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Local HDTV Info and Reception

mikek747's Avatar mikek747
06:33 PM Liked: 10
post #61 of 10914
05-15-2003 | Posts: 803
Joined: Apr 2002
I got a new remote, Sam. Same as before, but it says Comcast instead of AT&T. No additional features.

So take a piece of masking tape and write Comcast on it, stick it over the AT&T logo, and you will be there with the rest of us.

Mike
WishIdInventedTivo's Avatar WishIdInventedTivo
07:38 PM Liked: 10
post #62 of 10914
05-15-2003 | Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2001
jsjames, how does CBS HD look compared to OTA HD? I heard last year that one of the delays in negotiating with CBS was that they would not compromise quality by allowing their 19.2Mbps HD signal to be compressed. I think you said all the OTA HD signals looked better?

I live in Naperville and I don't think HD is available from Comcast yet. My telephone service is available through them and I am thinking of switching back to Ameritech. Comcast customer service is the worst I've ever experienced.
miller344's Avatar miller344
07:42 PM Liked: 10
post #63 of 10914
05-15-2003 | Posts: 55
Joined: Mar 2003
ALthough I can't reliably recieve HDTV reception OTA, I can at my work. I believe that Comcast has every bit as good of picture as OTA.
MIke
SamR.'s Avatar SamR.
07:54 PM Liked: 10
post #64 of 10914
05-15-2003 | Posts: 306
Joined: Mar 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by mikek747
I got a new remote, Sam. Same as before, but it says Comcast instead of AT&T. No additional features.

So take a piece of masking tape and write Comcast on it, stick it over the AT&T logo, and you will be there with the rest of us.

Mike

Yeah, but I thought I read in a post (can't find it right now) that there is an "enter" button which will bring up a diagnostics mode similar in fashion to the "menu" button which brings up the settings mode when the box is turned off. (wooh! read that in one breath)
I could be mistaken. Thanks for the help.
UncD2000's Avatar UncD2000
08:54 AM Liked: 10
post #65 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 2,071
Joined: May 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by WishIdInventedTivo
My telephone service is available through them and I am thinking of switching back to Ameritech. Comcast customer service is the worst I've ever experienced.

I am keeping their cable phone service for the moment ($22/month for unlimited local calls) because the incoming cable brings in the 256QAM channels over 100. The local digital stations are unencrypted (WBBM-DT is on 114.1 I believe). I don't have a 256QAM cable tuner yet, but I am hoping the promised Zenith HD-PVR330 will supply that (along with HD recording). I received WBBM-DT in 8VSB on cable channel 117.1 for two years, but Comcast killed that last month when WBBM received the approval to activate the new antenna. The OTA reception is good here, but it's nice to have cable as a backup when atmospheric conditions are causing problems.
HD Rookie's Avatar HD Rookie
11:29 AM Liked: 10
post #66 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 647
Joined: Sep 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by UncD2000
I am keeping their cable phone service for the moment ($22/month for unlimited local calls) because the incoming cable brings in the 256QAM channels over 100. The local digital stations are unencrypted (WBBM-DT is on 114.1 I believe). I don't have a 256QAM cable tuner yet, but I am hoping the promised Zenith HD-PVR330 will supply that (along with HD recording). I received WBBM-DT in 8VSB on cable channel 117.1 for two years, but Comcast killed that last month when WBBM received the approval to activate the new antenna. The OTA reception is good here, but it's nice to have cable as a backup when atmospheric conditions are causing problems.

Has anybody found any new (or different) channels using a 256QAM tuner with "basic" cable? I've been using my Mitsubishi builtin for quite a while without any problem, but now (last two weeks) CBS is unwatchable and Discovery seems to be gone.
Dr. A's Avatar Dr. A
11:35 AM Liked: 10
post #67 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2002
I've got the Mits 256QAM as well. Reconnected basic cable in living room (I'm a satellite guy) to check when HD was announced. Since then I've checked several times. Nothing with auto channel search in "normal" or the other two modes, nor with same setup using the OTA digital antenna setting.

Anyone else? Elsewhere on this forum I read about digital CBS at 114, 117, and so on. Can't find it. Will keep looking if everyone else tries as well!
jsjames's Avatar jsjames
12:23 PM Liked: 10
post #68 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 732
Joined: May 2002
WishIdInventedTivo,
I will check tonight.
I don't remember specifically comparing channel 2. But the other channels I can tell the difference. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad at all, but OTA is just a little better.

Also OTA is going in via DVI and HD cable is component. Not sure if that would be the difference though.

Jeff
HD Rookie's Avatar HD Rookie
01:36 PM Liked: 10
post #69 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 647
Joined: Sep 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by Dr. A
I've got the Mits 256QAM as well. Reconnected basic cable in living room (I'm a satellite guy) to check when HD was announced. Since then I've checked several times. Nothing with auto channel search in "normal" or the other two modes, nor with same setup using the OTA digital antenna setting.

Anyone else? Elsewhere on this forum I read about digital CBS at 114, 117, and so on. Can't find it. Will keep looking if everyone else tries as well!

113,114 and 115 have programing, at least in my neighborhood. CBS is still on 114.1, but the breakups (every few seconds) make it unwatchable. I believe I saw "watchable" programming on both 113 and 115 last night.
cjb's Avatar cjb
02:10 PM Liked: 10
post #70 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 52
Joined: Aug 2002
Much to my amazement, Comcast did not cancel my installation appointment and now I have a 5100 and a few HD channels.
dalilama's Avatar dalilama
02:19 PM Liked: 10
post #71 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 55
Joined: Oct 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by cjb
Much to my amazement, Comcast did not cancel my installation appointment and now I have a 5100 and a few HD channels.

Congrats cjb! A question for you...does your 5100 have the IEEE 1394 Firewire output so you can record HD?
WishIdInventedTivo's Avatar WishIdInventedTivo
04:47 PM Liked: 10
post #72 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 508
Joined: Jul 2001
Quote:


Originally posted by jsjames
WishIdInventedTivo,
I will check tonight.
I don't remember specifically comparing channel 2. But the other channels I can tell the difference. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad at all, but OTA is just a little better.

Also OTA is going in via DVI and HD cable is component. Not sure if that would be the difference though.

Jeff

I seem to recall reading in a reputal video magazine where there was a noticable improvement with a digital connection because it eliminated the dual analog/digital conversion steps. If so this would make sense. Hard to know in your case if it is this or a real difference from Comcast if you can not do an apples to apples comparision. Everything I know about cable companies leads me to believe if there is any way they can compress the signal to conserve bandwidth - they will. Cable and satellite companies are about quantity, not quality. CBS is known for very high standards and is the HDTV leader. Their signal is 19.2 Mbps. Too bad we got stuck with channel 3...
FSugino's Avatar FSugino
06:54 PM Liked: 14
post #73 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 1,540
Joined: Jan 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by Dr. A
Anyone else? Elsewhere on this forum I read about digital CBS at 114, 117, and so on. Can't find it. Will keep looking if everyone else tries as well!

I reported the channels I have available a few months ago. I'm in Schaumburg, and my line-up is

113.01 - WLS (HD source is great; other stuff is stretched)
114.01 - WBBM (always looks great)
114.02 - formerly Discovery HD Theater; now dead
115.02 - WFLD
115.05 - WMAQ

Comcast is scheduled to set me up with their official box next Wednesday, so I will no longer have to reprogram between OTA and cable feeds just to watch WBBM. Thank god for small conveniences!
drossn's Avatar drossn
11:45 PM Liked: 10
post #74 of 10914
05-16-2003 | Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 2003
Well, I can only get WLS-DT to come in with my Hitachi XWX QAM256 tuner. Lately, it will not even complete a scan and hangs at channel 84. I get WLS-DT only by manually putting in that channel (115.01, I think).

Odd thing is that the existing DCT2000 box WILL lock onto some of the other channels (no picture, obviously) down in the 18X range.

I'm scheduled to get my official HD box tomorrow (or is it later today) morning from 8-12. So I should at least have them through the box...if not, then Comcast may actually get to figure out what might be preventing my Hitachi from tuning the locals...
cjb's Avatar cjb
09:17 AM Liked: 10
post #75 of 10914
05-17-2003 | Posts: 52
Joined: Aug 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by dalilama
Congrats cjb! A question for you...does your 5100 have the IEEE 1394 Firewire output so you can record HD?

Nope, unfortunately. But they claim that over time more of the ports will be used. Also, the tech, who seemed to know what he was talking about, told me that an HDPVR was next on their schedule.
MJVanDam's Avatar MJVanDam
12:42 PM Liked: 10
post #76 of 10914
05-17-2003 | Posts: 42
Joined: Mar 2003
Well, I'm now seriously considering DirecTV for my HDTV needs.

I called Comcast on Wednesday, after reading that HDTV seemed to be more widespread in my area. A customer service rep checked my address and told me that HDTV was indeed available in my area. We arranged for an install today between 1 and 5.

When I hadn't received a confirmation call, I called Comcast again, and this time, was told that my appointment had been cancelled because HDTV was not yet in my area. Of course, they hadn't bothered to tell ME that my appointment had been canceled. Thank God I called, or I would have been sitting here until 5 (and later) fuming even more than I am now.

The CSR I spoke to today took my information on an "HDTV Request Form" and said they would contact me when it's available in my area. He had no idea when that would be and -- probably wisely -- wouldn't even venture a guess.

Yes, I'm venting, but consider it a cautionary tale. Until the installer actually installs the box, there's no guarantee that you'll actually see HDTV in your home.

Michael
gtcharlie's Avatar gtcharlie
04:20 PM Liked: 10
post #77 of 10914
05-17-2003 | Posts: 286
Joined: Dec 2002
Well I can't say I'm surprised but I am at a loss. The Comcast installer just came by with the Motorola 5100 and installed the box. The only problem is the guy(who was exceptionally nice) had never done an install before. He basically brought the cables( a component) and I supplied the optical cable for audio. He then called in to activate the box. Now heres the problem. Where are the HD channels. He had no idea and either do I. I have seen numbers like 115.1 and 116.1 but how do I type find those kind of channels. Plus how do I change the box settings(like setting the resolution to 1081i. I am typing this as the Preakness is being run which I know is in HD but I can't find it. Any help would be appreciated.
FSugino's Avatar FSugino
06:32 PM Liked: 14
post #78 of 10914
05-17-2003 | Posts: 1,540
Joined: Jan 2003
Quote:


Originally posted by gtcharlie
Now heres the problem. Where are the HD channels. He had no idea and either do I.[/b]

185 - Showtime
186 - HBO
187 - ABC
188 - NBC
189 - CBS
190 - Fox
drossn's Avatar drossn
09:19 PM Liked: 10
post #79 of 10914
05-17-2003 | Posts: 40
Joined: Jan 2003
Comcast installed my 5100 today, here are some observations:

Installer said it was his third install so far. He brought a component cable (which also had L/R audio), but no optical. The component cable is a 3 Meter cable (I think) and all five cables are connected together into a ribbon (but you could zip them apart if needed, I guess). Install was quick, but standard wait (5 minutes) for dispatch to authorize the new box. After authorization, get HBO, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. Picuture quality with HD programming is nice, not quite up to the same level as my OTA channels, but at least there are no drop-outs like my OTA from time to time (Silver Sensor, so I've never seen CBS-HD and NBC has been VERY sensitive to antenna position.) The analog picture quality through the box is acceptable.

Motorola 5100 box does not have firewire ports at all. Also doesn't appear to have DVI, unless it is behind a black plastic cover under the component (haven't looked yet). It does have USB on the front and back (not active), Ethernet (not active), DD Optical (active). Box is default set to 16x9 output with 480i override for non-HD channels. MUCH snappier than my old DCT2024 with channel changing and locking. I did get a new remote, which is identical to the old one I had with my DCT2024, except it says "Comcast" on it.

I also have an AT&T Tivo Series 2, which I used to have connected to the DCT2024 via composite video and using serial control. Since the 5100 lacks serial control - I also didn't want the Tivo to prevent me from using the 5100 for HD viewing - I moved my Tivo off to regular analog cable.

Was $5.00 more a month for the box and $29.95 for the install. Otherwise, I'm still paying $61.99 for Digital Silver package that I had prior to HD.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased, but I do hope they add some more HD channels soon...
gtcharlie's Avatar gtcharlie
08:53 AM Liked: 10
post #80 of 10914
05-18-2003 | Posts: 286
Joined: Dec 2002
I can't believe they are making me pay for this service right now. I have found the HD channels but of course HBO is not coming in. Two calls to customer service have yielded the same response--"We don't really have any experience with HDTV so we are not really sure how to fix the problem". Anyone have any ideas as to how to get them to enable the HBO that I am paying for? Do you think they need to reinitialize the box?
kevin j's Avatar kevin j
09:24 AM Liked: 14
post #81 of 10914
05-18-2003 | Posts: 2,881
Joined: Feb 2002
i'm going to hold off on getting HD through comcast til they get their act together[and so should everyone else imho]
mikek747's Avatar mikek747
10:22 PM Liked: 10
post #82 of 10914
05-18-2003 | Posts: 803
Joined: Apr 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by kevin j
i'm going to hold off on getting HD through comcast til they get their act together[and so should everyone else imho]

Thank you for your opinion, but you don't have any idea what you are talking about.

I have had the HD service for around six weeks and am very pleased with the performance. PQ is excellent. Installation went very smoothly.

I understand and have read the problems that some people have had on their installs, but we are seeing few complaints from those that actually have it up and running.

My install was the first one for the guys that came to the house. Their actions were somewhat deliberate but everything went OK. There is a learning curve for these installers, but its not rocket science. Plugging in a few wires and calling in for the box to be initialized is all there is to it.

Why wait when the service is available now. Enjoy it is as soon as you can.

Mike K
dwk's Avatar dwk
04:08 AM Liked: 10
post #83 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 352
Joined: Sep 2002
I have had HD installed for two weeks now. I only get HBO 186 and ABC 187. On channels 188-190, all I get is 'program will be available shortly'. Comcast completely eliminated all inhouse possibilities as well as swapping the box. They are now checking the outside lines. I must say they are very diligently working on the problem so I have no doubt they will resolve it, but I'm wondering if anyone else experienced a similar problem? The Comcast people admit they are short on training, but hey, it's Beta testing.

PS.
The PQ on the two channels I have is stunning. Comparing it to a friends OTA, I see no difference. Even the analog channels are MUCH better than my digital box.
Kipp Jones's Avatar Kipp Jones
06:49 AM Liked: 12
post #84 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 11,792
Joined: Jan 2001
I checked over the weekend and my Disc-HD is finally gone. I still get CBS, ABC, NBC and Faux.
gtcharlie's Avatar gtcharlie
06:59 AM Liked: 10
post #85 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 286
Joined: Dec 2002
I am having a similiar but not exactly the same problem. I receive channels 187-190 but no 186(hbo). I have been in contact with Comcast support but so far no one their seems to have any idea how to fix the problem. I have spoken with three different representatives and they all have no experience with HDTV. All three have said they would have a technician call back and so far no one has. Very frustrating.

As far as it being beta testing, I am now paying a monthly charge plus a 30 dollar installation charge. This hardly qualifies as beta testing as far as I'm concerned. With this in mind I expect a higher level of service than I am receiving.
dwk's Avatar dwk
09:08 AM Liked: 10
post #86 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 352
Joined: Sep 2002
I understand some areas are past the beta stage. We are still in beta so not paying any fees or hookup costs. I had problems when they first installed my broadband connection but they removed the monthly charges until it was fixed.

Stay tuned, Ill post if I get any resolution.
chimchim5's Avatar chimchim5
09:13 AM Liked: 10
post #87 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 34
Joined: May 2002
So much for Dekalb. Had a 10am appt., phone rang at 9:48....Hello, Mr. xxx this is so and so from Comcast calling to let you know that you wasted a vacation day to stay home for an appt. that's not going to happen. Apparently we are not in the fiber-optic loop yet!?......But, I have been put on my local area supervisors high priority call when available list......YA WHATEVER! Anybody got a good line on a dish installer!!!!

No offense COMCAST I'm just venting.

Good luck to all others scheduled for an install.
Dr. A's Avatar Dr. A
09:28 AM Liked: 10
post #88 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2002
Anyone remember when someone on one of these forums linked to that first, long-ago press release announcing HD service in Chicago?

Boy, that was a long time ago.

Anyone remember when the first "beta testers" started sharing their experiences with members of the Local HDTV Info forum?

Boy, that was ALSO a long time ago. Whatever did they test? Anything?

The moral of this story is, call DirecTV or Dish and get your dishes installed! Prices will never be lower than now! Forget cable. Compared with satellite it is an inefficient, non-competitive, monopolistic parasite.

The proof is documented right here on the Local HDTV Info and Reception forum!
SamR.'s Avatar SamR.
11:08 AM Liked: 10
post #89 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 306
Joined: Mar 2002
Quote:


Originally posted by Dr. A
Anyone remember when the first "beta testers" started sharing their experiences with members of the Local HDTV Info forum?

Boy, that was ALSO a long time ago. Whatever did they test? Anything?

The moral of this story is, call DirecTV or Dish and get your dishes installed! Prices will never be lower than now! Forget cable. Compared with satellite it is an inefficient, non-competitive, monopolistic parasite.

Whatever did they test?
I have been a tester since August and I have received all the channels indicated above as well as Discovery-HD.

I would call DirecTV if I had more than $400 to spend just for the HD-receiver. They have been in the HD game for much longer than Comcast-chicago, who has been in the game for less than a week (in terms of their launch date).

My moral is:
Give Comcast a break, this is the first run of a relatively new technology.

One last question:
What do you mean by "Prices will never be lower than now!" Is that a fact or because there is nowhere for the prices to go, but up?
mikek747's Avatar mikek747
11:46 AM Liked: 10
post #90 of 10914
05-19-2003 | Posts: 803
Joined: Apr 2002
Sam, I hear where you are coming from. However, I think you were overly generous when stating the cost of the satellite hardware.

HD receivers still retail in the $600.00 to $700.00 range. I am sure a bunch of you can jump in with stories of lower prices, but this is still a good example. The elliptical dish from DirecTV costs around $200.00, plus the installation charges, and then what about the rooftop antenna to receive local HD. You are looking at roughly $1,000.00 including installation for HD satellite. And that's for a service that drops out every time the wind blows too hard, and when it rains or snows.

Despite the shortcomings, HD cable is still the transmission method that will do the most good for the growth of HD television. 70% of the consumers in this country get their TV from cable. It is the easiest product and concept for them to deal with. The more HD there is on cable, the better the market will be for all of us.

For the consumer that wants HD, cable is far and away the best way to go.

Enjoy your dish. Even with the problems and shortcomings, I'm staying where I'm at.

Mike

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