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Comcast going completely digital Jan 1
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Poobah
Picture of Donna
posted
I read in the paper today that Comcast is going digital Jan 1, a year earlier than required. I don't want to buy a digital TV. I assume I will need to buy (or rent from comcast) a digital converter of some sort. One will be able to get a coupon worth $40 for one from the government starting Jan 1. If I got one of these could I put it right at where the cable comes in to the house, before it splits off to go to various rooms and use one for the whole house? Or would I have to get one for each TV? I actually only have one TV that I am using right now, but I used to have more than one.
 
Posts: 2269 | Location: Ann Arbor MI USA | Registered: October 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Bibo (Jim Nichols)
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My guess is they are eliminating their analog cable service (no cable box required) and only offering their digital service which requires their cable box or a cable card. At present you probably have digital cable. I have digital cable from comcast, have had it for years now and it works just fine on my Standard Def TVs.

The media is really confusing people with the digital switch. One of the local ABC stations here has started showing a commercial about "your TV will go dark come Feb. 2009 making it sound like you will not get any TV so you better act now! They also give the impression you need an HDTV which has nothing to do with digital TV. Digital TV can be standard & high def.
 
Posts: 2094 | Location: Grand Rapids, MI | Registered: June 10, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of Chuck Reti
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Donna:
I read in the paper today that Comcast is going digital Jan 1, a year earlier than required. I don't want to buy a digital TV. I assume I will need to buy (or rent from comcast) a digital converter of some sort. One will be able to get a coupon worth $40 for one from the government starting Jan 1. If I got one of these could I put it right at where the cable comes in to the house, before it splits off to go to various rooms and use one for the whole house? Or would I have to get one for each TV? I actually only have one TV that I am using right now, but I used to have more than one.


You DON"T have to buy a Digital TV, for Comcast nor OTA (over-the-air). There is so much mis- and dis- information on this, it's no wonder people are confused by it all.
Yes, Comcast is moving to digital distribution. Yes, you will need a converter box from Comcast. The converter has analog video and audio outputs, as well as the customary "channel 3" RF output to plug into your existing TV or VCR. Comcast Detroit earlier this year sent us an "offer" to switch out our analog box for digital for no additional charge for a year. However the "free" package did not include channels I already had on my analog plan. Waited a while, they called me a couple of times about it. I finally called them back and got them to switch me and keep my same channel tier. I suspect if you say "satellite" or AT&T, they might play Let's Make a Deal for you.
To watch different content on different sets in the house, yes, you'd need separate converter boxes. By the way, the Motorola box I have (which does not have HD or a DVR) is about the size of a paperback book. The full-featured boxes with HD, Pay services and DVR is larger, like a DVD player.
I suppose if you wanted to have more than one set all viewing the channel selected on the converter, you could split the signal output, rather than the input.

The $40 coupon from the US Gub'mint has nothing to do with cable TV, but everything to do with Over-The-Air broadcasting. OTA broadcast stations WILL switch their analog channels off on February 17, 2009. Here's a DTV Countdown Widget. You will need a set-top box, like the bare-bones cheapie, or a more featured unit, which will allow you to view digitally transmitted video on your existing set. All TV tramsmissions will be in digital form. Some of them will be High-Definition, many will be Standard Def like you're viewing now. DTV stations now on the air can transmit multiple program streams over a single channel. For instance, Detroit Public TV, now on Analog 56, which will shut off in 2009, presently operates digital service with an HD channel carrying PBS HD content, a channel that simulcasts the analog ch 56 programming, and a third PBS service, Create. Those with Digital sets or tuners can view these and the multiple streams offered by other stations.
Some info at the FCC's DTV Info site and Michigan Ass'n of Broadcasters Michigan DTV Guide

Regarding Comcast's switch, since Michigan and other states enacted laws overriding local franchise agreements, Comcast is free to move their PEG (Public Access, Educational and GOvernmant Access) channels to digital, in the "ghetto" of the upper 900 channels. This is happening even before their total switchover to all-digital distribution. Many local governments and school districts are livid about this, as those not switching their service to digital (for whatever reason) will not be able to view these services. Complain all you want, it's completely legal, and they're doing it. As they say, Follow the Money.
 
Posts: 1100 | Location: Detroit | Registered: June 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
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Donna - Don't have Comcast, but to share our experience: We purchased an LCD 37" TV a few months ago and get only OTA broadcasts. Believe me, the difference is stunning. AND there are more OTA broadcasts than just one per station. PBS-56 has 3 different programming schedules (except during pledge weeks), including a heavy emphasis on travelogues. (Ch 56, 56-1, 56-2, 56-3) Each channel has both analog & digital reception choices (e.g. 7 and 7-1). PLUS for some, a 3rd choice for 24/7 weather broadcasting for our area. One station (Ch 20 I think, not sure) has a 3rd choice which was sports events, tho not certain that's always the case.

In other words, digital/LCD gives you far more than analog TV's, even without cable or satellite. Only you can determine the cost factor for your budget, but in our case it was "plug & play" and lots of unexpected goodies.

Only problem: OTA digital seems to be more sensitive to weather interference. Ideal to have an outdoor antenna that can be rotated for best reception.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2070 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Donna
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Do you have an outdoor antenna? If not, what kind of indoor one do you use?
 
Posts: 2269 | Location: Ann Arbor MI USA | Registered: October 22, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Mary Jo Disler
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Donna - Sorry to be late with a reply - heavy week.
Yes, we have a rooftop antenna that can be rotated as necessary for best reception. It's probably almost 30 years old.

My husband called two different smaller local TV businesses to ask if we needed to update the antenna. They BOTH said that antennas haven't changed since the 50's or 60's. As long as it hasn't been damaged (bent, or?), it's virtually the same as any "new" one would be.

My hunch is that there may be a lot of competitive pricing this coming year, as lots of people consider getting a new TV with the digital broadcasting not far away. We'll see.
P.S.: Ours is a Viewsonic. Other brands may get stronger reviews, but we are VERY happy with ours. Paid about $800 after rebate.


"For what is age but youth's full bloom,
A riper, more transcendent youth" - Oliver Wendell Holmes
 
Posts: 2070 | Location: West Bloomfield MI USA | Registered: June 13, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Knight
Picture of Chris Doerner-McCary
AIM: Online Status For cemccary
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As Bibo said, Comcast et.al. gave the impression that you needed to go out and get the newest TV for the digital convergence.

THANKS CHUCK, Bibo and everyone on this thread. My mother will still be served with the current TV we bought her for Christmas a few years ago.

It's egregious on the part of the broadcast providers not to realize that their senior customers take years to master the remotes, boxes and have limited income only to imply a need into new technology without some handholding. I'm not surprised that it's mac group that's enabled me to placate mother's concerns about that very same article.

Mom's phrase about technology is "It's Spanish Village to Me?" Now she can remain an AMIGA with her TOSHIBA. GRACIAS Wink


*****
If one beholds the sublime in art - one can view Mac as an artform!
 
Posts: 141 | Location: Clinton Township, MI | Registered: June 24, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Master
Picture of Chuck Reti
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Mary Jo Disler:
My husband called two different smaller local TV businesses to ask if we needed to update the antenna. They BOTH said that antennas haven't changed since the 50's or 60's. As long as it hasn't been damaged (bent, or?), it's virtually the same as any "new" one would be.


Yeah. An antenna doesn't care whether a signal is analog or digital, so it's amusing seeing ads for special "Digital" TV antennas. If you do have an older outdoor antenna, it would, however be good to inspect the connection point where the feed line attaches to the antenna, and even replace the feed line. This is usually 300 Ohm twin lead or 75 Ohm Coax. Performance of these are affected by age and the elements. If you can replace the feed line without putting yourself in harm's way, do it.
 
Posts: 1100 | Location: Detroit | Registered: June 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Knight
Picture of chris.fx
AIM: Online Status For ChrisMehling123
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I have Comcast analog cable TV and Internet. They haven't said ANYTHING to me about my service ending.


It's bad luck to be superstitious.
 
Posts: 214 | Registered: December 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Poobah
Picture of Bibo (Jim Nichols)
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Here's the overhype our local ABC affiliate has on their webpage. WE BETTER HURRY THERE'S LESS THAN 425 DAYS LEFT!!! Wink

 
Posts: 2094 | Location: Grand Rapids, MI | Registered: June 10, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post



Jedi Master
Picture of Chuck Reti
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Bibo:
Here's the overhype our local ABC affiliate has on their webpage. WE BETTER HURRY THERE'S LESS THAN 425 DAYS LEFT!!! Wink

Well, that really isn't overhype, at least not yet. The analog shutoff was supposed to happen some time ago, but got pushed back a few times. The Feb 17 2009 date is going to stick. Nonetheless, come that fateful February date, regardless of how many "countdowns" and other notices and warnings are made, there will still be a hue and cry from those who suddenly won't see any pictures on their off-air sets, and claim they Didn't Know Anything About It.
The real overhype is going to come from BestBuy, RadioShack, ABC Warehouse and the like, who will tell you to buy things for Digital TV that you won't need (more than they do now Smile ) Comcast and the other cable ops will be in on it too, though their individual conversions to digital distribution has nothing to do with the over-the-air broadcast switch.
 
Posts: 1100 | Location: Detroit | Registered: June 11, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Jedi Knight
Picture of chris.fx
AIM: Online Status For ChrisMehling123
posted Hide Post
I live in Oakland county. I hope we get the "FREE" wireless in my area soon. I want to ditch Stoogecast ASAP. Sadly WOW is not available in my area.
Does anyone have Apple TV? How do you like it?


It's bad luck to be superstitious.
 
Posts: 214 | Registered: December 18, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Guru
Picture of Jack Beckman
AIM: Online Status For jcbeckman@mac.com
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The "free" wireless is pretty much a joke. The speed is very slow. It's fine for checking email and web browsing (if you don't want to watch video).

Apple TV? It's ok. Not sure I can really recommend it though. It's just not all that great.


===
Professor Hubert Farnsworth: “Nothing is impossible. Not if you can imagine it. That’s what being a scientist is all about.”
Cubert J. Farnsworth: “No, that’s what being a magical elf is all about.”

 
Posts: 5470 | Location: Sterling Heights, Mi | Registered: January 25, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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