Comcast cable and the Feb 2009 digital TV switch over

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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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Posted 7 years ago

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I thought Twitter was a place where you can come to get answers to questions like this. Are you only allowed to ask questions about Twitter itself?

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/Ahea...
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bsmdbt

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Robman drop COMCAST they are extorting their customers...Im already writing my local legislators. See I happen to own a legal set top box, BUT COMCAST will only allow me to rent one from them for monthly fee, but I have four TVs and you need one for each TV. So if you have four tvs, you will pay them as much as $40 per extra per month in rental fees, thats every month, when you should be able to go out and buy the box like I did, for about $400...it aint cheap, but it saves the consumer money over the long run...which if COMCAST cared about the customer as this schiester in here claims, then why do they commit this extortion that comcast is imposing upon its customers. So I am formally Suing Comcast for this devious act, I will show the court that my set top box is 100% legal and 100% equal to their own, yet they refuse to let me use it...all in the name of caring ...I guess..extortionists. Also I am now leaving comcast, and GETTING FIOS from their competitor...I urge you all to do the same..it doesnt matter who your local competitor to Comcast is...satellite, DSL, or FIOS, swap out and send these crooks a HUGE FU for being corrupt and dishonest...lets put them out of business. By the way what an insult to your customers Comcastcares1 to extort such high dollar amounts from your customers and then tell us you care...your actions are criminal and dishonest...go suck on that dude..by the way ..the lines at the unemployment line are getting longer these days...you might want to go reserve your spot in the "Im a professional crook" line...how can you sleep at night peddling youtr BS that comcast cares....so I guess the Nazi's cared about the Jews in WWII using your same logic then...your disgusting.
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ComcastCares1, Employee

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Robman,

First, I would like to apologize for any confusion.

Please allow me to clarify. Comcast's relocation of analog channels to the digital tier does not have anything to do with digital switch over in Feb 2009. The digital switch over is only for off the air channels (local and basic channels available through antenna) being transmitted from analog to digital. If you are a cable customer, you do not have anything to worry about. We got you covered for the switch over in 2009.

Currently on some Comcast markets, channels are being relocated from analog to the digital tier. The main purpose for us doing this is to free up space. For every analog channel, we can fit in more digital and High def channels. If you do not have a digital converter, you may not be able to view the transferred channels becuase they are now in the digital feed. As a result, we are currently offering a promotion for customers who are currently not subscribing to our digital service.

I hope my expanation helped. If you have additional questions or need further assistance, please feel free send me an email with your best contact number. I will be happy to assist further.

Best Regards,

Mark C.
Comcast Corp.
We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com
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You are wrong, you are wrong, you are wrong. Just like every other Comcast employee you know nothing of what you sell!

This is 2009 (2010 if you're reading this in a couple of days), most TV's have digital tuners built-in and are fully capable of tuning channels on your digital tier, AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT ENCRYPTED!
Comcast encrypting Pay channels such as HBO, Cinemax etc I can understand. But there is absolutely NO reason to encrypt the entire feed (with the exception of the FCC mandated over the air broadcast channels) as Comcast is currently doing.
All of my 3 Clear QAM tuners are completely useless as they are only able to tune in the aforementioned 18 channels (mostly weather and local access), instead of the 70 + channels the extended package contains.

The only reason Comcast can get away with this is because of the general lack of knowledge of their customers (and apparently their employees) on the subject.
Count me in on a class action suit and on any website dedicated to shine a big spot-light on what these corporate clowns are doing.
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ronjamin

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I have a $2500+ Digital Plasma telvision that is capable of receiving digital signals from a cable company. Comcast elects to scramble this signal to thwart cable theft, requiring you to use their box AND rendering your video recorder useless. CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT TIME ! ! ! !
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ronjamin

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I have a $2500+ Digital Plasma telvision that is capable of receiving digital signals from a cable company. Comcast elects to scramble this signal to thwart cable theft, requiring you to use their box AND rendering your video recorder useless. CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT TIME ! ! ! !
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LL

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TELL THE TRUTH COMCAST. Here in Indiana I was forced to go digital and now I have lost all features on my TV. No more commercial skip, no more guide, ABSOLUTLY NO USE of my VCR's unless I want to tape what I am watching DUH and I guess my box is a dud because the on demand doesn't work and now I have 3 boxes in my house which ALL LITE up 24/7 because your instructions say DO NOT TURN THEM OFF. I could go on about all the other problems I'm having with your so called customer service but I'll be darned if you liars are going to get another dime out of me for a DVR or in my case I would need two DVR's. Your switch to digital does have nothing to do with what the government did, it has everything to do with the almighty dollar for comcast. You tell us how GOING TO BOXES is an improvement. It's several steps backwards. My advice to anyone even thinking about going to comcast digital because you want to is DO NOT DO IT. When they force you to find another option. This has been absolutely awful. Oh and one more thing don't think for a second you will get your PIP to work, forget it. I know a lot of people don't care about this feature but we used it everyday. NOT ANYMORE thanks to comcast crap!
I would be happy to be part of any class action lawsuit. Last night I reported them to the better business bureau and I'm not done yet.
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LL

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TELL THE TRUTH COMCAST. Here in Indiana I was forced to go digital and now I have lost all features on my TV. No more commercial skip, no more guide, ABSOLUTLY NO USE of my VCR's unless I want to tape what I am watching DUH and I guess my box is a dud because the on demand doesn't work and now I have 3 boxes in my house which ALL LITE up 24/7 because your instructions say DO NOT TURN THEM OFF. I could go on about all the other problems I'm having with your so called customer service but I'll be darned if you liars are going to get another dime out of me for a DVR or in my case I would need two DVR's. Your switch to digital does have nothing to do with what the government did, it has everything to do with the almighty dollar for comcast. You tell us how GOING TO BOXES is an improvement. It's several steps backwards. My advice to anyone even thinking about going to comcast digital because you want to is DO NOT DO IT. When they force you to find another option. This has been absolutely awful. Oh and one more thing don't think for a second you will get your PIP to work, forget it. I know a lot of people don't care about this feature but we used it everyday. NOT ANYMORE thanks to comcast crap!
I would be happy to be part of any class action lawsuit. Last night I reported them to the better business bureau and I'm not done yet.
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Hi Mark,
Thanks for the quick response. I'm in the northern Chicago suburbs (Wilmette) if that helps, as far as the market goes. Currently, I mainly have Comcast for my internet, but I do get the network channels via the cable. When you start moving channels to digital, will you continue to send the broadcast channels via the analog channels? What channels will you be moving and when?

Thanks,
Rob
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ComcastCares1, Employee

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Do you have a digital converter? As far as the channel relocation for Chicago, I have to get the specifics from my contacts. What is the best contact number for you tomorrow?

Mark C.
Comcast orp.
We_can_help@cable.comcast.com
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Mark,
I sent you an email last week with my phone number. Drop me a line when you have a chance.

Thanks,
Rob
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ComcastCares1, Employee

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Hi Rob!

I left you a message with my direct line. Call me whenever you have a chance today.

Thanks!

Mark
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Micster

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I still am confused about how things will be changing, as things move from analog to digital. I have a digital box attached to one tv and another two with analog cable, I have seen several (maybe 5-10) channels move to digital... which I think is a great idea, especially for the handful of channels that appeared in both places. But it seems this is resulting in me paying the same for less service (as I can now no longer watch those channels on those tvs). More HD channels would be fine if they were channels I watched, but without a say in what I can get for HD I run the risk of losing channels I do watch for some I don't watch. Without a suitable answer satellite is looking like a better choice all the time.
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ComcastCares1, Employee

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What area are you from? Will you please let me know so that I can determine exactly what is going to happen there?

If you can also send me your best contact number and the phone number on the account, I would most certainly appreciate it.

Mark C.
Comcast Corp.
We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com
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YOU ARE CORRECT-WHAT A TERRIBLE THING TO DO TO CUSTOMERS AFTER THE fact WHEN WE GOT CABLE WE NOW HAVE TO PAY MORE FOR LESS-I AM SWITCHING TO DIRECT-I HOPE THEY LOSE MANY CUSTOMERS!
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I libe in thornton Colorado and we are comcast customers! Will we have to worry!
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Here's an update about the Comcast situation. According to the Executive Support Specialist that I just spoke to, I should be able to continue using my current setup past the Feb 2009 DTV switchover.

I don't use a cable box, the cable feed goes directly into my "cable ready" TV and my ReplayTV boxes. Concast will continue to send the broadcast channels down the line in the analog-like format that they currently use.

There is also the option of getting a digital box for a small monthly rental charge which would also give me some of the additional free channels that you can get with a coupon box.
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thisisfortrash

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This is not right. Comcast is demanding that all TVs (except for limited basic) have boxes. Period. The question for your market is when.
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The analog => digital changeover only applies to the signals sent over the air. That is, if you're using "bunny ears" or some other home antenna, then you need a converter box. However, if you have any form of cable at all, you are covered (regardless of whether or not you have digital or analog cable).

Here's the scoop:

The stations that you can currently pick up via "bunny ears" are being broadcast as radio waves. This ties up a large chunk of the frequencies. Analog broadcast take up about 10 times as much space (on the frequency spectrum) as digital broadcasts use. The FCC wants to trim down the space required for TV so that they can sell the rest of the spectrum and make money. They also need a dedicated emergency band that doesn't conflict with any of the cellular phone companies.

The bottom line is that if you have cable, you don't need to worry about this switchover.
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thisisfortrash

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This is not right. Comcast is demanding that all TVs (except for limited basic) have boxes. Period.
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Micster

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I am very pleased with the response time from Getsatisfaction, and the ensuing response time from comcast... their answer though disappointed me. Yes, everyone is correct that said the February switch won't effect cable users, BUT on their own Comcast (and probably all other cable companies) are switching from the analog signal that you just plug your tv into and receive to digital where we will need box attached to every tv. According to Mark, there was a deal where they allowed people an extra box for free for a year (I never heard about that before he mentioned it) and currently in this area they are offering the extra box at a discounted rate (normally $5.95 a month until mid August $1.95 a month) and again, this isn't being advertised. So yes, cable users won't be affected by the February change, but they aren't telling us they are making their own change that will affect us and for a price they have us covered. I'm sure the satellite companies are thrilled to hear cable is heading back to the days of having to pay for every tv in your house.
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@ SpicyLemon, like Micster said, even though in theory cable users are not affected by the OTA switchover, there's nothing stopping the cable companies using this occassion to move all of their analog channels up into the digital range too. If you're already using a cable box, this probably won't affect you, but if (like me) you have the cable going directly into your TV, it is a concern.

Even though I don't have an HDTV, my TV is "cable ready" which is how I'm able to connect it directly to the cable now. I don't watch any "cable" channels, I just watch the OTA broadcast channels, and the Comcast rep that I spoke to yesterday assured me that I will be able to continue using my current setup.
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Many years ago, every TV required some sort of box in order to get the cable channels. When cable first came out, people had to get cable boxes. Eventually, though, TV manufactures started putting the cable boxes in the TVs and today, you can't buy a TV that doesn't have a built in tuner.

Now, though, the cable companies are slowly switching channels to digital. ALmost all older TVs don't have a tuner built in to handle the digital signals so you have to get a box. Many TVs on the market today have tuners that can handle digital signals though. Eventually, the TVs without the digital tuners will break or be replaced and boxes won't be needed any more..... that is untiil the next best thing comes out.

It is annoying to have to have a box though. And its even more annoying that when they move a channel to digital, they don't drop the price for those that no longer get the channel.

Just as cable boxes went away 20 years ago, let's hope they go away again. This is a message to you Comcast: People don't like cable boxes and never will.
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I TOTALLY AGREE WITH YOU AND WHAT COMCAST DID -I HOPE THEY LOSE MANY CUSTOMERS.
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thisisfortrash

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This is not right. Even Tvs with a digital tuner will not work anymore. Comcast is demanding that all Tvs have a comcast box for channels above 30
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Glenn

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I don't want a box. most people I know doesn't want a box. At least we have another cable company in town, Click Network. We don't have to have a box! Thanks You city of Tacoma for standing up to Comcast.
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John

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Actually the are encrypting them so even if you have a digital qam tuner you won't get anything beyond your local channels and government channels. "In either scenario, TVs with Digital QAM tuners will continue to be able to view Limited Basic (or "Basic") channels without a digital device. "- from comcast's own mouth. So even with new tv's you won't be able to view everything you may be paying for without renting one of thier boxes, no buying option found at this point but I don't know I would like that option either because my TV is digital ready, I don't want a box.
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John

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Actually they are encrypting them so even if you have a digital qam tuner you won't get anything beyond your local channels and government channels. read it for yourself at http://customer.comcast.com/Pages/FAQ...
. So even with new tv's you won't be able to view everything you may be paying for without renting one of thier boxes, no buying option found at this point but I don't know I would like that option either because my TV is digital ready, I don't want a box.
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There is a way to get digital cable without the Comcast cable box. Newer TVs have an ATSC tuner (along with the old NTSC analog tuner) that can get unencrypted digital Cable (typically the non-paychannels). My TV tuner picks up around 50 analog and 50 digital channels (Massachusetts).

Basically, you just need a device that handles ATSC/QAM tuning... Some high-grade DVD players, DVD recorders, Tivo's, and all new TVs. There is an annoyance in that the channels don't necessarily line up... you get funny channels like 71-4 and 71-5.

That said, I am a bit annoyed with this, as I currently have 3 analog tuners in use (including 2 in a homemade DVR) and didn't really want to spend the money on replacing them.
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thisisfortrash

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This is not right. Even TVs with a digital tuner will not work anymore. Comcast is demanding that all TVs have a comcast box for channels above 30
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Glenn

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Getting rid of cable boxes is one of the 70's most innovated tech breakthroughs for cable consumers. WE DON"T WANT TO GO BACK! What the heck! I would have already switched to Click Network but the Sunset Plaza Condos has a contract with Comcast and I can't,
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johnbearce

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The reason you will not be able to use your tvs with digital tuners is that
Comcast is going to encrypt these channels, not just the Premium but all of them so you have to lease one of their boxes.
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johnbearce

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The reason you will not be able to use your tvs with digital tuners is that
Comcast is going to encrypt these channels, not just the Premium but all of them so you have to lease one of their boxes.
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So did I read this right? We have several tv's in our home, of which only 1 has a cable box attached. Does that mean that all tv's that don't have a cable box will no longer be able to see channels like Bravo, Sci-Fi, & Food Network? Also, will I be able to see network channels like Fox, ABC, & CBS? Please help. In my area (New England) I believe the extra cable boxes are very expensive.
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Micster

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As far as I have learned, we have all lost some 10 to 15 channels from analog (direct line no box) they were replaced with a handful (I think maybe 5) HD channels. They feel this is an "upgrade" and I was told they "reserve the right to upgrade" at anytime. So yes we could lose more, but they are not saying when or what channels. As for the concern about the cost of the digital box, if you call and complain, they were offering one at a reduced rate (but they said that expired August 15) although it was never advertised anywhere, where I saw it. I for one am looking into which satellite package I like best and in the meantime warning everyone I talk to, to stay away from comcast - which comes across as odd from someone who sits on their local cable access board of directors.
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ComcastCares1, Employee

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If the channels were moved to the digital tier, then you will need a digital converter.

We do offer 1 year free rental for the digital converter and I believe the expiration date of the promotion was extended.

The channels that migrated were mostly the same in all areas but I want to double check the actual channels in your area and the availability of the promotion. If you don't mind, will you please send me the phone number on the account so that I can check for you?

Thanks!

Mark C.
Comcast Corp.
We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com
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It is not a big deal to me that analog cable channels are moving over to Digital, and it makes sense... What would be helpful is a timeline on a webpage somewhere on what to expect and when in any given area.

In talking with a Comcast customer service rep in my area (Massachusetts), we will still have roughly the same number of analog channels around this time next year... beyond that they couldn't say.

I, like many others, will continue to have only one cable box, but will have other TVs throughout the house connected to cable. A 1yr promotion on additional cable boxes is not something I'm interested in for a long-term solution. Eventually I and many others will have to bite the bullet and start replacing older TVs with newer ones with digital tuners built-in.
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thisisfortrash

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Buying new TVs won't work. The digital turners cannot tune scrmabled channels. Comcast will scramble channels above 30 and require a box.
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I think this is all crap! What about the thousands of hospitals, hotels and other public places that will have to replace TV sets or be forced to use Comcast's converter box? Oh, by the way, it comes with the nice Comcast remote control with about 80 billion buttons on it! That is a HUGE expense for a business to replace all of the older analog TV sets. As far as the remote goes, the customer just wants to watch TV. Channel up, channel down, volume and power. That is all they need at these public places. Has Comcast thought of the millions of people in the "older" population age range? These people aren't geeks like all of the engineers at Comcast. They don't understand all of this stuff and will be lost, both in the technology AND as a Comcast customer. You can't save me as a Comcast subscriber. I've already left you.
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Agree totally with the last customer. We have a new TV with the above referenced QAM tuner and Comcast rep said that it should handle the digital. They switched today and we've lost our channels. Our home is soon filled with boxes and remotes. And everytime we contact "customer service" they try to sell us something new. Also switching to satellite.
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Haven't seen were someone suggests we use the converter boxes with the $40 coupons for those with basic or extended basic cable. Would it work?
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Micster

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As near as I can tell, the answer would be. Because in fact we are talking about two different things. The switch to digital for the broadcast companies only effects over air broadcast signal. Comcast, and most likely other cable companies, don't have to make this change, they are doing it (as I understand) to clear up room on their lines to bring in more channels. The digital signal takes up less space than the analog signal (if that's the case how come they don't remove them from the analog bank of channels, when I had digital cable there were several channels that appeared in both the analog and the digital area - not to mention carrying both an analog/digital version and a high def version but I digress) Cable has basically figured out a way to get us back to the 80s when you had to pay for each cable hook up in your home.
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Lianne Richards

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Question for a Comcast employee--if I still have basic extended on Feb. 9, 2009, how many channels will be left on this package? Just 3, 6, and 10?
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why are companies still making tvs with cable ready tuners if we have to buy tuners or rent tuners from cable companies and direct tv
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This is very similar to what happened in the 80's... You needed a cable tuner in order to get cable channels (NTSC analog tuner). They began building cable tuners into the TV itself, so that you didn't need a cable box.

Same thing now... New TVs have digital tuners (ATSC digital)...

The question is the timing... How long does Comcast wait before they severely cripple the analog broadcast? Do they wait for 50% of home TVs to have digital tuners?

Comcast is currently losing the HD battle, partially because they are holding on to the analog customers... If you get Verizon FIOS, they offer around 12 or less analog channels.... so you essentially need a tuner box for each TV. I believe for every analog channel you disable and free up bandwidth from, you can get 4 digital channels or 2 HD channels.

Comcast will slowly remove analog channels, but has already hung on to them longer than their competitors... I'm not a big Comcast fan, but their analog channels are the only thing keeping me from switching to FIOS.
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I have a wall mounted plasma and wanted to avoid the cable box. With a "cable card" I can plug the cable directly into the TV. This doesn't support OnDemand though as the signal is only a one way street. Supposedly they were going to develop a "next generation" cable card that would allow you to access OnDemand and the interactive channel guide but you can hardly find anyone at Comcast who is able to address these matters. As long as the box is the only way for Comcast to increase their potential per user revenues though OnDemand I don't think you'll see much of an effort for them to do away with it.
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FiosGuy

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Verizon Fios already is an all digital network in PA. A far superior service than comcast could ever be.
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I agree with FiosGuy

He defintally sounds like he know's what he is talking about after all.

I wish FairPoint had not taken over my market....
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Concerned Consumer

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It is obvious that Comcast is trying to make back lost money and the only way to do that is to fleece the customers who are loyal to them. In this economy one of the first things to go is luxury cable. Comcast wants to make up for their losses by this conveniently-timed channel move. How interesting that this move comes around the same time as the Analog to Digital TV switch in order to confuse unsuspecting customers. I have contacted Comcast 5 times and each time I have received a different answer not to mention a different price for the digital box that I now apparently need (we have extended basic analog cable plus HBO which we are currently paying for but cannot watch because it has also been moved to digital).

It is apparent this is a quick money-making scheme because there are no straight answers from Comcast and all this "free space" seems like a scheme as well.

As other posters have noted, they are taking us back 20 years to the days of renting boxes to earn some extra money off of each customer.

I will be looking for a new cable company and I will advise others to do this as well. It is a stupid move on their part to lose so many monthly subscribers for the sake of a few dollars more per month.

It seems this is a nationwide scam. The experience that I have had is basically on the verge of blatant fraud (I won't go into details here but I have everything well documented). I wonder if a class-action suit will be in their future.

So I beg to differ with their motto, Comcast DOESN'T care...they're CRAPtastic.
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The way I see it, Comcast is trying to update their service in a timely manner, and TRYING to not piss customers off. Unfortunately you cant make everyone happy! I for one would love to see more hd and digital channels. Most customers have digital boxes on most of their tv's. You need a digital box to pick up anything other than basic service. In theory, you are SUPPOSED to pay for every tv, whether theres a box on it or not, but of course most people realize they can get a splitter and split the signal to multiple rooms with little or no effect on the signal, and comcast loses revenue on that if you dont tell them how many rooms have a wire in it. In the mean time, now the fcc has mandated that all new tv's or receivers come with digital tuners, and most digital tuners are QAM comatible (thats what you need to pick up digital cable signals, as ATSC is for off-air antenna signals only), then as you buy a new tv with ATSC (required) and QAM (most tv's have this now) it will work with "basic" digital cable, without needing a cable box. In the meantime, since most of us still have analog tv's on our cable without a box, Comcast is SLOWLY moving channels to the digital only domain, unlike other companies who are ALL digital, including ALL satellite companies, which REQUIRE a satellite box on every tv (unless you want to watch the same program on multiple tv's and you can do that with a comcast box too). What it comes down to is that all signals reaching your home will eventually be digital, and unless you never buy a new tv you will need some type of interface to make it work (even a new vcr -- if you can find one!, or a new dvd recorder, will come with a digital tuner, probably with QAM - -and you can use that in place of a rented box). I am not sure, but I believe the CHEAP digital tuners that the $40 voucher is for will only do ATSC, but not QAM, so they wont work with digital cable; However there are boxes you can BUY that will do QAM, and some even have a card slot in the back that you can rent a card from your cable company to get pay-tv channels, but like someone said, the bi-directional compatibility for on-demand is not currently in these products; I have a cable box and I rarely use on-demand even though I thought it was the coolest invention since the vcr tape! I for one am usually disgusted by these service companies, but I feel comcast has balanced their options fairly well and is being accomodating of us with analog tv's (I have 1 analog tv still without a box) if they wanted to they can convert all channels to digital, and decide which digital channels are free with a qam receiver or which ones we NEED to pay extra for by having a box or card from them! Also, aside from fiber optic service, they have one of the best internet services on the market, which is the main reason I keep them and not go to satellite! One more note, the strange channel assignments like 25-2, 25-3 is a detail of the new digital format, and that is how all of the digital off-air channels are being transmitted. Each station has the ability of transmitting 3 or 4 different programs through the same transmitter, and that is how it shows up on your screen. The transmitters at Comcast or other digital cable companies can do the same thing. If you have a comcast box, it re-labels the channel to make it simple, but if you have a QAM tuner, it will see it like it is being transmitted. Also, If you have a QAM receiver in your digital tv now, you will see that over the next one or two months, comcast will be changing the channel frequencies and digitally broadcast channels will appear and disappear at times. Until all the changes are done, this will be happening. The QAM tuner, just like your analog tv, remembers the lineup when you set it up. If it changes, the tuner needs to be re-programmed to drop the old frequency and find the new frequency. This is a headache, but as Comcast figures out and finishes what they are doing behind the scenes, our tuners will need to be re-initialized from time to time. If you lose a digital channel or two, it was probably just moved and not pulled, and re-programming will find it, and maybe also find some other channels that were added since you last did a channel search! Finally, it doesn't make sense why there's an analog and digital channel of the same program, but the digital is a much higher quality and there for you to see if you have a qam tuner.Having a third HD channel is wasted space, and I bet they will eventually drop the HD-only transmission and program the set-top boxes to tune in to the digital channel for hd signal. The analog channel is there for everyone reading this thread who are worried about losing their analog channels!
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HXL

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NO your 'Theory' is wrong...you only need to pay for the cable service supplied to the house...dumbass.
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John

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Ash every time I have moved and needed another room added all they charged for was installing it in the new room not a monthly recurring charge beyond the subscription fee, as my TV's are new I don't need a box to receive digital but because Comcast is throwing out the thing that set them apart I now need boxes on all my TV's, so I am going to go without any service for now and watch what I want online.
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Well I don't have a problem with Comcast moving to all Digital Cable and dropping the Analog channels to make room for more content.
Any recent TV will have a QAM tuner built in that can handle digital cable.

What I DO have a problem with, is the fact that Comcast (at least in West Palm Beach FL) is encrypting EVERY digital channel with the exception of the 17-18 local ones that are required to be unencrypted by the FCC.
This is BS, because even if you have a recent TV with a built in QAM (Clear QAM to be exact) tuner, you will NOT be able to tune in anything other then 18 local channels!
All other BASIC Cable channel transmitted digitally will require a digital cable box from Comcast! Even if you have a CableCard capable TV or DVR, you still have to RENT the CableCard from Comcast!

Comcast can switch all channels to digital format to save bandwidth, I don't disagree with that need, even though it alienates customers that still have older analog cable ready TVs, but they DO NOT HAVE TO ENCRYPT THEM!

Comcast Rep, how do you explain this?

Nuno
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What is amazing is that by not encrypting your BASIC cable lineup, you would provide better service then satellite and fiber providers. You could tell customers that are thinking about switching providers or that are complaining about your all digital switch, that they would NOT require a cable box or cable card to receive non premium channels (USA, CNN, FX etc) as long as they have a digital cable ready TV or digital converter.
This would make Comcast much more attractive and competitive, therefore retaining or increasing your customer base.

Alas, your silence says it all!

I for one, will switch as soon as another provider is available in my area.
I encourage other Comcast subscribers to take a little time to research the topic and alternative means to get your service.

Comments are appreciated.

Nuno
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Hi Grinder,
To answer your question, NO you will not be able to receive your basic cable lineup without a Comcast box. You will only be able to receive 17 or 18 channels, these channels are the ones you can receive in HD over the air. (your local ABC, NBC, CW affiliates etc).
So you can:
A- drop Comcast and receive those same channels for free over the air in all their digital HD glory
B- drop Comcast and go with another solution (Satellite, Fiber)
C- drop more cash into Comcasts pockets by renting a cable box for every TV you have in the house.

If you're wondering why, read my post above.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Nuno
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Concerned Consumer

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Just an FYI because after calling/emailing/live-chatting with Comcast for weeks and receiving a completely different answer every time, I realized that either the Comcast employees are ignorant of what is happening or they are just plain lying to customers to get them to "upgrade" and purchase equipment they don't need.

First of all, the confusion is partly due to the fact that Comcast has decided to switch their channels to digital stations, conveniently timed with the Analog switch (rabbit ear tvs) so that unsuspecting customers won't know what is happening. The February switch and the Comcast switch are two completely different things.

I called and wondered why I would need a box since I already have cable. Then I was told I needed a box because of the switch from analog cable channels to digital cable channels (we have extended basic cable). This is not true!!!! I was lied to and I'm sure I am not the only one. Even after the switch happened and I was still able to receive my channels, I kept getting emails from Comcast telling me that what I was watching, I was not really watching and that I needed to buy a digital box.

Don't settle for what they tell you! Comcast lies in order to sell more product. As I stated before, with the economy the way it is, this is a way for them to fleece more money out of customers by confusing them into buying unnecessary products! I for one will be looking for a new cable company that doesn't include LIES in their customer service policies!
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HXL

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This is true, no one at comcast has the same answer. A friend at work called when his bill shot from an intro of $115 to $240 and they said there was nothing they could do about it. Then that same day when he got home there was a Comcast mailing to him thanking him for being a loyal customer and offering the lower rate for another 12 months...they should have known that when he was on the phone since it was already in their mailbox. To be honest, Comcast customer service are not the most knowledgable or do they have any common sense. Good luck, ...just complain and grab every discount and credit you can...i have kept a running total and I am at $1,238 so far. And never try to get a better price from customer service you need to get to customer retention and fight there.
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John

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Oh well don't worry the crooks over there will soon encrypt your channels so you can't see them even though your TV can receive the signal if it's new.