Is Buying A TiVo A Safe Purchase With The Cable Card FCC Mandate Gone?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Elvite, Nov 6, 2020.

  1. Nov 6, 2020 #1 of 49
    Elvite

    Elvite Member

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    I currently three TiVo products in my house, (Roamio Pro, Premiere Series 4, and Mini) and have owned other models since 2000. Now that the cable companies’ FCC mandate to provide and support cable cards has been removed (here is one of a few articles) it would appear that buying a new TiVo would be foolish for anyone who is a cable subscriber.

    A couple weeks ago, I called my cable company (Spectrum) to drop a my landline service and increase my internet speed. As we were going over the available service tiers, I discovered that Spectrum has me in what they now call a “legacy” tier, which is the only tier that supports cable cards. All of the current tiers available DO NOT have cable card support.

    The way I found this out was that my customer service guy was all ready to change my tier for me (to “save” me money) and casually asked how many cables boxes I wanted as I currently didn’t have any. I said “I don’t use cable boxes because I have three TiVos”. He told me that the new tiers wouldn’t work with TiVos because cable cards are no longer supported in anything but their legacy tier for old customers.

    He also said that new customers cannot get cable cards and that they no longer stock them. If I have any service issues related to my cables cards, Spectrum will no longer do anything about it, nor are their techs trained to. Eventually, (and especially if I ever moved), my cable cards will not work.

    There was no word on when or if Spectrum’s legacy tier will be gone, but it’s caused me to not consider buying a new TiVo in the future as it seems like it is now based on obsolete tech if you want to watch cable. Unfortunate, but I was curious if anyone knows what TiVo might be doing to try to keep us in their ecosystem. Is there anything TiVo is or can do short of fighting the FCC over this? Seems like the writing is on the wall.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2020
  2. Nov 6, 2020 #2 of 49
    dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Well-Known Member

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    I really gotta get my Roamio Pro on ebay, quick.

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  3. Nov 6, 2020 #3 of 49
    Elvite

    Elvite Member

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    I should also say that if I bought a new TiVo, the customer support tech said that he couldn’t promise me that I would be able to have my existing cable card transferred and activated in the new TiVo. It would appear that I would be taking a big risk even buying a new TiVo in that there’s a good chance it won’t work.
     
  4. Nov 6, 2020 #4 of 49
    jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Well, if you only care about being able to DVR locals, you could get an OTA TiVo and an HD antenna (assuming you are in reach of the local HD signals.....)
     
  5. Nov 6, 2020 #5 of 49
    dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Well-Known Member

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    It's a shame Tivo stopped focusing on boxes that do both. Roamio pro's, most bolts and all cable edges. No path to usefulness when the cable card Era is over. Roamio basic, some bolts and Premier and older can still go OTA.

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  6. Nov 6, 2020 #6 of 49
    NorthAlabama

    NorthAlabama tabasco rules

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    comcast just gladly signed me up for two years with my cable card as the primary and only equipment, so i'm predicting no issues with them in the short-term.
     
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  7. Nov 6, 2020 #7 of 49
    trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    Well no one can speak for your cable co/area other than you. But I would not take one CSR's word for it. MY experience is that CSRs and techs often don't know what they are talking about when it comes to cablecard and Tivo.

    Also what is in the "legacy" tier compared to these other tiers.



    On the other hand I think even before the disappearance of the cablecard mandate, buying a new Tivo was a hard sell these days. I sold off my Tivo equipment on EBay early this year and moved on. I was already watching most of my tv via streaming services like Netflix with Tivo mostly only doing sports for me.

    And I mean hard sell in that you can buy an ok 55"TCL tv for $220ish with a Roku built in and get Netflix and Prime and Disney+ etc and get various cable over the internet services, ...the idea of buying a cable Tivo with lifetime that approaches a $1000 starts to feel a bit crazy sorta speak. Even a very nice, pretty much top of the line LG OLED 55" tv is $1300 at Costco these days with all you need to watch tv on-demand built in. ... But I digress.
     
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  8. Nov 6, 2020 #8 of 49
    Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    Doesn't seem like they're reacting to this at all, unless we consider that under the latest owners TiVo already prepared in advance by moving to a pure streaming play, the Stream 4K.

    I'm keeping a Roamio Pro and v2 Minis going, while also experimenting with hybrid setup from others that includes OTA and CableCARDs (using HD HomeRun tuners, live and recorded by Channels DVR). I've also played with a CableCARD replacement solution currently in beta: TVE ("TV Everywhere" with Channels DVR: see Channels — TV Everywhere ...I have Xfinity, but here's the Spectrum support thread ...this is very much in still beta).

    If it weren't for two or three news/talk channels, we would have dropped cable long ago.
     
  9. Nov 6, 2020 #9 of 49
    powrcow

    powrcow Active Member

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    Do the math.

    For a Cox DVR for me, it's $20/month for DVR service and $10/month per receiver, so $40/month for two TVs with DVR service. A new TiVo Edge with Lifetime is $950. Add a Mini Lux for $200 and the two-room TiVo cost is $1150. The break-even point where owning a TiVo is cheaper than continually renting Cox DVR is 1150/40 = 28.75 months.

    So for me, the total cost is cheaper if I own it for more than ~2.5 years. None of us know when Spectrum/Cox/Comcast will drop CableCard support entirely, so that's the gamble you take when committing to a new TiVo. You can "hedge" your bet by buying a used TiVo that can do both cable and OTA. That will also drop the TiVo price a bit and move the break-even point in TiVo's favor.

    Also note that many cable operators' boxes use CableCards but the CSRs don't know that or make that distinction. Cable companies need to phase out all of their CableCard dependent technology before they can drop standalone CableCard support.
     
  10. powrcow

    powrcow Active Member

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    But the argument against TiVo is that ALL of cable TV is expensive so just pick the streaming service that gives you the channels/shows you watch and be done with it. That's also hard and can quickly equal the cost of cable TV.
     
  11. dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Well-Known Member

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    Eh. Iptv costs have gone up. By the time you add a service to the cost of internet, you're already at the cost of cable or more.

    There really is no cut and dry answer. Regardless of the people that wrongfully think their viewing habits are what the habits of everyone else should be, they're just not. So what makes sense for one might not make sense for another. It really gets tiring having others tell you how you should enjoy your TV viewing.

    The easiest way to say no, it's not worth it, is if you have a friend or family member who's cable credentials you can use. Go the Channels dvr route with TV everywhere and augment with an antenna/hdhomerun if you like or even Locrap. Trial is free, and it's $80/yr after. Buy your buddy or family member a case of beer, bottle of wine or a nice filet from Costco. See if that does the trick.

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    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020
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  12. ManeJon

    ManeJon Active Member

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    I am a Spectrum customer with TIVO. I certainly imagine these days, since they don't have to they may refuse to support new customers. However, over the last 2 months I have had 2 Tivo boxes fail - my original and a replacement. They on the phone and came out to get the first box working. Eventually, they told me that if a new card and new tuning adapter didn't fix my problem I would have to pay for service call.
    The new cable card and tuning adapter fixed that problem. 3 weeks later the "new" Tivo Bolt died and they sent me a replacement - the support person on the phone got my cable card paired with this BOLT in a few minutes - she seemed to know what she was doing.
    I was told they don't put Cable Cards on trucks and would have to get if needed.
    Who knows what they will say next week. I have found always confusion with Spectrum and cable cards but keep trying and get the right person. It really is getting to be not worth it. Unfortunately, where I live Spectrum only has 2 tuner boxes and no whole home so why bother. Maybe the cloud DVR will get here soon.
    No great solution.
     
  13. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    That's not very long at all. Heck, I suspect most people rent their cable modems too, even though buying your own easily pays for itself within a year, usually less.

    Edit: fixed typo I noticed after someone liked this post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2020
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  14. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    My bolt can do both I think. But it wouldn’t matter as I would pick up locals with a switch to something like youtubetv
     
  15. dbpaddler

    dbpaddler Well-Known Member

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    Yeah. A few Bolts models did. If you can use someone else's cable credentials, definitely check out Channels DVR with TV_Everywhere.

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  16. powrcow

    powrcow Active Member

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    There has to be a better path than effectively stealing cable.
     
  17. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

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    Well, there are legit ways of doing this ie if a family member does YouTube tv for example I think you can have 5 or 6 family members on the same account.
     
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  18. LarryAtHome

    LarryAtHome Active Member

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    With ATSC 3.0 just starting up, OTA on a TiVo may end also.....
     
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  19. Pokemon_Dad

    Pokemon_Dad Ruler of Unown UI

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    When any station finally officially switches, they have to also broadcast in ATSC 1.0 for five years. Seems to me we have just as much time on legacy CableCARDs too, since we're also on that topic. So no need for immediate worry, but this does make a lifetime TiVo seem barely worth it at this point.
     
  20. tommiet

    tommiet Active Member

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    [QUOTE="ManeJon, post: 12174699, Unfortunately, where I live Spectrum only has 2 tuner boxes and no whole home so why bother. Maybe the cloud DVR will get here soon. No great solution.[/QUOTE]

    I also live in an area where Spectrum only has an OLD 2 tuner box. BUT, a couple of weeks ago, when I was going to drop my TV service (due to another price increase,) Spectrum offered me a streaming package option with a cloud DVR. It seems the only way you can get this option is asking to cancel service. I ended up keeping my cable TV service with a $20.00 discount AND they raised my internet service download speed from 200Mbps to 500Mbps. Upload fromm 20Mbps to 80Mbps. The DVR service was $5.00 a month. Streaming was $15.00-$49.00. Customers cannot get the streaming/DVR options unless you have their Internet service.

    Spectrum knows the home DVR is coming to an end and they are not spending money on new products. Overall, my Spectrum service is fine..

    When my TiVo yearly service ends in June 2021, I'm going to try Spectrum's cloud/dvr service. I can try the steaming service @ anytime as Spectrum allows current customers to use it anytime. Might try the DVR service late 1st quarter.

    TiVo's DRV days are numbered. No way would I buy a TiVo product that needs a cable card and too many free options for OTA recording.

    The wife owns the remote in my house... I just pay the bill. She will make the call.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2020

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