Pros: Beautiful HD, Super fast Internet, On Demand has tons of content, Online Voicemail Access.
Cons: They sell your name to junk mailers right away. You can stop this!
What is it?
Comcast Triple Play is a cable tv, internet, and phone line package offered by Comcast.
This promotion is for $99 a month for all 3 services combined. Promotion is for one year after which regular rates apply. I cant comment on what the regular rate is because I have subscribed to multiple upgrades with this package (HD Cable Box, DVR, Second Line dedicated as a fax, Full line of Movie Channels, etc).
Comcast Triple Play with upgrades & defined
Upon originally signing up, I had the following:
1) Digital cable tv service and a HD DVR cable box.
2) 6mbps internet speed with dedicated modem (which was a rental, property of Comcast)
3) An all digital phone line for home use with unlimited long distance
4) A secondary digital phone line as a dedicated fax line (separate phone number)
Notes: For anyone unfamiliar, HD stands for High Definition and you must have the HD cable box in order to view the HD channels offered by Comcast (also your tv must be capable of displaying HD pictures). The DVR is a digital video recorder capable of holding 90 hours of digital TV recordings and 12-20 hours worth of HD recordings. HD recordings require more space, hence less can fit on the hard drive installed in the cable box.
Breakdown of each service in the triple play package
Internet speed is very fast. Let's try to put that into perspective. There are a lot of variables involved when discussing Internet speed. My reference will be in relation to optimal speeds which I have experienced.
Examples of Internet speed:
1) Downloading a 4 MB MP3 file: 30 seconds.
2) Downloading a 200 MB videogame shareware file: Approximately 15 minutes.
3) Streaming a 10 minute news broadcast at full screen: Excellent video quality, never choppy.
Large downloads have a tendency to increase in speed as the file progresses, and will eventually cap off at a maximum speed. Smaller downloads may never reach full download speed due to small size. Dont misunderstand, small downloads can sill be received at very fast speeds.
All lines through Comcast are digital. The easy way to tell a digital home line from an analog phone line is the use of a modem. A modem is required to broadcast a digital signal.
The modem provided by Comcast has two functions. It receives and broadcasts an Internet signal through the coaxial cable running through your home. This same modem also receives and sends phone calls through that same coaxial cable.
There are two RJ11 ports in the back of the modem. If you are unfamiliar, RJ11 is the proper name for the end connector on a standard phone cable. If you want only one telephone line through Comcast, you would only connect one phone to one open port on Modem. The downfall is having to use a splitter to have two phones on the same line in your home. A better solution is to use a multi-set cordless phone system which would have a base unit connected to the modem and additional receivers wirelessly connected. I use the multi-set cordless phone system and have three phones in my home. This set up works perfectly for me with no problems. Since I purchased a second phone line, I use the second port on the modem for my second phone number which is a dedicated fax line.
Sound quality of the digital lines is comparable to analog lines. I dont have super human hearing, so I would say phone calls sound very similar to any other home line I have ever used. A small improvement of sound can be detected when calling someone else who also has Comcast digital phone lines.
A small drawback: Sometimes a caller on the other end of the line using a standard (old fashioned if you will) analog telephone line sometimes has difficulties hearing me on the digital line. This is an uncommon occurrence. I dont have a soft tone when speaking on the phone.
Comcast includes a built in voicemail answering system to eliminate the need for an answering machine. Mine is set for 4 rings and then the service will take a message. The best feature of the service is that you can listen to your voicemails from any computer with an internet connection. Voicemails have a time/date/caller id stamp listing in your online account. After setting up and logging in from a computer you can hear your voicemails in MP3 format. Save them to your pc if need be or store them for fun!
The modem used for internet and phone lines also has an 8 hour battery backup built into it. This is necessary if you lose power. Without a backup you would have no phone line what so ever if you lost power. The digital modem must be operational to send a signal across analog lines.
Call waiting and caller id are included with the Triple Play package.
----HD & DVR Cable Service with On Demand
High definition channels look stunning on my 42 LCD TV. Sports broadcasts are beautiful and the common saying I can see individual blades of grass on the baseball/football field in high def is not an overstatement, its absolutely true.
DVR or digital video recorder is so easy and intuitive to use.
List of possibilities with DVR:
1) Pause Live TV and hit play when you are ready to resume.
2) Schedule programming to record in advance
3) Schedule repeat recordings (ex: schedule every future episode of Heroes on NBC).
4) Schedule all future recordings of a particular show except repeats.
5) Rewind Live TV if you missed something
I also have the ability to view up to 6 channels at once in multiple categories, like Sports and News.
On Demand is a feature which allows me to view thousands of hours of previously released tv content. Content is dependent on which channels you subscribe to. If you ordered HBO, then you also have HBO on demand available. Many of the standard channels have On Demand, like ABC, NBC, CBS, TBS, etc. Please visit www.comcast.com to view the large variety of On Demand content.
It can be excellent and it can also be frustrating. When I moved to my new house in 2006, they were superb in orchestrating a technician to come to my home and set me up. Also they efficiently moved my email account from my Fathers home account to my newly owned account. I must give two thumbs up to the sales department also for putting me into a new money saving package when my Triple Play service expired at one year old. They upgraded me from HBO/Starz to have all the movie channels (Starz, HBO, ShowTime, The Movie Channel, & Cinemax), added the sports channels which includes the NFL network, upgraded my internet speed to the newer faster 8mbps (from 6mbps) and I got a second cable box for my second TV .. All this and I saved $6 per month.
The frustrating part comes into play when you speak to someone who seems uneducated regarding Comcasts structures/policies. Real Example: I called asking why my newly acquired second cable box was not receiving all the channels I pay for. After going through the standard power off box, disconnect, wait a minute, reconnect everything instructions - which did not fix the problem, I was asked which channels am I not receiving. I said all the movie channels and the sports channels. I was told You are not supposed to have the sports channels with your package. I responded I upgraded my package 3 days ago and how come you are not aware of this? After getting a non-answer to both of my questions, I was told a technician could be scheduled to come out and look at the problem. I said no thanks, Ill call back if I feel the need.
The solution I found was to disconnect my original box and place my new box in its place temporarily where it could receive the necessary setup signal to function properly.
Cons / Why do many people give Comcast a bad rap?
The one major downside, which you can avoid, is the junk mail list you will be put on when first signing up to Comcast.
How did I find out about it?
As a new home owner I was receiving about 4 pieces of junk mail per day with my name misspelled on it. I thought how in the heck is this happening? My name was misspelled on my first bill from Comcast a few weeks later. It was the same misspelling! I called up Comcast immediately and told them the situation. They put me on a Private List which keeps me from having my information sold.
What do you know, the junk mail slowed down. Unfortunately a few unscrupulous companies already got their hands on my info from Comcast. So I still see that same misspelling from time to time.
A long time ago I had signal problems whenever it would rain or be windy outside. I found out that by calling Comcast and having them replace the coaxial wire (at no charge) which runs from the street to my house fixed this problem perfectly.
So if you hear someone say My internet goes out frequently, or my cable doesnt work often times, etc. The first thing I would have Comcast do is come to the location and check the line.
Ive previously heard people complain that Comcast internet is slow. This is not a Comcast problem from what I have seen. This is an end-user situation which I attribute to PC health.
What do I mean by PC Health?
1) Is the PC very outdated?
2) Do you see a bunch of small icons in the taskbar located next to the clock? Chances are these programs are stealing valuable resources from your computer such as: Bandwidth, Available RAM, CPU processes, etc.
Do you really need to have all those widgets constantly running?
3) Is the computer hard drive near maximum capacity?
4) Do you clear your internet cache, temp files, and history frequently? I set mine to clear every 2 days automatically.
5) Defragment hard drive when needed?
6) Antivirus program installed, updated, and run regularly?
7) All spyware removed from computer?
8) Do you frequently install/uninstall games, shareware, etc.? Unfortunately there is a lot of poorly written software available on the internet which will leave traces on your hard drive and/or registry and slow your PC down even if you used the programs uninstall.
I have cleaned enough computers to tell you that a computer is very similar to a car, if you take good care and perform necessary maintenance, you will keep it running in the best possible shape.
I give Comcast 4 out of 5 possible stars. The triple play package is a winner at a great price. The addition of HD, DVR, Faster internet (Now 8 mbps / was 6 mbps), all movie channels, and a secondary phone line for $185 is a great deal for me. I got this deal when the Triple Play ended. All services (Cable, Internet, and Phone) have been good to me with no problems.
Word to the wise if you ever sign up for any Comcast package which expires at some point, make sure to call them immediately after the expiration and find out what new packages are being offered. They will quickly put you into a new one to keep you as a customer and save you money.
Thanks for reading my review!