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How much does a cablecard cost the cable co?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by cherrytree, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Dec 4, 2013 #1 of 42
    cherrytree

    cherrytree New Member

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    I'm planning to buy a Roamio Plus, and I just signed up for Verizon Fios and learned that the cablecard will cost me $5/month. This seems appallingly high. I am coming from Comcast that charged me $1.50 for two CCs.

    Does anyone know how much the cable cos/Verizon actually pay the equipment makers for a CC?

    I am curious what payback period Verizon is enjoying (e.g., a 3-month payback assuming a CC costs $15).
     
  2. Dec 4, 2013 #2 of 42
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

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    I think it's much more in the $100 range - they are not mass-market items with competition. I think there are basically 2 manufacturers both with captive audiences (it's very difficult to change from one manufacturer to the other.)
     
  3. Dec 4, 2013 #3 of 42
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    There are something like 4 or 5 manufacturers of CableCards, but your cable company has to use the cards that are manufactured by the company that manufactured their head-end equipment. 99% of the time that is either Motorola or Cisco (formerly Scientific Atlanta). There are NDS and CONAX cards out there, and I believe one other manufacturer, but NDS, CONAX, and others are very rare.

    They can't easily switch, because that would involve switching basically everything in the system--the headend, all set top boxes, the software controlling everything, etc.

    They probably aren't *very* expensive though because they are in every set top box the cable companies rent. There is a limit, something like 11%, on the profit cable companies can make on their set top equipment. I don't know if that applies to cable cards as well but they cannot charge "exorbitant" fees on cable cards vs. STBs (IE: a cable card can't cost as much or more as a full set top or DVR). I'm sure they include the costs of all the infrastructure like activation websites, the servers, and even tuning adapters in their cost basis.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2013 #4 of 42
    cherrytree

    cherrytree New Member

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    Well if it's a $100 I feel a bit better. It's surprising that Comcast would only charge $1.50/mo for a $100 piece of equipment. Perhaps it is trying to demonstrate to the FCC a bit of goodwill.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2013 #5 of 42
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    No way in hell are they $100, they are in millions of cable STBs now by FCC mandate. I'd bet a card is no more than $25 now, if that.
     
  6. Dec 5, 2013 #6 of 42
    JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    They have more invested in cable boxes than you'd expect. I'm sure they have it down as much as possible--the on premise part of Cisco and Motorola's business has razor thin margins--but $100 for a custom PCMCIA card isn't out of the realm of possibility. Probably the upper end of the range, but possible.
     
  7. Dec 5, 2013 #7 of 42
    aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    Comcast might charge less for the cable card, but Comcast also has some type of outlet fee and/or HD fee which makes it more expensive than what FiOS charges. I'll take the $5 FIOS cable card charge over what Comcast charges. At least that is the case in my area. I was shocked when I priced out Comcast for a comparison how much they wanted for their stuff. FiOS was easily less expensive.
     
  8. Dec 5, 2013 #8 of 42
    AdamNJ

    AdamNJ New Member

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    Dunellen, NJ
    I am sure it is not a very high dollar amount considering that the lost equipment fine for a cablecard on Cablevision is 40 bucks.
     
  9. Dec 5, 2013 #9 of 42
    NYHeel

    NYHeel Active Member

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    True for additional outlets but the first card is free for most cable companies. I pay $5 a month to Fios for even the first one. Now that I'm down to one card, Fios is $3-$5 a month more than most cable companies.
     
  10. takeagabu

    takeagabu New Member

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    Oct 7, 2007
    You are forgetting to factor in the extra hours and hours of technical support calls for cable cards users.
     
  11. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    In the ATL
    90+% of them inflicted by their own intransigence in not wanting to support cards, of course.
     
  12. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Charter only charges me $2/ea for CableCARDs with no outlet fee.
     
  13. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    If you don't have a cable provided box, Charter doesn't charge for the first cablecard. At least that is the case in all-digital areas.
     
  14. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    That is true, the first one is free the additional ones are $2/ea. I have 3
     
  15. munchiniwa

    munchiniwa Munchiniwa

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    Cablecards run $6 - $10 average on EBay. $30 would be a high price.
     
  16. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Those are technically stollen. It would be like buying electronics out of the back of a van. They'll always be cheaper because the cost to the seller was $0.
     
  17. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    But most of those are cablecards the cable company already bought. Most on eBay are stolen or are never returned to the cable company.
     
  18. siratfus

    siratfus New Member

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    Fios charges $100 for every cablecard not return. So I think the $100 range is correct. Do they let you pay a one time fee to own it?
     
  19. JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    Nov 19, 2010
    Birmingham, AL
    No, you cannot buy the cablecard. It wouldn't do you any good anyway. You cannot use a cable card from one cable company on the system of another.

    The CableCard is designed to be the smallest part that the cable company can still force you to lease from them.
     
  20. JosephB

    JosephB Member

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    Birmingham, AL
    This article: http://www.multichannel.com/blogs/translation-please/what-charter-waiver-means-cable says they cost about $50 independently of the box they're installed in

    Another article I was reading about the Charter waiver said that Charter claimed requiring them to use cable cards vs. embedded legacy security in their new boxes would require "$40 million in additional expense for every million boxes" lending credence to the ~$50 figure, ignoring any additional costs that having a CC-enabled box vs. embedded box would cost which is probably negligible.

    All of those numbers ignore the extra costs involved in software, customer support, and integration into their systems as well. Some of those costs are ongoing, not one-time costs.
     

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