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Mareid
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-14-2012
Accepted Solution

Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

I have limited basic cable in Venice Florida

 

About 6 weeks ago, I bought a new HDTV that has a QAM tuner.  Up until a few days ago, I received both SD and HD channels, without any problems, and without any "box".  Suddenly HD and much of the SD disappeared. 

 

I called Comcast and they told me I needed a "box" due to the digital switchover.  I tried to explain that the switchover had occurred months ago, that I'd been receiving digital signals and that I had a QAM tuner, but they insisted I needed this free "box" to receive any signals. I was also told that to receive the "limited basic" HD channels I had pay a monthly fee in addition to the monthly limited basic charge.

 

After doing a bunch of searching on the internet,  I concluded that the "free" box was a DTA, so I went down to my local Comcast store to get one, assuming that the SD/HD signals had suddenly been encrypted, and I needed the DTA to decrypt.  After waiting 45 minutes on line, the clerk told me that the DTA wouldn't do me any good,

 

Back to the phone, and a second call to Comcast, wherein I insisted I speak with a supervisor.  This person  confirmed that to receive digital signals, I would need a "box" due to the digital switchover.  The issue with HD needing a STB for a monthly charge was left unclear and unresolved.

 

Note that both calls to  Comcast were answered by the "billing" department and when I asked for technical support, they said they were the technical department. Nobody mentioned DTA, I had to discover on the internet that the "free" box they were talking about probably was a DTA. 

 

So here are my questions:  Do I or don't I need a DTA to receive SD and HD local channels?  Do I have to pay extra for HD, and do I need a STB to get it.

 

Cable Expert
JayInAlg
Posts: 11,820
Registered: ‎03-02-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

The first stop would be do a re-scan on the TV just in case Comcast moved any remaining clearQAM channels around.  That does happen without notice.

 

The current versions of DTA's only convert a SD digital signal to a analog RF output as these were intended for older tube type TV's to continue to receive channels after the digital transition.

 

For area's with the HD local's encrypted on limited basic you will need a full HD cable box and connect it to the TV with a HDMI or component cables.  I am under the belief that for limited basic a full set top box monthly fee is lower than for subscribers with other digital packages.

 

Because pricing and policies vary widely betweek Comcast market area's, the local office might be the best place to get answers and also pick up your equipment.

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

As far as I know the FCC has not authorized Comcast to encrypt "Limited Basic" channels.  Try goin to:

http://www.silicondust.com/support/channels/    and enter your zip code.  That should give you the Over The Air channels in you area and the Comcast Clear Qam channels in your area.

New Visitor
Mareid
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-14-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

ED

 

Thank you for an extremely helpful response.  I went to the website you suggested, and indeed we do receive many of the channels listed there as QAM from comcast.  They don't map exactly to what the website says, and the website also indicates that none of the channels are HD which seems to be the case on the TV.  According to Comcast, we are entitled to 10 HD channels with our service but at this point I'm tired of fighting with them.  Thankfully we are here only 3 months of the year and up north we have a choce of providers.

New Visitor
Mareid
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎02-14-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Update:

 

Just talked to one of Comcast's supposedly really expert technical people.  She told me that the QAM tuner was there so I could pull the hd signal out of the air.  I asked, "don't I need an antenna?"  her reply was no, that was what the QAM tuner was for...to receive OTA HD. 

 

So I said, "let me be clear, I can completely disconnect from Comcast" (oh joy if only I could) "and I should be able to receive HD without an antenna?"  "Yes", she said.  My husband, a sensible chap and an electrical engineere at first refused to disconnect the cable,, but I said I couldn't post this ridiculuous technical advice unless we'd done due diligence and tested it.  Surprise, surprise, there is NO signal on the TV when it's not connected to the cable. 

 

I suspect I won't be able to get HDTV without both a STB (monthly fee) and an addition to my subscription (another monthly fee), despite the fact that they show HD channels as part of Limited Basic, but at this point, I would rather have a root canal than give another dime to Comcast. 

 

However,  I am still not satisfied with the answer that I can only receive digital channels with a DTA and I have ZERO confidence in the technical expertise of a cable company representative who tells me that a QAM tuner is a replacement for an OTA antenna!

 

Shouldn't I be able to receive digital channels with a QAM tuner and isn't Comcast required to broadcast digital signals in clear QAM?  Is there anyone out there who can give me a definitive answer?

 

Are these cable people all morons, or is it just that they think WE are all morons, and they can make up ridiculous nonsense and we will believe it.

 

 

Regular Contributor
Commtech9501
Posts: 99
Registered: ‎12-22-2011

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

The QAM tuner has the ability to bring in digital signal including HD but it does not have the ability to un-encrypt it. So if you live in an area that has encrypted certain tiers of service then the QAM tuner would not be able to tune in those channels. An example i can give you would be in an area close to me Hartland, MI. Hartlend is 100% Digital and has B2 service (basically everything over 22) encrypted. So if i hook up a QAM tuner television it would not be able to un-encrypt say channel 34. It would however still be able to show channel 12 along with the HD channels that have not yet been encrypted.

 

Eventually it is a safe bet that most if not all areas will be 100% encrypted requiring cable boxes and/or similar devices (cable cards...) in order to get a picture on your TV...like satellite and/or all other providers.

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

Commtech9501 wrote:

The QAM tuner has the ability to bring in digital signal including HD but it does not have the ability to un-encrypt it. So if you live in an area that has encrypted certain tiers of service then the QAM tuner would not be able to tune in those channels. An example i can give you would be in an area close to me Hartland, MI. Hartlend is 100% Digital and has B2 service (basically everything over 22) encrypted. So if i hook up a QAM tuner television it would not be able to un-encrypt say channel 34. It would however still be able to show channel 12 along with the HD channels that have not yet been encrypted.

 

Eventually it is a safe bet that most if not all areas will be 100% encrypted requiring cable boxes and/or similar devices (cable cards...) in order to get a picture on your TV...like satellite and/or all other providers.


If the FCC allows them to encrypt "all" channels, or if we allow the FCC to allow them to do it!  You may get some satisfaction by going to: http://www.publicknowledge.org/cable-encryption and letting the FCC know how you feel?  I don't see how this helps the people (Comcast having even more control over the media we get) and they surely can't be losing money if they can afford to purchase a TV Network!

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

I'm having the same problem now with Comcast. They are not "supposed to" encrypt local channels. I just talked to a supervisor at Comcast and an "engineer" is supposed to call me back. If you look at Comcast's website:

 

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/who-is-affected-by-digital-migration/

 

It clearly states you will continue to recive Limited Basic without a converter box. And whoever you talked to that told you you didn't need the cable hooked up should be fired for being a moron.

Recognized Contributor
Posts: 200
Registered: ‎04-22-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

Here's my educated guess on what is happening, but that Comcast probably won't tell you:

 

Your local over-the-air television stations (affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, etc) renegotiated their "retransmission consent" contracts with Comcast. They agreed to accept a lower payment for Standard-Definition retransmission (i.e. clear QAM with Limited Basic Service) but required higher payment for High Definition retransmission.  In other words, they want a "piece of the action" from Comcast's HD Technology Fee.

 

This is difficult to understand since your local affiliates technically can be received "for free" in High Definition over-the-air using an antenna.  Nonetheless, current copyright laws give OTA stations the ability to supply two tiers of service to cable carriers - the standard-definition service at a lower rate, the high-def service at a higher fee.

 

In short: FCC regulations have been interpreted by "Inside the Beltway" attorneys who represent your local broadcast network affiliates and Comcast as meaning that High Definition feeds can be encrypted as log as the Standard Definition feed is supplied in Clear QAM.

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


Explorer2008 wrote:

Here's my educated guess on what is happening, but that Comcast probably won't tell you:

 

Your local over-the-air television stations (affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS, etc) renegotiated their "retransmission consent" contracts with Comcast. They agreed to accept a lower payment for Standard-Definition retransmission (i.e. clear QAM with Limited Basic Service) but required higher payment for High Definition retransmission.  In other words, they want a "piece of the action" from Comcast's HD Technology Fee.

 

This is difficult to understand since your local affiliates technically can be received "for free" in High Definition over-the-air using an antenna.  Nonetheless, current copyright laws give OTA stations the ability to supply two tiers of service to cable carriers - the standard-definition service at a lower rate, the high-def service at a higher fee.

 

In short: FCC regulations have been interpreted by "Inside the Beltway" attorneys who represent your local broadcast network affiliates and Comcast as meaning that High Definition feeds can be encrypted as log as the Standard Definition feed is supplied in Clear QAM.


What that tells me is that the FCC works for the media distributors, and not the general public!

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

I am now receiving all limited basic TV in HD without a converter box.
Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Re-Scan or miraculously HD showed up?

New Visitor
Blueangel76
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎09-23-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

I have been fighting with comcast people for months. you can reciev HD free-to-air basic channels by directly hoooking your HD-TV(with QAM tuner) to cable, you dont need DTA box. But recently comcast started playing another trick(at least that is what my understanding is), they weaken the HD channel(CBS 2-1, NBC 5-1, 5-2, WTTW 11-1, Fox32-1) signals and now if you want to watch these channels, you have to rent an HD box ($8.99). I had DTA box but DTA box down-grades the signal from crip HD to low quality digital SD. In essence we are paying comcast to down-grade high quality HD picture (which is free)  and make us watch pathetic SD quality picture. Recently i am facing another problem. every time i scan the channels, i get all free-to-air HD channles (though signal is still weak) but if I switch off the TV for a while( more than 1-2 hrs) i loose some HD channel(CBS 2-1, NBC 5-1, 5-2, WTTW 11-1, Fox32-1) and i can get them back by re-scanning. I dont know if this a tv issue or comcast is playing another trick. Does anybody know any regulatory agency where we can report this issue and if there are a lot of such complains, authorities might contact them and aske them to behave...

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

Sorry edpeters, but I haven't been checking the forums lately. I finally got in touch with a local TV station technician that knew what he was talking about and he also shared some info with me. Comcast had moved the HD QAM channels and even after a scan I couldn't find them. Once the tech told me what the main channels were, I found them. A friend of mine has a Vizio TV and he couldn't get QAM HD and he's in my local area. It turned out his tuner was bad and he bought a KWorld SA295-Q DE HDMI tuner and now he gets the QAM channels in HD. These tuners are hard to find and they cost about $100 or more. Also, you would need an available HDMI input. Vizio TVs have a history of bad tuners.

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

Blueangel76, I can almost assure you that you won't get anywhere with Comcast. They don't know what they are talking about, so it's impossible to get a reasonable answer from them. You "should" be able to get local channels in HD wothout any converter box if the station is broadcasting in HD. If you live in an area with good TV reception, you can just use a digital antenna (indoor or outdoor) and receive local channels in HD.

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Sorry not required, actually I have been banned from the site for the last five days (and have no idea why)!  I  did a Google on the KWorld SA295-Q DE HDMI tuner (honestly I had never heard of it before) and it looks like TigerDirect has it for $111.xx.  Of course if the FCC allows Comcast to encrypt local/basic channels (which they apparently do in several locations) it will have no value.  SiliconDust used to maintain a site:

http://www.silicondust.com/support/channels/  that listed available channels by zip-code, however, it doesn't appear to have been updated in will over a year..

New Visitor
jackbatt
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎02-25-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

I currently receive Comcast through TiVo using cablecards but have two additional sets using DTAs. I'm considering getting a new TV with a QAM tuner and wondering what I need to get my comcast programming into that set.

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

For local/basic tier stations, if they are not encrypted by Comcast, you can plug the Comcast cable directly into your new TV.  For all other tiers, and local/basic (if Comcast is encrypting them) you will need a box.  A DTA will get you SD for Local/Basic and Digital Startup.  A set-top box would be needed for anything above Digital Starter, pay for view, Ondemand, etc.  And HD service (with associated Comcast Box) for HD stations.

Recognized Contributor
Posts: 200
Registered: ‎04-22-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


Blueangel76 wrote:

I have been fighting with comcast people for months. you can reciev HD free-to-air basic channels by directly hoooking your HD-TV(with QAM tuner) to cable, you dont need DTA box. But recently comcast started playing another trick(at least that is what my understanding is), they weaken the HD channel(CBS 2-1, NBC 5-1, 5-2, WTTW 11-1, Fox32-1) signals and now if you want to watch these channels, you have to rent an HD box ($8.99). I had DTA box but DTA box down-grades the signal from crip HD to low quality digital SD. In essence we are paying comcast to down-grade high quality HD picture (which is free)  and make us watch pathetic SD quality picture. Recently i am facing another problem. every time i scan the channels, i get all free-to-air HD channles (though signal is still weak) but if I switch off the TV for a while( more than 1-2 hrs) i loose some HD channel(CBS 2-1, NBC 5-1, 5-2, WTTW 11-1, Fox32-1) and i can get them back by re-scanning. I dont know if this a tv issue or comcast is playing another trick. Does anybody know any regulatory agency where we can report this issue and if there are a lot of such complains, authorities might contact them and aske them to behave...


Theoretically, you can submit a complaint to the Federal Communications Commission.  However, as mentioned earlier, the FCC rules are written with some room for interpretation.

 

Local over-the-air broadcast stations (such as affiliates for NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, PBS as well as the second-tier "local" channels such as ShopNBC, TBN, Daystar, and various "infomercial" stations) are supposed to be retransmitted in unencrypted "Clear QAM" that can be decoded and viewed by a QAM-equipped TV without a box.  However, nothing prevents the "unencrypted Clear QAM" signal from being a downconverted Standard Definition 4x3 feed instead of the High Definition OTA signal.

 

The FCC recently allowed some conditions for cable ops to encrypt even those "Limited Basic" channels, and over time we may see Clear QAM channels to disappear.

 

In the meantime, you will need to frequently re-scan your QAM tuner because of Comcast's habit of switching QAM frequencies around on a random, unscheduled basis and without notice to viewers like you.

Recognized Contributor
Posts: 200
Registered: ‎04-22-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Monthly rental fees for HD boxes have become a very profitable revenue stream for Comcast.

 

That may be part of why Comcast makes it exceedingly difficult to use a QAM tuner to access what few unencrypted Limited Basic channels exist.

 

Another point to consider - Comcast is not the only greedy party here. Your "local" over-the-air broadcast channels which you can (at least potentially) receive for free with an antenna have figured out they can demand high fees for "retransmission consent".

 

Part of their hard bargaining with Comcast is that they can demand a higher per-subscriber fee (say, 50 cents per subscriber) for retransmission of their High Definition signal (which may feature popular shows such as American Idol), and to clinch the deal, offer a cheaper rate to Comcast for retransmission of a downconverted Standard Definition feed.

 

The strings attached of such a deal between Comcast and your local Fox/CBS/ABC/PBS/NBC station, is part of why the downconverted Standard Definition signal is carried in unencrypted Clear QAM, but if you want the High Definition signal (that which is provided for free via antenna), a Comcast subscriber needs to pony up a bit of money for an HD box rental because the same station's HD signal is "encrypted QAM", not "unencrypted Clear QAM".

 

This would explain why some Comcast subscribers are complaining that the only Clear QAM feeds they can access of local OTA broadcast channels are downconverted Standard Def feeds.  The network-affiliate stations themselves are the reason for this - they want to receive higher fees if at all possible.

 

 

Recognized Contributor
halfband
Posts: 227
Registered: ‎06-20-2011

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Sounds like it may be time to unbundle the local stations from the rest of the cable package and make them an add on.  I could save a few bucks on the local HD retransmission fees since I can get the locals over the air.

New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-29-2006

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Up to today, I have been able to pick up the few local channels on my 2 digital tvs w/o boxes (over the air i suppose).  today both tvs display no signal once i turn them on.  Any reason why this would just stop working today?  thanks

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Do you receive stations on any Comcast boxes (indicating that you still have a cable signal)?  Have you tried doing a re-scan on your TV (there was one report that a user had to unplug their TV before a re-scan worked) which may be needed if Comcast has moved the Freqs. for the Basic channels?  Or if Comcast has begun encrypting the Basic channels they you would need a Comcast box (or Cable card for an appropriate tuner).

New Visitor
Daffyduffr
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎03-22-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Me too. They have no response except that we have to pay more... I was tricked into paying for three extra's (DTA'S)  and receiving two at no charge until this month...( on a tech note... all my TV's are capable of receiving a QAM signal, which is what Verizon require's to avoid an adapter ) now I have to pay for all of it.

Not only that but they raised the rates..... Verizon, here I come. If I have to pay, I might as well enjoy the same waaaaaaay better pic my neighbors have.

Visitor
lsitongia
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-12-2011

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Just discovered this discussion while searching on this problem.  I've been using my TVs without the DTA boxes to avoid the degraded HD channels.  I get basic in Boulder, CO.  Lately, two TVs, which are the newer ones, stopped getting the CBS and ABC affiliates.  The older TV, a Sony Bravia of about 8 years of age, still gets those stations on the same channels as always.  The newer TVs are blank when on those channels (4-1 and 7-1).  I live in the foothills and was never able to get a reasonable OTA signal in the analog days.

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


lsitongia wrote:

Just discovered this discussion while searching on this problem.  I've been using my TVs without the DTA boxes to avoid the degraded HD channels.  I get basic in Boulder, CO.  Lately, two TVs, which are the newer ones, stopped getting the CBS and ABC affiliates.  The older TV, a Sony Bravia of about 8 years of age, still gets those stations on the same channels as always.  The newer TVs are blank when on those channels (4-1 and 7-1).  I live in the foothills and was never able to get a reasonable OTA signal in the analog days.


I'm in Lafayette and get OTA (Pointing towards south Denver with a roof antenna (app. $60.00)).  I also get all the networks (including CBS and ABC) just fine on my clear QAM tuner.  Although I haven't seen an Freq. changes, you might try doing a re-scan with your TVs, maybe it just lost a bit in it's memory??

Visitor
lsitongia
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎07-12-2011

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Sure, I've had it rescan.  It then removed those channels from the lineup.

 

I think the interesting part is that my older TV continues to get the channels that are missing from the newer TVs.

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

QAM tuners act pretty weird sometimes. I have a QAM tuner on by HDTV and on my DVR. Sometimes a channel will change on my DVR and not on my TV or vice-versa. A friend of mine has a Vizio and it refuses to rescan properly and he had to buy a separate QAM tuner (HDMI). The new tuner works fine. Then Comcast changes their clear QAM channels occasionally to make matters worse. Then some users don't know the difference between a 16:9 aspect and a 4:3 aspect ratio and have no clue if they are watching an HD channel or a non HD channel. I'll give half the blame to Comcast, nearly half to TV users and some to TV manufacturers.
New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-29-2006

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

I have a little more info, the conversation with the comcast tech told me the cable from the wall direct to the back of my TV does nothing with out a box.  So when I called asking why these TVs were working with a few local channels 1 day and stopped the next they didn't know because those stations were not being provided by them.  This is not the case.  I ended up doing a channel scan on both TVs the next one started working right after, the other TV took 2 scans and it started working just fine again.  Tried to disconnect the cable from the back of the TV and got nothing.  So the cable from the wall to the TV does supply these local channels.  Why woudn't comcast know this?  Hmmm.

New Visitor
Voochieman
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-08-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Here's the scoop.

I complained to Comcast like I have never complained before. My complaint was that I have 3 newish TV's with QAM tuners and I also have limited-basic service and up until recently, all the TVs worked fine when directly connected to straight cable (no box). I simply had to remember all the weird numbers associated with the HD channels (22.1=NBC, 40.1=ABC,40.2=FOX, etc). Three weeks ago, ALL of the TV's suddenly were getting nothing. The Toshiba 23" showed that all of the channels were there (100% signal), but that it was showing as encrypted. I made the assumption that all of the TVs were now being fed encrypted channels (tossing theory of channels moved).

As mentioned, I complained to comcast and I did so twice for this issue.. 1st time when it started and also just a few days ago. The first Einstein I spoke with basically told me that they went 100% encrypted and that I was SOL. The most recent call I placed was a little different. Although she confirmed that yes, they are 100% encrypted now and that I would either need a DTA or a QAM tuner (QAM is not true for encryption). I told her and the first tech that the DTAs suck (clip off the sides of a program and the definition is junk). To my delight, she says that she can exchange those DTAs for the new HD-DTAs and would prevent this. I asume that it also allow me to onc again get the local channels in High def. They are being mailed to me now. I'll update when I know more

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


hdmont wrote:

I have a little more info, the conversation with the comcast tech told me the cable from the wall direct to the back of my TV does nothing with out a box.  So when I called asking why these TVs were working with a few local channels 1 day and stopped the next they didn't know because those stations were not being provided by them.  This is not the case.  I ended up doing a channel scan on both TVs the next one started working right after, the other TV took 2 scans and it started working just fine again.  Tried to disconnect the cable from the back of the TV and got nothing.  So the cable from the wall to the TV does supply these local channels.  Why woudn't comcast know this?  Hmmm.


Because Comcast does not give their support people any information at all.  Just a book of "cheat sheets" on how to respond to customers questions.

Visitor
RevJATB
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-21-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

"HD-DTA" doesn't make any sense, since DTA means Digital To Analog. What a DTA does is downgrade the 720p and 1080i signals to 480i, thus making everything SD. Sounds like once again Comcast's employees are morons. There are so many people I know in our town with DTA's hooked up to HDTV's because Comcast told them they "had" to have them. Even the Comcast OFFICE here has a big HDTV in the lobby, hooked up to a DTA, showing movies in 480i Stretch-O-Vision. Pitiful.
Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,419
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

The HD DTAs have both a Coax output and a HDMI output.

http://www.bing.com/search?q=Motorola+HD+DTA&FORM=R5FD6

The first item on that search has a PDF spec sheet from Motorola

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


RevJATB wrote:
"HD-DTA" doesn't make any sense, since DTA means Digital To Analog. What a DTA does is downgrade the 720p and 1080i signals to 480i, thus making everything SD. Sounds like once again Comcast's employees are morons. There are so many people I know in our town with DTA's hooked up to HDTV's because Comcast told them they "had" to have them. Even the Comcast OFFICE here has a big HDTV in the lobby, hooked up to a DTA, showing movies in 480i Stretch-O-Vision. Pitiful.

Actually DTA stands for Digital Transport Adapter.  It is true that the RF output is an analog signal (not digital).  They do not downgrade HD signals to SD (720/1080i to 480) they just use the SD channel for that staion you want it to output on the RF output.  An HD DTA (AKA uDTA) operation is as noted by Commanguy above.  If the people in your town wanted to see HD on their HD TVs, then they should invest in the HD service (app. $10.00 month) and use a Set-Top box that handles HD.  I agree that the majority of Customer Service Reps. have very limited training from Comcast, that why there are people on this board to try to assist with problems...

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

_____________________________________________________________

edpeters wrote:
I agree that the majority of Customer Service Reps. have very limited training from Comcast, that why there are people on this board to try to assist with problems...
_____________________________________________________________
Not only are they untrained, they can't speak English. They also take up my time because people that call Comcast never get any results they can understand from Comcast's untrained support and they call me. Next time someone calls me for Comcast help I'm going to start speaking another language!

New Visitor
Voochieman
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-08-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

here's the scoop

The HD-DTA are great.

The remotes are far far better

The output is 1080i (max)

The SD channels are crystal clear.

I don't have HD service plan, so I cannot test that

 

Bottom line is that whether you have HD service or not.... if you plan on having a television that has HDMI inputs (most if not all plat panels screens), you should use a HD-DTA for the best possible picture and sound.

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


edpeters wrote:
Actually DTA stands for Digital Transport Adapter.  It is true that the RF output is an analog signal (not digital).  They do not downgrade HD signals to SD (720/1080i to 480) they just use the SD channel for that staion you want it to output on the RF output.  An HD DTA (AKA uDTA) operation is as noted by Commanguy above.  If the people in your town wanted to see HD on their HD TVs, then they should invest in the HD service (app. $10.00 month) and use a Set-Top box that handles HD.  I agree that the majority of Customer Service Reps. have very limited training from Comcast, that why there are people on this board to try to assist with problems...

It may stand for Digital Transport Adapter but the signal ends up as an analog signal and your TV has to be on channel 3 or 4 (analog).

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,419
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Shadowstep

Can you then explain what the HDMI output does? These HD DTAs have both outputs. The specs on the Motorola showed video outputs of 480i, 720p, and 1080i.

On the Cisco sheet I found months ago they state the HDMI output is to be used for HD tvs. The coax output for all other tvs.

 

Bronze Problem Solver
C_DM
Posts: 886
Registered: ‎02-27-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


Shadowstep wrote:

edpeters wrote:
Actually DTA stands for Digital Transport Adapter.  It is true that the RF output is an analog signal (not digital).  They do not downgrade HD signals to SD (720/1080i to 480) they just use the SD channel for that staion you want it to output on the RF output.  An HD DTA (AKA uDTA) operation is as noted by Commanguy above.  If the people in your town wanted to see HD on their HD TVs, then they should invest in the HD service (app. $10.00 month) and use a Set-Top box that handles HD.  I agree that the majority of Customer Service Reps. have very limited training from Comcast, that why there are people on this board to try to assist with problems...

It may stand for Digital Transport Adapter but the signal ends up as an analog signal and your TV has to be on channel 3 or 4 (analog).


That is the case for the standard DTAs, but not for HD DTAs which can output an HD signal--the HD ones are mainly used for decryption purposes when Comcast encrypts their feed, rather than to change digital to analog, as well as decryption, that the standard ones are used for.

Recognized Contributor
Posts: 200
Registered: ‎04-22-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


Shadowstep wrote:

It may stand for Digital Transport Adapter but the signal ends up as an analog signal and your TV has to be on channel 3 or 4 (analog).


Standard Definition (480i resolution) television is easily confused with the term "analog".  A DTA does not convert anything to analog. It decodes encrypted digital cable channels and downconverts them to SD (480i), in a form which can be received by a television's NTSC tuner on channel 3 or 4.

 

A full-feature SD cable box can be connected to composite video inputs and thereby can bypass television's NTSC tuner.  The picture is still 480i SD.

 

Nearly all televisions manufactured since 2007, and a few sets made before 2007, have triple tuners: one for traditional NTSC (all of which are SD), the second for ATSC to receive over-the-air digital broadcasts (some of which are SD and some of which are HD), the third for "Clear QAM" to display NON-ENCRYPTED cable channels, some of which are SD and some of which are HD.

 

As for the HD-DTA, from what I've read, this box is NOT connected via RF jacks to a television's NTSC tuner.  An HD-DTA is connected to HDMI or component video inputs.  It is capable of providing HD 720p and 1080i, as well as SD 480i.

 

Finally, at a very quick pace, Comcast is exercising its newly-granted FCC authority to ENCRYPT all of the QAM channels including the ones which until recently were Clear QAM.  So as a practical matter, those Clear QAM tuners are going to be absolutely useless on Comcast systems.  I don't like it, but CC makes the rules, we as end users don't.

 

 

Contributor
Shadowstep
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎07-01-2012

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

So why does Comcast want to encrypt ALL QAM channels? I subscribe to limited basic and pay for limited basic TV as well as Comcast Internet. I don't really see any advantage for Comcast to encrypt basic TV unless they just want to make their customers mad, which wouldn't surprise me.
Cable Expert
JayInAlg
Posts: 11,820
Registered: ‎03-02-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


Shadowstep wrote:
So why does Comcast want to encrypt ALL QAM channels? I subscribe to limited basic and pay for limited basic TV as well as Comcast Internet. I don't really see any advantage for Comcast to encrypt basic TV unless they just want to make their customers mad, which wouldn't surprise me.

There are two reasons, to prevent theft of service, and to be able to disconnect a customers service without sending out a truck to do a physical disconnect.  Then the next person moving in can do a self install without having to wait for a tech to connect the drop again.  Not sending out a tech to do disconnects and reconnects saves Comcast big bucks.

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,419
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

[ Edited ]

Explorer2008

Looking at the PDF sheet for the Motorola HD DTA the picture they show for outputs are HDMI jack and a standard RF Coax output. Links below for the sheets.

Neither the Pace or Cisco show anything other than coax and HDMI outputs.

 

Pace

http://www.pace.com/Documents/Products/Am/STB/DC60XU.pdf

Cisco

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/prod/collateral/video/ps8611/ps8612/ps10771/7023333_a.pdf

Motorola

http://moto.arrisi.com/staticfiles/Video-Solutions/Products/Video-CPE/All-Digital-Set-Tops/HD-DTA100...

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Explorer2008 wrote--

Standard Definition (480i resolution) television is easily confused with the term "analog".  A DTA does not convert anything to analog. It decodes encrypted digital cable channels and downconverts them to SD (480i), in a form which can be received by a television's NTSC tuner on channel 3 or 4.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm pretty sure that NTSC is Analog, whereas ATSC and QAM are Digital tuners/receivers.  In order for people who have TVs with only NTSC tuners Comcast puts out the DTA to convert the SD digital channels to Analog and output that signal on the RF plug (they use the SD channels because Analog is not capable of carrying HD).  Thus a DTA is like the digital converter boxes that the Government mandated (and subsidized (with $40.00 coupons) to convert the new OTA "digital" stations to analog for those same people with NTSC tuner TVs...

Visitor
RevJATB
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-21-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

Knowing that they have an HDMI connection & can do 1080i is good. I suppose, though, that even with the HD-DTA instead of the more expensive box, we'd still have to pay the monthly "HD technology fee"?
Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


RevJATB wrote:
Knowing that they have an HDMI connection & can do 1080i is good. I suppose, though, that even with the HD-DTA instead of the more expensive box, we'd still have to pay the monthly "HD technology fee"?

Not for the Basic tier.  That HD DTA is something that Comcast had to agree to in order to get FCC permission to encrypt the Local/Basic channels.  If you had a higher level of service and wanted to view those channels in HD, then indeed you would have to pay the $10 per month HD fee (and have your set-top box replaced with an HD set-top box).

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,419
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

ed

Have you seen any updates on how many markets that Comcast may have the HD-DTAs in use?

I know in my market even using a HD Set Top Box there is no HD Technology Fee for Limited Basic tier. In my town I don't think we have access to HD-DTAs yet.

 

Bronze Problem Solver
edpeters
Posts: 3,325
Registered: ‎12-13-2007

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners


commanguy wrote:

ed

Have you seen any updates on how many markets that Comcast may have the HD-DTAs in use?

I know in my market even using a HD Set Top Box there is no HD Technology Fee for Limited Basic tier. In my town I don't think we have access to HD-DTAs yet.

 


Finding out what Comcast is actually doing is impossible!  As I understand it, the HD DTAs will only be available when that market encrypts basic service (which would destroy my HDHomeRun tuners!).  Really hard to fathom how this company can be so disorganized (unless that is their plan: keep everybody guessing about where the bodies are buried...

Silver Problem Solver
commanguy
Posts: 5,419
Registered: ‎01-11-2010

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

ed

Agreed on the lack of orginization. Just thought you might have seen some more information.

It would not suprise me if Comcast would not supply all areas with a HD DTA if they have the SD DTAs available. At least give it a try.

We can only survive day by day.

 

New Visitor
Rumbo_98007
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎07-30-2013

Re: Getting a straight answer on HDTV's with QAM tuners

I picked up an HD-DTA device for my HD TV today since they started encrypting my local HD channels last week - I subscribe the Limited Basic service and previously received HD channels directly via my cable connection with my QAM tuner. When first connected to my TV via the enclosed HDMI cable, the HD-DTA device only provided SD versions of the local channels (e.g., Seattle area, channel 5). Comcast provides the HD version of the local channels in the 10X range so that the HD version of channel 4 is channel 104, and HD for channel 5 is 105, etc. However the HD-DTA unit did NOT initially  allow me to access these HD channels. After confirming that my local Limited Basic cable should allow me access to these local channels, tech support performed multiple resets with no change. Finally the last tech support person confirmed they needed to send a code to my HD-DTA unit to allow me to see these HD channels - and it finally worked. This took 5 different calls to Comcast in order to have them find this problem and correct it - I can now see my local channels in HD using this HD-DTA device. Comcast explained these units are just now being released - hopefully future units will be correctly coded so users can see all the HD channels they should be receiving.