As a follow-up. Comcast could not figure out the problem and I was not willing to pay to have a tech come out (as they said I would probably have to pay - if the issue was my fault). I decided it was not worth it and cancelled the TV part of my cable and now just have Internet. Comcast tech support needs some work.
We have Comcast Internet and basic cable TV. We have a line to our kitchen TV (without a box) and it gets cable. We have an old TV downstairs, so I picked up a cable box from Comcast. I connected it and it would just show the message 'initializing operating system' and never anything more. I went through all of this with a Comcast rep on the Internet and she suggested a new box.
I went to the Comcast store and exchanged the box, brought it back, followed the instructions and activated online. This one says it is booting, then just a blank screen on the TV and then no lights on the cable box. I just spoke with a rep. who suggested I connect it before the splitter, which I did, but no difference. I have waited 30 -45 minutes, unplugged it and then reconnected and waited more. Did another activation, but so far nothing.