Cable card for Basic cable? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I pay for comcast basic cable and want to integrate into my pc so i don't have to change inputs.

Needs:
Watch Basic TV with htpc(possible through XBMC yet?(I don't like WMC).

Wants:
Record basic TV.. Not really that important as we don't have the capability now.

Bonus:
Local HD channels... Would be nice to watch ESPN and locals in HD but figure it may not happen.
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post #2 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 08:25 AM
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The cable coming from your wall outlet with Basic cable contains SD analog and digital channels and HD digital channels that are unencrypted so they can be received by tuner withoug using a Set top Box or Cable Card. Therefore a TV tuner card can be used to receive and record your local unencrypted channels.
ESPN is not a broadcast channel, it is cable only and therefore is encrypted.
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post #3 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 08:48 AM
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more simply...you don't need a cablecard if you just want ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, CW, PBS, WB other broadcast channels. just a standard PC tuner will pull those channels. even if you are paying for expanded channels, and other TVs plugged into the wall get them, through a PC only these channels appear and work (the "Broadcast" channels).

any expanded channels like ESPN/FX/TNT/Discovery etc require the Cable Card and CC tuner to tune them in.

WMC is required if you want to use the Cable Card. really not too many great ways around that. and probably is still the best for liveTV/DVR if you want to keep it simple.
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post #4 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 09:04 AM
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all hd channels are encrypted on comcast, cable cards are free to rent though so I dont see why it would be an issue
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post #5 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

all hd channels are encrypted on comcast, cable cards are free to rent though so I dont see why it would be an issue

That varies from region to region. There are some HD Channels that are in ClearQam in my area. Discovery, History, Nick, Disney, SyFy, CNN, just to name a few.

But my guess is before long they will encrypt everything but the affiliates.
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post #6 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 09:32 AM
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For years I did this with two analog TV tuner cards (PVR-150 and PVR-250) and a Silicon Dust HDHomeRun ... all non-HD cable channels 2-99 can be tuned by the analog tuners, and all Clear QAM HD (about 13 channels) was handled by the HDHomeRun -- no CableCARD required for any of this. I had "basic" cable .. e.g. cable from wall outlet to splitter to tuner cards, no set-top box, etc. involved ...

This was with Cox cable in Phoenix. This year I finally "graduated" to CableCARD and upgrading my cable service.
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post #7 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mntneer View Post

That varies from region to region. There are some HD Channels that are in ClearQam in my area. Discovery, History, Nick, Disney, SyFy, CNN, just to name a few.

But my guess is before long they will encrypt everything but the affiliates.

I got something in the mail about my Comcast service needing a box/card for all TVs soon. I think that means ClearQAM is getting less Clear and more encrypted. Or maybe they are talking about analog only... I've got a Ceton anyway so it doesn't matter in my house. Too bad there isn't any fine print on these things saying exactly what they are doing.

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post #8 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 09:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxturbowesxx View Post

I pay for comcast basic cable and want to integrate into my pc so i don't have to change inputs.

Needs:
Watch Basic TV with htpc(possible through XBMC yet?(I don't like WMC).

Wants:
Record basic TV.. Not really that important as we don't have the capability now.

Bonus:
Local HD channels... Would be nice to watch ESPN and locals in HD but figure it may not happen.

I highly doubt that your basic cable includes ESPN, unless you meant you had "family basic"

If you can get XMBC to record scheduled programs, and recor don the fly, then, use it. If not, why even bother, connect cable to your HDTV, and you will get the same basic broadcast channels, if your TV has ATSC or ClearQAM tuner, depending on what your provider is using for the signal.

Basic cable, or basic broadcast cable usually only includes the same channels you can get with an antenna.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #9 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post

I got something in the mail about my Comcast service needing a box/card for all TVs soon. I think that means ClearQAM is getting less Clear and more encrypted. Or maybe they are talking about analog only... I've got a Ceton anyway so it doesn't matter in my house. Too bad there isn't any fine print on these things saying exactly what they are doing.

The reason you will need a box is because your Comcast head end is going all digital so a box will be needed to convert the unencrypted digital channels to analog for TVs that do not have a digital tuner that supports clear QAM. The first box may even be free and additional boxes will be very inexpensive.
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post #10 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

The reason you will need a box is because your Comcast head end is going all digital so a box will be needed to convert the unencrypted digital channels to analog for TVs that do not have a digital tuner that supports clear QAM. The first box may even be free and additional boxes will be very inexpensive.

But if you call and complain, they will work out a deal with you on the cost.

Regardless of the expense, Comcast should not be encrypting "Basic" cable and should be providing it all in ClearQam. They're double dipping and they know it, and in essence bypassing the FCC rules on charging per outlet.
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post #11 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 11:34 AM
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OTA channels, SD and HD, are available as unencrypted ClearQAM with Comcast in my area. They also throw in QVC, HSN, local access and NECN (New England Cable News). This is what Comcast is calling "Basic" cable now. They now longer have different tiers of basic like "extended" which had 2-99.

So, it's either this "basic" which for now can be had via a ClearQAM tuner or Digital Starter (and up) which requires a CableCard. Even with Digital Starter you might not get all the 2-99 channels because they have different tiers like "Family" or they make you get Digital Preferred to get some of the 2-99 channels like HGTV which is not part of Digital Starter. This changes day-to-day, agent-to-agent, zipcode-to-zipcode and whatever is on the website for listings is outdated.

"Can I offer you our best package: Digital Premiere Triple-Play for ONLY $239/month?"

 

 

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post #12 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walford View Post

The cable coming from your wall outlet with Basic cable contains SD analog and digital channels and HD digital channels that are unencrypted so they can be received by tuner withoug using a Set top Box or Cable Card. Therefore a TV tuner card can be used to receive and record your local unencrypted channels.
ESPN is not a broadcast channel, it is cable only and therefore is encrypted.

So even though you pay for the cable only channel and get it through your boxes a tuner wont get it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

I highly doubt that your basic cable includes ESPN, unless you meant you had "family basic"

If you can get XMBC to record scheduled programs, and recor don the fly, then, use it. If not, why even bother, connect cable to your HDTV, and you will get the same basic broadcast channels, if your TV has ATSC or ClearQAM tuner, depending on what your provider is using for the signal.

Basic cable, or basic broadcast cable usually only includes the same channels you can get with an antenna.

I get local channels some other simple channels and
30 The Weather Channel
37 CNN
40 Fox News Channel
42 Discovery Channel
45 A&E
46 American Movie Classics
49 Food Network
51 USA Network
52 Lifetime
55 Comedy Central
56 E!
57 Disney Channel
58 Cartoon Network
60 Spike TV
62 BET
67 Animal Planet
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post #13 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 07:44 PM
 
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Another question about cable cards and HTPC that use them.

Can you access ondemand services when using a cablecard?

This is the only thing that makes me hesitant to go the cable card route.

Thanks!

Redscare
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post #14 of 24 Old 02-28-2012, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redscare24 View Post

Another question about cable cards and HTPC that use them.

Can you access ondemand services when using a cablecard?

This is the only thing that makes me hesitant to go the cable card route.

Thanks!

Redscare

no, you can only get ondemand with their cable box

Phil Tomaskovic
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post #15 of 24 Old 02-29-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redscare24 View Post

Another question about cable cards and HTPC that use them.

Can you access ondemand services when using a cablecard?

This is the only thing that makes me hesitant to go the cable card route.

Thanks!

Redscare

No, but why would you need on demand when you have Hulu on TV which you can acess for free just using the remote.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #16 of 24 Old 02-29-2012, 10:21 AM
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Whether or not you have a CableCard, if you have Comcast, you can access "on-demand" on-line through the xfinity site. What you have access to depends on your cable package.

I also would not expect any channels but the OTAs to last much longer as unencrypted. Comcast just hasn't rolled that out in your area but they will -- they will (evil laugh).

BTW, Cable Co's. are working on an exception for the OTA channels not being encrypted as well. So far they've succeeded in NYC. That may set a precedent.

 

 

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post #17 of 24 Old 02-29-2012, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StardogChampion View Post

Whether or not you have a CableCard, if you have Comcast, you can access "on-demand" on-line through the xfinity site. What you have access to depends on your cable package.

I also would not expect any channels but the OTAs to last much longer as unencrypted. Comcast just hasn't rolled that out in your area but they will -- they will (evil laugh).

BTW, Cable Co's. are working on an exception for the OTA channels not being encrypted as well. So far they've succeeded in NYC. That may set a precedent.

There's a NPRM (11-169) in front of the FCC right now to allow all digital-only MSOs to encrypt the basic channel even

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #18 of 24 Old 02-29-2012, 01:35 PM
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If you can access HD basic cable now it doesnt mean you shouldnt get a cable card tuner, you wont be able to forever and would be wasting money on a plain qam tuner since you WILL have to upgrade at some point. I repeat: cable card rentals are free with Comcast, it states it on their website, any region that tries to charge for it is going against corporate policy, there is no extra monthly fee for a cable card tuner vs a QAM tuner.

If you have cable then get a cable card tuner, they arent that much more expensive and are future proof.
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post #19 of 24 Old 02-29-2012, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by idividebyzero View Post

If you can access HD basic cable now it doesnt mean you shouldnt get a cable card tuner, you wont be able to forever and would be wasting money on a plain qam tuner since you WILL have to upgrade at some point. I repeat: cable card rentals are free with Comcast, it states it on their website, any region that tries to charge for it is going against corporate policy, there is no extra monthly fee for a cable card tuner vs a QAM tuner.

If you have cable then get a cable card tuner, they arent that much more expensive and are future proof.

While I certainly agree that the OP should seriously consider a CableCARD tuner, every Comcast market that I am aware of charges for CableCARD rentals. I believe some provide the first free, but not all. Can you please tell me where it says this?

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #20 of 24 Old 03-02-2012, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by erickotz View Post

While I certainly agree that the OP should seriously consider a CableCARD tuner, every Comcast market that I am aware of charges for CableCARD rentals. I believe some provide the first free, but not all. Can you please tell me where it says this?

Is ceton the only cablecard tuner?

I don't really want to spend more than $100.
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-02-2012, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by xxturbowesxx View Post

Is ceton the only cablecard tuner?

I don't really want to spend more than $100.

No.

SiliconDust makes the HDHomerun Prime, and Hauppauge has a Cable Card external box as well.

My Prime was under $200... and well worth it. The Hauppauge is the cheapest at $130, but it only has 2 tuners. The Prime is about $200 now and it has 3 tuners.
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post #22 of 24 Old 03-03-2012, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Mntneer View Post

No.

SiliconDust makes the HDHomerun Prime, and Hauppauge has a Cable Card external box as well.

My Prime was under $200... and well worth it. The Hauppauge is the cheapest at $130, but it only has 2 tuners. The Prime is about $200 now and it has 3 tuners.

The Hauppage is $107 with free shipping if you have a prime account FWIW.

I may pick one up this week.

Thanks!
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post #23 of 24 Old 03-08-2012, 08:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erickotz View Post

While I certainly agree that the OP should seriously consider a CableCARD tuner, every Comcast market that I am aware of charges for CableCARD rentals. I believe some provide the first free, but not all. Can you please tell me where it says this?

Here is a link to Comcast that states the policy they have;
http://customer.comcast.com/help-and...g-a-cablecard/

The title is very misleading and surmize they mean to suggest that CC devices can be purchased not the cablecard itself. The policy states that the first cableCARD is free and a second one is $1.50 per month if a second one is needed for the same device (some TIVO model needs two cards to function). No one seems to know what a second card for a second device costs from Comcast!

Where things get sticky is if you are using an HD package or an add on to an SD package. If you have basic digital package or extended digital package this does not include HD channels (except local clearQAM HD which is still free as per FCC rules which many correctly state could be changed by the end of summer just in time for football). If you upgrade these to HD it will cost 8 to $10 more per month with these packages depending on your market (they just announce a $1 increase in some markets). If you buy the HD starter package that fee is include in the overall package charge. In most areas you will get a $2.50 credit per month for having your own tuner with the double or triple play options but not always with SD cable only.

FYI - The SilconDust Prime without a cable card installed will tune all clearQAM signals (unencrypted local channels) but it is a bit of a challenge at times to get them to autopopulate into WMC. The CableCARD makes this way too easy and is a real joy from this aspect. And comcast has a habit of moving clearQAM channels around their network and it is a pain to wake up and not see any channels once or thrice a year.

Also to clarify some other info - "SD analog" does not exist. Standard definition is 480 digital, HD is 720 or 1080 digital, analog is a totally different tuning system. Though it is possible that Comcast in your area may still have analog channels it is not likely (some smaller markets do still have analog because they have not had a large demand on their broadband service yet).

Eric - as a side note - read your posting to FCC regarding the proposed changes and understand your position. I basically felt that the Cable companies have not been doing a good enough job with the third party products like Ceton and SiliconDust or even TIVO. That the encryption of extended basic channels did not have the affect they originally intended to achieve which was a variety of fully functional third party devices and staffs that make those product easy to install across all service provider platforms. I do not feel that the providers techs are up to speed on installtions of such products which should have ended by now. Still many people are told that their cable company does not support these devices. It is funny how fast that changes when you file a complaint with the FCC right now. One guy reported on the SiliconDust forum that they filed a complaint one night and had a call from an upper level tech at Time Warner at 9 am the next day and a tech on sight in half an hour!!! So until the FCC makes a ruling we got some leverage against uninformed cable company employees from the higher ups in the corporation who want no complaints right now about third party product integration.
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post #24 of 24 Old 03-08-2012, 09:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Multimediashtick View Post

Eric - as a side note - read your posting to FCC regarding the proposed changes and understand your position. I basically felt that the Cable companies have not been doing a good enough job with the third party products like Ceton and SiliconDust or even TIVO. That the encryption of extended basic channels did not have the affect they originally intended to achieve which was a variety of fully functional third party devices and staffs that make those product easy to install across all service provider platforms. I do not feel that the providers techs are up to speed on installtions of such products which should have ended by now. Still many people are told that their cable company does not support these devices. It is funny how fast that changes when you file a complaint with the FCC right now. One guy reported on the SiliconDust forum that they filed a complaint one night and had a call from an upper level tech at Time Warner at 9 am the next day and a tech on sight in half an hour!!! So until the FCC makes a ruling we got some leverage against uninformed cable company employees from the higher ups in the corporation who want no complaints right now about third party product integration.

I know very well that 1/2 the stuff I put in that write-up has essentially 0 chance of happening, however, I'm hopeful if the FCC starts hearing the same things over and over, maybe, just maybe, something will happen, even if it's just a stern look at the industry. Personally, I'd consider it a major victory if the FCC mandated CCI 0x00 on encrypted basic channels, but I guess we shall see.

What I will say is I believe that things are a lot better now than they were 5 years ago. It's certainly not perfect, but you can pick up a CableCARD for self-install, and usually get it paired on the first try or two, as opposed to an hours-long battle, as things were when I got my first ATI digital cable tuners.

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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