Anyone Have Comcast Cable?

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Hello,
This is not really a "repair" question, but I am still looking for some info. please. Comcast Cable is doing some kind of switchover to mostly all digital channels on April 15th of this year, I believe it is. They say that channels 23-69 are all going to be in digital, and the only way you can view them is if you have either #1 a "Digital Converter Box", OR #2 a "DTA Box, both if which you get from Comcast.
If you don't use one of those 2 boxes, then you won't be able to view channels 23-69 after April 15th, 2010. Anyway my question is, in the living room where we have our TV and the Comcast "Digital Converter Box", we have the A/B Switch hooked up to the VCR, so that we can record one show on the VCR while watching another show on the "Digital Converter Box". But now when they do the switch over, the VCR will no longer get channels 23-69.
I know that you can hook up the "RCA Plugs" to the "Digital Converter Box" and plug them into the VCR, but the problem with that is you HAVE to watch whatever your taping. So what happens if you want to tape something on your VCR, and watch a different channel with the Converter Box??
According to Comcast, the analog VCR will no longer be able to get channels 23-69. So basically they are forcing you to USE either the "Digital Converter Box" or "DTA Box" at all times.
They say that you CAN'T use both boxes together, it's either one or the other. So what happens if I want to tape something on say channel 49 at 8:00 pm, and watch something on channel 31 at 8:00 pm as well? Channel 49 won't come in on the VCR and only on the "Converter Box", so I can't tape one thing and watch another.
Does anyone know if there is a way around this? Is there a VCR with a digital scrambler in it to pick up the digital channels, so that I can continue to tape one show while watching another?
Any info. would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks!
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On Mar 26, 10:07 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

I think your chances of finding anything vcr that deals with new digital stuff are about zip. It's just about impossible to find a vcr period. You will need a second converter box and I also suspect comcast charges by the month per box? You may find it is no savings over going ahead with a dvr and dumping your vcr. On the plus side the dvr makes scheduling recordings far easier.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

I have Comcast and have been trying to figure out what it all means.
The FCC forced the cable industry to allow a "cable card" to decode signals. Some DVRs have cable card built in, some have a slot to install them. Comcast will probably lease you a DVR, or I believe Tvio can be used.
Some cable cards can decode multiple channels at the same time (so a DVR can record multiple channels). I don't have one - probably can record and pass through different channels.
Some TVs also have a cable card slot. I have read the FCC set a max fee of $2 for a cable card. Here the first one is free. A cable card in the TV and a converter ahead of the VCR is the equivalent of 2 converters.
From what I have read "Tru2way" capability built into a TV allows watching pay-per-view, which Comcast would like you to do. As far as I know, if your TV does not have Tru2way you can still use a cable card and just not have the interactive functions.
The only way around having some kind of decoder for the upper channels is if one of the channels you want is direct broadcast and use an antenna. Those channels are probably available on Comcast as the low channels unencoded anyway.
The reason for the digital changeover is, presumably, when Comcast gets rid of the old "analog" channels and switches to "digital" they can add more channels. This is partly because digital takes less bandwidth. They can also compress digital to reduce bandwidth (which degrades the signal).
I have found it real annoying how hard it is to get good information on all of this. (Anyone have any good sources?)
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I have a similar issue.
Ever since we got the new Comcast digital converter boxes, I have been unable to watch a program while taping another. How do I use a splitter (or whatever i need) so I can do this?
The channels I want to tape are basically between 2 and 27, which supposedly you don't need the converter box for.
Thanks, Carole
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Carole wrote:

The FCC requires most cable companies to carry local broadcast television stations, and some others like public, educational, and governmental access channels. That is what you get on 2-27. The FCC requirement goes through 2012 (at which point the world ends anyway). The channels have to be analog (which old TVs and VCRs can handle) or the cable company has to provide a free converters. Comcast has said they will be analog in almost all markets.
Since you have a "new digital converter boxes" you have probably gone through "digital conversion", and the old analog channels (other than those above), like Discovery, are only available as digital channels through the converter.
You can connect a splitter on the incoming cable with one branch to the digital converter, one branch to the VCR (and branches to other TVs that just get channels 2-27). The VCR can record 2-27.
For the TV, you then have signals from the VCR and from the digital converter. If your TV does not have 2 inputs that you can switch between, you need an A-B switch.
If there a coax output (which is analog) from the converter, you could also record that - would require a splitter on the converter output with a branch going to the VCR input, and an A-B switch (converter-out or direct-cable) at the VCR. But if you are recording the converter output, you are limited to viewing the converter output unless you have an A-B-C switch at the TV (direct-cable, converter, VCR), which allows you to watch direct-cable (2-27). This paragraph is probably best ignored.
If not clear (but it is all written in English), ask.
--
bud--

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wrote:

In my opinion Comcast has shot themselves in the foot. The only real advantage cable had was that you could hook up all your cable ready TVs and other devices without a box. Now that you need a box everywhere anyway, satellite really looks attractive. Dish is going to save me over $50 a month with the bundle I am getting through my phone company, my existing DSL will be faster and I am getting a lot of new features in my phone for that price. It will be very satisfying for me to cut that cable and throw it out in the right of way although I suspect a scrapper will have it before I can walk back into the house..
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I would get dish but it dies whenever there is a decent rainstorm. I am in FL
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My neighbors have Dish and they say that after they had the installation tuned up they don't lose the signal in the rain. The dish may not be aimed right or it may be moving around in the wind.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Thanks
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I have Dish also. It's crap.
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On Thu, 22 Apr 2010 19:25:38 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

TV is crap in general, what's your problem with Dish that makes it worst than cable? I just got my installation and I am still finding my way around the hardware but it looks pretty interesting (one duo DVR, one duo receiver for 4 outputs). If I understand this right I think I have a lot more flexibility than I had with cable and so far the picture looks as good, more channels and $50 a month cheaper adding a DVR with the Telco bundle. I also get more stuff on my POTS line and my DSL got faster in the bundle deal.
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On Apr 23, 10:30 am, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Screen freezes/drop outs, jerky scenes (lasting a minute or more), really gross digial compression artifacts, sound gets out of sync with video, set-top box crashes, thunderstorms... My last two cable setups had some compression artifacts but none of the other issues and Internet speeds were *many* times what I get now (eight years ago I was getting 4Mb).

My DSL sucks (*best* it can to is 768K, and that's a outright lie) and I have no POTS so I'm not pissed about that.
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wrote:

I get pretty horrible stuff like that on the digital Comcast channels too. Analogs are OK but they are going away as fast as Comcast an cajole the customers to accept digital.

My DSL has been fairly consistent at the 1.5mb I am paying for and they are telling me I am being bumped up to 3mb. If it is not there, they will have a Century Link truck in my driveway until it is. Phone companies are more strictly regulated than cable companies. They actually have to honor the claims they make. Cable modems are fast when they are running but mine was down a lot.
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wrote:

I have a pretty short fuse with this stuff so if it doesn't work out for me the Dish guys will be so tired of hearing from me when I tell them I want to cancel that they will let me. This ain't my first rodeo
I went round and round with the DSL people the first time, eventually breaking the contract with no penalty. The strange thing is they replaced the wire down the road shortly after that, probably because of my bitching and when I fired Comcast and called the Telco again my DSL was running fine.
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On Thu, 22 Apr 2010 07:56:59 -0500, "Carole"

What happens when you stick the cable directly into your old style TV? Those will be the analog TV channels that your VCR can record without the box. Your mileage may vary on how many analog channels Comcast sends you. Ours used to be everything from 2-99. On May 1st it will be 2-29. They can legally cut you back to the local "must carry" . The Dish guy is coming today.
As long as you do have the channels you want to record in analog you can put a splitter before the box and take that to your VCR. Take one of the other outputs from the box and connect that to the matching input of your VCR to record scrambled/digital content but you won't be able to watch something else on TV at the same time unless you have another split output going to the TV. Then you could record the box and watch analog.. A lot depends on how many inputs your TV and VCR have and how much complication you are willing to live with.
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Yes, Comcast charges like $6 bucks a month for the "Box Rental", and then it's like a $3 bucks a month for the "Remote Control Rental" as well.
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I don't have Comcast, but from the description of the problem, I agree. Most of the cable companies are going to digital to pack more channels into the same system. But you then need a QAM digital tuner to receive that channel.
 It's just about impossible to find a vcr

I think you probably mean a DVR supplied by Comcast, which is just a different cable box that cable companies typically charge about $10/ mth extra for that include recording capability. That would solve the problem, because all the ones I've seen let you record one program while watching another. On the other hand, a second cable box is probably only about half that. But I agree that the DVR makes recording and watching things MUCH easier.
The other choice is to buy a standalone DVR with a QAM tuner. For example, you can buy a Tivo and a plug-in cable card. I've used Tivo and Cablevisions DVR, made by Scientifc-Atlanta. And I can tell you there is no comparison in ease of use. The Tivo is far superior. However, the Tivo together with the service aren't cheap. It would probably take 5 years to break even, after that you;d be ahead.
You might also be able to find some standalone QAM tuner product on Ebay or someplace. But that leaves one big problem, which is unless the existing VCR can talk to and change the tuner, it won't be able to switch among the channels. So, to record something, you'd have to set the QAM tuner to the channel and the VCR to the record time for a one time recording.
Which gets back to what James said about DVRs being so much more user friendly. If you're looking for a cheap non hidef DVR solution, another possibility might be to find a used Tivo on Ebay that is bundled with lifetime service. People might be dumping them when moving to HD, etc. Just make sure you get one with a cablecard, as that is the critical piece to receive the digital channels.
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On 3/26/2010 10:59 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The OP should also consider the Magnavox H2160MW9, which is a non-TIVO DVR with built-in ATSC and QAM tuner. It sells at walmart.com and target.com although it is usually a better buy at walmart. I paid $248 last year, including shipping directly to my home. I've used it extensively and have been entirely satisfied with it. (It also has a DVD player/recorder built-in and you can dub either way from hard drive to DVD, or vice versa.) Although it only records/plays back in standard definition, it's HDMI output format can be set to 480P, 720P, 1080i, or 1080P to get the best quality picture your TV is capable of providing.
The DVR has an antenna out jack which is a pass through analogous to a VCR's antenna out connection. Although I receive over the air reception only, it seems to me that you could connect the COMCAST cable directly to the DVR (and choose which digital signal you want to record) and then connect the antenna out from the DVR to where the cable is usually connected to the COMCAST box. Although the DVR would not be able to receive scrambled signals from premium subscriptions, I suspect that all the standard package signals would be viewable and recordable.
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On 3/26/2010 11:25 AM, Peter wrote:

Main issue about using a DVR is that Comcast is quite variable about what they encrypt. In some markets only a handful of channels are unencrypted which would render the built-in tuner almost useless.

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That's a simple one. Dump Comcast and get Dish Network. More channels, less $, less BS.
HTH,
Unc
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