replace FIOS set top box with aftermarket HD box? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 09-24-2012, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

Newbee here who knows nothing about TV. I'm asking a question, I hope that it is within forum rules. If not, I apologize, please delete.

I wonder if it is possible to buy an aftermarket HD box to replace my FIOS non-HD box. I pay for HD service, but the idea of paying an additional $21 per month for the HD set top box for the next 30 years or so to access the HD content for which I am already paying has gotten right up my nose. Some sort of patching between the FIOS box and an aftermarket box?

I also have a PC hooked up to my TV, if some sort of PC card is an option.

I don't want to record, I don't need multiroom service, all I want to do is have access to the content for which I am being charged each month. Needless to say, I was quite surprised by the install guy when he told me that I did not have HD because my set top box was not an HD model and that to get one would cost so much money. If I don't find solution I'll end up dropping FIOS.

Thanks for any help or suggestions.

Bill
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post #2 of 28 Old 09-24-2012, 04:20 PM
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Where did $21 per month come from?

An HD capable box for FiOS is $12 per month.
There are no aftermarket boxes that you can purchase to get all channels to which you subscribe.

Do you have an HDTV?
Does it have a clear QAM tuner?

You may be able to get a QAM tuner for your PC that supports cablecard. Caveats being.....
1) no On Demand
2) no channel guides
3) you local provider may not support/provide cablecards


Just pay the $12 for the HD box. Makes it easy and convenient. Or..... you can drop FiOS and try another provider, but the rental fees won't be any different for an HD capable box. wink.gif
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post #3 of 28 Old 09-24-2012, 04:23 PM
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You need something that uses a cable card to see the channels. Like a TiVo or a PC with cable card tuners. I've used TiVos with Fios for over five years. I've saved alot of money over the last 5+ years by not renting their boxes. Plus the TiVo is much better than any boxes FiOS has.

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post #4 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

You need something that uses a cable card to see the channels. Like a TiVo or a PC with cable card tuners. I've used TiVos with Fios for over five years. I've saved alot of money over the last 5+ years by not renting their boxes. Plus the TiVo is much better than any boxes FiOS has.

TiVo is certainly an option. But, you should consider:
1) price of the hardware
2) TiVO subscription fee (monthly or lifetime)
3) monthly rental fee of the cablecard ($4.00 per month)
4) hardware repair or replacement fees after the limited warranty expires

A FiOS DVR is $17 per month, a non-DVR HD box is $12, multi-room DVR is $20
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post #5 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 05:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

TiVo is certainly an option. But, you should consider:
1) price of the hardware
2) TiVO subscription fee (monthly or lifetime)
3) monthly rental fee of the cablecard ($4.00 per month)
4) hardware repair or replacement fees after the limited warranty expires
A FiOS DVR is $17 per month, a non-DVR HD box is $12, multi-room DVR is $20

You get a lifetime subscription on the TiVo. In the longterm it is much, much cheaper than renting from FiOS, plus you can sell the lifetime box and recoup most of your cost. That is what I did with my Series 3 TiVos I used on FiOS. I sold them to cover 80% of the cost of my Premiere TiVos with lifetime service. Then when the four tuner TiVos came out, I sold two, two tuner lifetime boxes to pay for at least 100% of the cost of each lifetime four tuner TiVo(including extended warranty) I purchased. I've paid out nowhere near the amount I would have paid FiOS over the last 5+ years if I would have rented their DVRs.

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post #6 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 07:07 AM
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I guess the OP can compare the fee(s).
https://www3.tivo.com/store/premiere.do

Here's my quick calculation:

Standard FiOS HD STB = $720 for 5 years
FiOS DVR = $1020 for 5 years

TiVo DVR = $149
TiVO Lifetime = $500
Tivo Warranty = $70 ( to cover 5 years)
Cablecard rental = $240 (for 5 years)
Total = $959

So, over 5 years, renting a non-DVR HD FiOS box will save $239 ( or... $48 per year, $4 per month)
If DVR functionality is desired, over 5 years, the TiVO option will save $61 (or... $12 per year, $1 per month)
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post #7 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

I guess the OP can compare the fee(s).
https://www3.tivo.com/store/premiere.do
Here's my quick calculation:
Standard FiOS HD STB = $720 for 5 years
FiOS DVR = $1020 for 5 years
TiVo DVR = $149
TiVO Lifetime = $500
Tivo Warranty = $70 ( to cover 5 years)
Cablecard rental = $240 (for 5 years)
Total = $959
So, over 5 years, renting a non-DVR HD FiOS box will save $239 ( or... $48 per year, $4 per month)
If DVR functionality is desired, over 5 years, the TiVO option will save $61 (or... $12 per year, $1 per month)

You still have to factor in the resale value with lifetime service. Which will add several hundred dollars to that savings.(currently the resale value is over $500) The break even point is only a few months when you factor in the resale value. Plus extra tiVos knock off $100 off the lifetime service.(or you can enter a code and save $100 on your first TiVo lifetime service). Plus in my use I had four or five TiVos on FiOS. So that would have been four or five DVR rentals if I were renting boxes from FiOS.

In my use over 5+ years, it cost me less using my TiVos on FiOS than if I even rented non DVR STBs from FiOS. And of course compared with the FiOS DVRs it was even more savings.

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post #8 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 12:11 PM
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I have no experience with Fios... but with Charter (where I live) the first CableCard is free (assuming you have no Charter "Box"), and additional CableCards are $2 each per month.

Don't ever make the MISTAKE of buying a Samsung TV..
They consider THIS
normal on a two month old set..
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post #9 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 12:28 PM
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FiOS charges $3.99 for each cable card. But the also don't have an outlet fee like Comcast charges.

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post #10 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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None of the charges you folks are listing match the FIOS charges here as per the pricing sent to me in a letter by their sales department, which was $21.95 per month for the High Def box. And as far as I have been able to determine, they no longer offer the computer card in my area of Florida.
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post #11 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt View Post

You still have to factor in the resale value with lifetime service. Which will add several hundred dollars to that savings.(currently the resale value is over $500) The break even point is only a few months when you factor in the resale value. Plus extra tiVos knock off $100 off the lifetime service.(or you can enter a code and save $100 on your first TiVo lifetime service). Plus in my use I had four or five TiVos on FiOS. So that would have been four or five DVR rentals if I were renting boxes from FiOS.
In my use over 5+ years, it cost me less using my TiVos on FiOS than if I even rented non DVR STBs from FiOS. And of course compared with the FiOS DVRs it was even more savings.

Let's be realistic and put "resale value" aside.
You have to factor in that when you want to upgrade a box, you have to find someone that wants to buy a used TiVO (one or more) and go through a process to transfer subscription(s). That could be tedious and a PITA.

The basic comparisons were presented above (for one TiVO vs. FiOS rental). IMHO, it's not really a bank breaker. wink.gif Add more TiVO's..... it doesn't change savings too much.

Also.... even though you may get a $100 discount for each additional TiVO subscription, you still have an expenditure for hardware costs, and $400 for each TiVO.

I'm just trying to make sure that the OP doesn't get a false sense of saving a substantial amount of money per month. There are caveats and risks with using alternative hardware and perhaps, not much of a savings over time. (unless he/she reallly does keep the same hardware for 30 years. smile.gif )
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post #12 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Park View Post

None of the charges you folks are listing match the FIOS charges here as per the pricing sent to me in a letter by their sales department, which was $21.95 per month for the High Def box. And as far as I have been able to determine, they no longer offer the computer card in my area of Florida.

If they don't offer Cablecard in your area.... not much you can do.

Here's whats in their website:
http://www22.verizon.com/home/fiostv/equipment/
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post #13 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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In terms of resale value, though I appreciate what you are all saying, I don't intend to re-sell whatever I buy. I just want to hook up the TV and watch it, and forget about it. I'm getting th efeeling frokm what has been presented here that I just need to move on to some other service than FIOS for TV.
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post #14 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Let's be realistic and put "resale value" aside.
You have to factor in that when you want to upgrade a box, you have to find someone that wants to buy a used TiVO (one or more) and go through a process to transfer subscription(s). That could be tedious and a PITA.
The basic comparisons were presented above (for one TiVO vs. FiOS rental). IMHO, it's not really a bank breaker. wink.gif Add more TiVO's..... it doesn't change savings too much.
Also.... even though you may get a $100 discount for each additional TiVO subscription, you still have an expenditure for hardware costs, and $400 for each TiVO.
I'm just trying to make sure that the OP doesn't get a false sense of saving a substantial amount of money per month. There are caveats and risks with using alternative hardware and perhaps, not much of a savings over time. (unless he/she reallly does keep the same hardware for 30 years. smile.gif )

I've sold at least seventeen lifetime TiVos. transferring the lifetime box to someone else is as simple as calling TiVo up up and telling them the name of the new owner. Then the new owner calls to get it transferred to their account. It's very easy, simple, and painless process. I have never had an issue finding someone to buy a lifetime TiVo I've had. Whether it was from ebay or from selling to someone on a forum. They have always sold quickly.

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post #15 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Park View Post

I just want to hook up the TV and watch it, and forget about it. I'm getting th efeeling frokm what has been presented here that I just need to move on to some other service than FIOS for TV.
As stated earlier.... no matter the provider, your "per box" rental fees will be the almost the same. If you decide to do the "TiVO" route (which is an option), you still have to pay one way or the other.

Pick your poison. smile.gif

There's no "free lunch", unless you use an antenna for OTA.
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post #16 of 28 Old 09-25-2012, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post


There's no "free lunch", unless you use an antenna for OTA.

I'm not looking for a free lunch I am looking for a service that makes sense. It makes no more sense to rent a $200 set top box at the rate of $20 per month for the rest of my life than it made sense to rent a $50 phone from Bell for $6 a month for the rest of my life.

I built a nice dipole when I lived up north and that got me 27 channels, more than enough for my small TV watching needs. But here in Florida I get six channels, and 2 of those are Spanish, one religious. I'd like a little more variety than that. Maybe I'll look into Roku ( I own one but it's been disconnected for a while) Ustream or some of those other goofy services. Or just get a life....
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post #17 of 28 Old 09-28-2012, 03:38 PM
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Where in Florida? Maybe a decent antenna could get you a lot more channels? Have you tried a tvfool plot?

http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

Just post the results URL here when you get it.
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post #18 of 28 Old 09-28-2012, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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post #19 of 28 Old 10-02-2012, 04:36 PM
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Most of the above comments assume that for tivo the montly (or lifetime) subscription is required. Can someone pls explain exactly what features you get with naked (no subscription) tivo, and what you don't get??

With naked tivo and a cable card, can I tune to any subscribed channel and watch it??

With naked tivo, can I see a program guide?? If not, are there online alternatives?

I understand tivo has some pause/skip features; do these work w/o subscription?

I'm assuming that recording is not possible. (That's fine with me.)

Does a tivo (in general) take more power, or less, than a typical power-gulping set top box? I hate the power chewed up by my set top box which is idle over 95% of the time. You can't turn the thing off, all you can do is turn off the front power led.

Can you turn a tivo off, and actually save power?? How long to turn it back on?

Does the tivo need an internet connection? Or phone connection?

Basically, I'd like to watch Jon and Steven a few nights a week. And sometimes SNF and MNF. Doable with tivo and no monthly service?

Thanks!
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post #20 of 28 Old 04-12-2013, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Casey Glass View Post

Most of the above comments assume that for tivo the montly (or lifetime) subscription is required. Can someone pls explain exactly what features you get with naked (no subscription) tivo, and what you don't get??

Basically, I'd like to watch Jon and Steven a few nights a week. And sometimes SNF and MNF. Doable with tivo and no monthly service?

Thanks!

I pay $8/ mo for Hulu Plus, get most shows there. I have a few friends who let me use their DTV log in for streaming CNN and HBO GO. I also have an antenna for HD local channels. I use Apple TV and Roku and can watch just about any show on any TV I want in the house. Cable as we know it will be dead by the end of the decade. For $200 and $8 a month I get all the shows and content I had at $100/ mo. People are crazy to keep paying that much IMHO.
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post #21 of 28 Old 08-23-2013, 07:59 PM
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There is a new solution to this problem
http://www.hdhomerun.com/images/hdhomerun/PRIME_3CC_DLNA.pdf


I am looking to set this up. Basically you need a cable card, that plugs into this box. Then you can stream via network all the programming.
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post #22 of 28 Old 08-31-2013, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Walsh View Post

There is a new solution to this problem
http://www.hdhomerun.com/images/hdhomerun/PRIME_3CC_DLNA.pdf


I am looking to set this up. Basically you need a cable card, that plugs into this box. Then you can stream via network all the programming.

This looks very interesting. Correct me if I am wrong. It looks like this could replace Verizon's STB, that I rent for $17 a month and then rent the card from Verizon for this box for about $4 a month. Will this box do what TIVO does without TIVO's monthly subscription? What I mean by this is, can it get all the channels that I pay Verizon for on this box?


m

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post #23 of 28 Old 08-31-2013, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JimShaw View Post

This looks very interesting. Correct me if I am wrong. It looks like this could replace Verizon's STB, that I rent for $17 a month and then rent the card from Verizon for this box for about $4 a month. Will this box do what TIVO does without TIVO's monthly subscription? What I mean by this is, can it get all the channels that I pay Verizon for on this box?


m

The cable card rental price with FiOS is going up again. This time to $5. If it hasn't already in your area it will by the end of the year.

When I first got FiOS, six years ago, the cable cards were $2.99 each. And then a couple of years ago they went up to $3.99 each. In my area they are going up to $4.99 each in December. Some areas have already seen the increase.

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post #24 of 28 Old 08-31-2013, 03:59 PM
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The cable card rental price with FiOS is going up again. This time to $5. If it hasn't already in your area it will by the end of the year.

When I first got FiOS, six years ago, the cable cards were $2.99 each. And then a couple of years ago they went up to $3.99 each. In my area they are going up to $4.99 each in December. Some areas have already seen the increase.

I just noticed on my neighbor's Verizon bill, she paid 4.99 per card and her TIVO needed 2 cards making her monthly rental $9.98 for her TIVO

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post #25 of 28 Old 08-31-2013, 06:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimShaw View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Walsh View Post

There is a new solution to this problem
http://www.hdhomerun.com/images/hdhomerun/PRIME_3CC_DLNA.pdf


I am looking to set this up. Basically you need a cable card, that plugs into this box. Then you can stream via network all the programming.

This looks very interesting. Correct me if I am wrong. It looks like this could replace Verizon's STB, that I rent for $17 a month and then rent the card from Verizon for this box for about $4 a month. Will this box do what TIVO does without TIVO's monthly subscription? What I mean by this is, can it get all the channels that I pay Verizon for on this box?

nope. Doesn't DVR or play premium channels (unless you stick a Windows Media Center PC between the CableCard and your TV)...tongue.gif
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post #26 of 28 Old 08-31-2013, 07:32 PM
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nope. Doesn't DVR or play premium channels (unless you stick a Windows Media Center PC between the CableCard and your TV)...tongue.gif

That's sad to hear.

Thanks

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post #27 of 28 Old 09-01-2013, 10:10 AM
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Well that is the design of that box. You use a PC as your DVR and yes you will get the premium channels with it.
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post #28 of 28 Old 09-01-2013, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
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Well that is the design of that box. You use a PC as your DVR and yes you will get the premium channels with it.
Yes, indeed. The HDHR Prime is simply a tuner. Add a CableCard and it can unscramble the channels too. But the Cable Company has another level of security that controls what you can do with the de-scrambled signal. They can flag a program as 'Copy Freely' (pretty much do what you want with it, including distribute it using DLNA), 'Copy Once' (allows you to record and play it back from the same device only) and 'Do Not Copy' (view only). Only Windows Media Center at this time is considered a 'Trusted Device' and is therefore the only way you can view or record 'Copy Once' programs. I have yet to encounter a 'Do Not Copy' but suspect certain Pay Per View content is flagged that way. On my cable most of the commercially supported channels are copy freely and most of the movie channels copy once.
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