A Dearth of Digital Cable Ready TVs - or - Where Have All the Cablecard TVs gone? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 34 Old 07-08-2012, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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This post is part rant, part request for guidance/solutions.

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.

- Drew
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post #2 of 34 Old 07-17-2012, 05:15 PM
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Gotta say, I miss mine, too. Switched Digital Video pretty much put an end to cablecard TVs. That and poor sales. They cost more than regular TVs, so nobody bought them.

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.
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post #3 of 34 Old 02-16-2014, 07:24 AM
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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 

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post #4 of 34 Old 02-16-2014, 10:47 AM
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Assuming you have a newer television, I suggest disabling everything but the one input and getting her the Samsung CableCard device from Wal-Mart. Then hide the other remote. It'll turn the set on and off, but all other buttons on the remote only deal with the Samsung. Granted, it's a "Smart" box, so it's possible for her to get into menus she didn't plan on, but easy to exit out of. There aren't any other buttons that'd change the TVs mode.

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post #5 of 34 Old 02-20-2014, 02:34 PM
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They don't make them because no one wants them because they don't support DVR or VOD functionality, so they were rather pointless. To the OP: if you get a TiVo Roamio Plus or Pro and a couple of TiVo Mini's, you can replace everything with a single CableCard solution, cut the monthly costs way down, and sell off your old gear.
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post #6 of 34 Old 02-21-2014, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

They don't make them because no one wants them because they don't support DVR or VOD functionality, so they were rather pointless.
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.

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post #7 of 34 Old 02-21-2014, 11:04 AM
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There was also the issue with the cable companies fighting against doing it in the first place. They didn't train any of their people on them (because they didn't want to support them in the first place) so it was a huge hassle to get them to work. Most of the time the techs and CSRs would try to blame the issues on the TV, so then people were constantly calling the TV manufacturers and the retailers complaining about their TVs being broken (which they weren't). Eventually the TV manufacturers got sick of dealing with all the calls and complaints and decided it was just easier not to offer it.
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post #8 of 34 Old 02-21-2014, 12:50 PM
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Dont forget the high cost of Cablelabs certification (http://www.cablelabs.com/specs/certification/) that the TV manufacturers had to pay a consortium of cable companies for a product that said cable companies don't want to support but have to because of the FCC.

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post #9 of 34 Old 02-21-2014, 01:35 PM
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1) Cablecard support in a TV is not cost justifiable by the TV manufacturer.
2) Cableco's cannot generate revenue. They make more money with STB rental fees.
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post #10 of 34 Old 02-25-2014, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post

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.
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post #11 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 09:54 AM
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I Paid $2.2k for a Sony 14" slimline 42" 720p Feb-2005, been waiting for tech to hit what I feel is another 10 year solution, those "P" series from Vizio seem it for me!
Heck - is my still working CableCard HDTV a collectors item now? How much can I get for it?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CableCARD
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.

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post #12 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 10:56 AM
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Heck - is my still working CableCard HDTV a collectors item now? How much can I get for it?
For a 10 year old 42" 720p TV? Cablecard ready or not... probably not much.
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post #13 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 11:13 AM
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For a 10 year old 42" 720p TV? Cablecard ready or not... probably not much.
I would guess $25 max.
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post #14 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 11:39 AM
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I miss my Hitachi CableCARD LCD, though - had the power supply not fried - it would have been obsolete, by now. Bright House uses SDV and there was no way to incorporate a tuning adapter. The set would have been stuck with only the fulltime channels. And Bright House has a number of channels one would assume to be fulltime assigned to SDV. What's the point of having cable if you can't tune The Weather Channel, MTV, MSNBC, Nick and a dozen others?

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post #15 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 02:08 PM
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No one wants a CableCard TV, because you have to have a box for the DVR/VOD anyways, so it's completely pointless.
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post #16 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 03:10 PM
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Planned obsolescence. It could have been a boon to the consumer. The cableco's never embraced the technology as there was no profit. Of course... that's just my opinion.
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post #17 of 34 Old 09-25-2014, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
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I miss my Hitachi CableCARD LCD, though - had the power supply not fried - it would have been obsolete, by now. Bright House uses SDV and there was no way to incorporate a tuning adapter. The set would have been stuck with only the fulltime channels. And Bright House has a number of channels one would assume to be fulltime assigned to SDV. What's the point of having cable if you can't tune The Weather Channel, MTV, MSNBC, Nick and a dozen others?
I had a TV in the kitchen with a cable card and Time Warner Cable. Time Warner kept changing the channels that were SDV but it was usually at least 3 or 4 that I wanted to watch occasionally. Wasn't too sad when it broke and I went with a new TV and a cable box. Plus the TV would freeze about 4 times a year and I had to leave it unplugged for about 5 minutes and then all was good.
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post #18 of 34 Old 09-26-2014, 02:36 PM
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Planned obsolescence. It could have been a boon to the consumer. The cableco's never embraced the technology as there was no profit. Of course... that's just my opinion.
CableCard works well with a DVR like TiVo, it's just totally pointless to be built directly into a TV. Heck, Comcast even does VOD through TiVo, so there has been some support of CableCard, albeit only one company going beyond the legally required minimum level of service.
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post #19 of 34 Old 09-26-2014, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
CableCard works well with a DVR like TiVo, it's just totally pointless to be built directly into a TV. Heck, Comcast even does VOD through TiVo, so there has been some support of CableCard, albeit only one company going beyond the legally required minimum level of service.
Not "pointless" IMHO for the numerous folks that would like you use a TV without paying extra for cable channels to which they subscribe.

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.
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post #20 of 34 Old 09-27-2014, 06:13 PM
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[quote=Ratman;27748585]Not "pointless" IMHO for the numerous folks that would like you use a TV without paying extra for cable channels to which they subscribe.[quote]

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.

Quote:
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.
A DVR is a necessity these days, so the competition is the MSO's DVR, like Comcast X1 vs. TiVo. TiVo is cheaper over the course of 3-4 years, and there are no monthly fees once you buy the one-time subscription fee ($500).

Quote:
Pay TiVO or pay the provider.
Correct. TiVo is just better and cheaper. The downside on any MSO other than Comcast is losing VOD, and the SDV issues that TWC and BHN have.

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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.
The world has moved beyond that. Thank god, as VCRs sucked to use but were a necessary evil to actually have anything to watch, the old analog TiVos were OK in the post-1999 world, but the picture quality sucked (as it did for VCRs or cable at all). Having HD-DVR on every TV is far better than the old days of fuzzy analog and limited or no DVRs, as was the case in the pre-1999 world before TiVo fundamentally changed TV. CableCards are typically around $7/mo depending on the provider, so it makes more sense to have one in a TiVo Roamio, and everything else distributed at no additional monthly cost to TiVo Minis.
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post #21 of 34 Old 09-27-2014, 08:04 PM
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[quote=BiggAW;27774769][quote=Ratman;27748585]Not "pointless" IMHO for the numerous folks that would like you use a TV without paying extra for cable channels to which they subscribe.
Quote:

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.



A DVR is a necessity these days, so the competition is the MSO's DVR, like Comcast X1 vs. TiVo. TiVo is cheaper over the course of 3-4 years, and there are no monthly fees once you buy the one-time subscription fee ($500).



Correct. TiVo is just better and cheaper. The downside on any MSO other than Comcast is losing VOD, and the SDV issues that TWC and BHN have.



The world has moved beyond that. Thank god, as VCRs sucked to use but were a necessary evil to actually have anything to watch, the old analog TiVos were OK in the post-1999 world, but the picture quality sucked (as it did for VCRs or cable at all). Having HD-DVR on every TV is far better than the old days of fuzzy analog and limited or no DVRs, as was the case in the pre-1999 world before TiVo fundamentally changed TV. CableCards are typically around $7/mo depending on the provider, so it makes more sense to have one in a TiVo Roamio, and everything else distributed at no additional monthly cost to TiVo Minis.
I have a DVR in the family room but it would be nice to get ALL the channels in high definition in spare bedrooms etc... without having to have a box of some kind. I still get analog and clear QAM but when that ends I will have to have a box in every room. I don't need a DVR in all rooms.
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DVR and VOD from a cable box is useless if you have no need or desire to pay extra for those features.

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.
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post #23 of 34 Old 09-28-2014, 06:52 AM
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UGH, I can't imagine going back to "appointment television". Even back in the old days, we watched stuff recorded on a vcr. We later moved on to a Panasonic dvd/hdd recorder w/TVGOS. I currently have four Tivo's (three bought used) w/ lifetime and a 3-tuner WMC HTPC to make sure we can watch what we want, when we want to watch it.
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I've got a couple CableCards in a pair of HDHR Primes for a total of 6 tuners shared among 4 TVs. It's not cheap... 2 HDHRs=$300; 2 HTPCs=$600 (I have a bunch of OS licenses from my TechNet days); 1 Black Friday Walmart Xbox=$100; 10GB of NAS=$400; Cable Subscription=$75 per month; etc...Saving about $60 per month in CableCo DVRs means about a 2 year pay off.


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post #25 of 34 Old 09-28-2014, 09:53 AM
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For those that have no desire/requirement for a DVR, a Cablecard ready TV would be nice.
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post #26 of 34 Old 09-28-2014, 11:31 AM
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[quote=HDMI Guy;27776489][quote=BiggAW;27774769]
Quote:
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Not "pointless" IMHO for the numerous folks that would like you use a TV without paying extra for cable channels to which they subscribe.
I have a DVR in the family room but it would be nice to get ALL the channels in high definition in spare bedrooms etc... without having to have a box of some kind. I still get analog and clear QAM but when that ends I will have to have a box in every room. I don't need a DVR in all rooms.
You're better off just getting additional DVR clients, be they Comcast X1, Verizon VMS, or TiVo. TiVo is the cheapest, but even the MSO-supplied clients are typically $10/mo vs. $7/mo for CableCards, so not much of a different for functionality that is orders of magnitude different. The best way to do things is get TiVo and then use TiVo Minis for each additional room, and since TiVo doesn't have monthly fees, your bill doesn't rocket up with every additional room.

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DVR and VOD from a cable box is useless if you have no need or desire to pay extra for those features.

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.
TV is useless today without VOD and/or DVR. Anyone who has pay TV has a need for DVR and/or VOD, unless they only ever watch live sports, and absolutely nothing else. As does anyone who has OTA and actually uses it.

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.

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UGH, I can't imagine going back to "appointment television". Even back in the old days, we watched stuff recorded on a vcr. We later moved on to a Panasonic dvd/hdd recorder w/TVGOS. I currently have four Tivo's (three bought used) w/ lifetime and a 3-tuner WMC HTPC to make sure we can watch what we want, when we want to watch it.
Exactly. I've used a VCR my whole life. TiVo just did the same thing, but way better and easier. If the DVR didn't exist, I doubt I would pay for TV just to get sports.

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For those that have no desire/requirement for a DVR, a Cablecard ready TV would be nice.
TV manufacturers aren't going to make a product for the few people who for some crazy reason still pay for TV, and yet stubbornly refuse to leave the horrible 1998 world of DVR-less, VOD-less, guide-less TV.

The bottom line is DVR, VOD, and other interactive features is why no one makes CableCard TVs, since no one wants them.
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post #27 of 34 Old 09-28-2014, 12:11 PM
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By Feb 2006, less than 141,000 CableCARD's were deployed in Digital Cable Ready (DCR) HDTV's. This was with about 100 Million TV Households, prior to CableCARDS being deployed in mass by MSO's in OCAP STB/DVRs, most with multiple TV's. The demand was somewhat less than 1-percent of ALL existing TV's....and a small fraction of all NEW HDTVs:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CableCARD#Adoption

"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.


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post #28 of 34 Old 09-28-2014, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
TV is useless today without VOD and/or DVR. Anyone who has pay TV has a need for DVR and/or VOD, unless they only ever watch live sports, and absolutely nothing else. As does anyone who has OTA and actually uses it.

The bottom line is DVR, VOD, and other interactive features is why no one makes CableCard TVs, since no one wants them.
I disagree with both points. That's just my opinion.

But if anyone wants to build an HTPC or buy TiVO hardware and pay $500 for a subscription fee and also rent a Cablecard... go for it.
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post #29 of 34 Old 09-28-2014, 05:22 PM
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I disagree with both points. That's just my opinion.

But if anyone wants to build an HTPC or buy TiVO hardware and pay $500 for a subscription fee and also rent a Cablecard... go for it.
Why are you so stubbornly stuck in 1998 without a usable TV experience except for sports? Some people like to watch things other than sports, and in order to effectively do that in this day and age, a DVR and/or VOD service is prerequisite. There's various ways to get there, but you have to somehow get there in the first place, whether it's TiVo as a DVR that has a cable box and VOD, Comcast's legacy DVRs that are cable boxes with a DVR and VOD, or X1, which evenly blends live TV, DVR, and VOD altogether. TV just isn't worth paying for if it's only for live sports.

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.
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post #30 of 34 Old Yesterday, 05:38 AM
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Why be stubbornly assumptive that everyone needs a DVR, VOD and only watches sports?
The only "sports" I watch are Phila. Eagles on Sundays only.
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