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Comcast pulls 1080i Free QAM channels

Last response: in Home Theatre
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February 9, 2010 4:35:26 AM

Over Superbowl weekend, I noticed that Comcast pulled the plug on 1080i digital broadcasts from their free QAM selection. I'm on the basic TV plan from them (roughly $20 a month). We used to get about 60 unencrypted QAM channels. But now I dont even get my local primetime shows in 1080i. NBC/CBS/ABC all come in at 480i. Is that happening with anyone else? Have you rented an HD box from them instead? That's what overseas Comcast tech support told me to do.

So annoyed, that I'm thinking about switching back to OTA.

February 9, 2010 8:18:03 AM

A couple weeks ago, Comcast sent out a notice to subscribers stating that you would need to order digital adapters for all TVs in your home if not hooked up to a digital set top box or cablecard. Comcast will provide each customer with up to two digital adapters at no extra charge. For me (in my area), I'd lose channels 27-70, 104, 127, 246, 247, 249, and 291 (don't know what those channels are, but supposedly, I get them) unless I order a digital adapter.

Note: Digital Adapters are NOT set top boxes.

Perhaps this is what happened in your case.

-Wolf sends For
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February 11, 2010 6:46:06 PM

I remember the Comcast rep at the Best Buy I work at talking to be about that when I brought up how I plan on adding a TV duel tuner card to my computer. She was saying you need a digital cable box and will not be able to just go strait into the TV from the wall.
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February 11, 2010 11:05:12 PM

Well, you CAN go straight from the wall to the TV Tuner card, but you won't get any of the encrypted channels (varies from location to location). Checking now, I still get FX (64), TBS (65) and TNT (66), which I expect to lose when Comcast finally makes this change. I never got channels like the Science Channel without a set-top box, though.

-Wolf sends
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May 31, 2010 2:42:52 AM

I have Comcast Extended Basic coverage. My connection is straight from the wall to my TV (Sony TV with a Digital Tuner and QAM tuner) - No Cable box, No CableCard, NO Digital Adapter Box) 3 months ago I was able to view all Extended Channels in HD or SDTV on my TV - I was even able to receive the SYFI channel in HD. In the past three months (March 2010 to May 2010) I have lost reception to ALL Extended Basic QAM Channels - I still can Receive DIGITAL versions of the Local Channels.

I know you can get an adapter box, cable box or CableCard - at a monthly fee - but COMCAST charges way to much as it is - and now they are FORCING you to use their adapter box to get the rental fee - previously QAM Clear channels have now been encrypted.

Comcast is playing a game here – and I don’t go for it. I will attach a Box to my TV – it won’t be a Comcast one – how about a Set Top Box with HULU and NETFLIX – that would cost you less than 20 bucks a month …

Anybody else got other ideas – are there any Digital Adapters (Not boxes) – or Newer TV’s that can get around Comcast Blocking QAM channels that you pay for??

Joe - jgap@pacbell.net
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May 31, 2010 3:24:51 AM

Quote:
I know you can get an adapter box, cable box or CableCard - at a monthly fee - but COMCAST charges way to much as it is - and now they are FORCING you to use their adapter box to get the rental fee - previously QAM Clear channels have now been encrypted.


Might want to check your info on the Digital Adapter box from Comcast. I have a letter here (second one they sent to me) which clearly states that I can get two digital adapters at no cost. Any additional adapters and I'd be charged $2.49/month.

-Wolf sends
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May 31, 2010 3:45:26 AM

Wolfshadw said:
Quote:
I know you can get an adapter box, cable box or CableCard - at a monthly fee - but COMCAST charges way to much as it is - and now they are FORCING you to use their adapter box to get the rental fee - previously QAM Clear channels have now been encrypted.


Might want to check your info on the Digital Adapter box from Comcast. I have a letter here (second one they sent to me) which clearly states that I can get two digital adapters at no cost. Any additional adapters and I'd be charged $2.49/month.

-Wolf sends


I have been to their office - the box is free in the sense you don’t have to purchase it - like their DVR is Free - you don’t have to purchase it either - but I was told at their office there would be a rental fee for the Adapter Box - and that it would not receive everything unless you also had a Digital Comcast Receiver Box - which also had rental fee..

So I have been there (Comcast office) - picked up an Adapter Box - but then told of rental fee - so I gave it back... I am strongly leaning towards a strong HDTV antenna along with HULU and NETFLIX to replace Comcast

The QAM Clear channels have been out there for years and TV's with Digital Tuners/QAM Tuners could receive them - it is very clear Comcast is cutting any loose ends by encrypting previously CLEAR QAM Channels to up their profits...

Joe -- jgap@pacbell.net
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May 31, 2010 4:23:04 PM

I don't know what to say, Joe. A direct quote from the letter I received:

Quote:
You can receive up to two digital adapters at no additional monthly service charge.


To me, that means no fee for the adapter box. Maybe this is just a local offer and different Comcast locales have different offers. Maybe it's semantics in that Comcast does not consider a "rental fee" as a "service charge". I don't know.

-Wolf sends
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May 31, 2010 9:51:29 PM

I think it is semantics - you get a service charge for the cable packages you select - you dont get a service charge for any box they offer (receiver, adapter, dvr) - those you get a rental fee

Joe
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June 1, 2010 12:37:03 AM

Here is an Link (2009) to an article on Comcast switching to Digital

http://www.ajc.com/news/comcast-complaints-grow-121649....

Below is a snipet from the article

The Comcast Digital switch ........
......
......

What’s involved in the change? For customers who do not have a digital box, Comcast will provide a free digital box and two free digital adapters to customers who do not have a digital box. Customers with a digital box can get two free adapters. To maintain service on additional TVs, customers must pay an extra $5.99 a month for a digital box or an extra $1.99 a month for each adapter. The adapters, which look like a small cable box, allow access to channels 2 to 78. The digital box gives customers access to those channels as well as On Demand, music channels and special features. The boxes come with new remote controls.


Joe
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June 1, 2010 1:24:29 PM

Even that sounds questionable. Where it says, "To maintain service on additional TVs...", is that to mean above and beyond the first two? Anyway, you did get it straight from the horse's mouth when you went to the Comcast office. I still think something isn't right, but whatever.

-Wolf sends
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June 3, 2010 12:33:25 PM

IS THERE A WAY TO BUY THE ADAPTER
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June 3, 2010 12:36:53 PM

I HAVE 6 TV ALL DIGITAL AND I'VE LOST ALOT OF MY CHAN. AND WOULD LIKE TO BUY NOT RENT I GIVE COMCAST TOO MUCH MONEY ALREADY I'VE NEVER HAD ANY KIND OF BOX FROM THEM I GET IT FROM THE WALL NOW THEY SAY I NEED A ADAPTER
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June 3, 2010 12:39:31 PM

IS THERE A WAY TO GET QAM CHAN. WITH OUT A SERVICE PROVIDER I'M NEW TO THIS AND WHAT CHANS. WOULD I GET
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June 3, 2010 1:30:12 PM

First off, please do not use all caps. It would be appreciated.

You should not purchase an adapter as it needs to be activated by Comcast. There's probably a bit of firmware installed in Comcast's adapters that identifies itself as one of theirs. Without that identification, Comcast will refuse to activate the box and you've just wasted your money. If you want all the channels you used to get from Comcast, you will need the digital adapters.

Without Comcast (and their adapters), you will be limited to only the local channels being broadcast. To find out what channels are available in your area, go to Antenna Web. Click on the Choose an Antenna button. Enter your zip code and information about your home and click submit. Follow the instructions on centering the map on your home's address and click the continue button. This will list the digital broadcasts available in your area. These will be the only channels you can get without Comcast.

-Wolf sends
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June 3, 2010 10:06:10 PM

Thanks that was very helpful and I'll go easy on the caps
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June 8, 2010 5:29:21 AM

This is bull. I am in the same boat. I'm on limited basic and I was able to get local digital HD channels straight from the wall to my TV which has a QAM reciever built in. Now I cant. So I called up Customter Service and they were telling me their basic plan only covers channels 2-31 locally here. But thats all in SD without any of the local digital broadcasts.

I thought there was some kind of mandate from the FCC that cable operators couldn't block local HD channels. This just about sounds like a violation of that. Can anyone confirm this?

Its not really a big deal since I cancelled all the other cable services last year to bump up my internet speed to their Ultra tier. I can watch most of my movies and TV shows streaming HD on Netflix/Xbox live.

But it irritates me when Comcast pulls a stunt like this almost without notice or warning.
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July 19, 2010 8:45:47 AM

I have Comcast Cable and currently live in San Jose, CA. I just moved from Mountain View, CA and in both locations I had Comcast with similar channels but some higher channels come in on different stations now. I get all Local channels in 1080i depending on what they are feeding in. I get even discover and history channel although they don't come in at 1080i. I get a total of about 80 channels and really only watch 15 channels. I'm noticing slowly channels are disappearing, yesterday I lost the Sports channel that came in 1080i but not like I watch sports.
I'd rather pay $10 for basic Comcast cable over paying $100 in cable that isn't worth the price.
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August 1, 2010 12:32:13 AM

I have also lost recently most of the digital channels. I live in suburbs of Chicago, IL. I have been trying to "auto program" my HD TV but it gets stuck sometime at 10 analog and 7 digital channels. I know I had way too many channels. My TV is connected directly with wall connector.
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November 25, 2010 4:29:58 PM

I have lost a few of my local HD channels as well. I complained and was also told to get the "free adapter box". So my my home theater pc with QAM tuners is now worthless. I can no longer record my local HD channels.

I thought it was fcc law that they must provide the all the available local digital channels free and clear???

Sacramento CA
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December 2, 2010 10:54:12 PM

it is still true. They must provide Clear QAM for local channels. What I am finding is that I need to rescan every so often as they shuffle their QAM packet types or broadcast lineups. Good luck getting your HTPC to work!

So just to be clear, I am getting 1080i clear QAM channels now, and have been for many months since this original posting.

So the original problem seems to be fixed.
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December 3, 2010 6:01:28 PM

^ I have seen the exact same thing with Comcrash here in the Washington DC area. About once a month or so, have to rescan all the digital channels as Comcast moves them around, usually right before something in HD that I wanna watch :p  - the Lost finale, Superbowl, etc...
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December 14, 2010 3:50:16 PM

tzr916 said:
I have lost a few of my local HD channels as well. I complained and was also told to get the "free adapter box". So my my home theater pc with QAM tuners is now worthless. I can no longer record my local HD channels.

I thought it was fcc law that they must provide the all the available local digital channels free and clear???

Sacramento CA


I wonder if two 2-way coaxial splitters (combiners) would do the trick? Split the signal as it comes out of the wall and combine it again behind the digital adapter box. Tune the TV to channel 3/4 for the box or to any other channel, including clear QAM, using the direct to wall connection.

Juergen
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December 20, 2010 11:53:22 PM

BTW, what kind of TV Tuner cards are you using? Try checking with the manufacturer about getting ClearQAM broadcasts from Comcast.
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January 27, 2012 1:56:09 PM

I'm in Virginia and I agree with lesliesfbay. I have 3 QAM tuner TVs, all directly connected to the wall, and still receive all channels (HD & SD) without any adapters or digital boxes.

However, Comcast does change the channels occasionally, for whatever reason (maybe to see how many people call and complain so they can sell them something). Merely rescanning rectifies the issue. It is odd though they changed the channels this week, 10 days before the SB.
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February 6, 2012 4:58:55 AM

Best answer selected by lesliesfbay.
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February 6, 2012 11:40:14 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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