If you own a High Definition TV and are a Comcast subscriber, I will show you in this article get free HD channels with just a basic Comcast cable plan. The amount of Free HD channels available within your area may differ from mine but you will be able to at least receive all of the major networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS and fox!
1. For many new basic cable subscribers of Comcast, A new and small receiver box is offered (some say forced upon) to its customers. While the good points of this new basic cable box is the ability for Comcasts customers to use OnDemand features as well as the channel guide features all the digital cable package subscribers are accustomed to. The problem with these little boxes that I have found is the inability to view the available FREE HD channels Comcast is mandated to provide per FCC regulations. The technical reason why you cannot view HD channels with the new basic box is it does not have the required video outputs such as HDMI or “component” RCA type to display High Definition. This was more than likely due to Comcast wanting you to go ahead and purchase their widely advertised HD programing packages available instead.
2. You can still utilize both the basic Comcast cable box, retain your OnDemand features and program guide while taking advantage of the free HD channels available with a few steps.
3. First you will need to find out how your Cable box is connected to your tv, Your cable box has two types of outputs: regular coaxial and composite RCA composite type connections for the video and right and left audio channels. Typically composite RCA connections (red,white and yellow) offers better picture quality than the latter. You need to use this type of connection between your cable box and HD television if you only have one regular antenna/coaxial cable connection. Most new HD televisions today however, come equipped with two.
4. You will need to purchase a cable splitter and two coaxial cables to do this as well. Don’t be surprised if you have these laying around somewhere but they are relatively inexpensive if you don’t. Connect your cable wire from your wall to the terminal marked “IN” on the splitter. Next, connect the coax cables you have available to the cable box to the splitter and then the TV to the splitter. Now connect the RCA outputs from the cable box to available RCA inputs on your TV.
5. The idea is to use your HD televisions digital tuner to pick up what are called “clear QAM” channels when you do your channel search. As stated earlier, you will be able to pick up all of the major network stations at least. Depending upon your market area, there may be more channels available that have not been encrypted that you can view. There is an excellent website that has a database full of “clear QAM” channels available in your area. (See Link Below)
6. Turn on your tv and make sure your tv input is set to “cable”. You will now need to navigate to your settings menu on your television and proceed to do a channel search. If you have the option to search for digital stations only, select it. This is because we are only interested in the digital stations.
7. After your TV has scanned and added all of the available HD and regular clear QAM channels, You will need to edit your channel line up. If after you have done the scan and your TV added all of the analog channels, you should delete all of them off your channel list as you will be watching those through your Comcast cable box.
8. You’re done! You can easily switch between your cable box and new found HD channels with your remote. Now you can enjoy the best of both worlds for the same price. It is totally legal to do, just not advertised by the cable companies!