Do I Need a Box With Comcast Limited Cable?

By Melanie Jo Triebel

Cable television can often be accessed by plugging a cable directly into the wall.
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Cable boxes, also referred to as set-top boxes, have become very much a part of the modern complex and expansive television viewing system. Customers who select limited or basic cable services from Comcast, however, may wonder whether they too are required to use these boxes. For you, whether a cable box or other device is needed depends upon a number of factors, including the type of plan selected, the type of television used and your location.

Comcast Limited Cable

Comcast limited cable, also called limited basic cable, is cable television offering a small selection of channels. Comcast's limited basic cable service includes local broadcast stations,as well as government channels and educational channels. Comcast's expanded basic cable, by contrast, offers these same channels but also offers other channels totaling 30 to 50 channels overall.

Comcast Cable Boxes

Comcast cable boxes enable you to access the company's digital cable service. Comcast's cable boxes also allow you to access on-demand, pay-per-view, and Comcast's interactive programming guide. Not only is a cable box not required for Comcast limited basic cable, you actually must purchase an XFinity digital cable package to obtain a cable box.

Receiving Digital Cable

The simplest way to receive Comcast's digital cable without a cable box is to use a Comcast digital CableCARD. CableCARDs can be used with a television that can receive digital signals. CableCARDs are about the size of a credit card.

Device-Free Comcast

If you choose to purchase Comcast limited cable without a CableCARD, the results will vary depending on the type of television you use. If your television has a digital QAM tuner, you'll still be able to watch limited basic channels. If not, however, you may lose access to these channels if Comcast has already migrated to digital format in your area. In some areas, Comcast is leaving the limited basic channels in non-digital format, in which case you'll still have access to your channels.