We have a love/hate relationship with Comcast. Comcast have enough money to might just buy NBC — yet Comcast are also unable to willingly and innately and universally serve the basic needs of its most loyal customers.  Today, we wonder why Comcast promotes their superior “HD Choices” when, in reality, they do not provide an HD channel for every channel that has an HD signal.

Sound confusing?

Well, it is all the very stuffs of which consumer rage is made!

In the Jersey City dominion of the Comcast empire, we have some HD channels but we don’t have all HD channels for some of the most interesting non-HD channels like Spike, Current or Encore or Sundance or WEtv or Discovery ID or Bravo or Lifetime or Planet Green or MTV or BBC America or VH-1… even though those channels are also broadcast in HD.

Why won’t Comcast give those of us who pay for HD boxes every HD channel that is available if they already carry that channel in non-HD?

The really strange thing is how Comcast brags in their advertising about how many thousands of HD offerings they have — and that might be true when you’re in On Demand mode and counting every single HD movie and TV episode in your library — but when you want an entire channel in HD, you’re out of luck.

The strangest disconnect I’ve found so far is that while WEtv and MTV are not HD channels on Comcast, you can go into Comcast On Demand and find some WEtv and MTV programs in HD!

The oddness continues when you realize it will be a better experience if you skip the live, non-HD, showing of Bridezillas or MTV’s The Ruins and then order them in HD later!  That is the pinnacle of insanity and it is, frankly, bad business.  Why does Comcast hide HD versions of broadcast programming in On Demand?

Comcast needs to honor their HD braggadocio and state from now on that if they offer a channel — and if that channel is also available in HD — they will offer the channel in HD.  If Comcast wants to win the future and cement the now, they need to honor the technology that is actually offered today in whole and not in teasing sips and slurps.


  1. It’s so maddening when a company promises one thing and then delivers half of that. What can we do to make them shape up? (And how can we get them into Queens?)

  2. It is totally infuriating when you’re watching a non-HD channel and that station puts up a notification that the channel is now available in HD and yet… you can’t watch it in HD because even though you pay for a 100% HD setup… Comcast isn’t providing the new HD channel!
    We’ve had HD for about a year now and the new channels have been very few in that time — most of them are sports related — which is good — but do we really need the “NFL Red Zone” bluster and promotion from Comcast for a new HD channel that only broadcasts part of one day a week on Sunday afternoons?
    Do you have an HD setup, Gordon? How many actual non-On Demand HD channels can you get from Time-Warner?

  3. I don’t have an HD setup — yet. I’ll have to look tonight to see what the situation is with HD channels! For right now I’m still struggling with getting my DVR to record what it says it is going to record.

  4. Let me know how many “pure” HD channels Time-Warner offers, Gordon. Don’t include On Demand or PPV.
    Is your DVR part of your cable box? Or are you using a separate box?

  5. It’s part of the cable box. What happens — and it never happened with the Comcast box I had back in Seattle – is that if the box is over 50% full, it seems to pick and choose what it will record even if things are set up.

  6. It sounds like your DVR is doing what my Tivo used to do — automatically record programs it thinks I would like to watch and automatically recording them without permission. Is there a setting you can use to turn off that feature?
    I am pretty impressed with this replacement HD-DVR from Comcast. It’s works well and it behaves. DVR in a cable box is the only way to go now because it is all so tightly interwoven. The only rotten part is when the electricity goes out, the recording guide has to be re-downloaded and that can take six hours to fill everything up again!

  7. That’s the thing – it records only what I want it to record but only if it has a lot of free space. My old DVR would let me record even when it was 98% full, and it would record reliably. It would complain, but it would still record.

  8. Good points, David. I never thought this was happening. Seems if you say you have HD channels you have HD and not that you only have HD if you feel like HD.

  9. It does seem illogical, Anne, to say you provide HD — but only on the channels you want to provide and not for all channels that are in HD. Who knew HD channels selection were determined by whimsy?

  10. Wow, that does sound a little ridiculous. I see this is from a while back; have things improved? Lucky for me I have DISH Network. As an employee I know that they have more HD channels than any other provider but from a customer’s standpoint I always get a nice, crisp picture and get all the channels that are available in HD. Thankfully, I’ve never really had any problems with their programming. I did have a problem with my DVR once but it started working before I had a chance to call in.

    1. Hi Monica —

      Yes, about six months or so ago, Comcast finally added the additional HD channels. Now, if you have an HD TV, you can watch HD channels for any channel they carry. It’s been a long haul of a wait, though. Verizon FIOS is now available, and tempting, in our area.

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