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New Visitor
IRollman
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-24-2012

Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

I am getting a new TV (probably Samsung or Sony 46" LED "Smart" TV). Probably a Blu-Ray player too (Samsung or Sony, to match the TV). My goal is to simplify, to consolidate. Fewer devices, fewer wires and cables, fewer remotes. This simplification is part of the reason the wife is buying off on the new TV. (That, and the fact our current TV is 15 years old....)

 

My thought is to get the TV and Blu-Ray brand-matching so they can use the same remote. But now I'm seeing that Comcast has a "box" they want to install between the TV and their network.

 

A couple of questions:

 

1. It's a brand-spanking-new, top of the line (almost) TV. Do I REALLY NEED a separate box to watch TV? I only have basic cable and don't need anything else! Can't the coax from Comcast just plug into the TV?

 

2. If I really need this "box", do I need to use its remote? WHY, OH WHY do I need a special storage cabinet, hutch or wicker basket for all the remotes? I thought technology was supposed to make life simpler???

 

Yes, a Logitech Harmony or iRule or somesuch system is an option I suppose, but really, why should I need to?

 

I tried calling Comcast for an answer. Their answer was twofold: 1) Yes (but a really quick and short yes without any meat behind the explanation); and 2) you really need this addition, and this upgrade, and this package (really long conversation here), or otherwise you won't enjoy our service.

 

I tried calling the local Best Buy, thinking there may be a geek there that could answer it, but all they seemed interested in doing was getting me in the store.

 

Any answers are appreciated!

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,377
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

[ Edited ]

Comcast has encrypted channels above Limited Basic channels in many areas requiring a cable box to decode them.

In some areas as they do the final conversion of Limited Basic channels to digital they are also encrypting those. Again requiring a box.

 You could connect the tv directly to the coax and see how many channels come through yet. But eventually you may need a box.

Or a Tivo with a Cable card from Comcast to receive channels.

All cable companies are using boxes for all subscribers.

 

It may be possible to get the remote for the tv to control the cable box but it would be limited controls. Especially if you opted out for a DVR. You may get yours to work to control the box power and channel changing. There is a online guide avialable with the service and sometimes the tv universal remote may not control that function. I tried setting up my Samsung tv universal remote to control the cable box with limtied success. It worked for a while changing channels. Haven't tried it lately to see if I can get it to do more. The Logitech would provide a better chance of success.

 

 

Another change with the use of boxes is some connections between the cable box and a DVD recorder for example will trigger a copyright protection flag not allowing you to record a program if you wanted.

Silver Problem Solver
rog286713
Posts: 13,999
Registered: ‎06-17-2008

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

you might not need the box its called a DTA.  It is not meant for newer tv's but for older tube type tv's to still get a picture after the govt manadated switch to all digital

 

most if not all comcast markets have been transitioned. 

 

YOu would not want to put this free dta box on a new 46" led tv, the picture will be garbage and you will get no hd.  What you're going to need is an hd box from comcast and then that makes your tv remote useless and you get another remote and more wires.  This has been the case since the dawn of the cable box. 

 

At least you asked before you bought anything, most buy then ask the questions.

 

\

Cable Expert
WarEagle57
Posts: 10,676
Registered: ‎12-31-2004

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

When you get the TV, connect it to the cable and scan to see what channels you get.  You;ll probably be able to receive the local channels, including HD, although you might need to rescan occasionally as Comcast moves them around the QAM frequencies.  If you're satisfied with the channel selection, then you're probably better off without any cable box.

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,296
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

The short answer is it depends.

The long answer is that, if your area has gone through the full digital switchover, then you will need a cable box for any channels. 

If your area has gone through the partial switchover, then you will need a cable box to view anything but the local channels.

If your area has not started the digital switchover, you don't need a box unless you want to watch video on demand, pay per view programming, or any premium channels.

 

 

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,377
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

Nick

 Do you know if Comcast plans on encrypting all tiers of service in all markets? I know that when they finish the full conversion for my area I have two CRT tvs with analog tuners that will need boxes of some sort.

I have options if they don't encrypt Limited Basic but no one locally or regionally seems to have the answer.

Just wondering.

Thanks

 

New Visitor
Iggy04
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-24-2012

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

Hi, I just switched to the DTA, because I got a letter saying that I had to.  Now I don't get any HD channels, is this temporary, permanent, or should I disconnect the stupid thing and continue getting HD.

Official Employee
ComcastNick
Posts: 1,296
Registered: ‎12-13-2011

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?


commanguy wrote:

Nick

 Do you know if Comcast plans on encrypting all tiers of service in all markets? I know that when they finish the full conversion for my area I have two CRT tvs with analog tuners that will need boxes of some sort.

I have options if they don't encrypt Limited Basic but no one locally or regionally seems to have the answer.

Just wondering.

Thanks

 


It will depend on the region.  Some will migrate everything, others will not migrate the local channels.

I don't have a full region map but if you give me an area, I can check on it for you and see if we have any updated info.

Comcast Nick
APSC Supervisor
Silver Problem Solver
rog286713
Posts: 13,999
Registered: ‎06-17-2008

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?


Iggy04 wrote:

Hi, I just switched to the DTA, because I got a letter saying that I had to.  Now I don't get any HD channels, is this temporary, permanent, or should I disconnect the stupid thing and continue getting HD.


If you don't need it now don't use it.  comcast will be encrypting everything soon.  DTA's do not get HD channels they are for analog signals only.   So if you plug your wire into your tv just do that until you wake up one day and they are gone.  Also if that does happen do a channel rescan as comcast moves the channels frequently.  When that is no longer your option and you have an hd tv you will need an hd cable box.

New Visitor
IsBizBad
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-25-2012

Re: Do I REALLY need the Digital Converter Box?

What about Central Illinois?  Will we have to get a box for every TV?  Even the brand new ones?

 

Also, I get a message when I sign on that there is a known technical issue in my area, but doesn't say what it is is.  It appears that it could be that the lower analog channels are the issue.