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Finances & Money

Got my Free Comcast Digital Cable…It’s worthless

Earlier this week, I told you I got Comcast Digital Cable for 12 months for free. Plus they threw in 6 months of all the HBO and Starz channels and mailed me the self-install kit for free. They’re giving it to us because we’re basic cable subscribers (the $18 a month plan) and hope to get us hooked to digital cable, on-demand movies, and maybe even upgrade to something more.

I got the kit today, hooked it up, and expected to see a couple dozen additional channels than what I already have. After I waited on hold for 30 minutes to activate the digital cable (which took another 45 minutes), I found out how many new channels we get.

Although there are another 300 or so channel numbers, about 100 of them are Extended Basic service (the one with ESPN, Food Network, Travel Channel, etc.). Another 30 or so are music stations, and maybe another 40 are premium movie channels.

All in all, the channels that we were allowed to receive (the ones that didn’t say explicitly say they were blocked) numbered


That’s right, the number between 9 and 11.

Plus add in about 14 HBO and Starz channels that generally repeat the same movies and drop off in 6 months.

And they’re seriously not even good channels. They’re mostly PBS-type channels. No sports. No home improvement. No food. No travel. Nothing.

Oh, and the reception is still spotty, especially for the basic network channels. Right now I have a splitter: one way to the digital box and one way to the VCR, just so we can watch Heroes.

We’ll keep it for a couple months, but I think we’ll probably turn it back in to Comcast early just like the last time we had digital. Much earlier.

Have any of you gotten Digital cable? Do you think it’s worth it?

About the author

Clever Dude


  • We have digital cable through RCN. We definitely think that it is worth it. We have one of those packages where you pay $100 per month for everything (cable, unlimited phone & long distance and internet). The channels that we watch the most are the ones in the digital tier (discovery, foodtv, history, etc.)

  • I guess what you consider digital tier is Extended Basic Service for us. We can get that without digital (for now at least), but it would bump our bill up from 18 to $60 per month. We can also access those channels through the digital guide, but they’re blocked because we don’t have that service.

  • The biggest benefit my wife and I saw to digital was the Comcast OnDemand, which we used mostly for childrens shows. Otherwise it was a waste of channels and the service was terrible.

  • […] On Sunday, I admitted to dealing with the devil called Comcast. I got digital cable. On Thursday, I told you how worthless it was to us. […]

  • I am quite disappointd in Comcast’s digital cable. I don’t quite understand how I can turn on my TV and get one of our basic channels, but when I turn the digital cable on, it makes me wait SEVERAL minutes before it will work. Maybe it’s God telling me that I shouldn’t be watching TV and that I should return the cable box. Or maybe Clever Dude programmed it so that I can’t watch TV instead of making him dinner… Hmmmm…

  • How ’bout the latest from Comcast….

    We got a letter yesterday saying they were voluntarily upgrading our neighborhood to all-digital service in anticipation of the FCC mandate saying all TV will be digital by February 2009.

    They’re doing this because they value us as customers and want to provide us with the best possible service.

    Oh, and by the way, after the coversion if you have any TVs that are currently hooked directly to the wall, you’ll only be able to get channels 2-25 unless you pay us another $5.99 per month per TV to ‘rent’ the boxes.

    (Keep in mind that after Feb 09, you won’t need boxes since it will have to be all digital broadcast.) So since they ‘value us as customers’ they want to bleed us for as much cash as possible while they can.

    MY thought is that if they’re doing this ‘voluntarily’, they shouldn’t be able to charge you for it. Isn’t that the definition of volunteering to do something??

    (Contemplating contacting someone for class action suit)

  • Although all channels are required to broadcast in digital, if you use Comcast and one of their “boxes” you will not recieved any of the expanded channels.

  • I think the CEO’s of comcast are a bunch of bloodthristy greedy money grubby
    people. Their skyrocketing prices should be outlawed. I remember a time when TV was free to watch. No more, and our goverment allows this to happen. Shame on them !

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