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Old 04-30-2010, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I am considering bringing up a class action suit against Comcast for misrepresenting its cable products and misleading the customers by making obviously false statements, including those in official published materials.
This has to do with their change in digital transmission and the introduction of the DTA box, now required to watch their basic service programming.
For any of us who have bought modern flat panel digital TV sets the change makes it impossible to receive the digital channels directly. Instead we are forced to watch totally unacceptable quality on horrible antique RF interface - the only way of connecting the DTA box to your modern flat panel TV.
When I called Comcast, I was given the official party line. I was told that in fact they were improving their service by replacing analog channels with digital ones. When I told the representative that exactly the opposite was happening, she was shocked. She then talked to some technical person who apparently confirmed that was the case.
Furthermore, I mentioned that the statement on Comcast web site, in its FAQ section is pure case of misrepresentation. In response to question #8 the company states:
A digital adapter (also known as a DTA), simply provides digital-quality signals.
As we know, that box, with its antiquated analog RF output, is not capable of doing this.
I was further told that I was the only person calling them regarding this issue so I encourage everyone to call.
As result of my long discussion I was offered pretty good deal on their full-function converter box, which I refused, because it did not go far enough.
I truly believe that the misrepresentation and false statements made by company representatives and those placed on their web site, coupled with severe reduction in service quality, warrant a class action suit.
I will be contacting the layer on this issue. I encourage you to do the same.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:30 PM
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Good luck.
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Old 04-30-2010, 12:43 PM
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I am considering bringing up a class action suit against Comcast

First off, you better have a REALLY expensive lawyer and a lot of money. Comcast is a GIANT.

Quote:
For any of us who have bought modern flat panel digital TV sets the change makes it impossible to receive the digital channels directly.

This is where you are confused. You couldn't receive digital channels directly before, you needed a converter box. This conversion by comcast only changes the way you get their analog channels.

Quote:
Instead we are forced to watch totally unacceptable quality on horrible antique RF interface

Actually, the RF interface is very much capable of transferring digital signals. But with that aside, I don't see how you are complaining. Before this transition, you hooked up an RF cable from the wall to your tv to get the analog cable channels. Now, you hook up the cable to the box, then to the tv. So you are STILL using RF, just like you were before.

Quote:
Furthermore, I mentioned that the statement on Comcast web site, in its FAQ section is pure case of misrepresentation. In response to question #8 the company states:
A digital adapter (also known as a DTA), simply provides digital-quality signals.
As we know, that box, with its antiquated analog RF output, is not capable of doing this.

I don't know what else you want. If you get a box with a standard a/v (red, white, yellow) output, you will still be using analog. The only way to get a purely digital signal to your tv is to use component or hdmi, which you would need to pay to rent an HD box to get that.


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I was further told that I was the only person calling them regarding this issue

Maybe because you don't know what you are talking about.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sitlet View Post

The only way to get a purely digital signal to your tv is to use component or hdmi...

"Purely" digital would be HDMI from the cable box to the TV. Component is analog.
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Old 04-30-2010, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

"Purely" digital would be HDMI from the cable box to the TV. Component is analog.

Dang it Ratman -- I was going to write that.

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Old 04-30-2010, 02:02 PM
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Dang it Ratman -- I was going to write that.

Quick, add in "also DVI"!

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Old 04-30-2010, 02:28 PM
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Maybe because you don't know what you are talking about.

Nah, it's standard company policy to tell that to anybody who is complaining about something.
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Old 04-30-2010, 04:54 PM
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So you will be contacting a layer in this case. What layer will you be contacting? Comcast may respond with a lawyer. I wonder who will have the better lawyer??
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:29 PM
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There are many layers of lawyers. I'm sure many lawyers are layers. A good lawyer that's also a layer will screw you. Ironic huh?
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Old 05-01-2010, 03:20 AM
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Just cancel your service if you aren't happy with it. You are going to see compression any pay TV service. If you want to watch something that is not compressed use OTA and DVDs.

Broadcast TV - a vital national public resource
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:53 AM
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Just hold a tea party at the FCC when the waiver is up for renewal in 2 years.
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:44 AM
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LOL, losing analog and then clear QAM really brings the loonies out of the woodwork.
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Old 05-01-2010, 12:51 PM
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I agree with the original poster.

Me, this morning, to Comcast: So, you're completing the digital transition, so I now need a box for every TV set, right?

Comcast: Yes, that's correct.

Me: Are you sure this isn't just a way to increase my monthly cable bill?

Comcast: No, sir, this won't increase your bill.

Me: OK. I currently have expanded basic cable, and use the local HD feed that comes through the analog cable. I want the same thing at the same price, since (according to you) this isn't about a price increase.

Comcast: Well, we give you one set top box and two DTA converters. You'll have to rent DTAs for all the other TVs and devices, and upgrade the settop box to get the HD local channels you want on one TV, and you'll have to get a different settop box to get HD local channels on a second TV. [Were'nt the cable companies supposed to include local channels in every cable package?].

Me: OK, so that adds up to about an extra $40/month or $480/year to get the same level of service I have now. And that's not a price increase, right?

Comcast: Uh, no. But we will waive the price of the additional DTAs for the first 6 months.

Me: Gee, thanks.


I get dozens of solicitations from law firms ever year wanting me to join class action suits. I usually pitch them because most of them are so bogus, and just rack up nice fees for the attorneys involved. But Comcast needs to be taken to task here. They are clearly requiring us to rent more equipment (they don't even have the option to buy) to receive the same level of service we have today. I'll now have to have a new crappy remote for every device in my household, and 9 DTAs consuming electricity 365 days a year. I estimate the minimum fee I would have to pay Comcast if I wanted them to supply my local HD channels to every TV to be about $200/month (HDMI equipped HD cable boxes for every location).

A class action suit would actually be a good way to address this issue. Although several plaintiffs would be chosen an representative, they would not have pay anything in legal fees; the class action law firm would be working based on a future potential return, which in this case would be absolutely huge. I was already thinking of contacting some class action specialists I know this morning.
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Trey9128 View Post


Me: OK. I currently have expanded basic cable, and use the local HD feed that comes through the analog cable. I want the same thing at the same price, since (according to you) this isn't about a price increase.

Comcast: Well, we give you one set top box and two DTA converters. You'll have to rent DTAs for all the other TVs and devices, and upgrade the settop box to get the HD local channels you want on one TV, and you'll have to get a different settop box to get HD local channels on a second TV. [Were'nt the cable companies supposed to include local channels in every cable package?

Sounds like this guy's experience, except he had better outcome:

Comcast, 4/8/10 - Here, Coppensp says: "Since my mandatory upgrade to the Comcast box all of my channels are SD, including local HD channels. Comcast said if I upgrade to HD box service for an additional fee, my problem will be solved for all HD channels. I've removed the Comcast box from the stream and I'm getting my local HD channels in HD once again. My channel line up is slightly mixed up, but I can live with that."

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Old 05-01-2010, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wajo View Post

Sounds like this guy's experience, except he had better outcome:

Comcast, 4/8/10 - Here, Coppensp says: "Since my mandatory upgrade to the Comcast box all of my channels are SD, including local HD channels. Comcast said if I upgrade to HD box service for an additional fee, my problem will be solved for all HD channels. I've removed the Comcast box from the stream and I'm getting my local HD channels in HD once again. My channel line up is slightly mixed up, but I can live with that."

Interesting. The way I understand it, he will eventually lose most of the SD channels too if he doesn't put the Comcast DTA back in. That's the problem; you either get your regular lineup all in SD (including the local channels you WERE getting in HD), OR you take out the DTA and eventually lose most of your cable lineup but retain your local HD. Of course, one could get an A/B switch for the cable input to the TV, but that's a real pain to live with. The only solution to get both is to pay a lot of money for HD set top boxes.
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Old 05-01-2010, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by foxbat9000 View Post

I am considering bringing up a class action suit against Comcast for misrepresenting its cable products and misleading the customers by making obviously false statements, including those in official published materials.
This has to do with their change in digital transmission and the introduction of the DTA box, now required to watch their basic service programming.
For any of us who have bought modern flat panel digital TV sets the change makes it impossible to receive the digital channels directly. Instead we are forced to watch totally unacceptable quality on horrible antique RF interface - the only way of connecting the DTA box to your modern flat panel TV.
When I called Comcast, I was given the official party line. I was told that in fact they were improving their service by replacing analog channels with digital ones. When I told the representative that exactly the opposite was happening, she was shocked. She then talked to some technical person who apparently confirmed that was the case.
Furthermore, I mentioned that the statement on Comcast web site, in its FAQ section is pure case of misrepresentation. In response to question #8 the company states:
A digital adapter (also known as a DTA), simply provides digital-quality signals.
As we know, that box, with its antiquated analog RF output, is not capable of doing this.
I was further told that I was the only person calling them regarding this issue so I encourage everyone to call.
As result of my long discussion I was offered pretty good deal on their full-function converter box, which I refused, because it did not go far enough.
I truly believe that the misrepresentation and false statements made by company representatives and those placed on their web site, coupled with severe reduction in service quality, warrant a class action suit.
I will be contacting the layer on this issue. I encourage you to do the same.

One problem with your argument is that you were getting only the local channels in HD and using your new flat panel HD TV to watch standard definition on everything but the local channels. What you are losing in the transition is not any HD channels but I would agree you are losing all of the standard definition channels unless you use a DTA. To sue a company because they change their product is hopeless. You can use a different provider such as satelite. By removing the analog channels Comcast is freeing up significant bandwidth so they can provide more HD channels to customers that are using an HD cable box. Those customers are happy with the change. Customers without a cable box are seeing a reduction in service those with an HD cable box will see an improvement in service. Depends on which side you are on.
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Old 05-01-2010, 04:55 PM
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Run a bidirectional splitter that allows your DTA or cheap analog only full box to talk back to their system. That's what I've done, when I want to watch my locals in HD I just fire up my old LG 4200a tuner and it gets all my locals still with the splitter I bought, otherwise I just fire up the crappy "free" box and watch all the SD channels I had before, set the TV to RF 3 for that one and the LG comes in on my 1st component input. I put the cable box in to antennae 2 input and use my harmony 880 to hit the proper activity I want to do.
They try to tell you you'll need a a/b rf splitter box to pull that off but you just need enough rf ins and a working tuner that can do HD on cable, otherwise yer screwed and they know it.
This is EXACTLY why they did the "upgrade", to force most customers to rent better boxes, then hopefully buy pay per view crap, and it forces everyone to use their equipment again as they hate low rent folks using their own gear.
If you threaten to cancel sometimes they will offer you a HD basic box like the Motorola 3400? for free and waive the monthly charges. I haven't bothered to go that far yet but I'm pretty pissed about this wonderful upgrade too.
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Old 05-01-2010, 05:49 PM
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The solution is simple. The FCC should grant unlimited mergers to all the corporations that request it. Like Comcast request to take over NBC and MSNBC from General Electric. The corporations claim that mergers always benefit the consumer. I believe them, don't you?

Moreover the Supreme Court just declared that corporations are individuals and have first amendment rights (can give unlimited contributions to politicians to protect their individual "freedom of speech"), so talk to them (she or him). Should be easy. After all they are only ONE person. Just ask justices Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Kennedy, and Thomas if you don't believe me.
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HDMI Guy View Post

One problem with your argument is that you were getting only the local channels in HD and using your new flat panel HD TV to watch standard definition on everything but the local channels. What you are losing in the transition is not any HD channels but I would agree you are losing all of the standard definition channels unless you use a DTA. To sue a company because they change their product is hopeless. You can use a different provider such as satelite. By removing the analog channels Comcast is freeing up significant bandwidth so they can provide more HD channels to customers that are using an HD cable box. Those customers are happy with the change. Customers without a cable box are seeing a reduction in service those with an HD cable box will see an improvement in service. Depends on which side you are on.

It's a little more complicated than that. Cable companies are near monopolies and are heavily regulated. They are not fulfilling their pledge to to make the local channels available on their system (at least not at a reasonable price). In Comcast's case, they are also telling their customers that this transition will not increase their cable bill. It is, for the majority of customers. I'm fine with increasing the availability of digital offerings, but "upgrading" me to a digital cable system that doesn't allow me to pass through the local channels/networks without spending a lot more money in equipment is not meeting their previous pledges.

By the way, a little research shows that there is already considerable interest in a class action lawsuit against Comcast over this. Given the unpopularity of Comcast, and their irresponsibility in this matter, I think a class action lawsuit will have a very good chance of succeeding. Again, personally, I think class action lawsuits in general are ridiculous, but it might be just the tool to push Comcast towards greater responsibility in handling their customers.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:36 PM
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Perhaps you can get your local CATV franchise authority worked up over this. They may have more pull with Comcast than individuals do.
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:57 PM
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this is pretty funny

comcast never admitted to clear qam existing, so there goes that argument.

satellite companies have required stbs for...... if i said a while it would I be optimistic.

considering the whole reason they are doing their digital transition is to decrease the bandwidth required for those expanded basic channels as well as reducing cable theft... Having less bandwidth used up for basic cable channels leaves room for docsis 3.0(50meg+ internet) and more hd channels.

If your serious about a class action suit you better have DEEEP pockets and several supporters with DEEPER pockets.
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Old 05-03-2010, 01:47 PM
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The entire move to DTV is a reversal of fortune for many households, especially those not located in large metro areas. I live in a college town of around 125K in population in the midwest, and with DTV I'm lucky to get 6 broadcast stations off air using a large, external log-periodic antenna with a rotator. This, of course, is a modern day version of the "old-fashioned" way we used to watch television! Back in the analog days, the same configuration with a large VHF/UHF log antenna would guarantee reception of 14 to 16 stations here, some a bit on the snowy, fringe reception side, but still viewable. Not so with DTV, you either have a good picture, or none at all. So, for those of us who receive OTA broadcast transmissions, it's a negative, as the number of watchable stations has decreased.

If you're a cable subscriber, Comcast is in many respects taking away what you once had. The ability to split the analog signal within your house and send it to numerous locations to cable-ready TVs is now, or soon will be, history - well, without multiple DTA's that is. Multiple VCR, or DVR, time shifting will also be history.

Granted, HD DTV is great, but for those of us who were essentially happy with NTSC SD TV, it's not. It's ALL about money. Money for the content providers, money for the TV manufacturers, money for the OTA antenna and accessory manufacturers. The NTSC SD television installed base in this country was a mature market, with only replacement sets being sold. The move to DTV has created a new market for all entities, except for the viewer.

What frustrates most of us is paying more money for less than we had before. Less versatility, less convenience, and essentially less freedom.
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Old 05-03-2010, 02:26 PM
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I agree, that's exactly what's happened and yet they call it a upgrade for their customers
If I want to do what I used to be able to easily do I'll have to either pay them extra directly, or buy some sort of cable card equipped device, still costing me extra then I was paying before.
The FCC bought their argument that as long as they provided something free so the low end customer could continue to use their analog TV's as before then Comcast could encrypt legally everything but the locals in HD, so even the normal digital SD stuff is now gone as well.
I haven't gotten any truly worth while new channels out of this yet either, just a few extra locals, one in HD, that were added that carry nothing I'm interested in.
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Old 05-03-2010, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by profundus-sanus View Post

this is pretty funny

comcast never admitted to clear qam existing, so there goes that argument.

satellite companies have required stbs for...... if i said a while it would I be optimistic.

considering the whole reason they are doing their digital transition is to decrease the bandwidth required for those expanded basic channels as well as reducing cable theft... Having less bandwidth used up for basic cable channels leaves room for docsis 3.0(50meg+ internet) and more hd channels.

If your serious about a class action suit you better have DEEEP pockets and several supporters with DEEPER pockets.

I don't understand what you're talking about with the "clear qam" and stbs stuff, but I do understand that you don't know how a class action suit works.

You don't pay for attorneys: a class action firm, if they think a suit has potential, takes on the defendant (eg. Comcast), in exchange for a piece of the payout. Neither the indexed plaintiff or class plaintiffs pay legal fees out of pocket typically. Comcast has already lost a couple of these for fairly big sums of money. Typically the plaintiffs don't walk away with much other than "resolution" and token discounts or coupons. The class action attorneys can walk away with a lot of money, which of course is why they take the case, and why I normally think they're a scam.

In the end, if Comcast had just waited until their DTAs could handle an HD signal (seriously, Comcast, RF?), they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble and not cut off everyone from their local HD feeds. It seems like all these low res DTAs are going to have a rather short shelf life. Supposedly those next generation DTAs are just around the corner. I read that Comcast has already submitted HDMI equipped DTAs to the FCC.
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Old 05-04-2010, 03:11 AM
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In the analog days all I could get is 5 channels and 1 had static in it. Now I get 12 free channels (6 in HD) with my antenna and digital tuner. One of the channels I get is RTN. I cancelled my cable subscription 17 months ago and I don't miss it a bit. I have saved $1,500 in cable fees since.

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Old 05-04-2010, 03:55 AM
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Even regardless of all the nickel and diming on equipment, basic cable is less worth it than ever nowadays, with all the Reality garbage, Law and Order and CSI reruns, and constant repeats of other shows.
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Old 05-04-2010, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Trey9128 View Post

It's a little more complicated than that. Cable companies are near monopolies and are heavily regulated. They are not fulfilling their pledge to to make the local channels available on their system (at least not at a reasonable price). In Comcast's case, they are also telling their customers that this transition will not increase their cable bill. It is, for the majority of customers. I'm fine with increasing the availability of digital offerings, but "upgrading" me to a digital cable system that doesn't allow me to pass through the local channels/networks without spending a lot more money in equipment is not meeting their previous pledges.

Lots of misinformation here - the local channels are all available in clear QAM (HD) and analog (SD) and can be subscribed to at a regulated basic tier price, by law. No boxes are required. If they aren't providing these in the clear, contact your local franchise authority and the FCC. If you don't like the regulated price, complain to your local authority. None of that has changed and they are meeting the letter of the law for locals.

What has changed is the ability to get all the expanded basic channels in analog on all your sets, and for that you need DTAs or boxes. You have always needed a box to get these channels in HD. This is no different than satellite or U-Verse, and they are doing this to free up bandwidth for HD and high-speed internet and so they don't have to maintain traps to prevent cable theft. Yes, the DTA sucks, but if you want the locals in HD with the DTA get an A/B switch (which is dirt cheap) and I think Comcast will provide them on request.

I agree that the box situation sucks for a lot of households, but there are no grounds for a class action lawsuit here. It is a complete and utter waste of time - if you want changes, petition your paid-for Congressperson, but good luck with that.
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:39 AM
 
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Good luck.

HAHAHA...Absolutely. The guy is just venting, he has no grounds and this case is as frivolous as they come. No attorney would take the case pro-bono.
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:06 PM
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Does the OP think he's going to force them to either (a) start pushing digital streams unencrypted, or (b) roll back to analog? I can't see what possible outcome he's hoping for here. Or is he just looking for money? Whatever the situation, I don't see how there's possibly a case to be made here...
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post

Lots of misinformation here - the local channels are all available in clear QAM (HD) and analog (SD) and can be subscribed to at a regulated basic tier price, by law. No boxes are required. If they aren't providing these in the clear, contact your local franchise authority and the FCC. If you don't like the regulated price, complain to your local authority. None of that has changed and they are meeting the letter of the law for locals.

What has changed is the ability to get all the expanded basic channels in analog on all your sets, and for that you need DTAs or boxes. You have always needed a box to get these channels in HD. This is no different than satellite or U-Verse, and they are doing this to free up bandwidth for HD and high-speed internet and so they don't have to maintain traps to prevent cable theft. Yes, the DTA sucks, but if you want the locals in HD with the DTA get an A/B switch (which is dirt cheap) and I think Comcast will provide them on request.

I agree that the box situation sucks for a lot of households, but there are no grounds for a class action lawsuit here. It is a complete and utter waste of time - if you want changes, petition your paid-for Congressperson, but good luck with that.

The enboldened portion is incorrect and what has so many people up in arms (having been to my local Comcast outlet twice in the last several days, I can tell you that the long lines of people are furious).

What has happened is that while you used to be able to get the local channels in HD, as provided by those local stations, you can now only get them in SD unless you pay for upgraded boxes for every device in your household. So yes, Comcast is still providing the local channels, but only in SD, unless you pay a considerable amount of extra money. This clearly circumvents the spirit of the agreement to carry the local channels, which unfortunately did not specify at what level of quality cable carriers would provide local channels. Could Comcast theoretically supply the local channels at Youtube flash video quality and meet the letter of the law? Apparently.
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