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Charter has been very clear (in other venues) that they are going to move to high-split for improved HSI upload speeds. And this will mean the end of CableCARD viability in locations that move to high-split (which Charter themselves has stated will actually take years to accomplish across their entire footprint; whether Charter chooses to end support for CableCARDs in advance in locations that are not yet ready to upgrade is unknown). The problem is that while those that understand the underlying technology will be able to understand what the words "high split" would mean, 99+% of Charter customer base have no clue about the underlying technologies that are involved, nor the details, nor the approaches Charter has chosen. And there is no way to educate those customers sufficiently to the point that anything other than vague "future service upgrades" are going to be helpful.
Exactly. Look at what Alaska's largest cable operator, GCI, is doing right now. And keep in mind that GCI is essentially a sibling of Charter, because they're majority owned by the same group that is Charter's largest shareholder (i.e. John Malone). In their largest market, Anchorage, GCI shut down QAM cable TV service at the end of April, forcing any customers still on that platform to migrate to their newer IPTV platform, Yukon TV (or drop GCI-provided TV service completely). Once QAM TV is shut down, a TiVo DVR (or any other CableCARD device) can no longer be used with that TV provider. GCI's QAM shutdown was done to allow the company to begin high-split upgrades to their DOCSIS network in Anchorage this summer. Their plan is to do this in all of their markets across the state between now and 2025, at which point they'll circle back to Anchorage and begin upgrading the DOCSIS network from version 3.1 to 4.0, which will allow even faster download and upload speeds.

Combine that with the fact that Charter just this spring invested a large sum to buy half of Comcast's Flex streaming video platform so that they could use it to provide 4K streaming devices to their own broadband customers starting in 2023. This tells me that, at least in some markets, we're going to see Charter shut down QAM cable TV and implement high-split DOCSIS in 2023. At that point, Spectrum TV will only be available in those markets via streaming (IPTV and/or OTT). And they'll use Flex streaming boxes/sticks as their preferred solution for those customers to access not just their own Spectrum TV app but also other video apps which can be downloaded and billed for through the Comcast/Charter app store (e.g. HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, Peacock, etc.).

My understanding is that Charter WorldBox set-top boxes (like Comcast X1 boxes) are hybrid IPTV/QAM devices, so they could theoretically still access Spectrum TV service even in areas where QAM TV has been shut down. But, of course, CableCARD devices like TiVo will not be able to make that leap.

So the bottom line here is that you should not expect your TiVo DVR to work with Spectrum TV by the end of 2023. Depending on where you live, it's certainly possible that it will continue to work with Spectrum TV, because (just as with GCI), it will take Spectrum some time to work their away around their entire footprint doing high-split upgrades. So you might get lucky and be one of the last ones to see Charter shut down your local QAM cable TV service in maybe 2025 or 2026. But there's no question that it's coming.
 

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The main thing I'm trying to get from Charter is trying to find out the when, so I can plan to be off of them by the time they drop CableCard support. By the end of 2023 could be Jan 1 or Dec 31, so I'd like to get things in order. With AT&T fiber now in my area for 500/500 pricing at the same price as 400/20 Charter service, dropping CableCards makes that a quicker decision to move.
I said 2023, but actually, back in Jan., Charter's CEO stated that "2022 will increase the number of projects to deploy high splits in our service areas" in order to be able to offer symmetrical gigabit speeds on DOCSIS 3.1. I don't know if/where high-split has been done yet by Charter. I certainly have not read of any specific areas where Charter QAM TV has been shut down and, AFAIK, shutting down QAM TV is a prerequisite for high-split. IDK, maybe that isn't true? Maybe GCI (and others) have found it optimal to shut down QAM TV prior to high-split upgrades but Charter thinks otherwise? But I don't think that's true; unless and until that's proven to be the case, my working assumption is that before Charter implements high split in any large geographic area, that upgrade will be immediately preceded by QAM TV shutdown there.

Here's the article I quote from above:

Now, it's noteworthy that that article was published 1/28/22. And then Charter announced their Flex streaming platform joint venture with Comcast three months later on 4/27/22:


So it's possible that Charter decided in late winter "Y'know, before we shut down QAM TV in places that will impact a meaningful number of customers, maybe we should wait until we have a next-gen streaming device capable of running our Spectrum TV app (and all popular third-party apps) that we can hand them." And based on the reports from late April, it doesn't sound like Charter is going to be handing out those JV-produced Flex-based streaming devices to their customers until early 2023.

So if I had to guess, I'd say we may only see Charter play around with high-split upgrades in small area tests this year, getting their operational plans perfected so that they're ready to go guns blazing as soon as they have a supply of those new 4K HDR streaming devices ready to hand out like candy to existing and new customers.
 

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Since there's no Tivo product that covers ATSC 3.0 yet (or ever), over-the-air support on anything without an ATSC 3.0 tuner is likely to be another line on the horizon that causes the current equipment to be semi-to-completely useless.
I have followed the development of ATSC 3.0 for years now and have gone from being a "hoper" to a "noper" on it. I doubt that it will ever succeed in being adopted widely enough by consumers to allow it to fully supplant ATSC 1.0. And even if that DID happen, based on what I understand about the length of consumer TV upgrade cycles, I can't see the ATSC 3.0 viewing audience being big enough, and the ATSC 1.0 viewing audience small enough to allow for the full shutdown of any major network affiliates on 1.0 to happen until at least 2030.

I say all this to tell you that while you may find it worthwhile to invest in an ATSC 3.0 OTA DVR, I don't think you have to worry about existing TiVo (ATSC 1.0) OTA DVRs becoming useless (because they're no longer able to receive local ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and PBS stations) for many years to come, if ever.
 

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At this point, if my Tivos aren't won't work for Charter any longer, I'll not likely need all of the Edge units I currently have. That would probably be the kick to start working on rolling my own solution as a parallel path for future migration, with anything I'd get would likely have a ATSC 3.0 tuner on-board.
If you're a OTA and/or tech hobbyist, or you just really like the idea of being able to record and store TV on your own hard drives, then it might be worthwhile for you to invest in ATSC 3.0 OTA DVRs. But as I've said before, I don't really see 3.0 taking off. We're seeing little-to-zero signs that the major broadcast networks owned by global media powerhouses (Disney, Comcast/NBCU, Paramount) have any interest in supporting 3.0 with, for instance, 4K HDR primetime content (or even 1080p HDR content). Meanwhile, CBS is already putting some of their primetime shows next-day on Paramount+ in 4K HDR. I see all kinds of reasons to believe that these big media companies see the successor to ATSC 1.0 and the existing national network + local affiliate system to be, not ATSC 3.0, but rather their own direct-to-consumer subscription and free ad-supported apps. My guess is that OTA TV will largely cease to exist by the mid-30s. We'll just stream everything, both national and local content, through one app or another, either paid or free.

CableCards getting phased out across the main cable companies isn't likely a long-term help for Tivo in any way, as I imagine Comcast is going down the same path as Spectrum is in some parallel path.
Comcast is the only major cableco to say that they're doing mid-split rather than high-split upgrades to DOCSIS 3.1 in the next couple years as an interim solution before then rolling out full-duplex DOCSIS 4.0. (Charter and others plan to do high-split and then extended-spectrum D4.0.) My understanding is that it's more feasible to retain QAM TV with mid-split than high-split, so it's certainly possible that Comcast doesn't kill QAM until they begin doing D4.0 upgrades in initial markets in 2025 or 2026.

As for TiVo, they know they're powerless to stop any of this. They know CableCARD is dead. When the FCC pulled the plug on requiring TV operators to support it a year or two ago, that was the obituary. TiVo's future (such as it is) is in offer hardware/software platforms for pay TV operators who license their solutions and, they now hope, in creating a smart TV app platform, although I think they're offering way too little, too late to be a viable competitor in that market against the likes of Google, Roku, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, LG, Comcast/Charter, Vizio, etc.

I think it's possible that around 2027, both Comcast and Charter just stop selling cable TV as we've known it and instead just offer to sell their broadband customers whatever combination of app-based third-party services they want. I suspect that by that point, those apps owned by traditional media companies will have seen their streaming services fully cannibalize all the content on their linear cable channels and probably even offer live stream of their most popular linear channels in the app itself. Imagine, for instance, if HBO Max (or whatever it's called by then) offer live streams of CNN, TBS, TNT, HBO, Cartoon, HGTV, Food, Discovery, TLC, etc. right inside the app, along with all their new and old content on-demand, along with all the other stuff they offer that's not on any linear channel (e.g. Max Originals). You could get all your live news and sports that Warner Bros. Discovery offers right in that app. And it would be a similar situation with Disney's Disney+ and ESPN+ apps; Paramount's Paramount+; and NBCU's Peacock. (Fox right now has a free Tubi app and a subscription Fox Nation app; I suspect we'll see them offer something like a paid upgrade tier in Tubi that will stream live Fox sports content while all Fox broadcast network content will stream free in Tubi.)

Bottom line is that the future is streaming apps. May as well adjust to that reality.
 

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Hello group,

This is my first time visiting your forum which I found doing a search for Spectrum's cable card news. I was having an issue today with my TiVo Bolt missing a few channels and called Spectrum tech support. The rep said, "you do know we are discontinuing cable cards? We sent out email notices." I told the rep I have not received an email. After rattling off a list of cities, she notified me that my market is not yet on the list for discontinuation. I am in the Tampa Bay area.

I currently have a master TiVo Bolt unit and 6 Mini/Lux units around the house. If the cable card and tuning adapter are eliminated, that really jams me up. I will have to re-imagine my entire house. I love TiVo's intuitive software, which I've used for over 20 years. I have despised other DVRs I've tried (eg. Spectrum in a temp corporate NYC apartment).

What are my options if I get the cancellation here in Florida. When Verizon sold out to Frontier, they abandoned FiOs TV. I currently record four news channels daily for my occupation. What about getting TV to all my other TVs in the house without having cable boxes everywhere? I hope there is a viable solution. This clearly torpedoes a large segment of TiVo's business model and leaves me with a pile of obsolete gear.

ZBD
To be able to help you know what you should adopt as your next pay TV solution, I'd need you to answer a few Qs:

1. Tell me about those news channel recordings. How many hours per day do you record and how long do you store the recordings? Are you doing live on-the-fly recordings or do you have recordings set up in advance to always record specific news shows? Do you need to be able to indefinitely save local copies of those recordings so that you can, for instance, edit those videos on your home computer, e.g. stitching together bits of various news shows into a custom newsreel?

2. How many different TVs in your home do you need to access cable TV at the same time? For instance, maybe you want TV service available on 7 different TVs but you never have more than 4 of them playing live or recorded TV at the same time?

Unless your TiVo Bolt can be used to receive and record OTA TV from an antenna (and that's something you'd care to do), then you probably need to just list your TiVo equipment on eBay or elsewhere pretty soon and get whatever money out of it that you still can. Because once lots of Charter Spectrum cable TV customers around the country can no longer use their TiVos with that service, you'll see a flood of used TiVo DVRs for sale, driving down their value. May as well figure out your next set-up now and get on with the changes. But to help you do that, I need to know more about the way you use live and recorded TV, especially for your work-from-home job.
 

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I used to have many more....now down to 4 tvs. No more than 2 simultaneous watchers 1080p or 4k. Can store 600 hours. 120 is enough. No stitching at this time. Need all rhe CBS and NBC secondary nets + AMC. Getting all from cable w/out commercials. Hate trouble bypassing commercials. Using 2 Premiers lifetime. Also wired rf to go to as many screens as remotes using pro grade RF switcher. Gonna miss the set up when we move in September
I'm not sure what you mean by "CBS and NBC secondary nets".

How long do you need to store your recordings? If you're OK with your recordings automatically deleting after 9 months, then you might be OK using a streaming cable TV service with cloud DVR such as YouTube TV or DirecTV Stream, both of which offer all the big 5 locals (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS), plus lots of popular cable nets including AMC, starting at $65/mo for YouTube TV or $70/mo for DirecTV Stream. You use their apps for Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, or Android TV to access live and recorded TV. DirecTV Stream also optionally sells their own custom streaming box with cable-like voice remote for either $120 new or $50 refurbished; you get a 12-month warranty either way. You don't rent those boxes, you buy them to keep.

If you need to keep your recordings indefinitely, or for some reason need to be able to store them on a local hard drive in your home, then I would encourage you to consider combining either Spectrum cable TV or a streaming cable TV service (e.g. DirecTV Stream) with Channels DVR, which does offer one-click ad-skipping in recordings. (Services like YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream do not offer one-click ad-skipping but you can manually fast forward through ads in your cloud DVR recordings.) If you go this route, you would watch live and recorded TV in the Channels app for Apple TV, Fire TV or Android TV. (They do not have a Roku app.) In addition to your cable service, you'll need to pay $8/mo or $80/yr for Channels DVR, with its server software running on your PC, Mac or NAS, where it will store your local DVR recordings on that device's hard drive (either internal or external USB).


About Channels DVR ad-skip feature:

One other note: in some areas and with some pay TV providers, Channels cannot stream your local major network stations (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW) via TV everywhere log-in. If that were the case for you, you would need to add an OTA antenna and an HD HomeRun OTA tuner (starting at about $100) to your Channels DVR set-up, which does add some extra expense and complexity. But assuming you get good antenna reception at your location, it's not a big deal.
 

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My bad generality...the secondary networks (nets) I was referring to are USA, CNBC, MSNBC. AMC, A&E, Sundance, TBS etc. Using my Premieres and Hard Drives. I can capture up to 4 simultaneous programs and watch then weeks or monrths later..same with Dodge Baseball and HBO and SHOW with my current cable card package in the LA Metro. I can add add on the other Premiere input all channels captured OTA with my roof antenna. I can also use my Roku Soectrum (tile or channel) to back into Channel 1 or "on Demand". Streaming I subscribe to also can be stored using TiVo. What should I do when the Monopoly provider of cable to my house cuts my TiVo cards?
Again, IF YOU WISH TO STORE YOUR DVR RECORDINGS INDEFINITELY ON HARD DRIVES INSIDE YOUR OWN HOME, my suggestion to you is that do the following two things:

1. Figure out which pay TV service offers all the channels you care about for the cheapest amount of money. The best place to do that is the following website. Just type in your zip code, select all of your "must-have" channels and it will show you your options and how much they cost.


2. Decide on a hardware set-up that will allow you to pair the TV service you selected in step 1 with Channels DVR, which will record your streaming cable "TV Everywhere" channels and, if you want, can also record local OTA TV channels from your antenna if you buy an HDHomeRun tuner. Be aware that you'll need a Windows PC, Mac or NAS to run the Channels software on, but hopefully you already have one in your home (doesn't need to be a late model, powerful computer, old and cheap is usually fine). You can read up on how to set up and use Channels DVR here:


If you want to buy an HDHomeRun tuner to record from your antenna, go to the link below and click the "OTA Promo" icon on the screen. You'll want to choose between the FlexDuo model for $110 (has 2 ATSC 1.0 tuners), the FlexQuatro for $155 (has 4 ATSC 1.0 tuners), or the Flex 4K model for $200 (has 4 tuners total, including both ATSC 1.0 and 3.0). Note that you can also buy used ones on eBay for less (which is what I did):

 

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Are they going to add a Roku Channels app?
My guess is that Channels does not plan to ever develop a version of their app for Roku. They launched back in 2015 with just an Apple TV app and now, nearly 7 years later, there's still no Roku app.

My understanding is that Roku has always been a more difficult platform to code apps for. If you code an app for iPhone, then it's very easy to tweak that codebase to run on Apple TV (or vice versa). If you code an app for Android phones, then it's very easy to tweak that codebase to run on both Google's Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. And those just happen to be the five platforms that Channels supports with their app. They're a small company, so they have to be careful about how they devote their time. I guess they just don't believe that spending the time and money on developing and supporting a Roku app would bring them enough additional business to justify the cost.
 

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How do you have access to those when you leave that subscription/cloud service and stop paying them?
Therein lies the rub, even if Comcast offered an unlimited cloud DVR, I can't take it with me, my Tivo's have been connected to at least 3 different providers, I always have access to things I recorded 3 providers ago, and I can save them if I really want to in 90% of the cases, that's not the same with an online product.
Yes, the days of being able to build your own personal library of recordings that you can keep indefinitely are coming to an end. It was easy to do with VHS, became more difficult but still do-able with the TiVo DVR, but in the streaming era of cloud DVR and on-demand titles, it's impossible. (Well, Channels DVR combined with streaming TV-everywhere channels is a loophole that still makes it possible, at least for now...)
 

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What's interesting to me is that Charter seems to be implying that the only thing ending anytime soon is support for CableCARD --i.e. that they do NOT plan to get rid of QAM cable TV more broadly, and switch over to IPTV-only, as their Alaskan "cousin" GCI recently did in order to also make high-split upgrades to their data network. Charter says that the reason their high-split upgrades will eliminate CableCARD support is because it will eliminate the specific upper frequency that CableCARDs use for OOB (out-of-band) upstream communication. But they also raise the possibility that they may be able to simply shift that OOB frequency even higher after the high-split upgrade. In other words, Charter is saying "We may be able to bring support for CableCARD back in the relatively near future after initially dumping it."

While HDHomeRun CableCARD devices can apparently be software updated in order to use a hypothetical new higher OOB frequency in the future, it's unclear if that's possible for some, or any, TiVo DVRs. Frankly, I can't see why Charter would even bother to try and re-instate CableCARD support, given how few customers even use it. Based on the FCC's last public release of the numbers of CableCARDs in use a year or two ago, I calculated that they represented only about 0.5% of all eligible cable TV subscribers in the nation.

Perhaps Charter is simply raising that possibility to soften the blow in terms of the media coverage that they're getting now over yanking support for TiVo? As I say, it don't really see how it's in their economic interest to keep CableCARD alive, especially if it's not possible for TiVo DVRs, only other less-popular CableCARD devices such as HDHomeRun tuners.

And as I say, I have to wonder how much longer Charter will even support QAM TV more broadly. My guess has been that once they start getting big shipments of those new 4K HDR streaming devices in stock, from their new joint venture with Comcast -- which isn't expected until next year -- they'll go market-by-market handing and mailing those out to customers in order to get all their Spectrum cable TV subs switched over to accessing it via their IPTV app and then shut up QAM TV completely. Guess we'll see what unfolds in Charter-land next year...
 

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We got screwed when the FCC didn't have the balls to require an IPTV access standard. You'd think this is what gov't is supposed to do (i.e. standards) but you'd be wrong, although somehow it was perfectly ok to do ATSC 3.0.
There was a half-hearted attempt by the Obama FCC to do that -- it was dubbed the "Unlock the Box" initiative -- but it was complicated and of course got major pushback from the pay TV operators. And in order to be fair, I suppose it would have had to apply not just to multi-channel pay TV services (i.e. "cable TV") but also on-demand services like Netflix and Prime Video. In other words, it would have offered a way for consumers to pick whatever hardware, with its particular software and aggregating user interface, they wanted to serve as a front-end for their various video subscription content to flow into.

But the rationale for CableCARD was never mainly about choice of software and UI but rather simply to offer consumers a way to use their chosen retail hardware device, i.e. to let us pick a box we could own rather than be forced to rent whatever crappy box the cable operator pushed on us. Pay video operators argued to the FCC that this was now possible thanks to the rise of Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, smart TVs, etc., giving consumers WAY more choice in owned access hardware than we ever had under the CableCARD regime (and with way more participation from consumers). The future, the operators argued, was through operator designed and supplied apps which would support a range of the most popular retail hardware platforms.

And ultimately, the FCC found that argument hard to disagree with.

 

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The sad part is that if the current Spectrum app is any indication, their streaming video quality is going to be the same compressed to hell garbage that they're sending down the cable wire now. For people used to HD streams from real providers, their stuff looks like poorly upscaled standard def.

People are getting acclimated to high quality images from their streaming suppliers. If they don't up their game, Charter and Spectrum will become the new low rez side channels. Without the monopoly status they've enjoyed for decades, their TV offering will sink without a trace. They have no idea how to compete, and even less than that on how to compete on image quality. They are quickly going to settle on being just another ISP where in many areas they still have their monoply (but not for much longer).
Yeah. Similar situation, I think, at Comcast, where they provide all HD channels in overly-compressed 720p (regardless of whether the network offers it in 1080i). I think they use the same encodes for QAM vs. IPTV. YouTube TV is a step up and DirecTV Stream is a BIG step up in terms of HD PQ. But then no cable channel service can match the picture quality offered by direct-to-consumer on-demand services like Apple TV+, Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+ and Peacock, where a lot of their new originals stream in 4K Dolby Vision and even the HD stuff looks significantly better than the same show/movie on any live cable channel, regardless of provider.
 

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Spectrum on the west coast is pushing out content at the original resolution, but is using terrible first generation MPEG compression from 2001, and no channel goes above about 11 Mb/s at 8 bits, which is horrendous with that codec. They could have gone H.264 (their cable boxes and the TiVos can accommodate that codec) and gotten far superior images at just 4-5 Mb/s but for some reason they don't.

The worst part of their service is where they compress the premium channels you pay extra for even harder, and HBO (for example) never exceeds 9 Mb/s which is just plain pathetic. Freeze any part of the red Marvel movie opening, and you could give a master class on what crappy 8 bit image macroblocking looks like. And they feed the same crappy images to their streaming app.

It's too bad that the best quality streaming images come from DirecTV Stream. I despise AT&T, won't give them a penny, so it's gonna have to be the slightly less hateful Google/YTTV that gets my money going forward. If I had off-air here (I do not) I would use that for the locals and not get that kind of 'cable' package at all. I have plenty of commercial free streaming content already.
Wow. I guess that's why some folks call it "Sharter," ha!

As for DirecTV Stream, well, they're at least spun off now into a separate LLC, although still 70% owned by AT&T, with the other 30% now owned by investment group TPG. (I expect we'll hear AT&T, TPG and DISH announce a merger between the DirecTV and DISH companies sometime after the upcoming mid-term elections with a goal of having the deal consummated by late 2023. We'll see.)

What kind of content from your local channels do you really want that you can't get via one streaming app or another? ABC and Fox shows are on Hulu next-day. NBC shows are on Peacock Premium next-day, while their live sports and SNL stream live. CBS shows are next-day on Paramount+, with sports (including NFL) streaming live. You can even live stream the full local CBS station if you're on their ad-free plan. PBS shows stream same-time in the free PBS app and most local PBS stations live stream in it too. CW shows are next-day (with ads) in the free CW app. Main thing you'd be missing would be the live sports that Fox airs, including Sunday NFL games.

In many areas, the local stations put live and/or recent on-demand replays of their local newscasts in one or more free apps such as NewsOn, Vu It, Stirr or their own branded app. Three of my four local stations here in Nashville do that.

IMO, unless you really need cable sports, cable news/opinion channels, or Fox Sunday NFL games, you can probably make a few small adjustments to your viewing habits and be quite happy without paying for any kind of cable TV service.
 

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This is the part that annoys me. In order to get content that has local news and sports and network programming and is available to many with an antenna, I would have to subscribe to several different streaming services.

I'm going to go one of two ways...I'll either try out YTTV and stick with it if I like it, or else I'll just wean myself from 'network TV' altogether. I was once addicted to NFL games, watched all five games that are broadcast each week no matter how awful the teams playing, but have slowly reduced that to at most two games, and sometimes none. So for me, walking away is doable. I've been with Spectrum and TiVo for decades, but it's mostly been inertia and keeping my wife happy with a system with which she is familiar. With Internet, my current cable bill is about $250/month, and that's an insane amount of money for HD (or worse) content with the pathetic quality I described.

In a way, I'm glad Spectrum is forcing the issue with their sun-setting of cable card support. Makes it somewhat easier for me to transition when there is no choice. And I will be so glad to get rid of the constant nightmare that is the Tuning Adapter.
Well, as I say, you can pay $10/mo for Paramount+ that includes your live local CBS station, their live Sunday NFL games and all the other live sports CBS has, plus a big ad-free on-demand library with some of it (including current CBS series) in 4K Dolby Vision. And they're about to offer the option to get Showtime (live and on-demand, with select 4K content) inside the Paramount+ app for probably an extra $5 or so on top of the $10 base price, i.e. $15/mo, which is only $3-5 more per month than you'd pay for just Showtime as an add-on to cable TV.

Consider the following:

Paramount+ ad-free: $10 (or $15 with Showtime)
Peacock Premium ad-free: $10 (or $5 if you're getting Peacock Premium with ads for free for 12 months with Spectrum TV; you should take that offer now, while you're paying for Spectrum TV because based on my experience you'll probably get the full 12 months even after you cancel Spectrum TV)
HBO Max ad-free: $15 (and will in a few months include the Discovery+ library, perhaps pushing the price up to $16/mo)
Hulu ad-free: $13
PBS app: free
Tubi app: free
Pluto TV app: free
FreeVee app: free
YouTube app: free
total: $43 to $53/mo, depending on options above

That's a ton of quality ad-free content, plus live CBS and NBC sports and live local CBS news, plus a variety of free older "rerun" movies and show with ads, all for significantly less than YouTube TV's $65/mo cost. Pretty much any primetime series airing on any of the 5 biggest broadcast nets you could watch next-day (or same-day for PBS). You can get live and on-demand national news from CBS, NBC and ABC either in their own free apps or other apps like Pluto TV, YouTube, etc. And most MSNBC shows (e.g. Morning Joe, Deadline White House, All In) are now available next-day in Peacock.

If standalone internet costs you, say, $75/mo, then you could see your total monthly cost of internet plus TV cut in half from $250 to around $125.
 

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Your research is compelling.
And don't you already use an Apple TV 4K? Their brilliant Up Next universal queue in the Apple TV app keeps track of all the shows (and even live sports) you watch across all your underlying apps (except for Netflix, who won't participate because they think they don't need to but they seem to be rethinking a lot of things these days, so who knows...)

So Apple's Up Next watchlist essentially replaces your old TiVo recordings list. And the curated cross-app content picks elsewhere in the Apple TV app replace your old channel grid guide and TiVo recommendations. And Apple is making their Friday night MLB doubleheader free in the Apple TV app at least through August, regardless of whether you subscribe to Apple TV+ for $5/mo (which you should, because Severance is one of the best series I've seen anywhere in the past few years).
 

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I now have four of them - two first gen and two second gen. I also subscribe to AppleTV+.

Actually, maybe you can help me here. I have a very difficult time with AppleTV+ when I'm watching a series and trying to get it to show me the next episode. So for example, I'll watch Ted Lasso season 2 episode 5, and next time I launch it, it launches into Season 1 Episode 1. It's maddening and I have not delved into it to try to figure out why. Almost every other service I use maintains a "Continue Watching..." list but I can't seem to make it work on AppleTV+. It has become sufficiently annoying that I've taken to just watching movies on AppleTV+. I'm sure I'm missing something here, but can't figure out what.
I honestly don't even know how this is possible. If you scroll all the way down to the main tab in the Apple TV app and look at your watch history, do any Apple TV+ series or movies show up there? Somehow, that app doesn't seem to be tracking your Apple TV+ viewing. And while that feature is optional for third-party services (whose apps you must opt to associate with the Apple TV app and its tracking functionality) it is not at all optional for the native Apple TV+ service or the Apple TV Channels services, as far as I can tell.

Long story short: something be wrong. My guess is that if you wiped the box and reinstalled everything, that would fix the issue. And while the box will remember your apps and auto-redownload them, you'll still have to sign back into them all, which is a bit of a PITA. You could also try contacting Apple support but my guess is that they'll just have you do the ol' wipe and re-set-up trick.

Are you aware of the "What did he say?" function on the ATV4K and its remote? It's magical.
OMG, I use it ALL. THE. TIME. Because apparently I either have a mild hearing impairment or Hollywood sound engineers are crap at their job. (Or a little of both.) Only other device that comes close in this regard is Roku, which has a jump back button which you can set to temporarily turn on CC during the repeat playback.
 

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My recollection is that I can start from the beginning the Peacock (premium ... free w/ Comcast) Sunday morning baseball during the game and skip commercial breaks. Useful, since the games usually start at 8:30 or 9am here in CA. No idea if that will work for the Thursday NFL games on Prime Video.
Yeah, I know you can pause, rewind and FF live sports in Peacock. And I think they make at least some events available for on-demand viewing later? I also know that if you have the latest tvOS update on Apple TV, you can do the same with Apple's live MLB games. And I think they're also making those games available for later on-demand viewing. IDK, maybe the NFL has some sort of specific policy against later on-demand streams, though?
 

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The big problem with sports streaming, if you go with individual streamers, is that they don't keep the streams for later viewing if you can't/won't watch live (because of commercials etc.). This is the main reason why some sports fans will stick with Tivo or something like YTTV that has a DVR feature, because we don't watch most sports live.

It's a big issue with a lot of streamers, unfortunately. I won't be watching the Amazon Thursday night NFL games this fall because of this, even though we have Prime.
Good point. But are you saying that if watching Thursday Night Football live is your only choice, then you won't even bother to turn it on at all?
 

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Another example is the IndyCar race in Toronto today, only available on Peacock (a first for them), but NBC is only going to show 5 minutes of commercials so I can deal with that. I doubt it will be available after it airs though.
When I checked Peacock a couple days ago (after my post above) I saw replays available of a number of recent sports, including both MLB games and various races, including a recent NASCAR race. Didn't happen to check golf though. I imagine it varies by league and depends on the rights Peacock has negotiated. At any rate, as more and more of those sports' fans pay to watch via DTC services, they'll be forced to give them what they want and allow on-demand replays afterward, at least for a limited period of time.

There are lots of ways that the transition from the linear channel paradigm to the DTC streaming paradigm is only half-way finished, and this is just one example.
 

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It's a remarkably clever business model...as you shed customers, just raise the rates on those who remain to keep revenue constant. Wall Street loves constant revenue.
Yes, but recent quarterly earnings reports from the likes of Disney, Comcast, Paramount, and WBD indicate that total revenue for cable and broadcast networks has peaked and is now in secular decline. Ever-increasing carriage rates more than offset losses in cable TV subscribers for the first decade of subscriber declines, from 2012 to 2022. But obviously, that trend could only go so far until the rate increases became counter-productive by shooing away even more subscribers than the higher rates could make up for. It appears we've reached that moment.

 
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