Apparently, as of 5/16/07, Comcast in the San Francisco Bay Area has added the following HD channels:
It looks like the timeframe first will be added in South Valley area (Fresno, Los Banos)
KBCW HD on CH 712 (CW Network affiliate?)
NGC HD on CH 715 (National Geographic)
A@E HD on CH 718 (Arts & Entertainment)
I also read that nationally, Comcast has signed contracts to carry the following channels:
Food Network HD
Of course, a supervisor at Comcast Sacramento did not call me back by 6:30 p.m. yesterday as promised. This company marches on, arrogance unchecked. So, I called again today to again ask when Comcast Sacramento would be adding these channels, only to get the very same run around initially, with techs unable or unwilling to answer the question, and not wanting to transfer me to a supervisor. I perisisted and the tech finally relented.
The supervisor didn't really know the answer either, but said she had seen documentation that the channels first would be added to the southern Central Valley (Fresno, Los Banos, etc.). But she did offer to check further and call me back, because I want to know if these channels will be added in Sacramento this summer, by fall or by next Spring (a year late, like TNT HD).
Comcast competitors have publicly reported their HD channel expansion plans for 2007, while Comcast remains somewhat secretive. By the fall, there could be as many as 80 HD network channels available nationally, but Comcast's lethargic technological expansion efforts will prevent most of their local franchises from offering even 1/3 of this number. Instead of reducing the number of SD channels and offering more HD channels, the company repeatedly has stated their 2007 goal at cable industry trade shows: to double the amount of HD content available through OnDemand. In February, the company reported it had 127 HD programs available through On Demand, which of course was a paltry start.
I'd like to see Comcast reverse this unappealing strategy and do whatever is necessary to allow them to quickly add more "linear HD channels."
At the very least, you'd expect Comcast customer service reps and supervisors to answer HD programming questions by reciting the amount of HD content available through OnDemand, but the company's trade show talking points don't seem to be reaching these front-line employees or customers. And local franchise support personnel never seem to know when their engineering departments will be ready to add HD channels to each local system. Communications with customers mostly is non-existent, probably becasue the company has a difficult time admitting publically that it is falling behind in providing HD services. The reality is that Comcast franchises don't have the bandwidth to add a significant number of HD channels without dropping more analog SD (standard definition) channels. The company is willing to risk the good will of their premium, digital customer base to slowly transition their analog SD customers to digital set top boxes.
Again, I urge all digital HD subscribers to call Comcast Sacramento (800-824-2000) and complain that we are not receiving the same number of HD channels as other Comcast franchises (such as the Bay Area) yet presumably are being charged the same over-priced rates. Furthermore, if you call to complain about the omission of these new HD channels in Sacramento, be sure and get the tech's Name and Operator ID, and ask to speak to a supervisor to drive your point home. Let's at least make Comcast Sacramento jump through a few hoops -- this may be the only way customers can log their concerns, because someone at Comcast just doesn't get it -- For HD subscribers, it's all about the number and quality of HD channels.