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Old 12-01-2006, 04:25 PM   #1
Justin Thyme
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Double charged services for Cablecard

Does your cable company charge you twice for Hi definiiton packages, digital access or other content related charges because you have two cablecards in your Tivo?

This is apparently the case for Cox customers in Virginia, and Time Warner customers in Hawaii.

Because these vendors provide a DVR that does have two tuners but is not charged twice, it seems to me that the CableCo DVR is being subsidized with favorable rates for content. According to FCC regulation an the Telecom act, subsidization of operator provided boxes is prohibited.

Does anyone know of such double charging by other companies?

Has anyone complained to the FCC and heard back from them?
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Old 12-01-2006, 04:56 PM   #2
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Comcast started out doing that, but quickly came to their senses. They now have a special "TiVo digital access" rate. The first card is included in the digital package, the second is charged at the TiVo rate of $1.50. This knocked the "Digital addl outlet" charges off my bill.

Before they did that, I was all set to start complaining loudly.

Comcast don't seem to have any specific HD rate, the digital tiers include specific HD channels.

Edit: The FCC tell you that the local Franchising authority are the people who are responsible for FCC rules as they apply to your cable company. The address of the franchising authority is printed on your bill. The franchising authority were the people I was going to complain to until Comcast came to their senses. They're only responsible for basic cable, so you need to cast your complaint as a complaint about access to basic cable.
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Old 12-01-2006, 07:03 PM   #3
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Cable companies sure are great.
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Old 12-01-2006, 09:01 PM   #4
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I can attest to this. live in Hawaii, am with OCEANIC Time Warner and this is our crazy pricing:

The CableCards are $3.10 each with no premium programming on them. To
receive the Digital Cable Service on the cards, the Duplicate Service
Fee of $8.00 would apply instead of the $3.10 card charge.
Here is a breakdown of the charges:
>CableCard:
>Duplicate Service Charge: $8.00*
>HD Entertainment Package: $6.95
>Total: $14.95 each.
>The HDTV Entertainment package is not included in the duplicate service
fee. It is charged per device.

So in Hawaii it costs $29.90 per month to use my beloved TIVO S3.

Anyone got any ideas?
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Old 12-01-2006, 09:09 PM   #5
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Wife said we got our first bill today without the cable card install she said it was 30 bucks cheaper.

No, we don't get double charged and if you are they are not suppose to. I would think TiVo would be willing to help in this matter.
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Old 12-01-2006, 10:41 PM   #6
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There are at least a half dozen people who have posted in the Time Warner cablecard thread on this. David got no response on his FCC complaint. Nothing. (Following pasted from another thread)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icarus
As you can read in the TW cablecard thread, most of us here in Hawaii end up talking to a guy named Nick when we email OTW. Nick just relays the party line .. basically that's the pricing. It's odd because their pricing is not in line with all the other TW cable companies, but not that surprising because Hawaii has always been somewhat independent. (Were you the one that posted Nicks reply?)

I filled out a form at the FCC web site, and never even got an acknowledgment that they had received my complaint. I hope the rest of us in Hawaii at least fill out that complaint form at the FCC web site. I guess if we want to take it further (and I'm willing to participate in this) we would have to take it to the local PUC.

I got my S3 the other day and connected it just using the analog cable. I just picked up a splitter, so now I have the S3 and the S1 connected in my bedroom. It's very nice. Turn it on and the you see and hear the THX logo.

cablecards will be here on the 11th. I'm going to return the cable box I used to have on this system and another one to try to at least keep my pricing the same. I guess I'm ignoring for now that the HD package would cost me yet another $6.95 per cablecard, and I don't see anything in the S3 that seems to allow different programming packages on each card. (It's possible that it's there and I'm just not seeing it yet, not sure. I think it assumes both cards get the same channels, though I seem to remember reading that the dual tuner S2 could handle channels on one input that didn't exist on the other input.)

The other side of "Nick" .. when I called to order the cablecards, I gave the CSR the S3 model number so she could look it up on their list of supported cable card devices, and she didn't know about it. I told her that Nick said it was supported, and that was good enough for her.

I enabled PMs.

-David
I wonder if that is typical FCC behavior. It would seem to me that they might write back something. Like:
Thank you for your message. Processing of FCC complaints are currently experiencing a 2 week backlog in processing. If you have not recieved email within the next 4 weeks, please resubmit your complaint with this number in the message title XXXXXXXX. For matters related to foo, click on link bar. etc etc.
I am a little baffled by the procedure:
Quote:
Originally Posted by btwyx
The FCC tell you that the local Franchising authority are the people who are responsible for FCC rules as they apply to your cable company. The address of the franchising authority is printed on your bill. The franchising authority were the people I was going to complain to until Comcast came to their senses. They're only responsible for basic cable, so you need to cast your complaint as a complaint about access to basic cable.
If their scope is basic cable then it seems to me that the venue is wrong for cablecard issues. I am confused about how I could possibly frame it as a basic cable complaint. After all, Cablecard is not basic- it is digital. Further, I can see how a local authority would be interested if the local channels aren't being carried, or the cable company is not repairing lines, etc. but I am not sure how a local authority can have jurisdiction for enforcing federal law forbidding certain anti-competition tactics when competing with third party navigation devices.

So if anyone can give us pointers to web pages/ concurs/ knows an alternate "Right" way to go about presenting a complaint on this sort of matter, well there are about a half dozen guys that would like to hear suggestions.
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Old 12-01-2006, 11:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
After all, Cablecard is not basic- it is digital.
My basic channels are digital.
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Old 12-02-2006, 01:56 AM   #8
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Quite right. I habitually associate the term "basic" with analog local channels.

Although the local franchise authority is an additional interesting place to file a complaint, my instincts tell me the feds ought to be focused on. Maybe I am off in the weeds on this, but to my mind, the pattern of attempts to lock out products employing cablecards that are trying to compete with cableco provided DVRs is not a local but Federal issue. Whether or not Cable Companies are playing fair with third party competitors is of interest to the Federal authorities. They and not the local authorities are considering complaints from the cablecos regarding whether cablecos should be required to keep to the deadline set for them in 1998 requiring cable companies use the same cablecards that third party products are forced to use.

Revolutionary in North Virginia also stated in another thread that Cox was charging digital access fees for each cable card. I have no doubt that Cox's DVR is not double charged for digital access even though it has two tuners. So it is not just a local matter.

EFF is advising the filing of complaints regarding Cablecard shenanegins at the FCC complaint site. If I am not mistaken, this is where David (Icarus) complained but recieved no response.

It seems to me the CEA would be interested in advising where to apply the correct pressure at the correct locations at the FCC and possibly elsewhere. EG. Congressional representatives sympathetic on the subject.

ooorah.
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Old 12-02-2006, 07:52 AM   #9
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Arrow They want to charge me double also.

I talked to my provider service electric cable, Sunbury PA, and they said there cost is a little under 100.00 per card. 125.00 per card to me!!! Also there will be an additional monthly service fee of 2.00 for any service I have encrypted on the second card. ( in other words 2.00 extra for HBO, 2.00 extra for cinemax, 2.00 extra for upper digital tier channels. The additional charge on the second card is hard to swallow considering the cards will be going into only one dvr. If anybody has any thoughts or suggestions, I would like to buy an S3 and transfer my S2 lifetime.
My thread about this is http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=328433
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Old 12-02-2006, 08:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
Does your cable company charge you twice for Hi definiiton packages, digital access or other content related charges because you have two cablecards in your Tivo?
I have never heard of being charged twice for packages. The digital access charge you reference above (Cox) seems outragous.

2 additional outlet fees are commonplace, but in my particular case - and I bet many others - TWC volunteered to drop the second ($2) fee when I called to ask what charges I'd be seeing. The 2nd A/O fee would disadvantage S3 vs. CableDVR.

Paying for two CableCARDs is typical, and, well, you are renting two CableCARDs. I don't see a problem with that. In fact it gives you a choice to pay for two or just one.
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Old 12-02-2006, 01:10 PM   #11
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Yep. The double charging referred to is not for hardware fees, but content and access fees on top of those hardware charges.

Certainly it is fair to charge a fair rental fee for hardware such as cablecards and STBs.

As a side note, althought it is reasonable that the Cablecos charge two rental fees for two cablecards, it is unreasonable that Cable companies took a decade to design a solution that required such multiplicative hardware for identical functionality. What if they separated out other security functions into 5 different devices not all of which are required for all devices- then would they be entitled to tip the scales so that they could charge rental fees for 5 devices? Is this permitted? Who is watching the store here? This is why the integration ban- requiring the cable companies to use the same security devices required for use of third party competitors is so important. Structurally, forcing them to eat the dog food they serve their competitors will prevent such future assymetries in service and pricing. Its a much smarter approach because there is no multiyear latency between the time that the the anticompetitive tactic is used and regulations can be constructed to respond. It has been argued that the ban is only on integration, and doesn't require the cablecos to use the same security access technology that third parties are forced to use. If true, there is a severe weakening of the structural defence against such assymetries.

But that is a different topic. Legally third party competitors are required two use two security devices, the cablecompanies are required to use them, and they are entitled to recover the hardware cost of those devices.

The question concerns whether the cablecompanies are entitled to engineer the rates for fees other than hardware rental, so that the overall cost of ownership of service provider boxes is so low that the rental cost is free. Such subsidization is not permitted by section 629 of the Telecom act.

Last edited by Justin Thyme : 12-02-2006 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 12-03-2006, 04:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTiVo
I have never heard of being charged twice for packages. The digital access charge you reference above (Cox) seems outragous.

2 additional outlet fees are commonplace, but in my particular case - and I bet many others - TWC volunteered to drop the second ($2) fee when I called to ask what charges I'd be seeing. The 2nd A/O fee would disadvantage S3 vs. CableDVR.

Paying for two CableCARDs is typical, and, well, you are renting two CableCARDs. I don't see a problem with that. In fact it gives you a choice to pay for two or just one.
Oceanic Time Warner made a change to the way they bill for services a couple of years ago. Rather than paying once for service and then paying an extra $8 or so per additional box, for the rental of the box, or other fees tied to having equipment, they switched to charging for $8 per month for something called "duplicate service". In addition, if you want the HD Programming Package, which includes things like Discovery HD, ESPN HD, TNT HD, INHD, and a few other HD channels, you have to pay $6.95 for the package in each place you receive the package. You can avoid the "duplicate service" charge by returning the box, but then all you get at that outlet is non-premium analog channels (basic/extended basic raw analog cable).

For most people, the change didn't change their net billing. Same for me at the time, until several months ago when I realized they were charging me an extra $6.95 per month for the HD Programming Package on my HD (non-DVR) digital cable box. They decided to re-interpret their billing practices for certain packages back around (I think it was) January or February of this year.

You can get rent the cablecard only for $3.10 each from OTW, but that doesn't include your "duplicate service", so if you have any premium channels, they won't get duplicated on the cablecard. You can either pay separately for them, or replace the cablecard rental fee with the $8 duplicate service fee, for each cablecard. Plus, if you want the HD Package, you have to pay $6.95 per cablecard.

Most cable companies simply charge you $2 - $3 per cablecard and duplicate the services that you're already paying for once, and don't double charge for the HD programming package.

If you have a cable company HD DVR (I have one in my living room, yeah it sucks) you don't pay for the extra duplicate service and you don't pay twice for the HD Package if you get it, even though it also has dual tuners.

So, that's the main issue. With their pricing structure, we end up paying 2 x duplicate service and 2 x HD Programming Package (and any other special packages that are billed per outlet, rather than per account) rather than just paying 1 x duplicate service and 1 x per-outlet packages like we would if we took the cable company HD DVR, though I'm sure there would be another $10 charge for the DVR fee as well, but we wouldn't expect to pay that fee since we've purchased our own S3s.

Their overall pricing model just makes us pay a lot more here anyway, since there is no model where we can just rent the cablecards for $2 - $3 per month including our so-called duplicate services.

Here's a link to OTWs digital pricing page: http://www.twchawaii.com/OceanicWebA...s/DPrices.html

Look next to "Additional Outlets" for "duplicate service". It doesn't really explain what they are doing, but Nick S, has sent many of us the same email explaining their billing practices for those of us that want 2 cablecards with our S3s.

I've adjusted to their billing practices by returning (so far) 2 digital cable boxes (including the HD non-DVR box after they started charging me an extra $6.95 for the duplicate HD package on it), and when they come to install my 2 cablecards on Dec 11, I will return 2 more digital cable boxes, leaving me with their HD DVR in the living room, and my S3 with the 2 cards in my bedroom and the other 3 TVs in the house will just get analog cable. Once that's all up and running, I'll look into swapping out their HD DVR in the living room for their normal HD box. I really don't need their DVR anymore. The only problem there is that the non-DVR box didn't have aspect control in the box, only the DVR does scaling in the box. (At least, that's the way it was last I looked into that issue.) I also replaced their cable modem with DSL, but that was for a different reason (bad service, and I was able to get DSL installed before they could come out and try to fix it), but I would also consider doing that since DSL is priced better than cable internet these days and DSL throughput has improved dramatically over the last couple of years.

At least in my case, I'm doing everything I can to reduce my cable bill, yet retain the programming packages I want (HBO, SHO, etc), so OTW is just shooting themselves in the foot when it comes to this customer. I can't stand them, but there's really not much choice here where I live. I could consider DTV or Dish, but I think Haleakala is in the way of where I need to point the dishes, and I'd need a fairly complex setup here to feed all five sets even if I can get a signal here. (Not to mention having to purchase an HD DTivo, and then worrying about DTV making them obsolete, etc.) For many people here, cable is really the only game in town. Maybe at some point the phone company will get its act together, upgrade their lines to fiber and start offering FIOS, but I don't see that happening anytime soon here.

There it is .. probably more than anybody wanted to know.

-David

Last edited by Icarus : 12-03-2006 at 05:16 AM.
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Old 12-03-2006, 07:18 AM   #13
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Shouldn't the FCC be cracking down on TiVo for pricing at $19.95/mo, multi-year commits, plus an extra $800 for the S3? Isn't TiVo the ONLY realistic alternative and therefore forcing the masses back into the grotesque arms of cable?

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Old 12-03-2006, 07:30 AM   #14
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Icarus -

I didn't read it all, but that is in part a lousy situation.

If you are paying $6.95 and $8 for dup service plus a "normal" CableDVR rental, then that is fair in regards to TiVo. If you are saying that the CableDVR is unreasonablly low priced and/or the CC is unreasonably high priced, that is not fair. The way you wrote it, it sounds like they are charing $0 for the CableDVR. Also over $2 for a CC gets pretty high.

If you are charged $6.95 per CC, then the (2 tuner) CableDVR should be $13.90 for that fee.
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Old 12-04-2006, 01:11 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTiVo
Icarus -

I didn't read it all, but that is in part a lousy situation.

If you are paying $6.95 and $8 for dup service plus a "normal" CableDVR rental, then that is fair in regards to TiVo. If you are saying that the CableDVR is unreasonablly low priced and/or the CC is unreasonably high priced, that is not fair. The way you wrote it, it sounds like they are charing $0 for the CableDVR. Also over $2 for a CC gets pretty high.

If you are charged $6.95 per CC, then the (2 tuner) CableDVR should be $13.90 for that fee.
You have to go back and read the entire thing to understand it, but here's the short story as it affects most of us with OTW:

If I had a cable company 2-tuner DVR, they would charge $8 + $6.95 and some nominal monthly charge for the DVR. In order to get equivalent programming for my 2-tuner S3 using two cablecards, they will charge us 2 x ($8 + $6.95).

That violates the spirit of the equal access provisions of the cable card rules, but OTW doesn't see it that way.

-David
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Old 12-04-2006, 01:57 PM   #16
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Researching myself for Comcast in SE Michigan

I have just converted my Comcast Motorola set top box to a dual cabl card solution in my TiVo Series 3.

My bill for services now show:
$59.44 Digital basic Pak
- includes: Basic, CablePlus, V-pak, Digital Access
$6.95 Digital Outlet
$10.00 HDTV Converter

$76.39 TOTAL (before ungodgly taxes)

They explained the Digital Outlet and Digital Access fees are standard for providing a digital signal into the household. The HDTV Converter is actually $5 each for the CableCard rentals.

Not to my liking, but would have cost me more for a dual tuner HDTV box from Motorola, direct from Comcast, with less horsepower if it were even available. Which it is not in our area.

I will see if they have a TiVo discount, as mentioned in this thread. More to follow...
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Old 12-12-2006, 12:50 PM   #17
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A few responses to these threads. There have been several ... for example:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=331125
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=330569
etc.

But this seems like a nice 'aggregate' thread so ...

First off, in regards to regulations ... all FCC regulations can be found here:
http://wireless.fcc.gov/rules.html

Part 76 deals with MVPDs and cable:
http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/w...7cfr76_05.html

Cable rate regulation is found in sections 76.901 - 76.990

CableCard (ie, Competitive Availability of Navigation Devices) regulations are found in sections 76.1200 - 76.1210

I will say I don't really see anything in there that the examples that have been given in these threads 1) violates or 2) is subject to the local franchise authority's ability to control rates.

But ... I'm not a lawyer so ... have at it.

However, I do think that changes when the integration ban comes in to play (perhaps July 1, 2007). Ie, when a cable company is renting you a DVR 'capable of accessing the basic tier' consisting of a DVR (box), CableCard(s), Service Tiers, etc ... things start to change as opposed to when they are just renting the CableCard(s). At that point regualtions start coming in to play that (IMO) would either (1) force cable company's to raise the rates of their DVRs or (2) start pricing things more equitably for S3 users. I think the later is more likely ... but ... we shall see.

In the mean time, Section 76.921 (Buy-through of other tiers prohibited) does provide a little possible wiggle room to work with ...
Quote:
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2...7cfr76.921.htm

(d) With respect to cable systems not subject to effective competition, any retiering of channels or services that is not undertaken in order to accomplish legitimate regulatory, technical, or customer service objectives and that is intended to frustrate or has the effect of frustrating compliance with paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section is prohibited.
If you were (legally) inclined you may be able to make some hay with that. I wouldn't count on it ... but ... like I said I'm no lawyer.
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:33 PM   #18
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As far as complaints go ... the FCC does have a bunch of handy dandy information ... for example:
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/complain.html
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/broadcast.html#cablecomplaint

Now, as noted in both the above (and earlier in this thread) ... rate regulation is almost always the authority of your local franchise ... not the FCC. The FCC does respond to complaints about "Equipment compatibility" ... ie if your cable company won't give you a CableCard or can't get it working. But ... not rates. How responsive your local franchise authority will be is of course going to vary from locality to locality.

One other thing ...

If you cable system has been found 'subject to effective competition' they aren't subject to any rate regulations at all. Something you may want to check in to. Cable companies have been pretty aggressivelly submitting to the FCC to be found 'subject to effective competition'. But ... it can be a little tricky digging up this info. The FCC seems to (usually) issue notices when a cable company applies ... but ... this seems to move around and be a little difficult to track (if, for example, you wanted to submit a comment on the matter). They do issue notices when a finding is reached. For example ...
http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_publi...A-06-747A1.pdf

Now ... as far as actual complaints to the FCC. You can file an 'informal complaint' pretty easily ...
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html
http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints_general.html
http://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/cib/fcc475.cfm

There's options above for electronic submission, e-mail, fax, snail-mail, telephone ... whatever tickles your fancy. When doing anything but phone ... I'd suggest using the following (at least for a basis ... expand if needed):
http://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/cib/fcc475.cfm
FCC Form 475 - General Communications Related Issues (...) for complaints related to: (...) 2) non-programming related cable

Phone can be pretty handy too ... again, the numbers are in the links above.
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Thyme
EFF is advising the filing of complaints regarding Cablecard shenanegins at the FCC complaint site. If I am not mistaken, this is where David (Icarus) complained but recieved no response.
BTW, the EFF form does NOT submit a 'complaint' to the FCC. It submits a comment to the FCC in Docket 97-80 (Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices).

You can go to the following link ... search for Proceeding 97-80 ... and see all the comments that have been submitted via the EFF link:
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/comsrch_v2.cgi

You can also go to the following web page, and submit a comment yourself:
http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/upload_v2.cgi

Note again, however, this is not a 'complaint'. The FCC isn't going to respond to comments submitted via the above as complaints. The above is for commenting when the FCC is considering a rulemaking or some other issue. For example, the FCC was taking comments (they issued a 'request for comments') on the various waivers from the integration ban that were submitted. The above link (or EFF link) is where you'd submit a comment. Obviosly you can certainly submit whatever comment you feel like ... but ... it's probably going to be most meaningfull if it pertains to the Docket and something the FCC is actually taking comments on ...
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:55 PM   #20
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How does Verizon handle this with FIOS?
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy86
How does Verizon handle this with FIOS?
$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).
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:30 PM   #22
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dt_dc

Do you have any problems with the S3 working with FIOS?
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ziggy86
Do you have any problems with the S3 working with FIOS?
Sorry, I don't have an S3.

People have reported (relatively good) success on this thread:
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=315826
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Old 12-12-2006, 03:51 PM   #24
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Has anyone had any success discussing this issue with Cox Fairfax? I have the same issue, two S3s with four cablecards.
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:26 PM   #25
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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.)
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Old 12-12-2006, 05:10 PM   #26
dt_dc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTiVo
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.
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 ...
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Old 12-12-2006, 05:21 PM   #27
HDTiVo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt_dc
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 ...
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???????
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:10 AM   #28
Justin Thyme
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dt_dc
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 ...
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?
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:36 AM   #29
Icarus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTiVo
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.)
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
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Old 12-16-2006, 08:49 AM   #30
cgould
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Styx
I have just converted my Comcast Motorola set top box to a dual cabl card solution in my TiVo Series 3.

My bill for services now show:
$59.44 Digital basic Pak
- includes: Basic, CablePlus, V-pak, Digital Access
$6.95 Digital Outlet
$10.00 HDTV Converter

$76.39 TOTAL (before ungodgly taxes)

They explained the Digital Outlet and Digital Access fees are standard for providing a digital signal into the household. The HDTV Converter is actually $5 each for the CableCard rentals.

Not to my liking, but would have cost me more for a dual tuner HDTV box from Motorola, direct from Comcast, with less horsepower if it were even available. Which it is not in our area.

I will see if they have a TiVo discount, as mentioned in this thread. More to follow...

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.
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