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Can I simulate not having cable service just by unplugging my cable box?

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Old 09-18-2012, 03:04 PM   #1
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Default Can I simulate not having cable service just by unplugging my cable box?

Hi all. I'm considering canceling my cable TV service (Comcast) and just watching the basic channels that you get for free through the coax cable (and maybe buying a TV tuner card for my PC).

However, before I take that step, I want to know what I'm really getting myself into. So would it be possible to do a "trial run" simply by disconnecting my cable box and plugging my TV directly into the wall? Or would the fact that I still have Comcast service not give me the proper experience of what it would be like to have no cable service?

I've heard that even without cable service, you still get the basic channels, and even HD versions of them. This is about all I probably need, in combination with a TV tuner card. However, I'd also like to know what the situation would be regarding a digital tuner box. I need one now for each TV with my Comcast service, but if I cancel my service, will I still need some kind of digital box, or will I be able to get the signal that comes through?

Just trying to figure out how it will all work (and what I will need) if I cancel my cable service and just plug directly into the cable outlet. Any further information or tips would be welcome!

Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #2
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When you cancel service, there will be NO signals on the cable.

The signals you are asking about are "basic cable" signals. A much lower bill, but still connected.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:12 PM   #3
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When you cancel service, there will be NO signals on the cable.

The signals you are asking about are "basic cable" signals. A much lower bill, but still connected.
I thought when you didn't have any service, you still got some basic channels? And one thing about the channels was that there were multiple versions of each, one being HD (e.g. 13, 13A, 13B, etc.). Is this not the case? Is this something to do with having an antenna, maybe?

What exactly is "basic cable"? I'm paying $55/month and all I have is basic cable!
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:47 PM   #4
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There is no set answer for your question. If you were to turn in all of the cable boxes and tell them you don't want cable service they might not actually disconnect you from the feed and then they might. If they didn't disconnect you, then you may get some channels, probably the local stations digital channels which usually are HD. Your TV will need to have a ATSC (digital) tuner in it for these.

Now some cable systems are still offering analog cable which could be available in some cases, it will depend on your cable system.

Most cable systems have a reduced lineup which they call basic cable and the pricing is usually between $10 and $20 per month.

If you get an antenna, you may be surprised with how many channels you can receive.
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Old 09-19-2012, 06:06 AM   #5
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If you are talking about using an antenna INSTEAD of cable, (depending on where you live) you may get some channels.

Once you cancel cable, and the techs come out and disconnect it, IT'S A DISCONNECTED CABLE!!!!! There can't possibly be anything on it. Simple physics.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:53 AM   #6
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The cable companies will send out a tech to do a physical disconnect of your cable, nice try though.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:25 AM   #7
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Hmm weird. I always thought that even with service shut off, you still got some basic channels. I didn't realize they physically disconnected it.

So my options are to either pay for basic cable (apparently around $27 for Comcast) or get an antenna? How would an antenna work? I'm not familiar with that.

Also, would my TV (in my signature) need a digital tuner box, or is it built in?
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:32 PM   #8
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If you plug the bare cable into your TV right now, it would sort-of be like having basic cable, you will get all of the standard channels, no extras, no digital, no pay-per-view and most importantly, no guide. You will probably get some local channels in HD through the TV's built-in QAM tuner, but you won't have any info or normal channel numbers.

If you either give us your address or go to antennaweb, tvfool or rabbitears on the web and put in your address youself, you will see what channels are available in your area that an antenna could get. Its not an exact science, but it will tell you if giving up the cable is worth the effort or not. Your TV has everything it needs to tune from an antenna, so thats one good thing.
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Old 09-19-2012, 02:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorCAD View Post
If you plug the bare cable into your TV right now, it would sort-of be like having basic cable, you will get all of the standard channels, no extras, no digital, no pay-per-view and most importantly, no guide. You will probably get some local channels in HD through the TV's built-in QAM tuner, but you won't have any info or normal channel numbers.
But wouldn't doing it right now still be affected by the fact that I have Comcast service? Or are you saying there is a way for me to test what it would be like if I didn't have cable service?
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Old 09-19-2012, 07:57 PM   #10
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Depending on your market, we (Comcast) now do a 'hot tap' process where we do NOT disconnect the drop from signal when you cancel service. This is done so that we can have fewer truck rolls when someone connects new service; we simply ship equipment to them. Also, depending on your market, you may or may not have some analog stations come in while hooked up outside; it depends on whether the system has encrypted 100% of their signal or not.
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Old 09-25-2012, 11:29 AM   #11
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OK.. I live 20 mile east of Pittsburgh. Back in June, we cancelled two of our Comcast Triple Play services. I axed Comcast Digital Premiere and phone service... I got so tired of watching my bill creep up monthly (whole other discussion)... I wanted to keep internet only, but I found it was cheaper to get internet with basic cable (Strange). When I returned my 3 HD STB's and DVR, I was told we needed the small adapter boxes. I was not satisfied with the picture, so I made a couple leaf antennas, which worked fine. Then, from this very site (on Sunday)I inquired about an MClapp 4 antenna, which I am still going to make.

Anyhow, yesterday I figured I would try to directly connect my cable to my Samsung Plasma HDTV (model #PN50A550) and did a scan. I was very surprised, I got all the basic channels the small adapter box was getting plus all the virtual channels my antennas were receiving in HD and Dolby Digital format. I also got the same channels in regular DTV format (480), but strange channel numbers such as 100-407, which is Xfinity/Weather Channel local only. Even more surprising, I get WGN, The Weather Channel, Comcast Network, C-Span, all the shopping channels and a few more. After deleting the channels we would never watch, I ended up with 21 Hi-Def channels with a few being 480i DTV only, such as WGN...

This worked on my Samsung LCD (model #LN32D450G) bedroom TV and our two kids Sylvania LCD HDTV's. Although, theirs could not receive the virtual, -1, -2 channels. It turns out the Samsung's have a Clear QAM and 8vsb tuners, while the Sylvania's only has a QAM tuner... I am guessing here.


BTW -off topic... I bought a couple Roku boxes for internet TV and an Obihai 100 VoIP box. I set up the Obi with Google Voice and we now have whole house cordless phone service too. Our bill went from $210+/month to $72/month and we could not be happier..

I hope this helps... I am off to return 4 small digital adapters..
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Old 09-27-2012, 06:43 AM   #12
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To truly simulate NO CABLE, just hook an indoor antenna via co-ax cable to the ANTENNA input of the TV. Buy an antenna at Target knowing you can return it if it's not up to stuff.

Select Input: ANTENNA (or TELEVISION) with your remote.

See what you get. Be ready to move the indoor antenna around a lot.

If you get some good stuff, you might want to check out the website for over the air channels in your area. Maybe if it looks like good things are available and you own the roof, you might want to try an outdoor antenna.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:21 PM   #13
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ditch cable and get and OTA antennae.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:05 PM   #14
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Ok, I've been reading a few websites about antennas. Any recommendations for a good indoor antenna?

I checked my location and station signals and I seem to be no more than 22-23 miles from all the signals. I'm basically just north of downtown Houston, and the signals seem to be coming from south of downtown.

Also, I don't quite understand the whole VHF/UHF thing since the digital switch. Are channels 2-13 still VHF, or have they been switched? Three of the main channels I will want are ABC, NBC, and CBS which are 13, 12, and 11 for me.

Thanks.
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:08 AM   #15
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I think it's pretty much all UHF these days, regardless of numbers.

Just plug in the antenna and put it somewhere likely...point to downtown Houston.

Then let the set "find" your channels. They will come in as weird decimal pointed things like 12.1 or 12.2. If not good enough reorient the antenna and try again. If given the choice of "Near" or "Distant" choose distant.

If it all sucks, then return the antenna and call Comcast.
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