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Local HDTV Info and Reception

bkantor's Avatar bkantor
09:14 PM Liked: 10
post #1 of 2921
07-23-2003 | Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2002
All -

I figured I'd jump in and start a thread since I didn't see anything. It looks like Comcast is getting ready to roll out HDTV in the area. I called and all they could do is put me on a notification list... no channel list or pricing yet. Anyone have further info?

I'm curious as to how quick this will go down because I just purchased an OTA receiver. If I can get most of the programming with Comcast and don't need the antenna and extra STB I may take it back.

For those of you from other regions, how quick did Comcast roll out HDTV after the "coming soon" advertising appeared?

So let's hear it!
Cheers!
Brad
ComcastRep's Avatar ComcastRep
09:26 AM Liked: 10
post #2 of 2921
07-24-2003 | Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2003
I am a comcast employee in the saint paul office and as such I am currently a beta tester for the HD service that we will be releaseing late Augest early september and as far as extra cost the most basic digital package will have some HD and that ranges from 59.98 a month its called Digital Plus and as far as more HD you would have to move up in price since HBO and Showtime have a HD channel you would have to move to Digital Gold which is currently 74.99 a month. you will get a Motorola DCT 5100 box which is grey and very cool looking and the channels that are currently on there as of beta stage is KARE (NBC),KMSP (FOX),HBO (East),Showtime (East). I belieave there is more channels to be lanched such as ESPN HD but I have had not been told that information as of yet. I just emailed the manager of the HD tv beta test asking if he knows the exact launch channels that will be released for customers and will update with that information when it become avaliable I hope this helped.
bkantor's Avatar bkantor
10:32 AM Liked: 10
post #3 of 2921
07-24-2003 | Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2002
ComcastRep -

Thanks for the info! Any word on the other locals (CBS, ABC, PAX, PBS, UPN)? I don't mean to press... I'm just excited I may just have to take my Samsung 151 back to the store and try to hold out for the next month or two. I look forward to hearing more!

If you are brave enough and haven't already done so, you may want to pass this information along to the operator of hdtvtwincities.com and perhaps post on http://www.ktca.org/innertube/inside/bbs/ where someone has asked about Comcast HDTV.

Again, Thanks!
Cheers!
Brad
bkantor's Avatar bkantor
09:40 AM Liked: 10
post #4 of 2921
07-25-2003 | Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2002
ComcastRep - you have a PM.

Cheers!
DaveMN's Avatar DaveMN
12:23 PM Liked: 17
post #5 of 2921
07-25-2003 | Posts: 167
Joined: Oct 2002
Excellent info. I was starting to think we were never going to see HD. Please post any other information as you get it!
ComcastRep's Avatar ComcastRep
03:13 PM Liked: 10
post #6 of 2921
07-25-2003 | Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2003
Good to see good feedback always happy to help there is no released info on updated channels I will be getting more info very shortly as far as local channels I like going OTA since there is no compression its the best possible picture that being if your close to an antenna of course
ComcastRep's Avatar ComcastRep
03:22 PM Liked: 10
post #7 of 2921
07-25-2003 | Posts: 3
Joined: Jul 2003
I emailed the operator of HDTVTwincities.com with this info hopefully my company dont care =) they want most this stuff kept internal and said not to discuss it with the press but I dont consider this the press =)
Markito's Avatar Markito
08:45 AM Liked: 10
post #8 of 2921
07-29-2003 | Posts: 1,931
Joined: Oct 2001
ComcastRep,
We sure do appreciate all your help with this. Thanks for sharing your info.
I too hope that the channel line up will include CBS, etc., as fall football games will be so great in HD!

I CAN'T WAIT for St. Paul's Comcast to roll it all out.
This is going to be a long month or two.

Keep the info coming!
Thanks!
Markito's Avatar Markito
12:41 AM Liked: 10
post #9 of 2921
08-10-2003 | Posts: 1,931
Joined: Oct 2001
ComcastRep,
Were you fired for sharing info? Or can you please continue to update us? I am DYING for Comcast in St. Paul to make HD available to us.
When will we have it?
bensons's Avatar bensons
09:48 PM Liked: 10
post #10 of 2921
08-12-2003 | Posts: 371
Joined: Apr 2000
We have locals in the club receiving HDTV via Comcast for test correct?

How does it look?
What channels do you receive in HD?

Please share....
bkantor's Avatar bkantor
02:00 PM Liked: 10
post #11 of 2921
08-13-2003 | Posts: 51
Joined: Jul 2002
God, I sure hope he wasn't fired. I would think leaking info to a crowd like us would be good. Otherwise, how many of us (impatient as we are) would go get a D* or E* setup.... or OTA only.

It's not like he's giving away trade secrets or more than could be inferred by making 2-3 calls to customer support and putting the info together. It's just nice to hear it from yet another source.

I'm now in the wait-and-see mode. My Samsung 151 works great, PBS is awesome, and the primetime shows are fun to watch. Also, we get HD-Net OTA soon. I can't believe how bad the analog feed off comcast truly is...

I'll be sitting tight at least for the next year while D* tries to figure out how to get more Bandwidth, E* gets their superdish and new receivers out, and Comcast gets a decent suite of HD channels. I'll go with the winner.

Cheers!
Brad
DaveMN's Avatar DaveMN
09:05 AM Liked: 17
post #12 of 2921
08-19-2003 | Posts: 167
Joined: Oct 2002
One of 3 things are likely here regarding ComcastRep:

1) He was told to clam-up.
2) He was fired.
3) He was not legitimate.

It would be nice to know what happened. Seems if a rollout was scheduled for late August / early September, we would have heard something by now.
mplshd's Avatar mplshd
10:00 AM Liked: 10
post #13 of 2921
08-19-2003 | Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2003
I am one of the Comcast "Beta Testers". According to my installer, there are about 50-100 such testers in the Minneapolis area. I was asked to sign a statement that I would not tell folks about this, especially the media. I believe that they are still evaluating prices, channels, desire for the service and trouble processes. Currently, they are offering channels 9 and 11, ESPN-HD and HBO/SHOW HD. (The latter assumes it is in your digital package). They will charge $5 a month for the box. Other channels are being considered/negotiated.
Box can output 480p, 720p, 1180i and defaults to 480i for non-HD broadcasts. Passes audio directly through, for use in stereo/surround system. Connects to component inputs.
Service introduction dates have not been defined or announced.
The trial and rollout was announced on HDTV Minneapolis website (hdtvtwincities.com)
Picture quality is what we would expect, with minimal access to HD material. Matches quality of my OTA access. Makes the Sopranos in HD look outstanding, and I'm excited about ESPN possibilities.
It's difficult to find Comcast personnel who are familiar with the trial or coming service, but I believe they are shooting for a September/October roll out. I would suspect that availability of boxes may be an issue.
Hope this helps.
DaveMN's Avatar DaveMN
10:38 AM Liked: 17
post #14 of 2921
08-19-2003 | Posts: 167
Joined: Oct 2002
Drool... Sounds like it's actually going to happen soon. Thanks for the info. Now if I could just get a TiVo that records HD cable I'd be a happy man...
Markito's Avatar Markito
09:46 PM Liked: 10
post #15 of 2921
08-23-2003 | Posts: 1,931
Joined: Oct 2001
I know... I wish that my ReplayTV units recorded HDTV too, but nope.
berg0449's Avatar berg0449
08:42 AM Liked: 10
post #16 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 197
Joined: Oct 2001
In the paper today the announced that HDTV is available. If you get somebody that says it is not available, call back. I first got a sales person that said it was an ealy announcement. I called back after reading more and have an appointment for Monday Sept 8.

http://www.twincities.com/mld/twinci...ss/6685461.htm
http://www.startribune.com/stories/459/4077622.html
Markito's Avatar Markito
08:43 AM Liked: 10
post #17 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 1,931
Joined: Oct 2001
Comcast has just officially rolled out their HDTV service here in Saint Paul and the eastern metro suburbs TODAY!

I called immediately this morning and signed up for the soonest installation time slot... which is 6 days from now, but it could be worse.

I am so excited that it is finally here.
DaveMN's Avatar DaveMN
10:02 AM Liked: 17
post #18 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 167
Joined: Oct 2002
I just got off the phone with Comcast. I placed my HD order, but they seemed very confused as to how to even process it. They told me I was the first one to request this! (?) Install scheduled for next week!
klaus9000's Avatar klaus9000
11:20 AM Liked: 10
post #19 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 81
Joined: Jan 2003
I called around noon and got a very knowledgable CSR that knew it was the first day it is being offered in the Twin Cities. I scheduled my install for next Wednesday after work. I confirmed with her multiple times that the install would include the correct HD cable box etc and that HDTV would work in my area. She seemed very confident all would go well with the install etc.

I can't wait to dump Dishnetwork next week. I also signed up for internet from comcast at a $23 a month rate for 6 months. Bye bye Qwest DSL!
Markito's Avatar Markito
11:29 AM Liked: 10
post #20 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 1,931
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klaus9000,
Which box (model#) will it be?
berg0449's Avatar berg0449
11:56 AM Liked: 10
post #21 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 197
Joined: Oct 2001
I cannot say for sure, but all that I have heard they will be using the Motorola DCT5100.
DaveMN's Avatar DaveMN
12:07 PM Liked: 17
post #22 of 2921
09-04-2003 | Posts: 167
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Markito's Avatar Markito
04:40 AM Liked: 10
post #23 of 2921
09-05-2003 | Posts: 1,931
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Thanks berg & Dave.
So I assume that it will have componant out that I can run to my Panny PT-L300U front projector?
berg0449's Avatar berg0449
07:19 AM Liked: 10
post #24 of 2921
09-05-2003 | Posts: 197
Joined: Oct 2001
THe sales person did ask if I had an open HDTV component input, so I hope they have proper cables. I bet they will be cheaper that will need to be replaced by better cables. If you have a reciever I believe they do not give audio cables to the reciever.
klaus9000's Avatar klaus9000
10:35 AM Liked: 10
post #25 of 2921
09-05-2003 | Posts: 81
Joined: Jan 2003
I plan to swap the new box with my Sami T151 - although I guess I will need it for ABC,CBS, and PBS until they carry those. I noticed the 151 are starting to drop on Ebay so I hope they add all the locals soon - so I can sell the Sami and recover some cash.

I only have two components inputs on my TV so I will need to figure something out...maybe a switch box. I have DVD, PS2, T151, new cable box.
DaveMN's Avatar DaveMN
11:18 AM Liked: 17
post #26 of 2921
09-05-2003 | Posts: 167
Joined: Oct 2002
I'm in the same boat as far as TV component inputs. My Hitachi has 2 inputs, but now I'll have DVD, Xbox and Cable Box signals. I just bought one of these yesterday:

http://www.zektor.com/hds4/index.htm

It's spendy, but should do exactly what I want, including switching digital audio.
radiocranium's Avatar radiocranium
09:56 PM Liked: 10
post #27 of 2921
09-05-2003 | Posts: 83
Joined: Mar 2003
Comcast Launches HDTV Service in Twin Cities & Western Wisconsin
More Than 630,000 Homes Now Have Access to High-Definition Television Programming

ST. PAUL, Minn. (Sept. 4, 2003) Comcast, the nation's leading cable and broadband communications provider, today announced the launch of its high-definition television (HDTV) service to more than 630,000 homes in the Greater Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin area. HDTV programming is now available from HBO, Showtime, ESPN HD and KARE (NBC). Comcast is also carrying enhanced wide-screen digital programming from KMSP (Fox), and plans to launch two 24-hour HDTV channels, INHD and INHD2, later this month.

HDTV technology provides video and audio that is clearer, sharper and more vibrant than previous video transmission systems. The service is available for customers with an HDTV-ready television set and uses a digital cable box, which can be provided by Comcast. In addition, Comcast is working with leading cable and broadcast programmers to offer the most robust HDTV content lineup possible.

Comcast is committed to bringing our customers more and better choices for in-home entertainment, said Bill Wright, St. Paul Area Vice President. In an increasingly competitive environment, we've completed a multimillion dollar upgrade of our fiber-optic cable network to provide customers with a strong lineup of cutting-edge products, including Comcast Digital Cable, Comcast High-Speed Internet, Comcast Digital Phone and now HDTV. Customers want HDTV, and Comcast makes it easy and cost effective while providing a very rich HDTV content offering.

In addition to HDTV, customers who subscribe to Comcast Digital Cable can receive more than 260 channels, including dozens of commercial-free premium movie channels, 45 channels of commercial-free music, an interactive on-screen guide and more.

For more information about Comcast's products and services in the Twin Cities, please call 651-222-3333 or visit the company's Web site at www.comcast.com.

About Comcast Cable
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Operating in 17 of the United States' 20 largest metropolitan areas, Comcast is one of the leading communications, media and entertainment companies in the world. Providing basic cable, digital cable, high-speed Internet and telephone services, Comcast is the company to look to first for the communications products and services that connect people to what's important in their lives. The company's 55,000 employees, in six divisions, serve more than 21 million customers.

Comcast Cable serves more than 337,000 customers in 87 communities in the Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin. Comcast, whose local headquarters offices are located in St. Paul, employs more than 1,200 people in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

Product Summary Sheet
High-Definition TV St. Paul Area
September 2003

Programming
Comcast is introducing HDTV in the Twin Cities / Western Wisconsin with a mix of local broadcast and premium cable network high-definition content. We continue to explore additional HDTV programming opportunities and plan to be in a position to provide additional programming in the future.

· Broadcast Stations - Primary high-definition broadcast signals:

¨ NBC affiliate KARE-11 (1080p)

¨ Fox affiliate KMSP-9 (480p)

+enhanced-definition digital simulcast of KMSP's analog signal (480i)

· Basic / Digital Service Tiers - HD cable service channels (must receive service tier):

¨ ESPN HD - Standard Cable Tier (720p)

¨ INDEMAND1 - Digital Basic Tier (1080i)

¨ INDEMAND2 - Digital Basic Tier (1080i)

· Premium Channels: HD premium channels (must receive digital premium channels):

¨ HBO (1080i)

¨ Showtime (1080i)

Availability
Comcast HDTV programming is now available to more than 630,000 homes in the Greater Twin Cities and Western Wisconsin area.

Equipment
· Motorola DCT-5100 set-top

¨ video: component video output

¨ audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 via optic or coax connection

Pricing
High-definition TV is the next great example of the services we can deliver on the Comcast Digital Cable platform. Customers pay only a monthly HDTV equipment charge of $5 per month (per set-top) with no additional monthly charge for HDTV programming (ESPN HD, iDEMAND, HBO and Showtime HDTV channels are available only to customers who receive those services).
berg0449's Avatar berg0449
05:17 PM Liked: 10
post #28 of 2921
09-06-2003 | Posts: 197
Joined: Oct 2001
If anybody has had theirs installed, is the cables they provide junk that need should be replaced immediately? I am thinking I may get a few good cables to have ready.
mplshd's Avatar mplshd
07:01 PM Liked: 10
post #29 of 2921
09-06-2003 | Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2003
The cables used for installation are quality, high-density cables. Five condutors (R,B,Y and audio left and right). You will need your own cables for digital or optical connection to your home theater/stereo.

If you need any additional connections (like a second analog audio output), you'll need cables for that, and splitters, since there is only one set of audio output jacks. The box also has a composite video out, but you should not need that.

Box effortlessly switches between HD content and 480i content. Box comes set for 1080i output. Tech can show you how to access box menu and setup features.

In terms of quality of signal, I get virtually the same picture (HD) on Motorolla DCT5100 as I do my Samsung T-150 (OTA). Currently, Comcast has only NBC, ESPN-HD, SHO/HBO-HD, and Fox EDTV. Yesterday started getting INHD-1 preview channel, and notice that service starts for INHD on 9/15.
Markito's Avatar Markito
01:51 PM Liked: 10
post #30 of 2921
09-09-2003 | Posts: 1,931
Joined: Oct 2001
My comcast HDTV gets connected tomorrow (Wednesday 9/10) morning. I can't wait! I'll let you all know how it goes.

By the way, any of you Twin Citians have a Panasonic PT-L300U front projector? Just wondering if I need to know any special settings or anything for HDTV.

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