I'm a Philly resident (19123) and just signed up for the $17 a month limited basic plan. My understanding what that I should be able to rely on the digital tuner in my new TV to get the channels available in my package. Once my tv has auto scanned the cable signal, it says I have about 40 analog channels and 70 digital channels.
The channel line up on my tv's built in guide does not line up with the limited basic lineup. For instance, there is no channel 231 for ABC HD on my tv. Many channels show a "splash page" informing me that I need a digital cable box to decode the signal, such as ch 2 FOX and ch 4 CNN. To view network stations in HD, I use 3.1 or 6.1 or 10.1.
I suppose my question is where do I need to look to solve the problem. Is it my tv's guide and digital tuner that are muxing things up? Did comcast publish their information wrong and I do in fact need a digital box?
I don't watch that much tv to worry about this or even pay for the digital box rental fee. It would be nice if my TVs guide was lined up with comcasts lineup though.
Using a clear QAM tuner in a TV will get you all digital clear channels on the cable. These will not necessarily match the official channel list published by Comcast. Most network stations are broadcast with hidden channel information called "PSIP" to send the channel information to the TV and that is what shows on the TV as your local network stations such as 3.1, 6.1 10.1. Other channels are tuned as their "real" RF digital channels such as 34.1, 34.3, 77.1, etc. These channels will be tuned in with your tuner, but will not match the Comcast published channel listing. These clear QAM channels are not officially supported by Comcast, they are available as a convience.
The analog channels with the splash screen will be removed shortly, as part of Comcast digital transition. These are analog channels that will be removed, some which are duplicated in clear QAM, others encrypted which need a set top box..
Normally with limited basic, you will tune in 20 or so digital channels, and possibly some duplicate analog channels. It depends on your local Comcast system channel lineup.
Anyone using a clear QAM tuner needs to make their own channel list, as it is not published by Comcast. Comcast's official channel listings are for users with set top boxes, which do the channel mapping internally.
A rough but not exact channel list is available from 3rd party SiliconDust.com under their resources tab by entering your zip code.