Stupid HD TV questions

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by diane143, Feb 15, 2016.

  1. diane143 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #1
    And I do mean stupid. You have my permission to call me an idiot when you're done reading!

    I'm one of the last people on earth to get a flat screen TV. I remember the days where you bought a TV, brought it home and plugged it in. When cable-ready meant you just put the coax into the TV and you were good to go. I know those days are gone but I don't know all the details.

    I had gotten a small flat screen in November from a friend, and set it up off an antenna in the bedroom. It doesn't get a lot of channels but I don't use it a lot, so I'm happy with it.

    Then we decided to treat ourselves to an upgrade in the living room (from the 1990s tube TV). I have the Comcast Digital Economy package which does include a few HD channels. I cannot get the TV to go above channel 999 though (which I suspect is an issue with the converter box - it's the tiny one).

    It won't work with a direct coax line into the TV either (I haven't tried the antenna from upstairs). I was able to find a number of channels on the scan, but it won't actually show me any of them.

    The SD channels don't look as good as on the smaller CRT, but the YouTube videos I pull up are stunning!

    How do I get the HD channels? Do I simply need another converter box? Is Comcast going to charge for that, and if so, is there a way around it?

    Thanks!! (if you're still reading through your tears of laughter!)

    (BTW I have messaged Comcast, but it normally takes them a couple of days to answer)
     
  2. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #2
    These are pretty common questions, and just FYI, there were HD tube based sets, non "flatscreen", though in today's parlance I'd say flat and HD are pretty synonymous.

    Back in the day, some cable wasn't encoded, so you could get some basic channels without a box, but for HD channels (including premiums) you're going to need an HD STB (Set Top Box). It's a few more dollars per box/per month, though some plans give you one for free (er, "free"). There's a messy alternative called a cable card, no STB needed, janky setup, back when I tried one, no interactive cable guide.

    So simply version: yes, get a HD set top box and you'll be all fixed up :)
     
  3. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #3

    Thanks D.T. Just feel like this technology has been out a long time and I know so little about it. I used to absorb new technology like crazy and now I can barely keep up.

    I haven't had a premium cable package in years so the direct plug into TV worked fine for me. I didn't know there were HD tube TVs! I obviously never had one of those lol. I've been waiting for my old TV to die for years and it just won't.

    That $40 box that was offered years ago was for digital, not HD, right?

    I did some googling and was seeing costs of $10/mo for an HD setup from Comcast, but I don't know if that was with premium channels. Cable costs are insane in our area and I'd hate to pay more. Some days a good antenna seems like a plan. ;)
     
  4. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #4

    There is digital SD and HD, and non-digital SD, but all HD uses some kind of digital signal. It was kind of a marketing thing at some point, and the costs were kind of nutty. $10/month for the equipment sounds about right, maybe a little high, I think we were paying $6/box (X2) plus $14/15-ush for an HD DVR with DirecTV. We've since cut the cord, doing shows via network services, (some channels, some a-la-carte), some HD over-the-air (free!), etc.
     
  5. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #5

    I miss the days when TV was TV! What did we have, black and white or color?

    Cutting the cord is really attractive to me honestly. But I still need internet and every time I complain, they drop the package price, so I keep it another year.

    The thing that drove me nuts about that conversion a couple of years ago (besides the damn box I had to plug in) was the fact that the picture was wider than the TVs. I called Comcast to ask about it and she told me to change the aspect ratio of the TV. I guess she didn't understand "1990s TV". Any text across the screen is cut off on both sides.

    I do get HD over the air upstairs! And it's a cheap antenna. :)
     
  6. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #6
    If the TV has a digital tuner in it (it should if it has a coax connection) you SHOULD be able to get the basic ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX feeds in HD. In my area a TV without an STB would tune to 13-1 for NBC in HD. I don't have either of my TVs hooked up this way so I couldn't suggest exactly how to get there though. Of course, I'm on Time Warner so my cable system is different and Comcast may do it differently.
     
  7. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #7
    That's what I thought, but I couldn't make it work. I hooked it up directly and went back through the setup, told it that, and did the scan. It did pick up channels, mostly in the 70s IIRC, but it wouldn't play any. I wonder if I'd have to use an antenna to get that, like upstairs.
     
  8. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #8
    The mini box will only pick up basic cable. To get HD you need the HD mini box hooked up with an HDMI cable to the TV.

    Comcast is encrypting their signal, just like most every other cable operator. So you need a box now no matter what.
     
  9. nightcap965 macrumors 6502a

    nightcap965

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Location:
    Cape Cod
    #9
    We did the same thing with Comcast, and ended up having to get the HD box and a costlier package since the Digital Economy package was just HD. I finally got tired of paying for so many channels I didn't care about, and we cut the cable TV cord. I don't know how long that happy state of affairs will last, since it seems Comcast is capping bandwidth...
     
  10. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #10
    For broadcast over the air channels, hook it directly up to an antenna and let it scan for channels.

    For cable, just connect it to an HD cable box via an HDMI cable. Yes you will need to get this from Comcast.
     
  11. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #11
    Thanks. It's funny, I talked to a coworker today who has Cox (we are in CT) and he was able to get channels directly from his coax cable before cutting the cord. Now he just has internet and streams.

    Comcast did tell me I need a new box. They offered to ship one out. They did NOT mention cost. <fingers crossed>

    I too worry about bandwidth caps and costs once the cable companies realize they're losing money from people tired of their high costs.
     
  12. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #12
    The best use of cable cards is TiVo. My TiVo blows Charter's DVR offerings out of the water.
     
  13. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #13
    Cox is encrypted as of last year as well. So you need a box for them too.
     
  14. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #14
    Ahh so it must've happened after he went to an antenna then.

    You know, they'd probably actually make more money by making the options a bit more palatable. i.e. I would actually bump up my internet speed if I was able to just get the channels I wanted to watch vs a package, so I'd end up spending the same and <gasp> be happier with them. Now I just fight to keep my price down to a certain amount and hate them with a passion. The yearly price increases just kill me.
     
  15. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #15
    Comcast and Cox are increasing prices this month. You can thank ESPN for the increases. Ala-carte will never happen, even tho that is what everyone wants.
     
  16. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #16
    Wait - all rates are going up due to EPSN? You couldn't pay me to take a sports channel and now I have to pay more anyway? Bastards!! :mad:
     
  17. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #17
    Unless you have basic basic cable you are paying for ESPN. Now you also have to pay for the locals as the carriage fees keep going up as well.
     
  18. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #18
    You scared me! I checked, and I do not. <whew>

    I think I have Digital Economy. It's 1-2 levels above basic because I bitched about my internet speed that didn't increase when they said it would (twice). I lost TBS a couple of years ago - THAT annoyed the hell out of me.
     
  19. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #19
    Ok, so you are not paying for ESPN but you are paying for the Viacom networks.
     
  20. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #20
    Yep, they just now told me that the boxes are $10/month. I assume each. They can kiss my *ss.
     
  21. D.T. macrumors 603

    D.T.

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Location:
    Vilano Beach, FL
    #21
    That sounds about right, and without a box, you might not get all the programming you're paying for, so rear end they may kiss, but unfortunately you're going to get the short end of the stick.
     
  22. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #22
    The mini boxes should be cheaper. like $2.50
     
  23. diane143 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #23
    They should be included for a package that has maybe 10 HD channels included. They're on crack!

    I only watch a few channels anyway, so I really won't be missing much. I'm pretty sure I can adjust. Who needs 20 shopping channels anyway?

    I've already checked out wirecutters antenna list. Anyone use Sling? A coworker suggested it to me.
     

Share This Page