Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

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StefanJ
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:40 am

Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by StefanJ »

My area (97124) has two lineups for Comcast cable, standard and digital.

97124 Beaverton, US Comcast Tualatin Valley Regional Cable
97124 Beaverton, US Comcast Tualatin Valley Regional - Digital CableDigital
97124 Hillsboro, US Local Broadcast Listings - Antenna LocalBroadcast

The standard listing currently lists the available analog channels, numbers 2 - 71.

But . . . Comcast is in the process of removing channels 32- 71 from the standard lineup. (The official flipover for my area was 4/15, but they're still there, but this will change within a few days.)

Essentially, the "Cable" lineup will be just Basic cable . . . analog channels 2-31.

Will the "Cable" lineup eventually shed the upper channels.

Also: As courtesy, or perhaps by law, Comcast includes, along with the analog channels, clear QAM channels that duplicate the broadcast digital channels. Should these go in the standard "Cable" listing?

rmeden
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by rmeden »

I don't know for sure, but here's what I think will happen.

1. If Comcast is changing their "basic" lineup to only be 2-31, that's what the lineup will represent. I believe the FCC rules require "basic" cable to include all the local broadcast stations.

2. I don't believe there are any rules requiring transmission in clear QAM. The cable companies have asked Tribune to not pass on QAM info, that's why it's not available.

You're free to choose whichever lineup(s) you'd like in the data feed. You may need to manually map stations if you want things to vary from the "official" lineups.

Please post once the dust settles... I'm sure folks will be interested in what happens (I know I am).

Robert

StefanJ
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by StefanJ »

OK . . . the dust has settled on ONE of the lineups:

97124 Beaverton, US Comcast Tualatin Valley Regional Cable

This lineup no longer reflects Comcast's non-digital cable plan.

Last Wednesday I scanned the analog range with both my HDTV and my DVR's analog card. Channels 32 - 71 are no longer there. There is a channel 98 (Jewelry TV).

I can't vouch for the Digital cable lineup, because it includes many premium channels that I don't have access to.

NB, there are a few new OTA digital channels for which XMLids exist but for which no programs appear. Specifically 32_2 (USS, aka Universal Sports) in this lineup:

97124 Hillsboro, US Local Broadcast Listings - Antenna LocalBroadcast

This might be a very new service.

rmeden
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by rmeden »

are there any clear QAM stations not in the analog lineup?

Robert

StefanJ
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by StefanJ »

rmeden wrote:are there any clear QAM stations not in the analog lineup?

Robert
Interesting question.

If you subscribe to Basic Cable, or if you get the introductory Digital lineup but you DON'T use a cable box, you'll find that when you scan for channels with your digital tuner about a dozen HD clear-QAM channels:

2.1, 2.2., 6.1, 8.1, 8.2, 10.1, 10.3, 12.1, 32.1, 32.2, 49.1

These are a subset of the digital channels available OTA in my area. My TV and tuner card picks up the call sign and virtual channel number from the cable signal on the channels listed above. There might be more . . . at least one religious station has multiple digital OTA channels and Comcast might cablecast some of them. But unlike the ones above the signal doesn't have an ID built in.

However, Comcast doesn't acknowledge these HD stations. I believe that it is required by the FCC that they transmit them as part of the regulated Basic Cable service. However, they probably want you to get their pricey HD service so they won't tell you that. For sure, the DTAs and STBs they offer screen them out; what these boxes due is take the digital, non-HD equivalent of the old Standard Cable lineup and translates the complex clear QAM channel numbers to the familiar 2 - 71 numbering.

However, I think it would be fair to include the OTA HD stations in the standard Cable lineup, since that is essentially a rebroadcast of the local OTA stations plus a handful of public access & foreign language stations.

rmeden
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by rmeden »

StefanJ wrote:
rmeden wrote:are there any clear QAM stations not in the analog lineup?
If you subscribe to Basic Cable, or if you get the introductory Digital lineup but you DON'T use a cable box, you'll find that when you scan for channels with your digital tuner about a dozen HD clear-QAM channels:

2.1, 2.2., 6.1, 8.1, 8.2, 10.1, 10.3, 12.1, 32.1, 32.2, 49.1

These are a subset of the digital channels available OTA in my area.
So the answer is "no". I'm pretty sure all the local broadcast stations have to be in the "basic" lineup, so if the clear QAM stations are a subset of that it's consistent.

I was wondering if we needed to tell people to select the digital lineup to get the guide-data for the QAM stations, but it looks like they won't. The data should already be in the "basic" feed, you'll just need to manually map the XMLIDs since we don't provide QAM tuning info.

Robert

brain_hurts
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by brain_hurts »

>you'll just need to manually map the XMLIDs since we don't provide QAM tuning info.

How do I figure out this mapping between the channum and xmltvid?

For example in my area (94043) for the KTVU channel: Schedule direct has 4 listings (channel#:name): "3:KTVU", "188:KTVUDT2", "622:KTVUDT2", "702:KTVUDT". Oddly channels 188 & 622 have the same xmltvid while the other 3 are unique. I see 3 channels with KTVU in the name on my FE. 2, 2-1, and 2-2. How can I figure out which ones goes with which xmltvid? and do I really have to mouse over each channel in SD lineup to find all the xmltvid's? This seems like it'll be pretty painful.

I've been looking at the following website for some guidance on mapping channel 79-1 to virtual channel 2.
http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/li ... eup_220250

But I'm still guessing based on the names which xmltvid should apply. Isn't there a better way (tm)?

rmeden
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by rmeden »

On the "my account" page, you can get a lineup report that generate a table with the XMLID and callsign of each station.

Hopefully the QAM station will include the callsign and you can use that to pick the right station.

Robert

StefanJ
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Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by StefanJ »

Well, it looks like Comcast has started scrambling the digital versions of the upper tier channels (32-71). The clear QAM channels which I could pick up last week are no longer tunable, by either my HDTV or MythTV tuner.

I'll do a rescan just to be sure, but I am not optimistic.

So my lineup situation has just gotten a lot simpler.

StefanJ
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 10:40 am

Re: Will Comcast listings strip analog channels?

Post by StefanJ »

My post above was premature . . . the channels just moved again. Another day of scanning and reviewing and my Myth system is back up and running.

In very welcome news:

Some nice open source folks have made utility which scans for the channel map used by Comcast DTAs. This can be used to create or update MythTV channel listings:

http://scte65scan.sourceforge.net/

I haven't tried it yet. If Comcast makes a practice of changing channel assignments on a regular basis, it should prove very useful.

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