I also have TiVo which greatly improves things.
My folks have Comcast in Chicago and their channels are as messed up as yours. You basically have to memorize where the different channels are located in order to flip around.
Here in Mississippi, however, the channels are fairly well organized. All of our local stations, including PBS and WGN, are included in the first 13 stations. All but one keep the actual channel number that they would have on a regular TV. All of the ESPN stations are contiguous. All of the do-it-yourself stations are together as are the shopping channels. The free movie stations like TMC and AMC are close as are all of the Encore stations.
I have no idea why some local comcast affiliates have the channels so poorly organized.
then press "Select" twice to automatically switch to HD. I don't know if this is the case in Chicago. Cablevision does it right in NY - their boxes force HD on both the HD and SD channel numbers on an HD box.
I've been a Comcast customer in Philly, Boston, and Chicago. Philly -- take your normal channel, add 800 to it, and it mostly kinda works. All sports channels are clumped in a tight bunch, which is a huge help. Boston, add 700 and it kinda works, too, though the sports channels could be tightened up.
Chicago, good luck! No rationale or forethought, utter randomness. I got so frustrated that my folks were still watching in SD on their new HD TV that I made an HD "conversion chart." Laminated that jammy, too!
How could there not be a more consistent best-practice sharing across markets?
and here it's a mess.
The channel hell is actually a legacy of Continental Cablevision, which wasn't even consistent within the area.
as you scroll down through the channels you get an insert for a pay per view movie to pass through so you have to memorize or know the channel you want and not just cruise around looking.
When I first signed up years ago w Comcast, all the premium movies were in sequence, same with sports.
I haven't had Comcast for a few years but the ONLY thing I liked about them was that the receiver had an "S video" out so you could record a DVD directly from saved programs and get a decent format.
competitive pricing with a terrible TV product.
ATT Uverse has the best guide features and technology if you want to use a large cable company.
I'm not sure if it has a way to reorganize the channel views, but it's nice to be able to go to a smart phone/iPad/iPod/etc. and be able to scroll quickly through the guide, then select the station you want.
I had Comcast at home but my wife decided to switch us to UVerse after years of us stating how annoyed we were with Comcast slowly creeping the price up on us every 6-12 months. It's funny because when Xfinity was first introduced, the price stayed constant for about 2 years, but Comcast once again decided to creep the price up on us and my wife decided to make the switch. I do like UVerse more than Comcast for my TV options.
and then have the guide display favorites only. That guide has sucked forever so don't hold your breath waiting for a change.
That is a local thing, though. I thought I read something about the functionality of the guide changing, but I could be wrong. I don't use the guide much, so it isn't a big deal for me.
I had been looking for a reason to cut the cord, and when I was overbilled by $200, then $50, then $40 in consecutive months, I cancelled. With football ending, there's not much reason I need live TV anyway.