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Comcast M-Card Fee now more than an HD box!!!!

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by drugrep, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. Oct 25, 2013 #81 of 102
    button1066

    button1066 New Member

    140
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    Sep 4, 2012
    You might get a pleasant surprise if you call them and tell the rep that both cablecards are in the same tivo - it means they count as one outlet and the a/o charge should be removed.
     
  2. Oct 25, 2013 #82 of 102
    swerver

    swerver Member

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    May 18, 2012
    Does a house with more computers pay more for internet? Maybe if they go over a bandwidth cap, but otherwise no.

    Does it cost the provider more if you are watching 1 tv vs. 10 tv's? I'm not entirely sure but I think the answer here is also no.

    Seems they charge for outlets only because they can and have been allowed to do so. What if all internet traffic was encrypted and we were required to have a provider box to decrypt on all computers? I feel I am paying for them to provide me a signal. What I do with that is up to me, and if I want to split it, it's none of the provider's business. (excluding restrictions like rebroadcasting) That's how it used to be, before digital gave them the ability to charge per outlet.
     
  3. Oct 25, 2013 #83 of 102
    ltxi

    ltxi New Member

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    Feb 14, 2010
    Colorado
    Since the move to digital cable and the necessity of cable cards in early 2010, I've been paying $1.99/mo/card. I have a truck roll coming next for two Roamios replacing two HD S3s. Price hasn't changed....still two bucks a month. Comcast...Denver
     
  4. Oct 26, 2013 #84 of 102
    Tanquen

    Tanquen Member

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    Jun 1, 2002
    Napa, CA
    The ambiguity is them coming up with a name for something and charging you for it when the rule says they can not do that. ???

    You can say my argument doesn’t hold but then the alternative is it’s ok for them to make up a fee and say that its charged on all their devices and then charge people that want CableCARDs that same fee. Wait that is what they are doing. What if they said their $10 a month set-top box is only 50 cents a month to lease and the port fee is $9.50 or more? Wait that is what they are doing. Yea sounds good, the Comcast box is 50 cents month and the port fee is $55 and with the Comcast equipment discount you only pay $10 but if you want a CableCARD you pay $55.50 but they’ll credit you the 50 cents for providing your own equipment so that’s $55. I hope they are not reading this.

    "Use your own set-top box without extra charge. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(5)(C). Your cable operator may charge you to lease a CableCARD or tuning adapter, but may not charge you an additional service fee for using your own digital-cable-ready television or set-top box."

    So much ambiguity and it's not in the right place on the FCC site. I don't agree.

    "Gratuitous insults" You told me I was making it up and it was not were I said it was. I'm insulted! I do hope you are kidding. I don't really think you work for them but I don't get that you don't get it.

    But it says somewhere else they can charge extra because it’s called this thing that they say they charge for other stuff they sell. No, I do not agree. This is a rule for CableCARDs not set-top boxes or TV’s OR DVRs. I cannot buy a set-top box and then demand that they give me HBO for free. They can charge for programing that they would otherwise charge for. They cannot add fees or charges for service to the device. “may not charge you an additional service fee” Fee for CableCARD, $$ ok and fee for… No! No and then! Fee for physical device to verify I paid for what I’m watching ok and fee for... No! No and then!

    "Unfortunately, there's no extra text there to remove the ambiguity. Yes, it could mean what you say it means,"

    What, what, what?

    1. Use your own set-top box without extra charge.
    2. Your cable operator may (may, like that, will more like) charge you to lease a CableCARD or tuning adapter.
    3. May not charge you an additional service fee for using your own digital-cable-ready television or set-top box.
    4. They could have just put item 2 and left it at that but they did not. So this item would be what to stop the port fee? I think 1-3 cover it and well. Maybe “Cannot charge a port fee.” sounds good, that should cover it. Nope, because now we have a numeration fee. Each device on their network takes up a serial number and someone has to help pay for that.

    It’s all so silly anyway. They know people don’t like it but they do it anyway. It says on the FCC site (not in the right place) that they can’t do it but they do it anyway. It’s probably something like, they don’t have to pay tax on software or service fees so they want the revenue that way, when they could just add a dollar to the lease fee that they can legally charge.

    These are not useless complaints. http://www.fcc.gov/complaints
     
  5. Oct 26, 2013 #85 of 102
    L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    1,589
    2
    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    I'm OTA only, so I'm inclined to agree with you. But what do you expect from the cable companies? There was a time when phone companies charged for each phone connected, and it was forbidden to attach "foreign" devices (equipment purchased elsewhere) to the phone line. Like local phone companies back then and mobile providers now, the cable companies will push every regulation to the limit and try to get away with anything that the regulators and their customers will put up with. The ultimate solution is to "vote with your feet". If more and more people "cut the cord", the cable companies may finally start to see the error of their ways. Until then, don't hold your breath. Just doing what's fair and just isn't in their nature.
     
  6. Oct 28, 2013 #86 of 102
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    I tried that tack when the rep called about my FCC complaint, but they were able to verify that I was using them in two devices (via the Host ID in the pairing).
     
  7. Oct 28, 2013 #87 of 102
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    This was another part of my complaint - Comcast does not consistently bill the same amount for cards, even within the same area. It was acknowledged as an issue by Comcast to the FCC but not much has changed, obviously.
     
  8. Oct 28, 2013 #88 of 102
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    This is exactly why they do it, same reason why Tivo charges a bogus service fee for the Mini. Because they can.
     
  9. Oct 28, 2013 #89 of 102
    HazelW

    HazelW Member

    284
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    Dec 6, 2007
    No. Va
    Even in the same account. They bill me one cable card at $1.15 and another as an AO. They are in two different TiVos.
     
  10. Nov 15, 2013 #90 of 102
    jalind

    jalind New Member

    9
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    Feb 27, 2005
    A household with 1 TV will pay less than one with 10 TVs. It's a matter of how much less. An appropriate monthly fee for each CableCARD is legitimate. What isn't legitimate is being charged nearly the same or more for a TiVo with CableCARD compared to a cable company's STB. The service provider is providing no more goods and services to 10 TVs than to 1 TV in the same household beyond supporting the cable company's equipment being used. Hence, the rental fees for their equipment. If I have my own STBs (TiVos), I'm responsible for their care, maintenance and any problems with them, not the cable company.

    Comcast has structured things with so many different add-on fees, in their effort to make more money, that it's difficult for anyone to understand it all, including their own employees. It's impossible to go to their web site and figure out how much a subscription would (should) cost per month. IMHO that is the problem. Too many Comcast employees and their immediate supervisors don't understand what subscribers are supposed to be charged for, especially for TVs with CableCARD slots (quite rare now; a thing of the past) and user owned STBs that used CableCARDs. If you read the CableCARD stuff on their web site, it lacks clarity. I had to read it several times to understand what it said. Took me a while to convince them that two cards in a Series 3 (which requires two cards) was not the same as two STBs; had to cite chapter and verse from Comcast's web site to the employee. Another piece of the problem is the overwhelming percentage of consumer devices needing CableCARDs are TiVos (Series 3 and newer), and they're a tiny percentage of Comcast's subscribers, the vast majority of whom rent a STB from Comcast. The cable company's employees that deal with their customers are not evil, they don't handle CableCARDs and the specific fees customers should be charged for them that often. If they did, it would be much more consistent (notwithstanding Comcast fees varying significantly by market region; e.g. the monthly fee for the exact same service is different in Colorado compared to Indiana).

    All that said, the corporate strategy (not set by the employees at the bottom, but by the corporate officers at the top) is finding a legal means to charge you as big a fee as possible for every TV in your house that's connected to their cable system. The latest is the notice I just received in the mail from Comcast that the FCC is allowing the cable companies to encrypt all the local broadcast channels they carry. This will FORCE every TV to have a STB or it will go black as everything will be encrypted. Former FCC rules require local broadcast channels to be carried, and they prohibited them from being encrypted. Simply subscribing to the most basic service allowed receiving all local broadcast channels in HD (and in 480i SD) provided the TV has a QAM tuner. The reason for this was ensuring the ability to receive local severe weather and other emergency broadcasts with or without a STB. I'm left scratching my head why the FCC would drop their encryption prohibition. The FCC rule-making and hearing process surrounding this decision apparently escaped much notice. It will get noticed, much too late for the FCC to reconsider it, when consumers find all their additional TVs around the house that don't have STBs have suddenly gone black in the very near future. I predict the cable companies will be deluged with irate customer complaint calls when that happens because watching broadcast network late-night talk shows on the bedroom TV just went bye-bye, without another STB and rental fee for it, and pay a premium for an HD STB if you want to see it in HD versus 480i (which is in 4:3 aspect ratio with really ugly looking resolution on a 1080p HDTV).
     
  11. Nov 15, 2013 #91 of 102
    jalind

    jalind New Member

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    Feb 27, 2005
    Regarding the formerly free small SD set top boxes that converted digital cable to analog NTSC (intended for older analog NTSC TVs) a number of thread posters have mentioned in passing . . .

    These boxes and the requirement for them date back to the Congressional and FCC mandate for OTA broadcast TV to be completely converted to digital no later than June 12th 2009. The government had a program providing subsidized converter boxes from broadcast digital ATSC to analog NTSC so those with analog NTSC TVs could still still watch broadcast TV. You could get two $40 certificates per household to help pay for them in early 2009. One of these boxes cost about $50. The mandate for digital broadcast TV was a significant departure from past FCC philosophy, policy and rule-making. During the development and implementation of FM stereo and color TV, the FCC was absolutely adamant that NO current monaural FM radios or B&W TVs be made obsolescent by stereo or color broadcast. This absolutely frustrated the radio and TV manufacturers who desperately wanted technical obsolescence to force consumers to buy all new radios and TVs from them. It's the reason for the L+R main carrier and L-R sub-carrier scheme used for broadcast FM radio, and for the "color burst" scheme used to broadcast NTSC color TV.

    Even with that subsidy, an enormous spike in marketplace demand for HDTVs was anticipated during mid-2009. An overwhelming majority of TVs were not (solely) reliant on OTA broadcast, but are connected to cable (plus satellite). To spread this demand out over time (hopefully several years; better for the public and the manufacturers), the FCC put rules into place to either delay or mitigate cable company conversion to digital by several years. These rules required cable companies to continue providing (at least) local broadcast channels in analog NTSC or to provide a free digital to analog NTSC conversion box if they converted these channels to digital prior to some time in Fall 2012 (don't have exact date) when it would be reviewed again. Comcast was one of cable providers that did this. That is the reason up to two of these boxes were provided free when Comcast distributed them (with a rental charge for each box beyond the first two free ones). The FCC allowed this free analog converter box requirement to expire in Fall 2012 without continuing it. Cable companies could now charge rental fees for their (formerly) "free" boxes. Comcast mailed a notice to their subscribers to this effect. It was likely trashed by many as junk advertising. I remember receiving this notice and reading it after nearly pitching it as junk mail. I knew I had one box hooked up to a small TV in a guest bedroom, but had forgotten I we had gotten two of them. Had to search the house for where I had stored it. These boxes were free ONLY because the FCC had mandated they be free. Once that mandate expired, Comcast leaped on implementing a monthly charge for them. I've little doubt all the other cable companies that had rolled out free converter boxes so they could go completely digital (before Fall 2012) did the same thing.

    That's the "back story" behind the formerly "free" Comcast digital-to-analog NTSC converter boxes suddenly appearing on bills with a rental fee.
     
  12. Nov 15, 2013 #92 of 102
    telemark

    telemark New Member

    1,544
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    Nov 12, 2013
    I don't think this was mentioned yet in this thread. The reason what Comcast does is wrong, by that I mean charging more for CableCards than their own equipment, is all about the DTA's.

    DTA's are/were free up to 3 during the transition period. NO Additional outlet fee, NO HD technology fee.

    Even after the transition period or extras, each DTA is only about $2. How many customers can get another cable card for $2 or free? A few, but I know it's a minority.

    It's even in the Digital Transition FAQ:
    http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/limited-basic-encryption/

    You can get a DTAs OR CABLECARDs it says for free.

    In my personal experience, Comcast will want to charge
    +$10 Additional Outlet
    -$2.50 Customer owned equipment fee.
    and sometimes
    +$10 HD technology fee
    ==
    $17.50 or $7.50

    It should be more like
    +$2.50 DTA additional outlet fee
    -$2.50 Customer owned equipment
    ==
    $0 or -$2.50 or +2.50

    You saved them giving you a DTA or SD box for free or cheap by having your own equipment. What about the CableCard? all of their equipment used to have a cablecard inside.

    This is my own interpretation and no local Comcast agent agrees with me.
    I pay
    $-2.50 for 1 CableCard as the first device. When I ask for a second, the second one costs me
    $10-$2.50=$7.50.
    But they'll give me 2 more DTA's for free.

    I don't think I'm wrong in theory though because some cities, they do it "correctly" just like this... A cablecard is about the same price as a DTA and you get a discount for using CableCards instead of Comcast boxes.
     
  13. Nov 16, 2013 #93 of 102
    jalind

    jalind New Member

    9
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    Feb 27, 2005
    Additional information and much greater clarity than Comcast has about CableCARDs is provided by the FCC in this document on the FCC's web site. It cites chapter and verse about 2011 FCC rule revisions made to make it abundantly clear to cable companies that they WOULD support CableCARDs WITHOUT punishing their customers who choose to use them with unwarranted fees or stonewalling and pigeonholing customers trying to set up and use devices that use CableCARDs. These rules are apart from the "digital transition" period(s) and their requirements do not automatically "expire" on a preset future date; the FCC's rule-making process is required to modifiy them:
    http://www.fcc.gov/guides/cablecard-know-your-rights

    The non-broadcast TV industry (cable, FIOS, etc.) absolutely HATES CableCARDs and wishes they would quickly die the same horrible death Purple Dinosaur hate-mongers desperately want for Barney. It impinges on their ability to effectively force subscribers to rent their STBs, and they are "linear" which means there is only one-way communication from cable company headend to the card. The card cannot communicate or respond with any signal to the cable company's headend. This is why the CableCARD user must confirm that it's been initiated and validated correctly over the phone during setup. The company tech on the other end of the phone line will not get a signal back from the card. The one-way communication means subscribers using CableCARDS cannot order any Pay-Per-View or other services through their STB. Both STB rental fees and PPV fees (and similar services) are considered very valuable revenue streams with high profit margins, especially PPV. The cable company loses the STB rental and all potential PPV (or similar) fees when a customer uses a CableCARD STB.
     
  14. Nov 16, 2013 #94 of 102
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    File more FCC complaints peeps, they have a new person in charge now.
     
  15. Nov 16, 2013 #95 of 102
    mpnret

    mpnret Member

    137
    1
    Dec 4, 2012
    Cable cards don’t necessarily mean loss of special ordering. TIVO users order Comcast video on demand all the time.
     
  16. Nov 17, 2013 #96 of 102
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

    5,427
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    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    Correct. Usually different markets are different. In some markets, the HD technology fee is a programming fee, so TiVo users have to pay it. In my market, it's an equipment fee, so I don't. All I have is one TiVo Premiere on the video side.
     
  17. Nov 17, 2013 #97 of 102
    Coffee

    Coffee New Member

    48
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    Feb 15, 2013
    I think that is actually an FCC violation.
     
  18. Nov 17, 2013 #98 of 102
    Bigg

    Bigg Active Member

    5,427
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    Oct 30, 2003
    Hartford-...
    I wouldn't be surprised. I also wouldn't be surprised if they had some sneaky language to get them around that. They should really harmonize their pricing across all markets. It's pretty ridiculous.
     
  19. Nov 18, 2013 #99 of 102
    bmgoodman

    bmgoodman Member

    971
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    Dec 20, 2000
    Northern...
    I've reached the point where I'm going to talk to my local franchise authority. Comcast has *again* changed their story about "additional outlet" and CableCard charges. Now they're telling me I don't get the first device free. Instead, I get a $10 discount off the $19.99 HD Technology fee! Their definitions change month-to-month, they can never adequately explain their own terminology and rules, and I cannot accurately compare the cost of owning a Tivo to using their DVR box. This is UNACCEPTABLE.
     
  20. Coffee

    Coffee New Member

    48
    0
    Feb 15, 2013
    From FCC website (fcc.gov):
    While that doesn't technically break the rules, charging more for a CableCARD than for standard devices does definitely break the spirit of the rule.
     

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