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Old 09-05-2013, 08:19 AM   #1
prisk
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What will Comcast charge if I use a Mini?

Let me start by saying I despise Comcast and the exorbitant fees they charge for a cable box or cablecard ($9.95). I have 2 cable boxes in the house and 3 cablecards. The way they are allocated means I pay $9.95 x 3 for 2 boxes and 1 cc, plus $1.15 for a Cc installed in a 2-card Tivo S3 (to get them to acknowledge that price, which is on their website, required a complaint to the Illinois Attorney General's office, but it worked, and they even refunded 18 months worth of overbillings). But enough of my rant. Here is my question:

If I get a Roamio Plus and 3 TiVo Mini's (total of 4 TV's in the house), will I pay:

a) $0 for the boxes/CC since the first is free and there is only 1 CC in the house
b) $9.95 for a "digital outlet fee"
c) $29.85 because I have 3 devices getting signal, even though only one actually has a CC in it (assuming first one is free)
d) $39.80 because CC wants to charge for every TV in the house
e) something else, because Comcast has no idea what to charge and will make it up as they go along

Any thoughts? (and yes, I know to set this up is expensive initially, but I'd rather pay it to TiVo than Comcast).
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:48 AM   #2
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I'm afraid I would have to go for (e) based on my experience of Comcast. The good news is they won't even know you have the Minis, so all you will pay is whatever they charge you for the Plus.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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A
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:52 AM   #4
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Why would Comcast even know that you have Minis? They will charge you for the device that is hooked up to their system with a CC and nothing for Minis or PCs that you use to download stuff from your TiVo or anything else not related to them.

I don't even understand the question.

EDIT: Actually the first CC is usually included in your package, so A. I got stuck on wondering why you worried about the minis.
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:53 AM   #5
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a). The bonus of using the Mini. Though, this depends if your package includes a box. Comcast will not even know about the minis.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:29 AM   #6
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The only comment I would make to those saying "A" is that I would not put it beyond Comcast to start charging a fee based on the number of tuners activated on the cablecard.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:32 AM   #7
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Comcast does not know you have the Minis and won't charge anything for them. What you pay for that one cable-card is up in the air though. In my case I don't pay for the 1 cable-card in my house, but I do get nicked with the BS "HD outlet" charge of $8.99 for that 1st cable-card which Comcast insists it also charges if I have their cable box and the same programming package.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:32 AM   #8
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The only comment I would make to those saying "A" is that I would not put it beyond Comcast to start charging a fee based on the number of tuners activated on the cablecard.
They would be stupid to do that, because the FCC would hand them their ass.
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
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The only comment I would make to those saying "A" is that I would not put it beyond Comcast to start charging a fee based on the number of tuners activated on the cablecard.
Comcast may not the best cable co (I don't know who is) but they will not be charging for each tuner used on a cable card, or charge you for each recording made. I will say that in CT Comcast does a great job for most of its customers.
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:03 AM   #10
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They would be stupid to do that, because the FCC would hand them their ass.
What rule would they be breaking?
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Old 09-05-2013, 10:59 AM   #11
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An interesting side note: on the Tivo S3 (2 cablecards) and S4 (1 CC) I have HD, but not on the S2 (which uses a box) or the 4th TV which does not have a TiVo, just a standard cable box (no HD). They do not charge me for HD (an additional $16.99 per month) on a cablecard device.

So, although I am presuming (and hoping) for A, I lend credence to the person who states that Comcast might start charging based on the number of tuners enabled. Based on their past history, It sounds like something they'd do.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:08 AM   #12
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I had a Comcast cable box and a TiVo Premiere. I was being charged $9.95/month additional outlet, $2.95/month for CableCARD, and $9.95/month for an HD Technology fee.

I took the Comcast cable box back, upgraded to a Roamio Pro (with 4 Minis), and called Comcast to see what changed. I'm still being charged the CableCARD fee (even though their website says the first one is free; apparently they changed this about a year ago to start charging for it). I get a $2.50/month credit for my own equipment, and the $9.95/month digital outlet fee and the $9.95/month HD Tech fee were dropped.

I haven't received my first bill yet to verify this, but this is what the account representative said would occur.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:10 AM   #13
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FYI, when I called to get the CableCARD fee knocked off (after pointing it out on their website and arguing for hours), my CableCARD stopped working. They only way they could get it to work again is to charge the fee. I finally threw in the towel.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:26 AM   #14
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What rule would they be breaking?
They are required to have cable cards billed and work the same as their own provider equipment that they lease to customers. This is very easy to find, and there are huge threads about it.

So, if they wanted to charge for every tuner slot on a cable-card, they would need to make the same changes to their own mult-tuner DVR boxes.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:51 AM   #15
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So, if they wanted to charge for every tuner slot on a cable-card, they would need to make the same changes to their own mult-tuner DVR boxes.
Fair enough, but I wouldn't put that beyond them either! The problem with Comcast is the center seems to have very little control over the local management; as a result, somewhat irrespective of policy set by the center, the local management does seem to just make stuff up. See for example the many, many thread on HD technology fees, digital outlet fees etc.
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Old 09-05-2013, 12:16 PM   #16
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Well, it's not as easy as "local management" change with something this complex. It would require software on the back end that could figure out how many tuners on the CC you were using as well as updates to the billing software to account for them.

That's not a "local management" decision, that's a corporate decision and at the corporate level they are very aware of what they have to do to comply with the FCC.

Comcast, like other providers will tolerate cablecard until they can defeat it or move away from it. It's in our best interest if TiVo is able to get something like IPTV working with Comcast and others and then at that point CC is gone but perhaps they charge per "stream" you get simultaneously.

In any event, all of that is at least a few yrs away.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:20 PM   #17
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They couldn't do that even if they wanted to. CCs are one way, meaning the cable company can communicate with them but they can not communicate with the cable company. So there is no way for the CC to report how many tuners it's supporting back to the cable company, and as such no possible way for them to charge per tuner. Plus there are laws in place limiting how much they can charge for a CC rental.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:26 PM   #18
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Well, it's not as easy as "local management" change with something this complex. It would require software on the back end that could figure out how many tuners on the CC you were using as well as updates to the billing software to account for them.

That's not a "local management" decision, that's a corporate decision and at the corporate level they are very aware of what they have to do to comply with the FCC.
Comcast is littered with legacy conditional access and billing systems. And yes, these are generally under the complete control of local management. That's why there is so little consistency in billing practice across regions. The number of tuners activated is right there in the cablecard settings screen which they already have remote access to. Not saying I think they will do something, just that it wouldn't be hard.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:27 PM   #19
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FYI, when I called to get the CableCARD fee knocked off (after pointing it out on their website and arguing for hours), my CableCARD stopped working. They only way they could get it to work again is to charge the fee. I finally threw in the towel.
Well, their system is set up to charge a fee and offset by providing a credit.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:28 PM   #20
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CCs are one way
I didn't know that. I stand corrected. I could have sworn the guy who paired my cablecard to my new Roamio said he could see at his end that it had worked.

Last edited by Scooby Doo : 09-05-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:47 PM   #21
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I think in my area (Chicago) the first device is free (you get a box or CC free). Then they charge for each additional device. Where they got confused is that my first device was a TiVo S3, which has 2 cards. The first was free, the second $1.15. What they did instead was give the first box for free, then charge $9.95 for both CC's in the Tivo S3. It was a net of about $8, but on principle it sucked. They rearranged the fee structure to maximize profit When I called them on this they said, basically, that the 1st Cc free, 2nd at a discount, doesn't apply if you have other devices. Kind of like saying, "Buy a big mac, second free. Unless you get fries, then the fries are free and the Big Mac is full price." They made it up as they went along. Or it was an internal policy, but conflicted with their printed policy on their web site. Here is the link: http://customer.comcast.com/help-and...ut-cablecards/ and the actual text:

How much will I be charged to use a CableCARD?
The first CableCARD in a retail device (e.g., TiVo devices or CableCARD-equipped televisions) is provided at no additional charge to Comcast customers. If a second CableCARD is needed for the same device (e.g., TiVo Series 3 boxes), there is a nominal fee for the additional card. Check your local market pricing for this information. Again, this only applies to a second CableCARD in the same device
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Old 09-05-2013, 01:57 PM   #22
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I didn't know that. I stand corrected. I could have sworn the guy who paired my cablecard to my new Roamio said he could see at his end that it had worked.
Yeah, he's full of sh*t. They can tell that their system is setup right, and they can send hits to the card which "should" enable specific features/channels, but they get no response from the card. The only way they can tell anything about the card is to look at those special screens on your TiVo itself.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:19 PM   #23
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My $0.02, since I've recently done exactly this. I'm down to only having a single cablecard from Comcast as my only equipment from them. Yay! Doing so has made my bill drop substantially. I have a Tivo Premiere XL4 and a Mini.

The trick for me to get the CC fees to go away was to return the CC (actually two S cards) from my old TivoHD when I got the Premiere. I returned the two S cards, an old Comcast settop box from a different tv, and got an M card in return. When they removed all the old equipment and added the M card, my CC charge went away.

The explanation was that as long as I had any other Comcast set top boxes, they were somehow the primary outlet and then they would charge for the CC. I know this is contrary to even the info you find on the Comcast website.

Either way, it worked out for me and between the set top box and the two S cards, I've dropped probably $20 a month off of my Comcast bill. Nice!

Tim
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #24
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Yeah, he's full of sh*t. They can tell that their system is setup right, and they can send hits to the card which "should" enable specific features/channels, but they get no response from the card. The only way they can tell anything about the card is to look at those special screens on your TiVo itself.
I got a similar response from Verizon when I was working through some pairing issues yesterday. (I hadn't plugged the coax into the outlet.) The CSR kept insisting that everything was good on his end, so clearly they lack some feedback mechanism which is probably common across cable companies.
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Old 09-05-2013, 02:38 PM   #25
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The trick for me to get the CC fees to go away was to return the CC (actually two S cards) from my old TivoHD when I got the Premiere.
This brings up a point people with TivoHDs should consider: You can replace to S cards with a single M card in the TivoHD. I did that years ago (when I had an S card go bad) and that halfed the number of cards I needed.

Not an issue if you have a Roamio since it only has a single slot, but worth knowing if you are keeping a TivoHD active.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:20 PM   #26
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When I spoke with TiVo today and went through my current configuration, the rep on the phone said to take the M-card out of my S4, put it in to the new Roamio, and then call Comcast to have them re-pair it to the new box. Sounds simple. Avoids a truck roll. Avoids Comcast touching my device. Anyone try this? Is Comcast even capable of handling this?
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:21 PM   #27
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My $0.02, since I've recently done exactly this. I'm down to only having a single cablecard from Comcast as my only equipment from them. Yay! Doing so has made my bill drop substantially. I have a Tivo Premiere XL4 and a Mini.

The trick for me to get the CC fees to go away was to return the CC (actually two S cards) from my old TivoHD when I got the Premiere. I returned the two S cards, an old Comcast settop box from a different tv, and got an M card in return. When they removed all the old equipment and added the M card, my CC charge went away.

The explanation was that as long as I had any other Comcast set top boxes, they were somehow the primary outlet and then they would charge for the CC. I know this is contrary to even the info you find on the Comcast website.

Either way, it worked out for me and between the set top box and the two S cards, I've dropped probably $20 a month off of my Comcast bill. Nice!

Tim
Exactly what I want to do. They charge me about $31 per months for the boxes ad CC's, minus $5 for my owned equipment. Think my payback period is about 2 years. Still, I'd rather pay double to TiVo than half to Comcast.
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Old 09-05-2013, 03:47 PM   #28
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When I spoke with TiVo today and went through my current configuration, the rep on the phone said to take the M-card out of my S4, put it in to the new Roamio, and then call Comcast to have them re-pair it to the new box. Sounds simple. Avoids a truck roll. Avoids Comcast touching my device. Anyone try this? Is Comcast even capable of handling this?
Yes, I've done it several times in the past. Call Comcast's national cablecard number: 1-877-405-2298
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Old 09-05-2013, 04:00 PM   #29
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I didn't know that. I stand corrected. I could have sworn the guy who paired my cablecard to my new Roamio said he could see at his end that it had worked.
I had the same sort of experience calling Time-Warner.

I had to call Time-Warner CableCard hotline a second time because I replaced the hard drive after the first pairing call. Just making small talk with the CSR, I told him I was calling again for the same device because had I replaced the hard drive. He sounded surprised, and said something like "The Roamio is brand new and the drive failed?"

Somehow he knew the device was a Roamio, because I never said anything more specific than I had "a Tivo."
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Old 09-06-2013, 01:27 AM   #30
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When I spoke with TiVo today and went through my current configuration, the rep on the phone said to take the M-card out of my S4, put it in to the new Roamio, and then call Comcast to have them re-pair it to the new box. Sounds simple. Avoids a truck roll. Avoids Comcast touching my device. Anyone try this? Is Comcast even capable of handling this?
Did this with Charter the other day. Took like 5-6 minutes for her to get a supervisor to unpair the card (apparently grunts can't do that) but the she was able to complete the pairing to the new Roamio without issue.
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