Town Square

Post a New Topic

ComCast dropping Channels

Original post made by Don on Jan 2, 2008

Hello TV Fans,

If you had not noticed ComCast dropped a few channels last Nov. This is for folks that have the basic plus cable coverage without a set top box. I call them and was told that they dropped these channels and will be dropping others through the year. According to them this is to prepare for the conversion to digital from analog in Feb. 18, 2009 by the FCC. They want us to get this set top box for each TV. This will be an additional $2 per month for the first TV and $7 per month for each additional TV. They are willing to wave the charge for the first 12 months. The two channels were 10 (TV Guide) and 23 (C-span 2).

Here is the little secret about what the FCC passed. The conversion is for over the air only. It has nothing to do with cable. The cable company is using this misinformation as an opportunity to raise prices. I called them on this but did not get any satisfaction. They did offer to lower my monthly cost by 1/3 for 12 months along with the waver on the set top box after I threatened to cancel.

Now if I am wrong I would like to know what the deal is? Has anyone else heard this. If what I say is true I think ComCast's feet should be held in the fire for this little trick.

Don

Comments (41)

Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 2, 2008 at 3:14 pm

They might be dropping analog channels so they can make room on the available cable bandwidth to increase the number of digital channels (including HD channels, which use a lot more bandwidth than standard definition). The price increase is probably a business tactic to encourage people to switch to digital cable, although digital cable by Comcast is pretty expensive to begin with. We switched over to DISH because of Comcast's pricing. We also don't like Comcast's Internet service because they use quasi-legal methods to control legitimate users' Internet activity.


Posted by Don, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 3, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Stacey,

You may or may not be correct. My point is that they are wanting me to pay extra for nothing. If they what it all digital I think they are charging enough as it is. Why should I pay for a box I don't need? If I do need it because they are changing the system I don't want to pay more for it. Do you realize that the cable bill has tripled in the last 5 years. That is as much a gas and I need fuel more that I need cable TV. I am vary close to going with a dish or just doing without.

I was hoping that if enough of us thought this was unwarranted we could get them to reconsider this deceptive increase in our monthly charge.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2008 at 10:45 am

Don,

I agree with you about having to pay extra for nothing. Seriously, what value are they providing when they raise prices? And it doesn't matter what company it is, the phone company or the cable company... they all pass on the costs of their bureaucratic waste to their consumers.


Posted by Barbara, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 4, 2008 at 4:24 pm

See Web Link.


Posted by Patricia, a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Interesting...as a former resident of Pleasanton I read Weekly every week. Here in the Palm Springs area we too have experienced the same. We have lost a major Channel from LA. I just got off the phone with Time Warner (our provider) and have not received a satisfactory answer to why. In order to get this Channel we too would have to purchase the box and in 2009 switch to Digital which I understand will be another $99.00 per month. I consider this a form of blackmail in order to purchase the box that I don't need nor want.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 4, 2008 at 6:36 pm

What kind of box is this supposed to be? A digital cable receiver or some sort of digital-to-analog cable converter?

Like it says in the link Barbara posted, with the switch to digital broadcasts, analog TVs won't be able to receive over-the-air broadcasts anymore unless you get some digital-to-analog converter.

Something people here may not realize, even if you currently have digital cable or satellite service, your set-top box is probably outputting analog to your TV (unless you have already spent the money to upgrade to an HD TV with digital capability).


Posted by Mel, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jan 6, 2008 at 11:22 am

I'm a cable employee and the digital boxes will work after 2009. Compared to satellite server, there's no contracts or items to buy.....plus no ugly dish on your house.

As Stacey pointed out, the analog is being phased out for new services. In addition to HD programming, there will be more international programming for our customers who want to keep in touch with their home countries.


Posted by Don, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 6, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Mel,

I just don't see the value added that is required for this box. I am paying enough and don't feel I should pay any more for the service I want. I would prefer an ala cart approach frankly. I don't speak any language but the native and have no need for those channels, if ala cart were available I would be free in selection the channels I wish to view in place of the channels I could care less about. At the very least I wish to purchase not rent the idiot box. Or if I buy a newer TV that should be all that is need. I believe that was the intent of what the government had in mind not some opportunity to further gouge the customer.

As far as a dish is concerned, I have less problem with it because I own it and it is necessary equipment to pick up the signal. I am not sure if you realize it or not but the cable company even owns the wire in my house and I am not allowed to use it to deliver satellite signs. That is IMO just another slap in the face, deception and unethical business practice that is reflected in the unwarranted charge for a set top box.

The phone company used to have the same advantage but after the breakup of Ma Bell that is no longer the case. The same thing will happen to the cable monopoly with the Internet IMO. So don't think you have a job for life.

Don


Posted by Frank, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 7, 2008 at 6:57 pm

If I'm not mistaken the a la carte approach is mandated by the federal governement. The price increases are driven more by the content providers than the service providers.


Posted by Frank, a resident of Birdland
on Jan 7, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Woops!! I meant to say that the a la carte approach is prohibited by the feds.


Posted by me first, a resident of California Somerset
on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:23 am

those who say "i don't want to pay for a box i don't need?" or "i don't want to pay anymore for the service i want." guess what? i don't want to pay more for people like you who have antiquated TV's. i don't want your old equipment hampering my viewing (which it is with analog channels through decreased bandwidth). if you had a modern TV, there would be no need to broadcast bandwidth hogging analog channels and would leave more room for additional programming or more HD channels.

your selfish me first attitudes can go both ways...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:32 am

Heh, newsflash. If you have digital cable, you already pay more even though you're saving the cable company bandwidth.


Posted by lol, a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jan 8, 2008 at 10:16 am

hey newsflash, regardless of the amount of people who have digital boxes, they AREN'T saving the cable company bandwidth. they still have to transmit analog signals no matter how many people have the boxes. it's not until 09 when they won't transmit analog signals and all the people with CRT's will have to have a box. maybe educate yourself just a bit before speaking on the topic...


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 8, 2008 at 2:43 pm

lol,

I guess you understood my joke, but in the wrong sense. BTW, considering that one of my hobbies requires an understanding of digital versus analog video, I'm probably educated more than most on this topic which is why I chose to participate.


Posted by aha, a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jan 8, 2008 at 3:28 pm

the old "this is my career so i know more than you" internet routine eh? you sure had all of us fooled. for you not to understand that people who currently rent a digital box aren't "saving the cable company bandwidth" shows a lack of even a rudimentary understanding of how a cable system works.


Posted by Gene, a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jan 8, 2008 at 3:55 pm

This is what upsets me. I have lost 3 channels from Comcast cable, due to the transition to digital, without any reduction in monthly fee. In addition, they tell me I will need a digital to analog converter box to continue to receive my Basic Plus service for my 3 TV's. I am not going to buy 3 digital TV's to replace my 50 inch, 37 inch and 27 inch TV. This would be wasteful and not necessary as they work prefectly fine and provide me with a great picture. I am upset that I will have to pay $16.00 per month to Comcast to continue to receive service after February 17, 2009, or I can buy the converter boxes to receive the service. The government coupons will give you a $40.00 discount towards the purchase of the estimated $70.00 converters. Each household can obtain two coupons. I will either have to pay Comcast or pay full price for my third TV. If I upgrade to digital service using Comcast digital box I will lose the picture in picture capability of my TV. I just don't feel this conversion is being implemented correctly.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 8, 2008 at 5:00 pm

aha,

It is a known fact that with a digital transmission, the data can be compressed. That is why some channels look better than others as the broadcaster (in this case cable) compresses the less-watched channels more. Analog broadcasts are not compressed. So it was a joke that you misunderstood and instead chose to attack me for not mentioning that analog broadcasts won't be turned off until 2009.

Speaking of a rudimentary lack of understanding, I guess you don't know that you can buy CRT DTVs, even if they are uncommon.


Posted by Don, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 8, 2008 at 8:50 pm

lol,

Not sure were my statement had any thing to do with selfishs. Unless you like paying more for the same thing, digital or analog. My point was the charge is unjustified according to the FCC regs, because the regs are talking about over the air only. How ComCast chooses to deliver the signal is not under the FCC's mandate. They are using it to justify an additional cost. I am sure digital has it advantages, I only care if they want to charge me more even though I don't have the set to receive the digital signal. I would prefer that they at least sell (not rent) the box at the agree FCC price of $40. I know the technology can be made to do that. Comcast has elected not to use a FCC box (near as I can figure) for one reason so they can rent them vs sell them at a much larger profit than what the government had in mind.

So I would think you be for it because they will come along and give you a line in the future about more bandwidth needs and want to charge you more or rent you a special box.


Posted by Don, a resident of Downtown
on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:03 pm

@Gene

I don't think you can by a box, you can only rent it from them. I ask the rep at Comcast and that is what he told me. To confirm I went to a lock TV store and asked them what they knew. They told me that they had not received any of the boxes but had heard they were coming and also thought that the boxes would not work for cable only over the air.

I told them to call the supplier and make a box that will work on the cable and they will fly off the shelf. Course ComCast will get all ugly about that because they want to rent them for more, over time.

This is how I know this. If you call and complain they will nicely say, you can have the box for the next 12 months without paying (they use the word 'forgiven' like your owe them). Then in twelve month you will see the additional charge on your bill but you will feel guilty because the gave it to you for twelve months free. It is almost a bait and switch if you think about it.

I hope enough of stink and heat on this blog causes others to take notice and have an article or two written up in the local papers. This could cause ComCast to reconsider. I know wishful thinking.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 8, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Don,

I'm guessing that the difference is because the FCC box is an ATSC tuner/converter (your analog TV is NTSC) while the Comcast box will be something different.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 8, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Everyone,

Here's a forum where you can arm yourself with even more information without having to "take my word for it". Web Link


Posted by Gene, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 9, 2008 at 11:32 am

Don,
Interesting, I called and told Comcast that I planned on buying and they did not tell me that it would not work. I will call and go for the "free" offer, however, in 3 calls to them about this topic they have not offered it to me.
Gene


Posted by Paulette Kenyon, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 9, 2008 at 10:23 pm

I watch CSPAN all the time; so, when channel 23 showed just snow one Saturday when I was all ready to snuggle up with my morning cup of tea and my Book TV on CSPAN, I was horrified. I called and they told me it would cost me $1.00 to get a box. They also gave me a temporary discount on my overall cable to assuage my hurt feelings. When I got the box, I not only got CSPAN, but, I have a new channel on 149 that shows all movies and no commercials - the way AMC use to be. So, that's a plus. I don't know for how long I'm getting the movie channel. It may be temporary, since they talk about signing up for "Stars" movie channel every now and again. I also now get CSPAN 3, which is CSPAN's American history channel. Since I got CSPAN 3 (which I've always wanted and didn't have before), I'm good with paying $1.00 a month for that. I think it's a fair deal.


Posted by Paulette Kenyon, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 9, 2008 at 10:31 pm

I watch CSPAN all the time; so, when channel 23 showed just snow one Saturday when I was all ready to snuggle up with my morning cup of tea and my Book TV on CSPAN, I was horrified. I called and they told me it would cost me $1.00 to get a box. They also gave me a temporary discount on my overall cable to assuage my hurt feelings. When I got the box, I not only got CSPAN, but, I have a new channel on 149 that shows all movies and no commercials - the way AMC use to be. So, that's a plus. I don't know for how long I'm getting the movie channel. It may be temporary, since they talk about signing up for "Stars" movie channel every now and again. I also now get CSPAN 3, which is CSPAN's American history channel. Since I got CSPAN 3 (which I've always wanted and didn't have before), I'm good with paying $1.00 a month for that. I think it's a fair deal. I'm just sorry that reading down the list of comments, that more people weren't commenting on the importance of CSPAN. I love CSPAN! If everyone watched CSPAN than no one could accuse us Americans of being shallow airhead shopaholics. We would all be informed and know what our democracy is all about. Everyone would know the nuts and bolts of many of the issues, how the politicians really feel about this and that, and we'd all know a whole heck of lot more about the world we live in. No one would be able to pull the wool over our eyes. Because CSPAN is our eyes to the world. Sure I was ticked off when my CSPAN was gone. I value knowing.


Posted by Paulette Kenyon, a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 9, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I watch CSPAN all the time; so, when channel 23 showed just snow one Saturday when I was all ready to snuggle up with my morning cup of tea and my Book TV on CSPAN, I was horrified. I called and they told me it would cost me $1.00 to get a box. They also gave me a temporary discount on my overall cable to assuage my hurt feelings. When I got the box, I not only got CSPAN, but, I have a new channel on 149 that shows all movies and no commercials - the way AMC use to be. So, that's a plus. I don't know for how long I'm getting the movie channel. It may be temporary, since they talk about signing up for "Stars" movie channel every now and again. I also now get CSPAN 3, which is CSPAN's American history channel. Since I got CSPAN 3 (which I've always wanted and didn't have before), I'm good with paying $1.00 a month for that. I think it's a fair deal. I'm just sorry that reading down the list of comments, that more people weren't commenting on the importance of CSPAN. I love CSPAN! If everyone watched CSPAN than no one could accuse us Americans of being shallow airhead shopaholics. We would all be informed and know what our democracy is all about. Everyone would know the nuts and bolts of many of the issues, how the politicians really feel about this and that, and we'd all know a whole heck of lot more about the world we live in. No one would be able to pull the wool over our eyes. Because CSPAN is our eyes to the world. Sure I was ticked off when my CSPAN was gone. I value knowing.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 12, 2008 at 6:25 pm

Caveat Emptor -

Educate yourself about what you might buy and make your choice.

It troubles me in a vague sort of way to read complaints that seem to imply that a the service a business offers somehow becomes a consumer's right to receive at no extra charge.

As a private enterprise, Comcast is responsible for its own best interests. They look out for those interests by seeking to offer a service that meets consumer need and/or desire.

If they don't meet your needs or desires, or if you feel you are being treated in an unfair manner, then you have the freedom to cancel the service and start your own.

If their actions constitute fraud, then of course you could seek legal remedy. Investigate and let us know.


Posted by Brian, a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 12, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I dropped the cable tv and also dropped 20 lbs. I missed it for the first month but now I think it was the best thing I could have done. I read more, exercise more, spend more quality time with my family, and I already mentioned the weight loss. I so still rent and watch as couple of dvd's each month, and go the sports bar for a big game. Give it a try, you might have the same results....


Posted by Craig, a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Just visiting Pleasanton from Winnipeg. I was quite shocked when I turned on the TV in my hotel and could not find a program guide channel. Thought maybe this was not offered here (I have not been many places, but they all had an advertising based program listing channel). At least now I know that there used to be a program listing channel. I do not know about the analog/digital thing - but dropping the listing channel does seem kind of weak


Posted by Alf, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Feb 21, 2008 at 7:57 pm

I have had nothing but problems with Comcast.I swictched to Att for my phone service(no more problem).I recently changed to Att internet access(works good).I wish I could get T.V with someone else(without dish).Comcast has a monopoly in this area and dont care about there customers.They are the worst run companies I have ever dealt with.I'm not alone here.Many people hate Comcast.There is a website called comcastmustdie.com.It's unfortunate that our city government has let Comcast rip-off this community.Comcast has enticed them with franchise fees though and our leaders happily accept $.


Posted by AT&T Employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2008 at 5:05 am

Alf - I'm not big on hawking my employer for various reasons (one being the amount of off-shoring they are doing of our jobs in San Ramon) but you may want to research AT&T's Advanced TV offerings (Web Link). You may find the combined package rates for phone, TV and internet worth it.

FYI - there IS a reason Comcast is running those BOE Phone Company commercials. One that is not humor based.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Feb 22, 2008 at 11:19 am

I'll take a serious look at AT&T for TV and faster Internet when they get their act together and start laying fibre down my street. They keep teasing me whenever I see them working at the corner of Sutter and Santa Rita. I heard San Ramon has the U-Verse service already. What's the deal? I wish Verizon were here.


Posted by Terril, a resident of Stoneridge
on Aug 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

U verse isn't here because AT&T is getting stiffed by the city council when it comes to installing the boxes in our neighborhoods.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Aug 11, 2008 at 2:45 pm

AT&T already installed the new box on Sutter Gate. They said it should be available in about a month.


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 17, 2008 at 1:03 pm

Any updates as to if Uverse is available anywhere in Pleasanton?


Posted by Another AT&T Employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 8:11 am

Aaron - Check this Web Link.

Click the blue box that says "Can I Get AT&T U-verse" to see if your address now has it available.

Be prepared for a 4 hour provisioning adventure and for general customer service that sucks. But as Stacey said, it's worth checking out anyway...


Posted by Aaron, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 18, 2008 at 11:39 am

Thanks for the link. Still unavailable for me. I was just wondering if anyone in Pleasanton has gotten service yet. Seems like they haven't started offering the service yet in town.


Posted by Another AT&T Employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm

There are some "beta" users in town, but full deployment is far from ready.

The issue is not just that of the City Counsel not wanting the boxes in neighborhoods. The homeowners don't want them in front of their homes either because they are significantly larger in size.

The impact? Jobs are going to Texas, Missouri, Georgia, and Washington -- or being outsourced to places like India.


Posted by Another AT&T Employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 12:32 pm

To clarify my "impact" statement:

The "new" leadership of AT&T/SBC views California too difficult to do business with, so they are spanking us by eliminating our jobs. The Bishop Ranch facility is tagged as a "sunset" location meaning there will be no NEW jobs added, nor any backfilled that are vacated.

In a word, BOHICA.


Posted by Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 18, 2008 at 3:19 pm

No U-Verse yet. We're on an AT&T list to get notified when it becomes available in our neighborhood. Thankfully the box isn't in a location on Sutter Gate where it sits right in front of someone's home.


Posted by Another AT&T Employee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm

So much for U-Verse being available in about a month, huh Stacey? We're consistently late in meeting our commitments these days, but hey -- how about that iPhone? *LMAO*


Posted by Joyce, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2008 at 8:00 am

I live in Archstone and my apartment faces SW, so both Dish and Direct have tried and cannot get a signal as I need to be SE. Sigh. Archstone has offered to relocate me to another apartment but refuse to allow a dish on the roof which means ALL residents could get a signal regardless of position. In Fremont some Archstone facilities ARE putting a dish on the roof. Unfair. Manager hid behind "liabilities" that universal American code word for "I don't want to deal with it."

I spent a bit of time on the phone with the Uverse guy and he asked if I could even give him one addr in Pleasanton that had Uverse, he could see what they were doing and see if he could talk to that tech etc and find out if it's coming near us. Anyone in Northeast Pleasanton had an luck? Otherwise, we're doomed to Comcast and I'd rather gnaw my arm off.

As a side thought, 10 years ago when I lived in Boston with some other cable company (can't remember who) they upgraded to digital cable and we went from basic analog to hundreds of channels and really beautiful quality. I did need a new more expensive box, but the change was worth it. What amazes me is living this close to the epicenter of technology and Comcast doesn't have what Boston suburbs had a decade ago? Oh I am confused.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The Gay Rights Movement Coming of Age
By Tom Cushing | 32 comments | 1,224 views

Hacienda Business Park evolves to meet demand
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 1,021 views

A Norman Rockwell Town
By Roz Rogoff | 6 comments | 1,014 views