TiVo Community
TiVo Community
TiVo Community
Go Back   TiVo Community > Main TiVo Forums > TiVo Roamio DVRs
TiVo Community
Reply
Forum Jump
 
Thread Tools Rating: Thread Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.
Old 11-15-2013, 03:17 PM   #91
jalind
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9
Formerly Free Comcast Digital-to-Analog NTSC STBs (changed circa Oct. 2012)

Regarding the formerly free small SD set top boxes that converted digital cable to analog NTSC (intended for older analog NTSC TVs) a number of thread posters have mentioned in passing . . .

These boxes and the requirement for them date back to the Congressional and FCC mandate for OTA broadcast TV to be completely converted to digital no later than June 12th 2009. The government had a program providing subsidized converter boxes from broadcast digital ATSC to analog NTSC so those with analog NTSC TVs could still still watch broadcast TV. You could get two $40 certificates per household to help pay for them in early 2009. One of these boxes cost about $50. The mandate for digital broadcast TV was a significant departure from past FCC philosophy, policy and rule-making. During the development and implementation of FM stereo and color TV, the FCC was absolutely adamant that NO current monaural FM radios or B&W TVs be made obsolescent by stereo or color broadcast. This absolutely frustrated the radio and TV manufacturers who desperately wanted technical obsolescence to force consumers to buy all new radios and TVs from them. It's the reason for the L+R main carrier and L-R sub-carrier scheme used for broadcast FM radio, and for the "color burst" scheme used to broadcast NTSC color TV.

Even with that subsidy, an enormous spike in marketplace demand for HDTVs was anticipated during mid-2009. An overwhelming majority of TVs were not (solely) reliant on OTA broadcast, but are connected to cable (plus satellite). To spread this demand out over time (hopefully several years; better for the public and the manufacturers), the FCC put rules into place to either delay or mitigate cable company conversion to digital by several years. These rules required cable companies to continue providing (at least) local broadcast channels in analog NTSC or to provide a free digital to analog NTSC conversion box if they converted these channels to digital prior to some time in Fall 2012 (don't have exact date) when it would be reviewed again. Comcast was one of cable providers that did this. That is the reason up to two of these boxes were provided free when Comcast distributed them (with a rental charge for each box beyond the first two free ones). The FCC allowed this free analog converter box requirement to expire in Fall 2012 without continuing it. Cable companies could now charge rental fees for their (formerly) "free" boxes. Comcast mailed a notice to their subscribers to this effect. It was likely trashed by many as junk advertising. I remember receiving this notice and reading it after nearly pitching it as junk mail. I knew I had one box hooked up to a small TV in a guest bedroom, but had forgotten I we had gotten two of them. Had to search the house for where I had stored it. These boxes were free ONLY because the FCC had mandated they be free. Once that mandate expired, Comcast leaped on implementing a monthly charge for them. I've little doubt all the other cable companies that had rolled out free converter boxes so they could go completely digital (before Fall 2012) did the same thing.

That's the "back story" behind the formerly "free" Comcast digital-to-analog NTSC converter boxes suddenly appearing on bills with a rental fee.

Last edited by jalind : 11-15-2013 at 03:36 PM.
jalind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2013, 03:36 PM   #92
telemark
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 600
I don't think this was mentioned yet in this thread. The reason what Comcast does is wrong, by that I mean charging more for CableCards than their own equipment, is all about the DTA's.

DTA's are/were free up to 3 during the transition period. NO Additional outlet fee, NO HD technology fee.

Even after the transition period or extras, each DTA is only about $2. How many customers can get another cable card for $2 or free? A few, but I know it's a minority.

It's even in the Digital Transition FAQ:
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and...ic-encryption/

You can get a DTAs OR CABLECARDs it says for free.

In my personal experience, Comcast will want to charge
+$10 Additional Outlet
-$2.50 Customer owned equipment fee.
and sometimes
+$10 HD technology fee
==
$17.50 or $7.50

It should be more like
+$2.50 DTA additional outlet fee
-$2.50 Customer owned equipment
==
$0 or -$2.50 or +2.50

You saved them giving you a DTA or SD box for free or cheap by having your own equipment. What about the CableCard? all of their equipment used to have a cablecard inside.

This is my own interpretation and no local Comcast agent agrees with me.
I pay
$-2.50 for 1 CableCard as the first device. When I ask for a second, the second one costs me
$10-$2.50=$7.50.
But they'll give me 2 more DTA's for free.

I don't think I'm wrong in theory though because some cities, they do it "correctly" just like this... A cablecard is about the same price as a DTA and you get a discount for using CableCards instead of Comcast boxes.
__________________
Premiere 2 tuner & SiliconDust
on Comcast-CableCard + OTA
telemark is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-15-2013, 11:09 PM   #93
jalind
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by telemark View Post
I don't think this was mentioned yet in this thread. The reason what Comcast does is wrong, by that I mean charging more for CableCards than their own equipment, is all about the DTA's.

DTA's are/were free up to 3 during the transition period. NO Additional outlet fee, NO HD technology fee.

Even after the transition period or extras, each DTA is only about $2. How many customers can get another cable card for $2 or free? A few, but I know it's a minority.

It's even in the Digital Transition FAQ:
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and...ic-encryption/

You can get a DTAs OR CABLECARDs it says for free.

In my personal experience, Comcast will want to charge
+$10 Additional Outlet
-$2.50 Customer owned equipment fee.
and sometimes
+$10 HD technology fee
==
$17.50 or $7.50

It should be more like
+$2.50 DTA additional outlet fee
-$2.50 Customer owned equipment
==
$0 or -$2.50 or +2.50

You saved them giving you a DTA or SD box for free or cheap by having your own equipment. What about the CableCard? all of their equipment used to have a cablecard inside.

This is my own interpretation and no local Comcast agent agrees with me.
I pay
$-2.50 for 1 CableCard as the first device. When I ask for a second, the second one costs me
$10-$2.50=$7.50.
But they'll give me 2 more DTA's for free.

I don't think I'm wrong in theory though because some cities, they do it "correctly" just like this... A cablecard is about the same price as a DTA and you get a discount for using CableCards instead of Comcast boxes.
Additional information and much greater clarity than Comcast has about CableCARDs is provided by the FCC in this document on the FCC's web site. It cites chapter and verse about 2011 FCC rule revisions made to make it abundantly clear to cable companies that they WOULD support CableCARDs WITHOUT punishing their customers who choose to use them with unwarranted fees or stonewalling and pigeonholing customers trying to set up and use devices that use CableCARDs. These rules are apart from the "digital transition" period(s) and their requirements do not automatically "expire" on a preset future date; the FCC's rule-making process is required to modifiy them:
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/cablecard-know-your-rights

The non-broadcast TV industry (cable, FIOS, etc.) absolutely HATES CableCARDs and wishes they would quickly die the same horrible death Purple Dinosaur hate-mongers desperately want for Barney. It impinges on their ability to effectively force subscribers to rent their STBs, and they are "linear" which means there is only one-way communication from cable company headend to the card. The card cannot communicate or respond with any signal to the cable company's headend. This is why the CableCARD user must confirm that it's been initiated and validated correctly over the phone during setup. The company tech on the other end of the phone line will not get a signal back from the card. The one-way communication means subscribers using CableCARDS cannot order any Pay-Per-View or other services through their STB. Both STB rental fees and PPV fees (and similar services) are considered very valuable revenue streams with high profit margins, especially PPV. The cable company loses the STB rental and all potential PPV (or similar) fees when a customer uses a CableCARD STB.
jalind is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2013, 09:11 AM   #94
slowbiscuit
FUBAR
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: In the ATL
Posts: 2,576
File more FCC complaints peeps, they have a new person in charge now.
slowbiscuit is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-16-2013, 09:52 AM   #95
mpnret
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by jalind View Post
The one-way communication means subscribers using CableCARDS cannot order any Pay-Per-View or other services through their STB. Both STB rental fees and PPV fees (and similar services) are considered very valuable revenue streams with high profit margins, especially PPV. The cable company loses the STB rental and all potential PPV (or similar) fees when a customer uses a CableCARD STB.
Cable cards don’t necessarily mean loss of special ordering. TIVO users order Comcast video on demand all the time.

Last edited by mpnret : 11-16-2013 at 10:28 AM.
mpnret is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2013, 10:09 AM   #96
Bigg
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Hartford- New Haven CT
Posts: 3,428
Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post
This was another part of my complaint - Comcast does not consistently bill the same amount for cards, even within the same area. It was acknowledged as an issue by Comcast to the FCC but not much has changed, obviously.
Correct. Usually different markets are different. In some markets, the HD technology fee is a programming fee, so TiVo users have to pay it. In my market, it's an equipment fee, so I don't. All I have is one TiVo Premiere on the video side.
__________________
My Place: Premiere XL4 Lifetime 3/26/13 XFinity
3 TiVo Mini's on MoCA
Formerly Win MCE 3TB Ceton4 XFinity
Parents: XFinity Motorola AnyRoom DVR
80 HR Series 2 Lifetime 4/11/04 DEAD as of 11/2010
Bigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2013, 01:00 PM   #97
Coffee
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 48
I think that is actually an FCC violation.
Coffee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-17-2013, 03:43 PM   #98
Bigg
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Hartford- New Haven CT
Posts: 3,428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
I think that is actually an FCC violation.
I wouldn't be surprised. I also wouldn't be surprised if they had some sneaky language to get them around that. They should really harmonize their pricing across all markets. It's pretty ridiculous.
__________________
My Place: Premiere XL4 Lifetime 3/26/13 XFinity
3 TiVo Mini's on MoCA
Formerly Win MCE 3TB Ceton4 XFinity
Parents: XFinity Motorola AnyRoom DVR
80 HR Series 2 Lifetime 4/11/04 DEAD as of 11/2010
Bigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2013, 07:25 AM   #99
bmgoodman
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Northern VA, USA
Posts: 918
I've reached the point where I'm going to talk to my local franchise authority. Comcast has *again* changed their story about "additional outlet" and CableCard charges. Now they're telling me I don't get the first device free. Instead, I get a $10 discount off the $19.99 HD Technology fee! Their definitions change month-to-month, they can never adequately explain their own terminology and rules, and I cannot accurately compare the cost of owning a Tivo to using their DVR box. This is UNACCEPTABLE.
bmgoodman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2013, 04:01 PM   #100
Coffee
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigg View Post
I wouldn't be surprised. I also wouldn't be surprised if they had some sneaky language to get them around that. They should really harmonize their pricing across all markets. It's pretty ridiculous.
From FCC website (fcc.gov):
Quote:
•Pay only for equipment you have. Your operator must give you a discount on any packages that include the price of a set-top box if you choose to use your own CableCARD-enabled device. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(5).
While that doesn't technically break the rules, charging more for a CableCARD than for standard devices does definitely break the spirit of the rule.
Coffee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2013, 07:46 PM   #101
Bigg
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Hartford- New Haven CT
Posts: 3,428
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
From FCC website (fcc.gov):


While that doesn't technically break the rules, charging more for a CableCARD than for standard devices does definitely break the spirit of the rule.
They call it a programming fee in some markets, which doesn't break the rules. Where it is an equipment fee, they don't charge TiVo users for it, like where I am. It sucks, and it's unfair and uncompetitive, but to be honest, I'd much rather see the FCC go after them for anti-competitive pricing on their internet plans than for CableCard devices.
__________________
My Place: Premiere XL4 Lifetime 3/26/13 XFinity
3 TiVo Mini's on MoCA
Formerly Win MCE 3TB Ceton4 XFinity
Parents: XFinity Motorola AnyRoom DVR
80 HR Series 2 Lifetime 4/11/04 DEAD as of 11/2010
Bigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2013, 01:27 PM   #102
tnorfleet
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
Posts: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by HazelW View Post
Generally, Comcast charges you about $9.95 for each outlet after the first one. They will give you a set top box OR a cable card for no charge to use on that outlet. If it is a cable card, you get a $2.50 rebate for using your own set top box. If the TiVo takes two cable cards, they charge about $1.15 for the second card.

So if you are getting the cable card for free and no charge for the outlet, consider yourself lucky and hope they don't audit your account.
Exactly. Comcast recently changed their pricing structure in my area of South Florida. Used to be a $2.50 charge for the cable card and no outlet fee - now it's $9.95 for an additional HD outlet with a $2.50 credit for "customer owned equipment." I guess they decided they could get away with charging for the outlet and crediting the equipment to generate more revenue, than just charging $2.50 for the cable card.
tnorfleet is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply
Forum Jump




Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Advertisements

TiVo Community
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
vBulletin Skins by: Relivo Media

(C) 2013 Magenium Solutions - All Rights Reserved. No information may be posted elsewhere without written permission.
TiVo® is a registered trademark of TiVo Inc. This site is not owned or operated by TiVo Inc.
All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:27 PM.
OUR NETWORK: MyOpenRouter | TechLore | SansaCommunity | RoboCommunity | MediaSmart Home | Explore3DTV | Dijit Community | DVR Playground |