Digital Switching Occuring

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Digital Switching Occuring

Postby Brian McCarthy » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:53 am

A few days ago I received a piece of mail from Comcast telling me that after July 27,2011 they will stop broadcasting analog signals and any TVs I have connected will require a Digital set top box or a digital adapter.

They provide two (2) adapter boxes for free using the access information listed in the mail. They will charge (monthly) for more or digital desktop units.

If you have a QAM tuner, you will be able to get:

In either scenario, TVs with Digital QAM tuners will continue to be able to view Limited Basic (or "Basic") channels without a digital device.

(reference: http://customer.comcast.com/Pages/FAQVi ... -migration)

However, the Limited Basic set of channels is going to become less and less.

The website they point you at is rather easy to navigate.

Of course, with the news that those desktop boxes can use as much electricity as a fridge... I suspect either better boxes will be coming in the next few years or their requirement for expanded on QAM may change. - IMHO of course.

Brian
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby Brian McCarthy » Thu Jun 30, 2011 6:55 am

One other comment - use of cable-cards is another way to get expanded and such without the need for 'outside boxes' and added power usage.
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby Nat Fairbanks » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:48 am

Some other notes. First the analog shut off is actually October 4th. On July 27th they are just switching some more channels to digital. MSNBC, Lifetime, Hallmark and a few more.

In other areas Comcast has offered at least three DTAs for free rather than the two they are offering Merrimack customers. A few minutes ago a comcast rep said "Since you have Standard cable service. I can give you at least 3 DTA boxes."

Additionally you can get cable cards rather than DTAs. There are two types of cable cards - S Cards only support a single tuner on a device (like certain Tivos with two cable card slots) and M Cards support multiple tuners (the Tivo Premiere has one cable card slot but two tuners). They were willing to offer 1-1 replacements of DTAs with S or M Cable Cards depending on your device.

In the past Comcast has required you to have a technician visit to install cable cards and that visit would be charged ($30 I believe) to you. They were willing to waive the fee for technician visits for cable card installs since I was an analog customer being forced to switch to digital. A technician will still have to visit in order to install cable cards.

Finally Comcast representatives may try to tell you this is being forced on them by the FCC. That is not true. http://www.fcc.gov/guides/dtv-transition-did-not-require-cable-systems-switch-digital This is a business decision by Comcast to make more "room" on their cable for other channels.
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby Brian McCarthy » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:15 am

Thanks Nat. I was wondering about the 'three free'. I may need to call to get that other one. They are shipping the first two out.

As for cable cards - according to Comcast's website, they are free for a single tuner device (not matter how many you have) but if a single device requires a second card, there is a charge.

And their website does mention the self-install kits and an 800 number to activate.

Brian
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby Nat Fairbanks » Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:57 pm

Brian McCarthy wrote:As for cable cards - according to Comcast's website, they are free for a single tuner device (not matter how many you have) but if a single device requires a second card, there is a charge.

And their website does mention the self-install kits and an 800 number to activate.

The FCC changed the rules for cable cards awhile ago and they are going into effect over the next few months. While it remains to be seen exactly how various cable operators will enact the rule changes they will have to provide M-Cards by default and allow self installs by either August (if they allow regular DTA self installs) or September (if they require a tech visit to install regular cable boxes).

I also have read enough to believe that Comcast will have to stop charging for multiple cable cards. (direct from the FCC rule changes at http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Release ... -181A1.pdf ) The text below, along with opinions of others online who appear fairly knowledgeable about cable issues such as Tivo representatives, when combined with the fact that Comcast is willing to provide at least three DTAs free to customers leads me to believe that at least three M Cards should be free to customers as well.

from page 12, heading 19 wrote:Accordingly, we also adopt a rule that requires cable operators to reduce the price of packages that include set-top box rentals by the cost of a set-top box rental for customers who use retail devices, and prohibits cable operators from assessing service fees on consumerowned devices that are not imposed on leased devices
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby DDay3 » Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:25 pm

I also recently got a letter from Comcast about the digital switch over. I am a former Merrimack resident but now live in Hudson. I understand all the analog channels will be going away. My concern is I currently get 45 digital channels that I receive from the cable. 15 of the channels broadcast HD content. I have been advised by Comcast that they will also go away. All the Comcast can do is to supply me with two digital to analog convertion boxes for free. This will result in the loss of all the HD channels, the digital quality on the others and 5.1 sound. All my TVs have digital ATSC QAM tuners. I can understand Comcast wanting to go all digital but making there customers loose content in my opinion is a violation of there contracts. Comcast should either supply us for free with HD boxes or if your locked into a contract with them they should not pursue penalties if you terminate service with them. I have called them several times on this and all I get is the old Comcast run around.

Once again, the correct thing for Comcast to do is to supply all the HD receivers we need at no additional charge or if we choice to terminate our contract let us do so without any penalties.

This posting has been deleted 2 times already. Has the site become only a forum for the moderators or is it open for all to post? :?
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby Brian McCarthy » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:51 pm

has not been deleted again :-)

In any case, got the new units - they are smaller than the size of a deck of cards!

I will call to get number 3.

I agree on the QAM tuner issue !!!!
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby tastyratz » Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:16 am

these channels are only the analog channels being removed and it has taken them FAR too long to.

They are not removing HD channels. In fact this will result in a massive increase in hd content over time. The quam slot used for 1 analog channel can support THREE digital HD channels. By removing the old tired analog stations they can now support more modern HD channels to compete with satellite offerings.

If you have a cable box, this will not impact you. If you have a digital tv from around the age of flat panels or newer you can still receive unscrambled low channels if comcast does decide to allow it (likely). The majority of people impacted are those with terribly outdated old analog tv's that do not have a cable box.

If you have a cable box, you are fine.

This is a great move in the way of progress. I was very pleased to see that letter because it will mean more selection in the future.
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Re: Digital Switching Occuring

Postby TonyRichardson » Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:03 pm

tastyratz wrote:these channels are only the analog channels being removed and it has taken them FAR too long to.

They are not removing HD channels. In fact this will result in a massive increase in hd content over time. The quam slot used for 1 analog channel can support THREE digital HD channels. By removing the old tired analog stations they can now support more modern HD channels to compete with satellite offerings.

If you have a cable box, this will not impact you. If you have a digital tv from around the age of flat panels or newer you can still receive unscrambled low channels if comcast does decide to allow it (likely). The majority of people impacted are those with terribly outdated old analog tv's that do not have a cable box.

If you have a cable box, you are fine.

This is a great move in the way of progress. I was very pleased to see that letter because it will mean more selection in the future.


Of course if you have an older non-flat panel tv the resolution will never equate to HD even with a cable box.
The hardware just isnt there, it is still limited to the resolution of the TV itself.
You get spoiled by the HD content really quick too.

I generally won't even watch it in non-HD any more, it is that huge a difference.
I'd rather read than watch something in low res.
Liberalism - What happens when emotional reactions are confused with and substituted for facts and reason.
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