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Comcast digital adapters and boxes

Last response: in Home Theatre
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October 27, 2012 10:10:50 AM

I have comcast digital economy service with one converter box that receives the channels I'm suppose to receive. Second tv has digital adapter that I switched over to from the converter box because I was being charged $10 for "additional outlet" but I only receive Limited Basic on that tv. I'm confused about the equipment needed and things I read about being eligible for an extra converter box for no charge. The digital migration was completed here in NH sometime in Aug. Sept. 2012 and this is where I started questioning the $10 charge. Comcast makes it so confusing. Any and all help would be appreciated in Simple Terms.
Thanks
a b x TV
October 27, 2012 3:36:54 PM

You have two different devices which are capable of two different tasks.

1) The Digital Tuner Set Top box. This is the device you call the "converter box" in your post. This device acts as both a TV Tuner (allowing you to change channels via this device) as well as a decryption device (allowing you to view the encrypted channels included in your Digital Economy Subscription). This device may also come with Digital Video Recording (DVR) capabilities.

These devices are normally first one free and additional devices for a cost. In your case, apparently, $10 each.

2) The Digital to Analog (DTA) converter box. This is the device that normally allows you to connect a digital cable signal to an older analog TV. It does not do any decryption, so it's incapable of tuning in the encrypted channels of your Digital Economy subscription.

As I recall, the government mandate stated that cable companies must provide up to two of these devices at no cost to each subscriber. Each device after the first two, you were charged for.

The problem is your cable subscription. The government mandate only applies to Basic Cable subscriptions. Households that subscribed to cable, but did not require any additional hardware from the cable company before the digital transition, must not be charged for additional hardware from the cable company after the digital transition (up to two boxes).

Your cable subscription requires additional hardware from Comcast (to decode encrypted channels) so while you can (and apparently have) the "extra converter box at no charge", it does not do the decryption of your encrypted channels and only tunes in the basic cable channels.

In order for you to tune in all the channels you subscribe to on all TVs, all TVs must be connected using a Digital Tuner Set Top Box. As you've already seen, the first one is free, any additional ones are $10 each.

-Wolf sends
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October 27, 2012 6:42:45 PM

Thanks for answering most of my questions. That was easy to understand. I am still a little vague about them having to supply equipment. I didn't explain my original set up. I had Digital Economy and 2 tvs both with "converter boxes". When the digital migration happened I thought I could get a "digital adapter" on one tv and still get all my Digital Economy channels on both. Then I was told I would only get basic service with the adapter. So I was paying $9.95 a month for an "additional digital outlet" which I really was paying for the "converter box"? The information they were sending me before the migration was completed here in Aug. 2012 in NH was extremely confusing. So I guess my question is that they were in the right when they charged me $9.95 a month?? Thanks alot
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a b x TV
October 27, 2012 8:51:08 PM

Yes, unfortunately, Comcast was in the right by charging you $9.95 for the second set top box that is capable of tuning in all of the channels in your Digital Economy package.

Based on how you're describing the devices, the "converter boxes" are able to tune the encrypted channels. The "digital adapter" just converts the digital signal to analog for older TVs.

-Wolf sends
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October 28, 2012 12:50:01 PM

I can't thank you enough for explaining that simply. Comcast needs to do the same. They kept sending flyers with all the information scattered. I have been trying to get answers for a while.

One of the other reasons I was confused was because they list in the flyer with all their services/equipment prices options that confuse me.
**Limited Basic Only Converter .60
**Digital Converter 2.15
**monthly charges??

I know this is probably simple and straight forward charges but why do they even have the monthly charges if you have to pay the 9.95 and this isn't for adapters, it is for the converters or top box.

Can I buy my own converter and what would the charges be? Will a digital ready TV require a converter?

Thanks so much!
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a b x TV
October 28, 2012 10:02:43 PM

To be honest, even I don't fully understand the way Comcast bills for services when it gets down to service fees, licensing fees, and how they tie into their monthly charges.

Unfortunately, I do not think its wise to purchase your own converter as once it's installed, it still need to be activated by Comcast. If the converter you purchase does not meet Comcast specifications, they can simply refuse to activate it, thus leaving you with an expensive paper weight. I would also note that any Comcast box you see for sale on E-Bay or any other auction site is considered stolen material by Comcast. Not only will they refuse to activate the box, they will require that you turn the box in without compensation.

In theory, you should be able to contact Comcast technical support and find out what specifications are required and then purchase a legitimate set top box that meets those requirements, but actually finding a technician capable for delivering that information may be rather difficult.

A digital ready HDTV will act just the same as an old style analog TV, but it no longer requires the digital to analog converter. A new HDTV will not be able to decrypt the encrypted channels of your Digital Economy subscription. You'd still only be able to get your local channels, plus a few more like TBS, TNT, WGN, etc... (whatever channels Comcast in your area sends unencrypted).

I will say this. There is an alternative solution, but it comes with a high front-end cost. It would probably take a few years to recoup it, but I've been VERY happy with the results.

Ceton InfiniTV4

Watch the video and if it interests you, just ask, I can give you the low-down on it. I've been using mine for over a year.

-Wolf sends
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October 30, 2012 6:10:03 PM

Hi again. I would definitely get a converter that meets with their specs, laws, policies, etc.

I did look at the basic info for Ceton InfiniTV4..I don't have the requirements or the finances for it but thanks for the info.

Do you by any chance know anything about repairing tvs?
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a b x TV
October 30, 2012 8:51:41 PM

Quote:
Hi again. I would definitely get a converter that meets with their specs, laws, policies, etc.


That still doesn't guarantee that Comcast will activate it.

Quote:
Do you by any chance know anything about repairing tvs?


Sorry, but I do not. I wish I did. I have a dead 27" monitor that I wish I could still use.

-Wolf sends
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October 31, 2012 10:47:00 AM

Thank you so much for all your help! Now I will know who to go to for comcast help.
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October 31, 2012 4:11:58 PM

Hi it's gammylynn again... I wanted some info about hooking up an old tv to an rf modulator.

If the one I have now goes down completely I would at least like to receive local channel or basic service on this old black & white.

I need to know how to set up the tv with a 300 ohm antenna input on the back of the tv with the 2 screws. Can I connect it to the digital adapter? Or directly into the cable line? I use to know how to do this but I'm a little rusty. I can't use a vcr or dvd player since I don't have an extra one.

Any help as you know would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks
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a b x TV
October 31, 2012 7:04:02 PM

I'm more than just a bit rusty when it comes to that stuff. My Comcast knowledge comes from having dealt with them on a number of issues (cable modem died and then my Ceton InfiniTV4 card).

I did find this how-to on the subject. You will still need to use the digital adapter, but also a Twin-Lead to Coaxial Adapter like this:



or this



-Wolf sends
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November 16, 2012 1:25:51 PM

gammylynn said:
I can't thank you enough for explaining that simply. Comcast needs to do the same. They kept sending flyers with all the information scattered. I have been trying to get answers for a while.

One of the other reasons I was confused was because they list in the flyer with all their services/equipment prices options that confuse me.
**Limited Basic Only Converter .60
**Digital Converter 2.15
**monthly charges??

I know this is probably simple and straight forward charges but why do they even have the monthly charges if you have to pay the 9.95 and this isn't for adapters, it is for the converters or top box.

Can I buy my own converter and what would the charges be? Will a digital ready TV require a converter?

Thanks so much!


YES you can buy your own box to avoid the monthly fee of a set top box from comcast. Only thing is when you buy your own converter you are "supposed" to tell comcast (BUT DON'T) that you have it and they in turn tell you no that it is illegal and that you must disconnect it from their line, but as along as you don't get caught with it connected it's not illegal, I work for a "cable" company (not naming names) but if you hook up your own box there is absolutely no way they can detect the illegal converter UNLESS they come into the house and physically see the box hooked up to your T.V.

So lets say for example you are having a problem with your cable , b4 you let the cable guy into your home be sure to disconnect the illegal converter and hide it (in another room out of site) so he can't see it and let them in to do the work needed to be done, then you're safe. But on the down side , if the illegal converter is giving you a problem then you either have to buy a new one (which means your SOL for that money) or have it sent out for repairs (NOT through comcast though) ,
thats the best and simplest way i can explain it to you. good luck and remember there is NO WAY they can see if you have an illegal converter hooked up unless the come into your house!!!!
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November 16, 2012 2:16:29 PM

well, cableguy1970 thank you so much for tip...a question...where could I buy a converter box? with a reputable company?...thanks
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