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Boston, MA - Comcast  

post #1 of 11032
Thread Starter 
As far as I know, Comcast will be buying out AT&T Broadband sometime this month. And from what I understand, they will start carrying the HDTV signals. I know they are in the Philly area, and I live in the Boston area. On channels 805, 807, 870, and 877 with my regular digital box, I can hear sound, but no pictures. Channels 805 and 807 are the same as 5 and 7, so it's probably the HDTV signal. I don't know what channel 870 is, but channel 877 was channel 2 for a few days, but then they stopped that. Maybe that's where they'll put the HDTV signals. I don't really know how HDTV works, but as far as I understand, the only channel around here carrying an HD signal is channel 5 during primetime. But all the other programming is just regular, but the signal might be a little better. And also, do you usually have to pay extra for the HDTV channels? Does anyone else know anything about this?
post #2 of 11032
There has been a lot of talk about the Comcast/AT&T HD annoucement in the Boston market being right around the corner (possibly as early as next week) but to date there have been no official announcements. All of the local stations in the Boston market (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, WB) are currently doing HD - you are mistaken to believe it is only ABC. Comcast will likely launch without having every stations signed up yet. Exactly which stations they will have initially remains to be seen, but based on what you (and others) have said about 805, 807 and 877, my guess is they'll have ABC, NBC, PBS, HBO, and maybe Showtime available in HD. I've heard that CBS, precisely because it is the leader in HD programming, is reluctant to have cable systems start compressing the heck out of its HD signal.

Comcast/AT&T has also recently done a "soft launch" of their 750mHz system in areas of the city (e.g. Beacon Hill) that they have not yet officially declared as upgraded. They're in the final testing stages and will announce very soon on that as well. To avoid confusion, a 750mHz system (what is probably advertised to you as "digital cable") is not the same as HD, but is a prerequisite to HD, so those of us in Beacon Hill are just as concerned about the 750mHz announcement as we are about the HD announcement. If you can already get digital cable at your address, don't worry about this aspect of it.

Joe
post #3 of 11032
The last time I heard and compared 870, it was the SD broadcast of channel 19, aka 2.1.
post #4 of 11032
I just got off the phone with ATT and the csr stated that they had a department meeting yesterday and that hdtv cable would be rolled out starting February 18th to the Boston areas that have digital cable. He was going to get more information from his manager and call me back about scheduling installation and channels. I'll post the additional information when I get the call.
post #5 of 11032
I think HD cable is right around the corner in the Boston area. AT$T in Winchester is sending HBO-HD & Showtime-HD on 82.01 and 82.02 to my Mits TV (w/integrated ATSC and QAM tuner). Strange because I pay DirecTV for these channels and only pay AT$T for extended basic.
post #6 of 11032
Thread Starter 
But why is it that there is audio and no sound on those channels? And also, they are all just listed as "Local Access". Now channel 877 (WGBH-DT) did have a digital picture for a few days, and then it went off. So I don't know what's with that. They are always sluggish with that stuff, as AT&T adds new channels practically every month.
post #7 of 11032
I think the answer is that they are still testing. They haven't started advertising or officially offering HD. The headline is not that you're not yet able to watch HD in the 800's, but that Comcast/AT&T is obviously getting it ready.

Joe
post #8 of 11032
Thread Starter 
And when it's ready, just like everything else, it will probably say that popular message, "NOT AUTHORIZED". That's what it says if you tune into a channel that you don't get.
post #9 of 11032
I hooked up AT&T cable to the integrated HDTV and QAM cable tuner on my Mits RPTV, and I can get HBO, Showtime, NBC Ch. 7, ABC Ch. 5, and a PBS station all in HD.
post #10 of 11032
If you are getting the channels with audio & no video, its really close to being launched (you will only need a decoder to view them, see below).

If you have Digital cable these channels should never say "not authorized" (unless its a premium HD channel that you do not subscribe to), assuming that Comcast will handle your region like the others with HD.
The HD channels are included into the minimum Digital cable service package, all you need to get is a Decoder from Comcast, which in your area I believe they will be using a Motorola DCT5100, assuming you guys are using GI/Motorola for Digital Cable now.

Good Luck.
post #11 of 11032
Lets see if they even make you subscribe to the digital package- that's an iffy proposition on their part since the 1992 Cable Act went into effect last October.

Some people are making a big enough stink with Comcast that they'll just rent you the digital box and make you pay for Sho and Hbo, because you can get those channels "a la carte" now. You don't need digital anything to get premium channels anymore. No way am I paying $40+HBO+SHO just to get HDTV. I already pay $6 for Basic, and under the new law that should be enough.

They always try to sell you more than you need and are never really up front about it.
post #12 of 11032
Thread Starter 
Well, the price we're paying for AT&T Broadband is ridiculously expensive. We are paying $106 a month for the Platinum package (everything), and 3 digital boxes. Now for a couple of days, I was able to get a digital signal from channel 2 (PBS) on 877, but now it's gone. So maybe we'll need to get a new box, but here's the big question: Do you need a new HDTV, or will it work with the one I have?
post #13 of 11032
ssetta- You need an HDTV to display the HDTV channels. That means you'll need a new box (propbably a 5100 or 5200) or an upgrade to the box you have. I suspect it will be the new Motorola 5100 you'll get.

These boxes have Progressive-Component outputs (Y,Pb,Pr)- if you have an HDTV you should be ok. A regular tv with interlaced component inputs won't be enough- you'll need to purchase a HDTV.
post #14 of 11032
Quote:
Originally posted by ssetta
Well, the price we're paying for AT&T Broadband is ridiculously expensive. We are paying $106 a month for the Platinum package (everything), and 3 digital boxes. Now for a couple of days, I was able to get a digital signal from channel 2 (PBS) on 877, but now it's gone. So maybe we'll need to get a new box, but here's the big question: Do you need a new HDTV, or will it work with the one I have?

It will work with the TV you have now, but you will need some way to decode the signal. The MINIMUM requirements, as of now, for a Television to recieve anything in HD from an external decoder is a Component output. Followed by RGBHV (VGA), DVI, ect. in no particular order, your current cable box probably only has composite, maybe s-video, which neither will give you HD on your TV.

Dave Fi,

Actually they don't make you subscribe to a Digital Package. You would need a Decoder capable of decoding QAM (modulation used by Cable Co.) which there are only a few TV's that have a QAM decoder integrated into them, Mitsu is probably the most popular, and as noted earlier in this thread, FAiello, is getting all of the channels by directly connecting his cable to his integrated decoder.

"They always try to sell you more than you need and are never really up front about it."

Doesn't EVERY sales person try to do this!

If you already have Digital Cable there will probably be no extra cost for the upgrade (DCT5100), if you don't have digital cable then it will cost you at least the price of renting the converter/decoder.

There are a couple of threads about what everyone else in the country is paying for & saying about their HDTV services from Comcast/AT&T. Please visit them as they will get you up to date on what others are saying about the service which in some areas has been up and running for over 2 years, now.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=188007

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...hreadid=194404
post #15 of 11032
Yes, I read all that- that's why I mentioned that some people have gotten the Digital/HD decoder without having to pay for normal digital.

As for QAM tuners, there aren't any standalone boxes and and there won't be for a while, that's why I'm pushing hard to get Hauppauge to add QAM support to my WinTV-HD like they promised. Outside of that I'll probably have to rent the box from Comcast, or wait for something like Zenith's upcoming HD PVR that has QAM support. That will take quite a while.
post #16 of 11032
I don't think it will be that bad. The fact that its even being let through now, means that it will be adopted much faster than if it wasn't. The problem is that HDTV has grown soooo much in the last couple years that the equipment (OTA decoders, integrated decoders, HTPC's & other HDTV equipment) will need to be upgraded if the people would rather get the signals from Comcast that they are already paying for, than from OTA or D*.

The option will still always be there for sales on both sides of the coin, you can't bash Comcast on their sales techniques when Circuit City, Best Buy, Sears, & many other retailers in every field, are doing the exact same thing if not worse too many more customers. It's up to you to be educated on what it is you're paying for, and thats probably the reason you are on this forum in the first place. This isn't saying that its OK for these sales methods to be used, but Caveat Emptor.....
post #17 of 11032
I'm fairly suprised they're not encrypting HBO-HD and SHO-HD. Once they do you'll have to rent a box from them anyways.
post #18 of 11032
Thread Starter 
I have looked at some of the newer model flat screen TVs such as the Sony Wega series and the Panasonic Tau series. From what I know, some of them are HDTV ready, but only the very expensive ones. I usually look at the 27" models, and AFAIK, they're not HDTV ready, but I don't know if it means that you can't use HDTV with those sets.
post #19 of 11032
If you're looking for a 27" HDTV, you might as well check out some of the 30" 16:9 models- there are a few under $1000. It really depends on how much you want to spend.

This Samsung is selling at Best Buy for $999 with a $100 rebate through 2/22. http://www.bestbuy.com/detail.asp?e=...&cat=24&scat=0
post #20 of 11032
Thread Starter 
Okay, but the question is: Is Samsung usually very good? Because I know there are a lot of brands that are inferior.

And also, I just looked in the guide, and there actually is a program listing for those HDTV channels. But the CSR said that I would need a special box, and an HDTV. Now someone said I don't need a new TV, but that's probably not true. I hope the price of those comes down in a few years.
post #21 of 11032
I really don't know. You might want to ask this question in the appropriate forum.

That is the cheapest you're going to find a direct view 16:9 HDTV. Time Magazine did give it the Tech Award for the month or something. If you want to spend more of course you're going to get a higher quality product.
I know Samsung has a few different models built around the same tube.

Still, that's a damn good price considering what you get. Just for DVD watching it's a deal. Free delivery too.
post #22 of 11032
Quote:
Originally posted by ssetta
Okay, but the question is: Is Samsung usually very good? Because I know there are a lot of brands that are inferior.

And also, I just looked in the guide, and there actually is a program listing for those HDTV channels. But the CSR said that I would need a special box, and an HDTV. Now someone said I don't need a new TV, but that's probably not true. I hope the price of those comes down in a few years.

You would absolutly need a new box it will most likely be the Motorola DCT5100. Please read the FAQ below.

"but here's the big question: Do you need a new HDTV, or will it work with the one I have?"

This quote from your earlier post made it seem like you already had an HDTV, but apparently you do not. You do need a TV capable of displaying HDTV signals. You cannot view HDTV (720p, 1080i) on a TV that will not accept these signals.
post #23 of 11032
According to today's (2/18/03) Boston Globe, Comcast is offering HDTV service starting today for $2/mo extra (on top of normal Digital).

Also, it said they expect few takers... They only have enough cable boxes for 100,000 people in the entire country.

Now the trick is to find out how to sign up....
post #24 of 11032
I just got done scheduling my installation of HDTV with the Comcast rep. She said I was the first to call and schedule so it looks like the word isn't out yet. $2.00 extra (over the digital cable box) for the HDTV Box. Installation was scheduled for this Saturday, to my surprise. I'll update when it is installed.

1-888-COMCAST - the website phone numbers are incorrect.
post #25 of 11032
I tried 1-888-comcast, but the rep I talked to said they wouldn't be ready to take my order for a few days... Perhaps by the end of the week.
Seems like lots of confusion there (as usual).
post #26 of 11032
Only two of the five channels broadcasting HD, and no Fox?

Maybe that's why they're expecting few takers.
post #27 of 11032
I think you got a bad customer service rep. I just called and ordered the HD service. They're coming out this Saturday for the installation.

Joe
post #28 of 11032
i also called today and rep said this is the first day they are offering it got an apointment on thurs. cant wait as ive only seen HDTV at the show room and not my house.
post #29 of 11032
jckessler,

Only two of the five channels broadcasting HD, and no Fox?

I believe that Fox only broadcasts in 480p, which is really not HD, however, they do broadcast in widescreen. I think if Fox decided to broadcast in 720p or 1080i then cable companies would be more willing to carry them.
post #30 of 11032
Don,

You're correct, that's why I mentioned Fox separately from the HD channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, WB) that are broadcasting over the air.

Fox 480p widescreen, while certainly not HD, is a step up from the analog feed.
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