Digital TV Service

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    We have digital service coming to the house because of one HDTV (built-in “box” that Comcast came and activated – what a racket). We’ve made the decision to replace/upgrade other sets (I’m embarrassed to say how many) only on an as-needed basis because they are certainly functional. I feel like we’re leaving “money on the table” though, paying for channels that only one set can receive.

    Anyone know if there is a way to access those channels on the other sets? The conversion box I hear about? If so, is that a one-time cost? If cable has a splitter, can that box service two sets?

    I know this won’t produce a HD picture (until we get HD sets), just want access to the channel line-up. It seems like an HD broadcast alone, like the current local newscasts, wouldn’t exclude it from being visible to analog viewers, but I’d like to gather some info before calling Comcast because I’m sure they’ll try to sell me something.



    The converter is a one-time-only purchase and you can find them at any of the neighborhood Radio Shack stores. You still need to hook the box up to an antenna of some kind. Locally the box only converts the over-the-air signals.

    You can also go here and sign up for a $40 card that can be applied to the purchase of the box.



    Thanks, Patrick. I thought those were only for an antenna (we don’t have one). If they can be connected to cable and do more than just help with the upcoming conversion, it seems like they’re missing a whole market! $40 is less than a new tv and we’d buy more than one to use until the sets die off.



    Here is what Comcast’s own website says:

    “Current Comcast Customers

    If all the TVs in your home are connected to Comcast, relax, we’ll take care of the transition for you.”

    I don’t think it gets more straightforward than that, but if you need more info, read here:



    I’ve done more research and don’t think the box is what we’re looking for and perhaps I’m not asking my question correctly. I’m not worried about the transition, we have cable, but one set receives digital package (with a lot more channels and additional cost) and others the standard expanded cable package. I’m making the assumption that our house has access to those digital channels because of the one set, but am trying to get those channels to the other sets even though they aren’t HD. I am looking for something like “the rabbit” that sends VCR/Tivo content to sets other than the one that is actually connected to the device, but don’t know if it exists. I’ll post if I find something, but otherwise will let this thread die with dignity.



    It ain’t rocket science but you will hardly get a straight answer from comcast or either of the dish vendors.

    The output of your cable box may be HD where it goes from your set top box to the HD set but the signal coming in from the street is usually basic cable (or extended) with the pay or premium channels scrambled. The set top box does the unscrambling nowadays rather than the series of filters on the pole they used to use. The basic, digital and HD signals come in on the same cable as different frequencies.

    Get some cable and experiment. A simple coax cable comes with every vcr and my junk drawers have collected a couple of dozen in varying length. Get a digital splitter from radio shack, home despot or target (about 6 bucks) and see what signal you get on your other sets when tuned to channel three or four. Remember, the signal before it gets to the set top box should be usable by any analog or cable ready tv. The signal after the set top box might be tune-able but the signal on channel four might be the signal controlled by the remote attached to the set top box.

    Just a note for dish or direct customers:

    The signal from your dish box can be set to a wild variety of channel numbers and the output from each box can be split, but since the tuner and output signals are only on the output channel, you end up with multiple tv’s showing the same channel (cloned) and switching with the same remote

    If you need help figuring out what is possible, send me an email and I can talk ya through it.

    The analog to digital converter box is for taking off the air broadcast signals via antenna and converting them to frequencies that your tv/vcr will accept.

    I abandoned comcast a couple of years ago so it is possible some of the newer boxes are designed to bugger any “unauthorized” tvs in your house.

    But the experiments are really simple so you should be able to figure out what works.



    LOL, “not rocket science” from the computer guy! But you explained it well for the less technically-minded, thanks. Sounds like I need to build off of the box at the HD set – got it. I have lots of spare parts too and have found Radio Shack to be really helpful on other occasions (like when True Value was certain that no 90 degree splitter existed). I’ll get to experimenting!



    A short reply to concur with Ken, now that I understand your question better: it’s not that the “extended” channels are all in HD. They are not. They are digital as opposed to analog. So you have one digital box and your other box(es) are analog and cannot decrypt the digital signal. So yes, all of your feeds need to come off the one digital box.

    I have a digital cable box. My TV is not HD. I can view every digital channel except the ones which are specifically listed as being HD, because my TV will not display them.

    Keep in mind that if you hook up different TVs to your one digital cable box, you will only be able to change the channel from that one box, wherever it is located! So if the box is in the living room but your TV is in the bedroom, you’ll have to figure out how to change the channel from the different room!

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