Free HD signals over analog comcast cable!?

 

Anonymous
 
I was setting up my new 50" Samsung DLP yesterday and used the auto-channel function to set up the channels. I discovered that I was recieving HD signals (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS) over my analog extended basic cable. I have no box, cableCard or antenna. These HD signals were found at channels like 90-1, 89-2, etc. The signal was registering as HD with Dolby Digital (according to the on-screen TV info box) and did look like an HD signal as the picture quality was far better than my other channels.

Could this be true? Anyone else discover this? Whats the deal? Will it last? Only problem was that some of the channels were in 4:3 format instead of 16:9. My TV was set to 16:9, so I'm not sure what happened there...NBC Jay Lenno was 16:9 and looked fantastic. Maybe I need to stretch the signal in some menu or something?

I was planning on ordering digital cable with HD from Comcast. But now I don't really see the point of spending another $25 a month to upgrade my service. Question - will the other channels (sci fi, comedy, E!, etc) have noticably better picture quality with digital cable service?

Thanks for any advice!

Matio
 

Bronze Member
Username: Turbodog

Post Number: 20
Registered: Jul-05
Sounds like you lucked out.

When I had my Comcast 'installed' (basic cable... only because I want broadband internet) the installer said "it's already on, we didn't want to have to climb the pole to disconnect it when the prior owner moved out. We also don't want to climb the pole to install a trap, so you get the full analog package, no extra charge"

Sounds like they are just as lazy in your location. As far as 4:3, 16:9, etc.... it's a mixed bag. Different shows are in different formats, some are HD, some are SD digital. If you prefer the look of 'stretched' 4:3, go for it. Do what looks good to you.

If you are already getting HD channels, I would expect that you are already getting digital channels as well. I would expect no difference other than a higher monthly bill.
 

New member
Username: Cheneyp

CT

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-05
Many cable operators send the local HD feeds unscrambled over the cable line and if you have a built-in HD/QAM tuner you can receive them. If you want other HD channels like ESPNHD, TNTHD, DiscoveryHD, etc. you need to get an HD cable box and pay the monthly fee (which for me is only $15/month)
 

New member
Username: Tsquared

Post Number: 1
Registered: Oct-05
I have also recently purchased and installed a Samsung 50" DLP and ran into the same thing. i.e. receiving those same DTV channels that sometimes have HDTV programming. I have also delayed converting my analog cable service to digital because of this and the cable card service problems. I have TW and don't want to spend the $25/mo more for DTV w/STB's. I will eventually go to CableCard somewhere down the road for those additional ESPNHD, TNTHD, DiscoveryHD etc... but CC's sound too painful right now and STB's plain suck.
The issue/question I have is the lack of digital signal when I route my coax thru the DVD/VCR to the TV, I lose 2 of my "free" DTV channels, one network and ESPN. They are fine when I connect directly to the TV. I tried a cheap 50-900MHZ amplifier, but no help. Does anyone know what frequencies these signals("channels like 90-1, 89-2, etc" "local HD feeds unscrambled over the cable line") are? Is there a cheap amp option I could get?

 

Anonymous
 
The Samsung, and Sony tv's are known for their ability to pull in channels that are not broadcasted to you. This happens to me, with my 42inch Samsung plasma. I have basic comcast cable. You will only get some HD channels, like CHANNEL-A NUMBER, like you said, and you will only get 4:3 and you can't stretch it. If you subscribe to the HD service, the HD channels wount be CHANNEL-A NUMBER, they will just be a channel number like "1","2","3" etc.When you watch the HD channels that your not paying for, some times they will flicker, like a bad signal, thats cuz ur not paying for the service , ur tv is just pulling it in.
i hope that helps
 

Bill Dailey
Unregistered guest
According to the "limited Basic" channel lineup for Comcast (Philly) you can get the HD locals on channels 200 some. You just need an HD TV with built in HD tuner. I was happy to learn this recently, so I can get HD on locals over Cable (since I have DISH) when I go HD in the near future.
 

drkhl
Unregistered guest
Matio,

Where do you locate? Does anyone know if we can get HD locals through comcast analog cable in SF Bay Area (specifically Pleasanton)?
 

PetePaul
Unregistered guest
I currently have Cox digital cable/internet. If I have the digital cable converter box on one TV, can I simple buy another box and get digital cable on another TV w/o going thru Cox? Not sure how the technology works. Thanks
 

So Cal User
Unregistered guest
I signed up for the Adelphia high speed cable internet service w/o basic TV cable. I had an old splitter in the attic from a previous cable TV installation, so for yucks I split the cable signal and ran it to our TV. To my surprise the basic TV cable service works, including the local HD channels. I suspect that the cable companies are too cheap to install extra equipment to trap or exclude the signals since most folks buy both the TV and Internet cable services.
 

fx
Unregistered guest
"I suspect that the cable companies are too cheap to install extra equipment to trap or exclude the signals since most folks buy both the TV and Internet cable services. "

Actually unless they have a waiver from the FCC they are required to keep your locals "in the clear". Some cable companies abide by this regulation, some interpret it differently. It is not because of cost, after all it costs them nothing to divert the local HD channels through the scramblers they are already using for HBO and other pay channels.

xvxvxvx
 

peter95
Unregistered guest
With a new Sony Bravia, I'm not picking up local HD stations from Comcast cable. I am getting 5 digital(?) programs from Comcast (channel 200 & up) - previews, sports previews, etc. I have the cable connected to the cable input and have performed the auto-search for stations.

Am I doing something wrong? I know there are local HD station broadcasting.

peter
 

fx
Unregistered guest
Peter,

Your display needs an internal QAM tuner to do what you want. I don't think that yours has one.

xvxvxvx
 

peter95
Unregistered guest
The Sony Bravia specs say-
Tuner: 8 VSB, ATSC, NTSC, Clear QAM

Still, I don't get local HD stations. Ideas?

peter
 

fx
Unregistered guest
Assuming you are running a direct cable feed into your displays' proper input and ran a new channel scan afterwards the only possibility left is that your cable company is not sending them "in the clear".

You did run a new channel scan right?

xvxvxvx
 

fx
Unregistered guest
Peter,

I just read your post again. All you need is an antenna since you have an ATSC tuner to get OTA HD programming from your locals. This is all you would get for free from your cable company anyway. You are subscribed to your cable companies digital package too I hope.

xvxvxvx
 

New member
Username: Tsquared

Post Number: 3
Registered: Oct-05
Guys,
I wasn't getting all the "in the clear" channels consistantly because I had a cheap 900Mhz splitter outside in line with my 50" Samsung DLP. When I replaced it with a higher bandwith splitter, now my "in the clear" stations are fine. Don't know what frequencies these "90-1, 89-2 etc" channels are, but must be above 900Mhz.
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