What’s Up At Comcast?

What’s odd is this has happened without any advance warning I can see.

Something’s afoot at Comcast. They’ve moved TruTV (formerly Court TV) and Hallmark Channel to the digital tier. The Weather Channel has gone from Channel 69 to Channel 98&#185–an oddball channel that’s strangely placed in the actual spectrum. As far as I can see nothing’s been moved down to take their place.

What’s odd is this has happened without any advance warning I can see. Even Comcast’s own website still shows Hallmark and TruTV where they were.

AT&T’s u-verse seems like an interesting alternative, but it’s not available where I live. Neither is DSL. That makes satellite TV a poor choice, since I’d need an alternative to Comcast for data.

I’m just trying to figure out why, in the face of increasing competition, Comcast is doing this?

&#185- As far as I’m concerned, the Weather Channel is a competitor. Comcast can totally remove it from the system and get nothing more than a smile from me!

21 thoughts on “What’s Up At Comcast?”

  1. i was stuck with snet / sbc / att dsl for years . i did not realize how terrible the data service was until i went to comcast. i am not saying that comcast does not have issues , but cable beats dsl everytime.

  2. I so agree. The same thing has happened in the Danbury Comcast region. I now get green screens that say “this channel is part of digital ” and then goes on to advertise their digital cable upgrade. A lot of our channels are gone and we have no real options but to switch if we want things like Discovery, select movie channels, etc. A dish won’t work in our area since our neighbors get terrible reception. We’re stuck…. COMCASTRATED!!!

  3. I have Cablevision up here in Goshen, and they’ve taken TruTV, Animal Planet, E!, TLC, and a few other channels up to Digital.

    I’m rarely home to watch TV, so I can’t justify having a digital cable box to watch four channels that they’ve taken away from basic. [TruTV, E!, TLC, and Animal Planet]

    So it’s not just a Comcast thing.

  4. Cablevision in Fairfield County has done the same thing on an ongoing basis — ESPN Classic, NECN, Mun2 and CMT are among the channels that migrated.

    As you noted, it’s an effective way to nudge subscribers to a higher-priced tier.

  5. Hi Geoff,

    It’s Kristen Roberts from Comcast and I’d appreciate the opportunity to outline some of our recent local channel moves.

    As you know, it’s a digital world and our customers are constantly asking for more and more advanced services like HD programming, On Demand content and faster Internet speeds. To create room on our network to meet that customer demand, we’ve recently moved a few analog channel to our digital lineup. More than 70% of our New England customers already subscribe to digital cable and will not be impacted by these moves. For our analog customers who would like to continue to view these channels, we are offering a free digital box for one year.

    Over the last several weeks, we worked hard to reach potentially impacted customers through a variety of methods, such as postcards, direct mail pieces and a special website at http://www.comcastdigitalworld.com.

    In the coming weeks, we’ll be launching up to 10 new HD networks, including Disney HD, ABC Family HD and Science Channel HD.

    Thanks for the chance to clarify our changes.

  6. Kristen –

    As a Comcast customer, I appreciate your comments, but I’m wondering why Comcast chooses to focus on adding more services and features, as opposed to making the existing services work as advertised, such as the many issues with OnDemand and the DVR.

  7. I’d like to specifically address Kristen’s comment. But, before I do, two notes: 1) I work in television, which often competes with cable for audience and advertising. However, I am not speaking for my employer and my opinion may not be their opinion. 2) I appreciate Comcast’s diligence in finding my post and defending their turf. It, coming from someone named Roberts (the same name as the founding and controlling family of Comcast), makes it more impressive.

    Unfortunately, Kristen leaves out some of the full story when she says, “More than 70% of our New England customers already subscribe to digital cable and will not be impacted by these moves.” She certainly understands that a significant portion of that 70%’s viewing is still done on analog tuners which aren’t hooked to a digital box. At my house we have one digital box in the family room and analog drops everywhere else. We’re by no means an exception–in fact, we’re probably the norm.

    So, at my house, Comcast is shrinking the service offered while maintaining the price.

    Kristen is right that customers are asking for additional services. No one denies that. My contention is, at the majority of TV sets (sets, not homes) served by Comcast, this represents a reduction is service and increased cost per channel. I am puzzled to see any way this benefits me (except possibly in my role as a Comcast shareholder).

    In essence, Comcast has chosen to solve their problem through digital cannibalism.

    As for the advance notice, as of yesterday even Comcast’s own website didn’t reflect this change. If we were informed, I did not see it. I have seen no on-air announcements which mention channels moving.

  8. I think the answer to your question Geoff is that Kristin lied. She’s paid to lie. That’s what spokespeople do. How often do you see a spokesperson for a company admit they’re wrong? Admit they made a mistake?

    I’ve seen a lot of negative stories about Comcast both on the internet and in print. Are there ANY happy Comcast customers?

  9. Jim –

    I know we all get passionate, but lie is a big word. That’s not what she did.

    We all try and present our best arguments when trying to make a point. I accept what she wrote with that understanding. And, again, it’s telling that Comcast is reading and listening to what people say.


  10. There is chatter around the news universe that Comcast has a larger (and perhaps, less friendly) purpose in moving the basic channel lineups around than what the spokeswoman posted here earlier.

    Over at TVNewser, they’re talking about the move of MSNBC to the digital tier in places like Pittsburgh and Boston. The eventual replacement channel is the Golf Channel, a Comcast subsidiary.

    Hallmark is owned by Crown Media Holdings.

    ESPN Classic is of course a Disney outfit.

    TruTV is a TimeWarner property.

    Let’s see if those spots get filled by Comcast entities

  11. I still think it’s mean to take away channels we love and end up paying for 3 Spanish channels we don’t understand. Thanks so much Comcast… I sure wish we had better options.

  12. Geoff,

    I’m actually not passionate about this since I’m not a Comcast customer (thank God).

    It just amazes me how spokespeople can tell you the sky is pink knowing they’re wrong and with an air that they know more than you do.

  13. This is actually more of a political conversation than it seems. You see, back in the 80’s, Cable companies used to charge you per TV set. Later in the 80’s, our government (who, at that time, cared about the CONSUMER – not the CORPORATION) Made that illegal – and the cable companies had to allow us to run as many TVs as we wanted.

    Now with the advent of digital, they can charge us per box – and get away with it – because they are technically still giving us the analog signal for our TV sets, but moving all the “good” content to the digital spectrum – in which we need to pay for a box to use. Sure, they let us get the local HD channels if we have digital TVs, but everything else is encrypted – so you have to have THEIR box. That means more money in their pocket every month. And now, with the state of our government giving in to the CORPORATION’s every need and not caring much for the CONSUMER – going as far as calling us pirates and criminals for just trying to use the services we’ve paid for – There isn’t much that we can do about it.

  14. I live in Springfield MA, the same thing has happened to us. We were informed though, twice. Once in a letter that came to the house, and more time on our bill the next month, I think it was around april. Doesn’t make it right, but im pretty everyone was informed.

    It doesn’t really effect me much, I have 4 cable “drops” in the house, 3 digital boxes, one analog… which has pissed my wife off 🙂 as her favorite channel is truetv, and the one analog connection is in the kitchen, and now she cant watch it there…..shes not a happy camper, and since there is no room for a digital box in there, our only option is to buy a tv with a digital converter in it, and thats an expensive proposition.

  15. I know I’m late on this thread, but I’ve been away from the Internet for the past week.

    Comcast (which, btw, used to cash the checks I wrote them paid to the order of “Comcrap” every month until I switched to electronic billing) did send out two postcards, a letter, and an e-mail informing customers of this change in advance. At least, that’s how many notifications I got.

    Comcast continues to charge more for less. And even before they took away this latest round of channels, they were the most expensive cable company offering the least in the nation.

    I have yet to convince my landlord to allow us to put a satellite dish on the roof of our house, but the second he gives the go-ahead we’re switching to Dish. Our monthly television bill will get cut in half, and we’ll have three times the number of channels for it. I cannot WAIT.

  16. Hi Geoff – In response to your 7/18 posting, I looked into your comment about our website not being accurate and you were right. We notified our product team and the website has been updated. For customers like you who are already enjoying digital cable on at least one TV set in the house, you can obtain additional digital boxes for $1.95 and enjoy all the benefits of digital cable, including On Demand, 45 music choice options and the interactive program guide. The world is digital and Comcast will continue to bring customers more digital cable benefits. We plan to add more HD channels to our lineup, including ABC Family HD, Disney HD and Science HD this week.

    With regard to Gary’s posting – if you are having issues with your OnDemand and DVR, please send me your address and phone number and I’d be happy to send out a technician to look into it if you haven’t already called 1-800-COMCAST. You should be able to enjoy all the benefits of On Demand and DVR service.

    With regard to Jim’s posting – Yes, I work for Comcast and I live, work and have a family in Connecticut so I would not compromise myself, personally or professionally, by working for a company that did not value integrity.

  17. I got the digital box from this bunch of thieves (comcast). I was watching Hallmark today and then all of the sudden it was gone. I can’t get it anymore. They are having a second rate increase in my area. This makes two this year. Now I get to watch less for more money. As soon as EPB gets their internet and cable up and going I’m going with them. This is rediculous.

  18. I’m pissed! Trutv was my favorite, too, and now I can’t watch it. I watch most of my shows on a laptop through a slingbox. When trutv was 34, I could watch it on my laptop anywhere, but my laptop won’t pick up channels over 100 even though we pay for them, so this truly bites. I almost never am at home to watch shows and depend on the slingbox to broadcast to my laptop. Sucks. If it isn’t broken, comcast, don’t fix it. No reason not to downgrade completely now!

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