Possible to get HD channels w/ Comcast Limited Cable & Cablecard?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Brian-1337, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. Aug 19, 2007 #1 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    All,

    Just bought a TiVo HD today after deciding I can't live with the Comcast iGuide rollout in Seattle.

    Apologies if this question has been asked before (I did some searches but couldn't find an answer): Is it possible to get local HD channels (and the associated guide data) with just Limited Cable on Comcast?

    My Comcast Products & Services Price List from December 2006 says "Digital Local channels [are] available with Limited Cable Service and may require a separate set-top receiver". And under the description of what "Digital Local" means, it says "104 KOMO(ABC) IN HI-DEF, 105 KING(NBC) in HI-DEF," etc, up to channel 116.

    I only want what's on the local HD stations. And while I could get these stations via QAM, I understand that I'll need a Cablecard or two to get the guide data so my series manager will function correctly.

    One proposed strategy I heard: Get a digital package, get a Cablecard, and then downgrade to Limited Cable once the Cablecard is installed. However, I couldn't confirmation that this strategy works and/or that Comcast won't disable the Cablecard once downgraded.

    Of course, the appealing part of all this is that I'll only need to pay $12.55/month for cable service... :)

    Is anyone doing this? Does it work? Any confirmed strategies on how to do it?

    Thanks for any and all advice!

    -Brian
     
  2. Aug 19, 2007 #2 of 111
    dipdewdog

    dipdewdog New Member

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    It should work just fine. It's technically no different than renting a set top box and having limited basic cable. The HD locals are part of that package.

    If you have problems convincing them it's possible; try signing up for regular digital cable, then when everything is working, call and downgrade but tell them you want to keep your equipment.

    EDIT: Looks like I replied before I read the whole thing :) What you described (and I described above) should work fine, but I'd try and see if they'll just give you the cards with Limited Basic.
     
  3. Aug 19, 2007 #3 of 111
    Falkor

    Falkor Member

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    Can't say yes or no... but my own experience with getting Comcast in New England without CableCards installed...

    Local VHF channels 2-13 came through as expected. (e.g. I got channel 4 and 4.1, 5 and 5.1, etc.)

    Local UHF channels 14-69 came through a bit wonky. (Comcast has 56 as cable 11, but the HD version as 56.1)

    In addition, it dumped maybe 300 (yes three hundred) of available but blocked digital/hd channels. It plopped some extra PBS channels in almost random spots (like 73.10) So, you'll have a lot of digging and disabling of channels to do.

    Also... TiVo doesn't (or at least didn't for me) have program listings for these local HD channels as broacast without cablecard. (channel 4.1 always has "To be announced" while 4 is normal)

    Bottom line is you'll get some local programming, but it'll probably be much more effort than its worth.
     
  4. Aug 19, 2007 #4 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    To be clear, I am trying to do this WITH a cablecard. I understand that I won't have program listings / guide data without it.

    I'm trying to get Limited Cable with a Cablecard.

    -Brian
     
  5. Aug 19, 2007 #5 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Thanks, dipdewdog.

    Has anyone here actually DONE this, though? :)

    Also, note that this is "Limited Cable." "Basic Cable" is a larger package & price point.

    -Brian
     
  6. Aug 19, 2007 #6 of 111
    MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is that any channel that is broadcast over the air in your local area must be part of basic cable. This would include the HD OTA channels. I can also tell you that for a few weeks when I first got my cablecards, I was supposed to have gotten an HBO promotional package, tho I wasn't told as such, and I wasn't getting HBO or some other channels, but I was getting the OTA HD stuff. I'd say that, Yes, you will get them with just basic digital cable and cablecards.
     
  7. Aug 19, 2007 #7 of 111
    riddick21

    riddick21 New Member

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    I did this with cablevision and my s3. I dropped from their digital service to family basic. I save $10 a month by giving up 100 channels I didn't watch anyway but I still get all the same HD channels even ESPN.
     
  8. Aug 19, 2007 #8 of 111
    MickeS

    MickeS Active Member

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    To clarify: you do NOT need a "digital cable" package to receive the basic digital OTA channels via cable. Don't know if that's what you meant or not.
     
  9. Aug 19, 2007 #9 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    Thanks riddick. And you had Cablecard(s) too, right, to get the HD channel guide data?

    I'm still wondering whether anyone has done this with the combo of a) Comcast, and b) "Limited Cable" at $12.55/month, a package that is very limited (~29 channels total, not counting the HD versions of the locals). Not sure if the Cablevision package you mentioned was equivalent in price or quantity (ESPN certainly doesn't fall under "Limited" for Comcast).

    -Brian
     
  10. Aug 20, 2007 #10 of 111
    chg

    chg Member

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    I have been wondering this, also, as I have the limited package. I was going to look into it last week but had to go out of town. If you do a search for local HDTV on their website it states:

    HD programming from broadcast networks is available at no additional monthly charge (local equipment rental fees apply).

    I would assume that this would be allowed to be done, then for the cost of the cable card rentals. I plan on looking into it, but will not be able to for a couple more weeks. If you find out anything, please keep us posted.
     
  11. Aug 20, 2007 #11 of 111
    jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    A lot may depend on the authorization/accounting system used by your local cable company.

    You should be able to do this. I did it on my system early on with the Series 3, just to prove it could be done (the rep insisted I needed a minimum digital package; I disagreed). I went the route of "get the digital package, with the cards, get that working and then drop to basic" while keeping the cards.

    Another problem you may run into is that the HD tier may include HD versions of channels that are in the regular digital/regular cable tier, but are not in the basic/lifeline package (e.g. ESPN-HD). You are not supposed to be able to get the HD version of a channel without a package that includes the SD version.

    Getting someone that understands how to code things on your account might not be easy though.
     
  12. Aug 20, 2007 #12 of 111
    keenanSR

    keenanSR Well-Known Member

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    I have Comcast in the SF bay area with just Limited Basic and CableCARDS on a Series 3. Costs about $20 a month and I get all the local HD channels.
     
  13. Aug 20, 2007 #13 of 111
    ciper

    ciper Active Member

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    Do you get INHD?
     
  14. Aug 20, 2007 #14 of 111
    ericr74

    ericr74 Member

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    Broomfield,...
    How did you get that set up? Did you get the works and then downgrade? Or did you convince the cable gods that you're worthy? :) How much of your $20 is for the two cable cards? I'm interested in a similar set up.
     
  15. Aug 20, 2007 #15 of 111
    lickwid

    lickwid Member

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    SF Bay Area, CA
    I'm in the Bay Area, but my problem is that I get Comcast basic cable (80 channels + clear QAM) through my HOA management company, but would like to get the Guide Data for my HD channels. Wondering if I could just call them to rent me CableCards without having to upgrade to a digital package, which is what I've been told before when I called.
     
  16. Aug 20, 2007 #16 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    Sounds like it should work then...though I wonder if there are any differences between dropping to Limited versus dropping to Basic (since they need to install a filter on the line with Limited).

    And I'm not expecting to get HD versions of ESPN and other premium / encrypted digital channels. I'm just trying to get the locals (and they're the only ones advertised as being included with the Limited Cable).

    I'll try this out with Comcast tonight & tomorrow and post back with the results.
     
  17. Aug 20, 2007 #17 of 111
    Bruddah Chrispy

    Bruddah Chrispy New Member

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    Sep 27, 2004
    Sammamish, WA
    Aloha e Brian,

    When I installed my TiVo HD I was already on the 'Basic Cable' package here in Seattle. I picked up the CableCards at the Redmond Comcast office and installed them myself. I was immediately receiving the digital Limited package. It took an extra phone call to get the expanded channels turned back on, so I know it is at least possible to get the Limited Basic right out of the box.

    As a Mariners fan, I couldn't live without FSN, though. And it's not on the Limited Package.

    HTH
    Chris P.
     
  18. Aug 20, 2007 #18 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    That's more good news. Thanks Chris.

    I wasn't aware that the expanded channels were dependent on the CableCard, though; I had thought you'd get those as long as there's no filter on the line, since they aren't encrypted.

    (Doesn't really matter, though, since I'm not aiming to get those channels...as much as I'll miss Comedy Central. If I'm lucky, maybe Comcast will try to keep me on the Basic Cable package for only another $5/month. :))
     
  19. Aug 20, 2007 #19 of 111
    keenanSR

    keenanSR Well-Known Member

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    Santa Rosa CA
    No, INHD is in the Digital Classic package which would be another $10-12 on top of the Limited Basic price.
     
  20. Aug 20, 2007 #20 of 111
    keenanSR

    keenanSR Well-Known Member

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    Santa Rosa CA
    I just told them I wanted Limited Basic and that I had a S3 and needed 2 CCs. For the 2 CCs it costs $1.50, although I think it's gone to $1.79 recently, I haven't checked.

    Keep in mind, that even though Comcast is a national company, different regions and even different systems within those regions operate on a semi-autonomous basis meaning different areas can/will have different rates. What I pay here will not be the same as say Detroit for example.
     

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