Political Discussion: Adapters to be required

#1
Is anyone else irritated by the recent notice mailed to Comcast customers in northwest Indiana? The notice opens by telling you about changes to the offereings in various levels of subscriotion and how they are being enhanced! THen it gets to the real reason for the notice. To inform you that you will be required to add an adapter to each of the televisions you currently have connected using a standard analog connection receiving just basic or extended basic channels. Now that seems contrary to the media blitz by Comcast during the months prior to the digital transition deadline where they indicated that if you stayed with Comcast there would be nothing additional required to continue receiving your TV broadcasts. Now that the DTV deadline is well behind us, they feel enough time has passed, to require new adapters for TVs in your house that are still using the standard analog signals. When I called the number on the notice to ask for details I was told that the first 2 adapters will be free but beyond that they will charge $1.99 a month for each one. That doesn't seem like much but it does smell a lot like the old "Bait and Switch" scam! Maybe in today's business environment this is acceptable practice but it doesn't sit well with me considering the cost of Comcast to start with. They need to deliver on their promised service and support of the analog "non-digital" sets out there! Just more unscrupulous business practice in my opinion.
 
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bicker

DTVUSA Member
#2
This is very good news for a lot of Comcast subscribers, who have been bemoaning the dearth of HD channels on Comcast service. By eliminating as much analog service as possible, they're able to provide a lot more HD channels, making them much more competitive with FiOS and DirecTV.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#3
We haven't received that notice in California; at least, I haven't, and I would be very angry if I did. It is not good news, bicker. I have long let my displeasure known to Comcast about how their obsession with HD is hurting a large number of customers who don't have HD and don't care about HD. They haven't added a single channel of worth in years because all they've tried to do is get rid of analog and other cable channels to make room for HD. They've taken much away and given little in return.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#4
It isn't Comcast's obsession with HDs. It is all your neighbors' obsession. Comcast must do what their customers want, and you're unfortunately part of a very small minority of consumer power in this marketplace. Ask DirecTV -- the practically built the majority of their market share based on the fact that consumers in general want more HD (even if you personally don't).

You will be getting that notice. Comcast must compete with the alternative suppliers, and they cannot leave themselves back in the Dark Ages.
 

ruggiero

DTVUSA Rookie
#5
Is anyone else irritated by the recent notice mailed to Comcast customers in northwest Indiana? The notice opens by telling you about changes to the offereings in various levels of subscriotion and how they are being enhanced! THen it gets to the real reason for the notice. To inform you that you will be required to add an adapter to each of the televisions you currently have connected using a standard analog connection receiving just basic or extended basic channels. Now that seems contrary to the media blitz by Comcast during the months prior to the digital transition deadline where they indicated that if you stayed with Comcast there would be nothing additional required to continue receiving your TV broadcasts. Now that the DTV deadline is well behind us, they feel enough time has passed, to require new adapters for TVs in your house that are still using the standard analog signals. When I called the number on the notice to ask for details I was told that the first 2 adapters will be free but beyond that they will charge $1.99 a month for each one. That doesn't seem like much but it does smell a lot like the old "Bait and Switch" scam! Maybe in today's business environment this is acceptable practice but it doesn't sit well with me considering the cost of Comcast to start with. They need to deliver on their promised service and support of the analog "non-digital" sets out there! Just more unscrupulous business practice in my opinion.
I work for Comcast in Chicago and NW Indiana and want to respond. First: We will continue to offer Basic service (your local broadcast channels and local access channels) on an analog/cable-ready basis, which is in keeping with our messaging during the broadcast transition of last summer. Customers who do not already have digital equipment attached to their TVs will need digital adapters later this year to continue to see Expanded Basic channels like ESPN, Discovery, etc. Several other posters correctly point out that by doing this, we will be able to devote network capacity to the things customers consistently tell us they want most: more HD channels (we'll offer more than 100 when this process is done), more On Demand choices (we'll offer more than 20k per month in 2010), and faster Internet (we offer speeds up to 50 Mbps today, with the ability to offer speeds of 100 Mbps or even faster in the near future).
 
#6
I am a hardcore Fios-loving customer that recently moved and was forced to take on a pre-exisitng Comcast account. I haven't had anything to do with Comcast in over 10 years so when channels started going black and notice appeared on the screen that I would lose my remaining channels by Jan 13th I frantically contacted Comcast CSRs and researched the web to try to figure out what was going on and was met with swarms of misinformation.

Someone posted this elsewhere, but this is a great article that clears up a lot of confusion.

Comcast Changes Come Amid Ramp-Up to Digital TV Kitsap Sun

I want to stress the pricing issue

up to three free per household with expanded basic cable and two digital adapters free for people who have a main television already connected to a digital box. Additional adapters are $1.99 per month.

Don't let them tell you differently. I have talked to two CSRs by telephone and one online CSR and have been quoted everything from $1.99 to $14.95 per month as well as additional shipping/installation costs. :dizzy:

If you have a service center nearby you can easily pick these up for yourself FOR FREE, no wait time needed.

Also, as was mentioned above, this will effect EVERY COMCAST CUSTOMER that receives channels over 30 (more than basic cable). It is completely seperate from what is happening with the government transition so the government coupons, adaptors from sources other than Comcast and new TVs will built in tuners are irrelevant. If you have not yet received notice, you will.
 
#8
Yes, extended basic is the real issue here. Extended basic has gradually been diminished in value over the years by removal of channels I personally enjoyed and the insertion of more garbage that seems to be nothing more than useless filler. The whole time the cost continues to escalate. If I have to have a box at every set I might as well abandon Comcast and its cost for something else that will save me some cash.

I went through the trouble of installing a video distribution amp and wiring to keep a strong signal and reduce any loading to Comcast while allowing myself to drive up to 8 televisions throughout my home. That now seems to have been a mistake. Shame on me.

I will admit that I enjoy the high speed internet access but find little need for anything greater than 20 Mbit service for residential use. I find the 15 to 20 MBit speeds I receive now adequate for any VPN work I must do from home.
 
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#9
I will admit I enjoy HD on a couple of my sets but it cetainly is not a requirement for most locations. I see no need to have HD in the garage or in front of the treadmill etc... Nor do I want to have another adapter/converter for them. If they need to free some bandwidth get rid of the audio channels and stay focused on what they want to deliver, Internet and Television and leave the audio to XM & Sirius Radio.
 

BCF68

DTVUSA Member
#10
Is anyone else irritated by the recent notice mailed to Comcast customers in northwest Indiana? The notice opens by telling you about changes to the offerings in various levels of subscription and how they are being enhanced! THen it gets to the real reason for the notice. To inform you that you will be required to add an adapter to each of the televisions you currently have connected using a standard analog connection receiving just basic or extended basic channels. Now that seems contrary to the media blitz by Comcast during the months prior to the digital transition deadline where they indicated that if you stayed with Comcast there would be nothing additional required to continue receiving your TV broadcasts. Now that the DTV deadline is well behind us, they feel enough time has passed, to require new adapters for TVs in your house that are still using the standard analog signals. When I called the number on the notice to ask for details I was told that the first 2 adapters will be free but beyond that they will charge $1.99 a month for each one. That doesn't seem like much but it does smell a lot like the old "Bait and Switch" scam! Maybe in today's business environment this is acceptable practice but it doesn't sit well with me considering the cost of Comcast to start with. They need to deliver on their promised service and support of the analog "non-digital" sets out there! Just more unscrupulous business practice in my opinion.
Listen the OTA digital switch has nothing to do with Comcast's digital switch. And Comcast has never said that is does. Cocmast was on it's way going all digital BEFORE the transition. The FCC ask cable companies to stop with these transition until the OTA transition was over so as to not confuse customers. Comcast complied.

Ok you are NOT getting ripped off. From what I know Comast will give you the boxes for FREE. Analog signal use up A LOT of bandwidth. Going all digital means more digital channels and especially more HD channels can be added. This is what MOST customers want.

Cable companies do not have endless amounts of bandwidth to keep adding channels especially HD. It's limited. Cable has less than 1000 MHz of bandwidth. Just ONE analog channel uses up 6 Mhz. If you have 60 analog channels, guess what that's 360 MHz used up right there. Converting those 60 channels to SD digital would only use up about 45 Mhz. Thus freeing up 315 Mhz for HD or adding more SD digital channels.

Funny how people can sign up with DirecTv or Dish or Uverse or Fios all of which require some sort of box for EACH tv ( and typically only the first TV is covered and the rest are $5-$7 monthly each ), and no one ever accuses them of ripping someone off. Yet if a cable company decide to go all digital then you're being "ripped off" even though you are getting the boxes for FREE.

The cable companies have to compete with satellite and Fios/Uverse and they can't do that unless they go all digital so sorry. You're actually going to get a BETTER picture for FREE and you complain.
 
#11
It isn't Comcast's obsession with HDs. It is all your neighbors' obsession. Comcast must do what their customers want, and you're unfortunately part of a very small minority of consumer power in this marketplace.
I'm not convinced that "all" of my neighbors have this obsession. I've spoken to a lot of people who have said they would prefer to be able to continue to receive extended basic on all of their TVs, more than they want more HD channels. I think if your (generic) friends etc are into high tech stuff, then yeah, they all want HD, and you may not know many people who aren't interested in it. And wasn't there an article posted recently saying that a lot of people choose not to receive HD programming, even if they have HD sets? I think that to some extent Comcast and the other providers are trying to convince customers, as well as each other, that the audience is huge. One says they have X many HD channels and the others race to be able to provide x+1.

I don't think the comparison to sat TV is an equivalent situation. People who signed up for sat TV knew going in that they needed to lease additional boxes. That's one reason I wasn't interested in it. However at least in my county, for those of us with cable all we needed was a "cable ready" set or dvr/vcr. The imposition of the new boxes was added after the fact. In my area, we are only allowed 2 free boxes, so it is an additional cost to the subscribers. But worse than that is that the boxes don't allow the subscribers to use their sets, dvr's etc in the same way. Everyone that I've heard from has said that the free boxes cannot be controlled by vcrs/dvrs so they are no longer able to program them. (There is another, more expensive, box that supposedly is able to be controlled by the vcrs).

I don't have a problem with Comcast adding HD channels, although I don't watch them. And I can understand if they don't add more non-HD channels to correspond to new HD ones. I do have a problem with them taking channels that used to be available such as TNT and making them unavailable without users having to stand on their heads to watch or record them as they used to. And no, I really don't expect Comcast et al to try to accomodate the rest of us.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#12
I'm not convinced that "all" of my neighbors have this obsession.
Fine, not all of them, but sorry to say more than enough of them to trump your personal preferences in this regard.

If you've kept up to speed with the industry, you'd know that the number of HD channels is just about all that subscribers have been using to decide whether or not to switch providers.

I don't think the comparison to sat TV is an equivalent situation.
It is. The government had to consider this situation, based on several recent petitions, and that was the determination, regardless of whether any individual consumers would have decided otherwise.

The only way to get your way is to make satisfying your wishes the most profitable way of doing business. Otherwise, you are unfortunately making yourself into a secondary consideration.
 

Orrymain

, Blogger: Orry's Orations
#13
What I disapprove is is the sense that if you don't want the new stuff, tough. Deal with it. That's what some of responders here have said.

Well, tough right backatcha because like it or not there are a lot of unhappy consumers who are being forced into buying something they want or need because of exactly what has been said here, that Comcast continues to change around the packages, shifting things to higher levels where it's unviewable at the basics.

The world doesn't all want or can afford HD. Cable boxes are NOT free, in contrast to what one person said. We pay monthly fees for any cable box we get. There isn't a free box out there.

Comcast is serving one part of the population while telling the rest of us to go hang. That's their right; it's their business. But by the same token, we're aloud to make it known that we don't approve or like being regarded as non-consumers, and that's what they are doing.

If I wasn't a strong TV viewer, I would have dumped Comcast a long time ago. I'm being forced to go along because yes, I like TV, and I need more than 3 network channels. However, as they up the price, I may be forced to settle for those three, just like when I was a kid.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#14
What I disapprove is is the sense that if you don't want the new stuff, tough.
I think you've misunderstood the point: The issue is that the new stuff is what will be offered -- and good reasons were provided for you with regard to why. It is indeed tough for those who would prefer that things did not change. This is not a matter of saying "tough" back, but rather a matter of acknowledging and accepting that it is indeed tough. More importantly is the point that even though it is tough, that doesn't mean anyone is doing anything wrong, or the folks who are encountering the tough experience are in any way entitled to anything else. In a nutshell, you have a choice: Accept how things are, prove entitlement for something else, or just acknowledge that you're just complaining for the sake of complaining.

... Comcast continues to change around the packages, shifting things to higher levels where it's unviewable at the basics.
I had Comcast for ten years, and they moved channels down to lower levels, or added new channels, as much as they moved channels up to higher levels. I think people inclined towards criticism tend to remember just the bad and forget the good.

Also remember that movement of channels between levels is good for some customers. The best example of this is when sports channels are moved to a sports tier, thereby removing the upward pressure on the price of the tier they were removed from, shifting the burden of paying for these very expensive channels onto just those customers who care about sports. I can imagine how much money my family has saved over the years by our service provider moving sports channels to a higher tier.

Again, a lot of folks just remember the bad and forget, ignore, or refuse to acknowledge the good.

The world doesn't all want or can afford HD.
No one said "all". That's a Straw Man Fallacy and therefore has no merit. The assertion is that the number of HD channels drives market share movement. Denying that is like denying that Barack Obama is President of the United States. I remember reading an article highlighting how many people without HDTVs were still choosing their service provider, at least in part, on the basis of how many HD channels it offered.

Also, this statement also ignores fundamentals. In business, people vote with dollars. If three people want something that provides $100 return and eight people want something oppositional that provides $3 return, the desires of the three people prevail. This is real life, not a game.

Cable boxes are NOT free
Because I've highlighted how much that you wrote was wrong, I thought it was important to be sure to highlight what you've written that was correct. This assertion of yours is correct. The cost of cable boxes is (often) included in package prices; they are not "free". There is no such thing as "free" in business. "Free" is a myth.

Comcast is serving one part of the population while telling the rest of us to go hang.
This is a myopic opinion. Comcast serves the "rest of us" far better than all of its competitors. Comcast is the best, with regard to the criteria that you're applying, yet you still criticize Comcast. That belies the rationality of your criticisms.

Comcast is beginning to more often serve the more profitable portion of the population that all of its competitors have been service, almost exclusively, since their inceptions. As long as the low-end customer was plentiful enough to warrant a low-end supplier, one was provided by the open market. Low-end customers are no longer a lucrative enough force in the marketplace, and so they shall, rightfully, be served less so than when they were a more worth of the marketplace's attention.

That's their right; it's their business.
When you forget to include the line quoted above, you're essentially implying that your favored "part of the population" deserves something other than what they're getting. There is no such entitlement. That part of the population doesn't deserve deference, or abasement. It doesn't have a right to expect any service provider, much less only one of the service providers, to neglect its overriding obligation to its owners, for their benefit. You are effectively advocating socialism; this is a capitalist country.

But by the same token, we're aloud to make it known that we don't approve or like being regarded as non-consumers, and that's what they are doing.
You're also entitled to have such perspective refuted as baseless and myopic -- to have it effectively rebutted and its lack of merit highlighted.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#15
Just another note. I've switched suppliers, from Comcast to FiOS, because FiOS is much more inclined towards serving higher-end customers like me. (My main interest in switch was related to HSI service, but I am occasionally enjoying some of the new HD channels that I have with FiOS that I didn't have with Comcast.) I'm paying more for FiOS than I did for Comcast, almost twice as much, even though I'm on their lowest television package that includes some cable channels. If Comcast was really anti-low-end customer, then they wouldn't have a package that was almost half the price of their competitors' lowest priced packages.

No, sir, you are aiming your criticisms at your only friend in the business. No one else who will ever deign to serve the needs you have focused on will ever treat the low-end customer better than Comcast has, and will.
 
#16
So you know that FiOS already requires adapters on every television. So does DirecTV and Dish Network.
Ah so that explains those black boxes beside my televisions for the past decade. Yes, obviously I'm aware :p

I think part of the difference (to me at least) is I signed up with Verizon knowing I would need adaptors. This was explained to me by the CSR, on the website and in the contract I agreed to. This information was consistent and thorough. Comcast kind of (and confusingly I may add- even their own CSRs can't get the details right) sprang this on customers at a time when the public was already overwhelmed by the government mandated digital transition. I understand it wasn't purposeful, but it was bad timing none the less.
 
#17
I think many of the readers are missing my point. I wouldn't have been irritated at all with Comcast if they would have come clean from the start. All they had to do during the transition to DTV was to tell their customers that 6 months after the change they were all going to have to install adapters just like the rest of the world. Instead they went on an ad compaign making it sound as if they were somehow going to make the transition a non-issue for their customers (no additional adapters). I assume now that it was done purposely to keep their customer base intact. Had the customers known they would be required to add a box per TV, like satellite, they may have jumped ship for more HD channels. The fact that Comcast is running out of bandwidth wasn't a recent revelation they knew it well in advance of the transition.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#18
I think many of the readers are missing my point. I wouldn't have been irritated at all with Comcast if they would have come clean from the start. All they had to do during the transition to DTV was to tell their customers that 6 months after the change they were all going to have to install adapters just like the rest of the world.
That would have been irresponsible of them, for several reasons.

They were directed by our government not to confuse the issue, and there is no question that it would have confused the issue for them to discuss their own future plans, while the government was proceeding with its own broadcast digital transition.

Also, there are many places where that would have been a lie, for which Comcast would have been viciously attacked for having made.

Also, your assertion implies that they actually knew the schedule for roll-out of digital service. They did not.

No one doubts that you personally would have been happier knowing the future in advance. I think we all feel that way. However the point was that it was not a reasonable expectation on your part, given all of the other considerations that applied, even though you personally don't value those other considerations as much as other folks do.
 
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