Confused about new Sharp 40HDTV&old Comcast Digital cable box compatability - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 12-01-2011, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I apologize in advance for my(silly?)questions but I'm a bit confused about my newly purchased Sharp 1080P HDTV&it's compatability to my older Comcast Motorola cable box.
I've had digital cable through Comcast for several years,or so I thought. I've used an anolog television for years as well.I recently purchased a new Sharp HDTV. Before purchasing I called Comcast and asked if I'd need a new cable box.I'm not interested in HD cable(yet)but wasn't certain if I'd need a new box for hook up to a new digital tv. The rep told me I wouldn't need a new box as the box I've had since last year(when was set up by Comcast when I moved to new home)would be fine with a digital tv. Well the set was delivered on Tues. After I hooked everything up I ran a channel search.Search was completed&I received a message onscreen that said "Failed to receive broadcast". I telephoned Sharp&was told to try different channels via the tv remote. I hit '3.0' and the picture popped on. Thing is though I when I hit the 'Audio' button on my tv's remote it shows "Cable:Analog". I can't change it to digital. I telephone Sharp to make sure I'd connected everything correctly.After I finished with Sharp support I phoned Comcast. I was told I was being sent a digital signal yet the tech couldn't answer why the configuration setting on my cable box(accessed via the onscreen menu) reads 'NTSC/PAL:NTSC'.I did more checking on line&get the impression the box shouldn't read that it's configured to NTSC. I couldn't get through to Comcast again via telephone but did contact them through 'Live Chat'. The nice woman there told me I did indeed subscribe to digital cable.That was a big relief as I've been paying for digital for over 2-3yrs.Anyway when I asked her why my cable config says "NTSC" she said that's because many customers are still using older tube sets. When I told her I'd just purchased a digital set and hooked it up yesterday. She then responded with "The Digital Cable box converts your digital signals to analog signals so that you may be able to watch the channel.This is setup this way so that the box can still be used for Analog TV since some of the Customers are still using Analog TV."
I again told her that I wasn't using an analog televison anymore&asked if the cable box setting should no longer be set to 'NTSC'. That's where the confusion came in. First she told me I should be able to change the config.settings but I couldn't and can't.Then she told me not to worry about it&to leave it as it is. That doesn't seem right.
Should my box's configuration settings still be showing NTSC?If not is there a way for me to change them? If not do I need a new cable box? I've set up an appointment to have a Comcast tech come out to the house with a new box but don't want to waste his/her time needlessly.
Again I'm not trying to get HD programming from Comcast.I just want to make sure the box I have now is indeed delievering digital to me. I also would like my new tv to show "Cableigital" as opposed to "Cable:Analog"
I'd appreciate any&all help.
Thanks
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post #2 of 4 Old 12-01-2011, 04:21 PM
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Everything is connected and working as it should. However, if you truly want "Digital" cable, you can split the coax with one going to the TV's coax input and the other to the "Digital" cable box. You would then connect RCA cables(red,white,yellow) from the "Digital" cable box to the composite inputs of your tv. Then you would "scan" for channels with the tv. If there are still some analog channels you will receive them as well as any "Digital" channels that are in ClearQam. {The tv will definately have an ATSC (over the air)tuner and may or may not have a QAM tuner. The QAM is needed for cable "Digital".} Any analog channels will be the standard type, ie: 3, 4, 5, 6 and so on. The "Digital" will be 2.1, 10.1, 10.2, 115.15 and so on. To watch your "Digital" cable box, you would change the input of your tv to whichever input you have plugged the RCA cables into. And change back to tv to change channels and watch tv with the tv's remote. Lastly, non of the boxes, cable or OTA, "convert" the digital to analog, they tune the digital signal and remodulate to an analog channel usually 3 or 4.
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post #3 of 4 Old 12-01-2011, 08:09 PM
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There are no silly questions...

When using a cable STB, there is no "scanning" needed by the TV set; all the tuning functions are done in the STB, and the signal is output as an ordinary analog NTSC (480i) signal on channel 3 regardless of what the nature of the selected channel is. If the TV is connected by a single coax to the STB ("cable out") using screw-on (type F) connectors, standard definition analog NTSC on ch 3 is all you will ever see.

If the box is not really ancient, it will ALSO have as suggested above a composite analog video output (a yellow RCA jack) along with stereo audio (on a red/white pair of RCA jacks). To use this set of outputs (usually just called "composite") to connect to an A/V input of the new TV set would be a small step up in quality but still give you only analog NTSC video and stereo audio.

An entry-level digital STB (no PVR function) will ALSO have a component video outpt (3 RCA jacks, red, blue, green), digital audio, on either an orange RCA jack or an optical jack (square), AND probably an HDMI connector (rectangular multipin). If you could connect your new TV to a digital STB using either component or HDMI cables, you would be able to take advantage of the much better quality standard definition digtal signals, as well as some high definition channels, depending on how your provider tiers and prices "digital" services.

You didn't say what the model of the "old" cable set top box is, and that's important. If it's an older analog-only unit, you can't get any of the benefits of your new TV. Most CATV cos charge the same fee for a non-PVR settop box itself of any flavor, so you might consider swapping the old one out for the HD digital version. Unless you add new services, your bill shouldn't increase, however many CATV providers may "require" you to add a digital tier before they will lease you a digital STB. Ask politely in person at your provider's local business office to find out what their local policy is.

Ultimately, if they won't make the STB trade at no price increase, I believe you will probably find that the lowest digital tier would be well worth the additional cost per month and make your new Sharp TV really come alive.

Hope that helps...

Mike
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post #4 of 4 Old 12-02-2011, 04:11 AM
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Yes what is the STB model.
Since you now have an HDTV it is a waste not to watch programs in HD.
Tell them Comcast that you now have an HDTV and you need an HD STB, which will have HDMI and or Component outputs.
You may need to purchase your own cable.
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