HD TVs, February 2009, and Comcast

Fardreamer

DTVUSA Member
#1
Until recently, we owned two analog TVs which were hooked up to Comcast without one of those boxes that are required if you want cable channels such as Pay Per View and In Demand along with their Basic Cable packages. We are subscribers to Comcast, of course, but we're on a tight budget and need to avoid extra fees and as long as we can receive non-scrambled channels that we pay for, we're happy without the darned boxes, which cost an additional $3.00 a month.

My question is this: When the switch to digital-only broadcasting begins, owners of LCD or Plasma TVs don't need to worry about having to get boxes, right?
 

leighdu

DTVUSA Member
#2
For people with satellite or cable, then no, you don't have to worry about that. But you have an analog tv and use an antennae, then you will need to worry :).
 
#3
Yeah you just need a tv that is able to receive digital....My boyfriend and I have a nice tv in the family room, but right now we do have an analog tv in the bedroom and we are looking to invest in a newer tv for that room so then we don't have to worry about getting one of those boxes.
 

Fardreamer

DTVUSA Member
#4
For people with satellite or cable, then no, you don't have to worry about that. But you have an analog tv and use an antennae, then you will need to worry :).
From what I've been told, people with satelllite and CATV who still have analog TVs won't need to worry much either, especially since most TVs made from the late 1990s on (analog ones, I mean) have some kind of digital tuner. Not an HD one, but a digital one.

Pity those souls who will need to get the boxes...:-(
 

kaye

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
Most of the newer televisions have digital capability.If you have satelite or cable you won't have to worry about buying a box.I have an 6 year old tv which as long as I have cable I do not have to buy a boy. That is why they are doing it,to force us to sign up with cable or satelite.....grr
 

datadee

DTVUSA Member
#7
My philosophy is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" Some people just can't afford cable or satellite, so why should they be forced to get one or the other? If they want to watch television with an antennae, then let them. Why is the government forcing us to go digital?
 

jedlinde

DTVUSA Rookie
#9
I just got off the phone with Comcast, and I'm somewhat frustrated: I have two analog TVs, have the conversion boxes (provided by Comcast for free) installed, they work fine and I get a whole host of stations, that I cannot get on my digital TV and digital VCR/DVD. Comcast (in CA) informs me that I will have to use one of their boxes on my digital devices...why? They would not give me an answer, the tele-service-guy just kept repeating that their box must used. Sadly, if true, you can only record on the channel that the box is on (and you cannot watch any other channel). Any info out there?
 

O-O

DTVUSA Member
#10
I just got off the phone with Comcast, and I'm somewhat frustrated: I have two analog TVs, have the conversion boxes (provided by Comcast for free) installed, they work fine and I get a whole host of stations, that I cannot get on my digital TV and digital VCR/DVD. Comcast (in CA) informs me that I will have to use one of their boxes on my digital devices...why? They would not give me an answer, the tele-service-guy just kept repeating that their box must used. Sadly, if true, you can only record on the channel that the box is on (and you cannot watch any other channel). Any info out there?
That's the tricky part of the so-called QAM tuners built into some TVs. Sure they'll let your TV pick up some local stations in HD from your cable provider, but to view any digital services from your cable company, you need to rent a box from them. Otherwise your just watching an analog signal on basic cable. The only REAL thing a digital TV or HDTV tuner does, is receive over-the-air signals from broadcast towers. Other than that, you could have basically bought a "digital ready" HDTV with an analog tuner and just used the cable company's converter to watch HD programming. :duh:
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#11
I just got off the phone with Comcast, and I'm somewhat frustrated: I have two analog TVs, have the conversion boxes (provided by Comcast for free) installed, they work fine and I get a whole host of stations, that I cannot get on my digital TV and digital VCR/DVD. Comcast (in CA) informs me that I will have to use one of their boxes on my digital devices...why? They would not give me an answer, the tele-service-guy just kept repeating that their box must used. Sadly, if true, you can only record on the channel that the box is on (and you cannot watch any other channel). Any info out there?
Most cable companies are going this way to stop piracy. When you use their set top box they control the programming you can or can't receive. Each set top box is given an identification number. The cable company needs to activate that number in order for the box to operate. In the old days all you would need to do to pirate or steal programming was climb the utility pole and connect the line and connect the other side to your cable ready TV. Having the new system also reduces cable company labor costs, by eliminating the need to send out a technician to activate cable service. It can be done from the company central location by computer. By requiring a set top box the cable company has eliminated the theft of services and therefore increased the revenue. I know this information doesn't help you with your issue, but now you know why it is done this way.
 
#12
That's the tricky part of the so-called QAM tuners built into some TVs. Sure they'll let your TV pick up some local stations in HD from your cable provider, but to view any digital services from your cable company, you need to rent a box from them. Otherwise your just watching an analog signal on basic cable. The only REAL thing a digital TV or HDTV tuner does, is receive over-the-air signals from broadcast towers. Other than that, you could have basically bought a "digital ready" HDTV with an analog tuner and just used the cable company's converter to watch HD programming. :duh:
Perhaps I'm missing some very basic info here. My understanding is that all signals were converted to digital on/around 6-12-09, or before, and that the boxes are needed to convert the digital signal to an analog one for old TVs. So, if the cable is sending a digital signal, then why do you need a converter box for a digital TV?
Also, HD, high definition, is different from DTV, digital TV; no?
 
#13
Most cable companies are going this way to stop piracy. When you use their set top box they control the programming you can or can't receive. Each set top box is given an identification number. The cable company needs to activate that number in order for the box to operate. In the old days all you would need to do to pirate or steal programming was climb the utility pole and connect the line and connect the other side to your cable ready TV. Having the new system also reduces cable company labor costs, by eliminating the need to send out a technician to activate cable service. It can be done from the company central location by computer. By requiring a set top box the cable company has eliminated the theft of services and therefore increased the revenue. I know this information doesn't help you with your issue, but now you know why it is done this way.
Thanks; what you explained makes sense. However, why come up with a converter box that can only handle one channel at a time? That seems to me to be retro to the max; it defeats the utility of multiple VCR/DVD options, just when you are able to have access to so many other channels.
As far as piracy is concerned, though, it would seem that consumers are the galleons...
 
#14
Perhaps I'm missing some very basic info here. My understanding is that all signals were converted to digital on/around 6-12-09, or before, and that the boxes are needed to convert the digital signal to an analog one for old TVs. So, if the cable is sending a digital signal, then why do you need a converter box for a digital TV?
Also, HD, high definition, is different from DTV, digital TV; no?
All over the air broadcast signals were converted to digital. Cable operators still offer basic packages with analog signals. If you subscribe to a basic analog package, you might get talked into a tuner but most TVs built in the last 20 years are "cable ready" and thus capable of tuning all the analog channels without a box. Additionally, if you have a digital TV with a QAM tuner, you might be able to tune digital versions of some cable channels and should be able to tune digital HD versions of the over the air channels for your market.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#15
Thanks; what you explained makes sense. However, why come up with a converter box that can only handle one channel at a time? That seems to me to be retro to the max; it defeats the utility of multiple VCR/DVD options, just when you are able to have access to so many other channels.
As far as piracy is concerned, though, it would seem that consumers are the galleons...
It's all about boosting revenues. They make a DVR available to their subscribers for a monthly fee. Then you can watch one channel and record another and the cable company increases revenues.
 

bicker

DTVUSA Member
#16
Note that, by law, cable companies are required to support separable security, whereby you can purchase your own host device (STB or DVR) and receive all linear programming that are part of your service subscription, as long as your host device supports the standard separable security mechanism, currently CableCARD. Currently, manufacturers have not seen fit to offer CableCARD-compatible STBs for sale to the general public. There evidently isn't enough of a profit motive for them to do so (especially given how expensive it is to provide customer support to the general public). However, there are are two CableCARD-compatible DVRs, currently available for sale in the United States: The TiVo HD DVR, and the Moxi HD DVR.

The TiVo HD DVR is available two ways: You can buy one for about $250 and then pay about $12 per month extra for service on it, or you can purchase it for about $550, and service is included for its lifetime.

The Moxi HD DVR is only available one way. It costs about $700, and service is included for its lifetime.

In each case, you'll need a CableCARD installed by the service provider, to activate it to receive the services that are part of your subscription. Comcast includes the price of the CableCARD in their digital packages.
 
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