Digital Cable Box

cas66ragtopJuly 19, 2011

Years ago, way before digital TV/HDTV was out, I purchased supposedly "HDTV ready" televisions. I knew the change was going to happen, and I figured I would be ready for it when it did.

Then the federally mandated change happened. All my TVs still worked just fine. I was happy. I thought I made the right decision buying these TVs.

Wrong! Here lately, I cannot pick up about 12 channels. The friendly cable provider has one channel where they are advertising that you need a Digital Cable Box - for EACH TV in order to see these channels. Wonderful. I went the cable provider's website and they do not list the cost of these boxes, but they do say it is a monthly fee. Even more wonderful.

My question is: Can't I somehow just purchase ONE box and wire it between the TVs myself? I have absolutely no desire to pay monthly fees on two boxes. I would rather OWN the boxes and have no extra monthly fee.

I talked to a friend, and he said there is no way around this. He said even if you do find a box to purchase, you would still have to pay a fee to the cable company so they can "flick the switch" that will allow you to see the digital channels.

Its bad enough they have a monopoly, its even worse they keep playing the same old crap all the they want to suck more money out of you while giving you nothing in return. I could care less if it is analog versus digital or if it is High Def or not. The difference in picture quality is NOT a big enough deal to me where I want to pay extra for it.

Does anyone know a way around this? I can't exactly call my cable provider and expect them to give me an honest answer, so thats why I came here.

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As an FYI, I replied to your question, that was cross-posted, in the Home Entertainment forum.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 8:45PM
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hdtv ready? can display progressive scan images but has no built in hd tuner. i got one also. works fine with cable co hd tuner. you want premium content but do not want to pay. someone has to pay. espn, tnt, tbs, hgtv, gotta pay.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 12:00PM
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If you were to buy a new tv, most likely you would get one with the clear QAM (HD) tuner built in. After setup of my 2 Samsung, I found that Time Warner was supplying unencrypted digital streams for all my local channels plus a few others. I'm sure such offerings vary by company and location and they could be added or discontinued at any time but for now what I'm getting satisfies my need for HD without having to pay the additional $180 per year that TW wants for digital service. YMMV.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Not to quibble but you likely purchased "digital ready" televisions, which is to say they are capable of receiving digital over the air transmissions without the need for an additional converter box. Televisions are High Definition or not.

What few were saying is that "digital ready" means nothing for customers using cable, satellite, or telephone company service. Those providers use either analog, digital, or some combination of both (generally cable). In the case of all digital transmissions, the provider supplies a converter box and generally one is needed for each television at an additional fee (something that the providers often neglect to mention).

In your case, I'd suspect that the cable company was providing some analog or digital stations that the tuner in your TV was capable of receiving. The cable company has now migrated it service to all digital and encrypted the channels so that you need to buy (rent) one of their boxes for each TV you want to view.

Unfortunately you have two options, pay the bill or put up an antenna.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 9:04AM
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So far, most coax delivered cable companies are still providing "basic" cable over unencrypted analog or clear QAM digital modulation.

No, expanded basic and premium channels are not directly accessible.

Without knowing all the details of the OP, it appears he may only be talking about the basic service.

Yes, you can just call and ask - hopefully you'll get to talk to somebody knowledgeable.

Here is a link that might be useful: Comcast FAQ on the topic

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 11:37PM
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We Have a Sony HGTV hooked up through a antenna booster to a rooftop antenea and a 30 yr old Sony analog on a digital converter box contented to the same antenea with a splitter.

We get 16 channels, with the analog tv getting better reception than the HGTV which sometimes gets no signal.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 1:21PM
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