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tee el cee

join:2010-01-30
Colts Neck, NJ

[HD] HD costs extra?

My elderly mother-in-law, who couldn't care less about HD and probably couldn't see the difference, needs a new TV.

She gets digital Xfinity from Comcast -- many channels including HBO but the box has no HD output. This much is included in her Condo fees. I called about getting an HD box, and was told that it would be an additional ("discounted") $7.95 billed directly to her.

Isn't HD, the national standard, supposed to be included by now? Or is the equipment an exception to that?

We'll probably cheap-out and go with the stretch-view. Any TV brands known for better stretching? It'll only be about ~32 inches. Heading out to Costco or BestBuy in the next couple of days.

Thanks,
tlc

Comcast Guy

join:2008-01-16
Harrisburg, PA
Yep. It is a box rental fee.


gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4
reply to tee el cee
national standard? what national standard?!?!?!?
--
I'm better than you!

yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
said by gar187er:

national standard? what national standard?!?!?!?

Given that HD over the air was one of the things behind the huge analog switchover several years back, yeah, I'd say it's a "national standard" of a sort at this point, just not necessarily mandatory.

And this was long enough ago that a new random customer shopping for his mom might justifiably be surprised that HD is a *big* *enough* *deal* to justify an extra $8 a month in 2012.

(Or should he shut up and be grateful that Comcast doesn't have a "color TV" surcharge...? )

blust2

join:2009-07-31
Pittsburgh, PA
said by yhp:

said by gar187er:

national standard? what national standard?!?!?!?

Given that HD over the air was one of the things behind the huge analog switchover several years back, yeah, I'd say it's a "national standard" of a sort at this point, just not necessarily mandatory.

And this was long enough ago that a new random customer shopping for his mom might justifiably be surprised that HD is a *big* *enough* *deal* to justify an extra $8 a month in 2012.

(Or should he shut up and be grateful that Comcast doesn't have a "color TV" surcharge...? )

$8 is really worth it because of the much higher resolution. If you don't give them that $8, you will see all the TV programs at 320x 480, stuck at the same NTSC standard since 1950's, while your new TV is capable of 1920x1280 resolution.

yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
said by blust2:

$8 is really worth it because of the much higher resolution.

Whether it's worth it is up to the individual customer. What's causing the head-scratching is that in an only-increasing number of minds, HD is old news and "access" to it is not a $96/yr premium.

At some point in the future, everyone will agree that language like "HD Access" is as farcical as "color TV access" sounds today, but in the meantime, Comcast gets to claim annual rates at $96/yr less than many households' realities.
Expand your moderator at work


old_tech

@sbcglobal.net
reply to yhp

Re: [HD] HD costs extra?

said by yhp:

said by gar187er:

national standard? what national standard?!?!?!?

Given that HD over the air was one of the things behind the huge analog switchover several years back, yeah, I'd say it's a "national standard" of a sort at this point, just not necessarily mandatory.

HD OTA had nothing to do with the push to move the stations to ATSC vs. NTSC. It had to do with freeing up bandwidth, so that the government could auction off spectrum along with freeing it up for military, FAA, emergency services. North America has been the longest holdout on moving to a All digital based tv system. Of course, there are still some Low power holdouts out there also.

If you have not noticed, HD is a Sub-channel of the SD feed being the main for tv broadcasters. If at anytime pay to view tv networks go down during a national emergency crisis, people can still tune to a local tv station on the SD feed.


SeaSeaTee5

join:2010-05-06
Maryland
reply to yhp
The digital conversion had nothing to do with making HD any kind of standard. It was to free up some of the wireless spectrum by requiring analog broadcasters to convert to digital.

If Comcast were to offer HD at no additional charge, they would have to swap literally millions of converters for those who want the service. If they were to do that, there's no doubt that the cost would be passed along to ALL customers. Why should those who have no desire for HD be forced to subsidize those that do?

tee el cee

join:2010-01-30
Colts Neck, NJ

1 edit
I believe the cable companies are required to carry the local OTA channels, which are now HD. Apparently this requirement can be met with downgraded SD versions. To borrow someone else's point, maybe they could meet this requirement with Black & White.

Maybe the HD locals are on there, in clear QAM, and I could set it up with a splitter. But changing inputs to watch different channels is too much for Grandma.

I can relate to the point about customers with no desire for HD. That's my mother-in-law. But you can't buy an SD TV. Even if she can't appreciate the resolution, I hoped to get her some 16:9 material. Maybe I'll tape some pretty pictures on the wasted side panels for her.

The HD boxes I'm familiar with also have SD outputs -- they can output all those HD channels as SD. I wouldn't be surprised if in the All Digital System a similar SD downgrade was done inside her SD Xfinity/Cisco cable box. Makes more sense than giving bandwidth for both HD and SD versions of channels.

If this is true, would you still think it was about not forcing everyone to subsidize HD? If the box tunes & decodes HD, then instead of making it available, does the extra step of downgrading it to SD? I guess they save some money by not having all those ports on the back. $8/mo. should amortize that.

Anyway, it is what it is. They charge extra for HD even though the must-carry locals are HD.

Thanks for the info. Sorry for the rant.

yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
reply to SeaSeaTee5
said by SeaSeaTee5:

The digital conversion had nothing to do with making HD any kind of standard. It was to free up some of the wireless spectrum by requiring analog broadcasters to convert to digital.

I said nothing - nada - of purpose, only the psychological effect of the transition.

If Comcast were to offer HD at no additional charge, they would have to swap literally millions of converters for those who want the service.

What, they'd suddenly start sweating bullets over not delivering converter capabilities customers request? LOL.

But I definitely agree that charging more for something is one way to put the brakes on runaway demand in the face of limited supply. Whether "each of your existing customers" represents "runaway demand" is left as an exercise.

Comcast Guy

join:2008-01-16
Harrisburg, PA

1 recommendation

reply to yhp
said by yhp:

said by blust2:

$8 is really worth it because of the much higher resolution.

At some point in the future, everyone will agree that language like "HD Access" is as farcical as "color TV access" sounds today, but in the meantime, Comcast gets to claim annual rates at $96/yr less than many households' realities.

You mean like this (copied and pasted right from my January DirecTV bill):

01/04 02/03 HD ACCESS Monthly 10.00


yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
said by Comcast Guy:

You mean like this (copied and pasted right from my January DirecTV bill):

01/04 02/03 HD ACCESS Monthly 10.00

Who cares what DirecTV does?

"Everybody does it" isn't an excuse for anything. I learned that at the age of 5.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to tee el cee
There has never been a color tv surcharge. Although if it cost the cable providers more im sure there would have been. Cable is shared, Why should people that dont care about HD be forced to pay the extra costs involved with hd. As is the hd fee covers the extra fees involved with the extra costs of the boxes. Seems fair to me.

yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
said by rody_44:

There has never been a color tv surcharge. Although if it cost the cable providers more im sure there would have been. Cable is shared, Why should people that dont care about HD be forced to pay the extra costs involved with hd. As is the hd fee covers the extra fees involved with the extra costs of the boxes. Seems fair to me.

The problem is that the advertised prices on low-end digital packages don't jibe with reality for HD subscribers because only the high-end package prices "include" access and boxes.

And it's not like people interested in HD are leeching elitists trying to rip you off. My sister got my Mom a cheap "HD" TV, and while my Mom doesn't know High Def from Harley Davidson, she knows that her OTA baseball games used to look a whole lot better than what they look like with her Comcast package.

"High Def" is the new "Color TV" in that people with certain agendas try to paint it as some kind of luxury which peasants don't deserve -- long LONG after the technology has ceased to command premium pricing or enjoy only limited access.

rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast
My reasoning is if a product cost more for the provider to supply That extra cost should be passed on to only the subs that use it. Dtas cost about 30 bucks , Regular boxes in the neighborhood of 100.00. Hd boxes are much more expensive and until that changes i think the service providers are entitled to charge extra. Im pretty sure there is also a extra cost from the content providers when hd channels are supplied. The old saying you dont get a cadillac for the price of a volkswagon seems in play.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
Sorry, it's way past time for Comcast and every other provider to stop charging extra for HD. But that's a cash cow now, and a way to hide the true cost of cable.

We shouldn't be surprised, it's no different than other industries (see: airlines). Hopefully the new HD DTAs will be a good alternative at a much lower cost.


joako
Premium
join:2000-09-07
/dev/null
kudos:6
reply to rody_44
How about people who don't pay for HD but have an HD box anyways?
--
PRescott7-2097

yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
reply to rody_44
said by rody_44:

My reasoning is if a product cost more for the provider to supply That extra cost should be passed on to only the subs that use it.

It seems that Comcast is quite capable of dinging customers for the number of screens in a household, which is certainly one way to roughly estimate "extra cost" (if you buy into the idea in the first place that the extra cost here is based on the number of bits delivered, rather than the principle of "because we can").

It's also one way to roughly estimate income, which is in fact probably the guiding principle here (setting aside contracts which give programming providers more $$ per outlet). The thing is, "HD" and "flat screen" are no longer luxury-priced items. They're no longer a rarity. They're definitely not "Cadillac"-level living.

At some point, trying to paint this basic service as a luxury will seem dumb and embarrassing even to the geniuses at 17th and JFK, but maybe not: if they're not embarrassed by their Motorola guide software, I'm guessing they're pretty much immune to the concept.


Floppy

join:2002-07-03
said by yhp:

said by rody_44:

My reasoning is if a product cost more for the provider to supply That extra cost should be passed on to only the subs that use it.

The thing is, "HD" and "flat screen" are no longer luxury-priced items.

Regardless of a HD or SD television; it is entertainment. It is luxury. You don't need it to survive.

yhp

join:2006-12-27
Philadelphia, PA
said by Floppy:

Regardless of a HD or SD television; it is entertainment. It is luxury. You don't need it to survive.

Obviously. Now the only question is whether Comcast's high prices and pedestrian products represent sirloin steak or rice and beans. LOL.

Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL
reply to yhp
said by yhp:

At some point, trying to paint this basic service as a luxury will seem dumb and embarrassing even to the geniuses at 17th and JFK, but maybe not: if they're not embarrassed by their Motorola guide software, I'm guessing they're pretty much immune to the concept.

Never underestimate corporate greed. Bell Canada still charges all customers a $2.80 touch tone fee. The fee is waived if you still have a rotary phone

tranle

join:2001-06-10
Mountain View, CA
reply to tee el cee
If you have the "standard" subscription the HD box will cost you ~ $8 (as you have noticed) but if you only have "limited basic" the HD box is only $2.5 which is a lot more reasonable but you only the few over the air hd of your location.

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to Zoder
But on the there IPTV and satellite tv. YOU CAN BUY THE BOX or rent to own WITH no outlet fees. And they have theme packs as well.


Floppy

join:2002-07-03
reply to yhp
said by yhp:

Obviously. Now the only question is whether Comcast's high prices and pedestrian products represent sirloin steak or rice and beans. LOL.

Only you as their customer can make that determination. You choose to disconnect or keep the service. Regardless the service is consider a luxury and isn't needed for survive. Also I wouldn't consider sirloin steak a luxury that title belongs to filet mignon.

tranle

join:2001-06-10
Mountain View, CA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Joe12345678
said by Joe12345678:

But on the there IPTV and satellite tv. YOU CAN BUY THE BOX or rent to own WITH no outlet fees. And they have theme packs as well.

They way I see this is. If you buy a box at $200 compared to monthly fee of $8, this is roughly equivalent at 25 month lease (2 year). A bit short but it is equivalent of a usage pattern for cell phone or a laptop.

Night0wl

join:2011-06-23
00000
reply to GTFan
Not all providers charge extra for HD service, for instance, TWC NYC/NJ . The digital cable package is the same price regardless if subscriber has a regular tv or HD tv.


mikedz4

join:2003-04-14
Weirton, WV
reply to tee el cee
DirecTV DOES have Free Hd BUT you must have choice extra package or higher AND enroll in Automatic bill pay to get free HD. So it's not really free.


JohnInSJ
Premium
join:2003-09-22
Aptos, CA
reply to yhp
said by yhp:

said by blust2:

$8 is really worth it because of the much higher resolution.

Whether it's worth it is up to the individual customer. What's causing the head-scratching is that in an only-increasing number of minds, HD is old news and "access" to it is not a $96/yr premium.

At some point in the future, everyone will agree that language like "HD Access" is as farcical as "color TV access" sounds today, but in the meantime, Comcast gets to claim annual rates at $96/yr less than many households' realities.

I'm old enough to remember the head scratching over the touch tone fee from Ma Bell for the better part of a decade. So, yeah, check back in 10 years
--
My place : »www.schettino.us

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to tranle
But $200 is better then $8 /m for ever.