Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Really Comcast III

Well, after the long sorting out of the problems with the digital coaxial and optical audio outputs from the Comcast cable box, a Dolby Digital Labs RNG150N model (made by a number of companies for Xfinity), I wrote the e-mail address suggested in their comment to my post, see Really Comcast II.

I got an automated response to the e-mail but I got a call on my voice mail at home (sorry I was at the dentist). They said the two digital coaxial and optical outputs auto detect connections to open the signal to the output from the cable box.

Well, the outputs are going into a Rotel Digital-to-Analog (D-A) converter. I tested the cables using my DVD-RW's digital coaxial and optical outputs to the D-A converter to the Rotel pre-amplifier, and they work perfectly.

The goal is to use the analog output from the cable box to the DVD-RW for recording since the TV has the audio signal with the HDMI signal using the HDMI-to-DVI cable (it's a 6-year old plasma TV), and use the digital signal from the cable box to the D-A converter to the pre-amp.

I did something similar with the DAT decks and CD-R/RW's to a Hafler pre-amp I had which had fewer analog inputs. The Rotel pre-amp has 10 analog inputs, 9 used with the 10th for a signal processor which I don't have, so it handles all the analog inputs.

But when I wanted to add the cable box and DVD-RW I had one to many for the pre-amp, hence using the D-A converter for its single analog output to the one input on the pre-amp. The old cable box didn't have the digital output to work. The new one does, or so goes the plan.

But the cable box produces 2-3 seconds of buzzing and then silence and the optical output produces nothing but silence. So, as the phone message suggests, it's likely the cable box and to schedule a service techician who has the test equipment for the digital coaxial and optical output from the box, and replace it if it doesn't work.

Gee, a brand new cable box and it doesn't work? I'm impressed. The technician tested the line into the cable box, which I thought may have been part of the problems with connections, and that checked out fine, but didn't check the audio outputs except with the TV signal.

As for the software to the TV through the new box, I'm not impressed. With the old cable box the On-Demand was in non-HD format on the TV but the guide and user's menu were in HD format on a HD channel. The new box doesn't distinguish between channels and displays the guide and user's menu in non-HD format, which on a HD channel is big.

So the plan is to play with it again over the weekend or next week after the holiday and then call for a service technician to check out the problem with the box. I can have everything ready to prove my case the outputs don't work properly.

Anyway, that's it from here. I feel better about Comcast's service, but maybe the technician should thoroughly check boxes before leaving? Or ask if the digital outputs will be used to ensure they work? I'll keep you posted when things are finally working.

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