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Old 06-02-2012, 12:35 PM   #1
buscuitboy
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Exclamation Comcast now requiring equipment for ALL TV services

I JUST got an Xfinity/Comcast notice stating that as of June 26th for my area (Atlanta), Some sort of Comcast equipment will be needed for ALL television programming through them. Either a cable card, DTA or digital box will be needed. Even for the local basic package (ch2-30). Therefore, no more being able to at least get some local stuff with just a straight coaxial connection.

I was gonna use an older lifetime Series3 (w/ no cable cards & strait coax) to just record some local HD channels. Then MRV the shows to 2 different Premieres. Looks like that basic plan now won't be possible.

With this recent announcement & the outlandish cable card charges Comcast is pulling on customers, they are REALLY making it harder for me to stay with them. AT&T U-verse is finally available for my location. I've not looked into them cause TiVos don't work with U-verse (& I have two lifetime TiVos), but I may still have to seriously look into them. Then maybe sell my lifetime TiVos on ebay. That or maybe just go to a straight OTA antenna & Netflix with my TiVos.

While this doesn't really pertain to me right now, I just realize too that this move is really gonna screw over a lot of people who are on a budget, don't have a DVR of any kind & just want local HD channels on their HDTV. Now, it will require they either get an HD digital box from Comcast (about $15-20/month) or go to an OTA setup to watch even any kind of local HD programming.

Last edited by buscuitboy : 06-02-2012 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Yup. The FCC completely folded on the the requirement that OTA be retransmitted in the clear. Aside from eliminating CableCards I don't know what else cable companies could possibly ask for at this point?
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Old 06-02-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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We're also going digital this month and I was able to get two free DTAs shipped to my house by ordering online at comcast.com/digitalnow and I was able to pick up a multistream cable card at the local Comcast office to use on my TiVo HD with Comcast's Limited Basic package (basically channels up to 22). I had to pay a one-time $1.99 "Change of Service" fee, but was told there was no ongoing charge for the first cablecard you get from them. So far, so good...

Also, you should also be able to see and manually record the "in the clear" digital channels with your S3 even without a cable card, but you won't have any guide data.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:17 PM   #4
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Question

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Originally Posted by sbourgeo View Post
Also, you should also be able to see and manually record the "in the clear" digital channels with your S3 even without a cable card, but you won't have any guide data.
That's not how I understand it. I'm reading the letter they sent me that ALL Comcast channels will require something. I figured NOTHING would be available on my S3 without a cable card. No analog, no "in the clear", etc. Am I wrong here though?

At this point, I'll take anything. If I do indeed get "in the clear" channels on my Series 3 (with no guide data), would this basically be the HD channels? For my area, 2-1, 5-1, 11-1, etc. Just wondering.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:43 PM   #5
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Yeah, the letter I got wasn't terribly informative either. From the Comcast digital migration FAQ it says you will be able to receive the Limited Basic channel lineup on a tv with a digital QAM tuner just as you can now.
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:02 PM   #6
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Why doesn't u verse work with tivo, isn't it basically same thing as fios? I see a lot of people here using fios with tivo.
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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I have a feeling AT&T feels they can make more money with their own equipment and forcing customers to use it. For my area, each extra receiver/DVR is another $7/month. So, for my 4 TVs, it would be an extra $21/month (1st one is included) just to have the access to the programming. Verizon (FIOS) apparently doesn't feel the same way.

I think Uverse even uses coaxial cabling IN the home to get the signal distributed to their DVRs and receivers so its not like they are using a distribution method that is not useable with TiVos. Oh well.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:27 PM   #8
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Comcast is doing away with the analog channels to free up more bandwith for digital channels. My parents went thru this about a year ago. Comcast send them 3 converter boxes to use. However, I called Comcast about checking prices and found out that their basic setup was costing them $65 a month just for the 2 thru 99 channels. They suggested that my parents get the digital started package for the exact same price. However, that package also gave them on demand, 100 music cahnnels and a lot more channels such as TBS, Encore, Amc, etc. It was a no brainer to make the move. They love the music channels and watching all the old movies on TBS and AMC.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:30 PM   #9
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As has been mentioned, this sounds like they are getting rid of analog but if your HDTV has a QAM tuner in it, you can still scan for and get the local channels that way, without needing to get any more stuff from them.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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Why doesn't u verse work with tivo, isn't it basically same thing as fios? I see a lot of people here using fios with tivo.
FiOS converts the fiber optic signal to standard RF at the terminal (in other words, the terminal installed at the home makes their TV service work like standard cable.)
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:23 PM   #11
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Cablevision has petitioned the FCC to permit it to encrypt all (including broadcast basic) channels. I'm not sure if they FCC has ruled.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:56 PM   #12
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FiOS converts the fiber optic signal to standard RF at the terminal (in other words, the terminal installed at the home makes their TV service work like standard cable.)
Actually for the basic channels FIOS transmits QAM signals over fiber all the way to your house where its re-modulated on to coax. This is much the same way a regular cable company works except that the fiber terminates in the street and they use coax for the "last mile". U-Verse is IPTV the entire video stream is sent over a high speed internet connection. With U-Verse the connection between the individual set to boxes could be any networking protocol. MOCA is used because most houses already have coax installed, but CAT-5 cabling or WiFi could also be used.

I believe FIOS also uses IPTV for some channels such as Premium, PPV or on-demand.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:17 PM   #13
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Why doesn't u verse work with tivo, isn't it basically same thing as fios? I see a lot of people here using fios with tivo.
Technically, UVerse is nothing like FiOS. It's a multicast-based IPTV product using Microsoft Mediaroom with DSL for the last mile. No cable technology works with this -- the set tops are completely IPTV, in the european sense. This is impossible for TiVO to play with, because it's entirely Micro$oft.

FiOS basically is a cable plant with the head-end in your ONT. All the STBs are standard QAM, with VOD delivered over IP. This is very easy for TiVo to play with, since it's very standard Motorola/Cisco with cable cards and QAM tuners.

UVerse will probably never work with third-party equipment. FiOS will probably always work with it (even if they convert to MPEG4 and IP delivery down the road). Standards-based approach versus Proprietary approach.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:27 PM   #14
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:30 PM   #15
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Cablevision has petitioned the FCC to permit it to encrypt all (including broadcast basic) channels. I'm not sure if they FCC has ruled.
I believe they have and all that was required is that the cable CV had to provide equipment for free for a limited amount of time. Thereafter subscribers would have to pay.

Once one company does it there will be waivers for all.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:11 PM   #16
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.............

I believe FIOS also uses IPTV for some channels such as Premium, PPV or on-demand.
They don't use IPTV for premium channels since my TiVos can receive them all. I know they do for VOD, no idea about PPV though.
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Old 06-03-2012, 07:07 AM   #17
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That's not how I understand it. I'm reading the letter they sent me that ALL Comcast channels will require something. I figured NOTHING would be available on my S3 without a cable card. No analog, no "in the clear", etc. Am I wrong here though?

At this point, I'll take anything. If I do indeed get "in the clear" channels on my Series 3 (with no guide data), would this basically be the HD channels? For my area, 2-1, 5-1, 11-1, etc. Just wondering.
What they mean by something, is they mean a digital tuner. The letter is targeted for people who still watch the analog channels with a analog device.

Your tivo S3 will still be able to record the locals in the clear (both sd and HD and sub channels, some of which comcast might not even have on their cable lineup). But with out a cable card you will have no guide data, and there for you will need to set up a manual recording by channel number, time and duration. The clear channels will map with that networks OTA mapping. So for example, fox 25 from boston, on comcast in the clear is channel 25-1. You will also get the sd version, and they will be located where ever they are on the cable system. something like 83-23 for a channel location. Not all locals might pick up the channel mapping, so they may be in very random locations.


You will need to search for channels to find the ones in the clear. With comcast, the only channels in the clear are the locals, ppv previews and community access channels.


5 years ago when I was a senior in college, I did the same with my S3 because the universities contract with comcast didn't allow students to obtain equipment from the cable company or change the cable package.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:17 AM   #18
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As has been mentioned, this sounds like they are getting rid of analog but if your HDTV has a QAM tuner in it, you can still scan for and get the local channels that way, without needing to get any more stuff from them.
That is exactly what has happened in the ATL - no more analog channels but all of the locals are still in the clear on QAM in both SD and HD formats. I don't see a problem here, getting rid of the remaining analogs freed up a lot of bandwidth for other stuff. And they gave everyone who asked a couple of DTAs for free (I have them), so at least a couple of sets can still get SD if you want it.

The FCC ruling on whether they can encrypt the digital locals is still pending, I think.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:52 AM   #19
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In a related note this message was on my last bill:

"Important Account Information

Effective July 1, 2012, Comcast will charge $1.99 per month
for each new Digital Adapter Additional Outlet service
subscribed to on or after July 1, 2012 by customers with
Digital Economy, Family Tier, MultiLatino Extra, MultiLatino
Max, MyTV Choice, Digital Starter and above video services.
Pricing is subject to change."


I'm in the Seattle area. Looks like no free DTA's in the future for new outlets/service.
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Old 06-03-2012, 12:43 PM   #20
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In a related note this message was on my last bill:

"Important Account Information

Effective July 1, 2012, Comcast will charge $1.99 per month
for each new Digital Adapter Additional Outlet service
subscribed to on or after July 1, 2012 by customers with
Digital Economy, Family Tier, MultiLatino Extra, MultiLatino
Max, MyTV Choice, Digital Starter and above video services.
Pricing is subject to change."


I'm in the Seattle area. Looks like no free DTA's in the future for new outlets/service.
I knew the FCC mandate was expiring this year but I couldn't remember the date and have been unable to find it again. Guess it must be July 1.
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:11 PM   #21
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I wound up getting my TiVo Series 2 DT on a $99 lifetime offer a few months ago. I was then gonna stick it in the basement with a Comcast DTA and then maybe even split the coaxial line coming to it in order to keep some sort of dual tuner functionality.

Looks like no need with this recent announcement as any basic analog channels won't work with my S2 anyway. Therefore, I just hooked up a DTA to my S2 DT, went through the guided setup again and just made it a single tuner DVR. Thanks Comcast.

I guess if I want to get any more DTA boxes, I should do it before July 1st. Otherwise, the way I see it, it will be $1.99 per actual DTA box and a $1.99 outlet fee per box; making it essentially $4/month for each additional DTA. Does this sound about right?
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:29 PM   #22
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I guess if I want to get any more DTA boxes, I should do it before July 1st. Otherwise, the way I see it, it will be $1.99 per actual DTA box and a $1.99 outlet fee per box; making it essentially $4/month for each additional DTA. Does this sound about right?
No, the $1.99 should be for both the outlet and the DTA. They will just no longer be providing the 2 free ones mandated by the FCC. This makes it even more obvious that the $7.45/mo net they want to charge you for a CableCARDed TiVo is to enable the reception of all of the channels in your package.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:31 PM   #23
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Oh got ya. I have had my 2 free DTA boxes for some time now. I guess nothing now surprises me with Comcast and the reason I thought maybe all future DTAs would be about $4/month. Especially with all these nonsense "digital outlet" fees they have imposed for a simple cable card that should technically only be $1.50, but Comcast found a loophole around that one.

Do all the other big cable companies (TW, Charter, Cox, Bright House, Verizon, etc) pretty much charge a straight fee ($2-4) for cable cards without any of these "side" charges & nonsense fees?
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:12 PM   #24
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Oh got ya. I have had my 2 free DTA boxes for some time now. I guess nothing now surprises me with Comcast and the reason I thought maybe all future DTAs would be about $4/month. Especially with all these nonsense "digital outlet" fees they have imposed for a simple cable card that should technically only be $1.50, but Comcast found a loophole around that one.
Actually, if you go by what is on the Comcast website, there should be no CableCARD charge at all if you only have one in each device. And IMHO, Comcast only thinks it has found a loophole and is in fact in violation of the relevant FCC regulations. The problem is there doesn't seem to be any way to get them to stop. The FCC doesn't want to bother or treats it as a rate problem which is up to the LFA to deal and even if you could figure out who the LFA in the ATL is, they don't care either as long as they get their franchise fees.
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:13 PM   #25
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UVerse will probably never work with third-party equipment. FiOS will probably always work with it (even if they convert to MPEG4 and IP delivery down the road). Standards-based approach versus Proprietary approach.
Seems to me that we (as in all customers) should get the FCC to make them subject to the same third party equipment rules that caused CableCard to be devised in the first place... (and get the waiver revoked from the satellite companies too)
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:49 AM   #26
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That was what AllVid was all about - a standard gateway product that every provider would have to implement, using open protocols like DLNA/DTCP so anyone could roll their own DVR or STB or build it into a TV.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:50 AM   #27
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Do all the other big cable companies (TW, Charter, Cox, Bright House, Verizon, etc) pretty much charge a straight fee ($2-4) for cable cards without any of these "side" charges & nonsense fees?
Yep, just as the FCC intended.
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:27 AM   #28
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UVerse will probably never work with third-party equipment.

Can't you use an Xbox 360 as an stb for U-verse?
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Old 06-05-2012, 11:50 AM   #29
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You used to be able to, but they've taken away that option for now. Don't know when/if it will return.

http://www.att.com/u-verse/explore/x...id=E8_outnA6ep

We apologize, but the AT&T U-verse TV for Xbox 360 Hardware Kit is not currently available for ordering as we work to improve and enhance this functionality. Please check back regularly for availability and new features. Thanks!

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Old 06-05-2012, 01:04 PM   #30
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Can't you use an Xbox 360 as an stb for U-verse?
Yes, but they make it so expensive that its not worth it by forcing you to buy an expensive self-install kit and pay for professional installation when all you need [assuming you - like most people - already have your XBox hooked up to the interet and have a media center remote] is the CD image [of the software]. All that their "professional" installer does [according to others who've had it installed] is stick the CD in your XBox and read off the serial number to the folks at AT&T.
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