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I’m pissed

Why does my HDTV need a converter box?

I just got a new Vizio HDTV that says specifically in the owner's manual that it is ready to accept digital signals and that I DO NOT NEED A DIGITAL CONVERTER BOX. However, when I hooked it up to the wall, I did not receive any channels except for CBS, NBC and the like. No ESPN, TBS etc. Everything I read says that if your TV is digital ready, you will not need a converter box to view digital signals. On the contrary, Comcast support told me that I will not be able to view these channels without the converter box, which will cost $6.95 a month extra PER TV. What's the real deal here?
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  • @Stephen - Are you attempting to plug the Coax cable coming from the wall directly into the Coax input terminal on the back of your Vizio HDTV set?

    ... Assuming you are... then there is no reason you shouldn't be getting all the channels Comcast has available in your package's line up.

    Now... without knowing your area it is difficult to say whether or not you need a Comcast Channel Line Up Receiver (not talking about a DVR, just a Standard Receiver box).

    If, in fact, you do need a Channel Line Up Receiver then Comcast should provide you one at no additional charge (though I hear in some areas they charge people $X.XX a month to "rent" one from them).

    This may in fact be the "converter box" Comcast spoke of. This is one of Comcast's Classic Bait and Switch SCAMS!

    One would think that a coax wire should be enough to get the job done... but No! Comcast pretty much blocks out any programming, especially HD programming, on their standard coax lines. Which means unless you want to pay a rental fee, and yes that is per TV (one box = one television), you won't be getting much of anything.

    It is really a "mix-up" (or rather, let's call it what it is, "a lie") on the Comcast Costumer Service people's part. When they say "converter box..." they're really just talking about a "channel line up receiver." Since their stupid little box isn't converting jack $#!+, cause the signal is already, nation wide, digital.

    Sorry to be the barer of bad news friend. But hey... if you complain a $#!+ ton... like I did... you can probably get a free Receiver... or maybe even 2. That's what I did (though mine were HD-DVR *wink*).

    BEST OF LUCK
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  • I’m frustrated
    I've complained and got nothing, maybe I'll try again. I have basic plan and plugged directly into my tv and get most channels, but not all that I had before. When I asked about the free box they offered they seemed to only want to give it to me if I paid for Extended.
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  • @KenR - Keep pressing the issue. Tell Comcast that unless you get some basic channel line up receivers for all of your TVs you're going to discontinue your service. They should totally give them to you. Their basic receivers are total crap anyway. Manufactured in the mid 1990's; they've got warehouses full of them, overstocked even (from what I hear from Comcast Road / Home Install Techs) so it's not like they're out the equipment / money. Charging a customer a rental fee for those P.O.S.'s is nothing short of ridiculous. Bad enough they charge a modem rental fee (but I'll grant you, you can buy [in some areas] your own modem, if you don't care for theirs). What's next... Comcast gonna start charging a rental fee for cable cards and coax wires???
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  • I’m really mad
    @Rob Rayburn - Don't even joke about it, they might think it's a good idea. I looked into it some more and basically I can't get jack from plugging right into the wall even though we already pay 60 a month for digital TV "service". Basically, I have to pay to use the service I'm already paying for. With this stupid DTA box, I only get standard def TV in the old school square TV aspect ratio. Where the hell can anyone buy a new square TV today? So my options are, pay 2 dollars a month to get part of the TV service I already pay for so that I can use 1/2 my TV screen (or zoom in and crop parts of the picture/distort the picture) or pay 7 dollars a month to actually get full use of the TV "service" I, again, ALREADY AM PAYING FOR. Seriously pisses me off. I'm about to go to DirecTV; they give you free boxes for all your TVs. What's the point of having cable if I need a box no matter what?
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  • @Stephen - agreed friend. Comcast truly are rip-off artists. If I didn't live in an area that was prone to crazy storming 24/7 I might consider a dish.

    Good Luck.
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  • I complained about the requirement to upgrade to Extended to get the boxes and after awhile they admitted I could rent them for $2.80 a piece so 3 tvs would be $8.40, much cheaper than $40+ to upgrade, but then $14 to have the technician deliver and hook them up, which I don't quite understand why I need someone to plug in a coax cable. I have an A/B switch so I can switch between my tv tuner and this box to see how they compare, if I don't like I'll just return to store and be out the $14. I really don't like adding another remote. They also tried to upsell me for wiring insurance something like $1.50 a month for all drops. Didn't get that.

    P.S. They told me my areas internet had been upgraded a while back and I should be seeing 12mb downloads, but to get the extra speed I needed to powercycle my modem. Went from 4mb to 26mb downloads, but my uploads still suck. If I hadn't complained about my youtube always hanging they probably would have never told me. I also can take my rental modem in for free upgrade, though I may buy my own waiting for next Motorola model that supports MOCA filtering.
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  • @KenR - Great job!

    Glad you finally got Comcraptastic's customer service people to admit that you could get the equipment you needed (all be it at cost, but at a fairly reasonable price at least).

    That technician delivery fee is BRUTAL though. $14? That's like shipping the dang things FedEx. I guess it is for the "hook up" labor? But as you mentioned, you can hook up coax cables your yourself, so that labor argument is pretty moot.

    I'd say after the tech delivers your receivers, baring the tech does anything more than hand them to you, you should call into 1-800-COMCAST and demand that $14 fee be waived.

    I had a similar situation happen to me a few months ago:


    I moved a city over a while back (like 20 miles). At first Comcriters told me I could keep my old equipment, but I found out quickly that wasn't the case.

    Because of the move I went from a Scientific Atlanta TV receiver area to a Motorola TV receiver area. However, my modem didn't change AT ALL (I got to keep my Docsis modem). Well because of the move I had to pay a $50 !!! "hook up" fee for the new brand of TV receiver.

    I complained about the fee because I was losing a bunch of receiver services now that they were making (forcing, really) me to switch brands (like Picture in Picture, and a few other guide features). When I complained Comcrummy Service said: "Okay we'll waive the TV receiver install fee, sir. You only owe $25 for the install now, sir." I was like: "What? Are you telling me I'm being charged $25 just because your tech dropped off the equipment? I live 5 minute from you main office now; I could have picked the darn receiver up myself."

    As if a delivery fee wouldn't have been bad enough...the rep quickly informed me that I was NOT being charge for the drop off of the equipment but rather for the hook up of my Internet modem. "WTF?" was basically my response when I heard that information.

    The rep went on to say: "Well we sent a person out to your home. And you are getting your TV receiver hook up fee waived [ which, by the way, the tech never hooked up anything, just handed me the receiver and took my old one ]. We have to charge you for some thing [ not something, no for *pause* some *pause* thing ] for the install."

    "For Some Thing? You know I got the techs name and ID number... right? I'll have the guy confirm he did NOTHING more than hand me my equipment. Cause he certainly didn't hook up my modem. I brought my old modem with me, and I hooked it up myself long before the tech showed up."

    Their response was basically: "Oh, aah, well, aah if you, ahh. I'll pass this on to my supervisor and they will have a member of our resolution team get back to you."

    I ended up talking to a supervisor and got the whole $50 install fee waived... but that right there is a example of Comcastration trying to nickel and dime customers for BS services.


    Again, great job getting the TV receivers you needed; and not buying into one of their up sale gimmicks. And definitely complain to someone higher up in customer service about stupid install fees and hopefully they'll have the good sense to listen.
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  • Has anyone tried running the cable directly from the wall to the HDTV and then running a digital automatic channel scan? I have done that with Time Warner up here in Maine and I get all of the channels that are part of my cable package in HD except that they now come in on different channel settings.

    In other words, Channel 6 NBC from Portland now comes in perfectly on channel 7.11

    Channel 13 CBS from Portland now comes in on channel 8.1

    I don't use the little digital adapters that they say you need to use. With this method you will get multiple "same" channels and you then must take the time to "hide" the channels that you don't want to see.

    Hope this works for some of you.

    Peter
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