Comcast Coughs Up Free A/B Switch

Update: This A/B switch episode finally ends with today’s post, third in a series that began with Sentient Life Not Found via Email at Comcast, then progressed to Found: Sentient Life at Comcast before ending up here. It  started when Eric Stark wrote in his May 23 Stark Ravings column in the Lancaster Sunday News, Preserving over-the-air HD requires the right hardware, that Comcast would furnish a free coaxial A/B switch to customers.

A/B switch (left), instructions, three coaxial cables and splitter (right)

The switch arrived yesterday and it works as advertised. It came with a splitter and three cables, plus some mounting screws and Velcro if you’re into that sort of thing (I didn’t use them).

Why you need this switch is to get back the the unscrambled HD channels for local broadcast networks that were stomped on by the mandatory “digital transport  adapter” most customers are getting.

That gizmo is necessary because they’re switching the standard-definition channels from analog to digital to free up bandwidth for more channels.

It took me 15 or 20 minutes to hook up. I keep it on “A” and use the remote Comcast supplied with the DTA, unless I want to watch a car race on Fox or ABC in high-def. Then I hit the “B” switch and use my TV’s remote. When I’m done, and want all the Comcast digital channels back, I have to remember to put the TV on channel 4 so the DTA can see it. Then I hit the A switch.

Getting pretty messy behind the TV now.

One other note. With all the additions and changes Comcast has been making to their channel lineup lately, don’t forget to go into your TV’s menu and have it re-scan them. For some reason I couldn’t get NBC HD on 8-1 until I did this.

Rhonda from Comcast Corporate called a few hours after the A/B swtich had been delivered by UPS.  I assured her I was happy, and she responded with noises of corporate contentment. I guess I could make this sound creepy, but it wasn’t.

OK Comcast, you win this round. However, my huge monthly bill and your refusal to provide à la carte channel selection are– pardon the current-events analogy– kind of like the BP oil spill. You can pour on the dispersants, but the underlying issues are still there.

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3 Responses to Comcast Coughs Up Free A/B Switch

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks so much for posting this, with a photo! Comcast should be making these switches more readily available (not requiring such extra effort to get ahold of) to everyone whose setups they’ve messed up, just like the digital boxes.

  2. ken says:

    You’re welcome. Credit is due to Eric Stark, who wrote about Comcast’s A/B switch offer and made readers of the Sunday News aware of it. I agree with you that they’re stinkers for keeping it under wraps.

  3. Bing says:

    Great post. I’m facing some of these issues as well..

    My site: Bing

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