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Buying Cablecards instead of renting them...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Thos19, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. Mar 5, 2012 #1 of 29
    Thos19

    Thos19 Member

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    Dec 31, 2002
    Rockland, MA
    Hi,

    I currently have to rent 2 cable cards from Verizon Fios at $3.99/mo each for my Tivo Series 3 (TCD648250B). I have seen on eBay, numerous vendors selling Motorola M-Cards for around $20 each, which would certainly be more cost effective for me in the long run.

    The question is, would Fios ever allow this? Before I sit on hold with Verizon in hopes of asking the question who might even know what I am talking about, I figured I'd ask you guys: Has anyone out there ever bought 1 or 2 cable cards for use in their Series 3/4 units and were able to convince Verizon (or Comcast, I guess as well) to allow them to use them instead of renting? And if so, what brand and model cars did you use?

    Thanks for your help,

    Thos.
     
  2. Mar 5, 2012 #2 of 29
    dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

    10,132
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    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    In general the answer is "no you can not provide your own CableCARDs" since they want to always have the ability to ask for them back in an exchange, not to mention it's a bit of a nightmare from a support standpoint if you let folks bring their own.

    There have been a few instances of smaller cable companies letting folks bring their own CableCARD in, but I've never heard of it in the larger organizations.
     
  3. Mar 5, 2012 #3 of 29
    mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    Cable providers won't activate a cablecard unless they provided it to you. There are no legitimate means by which consumers can purchase cablecards for use on any cable or FIOS system. The ones you see for sale on ebay are probably left over from installs where the owners simply neglected to turn them back into the cable company prior to changing their address so they're basically stolen. Providers already don't like the fact that they lose revenue by allowing you to use them instead of renting their cable boxes and DVRs. They're already taking a cut by renting cablecards for next to nothing.
     
  4. Mar 5, 2012 #4 of 29
    dlmerchant

    dlmerchant New Member

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    Feb 15, 2004
    Windham, NH
    As a rule of thumb, what you said is generally true. However, about 4 years ago, Metrocast (cable provider in Maine) sold me two cable cards for my S3 OLED for $150.00 each. At the time, the only option they had for cable cards was outright purchase, not monthly rental. The cost was completely offset by their "Dump the Dish" promotion at the time, as I previously had DTV. To this day, I still don't pay a monthly rental fee.
     
  5. Mar 5, 2012 #5 of 29
    Teeps

    Teeps Active Member

    1,665
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    Aug 16, 2001
    Torrance,Cal...
    Time to upgrade to TiVo Elite.
    1 M card
    4 tuners; 2G of storage.
    You win...big.
     
  6. Mar 5, 2012 #6 of 29
    dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

    10,132
    82
    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    Thus my comment of "some smaller cable companies" the larger folks would never do/allow it, the smaller local folks have done it only a few times.
     
  7. Mar 6, 2012 #7 of 29
    leifgate

    leifgate New Member

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    Mar 5, 2012
    I'm getting the impression this is less and less true over time. CC support at Comcast has actually improved quite a bit over the last couple of years. Heck, last I heard, Comcast's even working on providing apps to stream Xfinity VOD to TiVos in the Bay area - talk about the crown jewels.

    And why not? The truth is, TiVo customers, and now especially Premiere Elite customers, are far more heavily invested and so more loyal than customers renting crappy CableCo hardware month to month. And when it comes to profits, hardware rental is nothing compared to that $100+ monthly service fee. TiVo is CableCo's best friend - TiVotees can't use their precious little boxes w/satellite, and now with the Elite can't even tune in OTA.
     
  8. Mar 6, 2012 #8 of 29
    jrtroo

    jrtroo User

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    It has improved only because they were ordered to improve.

    "Deals" with operators seems to be growning, I'm positive it is not out of the goodness of their hearts. Either they are afraid of a lawsuit or think it can reduce cost/improve revenues somehow. It is certainly not due to Comcast having sudden love for TiVo users, we could still sell our units and go satellite or just move to OTA.
     
  9. Mar 7, 2012 #9 of 29
    lillevig

    lillevig Hot in West Texas

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    Dec 6, 2010
    San Angelo, TX
    Not necessarily. I pay $3.99/month for my cablecards but their settop digital converter box is only $4.99/month. Maybe that's a "loss leader" as well, but analog channels are available on my cable so the primary reason to have the box is to display the HD channels that I'm already paying extra for.
     
  10. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

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    Aug 29, 2002
    Sacramento...
    But I think the point still stands that you can only get cable cards from your cable provider. Almost always this means "rent", with a few exceptions as mentioned where the cable provider will sell them to you. Cable cards provide the decryption keys to the cable company's product, and it makes sense that they want to be the one providing the keys. Before, you had get the entire set-top box from the provider; the FCC changed that to be that only the security component (the cable cards) has to come from the provider.
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    That's not relevant. The keys are delivered continuously over the OOB carrier. They are not tied in any way to the CableCard.

    It doesn't "have to" in the sense of it being an FCC regulation, or any thing like that, but since a CableCard from one CATV company typically won't work on another CATV system, one "has to" get them from one's provider or they are liable not to work. Not only will a Motorola CableCard not work with a Cisco headend, a Motorola CableCard from one system may not work with another Motorola system with different software.
     
  12. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin New Member

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    Jun 20, 2002
    Tualatin,...
    I'm glad this person was able to purchase cards and thereby save on the obscene monthly charges. Frontier FiOS charges me $4 each per month, no way to buy one.

    But, just so we're clear, a $150 purchase price is also far beyond obscene. I'm surprised they're allowed to get away with it, since the FCC purportedly has regulations that say these cards must be priced reasonably (I'm handwaving because I don't have the regs in front of me).

    How do I know that's too much? Because I have a 2009 price list from my local Comcast company that says that there's a $30 charge for an unreturned Motorola CableCARD.

    Interestingly enough, Comcast was probably embarrassed by the low purchase price of something they were renting for $1.79 per month. Because by 2010 their price list stopped showing the cost of unreturned equipment, and simply said "UNRETURNED EQUIPMENT CHARGES Equal to the Replacement Cost".
     
  13. mattack

    mattack Active Member

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    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    I understand your logic, but from an end user point of view, that would be 37.5 months to break even, assuming that they will indeed register the card and you can use it however you want. Just like tivo lifetime service, it's a gamble, but that kind of gamble I would take.. (and I say that as someone who so far 'lost' the gamble on a S3.. Well, I had about 4 years, and I keep intending on trying to fix it.. but since I lost a DRIVE also, I'm wishy washy about that.)
     
  14. OCSMITH

    OCSMITH VAWHEELS

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    Mar 16, 2006
    Glen Allen,...
    Why would letting people own their cablecards be any harder than cable modems? They just need serial numbers and MAC addresses, they could tie down the CC to the MAC address of the TV, TIVO,etc or are you saying the CC needs to be preprogramed by each Cable operator?

    Cablecards rental fees can get really high if you have a clp of first Series3 and a clp of Series 4. I don't see why the don't sell them, they can't be used without cable and they have control of the card. Win Win.

    This is the only reason I don't have Verizon $3.99 -$4.99 CCs Thats $20.00 - $25.00 a month or $240-$300 a year just to put ch's in the right order. Thats a car note!!!

    I would rather pay a one time fee , maybe $75.00 -$100.00 per card.:D:D:D
     
  15. dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

    10,132
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    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    There's more to it than that, they also need to be the correct brand since the different cable companies use different head end hardware. It's not as simple as recording a MAC.
     
  16. OCSMITH

    OCSMITH VAWHEELS

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    Mar 16, 2006
    Glen Allen,...
    Thanks, for the info
     
  17. mattack

    mattack Active Member

    20,750
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    Apr 9, 2001
    sunnyvale
    Though to be nitpicky, aren't there only 2 different brands of cable cards, and more than that different types of cable modems? (I don't mean just brands, but I mean different specs, e.g. I don't know if there are any cable modems you can buy that support 'digital voice'..)
     
  18. dianebrat

    dianebrat I refuse to accept your reality TCF Club

    10,132
    82
    Jul 6, 2002
    boston'ish
    2 major brands, 2 different types, and the fact you need a certain revision of firmware, I know they can upgrade firmware via hit, but I don't know if they can downgrade the same way. I see this being a nightmare for so many reasons in support.

    I also can see plenty of reasons the providers are being antsy since they do not want to sell the key to the kingdom, they don't sell cable boxes either, they want to be able to rescind the device at any time. I'm not saying they're right, but I can see the reasons they want to not sell you the key.
     
  19. OCSMITH

    OCSMITH VAWHEELS

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    Mar 16, 2006
    Glen Allen,...
    You know I didn't caught that answer right, I know you have to buy the same brand and type CC the head end would be using but why would that be so hard??? So I may have been right it is just mac address and serial numbers?


    Motorola & Scientific Atlanta are the biggest mfg

    I was thinking the head end did a pre -program for their area.
     
  20. Bucsfanp7

    Bucsfanp7 New Member

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    Jun 3, 2011
    I just wanted to throw my 2 cents into this discussion, if you will allow me. I read all through this thread and didn't see any reference to what I'm adding, sooo.....

    You only need a CC if you want to receive the digital or HD channels from your provider.

    I have Bright House Networks whose parent company is Time Warner, I believe. Through them, if I have digital service on 1 TV (which I do with a TivoHD DVR), they allow free SD service on up to 2 other TVs. My Living Room has digital...hence I need the CC...but my Bedroom--which also has a TivoHD DVR--has SD service but I am not required to have a CC for it as I only receive channels 2-100. I got an amazing deal on the 2nd DVR when my series 2 had a nervous breakdown and committed hari-kari :p

    I just wanted to put this in the thread for anybody that ---like me--straddles the HD and SD worlds.

    Long live Tivo
     

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