Has Comcast Encrypted All HD Channels At This Point? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-26-2013, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I apologize if this has been rehashed countless times. I am wondering if Comcast has encrypted all of their channels/HD channels at this point. I currently have basic cable (the most basic level that we can get) and just have the cable running directly into my 2 TVs. For the basic (network) stations, I still get the HD versions of the channels. I called Comcast tonight to consider changing what I have and the guy I was talking to said he didnt think that I should be able to get any HD channels without an HD digital converter box.

My second question is, if I bumped up my package to the entry level digital package, will I still be able to plug in and tune the network stations in HD on my 2nd TV, which will not have a set top box, (obviously I wont get any of the higher-numbered digital-only channels). What's the deal?
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post #2 of 26 Old 08-26-2013, 06:18 PM
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JoeKustra has been trying to document the loss of "Clear QAM" channels. QAM being the method cable uses to deliver all digital (SD and HD) programming. Clear meaning unencrypted.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475637/are-all-your-qam-channels-scrambled

You might also want to find your local thread in this forum.
http://www.avsforum.com/f/45/local-hdtv-info-and-reception

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post #3 of 26 Old 08-26-2013, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zaphod7501 View Post

JoeKustra has been trying to document the loss of "Clear QAM" channels. QAM being the method cable uses to deliver all digital (SD and HD) programming. Clear meaning unencrypted.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1475637/are-all-your-qam-channels-scrambled

You might also want to find your local thread in this forum.
http://www.avsforum.com/f/45/local-hdtv-info-and-reception

Thanks for the links. I found my local thread and asked on that. We'll see what people say.
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 10:05 AM
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Comcast is in the process of encrypting all channels. When this happens in your area they will be offering an HD-DTA box which will allow you to receive local broadcast channels in HD. If you have limited basic I believe they will give you two HD-DTA boxes free for a year or two an then only charge a small fee (I believe 50 cents per box)..
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post #5 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 11:28 AM
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The big question is: will Comcast start charging you an "HD technology fee" if you opt for the HD-DTA boxes? That would add another $10/month to your bill.
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post #6 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 08:04 PM
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If you have limited basic I believe their is no HD Technology fee.
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-28-2013, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadziedzic View Post

The big question is: will Comcast start charging you an "HD technology fee" if you opt for the HD-DTA boxes? That would add another $10/month to your bill.
I wondered this very same thing, but I asked them about it and they said with limited basic, I should be able to get 2 (i think) for either free or very inexpensive.
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post #8 of 26 Old 08-29-2013, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadziedzic View Post

The big question is: will Comcast start charging you an "HD technology fee" if you opt for the HD-DTA boxes? That would add another $10/month to your bill.

No, people on DSLR have said it's the same charge as the old DTAs, $1.99/mo. with no tech fee. Pretty good deal if all you want is live TV on a secondary set.
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post #9 of 26 Old 10-02-2013, 02:41 PM
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Comcast in Santa Cruz, CA has encrypted all channels as of October 1, 2013. I was using a HD HomeRun dual tuner to get clear QAM channels in MS Media Center, worked great, but the party is over. Now there is no clear QAM at all. mad.gif
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post #10 of 26 Old 10-02-2013, 07:14 PM
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If you're using an HDHR, don't you have the ability to add a CableCard to get your channels back? At least HDHR supports that option, whereas other tuners won't work at all, including the ones in most TVs.
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post #11 of 26 Old 10-02-2013, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Aleron Ives View Post

If you're using an HDHR, don't you have the ability to add a CableCard to get your channels back? At least HDHR supports that option, whereas other tuners won't work at all, including the ones in most TVs.
There's a few different models, the original HDHR was a non-CableCARD dual tuner capable of OTA and QAM tuning. The newer HDHR Prime has 3 tuners and is CableCARD equipped, I think they also have a 6 tuner model but I haven't been to the forum for awhile so I'm not positive on that.

I have both models and as of Oct 1st the HDHR dual tuner model became useless to me as I am too far away to take advantage of the OTA tuner portion of the device.
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post #12 of 26 Old 10-02-2013, 09:29 PM
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Ah, I thought the base model was OTA only.
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post #13 of 26 Old 10-03-2013, 12:50 PM
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I have a first edition HDHR which was both OpenQAM and OTA. No OTA for me though as I live in a valley. So bye-bye Comcast. They're overpriced anyway. I have U-Verse for broadband but may "cut the cable" for awhile and see how streaming only goes. Another provider is also moving into the area which their own lines.
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post #14 of 26 Old 10-08-2013, 08:07 AM
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The big question is: will Comcast start charging you an "HD technology fee" if you opt for the HD-DTA boxes? That would add another $10/month to your bill.

Sadly, yes, they will charge the $10/monthly fee even if you're on limited basic (local channels only). I called last evening to order my HD DTA and specifically asked if there were any extra fees for HD. The rep (who sounded knowledgeable on the whole subject) stated that the HD DTA itself would be free for 2 years, but the $9.95 HD Technology Fee would only be waived for the first year.

Looks like I'll be ordering an antenna!
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post #15 of 26 Old 10-08-2013, 09:40 AM
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This, like everything else with Comcast billing, varies by area. There is no HD tech fee in the ATL for DTAs or Cablecards, but I believe it is added for HD STBs and DVRs.
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post #16 of 26 Old 10-09-2013, 08:59 AM
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All CSR's sound like they know what they are talking about, but sadly few actually do when it comes to Comcast's policies. Unfortunately they are usually the last to know. I would suggest that when it comes to policy that you get it in writing from Comcast.
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post #17 of 26 Old 10-16-2013, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pleomorph View Post

Sadly, yes, they will charge the $10/monthly fee even if you're on limited basic (local channels only). I called last evening to order my HD DTA and specifically asked if there were any extra fees for HD. The rep (who sounded knowledgeable on the whole subject) stated that the HD DTA itself would be free for 2 years, but the $9.95 HD Technology Fee would only be waived for the first year.

Looks like I'll be ordering an antenna!

I just got my latest Comcast Bill and a new channel guide in this guide it states "HDTV Broadcast signals are included in a subscription to Limited Basic." it also goes on to say that for the higher levels of service you are required to pay an HD Technology fee (which includes one programmable HD cable box).
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post #18 of 26 Old 10-17-2013, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

I just got my latest Comcast Bill and a new channel guide in this guide it states "HDTV Broadcast signals are included in a subscription to Limited Basic." it also goes on to say that for the higher levels of service you are required to pay an HD Technology fee (which includes one programmable HD cable box).

Thanks for the info. I have since traded in the DTA for a CableCard (HDHomeRun FTW!) and the HD Technology Fee line item was removed from my account. The HD channels still come through with the CableCard on Limited Basic, so hopefully you're right and I had just another uninformed Comcast rep.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 08:55 AM
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I don't really understand why they did this. Is this to get people to spend more of fees besides the bogus promotions they offer?
I had a promotion which sounds good on paper, but they rip you off with the equipment. i miss the days of the adds in the magazines
where you can buy cable tv equipment.
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post #20 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 09:43 AM
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You still can: TiVo, Samsung, Ceton, and Silicon Dust all make cable card tuners and DVRs. I have a single Ceton serving my 5 room system and pay a total of $2/month in equipment fees.


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post #21 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by dmann304 View Post

I don't really understand why they did this.

 

Five large cable companies (one of them being Comcast) petitioned the FCC, claiming that unauthorized splitters for stealing content weakens the signal so paying customers get an inferior signal, and if all channels were encrypted it would remove the incentive to do so. Also, to cut down on global warming and potentially reduce installation fees, the customer could do his or her own installs as long as the feed to the wall was hot and upgrades and downgrades of service would just be a matter of sending the right signal down the line instead of having an installer drive to the location. The FCC bought the arguments and gave permission for all channels to be encrypted, but required certain concessions during the transition time, such as 30-day notice to customers before they start to encrypt local channels, and the free use of a cable box or CableCARD for 1 to 5 years (depending on cable package and whether one is on Medicaid).

 

I am not saying I like it, but that is what I understand the argument presented to the FCC consisted of.


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post #22 of 26 Old 12-21-2013, 12:09 PM
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First off the wrong people own the cable companies. It's like they got their training during their first incarceration. They remind me of the way business is done on a carnival midway. Secondly, I dropped Comcast when they encrypted Limited Basic here. That made my computer tuners worthless. After I dropped the subscription I noticed that the DVR which was still hooked up recorded a Syfy show. So much for shutting off everything and the local channels were still there. Apparently even though they encrypted they didn't have what was needed in place to shut off the locals or even my second tier. I thought perhaps they left them up in case I changed my mind. I returned the DVR via their prepaid box and still got a call from their contractor that it had not been received even though tracking showed it had been received at their return center. And after two months I am still waiting for my refund for the pro-rated services not used (since they bill ahead). I've read online that you even have to bug them and it took some folks six months to get that check. This is not a reputable company at all.
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post #23 of 26 Old 12-25-2013, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Conrad View Post

First off the wrong people own the cable companies. It's like they got their training during their first incarceration. They remind me of the way business is done on a carnival midway. Secondly, I dropped Comcast when they encrypted Limited Basic here. That made my computer tuners worthless. After I dropped the subscription I noticed that the DVR which was still hooked up recorded a Syfy show. So much for shutting off everything and the local channels were still there. Apparently even though they encrypted they didn't have what was needed in place to shut off the locals or even my second tier. I thought perhaps they left them up in case I changed my mind. I returned the DVR via their prepaid box and still got a call from their contractor that it had not been received even though tracking showed it had been received at their return center. And after two months I am still waiting for my refund for the pro-rated services not used (since they bill ahead). I've read online that you even have to bug them and it took some folks six months to get that check. This is not a reputable company at all.
I subscribed to various levels of Comcast cable television service for 11 years. My last three years were on various promotional packages for Digital Starter and Digital Preferred. I don't have any real "horror stories" to report but at times their company's service and sales reps seemed to be maddeningly inconsistent. After moving to a regular house, we switched to OTA television via antenna (and very reasonably-priced DSL Internet). The biggest concern I have about Comcast is that they keep requiring their subscribers to rent more and more equipment. They have become notorious (per various web site discussions at DSL Reports and elsewhere) for imposing their $8/month modem rental fee on Internet subscribers who actually purchased their own modem outright, based on Comcast's belief that because Comcast downloaded the initializing software, that the modem automatically becomes property of Comcast! My DSL carrier doesn't impose this kind of shady antics! There are too many reports of Comcast subscribers turning in their cable boxes, DTAs, DVRs, Internet modems and telephonic+Internet modems to an authorized Comcast facility, only to be accused by Comcast of failing to return said equipment and therefore receiving demand letters insisting that the subscriber pay the full replacement cost of the allegedly-unreturned equipment.
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post #24 of 26 Old 12-25-2013, 11:08 AM
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Comcast included a list of instructions for returning the DVR using the pre-paid box they sent. Among them was to be sure to get a receipt from the USP drop-off so you can track it. Of course a couple days after sending it off tracking showed it was received and who signed for it. Beyond there it is their problem I figure. However on Monday of the next week I got that call from the return service and they instructed me to be sure to have the tracking number in case Comcast called. They never did. I have received no statements or demand letters but figure they are sitting on my rebate to collect the interest (think about that when multiplied by the thousands). Not a very reputable way to run a business. And a chart I looked at the other day shows they are about the third largest political campaign contributor so they have Congress in their pockets.
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post #25 of 26 Old 12-26-2013, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

They have become notorious (per various web site discussions at DSL Reports and elsewhere) for imposing their $8/month modem rental fee on Internet subscribers who actually purchased their own modem outright, based on Comcast's belief that because Comcast downloaded the initializing software, that the modem automatically becomes property of Comcast!

I have never seen this posted as a reason why their billing system tries to claim customer-owned modems as theirs, but I do know it's a recurrent problem for some folks (including my daughter) in dealing with them. It can be fixed by calling their corporate CS number or using Comcast Direct at dslreports, you have to bypass the main phone number because all they'll do is give you a monthly credit for the bogus rental fee.

I've been with them for over 10 years now (since they bought out AT&T Broadband, which used to be MediaOne and before that a local cableCo) and have always been successful at getting a good double play promo that keeps me using them. That plus I'm pretty well bound to using Cablecards with my DVR setups. Just re-upped for Preferred cable + Performance HSI for $80/mo. for a year, can't complain about that.
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post #26 of 26 Old 12-26-2013, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

I have never seen this posted as a reason why their billing system tries to claim customer-owned modems as theirs, but I do know it's a recurrent problem for some folks (including my daughter) in dealing with them. It can be fixed by calling their corporate CS number or using Comcast Direct at dslreports, you have to bypass the main phone number because all they'll do is give you a monthly credit for the bogus rental fee.

I've been with them for over 10 years now (since they bought out AT&T Broadband, which used to be MediaOne and before that a local cableCo) and have always been successful at getting a good double play promo that keeps me using them. That plus I'm pretty well bound to using Cablecards with my DVR setups. Just re-upped for Preferred cable + Performance HSI for $80/mo. for a year, can't complain about that.
I've been pretty lucky with Comcast as far as cost as well. I have the HD Preferred XF package and although it's listed at $165 I've been getting a $45 discount off that price for a couple of years now just by going in and asking for it. I almost always also get some free HBO or Showtime and a boost to Blast speeds over Performance as well. Comcast's picture quality is not the greatest but I've stopped expecting pristine HD from TV a long time ago. But given I'm a TiVo owner(also use one of Comcast's DVRs) along with having a SD Prime computer tuner using CableCARDS the service/price combination works out better than my other available options, I'm happy.
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