Cablecard is in trouble - House votes to dump requirement - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 06:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Thumbs down Cablecard is in trouble - House votes to dump requirement

http://thehill.com/policy/technology...way-for-senate

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the bill will also make some changes to the way broadcasters negotiate with cable and satellite companies, eliminate a federal requirement for specific security equipment in cable boxes and give broadcasters more time to unwind resource-sharing arrangements that the Federal Communications Commission effectively banned earlier this year.
Basically the House voted to stop mandating cablecard support. Now the Senate has to vote on it.

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post #2 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post
http://thehill.com/policy/technology...way-for-senate



Basically the House voted to stop mandating cablecard support. Now the Senate has to vote on it.
It's my understanding that there are two separate requirements that were implemented separately.

(A) that they allow third party devices to interface with their cable networks and decrypt protected content

(B) that their own solutions utilize this decryption system rather than utilize custom decryption (the so-called integration ban)

(A) was in place for several years before (B). The idea behind (B) was that it would incentivize the cable companies to provide better cablecard support, though obviously the results have been mixed.

In the news coverage I've only seen reference to repealing (B). Has (A) been repealed too?
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post #3 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 08:43 AM
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With news that Tivo and Comcast are working together for a non-cable card solution, could we be looking at a software solution here? Similar to how you can watch NCAA tournament online, if you log in using your cable account? I'd be for that, as long as I'm not forced to pay outrageous fees for cable card set top boxes.
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post #4 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 08:47 AM
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Since they started encrypting local channels I knew this was all no good...

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post #5 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 08:54 AM
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Ota ftw.

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 #6 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 09:24 AM - Thread Starter
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The "Integration Ban" is what was repealed. So thats the requirement that cable companies use cablecards inside their own boxes.

http://www.fiercecable.com/story/cab...ban/2013-09-27

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ACA CEO Matt Polka said that the FCC's set-top security integration ban has been "especially harmful to small cable operators, who were forced to rely on expensive CableCARD-enabled boxes that were disproportionately more costly than for larger cable operators."
Polka also noted that operators would continue to supply subscribers who buy TiVo DVRs and other set-tops at retail outlets with CableCARDs that could be used to watch subscription video.
Those two statements are at odds with each other. If using a cablecard is burdonsome to a small provider in their box you have to imagine they will make the argument its cost prohibitive in yours too.

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With news that Tivo and Comcast are working together for a non-cable card solution, could we be looking at a software solution here? Similar to how you can watch NCAA tournament online, if you log in using your cable account? I'd be for that, as long as I'm not forced to pay outrageous fees for cable card set top boxes.
Some channels (ESPN, TBS) aleady offer live programming over the internet. You either use a web browser (PC) or dedicated app (Android, iOS). That's part of the reason I'm interested in an Android based all in one WMC-HTPC replacement. I seriously doubt that whatever follows traditional digital cable and cablecards will have an HTPC implementation developed for it.

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post #7 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

Some channels (ESPN, TBS) aleady offer live programming over the internet. You either use a web browser (PC) or dedicated app (Android, iOS). That's part of the reason I'm interested in an Android based all in one WMC-HTPC replacement. I seriously doubt that whatever follows traditional digital cable and cablecards will have an HTPC implementation developed for it.
I would give anything for Android TV to be a WMC replacement. I watched a 47 minute video over at the greenbutton about it. It looks promising but until its released and in the hands of developers, I'm not holding my breath. I always wondered why Google sold off the set top box division of Motorola, seemed like a natural progression of Android to get it on those boxes and into the homes of millions.
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post #8 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 09:52 AM
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Ota ftw.
OTA is the sh!t !!!

Best PQ. FREE! Can't beat it. Antenna and coax cable is cheap You might need a ladder though, and hopefully not too afraid of heights.

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post #9 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post
Some channels (ESPN, TBS) aleady offer live programming over the internet. You either use a web browser (PC) or dedicated app (Android, iOS). That's part of the reason I'm interested in an Android based all in one WMC-HTPC replacement. I seriously doubt that whatever follows traditional digital cable and cablecards will have an HTPC implementation developed for it.
IMO that's the direction we're headed anyway, getting content delivered via IP instead of cable "channels". Content providers have more control, which is what they want. We give up that control in exchange for more flexibility in how we access it.
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post #10 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post
Ota ftw.
But less and less over the air content is worth watching lately. I hear people mention this "cord cutting" stuff, but more than half of the series I have set to record seem to be on cable channels. Looking through the series I have set, they are mostly on SHO, FX, HBO, AMC, a couple on TNT, SMITH and BBCA and a few Yankee games each week on YES. Of the OTA channels, pretty much only FOX and ABC. If I cut the cord, I would cut off about 75% of what I watch, plus lose the movies on STZ, EPIX and TCM as well as on HBO and SHO.

Has anyone started an "antenna cutting" movement?
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post #11 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 10:47 AM
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But less and less over the air content is worth watching lately. I hear people mention this "cord cutting" stuff, but more than half of the series I have set to record seem to be on cable channels. Looking through the series I have set, they are mostly on SHO, FX, HBO, AMC, a couple on TNT, SMITH and BBCA and a few Yankee games each week on YES. Of the OTA channels, pretty much only FOX and ABC. If I cut the cord, I would cut off about 75% of what I watch, plus lose the movies on STZ, EPIX and TCM as well as on HBO and SHO.

Has anyone started an "antenna cutting" movement?
Nicely put. I recently setup ota and took back my cablecard / canceled my tv subscription from Comcast. Went a lot smoother than that Ryan what's-his-name guy's call. Nice additional $600/yr headed back my way (and then back out to a timeshare )

I'll admit, it wouldn't be an option if I really relied on dvr for watching most of my tv shows

Interesting other tidbit, my antenna picks up some channels that say subscription required and WMC seems to think they are showtime and kube. How on earth would you pay subscription for OTA?
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post #12 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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That sounds like egress. Do you live in an area with older cable lines? Poor shielding on the cables could cause the signal to "escape" out into the air.

I live in an old city neighborhood with a lot of hundred year old homes and noticed the opposite. Before Comcast shut down clearqam I ran their feed direct to a qam/atsc/fm tuner. I picked up moat fm channels clear as day using Comcast's line as an antenna.
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post #13 of 98 Old 07-25-2014, 01:24 PM
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How soon could this realistically affect all Comcast customers who use cablecard tuners for their HTPCs? My guess is Comcast will keep their systems backwards compatible for existing cablecard devices in the field for several years. Im hoping this will be more than enough time for cloud-based services mature a bit more.

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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post
The "Integration Ban" is what was repealed. So thats the requirement that cable companies use cablecards inside their own boxes.

http://www.fiercecable.com/story/cab...ban/2013-09-27



Those two statements are at odds with each other. If using a cablecard is burdonsome to a small provider in their box you have to imagine they will make the argument its cost prohibitive in yours too.



Some channels (ESPN, TBS) aleady offer live programming over the internet. You either use a web browser (PC) or dedicated app (Android, iOS). That's part of the reason I'm interested in an Android based all in one WMC-HTPC replacement. I seriously doubt that whatever follows traditional digital cable and cablecards will have an HTPC implementation developed for it.

Can your HTPC Media Center / DVR Do this??

SageTV: Unrestricted full-quality 12 tuner HD Premium Cable recording, including "On Demand" in HD + OTA ATSC + DVB-S2 + Blu-ray/HD-DVD serving 5 clients.
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post #14 of 98 Old 07-26-2014, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post
That sounds like egress. Do you live in an area with older cable lines? Poor shielding on the cables could cause the signal to "escape" out into the air
I don't think so, interesting though

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How soon could this realistically affect all Comcast customers who use cablecard tuners for their HTPCs? My guess is Comcast will keep their systems backwards compatible for existing cablecard devices in the field for several years
There newest STBs (X1) still use cablecards. Who knows how much they sunk into development and the cost to purchase the first batches that are littering their stores and cold-call/junk-mail ads, so I don't expect them to retire the standard for at least another 2-3 years (unless a competitor really creates something remarkable causing subscriber bleed)
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post #15 of 98 Old 07-26-2014, 05:51 AM
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I wouldn't go into a panic about losing your cablecards. Anyone that currently uses cablecard-based STBs or standalone cards in their tuners will be able to use them until such time as your provider changes their infrastructure, which isn't going to happen anytime soon. The only real caveat is that nothing would prevent them from jacking up the monthly fees for equipment that's already been deployed. You may also not be able to rent new cablecards once this legislation goes into effect. I suspect that providers with existing stock will keep renting them until they've exhausted their supply. STBs and DVRs that get returned will eventually be replaced with newer hardware.
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post #16 of 98 Old 07-26-2014, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post
OTA is the sh!t !!!

Best PQ. FREE! Can't beat it. Antenna and coax cable is cheap You might need a ladder though, and hopefully not too afraid of heights.
Doesn't work to well on Cape Cod though!
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post #17 of 98 Old 07-26-2014, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by VideoJames View Post
But less and less over the air content is worth watching lately. I hear people mention this "cord cutting" stuff, but more than half of the series I have set to record seem to be on cable channels. Looking through the series I have set, they are mostly on SHO, FX, HBO, AMC, a couple on TNT, SMITH and BBCA and a few Yankee games each week on YES. Of the OTA channels, pretty much only FOX and ABC. If I cut the cord, I would cut off about 75% of what I watch, plus lose the movies on STZ, EPIX and TCM as well as on HBO and SHO.

Has anyone started an "antenna cutting" movement?

Imo "cutting cable" affects more sports fans than any other group. And I think we're slowly going in the direction of streaming, making this "issue" (if it would actually come to pass) not that big a deal. Cable cos are not going to do this overnight.

A LOT of HBO programming is already available on Amazon, and since they just started I expect them to eventually get more recent shows.

A lot of Disny programming is available on Netflix, and they just signed a deal to stream FIRST RUN features something like 8 months after they play in theaters (starting in 2016 I think).

Eventually, Showtime et al will probably follow. There is also Usenet for those so inclined.

My own opinion is if something like this was introduced, the cable cos are behind it somehow. They probably already have a plan on what they want to replace it with. Tivo isn't going anywhere. It would mostly affect WMC, and the writing is already on the wall about it's end of life.

It's funny, when cable cards first appeared, people were slow to adopt them. Actually, they never really caught on with the masses (aside from Tivo). Not sure how many people are worried about this.
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post #18 of 98 Old 07-26-2014, 07:52 PM
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Not sure how many people are worried about this.
It's probably about the same percentage of people who are worried about Microsoft not even offering WMC any more. There's a couple hundred people at my company and it wouldn't shock me in the slightest if I was the only one using WMC.
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post #19 of 98 Old 07-27-2014, 01:13 AM
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I will admit to cord cutting the television part, but i kept the internet part, so i still have a Comcast cable coming to the house.

With this current government of do nothing, we seem to be stuck. I don't see anything being done. I can actually see them letting the sat expire and leave millions without local channels in rural areas, as that is sat top market, based on the nelson studies.
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post #20 of 98 Old 07-28-2014, 10:18 AM
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I will admit to cord cutting the television part, but i kept the internet part, so i still have a Comcast cable coming to the house.

With this current government of do nothing, we seem to be stuck. I don't see anything being done. I can actually see them letting the sat expire and leave millions without local channels in rural areas, as that is sat top market, based on the nelson studies.
I don't agree that our govt. "does nothing".

They do plenty, as long as you're a large corporation. The day I learned about lobbyists was the day I woke up to just how effective my vote was.

Putting a former cable lobbyist in charge of the FCC is like putting Pablo Escobar or Francisco Arrellano in charge of the DEA.
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post #21 of 98 Old 07-28-2014, 10:52 AM
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My own opinion is if something like this was introduced, the cable cos are behind it somehow. They probably already have a plan on what they want to replace it with. Tivo isn't going anywhere. It would mostly affect WMC, and the writing is already on the wall about it's end of life.
There is still a hospitality market out there for cable card. Ceton designed their product line for that market. I don't believe for a minute that we'll see a wholesale abandonment of cable card. It's pretty well established technology now and cable companies have millions of cable boxes out there with cable cards installed. All the regulation does is relieve smaller competitors in the cable market of the requirement that they must use cable cards. Maybe this will usher in a way of receiving channels via the internet in some convenient way?

WMC certainly isn't growing at all, and given that I'm using it, that's disappointing for me, but the HTPC concept is still a valid and useful platform for various other forms of entertainment. Perhaps we could all petition Microsoft's new CEO and ask him to open-source the media center component so a new, stand-alone product can be produced and maintained by rabid enthusiasts like us? I'd support an effort like that.
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post #22 of 98 Old 07-28-2014, 06:23 PM
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There are already open-source PVR packages, such as MythTV. Their open-source nature makes them incompatible with DRM, so they can't record copy-once channels, which is WMC's main exclusive feature.
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post #23 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 05:44 AM
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I think few would argue that cable cards are the way of the future, so I can see why it makes sense to open the door for moving on. But, the cable card requirements do exist for a reason, and those reasons need to be addressed in any change to the requirements. Customers need to have some control over their cable signal, and should not be forced/leveraged into paying for hardware from only the cable company. Make sure that doesn't happen, and I won't complain too much.
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post #24 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 06:07 AM
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There are already open-source PVR packages, such as MythTV. Their open-source nature makes them incompatible with DRM, so they can't record copy-once channels, which is WMC's main exclusive feature.
What is it about open source that precludes the recording of DRM content? I would bet someone could produce an open-source version of Play Ready. Probably, the only real barrier is cost of development. Getting the right certifications is not cheap, quick or easy.

I have always wondered why Microsoft never stripped the media center component from Windows and made it a stand-alone application for the home theater market and at the same time support plug-in developers. Media Center is still the most popular front end out there for home theater application. Another opportunity squandered.
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post #25 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Its been obvious for a while that Microsoft lacked a coherent "entertainment" strategy. They've had so many fragmented programs in place to address that piecemeal.

The PC-extender model probably came from two main reasons. #1 being cost. At the time this stuff was in active develpment (2005-2009 give or take) hard drives were smaller and more expensive, processors were less powerful and more expensive, and there were no networkable multi stream tuners. Having one central computer and less powerful WMC extenders made sense. The 2nd reason would be the Copy Once nonsense. Back when the Infinitv was first released (only a year or so into W7) there was some hope that WMC would be updated to allow Homegroup PCs to share recordings (or that Softsled would become a reality). Didn't happen.

But today a WMC environment makes infinitely more sense. Why couldn't an Xbox 360 or One be updated to run WMC exactly like our computers do? Have them interact with the tuner and record directly. Rebadge a Ceton or Hauppage tuner as an official Microsoft Xbox accessory and sell them in the video game section at Best Buy and Walmart. Even better have the Comcast reps inside the Best Buys stores GIVE you a cablecard on your way home.

Or think about movie and music sales and playback. There were weird 3rd party stores built into WMP (that WMC could partially navigate). The links are still there, but the stores aren't. Now that Microsoft has the Xbox Music and Xbox Video services on their game consoles why not bring that back into WMC? Have a store that rents and sells movies inside the software just like the Xbox does.

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post #26 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 06:41 AM
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What is it about open source that precludes the recording of DRM content? I would bet someone could produce an open-source version of Play Ready. Probably, the only real barrier is cost of development. Getting the right certifications is not cheap, quick or easy.

I have always wondered why Microsoft never stripped the media center component from Windows and made it a stand-alone application for the home theater market and at the same time support plug-in developers. Media Center is still the most popular front end out there for home theater application. Another opportunity squandered.
Playready and/or any other acceptable solution requires a completely closed/protected/inaccessible decoding and rendering path between the media on the disk and the display. This prevents the content from being recorded and converted to a non-drm format. Any open source solution would (A) need to be made from scratch since existing solutions are not closed and (B) would probably never get certified because the open source nature of the software made it too easy to subvert.

As much as I would like to see continued support, I don't think that it is a missed commercial opportunity for Microsoft. It is probably pretty expensive to develop and very sparsely used. How many people do you know in your personal and professional lives that have cablecard media center setups? Other than myself (and I don't rely on it as my primary TV solution) I know no one. And I work with and know a lot of pretty tech savvy people.
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post #27 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 09:04 AM
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How many people do you know in your personal and professional lives that have cablecard media center setups? Other than myself (and I don't rely on it as my primary TV solution) I know no one. And I work with and know a lot of pretty tech savvy people.
Based on somewhat outdated information: According to Microsoft, and they know exactly how many people use WMC7, there are 9,000,000 regular WMC7 users.

Out of 600,000,000 Windows 7 licenses, 6% used WMC7 occasionally, and 25% of the 6% used it regularly (1.5% of all Windows users).

I wish there was more updated information. At the time of the publication there were very few tuner options.

There are a number of WMC8 users.

Not sure if MCE XP is still supported with the guide feed since support for XP has ended.

For comparison, There are a total of 4,500,000 Tivo Subscribers in the world.

Sources:

http://www.businessinsider.com/micro...ry-much-2011-9

http://www.zdnet.com/with-600-millio...xp-4010026342/

http://investor.tivo.com/phoenix.zht...479&highlight=

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 #28 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 10:32 PM
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Out of 600,000,000 Windows 7 licenses, 6% used WMC7 occasionally, and 25% of the 6% used it regularly (1.5% of all Windows users).

...

For comparison, There are a total of 4,500,000 Tivo Subscribers in the world
Maybe I'm missing something, but doesn't that say that from 7 alone there are 2x WMC users per Tivo subscriber?

600M x 0.015 = 9M WMC vs 4.5M Tivo
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post #29 of 98 Old 07-29-2014, 10:45 PM
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My desire/interest for cable TV at current rates is already pretty marginal...and that's with the getting on new 'promo' rates when old ones expire + my single cablecard....nevermind regular prices and $20-$30+ worth of boxes for a couple TV's. I don't think this stuff does have much near term impact for me, but once my cablecard is no good (or I move and can't get one), even with decent 'promo' service rates, that will be it for me. It will be OTA + internet content for me at that point....even if I need to invest in a substantial antenna setup for reception.
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post #30 of 98 Old 07-30-2014, 05:24 AM
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I bought a TIVO HD years ago with cable card support from comcast. It worked great but when comcast refused to extend my triple play bundle at the introductory price, (they had done this several times before) I decided to cut the cord. I went to ATT with an internet and phone deal for less than $50/month. Between OTA and Netflix I'm happy.
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