Saturday, November 17, 2012

Really Comcast II

Update II.-- Doing some homework this afternon it appears there is a setting I can't find. It has to do with switching the audio output from the HDMI to the SPDIF outputs. I'm open to suggestion until I call Comcast service center.

Update.--Well, this morning I decided to see if I could get either the optical or coaxial digital audio output to work with my Rotel digital-to-analog converter. It's a standard audiophile converter I've used on an array of audio gear without any problems.

I got the Sony DVD-RW (yeah, I'm an oldie with this because it predates Blue-Ray players and cable DVR's) to work on both the optical and coaxial outputs to the converter input, which in turn is connected through analog outputs to the pre-amp.

But the Comcast cable box doesn't work. This was a problem years ago with the old cable box their engineers admitted it was the software developed for Comcast by Microsoft. It appears the problems still persists or some setting isn't right.

The coaxial output produces about 2-3 seconds of noise then silence and the optical is just silence. This is the same results I had then which I showed the tecnicians who then told me what the engineers said, it was the software.

So, it's back to Comcast again with the problem. Any bets on the answer?

Original Post.--Well, I got a new cable box, the newest model. It's less than a quarter of the size of the old one and even has some additional outputs. They apparently don't really troubleshoot cable boxes, especially old ones, they just replace them.

Well, all the new cable boxes now only come with HDMI connectors for HD TV, and my TV has a DVI connector (it's a late 2006 plasma TV). I had already bought a HDMI->DVI cable because I had the box replaced about 3 years ago but they used a newer old model with a DVI connector.

I also planned to buy a new TV, still do but it's in the budget buried under other things, and all new TV's come with HDMI connections, no DVI. So in the end it was just a straight replacement of the old one for the new one.

Well, the new one, being smaller, doesn't have a front panel or a front display out side of 3 lights and the on/off button/light. This means it communicates through the remote. Good luck if the remote doesn't work or you forget to replace the batteries and you can't get the box to do anything.

I noticed the new box doesn't display the menu and channel guide in the HD format when on a HD channel. The old box did change the display to match the channel, HD or regular, but the new one doesn't. Not sure if it's the software or something else.

I also still have to check out the audio channels. There's only one analog output and I need three analog inputs, so I'll look at using my digital-to-analog converter with the digital audio outputs on the cable box. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Sorry for the trouble. I can reach out to my contacts to assist you on this. You can contact me and provide your account info and link to this page at


    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations

  2. I sent an e-mail with the account information and request for help resolving why the S/PDIF coaxial and optical audio outputs don't work indicating a wrong setting or something else. I know the digital to analog converter works because it's been connected to DAT decks and CD-R/RW players and is currently connected to a DVD-RW through both coaxial and optical outputs.