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  #1  
Old 08-22-2013, 08:32 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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Digital transport adapter?

UPS showed up with a box from Comcast, containing a digital transport adapter self-installation kit.

What is this, and why do I need it? Why would Comcast send it to me?
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2013, 09:29 PM
Digital is the new Analog Digital is the new Analog is offline
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Does it look like this? If so, it's an adapter so you can see their digital content on your old-school analog TV.

Why did they send it to you? Dunno. Are you a new customer? Or have you had any changes in service recently?
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  #3  
Old 08-22-2013, 09:33 PM
andrewm andrewm is offline
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They're probably planning to stop providing analog cable service soon. Once that happens, you won't be able to tune anything on an analog TV without that adapter. Do you have any cable box currently? Maybe Comcast assumes anyone who doesn't rent a cable box needs an adapter, or maybe they're required to provide adapters to everyone in the area for some regulatory reason.
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  #4  
Old 08-22-2013, 09:36 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is offline
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I have their too-expensive digital service, with the cable box/DVR, hooked up to a digital TV. No reason for this thing. Unless I can put in a splitter and run it to another room to use on an analog TV that's just hooked up to a DVD player.
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  #5  
Old 08-22-2013, 09:46 PM
jasg jasg is offline
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Back in the day, you could hook the Cabelco coax directly to your TV and view the analog "Basic Cable" channels via the tuner in your TV. This was even true for a smaller number of (mostly local broadcast) HD channels after the cutover to HDTV.

Recently, afraid of cable theft, Comcast has been aggressively eliminating direct tuning of the analog non-HD and digital HD locals by digitizing and encrypting every channel, not just the premium ones.

So, in that scenario you need the DTA to tune, decrypt and convert to analog so you watch on your old analog TV. You hook it up like a VCR and tune your TV to channel 3/4.

Two of the many unfortunate side effects are that 1) the "DTA" strips out HD signals, converting them to low definition and 2) you can no longer set up timed recording to a VCR on different channels (if you still have a VCR).

The good news is that Comcast will be happy to rent you a DVR box that is HD.

(I see I have been ninja'd, oh well)

Last edited by jasg; 08-22-2013 at 09:47 PM..
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  #6  
Old 08-22-2013, 10:02 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewm View Post
They're probably planning to stop providing analog cable service soon. Once that happens, you won't be able to tune anything on an analog TV without that adapter.
This is true of all cable companies, AFAIK. Most do not send out analog signals at all any more, the rest are planning on switching very soon (within the next 2 years).

Why? Two reasons. One, they can get more out of the bandwidth with digital and give us many more shopping channels. Two, they can force you to rent a converter box, which will be proprietary to their system and cannot be obtained elsewhere. This means a boost in cable bills by as much as 23-46%* with next to no cost to the cable company.

* Charter Communications will charge $5.99 per month per TV set after the first 2 years (first year = free, 2nd year = $3.99, but only if you complain first). Basic cable is now $25.99 per month. If you have two TVs, that means you will be paying $11.98 per month more for a typical 2-TV household after 3 years, or an increase of 46%. This is on top of the increase over the last 5 years from $15.99 per month for basic cable, and Charter is expected to boost the basic rate again as well.

I estimate the converter boxes are purchased by Charter for under $15 each in bulk, so after 3 months, it's all gravy. And the customer installs it, so there's no service call needed.
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  #7  
Old 08-23-2013, 01:34 AM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasg View Post
Recently, afraid of cable theft, Comcast has been aggressively eliminating direct tuning of the analog non-HD and digital HD locals by digitizing and encrypting every channel, not just the premium ones.
A recent change in FCC regulations allowed them to encrypt everything. Until last year, they weren't allowed to encrypt basic cable.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 08-23-2013 at 01:36 AM..
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2013, 04:39 AM
Space Vegetable Space Vegetable is offline
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When Comcast stops sending analog signals in your area, they're very generous about sending as many free DTA boxes as you want. After a few years, you'll likely start seeing a monthly charge for them. So if you don't need one, you may want to send it back now. Get an acknowledgement that they received it, for use when their first bill for your DTA arrives in a few years.
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  #9  
Old 02-19-2014, 06:04 PM
loucapuano loucapuano is offline
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Digital Transport Adapter

Charter VP Sales & Marketing Peter Cirelli issued a form letter indicating Charter TV is going 100% digital. Sounds great. " On March 4,2004, Charter will start encrypting the Basic Service Tier offering on your cable system. 1. "If you have a set-top box, digital transport adapter (DTA) , or a retail Cable CARD device connected to each of TVs you will be unaffected by this change. 2 However, if you are currently receiving the Basic Service Tier offering on any TV without equipment supplied by Charter, you will lose the ability to view any channels on that TV."

Sentence 1 would indicate you could obtain from an electronic store a digital transport adapter (DTA) and your service would be unaffected. Sentence 2 would imply you could only use a Charter device.

The cost of the Charter devices after 2 years is either $5.99 or $6.99. With 4 TVs after 2 years an additional cost would be $335.52/year. Calls to Charter confirmed the above and indicated you could only use a Charter Device.
This is absolutely ludicrous. I will appeal to the FCC.
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  #10  
Old 02-19-2014, 08:07 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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I would like to update my post #6, as I have more recent info from Charter (about 2 weeks ago). They say they will finally eliminate all analog signals in my state, with a gradual rollout, but all in April of this year.

When that happens, you will not be able to receive (or properly view) any cable TV signals at all without a Charter-supplied, proprietary converter box, one for each TV. Their latest pricing schedule is a box (per set?) free for the first 2 years, then $7 per month, per set thereafter.

The only good thing about this is that the channel numbers should make sense and not fluctuate wildly without warning. In the past few years, some of our local channels have been moved to sub-numbers like 12.9 or 64-3 with no advance notice. With the converter box, the proper channel numbers should be the same for everyone -- if the frequency changes, the box will compensate and the display number will not change.

Another benefit is that they proposed to double the maximum Internet download rate from 30Mb/sec to 60 at no additional charge. That would be nice for me, but it's overkill for the average customer who just sends text emails to their grandkids.

Another responsible Charter super-customer in this state reports that Charter will be eliminating the basic tier and forcing customers to accept the expanded basic rate, which will effectively double the monthly bill. I haven't confirmed this, however.
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  #11  
Old 02-19-2014, 08:52 PM
jasg jasg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loucapuano View Post
Sentence 1 would indicate you could obtain from an electronic store a digital transport adapter (DTA) and your service would be unaffected. Sentence 2 would imply you could only use a Charter device.
The only boxes I know of for sale are Tivos and this one from Samsung, which also does Netflix, Amazon etc. Both it and a TiVo need a CableCard you rent for a couple of bucks a month. I own a Samsung box, works fine. Like a Roku or AppleTV that tunes cable channels.

Quote:
The cost of the Charter devices after 2 years is either $5.99 or $6.99. With 4 TVs after 2 years an additional cost would be $335.52/year. Calls to Charter confirmed the above and indicated you could only use a Charter Device.
this is absolutely ludicrous. I will appeal to the FCC.
As mentioned upthread, The FCC has already signed off on this approach - despite years of consumer complaints. The KableCos are allowed to encrypt their digital signals to block theft of signal. The only way around encryption is to rent a box from them or buy one of the two available devices which accept a CableCard and connect to a TV.
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  #12  
Old 02-19-2014, 10:33 PM
loucapuano loucapuano is offline
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Digital Transport Adapter

Jasg, Thank you. Are you saying you do not need the Charter Box which appears to be the answer in Sentence 1 and can use other devices? Apparently Musicat, Space Vegetable and myself loucapuano are incorrect on the cost. It is $6.99/year not per month. I would consider that reasonable.
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  #13  
Old 02-19-2014, 10:43 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loucapuano View Post
Jasg, Thank you. Are you saying you do not need the Charter Box which appears to be the answer in Sentence 1 and can use other devices? Apparently Musicat, Space Vegetable and myself loucapuano are incorrect on the cost. It is $6.99/year not per month. I would consider that reasonable.
I can't speak for other cable companies, but Charter has NEVER priced any services per year, but always per month. This has been true for 25 years. Please contact your cable supplier if you are in doubt.

You can use any digital TV to receive Charter digital signals NOW. You won't be able to do so after the changeover, which in my state, will be April 2014. Your state and company may vary.
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  #14  
Old 02-19-2014, 11:37 PM
jasg jasg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loucapuano View Post
Jasg, Thank you. Are you saying you do not need the Charter Box which appears to be the answer in Sentence 1 and can use other devices? Apparently Musicat, Space Vegetable and myself loucapuano are incorrect on the cost. It is $6.99/year not per month. I would consider that reasonable.
A Tivo or the Samsung box are "a retail Cable CARD device" from Sentence 1.

For our guest room the Samsung + CableCard costs were less in just a few months compared to a Roku/Apple TV and a rented cable box (a cable box was $9/month).
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  #15  
Old 02-20-2014, 01:27 PM
loucapuano loucapuano is offline
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digital Transport Adapter

I stand corrected on my second statement the cost is per month after talking to a knowledgeable Charter person. They also indicated I could obtain a Cable Card device and lease a Charter Cable Card for $2.00/month/TV. This now supports sentence 1 of Peter Cirelli and corrects statements by Charter Customer support that you can only use a Charter Box. Not being knowledgeable about what was required I probably did not ask the right questions. So at this point I must say that Peter Cirelli's form letter is correct. My only objection is now the cost per TV. I would think that one entry device to encrypt the signal and would permit connection of multiple TV's would meet the intent of the FCC and the cable companies.
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  #16  
Old 02-20-2014, 03:26 PM
jasg jasg is offline
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What you are describing is called AllVid and exists as an FCC proposal, but I expect it to move very slowly.

I eagerly awaited CableCard after it was defined in 1996. The idea was that you would just pop a card into your TV and bingo - no need for a cable box.

I finally found a TV to buy in 2005. Support by my cable company was miserable and it took them forever to get it to work with their cable system. As they shifted to HD and compressed signals, my CableCard TV became obsolete because it did not support newer (supposedly backward compatible) CableCards.

That TV now is hooked up to the Samsung CableCard tuner - which is the only standalone tuner available at retail (other than TiVo DVRs) to appear since 1996.
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  #17  
Old 02-20-2014, 03:32 PM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Originally Posted by loucapuano View Post
I stand corrected on my second statement the cost is per month after talking to a knowledgeable Charter person. They also indicated I could obtain a Cable Card device and lease a Charter Cable Card for $2.00/month/TV. This now supports sentence 1 of Peter Cirelli and corrects statements by Charter Customer support that you can only use a Charter Box. Not being knowledgeable about what was required I probably did not ask the right questions. So at this point I must say that Peter Cirelli's form letter is correct. My only objection is now the cost per TV. I would think that one entry device to encrypt the signal and would permit connection of multiple TV's would meet the intent of the FCC and the cable companies.
Technically, a Charter Cable Card is a Charter device. (The original quote and your original writeup both used the phrase "Charter device", and that's true with a monthly-rended Cablecard.)
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  #18  
Old 02-20-2014, 03:38 PM
gnoitall gnoitall is offline
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Originally Posted by loucapuano View Post
<snip>I would think that one entry device to encrypt the signal and would permit connection of multiple TV's would meet the intent of the FCC and the cable companies.
Encrypted channels are encrypted individually; not the entire stream. Decryption occurs after channel selection (tuning), which means an entry device would have to have as many tuners as you have TVs to view them on.

But all of that misses the point: Cable companies want to effectively charge you on the basis of how many simultaneous channels your household can watch. A single entry device that decrypts all channels at once (A) is a terrible cable service threat risk, and (B) doesn't allow the cable company to charge you as much, and on a per-viewing-TV rate.

Modern digital cable TV technology is aimed at maximizing cable company revenues. Period.
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  #19  
Old 02-20-2014, 09:33 PM
loucapuano loucapuano is offline
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Digital Transport Adapter

First I accept the fact that the cable wants to get more on the network by going digital and second I accept the fact they want to encrypt the signal to prevent theft. Once it enters my house or apartment to a splitter or hub the theft is minimal. As you indicated the technology was aimed at increasing revenue with the approval of the FCC by designing standalone TV encryption rather than customer encryption just as every other utility does that enters your house with a single usage measuring device. It is a rip off in my uneducated opinion and I am sure technology could have provided that design alternative.
I will again let the FCC know that they have not done us a favor and use the example of all the other utilities use a single measuring device at your residence.
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  #20  
Old 04-26-2014, 11:47 AM
loucapuano loucapuano is offline
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Digital Transport Adapter

Ok I feel a little better with Charter out of Nags Head North Carolina. We have 4 Digital TVs with 4 charter boxes to receive great pictures. But that was after much effort since it took 5 trips to Charter to return boxes that did no work which apparently was the same concern of many others. During this same period I tried the Samsung GX-SM530CF Cable Box with the Charter Cable card which did not work either even after the Charter techs attempted. They indicated that another customer had tried 8 of these devices with Charter Cable Cards which did not work either. After reading "Light Reading" article about "Charter Says No to DTAs" it was understood. This is not a Samsung problem, it is a restriction of trade by Charter to prevent less expensive cable card devices from being used. It is fully understood about the one way communication with the DTAs and incapable limitation of VoD. I do want this on these TVs since it is a rental property. I will issue another FCC complaint indicating that Charter in my opinion is committing a RESTRICTION of TRADE since other cable companies like Comcast permit. Although the FCC does not permit complaints on costs it is apparent that this will cost more than $240/year after initial investment of retail cable boxes on top of the other Charter cable costs that the Charter Vice President of Marketing Peter Cirelli indicated was permitted in his letter to customers.
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  #21  
Old 04-26-2014, 12:04 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
Charter Communications will charge $5.99 per month per TV set after the first 2 years (first year = free, 2nd year = $3.99, but only if you complain first). Basic cable is now $25.99 per month. If you have two TVs, that means you will be paying $11.98 per month more for a typical 2-TV household after 3 years, or an increase of 46%. This is on top of the increase over the last 5 years from $15.99 per month for basic cable, and Charter is expected to boost the basic rate again as well.
Update: Charter will be all-digital in my area as of May 1, with a gradual rollout in the entire state during May 2014.

The latest quote for the digital box is free for the first year (if you complain), then $6.95 per box, per month thereafter.

They claim that basic cable rates will not increase for now for residential customers. However, commercial customers will get a near-doubling of their basic cable rates in May.

To offset the increased costs, they will be increasing the maximum download Internet speed to 60Mb/s (from 30), but not increasing the max upload speed, which will remain at 4Mb/s. That means if I transfer data from one Charter customer to another, the fastest I can go is 4Mb/s, and the download speed is inapplicable.
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