Ever since the digital television conversion from analog, Comcast has been forcing me to rent little digital to analog boxes in order to continue to watch cable tv on my wonderful Sony analog tv.
Is there a way to bypass these boxes and the associated fees, and still receive my cable channels?
i would like to think the answer is yes.
if you could buy any box that they provide for a monthly fee, then the box should work on their network.
you will probably have to call them and have your box 'activated' for it to work.
i know that if you own your own cable modem.. you just call in and tell them you want to switch to a different modem that you own personally.
they ask you for the identification numbers to get the 'address' of your modem, then they input those numbers into the system and you are good to go.
since the signal is digital.. your box needs to have an ID so they can lock it out of the channels you dont pay for.
that means any over-the-counter digital convertor box isnt guaranteed to work.
if the box doesnt have an ID .. then there is no way for them to know it is YOUR house watching the channels.
back in the old days, they would lock you out of channels somewhere within their system.
like.. if you didnt pay for hbo, they would scramble the channel and keep it scrambled until you pay for it.
that means there was a hub somewhere with a filter on it (or a switch) for YOUR house and your house only.
and that gets really expensive for them to put a filter on each and every house.
i doubt they do that anymore because it is major cost and major time.
now that everything is digital.. they simply input your ID into the category you pay for, and the ID will be blocked from everything else.
no more INDIVIDUAL filters for each and every house.
the signal is the same across all of the wires that go to every home.
your box will 'ask' for a channel when you tune in to the station.. if the network says 'you are not paying for this channel' then you get the 'not authorized' on the screen.
it is a lot easier to do it that way than program each and every box for the channels you are allowed.
see.. if comcast programs your box for channels 1 - 13 .. then another person who buys the box from you would be stuck with channels 1 - 13 until the box has been re-programmed.
this leads to the memory inside of the cable box to fail from being erased and written to one too many times.
i have asked comcast about getting my own cable box in the past.. they didnt explicitly tell me no, they said there is no guarantee that the box will work on their network.
meaning, if you buy the same motorola cable box.. it might need a firmware update flashed into the box before it will work, and that they wont flash it for you.. it is your own problem, and you would have to send the box to motorola or some other place to get the new firmware flashed.
i wouldnt think the cable box is 'special' compared to the same model number you could buy yourself.
the software version might be newer on the comcast box than what you get.
this can happen if you buy a used box (and maybe if you buy a new box, since the cable box is in a warehouse somewhere already pre-programed)