-enabled Viera HDTV sets in retail at Abt Electronics in Glenview, Illinois, at various Circuit City stores in and around Chicago, and at Ultimate Electronics and Circuit City stores in the Denver area. The companies say they will launch tru2way capability in additional cities in the coming months. The arrival of the first tru2way HDTV's at retail, combined with Comcast's activation of its first tru2way headends, are among the most significant milestones in the cable industry and are a huge win for consumers, Paul Liao, CTO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, said in a prepared statement. At the May 2008 Cable Show, we stated with great confidence that the first tru2way HDTV's would be available for consumer purchase at retail by fall 2008. We are especially delighted to have partnered with Comcast and CableLabs to make good on that promise and bring the benefits of open networks to cable subscribers. Added Mark Hess, Comcast's SVP of video product development: We see tru2way technology as the gateway for our customers to experience the next generation of interactive television, and our work with Panasonic to develop and support the first fully digital cable-ready HDTV's is an important first step in making that happen. This common platform also will let us develop an exciting array of interactive services and applications that we can deliver on our advanced fiber network to a variety of consumer electronics devices.

Panasonic's first tru2way-enabled Viera Plasma HDTV's-the TH-42PZ80Q and TH-50PZ80Q-are offered with 42-inch and 50-inch screens respectively, and integrate tru2way receiver capability within their chassis. The TH-42PZ80Q has an MSRP of $1,599.95 and the TH-50PZ80Q an MSRP of $2,299.95. In addition to tru2way support, the sets offer 480Hz Sub-field Drive for sharp motion image focus; 1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio; Viera Link (allows viewers to operate all Viera Link-equipped components with a single remote); and a built-in SD memory card reader for playing back digital photos.

In related news: According to a report by Cable Digital News's Jeff Baumgartner, Funai Electric Co. plans to launch a tru2way, dual-tuner HD DVR/set-top box next year. The box, which will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month and which will be marketed in retail and through the company's MSO customers, employs a tru2way middleware stack from Vividlogic. It is scheduled for mass production during the third quarter. According to Baumgartner's report, while Funai is also considering launching a tru2way-enabled HD set-top box without a DVR, it is waiting to see whether the standard receives a positive response from consumers before developing tru2way-enabled integrated digital TV sets.

http://blog.itvt.com/2008/12/29/pana...go-and-denver/
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post #223 of 879 Old 01-13-2009, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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CES 2009: Comcast, TWC To Flip Tru2way Switch By July 1
Two Biggest MSOs Say They're Ready to Enable Interactive TV Technology Across Their Footprints
By Todd Spangler -- Multichannel News, 1/10/2009 2:06:00 PM

Las Vegas -- Comcast and Time Warner Cable executives said they're on track to enable support for retail devices compatible with CableLabs' tru2way interactive TV specification across their footprints by July 1.

....Bob Faught, Comcast senior vice president of retail and alternate channel sales, said the company also is getting ready to have all its systems up and running by July 1. Comcast in October turned on tru2way support in Chicago and Denver systems, as part of working with Panasonic to sell tru2way-based HDTVs through limited retail outlets in those markets.

...Leddy said he was hopeful that tru2way technology would let CE manufacturers deliver more sophisticated cable-ready devices, such as those that incorporate Blu-ray Disc players. That's because such advanced devices are too expensive for an operator like Time Warner Cable to justify buying in volume, he said.

...Stephen Goldstein, Samsung Electronics business development manager, said the CE maker was committed to tru2way and that he'd like to see more programmers exploit its capabilities.

...Another one of cable's goals with tru2way -- the consumer-facing name for OpenCable, which the industry still uses internally -- is to increase supplier diversity.

...Until tru2way hits critical mass, cable operators are planning to enable support for the lighter-weight Enhanced TV Binary Information Format (EBIF), across millions of its existing digital set-tops. According to Leddy, the current plan of the largest operators is to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 million set-tops equipped with EBIF by end of 2009.

As for downloadable security -- once considered to be a lower-cost solution than CableCards for meeting the separable-security mandate of the FCC -- Leddy said the economics favor simply continuing on the CableCard path.

Full article at:
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6628298.html
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post #224 of 879 Old 01-13-2009, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
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As for downloadable security -- once considered to be a lower-cost solution than CableCards for meeting the separable-security mandate of the FCC -- Leddy said the economics favor simply continuing on the CableCard path.

Sad for TWC, and I hope Comcast does go for DCAS eventually. Comcast Cablecard installs, in many areas, are a complete clusterf***. They roll techs to do simple card pairings then don't bother to init the cards properly before they come out (here in the ATL). They just don't want to deal with anything other than their own crap.
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post #225 of 879 Old 01-21-2009, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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The state of tru2way according to CES

by Ben Drawbaugh, posted Jan 19th 2009 at 3:09PM


If you were waiting for CES to see all the great new tru2way devices then you probably noticed that there really weren't any. In fact we spent some time towards the end of the show looking for tru2way and was very surprised to see that there was actually less tru2way this year then last.


The most noticeable was Panasonic who proudly displayed its tru2way plasmas on an end-camp at its booth last year, while this time around the same two models were hidden in a dark demo area. Panasonic said this was because these sets were announced last year and the new stuff gets the center stage, which makes sense, but what about extending tru2way through the line? Overall Panny did have the most information about tru2way and in fact told us that in the next few months it is expected that another five Comcast markets will be opened up to 3rd party tru2way devices. Samsung was also showing a few tru2way sets and was more than happy to share the wonders of the technology with us, but unfortunately the one question we had went unanswered; when would the 42 and 50 inch sets (pictured above) go on sale? The two biggest disappointments thought were from LG and Sony. While LG had a tru2way set hidden away at last year's booth, there wern't any to be found this time around. Sony on the other hand made a big splash earlier when it signed on to the memorandum of understanding, but the closest thing to a commitment at the show was a add-on box that would strap on to the back of your set. It didn't help that the demo was obviously just an empty shell and far from a real product.

The bottom line is that if you thought that 2009 was going to be the year of tru2way, then think again. At the very most there will only be about four TVs for sale, from two manufacturers, and maybe an add-on box from Sony. This also means that there probably won't be a tru2way box from TiVo, Moxi or even an Windows Media Center tru2way compatible tuner. Of course this could all change and since last year The Cable Show was practically the tru2way show, we'd expect that if there was any good news we'd hear it there in April.

http://www.engadgethd.com/2009/01/19...ording-to-ces/
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post #226 of 879 Old 01-27-2009, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Although this article does not direcrtly mention Comcast all major cable companies will be employing this o similar technology.

BigBand Edge QAM Plays 1 GHz
JANUARY 27, 2009

BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND) has baked in 1 GHz capabilities to its BEQ6000, a "universal" edge QAM that can share network resources among a wide range of digital cable applications, including broadcast video, switched digital video (SDV), and video-on-demand (VoD).

Enabling the gear to support the higher frequency range is increasingly important as MSOs expand bandwidth beyond 750 MHz or 860 MHz and tap that fresh spectrum for speedy Docsis 3.0 services and more hi-def and VoD content.

Although publicly traded MSOs don't like to talk much about this particular bandwidth "tool" due to the stigma it could carry on Wall Street, privately held MSOs like Cox Communications Inc. have been more upfront about their 1 GHz strategies.

While all new digital cable boxes can tune to 1 GHz, it's rapidly becoming a key feature in the edge QAM -- a product that is central to a new CableLabs -specified Modular Headend Architecture (MHA).

Although BigBand is the first to boast 1 GHz capabilities in its edge QAM, several other vendors queried by Cable Digital News say they've already been there, done that.
Complete article at:
http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=170990
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post #227 of 879 Old 02-02-2009, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Many Bay Area Comcast customers will soon need set-top boxes

By Troy Wolverton

Mercury News
Posted: 01/30/2009 06:44:16 PM PST

Many Comcast customers who receive analog cable will soon have to get a set-top box to keep watching most channels.

The company is upgrading its system in the Bay Area, moving 47 basic channels that it now delivers via analog signals to digital transmissions.

The changes will begin about March 9 in Pleasanton and Santa Clara and continue a week later in San Mateo, San Carlos, San Rafael and other cities. The company, which has started telling affected customers, has not said when it will make the upgrade in San Jose. But it plans to complete the Bay Area revamp by the end of the year.

Digital signals require less bandwidth than analog ones, said Andrew Johnson, a Comcast spokesman. The change will free up space to offer all customers more high-definition channels and faster Internet connections.

"We can give customers more of the services they are wanting," he said.

For now, Comcast won't charge customers extra for the digital channels, Johnson said. And it plans to hand out up to three set-top boxes per subscriber for no extra charge.

The upgrade will allow Comcast to offer on-demand programs, some of which it charges extra for, to customers who previously couldn't get them, Johnson said. Also, to offer customers higher and more expensive packages of channels, Comcast needs them to be digital subscribers first.

Bill Nusbaum, a senior telecommunications attorney at The Utility Reform Network, a nonprofit utility industry watchdog group, worries that Comcast will use the switch to digital transmissions as an excuse to raise cable rates.

"They can say all they want about (not charging for the upgrade), but the point of fact is that they've been increasing their rates every year," he said.

The upgrade affects customers who subscribe to Comcast's analog expanded basic cable service, which offers channels from 2 to 82. About 20 to 25 percent of Comcast's customers in the Bay Area or about 340,000 to 425,000 subscribers get that level of service, Johnson said.

As part of the upgrade, Comcast will move channels 35 to 82 to digital transmissions. In order to view those channels, customers will need to have either a digital-ready set-top box from the company or a device or television that can accept a cable card.

The company is essentially upgrading its analog expanded basic customers to its entry-level digital service, Johnson said. The digital package costs on average about $1 more than the analog service, and that price difference will continue even though both sets of customers will soon be getting the same service.

At no additional charge, Comcast will give each affected customer one advanced set-top box that can receive on-demand programs and up to two regular boxes that don't have that ability. The company expects that to satisfy most customers, who on average have 2.8 televisions.

Customers who want an additional advanced set-top box will be charged $6.99 a month. Those who want additional regular boxes will pay $1.99 a month for each box.

In order to receive the boxes, subscribers will need to contact Comcast. The company has set up a special Web site and phone number for those requests. Subscribers can put in their set-top box requests at any time, even if the company hasn't yet said when it plans to upgrade its lines in their city.

The upgrade will not affect subscribers to Comcast's lowest tier service, which delivers only local television stations. The company will continue to deliver those as analog transmissions, even though most of those channels will soon be available only in digital over the air.

Federal law requires most over-the-air stations to cease analog transmissions and broadcast only in digital beginning on Feb. 17, although that may be delayed. The law doesn't affect cable companies, but many are moving to transmit channels digitally as well. After the digital broadcast transition, Comcast plans to convert the over-the-air channels to analog for its entry-level subscribers, which make up about 11 percent of its customer base in the Bay Area.

Separately, Comcast is testing out a free wireless Internet service for its New Jersey customers in stations and parking lots near the state's transit lines. The test is in its early stages, but a company official said Comcast is considering taking the service nationwide if the test goes well.

Mercury News wire services contributed to this report. Contact Troy Wolverton at twolverton@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5021.

Basic cable goes digital

What: A change in the way Comcast transmits basic cable channels 35 to 82. To receive those channels, most affected subscribers will have to get set-top boxes.
When: Starting around March 9.
Affected: Bay Area customers who subscribe to Comcast"s analog expanded basic cable service.
Cost: For most customers, nothing. Up to three set-top boxes will be provided free, and, for customers who request it, the company will send a technician to install the boxes.
To get a set-top box: Submit a request at 1-877-634-4434 or www.comcast.com/digitalnow.

Source: Comcast

http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_11594570
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post #228 of 879 Old 02-10-2009, 03:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast 'Cavalry' Rides Into NoCal
FEBRUARY 09, 2009

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) confirmed it's in the middle of an "upgrade" in the Bay Area that will move more than 40 analog channels to the digital domain, freeing up capacity for more high-definition fare and Docsis 3.0-fueled services.

Comcast, according to The Mercury News, expects to start making the digital shift in early March in Pleasanton and Santa Clara, Calif., and quickly follow in San Mateo, San Carlos, San Rafael, and other nearby cities. The paper said the MSO expects to complete the Bay Area upgrade by year's end; a Comcast spokeswoman contacted by Cable Digital News would confirm only that a handful of communities are already "on the clock" to get the upgrade.

The Bay Area becomes the third market to get the "all-digital" treatment (OK, mostly digital) using digital terminal adapters (DTAs) as a primary vehicle. The others are Portland and Salem, Ore., launched in November; and Seattle and other parts of Washington, launched in December.

Comcast has already completed "Project Cavalry" (its internal name for analog reclamation) in Salem, and last week added another 29 HD channels to the lineup in that system.

Comcast has previously gone all-digital in Chicagoland and the Detroit region, but got those projects off the ground without the help of DTAs. (See Comcast Doctoring Digital in Detroit and Going 'Mostly' Digital .)

Assuming Comcast operates as it did in the other markets, Bay Area customers with expanded basic cable subscriptions will get one low-end set-top box and two DTAs for no added cost as long as they remain Comcast customers. Each additional DTA would cost $1.99 per month. (See Comcast Seeds Digital Shift With Free Boxes.)

Comcast is moving several channels to digital broadcast but will retain about 30 channels, including local broadcast-network feeds, in analog.

Comcast has said it expects it will need as many as 25 million DTAs to complete its analog reclamation project.

Once the MSO reclaims about 40 analog channels in the Bay Area, it's expected to use the freed space for HD channels and video-on-demand expansion. (See Comcast Launches 'Project Infinity'.)

The space could also be used for Docsis 3.0, the CableLabs platform that uses channel-bonding techniques to produce shared speeds above 100 Mbit/s. Comcast, which has been limiting downstream speeds of its wideband tiers to 50 Mbit/s, has about 35 percent of its network ready for for Docsis 3.0. As reported last week, San Francisco and Denver are among the markets next in line to get the service. (See Comcast Widens Wideband Footprint and Comcast Wraps Up '08 Wideband Rollout .)

Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=171808
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post #229 of 879 Old 02-10-2009, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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If you have a new TV with a QAM tuner you do not need a DTA since the digital channels received by the DTA are unscrambled and can be received by any QAM tuner. Note: These DTA boxes have a security mode which currently is not activated, Comcast has asked the FCC for a waiver to allow use of this security mode of digital transmission, if granted by the FCC then these DTA boxes would be needed.
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Bay Area customers with expanded basic cable subscriptions will get one low-end set-top box and two DTAs for no added cost as long as they remain Comcast customers.

Interesting, I'm not sure I've seen it mentioned before that the DTAs would be free forever.
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Originally Posted by keenan View Post

Interesting, I'm not sure I've seen it mentioned before that the DTAs would be free forever.

'Free', nothing is free. Here, they have raised Analog Standard service more than usual the last two years at least, in anticipation of including the so-called 'free' DTAs.

Can't say anything is forever, but indirectly at least our local Comcast, as well as some other system's literature that I saw, say that Digital Starter (Standard service with a box) now includes one Digital Box or DTA, plus two more DTAs. Addtl DTAs for $2/ea.

Some people have erroneously said that everyone could get three DTAs added for 'free' to what they already have, if any, but this is not true, as stated above, the total included boxes is three.

Since they are including them, and not giving a timetable, I doubt they will change this, at least not for the forseeable future.

In the Phila.-Comcast thread, in the following post, I attached a scan of the last page of our bill from Jan.:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...postcount=9802
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If Comcast moves the digital versions of expanded basic analog channels into the frequency range that is blocked by the filters they have used in the past for restricting analog channels to limited basic, then folks with limited basic and QAM-tuning TVs will lose those expanded channels they are now able to tune in.

I believe someone in Salem, OR, reported just such a move. This tends to minimize the need for encryption of those digital "expanded basic" channels for non-subscribers.

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Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

'Free', nothing is free. Here, they have raised Analog Standard service more than usual the last two years at least, in anticipation of including the so-called 'free' DTAs.

Can't say anything is forever, but indirectly at least our local Comcast, as well as some other system's literature that I saw, say that Digital Starter (Standard service with a box) now includes one Digital Box or DTA, plus two more DTAs. Addtl DTAs for $2/ea.

Some people have erroneously said that everyone could get three DTAs added for 'free' to what they already have, if any, but this is not true, as stated above, the total included boxes is three.

Since they are including them, and not giving a timetable, I doubt they will change this, at least not for the forseeable future.

In the Phila.-Comcast thread, in the following post, I attached a scan of the last page of our bill from Jan.:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...postcount=9802

Well, you know what I mean regarding "free".

Interesting that they're only free with Digital Starter in your area whereas only Standard Cable is required in the bay area.
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Originally Posted by Budget_HT View Post

If Comcast moves the digital versions of expanded basic analog channels into the frequency range that is blocked by the filters they have used in the past for restricting analog channels to limited basic, then folks with limited basic and QAM-tuning TVs will lose those expanded channels they are now able to tune in.

I believe someone in Salem, OR, reported just such a move. This tends to minimize the need for encryption of those digital "expanded basic" channels for non-subscribers.

I'm guessing that is the reason to do any of this... not the freeing up of bandwidth, but I'm a bit of a sceptic with anything Comcast...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget_HT View Post

If Comcast moves the digital versions of expanded basic analog channels into the frequency range that is blocked by the filters they have used in the past for restricting analog channels to limited basic, then folks with limited basic and QAM-tuning TVs will lose those expanded channels they are now able to tune in.

I believe someone in Salem, OR, reported just such a move. This tends to minimize the need for encryption of those digital "expanded basic" channels for non-subscribers.

From a consumer's point of view this would be much better than Comcast getting the DTA security mode waiver from the FCC, because QAM tuners would be as useful as analog then. But Comcast might not want to keep maintaining the traps so encryption is probably better from their point of view.
So far they've had a senior VP say that they're going to keep them in the clear for now because they haven't had a problem working it out with the content providers. Since these clear channels are all SD (none of the HD expanded basic channels are in the clear after a migration, I think) it's probably not a hard sell, assuming they keep using the traps.
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Well, you know what I mean regarding "free".

Interesting that they're only free with Digital Starter in your area whereas only Standard Cable is required in the bay area.

Notice I wrote, 'Digital Starter (Standard service with a box)' Well, ok, here, they really aren't exactly the same, either, but very close.

Here, the price difference has always been the cost of the Digital box or less. This 1 Nov., they raised the price of Standard to the same as Digital Starter, and discontinued new subscriptions to Standard.

Here, with Standard, adding a Digital box or DTA yields a few digital-only Ltd. Basic and Expd. Basic channels, to automatically become Digital Starter, which, in a few months, will become the new de facto Standard, so to speak. (The Digital Box also adds OD, PPV, and Guide, of course.)
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Originally Posted by QZ1 View Post

Notice I wrote, 'Digital Starter (Standard service with a box)' Well, ok, here, they really aren't exactly the same, either, but very close.

Here, the price difference has always been the cost of the Digital box or less. This 1 Nov., they raised the price of Standard to the same as Digital Starter, and discontinued new subscriptions to Standard.

Here, with Standard, adding a Digital box or DTA yields a few digital-only Ltd. Basic and Expd. Basic channels, to automatically become Digital Starter, which, in a few months, will become the new de facto Standard, so to speak. (The Digital Box also adds OD, PPV, and Guide, of course.)

I thought that might be the case but I've only ever had Limited Basic so I've never had to really research the different packages.

What's nice about Comcast converting the Expanded channels to digital in my area is that they're all clear-QAM, meaning I get the full Standard Cable channel listing for a Limited Basic price of $18, not a bad deal.
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post #238 of 879 Old 02-11-2009, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget_HT View Post

If Comcast moves the digital versions of expanded basic analog channels into the frequency range that is blocked by the filters they have used in the past for restricting analog channels to limited basic, then folks with limited basic and QAM-tuning TVs will lose those expanded channels they are now able to tune in.

I believe someone in Salem, OR, reported just such a move. This tends to minimize the need for encryption of those digital "expanded basic" channels for non-subscribers.

Well, they had to place the Digital Expd. Basic channels somewhere to test them, so that is why they were on unfiltered frequencies temporarily. As soon as Analog Expd. Basic goes, in a given market, they move the Digital Expd. Basic to the vacated frequencies that have been filtered out for non-subscribers.

However, this doesn't minimize the need for encryption from Comcast's perspective. The fact is encryption is secure and inexpensive, and filters aren't; so, if and when they can get an FCC waiver, you can bet Comcat encrypts these channels.
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post #239 of 879 Old 02-11-2009, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by keenan View Post

I thought that might be the case but I've only ever had Limited Basic so I've never had to really research the different packages.

What's nice about Comcast converting the Expanded channels to digital in my area is that they're all clear-QAM, meaning I get the full Standard Cable channel listing for a Limited Basic price of $18, not a bad deal.

Not for long. As soon as they shift frequencies they will be filtered out, just like before.

All of the Digital Expd. Basic channels? Or do mean just SD Expd. Basic?

AFAIK, HD Expd. Basic is still encrypted.
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post #240 of 879 Old 02-11-2009, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by grubavs View Post

I'm guessing that is the reason to do any of this... not the freeing up of bandwidth, but I'm a bit of a sceptic with anything Comcast...

By 'any', if you are including the main project of dropping Analog, then yes it was to reclaim bandwith, in order to add much more HD, as well as faster Internet service. However, moving the frequencies is indeed for security.
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