Sunday, March 21, 2010

Comcast DTA (Digital Transport Adapter) Cable Box Unboxing - Welcome to the Comcast Digital Conversion

My cable area is one of the areas transitioning to more digital cable and cutting out many of the current analog channels. You can read about the digital conversion from Comcast at Digital Conversion

I thought I would chronicle my experience receiving 2 of the small set top (or side top -or bottom mount) from our local cable office. I read about the conversion in a letter I got from Comcast. Essentially it sounded as if my old TV's without some sort of cable box, would no longer get most of the channels that I was paying for. If I ordered these DTA's I would get my existing channels and pick up a few extra.

Understanding that to be the case I ordered two of the smallest boxes (Digital Transport Adapters and Comcast calls them) online and picked them up at the local office. It was a quick pickup at the local office for us, since they're around the corner from our house).

Here are the pictures from the unboxing:


The box was a very generic black cardboard box.


On the side was a model number, Serial Number, Unit Address, and  a MAC address.



Inside the box, I was surprised how complete the kit was.


Everything I expected and more (Velcro mounting strips) were included.

The front of the Comcast DTA.


The rear of the Comcast Digital Transport Adapter (DTA) showing the connections.


The bottom of the adapter showing the label and place to attach the Velcro strips.


The remote IR transmitter and Velcro were a nice touch that I didn't need for my installation. The cord is about 3 foot long for the IR remote.


The remote is reasonable small and well made. Programming for my TV was simple and easy. It does turn the TV on and off, but any really special TV remote features will still need the OEM remote control.


A major annoyance for me was the addition of a pretty good sized AC adapter for the unit. There is a challenged in hiding these things (my main installation was in a kitchen). Oh well, at least it wasn't HUGE.


This was my final installation with the Velcro strips hanging off the bottom of our 9" Sony TV in the kitchen.

The adapter was small. In fact I wanted something small and unobtrusive. I already had a couple full size cable boxes in my house (an Motorola HD DVR and Motorola HD settop box). For my additional TV's tiny would be a plus.

I tried to activate the boxes using their automatic system. I called the number and was told the boxes would be activated in the next hour. It never happened. I even let them sit for a few days and nothing magical happened.

I then called the 1-888-634-4434 and requested assistance with activations. Much to my surprise I got a "technician" that walked through the activation on the phone and activated each of the two boxes one at a time. I just needed to give him the serial number off each box and they came right up.

In summary, I needed additional power hungry cable boxes around my house like a hole in the head:

What I liked:

  • No charge (for 2), relatively easy to order, and pickup Comcast DTA units
  • Small boxes that can easily be hidden or attached to the side of a TV
  • IR remote would allow you to hide boxes completely
  • Technical support (when needed) actually answered the phone in under 10 seconds
  • These boxes are really only required for any old analog turner TV's. It would appear that any TV's that have digital tuners (that receive clear QAM channels) don't require the adapters
What I didn't like:
  • Another "universal" remote and Comcast cable box that needs to be always on
  • Activation process should have not required a phone call or the call should have worked
  • Relatively large AC adapter that needs to be hidden
If you looking for a copy of the instruction manual with the proper TV codes for you TV I have a copy saved here. Took me 20 minutes to find it on the internet: