Xfinity 4 digit channels

Reception, channel detection, network issues, CableCARD setup, etc.
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Xfinity 4 digit channels

Post by tzr916 » Fri Dec 20, 2019 3:45 pm

HDHR3-CC with Firmware: 20190621

I just got a letter in the mail saying I will need to "update my equipment" or may loose access to my international channels. At the bottom of the letter it says on March 24, 2020 these channels will be moved to channels 3100-3299 and will no longer be available on equipment with 3 digit displayed channels.

When I chatted with an xfinity rep, he said it's my cable card devices, and suggested I need to take my 3 cable cards in and swap them for "the latest ones". Doing a channel lineup scan on my HDHR, I see my channels currently go up to channel 1872. So it would seem that my cable cards can indeed see four digit channels, but...

I also have an xfinity 4k DVR and it's channel GUIDE goes up to 1875 (they recently added three premium EPIX channels). And the xfinity DVR GUIDE also lists six international channels on 3xxx (which only show an error message regarding subscription required). It's quite interesting that my HDHRP does not see the three new EPIX channels or those six international channels when I perform a channel lineup scan!

The big question is - Do newer cable cards exist which are required to get channels 3100-3299?

I am really trying to avoid going to my local xfinity customer service center, because they are completely clueless regarding cable cards. It's always a big waste of time because they seem to not even know what they are, or will just tell me that they have no cable cards.

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Re: Xfinity 4 digit channels

Post by signcarver » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:10 pm

I know in some markets/providers the 3000 channels are iptv not linear qam which wont work regardless of card. I don't recall any cablecard firmware restrictions limiting channel numbers to under 2000 or 3000 but I won't say it is impossible that newer cards are needed if for some reason required updated firmware won't work on older cards but I've generally only heard of issues relating to handling 6 streams better as needing newer cards.

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Re: Xfinity 4 digit channels

Post by Mediaman » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:19 pm

I see the same numbers currently in my channel line up options as the OP. I do not think there is any reason for concern. Two years back we had full MCLU channel numbering through the 9000 range. Once they get around to switching and publishing new frequency numbers you might have to rescan but the system should do that itself seamlessly. Comcast will do updates usually between 2 and 5 am, if it is a regional wide item earlier than later which are more local headend specific.

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Re: Xfinity 4 digit channels

Post by gtb » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:11 am

CableCARDs can handle channel numbers in the multiple digits (a channel number 3000 is not, itself, going to be an issue). And CableCARD firmware can (and is) updated as needed while in operation, so there is no such thing as a "latest CableCARD" (you almost certainly already have it).

Now on to rest of the story.

Comcast has numerous regions, and withing those regions, specific markets.  And then there are the outliers.  While Comcast tries to keep things somewhat consistent, different regions, and within regions markets, transition things on different schedules.  And there are always exceptions (especially with the outliers).  So no generalized answer may work for *you* and your location.

It should be noted that Comcast in at least some regions has started to be making some new HD channels available only via IP (Newsmax and i24 are early examples I recall seeing reports on, and some others have apparently followed).  IP delivered channels are only available with the Comcast X1 branded boxes (or usually using the Xfinity streaming apps on your mobile device(s)).  And while I do not know if it is a new corporate standard, or was just a one time marketing item on the bill, I did once see the new channels that were going to be IP only had an associated comment in the bill of the form "Compatible Equipment Required" which was apparently the hint (legal CYA?) that you needed an X1 box to be able to get that new and improved channel.

Re: EPIX channels.  In some markets, only one of the EPIX HD channels is in linear QAM (i.e. CableCARD accessible), the rest are delivered over IP.  The WAG is that that one linear QAM channel ensured that those that had been able to get STARZ (via CableCARD devices) would still be able to get the EPIX substitute after Comcast ended their carriage agreement with Lionsgate for STARZ at the end of this year.

Re: 3000's internationals.   In some markets, the International channels in HD in the 3000's are made available only in IP.  The non-HD (i.e. SD) variants are usually broadcast over linear QAM in the legacy under 1000 number range.

So, as to the CSR suggesting you get the latest version, I am guessing (and this is *just* a guess) the CSR presumed you had one of the older STBs (of which there are still a lot of them in the field), and you needed to upgrade to an X1 in order to access all the EPIX and new 3xxx International channels (should you wish to do so).

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Re: Xfinity 4 digit channels

Post by NedS » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:13 pm

To echo what the others have said, it sounds like the rep was mistaken about your specific equipment (and likely CableCARD in general). Your current set up should work just fine with their channel reshuffle.

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Re: Xfinity 4 digit channels

Post by tzr916 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 3:24 pm

After some more poking around, what we currently have is:
TFC ch 367 available on cable cards and my 4k X1 dvr.
GMA ch 369 available on cable cards and my 4k X1 dvr.
TFC ch 3194 available only on "" and the xfinity app on my android phones.
GMA ch 3195 available only on "" and the xfinity app on my android phones.

None of the above channels are HD, and I'm betting come early next year, channels 367 and 369 are going poof, and they will be added onto the X1 dvr in the 3194/5 area. I assume one can record these IP channels on the X1 dvr, then playback on the xfinity android and roku app? The hard decision will come the end of next year, when my 2 year commitment ends, and they will want me to pay monthly rent for the 4k X1 dvr.

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