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Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

As part of Comcast 'upgrade' to an all digital network apparently they are removing all HD content to their basic cable customers.

 

Currently customers with basic cable , are recieveing the local HD broadcast stations via comcast.  Once you upgrade to their DTA  box, you loose all the HD channles. Currently you can 'fix' this by removign the DTA box.  You can do this because your HD TV has a device within called a QAM tuner.

 

I stopped into my local comcast office today to speak with a comcast rep about this and had the following intersting conversaton. When the conversion is complete in march, the signal will be encrypted, and with out one of Comcast's DTA converters, I will receive no service. They also stated taht the Local HD channels (locally 4-1, 5-1, 7-1) are not 'offered' by comcast at all and I am currently getting them from my antenna. After a discussion on how this was not the case, with both the customer service rep and her supervisor, I simply thanked them for their time and left.  Clearly, the employee's do not even understand the issue or the transition.  They did offer me an A/B switch however.

 

To add to several of the other comments I have seen here:

1.  This does not seem to be an 'upgrade' to Basic Cable customers. We are loosing many of the channels we currently receive and pay for.

2. The picture quality the DTA boxes provide is woefully below the industry standard, it should be embrassing to the company providing it.

3. Comcast employees do not adquately understand the techincal aspects of the issue.

4. This seems to be a case of the company downgrading service while rasing prices. Also its opening up a new revenue stream(s) for the company, not the least of which will be new marketing data generated by the DAT's abilty to report on what is being watched .

 

I have yet to see a comcast customer service rep on these forums reply to these customer concerns.  specificly,

 

1. Why as a loyal customer (10 years) is my service being downgraded?

 

For a company that is loosing market share to other media outlets, you would think that customers could get an answer to this very basic question.  As a side note,  I may be getting basic cable, but I am paying for the highest internet tier.

 

If Comcast can not address these concerns, I would be seriously considering droppign the service and seeking service both internet and TV from some other provider.

 

As an aside, I understand the company's desire to encrypt their signals, however when it negatively impacts so many loyal paying customers, prehaps it is a decision that should be looked at again. There is some discussion wether encrypting broadcast signals (including broadcast HD) violates FCC regulations.  In any case, the fact that Comcast has choosen to encrypt their signal on top of going digitial ensures that basic customers will continue to receive subpar service from the company.

 

Is there a customer service rep that can address these concerns?

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Though it not clear this is primarily a customer to customer forum

To get help, you can drop a note to Comcast corporate customer service (we_can_help@cable.comcast.com).

For the quickest response, please include:
Your full name;
Service address;
Phone number & an alternate number if possible;
Account number;
A link to your post

You can also Private Message anyone who’s name appears in RED as they are a Comcast employee.

 

The DTA box is not an upgrade, the DTA box is intented to provide  a signal to people with old tube type tv's they are not meant to newer tv's with qam tuners.   The dta turns the digital signal back to analog so those old type tv's can still get tv service.   So your not upgrading to a dta.   If you dont yet need the dta then don't use it.  If all your channels do wind up getting encrypted you can use a dta and a/b switch with an antenna.  An HD DTA is suppose to be coming out, but I don't have high hopes for that either.  

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Yes I'm aware of what th DTA really is,  all 3 tv's in my hose have QAM recievers. Speaking to comcast today , in person, they stated they are encrypting thier signals as of March 2012 to prevent cable theft, and to provide their customers with better customer servcie becasue they can make changes to your accoutn with out comming to your house.

 

They can do this because the DTA's boxes they are providing are addressable, and must be activated in order to work. This is clearly in the interest of comcast in several ways:

 

1. It prevents cable theft by simply splicing the cable.

2. It limits the number of TV's in a house you can use, with out renting furter equipment (more DTA's ) from comcast.

3. It gathers market data on what your watching, as the DTA  allows comcast to gather this information from the network, information they can then use to sell to 3rd party marketers, or to neogiate rates with the sations they provide.

 

Meanwhile, it removes the customer's ability to not have a comcast box.  It is an inappropriate use of a DTA, comcast seems to have choosen this rounte due to the cost effectiveness of it, simply put DTA's are a cheap means of being able to encrypt the network.

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I totally agree, comcast should not just give people dta's.  Everyone is going to need a cable box coming soon, I personally have never not had a cable box.

Regular Contributor
nonfidel
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎02-26-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers


Jagerwolf wrote:

 As an aside, I understand the company's desire to encrypt their signals, however when it negatively impacts so many loyal paying customers, prehaps it is a decision that should be looked at again. There is some discussion wether encrypting broadcast signals (including broadcast HD) violates FCC regulations.  In any case, the fact that Comcast has choosen to encrypt their signal on top of going digitial ensures that basic customers will continue to receive subpar service from the company.


Currently, cable companies may encrypt signals of the basic service tier only if they have received a waiver from the FCC.  The FCC is considering changing the regulations so that a waiver is no longer needed.

 

The next time you contact a Comcast customer service representative, ask whether your local system offers a HD Digital Converter for basic service only. 

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I asked this question, the answer was and I pretty much quote:

 

" Basic Customers do not get HD channels, if you want HD you need to pay for an HD package"

 

My response was, " The channel is broadcast to you in HD, how is it your senting it to me in analog?"

 

Which lead to the whole discussion on how I'm not getting it now, yet I am... ( see above )

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Upon more research.. apparently the cable lobby convienced the FCC that noone uses basic cable, good to see money in politics once again, and I swear I hated those  Occupy dorks, ... 

 

 

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has urged the Federal Communications Commission to allow cable operators that have gone all digital to encrypt their basic tier. That came in comments Monday on the FCC's proposal to do just that. "Given the substantial public interest benefits and the lack of harms associated with encryption, NCTA endorses the Commission's tentative conclusions and urges it to act expeditiously in amending its rules," according to the cable organization. It added that allowing basic encryption would largely eliminate theft of service, promote innovation and investment, and reduce polution and fuel consumption by reducing truck rolls to activate or deactivate service (NCTA said Monday that the benefits would outweigh the minimal extra watts consumed by new boxes). Cable operators also argued that the competition has no similar ban on encryption. "When the encryption rule was adopted in 1994, cable was the dominant MVPD, and there were few competitors," said NCTA. "The situation is dramatically different today. DBS and telco IPTV providers -- each requiring set-top boxes for each of their subscribers -- serve approximately 40% of the marketplace with all-digital service on a fully encrypted basis. Likewise, online video distributors deliver video to customers on an encrypted basis. Netflix alone has 23.8 million subscribers, more than any MVPD. None of these video providers is barred from encrypting or otherwise protecting the content they provide to their customers." As Multichannel News first reported back in October, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski proposed allowing all cable operators to encrypt digital basic channels, given that the TV industry is going all-digital and that the move would had consumer, environmental and theft-protection benefits. The commission officially voted Oct. 13 to propose that change and put it out for comment. "We tentatively conclude that allowing cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in all-digital systems will not substantially affect compatibility between cable service and consumer electronics equipment for most subscribers," the commission said. The FCC has already granted several waivers -- most prominently to Cablevision -- and more are in the hopper from cable operators. The FCC conceded there was an issue with consumers with basic-only digital who accessed it without set-tops, or second or third sets without digital boxes that would now need new equipment to unscramble a signal. It proposed adopting the conditions it put on the waiver it gave Cablevision to encrypt its basic service in New York. Those conditions include requiring cable operators to offer "current basic-only subscribers up to two set-top boxes or CableCARDs without charge for up to two years, (b) digital subscribers who have an additional television set currently receiving basic-only service one set-top box or CableCARD without charge for one year, and (c) current qualified low-income basic-only subscribers up to two set-top boxes or CableCARDs without charge for five years." But it also asked whether this was adequate of whether the Cablevision time frames are appropriate. NCTA had some tweaks to the language of those conditions, but said it had not quarrel with their substance.

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

The full rule change can be found here:

 

http://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2011/10/27/2011-27743/basic-service-tier-encryption-compatib...

 

First pass would indicate that DTA boxes do not meet the intent ofthe FCC's ruling as they do not decrypt stations, so much as turn them analog, defeating the FCC's intent of keeping local HD stations avalive to basic teir customers.

 

 

 

Gold Problem Solver
BruceW
Posts: 7,762
Registered: ‎12-03-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers


Jagerwolf wrote: ... 3. It gathers market data on what your watching, as the DTA  allows comcast to gather this information from the network, information they can then use to sell to 3rd party marketers, or to neogiate rates with the sations they provide. ...

This is not correct. The DTA is a one-way device -- it does not send anything back up the line.

 

The question of whether cablecos are required to carry local HD channels in the clear is a murky one -- see, for example, the (somewhat dated) discussion at http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1225242#post18097251.

Regular Contributor
nonfidel
Posts: 66
Registered: ‎02-26-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers


Jagerwolf wrote:

 

First pass would indicate that DTA boxes do not meet the intent ofthe FCC's ruling as they do not decrypt stations, so much as turn them analog, defeating the FCC's intent of keeping local HD stations avalive to basic teir customers.


Where has the FCC stated an intent of keeping local HD stations available to basic tier customers?

About "Basic Customers do not get HD channels" in your previous post, do you have a printed channel lineup of the basic tier channels from your local Comcast system?  If you do and the lineup includes HD channels, show it to the one who said, "Basic Customers do not get HD channels".

Gold Problem Solver
BruceW
Posts: 7,762
Registered: ‎12-03-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers


nonfidel wrote: Where has the FCC stated an intent of keeping local HD stations available to basic tier customers? ...

Indeed, the ruling that allowed the DTAs we have now insisted that they NOT have HD capability.


... show it to the one who said, "Basic Customers do not get HD channels".

Don't know about the OP, but on my channel lineup, every HD station references this footnote:

 

    "HDTV broadcast signals are included with Limited Basic Service. To receive

     HDTV signals provided by the Company, an HDTV capable television set (not

     provided by the Company) and an HDTV capable digital converter are required."

 

So Comcast's response to that challenge would (continue to) be "Sure, you get HD ... if you rent an HD box and pay the HD fee". Whether by design or ignorance, most reps continue to insist that customers cannot get any HD without paying extra for it. And yet they give away A/B switches which allow you to do just that. What a schizo organization.

Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎12-09-2008

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

OK - now read the fine print on Comcast's latest equipment lineup. The cost of a digital converter box with or without HDTV is the same per month, just $2.15/month. Then of course you pay a separate fee that allows you to decrypt an HD channel.

 

BUT WAIT - the digital converter will not decrypt anything other than Basic services HD stations. If you want to decrypt ALL of the HD channels in the tier you are using, you are required to have a converter that contains a DVR. Guess what - the DVR service is another $17/month. So the HD fee is a sham - the price to watch the HD channels in the tier that you purchased will cost you more.

 

The old FCC rule was simple - if you could receive an over-the-air channel, your cable supplier had to provide that channel to you. With digital TV it's possible for one station to broadcast multiple sub-channels. By the old rules, you should receive all of them. If you have a digital set, it contains an FCC-mandated QAM tuner, so that you can decode the over-the-air signal. That same signal - or its digital equivalent - should be available on the the Comcast feed. Apparently, if that's what you want, you'll need to rent a cable box AND pay the extra fee to decode any HD at all.

.

Of course you can't get a good picture from a DTA box. Neither the analog signal nor your old analog set can display anything better than the old NTSC square-ish, low resolution picture. DTA boxes, by definition, don't give you HD. HD is a digital system. You need digital equipment to view it. Getting a DTA box is not an upgrade - it's a downgrade with the sole advantage that it decrypts many channels that your QAM decoder (rightly) rejects. You get more channels - but at terrible quality. If you want quality, you need a digital decoder. Of course Comcast wants you to use theirs - not the QAM decoder you already ow

 

 

Contributor
BikeRider64
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎08-24-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Aren't HD DTAs supposed to come out soon that will allow one to view encrypted non-premium channels without a STB? If so, then they would presumably allow one to view the soon to be encrypted broadcast channels as well. A pain if you prefer to use one remote and only have basic cable, but this should get one around the encryption issue and still view these channels in HD.

 

Unless, of course, Comcast charges extra for these HD DTAs and/or for viewing basic channels in HD. Is that what it intends to do? If so, then there's always the option of connecting an antenna to view at least some basic cannels in HD, to avoid these extra fees and devices.

 

Also, I'm not sure how one can "steal" basic cable if one pays for it. Didn't Comcast make it much harder for people to get free cable for non-subscribers by putting blocking filters upstream from the point of entry into a home? So the only people still able to get "free" cable are those who are already paying for it, no?

 

Why haven't cable companies and TV makers come up with the technology that allows TVs to decrypt encrypted non-premium channels for customers who subscribe to them, for people who don't want or need STBs or DTAs or the services that they provide, like on demand and PPV? I.e. Cablecard slots for TVs. Is it that hard to add them to modern TVs?

Cable Expert
JayInAlg
Posts: 11,823
Registered: ‎03-02-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

There were TV's with cable card slots, and the TV Mfr's stopped putting them in to save costs.  As with many cable card installations, it is troublesome right now to get it working.

 

Face it, the percentages of TV subscribers on digital cable needing a cable card is extremely low compared to the majority using a DVR, Satellite, Fios, U-Verse or others that need boxes on all TV's.  The majority of cable card TV's purchased would never use it.

 

Most cable card installations would be on 2nd, 3rd & 4th sets in the home if the subscriber really wanted to pay the extra digital outlet fee on each set for the cable card.  It's only the last few years that subscribers are putting HD sets in the other locations in the home as the TV prices came down. 

 

 

Contributor
BikeRider64
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎08-24-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Yeah, I forgot about those TVs. Never really took off, did they. It's just that I've always hated having to attach a box between the cable feed and tv. It effectively disables the tv tuner, represents yet another energy-draining, remote-requiring, space-hogging potential point of failure and complexity, and serves no real purpose that in theory at least couldn't be built into every tv. The only advantage of boxes to consumers is that as newer technologies emerge that older tvs can't handle, they allow them to take advantage of them. The advantage to cable companies is obvious--more fees and the ability to cut down on actual theft.

 

But it's 2012 and it seems to me that people who pay for basic cable should get all the basic cable channels--including all broadcast channels--in HD as well as SD--when they're available in HD from the network of course. HD can no longer be considered a luxury or add-on. It's now part of the basic tv experience, and for Comcast or any other carrier to charge extra for it given that it now costs them nothing extra to provide it seems unfair, and will only inspire customer resentment. If you can get it OTA for free, you should be able to get it via cable for no more than you're paying for SD cable.

 

I can't believe the FCC is siding with cable companies on this.

 

Incidentally, I'm finally able to sidestep all this by having installed a Ceton InfiniTV tv tuner card in my HTPC, that allows me to view nearly everything Comcast offers except for OD and PPV (which I've never used and don't want as that's what streaming video and Netflix are for). I still have to have a device sitting between my cable feed and tv, but that device is a PC/DVR that beats any cable box or DVR or TV ever made. But this is way overkill for basic cable subscribers and likely out of their financial or technical reach.

Contributor
macaddict1
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎02-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Just confirmed that plugging in the coax cable to my HDTV bypassing the DTA box, I do not get any channels in North Western NJ

 

Seems that if you have "Limited Basic", only way of getting the local channels in HD is by paying comcast for an HD cable box.

 

I would use Over The Air signals but I cannot get any where I live :-(

Contributor
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎12-09-2008

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

macaddoct1

 

Now you're exactly the customer that the FCC is supposed to be protecting. You have cable service you pay for and you're unable to receive a reliable signal using an antenna. You've got a perfectly good, FCC mandated, VSB/QAM decoder built into your TV. You paid to have it built into your set, and you pay to power it every time you turn your set on. Comcast's digital signals use 256QAM transmission standards that are completly compatible with the equipment you already own. Did anyone point out to the FCC that there will be hundreds of additional kilowattsthat will be burned by Comcast's customers who now have the need to install multiple DTA's to watch broadcasts that originate using the public's spectrum?

 

That's spectrum that the broadcaster gets for free. It's ludicrous for Comcast to claim that it has to protect itself against the "theft" of digital broadcasts that originate from over the air providers. Comcast has (or should have) the right to re-transmit it to you with no payment to the originator. (Of course, Comcast does own NBC…). How can the public steal from itself?

 

It's even worse when they argue to the FCC that they're saving the environment by not having to send out a truck to teach you how to connect the cable to your receiver.In my region of Central NJ Comast ran a nonstop video channel for over a year that showed you how to make that identical connection using a DTA they shipped to your house. They were never coming out to install it. The FCC can't possibly buy the environment argument if they know how to do arithmetic. They should take account of what you spend to power Comcast's equipment as well as the greenhouse gases that are generated as a result of their rulings.

 

Contributor
BikeRider64
Posts: 21
Registered: ‎08-24-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Good points. At the very least Comcast shouldn't be scrambling broadcast channels since you can get them OTA for free (theoretically, at least, if you have good line of sight). It should also not scramble at least a few non-broadcast basic channels, such as CSPAN (which it co-owns with other cable and satellite carriers), the Weather Channel (for public safety reasons), the local 24 hour cable news channel, etc.

 

I wonder what home shopping channels think of this? I can't imagine that QVC, HSN, etc., are pleased with this. They might even be willing to chip in to help subsidize whatever marginal costs Comcast incurs to not scramble these channels, to avoid losing business to people who won't or can't pay for HD DTAs.

 

My guess is that they'll eventually "back down" and offer HD DTAs for free, or a very nominal cost. But even then, they should still keep the above core channels unscrambled.

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

This defitnaly needs to have a voice to it, if you read though the many other instances of this happening on this forum alone.   You can file a  complaint with the FCC   here :

 

http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm

 

 

 

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I totally agree, comcast should not just give people dta's.  Everyone is going to need a cable box coming soon, I personally have never not had a cable box.

 

==================

Normally, rog I would agree with you.   This time I don't.   I barely have enough room for my dta's.  I would be forced to cancel cable if they required a full box for each my tvs. 

 

However, according to Jay they are working one box that would feed the entire househould.  Then you will be able to go back to using your tv, vcr and dvr like it was intended.

 

=====

Whoever said in this thread the dtas picture is bad.   You might need to go get another dta.  My picuture is fine.

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Putting a DTA with analog output on a digital tuner flat screen tv will mess up the picture quality.

The DTAs are fine with CRT anlaog tuner tvs which is what they were made for.

Comcast should actually ask the customer what type of tv they have before handing out equipment.

Oops...forget the last sentence, slipped into dream state:smileywink:

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Putting a DTA with analog output on a digital tuner flat screen tv will mess up the picture quality.

The DTAs are fine with CRT anlaog tuner tvs which is what they were made for.

Comcast should actually ask the customer what type of tv they have before handing out equipment.

Oops...forget the last sentence, slipped into dream state

 

=========================

Commanguy

 

My uncle has two tvs.  One HDTV & ONE SD both work with DTAs.     HDTV & SD tv should be able to handle the dtas.  If that is really the case,  the FCC should mandate that tvs come with qam and all cable companies must broadcast in clear qam for their limited service package.

 

So you are saying if I got a new tv.   Even the cheapest $250.00 HDTV digital tv at Wal-mart wouldn't show a good picture with a DTA?


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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

[ Edited ]

grday

Not saying for certain that the picture on the HDTV would be worse but it just seems to make sense that the analog feed into the digital tuner would be les crisp. Never tried a DTA when I had one in the house on my HDTV to see. I had, and still do, a SD box connected to it.

Also I have seen a few postings from others that apparently are using DTAs on HDTVs and they have complained about the picture quality.

Also the HDTVs will work with a DTA, just a question of clarity of the picture.

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

commanguy

 

From my understanding on DTAs,  you are actually getting a Standard Definition feed.   If you have an HDTV, you need to disable or change your tv to Standard Definition.  That should solve some of the picture problems.

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

[ Edited ]

I don't have picture problems.

Some others have mentioned problems with DTAs on HDTVs. At present I use a SD box on a 720p LCD tv. My picture is clear. Connecting directly to the incoming feed which is still analog for channels 2-23 is still clear. A few channels on Limited Basic for my area are listed as digital and they come in on the box of course. Clear picture.

And I just checked my tvs menu. I either didn't see it or there is no setting to just change the tv output to SD versus HD.

I believe that choice is made by the coding on the incoming signal that defines the picture quality as SD or HD.

Either way some people that post of bad picture quality using DTAs with HDTVs may be expecting HD on all channels or their expectations of clarity are higher then what they will get with the DTAs even on SD channels. I guess it is just a matter of personal choice.

This is starting to move the original point of this topic.

I have no issue with the DTAs. But in previous postings I have expressed my questions on what our market area will do with them once they remove the analog feed for the remaining channels 2-23. And that is not the same for each Comcast area as are many things within Comcast.

Thanks for the posting.

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

What I speak of is not a matter of personal choice,

 

On the SAME TV , with the SAME feed from comcast. I have perfectly clear, propertly ratioed signals when using my QAM reciever built into my tv.

 

When I then plug in teh DTA provided by comcast, Signal quality goes to ****, aspect ratio goes to ****, can't see the whole screen. Its not my TV it happens to all three TV's in the house. Its the DTA's provided by comcast.

 

I don't have the option of NOT using the DTA's provided begining 1 MAY 2012 comcast plans on encrypting they BASIC cable signal preventing me from using me ( and eventually you) from using any device but theirs, and permantely degrading my signal.

 

This seems to be a rather blatent attempt to get folks to have to pay additional fees to 'rent' 'HD' cabel boxes to continue to recieve the SAME SIGNAL they get now,  with out a comcast box.  All so comcast can encrypt their signal to 'prevent theft' and :: caughs :: save the environment.

 

Just because YOUR signal isn't encrypted now, doesnt' mean it will not be. It is comcast's plan to convert their entire network this way to allow them to manage your account remotely, and prevent theft. They call it 'project calvery' 

 

 

Regular Contributor
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎08-22-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I have what they call "Expanded Basic" service which get most of the channels up to 80.

 

I have a splitter going to a three way switch with two vcrs.  This allows me to tape two different

channels or use the third one to receive the NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX and a few other HD channels

on my Quam capable TV.

 

I always check my picture quality by going to the QVC type channels and it is a lot clearer than

before the DTA switch over.

 

On my TVs I have to be sure and do a scan and tick the channels I want to watch in HD.

They used to swap these around real often but have left them alone for quite some time.

Contributor
macaddict1
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎02-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Basic Cable Customers

So I went ahead and got a digital box ($2.25/month) so that I could see my local channels in HD with the Limited Basic plan that I have.  The non-HD channels look much better now when compared to the DTA box, night and day quality-wise.

 

Side story, the rep at the Port Murray office tried to upsale me to the "Digital Starter" plan because according to her, that was the only way to get HD channels.  After showing her the channel lineup showing the local channels in HD for the Limited Basic plan and arguing with her, she finally said whatever and I asked her not to upgrade me.

 

Once I got home, I called the Comcast 800 number because I didn't trust her that she didn't upgrade me and sure enough she did upgrade me from my $13/month plan to the $60+ plan.  I wasn't happy to say the least..

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Jagerwolf

When I then plug in teh DTA provided by comcast, Signal quality goes to down, aspect ratio goes to down, can't see the whole screen. Its not my TV it happens to all three TV's in the house. Its the DTA's provided by comcast.

 

=====================================

 

That not necessarily Comcast as I found out.   First make sure you have new type of coax.   If using a splitter make sure it goes up to 1000 mhz  (950 mhz  may work in some areas).    Sometimes you get what is called a 4 box screen (Bar at the side &  at the top & at the bottom) .  That is the station or the station's network not Comcast.   I confirmed this with the PBS station.  They gave me a technical reason why it was doing that.  They said last fall they are going to work on this but haven't yet.

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

grday wrote..That not necessarily Comcast as I found out.   First make sure you have new type of coax.   If using a splitter make sure it goes up to 1000 mhz  (950 mhz  may work in some areas).    Sometimes you get what is called a 4 box screen (Bar at the side &  at the top & at the bottom) .  That is the station or the station's network not Comcast.   I confirmed this with the PBS station.  They gave me a technical reason why it was doing that.  They said last fall they are going to work on this but haven't yet.


And my PBS station's broadcast engineer said they only send out the coding for start of program, end of program, and aspect ratio. I have seen programs start out on PBS and a few broadcast channels that start out full screen and then switch over to the "windowbox" picture (black bars on all 4 sides). Sometimes they go back to normal. I can watch a repeat of that same show on the same channel later in the day or that week and no windowbox picture. Sometimes I can switch channels and the picture goes back to the original aspect. From what I have read this apparently happens when a SD signal is sent coded for a 16:9 ratio and somehow gets read as a 16:9 ratio, then 4:3 ratio, then again as a 16:9 ratio ( I will need to double check this to make sure I have this correct)

 

It could be the broadcast station or it could be the AGC on Comcast's system or a combination of both. My local phone company was trying to sell me on their video service. During their demostration at their office I noticed the same picture. I asked them about that. The lady said that was not right and they needed to adjust settings on their equipment.

 

And I see what jagerwolf said about not being able to see the whole screen on tvs that don't have boxes. Can even see a difference on the SD box when it looks like they are putting the HD feed on the SD channel also. I have to agree that the signal seems to need to go through a HD box so that the box settings for native aspect ratio can be used. Or if there is a way for them to send the SD signal to SD channels and HD to HD channels then it might be getting messed up.

Contributor
Jagerwolf
Posts: 18
Registered: ‎01-19-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Its not a cable, its the box, I can fix it in 5 mineuts by REMOVING comcast's DTA... ...  put the DTA on....  crappy signal.. take the DTA off.... fine signal...  tried 3 differet DTA's on 2 different TV's by 2 different manfacuters ..  sorry its Comcast.   And I'm not the only one on these message boards who have experience this with the comcast supplied DTAs.

 

Also .. as an aside, last night all local HD channels went off air for 2 min, when they came back ABC, CBS, NBC, WB ect (all the local HD channels) were replaced with PBS is HD... I rescanned twice, and the local stations are gone..   apparently encrypted.

 

Tell me THAT wasnt' on purpous...

Contributor
S-Man23
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I'm in Houston, 77066 area, basic subscriber, and just lost signal last night as well. Tune to channel 2 and it say's "All comcast subscribers must use a DTA box..." or something to that effect.

I had been getting all local channels in SD and HD straight out of the wall into the TV with no problem for a long time until last summer. Then they cut all the digital and HD channels and just allowed SD channels. They sent us some DTA boxes but they didn't even work. The screen constantly says "your service has been inturrupted. It should be restored shortly..." but it never does. Even after trying to activate the DTA several times.

 

Spoke with a CSR the other night while trying to activate the boxes and told her the above. She said "There's no way you could get HD straight out of the wall." I laughed.

 

I hope they do something to fix this quick. It's irritating having to take half a day to deal with this with no results.

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

S-MAN23

 

I assume you are on limited service.

 

You need to call them and tell them to remove the limited basic filter or trap from the pole.   So, you can activate your dtas.   If that doesn't work,  you will have to switch to antenna if you are close to Houston.

Contributor
S-Man23
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

[ Edited ]

Awesome. That's what I needed to hear. Yes, we're on limited basic. But we've always run it straight from the wall to the TV and used to get local HD channels.

I remember when they came and put a filter on the line outside at the street. Long ago we used to get a few stray channels in HD like ESPN and such. I'll give them a call. However, I already know how it's going to go down. They're going to tell me to hook up the DTAs, then when they don't work to wait 30-45 minutes and give them a call back. They always give me the same run around.

Also, do you know of any direct lines to get to a CSA instead of having to spend 10 minutes going through the touch-tone recorded messages?

Contributor
S-Man23
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Just as an update, had a tech come out today and he said there was no trap on the line, so he tested some signals and figured he'd better run a new line from the street to the house.

Weird thing is, he ran it on the ground and put in an order for a contractor to come bury it later this week.

 

The good news is we have good signal on our DTA boxes and have Television again. Albeit sans HD :/

Thanks for your help here.

New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-20-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Thank you for this post.  It cleared up several of my questions.  After I hooked up 3 DTAs in my house I noticed that I no longer received several of the local HD channels (5-1, 29-1).  I called the customer service rep who said it was a signal problem and spent 15 minutes trying various fixes.  With no results, she transfered me to a "technician" who said that I had to upgrade to receive the HD channels.  When I complained that I had received them "just fine" before connecting the DTAs and demanded to know why their "upgraded" service now left me with no HD -and- a substantially poorer quality picture, he responded: "We're very sorry that you are disappointed by the new service."  That was the extent of it.    Comcast, shame on you.  I had bought a new TV with a crisp clear picture which (because of the DTA) looks about as clear as my 20 year old TV.  I'm so angry I can't see straight!

Contributor
thekid1959
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎08-13-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

:smileydevil::smileydevil:.....I call this TRIPE......No one on Basic cable. Can afford to: upgrade Tv. from analog to digital, vcrs, dvd/dvr, I will be forced to make some budgetary  downsizing...cable, internet, phone, NONTHING?

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

thekid1959

 

There is a way around the vcr issue.    It is a pain but it works.   I use 3 dta (Since I am allowed that many without any extra fees).    I thought I was going to have to use a a/b switch box but I set it up differently.    There are a couple problems with that but I am able to record one program & watch a different programs at the same time.    It did take some time to figure it out.   My writing maybe horrible but I am excellent on configuration.   

Gold Problem Solver
BruceW
Posts: 7,762
Registered: ‎12-03-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers


grday wrote: ... I am able to record one program & watch a different programs at the same time. ... 

Interesting. Could you describe how to do this? Maybe post a diagram?

Contributor
andremike
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-06-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

So here is my dilema..

 

I'm wondering if I have too many splitters or if its because one of my splitters is only rated to 900MHz...

 

I have the cable feed going straight into my TV so I can watch the HD channels, 5.1,7.1, etc..   sometimes I loose some of the HD digital signals like 7.1 will work, but 5.1 will not.  So yesterday I moved the tv so  the line was shorter and there was one less spltter in the line.  all of the HD signals worked great..   So what could be causing that?   Bad signal strength or the splitters or both?  

New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-20-2007

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Bruce and Andre -

 

This doesn't solve the problem that the DTAs are causing.  Comcast is planning to encrypt the signals so even running straight into the TV or switch box will not allow you to get the HD channels that you once got for free (without the DTA boxes).  Comcast owns us... there's nothing you can do.

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Could always use an OTA antenna for the OTA HDs and just use the DTA for the standard def channels...

Contributor
S-Man23
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I tried that. Bought this antenna from Amazon. It was like $42 at the time. Hooked it up and only a few channels worked. But the channels that did work looked gorgeous. I miss having HD :smileysad:

The transmitter towers are like 30-40 miles away from me, plus I have some trees around me. It's a good thing I don't watch TV hardly at all.

I wish the FCC would not have de-regulated this mess.

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I cant post a diagram on this system.   My drawing would look horrible.

 

 Line in--DTA A---------Splitter------------------------------TV 1          

 Line in--DTA A---------Splitter---------A&B switchbox---TV 2

 Line in--DTA B---------VCR 1---------A&B switchbox----TV 2

 Line in--DTA C---------VCR 2---------TV3

 

DTA=Digital Transport Adapter.

1=Room One

2=Room Two

3=Room Three

 

I have 3 dta & 3 tvs and 2 vcrs.   I was going to do the above set up but figured out a different way.

 

 Line in--DTA A---------Splitter------------------------------TV 1          

 Line in--DTA A---------Splitter----------VCR 1 rf input,  VCR audio/video output-to TV 2 audio/video input.

 Line in--DTA B---------VCR 1-----------TV 2

 Line in--DTA C---------VCR 2---------TV3

 

DTA=Digital Transport Adapter.

1=Room One (Bed room)

2=Room Two (TV Room)

3=Room Three (Computer Room)

 

On this set up.   All I have to do is go to room one, and set in the channel I want to record.   Then go back to room 2 and set the tv on input, turn on the vcr.   Turn the vcr itself to channel 3.  Then set the time to recorded.  Then I hit input or switch the tv back to channel 3 or 4.    When watching it through the input it will be a little dim but the recording comes out fine.   Note if newer tv.  Use the game video & audio input.  The newer video/audio input may not work.      Then I can watch tv in the TV room,  while the VCR is recording off of the Bedroom dta.   Yes,  I know I could put the vcr in the bed room.  We like to watch are tapes in the tv room.   Plus there is no room for the vcr in the bed room.   

 

The problem is you have to manually change the dta, to recorded another program on a different station.   That kind of hard to do when you are asleep or gone.

Bronze Star Contributor
grday
Posts: 323
Registered: ‎05-01-2011

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

S-Man23

 

Over the Antenna should be able to get HD signals.  (Note even an old tv antenna is cable of getting HD signals.)  The HDTV antenna was just a marketing tool,  plus it gave them an excuse to price it higher.

Contributor
andremike
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-06-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

for now it works, so i will take advantage of it until they do the switch over.    So does anyone know whats causing my problem?  At that time I will move to another provider like ATT UVERSE...

Contributor
S-Man23
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

Interesting to know, Grday. I was indeed picking up a couple of HD channels with this antenna, but it wasn't enough channels to warrant keeping it hooked up.

Contributor
S-Man23
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎02-01-2012

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

[ Edited ]

@Andre, when I was talking with the Tech that came out to my home Saturday, he was mentioning that bad splitters and even bad connectors can hinder signal. So yeah, it could be your splitter, or it could be the connectors. If the connectors were self-installed with cheap tools, it might be a problem.

I wouldn't invest too much time/effort into fixing this though. As was mentioned, they're going to be scrambling your signal soon.

If I were you I'd call Uverse and see if they have any special packages to offer to "entice" you to switch from Comcast. You might get a better deal.

 

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

andre,

 Two things. The splitter should be replaced with one that will pass at least 1 MGhz. I have gotten them straight from Comcast for no charge in the past. Would be an investment for your internal cable setup to have the latest for any provider you may choose. Your choice.

 

Also Comcast does sometimes change the frequencies of stations around so people using straight connections from the wall need to rescan for channels every once in a while.

 

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

Re: Loss of HD channels to Baisc Cable Customers

I would also say you can probably get a splitter from comcast for free. I would also agree you might as well have the newest rated splitters capable of 1g. But if i was a betting man i would say it is more likely a case of too many splits rather than a 900mhz splitter.

I can't be sure since i am not sure about your actual cable plant but most cable systems are not 900mhz.