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Purchase Own Cablecard?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Raoul99, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. Raoul99

    Raoul99 A/V Addict

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    Sep 27, 2006
    Central Mass.
    I'm on Comcast in Central Mass. and I'm thinking about buying a couple of cablecards...

    Those of you who have bought your own, have you had any troubles getting the cable company to pair them for you? Do they give you any grief,or do they insist that you have to use their cards?

    Any info would be great...
     
  2. BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Active Member

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    Mar 21, 2004
    You definitely have to use their cablecards to receive their encrypted channels (which is most or all of them).

    There are cablecards on ebay but the actual usable market for them is incredibly small. They won't activate a blank card. Some people have had some luck using those cards to receive unencypted local channels on some providers, but they will not activate and pair it for you.
     
  3. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    I don't know of any provider that will allow you to activate a cablecard you're not renting from them. While the FCC has ruled that you can own your own equipment to receive TV channels from a digital cable provider, that right does not necesarily extend to the ownership of cablecards. Chances are, any cablecards you find on ebay were likely pulled from a cableco set top box or it was used in a cablecard device and never turned back in to the provider when the account was closed.
     
  4. jrtroo

    jrtroo User

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    Feb 4, 2008
    So, any free market cablecard is likely stolen property of some cable company.
     
  5. modnar

    modnar Active Member

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    Oct 15, 2000
    Arkansas, USA
    Some cable companies will sell you their own CableCard. For example, my local cable provider will not rent you a card; you have to purchase it for $70.
     
  6. Raoul99

    Raoul99 A/V Addict

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    Sep 27, 2006
    Central Mass.
    So...I'm guessin' it's not a great idea, huh?

    Thanks for the info, guys...
     
  7. unitron

    unitron Active Member

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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    In many cases, as I understand it, the card has to be the right brand to be compatible with that particular cable company's head end equipment.

    That's the nice thing about standards, there are so many of them.
     
  8. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    That's actually not a bad deal, depending on your provider. Considering that cablecos charge anywhere from about $2-10 per card, it would pay for itself in the long run. I'd be curious to know if they have a decent warranty on the cards.

    AFAIK, cablecards are made only by Motorola or Scientific Atlanta. It's possible that they come in different flavors, and I suspect the cards are specific to the head end equipment as unitron stated. I would assume that the actual set top boxes are probably interchangeable, same as a Tivo or other cablecard device.
     
  9. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Nevada
    I agree. I wonder if you could get a warranty through Square Trade or something?
     
  10. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

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    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    The purpose of a CableCARD is to decrypt the proprietary protection used by the cable company on their wire (Motorola's MediaCipher or Cisco's PowerKEY) and re-encrypt it with a standard protection scheme (DFAST) for output to the host device. The cards are specific to the brand of network they're being used on.

    You could conceivably use any Cisco CableCARD on any Cisco cable system but the cable company could refuse to pair any CableCARD which isn't leased from them.
     
  11. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    37,501
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    Apr 17, 2000
    Nevada
    But as long as the brand is correct it will still download the channel map and allow TiVo to tune any clear QAM channels. That's mainly why people buy them on eBay. To trick their TiVos into working with clear QAM.

    Unfortunately clear QAM is on it's way out. These days most systems only leave the locals unencrypted. And in some places they're even allowed to encrypt those if they meet certain conditions. (I think the system has to be 100% digital with no option to receive the locals as analog)
     
  12. jgametest

    jgametest New Member

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    Oct 30, 2013
    Polk County - Brighthouse Networks (tri-county) -- TampaBay

    Cisco Cable Card $2.95 per month
    tuning Adapter FREE

    Mind you, if you acquire one from them and they forgot the TA you need to ask for it.. But they should remember to bring one.
     
  13. Raoul99

    Raoul99 A/V Addict

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    Sep 27, 2006
    Central Mass.
    The vast majority of the ones I've seen on Ebay look the same (Motorola) as the ones that I have now. For $10~$15, I might give one a shot and see if Comcast will pair it...
     
  14. lessd

    lessd Active Member

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    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    Save your money, as Comcast in CT will not pair any card that is not in their system.
     
  15. jrtroo

    jrtroo User

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    Feb 4, 2008
    Comcast gets their $ from their Digital Outlet fee, I get credits for my cablecards.
     
  16. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Ellicott...
    Your best bet would be to contact your provider and ask them if you can use your own cablecard and, if so, what kind should you get. You'll probably have to speak with someone in tech support for the right answer because chances are most CSRs won't have a clue.
     
  17. Scyber

    Scyber Former ReplayTV User

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    Apr 25, 2002
    http://xkcd.com/927/
     
  18. Raoul99

    Raoul99 A/V Addict

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    Sep 27, 2006
    Central Mass.
    Yeah...you guys are probably right...I'll probably just stick with what I have. I have 3 cablecards, all on the same outlet, so I really have nothing to complain about...
     

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