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  1. Member
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    So we have a LCD HDTV with ATSC/QAM tuners builtin. For months, all the digital/HD broadcast channels, that are broadcasted over the airwaves, were available over the cable line right next to the analog channels. Now suddenly they don't work, the channels are still there (they come up with the broadcaster identification), my tv just says no programming, and its been like this for the past week. So i figure i'd call and see if there is an outage or something, or talk to tech support to get a clear answere of what is going on.

    Instead i get some generic CS guy who doesn't understand the fact that my TV IS digital, and has both ATSC and QAM tuners, and the fact that i've been getting these channels for months and now it just looks like its broken (or encrypted). He goes on to tell me how i gotta pay extra for digital service or oh you don't have digital service we can't help you.

    Then i go on and tell him but all the other cable companies i know of do it, and why the hell should i pay extra for something thats free over the freakn air waves?! Now i have to unplug YOUR CABLE SERVICE so i can watch FREE HDTV on the airwaves, instead of what you were doing, and what most others do, provide it to us over the line, so we aren't inconvenienced. I know of 3 other cable companies that do this with no probs, some other co (can't remember the name), road runner, and buckeye cable.

    OR

    There is an actual problem somewhere, and you are too stupid to realize this possibility.

    What pisses me off most, is he is some CS sales bozo who doesn't know jack about the situation. I would be a lot happier if i was talkn to a tech support guy who knew his shit and knew what i was talking about and would just tell me whats actually going on kinda like "yea, they starting encrypting it..." or "something happened but hopefully itl be working soon"

    Sorry for the rant, just pissed off.

    But my question is to others with comcast, are you still getting broadcast HD chans via QAM tuner in your tv? i'm in NE indiana btw
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  2. Member
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    In N.J., comcast blocks the HD side of the broadcast channels. I have been marketing FiOS in a comcast town and have learned a LOT about what a scumbag company they are.
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  3. Member painkiller's Avatar
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    While I am not positive whether this might be legal, or illegal, on Comcast's part to inhibit (not that I wouldn't put it past them anyway), I would contact the FCC and ask them about this.

    And be prepared to tell them all the salient points (complete details) about how many, which channels, call signs locations and all that.
    Whatever doesn't kill me, merely ticks me off. (Never again a Sony consumer.)
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  4. Member
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    More than that, contact you state utilities agency and your town council. Cable systems do town by town franchises, and pressure may be applied that way.
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  5. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    My local cable company, Suddenlink, blocks all HD content except the pay channels. I thought they were supposed to pass on HD content also, but apparently not.
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  6. Member thecoalman's Avatar
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    Cable companies are not required to carry any extra “multicast” channels—neither today, nor in 2009, when the transition to digital TV broadcasting will be completed.

    Under existing “must-carry” laws, cable systems are required to set aside channels for local analog broadcast stations. As of the cutoff date for analog broadcasts, cable companies must carry local stations in digital form—one channel per station.
    http://dtvfacts.com/87/will-my-cable-company-carry-the-new-local-multicast-channels/

    It appears you'll have to wait until 2009.
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  7. Member painkiller's Avatar
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    From that same article

    No law compels cable owners to carry multicasts. But cable companies are free to negotiate agreements with station owners to secure slots for multicast channels. Public TV stations already have a deal with major cable systems to provide programming on as many as four digital channels, and some commercial broadcasters also have carriage agreements.

    For station owners (including the broadcast networks), billions of dollars in advertising revenues are at stake. A top priority for Washington lobbyists who represent broadcasters is to pass legislation requiring cable companies to carry multicast channels. Thus far, lawmakers have resisted, and the FCC has declined to impose its own multicast must-carry rules. The cable TV industry strongly opposes multicast carriage requirements, saying they would violate the Constitution and cost them billions.
    Seems to me that waiting for 2009 would be counterproductive.
    Now is the time to be calling your representatives AND the FCC about this.
    Whatever doesn't kill me, merely ticks me off. (Never again a Sony consumer.)
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  8. Banned
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    I would prefer not to be too specific about where I live, but I am a Comcast customer and QAM has NEVER worked for me in the over 2 years I've been able to get HD TV signals. I ended up just subscribing to their HD channels because my over the air reception is horrible where I live.

    You should note that Comcast's customer service is awful. However, based on what I've read at various places, other cable companies are just as bad. Comcast pays rock bottom wages so they get only the dumbest of people to work for them. There are usually one or two or maybe even a handful of guys who work for Comcast in any city who actually do understand the technology, but you will almost never be able to talk to them. You'll almost certainly be dealing with the moronic, poorly paid people they endlessly hire. I can tell you that earlier this year there was a free nationwide preview for one week of a pay service and it took Comcast 2 full days to get it turned on in my area, so we only got the free preview for 5 days instead of 7. Calls by many people to Comcast accomplished nothing as their idiot call center people were locked into the "You have to pay to see that" mode and were totally unable to understand that for that week NOBODY had to pay to see it and THEY were the ones blocking it, not the pay service provider. The only thing that I think helped was that some people sent emails to Comcast corporate explaining what was going on and how the local offices were too stupid to fix it and only then did it finally get fixed. Expect no help from Comcast, but you might try to trying to send email to their corporate office and maybe you will get lucky and someone with a clue may read your email. Then again, Comcast may be deliberately blocking QAM and may (I have no idea) have the legal right to do so, in which case you will never get those channels without paying for them or getting them OTA.
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  9. Member
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    Comcast in my area is still providing the digital HD programming for network stations right off the cable - no extra box- at least for now. Sure hope it doesn't change.
    Steve W.
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  10. I live in a suburd of Chicago and still get QAM HD channels from Comcast. A while back we had a storm and I lost my CBS HD signal for some crazy reason. After a few days of it not showing up while all the other channels still worked led me to re-do a channel scan. At that point CBS and all my other HD channels came in and have been going strong ever since. Hopefully just redoing a channel scan will solve your problem.

    Cheers
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  11. Member
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    Originally Posted by painkiller
    Now is the time to be calling your representatives AND the FCC about this.
    The FCC has nothing to do with cable companies (except in equipment certification). Complain to your congressman (a lot of good that will do you).
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  12. Member painkiller's Avatar
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    The interplay between Congress and FCC is what is important here.

    One has to be willing to spend the time and energy to convince your representative and hope, and pray, they in turn will enact legislation to get the FCC to make changes.

    More people need to be of a positive mind and attitude to "attack the problem from all sides" if they even hope to make changes at all.

    The more our reps, and other agencies, hear from us - the better the chances are for actually making something the way we want it.

    The recent issues and legislative actions involving immigration proves that this is still possible - beyond a doubt.
    Whatever doesn't kill me, merely ticks me off. (Never again a Sony consumer.)
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  13. Am I missing something here?

    It was my understanding that cable companies were not required to carry HD/digital versions of analog broadcast stations until 2009, after the digital switchover. However, if they do carry them, they MUST be unencrypted according to federal law. I believe what Comcast is doing is illegal.

    Julie
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  14. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by painkiller
    ...
    More people need to be of a positive mind and attitude to "attack the problem from all sides" ...
    Can't agree more. Hollywood, broadcast and cable interests don't want free "local" transmission over cable/sat source. They say if you want free access you need to put up an antenna even if you are paying for cable/sat service. This isn't practal for apartment, high rise and distant viewers.

    Cable users get the NTSC locals today with basic service charges (~$12-16/mo. set locally). The FCC rulings during the Michael Powell tenure seeked to continue this with the inclusion of unencrypted HD and multicast local service (if on the air) since this will be the "basic" service in the future. His administration went further by REQUIRING cable to provide cablecard as an alternative to rental cable boxes for premium service reception. The user still must subscribe to and pay for the premium service but a cable box rental shouldn't be a requirement for a cablecard digital capable DTV.

    The cable providers hate these requirements for clear QAM and Cablecard. They along with Hollywood will be lobbying to delete these non-encryption requirements and replace with tight fee based encryption (aka broadcast flag) and required rental cable boxes.

    The TV viewer is about to be fee raped. We need to be vocal and loud to resist anti-consumer changes. These were administrative rulings and can be changed by Congress or a new administration. Sorry if this borders on political.
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  15. Member
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    Thanks to the replies, i feel like i'm not alone!!! Hmm, i wish i could just mail the cable company a bill for the antenna equipment, since they want to be assbags about, then so can i.
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  16. Member painkiller's Avatar
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    You are most definitely not alone.

    Part of the problem that hits most of us (where we might live) is the fact that homeowners associations, rental units, condos, and goodness knows what else - can be very restrictive about what you might be allowed to install out and about your residence to bring in television signals.

    If you are stuck with only cable service in such a case, you haven't a chance to select a competitor - let alone to put up an antenna to try and collect OTA signals.

    SO even if you were within range of OTA signals, you might still have issues with elevation, buildings, trees and such to deteriorate the received signal on your end.

    And if the cable company is allowed to NOT replicate that HDTV portion of the broadcast within their system, then there is practically no point for anyone in this situation to purchase an HDTV set capable of 1080 res.

    So how many folks fall into this category? You? Me?

    We need to find out who those lobbyists are (for the broadcasters) and the Congressional Reps and the FCC and just keep plugging away at this issue.

    If we really want the best the technology has to offer.
    Whatever doesn't kill me, merely ticks me off. (Never again a Sony consumer.)
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  17. zephxiii,

    Instead of sending the antenna bill, ask to speak to someone in engineering (notice I did NOT say tech support). You'll have to talk to tech support first and you'll have to be persistent, but eventually they'll connect you with someone who knows what they are doing. You will then kindly, gently explain to them that encrypting broadcast channels, digital or analog, is illegal. You will very likely get the results you want after that.

    I had a similar issue with Charter Communications, which if you can possibly believe it is worse than Comcast to deal with. After talking with the high-level techs I didn't have any further issues getting HD broadcast stations in my area. I suspect it really isn't a conspiracy to get more money out of you, it's just ignorance of the law and the belief that *all* HD programming requires a subscription and needs to be encrypted.

    Give it a try. You won't be any worse off than you are now.
    Julie
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  18. painkiller...

    I should also note that federal law prohibits homeowner's associations etc from preventing you from installing an antenna or satellite dish on your property unless there are public safety issues and a few other restrictions. See this link for details...

    http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html
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  19. Member edDV's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jliles
    ...I suspect it really isn't a conspiracy to get more money out of you, it's just ignorance of the law and the belief that *all* HD programming requires a subscription and needs to be encrypted.

    Give it a try. You won't be any worse off than you are now.
    Julie
    I agree. Even the tech guy will usually give you the true picture. The true picture usually is they are busting their collective butts upgrading neighborhoods for advanced services and they will cut corners unless somebody complains or are ordered to cut corners until somebody complains if you catch the difference.

    The key is to complain. They don't worry too much about losing $14/mo. "basic" customers but do take notice when $100/mo. customers flee to sat.
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  20. Member painkiller's Avatar
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    jliles, yes, I am aware of that.

    But just like your story about Charter Communications and Comcast - it doesn't stop them from trying to do what they have always done.

    I've lived through both rental units and homeowners assoc. "policies" and it ain't fun.
    One has to be careful how you talk to them to try and get it right.
    Otherwise, they won't budge (for you).
    Whatever doesn't kill me, merely ticks me off. (Never again a Sony consumer.)
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