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 Post subject: Nice call from Comcast
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:42 pm 
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I got a nice call from someone at Comcast.
(I've been clean-and-sober for a while now, so it was not an hallucination.)

Several months ago I filed a complaint with the FCC. The gist of the complaint is about the constant message "You must get a cable box to receive ANY digital content (SD or HD)" My mom, mother-in-law, neighbors and myself, and even a poster or two on this forum have been given that message. The Comcast & Verizon reps have no notion of what's available in the clear, and many believe nothing is, and are clearly trained to dodge the question when asked.

When I wrote to the FCC I was really just venting my spleen after yet another rep knocked on my door during dinner and couldn't answer the simple question, "What's available to a clear QAM tuner?" I said the FCC should require providers to clearly list what's available in the clear versus encrypted, so consumers who want to avoid cable boxes can make informed decisions. The "a box is required for everything" line is basically deceptive marketing.

Last week I got a letter from the FCC saying "they were investigating." My answering thought was, "No you're just wasting postage." But then this afternoon, I got a call from Comcast asking me to elaborate on the complaint. Clearly the FCC had forwarded my complaint on. We had a brief discussion, I clarified a few points. I really drove home that I do not want converter boxes or a Comcast DVR. The person I spoke to actually said "I agree with what you're saying; I'll have to get with the marketing folks on this." She even gave me a "Yea we should make those tools available" when I asked for a published clear-QAM lineup. She was very friendly, and seemed to be genuine. I have hope progress can be made here.

Now friends, I'm just a cranky bastard. One guy is easy to ignore; but it seems at least one pair of ears is listening. If there are any other cranky bastards reading this, keep the pressure on. File your own letter saying that withholding published clear-QAM listings, and not indicating which channels are in the clear on their marketing literature is deceptive advertising.

Sure, it's not a Linux-enabled CableCard tuner but If you could tell Comcast had 15 clear channels, and Verizon had 10 clear channels then it would be a start. If people knew who had more channels available in the clear it could become a selling point; who knows we may eventually get useful Digital Basic Cable... OK, maybe not, but what could it hurt? Cranky Bastards Unite!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:45 am 
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CBU! CBU! CBU! :D


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:36 pm 
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C[O]BU!!! ;-)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:44 pm 
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Location: California
I also had a call w/ Comcast. It appears that have changed their position on analog -- not a big surprise. When I talked to them last year, they said they would continue to provide analog channels for the next few years. I just received a letter from them -- they will continue to provide the basic analog channels (2 - 32), but after sometime in early March they will be discontinuing the analog extended basic channels (channels 33+). This includes Sci-Fi, Lifetime, A&E, Bravo, Turner, WGN and others. The digital form of these channels are all encrypted. Sigh...

They said they will send me a firewire-enabled tuner box for no extra fee, so my plan is to feed the analog out of that firewire enabled box to the s-video input of my PVR-250, using the firewire connect to do the channel changing. I could also capture the digital signal over firewire, but the problem with that is some stations activate the CCI flag, which cuts off the digital stream...

Marc

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:07 am 
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Comcast is dropping the analog channels (except 2-32) here in Atlanta too. But, before they do that, the un-encrypted the digital channels 33-76! They also offer 2 free STBs (with no additional outlet fee) for channels 2-76, in case you don't have a QAM tuner on a couple of TVs. So the analog->digital conversion looks like a win-win for both Comcast and its customers...

Now I'm sure that Comcast isn't doing this just to improve service. I'll give the credit to all you cranky bastards out there :)

Chris


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:14 am 
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Location: California
So far they have not un-encrypted 34 - 76 out here (33 wasn't encrypted here) and one of their reps told me that they defintely would not be doing that. Given what you're seeing in Atlanta, I'll give them another call to see if enough calls helps them to change their minds.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:05 pm 
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So when the analog signals go away, what will I have to do to my MythBox to be able to record from Comcast digital boxes? Will I need new tuner(s) to replace the PVR-250s I have? Or is it something else?

Thanks!

mkaz from Atlanta


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 10:29 am 
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Location: Easton, PA
mkaz wrote:
So when the analog signals go away, what will I have to do to my MythBox to be able to record from Comcast digital boxes? Will I need new tuner(s) to replace the PVR-250s I have? Or is it something else?

PVR-*50 cards will work fine. Instead of coming directly from your co-ax connection you'll use either co-ax out or composite out from your cable box. You'll just need a change-channel script & blaster to control your cable box.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:20 am 
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Posts: 88
hackmeister wrote:
mkaz wrote:
So when the analog signals go away, what will I have to do to my MythBox to be able to record from Comcast digital boxes? Will I need new tuner(s) to replace the PVR-250s I have? Or is it something else?

PVR-*50 cards will work fine. Instead of coming directly from your co-ax connection you'll use either co-ax out or composite out from your cable box. You'll just need a change-channel script & blaster to control your cable box.


EDIT: Just realized I helped Hijack this thread, sorry :oops:

And extra boxes for each tuner if you want to record more than one thing during the same time.

So, if you had two PVR-250's and wanted to record 2 shows at the same time AND watch a 3rd show on your TV you will need 3 cable boxes and two IR blasters.

It is about the only option. That's a lot of gear sitting around your home entertainment system if you have your Myth box setup as a combined fontend/backend like most people. It almost makes me want to get a dedicated backend so I can put all the stuff in a closet somewhere and keep my TV room looking like A TV ROOM and not a video production area. (I hope you can tell I'm in the same boat with PVR-250's and don't like too much change when it comes to the TV signal).

My 2C's


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:13 pm 
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marc.aronson wrote:
So far they have not un-encrypted 34 - 76 out here (33 wasn't encrypted here) and one of their reps told me that they defintely would not be doing that. Given what you're seeing in Atlanta, I'll give them another call to see if enough calls helps them to change their minds.

Subsequent to my original post the expanded basic channels were unencrypted in my area. I can confirm that they are "in the clear" in Cupertino and San Francisco area code 94118.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 8:35 am 
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marc.aronson wrote:
Subsequent to my original post the expanded basic channels were unencrypted in my area. I can confirm that they are "in the clear" in Cupertino and San Francisco area code 94118.

Does this include "HD" channels such as Discovery HD, A&D HD, Nat Geo HD, etc.? If so I might be tempted to actually get cable.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:57 pm 
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The analog feed for one of the public channels (WPBA-16) in Atlanta went away on Comcast after the switch to DTV. It has begun.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 8:38 am 
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I recently asked again for the Clear QAM Listings, and I got the most honest answer ever.

They do not make public listings of QAM available because they are not REQUIRED to do so.

My cynicism has been restored. Again, this will never change unless the FCC is flooded with complaints from people demanding this. (and even then maybe not...)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:52 am 
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Location: California
jmckeown2 wrote:
I recently asked again for the Clear QAM Listings, and I got the most honest answer ever.

They do not make public listings of QAM available because they are not REQUIRED to do so.

My cynicism has been restored. Again, this will never change unless the FCC is flooded with complaints from people demanding this. (and even then maybe not...)


"dlou99" on avsforum wrote a programthat will create the map for you automatically based on a data feed that is automatically provided by the Comcast headend for your connection. I found it very helpful. It is worth reading some of this other postings on that very long thread.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:50 pm 
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Posts: 20
marc.aronson wrote:
marc.aronson wrote:
So far they have not un-encrypted 34 - 76 out here (33 wasn't encrypted here) and one of their reps told me that they defintely would not be doing that. Given what you're seeing in Atlanta, I'll give them another call to see if enough calls helps them to change their minds.

Subsequent to my original post the expanded basic channels were unencrypted in my area. I can confirm that they are "in the clear" in Cupertino and San Francisco area code 94118.


Glad to hear that.

From what I've read, the DTA box that they are giving us free (well 2 anyway) cannot decrypt the signal. So they have to un-encrypt it. I'm guessing that this cuts costs for them...

A QAM tuner and multi-rec is really nice now. Quality is better than my old PVR tuner and I can occasionally record multiple shows with a single tuner!

Chris


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