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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just picked up my first HD TV. I live in the Atlantic City area and I'm wondering if it would be worthwhile for me to invest in a STB and Antenna.


Here are my available digital channels. I'm interested in the network channels out of Philly, not sure if I'll be able to get those in or not with an antenna.


* yellow - uhf WWSI-DT 49.0 TEL ATLANTIC CITY NJ 57° 20.8 49

* green - uhf WMCN-DT 44.1 IND ATLANTIC CITY NJ 344° 24.2 44

* red - uhf WNJS-DT 22.1 PBS CAMDEN NJ 344° 24.2 22

* violet - uhf KYW-DT 3.1 CBS PHILADELPHIA PA 335° 53.9 26

* violet - uhf WPSG-DT 57.1 CW PHILADELPHIA PA 335° 53.7 32

* violet - uhf WPVI-DT 6.1 ABC PHILADELPHIA PA 335° 53.9 64

* violet - uhf WPHL-DT 17.1 MNT PHILADELPHIA PA 335° 53.7 54

* violet - uhf WYBE-DT 34.1 PBS PHILADELPHIA PA 335° 53.7 34

* violet - uhf WUVP-DT 65.1 UNI VINELAND NJ 345° 24.5 66


I have Comcast basic cable now. Not really looking forward to giving them more money for digital cable, was hoping I might be able to get a STB with QAM and receive a few HD channels, not sure what kind of encrypting Comcast does or how many free channels I would get.


Thanks for the help.


-Joe
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcochran37 /forum/post/0


I have Comcast basic cable now. Not really looking forward to giving them more money for digital cable, was hoping I might be able to get a STB with QAM and receive a few HD channels, not sure what kind of encrypting Comcast does or how many free channels I would get.


Thanks for the help.


-Joe

Comcast policy is to have the basic HD channels in the clear. Check your local thread to see what channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc) are available on your local Comcast system.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by homcom /forum/post/0


Comcast policy is to have the basic HD channels in the clear. Check your local thread to see what channels (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, etc) are available on your local Comcast system.

homcom -

I don't want to outright challenge your statement about Comcast's basic HD channels in the clear (I'm a new member and a novice on the topic), but I've been looking into this issue recently and have some conflicting information. Here's what I know:


I purchased my first HDTV last year, a Panasonic TH-42PX60U. I primarily watch DirecTV, but since I'm also a Comcast Internet subscriber, I get their Limited Basic package (for $10/month + $45 for internet). When I read on the Comcast channel lineup that "HDTV broadcast feeds are included in Limited Basic Service", I thought I'd try to plug the cable directly into my new TV (it has a built in QAM tuner) to see what I get. I did a channel scan and just like that, the local HDTV channels came up in the range 231-240 (Comcast of Burlington County, NJ). So for months I was able to use the TV's tuner to watch the local network's HD channels ...and it was good, until...


In the middle of December the HDTV channels went away. First I thought something was wrong with my TV - I went so far as to flash the firmware. I like that ability in the Panasonic. Then I checked with the neighbors to see if they were having service problems, but they weren't because they all had set-top boxes (STBs). So finally I contacted Comcast and was told that I should never have been getting the HDTV channel without a STB. They proceeded to try to sell me all their different Digital packages but when I said that I didn't want to pay them any more money, I just want the HDTV channels that I was getting, they suggested that I get a nice OTA antenna for my TV. That's great! A brand new plasma TV with F#@&ing rabbit-ears on it!!


That's when I joined this forum. I've been combing through it, looking for information on what other people's experiences are and what I'm supposed to be getting from Comcast. So far I've read statements like yours, and others have gone so far to say that Comcast is required by the FCC to carry the HD channels that I would normally be able to get OTA (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, etc.) via clear QAM. But I can't find a regulation that says that anywhere. Do you have a source for your information?
 

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I don't believe you'll ever see a regulation like that - most people are just going by what they've experienced and a few edicts from Comcast. Not quite sure how you're getting anything on chs that high (230s) - the QAM chs usually end around 135.

It could be that some bored technician came around the neighborhood and installed filters that should have been there and that cut off your QAM chs.


You did a full rescan, right?
 

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Rescan would be my first suggestion if you haven't already done so and honestly even if you have, try it again what can it hurt. CableCo seem to like regularly remap their channels to play hide and seek at times.


I was surprised my new Sony got Cable HDTV locals with numbers in the 200-250+ range - not sure how that actually correlates with QAM numbers, but my guess is there is some sort of remap/renumber system .


Depending on where you are and quality of you Cable system, you may well get better or more HD pics with an OTA antenna - rabbit ears, attic, or roof variety. Might be worth a $30 flyer.


As far as legally there seems to be some real murky grey water surrounding this issue. Lifeline cable is apparently required, but does that include all channels, just analog channels, or one from Column A/One from Column B type mixes. I don't think it has been challenged and answered in the legal system yet exactly what it the real requirements vs just a strong suggestion
 

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Thanks for the great feedback - and hopefully we've helped the original poster too.


I failed to mention that I did rescan. In fact I do about once a week or so now because Comcast does seem to be moving the clear QAM HD channels around. So far I've only found three though.


Now that I've learned more about digital TV, I too am surprised that my Panasonic got channels above 135. At the time I just looked at Comcast's channel lineup and saw PBS HD at 240, so I tried it and it worked.


To jcochran37, don't count on receiving HD channels via cable without spending $5-$10 dollars more per month to Comcast. You might be better off going with a good directional OTA antenna.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for everyone's feedback I appreciate it. I noticed the high channel numbers (230+) on Comcast's site also and was worried a QAM box wouldn't receive them.


M1Garand, what channels are you receiving with the QAM? Any networks? Your cable lineup description looked identical to what I saw when I punched in my area code. I might look at the local Best Buy for one of the Samsung boxes. 179 bucks isn't too bad and I'm sure if it didn't pan out I could sell it to a buddy that lives in Philly hehe.


Antenna wise I might be out or range. I'm looking at 50+ miles to Philly.
 

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"Indoor" and "outlaying areas" don't mix.

Get yourself a good outdoor antenna & rotor.


For the OP;
http://tiger.census.gov/cgi-bin/mapb...antic+City,+NJ


Colors won't tell you what's in that above link. At 60 miles, you will need a good high outdoor antenna, preamp & rotor. Being near water will help depending on the path.


For the last poster;
http://www.2150.com/broadcast/defaul...=Show+Stations


You can fine tune your location here (C&P lat. & long. points);
http://tiger.census.gov/cgi-bin/mapb...erre+Haute,+IN


Three stations 15 miles away, all the others over 50 miles. Same applies to you for the antenna though the three 'locals' might overload a pre-amp..
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcochran37 /forum/post/0


Antenna wise I might be out or range. I'm looking at 50+ miles to Philly.

50+ miles is well within range of a rooftop antenna in most cases. Southern NJ is fairly flat, so you don't have mountains or high ridges to contend with. There are many people in this forum who routinely get TV stations at 70 to 80 miles. All the Philly stations are currently broadcasting on UHF, so a Channel master 4228 or AntennasDirect 91XG would be the normal recommendations. However, WPVI-DT 6 in Philly, currently broadcasting on UHF 64, will be switching it's digital broadcast to VHF 6 after the analog shutdown in February, 2009. You will need a low VHF (2 to 6) antenna to get WPVI then. All the other stations in Philly (KYW 3, WCAU 10) will remain at UHF. You could get a 91XG and put it on the roof with a rotator, but leave room on the mounting for adding a VHF only antenna in 2009. Or just get a conventional long range VHF/UHF antenna.
 

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Thanks for the response! Unfortunately I live in an apartment and can't mount an antenna on the roof. I guess I will have to settle for terre haute local channels only. What is a good indoor antenna?
 
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