Comcast HD in SF questions

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by MarkJH, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. MarkJH

    MarkJH Extra

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    I am interested in getting Comcast HD in the San Francisco area. I have had a Samsung SIR-T150 giving me beautiful performance (in more ways than one) for the past 2 years, but obviously I am intrigued. I have some questions though.

    1) Comcast's website says that HD can be added(?) to any level of service. We don't even have cable right now, and have been more than happy with network and PBS OTA. So we were going to just get Basic cable (locals plus Discovery). Now does this mean that for each station we would get HD and NTSC signals where available? (We actually get 5 channels for PBS, one HD and 4 in NTSC)

    2) Can our Samsung decoder do the job with the cable or do we HAVE to rent their decoder box?

    3) Is the signal from cable as clean and crisp as OTA HD?

    Thanks,

    Mark
     
  2. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark dude,

    I'm in Berkeley and I have Comcast HD service.

    Answer 1:
    Yes...you will have standard definition and HD channels were applicable. So for example I'll show people the difference between an espn football game in HD and standard definition and they usually say, "Holy shit!"

    Answer 2:
    You will have to use Comcast's decoder box...sorry dude...

    Answer 3:
    No, the signal is inferior to over-the-air in terms of quality but superior in terms of quantity. About a month or so ago I noticed a drop in resolution from the HD signals. I'm convinced Comcast is reducing data rates in order to add more conventional channels to their overall list of channels. Prior to the "downgrade" I would say the difference in quality was small (5%) with the edge going to over-the-air when comparing PBS broadcasts. Now I would say over-the-air is 15 percent better in terms of clarity and sharpness. Of course, you can't get HBO over the air and with Comcast charging more for less every few months I'm going to get DishNetwork......

    Good luck dude,

    Chester II
     
  3. MarkJH

    MarkJH Extra

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    Chester,

    Thanks for the reply.

    So what channels do you get with basic cable? I presume it will be ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, WB, UPN and PBS, but do you get the Discovery HD? I am trying to figure out what additional stations I will receive, as you know in SF there has not been any NBC OTA signal since KRON lost the franchise. We get all of the networks' HD signals, (except NBC of course)but when we looked at the Comcast channel lineup online it doesn't show WB.

    I'll be calling Comcast tomorrow, but I hear horror stories about their customer support, I may not get all my questions answered adequately.

    Mostly I am trying to figure out what I would get for my $20 a month that I don't already get for free.

    Mark
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

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    If you get the HD package, this will include around 4 HD movie channels. My Comcast in Denver does nto currently offer Discovery HD Theater, but have indicated to me, that it is comming, so it may very well be available to you.

    I sure hope our Denver Comcast doesn't downgrade their HD feeds. Right now, they are every bit as good as OTA.

    Keep your OTA Tuner in addition to the Cable HD, I have already run into situations where if I did not have it, I would not have been able to watch a given presentation in HD.
     
  5. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    In terms of local ATSC channels in the SF bay area, you get ABC, NBC, & CBS, all in HD when available, 1 PBS HD (evenings only), 4 PBS SD (SD ATSC, not NTSC like you implied earlier; NTSC is the analog channel). Also available depending on packages are ESPNHD, HBOHD, SHOHD. Some areas also have INHD1 & INHD2 if you get digital cable + your system has sufficient bandwidth. No Discovery HD yet. With basic cable you'd get all the analog versions of the locals, of course.

    Fox, WB, & UPN are NOT available in HD (widescreen SD for Fox) at this time in San Francisco. So really since you already have OTA tuner I would just stick to it. The reasons to get Comcast HD would be for ESPN (which only has a few games per week in HD, check their listings), or HBO/SHO (I don't like their movie selection, HBO's 16:9 cropping policy, or SHO's large upconvert vs. real HD ratio). If you have a lot of trouble pulling in KNTV-DT on digital channel 12 that would be another reason. (But try a channel scan, the Telemundo digital station is retransmitting KNTV's signal since NBC owns both stations and knows some people are having trouble getting the signal from Loma Prieta).

    The only reason I am using Comcast HD for now is I didn't want to install the antenna yet, and don't want to buy a HD tuner until the HD-Tivo is available. If I had a tuner already I wouldn't be paying for it.
     
  6. Grant B

    Grant B Producer

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    Not all areas of the city are updated
     

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