Comcast, cable cards, DVRs and HTPCs? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 11-21-2012, 09:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Can someone explain to me how cable cards work with the cable companies? I am going to be building a HTPC to run WMC in order to integrate cable/internet content for my new 60" LED that is going in the family room. We'll be using it as a DVR, etc...instead of renting one from the cable company, but I was also planning on purchasing this Hauppauge dual tuner card:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116037

In order to watch and record shows via the HTPC. Now I'm reading that Comcast requires you to rent a cable card from them? I don't have Comcast yet, I have DISH Network right now which we'll be getting rid of because the programming sucks and you can't use tuner cards with satellite period (or so I'm told)-can someone please clarify? Basically this is what I'm looking to do:

One cable box is included with service free, so that will feed the upstairs TV with digital/HD, etc...

Run a splitter to feed cable to the HTPC and the tuner card

Use my own modem for internet

This way I should be able to avoid extra box rental and DVR rental fees, but what about the card? Do I have to get it from them? I also read somewhere that there was an FCC ruling on this?
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post #2 of 9 Old 11-21-2012, 01:48 PM
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Comcast provides the cable card for a monthly rental fee $3.00 - 7.00 a month. This is the same card you would get if you had a TiVo premiere. You stick that in your Happauge tuner and configure according to the instructions. There is no video on demand or PPV available with a cable card.

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post #3 of 9 Old 11-21-2012, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks-I actually called and asked the salesguy and he had no clue what a cable card was rolleyes.gif Then he told me that in order receive HD programming that I would need to first run the cable through a Comcast set top box, then to the tuner card. Is that true or does the cable card in combination with the Hauppauge Tuner do the job?
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post #4 of 9 Old 11-21-2012, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post

This way I should be able to avoid extra box rental and DVR rental fees, but what about the card?

The cableCARD is what the cable company uses for decryption. Without the card, the channels remain encrypted and unwatchable.
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Do I have to get it from them?

Yes. Unless all you want are unencrypted channels (which are generally just the networks, QVC, stuff like that. Each company uses its own decryption system and it's on the cards. No one has found a reliable way around it, so yes, you have to lease SOMETHING from the cable company.
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I also read somewhere that there was an FCC ruling on this?

The FCC ruling was that cable boxes must have "separable security", meaning what they use to decrypt must be independent of the box. This is what allows TiVo and HTPCs use cableCARDs so they have a fighting chance in the market. Most newer cable boxes will also have cableCARD sealed inside (older cable boxes that are grandfathered into use will not have the cards, but those are becoming less common.)
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Originally Posted by Badfish740 View Post

Thanks-I actually called and asked the salesguy and he had no clue what a cable card was rolleyes.gif Then he told me that in order receive HD programming that I would need to first run the cable through a Comcast set top box, then to the tuner card. Is that true or does the cable card in combination with the Hauppauge Tuner do the job?

The salesman is an idiot, or is toeing the line on trying to get you to rent a box. Call back and be persistent. Cable companies know all about the cards, but don't want you to rent them because they're cheaper than boxes to lease. But they will give you one.

Don't believe everything on the Interwebz! A duck's quack DOES echo!
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post #5 of 9 Old 11-22-2012, 04:25 PM
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^^^ +1 that cable company rep is either stupid or lying to you.

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post #6 of 9 Old 11-22-2012, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
...but I was also planning on purchasing this Hauppauge dual tuner card:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815116037

In order to watch and record shows via the HTPC. Now I'm reading that Comcast requires you to rent a cable card from them? I don't have Comcast yet, I have DISH Network right now which we'll be getting rid of because the programming sucks and you can't use tuner cards with satellite period (or so I'm told)-can someone please clarify? Basically this is what I'm looking to do:

One cable box is included with service free, so that will feed the upstairs TV with digital/HD, etc...
That is not a CableCard tuner. And CableCard rental in Western Washington is only $1.10 a month. I too suggest the HDHR Prime. Also the provided box is not HD, so you'll only get 480i on that set.
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post #7 of 9 Old 11-30-2012, 12:49 PM
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I have a similar problem.

Have already built a simple HTPC containing the Hauppage 2250 tuner.
One of the purposes was to be able to record HD shows. Was also planning
purchasing a CableCard from Comcast but what I observed so far got me
confused. Perhaps someone can help me out.

I have Comcast cable service and Motorolla DCX3200 Digital STB. The box has
all kind of outputs, HDMI, composite, components, S-video. I can use S-
video STB output to feed 2250 tuner to watch/record any channel in my
subscription package, but of course, all of them will be in SD (standard
definition) only. However, I reasoned, once I get the Comcast cablecard I should be
able to feed 2250 tuner directly by connecting the the cable to the
antenna/cable input on the 2250. Also, I do not need Comcast cable Card
to watch unencrypted (clear Qam) HD channels. And so in my Windows XP
version of the HTPC I see all these ABC, CBS, and the like. My Win XP
didn't come with WMC and I used Hauupage Win7 app but didn't like it.
Had other problems with XP and decided to reload the HTPC with 64-bit
Hoime Premium Win7. I like Win7 WMC, sort of, but it doesn't find almost
no digital channels. Actually, when it scans for available channels, it
does find all the unencrypted ones, but once it finished scanning, it
reports just one, MeToo. I tried manually to add an HD channel but Wmc
said there's no signal in that channel, while I actually could hear the
audio of that channel but no video.

So it seems adding a comcast CableCard wouldn't do me any good, until I
solve my problem with unencrypted channels.
I will be greatfull for any ideas.

Leon
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post #8 of 9 Old 11-30-2012, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
So it seems adding a comcast CableCard wouldn't do me any good, until I
solve my problem with unencrypted channels.
I will be greatfull for any ideas.
As I pointed out in the post above yours, the Hauppage 2250 tuner is not a CableCard tuner. It can only receive Clear QAM or ATSC (Over The Air) TV, so a CableCard will never do you any good with that tuner. To make matters worse, ComCast has recently been granted permission to scramble all their carried channels, meaning that even the few Clear QAM channels you get may become unavailable.
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-01-2012, 07:03 PM
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Thanks for the reply and clarification, Olyteddy.
You are right, of course.
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