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Posted by
Visitor
Member Since: ‎10-24-2008
Posts: 2

If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

We just bought a 2nd HDtv and wanted to put it in one of the bedrooms.  We do NOT have a cable box in that room -- just the wall outlet and the little digital converter box (that's new -- since October, maybe? It's about teh size of a deck of cards).  In order to see the true benefits of the HDtv, do we have no choice but to pay a monthly fee for the stupid HD box??  We use that tv so rarely -- I hate to pay monthly for something that hardly gets used.  But the picture isn't all that great and I'm thinking this may be the problem.

Posted by
Silver Problem Solver



Member Since: ‎06-17-2008
Posts: 13,999

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

if you want service from comcast yes you need to get an hd box for that tv.  If you only want your local channels in hd you can get an HD antenna from any major big box store.  if you want more than that you need an hd box from comcast.

Posted by
Cable Expert



Member Since: ‎12-31-2004
Posts: 10,676

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

You can receive the unencrypted HD channels (mostly local network stations) with the TV's digital QAM tuner connected directly to the cable, without a box or antenna.

Posted by
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Member Since: ‎09-27-2008
Posts: 74

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?


WarEagle57 wrote:

You can receive the unencrypted HD channels (mostly local network stations) with the TV's digital QAM tuner connected directly to the cable, without a box or antenna.


Two problems with this.

 

  1. The clear QAM set of channels turns out to be quite a small subset of the channels I'm paying for, at least in my area (Sunnyvale, CA).

  2. The channel assignments change often enough to require frequent re-scanning. Comcast's boxes stay updated, but TV QAM tuners don't. I suspect Comcast does this on purpose to encourage customers to rent boxes. (My guest room TV has no box, and I have to make sure to re-scan whenever we expect out-of-town guests who will want to watch TV and have some idea of which channel is which.)

And a question: is there a non-DVR HD/HDMI cable box which costs less for monthly rental than an HD DVR? I am finding it quite impossible to find equipment availability online.

Posted by
Silver Problem Solver



Member Since: ‎06-17-2008
Posts: 13,999

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

you cannot us any other equipment on that from comcast, thats why you can't find it.  if you see anything on ebay its either stolen or lost equipment. 

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Member Since: ‎09-27-2008
Posts: 74

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

What I meant was that it's impossible to discover COMCAST's own equipment types and prices online. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Posted by
Visitor
Member Since: ‎10-24-2008
Posts: 2

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

It IS impossible.  I tried to find it and it's nowhere to be seen anywhere on their site.  So I have to call to find out how much extra a box will be per month. 

 

Thanks to all of you for your help.  I do appreciate it.

Posted by
Silver Problem Solver



Member Since: ‎06-17-2008
Posts: 13,999

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

you either have a dta free box, a digital box, an HD box or a HD dvr.  

 

Pricing varies by market.  digital box is 9.99 by me, dvr's are 14.99-19.99 each a month you also have to pay the hd fee. 

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Member Since: ‎09-27-2008
Posts: 74

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

I gave up and went to my friendly local Comcast office. A non-DVR HD box costs $8/month in my location. Another extra charge to receive channels I've already subscribed to and which I cannot receive without a box.
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Member Since: ‎12-16-2011
Posts: 1

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

I current have digital box but it is old.  They already charge me per month for it.  Tonight got a new tv.  If I go and get the hd box and exchange it for my old one will they charge me more per month of the same monthly rental fee?

Posted by
Cable Expert



Member Since: ‎03-02-2007
Posts: 14,388

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

[ Edited ]

HD is normally a flat rate charge in addition to equipment in most market area's around $8 or 9 a month.  Because prices are not the same across ComcastLand, the local office can give you the exact price when you exchange the box for a HD box.

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Member Since: ‎10-27-2003
Posts: 66

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

I'm in a similar boat - old CRTV in basement finally died, replaced with a 32" LCD HDTV, using one of the 2 free DTA's I have gives a horrible picture (not designed for digital TV's, puts out an analog signal), tried to find the rental price for a simple HDTV STB online, was totally stymied, finally got on a chat session with an online rep that "magically" changed my browser's page to the one I couldn't find on my own.

 

1) Disturbing that they somehow "reached out and touched my PC" without asking permission first - I have all remote connection services disabled, so I'm not quite sure how he did that.

 

2) Why the heck does Comcast make it so freaking difficult to find equipment rental prices online?!? Every page says "call for pricing" - I do NOT want to sit on hold just to find a rental price!

 

3) In my area, central MD, a 2nd HDTV STB costs $9.25/mo - that's a heckuva lot of dough to cough up if you want HD on all of your TV's! I have 5 in my house - that would add a whopping $37 to my already steep monthly bill, a 20% increase, if I wanted HD on each TV - no way I can afford that!

 

Think I may look into splitting the output signal from the DVR upstairs to hook up the new basement TV and buy an IR repeater so I can control the upstairs DVR with a 2nd remote in the basement.

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Member Since: ‎09-27-2008
Posts: 74

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?


Indigo wrote:

I'm in a similar boat - old CRTV in basement finally died, replaced with a 32" LCD HDTV, using one of the 2 free DTA's I have gives a horrible picture (not designed for digital TV's, puts out an analog signal), tried to find the rental price for a simple HDTV STB online, was totally stymied, finally got on a chat session with an online rep that "magically" changed my browser's page to the one I couldn't find on my own.

 

1) Disturbing that they somehow "reached out and touched my PC" without asking permission first - I have all remote connection services disabled, so I'm not quite sure how he did that.

 

2) Why the heck does Comcast make it so freaking difficult to find equipment rental prices online?!? Every page says "call for pricing" - I do NOT want to sit on hold just to find a rental price!

 

3) In my area, central MD, a 2nd HDTV STB costs $9.25/mo - that's a heckuva lot of dough to cough up if you want HD on all of your TV's! I have 5 in my house - that would add a whopping $37 to my already steep monthly bill, a 20% increase, if I wanted HD on each TV - no way I can afford that!

 

Think I may look into splitting the output signal from the DVR upstairs to hook up the new basement TV and buy an IR repeater so I can control the upstairs DVR with a 2nd remote in the basement.


1. Don't be disturbed by the web page push. This is a function of the chat software you were using to chat with the agent. They can push a web page to you. They were not taking control of your computer.

 

3. I agree the HD boxes are a ripoff. I think they're $8/mo where I live. I'd be happy to be box-free, but no TV's QAM tuner can tune all of the Comcast channels I am paying for.

 

2. "Why" is a question only Comcast can answer. My guess is that because prices vary by location and maybe even by phase of the moon.

Posted by
Bronze Problem Solver



Member Since: ‎12-13-2007
Posts: 3,325

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

Another option would be to use your PC with Windows Media Center and a CableCard tuner (HDHomeRun Prime; on you LAN, Ceton; plugged into your PC, hauppauge; on you USB port), instead of a Comcast box.  Typically Comcast charges $1.50 per month for the additional Cable Card.

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Member Since: ‎10-27-2003
Posts: 66

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

I have an HP Pavilion MM PC, lost ability to use the built in tuner when Comcast scrambled all channels last year. Have tried various methods of getting it to work with a DTA but no joy - and it doesn't have a cablecard slot, nor do I have a router (live alone, no need for a LAN). New HDTV doesn't have a slot either, it's a barebones model - picture is great, but not very many inputs/outputs.

 

I was thinking about the DVR output splitting idea some more, and realized it may not be as simple as I thought - I don't believe the coax output from them is HD - I use the HDMI out to my receiver, then to the TV HDMI in. Think I might have to split the HDMI cord - dunno if I'd need to amplify it too, it's a 20-25 ft run from the DVR to the basement TV.

 

Did find a pretty cool and well-received RF remote control extender - the transmitter goes right inside the remote - it's part rechargable AAA battery/part RF emitter, much better option than an IR extender I'd think:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Next-Generation-Remote-Control-Extender/dp/B000C1Z0HA/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1...

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Member Since: ‎09-15-2012
Posts: 1

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

yes you doi just recieved an HD TV i figured id get my bill down,you know get rid of the box(which cost 5 dollars a month)Last laugh on me i not only  have to have box i needto up grade to an HD box which i was told cost 8 to 10 dollars a  month.I also need to pay8 to 10 more  for the HD service what ever  she said. i already pay 140.84 a month  just to say  i have cable and internet. thats basic cable no movie stations Who would of ever thought we would pay to watch tv

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Member Since: ‎10-27-2003
Posts: 66

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

If you have the tools and ability to string cables within your house, get an HDMI splitter from MCM electronics, ~ $90 retail, cheaper when on sale:

 

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/33-11525

 

and a 25 or 50 ft HDMI cable to run from the splitter to the 2nd TV, then buy the RF remote extender (~ $40):

 

http://www.amazon.com/Next-Generation-Remote-Control-Extender/dp/B000C1Z0HA/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1

 

and you're in business! That's what I did, works great. Hint: don't go for the cheaper MCM HDMI splitters, they burn out in weeks, if not days (took me 3 units to learn that lesson). Also helped that the DVR in the living room is essentially directly above the basement TV, very easy to drill a hole in the floor to run the 2nd HDMI cable downstairs. You'll pay more upfront, of course, but the equipment pays for itself in less tha a year or so vs. continuous rental charges + extra HD fees for a 2nd HDTV.

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Visitor
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Member Since: ‎08-27-2014
Posts: 1

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

Actually you don't need an "HD antenna". I use old fashioned $12 rabbit ears from Radio Shack and get a nice HD signal for the channels that offer that. If you're in a low spot or try a ClearStream antenna

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Visitor
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Member Since: ‎12-14-2014
Posts: 1

Re: If I have an HDTV, do I have to have a Digital HD Cable Box?

[ Edited ]

There is no difference between old school, "rabbit-ears" antenna and so called HD antenna. Companies use the "HD" part for marketing. Found that out not long ago, lol.

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