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How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: February 25, 2009 12:35PM
I was talking to a Comcast rep a few minutes ago about HDTV service, and we wandered off onto the subject of digital converter boxes. By the end of this year, Comcast will be switching to digital, and I have just been told that even my newest little TV, the two week old Vizio 19" in the kitchen, will need a separate box in order to get a signal. Boo hiss!!!! She said the other option was a TV with a cable card slot. I've been looking at specs for a lot of TVs lately, and I don't remember seeing anything about cable card slots. How do you figure out which sets have them and which don't? (This Vizio doesn't.) I did get it at Costco, so, if it's brand new but soon to become "obsolete", I could return it. There's little point in doing that, though, if I can't find a replacement.

This won't be an issue with my other TVs, because they will have boxes anyway, but I don't have room for a converter box for this particular set.

My post isn't particularly coherent, but I don't express myself well when I'm mad. sad smiley Sorry.
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: February 25, 2009 12:48PM
Haven't seen one in years AD, and the ones that had them were 36" and above, obviously not a great replacement for that space constrained 19" TV.
The Vizio has a ATSC/QAM Tuner doesn't it? You should be able to tune in all the ClearQAM broadcasts.
Also, I don't know if Comcast does this but TWC converts all their "Basic Cable" channels to analog.

BGnR



"Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"
"If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."
"Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky."
"A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: mikebw
Date: February 25, 2009 12:52PM
I would think you will still be able to view the basic channels with no box of any kind, like BGnR says.
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: February 25, 2009 12:59PM
Yeah, but Comcast here in the Puget Sound Washington area will only have the basic basic as analog HD, channels below 35 I believe. So for us, channels like Fiid Network, History Channel,TNT, SciFi, Commedy Central, HG Network won't work without a digital box. You need expanded basic, which will be fed to us as digital HD only.
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 25, 2009 01:02PM
Alpha,

No surprise. Most TVs do not have cablecard slots. Even the new LCD and plasma TVs I'm looking at do not have cablecard slots and we're talking 42" and 46" models that are not the low-end of the pack. For what it's worth, a friend of mine who used to work for a major electronics chain a while back said that cablecards aren't an important enough feature to worry about when it comes to a new TV and that I shouldn't even take it into consideration, i.e. I'd be better off sticking with a box. The reasons is that it's a finicky technology and still a work in progress, increased expense since TVs with cablecards aren't cheap, and that other technologies are competing with it. Whether any of this is really true or not, I cannot say. It's just what was reported to me.

Robert



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2009 01:03PM by Robert M.
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: Gareth
Date: February 25, 2009 01:04PM
Yea, there never were a lot of CableCard compatible TV's. Crutchfield.com only shows two that they currently sell, and those are both 46".
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: February 25, 2009 01:05PM
While waiting for somebody to respond to this, I've been Googling. (Sometimes that doesn't help much for the likes of me, but I try!) I'm considering calling Comcast again and talking to a service tech, because what I found in my Google search indicated that it's the QAM tuner in the Vizio that is the digital tuner, which is what I think BGnR just said. ??? When I asked the customer service rep about this, she said it had nothing to do with it, and that I'd need either a box or a card, regardless of what kind of tuner might be in my set. I find it hard to believe that Comcast would introduce a change that renders every TV obsolete, but I suppose I can't rule it out.

OK, I'm going for a second opinion from Comcast!!

Oh, right now Comcast is converting signals to analog, but, at least in my area, they're going to all digital by the end of 2009.

Let's see what somebody else says. I don't usually "shop" for an answer I like, but... smiling smiley
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: Doc
Date: February 25, 2009 01:07PM
Quote
AlphaDog
I was talking to a Comcast rep a few minutes ago about By the end of this year, Comcast will be switching to digital, and I have just been told that even my newest little TV, the two week old Vizio 19" in the kitchen, will need a separate box in order to get a signal.

Quote
Racer X
...Comcast here in the Puget Sound Washington area will only have the basic basic as analog HD, channels below 35 I believe. So for us, channels like Fiid Network, History Channel,TNT, SciFi, Commedy Central, HG Network won't work without a digital box. You need expanded basic, which will be fed to us as digital HD only.

The problem isn't exactly that the transmissions are going digital. Comcast is moving them into the higher channels that are only available with a digital tuner. Some tv's will undoubtedly be able to receive some of the broadcasts on their new channels, but it's doubtful that all of them will remain available or easy to find when the transition comes.

...But that's not the end of the story.

You should be able to get up to two DTA converter boxes for free from Comcast when they make the switch.

Basically, the DTA box fits behind your set and converts the stations back to analog and the old familiar channels, allowing your old set to continue to receive the same channels without having to add the rental digital converter box.

No cable-card-ready tv required.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2009 01:12PM by Doc.
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: Gareth
Date: February 25, 2009 01:17PM
Yes, a QAM tuner is a digital tuner, but it can only receive unencrypted channels. Comcast is under no obligation to transmit anything except the broadcast/network channels unencrypted. So, if all you want to watch is ABC/CBS/NBC/Fox/PBS, etc, you should be fine. But if/when they decide to encrypt everything else, that's when you need a cablecard or another adapter/box.
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: BigGuynRusty
Date: February 25, 2009 01:20PM
Quote
AlphaDog
While waiting for somebody to respond to this, I've been Googling. (Sometimes that doesn't help much for the likes of me, but I try!) I'm considering calling Comcast again and talking to a service tech, because what I found in my Google search indicated that it's the QAM tuner in the Vizio that is the digital tuner, which is what I think BGnR just said. ??? When I asked the customer service rep about this, she said it had nothing to do with it, and that I'd need either a box or a card, regardless of what kind of tuner might be in my set. I find it hard to believe that Comcast would introduce a change that renders every TV obsolete, but I suppose I can't rule it out.

OK, I'm going for a second opinion from Comcast!!

Oh, right now Comcast is converting signals to analog, but, at least in my area, they're going to all digital by the end of 2009.

Let's see what somebody else says. I don't usually "shop" for an answer I like, but... smiling smiley
AD, don't worry about this until it actually happens which I don't think it will.
Obviously the First Tier Support person knows absolutely nothing about what's going on.
Also, in their defense, and please no offense meant, but sometimes the question muddies the water and makes it incredibly hard to give a simple answer.
Here's how most CC's are set up.:
Basic Cable - Analog (Converted from Digital) No Cable Box needed.
Expanded Cable/PPV/HBO/ShowTime & Others - Cable box needed, outputs Analog/Digital signal.
Expanded Cable/HD/PPV/HBO/ShowTime & Others - HD Cable box needed, outputs Analog/Digital signal.
Here is an important point, if your CC does not supply Basic Cable in an Analog (NTSC) format, it must supply for FREE a cable box.

BGnR
HD is Digital, but Digital is not necessarily HD.



"Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You're beautiful!"
"If we dig precious things from the land, we will invite disaster."
"Near the day of Purification, there will be cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky."
"A container of ashes might one day be thrown from the sky, which could burn the land and boil the oceans."
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: February 25, 2009 01:22PM
Alpha,

One other thing... Not sure if it's important to you but cable cards present a problem if you watch pay per view. With Cablevision here on Long Island, you need an actual cable box to receive watch pap-per-view programs. A cable card won't cut it. You must have an actual cable box. It wouldn't surprise me if Comcast has the same restriction. So, if you watch anything on pay-per-view, then go with a box.

Robert
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: JoeH
Date: February 25, 2009 01:39PM
For all its ads about persons with cable not needing to worry about the transition, Comcast looks to be in progress to remove all analog signals they are not required to carry off cable here too. Already have a number of channels in their Expanded Basic package here that have been moved to digital signal only. Here though they have not actually announced it, just when you go to those channels with an analog tuner you get the notice for a month after the switch. That and the wording on Expanded Basic in the most recent rate chart now says it is for on top of the Digital Starter package, not the Basic service like it used to say.



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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: February 25, 2009 01:44PM
My ruffled feathers have now been smoothed a bit. The magician is named Nathan, and he's a Comcast service tech. His bottom line answer wasn't any different from what I'd been told by the customer service rep, but he went into more detail.

By the end of the year all channels above 29 will be encrypted, and the QAM can only get unencrypted (what Big Guy said.) The feather-smoother was learning that the digital converter has been designed as a very small piece of equipment that can be kept in a drawer, with just an antenna needing to be visible. I had a mental image of having to find a spot to house another piece of equipment the size of the digital converter box that's attached to my big TV, which is bigger than my DVD/VCR box. I'm finally beginning to grasp all of this. (Maybe. Mostly.) I can keep my little Vizio with a minimum amount of interference from an added chunk of techno-crap. I like my life simple!! Whew. And my little converters are being shipped out.

OK, and now we can resume our regular Wednesday programming. Thank you. smiling smiley
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Re: How do you find a TV with a cable card slot?
Date: February 25, 2009 02:34PM
Quote
BigGuynRusty
Quote
AlphaDog
While waiting for somebody to respond to this, I've been Googling. (Sometimes that doesn't help much for the likes of me, but I try!) I'm considering calling Comcast again and talking to a service tech, because what I found in my Google search indicated that it's the QAM tuner in the Vizio that is the digital tuner, which is what I think BGnR just said. ??? When I asked the customer service rep about this, she said it had nothing to do with it, and that I'd need either a box or a card, regardless of what kind of tuner might be in my set. I find it hard to believe that Comcast would introduce a change that renders every TV obsolete, but I suppose I can't rule it out.

OK, I'm going for a second opinion from Comcast!!

Oh, right now Comcast is converting signals to analog, but, at least in my area, they're going to all digital by the end of 2009.

Let's see what somebody else says. I don't usually "shop" for an answer I like, but... smiling smiley
AD, don't worry about this until it actually happens which I don't think it will.
Obviously the First Tier Support person knows absolutely nothing about what's going on.
Also, in their defense, and please no offense meant, but sometimes the question muddies the water and makes it incredibly hard to give a simple answer.
Here's how most CC's are set up.:
Basic Cable - Analog (Converted from Digital) No Cable Box needed.
Expanded Cable/PPV/HBO/ShowTime & Others - Cable box needed, outputs Analog/Digital signal.
Expanded Cable/HD/PPV/HBO/ShowTime & Others - HD Cable box needed, outputs Analog/Digital signal.
Here is an important point, if your CC does not supply Basic Cable in an Analog (NTSC) format, it must supply for FREE a cable box.

What do you consider Expanded Cable, all channels above 35? Comcast in the SF Bay Area announced that they were going to start switching communities to digital cable for above channel 35 starting in March 2009. The new converter boxes are about the size of a large paperback book. I am guessing the West Coast will all follow by the end of 2010 depending on how well it goes (upgrading the network and supply/distribution of boxes).
[www.sfgate.com]



in tha 510.
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