Comcast Cable Cards No Long Compatible with VOD on Fiber Networks

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by mjl13, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. Jun 30, 2018 #41 of 144
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. That's interesting and good to know because, AFAIK, your comment is the first one to kinda-sorta substantiate what Comcast reps told the OP of this thread. He was told that VOD on his TiVo no longer worked because his area had been "converted to fiber," although it isn't clear what they meant by that. As I've said, it doesn't appear to mean "converting homes from HFC to FTTH". That apparently didn't happen with the OP and his TiVo still works with Comcast TV, aside from the VOD app. But whatever is going on with fiber deployment in the OP's neighborhood is perhaps what's happening in yours with the "stealth fiber" laid along your back yard boundary line.

    My best guess is that what's happening in both the OP's area and in yours is a pair of developments that are happening across lots of US cable companies, including Comcast: "fiber deep" and "remote PHY". As I understand it, "fiber deep" refers to deploying more fiber in their networks, densifying the fiber network, so as to push it out closer to the end user and increase user speeds (among other benefits). The cable head-ends/nodes, where the network switches from fiber to coax, are pushed out closer to the end user and each node supports fewer end users. "Remote PHY" refers to a change in the architecture of the network itself, specifically in the way that those head-ends/nodes operate to take the pure digital signals from the fiber and convert them to analog physical radio frequency signals for the last short leg of the journey over coax. Remote PHY works with DOCSIS 3.1 and allows for faster speeds to more efficiently become available in both directions at a lower cost to the operator. Perhaps it's the switchover to this Remote PHY architecture that is making Comcast VOD incompatible with all but their IPTV-capable clients (X1 boxes and retail devices like Roku running the Xfinity Stream app).

    Now, as for the notice you got from Comcast saying that more and more channels would gradually become unavailable without a newer X1 box, that simply sounds like they're making a decision to start moving channels off of QAM TV and over to IPTV, in anticipation of an eventual QAM shutdown (when all of that QAM bandwidth in the network can be devoted to IP data traffic instead, making the network 100% IP-based). There's nothing about fiber deep/remote PHY that necessarily means Comcast has to drop QAM, and clearly they're not completely dropping it yet. So the announcement about an increasing number of channels going away from non-X1 boxes looks, to me, like a business decision to nudge more of those holdouts on pre-X1 and TiVo STBs over to IPTV STBs (X1 and Roku). And once they've gotten nearly all of those STBs switched out, that's when they can completely pull the plug on QAM TV (or perhaps they'll leave a few channels, such as "lifeline" locals, on QAM indefinitely). So it's just a question of how long the remaining STB swap-out will take to complete. I still think 2020 is a reasonable guess.

    At any rate, I think anyone in a Comcast area who's contemplating buying a new TiVo system with all-in/lifetime service at a minimum of $750 should really think twice. You may very soon no longer have access to Xfinity OnDemand as well as certain channels. And it's quite possible that your TiVo could completely stop working with Comcast TV before you've recouped your up-front investment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  2. Jun 30, 2018 #42 of 144
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Ha! OK. As for DirecTV, if AT&T follows through with the plans that their CEO has announced multiple times, they're supposed to roll out late this year a new service that's basically equivalent with their traditional satellite service, except that it will be delivered over any broadband connection and it will be priced somewhat lower than satellite. You'd get a new STB shipped to you from AT&T/DirecTV, connect it to your Comcast ethernet/wifi and then you'd have DirecTV. No need for a rooftop dish or a professional installation. Along with their own TV service, the STB will also support a range of apps from the Google Play store, including Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc. It'll support 4K HDR and use cloud DVR since it has no internal hard drive. We don't know for sure, but it's probably this box.
     
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  3. Jul 1, 2018 #43 of 144
    mschnebly

    mschnebly Well-Known Member

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    So far nothing has changed here and I sure don't know when it will but it seems like they are getting things ready for it.
     
  4. Jul 1, 2018 #44 of 144
    PSU_Sudzi

    PSU_Sudzi Well-Known Member

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    Would be really nice if they bundle this with ATT mobile device too.
     
  5. Jul 1, 2018 #45 of 144
    NashGuy

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    Yeah. Well, the CEO keeps referring to the existing DirecTV Now service, which they do bundle with mobile at a discount, as "mobile-centric". Meanwhile, he has referred to the upcoming service as "home-centric", so I suspect it will be offered in a discount bundle with AT&T home internet service. But, who knows, maybe mobile too. They're always switching around their promotions...
     
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  6. Jul 1, 2018 #46 of 144
    compnurd

    compnurd Well-Known Member

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    Considering regular directv also gets a bundle discount. I am sure the new one will as well
     
  7. Jul 1, 2018 #47 of 144
    NashGuy

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    Yeah. If they're willing to give their mobile customers $15 off of DTV Now (or get AT&T Watch TV, normally $15, for free), it would seem logical that they would let those customers instead use the $15 credit toward the cost of this upcoming "premium" OTT service. But I don't know that AT&T always operates logically, ha.

    What sort of bundle discount do they offer when you package together mobile service with DTV satellite? I'm sure there's some kind of up-front promo pricing that expires in 12-24 months (which you always get, to some degree, with DTV satellite anyhow). But is there a permanent, ongoing $X off per month the way that there is with DTV Now's $15 discount?
     
  8. Jul 1, 2018 #48 of 144
    humbb

    humbb Active Member

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  9. Jul 1, 2018 #49 of 144
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Ha. Yeah. I've been saying for awhile now to expect them to raise the starting price of DTV Now to $40 once they finally roll out their cloud DVR, which they did back in May (although it's still in beta and somewhat buggy, I think). PS Vue and YouTube TV both used to have starting prices at $35 but then they both went up to $40 awhile back. Hulu with Live TV has always started at $40. So AT&T is really just price matching the competition here. Totally predictable move. Still stinks for their customers, though.
     
  10. Jul 1, 2018 #50 of 144
    NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    yeah, but while it makes sense competitively and comparatively, i only pay about $40 for tv portion of my current cable bundle, so they've just matched traditional tv promotional rates.
     
  11. Jul 1, 2018 #51 of 144
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    The amounts that people pay for cable TV as part of a bundle with internet are sort of all over the place. We've seen countless cost comparisons on here, and I posted a very extensive one myself before using Hulu with Live TV, including their enhanced cloud DVR, ad-free on-demand, and unlimited multi-screen add-ons to make it as feature-rich as traditional cable plus DVR. As I recall, when added with the standard price of standalone Comcast internet, Hulu Live still came out a little cheaper for a single TV household (and got increasingly cheaper the more TVs you added) vs. the standard pricing for packaged internet plus "expanded basic" cable TV with HD DVR service from Comcast based on their local price sheet for my area.

    One thing that you're probably not including is the cost you paid for your TiVo hardware and service. A fair comparison has to include that. And a lot of times the rates that people say they're getting for bundling in TV is some kind of promo rate or a special that they were able to negotiate by calling in and threatening to cancel service. It may involve a contract for staying with the cable company a certain length of time. Some people don't mind doing that sort of stuff. For others, it's nicer to have the simplicity of no-contract, no-hassle regular pricing with an OTT service like DTV Now that they can add and drop whenever they like.

    Personally, I don't really care one way or the other (although I do enjoy looking at where TV is going from a business and technology perspective). For myself, I don't have a desire to return to a linear-channel cable TV bundle, whether it's from Comcast or DTV Now or whoever. I have more quality content to watch (based on my tastes -- I'm not a big sports fan), with better picture quality, at a lower overall price by relying on basic ad-free Hulu + Netflix (4K HDR) + Showtime + HBO + free OTA TV + free OTT content (YouTube, Tubi, Plex channel plug-ins, etc.) than was the case back when I had satellite or cable. I subscribed to DTV Now for a few months but only because it was the cheapest way to score a new Apple TV 4K which I was planning to buy anyhow.
     
  12. Jul 1, 2018 #52 of 144
    NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    the price is still comparable with tivo cost included, and there's no comparison to my preferences when it comes to programming + dvr + redbox. i've had hulu, netflix, and amazon prime multiple times each over the years, and for me they don't come close to what i prefer, even if it adds up to $5-$10 a month more - to each their own.
     
  13. Jul 1, 2018 #53 of 144
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, to each his own. But, for those who want to see a nitty-gritty, honest, detailed comparison of the costs of traditional linear channel pay TV (cable TV & DVR + internet) vs. streaming linear channel pay TV (Hulu with Live TV + standalone internet), see my post here and read forward for additional back-and-forth posts. Of course, this is based on pricing for Comcast in my local area. Pricing differs from one area and cable provider to another. Never mind getting into questions about which specific channels, etc. are important to your household...
     
  14. Jul 2, 2018 #54 of 144
    astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    Ok, I had a chat with Comcast Cust Svc tonight. According to "Isaac", I will still have QAM. Of course, this is just one CSR, so who knows.

    Here is the transcript, edited to remove fluff:


    astrohip 9:24:04 PM
    Hi astrohip, thank you for contacting Xfinity Chat Support. My name is Isaac.

    Isaac 9:25:35 PM
    I'm a current Comcast user, I have equipment that uses QAM (Comcast issued cablecards). I am moving into a hi-rise that is 100% fiber optic to each unit. The fiber optic connects to a Commscope MicroNode BOS-MND-1602-O, which has a coax output. I need to know if that coax output from the Commscope is std QAM coax, or IP only. In other words, will I be able to continue using Comcast issued cablecards to watch TV?

    astrohip 9:25:44 PM
    I should add, it is a Comcast fiber optic connection

    astrohip 9:26:08 PM
    I am reading your concern. please allow me a minute.

    I am sory once again for 2 minutes late to response, yes you connect your cable box.
    Isaac 9:36:32 PM

    so it's normal QAM output?
    astrohip 9:36:46 PM

    Yes.
    Isaac 9:38:09 PM
     
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  15. Jul 2, 2018 #55 of 144
    humbb

    humbb Active Member

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    I'm not familiar with that Scripture. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Jul 2, 2018 #56 of 144
    mahermusic

    mahermusic Deadlines Amuse Me

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    Huh??
     
  17. Jul 2, 2018 #57 of 144
    astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    And there was TiVo throughout the land, and all was good.
     
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  18. Jul 3, 2018 #58 of 144
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Ha! Well, hopefully that CSR knows what he's talking about and you can keep using your TiVo. But those CSRs -- not only at Comcast, anywhere really, especially chat agents -- often can't be trusted to correctly answer any sort of semi-complex technical question...
     
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  19. Jul 3, 2018 #59 of 144
    astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    I'm feeling better about my odds. I did some more research on the Commscope device, a RFoG unit, and a spec sheet clearly states:

    This standard defined a fiber-to-the-home system optimized for compatibility with hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) plant, using the same end equipment at both the home and at the headend or hub.


    Same end equipment as HFC would be QAM devices.

    Link:
    https://www.commscope.com/catalog/d...y_of_CommScope_MicroNodes_and_Legacy_NIUs.pdf
     
  20. Jul 3, 2018 #60 of 144
    DigitalDawn

    DigitalDawn Active Member

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    Keeping my fingers crossed.
     

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