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another Comcast head-end goes digital

On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 9:15 PM, Tom Metro <tmetro-blu-5a1Jt6qxUNc at> wrote:
> I received a letter from Comcast today informing me of their plans to
> switch their expanded basic channels from analog to digital-only on
> 2/24/10 in Newton. No surprise there. I had already heard from them or
> other sources (I don't remember which) quite a while ago that the
> transition would happen early in 2010.
> So two questions:
> 1. Should I expect most of these digital-only channels to be encrypted?
> This page:
> written in response to the Comcast transition, describes a procedure for
> setting up channel mapping for clear-QAM tuners, implying that such a
> thing is still useful.

I basically followed that procedure to set up my system in Cambridge.
I currently get something like 80+ clear QAM channels.  This includes
CNN, SyFY,  Animal Planet, etc.  All of the Expanded Basic channels.
The switch over to (all but Basic) channels) in digital was completed
here by mid-November of last year.  (I posted about in September of
last year.)  Things have been in steady state for me since then.  I
would suggest you see if you can borrow a digital-capable tuner/TV
from somebody and see what you can currently tune as clear-QAM.  My
guess is what you see now is what you will see
after the switch.  (famous last words)

> 2. Anyone currently using a Comcast "Digital adapter" (bare-bones cable
> box) with MythTV? If so, are you using IR or something else to control
> it? If IR, what IR hardware are you using, and how reliable has the
> control been?

I've had no need to do so since I already can record the digital
signal directly with my HD HomeRuns.   I've seen some
recent messages on the Mythtv-Users mailing list about people doing
this.  It seems that with the latest LIRC  config files posted there
it is about as reliable as any IR blasting.  (i.e. pretty good)  OTOH,
when I tried it last fall I couldn't get my PVR-150 to do it.  On the
third hand, since my HDHR's were working I wasn't as motivated as
others might have been.  You can benefit from their misfortune...

> The alternative would be renting one of their higher-end cable boxes
> that might provide Firewire control. (I assume the low-end ones don't
> provide that.) I currently have a Motorola DCT2244/1661/ACDEG (which I
> haven't tried using with MythTV). It doesn't provide Firewire (I asked
> for a box that had it when I picked it up, and the people at the Comcast
> office were clueless), but has an IR port and a serial port. I see the
> serial port can be used for control. Does it work better than IR enough
> to justify a $2/month rental for a second tuner?

Again no direct experience, but my impression is that Firewire is more
problematic then IR blasting.  If you have analog tuners with IR
blasting capability, it's probably worth taking the 'free' DTAs and
trying that first.  It will be your lowest cost

Good Luck,
Bill Bogstad

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