Welcome to Comcast Help & Support Forums
Find solutions, share knowledge, and get answers from customers and experts

New to the Community? Start here.




online now



Digital box requirement for all tv's in residence

Posted by
  • Congrats on Posting your first topic!

Member Since: ‎09-26-2012
Posts: 2
Message 5 of 5 (1,939 Views)

Digital box requirement for all tv's in residence

Just curious to know if anyone knows if it is possible to buy a digital converter box at a retail store such as Radio Shack or WalMart, plug it in to a bedroom tv and be able to get programming.. 


Now that a box is required for all tv's, the bedrooms in my house don't work..  Any solutions other than going thru the Comcast Store to get them to work? 


Bored in Bellingham

Posted by
Silver Problem Solver

Member Since: ‎10-18-2008
Posts: 6,606
Message 1 of 5 (1,713 Views)

Re: Digital box requirement for all tv's in residence

None of the Comcast cable boxes on Ebay are usable.

Posted by
Regular Visitor
Regular Visitor
  • Thank you contributor for your first reply to the community!
 Posting replies is the best way to get involved.

Member Since: ‎01-12-2010
Posts: 2
Message 2 of 5 (1,777 Views)

Re: Digital box requirement for all tv's in residence

I purchased a comcast box on Ebay which was the same as the free ones comcast sends out for your extra TV's. Long story short- they would not activate it.

They told me they "couldn't" activate it from there & i asked them to transfer me to someone/somewhere that could. they flat out refused.

The ebay seller gave me a refund & told me to keep the box.

 I found a workaround anyway.

I have found nothing that frustrates me more than dealing with comcast with the exception of my ex-wife.

Posted by
Regular Contributor

Member Since: ‎04-22-2007
Posts: 200
Message 3 of 5 (1,875 Views)

Re: Digital box requirement for all tv's in residence

Digital TV converter boxes only work for over-the-air antenna TV reception, transmitted in "ATSC" format.   They are specifically designed NOT to decode digital cable signals, which are transmitted in "QAM" format.


Note also: most new TVs manufactured since 2007 have a "Clear QAM" tuner, which MIGHT receive some of the "non-encrypted" QAM channels in your local Comcast market.  Comcast personnel will not provide you any technical support for using "Clear QAM" tuning, as they prefer that you rent one of their set-top boxes.  In any event, "Clear QAM" channels are typically the "limited basic" tier, i.e. the standard-def versions of your local CBS, ABC, PBS, Fox, PBS, CW, and independent OTA channels, plus a few public, educational and government channels.  In many markets, the high definition feeds of those channels are encrypted.


Keep in mind that most of Comcast's cable channels (CNN, ESPN, Root Sports, Fox News, etc.) are "encrypted" QAM, so the "Clear QAM" tuner won't allow you to view those signals.

Posted by
Cable Expert

Member Since: ‎03-02-2007
Posts: 17,624
Message 4 of 5 (1,922 Views)

Re: Digital box requirement for all tv's in residence

Sorry, none of the retail boxes will work on Comcast's encrypted QAM digital system.  Those boxes only receive over the air ATSC signals.


Any encrypted channels from Comcast must use a DTA digital adapter, full cable box, or a cable card equipped unit like a Tivo or a cable card tuner in a Media Center PC.