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Comcast cable and the Feb 2009 digital TV switch over

What's the story with Comcast and the digital TV switch-over that's coming in Feb 2009? According to the various gov sites, if you have cable TV, you're not affected. So I called Comcast and the rep told me that they will discontinue all analog channels in Feb 2009 as well and that the cheapest digital package starts at $55/month. So what's the real story?

I'd prefer to just keep everything "as is", but if Comcast is going to dump all the analog channels, I guess I'll have to dump Comcast cable (I guess I'll drop Comcast internet too if I can get DSL in my area) and try using one of the new coupon boxes instead, however I don't know if I will be able to get it to work with my ReplayTV boxes.

So, does anyone know if Comcast really is going to dump all the analog channels?
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  • It's been a struggle. I complained to the better business bureau and finally got some satisfaction. They have become a company where the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. I really wanted to switch away from comcast but after finally getting a tech, well two techs to my house for FREE, I have my issues resolved. He had to go through 3 boxes before he could get one to work. He had to run an additional line because trust me folks if you have split your cable more than once these DTA's are not going to work. Then I had issues with PIP. I was so ticked that I lost PIP. I don't know, I guess a lot of people don't care about that but I depend upon it especially during football season. Anyway this tech actually got my PIP to work with the main channels which is all I needed. I can record but you have to have the tv on the channel you want to record and the recorder set to channel 3. (Does anyone think this is all a step backwards, like the 1980's). What I did though was put a VCR back in a room with no DTA and I can record normally. Ok yes I should come of age and get a DVR right? Well not yet because I think it's robbery to rent one. Sell me one, I'll buy it, but I'm not paying you a monthly fee for something I can do on a VCR/DVD combo for free. And now I want to buy a couple new flat screen TV's but the people making televisions are in cahoots with the cable companies now and not making two tuner televisions. They think we all have DVR's and they can act as the other tuner. That is BS. So I've gone from no boxes and everything working perfectly to a box and two DTA's and everything working differently. It took 3 months to get this all fixed. They had the billing screwed up so badly even the rep I was dealing with couldn't fix it.

    I just wanted everyone to know that even on Comcast's site it says PIP will no longer work. It's a lie. Get the right tech out there and you'll be back in business.
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  • LL - did the BBB really do anything with this?
    Sorry to hear all these issues. I found that once the signal into the house is up to snuff, it splits pretty well. Basement has a 4 way. Then Bedroom has a two way, so we can record two shows on TiVo and watch TV through the DTA.
    For what it's worth, on a small TV, the Series 2 TiVos are a steal. Going for under $200 on eBay, lifetime service included, it won't trigger an outlet fee as the HD tivos will, and it will record the shows the DTA passes.

    I am not defending or attacking Comcast, everyone has their own experience. Just suggesting, here's a way to make the 2 free DTAs more useful. BTW - if you get 2 tivos (again, this model w/lifetime service selling cheap) they will be able to network, moving shows from one to the other, so the total $300-$400 cost get you the ability to record two shows ch 2-99, and not add any monthly fee.
    • Yes Joe the BBB really did help. I couldn't get a comcast rep to listen long enough to understand the issues I was having, so the complaint went up to the executive offices and while she wasn't quick to understand, (truthfully it would take 2 days of talking to explain this from beginning to end) she finally did get my problems solved. I had never had a problem with splitting my cable, had it split 5 different ways, but it all came down to their box. I could not get 10 channels I was paying for, or the on demand which the tech said was all about the way it was split. So i have 2 mains now, and then it's split from each of those. It still ticks me off that I went from a perfectly wired house to a house of comcast boxes. Your Tivo suggestions are interesting to me so I'm going to check it out.
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  • I’m phwtttt
    UPDATE: After the Comcast technician left, I discovered he took the splitter (3-way that cost me close to $10) with him when he left. DAMN!

    Earlier I had said "The TV has to be set to channel 3 (or 4) for the DTA to function. My beautiful TV is now just a monitor that receives standard definition TV. I no longer have my Guide that allows me to see the schedule for a bunch of channels at one time and over multiple time periods. If I selected Display, I could see some REAL info about the program I was watching. Now I can only see what channel I have on the screen."

    When I press the Guide button on my SONY remote, the ONLY thing that is displayed for each and every channel is "No Listing" instead of the name of the program. This SONY TV came with this feature, and now it is no longer available because Comcast is blocking this signal.

    Further: My local TV news station, WSB-TV, broadcasts in HD. Now, when I watch this station, the picture is blurry / fuzzy because it is this DTA change that is NOT good. Previously, I was able to see the resolution of the channel / program being received. Now all I get is "cable" where it previously told me whether the resolution was 480i, 1080i or whatever.

    In reading a few of the comments from others here, I find that several have had the same experience I have had. I had bought a 1080p TV to which the Comcast settop box is attached. Now I realize the crappy picture I have been seeing is due to that STB and not the TV, which has a built-in HD tuner.

    When all of the channels began to be blocked, I sent an e-mail to my brother in Nashville. In the evening after the tech came to my house and told me the Digital Transition was the cause of my problems, I also received an e-mail from my brother telling me his wife had come home from work and found that their TVs no longer received the channels. So Nashville, Tennessee, changed its signal on the very same day as Atlanta.
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  • This is what I get when I try to see what channels are available using Verizon.
    So it's NOT available in Georgia, Tennessee, or many other states.

    The printable PDF versions are only updated periodically and may differ slightly from the online channel lineups.

    (Requires Adobe Reader)
    Get Adobe Reader

    National Channel Lineups
    National Premier/Essentials/Extreme HD (no longer sold after 1/16/10)
    National Prime HD/Extreme HD/Ultimate HD (for TV packages sold on or after 1/17/10)

    Local and Regional Channels
    Select your location below to view the Local and Regional lineups.

    Anne Arundel/Howard County MD
    Baltimore
    Bristol MA
    Buffalo
    Central Delaware
    Central New Jersey
    Florida Gulf Coast
    Fort Wayne IN
    Hampton Roads VA
    Harrisburg PA
    Massachusetts
    Mercer Co NJ
    New York
    North Texas
    Northern Delaware
    Northern New Jersey
    Pittsburgh
    Portland Metro OR
    Rhode Island
    Richmond VA
    Seattle
    Southeastern PA
    Southern California
    Southern Delaware
    Southern New Jersey
    Syracuse NY
    Washington Metro
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  • I’m feeling bent over
    BS BS BS!!! I have a 2500 dollar tv and over night i went from having roughly 60 of my 70+ channels i pay for down to 18 channels! ITS BS! They want to charge me 2 dollars a month for a little box! ITS BS! This is just another way for comcast to make yet another dollar. My tv is permanently mounted to the wall. Everything hooked to it is run off of a wireless hub. NO CORDS LOOKS LIKE A BIG PICTURE! Everything power, hdmi, cable wire everything is in the damn wall.... You expect me to REOPEN my wall up for your junk converter? If im gonna open it up it will be for satellite! KISS MY ARSE COMCAST!
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  • That long how-to comment on dslreports_dot_com has little to do with the switch from standard cable / HD reception from Comcast. It's more about how to buy your own cable box and get Comcast to accept it.

    The only money I need to save is in not spending money for HD TV that my HD TV previously received.

    People are having problems with Comcast eliminating all the HD digital channels that we could view on our 1080p big-screen TVs. Now we have to suffer with a crappy Comcast DTA box and remote that eliminates the HD reception previously available without additional charges. On my Sony 52-inch LCD, I could view local TV stations in HD at 2.1, 5.1, 11.1, and 46.1 for Atlanta's local ABC, FOX, NBC and CBS stations, respectively. What irks me almost as much is the fact that my Sony remote does nothing except control the volume on my sound system. I am no longer able to get the TV Guide info when I press Guide button on my Sony remote. Everything is reported as No listing. Display does not tell me what I am watching. Pressing the Info button on the Comcast DTA remote tells me ONLY the channel to which my TV is set.

    Monopoly!
    ______________

    I set the dogs loose. I lose my keys.
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  • I feel your pain. And has anyone else noticed the comcast boxes have a 3 second delay. So when you see the last 2nd box, or the touchdown throw you do see it 3 seconds later. Comcast is BS.
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  • LL: How do you know there is a 3-second delay? And, does it matter?
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  • I’m frustrated
    Yes it natters this is just more of the lousy product that Comcast rips you off on. The area that I live in was formerly Adelphia, To date all Comcast has done is to take more channels that were available without a box and to charge more. They tell me that I will eventually have to rent a box from them to get any channels and of course they will raise the monthly service fee.
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  • This reply was removed on 2011-01-04.
    see the change log
  • The reply was removed because it was posted one minute after the prior comment.

    Menauhant Road: The first two DTAs are FREE. Do you already have the Comcast cable box? The main problem there is that my TV with the HD tuner can receive only standard definition TV now that Comcast has stopped / blocked those HD signals that previously were received over the standard cable.

    Another problem has just come to light. Comcast has increased my bill by about $7 per month. For what? Who knows! They sucker everyone into going green and dropping the paper bill. Then they pull a MCI trick and stick in the notice about a rate hike without actually notifying the customer. They HAVE my e-mail address, so they SHOULD notify me by e-mail when they are increasing rates.

    Now I'm getting pi$$ed.
    • Comcast increased the rental on the cable modem by $2 per month - from $8 to $10 for a 2 1/2 year old modem. That's $120 per year, more than what a cable modem can be gotten for on the internet.

      The price for basic TV increased another $2 per month.

      The price for internet increased another $2 per month.

      At least last year Comcast sent out info about the change in their prices. Not so this year. It just appeared on the on-line bill.
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  • And I just reloaded this page and the comment one hour ago is NOT in the thread. John made the comment, but it only repeats what we have been saying all along. John also posted the same comment one minute after his first.
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  • So they just made the switch to digital over in my part of NH but my TV's receive digital but thanks to encryption I am or was paying for a bunch of channels I couldn't watch because I don't want to rent their boxes. Good riddance Comcast until you let me control what comes into my house. Since they want my TV's to be monitors to run their crappy box I am running my computer signals to them so they can play anything I get online and since so many networks put their shows there that is how we watch what we like.
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  • I have been with DISH Network for 8 years now and didn't have any problems when things went digital. In fact DISH provides the most number of HD channels in comparison to other providers. Plus they recycle the SD receivers that are replaced when upgrading to HD receivers (I know this because I started working for them last year). I also know that DISH provides better programming packages for a smaller price tag. Check out their website for more info.
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  • They sure do and depending on where you live you may have options. DISH offers high-speed internet via DSL, call 1-800-333-3474 for info. You could also get high-speed internet powered by Wildblue satellite dish and that department can be reached at 1-888-638-9899. Hope this helps :)
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  • After reading the post about WildBlue and Hughes I Googled Wild Blue and came up with users reviews. Take a look it aint pretty:
    http://www.rateitall.com/i-837519-wil...

    Also no body mentions what the cost is. As much as I dislike Comcast the Cable BroadBand is rock solid.
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  • From the rateitall comments: a $99 installation fee + $95 charge for shipping + 49, 69.00 or 79.00 [Gold package which is 69.95] + 2-year contract + slow connect speeds + cap to video making Netflix impossible + service is very very poor. Sounds as though a class-action suit should be initiated.
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  • Ed, 11 months ago, said he was going with FIOS, a Verizon product.
    However,

    While Verizon claims it is expanding its FiOS coverage to all Verizon territories across the United States, there was speculation that they would abandon some markets rather than install FiOS, according to a 2006 article by the Wall Street Journal:
    Verizon Communications Inc. is fielding offers for [sale of]...of traditional telephone lines...part of the New York-based phone giant's strategy to delve deeper into the wireless and broadband arenas, while getting out of the traditional phone business in U.S. areas that aren't slated for fiber upgrades...Verizon also has been shopping a package dubbed "GTE North" that comprises about 3.4 million access lines in former GTE Corp. territories in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Michigan.
    As of June 30, 2009, FiOS Internet had 3.1 million customers (up 31% in last year), and FiOS TV had 2.5 million customers (up 46% in prior year) with FiOS services offered to over 11 million premises nationwide.
    Verizon announced in March 2010 that they were winding down their FiOS expansion, concentrating on completing their network in areas that already had FiOS franchises but were not deploying to any new areas, which included the cities of Baltimore and Boston, who had not yet secured municipal franchise agreements.
    Verizon sold landline operations in the markets of northern New England to FairPoint Communications in 2008. Fiber to the premises projects in those markets has been renamed as FAST (Fiber Access Speed Technology). In June 2010, Verizon sold landline operations scattered throughout 13 states to Frontier Communications. Some of these areas already had FiOS service availability, which Frontier will then be responsible for.
    [wikipedia]

    As I said 7 months ago, it is not available in MANY locations - and it won't EVER be. It seems there should be some federal oversight (FCC?) to protect the consumer from getting ripped off by these cable companies, most of whom give a kick-back to the counties that made them monopolies.
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  • I’m the dog's wheel on the car
    Evidently people have given up complaining about their problems with Comcast.

    Comcast provided customers with a device called a DTA which came with a remote.
    This was FREE for the first two DTAs, and they would have charged $2.99 for each additional DTA after the first two.
    I declined since my TV would still receive channels 3 through 20 without this DTA.
    However, TODAY the TV will receive NOT ONE TV channel without a digital adapter of some sort.

    With the rates changes on October 1, Comcast will start billing customers $1.99 per month for EACH of the FREE DTAs.
    And we all know what that means: everything Comcast provides has seen a price increase.
    My cable modem, required for internet, was originally $3 per month.
    When it went to $7 per month, I returned it and bought my own better cable modem.

    If a Comcast customer does not have the triple play - TV + internet + phone - the price for TV increase $3 per month and the price for internet increases $3 per month.
    Add the increases for TV and internet and the rent/lease for the previously free two DTAs and the monthly increase is $9.98.

    The DTA is required for each TV that is NOT connected to the Comcast cable box.
    Many homes have TVs that are connected to the cable in other rooms of a home, so these all need DTAs.
    A DTA negates the nice features that come with an expensive big-screen TV - programming from TV Guide and the ability to tune in HD channels that Comcast charges additional money to receive. The remote for this DTA will only change channels and turn the TV on/off. The main problem there is that my TV with the HD tuner can receive only standard definition TV now that Comcast has stopped / blocked those HD signals that previously were received over the standard cable.

    Another problem is that Comcast increases customers' bills without their being told - until the bill comes. They sucker everyone into going green and dropping the paper bill. Then they pull a MCI trick and stick in the notice about a rate hike without actually notifying the customer. They HAVE my e-mail address, so they SHOULD notify me by e-mail when they are increasing rates.

    Soon my only choice will be to watch my TV over the broadcast channels only.

    If I do that, my internet bill will increase about $10 per month as an internet-only user.
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  • Personally, I quit complaining about Comcast becaus we finally got a viable alternative (although Comcast fought against them for years trying to prevent other providers from moving in). The company I use now has never increased rates, provides cable without a converter, fiber optic Internet that they have increased the speed on three times in three years at no extra cost to the consumer (mine was increased this month from 50 megabits to 100), and has added programming to television packages annually... Oh, and there is no contract.

    Comcast can suck it.
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  • Wish we had some actual competition here in San Francisco, but Comcast has this town on lockdown. Some fiber companies are springing up, but coverage is poor. MonkeyBrains has a great reputation, but you have to be line-of-sight to their towers.

    I wish we hadn't stopped enforcing antitrust laws in the 80's...
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  • So what is the name of this fantastic company?

    We have a cable MONOPOLY that gives kickbacks to the local county to remain the monopoly. It's called a Franchise Fee and cost me almost $4 this month.
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  • Tell that company to check out Fort Wayne Indiana. Comcast needs some competition. Verizon won't even install FIOS anymore here, they set you up with Dish.

    I'm still waiting for Comcast to answer one simple question. Why did you take TRU TV away from the stupid little boxes. Only way to get it now is in 1 room and that's the room with the big box. Yes it's box city around here.

    Does anybody reading this have Direct TV? I'm concerned about it's "up time" during storms etc.
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