Comcast Digital Enhancement Off to an Analogue Start

Comcast is “enhancing” their network, converting all but the Limited Basic channels to digital only.  This is NOT the government mandated digital transition, which would require no additional set-top boxes for cable-connected TV’s.  This is Comcast’s on upgrade, and one that requires a digital box, if you want to continue to receive channels above 35, including CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ESPN, USA, MTV, USA, LIFE – just to name a few.

They are sending out flyers now (so don’t throw it in junk mail), and you can sign up for two free boxes at, or call a customer service number.  I have both digital box connected and standalone TV’s in the house, so decided to act now, before I forget.  You can guess which option I took: wait on the phone or get done in a few clicks…

Oops!  System Unavailable: call a number. In fact call it twice, once to order, then again to activate.  A rather analogue way to start the digital transition.  Comcast: FAIL.smile_sad

Update (2/8/09):  Tweeting it up with @comcastcares.  Will see if this helps …

Update (2/9/09):  The error message is now changed from “System Unavailable” to “Please Call Us”.  This might give the impression there is something with your account, rather than a system error.  I guess that’s a way of “fixing” the problem. 🙁

Please Call Us
We apologize, but we are unable to process your request online. To order digital devices, please call 1-877-634-4434. To activate digital devices you’ve already received, please call 1-888-634-4434

Update (2/26/09): 3 weeks later the error is still not fixed.  The Web site Comcast’s mass mail points to is dead.  I guess not even @comcastcares has magic powers


  1. Typical Comcast. Do this now. Except you can't because Comcast doesn't have its act together.

    • COMCAST IS EVIL AND IS SATANS FIRST BORN CHILD. anyone who does not have their service and is reading this head my warning DO NOT BUY THEIR SERVICE I AM MOVING FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DROPPING THEIR SERVICE AS THE PLACE I LIVE NOW IS REQUIRED TO HAVE THEM DUE TO A CONTRACT so do not get their service get brighthouse, verizon,direct tv, antenna tv or just watch dvds

  2. Comact Sucks says

    Sucks. Now I have to go look at the alternatives. Verizon TV service, or ?? I don't want more crap. This is not an “enhancement”, it's just more crap hooked up in the living room. What do I get? Comcast's HD service uses highly compressed low-grade images, so I don't get a benefit there. I use Tivo and will now have more crap complicating the setup, more remotes that I don't use. I won't be able to use picture-in-picture. I can't just hook up a TV in another room without getting another DTA. Comcast will know how many TVs I have and what my watching habits are. This is not about enhancement… except for them.

  3. I can’t stand how ignorant COMCAST workers are allowed to act. One question takes twenty min. usually, and indirectly answered. Also each service is largest rip. N good movies – every month once. I only have starter digital cable, phone – w/long distance and high speed internet(supposably). $155.00 a month, (redickulous!). Phone sevice is constantly interupted, T.V has no good shows, and they cannot explain the bill ever. Two years of bad service. Sucks! Sucks! Sucks! My Money Is Nothing To Comcast Sucks! Shits Service!…

  4. Just a word of advice to you all. Make sure you pay attention to your bill. Free boxes my A#@, I can almost guarantee you. Within a few months, those free boxes will become $4.99.
    ”Screw comcrap”

  5. HEY COMCAST, what is going on. I pay $124 a month for your service and now you take away my channels? Can we all get a break somewhere in this world? How mush more do you want for us to stay home,save money and watch t.v. The world is going to S–T. Give us a break. I was told comcast was the only way to go, right… Now you say FREE Boxes, for how long are they free?

  6. John Bowser says

    What a bunch of CROOKS! I was told by Comcast that it IS a part of the Mandated switch after all the advertisement that the digital switch wouldn’t effect Comcast users. Now we find out due to their upgrade, we will have to rent a converter for 1 of our TV’s. I think it is time to leave these greedy Bast_rds & go else where!!!!

  7. For staters, you should say e-mail, not mail.
    Just received the notice about your latest enhancement. Then I read other comments. Seems Concast has many problems. Why make an announce and not have the ability to process the info via the web?

    So, if I need additional boxes, which I do, how much will I be charged?
    I think I will wait until the program is fixed because calling your company is a waste of my time.


  8. Why not just send the units? How big are they. Are they wireless? Need a picture of the unit.


  9. I require two boxes for my tv’s.

    Please confirm.


    Art Olstad

    acct. # 8798 20 045 0088815

    • Art,

      I'm not sure you've realized this, but you are not talking to Comcast here. This is my blog, and I happened to discuss a Comcast issue here, that's all. Oh, and it was "mail", not "e-mail", since they sent paper flyers.

  10. Some say WOW is better in Michigan. I agree Comcast is greedy and screwing many.

  11. Charles Maehren says

    To get any information out of Comcast is like pulling teeth! I jumped through all the hoops, stayed on the telephone for over half an hour, never ever got to talk to ANYBODY! We are now looking for a different provider. Enoug is Enough!


  13. after seeing this comments i think i just start looking for a better service comcast blows

  14. rob d. rich says

    They're all crooks, lets get real. Unlike natural gas and electricity, Phone, internet and t.v. signals coming into your house cost them virtually nothing. Yet your bill is just as much if not higher. Someones getting rich. My advice, buy a high def t.v. and switch your t.v. service to simple basic and take the outside filter off, youll still get the premium basic channels- $7/mo, drop the phone service and get a Magic Jack- $20/yr, and share internet with your neighbors over a premium wifi setup- free to $23/mo depending on your bartering deal with your neighbor(s). And F*** Comcast!

  15. marky mark says

    just another f n scam played on the american public, right behind the cell phone co.s o well… I still think a good book or a movie is best.. If the news gets real bad ,well we will all know and comcast wont tell me. I just really liked the food network as it helped me witht meal planning and yes it was entertaining. COMCAST you SUCK!! . lets just al shut off the teley for a week and start to talk to each other.. just a thought .. mst from NH

  16. Hooked up the digital receiver to my vcr then to the tv as instructed. Now the vcr has to be on channel 4 , same as digital receiver all the time in order to record what comes out of the receiver. No more timed recordings without the receiver being on the same channel. I split the coaxl cable to go to the vcr and the receiver seperately. Then i hooked up the vcr to the tv using rca cables. Put the coax cable from the receiver to the tv. Now you can record the 30 something channels coming through the cable at any time,even while watching the channels through the receiver. Just switch to the input on the tv that the rca cables go to.

  17. My Direct tv will be here tomorrow, quite excited about that. At last I can get read of this crappy comcast. they want me to drop off my cable box I though it was mine apparently not. Comcast u Suck

  18. just moved had a good cable co. Comcast sucks compared to Blue Ridge. Signal drops out ,price is higher and now they want you to use m ore eletricity plugging in adapter boxes. Didn't need all that crap with Blue Ridge. A smaller company again doing a better job. Something must be done . I would drop them in a heartbeat if not for the Phillies broadcasts.

  19. Guest-xntrix says

    Comcast's latest "enhancement" (enhanced $$$ for greedy comcast!!!!) being crammed down our throats is a total rip-off. I am not buying it – enough is enough. Comcast just lost my $100 plus/month for cable tv and hi-speed internet. I became a comcast customer back when they dropped the need for a box for every tv several years ago. So now comcast is back to renting out boxes to make a few more bucks before the inevitable happens – developing technology will make cable obsolete! You don't need a box to receive the signal – you only need a box because comcast won't give you the signal if you don't rent the box from them. Greedy b@1$%*&@! Comcast doesn't have anything I want that I can't get elsewhere – cheaper too! And thats all I have to say about that.

  20. Guest-xNtrix says

    Oh, one more thing – thanks Zoli for the blog. I was rearching internet tv to replace comcast when I stumbled across this site – and just couldn't help but unload. Thanks.

  21. Comcast ,what a concept more junk put over under the tv any place more junk will fit Just great!!!Comcast you win the prize GREED, BAD SERVICE, this company is pathetic. ill bet washington loves to see you folks come through the door with all that money you rip off your cable customers to bribe those senators to help your company with more scams. THIS CABLE COMPANY SUCKS!! YA YOU COMCAST.

  22. F U COMCAST!

    Alright after hearing about this bull $hit, it appears this is for old ANALOG tv sets.


    I just realized that my DVR recorder has the digital tuner built in, F U COMCAST! So I will not need yet another $hitty set top box.

    God I fffing hate comcast.

    • *Comcast, your usage of the word "enhancement" confused me until I discovered the second definition in the on-line dictionary:
      2. to raise the value or price of
      Oh! You're absolutely correct! You ARE raising the price. I get it now. And thank you so much for the delightful browse through modern meanings of the term. I need to go scrub my eyeballs now.

      Quote curtesy of

      • FYI,

        As someone eluded to earlier, you can split the cost of premium satalite with family friends and neighbors (e.g. with a single account, just buy your own additional hardware (ebay) and add on additional boxes for a nominal charge). Take a premium package and split it, it will be exceedingly cheap!!

        If I am going to be forced to have a stupid box, it is not going to be comcast!!!

    • I was wrong, the signal is indeed scrambled!!!

      Digital my ass.

    • Anonymous says

      Nope, Comcast will also be encrypting the digital channels so that everyone's newer TVs with built-in digital (clear QAM) tuners will end up needing Comcast boxes too. They are making QAM tuners obsolete. 🙁

  23. kat ellison says

    what about the people who are on disability or a fixed income? We can't afford your OUTRAGEOUS prices. the picture is not going to be THAT MUCH BETTER. C'MON PEOPLE lets get REAL. U R SCREWING THE LITTLE PEOPLE!!!!!!!

    • We need to start a class action protest against this Comcast digital to charge you more on your monthly bill!!!who can we call ? What can the little people do? We just want to live!!

  24. Screw comcast, they lie cheat and steal!

    No notice of this $1,000's worth of equipment worthless

    constant signal loss
    poor speeds
    no phone 65% of the time

    IM DONE!
    This is insane and i wont let it happen to me
    Direct T.V. here i come even dish would be fine they have been great to me in the past

  25. I think it is dirty the way Comcast is forcing people to purchase more equipment by turning off channels I already had for years but now with this BS Digital Box or adapter, I was told if I don't purchasee one or the other I won't get the cahnnels back….Channels I've had for years, this is how Comcast rewards your loyalty, I am calling Quest if I have to pay three times more i will at least it will be my choise and not Comcast forcing me to pay more…

  26. I got 100 free channels when igot the internet with comcast. i thought i would be honest and told them.sothey gave me a box which gave me 35 channels for i took the box out. i still pay 24.99,but get 100 channels.i was thank you for the free channels assholes

  27. I lived in Pleasanton@CA. After “upgrading” to use the comcast digital device last night, all my channels becomes 480i. Limited Basic used to get digital for most of the local channels. Now they are all gone. 480i looks terrible on my 47 big screen. I hate comcast :<

    • Wow, Wade,

      I did not expect this 2009 thread to come alive again. But we’re in very similar shoes, in fact we’re almost neighbors, in Pleasanton. I’m in the pattern of waiting out now. On digital, QAM capable TV sets I still get the HD channels without a box, however, the SD analog ones disappeard, e.g. I no longer have 3, 5, but their HD version 3.1, 5.1 still work well. I can live with that – perhaps you should check if you can receive those after unplugging the box.
      If these channels cease to work, I’ll just cancel the Comcast account, which is already down to Limited Basic, having switched to Roku and streaming long ago.


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