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Old 07-24-2007, 02:12 PM   #1
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Default Comcast Cable Digital/HD Channels w/o cable box on my new TV?!

We finally bought a new TV after months of saving money. It is a Sharp Aquos LCD HDTV. It has a built in analog and digital tuner. All I have connected to it is the standard co-ax cable line from the wall.

I ran the auto-channel setup and besides the standard analog channels I now have a whole shitload of mostly-blank mostly-standard def digital channels, and they are broken into what I'd describe as "sub channels". For example, Ch. 3 is standard analog CBS, channel 3.1 is HD CBS (one of 3 true HD channels I've found so far). Above around channel 80, each channel goes from xx.1 to xx.12 (i.e. Ch. 80.1 thru 80.12 are digital versions of channels 2-13, etc). Most are blank; they have strong signals but nothing on them. Randomly there'll be a show on, like a movie or HBO or some spanish programming.

OK here's my question: Is there any way to get a TV listing for each of these channels? It takes a long time to page thru each channel to see if it's blank or not.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:18 PM   #2
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Yep- Comcast is doing the same thing here- Clear QAM = non-encoded digital channels. Nice for those that can't get the over the air digital signals. Though you are at the mercy of what comcast wants to send as far as resolution. Here it seems they're sending exactly what the stations are broadcasting. I have no idea about getting a guide- besides looking in the paper or using the comcast channel guide on the tv.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:19 PM   #3
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yeah I've seen that before. you don't get all of the HD channels, but you get a bunch of them. I have thumbed through a bunch of the channels myself, and you're right. There's a ton of channels and very few work.
I also have directly compared picture quality between using the built in digital tuner vs using the seperate box supplied by the cable company, and the internal tuner always looks better. Comparisons have been made with analog and digital video connections, directly connected from box to display.

Really the best solution for your problem is to get the box. You'll get all the channels, the guides, the on demand stuff, plus a tivo-like dvr. You will loose a tad of picture quality, might not be noticable on your lcd display, assuming <40" panel.

Comcast has been saying for like a year that they were going to dump the QAM signal. Though they haven't yet, they may decide to do so in the future.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:21 PM   #4
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Yeah most of the digital channels suck in resolution as much as the analog channels. There's a few nice ones, but most suck. I was hoping i could find a way to get a listing of what sub-channels were what.
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Old 07-24-2007, 02:24 PM   #5
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yeah, I knew what you were after, but sorry I never made a list or anything. but even if I did, I am not sure that it would be correct in non-atlanta area markets.

You could try to contact comcast, but most likely the customer service rep won't have the first clue what you're after.

Like I said, I think the best bet is to get the box anyway.

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Old 07-24-2007, 02:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
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yeah I've seen that before. you don't get all of the HD channels, but you get a bunch of them. I have thumbed through a bunch of the channels myself, and you're right. There's a ton of channels and very few work.
I also have directly compared picture quality between using the built in digital tuner vs using the seperate box supplied by the cable company, and the internal tuner always looks better. Comparisons have been made with analog and digital video connections, directly connected from box to display.

Really the best solution for your problem is to get the box. You'll get all the channels, the guides, the on demand stuff, plus a tivo-like dvr. You will loose a tad of picture quality, might not be noticable on your lcd display, assuming <40" panel.

Comcast has been saying for like a year that they were going to dump the QAM signal. Though they haven't yet, they may decide to do so in the future.
The box huh. Currently we're only paying for the $12 cable package, which is like Ch. 2-36. Which officially is all we want, BTW. We only have that because the internet is cheaper with it than without it. If we didn't want the internet, we wouldn't even have "cable". We live in a condo and from day 1 we had all the standard cable channels

We got the 52" panel. Is the box/dvr/HD/on demand worth the extra $50-60? Probably, but I figured I'd ask here if you all know of a way to get around it first.

Thanks guys.

EDIT: What is "QAM"? non-encoded digital channels?
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Old 07-24-2007, 03:04 PM   #7
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAM_tuner

For $12/mo I'd leave things just as they are.
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Old 07-24-2007, 04:12 PM   #8
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there's better things to do than watch that much tv and better things to spend the dough on IMO
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Old 07-24-2007, 07:18 PM   #9
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You can get a cablecard to get the guide, but you'll also need to order one of the digital packages which is $50+/month. I have no idea how QAM tuner works, I know you'll get all the same channels with the cable card as you would with a box. But cable cards suck in general.

All HD channels are broadcasted in 1080i or 720p, if that channel is broadcasting in HD. Channels like Discovery HD theater (663), also 662-665 are HD channels. They look really good BTW.

BTW I work for Comcast, and I don't have cable at my house
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Old 07-25-2007, 12:57 AM   #10
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Houston just changed to comcast and I hate it.

They took the free dial up access numbers away that TimeWarner use to offer to its broadband users so I could travel and dial up.

On the TV the have no preview channel unless you have a digital box (and that is in the living room not in my room)

Among other things. I'm thinking about going to Yahhoo and ATT Uverse
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Old 07-25-2007, 02:49 AM   #11
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http://www.antennaweb.org/aw/welcome.aspx can search all of the OTA HDTV channels you have in your area. you're SOL as far as cable channels go.

FWIW, i bought an OTA tuner from Ratshack 2 yrs ago for $90. that $12/month box rental seems like a raping to me. then again, i don't have cable either...

netflix FTW.
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Old 07-25-2007, 04:50 PM   #12
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I'd imagine his new TV has an HD tuner. All he needs is a$30 antenna to pick up the broadcast HD from his networks.

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Old 07-25-2007, 05:11 PM   #13
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The biggest issue with antennas is the fact that I can't mount anything outside my condo...damn condo association sucks. No direct TV dishes on the padio or anything.
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Old 07-25-2007, 05:18 PM   #14
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Tim, actually that is illegal. Federal law states you are allowed one antenna and one satellite dish (there are size requirements that you must stay under, but any directv dish is legal) for private use. This is a federal statute and was AN ACT OF CONGRESS.

If you rent, then your landlord can prohibit you from placing the antenna or dish in common ground (like a shared grassy back yard) but can not prohibit you from having a dish in a "portable" fixture (like on a pole standing out of a bucket of concrete) on your patio.

If you WANT a dish or antenna, your condo association can not preclude you from doing so.
Google Telecommunications Act of 1996. I used to have a good link to the FCC FAQ ath their website www.fcc.gov but they moved the page.

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Old 07-25-2007, 05:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
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The biggest issue with antennas is the fact that I can't mount anything outside my condo...damn condo association sucks. No direct TV dishes on the padio or anything.
I think you can still anyways. I would look into getting a dish. I got sick and tired of having shitty comcast, so I switched to dish network. I got more than double the HD channels. Right now dish has around 33 depending on the market. and the prices start around $70 for the HD package + HD DVR + 200 channel package. In our area installation is free and so was the equipment.

If you like sports DirectTV has all the good sports packages like NFL sunday ticket, but you gotta pay for their HD DVR. I think its around 120 with contract. DirectTV says they are going to have "150" channels by the end of the year and comcast says 800 channels by 09. This is mostly a scam because they mean they will have the ABILITY to support that many channels. There isn't even close to 50 HD networks yet, even by the end of the year.
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Old 07-26-2007, 07:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
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The biggest issue with antennas is the fact that I can't mount anything outside my condo...damn condo association sucks. No direct TV dishes on the padio or anything.
Tim,
I had this sitting on my TV in the basement of my house and picked up the Baltimore locals from about 20 miles away.

http://www.amazon.com/Zenith-ZHDTV1-.../dp/B00006FXR9

If you can find one, it's worth the $30 to check out. You'd be surprised how good of an HD signal you can pick up with a simple rabbit ear type antenna.

You can buy it here:

http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_disp...v1&xzoom=Large

Frank
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Old 07-26-2007, 09:04 AM   #17
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Great! Thanks for the responses fellas. I'll definitely look into all of this more.
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Old 07-26-2007, 10:04 AM   #18
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I've got a standard tv antenna that I paid $10 for. It picks up all our OTA HD channels - like 7 of them. It sits behind the tv. But with the clear QAM signal delivered at full resolution (and a tv that can tune it) there's no point.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:16 PM   #19
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Tim,
I had this sitting on my TV in the basement of my house and picked up the Baltimore locals from about 20 miles away.

http://www.amazon.com/Zenith-ZHDTV1-.../dp/B00006FXR9
Frank
i have the same antenna. my HD stations are less than 15 milesa way. however, due to the configuration of my new apt complex, i'm now unable to receive JACK **** signal unless the antenna is outside :(

HD is still black art IMO. too difficult to procure w/o getting raped by the cable/satellite companies.
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Old 07-26-2007, 03:31 PM   #20
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That's a really small antenna. It can take some skill and some patience to recieve OTA HD, but I woudln't call it a black art.

Using the right antenna, pointed in the right direction, with a capable pre amp and amp, you should be able to receive OTA unless you're in a hole. I've had outstanding success as far as 50-60 miles away from the transmitters. Using a good attic mounted antenna. Results can be better with a roof mounted antenna.

I had an antenna on a pole over the roof of my last house. I kept it under the roof peak so it could not be seen from the front. I got all the atlanta locals, as well as an athens station. Had about $100 in the whole rig. I was a good 50 miles from Atlanta, with very large houses well above the level of my antenna directly in the line of sight. If I were spending someone else's money I would have used a better antenna and mounted it in the attic. Would have added another $75, and I just didn't care that much.
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