Jeff Bailey on 9 May 2009 07:15:07 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] -- Mostly-OT -- Mythbuntu & Comcast channels?

Just as an aside, Comcast is giving away free D2A converters for basic 
service.  When we upgraded one of our rental boxes, they gave us one for 
a TV that has no box, and told us that we'd need it soon.

I'm using it, but I had been under the impression that I *wouldn't* need 
one, since I already had cable service.  That kind of drove home the 
point that they planned to get rid of all analog service.

I *think* they'll give up to 2 for free, but I could be wrong about that.

Isaac Bennetch wrote:
> Hi,
> On Sat, May 9, 2009 at 3:39 AM, JP Vossen <> wrote:
>> I just noticed that between 2009-04-08 and 15, 2-3 of my PBS stations
>> went away.  According to the Comcast channel lineup I just looked at,
>> "14 WLVT", "20 WYBE" and "23 WNJT" are now digital.  I had been assuming
>> that we would not be affected by the cut-over since we are using Comcast
>> and not an OTA antenna.
> Yeah, apparently Comcast is cutting back on their analog service,
> either to push people towards digital or to save bandwidth. This
> really has nothing to do with the June 12th cutoff (actually, the
> opposite; cable operators are required to keep local broadcasts
> available as analog systems until at least 2012, but this is
> irrelevant because the stations you've mentioned aren't really local
> to you). You should continue to get WHYY-TV (12, or wherever else
> Comcast places it on the dial) since that's the local PBS station.
>> Background: We're in Collegeville (so Comcast "Pottstown" service), and
>> have the $20/mo limited basic plan, since all we ever use are a few of
>> the networks, and some of the PBSs.  I have a Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-500MCE
>> dual *analog* tuner PCI card, but it has an internal splitter so only 1
>> incoming Coax (thus I can't add an or other source).
> In this case, things should continue to work quite well for you for a
> few more years (barring a change of heart in the FCC), provided you
> can deal with losing the "non-local" stations you're used to watching.
> Comcast, no doubt, is eager to ditch all analog signals as it makes
> their system easier (for a whole host of reasons including dealing
> with signal leaks, high-band line loss/signal attenuation, having to
> maintain a whole separate infrastructure, and being able to charge
> more for digital service).
>> All the PBSs except "12 WHYY" went away, and according to their site,
>> "WHYY will continue to broadcast both an analog and a digital television
>> signal until June 12 [2009]." (
> I think I answered this before; the over-the-air cuttoff has nothing
> to do with the way most cable service works. Nice of them to make all
> these changes at the same time, though, confusing pretty much
> *everyone*
>> I don't have any HD hardware at all, and could not possibly care less
>> about it.  I am assuming that any kind of converter box won't play nice
>> with my tuner card and MythTV.  Correct?
> That depends on some technical details I can't help you out with plus
> how much effort you want to put in to it. All the Comcast digital
> set-top-boxes that I've seen will put out an analog signal that your
> Hauppauge would be able to record; you would just leave the Hauppauge
> tuned to channel 3 or 4 forever and have to change channels on the
> set-top-box. I believe that Myth has some support for this with some
> sort of external infrared remote-control-like unit, but don't have one
> and don't know the details. You would also be locked in to only
> watching/recording one channel at a time; the second tuner becomes
> useless. I think, anyway; but it's possible that it would continue to
> pass the analog signals that you're already getting...but better to
> count on only one tuner of your Hauppauge working.
>> I just want the networks and at least a PBS or two to work after June
>> 12.
> As long as that's "a PBS" and not "or two" you should be fine.
>> I can buy new digital tuner H/W if needed (the server is a
>> 1u box with 2 PCI slots, 1 open), but I'd prefer not to pay Comcast any
>> more/mo, and I really don't want to switch my TVs yet either.
> Probably buying a new hardware tuner is only helpful if you also
> convert your service to digital, which may require set-top boxes for
> all the TVs in your house. If you are willing to pay for the digital
> service, you could check with them whether they'll continue to deliver
> the analog signals you're getting now or if digital service is only
> digital. You could get lucky and, with the purchase of a digital
> hardware card, get a four-input SuperTivo (two analog and two
> digital)! A digital hardware tuner shouldn't require a set-top-box.
> By the way, I have no idea how your setup would be affected by the
> digital copyright flags that are sometimes set in digital
> transmissions. There are flags that are supposed to prevent recording,
> etc, but whether they are set, transmitted to you, understood by your
> tuner, or adhered to by your software are beyond my working knowledge;
> but worth a bit of homework if you think about going all-digital. For
> that matter, Comcast may encrypt some of the digital channels (IIRC,
> which is a stretch, they are required to pass the local broadcast
> channels in the clear, but are able to encrypt the rest. Determining
> whether that's still true and whether they actually do that on your
> specific system is left as an exercise for the reader).
> ~isaac
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