Comcast Digital Starter Vs. Standard Cable

By Alyson Akers

Comcast's digital packages help you make the most out of your high-definition TV.
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In most viewing areas, Comcast cable company offers three tiers of programming options to its customers. The latest renovation to its service as of June 2011 is the HD Preferred XF Xfinity Triple Play, which bundles Digital Preferred cable TV, Performance Internet and Comcast Unlimited phone service into one package. The standard cable or basic cable option primarily includes local network programming. The digital starter package adds digital channels, On Demand library and music channels.

Standard Features

Comcast includes local network programming, such as NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox, in all of its packages. You can add premium movie channels to any package available in your area for an extra fee. All packages provide parents the ability to install parental controls to prevent children from viewing inappropriate material. An on-screen guide helps you choose which programs you want to view. Comcast offers a 30-day guarantee that allows you to get your money back if you're dissatisfied with the service, up to $500. Comcast requires you to obtain a basic service subscription, no matter which package or extra features you select. All packages require the use of at least one converter box and remote. Some packages and services require special equipment, which will cost extra.

Basic Cable

Comcast's most basic and least expensive package allows you to view local programming without an antenna. The available programs include local news and sports programming, several channels targeted for children and local weather. The On Demand feature is unavailable with this option.

Digital Starter

The Starter lineup includes about 80 digital cable channels. Subscribers also have access to the On Demand library, which includes recently aired and season catch-up episodes of many series The On Demand package allows you to watch multiple old movies for free. Pay-per-view movies also are available through On Demand for less than $5. The starter option gains you access to about 45 music channels without the annoyance of commercials. You can add a digital video recorder to this package. DVRs allow you to set up the system to record entire seasons of your favorite show. The technology also allows you to pause, rewind and fast forward live TV.

Digital Preferred

Comcast's Digital Preferred package adds more than 20 digital channels to the starter package. The extra channels may include MTV, Discovery Channel and Nickelodeon, depending on what channels are available in your area. The extensive On Demand library provides more than 10,000 programming options. You can rewind, fast forward, pause and save these programs for later viewing if you get interrupted. Many movies newly released on video are available through On Demand. You can add a DVR to the Digital Preferred package.