Questions about Comcast Digital Cable minus a box

J

jakejm79

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May 14, 2008
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So I have a couple of questions, basically I'm trying to cut down my ever increasing cable bill. It comes in at about $100/mo with just the standard cable channels, DVR (which also gives me HD), digital classic and sports pack (which I only signed up for to get SpeedTV, despite just about every other cable/sat provider offering it in their standard programming).
After studying comcast's channel lineup online it states that most of the HD channels are available providing you have at least the standard level of service (BTW comcast doesn't seem to offer standard service anymore, but I get billed for 'expanded basic' which I guess is what they mean) but despite being able able to receive all the standard channels (ESPN, NESN, TNT, etc) without a box I can't receive the HD versions of those channels but I can receive the HD versions of FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, WBaffiliate (CW56 in my case), which only require the basic level of service, and the difference between me receiving a basic or standard is controlled at their end not by a box at my end. I know the answer is that I need a HDbox, but it states on the website that I just need HD capable equipment, isnt my HDTV with a digital tuner capable enough, it seems to be for the Broadcast HD channels and those also state that they need 'HD capable equipment' with just basic level.
Also I believe my DVR service fee of $12.95/mo includes the rent for the DVR box, yet I still get billed for a standard DTV box has part of digital starter pack, surely they cant charge me for a box that I don't have?
And lastly, I have both digital starter (basic cable, expanded basic cable, Digital box, remote, program guide, music channels, On Demand and a few DTV channels) then I also have digital classic that includes the same program guide, music channels and on demand, sounds like they are double dipping on those features, I know it is only itemized has $2.00 for those features but still.
Anyway sorry to go on, I am calling comcast tomorrow and wanted some ammunition to go at them with, espically since I pay $58.35 for the digital starter pack that is offered to "new" customers $29.99.
BTW I'm in the Southern NH area.
Thanks,
P.S. When will there be a cable company that scrambles all of there channels and then just charges a per channel fee so you can receive and pay for just the ones you want?
 
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N

nhcookyjar

Member
May 15, 2008
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Milford, NH
From what I see and I have Comcast as well in southern nh and without a cable bo:mad:HDDVR) I only get 8 or 9 channels of HD content plus all analog and music channels. NO NESN, ESPN or other HD chanels only local channels in HD.
 
J

jakejm79

Thread Starter
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May 14, 2008
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I know the reason is that if they offered all the HD programming available without a box then nobody would pay the additional for HD, I guess my problem is the wording on the website, from reading it the only difference in requirements to receive NESN HD vs. ABC HD is the addition of the standard tier rather than the basic, but infact it is also the addition of HD box too.
 
harshness

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
17,329
3,213
Salem, OR
Rather than offering your theories about what you can and can't do and why, how about offering precisely what programming you want and let us (or a Comcast representative) work something up for you.

Unless you have an HD set-top box or a cablecard capable TV with cablecard(s), your HD offerings are going to be limited to your local channels. It really is that simple. The cablecard solution does not give you a DVR option.
 
J

jakejm79

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May 14, 2008
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Rather than offering your theories about what you can and can't do and why, how about offering precisely what programming you want and let us (or a Comcast representative) work something up for you.

Unless you have an HD set-top box or a cablecard capable TV with cablecard(s), your HD offerings are going to be limited to your local channels. It really is that simple. The cablecard solution does not give you a DVR option.

Sorry it was more of a complaint about how poorly the website is written with regards to channel lineup, I am open to any suggestions, was just looking for an idea of key things to say when I call comcast.

Looking for all the standard cable and local channels, i.e. ABC, FOX, FX, Discovery, ESPN, NESN, etc. HD channels for both local and cable channels (ABCHD, CBSHD, ESPNHD, NESNHD, etc), DVR function, also would like a few of the digital channels, The N and BBC America specifically. Also would like SpeedTV, but I know that is only available with the sports pack so that is a low priority.
I hope this isn't too much to ask, I priced up a similar channel lineup with HD and DVR at Dish and it came out to be about $50/mo. And before anyone suggests that I switch, because of my surroundings, neighbor houses, large pine trees, etc, I cant get a clear line of sight, I just priced for comparisions sake.

Thanks
 
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harshness

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
17,329
3,213
Salem, OR
There may be temporary promotions, but there is no haggling with Comcast.

There is really only one way to get the channels you want with Comcast. They offer little to no package overlap. The sports pack is a binary decision as it isn't included in any other package.

You pay your fees and you get your set top boxes and you like it.
 
jegrant

jegrant

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Aug 5, 2005
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What about Tivo with cable cards? Wouldn't that be a DVR option?
 
harshness

harshness

SatelliteGuys Master
May 5, 2007
17,329
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Salem, OR
What about Tivo with cable cards? Wouldn't that be a DVR option?
If the goal is to save money, TiVo is not an option. Here's how it works:

1. You "buy" an HD TiVo -- $299 - $799 up front
2. You pay TiVo for monthly service -- $8.30 - $12.95/month
3. You pay Comcast for second and successive cablecards -- $2.05/month each

Comcast's own HD DVR is $13.95 per month in my market.
 
J

jakejm79

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May 14, 2008
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If the goal is to save money, TiVo is not an option. Here's how it works:

1. You "buy" an HD TiVo -- $299 - $799 up front
2. You pay TiVo for monthly service -- $8.30 - $12.95/month
3. You pay Comcast for second and successive cablecards -- $2.05/month each

Comcast's own HD DVR is $13.95 per month in my market.

Yep it's $12.95 in my area, same has the TIVO service, so after cablecard(s) I would be behind, before I had even brought the TIVO box.

Thanks for the suggestion tho, I guess I will do like harshness said, pay my bill and like it, I just think its unfair that after a promotional period is over they adjust the packages and raise the prices.
 
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branchbouncer

branchbouncer

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Supporting Founder
Apr 5, 2004
1,205
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Massanutten,VA
There may be temporary promotions, but there is no haggling with Comcast.

That depends on who you talk too (CSR) We had a mistake on our bill, they had charged us for blast HSI, where we just have 8/1. The woman on the line was very nice about removing it and giving us a special rate for 6 months, I told her that was great because the wife just wanted to cancel the service( she didn't but decided I'd say that too see what would happen) she sounded a bit startled in her responce"Really"- I said that the wife is reading to much into the down spiralling economy and freaking out like alot of people and that the end is soon. She said she would look at our bill and see what she could do. While she was looking at the bill we chated about the kids, gas, property price reductions, etc, etc, after being on the phone with her for about 30-45 minutes she got the bill down to 99.00 for 12 months, prior to the conversation with her we had been paying 167.00(everything Comcast offers in our area). Well the last bill we got from Comcast sure enough, was 99.00. We'll see if it last for the 12 months
 
B

Bujutsukai

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May 28, 2008
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I don't mind paying for cable but they are constantly trying to nickle and dime me to death. They "migrate" channels to frequencies that require a cable box even if I don't want a box. They are taking away channels, charging the same, and demanding you pay +- ten bucks per month for boxes for each tv. I would prefer to buy boxes and own them rather than rent boxes (that may or may not work properly). Is it just me? or is my wife right.
 
Greg2600

Greg2600

New Member
May 20, 2008
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I don't mind paying for cable but they are constantly trying to nickle and dime me to death. They "migrate" channels to frequencies that require a cable box even if I don't want a box. They are taking away channels, charging the same, and demanding you pay +- ten bucks per month for boxes for each tv. I would prefer to buy boxes and own them rather than rent boxes (that may or may not work properly). Is it just me? or is my wife right.

I am with you 100%. The phone company and Internet providers don't charge you for equipment. You can buy your own cell phone or modem. You can split the internet feed with a router. Why can't you do the same with digital cable? Why should I pay additional outlet fees? We were never charged before with Analog? Cable companies are looking at having a basic Digital to Analog converter that would provide you with basically the same channels as you got with Analog, but no guide, HD, or On Demand. Supposedly this will cost them less than $50 per box. So then the question is, will they "lease" that to you? How about $3 a month for a $50 box!!!! Will they still charge additional outlets? Comcast is not the only one, they all do it, Satellite, Fios, etc.
 
capman

capman

SatelliteGuys Guru
Feb 23, 2006
126
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CA
The comcast here charges $54/mo for expanded basic which I subscribe to. They pretty much have all HD channels in the clear though. I get Mojo, ESPN, ESPN 2, MHD, A&E, History, Food, Discovery Theater, HGTV, TNT, Golf/Vs, PBS, Universal and USA plus all the networks (excluding CW). I'm sure that once the digital transition goes into effect, they will scramble them. They did just recently scramble TBS though.

Plus with comcast you can watch all your neighbors VOD viewings :D
 
stevenl

stevenl

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Jan 2, 2006
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I am with you 100%. The phone company and Internet providers don't charge you for equipment. You can buy your own cell phone or modem. You can split the internet feed with a router. Why can't you do the same with digital cable? Why should I pay additional outlet fees? We were never charged before with Analog? Cable companies are looking at having a basic Digital to Analog converter that would provide you with basically the same channels as you got with Analog, but no guide, HD, or On Demand. Supposedly this will cost them less than $50 per box. So then the question is, will they "lease" that to you? How about $3 a month for a $50 box!!!! Will they still charge additional outlets? Comcast is not the only one, they all do it, Satellite, Fios, etc.

If you have a regular cell phone its the same price, you buy the phone. If you have a "smart phone" with expanded features (ala a cable box) you pay for those extra services. You are not just paying the 6-10$ for the box rental itself you are also paying for the 100+ extra channels you get. The same with your smart phone, your not paying the extra 20$ a month for the phone, but for the expanded services you are using. Some companies are already offering "cheap" boxes so people can get channels that were once analog and now digital. In Orlando BHN offers a box for 1$ a month to get those channels. Other companies are following suite as more and more analog is being reclaimed. They are not moving these channels to make you rent a box, they are moving them to free up space to offer more services for everyone. You renting a box is just an added bonus. Of course you can get your own box also, and use a cable card. If you wish to buy the box. The cable card rental fee again, goes to help cover the extra programming you will receive.
 
R

rammjet

New Member
Jun 22, 2008
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But I don't WANT the extra programming. Of the 80 or so analog channels that I now receive, I only watch maybe 10 regularly and another 10 occasionally. Move to digital and add in another 100 channels and at most, I might be interested in 10 or 15 of those. I only want 35/180 = 19% of what I pay for. And the move will cost me more money.

Also consider that the primary reason for the move to digital is to benefit them by opening bandwidth for more HD channels. They charge me more money when they FORCE me to go digital and they make more money selling more HD content.

I was a supporter of the ala carte movement. I have no problem migrating to digital. I have a problem paying more money for more content that I do not want.
 
jayn_j

jayn_j

Press On Regardless
Supporting Founder
Sep 29, 2003
10,755
3,423
Sheboygan, WI
But I don't WANT the extra programming. Of the 80 or so analog channels that I now receive, I only watch maybe 10 regularly and another 10 occasionally. Move to digital and add in another 100 channels and at most, I might be interested in 10 or 15 of those. I only want 35/180 = 19% of what I pay for. And the move will cost me more money.

Also consider that the primary reason for the move to digital is to benefit them by opening bandwidth for more HD channels. They charge me more money when they FORCE me to go digital and they make more money selling more HD content.

I was a supporter of the ala carte movement. I have no problem migrating to digital. I have a problem paying more money for more content that I do not want.

That's the reality of subscription television services. I doubt anyone watches more than 20% of the channels available. The realities of bundling is that you will get channels you don't watch, and IMHO, you will not pay more than if you got them ala-carte.

As for the moves to digital tier, I would try to think of it as the additional fee going toward a more stable picture and a much better guide and not the additional channels. I take it that one of your must watch channels went digital only. That's something we all face, and you need to decide if it is a "must watch"

I personally don't think ala carte can work, but I do think that grouped packs can. My Comcast recently restructured and is offering HD paks, Sports paks, etc, and I can happily save $10/month by dumping sports. That's something I can appreciate, as I have long felt that I was paying too much for sports that I never watched.
 

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