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Comcast Corporation Message Board

  • buundawg buundawg Nov 1, 2009 2:07 PM Flag

    Comcast will implode

    Here's how I see it:

    Comcast just moved my Massachusetts service to "digital starter package". I only agreed to try this out because my original service, which was basic local service only, kept losing channels.

    It kept losing channels, because Comcast kept shifting them to the new-style digital side (digital & encrypted).

    Additionally, Comcast was for weeks advertising that the national shift to digital brodcast wouldn't be a problem for Comcast ("CC") customers because CC customers wouldn't be affected. However, CC also used the publicity and confusion about the Federally mandated digital transition to blind people to the fact that CC was concurrently rolling out it's own digital transition.

    I was sent a letter addressed to me which promised that my current service (local basic only) was qualified to receive free from CC (1) digital tuner box and (2) DTA (digital transport adapters), but when I called, CC refused to honor the offer, stating that my service (local basic) was not able to utilize the box/dta's as they could not program them because of my current service level.

    In the alternative, a CC mgr offered me a discount on the new digital starter package for 1 year. This was a few months ago and I waited until this past week to follow up as my local service did not start konking out really bad until this week.

    A little known fact about CC service around here was that local basic (what I had) also used to get FREE digital channels if you had a digital TV (which I do).

    So, when CC says I need new adapters/boxes to get digital, it's a complete lie as I was already getting many "mid channel" and some "upper channel" digital channels FREE with my local basic (non-digital) subscription.

    Any digital TV plugged into local basic service would auto-scan and find the extra channels when setting up the TV via the channel seek.

    Anyway, the new CC tuner box went in Friday and seems to work. Now I am once again receiving on that single TV all the same channels I was getting via my local basic (including the additional channels I got for free before, but now which are inlcuded with the digital starter package).

    Local basic was supposed to get only 25 or local channels, but also got many additional ones due to the TV automatically finding them. However, as of last week, CC killed this by converting everything above channel 23 to a scrambled digital signal - hence the need for the new DTA's and the tuner box.

    CC has since admitted to me that they knew this the whole time and it was not anything I did - it was a a known sytsem-wide channel leak in their system. In fact for a while (several months) we even got piggyback channels when our neighbors did an on-demand view - it would be viewable on 4 different channels.

    Suffice it to say, our old super-low-price local service was less than $10 a month and we got tons of channels - far beyond the local ones.

    Now we have essentially those same channels again, but ONLY on the TV with the converter box.

    Of the several DTA's we ordered NOT NONE of them - including any installed by CC - will receive anything more than 1-23, even though we are supposed to get 1-99 on the DTA's, we get only 1-23.

    Not only that, but the DTA's must stay plugged in and on 24/7 or they lose the config. That's more electricity use and a fire hazard.

    It's hard to even explain how bad a fiasco this new CC system of digital boxes and DTA's is, but I assure you, I have many, many years of electronics experience and this system is a ClusterFug.

    I spent hours and hours on the phone with tech trying to get the DTA's to work right - I was on hold to Manila, then Canada. It's a complete farce and it's not a viable system.

    There is no way CC can survive rolling out this platform - the support expenses are going to scale through the roof and kill the company.

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    • We could both be experiencing a local reality based on our local Comcast infrastructure.

      I assure you that less than 2 weeks ago, I was in line at the local COmcast ofice and of 12 people in line, 5 of them (counting me) had DTAs with them for exchange in an efort to get a working one.

      Did we all get a bad batch? Is the service in my town worse than elsewhere?

      Like it or not, the .pdf files I linked to do indeed make clear that higher channels due suffer worse from signal attenuation than lower ones and I know enough about this technology to know that what I;ve said is both accurate and truthful.

      That said, it may not be a systemwide problem, so your feedback is also valued. Best wishes.

    • <sigh> You know, Stock, I don't KNOW why I bother. You are right, because it doesn't matter what I say, I am not going to convince people like buundawg.

      What am I watching for on Thursday?

    • burleygates why do you bother with these people? Some are shorts (Short Interest (% of float as of 10/15/09)1.67)

      and the others don't know how to use a remote. And the remainder don't even have a brokerage account.

      Like I said watch Thursday

    • I am not going to argue with you any more. If what you state is the case, I would expect to see hundreds of posts complaining about similar problems in places like DSL reports, but I see NOTHING like you describe. I think your problem is a one-off, or you are fabricating parts of it to make it sound worse than it is.

      My wife and I had dinner last night with the couple where the wife works at Comcast, and we discussed Buundawg's "problem". She said, "Let me show you something" and logged into her laptop and pulled up what was called a "Node health report".

      Every cable modem and most set top boxes are automatically polled and report both their downstream received signal level as well as their upstream transmit level to a central server in their network operations center. This is monitored constantly, and whenever it appears that a node has a problem (i.e. multiple devices reporting low signal) a trouble ticket is generated and a tech is dispatched to fix the problem.

      I thought it was pretty cool, and she told me that there have been times where they have seen and corrected a problem before receiving a single call from a subscriber.

      So I surmise that if there were infrastructure problems that were widespread and affecting signal level, they (Comcast) would not only know about it, but would be working to correct it, AND there would be a huge hue and cry on sites like DSL Reports claiming the DTAs are the worst thing to happen to cable TV since scrambling. If you have ever read DSL reports, you would know that the folks on there b!itch about anything and everything.
      (Here is the link to the Comcast forum. http://www.dslreports.com/forum/tvcomcast)

      But there is nothing but your claim that this is going to cause Comcast to implode. I don't see it, and I don't believe it.

      I do however want to thank you Buundawg. Your little rant forced me to re-examine my reasons for buying CMCSA in the first place, and to check for myself if it made sense to hold on to it. I expect that I am luckier than most folks in that I have friends who work at this company and are patient enough (and enthusiastic about) telling me the inner workings behind the scene. I came away feeling like these are people and a company that care about what they are doing and are proud of their service.

      I am sure that I will be innundated with posts claiming exactly the opposite, but all I can say is MY experience has been good, and I plan on staying invested in this company.

      Good luck all.

    • bump.

    • You get no argument from me. This is at best a 2nd tier company, possibly a third tier company based on performance. Competition and new entrants may significantly impact the top line. This nbc deal is a reaction, not a strategy. There is no leadership to make it work.

      The opportunities in this space are excellent. I keep an eye on this and make a few bucks on trades here and there. Look at the competition and you see the same issue - lack of leadership.

      Each also has a morale challenge in that employees and increasing numbers of contractors want out.

      Comcast will give you data on their accomplishments all based on their position as a monopoly. As you can see from your experience, they have no clue as to the impact on customers. Surviving on customer inaction, Comcast will go the way of T and become equivalent to t. The challenge is knowing who will buy them, or when they wake up. The egos on the 50th floors won't let them wake up. They think they are really doing a good job. The market does not!

    • Here's the facts:

      1) My home has new COAX, prefessional installed throughout, less than 3 years old.
      2) All splitters were installed new by Comcast with this 2 weeks ago.
      3) Comcast Motorola Digital Box works, but only after Comcast put in a signal booster
      4) All COAX connectors were checked and replaced b Comcast
      5) DTA's singal strength falls under Comcast required spec - regardless of which COAX outles is used - even straight runs with no splitter.

      You guys need to wake up to what I am telling you - the RF coming down the COAX into my street DOES NOT have enough signal strength (decibles) to support my location.

      You people need to read this:
      http://www.sencore.com/uploads/files/SignalLevels1.pdf
      and this
      http://www.sencore.com/uploads/files/SignalLevels2.pdf

      Stop sticking your head in the sand - this NBC purchase is a desperation move, not a path to growth.

      Comcast has SERIOUS infrastructure problems and is only staying afloat due to 1st timers trying out phone/TV/bundle packs (but home many are staying), "on-demand" pornography, digital basic and a few movie channels.

      Comcast HAS NOT put the money needed into infrastructure maintenance and this DTA problem is very real.

      If you don't think so, go stand in line a your local Comcast office and see with your own eyes how many people are there in lline holding usless DTAs...

    • You are forgetting the cable and splitters. The ones in his home do not support the signal. Needs to upgrade the cable, and most probably the complete Comcast distribution network in the area.

      Comcast has a long way to go in many areas of the Comcast network to get quality signals to the prem. In these areas, with new competitors, comcast is at a disadvantage.

    • Dawg,

      Something about this whole setup is screwy. Who makes the DTA? Pace,Motorola, or someone else?

      DTAs are totally digital, so if you are receiving 2-23 on it, it is seeing and decoding digital channels, so I have a hard time believing it is a signal level problem.

      If there is no trap installed, then the only other possibility is that the billing system has you set up to receive basic only, but if that was the case, I suspect your Moto set top would only get those channels, too.

      Trust me on this. There is no significant difference between the digital tuners on the Moto box and the DTAs. They both have the same sensitivity as far as signal level goes.

    • I did not have a trap installed - that's why I was getting more analog channels than I was paying for. In fact, I was even getting some digital channels on my digital TV's. But, a few weeks ago, that stopped when Comcast switched to the DTA system. The only possible feature of the DTA system which would have made my free digital channels go away is that the digital signal is now scrambled. It's hard to explain it all because these individual posts are too small, but read all by posts on this thread. The DTAs require a stronger COAX RF signal than is being received at my location and THAT's the problem with the DTA system - it has more narrow signal tolernaces than the old analog system. A significant ammount of signal loss mitigation is going to be rquired on a substantial portion of the Comcast service grid before locations such as mine will be servicable by DTAs. I have big-shots at Comcast working on this and will report if I have more information, but as it stands now, it appears that a DTA-centric system can't service my location. Funny though, the Motorola tuner box does work - though it did NOT work until a Comcast signal booster was installed. All my work has been done by Comcast-assigned techs.

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