Comcast Going All-Digital In Arlington, Will Add HD Channels

by ARLnow.com February 9, 2011 at 2:22 pm 11,984 81 Comments

Starting next month, Comcast will be expanding its HD channel selection in Arlington as it transitions to all-digital cable service.

Comcast recently mailed informational material to customers regarding the changes, and earlier notified the county’s Cable Television Policy and Administration office of its plans.

Starting on or about March 3, Comcast will stop transmitting most basic cable channels in analog. Instead, anybody who currently watches cable TV without using a set-top box or a CableCARD device (like TiVo) will need to get a digital adapter to see the channels. Comcast is offering up to two digital adapters free of charge, with each additional adapter priced at $1.99 per month.

The switch from analog will free up space for new HD channels. Comcast will offer about 50 new HD channels to Arlington customers, most of which will be included in the Digital Starter cable package. Many of the new channels will be rolled out on March 15, with a few other channels set to come on-line on April 12.

Comcast is in the midst of a nationwide transition to all-digital and Arlington is just the latest area to get the service, which the company has alternately dubbed “Xfinity” and “The World of More.”

Last month, an ARLnow.com poll of nearly 800 people indicated that many local residents are unhappy with the quality of Comcast’s service.

Robert Billingsley, Cable Administrator for Arlington County, said that anyone who has unresolved complaints about their cable service can instead contact his office at 703-228-3242. He said his office gets about 15 complaints about Comcast per month, compared to 7 to 8 complaints per month about Verizon FiOS.

See a list of the new HD channels, after the jump.

  • Josh

    more HD. bout time.

    • Burger

      If you had DirecTV, you had all these channels in HD over a year ago.

      • Keith

        Not exactly. DirecTV stinks. They don’t have: QVC, HSN, Headline News, E!, style, truTV, TV ONE, G4, History International, TCM, Lifetime Movie Network, Investigation Discovery, WE, Fuse, GMC, or IFC in HD. Not to mention DirecTV also DOES NOT CARRY AMC or BBC America in HD, as well as some other networks not listed here. No one knows what’s up DirecTV’s rear, but they are def. lacking in the HD channels.

  • jrs

    But what are customer counts for each carrier? If Comcast has more than twice as many customers, their relative complaint level is better, not worse than Verizon’s.

  • Josh

    anyone know what additional HD it will be? comedy central? nhl network? mlb network?

  • Westover

    Oh well, sorry Comcast, the only thing that was keeping me with you was not have to pay for a box for my old TV’s. Hellooooooooooooooooooooo Fios!

    • Josh

      Comcast is offering up to two digital adapters free of charge, with each additional adapter priced at $1.99 per month.

      • Westover

        Cost only had a little to do with it, just don’t want another ugly box to try to fit on the TV stand. If I have to, might as well go with the superior Fios picture.

        • Josh

          No doubt, I would do if I had the option!

          • Josh


        • Overgrown Bush

          ….and inferior Verizon service.

    • CrankyMom

      That’s exactly my response. I have mostly analog tvs and just didn’t want the hassle of boxes, and the standard comcast channels were good enough. But if I am going to be forced to use boxes / upgrade TVs, I may as well upgrade to Fios (or downgrade to broadcast). So remember those reassuring commercials from comcast when the changeover occurred? “If you have Comcast, you don’t have to worry about the digital conversion!” Well I guess now you do…

    • Mick Way

      I have FiOS and am 99% sure it is also all-digital. I need a box for my old Series 2 Tivo. It can’t find any channels without one.


      • CrankyMom

        Yes, Fios is indeed all-digital. That was the only thing that was stopping me from going there. But if Comcast is going to go all-digital too, then they know longer have the advantage of direct analog tuning and I’ll go with the Fios for their superior service.

  • NomNom

    I got the mailer the other day. Yes to Comedy Central. I believe NHL and MLB will be offered, but you need the Sports Package.

    I wasn’t very impressed with the new channels. Verizon needs to expand south of 50 so I can change to Fios.

    • Josh

      Ugh, I wonder if my apt building won’t be getting it since we haven’t gotten anything yet in the mail… that and my building has a 10-year contract w/ Comcast and we can’t get Fios… ugh…

    • DudeGuy

      Are they going to have Fox Soccer Channel HD or Fox Soccer Channel Plus HD?

    • CW

      Are you positive you can’t get FIOS? I’m south of 50 (but not by much), and I’ve had FIOS for over 2 years now. I only use it for internet, but have been very happy with the reliable service.

  • Southeast Ben

    FIOS is broke ground south of Arlington. It is in Avalon at Arlington. Comcast is terrible.

  • Ringo

    Anyone know when Arlington will get the cable box software update we were told was happening months ago so that the menu won’t look like it’s from 1982 anymore (and so we can control the DVR online, etc.)?

    • K

      Yeah I want to know this as well. The guide looks like it was made on a Commodore 64, it’s the worst. And will this new upgrade allow us to do things like remote dvr recording from a smart phone or computer like most other areas can do on Comcast?

      • Westover

        At least the guide is quick. Was up in New England recently, and my Comcast subscriber friend had a beautiful menu, but it was slow as heck.

        • bred

          Likely you saw the menu presented by Comcast on a Motorola box. Here Comcast uses Scientific Atlanta/Cisco equipment. Ever notice in the Comcast promos for On-Demand that the menu looks great? Likely a Motorola’s screen. I wouldn’t expect this soon in Arlington. Likely too must expensive to swap out all of the hardware. Though I’m not 100% sure, I believe that Verizon does use Motorola equipment in Arlington, but can’t get this at my house – though the high-rise condo down the street does get Fios.

          • K

            I had the exact same SA box when I lived in Fairfax County, they had the same crappy menu for a long time that Arlington has but recently upgraded the software and now their menu is very attractive and much quicker than the old menu. It’s doable to change the software on the SA boxes, we’ll see if Arlington Comcast is too cheap to do it. This is the new updated Cox menu http://mycoxhelp.com/imgs/guide-image-DVR.gif

  • G

    Finally! comedy central and msnbc in hd!

    • Lou

      Tamron Hall in HD? That works.

    • BB Queen

      And Tosh.

  • jonblaze

    What will happen to those in apartment buildings that come bundled with free Comcast service (like 1020 N Quincy)? Comcast is only sending these notices to paying subscribers.

    • BallstonDude

      Ask the manager! And expect a response in…… NEVER!

  • Bah Comcast

    We just had the worst time canceling our Comcast service. We first called to cancel, and then returned our box in mid January. The Clarendon office specifically told us to wait to pay the January bill, since we would be credited for the part of the month we didn’t use. While we waited to receive our final bill, we got a collections call from Comcast for our January payment! Apparently, you’re supposed to pay the full amount for the month, and then get a “credit” (as a check?) for the remainder in the next month billing cycle. This was completely opposite from what the office said! We went in person to pay the final amount, and the woman repeated her line- we were supposed to wait for the final bill, which could take “4 to 6 weeks” to arrive. So now we’re out 5 bucks for a late charge that we can’t reverse, my husband was harassed by collections agents and we need to check our credit report to make sure we didn’t get dinged for Comcast’s negligence. Of course, the February bill (with a past due notice) arrived in the mail the day after we paid the final amount.

    Good riddance!

    • LyonSteve

      I’ve never had a problem canceling Comcast. Call the 800 number to cancel the service. Return the equipment to local office. Pay final bill and/or receive credit for unused services.

      • Idi Amin Dada

        Yeah, me either.

      • Bah Comcast

        Our biggest issue with this situation is that we were told to do two opposite things on the phone and in person. Clearly, the person in the office didn’t know what she was talking about, and the manager who was sitting behind her didn’t bother to correct her or us. It was poor customer service all around.

    • bred

      You can NEVER believe anything a Comcast customer rep or most of their technicians say to be 10% true.

  • I so wish they’d stop cramming in more “HD” channels and instead decrease the amount of compression they use. I prefer fewer good looking channels to more that are barely better than SD.

    • Westover

      Very good point, probably have five channels that don’t work well at the HD end. And for what ever reason our OnDemand has not worked since October even with switching out boxes. To top it off the channel change response of the new cisco boxes is atrocious compared to the old Atlanta Scientific Boxes.

      • LyonSteve

        The boxes are the same. Cisco bought Scientific Atlanta. Same software, same slowness.

        Hopefully they upgrade the plant to allow the Motorola boxes used over much of the country.

        • Westover

          Our old box was old enough to allow you to change the channel at the box when the kids had hidden the remote. No longer have that. Old box also had a clock which we never thought was very important until it was gone. 🙁

        • Overgrown Bush

          Cisco boxes are crap. I had to return two of them for not working at all, and the phone help could not even get them going. Finally, I insisted they give me a SA box. They did. I plugged it in and it worked fine.

      • LyonSteve

        For me — On demand didn’t work on one of our boxes with a low signal strength. Comcast came out and ran a new wire and put it in a new splitter.

  • Alex

    Cutting off all analog service.. not too happy to hear about that, as that’s the only way to seamlessly record content with a tuner card. The alternative is an awkward rig with the set top boxes that only allows recording one show at a time — whereas with analog one can have multiple tuners to record and view content live with no problem. They’ll be losing my business as a result of this.

    • J

      www . cetoncorp . com

      Mutli-tuner, digital, cablecard tuners.

    • Kevin

      Everyone is cutting off analog service, the Federal government mandated it. That airspace is now going to be used for much cooler stuff. See: http://www.economist.com/node/17647517

      • bred

        Nice try, but the FCC conversion’s rules to digital is only for over-the-air. While the FCC does have some say in the cable industry, Comcast is doing this to save bandwidth and probably generate more revenue for them.

      • Novanglus

        The Fed mandate only covered over-the-air broadcasts. This is purely a Comcast decision.

  • Carm

    Great! It’s about time!

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Same with me, the issue with multiple tuners and recording content is huge. This is a big step back from the days when you could have a cable – plug it into a TV and watch things. Why the county cable board allows things like this that are customer, resident and voter un-friendly is beyond me, this company has a county francise/monopoly and uses our right of way and we pay them for it.

  • LB

    If you don’t pay for cable is this relevant? Or will my digital conveter box work the same as always? (sorry for the dumb question).

    • CrankyMom

      Nope, doesn’t affect you at all. I have a big tv with a converter box and antenna at my work, and I have to say that it does the job pretty nicely. I’m considering joining you and going back to channels by air…

      • R.Griffon

        Do it! I ditched cable/satellite completely a while ago and have never been happier. Although I did have to finally add a streaming digital media receiver (I use a Roku and love it, but there are many options) to make the wife happy. Between over the air, streaming (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), and DVDs for the kids, I’ve never felt like we were missing a single thing.

        But there’s nothing good on anyways. I use my TV primarily for streaming Pandora in the background. *shrugs*

  • Westover

    I guess this kills the Tivo too. 🙁

    • Mick Way

      Nope. I use a Series 2 plus a FiOS standard def box and the IR blaster. Works great.

      • Westover

        Want to come set mine up then?

  • Brady

    Comcast still blows goats, I have proof.

  • K

    They may not get many complaints but I wonder how many other people just stopped wasting their time pushing for fixes that weren’t happening. Despite countless hours and rounds of calls, my Comcast problems haven’t gotting solved and the follow-up always takes up far too much of my time. I can’t be the only one who decided it wasn’t worth making it my full-time job.

    • K

      Wait, I’m the original K, what’s with two K’s on here? Anyway I think we all agree that Comcast is the worst. Some of us are just screwed and can’t get Fios where we are so we have no other choice. Comcast is just god awful.

    • G

      I agree. I have given up on a few of the issues I’ve had with my service, however, comcast has given me generous long-term discounts in exchange.

  • Dan

    FINALLY…been waiting for this since I moved to the area in 2009. My building has no access to FIOS or satellite, so I’ve been stuck with the poor HD lineup. Thrilled to be getting the rest of the ESPN’s in HD as well as MLB and Big Ten.
    For those wondering what the new SA/Cisco box guide will look like…here’s a peak: http://blog.comcast.com/2010/05/new-guide-for-scientific-atlanta-cable-boxes.html

  • John Andre

    It’s high time they added Weather Channel HD! Should have done it months ago.

  • Question

    If I have newer tv’s with digital tuners do I still need these adaptiors from comcast?

    • T

      This is my question too. Please somebody answer.

      • CrankyMom

        The web page indicates that if you only want the “limited basic” channels and your television has a Digital QAM tuner, nothing will change. However, if you want more than “limited basic”, you will need to connect through either the new adapter or a box or cableCard.

  • DSS

    Will this result in any improvement in internet service? I’d rather get my video via IP and over the air as opposed to having to deal with a cable company….. Now that says something…

  • steve

    gee, no wonder my bill has gone up from 88 a month to 137.

  • Why?

    I hate that I have a nice set up, in nice room and now I have to get a box. The one shown in Comcast’s video looks like it was sold at Radio Shack in 1982. And another remote. This is such a step back.

  • JohnY

    The reason Comcast went all-digital is that analog hogs bandwith. (Much moreso than digital.) By not having to send analog signals, it leaves more room for digital/HD.

    • Why?

      But why does that require me to get a box for all my TV’s? TV’s are now made to recieve digital. I think Comcast has found away to charge more.

      • Overgrown Bush

        Bingo. It is always about money and profits.

    • Suburban Not Urban

      That’s just hogwash – they’ve encrypted not just gone digital – which why only a box or poorly supported cablecard will work

  • capt trips

    i have been stealing cable for at least 20 years. i guess this is the end of the run. what will it cost me to get channels 2-77 that i get now? i also hear that 2-25 and 74-77 will still work in analog. if this is true, i guess i will continue to steal.

  • NomNom

    Just received notice of increase in sevice fees and charges.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Well, we just went back to the future – lost about 1/3 of my channels on 3 out of my 4 tuners. If they can take back their channels – can we take back the cables in our right of way??????

  • Crystal

    About half of my channels have been replaced with a message that says to contact Comcast to get a cable box. I’ve don’t watch enough TV to make it worthwhile I’m going to join the ranks of the cord cutters.

  • Michael

    So it’s March 15th. Where are all those new HD channels?

    • Dan

      I contacted Comcast today and received call back from a higher up in the local office. She had no information as to why the upgrade has not occurred. However, she stated I should be getting a call back from someome soon. We’ll see, but I am not surprised there is a delay. Is anyone else really?

      • Rick

        I called them this evening as well. They told me that there was an issue and the new date for the HD channels will now by March. 24. No real explanation other than a glitch in pushing out the new service to customers. Good times.

        • JohnY

          Great – so much for having truTVHD in time for the NCAA tournament…

  • The “P” Word

    F- You Comcast!! Fios baby all the way. For those of you who hate Comcast join the band wagon and get fios its much better and faster

    • Josh

      Believe me, if 99% of us could we would, but we don’t have the option.

      • Southeast Jerome

        Comcast sucks. We are about to cancel our service. I just dont have anything good to say about it, really. Its too expensive and they are so annoying. They call and try to sell me phone service once every two weeks. I feel bad for the sales reps that call when I keep telling them No.

  • JohnY

    The new HD channels have arrived here in Alexandria sometime within the past 36 hours – I haven’t checked since then. At least I can now watch all of the NCAA games in HD…


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