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post #1 of 14496 Old 01-26-2004, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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MOD EDIT - Courtesy of keenan:

San Francisco Bay Area Comcast Information
============================================================ ==============

This thread contains posts regarding Comcast HDTV service in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose Bay Area. (This covers San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, and Napa counties.)

For Solano County see note below.

To summarize status as of August, 2006:

HD Channels:

Note: Not all channels are available everywhere. Check with your local Comcast office, or better yet, post the question here as you will get the most accurate, up to date, information from this group. Having a location/city in your profile helps tremendously.

702 KTVU-DT (FOX) 720p & DD 5.1
703 KNTV-DT (NBC) 1080i & DD 5.1
704 KRON-DT (MyTV) 1080i
705 KPIX-DT (CBS) 1080i & DD 5.1
707 KGO-DT (ABC) 720p & DD 5.1
709 KQED-DT (PBS) (on air 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.) 1080i & DD 5.1

719 INHD (encrypted in most areas) 1080i
720 INHD2 (encrypted in most areas) 1080i (FSNBA-HD see note below)

FSN Bay Area HD (some Warriors, A's and Giants games inserted onto 720, pre-empting INHD2 programming) FSN Bay Area Website-- HD Schedule

722 Discovery HD Theater 1080i & DD 5.1
723 ESPN HD (encrypted in most areas) 720p & DD 5.1
725 ESPN2 HD (encrypted) 720p & DD 5.1
HD Special Events
-- NFL Channel HD (NFL Game of the Week, Weds. and Thurs. Evenings)
-- INHD programming (third INHD feed) whenever NBA game is on INHD
-- Other HD programming TBA

730 HBO HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1
732 Cinemax HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1
734 Starz HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1
736 Showtime HD West (encrypted) 1080i & DD 5.1

Note re encryption: This varies from one head end to the next. Some premiums and/or ESPN HD and/or InHD may be unencrypted in your area, but that will change as soon as Comcast gets all the necessary equipment to encrypt. Only the local HD channels will be "in the clear" once all the head ends have the proper equipment.

Note re ADS: ADS, or Analog-Digital Simulcasting, is when the analog channels are duplicated as digital subchannels. This allows for cheaper, smaller digital boxes as the analog tuner is not needed. ADS also eliminates the need for MPEG encoders in the DVR's. The primary advantage is the elimination of interference typically associated with analog signals.

Most 750/850MHz systems in the Bay Area have implemented ADS. The surest way of obtaining the digital versions of the analog channels is to incorporate at least one Motorola 3412 STB in your household. Once the headend receives the signal that you're in an "ADS-ready" area, your other STB's will automatically start using the digital channels. To find out if you're receiving the digital channels, tune both of your tuners to channel 2, go in to the diagnostics menu, and go to "d06 CURRENT CHANNEL STATUS". If both tuners say 'QAM 256" then you're receiving the digital version of the channel. If they say "Analog" then you are receiving the analog version of the channel.

Note re 550 Mhz systems: Not all (or any) HD channels may be available in some Bay Area systems because they are not yet "rebuilt" to either 750 mHz or 860 mHz and thus have less bandwidth to devote to HDTV. As it stands August 2006, there doesn't appear to be any plans to upgrade these systems to bring parity with the rest of the SF bay area. The prevailing assumption is that as we move closer to the analog OTA shutdown date, Comcast will be moving analog channels to digital, and thus, freeing up bandwidth for more channels and services on these systems. This looks to be a long and slow process covering years so don't expect anything new to appear on these systems anytime soon. On these systems you will NOT get: INHD*, INHD2,* FSN Bay Area HD*, Showtime HD, KRON HD and/or HD Special Events among others depending on the particular system.

But, you will pay the same rates as subscribers who do receive the full complement of channels and services. This is an inequity that Comcast, to date, has not addressed and continues to remain silent on.

These systems are located in, among other areas,

Antioch
Hayward
Los Gatos
Milpitas
Pittsburg
San Leandro
San Lorenzo
Santa Rosa
Saratoga
Sunnyvale(parts)
Vallejo

* INHD and INHD2 are available in areas of Saratoga, Milpitas and Los Gatos even though these are primarily 550 Mhz systems.

Note: Solano County. Information obtained from Comcast subscriber heyjjjaded in Vacaville.

1. Our local HD channels are all out of Sacramento
2. Unlike Sacramento though, all of our HD channels are in the 700's (the way they are in San Francisco)
3. We get standard network non-HD channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox) from both Sacramento & San Francisco
4. The 800 telephone number on our Comcast brochure puts us through to the bay area
5. Our HD problems (break-ups, audio-drops, failure to switch from INHD2 to FSN HD) almost always coincide with the same problems reported by the Sacramento customers

For further Sacramento information, see the Sacramento Comcast Thread


HD Capable Set Top Box/Firmware:

Motorola 5100 and Motorola 6200

The 6200 has a faster processor and two firewire (IEEE 1394) ports.

Firmware 7.15 (7.10 in some areas). DVI and Firewire are activated with both versions but are more stable and user friendly with 7.15.

Current software is 51.88-2002.

See the rest of the thread, below, or the 5100/6200 thread in the HDTV Hardware forum for more specific information.

HD-DVR/Software:

Motorola 6412-- first became available in December 2004. (6208 was originally projected to be available November/December 2003). Costs extra $9.95 per month (or $4.95 per month more than a non-DVR HD STB rental from Comcast) above what you are otherwise paying for now.

Software for the HD DVR the iGuide, by Guideworks, a joint venture of Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide. Software for all other HD boxes will eventually be the iGuide but has not yet been downloaded to them as of February 17, 2005.

Current firmware version for the 6412:

Current software version for the 6412: 71.44 1203 (revision should be coming in the next couple of months)


Motorola 6412 PIII--same as 6412 listed above but has HDMI video output vs DVI for the above 6412.

Current firmware version for the 6412-PIII: 12.31


Motorola 3412--same as 6412 PIII only it has no analog tuner. The 3412 is a digital-only DVR and can be used only on systems where ADS has been implemented.

Current firmware version for the 3412: 12.22


Costs:

Limited basic cable, which is required for all subscriptions, ranges from $9 to $17 per month depending on your area. HD STB rental (non-DVR) is $5 per month. To get INHD and ESPN HD, if encrypted, you need Digital Classic tier at $9.95 per month. Premium HD channels, if encrypted, are received with any a la carte or package subscription that includes the SD versions of those channels.

HD-DVR (6412-3412) cost: $4.95 more per month than the standard HD STB. To be eligible to rent the DVR you must have a subscription to Standard Cable and at least Digital Classic--average cost--$57

Note: All the above prices prices and packages will vary somewhat from area to area, check with others in your location and/or contact the local Comcast office that serves your area.


I will update this summary as information changes. If anyone has different or updated information to the above, please post it to this thread and I will incorporate it.


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post #2 of 14496 Old 01-27-2004, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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It's definitely the case in the systems serviced by the North Bay head end. I indicated above that HBO HD and Showtime HD are encrypted. Until recently, they were sent in the clear.

I checked last night and ESPN HD is in the clear on our system. Shhhh, don't tell anyone...


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post #3 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 03:00 AM
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Ah, so that's what you meant by encrypted. I thought it was always sent encrypted since when I ordered SHO as part of my HD upgrade box swap, I got everything except for HBO-HD.

Cheers,
Vince -
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post #4 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 09:50 AM
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Thanks Sonoma for starting this thread. I wonder if Comcast will ever add Bravo-HD+ or TNT-HD when it's available?
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post #5 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I would bet that TNT HD is very likely to show up on Comcast soon after launch, given TNT's sports programming (NBA playoffs being the most prominent) and decent movie line-up. Turner Television has even said they already have carriage deals with some cable and/or satellite providers, but they won't yet say who.

Bravo HD+ is entirely a different matter... who knows? If there in fact will be a lot of HD Olympics on Bravo, I would say yes, but it probably won't launch until the Olympics get a lot closer.


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post #6 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 03:45 PM
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The comcast techs are coming over tomorrow to upgrade my receiver to HD. Stay tune for a report on PQ and available channels
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post #7 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 03:58 PM
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Firmware 7.07 in north Oakland, CA.!

This has been reported on the >>> Official AVS Comcast Moto 5100 Upgrade topic! <<< thread.

DVI works, but on my Fuji P50(10), so far the picture quality seems indistinguishable from component.

John
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post #8 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 04:12 PM
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Any chance of KTVU (Cox owned) being added anytime soon?
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post #9 of 14496 Old 01-28-2004, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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KTVU is doubtful anytime soon. Cox Broadcasting, owner of KTVU, is taking a directly opposite position from Cox Cable on cable companies paying for digital broadcast signals. Both are ultimately owned by Cox Enterprises.

Cox Cable says cable companies shouldn't have to pay for the digital signal if it has the same programming as the analog signal (albeit better PQ and sound, obviously). Comcast of course takes the same position.

But Cox Broadcasting apparently is attempting to get Comcast to render some sort of compensation for all Cox-owned stations' digital signals. Of course, Comcast is refusing. (Whether Cox can pull a Viacom and get some quid pro quo with regard to cable channel carriage, of course, is subject to speculation.)

Don't you love it when a company speaks out of both sides of its mouth?


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post #10 of 14496 Old 01-29-2004, 11:30 PM
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I'm in the East Bay anyone know if you can get INHD channel for just a day? I just want to have it to watch the NBA All Star game, and how much does INHD cost a month, couldn't seem to find it on the comcast website. Thanks a lot.

If FOX was avail on comcast in the bay, it'd make things a whole lot better.
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post #11 of 14496 Old 01-30-2004, 12:07 AM
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The techs took about an hour to upgrade my cable box to HD. The first box he installed did not even power up . He hooked up his back up unit (seems like he has seen this before). The unit took about 10 minutes to download the latest firmware (ver 51.42). The unit then reported a modem error a couple of minutes later.
The tech and to call back to HQ and force a system reset on the unit. After waiting for the unit to come alive (another 10 minutes), we finally got some video on composite but nothing on component. The tech went into the 'secret' menu and reconfigured HD output... still no HD out. He power-cycled the unit a couple more times and we finally managed do get component video out.
ESPN HD is incredible on 1080i. We switched to 720p and video turned really grainly. We switched back to 1080i. Any idea if there is a difference in perceived quality between 1080i and 720p on an LCD projector (I have a panny L300U)?
The availabe channels are:
- KGO looks like SD quality upscaled to HD
- KNTV (NBC) sharp video,and widescreen
- KPIX (CBS) not as sharp as KNTV, 4:3
- KQEDH very sharp, 16:9
- KQEDE SD upscaled, 4:3
- KQEDW no signal
- KQEDL no signal
- KQEDD no signal
- ESPNHD absolutely the best video I've ever seen
- HBO-W very sharp (not encrypted)
- SHOw very sharp (not encrypted)

I noticed the audio levels on the HD channels are lower than SD channels. Is this normal?
Also, when ESPN broadcasts regular non-HD video on ESPNHD, the screen is stretched to 16:9. This does not happen to other channels.
Just before the lech left, he mentioned the 5100 are DVR ready (ie: the hard disks are already installed in the box). All comcast need to do is to enable it via firmware (possibly in Nov this year). Is there any truth in this?
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post #12 of 14496 Old 01-30-2004, 12:20 AM
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I got the 5100 HD box installed two weeks ago..

The Comcast guy originally installed a non-HD box and I had to bring it to the local Comcast warehouse to exchange it.

I'm kinda disappointed..

I got more HD channels with my over the air antenna than I get through HD cable.

What really surprised me was that all the regular cable channels are still coming through as analog signals through the 5100. I thought all channels would be transmitted using digital technology even if they were not in HD.

Only reason I got HD cable was so my Tivo could record stuff. It couldn't change the channels on my Over The Air HD receiver box. I got two other non-HD TVs as well so I get regular cable programming on those.

I'm going to have to think whether I really want to keep Comcast. DirecTV looks a lot more appealing now..
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post #13 of 14496 Old 01-30-2004, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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So based on the posts I have seen here and elsewhere so far, the 7.07 firmware is running in parts of Oakland, Burlingame and Alameda.

Anywhere else?

EDIT: Milpitas, Menlo Park ...


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post #14 of 14496 Old 01-30-2004, 10:55 AM
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Firmware 7.07 and working DVI in the South Bay ( Milpitas area ). I can't believe we really got it before the rest of the area, of course we still don't get INHD and INHD2....
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post #15 of 14496 Old 01-30-2004, 03:31 PM
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It's been a long time that I checked back this forum. Is anybody know if Comcast HDTV is available in North San Jose (95133) area?

Thanks
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post #16 of 14496 Old 01-31-2004, 07:15 PM
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Hi Folks,
I got it today in Marin (San Rafael) and I'm getting wonderful 720p output from DVI and component. It's crisper but the colors are better on my Sharp z10k projector through component because of the lack of controls with DVI. Oh well. Can't wait for the Super Bowl tomorrow. Has anybody found a way to get firewire out for archiving/timeshifting? I was hoping for Discovery HD, Fox and WB... Hopefully coming soon. Any update on tthe PVR?
thanks,
Sam
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post #17 of 14496 Old 01-31-2004, 08:57 PM
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Anyone from the East Bay, particularly Pleaseanton/Dublin/Danville area get INHD and INHD2 channels?
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post #18 of 14496 Old 02-01-2004, 01:38 PM
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You've got DVI out from a Comcast box? Did you get the 5100 or the 6200?
Perspiring minds want to know. My D1 looks great via DVI out and I really wanted to show the SB via DVI. A Comcast CSR (Clueless Service Rep) had no idea what I was talking about last week when I called to inquire about DVI's availability. Share your success amigo!
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post #19 of 14496 Old 02-02-2004, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Dartinbout,

As mentioned in the other posts above, some Bay Area Comcast systems have received a new firmware version, 7.07. The firmware is downloaded to the STB's by Comcast. Check your box to see if you have firmware version 7.07.

Where are you located? Someone may have already reported the 7.07 in your area.

If you have firmware 7.07, then IF your 5100 box has a DVI port, it is operational. All 6200 boxes have DVI ports (but very few 6200's have been installed in the Bay Area by Comcast so far, AFAIK).

If you don't have 7.07 on your box, you just have to wait until it is downloaded.

Good luck.


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post #20 of 14496 Old 02-02-2004, 02:37 PM
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I just checked last night and I now have 7.07. I'm in Fremont. However, I could NOT get to any service or hidden menus. Pushing the OK/slect button with poower off did nothing for me at all. In my configuration screen, it says "Outputs: 3" but not what they are and whether DVI is active or not. I just returned the DVI cable to Fry's and got some good (not Monster $130 good, but decent) component cables. Now it seems I need to go buy one again, just to give it a try.

Albert
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post #21 of 14496 Old 02-02-2004, 02:39 PM
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BTW - I have a 5100 with a DVI connector on the rear panel. I hope it's active......
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post #22 of 14496 Old 02-02-2004, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Your DVI connector must be active if you have 7.07.

There are two ways to get to two different "service" menus.

For the user settings menu, hit "Menu" while the box is powered off.

For the menu which includes a much more extensive list of different settings (which cannot be modified from this menu), you have to hit the OK/select button immediately after turning off the box. If you hit OK/select even 3 or 4 seconds after powering off the box, you won't get it. It has to be within one or two seconds after powering it off.


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post #23 of 14496 Old 02-02-2004, 05:36 PM
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Your DVI connector must be active if you have 7.07.

I hope so........

There are two ways to get to two different "service" menus.

For the user settings menu, hit "Menu" while the box is powered off.


Yup - saw that one. 7.07 seems to have changed the way the 4:3 override works. I like it better now.


For the menu which includes a much more extensive list of different settings (which cannot be modified from this menu), you have to hit the OK/select button immediately after turning off the box. If you hit OK/select even 3 or 4 seconds after powering off the box, you won't get it. It has to be within one or two seconds after powering it off.

Ah, so! I was taking my time going to the OK/select button. No wonder it didn't work! Thanks!

I will pick up a new DVI cable this weekend and give it another try. Any suggestions for where I can go to buy one that's not the exorbitantly expensive Monster cable? And should it be DVI-D or DVI-I? Single link okay? I'm not a fan of Internet shopping, and I'd rather avoid that if I can.

Albert
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post #24 of 14496 Old 02-03-2004, 08:26 AM
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Quick question on Comsast HD recently. During the last week, I have noticed that most of the HD channels on comcast have been a bit "weird" and getting "stuck" for a about 5-7 seconds at a time and going to a black screen. After about the 5-7 seconds they seem to come back only for it to happen again after another 10 minutes or so. It happens sparaticaly so it is difficult to pin point.

Has anyone noticed this?
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post #25 of 14496 Old 02-03-2004, 09:18 AM
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I've seen that happen too. This was a few weeks back, haven't seen it recently. I think it was pissing me off, so I just switched over to my Dish. I may have turned off the cable box too, was trying to figure a way to reboot the box to see if that would clear it. It just seemed to go away.
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post #26 of 14496 Old 02-03-2004, 05:25 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by mrquickfire
Quick question on Comsast HD recently. During the last week, I have noticed that most of the HD channels on comcast have been a bit "weird" and getting "stuck" for a about 5-7 seconds at a time and going to a black screen. After about the 5-7 seconds they seem to come back only for it to happen again after another 10 minutes or so. It happens sparaticaly so it is difficult to pin point.

Has anyone noticed this?

Seems to be happening more and more. It started on NBC last week. Last night, CBS had the problem (it was during CSI:Miami). I've also noticed that NBC will often show some funky logo animation during part of the commercial break (but not the whole break!) then not always re-start the program at the same time as SD. What's the deal there?

Albert
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post #27 of 14496 Old 02-03-2004, 05:51 PM
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I believe that has to do with local station identification type of thing, like local news blurbs and such. I think comcast actually gets their NBC feed nationally and not from the local market, or the local market just doesn't take the time to splice in their news segment. So we get the nice peacock dancing around or whatever you want to call it.
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post #28 of 14496 Old 02-04-2004, 02:35 PM
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will pick up a new DVI cable this weekend and give it another try. Any suggestions for where I can go to buy one that's not the exorbitantly expensive Monster cable? And should it be DVI-D or DVI-I? Single link okay? I'm not a fan of Internet shopping, and I'd rather avoid that if I can

Reasonably priced DVI cables seem to be hard to find locally. I looked through Fry's, didn't find any; they'd usually be best bet. Best Buy didn't have anything but the ridiculous Monster version. I didn't try CompUSA, the only other place I'd think would be likely to have some. I ended up ordering from www.pacificcable.com. You need DVI-D as the 5100's connector won't accept DVI-I. Single link is fine, but I paid the $1 extra for dual link just in case I can make use of the dual link in the future for my PC.
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post #29 of 14496 Old 02-06-2004, 05:40 PM
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Ah, this is cool, DVI is indeed working for me here in Menlo Park! Wonderful!

One thing I wish is if the 5100 would come with a "native" output resolution setting: that is, the 5100 would switch between 720p and 1080i (and 480p/480i) as needed to match the channel's resolution.

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post #30 of 14496 Old 02-06-2004, 10:26 PM
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The DVI output on my Motorola 5100 box is alive and well. All of the news about the v7.07 firmware upgrade from Comcast inspired a test on my Dell LCD monitor.

Five minutes of a KQED HD demo program (flying above Marin County) was a breathtaking, even considering the small monitor. What surprised me was that the low band signals (channel 4 6 and 8) seemed clearer than on my Samsung CRT.
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