We're Comcast Xfinity Triple Play customers - yes we drank the cool-aid. We have three HD setups in the house (a Series 3 TiVo w/cablecard & Vizio 37", a TiVo Premiere HD w/cablecard and a Philips 50" Plasma, and an ancient Toshiba HD LCD w/Comcast HD STB (no DVR - I hate their UI)
To this questionable mix of tech we'd like to add a fourth HDTV out in our screened-in porch, but really don't want to put a table outside to hold an STB (or TiVo) - we don't need a guide nor DVR and we don't use PPV. But, we do want to access the HD programming on the upper channels. I figured it would be simple enough to run the coax, pick out and mount a decent HDTV on the wall and pick up a cablecard from Comcast - done!
But when I set about searching for an HDTV with a cablecard slot I was absolutely stunned to find that no HDTV manufacturers are producing what was once called Digital Cable Ready HDTVs - They might have ATSC/NTSC tuners, but no cablecard slots.
This is particularly stunning in light of last year's new requirements by the FCC that all cable companies allow end-user installation of cablecards and that they price them accordingly - e.g. inexpensively when compared to the cost of a STB/DVR rental.
I've done a lot of research on the subject, but I'm finding nothing that is as simple and elegant as a cablecard enabled HDTV. Remote IR blasters, HDMI over WiFi, etc. all add significant costs and with questionable results.
Am I missing something? Is there some simple new technology on the horizon I'm just not aware of? Is there a resource out there on the web for refurbished digital cable ready HDTVs?
Thanks in advance for helping find a simple solution.
Thanks to SDV, even with a cablecard TV or TiVo, you still need a tuning adapter. So, you're stuck with a set-top box, anyway. Might as well hit up the cable company for another, non-DVR box. I would guess - and maybe someone knows - that there might be some form of M-card/tuning adapter all-built-in display on a drawing board, somewhere. But the added expense ..plus the monthly CableCard fees.. will have most people opting to just rent another box from the cableco. Easier and not that much more expensive.
You COULD get industrious and rig up an rf remote hopper solution along with running HDMI to your patio. That's how I do it. Cable box stays in the basement and runs about 6 TVs throughout the house via HDMI splitter/amp. Not a great option if you have many family members watching different things. But for getting digital cable to the patio, it works rather well. There are wireless HDMI solutions, too, but their range is rather short.
I've been Googling around on this issue and just wanted to add one other really sad part of this dilemna. My 87 year old mother in assisted living, comes from a radio era, much less experience with a set top box that you have to change input options to access. Her TV is basically unuseable no matter how many times I try to get it set up correctectly - even on a single remote. (Somehow she always ends up losing the input setting. Even I have trouble reading the ridiculosuly small print on the Comcast
2) Cableco's cannot generate revenue. They make more money with STB rental fees.
There's that, but the bigger issue was the price. The CableCard televisions were hundreds higher than the same TV minus the functionality. At the time, cable companies were charging $50 to "install" a CableCard. To most the hassle and the expense weren't worth it. Not when the Cable Companies would happily rent a box that'd do all of that and more for a paltry $8 a month.
If there had been a system that used standards to interface into a whole-home DVR, complete with VOD, I think it could have taken off. Unfortunately, that technology didn't come years later, until RVU, and only D* has actually embraced it, and in a very limited way.
Heck - is my still working CableCard HDTV a collectors item now? How much can I get for it?
fwiw, my CableCard still works fine, after 9+ years of use only had techs come out once like 3-4 years ago, Comcast changed some setting in their side that caused it not to work, they fixed it once at my home.
1 less clutter item, and I pay ZERO on my comcast bill for it.
Once they tried to charge me for it, had that corrected.
TiVO is great for those that choose that alternative (if a DVR is a necessity). OTOH, TiVO requires purchase of the hardware, a subscription fee and you still have to rent a cablecard for a monthly fee from the provider.
Pay TiVO or pay the provider.
It would be nice that just as in the "old days", you could get a "cable ready" TV, plug it in and get what you pay for on a monthly basis. If the only thing required was a dollar or two for a cablecard... most could live with that.
Well, TV these days without a DVR or VOD is completely useless. Plus, you have to pay for the CableCard, if you pay for a WHDVR client box, then you get DVR, VOD, and everything else.
Between Netflix and or other streaming providers there are less expensive options.
TiVO is not "cheap" IMHO. You buy and own the hardware as long as it lasts as well as the subscription fee.
And... depending on the area and the provider, Cablecard runs from free (for one) to a few dollars. $7 seems quite high.
TiVo is cheaper than the equivalent solutions from the MSOs, i.e. Comcast X1 or Verizon VMS. $7/mo is around the industry standard. Some areas still have super cheap Cable Cards, but that's not the norm. However, $7/mo isn't bad considering that most users only need one card for their central TiVo or WMC PC with 4 or 6 tuners. I pay -$2.50/mo for mine, since I don't have a Comcast box at all.
The bottom line is DVR, VOD, and other interactive features is why no one makes CableCard TVs, since no one wants them.
"By June 2009, there were over 14,000,000 CableCARDs deployed including 437,800 of which went into retail equipment." That would include PC's, Cable Co. owned STB/DVRs and Tivo (et.al.) DVRs.
Today, if you want to hook a small Analog TV or DTV to ALL Digital Cable networks, simply use one of the very small and cheap DTA's (Digital Terminal Adapter)....but to enable reception of SDV (Switched Digital Video) channels, you'll need a full-function STB or DVR.
Last edited by holl_ands; 09-28-2014 at 12:19 PM.
And you make it sound like TiVo is so expensive. Guess what? You're full of it. TiVo is cheaper than Comcast X1, DirecTV Genie, Verizon VMS, or any other equivalent equipment from the MSO over the course of 36 to 48 months. TiVo also has more storage than any of the competing solutions, especially X1 and VMS. This is just the cold, hard fact.
The only "sports" I watch are Phila. Eagles on Sundays only.