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Local HDTV Info and Reception > Portland, OR - Comcast
George-O's Avatar George-O 03:42 PM 05-03-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrope View Post

Hi, I have an hdtv in the bedroom hooked up via coax but without the cable box. Receive the local stations only. Yesterday I lost KOIN 6.1. Did a rescan with no success. Comcast blamed KOIN, so called the station and naturally they blamed Comcast and said mine was the only such call recently. I still receive 6.0 SD. Anyone else have this problem? Thanks.

I used to regularly lose KOIN HD on 6.1 with a similar direct connection like yours on Comcast cable (along with some of the other local HD feeds occassionally, but usually it was only KOIN). A full analog/digital channel rescan of my small HDTV in the workshop (located next to the main garage) would usually find them again but not always ..... again with KOIN being the worst offender (weakest signal strength).

I think some local channels may occassionally very in their signal strength (probably not intentionally) and if your direct digital cable signal strength to the HTDV is marginal (due to bad connectors or excessive splitters), your digital QAM tuner may lose them. I finally flipped a 3-way splitter configuration to have the direct signal for the workshop HDTV tuner now come off the higher -3.5dB output (rather than from one of the splitter's two -7dB outputs) and wiggled all my connectors. Problem solved ..... and all stations are still there as of this morning 6 months later.

I originally was feeding both of my two free Comcast DTA units (one for the main garage and one for the gym) from that spitter's single higher -3.5dB output and from one of it's two -7dB outputs. Then I remembered a Comcast tech once mentioning during my AnyRoom installation for the rest of my home that the little DTA units can handle a very weak digital singal (much better than most HDTV tuners or DVRs). So now both the main garage DTA and the gym DTA come from the splitter's two -7db outputs with no noticeable difference in PQ while the HDTV gets a stronger signal from the same splitter's -3.5dB output.

The Comcast tech apparently was correct in my case, as the workshop HDTV's QAM tuner, now seems to latch on and hold the HD digital channels consistently.

scrope's Avatar scrope 10:07 PM 05-03-2011
Hi George, In 2009 I received two little converter boxes from Comcast and programed them to my analog TVs. I especially disliked the big silver Comcast remote and still do. A few months later I purchased an lcd and placed it in the bedroom. I was delighted to be able to use the TV remote that came with the TV, just like in the "Olden Days."

Thank you for your reply George, but unfortunately it is way above the level of my technical expertise. Which is obviously quite low.

Is the DTA you are referring to the little digital converter boxes provided by Comcast? I realize I could hook one up to my hdtv but assumed it would only receive SD picture, which of course looks like poop.
George-O's Avatar George-O 11:35 PM 05-03-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrope View Post

Hi George, In 2009 I received two little converter boxes from Comcast and programed them to my analog TVs. I especially disliked the big silver Comcast remote and still do. A few months later I purchased an lcd and placed it in the bedroom. I was delighted to be able to use the TV remote that came with the TV, just like in the "Olden Days."

Thank you for your reply George, but unfortunately it is way above the level of my technical expertise. Which is obviously quite low.

Is the DTA you are referring to the little digital converter boxes provided by Comcast? I realize I could hook one up to my hdtv but assumed it would only receive SD picture, which of course looks like poop.

You are correct in that you don't want to use the little DTAs for an HDTV because they are only for SD, however the two DTAs Comcast gave me have very small black remotes, unlike the larger silver ones you mentioned. Those larger silver remotes are used with my AnyRoom service HD terminal STB boxes and the Host HD DVR (for the several HDTVs located in other areas of my home).

In short, what I'm suggesting is to make sure your home cable wiring is okay and delivering a strong signal to your HDTV and any cable splitters in the house are of modern design (less than 7 or 8 years old for digital compatibility).

How you go about that may require a technician if you don't understand about splitters, etc.

I'd start first with the easy do-it-yourself stuff like making sure all your cable connections are tight thoughout your place (also wiggle the wires a bit) .... then rescan for all analog and digital channels.

Let's give that a try first and see if KOIN is recaptured.

BTW, Comcast is working on rolling out small low or no-cost "HD" DTAs that will give you all the local channel plus a few extra things like C-Span, etc with probably the smaller black remotes that came with my SD DTAs .... probably 6 to 8 months out.
HTBruceM's Avatar HTBruceM 08:49 AM 05-04-2011
My DVD recordings of KOIN shows have bad frame skipping starting this week. No prob on other channels. Could be related.
George-O's Avatar George-O 09:57 AM 05-04-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTBruceM View Post

My DVD recordings of KOIN shows have bad frame skipping starting this week. No prob on other channels. Could be related.

Same here ..... you are probably right. They always seemed to be the worst of the locals as far as signal issues in the past (from what I've seen) ..... but at least they've got a pair of the hotest female newcasters in the PDX area .... including Kacey ..... good personalities, good looks and nice racks. More than makes up for their technical issues.

http://stupidcelebrities.net/2008/08...s-porn-photos/
zyland's Avatar zyland 07:37 PM 05-04-2011
I also lost KOIN 6.1 recently. A rescan didn't help. I entered the physical QAM channel (80.63) and that got it back at 6.1.
scrope's Avatar scrope 08:40 PM 05-04-2011
Hi George, turned on the TV last night after my last message and 6.1 was back. That's without checking connections or anything. But from what you and others mentioned, I won't be surprised if this happens again. Yes, I have what Comcast refers to as a "satellite box" with the smaller black remote. For use in the bedroom before I bought the new TV. But back then I had serious reception problems and Comcast was here for three days. First one truck, then two, then three. They rewired my entire house and still no improvement. Finally they checked the line from my house and found a squirrel had chewed through it. Problem solved. At least I know my wiring and splitter were updated.

Thanks for your help George. The link to the swimsuit pictures made it all worthwhile. Watching the 5:00 news will never be the same.
George-O's Avatar George-O 10:55 PM 05-04-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrope View Post

Thanks for your help George. The link to the swimsuit pictures made it all worthwhile. Watching the 5:00 news will never be the same.

Glad to have been of some help ..... and enjoy the news on channel 6.
Lee Wood's Avatar Lee Wood 05:47 PM 05-09-2011
All of the Portland stations feed Comcast via fiber supplied by Comcast. Comcast only takes an over the air feed in the event of a fiber failure. The stations have no control or influence over the signal levels on the Comcast system since even when taking the off air feed Comcast remodulates them on to cable QAM channels.
George-O's Avatar George-O 01:46 AM 05-10-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Wood View Post

All of the Portland stations feed Comcast via fiber supplied by Comcast. Comcast only takes an over the air feed in the event of a fiber failure. The stations have no control or influence over the signal levels on the Comcast system since even when taking the off air feed Comcast remodulates them on to cable QAM channels.

Well then, maybe things boil down to simply a grudge from Philly towards KOIN Channel 6's new ownership?

Just a guess and only my own opinion as to why it's always Channel 6 that's most problematic in Portland on Comcast (over the last year or so).
mdwags's Avatar mdwags 09:39 AM 07-02-2011
I just returned from vacation and it seems that Comcast has changed some things. I have Comcast internet service and get limited basic cable (if that's still a product). I cannot find the OPB channels. Has Comcast encoded these channels?
akaussie's Avatar akaussie 10:05 AM 08-15-2011
The following information was included with my most recent bill:
Quote:


Effective 10/4/11, the following lineup changes will occur:
Starter lineup channel additions:
768 Oxygen HD
793 BBC America HD
788 Sprout HD
789 Hub HD
791 Bloomberg HD

Preferred lineup channel additions:
800 Fox Soccer HD
801 Galavision HD
235 Inspiration
512 Reelz

Sports Entertainment channel addition:
277 Crime & Investigation.

Lifetime Movie Network will move from channel 768 to 785.
BBC America 162 will move from Digital Preferred to Digital Starter.

Preferred Plus HD lineup channel deletions:
857 HBO Family HD
860 HBO Zone HD
859 HBO Comedy HD
836 Starz! Edge HD
839 Starz! Kids & Family HD
840 Starz! Comedy HD
Digital Premier HD lineup channel deletion:
864 More MAX HD


IMO, the removal of many of the HD premium movie channels really devalues those packages.
crossbeaux's Avatar crossbeaux 11:40 AM 08-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by akaussie View Post

The following information was included with my most recent bill:



IMO, the removal of many of the HD premium movie channels really devalues those packages.

I'm glad to see the addition of BBC America HD. I don't care so much about the deletions of the premium channels. All the HBO channels basically show the same stuff, just at different times. And with On Demand and/or a DVR, you can pretty much watch their programming when you want to anyway. So I'd rather have more variety in programming channels.
akaussie's Avatar akaussie 12:00 PM 08-15-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by crossbeaux View Post

I'm glad to see the addition of BBC America HD. I don't care so much about the deletions of the premium channels. All the HBO channels basically show the same stuff, just at different times. And with On Demand and/or a DVR, you can pretty much watch their programming when you want to anyway. So I'd rather have more variety in programming channels.

I do agree with the addition of BBC America HD. Big thumbs up on that one along with Fox Soccer Channel HD.
earletp's Avatar earletp 12:14 AM 08-17-2011
Has anyone else noticed a change to the buffer on their DVR recently?

My DCX-3400 now buffers about 30 - 35 minutes of HD, instead of the 15 - 20 minutes it used to.
George-O's Avatar George-O 12:26 AM 08-17-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by earletp View Post

Has anyone else noticed a change to the buffer on their DVR recently?

My DCX-3400 now buffers about 30 - 35 minutes of HD, instead of the 15 - 20 minutes it used to.

I've also noticed it buffers about 90 minutes of SD programming ..... nice!
lordbodom's Avatar lordbodom 10:35 AM 08-24-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by akaussie View Post

The following information was included with my most recent bill:



IMO, the removal of many of the HD premium movie channels really devalues those packages.

Is everyone getting these? i still dont have fox soccer on HD.
crossbeaux's Avatar crossbeaux 10:56 AM 08-24-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by lordbodom View Post

Is everyone getting these? i still dont have fox soccer on HD.

I don't think the changes happen until October 4.
HTBruceM's Avatar HTBruceM 07:49 PM 09-05-2011
Hey aren't the cable companies supposed to be sending out the local TV channels with the same level of quality as over-the-air broadcast? I've been noticing really bad quality on local channels over Comcast.

I just recorded 3 hours of the US Open today on KOIN6, using different tuners. One tuner was on Comcast channel 706, the other tuner was on an HDHomeRun via antenna. File sizes were drastically different:

Channel 706 (Comcast) 13.2GB
Channel 6-1 (Antenna) 23.4GB

Clearly it seems that Comcast is compressing the signal. They're not supposed to do that are they?

(reposted from the Portland, OR - HDTV forum)
George-O's Avatar George-O 08:35 PM 09-05-2011
What? ..... You expect every business to be 100% honest?

It is good folks like yourself that expose things such as dual recording results that can only keep them honest in the long run.

Good gracious, we can never expect local or federal regulators to to that, as that would be biting off the hand that feeds those agencies (or the politicians that oversee those agencies).
scowl's Avatar scowl 09:58 PM 09-05-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by George-O View Post

What? ..... You expect every business to be 100% honest?

When did Comcast promise the same bit rates as OTA?

I can confirm what's happening. "How I Met Your Mother" which just aired took up 4.08 GB OTA corresponding to an 18.14 Mbps bit rate, but it took up a mere 2.32 GB on my TiVo corresponding to a 10.31 Mbps bit rate. That doesn't even match KOIN's old 14.2 Mbps bit rate which they raised around June 12th.

A quick and not very relevant comparison are these screenshots of the first "flash" during the CSI credits. Here it is during the November 18th airing and here it is during the June 21st rerun.

College football is coming soon.
scowl's Avatar scowl 10:25 PM 09-05-2011
I have a painful screenshot comparison of the vista from the helicopter at the beginning of How I Met Your Mother.

Here is the blurry Comcast "Legoland" version.

And here is the far more detailed shot we saw OTA.

I think this is pretty definitive.
crossbeaux's Avatar crossbeaux 10:59 PM 09-05-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

When did Comcast promise the same bit rates as OTA?

I can confirm what's happening. "How I Met Your Mother" which just aired took up 4.08 GB OTA corresponding to an 18.14 Mbps bit rate, but it took up a mere 2.32 GB on my TiVo corresponding to a 10.31 Mbps bit rate. That doesn't even match KOIN's old 14.2 Mbps bit rate which they raised around June 12th.

A quick and not very relevant comparison are these screenshots of the first "flash" during the CSI credits. Here it is during the November 18th airing and here it is during the June 21st rerun.

College football is coming soon.

I don't think it was Comcast promising anything. I thought it was the FCC demanding that the quality be the same for local channels.
HTBruceM's Avatar HTBruceM 12:20 AM 09-06-2011
Looks like my recording of the US Open on Comcast was about 10.2Mb/sec rate. Which, according to Wikipedia is just slightly above the highest possible DVD bit rate.

I've been scanning the FCC pages and I don't actually see anything yet that defines the minimum bitrate (or maximum compression rate) that can be applied. Here is all I can find:

Material Degradation
The Report and Order finds that a cable operator would not necessarily be materially degrading a digital television signal if it carries less than the full 19.4 mbps transmitted by a broadcaster.
The Report and Order finds that a cable operator may not carry a digital television signal in a lesser format or lower resolution than that afforded to a non-broadcast digital programmer carried on the cable system. However, a digital-only television station may demand that a cable operator carry its digital signal in an analog format without the prohibition against material degradation being violated. If a television station chooses to be carried in this manner, it is treated in the same manner as an analog signal.
Cable operators are permitted to remodulate digital broadcast signals from 8 VSB to 64 or 256 QAM. Cable operators are not required to pass-through 8 VSB.
mdwags's Avatar mdwags 12:30 PM 09-06-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdwags View Post

I just returned from vacation and it seems that Comcast has changed some things. I have Comcast internet service and get limited basic cable (if that's still a product). I cannot find the OPB channels. Has Comcast encoded these channels?

Back when i wrote this, i waited a couple days and rescanned. The OPB stations showed up. Then yesterday, i was having trouble getting 8.1 KGW-HD. I tried a rescan and ended up with both 8.1 and 2.1 missing. I chatted with Comcast and they said some digital migration (confused with the over-the-air migration?) is occuring. They said that my Limited Basic Cable was analog channels 2 - 29 only. I would have to upgrade to a digital cable package if i wanted 8.1. It was frustrating communicating with Comcast. I'm still getting the other local channels (and Discovery and WGN) in clear QAM.

Is Comcast encoding the local stations?

I have a clear QAM DVR (Sony HDD-250) that serves me well and i'd like to continue to use it. The Packers are playing Thursday night on NBC and i need to get this resolved.

Maybe it's time to cut the cord and go completely OTA?
Dartman's Avatar Dartman 12:39 PM 09-06-2011
They are SUPPOSED to carry all OTA channels in original format and all that but I haven't fired up my LG HD tuner in ages as they finally gave me a good enough deal to migrate to HD service and box with phone and extras.
Pretty sure my HD clear QAM tuner in here still gets all the HD locals and subs too but haven't checked everything recently. They haven't moved anything since they destroyed all the extended basic channels by encrypting them unless they just did some more very recently.
scowl's Avatar scowl 08:32 PM 09-06-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdwags View Post

Back when i wrote this, i waited a couple days and rescanned. The OPB stations showed up. Then yesterday, i was having trouble getting 8.1 KGW-HD.

My TiVo says KGW-HD is on channel 75 (531 Mhz).
zyland's Avatar zyland 02:10 AM 09-07-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdwags View Post

I chatted with Comcast ... They said that my Limited Basic Cable was analog channels 2 - 29 only. I would have to upgrade to a digital cable package if i wanted 8.1.

Whoever you spoke to is mistaken. Limited Basic includes all the local HD broadcast channels including KGW. I'm watching KGW HD right now on my TV with a clear QAM tuner. No cable box required.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdwags View Post

Maybe it's time to cut the cord and go completely OTA?

Before you give up limited basic, confirm that you can get the channels you care about OTA. If so, Freedom!!!!
HTBruceM's Avatar HTBruceM 07:49 AM 09-07-2011
Recent recording of Young and the Restless (11am) on KOIN 6 resulted in an 8.2GB file when recording from antenna, and about 3.9GB file on channel 706 via Comcast. The difference in quality is noticeable.

This is "material degradation" in my opinion.

I'll bet Comcast has the ability to selectively dial in just about any degree of compression they want. When something "high profile" is on, I'll bet they dial down the level of compression. Like the Super Bowl.
scowl's Avatar scowl 09:56 AM 09-07-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by HTBruceM View Post

I'll bet Comcast has the ability to selectively dial in just about any degree of compression they want. When something "high profile" is on, I'll bet they dial down the level of compression. Like the Super Bowl.

But what is so high profile on KOIN's shared channel that they have to dial down KOIN during prime time to make bandwidth for it? If they have three HD stations on one QAM channel, there's no way they're going to give KOIN half of it and let the other two fight over the remaining 18 Mbps.

Maybe someone should contact KOIN and tell them what Comcast is doing. They've had a poor relationship in the past (Comcast/AT&T/Paragon didn't have KOIN in HD for years because KOIN wanted compensation) but maybe things are better now. Thank KOIN for giving us the best HD quality in Portland (the bit rate increase is very visible) and tell them why Comcast subscribers won't be seeing it.

I won't bother because this madness is exactly why I still have an antenna.
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