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Comcast is switching their feed to all digital soon and we ordered the free digital receiver and two adapters from Comcast, but I have yet to set them up.

The tv's in my house are two Samsung QAM/ATSC/NTSC HDTV's and one older tube tv with NTSC only. Right now I have the standard Comcast package that comes with channels 2-79 I think, I don't have Digital Cable.


First question: Is there anyway to not use Comcast's hideous remotes? I refuse to use their pieces of junk. I want to use the remotes that came with my tv's.


Second I just called Comcast and they said we will lose our Local HD channels we get through QAM/ATSC by hooking this crap up. So what can I do to ensure I still get these local HD channels? Comcast was telling me I would have to PAY for a separate HD box!!!


Third does the government have a separate digital converter box we can use instead of Comcast's so we don't have to deal with Comcast's remotes or loss of HD local channels?


Sorry if I come off very upset, I am just very mad at Comcast right now, didn't find out about the digital switch until a few weeks ago.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18285867


First question: Is there anyway to not use Comcast's hideous remotes? I refuse to use their pieces of junk. I want to use the remotes that came with my tv's.

To have what you really want there, you'd really have had to purchase a television that bears the DCR logo, or was otherwise CableCARD compatible. It sounds like you didn't purchase a capable television, so you are stuck using an external tuner to tune in encrypted services.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18285867


Second I just called Comcast and they said we will lose our Local HD channels we get through QAM/ATSC by hooking this crap up.

That's simply not the case. They don't provide customer support for the service, but they are required to provide local, over-the-air television stations, without material degradation (meaning that they can compress, but they cannot reduce the resolution), unencrypted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18285867


Third does the government have a separate digital converter box we can use instead of Comcast's so we don't have to deal with Comcast's remotes or loss of HD local channels?

Federal law does indeed come into play here: Comcast is required to provide a means by which you can buy your own external tuner, as long as it complies with the CableCARD standard. I have a TiVo S3 that serves that role. Works great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18285867


Sorry if I come off very upset, I am just very mad at Comcast right now, didn't find out about the digital switch until a few weeks ago.

That's strange. They've been mentioning it in their bills/inserts for months, everywhere where Project Calvary has come into town.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sorry I am a little confused by your answers.


So I am stuck with using a different remote than what came with the 2 newer tv's then?


How would I be able to still get OTA Local HD? Buy a different external tuner compling with CableCARD and ditch the comcast boxes? Or will I still get them if I hook up the Comcast boxes?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18286810


How would I be able to still get OTA Local HD? Buy a different external tuner compling with CableCARD and ditch the comcast boxes? Or will I still get them if I hook up the Comcast boxes?

You will be able to get local HD channels through QAM. But i believe that is all you will get QAM wise (locally its going to be analog channels 1-19, and any HD channels that are OTA). You can get those by simply keeping the cable connected to your TV and use your TV Remote. However if you want to watch anything above that, you'd need to either use comcast boxes or buy a tuner that is cable card compliant and lease the cable cards from Comcast.


The additional Comcast upgrade w/ more HD and internet increase definitely comes w/ a price on requiring boxes for each TV. However i doubt you could leave Comcast and go to any other competitor that hasn’t been outlet box required for years already.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18286810


So I am stuck with using a different remote than what came with the 2 newer tv's then?

The televisions don't have CableCARD slots, so they aren't capable of providing you access to encrypted services via QAM. It's a lack in the television, something which most televisions suffer from, because supporting CableCARD costs money, and consumers were generally unwilling to pay the premium necessary to motivate television manufacturers to do as you're indicating you would have preferred.


It has nothing to do with how new the television is. Even next year's televisions will be produced in the context of the cost of such premium features and how much consumers value such features, and most televisions produced next year will still not support what you're indicating you'd want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18286810


How would I be able to still get OTA Local HD?

Generally, OTA local channels are provided unencrypted, so your television would be capable of tuning those channels in, via its own internal QAM tuner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18286810


Buy a different external tuner compling with CableCARD and ditch the comcast boxes?

That's the approach I used. My TiVo S3 is a DVR with QAM tuners in it, and it supports CableCARD so I can receive both encrypted and unencrypted services via QAM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18286810


Or will I still get them if I hook up the Comcast boxes?

You'll be able to get the unencrypted channels either way, but of course, not both at the same time; your television either is going to be using the external tuner or its internal tuner.


The situation is really bad for satellite service subscribers -- they have no choice: They have to use the boxes that the satellite service says that they can use.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18285867


Comcast is switching their feed to all digital soon and we ordered the free digital receiver and two adapters from Comcast, but I have yet to set them up.

The tv's in my house are two Samsung QAM/ATSC/NTSC HDTV's and one older tube tv with NTSC only. Right now I have the standard Comcast package that comes with channels 2-79 I think, I don't have Digital Cable.


First question: Is there anyway to not use Comcast's hideous remotes? I refuse to use their pieces of junk. I want to use the remotes that came with my tv's.


Second I just called Comcast and they said we will lose our Local HD channels we get through QAM/ATSC by hooking this crap up. So what can I do to ensure I still get these local HD channels? Comcast was telling me I would have to PAY for a separate HD box!!!


Third does the government have a separate digital converter box we can use instead of Comcast's so we don't have to deal with Comcast's remotes or loss of HD local channels?


Sorry if I come off very upset, I am just very mad at Comcast right now, didn't find out about the digital switch until a few weeks ago.

If i am understand the situation correctly, here's my suggestion:


Just get a simple coax splitter and split the cable between the digital (non-HD) box you got from comcast and the TV, and the hook up the box to your tv with something other than a coax cable (i just hope the box has at least a standard RCA video/audio output). If your TV happens to have 2 coax inputs, then you dont have to worry about that.


Sounds like they are required to give you these basic cable boxes, but in order to get an HD box, you have to subscribe to a higher service beyond basic.

Seems pointless - since you weren't even using an analog box and it sounds like they weren't requiring any box for service - they could just make the basic channels available via clear-QAM.... don't see why they wouldn't do that, unless this is their way of keeping people from stealing cable (but they weren't requiring any boxes before, so i'd assume they were keeping people off cable thru other means.)



As for the remotes - unless the TV remote is programmable, you're probably out of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Berk32 /forum/post/18287581


If i am understand the situation correctly, here's my suggestion:


Just get a simple coax splitter and split the cable between the digital (non-HD) box you got from comcast and the TV, and the hook up the box to your tv with something other than a coax cable (i just hope the box has at least a standard RCA video/audio output). If your TV happens to have 2 coax inputs, then you dont have to worry about that.


As for the remotes - unless the TV remote is programmable, you're probably out of luck.

Okay just got off the phone with a Comcast tech and he told me a RF splitter would not work because some tv's only have one RF input. But I told him what you told me if the tv has 2 RF inputs or using composite cables from the Comcast box to the tv and he said he cannot answer that as we do not support that. So it sounds like I can use an RF splitter if I have 2 RF inputs or a Comcast box with composite out which sounds like it'll work for my tv's. So I'm going to get a RF splitter from RadioShack soon to test it out.


Second when asked about the remotes I asked him if it's possible to program my tv's multi-function remote to the Comcast box to avoid using the Comcast remote and he no it's not possible because they never assign codes to those boxes, they are only programmed to work with the Comcast remote. So is he correct, is there no way with Comcast boxes?


Lastly he told me the local HD I get over QAM is not true HD and it is just a 480p signal blown up to HD and if I wanted true local hd channels I would need Comcast's HD box for $6 a month. Is this correct? If so how would I get true local HD OTA channels without paying Comcast money for an HD box?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18288782


Second when asked about the remotes I asked him if it's possible to program my tv's multi-function remote to the Comcast box to avoid using the Comcast remote and he no it's not possible because they never assign codes to those boxes, they are only programmed to work with the Comcast remote. So is he correct, is there no way with Comcast boxes?

probably right on this

Quote:
Lastly he told me the local HD I get over QAM is not true HD and it is just a 480p signal blown up to HD and if I wanted true local hd channels I would need Comcast's HD box for $6 a month. Is this correct? If so how would I get true local HD OTA channels without paying Comcast money for an HD box?

he's full of ****.
 

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eagles,

The comcast reps you are taliking to have no idea what you can and can not do.

If you have TVs that have digital tuners capable of receiving either OTA ditial or clearQam Cable signals then for only the $20 basic service you will be able to receive your local HD digital channels with your TV. The cable outlet connection on the wall has ALL of the analog and digital channels that Comcast offers to any user. It is only the tuner you are using that determines which ones you can receive.

You only need the Conmcast tuner if your TV can not receive clearQAM digital.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/18289507


eagles,

The comcast reps you are taliking to have no idea what you can and can not do.

If you have TVs that have digital tuners capable of receiving either OTA ditial or clearQam Cable signals then for only the $20 basic service you will be able to receive your local HD digital channels with your TV. The cable outlet connection on the wall has ALL of the analog and digital channels that Comcast offers to any user. It is only the tuner you are using that determines which ones you can receive.

You only need the Conmcast tuner if your TV can not receive clearQAM digital.

Yea but I want the local HD channels and the other basic channels 2-78. So I still need a Comcast box for the digital switch for cable channels 2-78. The local HD through clearQAM I will still get but will need a RF splitter to switch back and forth between local HD and 2-78 cable.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by eagles5769 /forum/post/18289595


Yea but I want the local HD channels and the other basic channels 2-78. So I still need a Comcast box for the digital switch for cable channels 2-78. The local HD through clearQAM I will still get but will need a RF splitter to switch back and forth between local HD and 2-78 cable.

That is correct.
 

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The root of the issue here is Comcast was dumb enough (or smart enough depending on how you look at it) to make their DTAs so they won't pass the clear QAM channels through in HD. That means if you hook up a coax cable from the wall, to the DTA, then another coax cable from the DTA into your TV all you are going to get is the standard def channels.


If you want to get the HD channels you either have to rent their HD cable box, or you have to use a splitter and a switch. You come out of the wall and go into the splitter. One wire from the splitter goes directly into the switch. The other wire from the splitter goes to the DTA. You then run another wire from the DTA into the other input on the switch. Then you have to use the switch to go back and forth between standard def extended basic cable channels, and the clear QAM channels. This of course assumes your TV can store both sets of channels in it at the same time. Some TVs would require you to scan for new channels every time you changed the position on the switch.


Another way to do it would be to use the splitter and have one cable go straight into the TV for the QAM channels. You could then take the other cable from the splitter, go to the DTA, then out of the DTA to a VCR. You could then use the VCRs tuner and composite outputs to hook up to another input on your TV. To watch regular expanded basic channels you would have to turn on the VCR, turn the TV to the correct input, and then use the DTA remote to change channels.


It really is quite a mess. But that is exactly what Comcast was going for in my opinion. They could have easily just sent expanded basic out as clear QAM, but they don't want to because that means anyone with Comcast internet would get expanded basic cable for free (they don't have a way to block the channels without blocking your internet service). That's why people with Comcast internet right now can get their local channels in HD for free. They also could have just put composite outputs on the DTAs so people could hook them up to a different input on their TVs if they wanted to access both the expanded basic channels and the clear QAM HD channels. They don't want you to do that though, they want you to rent the HD cable box from them instead so they make more money.


This is the same reason Cablecard and Tru-2-way haven't taken off. Comcast won't train their techs on how to set it up correctly. So if the tech can't figure out what's wrong they just tell the customer their TV is broken and they have to call the TV manufacturer. The customer calls the TV manufacturer and complains, when the TV is actualy fine, the tech just didn't know what they were doing. The TV companies had too many stupid calls like this and it was costing them too much money in tech support so they just quit putting the tuners in their TVs.
 

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Analog 2-about Channel 31 should be in clear QAM on the higher numbered analog channels are usually encrypted if any are since they are channels that Comcast has to purchase on a per subscriber basis.
 

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Evolution Broadband has an HD-DTA but it only has either HDMI or coax. No component, composite, or even S-Video. It also lacks optical or coax audio out. However, it requires Comcast to install a DVB Simulcrypt system as it doesn't work with the Motorola encryption standard.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerstalker /forum/post/18291985


The root of the issue here is Comcast was dumb enough (or smart enough depending on how you look at it) to make their DTAs so they won't pass the clear QAM channels through in HD.

The FCC rules (such as the 2005 deferral order) made it clear that waivers allowing use of DTAs would be granted, in part, based on the fact that the equipment would be low-cost AND limited capability. The FCC has not granted a waiver of the separable security mandate for any equipment that puts out HD, and there is no rational basis on which to assert that they ever would. The FCC has determined that it is the public's interest to force advanced services, such as HD and DVR capabilities, to be provided solely via more expensive equipment, that supports separable security.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerstalker /forum/post/18291985


It really is quite a mess. But that is exactly what Comcast was going for in my opinion.

You can credit or condemn Comcast if you wish, in this regard, but either way you're off-target. Comcast is simply doing what our government wants them to do.


You can get what you want using more expensive equipment. There is no reason to expect a device that is, by law, required to be low-cost AND limited capability to do everything you could want it to do.
 

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It seems that am in the same boat as eagles5769. I have two HD sets with QAM tuners both fed by Comcast and a third analog only TV also fed by Comcast and have the standard basic analog service. I recently got the letter about the elimination of analog service except for the limited basic tier channels. I gave a couple of consumer reps, who had no answers, piece of my mind about all of this. What they are doing may make sense in the world of analog only tv sets but you can not buy an analog tv anymore and have not been able to for a while. They had no solution for people with HD QAM sets that does not add to the already high enough cable bill. I found something on Comcast's web site about using the DTA with a splitter and RF A/B switch to switch back and forth, as a previous poster suggested, which will obviously work but is a pain. This would have been a lot less of a problem if the DTA had analog video and audio outputs and not just RF as it does.
 

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The letter from Comcast just points out that they are shifting to all digital QAM tranmission format and that channels 2-105 will be broadcast in QAM format instead of iin analog format. A clear QAM tuner in your TV will therfore still be ablle to receive any of them that are unencrypted normally these are from channel 2 to about channel 31.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beerstalker /forum/post/18291985


It really is quite a mess. But that is exactly what Comcast was going for in my opinion. They could have easily just sent expanded basic out as clear QAM, but they don't want to because that means anyone with Comcast internet would get expanded basic cable for free (they don't have a way to block the channels without blocking your internet service). That's why people with Comcast internet right now can get their local channels in HD for free. They also could have just put composite outputs on the DTAs so people could hook them up to a different input on their TVs if they wanted to access both the expanded basic channels and the clear QAM HD channels. They don't want you to do that though, they want you to rent the HD cable box from them instead so they make more money.

The above paragraph is not correct.

On Comcast (and I think most cable systems) channels 2 through 70 are analog (well, 24 on my system is digital but encrypted, but this is not important). For analog cable, channels 2 through 30 and 71 and above were limited basic while most of the channels above 70 were encrypted. Extended basic included the channels 31 through 70 as unencrypted analog.

The way limited basic customers are prevented from getting channels 31 through 70 was by putting a band blocking filter in their cable. I have one of these filters in my system.


When Comcast switched to digital for their encrypted channels, they also started including the HD OTA channels and added digital extended basic. Since the extended basic analog channels filled up the 31 through 70 range, they could not put the extended basic digital channels in that range, so they were placed on channels above 70. They chose to make those digital versions of the extended basic channel available in clear QAM, so anyone with a clear QAM tuner is able to receive those channels whether or not they pay for extended basic. It has nothing to do with internet access.


Comcast could dump some analog extended basic channels, move the extended basic digital channels in the 30 to 71 channel range, and effectively prevent limited basic customers from accessing extended basic via clear QAM, but it appears they chose not to. The most plausible explanation for this is that Comcast does not like having to deal with inserting & removing those filters in customer cable lines. (When I had cable installed, I hadn't used cable for about 4 years, and the security device they put on the outlet had rusted in place, and it took 3 guys about 4 hours to get the damned thing off so they could connect my cable). So, Comcast appears to have chosen a budget encryption system for extended basic that requires a STB, when they could have continued the filter and allowed customers who paid for extended basic to use their own televisions tuner to get extended basic channels via clear QAM.


Comcast could also use PSIP information in the digital channels to make the channels on a clear QAM tuner appear on the same channel numbers that the STB uses and all cable schedules use, but they did not.


It certainly appears that Comcast actively discourages the use of clear QAM tuners.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford /forum/post/18294900


The letter from Comcast just points out that they are shifting to all digital QAM tranmission format and that channels 2-105 will be broadcast in QAM format instead of iin analog format. A clear QAM tuner in your TV will therfore still be ablle to receive any of them that are unencrypted normally these are from channel 2 to about channel 31.

The thing that annoys people about this is that they used to be able to use their own television tuner to get limited basic, or extended basic.


Now, even if their tuner is capable of getting clear QAM, they will only be able to use it for limited basic. Worse, if they get extended basic, they must use a crummy STB that degrades the digital signal by converting it to analog, then RF modulating it so their TV must use its probably crappy analog tuner to display it. If they also want to see the local HD OTA, they must add a physical switch behind the television to switch between the cable box & the cable.


Or they are required to pay rent on an HD STB.


So Comcast is making it less convenient, more confusing, messier (more wires & boxes) and more expensive.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAP /forum/post/18295222


It certainly appears that Comcast actively discourages the use of clear QAM tuners.

No, that's a mischaracterization. Rather, they simply don't encourage use of clear QAM tuners. They're not required to, and they would be idiots to do so. It doesn't help them at all, and it actually could cost them. There is no logic in them expending an iota of effort more than they're required to to support use of clear QAM, especially since consumers are generally unwilling to pay an ounce of premium to motivate them to provide such support.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAP /forum/post/18295285


So Comcast is making it less convenient, more confusing, messier (more wires & boxes) and more expensive.

And consumer behaviors do nothing but further motivate them to do so. Consumers are driving this bus, by their own stinginess. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, on the part of consumers.
 
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