Is It Legal To Own A Digital Cablebox?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by SpiritualPoet, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. SpiritualPoet

    SpiritualPoet Member

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    A few years ago the U.S. government made a law that people can own their own cable boxes (when all service was analog). Does this apply to non-HD digital cable boxes in use today? My cable operator says "no". Is that correct? Some of the channels I watch have moved from "Extended Basic" to "Digital" Tiers even though they are not in HD. I don't want to pay rent every month for a cable box. Must the cable operator allow me to buy my own box? If so, where can I get one?
     
  2. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    I have not seen any plain Jane digital cable boxes for sale.

    Any digital cable box would need a cable card to decrypt the channels which effectively makes them cost prohibitive so I am guessing they don't exist.

    Good Luck,
     
  3. SpiritualPoet

    SpiritualPoet Member

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    I see. Thanks. If anyone knows something to the contrary, please post to this thread and I'll get the update via E-mail. The Govt. made a wise decision but then technology advanced negating the benefit. Oh, well. I look for the day when consumers can own their own cablecards. The cable operators make enough money as it is without the added $4 monthly fee for the card(s).
     
  4. petew

    petew Active Member

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    The cable card mandate was intended to faciliate the ability for consumers to own their own cable box. However it has failed miserably. So to answer your question: Yes it is legal to own a digital cable box. But there's no legal requirement for anyone to sell you one.
     
  5. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Cable boxes are unnecessary if your TV has a cablecard slot built-in. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers incorporate cablecard slots into their sets these days. The whole idea behind cablecard was to free the customer from being shackled to a cable provider's hardware.
     
  6. sddave

    sddave New Member

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    With the advent of Switched Digital Video. The cablecard by itself cannot tune all digital channels. I have two TV's with cablecards, they can only tune to the local HD channels and about 10% of the other digital channels.
     
  7. SpiritualPoet

    SpiritualPoet Member

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    I would like to know where to purchase a digital cable box. Does anyone know where I can obtain one? It's worth trying because I'm only trying to get two channels in that aren't part of my "Extended Basic" lineup.
     
  8. SpiritualPoet

    SpiritualPoet Member

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    Of course if I buy such a box, I don't want to have to rent cablecards from the cable office because doing so defeats the savings of having the box that I would own.
     
  9. BobCamp1

    BobCamp1 Well-Known Member

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    You're going to be disappointed then.
     
  10. That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

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    Pardon me for asking, but even if somebody owns a cable box, doesn't it have to be synchronized somehow to the cable system's servers? There has to be some way at "their end" for the company to know which channels you can receive and which ones you can't.

    (If what you are really looking for is a box that can get channels without paying for them, I am fairly certain this is illegal. How much extra per month would it cost you to get the two channels in question? For all we know, the "two channels" you want are InDemand and HBO...)
     
  11. caddyroger

    caddyroger New Member

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    Do not buy a motorola or sa box if you have comcast. They are stolen and comcast will not activate them. Motorola and sa boxes are not sold to the public. They are only sold to cable company's except in canada.
     
  12. petew

    petew Active Member

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    The fee the cable company charges for the Digital Tier comprises of two components. Rental of the cable box and a charge for the programming in the tier. If you have your own cable box you only save on the cable box rental fee, you still need to pay the programming fee. My local cable co gives the first cable box for free so there's no saving if you don't have it.

    Exactly. Most cable co's scramble all but the rebroadcast of OTA channels so a cable card is required to be able to view the scrambled channels even if you have your own cable box or QAM tuner.

    Even if the OP is lucky and the two channels they want are broadcast in the clear cable companies regulary change broadcast frequencies and without the cable card you won't get the virtual to physical channel mapping. So every time the cable co remaps frqeuencies you'll need to find the new frequency. I experimented with WMC for a while but gave up because the channel mappings kept changing.
     
  13. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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  14. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

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  15. SpiritualPoet

    SpiritualPoet Member

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    I am not trying to circumvent paying for any cable channels. The two channels that have moved to the digital tier are: TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and AMC (American Movie Classics). I already pay monthly to receive these channels which are still listed as part of the "Extended Basic" Tier, albeit those two channels are digital channels. I was under the impression that cable cards were for High Definition signals and perhaps pay-per-view or Video On Demand channels/programs only.
     
  16. wtkflhn

    wtkflhn Member

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    Be careful what you wish for. I live in New Orleans, La area. When HD came out in 2003, Cox cable (in this market only, as far as I Know), decided not to rent cable boxes. You had to BUY your own box, a Motorola. You didn't buy it directly from Cox, but from dealers they set up. Not many people did this and so almost no one had HD from Cox. So, I plunked down my $600 and got my box. I had to pay a digital connection fee which was about $9 a month. This worked fine for several years. But then, 1 day, we had a power serge and the graphics card went out. That means no program guide and no timers or any graphics. I can't find anyone from Motorola on down, to fix it. So, I still have a box, but half of it doesn't work.

    I ended up renting a box from Cox. I had this box about 6 years, so I guess with the money it saved from box rental fees, I came out close to even. But I think in the long run, your better off just paying the piper, and renting his box. For there's no tech support for your own cable box. And even if you got one, unless it's authorized by the cable co, it's a brick. It won't even get the analog chanels.

    Don H
     
  17. dgh

    dgh New Member

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    Probably all the old analog junk on cable will go away eventually though some cable companies are taking it very slowly.
     
  18. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    It doesn't defeat the saving, because the cost of a cablecard is MUCH less than the cost of a cable box.

    Plus, you MIGHT be able to buy a cablecard off of eBay and use that -- if they truly are non-premium channels.
     
  19. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

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    Crawfordsvil...
    As you have discovered, the answer is no. Cablecards have two functions. They unscramble digital signals and they map those signals to adverstised channel numbers.

    All HD signals are digital, but not all digital signals are HD. There are SD digital channels.

    All local OTA channels should be broadcast on the cable in the clear and you could watch them without a cablecard. However, the channel mapping may not agree with the published channel numbers. Most cable companies scramble their expanded basic channels and therefore you would need a cablecard to unscramble them.
     
  20. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

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    Crawfordsvil...
    @SpiritualPoet, probably not. Any cablecard would have to match the system being used in your headend. Possibly Motorola or Scientific Atlanta. I believe their is a third manufactuer, but I don't remember what it is.

    I have read one report here that says that an unauthorized card may do the channel mapping, but it would not unscramble the scrambled channels. Therefore, it would properly map the in the clear channels to the published channel numbers, but does nothing for you allowing you to watch the channels you really are trying to watch.

    It is unlikely you would get the cable company to authorize eBay cablecards and they certainly would charge you a fee.
     

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