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Double charged services for Cablecard

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Justin Thyme, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    $2.95 per month per card ...

    No per-outlet / per-CableCard 'digital' or 'HD tier' charges.

    Something I would tend to specifically bring up with Cox Fairfax (as an ex-Cox Fairfax customer who switched to Verizon in part because of the cost savings which was largely due to the 'per digital outlet' charges I was looking at from Cox).
     
  2. Ziggy86

    Ziggy86 Member

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    Jun 22, 2004
    dt_dc

    Do you have any problems with the S3 working with FIOS?
     
  3. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
  4. moscovitzd

    moscovitzd Member

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    Dec 6, 2006
    Has anyone had any success discussing this issue with Cox Fairfax? I have the same issue, two S3s with four cablecards.
     
  5. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Nov 27, 2002
    Looking at this from a top down view, any situation that doesn't lead to a two CC S3 costing several dollars per month less than a two-tuner CableDVR is unfair.

    Not commenting on what is or is not the regs. Just saying that its unreasonable, and if legit under the rules the rules need changing, or if not legit the fees need changing.

    (P.S. in my particular case the 2 CC S3 is $9.40/mo less than the CableDVR.)
     
  6. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    Like I've said a couple times ...

    I think the issue is addressed (regulatory-wise) by the integration ban. 7/07 ... after several delays and with wiaver applications still pending ...

    So, not so much that the rules need changing ... just not delayed (yet again) ... or waived ... or whatever else the NCTA may have planned.

    Untill then ...
     
  7. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

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    Nov 27, 2002
    I expect you are right. But its a good acid test that if one's situation doesn't meet the top-down criteria I stated, something is wrong.

    So where does it cross...my $9.40 savings is probably generous. $1.00 is certainly not fair. $5.00? $7.00? $3.75???????
     
  8. Justin Thyme

    Justin Thyme Contra sceleris

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    Mar 29, 2005
    Not really. You have also noted that nothing in the regulations state that the security access mechanism that the cablecos use has to be the same as that which they give vendors of third party navigation devices.

    That is, they are free to design a security device (cablecards) that their navigation box competitors are forced to use, which is very expensive to install, and may be billed for services in a more expensive way than the cableco provided solution.

    But nothing in the integration ban states that the cablecos have to use the same mechanism. They could use a software scheme such as a proprietary DCAS or other scheme that is inherently cheaper and billed differently.

    I don't see anything in the regulations that explicityly prohibits the cable companies from making third party navigation devices more expensive to own and operate.

    Do you?
     
  9. Icarus

    Icarus New Member

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    Jun 15, 2002
    Upcountry...
    I'd be happy with relative parity. With the cableco HD DVR, there's only a single $8 + $6.95 fee for duplicate service + the HD programming package. With the 2 cablecards in a single device, they charge 2 x (8.00 + 6.95).

    What I really need to do at this point is write a letter to OTW, wait for their response, and if it's "Sorry, that's how we charge", then write to the state regulatory agency. I just haven't done it yet using anything other than email that just reaches a front-line guy that simply repeats the company line.

    -David
     
  10. cgould

    cgould Member

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    Dec 28, 2002
    Bay Area, CA

    Comcast pricing may vary regionally, but things to check/ask when you press for discount:

    - Comcast Digital packages normally bundle one "digital outlet" charge included in the price, so that should normally knock off the $6.95 charge (unless you still have another digital or HD STB in the house)

    - Normally the $5 HD charge is *equipment* charge, not service, eg for their HD STB (which is more expensive than the plain SD/digital STB). Since you have no HD STB or equipment, they shouldn't be charging $5 for anything.

    Ask them what it would cost if you got a cablecard for your HD television. Would they still charge the $5 or $6.95, w/ your package? Probably not- and therefore, should not for Tivo CCards.
    They will likely charge a bit for the 2nd CCard instead (eg the $1.50 tivo charge) so they have something to bill for 2nd card in single device.

    Comcast stuck on the $6.95 "additional digital outlet" charge a few times, but they've taken it off after some complaints/reminders I have no other digital outlets/STBs besides the Tivo. I only pay the $50 for full std analog cable, $10 for digital classic, and $1.50 for 2nd tivo CCard.
     
  11. ewilts

    ewilts Who, me?

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    Feb 26, 2002
    Mounds View, MN
    I'm similar to that, but don't pay the $1.50 for the 2nd CableCard (Comcast Twin Cities, MN). I have 2 zero-dollar CableCard line items. They tried the $6.95 ADO charge on me and I had that removed since I have only 1 digital outlet.

    Why are people paying a $1.50 TiVo tax when the Comcast FAQ online clearly states that CableCards are free? That's anti-competitive and potentially illegal (but I'm not a lawyer).

    .../Ed
     
  12. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    Not quite ...

    I've said that cable companies don't have to use CableCard as their own seperable solution. They also don't all have to use the same seperable solution as each other (ie, all cable companies don't have to use the same thing) ...

    However, whatever seperable solution they do use must be made available for third party devices, customers, etc ...

    After the integration ban takes effect, a cable company can't use DCAS or M-Cards or some other solution that's "inherently cheaper and billed differently" than the current two S-Card solution (along with whatever else the cable company layers on top) without making that same option available to third parties.

    Also, whatever seperable solution they use must meet FCC requirements under existing regulations passed to date. I wouldn't assume that "a proprietary DCAS or other scheme" neccesarily would. As noted (several times) by the CEA ... for example:
    Another example to keep an eye on is CableVision's request to classify their NDS SmartCard solution as meeting the seperable security requirements.
    It'll be interesting to see what the FCC does with the CableVision request.

    Might cable move on to use DCAS or some other non-CableCard solution for their own seperable security solution? Yes, sure. However, that solution must a) meet certain FCC requirements and b) must be available for third parties and customers to use.
    Yes ... the integration ban when combined with other pricing / equipment regulations.

    One without the other ... no. But when combined ... yes.
     
  13. wackymann

    wackymann New Member

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    Sep 22, 2006
    Boston Area
    I believe some people think they are paying a monthly fee for their cable cards, when it is actually being billed as "Digital Access"- the same fee you pay with any cable box (on top of the actual hardware rental fee). It's not a hardware rental fee - it is a fee that allows you to get access to (i.e. decrypt) the digital channels you subscribe to on another box/tuner/TV/Tivo/etc...

    I know it's just semantics, but it's probably an important distinction in the eyes of the federal regulators.
     
  14. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    Yes they are, and yes it is ...

    However, when they are paying the 'Digital Access' (or 'Digital Gateway' or 'Digital Tier' or whatever their cable company calls it) per CableCard (ie, twice for the S3) ... while people using the cable company's dual-tuner DVR are only paying the charge once ...

    That's when people get a little upset / ruffled feathers (understandably so IMO).
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    Jan 10, 2002
    NJ
    I chalk it up to cable learned about DBS's "mirroring fees" and saw that the new regulations laws allow them to charge the equivalent for the digital tier.

    I think it's rooted in 2 places- one the fees are all charged per card becasue before the s3 their really was no reason not too. So it would require some back office changes to implement the comast like solution of charging a second differnt set of charges for the 2nd ard and for many providers that's a big deal. Second- i just assumed the cable card and 'addiotional digital outlet fees" were based on the effort to authorized the cards at the CO- so a 2 card tivo takes twice the effort (minimal effort to be clear- but still twice) so they charge double.

    It offends me somewhat but my triple play is still way less then my previous sum so I grin and bear it.

    But I think the relief will come WAY BEFORE the integration ban in the middle of next year (BTW did comcast and NTA or anyone get their waivers?). Cablelabs reated a standard so the tivo can use an M-card. The first batch of tests is scheduled for January. So presumably come February or so, m-cards will work in the S3's. At that point the 2 premises about related to having 2 cards go bye bye. I'll just call my provider and ask for a single M-card instead of the 2 s-cards I have now. Problem will likely solve itself. I cant imagine cable companies charging per stream- is it realistic that they charge DOUBLE for a plasma that has PIP?

    So I an pay the extra 3 bucks for another few months before I get too annoyed...
     
  16. cramer

    cramer New Member

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    Aug 14, 2000
    Raleigh,...
    Funny.

    Umm, NO. Tivo isn't regulated by the FCC. (well, no more so than anyone else.) They are bound by various specifications and certifications. But none of that is directly controlled by the FCC.

    Second, Tivo isn't a monopoly, so they can charge what ever they want. You might not have noticed but there are alternatives to the tivo. You are just as free to choose one of them as a tivo. This is not the case with cable; if I want cable, I have to deal with TW - period.
     
  17. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    chicken ... egg ... chicken ... egg ...

    M-Cards and the integration ban go hand in hand. M-Cards became a priority for cable / CableLabs becuase cable companies have no desire to have to pay for two CableCard slots and two CableCards for own their dual tuner DVRs. Yes, the two will (actually) happen a few months apart. But make no mistake ... the two are tied together.

    So, you're going to call your provider and ask for an M-Card? Hmm, when / why do you think most cable companies are actually going to make M-Cards available? Hint ... it's when they start ordering and deploying those new M-Card based dual tuner DVRs from SciAtl and Motorola.
     
  18. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

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    Jan 10, 2002
    NJ

    agreed-

    and i dont know if they will have m-cards until the ban as you point out.

    But when Tivo is approved for m-cards I just figure I have a much better leg to stand on to complain. At that point my tivo can work with one M-card and it will be their fault that I need 2 s-cards. Right now it's arguing symantics of the laws and regulations. I fear bringing it up just becomes a battle over what the definition of the word "is is?

    At the point when tivo is approved for an m-card, I think the consumer just APPEARS to have a higher moral ground. At least my local franchise board and BPU might follow my argument a little better if I have to get them involved. At that point I can clearly point to somethign that the cable company is doing that costs me more then if they would provide an M-card.

    Follow my logic?

    I guess it's up for debate if it helps me at all, but that's my theory.
     
  19. dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Northern...
    From an "appearance" / "higher moral ground" standpoint ...

    Yes, I can certainly see where you're coming from.
     
  20. jasonpot

    jasonpot New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Exactly. I complained to the local franchise authority weeks ago, but haven't heard a peep.
     

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