Comcast moving most analog to digital (1 Viewer)

DJ Rob

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SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
1,576
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Denver, Colorado
I'm not sure if this has been mentioned but I figured I'd pass it along...

I've been told by a Comcast tech that in most areas they serve, Comcast will be moving most of their analog stuff to digital tiers by around February 2009. The only channels left in analog will be locals and public access channels because of agreements with certain municipalities.
 

Meathead

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 25, 2005
154
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Cobb County, GA
Sounds like the OTA situation has been mutated into meaning Comcast will be moving their analog signals to digital. I think it's doubtful that Comcast will be moving a large amount of analog channels to digital anytime in the next few years (though I wish they would do it all NOW).

It would be a great opportunity for them though to do it at the same time.
 

dmendenjr

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 24, 2008
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The keystone state
Think there are two big reasons for them to do this:

1) the more analog stations that are moved to digital directly corresponds with opening of more bandwidth for HD channels. I think the ratio is something like 1 analog station = 4 digital ones (or something like that)

2) easier gatekeeping by requiring the digital box. Their restrictions on analog cable seem to be quite laxed. With cable internet only or cable internet with limited basic - I don't think they have a way to filter out the extended channels. (ie I have limited basic with their internet service and get most of exteneded basic as well; then add in the QAM tuner and it expands even more - all the digital music stations as well as the neigborhood's OnDemand streams). Once all the extended channels are encrypted digital, it will solve that problem.
 

Meathead

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 25, 2005
154
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Cobb County, GA
With QAM 256: 1 analog = ~20 SD digitals or ~3-4 HD channels

It would be an easy bandwidth fix for Comcast to go almost completely digital, but I think they're worried about losing a lot of the grannies and luddites out there who think that all Comcast wants to do is charge them more by giving them a box (that's just a nice side-benefit for Comcast ;-)).

In my area there are roughly 60-something analog channels still. That's a LOT of bandwidth.
 

Meathead

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 25, 2005
154
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Cobb County, GA
Four technologies Comcast needs to implement to really compete with Dish, DirecTV & FiOS in no particular order:

1) 1024 QAM
2) MPEG 4
3) SDV - Switched Digital Video
4) DOCSIS 3.0
 

dmendenjr

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 24, 2008
1,499
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The keystone state
... but I think they're worried about losing a lot of the grannies and luddites out there who think that all Comcast wants to do is charge them more by giving them a box (that's just a nice side-benefit for Comcast ;-)).

I work at an electronics store. Back around Valentines day, they moved GSN and CMT from analog to digital. Our service department was inundated with "my tv isn't working right, there are two channels that won't come in" phone calls. Some of the residents of a nearby retirement village came in wanting to buy 40" Sony LCD panels so they could get GSN. Very rough trying to explain to them, "You can buy this $1699 television, but it still won't get your channel without a cable box." The newspaper ran three news stories on it, and one of the local tv stations ran a week long "explanation" of the DTV conversion during their 6 o'clock newscast.
 

berck

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 18, 2006
829
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Pleasanton, CA (SF Bay Area)
Four technologies Comcast needs to implement to really compete with Dish, DirecTV & FiOS in no particular order:

1) 1024 QAM
2) MPEG 4
3) SDV - Switched Digital Video
4) DOCSIS 3.0

2 would be the quickest and easiest method to boost their bandwidth. 1024QAM I don't think will happen for a while. Too many issues to resolve to make it work. It requires a much higher signal to noise ratio to pull it off than what is spec'd for cable. They'd probably have to require everything to the house to get rewired to get it to work.

Switched Digital Video is a band aid solution, but it will potentially provide some needed bandwidth.

I believe DOCSIS 3.0 is on its way.
 
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Chris Freeland

SatelliteGuys Pro
Sep 8, 2003
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Collegedale, TN
Here in Chattanooga the Digital Sample pack is the same price as the Standard cable (64 analog channels I think), with some digital channels added, wile switching more and more analog channels to digital to encourage more people to get digital STB's. As more and more people have digital STB's it allows them to increase the number of analog channels converting to digital only.
 

sansri88

Well-Known SatelliteGuys Member
Dec 13, 2006
28
0
I can tell you guys the following things:

SDV and DOCSIS 3.0 are en route, at least in my area. By the end of this year, in fact (DOCSIS 3.0 probably end 08/early 09, SDV late summer 08).

MPEG-4...those new STB's from Moto are coming out this summer....but I wouldn't expect a mass conversion until most boxes in a system are MPEG-4 compatible.

20% of Comcast areas will see their expanded basic lineup go digital only, leaving ~30 analog channels left on the lineup by the end of this year. I believe my area is included in the 20 or so %.

By the way, the best Comcast can do right now is 3:1 compression. As in 3 HD channels on 1 QAM. That's how CMC sends out the channel from Denver, according to the readings on AMC-18.
 
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jakejm79

Member
May 14, 2008
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With QAM 256: 1 analog = ~20 SD digitals or ~3-4 HD channels

It would be an easy bandwidth fix for Comcast to go almost completely digital, but I think they're worried about losing a lot of the grannies and luddites out there who think that all Comcast wants to do is charge them more by giving them a box (that's just a nice side-benefit for Comcast ;-)).

In my area there are roughly 60-something analog channels still. That's a LOT of bandwidth.

Well couldnt they switch to all digital, which would give them enough bandwidth to increase their HD lineup, then charge more for the HD lineup with the money they get from that, offer free Digital boxes with their standard cable package, therefor the people just paying for standard cable dont pay extra a month (comcast finds a use for all its surplus SD boxes I'm sure they have with everyone going to HD/DVR boxes) and they make the extra revenue from charging more for HD when people get more not just cos they feel like charging more.
 

philhu

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Sep 1, 2004
1,215
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Cold Boston Area
The Analog tier was to directly compete with people without antennas or boxes using the standard NTSC tuners in their TV.

In Feb 2009, with all analog going away, they do not need to compete. All people will need antennas or new televisions or a 'atsc box', so atsc or cable box, the person chooses.

If they remove most analog, then they have tons of hd bandwidth.
 

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