1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by amjustice, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. ncfoster

    ncfoster Member

    168
    0
    Jan 22, 2011
    I never suggested Tivo owners were singled out. In fact, I am asking because I am adding an HDhomerun Prime to the mix, not a second Tivo.

    This rests on the premise that television providers aught to receive something for each television in the home. That is a tenuous premise for any number of reasons. I am aware of nowhere that the FCC has stated that this is the case. Comcast does not charge for DTA boxes. Analog cable could be split easily with little consequence when done properly, and at some point in time, the cable companies stopped worrying about that.

    Just because there is A logic to it, doesn't mean that the logic is good, or lawful. The logic here is to maximize the money to the cable company.

    As a general rule, there is no additional cost to the cable company for the consumer adding additional outlets in their home. If it doesn't cost them anything, then why should the consumer pay for it (in a regulated environment, not a purely free market)?

    Clearly, individual cases do not speak to the greater point of what the law requires, or what the intent of the law is. This goes both ways, both overcharges and undercharges.
     
  2. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,946
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    Actually what's happening now is very much like what happened way back in the days of early cable. When cable first came out you needed to rent a box for each TV. Then TV's became "cable ready" so you didn't need to rent boxes, but cable companies started charging outlet fees. Sure you could split the cable yourself, but if the cable company came out and saw you had done so, they jacked your rates. Then the FCC became peeved and the cable companies dropped the fees such that it was one charge per household (though that charge began to go up).

    Then digital cable came along, a cable company's dream come true, since not only did it require boxes again, but it was unhackable so no third party descrambler boxes. Cable companies moved to all or mostly digital and they could then charge per TV again, but along came digital cable ready TVs. What would the cable companies do now? Encrypt all their channel, making the TVs worthless. That wouldn't do so the FCC mandated cableCARDs, which cable companies reluctantly went along with, charging whatever they wanted per card (Comcast was actually cheaper than many other providers). Then the FCC said pricing had to be reasonable so we're back to cable companies charging outlet fees just like in the "olden days". Actually worse than olden days because an outlet is a box, not a TV. Two DVRs connected to one TV is two "outlets".

    The cable companies will end up losing this battle though since multi-tuner DVRs and streaming boxes (like TiVo's upcoming ip set top box) will basically stop the per TV charge since the cable companies won't know how many TV's you are using. As far as they'll know you have one cable card. Basically the third party whole home DVR should kill outlet fees for good. Knowing cable companies though, they'll probably start charging per tuner on 3rd party boxes.


    Outlet fees are and always have been a racket. It's like the cell phone companies charging for text messaging. Both cost their respective company next to nothing to provide so it's virtually 100% profit.
     
  3. schwaggy

    schwaggy New Member

    16
    0
    Feb 11, 2007
    And what do I find tonight...? 2 unpaired cards in my 2nd S3. Seems that removing the DAO fee busted my pairing. We just can't win. Gotta call them back and escalate again.
     
  4. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    And Comcast is not adhering to those rules, because they do not charge a single, uniform rate to rent a card across their footprint. Yes, the rates are published, but the actual billing that occurs is all over the map - some people get cards for free, some cost $1.50 each. Or $1.10. Some people get customer owned equip credits, some do not. Sometimes A/O fees are applied, sometimes not. Same with 'HD tech fees' even if you don't have their box.

    Every other cableCo charges a flat $2-4 or so fee to rent every card, which is exactly what the FCC intended with these rules. Comcast does not, and they are therefore in violation of those rules.

    Keep filing FCC complaints, peeps.
     
  5. pdhenry

    pdhenry Safety Pin

    17,235
    89
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    Well no, unless the other cableCo also charges a visible fee to rent every set-top box. If the set-top box is included in the price of a tier the cableCo can't charge an additional fee for the card (it would violate the clause that reads "No service fee shall be imposed on a subscriber for support of a subscriber-provided device that is not assessed on subscriber use of an operator-provided device.") Since Comcast bundles the (first) box with their tiers they must apply a discount from the tier price for a card rather than applying a unique fee for the card.

    Just my opinion but I don't think it's an FCC violation for Comcast to fail to charge as much as they should. I think it shows cableCards to be a systemic problem. The CSRs can't do the backend account linking properly to make the cards work, and they can't deal properly with all of the account perturbations (e.g., a customer wants a card with a programming tier that doesn't normally include a set-top box, multiple cards per device vs. multiple devices...) - it's too easy for a CSR to fail to get billing set up correctly, although in my case they've consistently underbilled (I'd be more motivated to help them get it right if they were to overbill).
     
  6. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,081
    2
    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    That is not what it says. You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

    When I first got cable in 1973 (fuzzyview in Tallahassee), they charged for each outlet. They stopped doing that at some point. I do not know if it was due to FCC regulations or some other reason. They were not charging for each outlet at the time of the digital conversion. Switching to all digital should not enable them to re-instate the per outlet charge. They pay the content providers per subscriber, not per outlet.

    The phone company used to charge for each extension and you had to use their equipment.
     
  7. pdhenry

    pdhenry Safety Pin

    17,235
    89
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    Sigh. So you're saying that Comcast is saying that the first card in every device is free? And you're saying that no other fee should apply for that?

    If you just want to stick the coax into the back of your clearQAM TV Comcast doesn't care. If you have an analog TV and want to receive channels 2-99 that you used to get with analog cable (plus a bunch of SD digital channels that your analog TV never could tune), Comcast will let you have for free up to three DTAs so you can watch ex-analog programming to your heart's content. But if you want to watch something that requires a digital set-top box from Comcast they'll charge you for that. If you want to use your device (TiVo, etc.) instead of a Comcast box they'll give you a price break compared to renting the Comcast box.

    The equivalent to free additional analog outlets is still there and it's not anything with a CableCard.
     
  8. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,081
    2
    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    ***Etremely heavy sigh*** That's exactly what I am saying. Otherwise it should read "$0 for first card, $1.10 for additional cards".

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? What we are all saying is that FCC regulations REQUIRE them to clearly state what the fee for a CableCARD is. You are the one claiming that the outlet fee is for the CableCARD. They are in fact charging you a fee for the ability to receive all of the channels in your package at more than one outlet. I have never claimed that the fee is illegal or a violation of FCC regulations. Just that is sleazy and unjustified.

    NO, IT IS NOT THE SAME. GUIDE DATA WAS AVAILABLE FOR THE ANALOG CHANNELS. IT IS STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE EX-ANALOG CHANNELS IF YOU ARE USING A DTA AND A TIVO 2. IT IS NOT AVAILABLE ON A TIVO 3 or 4 W/O A CABLE CARD.

    There, was that clear enough for you or are you going to continue to obfuscate and spin what Comcast is doing? BTW, at least here, you get 2 free DTAs, not 3. I'm quite certain you wouldn't even get those if they weren't mandated by the FCC. I suspect Comcast is considering levying a charge for them as soon as the mandate expires later this year.
     
  9. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,946
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    That's a no to both those statements.

    First off Comcast does care, which is why they asked for and got a waiver from the FCC to encrypt all channels. There is no clearQAM with Comcast anymore (read my previous post).

    Second Comcast is aggressively removing analog channels from all their systems. About 2 years ago they removed all the analog channels except for the basic tier in my area, which is about 20 channels. Last month they removed those, so there are no analog channels anymore. They've done the same in most of their major markets.

    So basically sticking a coax cable into the back of your clearQAM TV will get either snow or an error message. If not today where you are, then soon. They've completed the initial phase and they're currently 22% complete with the final phase.

    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=187093&site=lr_cable
    http://www.lightreading.com/document.asp?doc_id=216104&site=lr_cable
     
  10. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Here's the pertinent section of the FCC orders that Comcast is violating for you:

    ( 1 ) CableCARD rental fees shall be priced uniformly throughout a
    cable system
    by such provider without regard to the intended use in
    operator-supplied or consumer-owned equipment. No service fee shall be
    imposed on a subscriber for support of a subscriber-provided device
    that is not assessed on subscriber use of an operator-provided device.

    Comcast DOES NOT bill a uniform price across their footprint for each card. For example, lpwcomp's sheet says that extra cards are $1.10 in a device. My sheet says it's $1.50. And that has nothing to do with what is actually billed, the pricing itself is not uniform. Same with the customer credits - some areas get $2.50 per card, some get $2.99. Some get nothing.

    They are not complying with this pricing order, no ifs ands or buts. And it's even worse when you get down to the actual billing, which varies by area and by CSR.
     
  11. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,946
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    I'll point out that Comcast as a whole is not a cable system, they are a cable company. My cable system is maintained by Comcast of Burlington, which is a "local" entity, even though it's owned by Comcast.
     
  12. pdhenry

    pdhenry Safety Pin

    17,235
    89
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    How does the FCC define the term 'cable system'? Locally (e.g. franchise) or nationally? Seems that that's important here. I don't know the answer - but I agree that different Comcast localities have different pricing sheets.
     
  13. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,081
    2
    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    I hate to be the one to rain on your parade, but that paragraph is subject to interpretation. "cable system" may refer to the local system rather than than Comcast as a whole. However, they are inconsistent in the application of the charge even within a locality. My main points were that pdhenry's contention that the "additional outlet Fee" was for the CableCARD is bogus and that the "additional outlet fee" is unjustified.

    The last sentence of the FCC order is ... interesting. It could be argued that an "operator-provided device" is a DTA, particularly if they start encrypting everything.
     
  14. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,081
    2
    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    Further illumination:rolleyes: from the Comcast website (I have emphasized the last sentence so that pdhenry might actually :

    Notice that there is no mention of an a/o fee.

    Then there's this:

    What this says to me is that the credit only applies if you are using your own equipment in lieu of a Comcast box included in your package. IOW, you should only get this credit if you are not using the included STB. And only 1. By the same token however, even though Comcast calls it a "service", there's no way an a/o actually does meet the definition of a service.
     
  15. LegacyCX

    LegacyCX New Member

    18
    0
    Nov 6, 2004
    My Cisco RNG 100 STB has an M-Card inserted, and a cover over it that is screwed down:

    [media]http://cralt.com/rng100.jpg[/media]
     
  16. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Regardless of how we interpret the FCC rules, the bottom line is that they aren't going to do anything if people don't file complaints about this A/O nonsense. If then. I've done my part and Comcast responded to the FCC saying that they are justified because they charge the same for STBs. I never heard anything from the FCC in response, nor do I expect to.

    YMMV.
     
  17. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    1,589
    2
    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    Ultimately the solution to unreasonable rates and charges is to "vote with your feet" as they say. The cable companies will eventually pay attention if enough people just say no by canceling their service. The industry's preferred solution to that is to lobby Congress (pay people off) to kill OTA, but maybe legislators will have enough integrity and common sense to resist such a blatant effort.
     
  18. pdhenry

    pdhenry Safety Pin

    17,235
    89
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    Of course I can't back up my claims on Comcast A/O pricing because I've always gotten a COE discount on the second outlet that makes my package cheaper than not having the additional outlet.

    I think we can agree that Comcast billing is messed up, regardless of whether A/O fees are reasonable or insidious.
     
  19. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,081
    2
    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    I stand corrected. I therefore modify my statement to say that not all Comcast STBs use CableCARDs.

    Just went round and round with a CSR and her supervisor (need a card for the new TiVo). Both of them tried to tell me that the a/o fee was for the CableCARD and that the digital conversion was mandated by government. I leave to your imagination how I responded to both of those claims. At one point I got a bit of (accidental?) honesty from the supervisor when he stated it was an additional source of revenue. At this point, the supervisor is supposed to be looking at the website to see what it says and is "going to get back to me". I've yet to get a legitimate answer to the question "What additional service are you providing to justify the a/o charge?". It's my equipment and, unless I want to pay yet another fee, I am responsible for all of the inside wiring , which in my case includes all of the splits to the various wall jacks.
     
  20. ncfoster

    ncfoster Member

    168
    0
    Jan 22, 2011
    Just got off the phone with a Comcast Executive Care representative that gave me the party line. Very frustrating. FCC complaint filed, for whatever good that will do.
     

Share This Page