Originally Posted by pippin53
I have time warner cable, and a TV with a digital cable converter box. I want to add another converter box to another TV. TWC charges $10 a month for "rental" of the cable converter box. I see them for sale on amazon(about the price of a year's rental), but I am told emphatically by a representitive that I cannot buy a converter box.
They're correct, but they actually did you a favor. That box would be a $120 paperweight in no time.
The only thing that law means is that cable companies that encrypt channels must make the encryption a "separable security", i.e., use cableCARD. That allows companies like TiVo and the PC tuner makers to exist, but those are about the only consumer owned equipment that can use the card.
The cable companies also use cableCARDs in newer cable boxes that they lease (older leased boxes with no card may be grandfathered in until they quit working. My dad has one of those, while my newer box has the card.) It does not mean that the makers of the boxes will sell them to the general public. Indeed, Motorola and Cisco have not moved into that market, probably because they don't see it as viable. The cable companies buy enough of them in bulk.
The problem with making a box that consumers can buy is that they have to be certified by Cable Labs (who make the cableCARDs), and that takes a lot of time and money. Cable boxes don't get certification because they don't need it. They're not for resale in the U.S., and stay within the cable company's system. No need for certification.
Samsung is making some waves with a supposed cableCARD box, but it's kind of vaporware at the moment, unless there have been further developments.
If I bought a converter box and plugged it in, would it work right away, or would TIme Warner Cable block it in some way? Are there any other issues arising from this? Or is this a no no?
It would probably work a bit, but then when it got TWC's "hello" signal, it'd brick up and you'd have a doorstop. Not worth it. Since Motorola and Cisco don't sell them, then either they were purchased out of the U.S. market (most likely Canada, whose cable providers don't use cableCARD) or were never returned to the cable company (stolen most likely, though someone could pay the replacement fee.) TWC's policy is not to activate any box not in their system or anything not certified by Cable Labs to use the TWC cable cards, so you're throwing money away.
Since you're handy with PCs, building one (or just sticking a cableCARD tuner in one you already have) is probably the best route. Use a media extender to get the signal to the TVs (they can even use remotes and send a remote signal back to the PC to change the channel, set a recording, etc.)
As stated, you lose VOD and PPV, but you could use WMC's guide. TiVo also has its own guide.