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New Comcast On-Screen Guide to Arrive This Week

by ARLnow.com June 22, 2011 at 9:35 am 8,115 72 Comments

Comcast Digital TV customers in Arlington will start getting a new on-screen guide this week.

The new guide will feature “faster On Demand access, a more user-friendly interface, more detailed program information, improved DVR and search functionality and a convenient menu of shortcuts,” according to Comcast.

Other features include easier access to HD channels through a “quick menu,” expanded parental controls, the ability to save multiple “favorite channel” lists, a “message center,” and local weather information.

“This week, we are launching a new on-screen program guide for our Arlington Digital TV customers that is designed to deliver an improved TV viewing experience,” Comcast public relations manager Alisha Martin tells ARLnow.com. “The changes to the guide are based upon the feedback we’ve received from our customers, who have asked for a faster, easier-to-use interface with increased functionality… The technology will also pave the way for additional enhancements in the future.”

Martin says customers in Arlington should start seeing the new on-screen guide this week. Those customers will notice new colors and configurations in their guides, including color coding for certain programming, like movies, sports and kids programs.

  • charlie

    This is incredible. It is going to make all the difference.
    New Colors. New Configurations. A message Center.
    I’m going to have to quit work and run home and check it out.
    These new improvements will guarantee a shoo-in renewal of their contract with Arlington. It is earth shattering.
    drip drip drip

  • TGEoA

    Scott,

    Will this include remote DVR access via Xfinity?

    • YoBimbo

      Ummm… Yeah… Can we get an answer to that?

  • G

    Faster On demand menu… but will the guide itself be faster? I hate having to wait 5 seconds for something to happen every time I press a button. And what about controlling DVR from the web?

  • G

    Faster On demand menu, but will the guide itself be faster? I hate having to wait 5 seconds for something to happen on the screen every time I press a button…

    • V Dizzle

      Yep, it’s faster.

    • MC 703

      @G – Whenever my box slows down I just perform a hard reset by pulling the power out of the back for a few seconds. Always does the trick to speed things up.

      • Stu Pendus

        I did a hard reset on a box last night.

  • V Dizzle

    I have the new dealy this morning and checked it out. Waaaaay faster (including On Demand access) and a big improvement over the old one…on the other hand, I feel that it is very similar to what other cable companies have been using for 7-8 years now. Welcome to the 21st century? Were they holding out for contract renewal negotiations???

  • Steve

    I’m pretty much deaf so I can’t hear what their message they leave for you said. Were there instructions on it? Are we supposed to do anything?

    • a

      Nope, don’t need to do anything. It was just an FYI.

    • G

      Actually, you need to make sure that you aren’t using more that 90% of your DVRs hard drive, otherwise you may lose some of your recordings. Also having the DVR plugged in for the next 3 nights is probably necessary while they update the boxes.

  • CH

    How about Comcast spend less resources and time worrying about the on-screen guide and more making sure the signal that comes in clearly? Have spent the last 2 months calling, scheduling and waiting on repairs to occur. Getting Verizon FiOS tomorrow.

    • Northerner

      +10. I went through weak signal issues for 2 years! Had technicians out 4 or 5 times. Each time they found and ‘fixed’ something different. But, still get weak signal issues, though not near as bad as before. No FIOS in my area, yet…

  • BerryBerryCold

    Comcast needs to update their infrastructure in Arlington. They use the same crappy boxes that they have used for at least 7 years. Please switch over to Moto boxes — then the same features almost everyone else in the country has will be available.

  • dino

    More panem et circenses from my favorite provider.

    The one thing I really hate about Comcast is OMG shiny thing! Where was I?

    • YoBimbo

      Ha! ::applause::

  • Cate

    This is the same channel guide I had when I lived in Boston….I wondered what the deal was when I moved here last year and saw something out of the early 1990s. Guess Comcast just hadn’t got around to upgrading here yet.

    • Ray

      Yep, we had this guide in Chicago 3 years ago.

    • Sarah

      Cate- I had the same thought when I moved from Boston as well! Glad to have this one back, I guess.

  • SamsontheCat

    I used to be able to watch some On Demand programs from HBO, Showtime and all then all of a sudden…gone. Called Comcast and was told they changed the way they do their cable. Thanks for the warning. If this doesn’t fix that “change” I’ll be looking at Verizon.

    • k

      So you are mad that you now have to pay to watch premium programming On Demand? I pay for HBO and Showtime and I can stil watch all the programs I want On Demand. I wouldn’t call that a “change” I would call that running a business (isn’t one of the first rules of business don’t give away for free what you can charge for?)

  • G

    Forget Comcast, I’m switching to Xfinity!

    • jjbug

      You are choosing twins known by different names and enjoying the same franchise in Arlington. The different offerings are by Verizon!.

      • Z

        Woosh

    • bred

      Xfinity is Comcast.

    • G

      Haha, I’m just kidding. A friend of mine once called up Comcast and threatened that he was going to switch to Xfinity.

  • cj

    The new guide will also enable ComCast to accelerate rate increases and totally eliminate the possibility of actually having to talk with a human being about service problems.

  • Wanker

    We still won’t be able to do remote dvr or any of the new features those with Motorola boxes in other areas of the country can. This upgrade us a band aid on a major wound. Comcast, I really do hate you.

  • Arlington Native

    I can only hope they got rid of the annoying “E news from Comcast” video that plays over and over in the On-Demand menu with annoying clips from annoying movies I will never watch.

    • Michael H.

      The fake airplane take-off sound that they use in between segments is annoying too. I always mute the TV before using On Demand.

  • brendan

    Kind of amazing how slow Comcast has been in upgrading the slow and buggy mess that is their interface. With the exception of a color scheme change, i think it’s been over 8 years since they’ve made any significant changes to the software.

  • Tom M

    Do any of the people commenting here that dislike Comcast have another choice? Satellite? FiOS? If so, why not just end your headache and switch? If you have no options, sucks for you.

    • Wanker

      I have no other choice but to use Comcast. Sucks.

  • Henry Spencer

    I wish FIOS would hurry up and upgrade their guide; DC is always the last region they roll them out to. I don’t ever remember them sending out a press release to announce it.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Why did the download happen in the middle of major viewing time? The box was completely locked up from 6-7AM when my wife was getting ready for work. Wouldn’t it be better to have it happen between 3-4AM or such.

  • Jordan

    Just a PSA, I read a thing recently that cable DVR boxes are among the worst energy consumers in any home. So if you have a Comcast box from 2005 like me, you should probably turn that shit off at night.

    • esmith69

      Agree, they suck up way too much energy even when they’re powered off and not recording anything. They definitely need to figure out a way to make them smarter so that they can be in a lower power state the majority of the time they’re off, then power on to full power when you need the DVR to kick in. It’s definitely possible from a technical standpoint, just requires some additional programming and maybe slightly different hardware.

      The problem with turning it off at night is that it takes like 10-15 minutes to fully load itself when you finally turn it back on. Sucks if you want to watch something quickly.

  • B.

    This “upgrade” is terrible. It is a downgrade. Makes me want to stop the service and go with someone else.

    • Wanker

      Did you get it? I haven’t gotten it yet on mine. I’m assuming it’s going to be awful just like everything else Comcast.

  • rp

    Comcast sucks, plain and simple! They don’t have the bandwith to provide the service they charge top dollar for! Verizon Fios cost the same but their service is actually reliable! I have the 35up and 35 download speed through them and I’m actually getting speeds north of 40megs! Enough nerd talk, the message is Comcast sucks!

  • jake

    I find it really ugly and clunky. Perhaps when I use it more I’ll find some features that I like, but as of now I find it a pretty big step down. Are the graphics from 1997?

  • kari

    I know it sounds stupid but I am very happy they finally switched this over. This is the menu we had in D.C. and it really is a thousand times better than the old menu. The best feature? The fact that when you are looking at the guide you can enter a channel and it will go to the channel in the guide only (vs changing it on the TV). I love this becuase it allows me to jump around the guide (while still watching the same program) without having to scroll through hundreds of channels.

    I promise that the search function is better as well.

    • WestoverAndOver

      You’re excited about that? DirecTV has had this “feature” forever. I’ve not heard one good thing about Comcast, ever. Good thing DirecTV threw me a bone when I threatened to switch or I would be sorry.

  • Bluemontsince1961

    Hmmm. The colors are an improvement over the old ones and the new version is easier for me to read, but the scrolling operation is klunky; the older version was smoother. Not thrilled with it but not unhappy either. Just meh!

  • MT

    I got the upgrade Thursday morning (6/23). But it looks like they’ve removed Picture-in-Picture, which I had on my two DVR boxes. This was my only reason for staying with Comcast. Can anyone else verify that PIP is gone?

  • westcoastgirl

    yep, PIP is gone, as well as the sleep timer and the wake-up timer. I’d rather have a slow guide and those three features back…

    The new guide looks awful too.

    http://blog.comcast.com/2010/01/new-guide-makes-watching-tv-even-better.html

    • MT

      Thanks for confirming. PIP was my favorite feature.

  • UGH

    Yep, this guide is AWFUL. I used the sleep timer every night and now it’s gone. Yeah I can find my regular tv remote and try to use the sleep timer on that but it’s a pain. The PIP is gone which I didn’t use that much. I also don’t see a way to jump ahead in days on the guide like you used to using the B button. You just have to scroll forever. The folders feature in the DVR doesn’t work even though it’s in the menu, Comcast has confirmed that it shouldn’t be in the menu for Scientific Atlantica customers. I’ve read that this is phase 2 of a 4 phase upgrade. Phase 3 will apparently let us do remote dvr recording and phase 4 will have a newer 16:9 guide with colors and more features. But i’ll bet my house that we don’t see these upgrades until 2015. F YOU COMCAST!

  • UGH

    I bet we don’t see any of this in Arlington for at least 5 years if ever http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/16/comcast-cable-show-2011-demo-features-1gbps-cable-modem/ The wiring in our area probably won’t be able to handle it. Once again, F YOU COMCAST!!!!

  • brooke

    Atleast you still have tv service. All I get is a blue screen since the download. I can’t watch a single channel…nothing works! This is the second time I’ve been totally out of service. Comcast charges way to much for crappy service!

  • Take it down a notch

    They “upgraded” mine last night, sometime between 1 am and 9 am. I wasted way too much time on the phone with them this morning trying to figure stuff out. Some of the shows I had programmed the DVR to record did not transfer, and one of them (a recurring sporting event) no longer gives me the option of recording all new episodes — it thinks it’s a one-time program even though there’s another new one scheduled for the next day. I tried to cancel the recording so I could try starting over from scratch, but it still shows up in the list of recordings. Also, yeah I know VCRs are antiquated but my 75-year-old father still uses one and I wanted to output a recording to tape for him, but that option is now gone.

    I never had any problems with the old guide and DVR set up, and this is just a huge waste of time trying to figure out the new stuff. Things like switching from my recordings to scheduled recordings used to be easy, now I can’t figure out how to do it without exiting and starting over.

    Oh, and when you’re scrolling up or down channels on the guide to see what’s on, it lists four channels at a time plus an ad at the bottom of the screen, and the cursor goes to the ad after the four listed channels, e.g., 200 201 202 203 ad 204 205 206 207 ad 208 209 210 211 ad, etc. Total annoying waste of time.

    • Bluemontsince1961

      “Oh, and when you’re scrolling up or down channels on the guide to see what’s on, it lists four channels at a time plus an ad at the bottom of the screen, and the cursor goes to the ad after the four listed channels, e.g., 200 201 202 203 ad 204 205 206 207 ad 208 209 210 211 ad, etc. Total annoying waste of time.”

      Exactly! They should have an option to delete the annoying ads!

      • T.Dawson

        HATE HATE HATE HATE IT. That stupid ad at the bottom of the screen messes up any ability to scroll thru and see what’s playing. How can they get away with calling this “faster”?

  • DragonHeart

    UGH:

    Hit the red Days +/- button on the remote when you have first hit the listings button and it will let you jump to a day of the week.

    • YoBimbo

      Thank you for that!

  • DragonHeart

    Fellow ArlNow Peeps:

    I detest ‘the Comcast’ and all the cable providers but there’s been an infinitesimal improvement in customer service (I actually get a person when I call and they actually have listened and tried to fix the problem). But the move for all the cable providers is away from set-top boxes to storing your saved programs “in the cloud” and pushing the programming to you – TV, movies, whatever you like, even your personal photos – direct without a box. Stand by for a few years of clusterf%$& but it may work eventually.

    • Take it down a notch

      I agree that the customer service people have been very nice and helpful the last few times I’ve called. And the folks at the Clarendon office have been great. I feel bad for them because Comcast certainly does not try to make their jobs any easier.

      • YoBimbo

        I agree about the Clarendon staff. They’ve always been pleasant, helpful, and efficient.

  • westcoastgirl

    There are two major issues with the lack of sleep timer/wake-up timer on the DVR itself (vs. just using it on the tv.) When you have the tv shut itself off, the DVR will remain on (alternately, you have to leave the DVR on overnight for the wake-up timer to work), which is a huge energy drain ($) and leaving the box on for hours on end will kill the box faster. Not really my problem since I rent it from Comcast, but it will be a hassle to have to deal with swapping them out more frequently. However, the fact that DVR’s are such energy hogs means leaving it on to use sleep/wake-up could be very pricey.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31021_3-20071139-260/study-dvr-set-top-box-use-most-energy-at-home/

    Apparently Comcast thought we really needed “On Screen Caller ID” instead of PIP, sleep timer, wake-up, etc b/c you know so many of us have home phones these days…

  • Take it down a notch

    Okay. They were kind enough to lose half the programs I had set to record when they “updgraded.” So I am re-programming. However when I set it to record all new episodes of the Daily Show, it decides to record every single episode ever, including multiple repeats per day. Does anyone know how to fix this?

    • UGH

      Yep, I get the same thing when I try to record Talk Soup. Sooooo annoying.

  • Tickedoff Andoverit

    As usual, the comcast/xfinity monopoly manages to foul things up with no recourse for consumers. The transfer erased our DVR recordings and future recordings. I cannot WAIT until we move so I can sign up for Fios and gleefully cancel any current dealings with comcast and dare them to ever contact me again.

  • f— comcast

    I’m now scheduled to record The Soup five times this weekend, even though I’ve set the recording options correctly. Thanks Comcast!

  • Mark

    Is anybody else seeing the new on-screen display as stretched out horizontally? I am using an HD cable box and an HDTV, but the OSD is coming out as a 4:3 interface stretched out. It looks really bad and is hard on the eyes. I can’t be the only one?

  • westcoastgirl

    @ Mark, I was wondering what looked so “off” about it on my HDTV. You’ve nailed it on the head.

    • Mark

      Ok, glad I’m not the only one. Anyone know of a workaround/fix??

  • westcoastgirl

    Here’s some prelim info I found…

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1204643

    I hate how the guide looks fine when you look at it on the non-HD channels, but when you look at it on the HD channels, it sends my chronic Migraine into overload.

  • Jin

    There are many complaints about the new. Menu from comcast.
    1 ads built in to the menu system
    2 no picture in a picture
    3 losing dvr performance and capabilities
    4 sound and audio issues
    5 menu is causing screen burn in issues
    6 subtitle issues and changes
    7 parental control issues and changes
    the list goes on..
    Check out their blog
    http://blog.comcast.com/2010/05/new-guide-for-scientific-atlanta-cable-boxes.html
    or their fourm
    http://forums.comcast.com/t5/TV-Service-and-Equipment/New-Scientific-Atlanta-On-Screen-Program-Guide/m-p/966585#M29397
    as usual comcast just denied any problems they also give work around for issues. Nothing will ever be done to comcast anyway they donate way too much money to both democrats and republicans. So get used to it you have no choice…

  • Josh

    the new guide = epic fail!

  • a

    I sent the following letter to Comcast (at http://www.comcast.com/customers/feedback/default.cspx )
    and also sent a complaint to the county using the form at http://www.arlingtonva.us/departments/TechnologyServices/CableTVAdmin/customercomplaintform.aspx :

    I’m very disappointed by Comcast’s recent “upgrade” to cable service in my area. I do know that people typically don’t like change, but this isn’t about getting used to something new — it’s about things that used to work well and now don’t. Specifically:

    1. When DVRing something, you can’t turn off the cable box in the middle of DVRing and have to leave the cable box on. This is a change for the worse.

    2. If you’re DVRing two programs at once, the box stops showing the time. Instead of displaying the clock, it says REC. This is a change for the worse.

    3. You removed the “skip to end of recording” option in the DVR. This was useful when i missed the end of programs or just wanted to watch the end.

    4. I had to re-program all of my TV shows that I DVR because the “upgrade” erased them.

    5. If you turn off your TV and settop box while the DVR is recording, it now gives you a warning, and makes you select off or on. The old software was smart enough to know that if you turned off the box during a recording, it should finish the recording, and then shut down. If you make the mistake of hitting power now, you have to select “leave it on.” This is annoying and a change for the worse.

    6. The DVR list of recorded programs always goes back to the top of the list now, rather than holding your place from a few minutes ago, like it used to do. This is a change for the worse.

  • Viktor

    All SD channels are in 16:9 since last night. Weirrrd.

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