cable tv digital conversion question

#1
Hello,

I was sure I didn't have anything to worry about with the digital conversion. Comcast, my cable company is doing there own digital conversion where they broadcast the channels above limited basic in digital. My TV doesn't have a digital tuner, but I do get cable. However, I don't have a cable box. Will I have to get a cable box to get those channels?
 
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Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#2
Comcast's direct link to their digital transition info page is: Get Ready for the Digital Transition with Comcast which states the following:

If all your TVs are currently connected to Comcast, you don't have to worry about a thing. When February 17, 2009 rolls around, you can just sit back, relax and keep watching your favorite shows.
This also includes their basic cable service (as explained on this page: Get Ready for the Digital Transition with Comcast)

I'm not sure about Comcast, but some cable subscribers have complained about their cable companies pulling some of the channels off of their basic cable service and adding them to costlier packages that include the usage of a set top box.
 

Username

DTVUSA Rookie
#5
*whew*

I am relieved to see this, being a Comcast subscriber. :p But does anyone have any information on how come Comcast has a digital pricing tier? Is that going to be phased out after the deadline, or (gulp :eek: ) is Comcast going to phase out their basic package instead.
 

TonyT

DTVUSA Member
#6
I am relieved to see this, being a Comcast subscriber. :p But does anyone have any information on how come Comcast has a digital pricing tier? Is that going to be phased out after the deadline, or (gulp :eek: ) is Comcast going to phase out their basic package instead.
That's the $64,000 question right now with all cable and satellite companies. Their digital tier's all require a set top cable box anyway, so are you guys going to have to pay when they decide to go all digital in a couple of years?
 
#7
in 2012 the FCC is gonna decide wether or not the analog packages (without a box) be discontinued or not. It might be that you'll need a digital box and a digital tier.

Of course, the cable companies could go digital and make their customers have to get a digital box whenever they want, but it doesn't look like it anytime soon.

You won't need a new tv either, since digital is either SD (standard definition), or HD (high definition - part of digital tv)
 
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bicker

DTVUSA Member
#8
The 2012 date staticMHS mentioned pertains to the expectation that the FCC placed on legacy MSOs (like Comcast), regarding provision of local broadcast channels via analog. It does not pertain to any cable channels.

Also, the FCC, in a rare pro-cable decision, outlined two ways that MSOs could comply with this requirement: Either provision of analog signals in the coax, or by provision of a set top box that converts digital cable (QAM) to analog. So nothing is really guaranteed. Like I said, a very rare win for cable.

The latest information from Comcast is that their intention is to have about half the country converted over to all-digital-cable (all cable channels via digital) by the end of the year. If your television doesn't have a QAM tuner (not all HDTVs do -- over-the-air HD is not broadcast using QAM, but rather using ATSC 8VSB), then you will definitely need to rent a cable box to continuing getting cable channels, once your system is converted to all-digital-cable.

As TonyT alluded to, many systems already encrypt digital cable (to discourage cable theft), so even if your television does have a QAM tuner, that probably won't be much help, because your television probably doesn't have a CableCARD slot, so it won't have any way of decrypting the broadcasts.

In many places, Comcast has already discontinued offering "Standard Cable" (their top-level analog service) to new customers. The only analog service they currently offer new customers is limited basic; if you want any cable channels, you are now required to select a digital package. Expect that they will be phasing out the analog packages they have, above limited basic, for existing customers, as the next couple of years go by.

So while the over-the-air digital transition, "DTV 2009", will not affect cable customers, cable's own digital transition possibly will.
 
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