Comcast DigitalNow

Comcast has not achieved even my low expectations.
We get “Limited Basic” cable, which means we get the local broadcast channels plus a couple of things like New England Cable News. After the conversion to broadcast Digital, Comcast was sending these channels in analog (SD) format, but also sending QAM unencrypted digital versions of them.  The local broadcast HD signals were also being delivered.  Since we have a modern TV with NTSC, QAM, and ATSC tuners, life was fairly pleasant.  Our old Replay TV works with the analog channels, and we can watch the digital or HD digital versions live.
Now, Comcast is completing their “digital conversion” and taking away the analog signals.  This is fine.  They are providing “Digital Transport Adapters” so you can convert the digital versions (SD) to analog on channel 3, for analog sets or our old ReplayTV.
However, they are (evidently) also taking away, or encrypting, the local broadcast HD channels!  The only way to continue to receive them is to get a Digital Set Top Box, for which they will charge an extra $10/month.
Hello!  The HD signals are broadcast and free.  The real effect of this will be for us to drop Comcast altogether in favor of over the air HD.  Our ReplayTV will stop working, but I have a nice HDHomeRun digital tuner, and I can assemble a (free) MythTV box to record things.  I had this working already, but converted that box for the kids to do gaming.  I can make another one.  And it will work for the internet streaming TV as well: Netflix, crackle, hulu, youtube, etc.
Comcast’s only value to me was convenience, and they are making it rather less convenient and rather more expensive.
The right thing to do is just to transcode the local broadcast signals from ATSC to QAM, and to leave them alone. No DTA, no extra box, no extra remote.

One thought on “Comcast DigitalNow”

  1. I read this and thought I would tell you about my experience with Comcast this week. I have an analog TV. I have been comcast’s customer since 1977. I have always paid every bill on time. In July of this year I received the first notice in my bill telling me that I have to attach a digital adapter. I ordered one, but did not connect it. I have Limited Basic service and all of us sudden Channel 16 went blank, so I decided to set up an appointment for the installation, but due to a medical problem had to cancel. When I called comcast they told me that my adapter would not work any longer since it was shipped to me more than 30 days ago and I received a new one. I installed it myself, even though it was great hardship for me since my left side is still handicapped from a stroke. I got it connected and called to have it activated. It was a disaster. The beautiful sharp picture I had on my TV turned fuzzy, green/blue and after 30 minutes I had a dial tone. The tech got tired and hung up. This was on Wednesday evening and after having many techs on the phone the last four days it has taken at least 8 hours of my time I still don’t get the Discovery Channel any more and I am not satisfied with the picture I get either. A service rep will be coming to the house on Monday noon time and I don’t know what he or she will be able to accomplish? Does anyone have any input for me? I am at the end of my rope. Why is comcast doing this to us? I am 69 years old and just want to watch the few programs that I have enjoyed for years? If they cannot get it right what can I do, besides getting a dish on top of the house which I honestly don’t want. I live in Concord, CA and I don’t think that I can get any TV with just an indoor antenna?
    Help, anyone out there. Comcast does not seem to have competent people working for them. Each of their reps on the phone had different excuses, or reasons for why I am not getting the old channels that they guaranteed in writing that would become sharper and crisper. Quite the opposite. The last one told me today that with their little adapter box I just would not get all my old channels any more.
    thanks for your help!

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