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Posted: 1/14/2006 6:28:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 1:03:42 PM EDT by SWS]
I just bought my mother an HD-compliant TV set. (Both NTSC and ATSC tuner inside the set.)

Since all of my local stations simulcast their NTSC and HD programming, are the local HD broadcast channels typically available on the standard cable? Comcast's website doesn't explicity say that they do, although the charge for local HD service is $0.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:31:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/14/2006 6:31:55 PM EDT by twonami]
I'm betting you'll have to get their HD box to see any HD content.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:32:03 PM EDT
Even with the HD tuner built into the set?
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:37:24 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
Even with the HD tuner built into the set?


probably
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:38:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
Even with the HD tuner built into the set?




Yep
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 6:39:25 PM EDT

Originally Posted By twonami:

Originally Posted By SWS:
Even with the HD tuner built into the set?


probably


+1 to that because the HD simulcast channels are the 8xx chanels and the regular Comcast box won't go there.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:01:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/14/2006 9:04:56 PM EDT by Jack_Of_Some_Trades]
If your tv is a cable ready HD set, it'll have a QAM-capable tuner and a cable-card slot. QAM is the technology that lets you view the digital signals, SD and HD. the cable company is FCC required to send out the local channels in an unencrypted manner. your QAM tuner would be able to show the unlocked channels, but not the encrypted ones unless you pony up and get a cable card from the cable company.


Also, some (very few) cable companys use 8VSB for their signals, which means that your standard ATSC tuner can tune them in, even without a QAM-capable tuner.

Long story short, just hook up the cable to the TV, do an channel scan, and see what you get


edit: My brother-in-law just did the above, and he gets a lot of good stuff in digital on basic. All the network locals, all the PBS channels (the PBS stations even have multiple channels with different schedules), a couple others, and even all the music channels(audio, not MTV)
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:05:40 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/14/2006 9:17:58 PM EDT by USMC88-93]
If you use your over the air antenna on one of the televisions inputs and the local channels are broadcast in HD than you could view your local channels in HD on that input.

However if your intention is to receive the HD programing via Comcast CATV it would require you to have a Comcast supplied converter box to unscramble the HDTV channels on the CATV system.

You cannnot reveive HDTV crom the cable company using only your television because they are scrambled.

My suggestion is to utilize two inputs on the back of your television set one for an antenna to pick up the local channels in HDTV and another input for the CATV input. (Antenna A: Antenna B) or something similar.

You will typically find the HDTV programming offered via the Cable company is not worth the expense.
For example here we have:

Discovery HD
ESPN HD
ABC HD
NBC HD
CBS HD
FOX HD
PBS HD
HBO HD
In Demand HD (pay per view)

The ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX channels only have HD programming for the news, and some sports and movies. The rest of the day the picture is identical to regular prodcast television its just broadcast in HD format with blank spaces on the sides of the screen.

Not all of ESPN's programming is HD either.

Also if you are unfortunate to have Comcast usual HDTV converter, you will get all the digital channels and the HDTV programming, but the analog channels (2-78) will look worse. The analog tuner in the Motorola HDTV Converters sucks and it is a nationwide problem that Comcast is aware of.

In short its not worth the cash.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:11:03 PM EDT
For the extra $25 per month or so you get the privelege of an HD box and all 5 HD channels here. You also get to see all the grainy premium movie channels.

It's a shame there's not more HD content out yet.

Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:18:38 PM EDT

Originally Posted By USMC88-93:


However if your intention is to receive the HD programing via Comcast CATV it would require you to have a Comcast supplied converter box to unscramble the HDTV channels on the CATV system.

You cannnot reveive HDTV crom the cable company using only your television because they are scrambled.




Not all HD and digital channells are encrypted. All the local stuff is supposed to be sent out unencrypted per the FCC. Now, it will require a QAM-capable tuner, but that can built into the TV or purchased from a retailer.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:18:55 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Taxman:

Originally Posted By SWS:
Even with the HD tuner built into the set?




Yep


+1. You need an HD box. When I moved to the current town I live in, my parents got the digital box because that's what they carried IIRC.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:21:23 PM EDT

Originally Posted By giacutter:

It's a shame there's not more HD content out yet.




Thats why im still with my old rear projection TV. When moer stuff is available ill buy a new TV with all the goodies.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:24:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/14/2006 9:26:15 PM EDT by USMC88-93]

Originally Posted By Jack_Of_Some_Trades:

Originally Posted By USMC88-93:


However if your intention is to receive the HD programing via Comcast CATV it would require you to have a Comcast supplied converter box to unscramble the HDTV channels on the CATV system.

You cannnot reveive HDTV crom the cable company using only your television because they are scrambled.




Not all HD and digital channells are encrypted. All the local stuff is supposed to be sent out unencrypted per the FCC. Now, it will require a QAM-capable tuner, but that can built into the TV or purchased from a retailer.



All Digital and HDTV signals currently require a converter here in Denver, while I am not saying your wrong I would say that the FCC Unscrambled "requirement" (presuming there is one) may be a few years off just like the broadcast stations had a few years to implement the Digital broadcast requirement.
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:24:07 PM EDT
tagged for reading while sober
Link Posted: 1/14/2006 9:35:07 PM EDT

Originally Posted By USMC88-93:

All Digital and HDTV signals currently require a converter here in Denver, while I am not saying your wrong I would say that the FCC Unscrambled "requirement" (presuming there is one) may be a few years off just like the broadcast stations had a few years to implement the Digital broadcast requirement.



I'd look into this further. If you have a QAM-tuner, you should be golden. Unless your in Longmont, it looks like they're running behind.

Check out this thread at AVSforum.com for Official Denver Comcast HDTV Thread! .

Here's one report..

I have just setup my new Sony 50A10 and have found that the built in tuner (QAM) can find lots of HD available from my Comcast Extended Basic service.

They were found as follows:
18.1 CBS (HD version of 4)
89.1 ABC (HD version of 7)
89.2 WB (HD version of 2)
90.1 FOX (HD version of 13)
91.1 NBC (HD version of 9)
91.2 PBS (HD version of 6)

I also found 102.10. It had Willy Wonka (new version) on the other night but nothing on today.

My question is about the Avalanche hockey on Altitude (5 or 25 depending if Nuggets are playing at the same time. They always say it is on HD channel 665 or something like that but that must be assuming you have a set top box which I dont. What channels (frequencies) do InHD 1 & 2 come in on?

Are there more channels available in HD. I did the auto scan during the day so I'm not sure I caught them all.

By the way, this set is fantastic! Watched the Broncos on Saturday and the picture quality was amazing. Spent the last year with an older Samsung DLP and the Sony is much nicer in every way except no PIP.

Thanks for the help,
CoolHand

Link Posted: 1/15/2006 3:16:26 AM EDT
Special thanks to USMC88-93 for his comprehensive email regarding this topic.

My mother has Comcast "Standard" cable (not "Basic") and all of the local network stations are currently broadcasting off-the-air HD. The new TV has ATSC/NTSC/QAM tuners built-in. The TV salesguy (would they lie?) indicated that the network stations are currently broadcasting HD down the Comcast cable. Whether or not the local network stations' HD signaling is scrambled remains the question.

I realize that some HD programming will be "premium", like ESPN-HD, DiscoveryHD, etc. This programming will likely require some type of subscription service and additional hardware. The new TV has a "Cable Card" slot that I would imagine is for such a service.

I'm normally technically competent, but I watch very little TV and don't buy either cable or satellite service.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 7:11:25 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/15/2006 7:12:00 AM EDT by USMC88-93]
Keep in mind that while all Comcast systems are very similar in terms of programming, your local system may in fact send the HDTV locals down the pipe unfiltered/ unscrambled and you would be able to receive them presuming your television was fully capable.

It is a question your local cable company will have to answer for you. Keep in mind they are out to make a sale and their personnel in their call centers may not have been there all that long. Ask multiple people if they all say no than you can be fairly sure that a converter will be required.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 8:41:54 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/18/2006 1:01:53 PM EDT by SWS]
All will be revealed on Wednesday when the new set arrives.

Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:02:31 PM EDT
The new set arrived today. Without any additional hardware or additional cost we received HD programming from Comcast Standard Digital Cable.

Channel
83-2 Local FOX affiliate broadcast local news, weather etc. in HD. Excellent.
118-1 Local ABC affiliate sends HD signaling, but looked like standard NTSC programming.
118-2 Local CBS affiliate sends HD signaling, but looked like standard NTSC programming.
118-3 Local NBC affiliate sends HD signaling, but looked like standard NTSC programming.

There's probably others, but we didn't find them immediately.

I'm sure all of the local network affiliates have HD programming during certain times.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:12:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By SWS:
The new set arrived today. Without any additional hardware or additional cost we received HD programming from Comcast Standard Digital Cable.

Channel
83-2 Local FOX affiliate broadcast local news, weather etc. in HD. Excellent.
118-1 Local ABC affiliate sends HD signaling, but looked like standard NTSC programming.
118-2 Local CBS affiliate sends HD signaling, but looked like standard NTSC programming.
118-3 Local NBC affiliate sends HD signaling, but looked like standard NTSC programming.

There's probably others, but we didn't find them immediately.

I'm sure all of the local network affiliates have HD programming during certain times.


cool! Wait till prime time
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:23:29 PM EDT
You have to have the comcast HD box for your tv to receive the hd channels. I also have an HD tv and comcast. My HD channels are in the 700 number channel range. Its night and day difference. You will find yourself watching discovery all day long.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:37:23 PM EDT
Cool. Now that you know that comcast is sending digital signals and your TV does pick up the unencrypted ones, you can take a look at them and decide if you want to add in a Cable Card for a couple bucks a month and decrypt the rest of the digitals.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 1:44:54 PM EDT

Originally Posted By vedubin01:
You have to have the comcast HD box for your tv to receive the hd channels. I also have an HD tv and comcast. My HD channels are in the 700 number channel range. Its night and day difference. You will find yourself watching discovery all day long.



You don't need a HD box to get all the HD channels. Some TV's are digital-cable-ready, like the OP, and they can view HD content that is unencrypted by the cable company. Many CC's are sending out the local channels in digital with some HD content unencrypted, that is, any QAM-capable tuner can tune them in for free.

Now, if you do want additonal digital and HD content, then yes, you will need something from the CC that will let you watch the encrypted channels, either a box or a Cable Card.
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