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:


  1. You have the Thomson DTA. There are 3 kinds of DTA's. Motorola, Pace, and Thomson. A Cisco DTA is in testing for those areas. Though they could wait until DTA4.0 comes out. DTA4.0 is compatible with both Motorola and Cisco/SA networks.

  2. Also one thing you may want to update. The DTA are needed for any TV with or without a digital tuner. Aside from the channels going digital, they will also be encrypted to prevent theft. All customers, will need a Cable box or DTA to view channels outside of local.

  3. bunch of crap that we have to go to having a box. One of the main reasons I stayed with cable over satellite was because I didn't like the idea of having to have (buy or rent) a box for each television.

    1. I just found out that I cannot set my VCR programed to record two different shows at two dif. times on tow dif channels., I works just like the old slider boxes. I guess I have to change to satellite.

  4. Thanks, I just ordered my DTA's yesterday and I wasn't sure what to expect. One of my installations is a tv tuner card in a PC. I'm wondering if I have to change the channel on the box with the included remote or will I still be able to change the channel on the computer. I hope I can get Media Center to work with it otherwise it may be a throw back to when you had to make sure the tv was set to the correct channel before you set the vcr to record a show. I sure hope not.

  5. Hooking up the DCT2000 Digital receiver to main TV...then another TV with a MOTODTA was easy enough, but I can't figure how to hook up the 3rd one. Going NUTS!!!!

  6. I'm in the Nashville area. We're going to get the Comcast Digital Transition on May 12. In prep for that, I had Comcast send me the 2 free DTAs due me. Got them two days ago -- they are the Motorola version. Got them hooked up without trouble, and then tried to activate them. Activation phone # was always busy, so I went on-line. During a chat session with a tech, got them activated. They work fine EXCEPT: for some reason the local broadcast channels don't work. I get all of the cable channels crystal clear. Local stations: nada. Comcast tech could not solve problem. We mutually guessed that problem might be related to the actual digital transition on May 12, and after that the locals will be there. We'll see. In meantime, my primary beef with the whole deal is that this transition has made "cable ready digital" TVs obsolete now. Nothing is cable ready anymore. Second beef is that the DTA only outputs analog. OK on an old TV -- totally stupid with a $1000 digital HD LCD set. So the user is compelled to pay for the HD/digital set top box if he wants to actually benefit from the new TVs capabilities. One question I could not get a straight answer on: after the transition, I think the local stations will still be "cable ready", including HD. But nothing else. I think that's the law. That's why Comcast advises people who want local HD to install an A/B switch. Sigh...the good old days when you could hook up a "cable ready" TV to a cable provider and still get lots of stations is almost gone. Now you will have to pay to get almost anything from them.

  7. Hello,
    I happened on your posts and would like to know if you could answer a cable hook up question about this specific situation? If so here are the details:
    Zeneith tv, older model used for hotel room. Has cable coax in. which brought in the channels until Comcast recently cut them off. Still seems to get the local channels but on different numbers.

    The cable comes from the upstairs apartment somehow and I am unable to get the details of that, only that Comcast channels worked until recently cut off.

    So, do I need a box to hook the existing cable in to, and then from the box to the old tv? And, Can I buy a box from craigslist or somewhere else and what kind of (name of) box do I get? I probably will not be able to get a 'free' box from comcast.

    I Know this is a lot but could you please help or direct me on these specifics?

    Thank You! NR

  8. NR it's unlikely that you can buy a used box to activate on your cable line. Each of these new digital boxes need to be activated by Comcast. You need to read off the number of the box to have one activated. I doubt they activate boxes they don't issue.

  9. With the dta box you loose recording one program while watching another at the same time.Is there a solution to this problem?

    1. Local Comcast office said I can use a second dta box for the recording device. Separate them physically so you can direct the remote to one or the other.

  10. JR, the only solution to be able to view one channel while recording a different channel is to get a second DTA box, a splitter, and an A/B switch, to switch your TV to viewing through the second DTA while your recording device records from the first DTA.

  11. I just got the two DTAs and the big box too. I called to activate. But they had the big box under a different serial number, which they finally got straight and yet still couldn't activate. They tried to transfer me to a video department, but they discovered their own dept. wasn't open 24 hours, so I have to do it in the daytime. The DTAs won't even light up when plugged in. And I though getting all your channels through channel 3 or 4 went out with early versions of VCR's in the 80s. This stinks. And the remotes won't even control my new Sylvania flat screen.

  12. I plugged in the DTA's (both are Thomson) and noticed that after less than an hour they were what I consider excessively hot. The metal terminals for the coax connections were almost too hot to touch. I unplugged and disconnected them. Anyone else think they overheat? I think the boxes are a potential fire hazard.

  13. Today I exchanged the Thomson DTAs for ones made by Motorola. The counter person at Comcast did a computer check by serial number of the ones I returned. She said they both had shorted out. She also said there have been problems with the Thomsons. The Motorola works fine. End of story.

  14. I am not sure about this but I think they get really hot if the cable is not connected to them.

  15. Are the cable DTA boxes associated with an account number and address or can i buy one off of ebay, call in and just get it connected?

  16. You need to activate the DTA on Comcast's system. That said I think the DTA must be issued by Comcast. Likely anythng on eBay isn't going to be able to be activated. Comcast is trying to protect theft of their boxes, I'd imagine. If you want to talk to someone at Comcast -I'd recomend the techs that staff the Comcast Forum at The exact address is:

    They've always been good about answering my questions.

  17. This website has been very helpful and I thank you for it.

    I just received my 2 DTA's by UPS today after waiting only
    three days for delivery. I thought it might be helpful if I wrote about my experience in hooking them up and getting them working.

    First, the chart with the diagrams showing steps to be taken is excellent and I followed it step by step. I wasted quite a bit of time trying to get the remote to turn off the DTA like the instructions said but could never get it to do so. I would suggest you forget fooling around with the remote and just hook up the DTA like the diagram says and then go straight to the activation process.

    I used the autophone system to activate the two units. You should have both units hooked up and ready to go before calling the phone number to activate them. Have your ID number and your account number written down and in front of you before calling.

    You will not get a live operator but the robot operator will ask a few questions and will respond to normal voice responses. The process was easy, only took about 3-5 minutes to activate both DTA's and the TV picture and sound came on immediately.

    Now, back to the remotes. I could never get them to turn my two TVs off or on but they apparently have the channel change and volume programmed in at the factory and you can use your old TV remote to turn the TVs off and on or just use the power switch on the front of the TV. The DTA remains on at all times
    and is meant to stay that way.

    I was very surprised with the small size of the DTA. I apparently don't have the Motorola but Model DCI 105 Com1. I don't
    know who makes it but it measures only 3.5 inches front to back (including the back coax connecter plugs), 3inches wide and only one-half inch thick. You can stick it anywhere. I have one old Sony 9" identical to the white Sony shown in the picture on this website and I would say the DTA I have looks to be less than half
    the size of the one in the website picture. I just stuck in on
    the top of the 9" Sony TV and it looks lost there.

    Anyway, with the DTA connected, the picture has much better
    resolution than the old analog cable, there are many more
    channels that the analog didn't pick up and I'd say all in all,
    this is a good deal Comcast has now provided the customer
    free of charge unless there are some hidden fees somewhere in the small print.

    Hope the above will be helpful to someone.

    WJH Miami

  18. Comcast in several FCC filings have expressed interest for a HD capable DTA. HD-DTA's might be coming out as soon as the FCC clears their encryption mechanisms, as they don't meet the separable security mandate.

  19. The $1.99 isn't great, but survivable.

    It's the extra hassle of connection + activation + dual remotes + (what, you're going to limit my HD reception that I can get over the air! unless I install an A/B switch (along with the other new wires all over the place?) that gets me.

    Got you by the b*lls, because Satellite is still more expensive if you have several TV's in your home.

    I'm trying to make the math work, and I might just pay more on principle, because I really, really, really want to finally tell Comcast to piss off.

  20. Is there a way to control the DTA with your OE remote?

  21. If my neighbor gave me one of her DTAs, would Comcast be able to tell I am using it at my house instead of her's? It works at my house I already tried it.

  22. Never worked problems persisted from day one. No pictures on both tvs. Then, after a "service" and taking two hours, one worked. After an act of God, a power outage, the second one began to work. Then, ten days latter on the second one the picture began to scramble/break up. I switched back to basic on that one. Now, yesterday, the same thing began to occur on the first tv. It's one thing to need a plumber, due to usual homeowner expense, but it is another to lose so much time and energy over a device that you shouldn't even need. My belief is that the DTA's are not intended for use only setup boxes, and only one is free in my area. Two more will cost $15.00 monthly

  23. Looking for a way to use the DFA with my computer (Windows 7) Any suggestions

  24. Misspelled Should be DTA (Digital Transport Adapter)

  25. I had the same issue with the remote provided only changing the channels and the volume but did not turn the tv on and off. Go back to the remote insert and it has instructions on how to program your specific tv - when you get the right one it will also control the power as well and eliminate having to use your old remote for this function. BUT that's all - you will still have to use old remote for other functions like menu for different settings like caption, etc.

  26. My adapters failed right out of the box. I thought I had done something wrong, but the service tech said they were both defective!

  27. Another awful experience with Comcast. Received 2 boxes, spent most of a full day trying to activate. Interacted twice with the chat service - might as well have been robots - no help, no idea what's wrong. Power light doesn't come on either box, but chat reps said they we're working fine. Finally scheduled a tech to come out in 5 days.

  28. Hi;
    I have the DTA's also.
    I have no problem hooking up.
    But what is up with all the
    digital break-ups, picture freeze up,
    picture stops & audio " bip-bip-bip-bip"
    about ten tines real fast ?
    I get that just about every hour !
    My friends have the same problem.
    The boxes just SUCK !

  29. If after I hook up and activate my DTA on one TV and later decide to move it to a different room/TV will I have to re-activate that same DTA due to a different location in the house?
    Mark D.

  30. No, you don't have to re-activate them when you move them around the house. I'm not sure if you'd even have to if you moved them to a neighbors house. Happy moving :)

  31. You appear to have an old TV which probably didn't affect your picture quality but I have two fairly new HD TVs and, until recently, the coaxial cable went straight into the TV and I got a beautiful picture. With the DTA, I get lousy picture quality, the channels are delayed when switching, and sometimes the picture freezes or pixelates. This is what I expect from cable in the 80s, not now. Wasn't this supposed to make things better?

  32. Dave,

    Just go tmy two DTAs and have questions>

    Can I connect/or split signal out to multiple tvs from one DTA? I have 3 tv's on one floor, that are used one at a time, and don't want to pay for extra DTA.

    And/or, can DTA be connected in remote locatioin (ie basement where cable comes in), then split DTA signal and feed multiple sets, and connect a long range wireless remote?

    Thanks, Jim

  33. Amazing, huh?, how no one's liable for the perhaps hundreds of thousands of four-figure HDTVs represented as "cable-ready" that Americans refi'd the economy into the ground to snap up - and they're now being told "Too bad, sucker!"

    What do these f#ckers pay budget-strapped local governments to run lines across public land, anyway?

    Answer: Probably less than they spend lobbying Congress.

  34. megalita, in my area we were seeing pixelated images and frozen pictures years before our DTAs even arrived, on our "analog" channels. The problem may not be in your DTAs.

    Jim, you can hook up as many sets to one DTA as you wish... just so long as you don't mind them all showing the same channel. :-) Once you go downstream of the DTA, the only channel that exists is 3 (or 4 if you so set the DTA switch).

  35. Just went through the process. Phone activation didn't work. Chat room support was useless (one tech even "hung up" on me, saying something about taking too long to reply--but I told him I had three tvs on two floors to deal with). Gave up for a while...started the process all over again. Called the local Comcast office, got hooked up with a live tech in my state and tried setting up the main cable box. It was not "authorized" to set up, but the two DTAs did work (one on 3 and one on 4). The live tech said the main box was responding normally to her commands, though. Brought the main box back to the local office and got another DTA. All three work now. One comcast remote won't turn my TV on and off or change the volume, but it will change the stations-so I still have to use my original remote, too, for that tv.

    I also think the DTAs get too hot. I worried about them starting a fire, but now I try to keep them well ventilated.

    When I placed the order for the cable box and the DTAs I asked about the HD channels I was getting just from the cable going from the wall to my TV. They said ask the local office for an A/B switch to keep getting those HD channels. Of course, that's not the way it turned out. A phone call to Comcast the day I did the transition got me a person saying I needed to rent an HD box for $8.95 a month to get the HD channels. The local office didn't know anything about an A/B switch, but they said I could rent a box for $8.95 a month. So, now I have three tvs using cable out of the wall going through three DTAs, except that I can't use two of my 1080p HD TVs at 1080p! I'm still going to look into an A/B switch for local broadcast HD tv stations.

    I think a major reason Comcast is pushing all these boxes is to allow all users, whatever their level of service, access to xfinity on demand. The market for Comcast is saturated in my area, and short of raising fees the only way to come up with more revenue is allow everyone to rent movies on demand.

    BTW, did I say I HATE Comcast?

    (I have too many trees in the way for satellite/dish tv.)

  36. Got my 2 free DTA's and activated them with no problem. I had my mom order her 2 free DTA's that she doesn't need. I plan to activate them at her house and use them in mine--will that work or do the boxes have to be used on the account/home they're sent to?

  37. Pretty sure Comcast doen't care (or know) where the cable boxes are active on their system (don't know which house). So if you mom is subscribed to the same cable system, pretty sure it's not a big deal for Comcast. Please report back, but I think they should activate on the same cable system without an issue.

  38. Activated both boxes at my moms using a 2 way splitter, took them home and all is well!!

  39. I am trying to find a way to procure this type of system to connect up to my HDMI inputs on my TV. This DTA crap is just that. Anyone have any ideas if there is such a device, i.e. cable tv to HDMI connectivity?

  40. by the way, without having to pay comcast a single penny more for their sorry service and people who are the biggest jerks customer service has ever seen?

  41. We have 3 analog TVs. Also 2 HDTVs bought just before Xmas, as Comcast said some channels were going digital. From what I have read in the above comments, do we now have to pay $1.99pm for each DTA,for each TV, even tho' 2 TVs are HDTV? Comcast doesn't make this clear in the letters we received. By the way, we just get Expanded Basic. A little help please.

  42. Hey Anonomys TV TUNER GUY: let me know how things work out. I have been watching "tv" through my computers tuner and loving the benifits of media center since I previewed it before it was even released. One thing I can tell (from reading other posts) will suck for us ME users is if like me, your monitor IS a hdtv, we will need 2 boxes to let ME record one show while we watch our TV live. I feel like pulling my hair out. If I don't get these boxes will comcast cut my bill back from basic extended(over 60.00) to plain basic (19.00) the basic line up is all I can get now without the boxes? And what about all of the people who replaced their portable analog tvs with portable digital TVs when they were told they had to. These boxes are not THAT small when your are hooking one up to a smaller battery operated tv that before now could be used with no electricity, just a cable run! I price checked everyone not too long ago and like others have said comcast seemed to be the lesser evil, but, it is time for me to look at satalite and other options again, it was the cable straight from the wall that had kept me here until now! Sounds like I'm not the only one who was paying digital prices for basic cable JUST to stay free from one box or another. Ugh!!signed: angry in Delaware

  43. just replaced the original dta remote. it fails also to power on the tv. i picked this one up personally on my 2nd attempt-the first time they had none.
    my nearest comcast office allows no phone calls my telephone rep said and refused to give me tel # so i made another 20 mile round trip. i have waited to have another reason to go in that direction. telephone comcast rep said nothing when i told him it was bull.

  44. Wont work on Vizio??

  45. Just got our DTAs here in Connecticut. :-( So for two TVs and a VCR we get three more remotes, three more power vampires, three more gadgets to break, and for what? Now I can't even (without an A/B switch) use the TV to verify that I'm recording the correct program on the VCR. At least they sent us three, so we _can_ tape while watching something else.

    So far as I can tell, though, the _only_ reason for DTAs is so Comcast can encrypt their signals. It will do what they want in one respect. We've always had extra benefits---apparently the analog filters have a bit of slop, so we receive a handful of channels not covered by our Limited Basic subscription. Bye-bye, CNN. So long, MSNBC. Have to bump up our subscription level next July so we can watch the Tour de France.

    However, mentions above of Comcast techs ``talking'' to DTAs confirms one of my suspicions: They're two-way devices. So now, every time we change channels, Comcast knows about it. Targeted advertising, anyone?

    But my real gripe is that they can tell at all. Video stores are legally prohibited from telling anyone what tapes or DVDs you've rented (modulo a national security letter or so). Is Comcast subject to any such laws? Or are our viewing preferences now another profit center for them?

  46. What is the code for this box so i can program it in my grey and black Comcast universal remote?

  47. We went through the adventure of picking up our two "free" DTAs and getting them "activated".

    When we used the automated phone "activation", the "voice" kept asking us in which room we installed the large one and which room we installed the small one. Because they were the same size, we really could not get past the robo-voice. There were no other options. Of course, we had to get a technician on the line who didn't understand why we could not figure this out. Oh well.

    Gotta love monopolies.

  48. Has anyone bought ebay DTA's that failed to activate? I want to avoid paying $8.50 monthly rental for DTA's beyond the free one provided by Comcast in Florida. Thanks.

  49. I used code: 51982 for programming my RCA Universal remote to control the channel selctions from the Comcast DCI-105COM1 DTA.

  50. I need the proper coder for a VENTURER KLV3915 TV Combo. I have to turn on the set with the Venturer original remote and then I can use the Comcast DTA remote. The Comcase number listed is 11865, but it won't turn TV on and off - only volume and channel. The Comcast alternative number listed don't work 11868, 10178.

    Real "pain" have to use two remotes.


  51. I have Direct TV in two other homes. I will probably leave Comcast in Houston. My life has enough frustration without more boxes and remotes.

  52. We have the DTA box but the cable Comcast furnished (screw on connector) that should connect our year old Sony DVD/VCR player to the TV will, in no way, fit the Sony which requires a plug in. Is this another Comcast conspiracy to make us rent a player? :?

  53. I have 3 tv's to hook up to the DTA. I can only hook up two at this time as I cannot get to the one in the livingroom because of a physical condition. I will have to wait for help for this. Comcast says you have to hook up all 3 before you can access the service. My question is can I hook up two now and at a later dated hook up the other one?

    1. There is no requirement to hook DTA's up at the same time. They are activated individually. I see no problem kooking up 2 now and one later.

  54. is there a way to use a universal controller to control my DTA box??

  55. is there a way to use a universal controller to control my DTA box??
    i have a phillips universal controller

  56. So I have one HDTV with which I've been using a Comcast HD Box for nearly a year (got basic service) and getting all the local channels in HD and Xfinity on Demand without a problem. I live in the Richmond, VA area. I got a call a week ago from a Comcast rep who informed me that I would be receiving this DTA soon (it arrived today - model: DCI105COM1). Why do I need it? The rep told me that it would allow me to get extra digital channels. Is that true or just BS?

  57. As of November 2012 Comcast is charging $1.99 a month for each digital box in Georgia

  58. As of January 2013, Comcast will charge $1.99 for each previously free DTA in Illinois as well. We have a Pace PC110RFR HD cable box, plus two Thomson DCI1011COM DTAs. The Thomson wall wart which provides power to the DTAs uses an internal switch-mode power supply, rather than a linear power supply, AND these wall warts create an enormous amount of RFI noise. If you hear any humming, or constant droning sound in an AM radio in your house - the cause is the Thomson DTAs.

  59. If I purchase a DTA on EBay say a Pace DTA DC50Xu and it is used...will I need to reactivate it with Comcast? Will they let me do that? I hope so, I pay the RtBsterds $179/month.

  60. fyi, Comcast is now charging a monthly fee of $1.99 per dta effective March, 2013. I recv'd no notice on the change, and eventhough 1 of the dta,s is still in the box and was never hooked up, I am getting charged for it too. Only when I return the box, will they stop charging according to cust svc.

  61. Could you please tell me where I might be able to buy the Model DCL 105 COM1? Activation, for a number of reasons, is not an issue for me. I am a Comcast subscriber. The company will not sell me a unit. I believe that Dolby Laboratories manufactures it but the Dolby website does not seem to recognize the DTA's existence.

    Response appreciated.



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