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 23, 2007 #61 of 111
    wilrod

    wilrod New Member

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    Dec 24, 2006

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    Comcast tech showed up on time to put a filter on my cable line. I re-did the channel line up on my S3 and I'm getting all of the Limited Cable channels including the local HD network broadcasts. Guide data is also showing up for all of the channels:

    Code:
    2		Northwest Cable News		News & Info		
    3		ION				
    4		KOMO (ABC)				
    5		KING (NBC)				
    6		KONG				
    7		KIRO (CBS)				
    8		Discovery Channel		Children & Family		
    9		KCTS (PBS)				
    10		KMYQ (MYNETWORKTV)				
    11		KSTW (CW)				
    12		KBTC (PBS) (Most Areas)				
    12		KVOS (Marysville/Arlington)				
    13		KCPQ (FOX)				
    14		KBCB				
    15		KHCV				
    16		QVC		Lifestyle		
    17		HSN / Leased Access		Lifestyle		
    18		KWDK				
    19		Hallmark Channel		Movies		
    20		KTBW		Lifestyle		
    21		Government Access (Most Areas)		News & Info		
    21		Seattle Channel (Seattle)		News & Info		
    22		Government Access (Most Areas)		News & Info		
    22		King County Civic TV (King County)		News & Info		
    23		TVW		News & Info		
    24		C-SPAN		News & Info		
    25		C-SPAN2		News & Info		
    26		Educational Access (Most Areas)		News & Info		
    27		Educational Access (Marysville/Arlington)		News & Info		
    27		UWTV (Most Areas)		News & Info		
    28		Educational Access		News & Info		
    29		KUNS (UNIVISION)		Multicultural		
    75		Government Access (Kirkland)		News & Info		
    75		KCTS Plus (Most Areas)				
    76		Educational Access (Marysville/Arlington)		News & Info		
    76		UW2.TV (Most Areas)		News & Info		
    77		Public Access		News & Info		
    78		The Weather Channel		News & Info		
    99		CBUT		News & Info		
    104		KOMO (ABC) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    105		KING (NBC) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    106		KONG in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    107		KIRO (CBS) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    108		KCTS (PBS) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    109		KCTS (PBS) Digital^				
    110		KMYQ (MYNETWORKTV) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    111		KSTW (CW) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    112		KCTS Create^				
    113		KCPQ (FOX) in Hi-Def*		High-Definition TV		
    115		KING-5 Weather Plus^		News & Info		
    116		The Tube^		Music
     
  2. Aug 23, 2007 #62 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    Seattle.
     
  3. Aug 23, 2007 #63 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    That's great. I'm hoping for the same result on Monday. $12.55/month - woo-hoo!
     
  4. Aug 24, 2007 #64 of 111
    rnbarg

    rnbarg New Member

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    Aug 24, 2007
    1. However, if you go the OTA route, are you still able to record two (2) channels at once (vs. just one) on the Series 3 and watch another program OR does that require two cable cards and limited basic? - I read that the OTA in the Series 3 "supports three streams" - that might be it.

    2. I also have a novel situation (live in the Bay Area) - I downgraded to limited basic - have yet to get my flatpanel HDTV, but will soon - and still receive the entire expanded lineup (analog thru 90 - CNN, ESPN etc.) - Comcast didn't turn it off. If I get the cable cards as a limited basic subsciber, will the Comcast installers turn off the expanded basic.

    3. Just curious - if you have the entry level digital package from Comcast, do non-HD channels like Lifetime and AMC come thru as widescreen SD or simply standard SD w/high black bars on the side? Why are so many channels like FX, AMC, etc. not in HD?
     
  5. Aug 24, 2007 #65 of 111
    greg_burns

    greg_burns Now in HD

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    Slower...

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    I don't believe Comcast will give you cable cards as a limited basic subscriber. You got to get a digital package and then downgrade.
     
  6. Aug 24, 2007 #66 of 111
    rnbarg

    rnbarg New Member

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    Aug 24, 2007
    I think you are wrong. Comcast lists the local HD channels as part of its limited basic package. subscribers. It right there on its website if you filter for limited basic.

    HDTV - Limited Basic
    702 KTVU-2 (FOX) HD
    703 KNTV-HDTV
    704 KRON-HD
    705 KPIX-(CBS)
    707 KGO-HDTV
    709 KQED-HDTV


    How is Comcast supposed to provide its subscribers with those channels w/out a cable card? Doesn't Federal law mandate this.
     
  7. Aug 24, 2007 #67 of 111
    greg_burns

    greg_burns Now in HD

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    Slower...
    Perhaps they are going to provide you a digital STB for tuning those channels? I dunno. Weird.

    My HDTV has a QAM tuner built-in. I would be able to get those local HD channels w/o a cablecard using just it, but not on the channels advertised.

    Doesn't hurt to call and ask, but I think (am I wrong?) our collective experience has been no cablecards w/o a digital package. :(
     
  8. Aug 24, 2007 #68 of 111
    rnbarg

    rnbarg New Member

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    Aug 24, 2007
    There are a ton of messages in this forum suggesting otherwise. I may just try OTA anyway. If I don''t need Comcast, why bother with the hassle. OTA has more channels, ie multiple PBS channels here in the Bay Area, and better PQ. With CC, perhaps I could get TNT and FOX sports w/the cable card. I will post my results. Until CC adds more HD expanded basic HD channels, its not worth getting digital cable.
     
  9. Aug 25, 2007 #69 of 111
    c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    I had no problem getting CableCards with Comcast limited basic. Didn't have to go through the upgrade/downgrade path.
     
  10. Aug 25, 2007 #70 of 111
    c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    They're not encrypted, so you're free to use any QAM tuner to watch those channels, or you can rent a HD STB for around $7/month.
     
  11. Aug 25, 2007 #71 of 111
    jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    Pittsburgh
    I don't believe that you can make any blanket statement on what Comcast can (or will) do for any situation. It appears that they have different policies for various sytems across the country, and even more practices for each office. It's possible to be quoted different rules just by calling back and getting a different CSR.
     
  12. Aug 26, 2007 #72 of 111
    kb7oeb

    kb7oeb Member

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    Yes you can, all the tivo hd features work with OTA
     
  13. Aug 28, 2007 #73 of 111
    chg

    chg Member

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    Jul 28, 2007
    I finally stopped by my local Comcast to see what they would say. I was told no problem to get local HD with my limited basic service. They told be it would be a one time charge on 24.99 to install the cable cards and that my monthly bill would not change. They are coming out late next week to install the cards. I will be very surprised if I am not charged a fee to rent the cable cards, though.
     
  14. Aug 28, 2007 #74 of 111
    ejasons

    ejasons New Member

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    Feb 28, 2001
    Beaverton,...
    This is all very interesting; my girlfriend wanted just the basic Comcast HD-DVR with her basic digital service, and they specifically would not do it without having the expanded digital subscription (and their web site confirms that this is the case).

    Perhaps this is a better path (though somewhat more expensive...).
     
  15. Aug 29, 2007 #75 of 111
    cstalder

    cstalder New Member

    1
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    Aug 29, 2007
    Live in Cambridge, MA
    Have Comcast Basic ($8.55/mon incl taxes)
    Just got TiVo HD (in addition to my S2)
    Disappointed in no guide data
    QAM mapping seems even simpler here since OTA by antenna are same channels as rebroadcast (eg 2-2 is 2-2 whether by basic cable or OTA), but no go

    I just called Comcast's 800 number and expected more argument but am set to get 2 cablecards (1st free, 2nd $1.91/mon). They even allow self-install here, so I'm going to only have to pay 1.99 to pick them up from a service center.
    Comcast exceeded my expectations, BUT I still wish the cards weren't necessary. If TiVo can figure out the program data for OTA, why can't they (or their channel listing provider) for clear QAM?
     
  16. Aug 31, 2007 #76 of 111
    BsyGrl

    BsyGrl New Member

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    Oct 16, 2004

    Brian,

    What was the result on Monday? Do you have it working with basic cable?
     
  17. Sep 1, 2007 #77 of 111
    BsyGrl

    BsyGrl New Member

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    Oct 16, 2004
    Well, now I have a report of my own. Brian's situation sounded similar to mine, and I was following along to see what I should do. I have Comcast in Houston, and I don't want to pay for anything more than basic cable ($16.42/mo here, and the next package up is $44.99, $55.99 for the entry level digital package, plus all the extra fees for equipment, etc.). Based on some of the resposes here, it seemed like the cablecards should work with basic analog cable. I already had basic cable installed, and I could tune the unencrypted digital channels, but the TiVo had no guide data for them.

    I called Comcast to ask if I can have CCs, but my calls were unproductive; the CSRs just didn't know how to respond to my request and just transferred me around. Two days ago I went into the Comcast storefront near me and just told them that I want cablecards. The lady told me I can't use them with basic cable, and said, "We'll have to upgrade your package." She started to upgrade, but I stopped her and told her that the CSR on the phone said I could have them (you do what you have to, I guess :p ). She insisted they only have single-stream cards, and then handed me two cards that were clearly marked, "M-Card." I took them both in case I had trouble with one.

    When I got home, I put one of the cards in, following the instructions that came with the TiVo, plus Comcast's instruction sheet. I called in the information, and I must comment here on the technician that took my call. He was open and friendly, and best of all, KNOWLEDGEABLE - and he didn't express any disapproval of my having a TiVo, which is how all the rest of them had acted. He took my info and told me that the channels would be active after 24 hours (I don't know why). He said the guy who codes them will do it the next day at 3:00 pm. Ok, so no live TV for a day. After work the next day, I came home and turned on the TV. All the unencrypted QAM channels were there, with guide data, et. al. Inexpensive HD in all its glory! :)

    Problem solved, as far as I'm concerned. There are multiple threads in this forum full of people trying to untangle the mysteries of QAM mapping on the TiVo. As far as I can tell the cablecard is the answer, even with non-digital cable packages. I will take the extra M-Card back because the first worked without a hitch, and there will be no extra charge because the first one is free. I didn't even have to pay for a truck roll.

    I hope this helps anyone else who was wondering.
     
  18. Sep 1, 2007 #78 of 111
    Brian-1337

    Brian-1337 New Member

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    Aug 19, 2007
    All - thanks again for the help and advice earlier. Happy to report that things were successful.

    As I mentioned earlier, I was able to get an MCard from Comcast & got it configured in my TiVo HD. Getting the MCard was easy, though it probably would have been harder if I hadn't had a digital package at the time & had announced my intentions to use it with just Limited Cable. (Still, the channel list on their website clearly says I should get channels 104, 105, etc with Limited Cable - and that won't happen without a Cablecard.)

    Pairing it to the TiVo HD was a little trickier, but still managed to get it taken care of in a single (albeit long) phone call.

    This past Monday, the truck roll happened ($19.99, unfortunately), and I successfully went down to Limited Cable. $12.55 / month! Hooray. (No Cablecard rental fee, either, since I have only one.)

    BsyGrl - how did you avoid the truck roll? Didn't they need to put a filter on your line?
     
  19. Sep 1, 2007 #79 of 111
    sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Jan 6, 2007
    Glad you got it working.

    The people on the QAM mapping thread would be overjoyed to get free CableCARDs, self-install, and no trouble getting CableCARDs on limited basic. They might even drop the request for QAM mapping :)

    Unfortunately not everyone has your experience, some have multiple units, at which point they (correctly or incorrectly) get exposed to digital gateway fees, additional outlet fees, HD service fees, calls to upgrade to digital packages, etc. etc.
     
  20. Sep 1, 2007 #80 of 111
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    Congrats BsyGrl, that's a great success story. If all our cases were like yours, I'd wholeheartedly agree with you that CableCARD is the answer for everyone. Unfortunately, your situation is extremely rare, and the more common scenario is that CableCARDs require truck rolls ($60 minimum for me), monthly rental fees (up to $4.50/mo in some markets, double that for TiVo S3, and the cost seems to be trending higher), and perhaps difficulty getting CableCARDs for non-digital subscriptions. I wish all our situations were as "clean" as yours... :( Until it is, I think TiVo needs to provide a non-CableCARD solution "for the rest of us".
     

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