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Old 01-19-2007, 09:15 PM   #1951
pl1
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Now that is ridiculous. At $24/mo, I think you have to seriously consider alternatives. Seeing that, yes, I guess I do feel somewhat fortunate.
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:37 PM   #1952
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I just wanted to close the loop on my Comcast saga. To recap, I had 2 CCs installed, each of them were only able to receive broadcast HD channels and the music channels. After doing some research and some trial and error, it turns out Comcast in my area (Southern NH) does not encrypt the local HDs or music channels. So, essentially the CCs were doing nothing. I proved this by removing the cards and using a straight coax connect. I then reran guided setup with no CCs and then a did a channel scan so it would pick up the stations above 99. It picked up the music channels and local HDs and I was able to view them without CCs inserted. So, I got the tech back today and convinced him that I had bad CCs. We got the card in slot 1 working with the 3rd CC. Slot 2 took a while and ultimately we could only get it to work by taking the card from slot 1 and putting it into slot 2 and then reconfiguring a new card in slot 1 (one that didn't work in slot 2). This makes no sense, but it worked. In the end, it took the guy about 4 hours on his 3rd trip to get things working. But, I'm live with 2 tuners in full HD color. It really shouldn't be this hard, but as long as I don't have a setback, the setup pain would be well worth it IMO.
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Old 01-19-2007, 11:26 PM   #1953
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Same here in Boston. I learned that today from a CSR. You do not need any box to get HD once you have been activated with your cable card. It appears that you can simply connect your coax to your HD TV and get all of the HD channels they offer except the premium ones. I have not specifically tested this, but this CRS insisted that this is the case.

This brings up an interesting thought. I wonder if we could hook up a split coax cable into the antenna input and do a scan as if it was OTA. Then use the OTA channels for all recordings that we can get without a cable card, possibly bypassing any cable card related problems or issues.

I might just have to give that a try.
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Old 01-19-2007, 11:39 PM   #1954
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You can receive all unencrypted channels without CableCard, but you won't have program guide data. ATSC (OTA) decoder does not work with QAM (cable) signal. For all practical purposes, you need CableCards with cable service.
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Old 01-19-2007, 11:40 PM   #1955
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Oh, Ok.
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:43 AM   #1956
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c3
You can receive all unencrypted channels without CableCard, but you won't have program guide data. ATSC (OTA) decoder does not work with QAM (cable) signal. For all practical purposes, you need CableCards with cable service.
To pl1: Exactly, you need the CableCARDs to translate the weird QAM channels like 90-101 into "normal" channels like 1 to 999. Cable companies only share the traditional channel numbers with Tribune and are free to change QAM frequencies at any time. The CableCARDs receive instructions from your cable company on how to correctly map these QAM channels onto "normal" stations that we are all familiar with. So even if you're not decrypting any content, you still need the cards for the mapping it provides.
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:26 AM   #1957
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Now that helps me to understand something else I had noticed when I first installed my S3 without any cablecards. I had tons of channels (including unscrambled premium channels) all with weird channel numbers that I was having a hard time keeping track of. I did figure out that one of the channels was HBO 304.

But, the CSR said that if I plug the coax directly into the TV, I will get HD channels. So, as a test, I'm plugging my coax directly into my Panasonic 42" Plasma and scanning all cable channels. Wrong, as I anticipated. The CSR just does not understand how the cablecard works with the TiVo. She is assuming incorrectly that it is plugged into the TV set. Also, the TiVo with no cablecard gets many more channels than the built-in TV tuner on my Panasonic.

They REALLY, REALLY need to educate their CSR's on this IMO.
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Old 01-20-2007, 02:18 PM   #1958
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The CSR was not wrong. If your TV has QAM tuner, then it can get all of the unencrypted channels as well, just like the S3 without CableCards.
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:44 PM   #1959
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pl1
Now that helps me to understand something else I had noticed when I first installed my S3 without any cablecards. I had tons of channels (including unscrambled premium channels) all with weird channel numbers that I was having a hard time keeping track of. I did figure out that one of the channels was HBO 304.

But, the CSR said that if I plug the coax directly into the TV, I will get HD channels. So, as a test, I'm plugging my coax directly into my Panasonic 42" Plasma and scanning all cable channels. Wrong, as I anticipated. The CSR just does not understand how the cablecard works with the TiVo. She is assuming incorrectly that it is plugged into the TV set. Also, the TiVo with no cablecard gets many more channels than the built-in TV tuner on my Panasonic.
I think the problem you're having is that the tuner in the Panasonic Plasma is known to be downright crappy, and i can confirm it

My S3 picks up more channels than my Panasonic Plasma does when i scanned for all the cable channels. The tuner in the S3 is simply much better than the Panasonic tuner.

And you should be able to get your free local "HD" channels straight from your wall, and they should be somewhere in the over-100 range (apparently it varies from division to division). If your HD locals don't come up in a channel scan, try manually inputting the possible channel numbers on your remote until you find the range they're in. Here's where mine are on both my Plasma and my S3 (TWC South Bay California:

104-84 KTTV-DT
104-85 KABC-DT
105-86 KCBS-DT
105-87 KCET-HD
105-88 KNBC-DT

They've been on these channels for at least 2 years, and i inputted them on my S3 and they're the same as on the TV.
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Old 01-20-2007, 03:56 PM   #1960
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Ok, thanks. I just checked each channel long enough to either hear sound or not. I did not feel like going through each of the 100 or so channel numbers it found. But that makes sense if the tuner is weak.

OK, I figured it out. I was ASS-U-MEing that it was channel number > 100. It's not. It is like 90-8, 90-10, 90-11.

So, my apologies for giving the wrong information out thanks for the correction.

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Old 01-20-2007, 04:15 PM   #1961
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Well, for my third visit, I got the combination of clueless tech plus clueless dispatchers. The contract tech didn't have a working number to call to get CableCards initialized, and his contacts were also useless, the last one basically saying, if I understood it right, "We don't support those," and I should call Customer Service to get the CableCards taken off my bill.
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:23 PM   #1962
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OMG. You must be ready to blow a gasket!
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:17 PM   #1963
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Just talked to Comcast customer service, and had a guy who was really trying hard to help, and who sent authorization signals to the CableCards, but nothing worked.

I'm really starting to wonder if Scientific Atlanta is the real culprit here, or an incompatibility between SA's cards and TiVo. Have there been verified reports of any SA cards working with a Tivo Series 3 anywhere, ever?
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Old 01-20-2007, 05:31 PM   #1964
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I received a bunch of different answers from the Comcast reps north of Boston. None of it made any sense to me at all until finally I received a new price list. What is confusing is that there are TWO charges for the cable cards. First there is a charge for the card then there is a charge for the A/O (Aditional Outlet.) Boy did I have a hard time getting through to the Comcast rep that their fee schedule says N/C for the cable card. But, I did not know there was an additional A/O charge on top of the card. I thought that was the fee we were discussing all along!

When I first called to get a price, I was told I would pay $4.45 extra for a HD box, and my first card was free and the second card was 2.50. I got billed $4.45 for the HD box PLUS 2.75 A/O for each card. So, the rep was wrong about the cable card cost, it was free, and did not mention or know about the Additional outlet fee.

My new pricing schedule goes like this:





So, that about does it for me with keeping the extra HD box. I'm returning that puppy immediately. That "should" recoup me $10 for the box and $3.51 for one A/O and as of Feb 1, it would have cost me $19 to keep the box with the cable cards. If I do this return "correctly", it should be $5 for the two cable cards. But, I doubt I'm through arguing with these people.

One mistake I made in communicating with Comcast was to request HD access as opposed to premium content. The girl kept saying I did not need a box for HD, which is correct, but I meant to say premium access. She said I should just keep the old digital box and there would be no A/O fee. But, reading the price list they included with the bill, it says an A/O charge for every outlet over and above the digital OR HD "box".

See my post a few pages back http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...&&#post4782276

You should not be paying an outlet charge at all for your TiVo. Check comcast's price schedule which is in your bill.

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Old 01-20-2007, 05:33 PM   #1965
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SA cards

Quote:
Originally Posted by dconner
Just talked to Comcast customer service, and had a guy who was really trying hard to help, and who sent authorization signals to the CableCards, but nothing worked.

I'm really starting to wonder if Scientific Atlanta is the real culprit here, or an incompatibility between SA's cards and TiVo. Have there been verified reports of any SA cards working with a Tivo Series 3 anywhere, ever?
We have many S3's working in Austin with SA cards.
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Old 01-20-2007, 06:34 PM   #1966
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cjett,

I hear you and all, but I have called three times. Unfortunately I keep getting different answers with these fees. I argued to the point of being rude, until I realized I was getting nowhere and apologized.

I received a price list last night and it is not the HD that incurs the A/O fee, it is the premium services I have. I have the NHL package, HBO, and SHO, which constitutes the premium services.

I went into Comcast this morning and returned the box in person for a savings of $13.50/month. The girl at the counter then confirmed again that I was going to have to pay an additional outlet charge, like it or not, of $3.51 starting Feb 1 and a cable card fee of $1.50 starting Mar 1.

I'm not going to press this issue any further. I was paying $5/mo for my STB and now I will be paying $5/mo for two cable cards. It's a wash.
Quote:
This is the price list effective 2/1 that came with my bill last night:

Digital Additional Outlet Service Charge (High Definition or Digital)
Charge for reception of premium service(s) or package on additional oulets (per outlet) $3.51/mo

CableCARD (additional cards, same device) New price eff 3/1/07 $1.50/mo.

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Old 01-20-2007, 07:56 PM   #1967
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Cjett,

Also, check out this comcast link regarding the A/O:

http://www.comcast.com/customers/faq/FaqDetails.ashx?ID=2651

Quote:
What is the cost for CableCARD service?

There is no additional charge for CableCARD service above what you currently pay for Digital Cable service, although additional outlet charges for programming may apply.

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Old 01-20-2007, 08:21 PM   #1968
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Fresh Comcast install

After exhausting all options for getting CableCards from my previous cable company (Alameda Power & Telecom, who have their collective heads um... in the sand), I decide that I need to move to Comcast rather that wait for AP&T to get its act together.

I call Comcast, request an in-house installer, and they can schedule an someone in about a week. The install date was yesterday. The installer, Daniel, shows up about 40 minutes into the four hour window. He needs to do some outside wiring first to sever AP&T and connect Comcast. Daniel seemed pretty sharp, and while he had not done a TiVo before, he had done other CableCard installs, and knew enough to bring three cards for a two card install.

We make a call to his dispatcher, and put in the first CableCard. The dispatcher sends an Init and a Hit but, after its expected time in the queue, the TiVo/CableCard still hasn't seen it. We then test the cable signal, and while the higher channels are OK, the lower analog channels are sort of low in level and high in noise. Daniel calls in a request for a "line guy", but he won't be available for about a half an hour.

While we wait for the "line guy", we call in the info for the cable modem account, so I can get Internet back up and running. No problems there. The "line guy" shows up, and ascends the pole with his bucket truck, doesn't find the problem there, then starts driving from pole to pole until he found something he could fix about a block away. This took about half an hour. Things are looking better in the house, now, so we call in a request for a second hit. Once this hit works its way through the queue, my first CableCard is working fine, all HD and Premium channels happy. Elapsed time to this point, maybe two, two and a half hours. Not too bad.

Now it starts getting a little dicey. The second card we tried threw a 161-1 error right away, so I told Daniel that the collective wisdom here was that 161-1 meant that that card was toast. OK, we'll try the third card, we call in this one, and wait for the hits. Nothing. The dispatcher makes a 3-way call with some higher level Comcast tech center. The tech asks for the same numbers, and says that "that card isn't entered in the back. It will never work. It shouldn't be in the field" All this take another hour and a half or so. Daniel has no way to get more cards yesterday, so he puts my install "on hold" until today. He shows up today (on time) with three fresh CableCards. The first one gets called in, and we have to wait about half an hour for the hits to work their way through the queue. The second CableCard comes alive, and I'm up and running. Not too bad, considering some of the horror stories here. Daniel was a pleasure throughout. Overall I'm happy. I'm sorry I waisted so much time hoping that our home grown solution, Alameda Power and Telecom, would do the right thing.
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:28 PM   #1969
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Pretty succinct story there. I agree with your overall assessment since you combined a new installation with the cable card installation. All and all, it seems like they went out of their way to get you up and running.

But, I will say this, to just install my cable cards (since they both worked first try) was no more than a 20 minute job at my house. I did all of the work with the TiVo menus while the technician phoned in the S/N's. It shouldn't have been THAT long of a process, But Stuff happens, I guess.
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:12 PM   #1970
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjett
I had the cable cards installed in my Series 3 last month... I knew they were over charging me as they had 1 cable card for free, and the second listed as an "outlet fee" for $4.95, but after 10 minutes of trying to explain it to the rep, I decided to forget about it, and just get the install done. Which went easily enough - I asked the installer when he arrived how long they had him allocated for the job - "2 hours", he tells me. To which I responded... "wanna get out of here early? Than do exactly what I say, and I promise you'll be out in under 30 minutes". He listened, did, and was out in 15 minutes.

So... back to my bill. The first bill came today, and what was included in the bill - a 2007 Comcast fee schedule for Philadelphia. So, I read the small print in the schedule and find this:



So, I decide to place the call... on principle alone. So, 30 minutes with the first rep--> then to supervisor 1 ----> and finally supervisor 2 - lots of hold time, and them telling me I was wrong, that "they know they're fees better than the customer" (yes, supervisor 1 told me that). I finally convinced supervisor 2 to make a few calls to someone in accounting on the details around this fee. Sure enough, she comes back and humbly apologizes for they're reps not knowing anything about this. I told her she could repay me by communicating to every rep under her and to her peers what she learned today. I have little confidence, but it's a nice thought.

Moral - Check your fee schedule that comes in your bill... and hammer them on it. Use their fee schedule to make your argument.

You should NOT be paying ANY outlet fees for the Series 3. If you are, they have you in their system as having one cablecard in one TV and the second in another TV. In Philadelphia, there is a fee schedule for our exact situation with the series 3... and it's $1.50. So, I pay programming fees + $1.50.
Here's the current rate schedule for Comcast in my area:



There's an outlet fee to cover your programming. But if you don't have any other outlet/device except your Series 3, there shouldn't be an additional fee because the fee for one outlet is already included in each of the digital packages.

The $1.50 you're quoting is the equipment charge. Comcast provides the CableCard's for your device free when your device is one of the "outlets." (And apparently soon they're going to charge $1.50 for the second CableCard in the same device instead of them both being free.)

Notice on the rate schedule I scanned, footnote 4... "Includes all digital services subscribed to on primary outlet." So if you already have your "primary outlet" used by some other device like a Comcast receiver or DVR, then you'll pay an additional outlet fee for the Series 3. What you shouldn't be paying are two outlet fees for the Series 3.

I just wanted to clarify your statement that "you shouldn't be paying any outlet fees for your Series 3" since that's not true; if the Series 3 is your only receiver, then it's true since you're already paying for one outlet as part of your digital programming package. But if you have other receivers...

Comcast could really do a better job describing the fees so it's clear exactly when they apply and what they're for. And the nitty gritty is totally missing online, so there's no way you'd know without calling them or stopping by an office for a printed price list.
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:54 PM   #1971
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Originally Posted by pl1
Now that helps me to understand something else I had noticed when I first installed my S3 without any cablecards. I had tons of channels (including unscrambled premium channels) all with weird channel numbers that I was having a hard time keeping track of. I did figure out that one of the channels was HBO 304.

But, the CSR said that if I plug the coax directly into the TV, I will get HD channels. So, as a test, I'm plugging my coax directly into my Panasonic 42" Plasma and scanning all cable channels. Wrong, as I anticipated. The CSR just does not understand how the cablecard works with the TiVo. She is assuming incorrectly that it is plugged into the TV set. Also, the TiVo with no cablecard gets many more channels than the built-in TV tuner on my Panasonic.

They REALLY, REALLY need to educate their CSR's on this IMO.
My 32" Westy actually picked up more channels than my S3. My S3 only went up to channel 125 when I did the channel scan. My TV went up into the 140's.

Considering all my HD channels were 126.1 and above (ABCHD, NBCHD, CBSHD, CWHD, ESPNHD, NESNHD, FSNHD, WGBHHD) needed cable cards anyway for my S3
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:30 AM   #1972
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My 32" Westy actually picked up more channels than my S3. My S3 only went up to channel 125 when I did the channel scan. My TV went up into the 140's.

Considering all my HD channels were 126.1 and above (ABCHD, NBCHD, CBSHD, CWHD, ESPNHD, NESNHD, FSNHD, WGBHHD) needed cable cards anyway for my S3
Plus, trying to map it out and keep track of what channel is what makes it all pretty useless. Maybe good in a pinch if the TiVo dies. My S3 did pickup some premium channels as well, without the cablecard, which I did not notice with the TV.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:35 AM   #1973
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Here's the current rate schedule for Comcast in my area:
I just wanted to clarify your statement that "you shouldn't be paying any outlet fees for your Series 3" since that's not true; if the Series 3 is your only receiver, then it's true since you're already paying for one outlet as part of your digital programming package. But if you have other receivers...
Here's the other thing. If you have HBO or some other premium service, you have to pay an A/O for each ADDITIONAL device. The S3 is in fact able to record two premium programs at the same time. It is something you could never do without two boxes. So, that is fair, charging a nominal fee for a second A/O.

Here is a copy of my latest price list pertaining to CableCARDS:
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:39 AM   #1974
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Here's the other thing. If you have HBO or some other premium service, you have to pay an A/O for each ADDITIONAL device. The S3 is in fact able to record two premium programs at the same time. It is something you could never do without two boxes. So, that is fair, charging a nominal fee for a second A/O.
Except their own current HD DVR's can record from 2 tuners and are billed as a single "additional outlet."
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:42 AM   #1975
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Ok, then that isn't playing fair. You're right then. That's screwing with the competition. I wonder if THAT is even legal. But, you said they are being billed as a single additional outlet which is the same as they are billing for the S3, no?
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:49 AM   #1976
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Ok, then that isn't playing fair. You're right then. That's screwing with the competition. I wonder if THAT is even legal. But, you said they are being billed as a single additional outlet which is the same as they are billing for the S3, no?
If it's the ONLY outlet, there should be no ADDITIONAL outlet fee since the first (primary) outlet is included with each digital programming package fee.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:51 AM   #1977
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If it's the ONLY outlet, there should be no ADDITIONAL outlet fee since the first (primary) outlet is included with each digital programming package fee.
Ok, so you are saying that Comcast does not charge any additional A/O fee for their own Dual Tuner DVR with premium content?

Although, they are getting $15/mo. for their DVR....
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:54 AM   #1978
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Ok, so you are saying that Comcast does not charge any additional A/O fee for their own Dual Tuner DVR with premium content?
If you don't have any other receivers or DVR's on your account except for the one HD DVR, there is no additional outlet fee charged.

If you have other receivers or DVR's on your account and you add an HD DVR, you are charged one additional outlet fee even though the unit can record with 2 tuners.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:57 AM   #1979
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Interesting. Thanks. I hope someone makes an issue with the authorities over this.


So, if you get a Comcast DVR, you get (effectively) three devices plus no charge for the two additional outlets it would take to match them with a competing product. They have the dual tuner and a built in STB for PPV/VOD. But if you get an STB and two cards for your TiVo, you pay for the box PLUS two additional outlets.

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Old 01-21-2007, 07:30 PM   #1980
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I just wanted to clarify your statement that "you shouldn't be paying any outlet fees for your Series 3" since that's not true; if the Series 3 is your only receiver, then it's true since you're already paying for one outlet as part of your digital programming package. But if you have other receivers...

Comcast could really do a better job describing the fees so it's clear exactly when they apply and what they're for. And the nitty gritty is totally missing online, so there's no way you'd know without calling them or stopping by an office for a printed price list.
You're absolutely right... and that is what I meant to say... just didn't type it that way. :-)

Thanks for clarifying.

So, to recap, if you have no other receivers.... you pay $1.50 for your Series 3 + your programing.

cjett

Last edited by cjett : 01-21-2007 at 08:13 PM.
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