The FAQ reads good. The FAQ makes it clear that you would need to rent a CableCARD (a "M-Card") from your cable provider. This usually is pretty inexpensive.
If you should go that route, if you have non-local HD channels that you watch, be sure to get a box that has MPEG-2 and MPEG-4
capability. Comcast is in the process of converting all non-local HD channels to MPEG-4, and older equipment might not be able to handle it. If your area is not affected by the move to MPEG-4 at this time, at some future date it will be, and you don't want to pay hundreds of dollars for something that won't be fully functional within a year.
There are a couple reasons why I personally would continue to rent a Comcast HD-DVR:
- I do a lot of time shifting, a lot of recording two shows at a time, often while watching a recording of a third, so I give the box frequent hard workouts. (Multiple streams being written to/read from the disk means lots of head motion, and it is usually the moving parts that wear out the soonest, though the most recent replacement was actually because of a failing power supply.) When the box dies, I just contact Comcast and I get a replacement. (I could walk into my Xfinity storefront, get a replacement, go home and have it up and running in short order.) Yes, I lose the recordings, but I don't lose the purchase price of the box or do without while the box is shipped out for repairs.
- If something isn't working, I call Comcast and, while customer service isn't always the most pleasant experience, I don't get them telling me it is some other vendor's equipment and that vendor telling me it is Comcast's signal. Instead, they come and check it out. I just tell them to fix it and give them as much information as I have if I had been seeing something out of the ordinary.
- (Ok, I thought of this later. I really do know how to count up to 3! ) I do make occasional use of video-on-demand (e.g., when there are three shows on at the same time but the HD-DVR I currently use has only two tuners and there isn't a rerun of that title later in the week). V-O-D works with the HD-DVR that I currently rent from Comcast, but V-O-D on third-party equipment might or might not work. If you call them, they might be able to tell you if video-on-demand works.
I know I am paying a pretty penny for having Comcast CPE (customer premises equipment), both with their HD-DVR and their gateway (combination cable modem / router), but I know some people opt to provide their own equipment, typically to save money and sometimes for better functionality.
I would be interested in seeing what others say, too.