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Subject: Please help with my stupid Comcast questions rss

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JessA
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I have never had cable, so I am ignorant about such things.

My mother in law is 87, she recently got a new TV. Her old TV was analog, of course, so now she has a digital TV and I thought she'd get a nice crisp HD picture with this new TV. However, the picture is still rather fuzzy. I mean, it's okay, but it's not HD.

I figured that she must still be getting an analog signal... like maybe her account was set up with a converter for her old TV and needed to be switched to a digital signal, I don't know.

Well, she asked me to call comcast on her behalf because this is really over her head.

They said that in order for her to get a digital signal, she'd need to upgrade and pay another $8 a month. o.O Geez, she already pays nearly $70 bucks a month, I was SHOCKED by that. She doesn't have any premium channels, that's the price for basic?? That is just crazy!

So, I told them no thank you, but now I'm wondering if I asked for the wrong thing or if I'm missing something.

My questions:

-Do you really have to pay extra to get HD? (I get HD and it's Over the Air- Free!)

-She has a cable box, does everyone have this? I thought you just plugged the cable into the back of the TV, but when I tried that, it got no signal.

-Any other ideas on why her picture wouldn't be clear?


Thanks for any ideas and help!
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Rich Shipley
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She probably still has a standard cable box. The HD cable boxes are usually more per month.

The TV might be able to tune the digital signal directly if it will accept a cable card that you may be able to get from Comcast (usually for a bit less than a cable box). It probably won't let you use on-demand features though.
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Jon
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We have Cox, but as I understand it...

-You CAN get over-the-air HD, but you need an antenna to get it. You're limited to what you can receive (typically your big networks...ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox).
-The HD signal from the cable company does come with an additional fee, and includes HD versions of many/all your normal cable channels (USA, Discovery, History, etc.). These HD channels are in a separate range from the normal channels. On our Cox channel lineup, all the "normal" channels are #1-699, and the HD channels start w/ 700. We get SD and HD versions of many channels.
-She *may* be able to not use a cable box, but she would need a cable card from Comcast and her TV would need to have a slot to accept it (and tuner functionality to process it).
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fightcitymayor
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Jatoha wrote:
-Do you really have to pay extra to get HD? (I get HD and it's Over the Air- Free!)
Yes.
You can watch standard-def channels on an HDTV, but it's still going to look comparatively "blurry." The HD cable box will cost another $10 per month, and the higher-tier packages that actually include HD-programming are more expensive.


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J Boyes
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Poll
Do you feel like your cable is worth what you pay?
yes
no
      51 answers
Poll created by Jpwoo


Just curious.
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Troy Davidson
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I have Comcast here in Utah. I only pay for the standard basic cable. I get the crappy looking old channels. But, they also send down the digital channels. So I can tune to channel 5 and get standard definition NBC. But, if I tune to 5.1, I get the HD version of the channel. This about the same for every channel I have.

I've talked to Comcast about it. And they say it's just easier to send down the HD signal with the SD signal. I don't get any of the special channels like Disney, HGTV, Comedy Central, so on. Just crisp looking basic cable channels.

Try tuning the tv to one of this digital channels and see what you get.
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JessA
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Thanks guys, this is so helpful.

Sounds like I should check out the card option for her to save her a little money.


clandaith wrote:

Try tuning the tv to one of this digital channels and see what you get.


Good idea! I will try this, do you have a box or is this with a card?
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HD aside, her cable company may have a package below 'basic' that is less expensive. It will be less channels but maybe she doesn't need/want the channels she has?

Also, I wanted to 'downgrade' to below basic but because 'basic' was 'packaged' with my internet they told me it was going to BE MORE EXPENSIVE WITH BELOW BASIC AND INTERNET (billed as separate services).

After a moment of dead silence they offered me THE SAME PACKAGE I had been paying $80/month for for $56/month.

So the morale to that story is, it doesn't hurt to call and discuss cancelling or changing her plan. They may give you a new lower rate for the same service.
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Rick B
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You may have already figured this out, but checking my Comcast account, the first tier with HD starts at $86. The digital starter package in my area is $68, but doesn't include HD channels. I know the prices can be different from area to area. Basic cable is only $15, but also won't look much better and only includes the most basic local channels. It is digital now though, I believe. I have bundled my service with internet and phone, so I pay more but get a little break from having all three.
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Troy Davidson
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Jatoha wrote:

clandaith wrote:

Try tuning the tv to one of this digital channels and see what you get.


Good idea! I will try this, do you have a box or is this with a card?


No box or anything. Just coax into the back of the TV.
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Michael Edwards
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Kilgore_Smores wrote:
HD aside, her cable company may have a package below 'basic' that is less expensive. It will be less channels but maybe she doesn't need/want the channels she has?

Also, I wanted to 'downgrade' to below basic but because 'basic' was 'packaged' with my internet they told me it was going to BE MORE EXPENSIVE WITH BELOW BASIC AND INTERNET (billed as separate services).

After a moment of dead silence they offered me THE SAME PACKAGE I had been paying $80/month for for $56/month.

So the morale to that story is, it doesn't hurt to call and discuss cancelling or changing her plan. They may give you a new lower rate for the same service.


I had read about similar things. Alas, when I called and tried a similar tactic, they only offered me a $5/mo discount.
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Robert Wesley
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Re: Please help with my stupid Comcast questions?
Yes, Comcast is: "stupid"! There! Yours now hath been: "answered"! robot
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They call me....
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The very sad fact is that even with an HD cable box, an HD television, and an HD feed, certain shows can, and frequently do, look like junk. Anybody with Comcast who watches Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on the HD network channels will probably have experienced this.
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David K.
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Just to re-iterate....

All of the equipment in the line of the signal has to be HD capable.

Cable box
The cable itself (some older co-ax can't handle it very well)
Stereo (if you use one)
TV

And you usually need to sign up for HD services in order to get any of the HD channels.

You might be able to get the local HD channels directly into your TV without paying extra, it varies from provier to provider.


Good Luck!
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George Kinney
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Jatoha wrote:
Thanks guys, this is so helpful.

Sounds like I should check out the card option for her to save her a little money.


clandaith wrote:

Try tuning the tv to one of this digital channels and see what you get.


Good idea! I will try this, do you have a box or is this with a card?


It might be as simple as switching the tuner mode on the TV from Analog to Digital. I have Time Warner here, and that's all that's necessary (coax directly into the TV) for basic cable, both SD and HD. It could be different for other cable companies of course.
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JessA
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Gecko23 wrote:
Jatoha wrote:
Thanks guys, this is so helpful.

Sounds like I should check out the card option for her to save her a little money.


clandaith wrote:

Try tuning the tv to one of this digital channels and see what you get.


Good idea! I will try this, do you have a box or is this with a card?


It might be as simple as switching the tuner mode on the TV from Analog to Digital. I have Time Warner here, and that's all that's necessary (coax directly into the TV) for basic cable, both SD and HD. It could be different for other cable companies of course.


Her TV is set to digital, but she has a comcast box and I wonder if there's a setting on there that will help.

I need to get over to her house when she's not there to mess with it. I tried to look at the settings last night and I was unsuccessful in finding the television set up menu for the box. I'm not familiar with the comcast remote, it looks like she might have a DVR which is a complete waste for her, she'd NEVER use that.

Anyway, there are a lot of menus and it's hard to fool around with it when she's there. She gets all nervous about these menus showing up on her screen, some that say you have to pay to view stuff etc. She's a lovely lady and tries to be patient, but I can tell that it stresses her out when I mess with her tv.
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Jpwoo wrote:
Poll
Do you feel like your cable is worth what you pay?
yes
no
      51 answers
Poll created by Jpwoo


Just curious.


We don't have cable, and I think it's worth 0, so yes?
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JessA
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The results on that poll are pretty staggering. You all should consider cutting the cord. We do fine without cable, as long as I can get PBS over the air, I'm all good.
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