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Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

Frequent Visitor

Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

I apologize as this topic is no doubt covered elsewhere, but I am frustrated after searching for an hour to find an answer to what seems to me a very basic question.

 

We have a nice HD plasma TV and Extended Basic service with no cable box (I hate cable boxes with a passion). We've been receiving what HD channels are offered in our lineup without a problem--very clean and crisp picture. Today, however, I received the oh so fun notice from Comcast that Extended Basic service is moving to digital in our area in May. Therefore, I'll need a Comcast digital cable box to keep receiving those channels (grrrr....ummm, hello, isn't this why my tv has a digital tuner?). They are offering a digital cable box and up to two DTAs for free per household with no extra service fees (all subject to change, of course). 

 

Here's my question: Will I be able to receive the HD channels on my HDTV through the standard digital cable box in nice, crisp HD without a problem, or will I instead have to get the HD digital cable box from Comcast and of course then pay them a monthly fee for it? Am guessing what the answer is, but just wanted to check.

 

Thank you!

 

 


Accepted Solutions
Expert

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

You are guessing right, the basic SD STB and DTA's will not tune in any HD.  Keeping the coax from the outlet directly to the TV will only get you local network stations in HD and a few other channels like QVC and the PEG's.

 

Your other choices are:

Connect a splitter and A/B switch to the input on the TV and on one leg you will be able to tune in your local network stations in HD, and use the SD STB for tuning in the cable channels in SD.

 

Upgrade to a HD STB and use it to tune all the HD local stations and all the HD's your package allows plus On Demand and premiums.

 

It is unlikely your TV has a cable card slot, but if it did, you can use a cable card and tune in all the HD channels except On Demand.

 

Face it, no matter who you have for a provider you will need a HD STB to enjoy the HD channels you want to receive.  It's not just Comcast, it's all the satellite providers, U-Verse, FIOS & overbuilders.

 

Message Edited by JayInAlg on 01-09-2010 10:38 PM

All Replies
Expert

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

You are guessing right, the basic SD STB and DTA's will not tune in any HD.  Keeping the coax from the outlet directly to the TV will only get you local network stations in HD and a few other channels like QVC and the PEG's.

 

Your other choices are:

Connect a splitter and A/B switch to the input on the TV and on one leg you will be able to tune in your local network stations in HD, and use the SD STB for tuning in the cable channels in SD.

 

Upgrade to a HD STB and use it to tune all the HD local stations and all the HD's your package allows plus On Demand and premiums.

 

It is unlikely your TV has a cable card slot, but if it did, you can use a cable card and tune in all the HD channels except On Demand.

 

Face it, no matter who you have for a provider you will need a HD STB to enjoy the HD channels you want to receive.  It's not just Comcast, it's all the satellite providers, U-Verse, FIOS & overbuilders.

 

Message Edited by JayInAlg on 01-09-2010 10:38 PM
New Poster

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

I have the same question.  I'm thinking of getting an upgrade for the Basement (gaming, minor TV viewing), but don't want a cable box.  I just want to go from the wall to the back of the TV - simple.  Will I be able to get at least my locals in HDTV?  Being that it is a HDTV with all of the latest tuners, shouldn't I also be able to pick up the non premium HD channels in the package as well?
Expert

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

Except for 2 models of Panasonic Plasma's that have tru2way available in certain markets, all new digital TV's only tune clear QAM with a direct cable connection.  Comcast's business model is moving to encrypting all channels other than the lowest limited basic tier which will give you the lowest analog channels lineup ususally up to analong ch 23 or so depending on the system  In addition, you will receive clear QAM local television stations in both SD and HD if available and a few more like QVC. 

 

Tru2way was supposed to replace the set top box, but has had such a slow startup, that it might die off before it ever got started.  If it even looked like tru2way was taking off, I'd say wait for a while, but it isn't going as hoped 2 years ago.

 

If you want more than just the locals in HD, you will need a HD STB.  You will not be able to tune an any other channels in your current cable package directly as they are or will be encrypted.

 

 

Message Edited by JayInAlg on 01-12-2010 05:05 PM
Frequent Visitor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?


TDYS wrote:
I have the same question.  I'm thinking of getting an upgrade for the Basement (gaming, minor TV viewing), but don't want a cable box.  I just want to go from the wall to the back of the TV - simple.  Will I be able to get at least my locals in HDTV?  Being that it is a HDTV with all of the latest tuners, shouldn't I also be able to pick up the non premium HD channels in the package as well?

 

If that HDTV has a cable card slot, just call up Comcast and have them come install one.  You will get everything except Program Guide, Video On Demand, and Pay per View.

 

If your TV doesn't have a cable card slot, you have no option but get a box.

 

 

Expert

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

The OP said he is thinking of getting a new TV, there hasn't been any cable card TV's sold in a couple of years already.  The cable card "fad" is long passed except for Tivo's and Moxi's.

 

Tru2way is a dream dieing out before it got started.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?


JayInAlg wrote:

The OP said he is thinking of getting a new TV, there hasn't been any cable card TV's sold in a couple of years already.  The cable card "fad" is long passed except for Tivo's and Moxi's.

 

Tru2way is a dream dieing out before it got started.


 

I was responding to the guy that said he had a HDTV in the basement.  He didn't say how old was that set. 

 

Yeah, I'm aware new model TV's don't have cable card any more, but there were millions of TV's sold over the past several years that DO have the slot.  And Comcast DOES still officially support having a cable card installed in your TV if it can accept one (the first one per outlet is even still offered free of charge!).  All their set top boxes for the past 2 1/2 years use a cable card for decrypting anyway, even their must recently deployed models (like my Cisco DVR) still uses a multistream cable card.

 

 

 

Expert

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

I read TDYS as saying he wanted to upgrade the TV in the basement for gaming etc, but I guess he already had a new TV.  So then yes, he might have slim luck in having a cable card.

 

I had just read it message different that I guess what it was for.

Regular Visitor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

This situation has really made me LIVID.  I'm paying for extended basic.  I have 3 HDTV's.  They receive digital stations.  Until a week ago... I was receiving USA. TNT, History, TBS, etc. with no problem and then Comcast CHOSE to block them.  Why must I HAVE to use a box in order to get the stations I'm paying for???  Why must Comcast block those extended basic stations so that people are FORCED to use their box.  It's demeaning and manipulative.  I'll be looking elsewhere and if I have to use a box... then some other company will get my payment.  I really don't see a need for this.

 

Another issue... if you want the HD stations... then you can pay $9,25 additional per box.

Regular Contributor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?


JayInAlg wrote:

 

Face it, no matter who you have for a provider you will need a HD STB to enjoy the HD channels you want to receive.  It's not just Comcast, it's all the satellite providers, U-Verse, FIOS & overbuilders.

 


The Satellite Companies HAVE TO USE STB's, their technology is incompatible with TV, its also a lot more expensive and complicated than Cable, the fact that Satellite can steal away market share, despite their enormous disadvantage,  from the Cable companies is sad indictment on the utter incompentance of the Cable Companies.

The Cable Companies DO NOT HAVE TO USE STB's, their tehcnology is 100% compatible with TV, there are all sorts of technologies and standards to answer all the challenges about Security, Copyright infringement, protecting premium content, etc, without having to use STB's.  There is no reason to encrypt all the channels that COMCAST has currently encrypted, other than that by doing so, they can influence customers to pay more for their proprietary solutions through the STB's, that eliminate competition from 3rd party devices.

 

Even now, Satellite Companies are fielding solutions to reduce the number of STB's a customer needs, and exploring how to eleminate STB's all together.  NOT to mention Satellite Companies are providing far better STB's that work much better and satisfy the customer far better then the equipment COMCAST is supplying.

 

In contrast Cable Companies are pushing their customers to use more STB's for an additional fees and refusing to cooperate with standards and technologies that would remove the need for STB's for anything on cable.

 

If I just needed a STB for Premium Channels, like HBO, or On-Demand, as well, a STB to keep an old Analog TV working with digital channels.  I would be satisfied with COMCAST, might be a few dollars more then I think I should, but satisfied mostly.  Instead, they've destroyed their in a cynical attempt to force me into shelling out more for less.

 

Still haven't decided between Dish or DirecTV, but Satellite here I come.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

This is total BS, here in the year 2010 you still need a cable set top box to watch HD TV on an HDTV. I have four 1080p HDTVs and one Comcast HD STB so now after they shut down all of the channels above 28 I now need four STBs.

Regular Contributor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

And you have to pay extra monthly fees for each one.  The latest Plans and writing out of the FCC reveals they are P.O. at the cable companies and what they've turned their services into.

New Poster

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

I have basic cable & just purchased a Vizio 55" HDTV. When I hooked up the cable, all channels were fuzzy. Tried switching cables around with no success. I was told by Comcast tech I needed HD box. After reading this forum, I came across a simple fix. Disconnecting cable from box & connecting directly to HDTV fixed the problem! The downside is some channels are not working like On Demand, History, and a few others. We decided to pay the additional $10/month for HD box & channels. Thanks for the help!

Regular Visitor

Re: Do you need HD cable box with HDTV to see channels in HD?

I totally agree.  We got our notice in the mail this week that we would need boxes for EVERY tv to receive the higher channels 30 & up!!!!  And they will only give us 2 we have to pay for the others.  REALLY, my parents are senior citizens who are on a fixed income.  This is STUPID!  We will be looking for another option for them even if I have to get an old antenna and a digital box I won't give Comcast the money to watch channels that I already pay for and have watched for years!!!!