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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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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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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