Anyone Have Comcast Cable?

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Funny, that's what I was thinking too. Unless there is something I'm missing, you still need a box to decode satellite too.
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*I have Cablevision. When they switched over to digital signals my VCR no longer recorded anything even if the signals come out of the converter box and go directly into the VCR. Of course they will rent me a digital video recorder for an additional monthly fee, but I don't watch too much TV to justify the additional cost.
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Now that I don't understand. The signals will go into a standard TV as RF, Svideo, composite video, etc. So, there is no technical reason I can see why the VCR would not accept them as well.

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Hi everyone,
Thanks for all the helpful responses so far, I really do appreciate it! Just so I understand this, let me ask something else. Unfortunately, I don't have a newer TV with a "QAM" built in digital converter. But if I did have one of those types of TVs, could I tape one channel through the cable box, by using the RCA jacks plugged into the VCR, and then just turn the TV to another channel and watch something else?
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

Your QAM tuner TV connected to cable can only watch channels that are not scrambled. All the high channels (probably all that you asked about) will be scrambled, so your QAM tuner also needs a cable card or the TV needs to be fed by a converter. With a cable card you _may_ be able to get 16:9 HD channels that you can't with the lower end (free) converters.
From reading this thread hopefully you know the right questions to ask Comcast (if you call them to verify what appears here). Knowing the questions is a real big part of getting the information you need.
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wrote:

Comcast usually doesn't scramble the basic cable channels, only the ones you have to pay extra for.. At least that is the way it works here.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That is the way works here (Minneapolis) now. I have a wide screen high def TV. I have Comcast 2nd level of Basic (don't know if that makes any sense in a different market). I can receive analog cable channels which includes many of the cable networks. There are some digital high def channels I could receive with my package, but I have to have a converter or cable card (which my TV will use). Far as I know none are "open QAM". Many, but not all of the digital channels, are high def duplicates of the analog channels. Some are high def versions of local broadcast stations.
From what I have read, Comcast is getting hammered by dish sources because Comcast does not have enough high def channels. Presumably Comcast is at the bandwidth limit of the cable itself. Their fix is to eliminate all but the bottom analog channels and use the bandwidth for digital. One analog slot can provide more than one digital slot. And the analog - digital duplication will end. As far as I know the whole Comcast system is being changed in a staged installation. It is currently being staged in my large metro area, but not Minneapolis yet. It looks like, at least immediately, cable will not cost more. The addition of digital channels is likely to take a little time.
The BEFORE and AFTER are a lot different. I believe the OP is heading into the digital changeover.
Multiple sources say that after the changeover maybe 20 bottom end channels will be analog and receivable by everyone. These will be mostly local broadcast stations that can be received over the air. This service may be mandated by the FCC. The rest of the offerings will be digital. Digital will *all* be scrambled. You will need a converter or cable card to watch. DVRs like Tivo have cable card built in or you can insert a cable card. The cable cards in most areas _must_ be installed by a Comcast service person ($16 here at present), and after the installation there has to be an activation by Comcast. (The cable cards are the same as a computer PCMCIA card.)
FAQs at the Comcast site include: 32. Will I need equipment if I have a digital TV with a QAM tuner? At the completion of the digital upgrade, customers will need equipment on all TVs to receive any channels above the Limited Basic level of serviceof course, this is now the case with most video providers, including our satellite and phone competitors. Were encouraging all customers to avoid any service interruptions by installing and using the equipment provided by Comcast or purchased from their electronics retailer, like a TiVo or CableCardTM enabled device. And: 37. What is digital encryption? Digital encryption is a technology used to protect television programming content from unauthorized viewing. Think of it as scrambling the TV signal so that only customers that are authorized to receive a channel can view it. To receive digitally encrypted signals, customers need a digital device available through their service provider, such as a digital transport adapter, Digital cable set top box, or CableCardTM. All pay TV providerscable, satellite and telcoare contractually required by programmers to protect the content they distribute from unauthorized reception.
Comcast for my system now (BEFORE) has 3 converters Digital set top box - programmed channel changes, on-demand, ... Digital adapter - simple version of the above HD receiver
From this thread, the first two are likely to only feed an *analog* signal out - not digital and not HD. Not obvious what happens after the digital changeover - 16:9 digital picture shows up as letterboxed 4:3 picture out of the converter? - Only 4:3 center of the 16:9 digital picture shows up out of the converter? - These converters replaced by something else? Comcast will probably provide 1 or more of these converters free after the changeover.
As far as I know only the HD receiver or cable card will get me widescreen and HD NOW. That will certainly be true after the changeover.
I have read that a cable card type technology was required by the FCC and cable companies don't want it. Also read that the FCC sets a max fee of $2 per month for a cable card (single card free here now).
IMHO information from Comcast sucks. I got the above from looking at a lot of different sources.
Is anyone in an area that has had the digital changeover?
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wrote:

My Comcast (Sw Florida) has the high def channels on the sub carrier of the broadcast channels without using the box. With my TV directly on the cable channel, 2 is regular NBC, 2-2 is NBC HD 2.3 is the all news local NBC etc Using the box those are up at 100 and something. I pay for the HD adder but as far as I can tell that only really affects the cable HD channels (History, HBO etc). They seem to be the only ones that are encrypted.
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On 3/26/2010 3:12 PM, bud-- wrote:

Unfortunately you can't get a straight answer form Comcast about which channels are not encrypted. In some markets those may only be the locals.
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On Mar 26, 10:07am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Post in the Comcast group. Way mine are set up on converter boxes, I can only tape channel I'm watching. If you go all digital and HD you get what I think is called a DVR box which allows recording one and watching another. I don't have one but my son does and it works great and is easy to use. As others mention, VCR's are becoming a thing of the past. Also Comcast will give you free, two DTA boxes and you could set up on another TV. WIll not get the premium or upper channels but won't cost anything.
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Actually, here in Naperville/Lisle IL area, you can get 3 boxes. before paying an extra $2.00 per month that they told me it would cost. I have one convertor on the living room tv, the output of the box goes to the VCR and then into the tv thru the VCR. You can only record what the Comcast box is outputting. I have the other two convertors hooked up to two other TV sets in other parts of the house. So, if you want to record something on the vcr, you set that up in the living room and then go to other parts of the house to watch another channel. WIth only two of us at home, that works out fine as my wife watches in one room, I watch in another room, and the living room watches/records whatever it is we want to record. My problem was the signal strength from the cable was weak and whenever it rained, the signal got so weak the convertors would not work. I complained and Comcast finally replaced the cable from the pole to the house due to a squirrel having eaten thru the cable insulation out near the pole connection. Whenever it rained we lost the signal. Comcast was a real pain to get to come out to fix things, they acted like I didn't know what I was talking about, even though I had worked in the electronics industry for more than 45 years and was head of an international electronics engineering organization.
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On 3/26/2010 12:03 PM, hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

We have to pay for a third box, here in Northern Delaware. Guess it depends where you live. Comcast can be frustrating to work with but I just read the post of someones FIOS problems.
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Yes, that it what it is, the smaller "Comcast DTA boxes" that you have to now use, if you don't have a full-size "Comcast Converter Box".
Comcast gives you 2 for "free", but I am sure that the cost is worked into the bill somehow?
Also, I have a TV and a VCR in the bedroom, so I need to hook the "DTA" box up in there now. One of the other questions I have is, when hooking it up to the TV and VCR, do I need to use "digital cable wires" specifically because the "DTA Box" is a digital box, or can I just use the cheap "push in" antenna in/out wires that I use now?
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On Mar 26, 12:06pm, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

You can continue to use the same cables you are using now. The boxes output signals that any TV or VCR will input. The exception would be if you're moving to HD, then you would need the appropriate component video or HDMI cables.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The new converters available here are: Digital set top box - programmed channel changes, on-demand, ... Digital adapter - simple version of the above HD receiver
Do you get 16:9 HD with the first 2, or do you need the 3rd? Now (analog) Comcast has 4:3 and 16:9 HD versions of some channels. Will that continue, with the 3rd converter required for 16:9 HD? If not, what different do you get with the HD receiver?
(I have not yet called Comcast to sort all this out.)

I have read that the first two converters (above) have coax out. They could still send 16:9 HD signals to a single QAM channel. (That wouldn't work with the VCR.) Or maybe it is NTSC/analog - which would work. Sounds from hr's post that this is what it is.
I have also read than none of them have audio out - so if you are listening to audio-only channels you need to get audio from the TV.
Lower channels here will mostly be local broadcast stations. _All_ upper channels (probably all that the OP talked about) will be scrambled. They will not be available without a converter or device with cable card.
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Yeah, the output of the comcast boxes is plain old NSTC analog, either on channel 3 or 4. I use the channel 4 output from the living room converter to the vcr to the tv, and also wire the output thru a splitter and an amplifier to several odd sets in the family room and basement and garage. I use the channel 3 output from the 2 other converters we use for the tv's in the bedroom and office. Using all adapters on channel 3 or all adapters on channel 4 seemed to give a little background noise when we first set everything up. I haven't reset any of the adapters to all channel 3 or 4 since then to see what happens.
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

That answers a lot of questions. Thanks
Your Comcast system has gone through the digital conversion? (Everything is digital except maybe the bottom 20 or so channels.) The conversion is just rolling through this area.
So the signal from the low end boxes is 4:3 analog, not 16:9 HD digital.
Do you know if you are getting 4:3 cable channels where there are 16:9 HD equivalent channels (which your converter ignores)? Or a 4:3 low def letterbox of a 16:9 channel? Or ...?
In our unconverted system there are 4:3 NTSC analog channels and equivalent 16:9 QAM digital channels for many of the cable networks. (These analog channels will disappear in the changeover.)
An HD converter here is $7/mo. A single cable card, which I believe gets you the HD basic and? HD starter channels (now) is free.
IMHO information from Comcast is appalling.
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[snip]

Is that channels 2 - 22, and 94-99? These are in the VHF band.
[snip]
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On 6/16/2010 8:23 PM, Gary H wrote:

Me? That's about it. Few channels above 21 like EWTN and CSPAN. Also clipped the lower PBS channels here from New Jersey. Comcast gives 2 converters free except you will not get the upper subscription channels like HBO.
Conversion was a pain as they were disorganized on availability of boxes. Wife was told over phone to drive to distribution center but they had no boxes when she got there. We finally got them through mail. Remote sets on my old home strung cable with borderline reception needed new wiring to get signal. Later we needed underground wiring upgrade from street to house.
Then, for some unknown reason, Comcast sent me two more boxes which I insisted they come get. It was a SNAFU.
A couple of days later, UPS showed up with another package from them which I refused to accept. Been two weeks without any more screw ups.
Happy with TV and internet but dealing with Comcast is a nightmare. I hear Verizon fios is worse.
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On Thu, 17 Jun 2010 07:53:48 -0400, Frank

It was the last straw with me. They chopped everything above 30. Most of those below 30 are shopping channels and the locals. I am using Dish and I really like the setup better. I get more channels for less money. The hardware is a whole lot better. With 2 dual tuners, one has dual DVR. and my Replay TV I have 5 separate channels to every TV in the house so any TV can watch any one of 5 selections. Way more than I will probably use. Did I say less money?
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