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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,


With the impending "analog migration" switchover to all-digital by Comcast, we have picked up their DVR and two set-top boxes for our three TV sets.


Originally we had intended to hook up one of our high-def TVs, which has a QAM tuner, to the DVR for recording purposes, and the other high-def TV (also with a QAM tuner) to a set-top box. The third TV is analog and was going to get the second set-top box.


However, when I was at the Comcast office today they told me that with the set-top box we would not be able to view any HD channels on our second HD TV, unless we paid more to subscribe to their HD service and got an HD set-top box. (We would still get HD channels on the first TV via the DVR, they said.)


I found this distressing, because right now we have no cable boxes at all, and do not subscribe to HD service, and yet we do receive a number of HD channels via the coaxial cable -- including not only the local television stations that send out HD signals but also at least one non-broadcast high-def channel (Universal HD).


After a somewhat intense (not quite hostile) discussion, the Comcast agent admitted that if we set up the set-top boxes, we would be able to see FEWER channels than we can now WITHOUT a box!


Therefore we are considering returning the two set-top boxes, and keeping (and activating) only the DVR. So my question is: If we activate the DVR on the first TV, and keep the second QAM-tunered TV without any box -- will the process of activating the DVR on the first TV kill the second TV's ability to receive the HD channels and the Clear QAM subchannels via the coax? Or does activation affect only the cable box (of whatever kind) and not the signal coming into our house, so that we can still watch the unencrypted digital subchannels and the current HD channels on the second TV?


Before you answer, three points to hopefully save some effort:

1) I do realize that the third TV, which is analog only, will soon be unable to receive any channels whatever when Comcast eliminates its entire analog lineup. I will then buy a third HD TV with a QAM tuner, and hope to be able to handle things the same way as with the second TV above.


2) I am also aware that the issue of HD channels is a separate one from the issue of Clear QAM channels. I'm more interested in being able to watch CNN, Fox News, and the History Channel than in getting HD channels, but it would still be nice to be able to watch "Lost" and "24" on high-def.



3) Finally, I also know that there is a distinct possibility that, eventually, Comcast will start encrypting the Clear QAM channels, at which point we would have to get a set-top box anyway. But I'm willing to wait till that happens before we get (and start paying for) the boxes.


One last note. For what it's worth, until now we have had what Comcast calls its "Basic" + "Expanded" (analog) package. As of this weekend, we are paying for the "Digital Starter" package. (Does that affect your answer?)


Any learned advice or educated guesses will be appreciated.


This is my first post here, so please be gentle.



--JorgeA
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JorgeA /forum/post/16990159


Hello,


With the impending "analog migration" switchover to all-digital by Comcast, we have picked up their DVR and two set-top boxes for our three TV sets.


Originally we had intended to hook up one of our high-def TVs, which has a QAM tuner, to the DVR for recording purposes, and the other high-def TV (also with a QAM tuner) to a set-top box. The third TV is analog and was going to get the second set-top box.


However, when I was at the Comcast office today they told me that with the set-top box we would not be able to view any HD channels on our second HD TV, unless we paid more to subscribe to their HD service and got an HD set-top box. (We would still get HD channels on the first TV via the DVR, they said.)


I found this distressing, because right now we have no cable boxes at all, and do not subscribe to HD service, and yet we do receive a number of HD channels via the coaxial cable -- including not only the local television stations that send out HD signals but also at least one non-broadcast high-def channel (Universal HD).


After a somewhat intense (not quite hostile) discussion, the Comcast agent admitted that if we set up the set-top boxes, we would be able to see FEWER channels than we can now WITHOUT a box!


Therefore we are considering returning the two set-top boxes, and keeping (and activating) only the DVR. So my question is: If we activate the DVR on the first TV, and keep the second QAM-tunered TV without any box -- will the process of activating the DVR on the first TV kill the second TV's ability to receive the HD channels and the Clear QAM subchannels via the coax? Or does activation affect only the cable box (of whatever kind) and not the signal coming into our house, so that we can still watch the unencrypted digital subchannels and the current HD channels on the second TV?


Before you answer, three points to hopefully save some effort:

1) I do realize that the third TV, which is analog only, will soon be unable to receive any channels whatever when Comcast eliminates its entire analog lineup. I will then buy a third HD TV with a QAM tuner, and hope to be able to handle things the same way as with the second TV above.


2) I am also aware that the issue of HD channels is a separate one from the issue of Clear QAM channels. I'm more interested in being able to watch CNN, Fox News, and the History Channel than in getting HD channels, but it would still be nice to be able to watch "Lost" and "24" on high-def.



3) Finally, I also know that there is a distinct possibility that, eventually, Comcast will start encrypting the Clear QAM channels, at which point we would have to get a set-top box anyway. But I'm willing to wait till that happens before we get (and start paying for) the boxes.


One last note. For what it's worth, until now we have had what Comcast calls its "Basic" + "Expanded" (analog) package. As of this weekend, we are paying for the "Digital Starter" package. (Does that affect your answer?)


Any learned advice or educated guesses will be appreciated.


This is my first post here, so please be gentle.



--JorgeA

Split the incoming coax, one to the box the other directly to the tv QAM tuner, use any other input on the tv for the box (component, svid, etc...).


This will allow you to continue as you have been, and provide decryption when you want to watch a scrambled channel.


Simply "connecting" or "activating" the box will no effect to what happens between the cable line and your QAM tuner.
 

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In a nutshell ...


Connect HDTV1 to the Comcast DVR with HDMI or component cables.


Connect HDTV2 directly to cable outlet, as before. Use TV scan function in set-up to automatically scan for analog and/or digital channels. In eastern WA, the major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS) are referenced on the QAM tuner, just as they are on the OTA tuner. For example, 6.1 OTA is also 6.1 on the QAM tuner. All of the local channels were also labeled by either network name or call letters. The same does not hold for the other digital unencrypted or "clear QAM" channels. See below.


Connect your analog TV to the "free" Comcast DTA. The DTA is a helpful tool. Use the sydyen procedure to map the Comcast channel line up with the QAM channels found on HDTV2. You should be able to edit and label each using the user set-up interface. Without the DTA going channel by channel through the QAM line-up and associating it with a recognizable Comcast channel number or network name is nothing short of a rather laborious PITA.


Please note that sydyen is in the process of updating his procedure to include variations in cableco hardware programming. My steps to access the DTA channel map was a bit different than his, but the end result was the same.


In reference to your point 2 ... You should be able to always watch the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS) in HD (if available) using the QAM tuner set-up. I believe that your local broadcast networks must remain unencrypted on the cable system. In my area, all of the channels that the DTA will tune are available on my QAM tuner HDTV. There are a few that the QAM tuner found that are not available via the DTA. I haven't identified them yet using the surf and compare method ... too time consuming.


Hope this helps.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazzu83 /forum/post/16994590


You should be able to always watch the major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and PBS) in HD (if available) using the QAM tuner set-up. I believe that your local broadcast networks must remain unencrypted on the cable system.

The first sentence does not follow from the second (which is true). The broadcaster gets to designate one of their signals as the one that the service provider must carry (and must carry channels must be provided "in the clear"). It need not be the specific QAM signal for a channel that any random subscriber wishes. Specifically, my service provider provides three channels for every single local broadcast channel, not including sub-channels! Only one of each set (broadcaster's choice) must be "in the clear".


That isn't to say what provides will or will not do -- just what they are required to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
bfoster,


Thank you very much for the info, this was extremely helpful!


Last night I discovered that, according to the vendor's website, the Arista 2-way cable/broadcast TV signal splitters I was going to buy to accomplish this, "can't be used to split a digital cable TV or DBS satellite signal."


Do I need to be careful which splitter I buy? I'm considering a Monster Cable 2-way RF splitter, which doesn't have that warning on the vendor's website.


Thanks again.


--JorgeA
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wazzu83,


Thanks for the details, and for the link to the sydyen procedure. I'll check that out.


The next step for me will be to figure out how to connect the old VCR players to retain the ability to watch one channel (of whatever type, from whichever source) while recording another channel on the VCR. (If possible.) I'd be willing to go as far as buying a DVD/VCR combo with a QAM tuner.


I'm learning a LOT about A/V these days.


--JorgeA
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JorgeA /forum/post/16994635


bfoster,


Thank you very much for the info, this was extremely helpful!


Last night I discovered that, according to the vendor's website, the Arista 2-way cable/broadcast TV signal splitters I was going to buy to accomplish this, "can't be used to split a digital cable TV or DBS satellite signal."


Do I need to be careful which splitter I buy? I'm considering a Monster Cable 2-way RF splitter, which doesn't have that warning on the vendor's website.


Thanks again.


--JorgeA

I would ask at your Comcast office if they can provide you with a splitter. Comcast hates the problems caused by customer attached equipment. I have been given both cable and splitters by Comcast.
 
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