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My TV Finds Channels I Don't Pay For... WHY?

Tags:
  • Digital TV
  • TV
  • Tuner
  • Cable
  • Home Theatre
  • Product
Last response: in Home Theatre
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April 19, 2007 10:15:04 AM

Here's the setup:
TV: Sharp 37" LCD TV (LC-37D90U), has a built-in digital tuner.
Cable Service: Comcast "Basic" cable, no digital box/tuner.
Location: Medium density apartment complex (may be important info later...).

I have a TiVo box (which does not have a digital tuner), so I always use that to view my cable programming. For whatever reason, I decided last night that I would see what digital channels my TV's tuner could pick up. First, I let my TV do a channel search to get all of the available channels (in case any new ones had popped up since I bought the thing). On my TV, the digital channels usually appear in between normal channels. For instance channel 11 is CW (analog), but channel 11.1 is CW-HD (digital). Hey, cool, I didn't sign up for HD programming, but ok! Beyond my last channel number (99) my TV finds about a hundred or so digital channels. (100.1 - 119.53). Most of the channels display a blank screen, but there are a decent dozen or two that give me a message: "No Broadcast Now [E203]." This message is an error message generated by the TV itself, not the cable company.

Every now and then, those channels that tell me that there isn't a broadcast have something on them. Last night, I was able to find Slingblade on one channel, Stranger Than Fiction on another, and Platoon on the other. I did a quick search on my channel listings to see if those were playing on my "Basic" channels, and none showed up. When the movie ends, it goes back to the "No broadcast" message. So, I was getting some kind of access to movie channels possibly? The weirdness does not end there...

I continued browsing to see if anything else was on and inadvertently come across some kind of softcore porn channel, or so I thought. The actors had just finished what they were doing and were dressing. A few moments later the video sped up, as if someone had hit a fast-forward button. The video on the channel had fast-forwarded through a bunch of dialog and story, and resumed normal play when the actors began undressing again. A moment later, the video paused, and I got the "No broadcast" message again. It was like I was viewing the content of someone's OnDemand programming while they were watching it.

Now, as I mentioned, I don't have Comcast's digital box and I live in a medium-density apartment community. My only thought is that for whatever reason, because my TV has a digital tuner built-in, I am able to get signal from the OnDemand (or whatever) programming the other people in the nearby apartments are getting. Why would this be possible? Would it be due to the fact that a large number of us have a single central location where our coax cables join up in a Comcast box?

I don't know what is going on here. All I have is my own speculation, which I can't really rely on. While I can't argue having the occasional free movie, it would be nice to know why. Does anyone have any insight as to what is going on? Has anyone had any similar experiences? I am out of solid ideas, and if you can shine some light on the subject, it would be awesome! Thanks!

-JPFlash

More about : finds channels pay

July 13, 2008 7:14:18 PM

Your television likely has a QAM tuner built in. That's fairly common these days. QAM tuners are "digital cable ready" tuners, and cable providers often include some digital content--usually local programming--along with their analog signals.

That said, it sounds like your apartment community may have some wiring issues, or possibly your local Comcast office has some unconventional ideas about how to use their QAM broadcast space.
Anonymous
January 28, 2010 6:29:22 PM

I have analog service and pick up random digital channels if I use the add channel auto feature.
It adds all the analog channels of course and takes forever to pick up a few digital channels.
BUT the digital channels are like the original posts describes. It is like someone is paying for these movies or getting them on demand....and if they change the channel or fast forward ...or whatever.... the programming will act accordingly.

STILL does nobody have thoughts on this? (besides the qam being misused comment)
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February 9, 2010 7:11:56 AM

My guess would be that pay-per-view or on demand style programming is being broadcast on unencrypted QAM channels. It happened to my uncle when he got a brand new HD tv a few years ago. He is a notorious channel surfer and found those channels. He would joke that it sucked when the person who ordered the program would FF or Rewind, or even stop the show he was "co-watching."

I would note what channels are getting the movies and just check on them from time to time. Myself, I barely have heo patience to note what channels are assigned where on the QAM band.

Anyways, enjoy! In a few weeks or months, the cable provider could reassign QAM channels/bandwidth and you're hosed.
Anonymous
April 29, 2010 7:37:54 PM

I also was enjoying all these frree HD channels, but not anymore. Since april7 or so, everything is gone, just basic which is of no use.. I also have comcast and Aquos 37 1080p sharp LCD. any idea how I can get that back?
a b x TV
April 30, 2010 6:09:16 PM

Quote:
I also was enjoying all these frree HD channels, but not anymore. Since april7 or so, everything is gone, just basic which is of no use.. I also have comcast and Aquos 37 1080p sharp LCD. any idea how I can get that back?


Did you try rescanning for the digital channels? Comcrash is famous for periodically moving their digital channel lineup around, usually right before some important TV episode or maybe the Superbowl :p . I have 3 HDTVs and have to go through the 30-minute scan about every 2-3 months, it seems..
May 1, 2010 4:43:55 PM

I live in the San Francisco Bay area and I had all the DTV channels as well until two days ago. I did a rescan and many channels are missing and are not available anymore. My 6 months old daughter watches Sprout TV on channel 92-1 out here, it is gone.
Any body able to get channels back or what event is happening today.
May 5, 2010 7:16:55 PM

I live in the flint mi. area and purchased my digital TV around January. I to was paying for basic cable (channels 2-22 ) and receiving around 271 channels after doing a channel search on my television. Now however as a person above stated on or around April 7th all those extra channels are gone. All those channels now say scrambled on them. It appears that Comcast has finally completed its digital transition and now we're all left to paying those outrageous cable package prices. BOO..... :( 
Anonymous
June 26, 2010 5:28:11 AM

Quote:
I also was enjoying all these frree HD channels, but not anymore. Since april7 or so, everything is gone, just basic which is of no use.. I also have comcast and Aquos 37 1080p sharp LCD. any idea how I can get that back?


That happened to us too. Then I called comcast out of curiousity and found that we could get a digital box for our limited basic. Not only does it work well, but it only costs
about $5.00 more a month and we get what we used to
have with expanded basic. hope this helps.
Anonymous
June 26, 2010 6:45:24 AM

ejkiras said:
I live in the flint mi. area and purchased my digital TV around January. I to was paying for basic cable (channels 2-22 ) and receiving around 271 channels after doing a channel search on my television. Now however as a person above stated on or around April 7th all those extra channels are gone. All those channels now say scrambled on them. It appears that Comcast has finally completed its digital transition and now we're all left to paying those outrageous cable package prices. BOO..... :( 


Please read what I wrote to ananymous. You won't get
270 channels but you will get about 78.
!