Pros And Cons Of Using The Cable Card? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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My cable company now provides the cable card. What are the pros and cons?

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post #2 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 07:54 AM
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probalby a slightly better picture quality from the cable card. One less box in your setup. Cable cards tend to have less troubleshooting support from cable company. No on demand either.
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post #3 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 07:58 AM
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Pro: No Box
Cons: No On Demand or SDV channels, I'm sure there are more.
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post #4 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 08:07 AM
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Cons:

No cable provided on screen guide (TV must provide this)
TV provided guides are sometimes terrible (TV Guide one sucks)
No DVR

Pros:

No Box
No extra remote
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post #5 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 08:09 AM
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Pro:
Most importantly, better PQ than STB
Convenience
Saves space
Most CC TVs have a recording system built in, just hook up a VCR and tape any program (not in HD however)

Con:
Doesn't always work.
Most service guys have neve seen them and don't know anything about them.
Most likely will take multiple visits from cable guys (a real pain) to get it to work if at all.
No VOD or PPV (I don't care about that).

Thoughts:
If you have a CableCARD capable TV, I would get it. If it doesn't work, you can always hook up a STB (yuck!). I have one in a Pioneer 5070, it works great!

Rick
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post #6 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 08:16 AM
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The PQ on SD content is MUCH better via cablecard. I suggest getting a cablecard, even if you have a STB/DVR. You can have the best of both worlds this way.

I still have a DVR for watching recorded shows and on screen guide, but I watch all live content via cablecard due to the much clearer picture. I've had my cablecard for two years and would give up my HD DVR before letting go of the cablecard. The SD picture is that much better.

Cory
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post #7 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 09:08 AM
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They have a HD Tivo coming out soon that has dual cable card capability. It has component and HDMI outputs and it sounds like the best solution for people that have cablecard TVs that want a HD DVR AND a better guide. (I like the Tivo guide)
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post #8 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Great replys!!

Hope some more people will join in. Is the Cable Card really the "Hidden Jewel" you describe?
What I am hearing is with the Cable Card I will only need the one hook up and get a better picture than using multiple connections for different sources. Is it really better than anHDMI or DVI from the set top box? What happens to sound? Will it recieve 5.1 Dolby?

Hope other reply. This sounds better than I thought it would?
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post #9 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 02:54 PM
 
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Read this: CableCARDs - A Primer

I have been using a trouble-free CableCARD with my 50PX50U for more than a year and the TV renders a "slightly" better picture w/CableCARD (coax to antenna input) vs. an SA8300HD-DVR w/component connection. Neither source input renders as good a picture as it could if I didn't have to split the incoming coax cable to support both devices.

IMO an HD DVR is an essential part of any HT setup and I'm hoping the Series 3 TiVo will be the "panacea" we have all been looking for that combines better HD technology (e.g. tuner, mpeg decoder, and deinterlacer/scaler) than what is built into a 4-year-old SA8300, with CableCARD/M-Card content authorization.
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post #10 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 04:19 PM
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pretty informative thread, good going man

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post #11 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by housecor View Post

The PQ on SD content is MUCH better via cablecard. I suggest getting a cablecard, even if you have a STB/DVR. You can have the best of both worlds this way.

Wow, shows you how dumb I am. I thought that if you had a Cable Card you couldn't have a cable box/DVR hooked at the same time. So, if I wanted to, I could keep my Time Warner Cable-supplied cable box/DVR and also get a cable card to get the best PQ when watching live TV? Of course TWC would love to bill me for more items but if it means better PQ while watching SD or HD I'd bite.
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post #12 of 46 Old 08-25-2006, 07:40 PM
 
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Eh, what's an extra $1.75 per month to lease a CableCARD? I'm more inclined to drop Showtime & TMC as well as on-Demand service because these channels content being carried by Time Warner has been so shabby lately.
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post #13 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 10:53 AM
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Has anyone tried using a CableCard in conjunction with digital cable music channels? I recently contacted my cable company (Comcast) with some CableCard functionality questions. One of the things they said was that the digital music channels are not available if a CableCard is used instead of a set-top box. Has anybody encountered this issue? I don't see any reason why the music channels would not work with a CableCard, since they do not require two-way communication, like an on-demand program. They should be treated as one-way digital channels, just like any other digital cable channel. At least that is my understanding.
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post #14 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 11:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dad1153 View Post

Wow, shows you how dumb I am. I thought that if you had a Cable Card you couldn't have a cable box/DVR hooked at the same time. So, if I wanted to, I could keep my Time Warner Cable-supplied cable box/DVR and also get a cable card to get the best PQ when watching live TV? Of course TWC would love to bill me for more items but if it means better PQ while watching SD or HD I'd bite.

No, you are not dumb. My neighbor actually had a TWC cable guy say to her that she couldn't have a CableCARD and a STB connected to her TV (at my suggestion) because it would overload their system!!! MOST cable employees don't know ANYTHING about what they do.

Of course you can have both! And yes, it should only cost around $1.75 extra for the CC. Check out the TWC website in your area for exact pricing.

Rick
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post #15 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warlock187 View Post

Has anyone tried using a CableCard in conjunction with digital cable music channels?

I can tune to the TWC NYC digital music channels, no problem! I guess as long as they're not interactive I don't see why they shouldn't work as long as they are included in your digital package.

Rick
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post #16 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 12:26 PM
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Another Pro is that CableCards usually cost less than STBs. For me at least (Comcast in Chicago Suburbs) the CableCard was a one time installation charge of $30, which is still a bit of a rip since all the idiot technician did was come over and hand me the card, I had to install it and get all the information he needed. This opposed to having to pay $10 a month for an HD box. We already have one set top box (the one Comcast gives you for free) set up on a non-HD TV, so I can get all my On Demand stuff on that TV, so I don't feel like I'm missing anything with the CableCard. The only problem I had was that most of the channels didn't come in when it was first installed. Comcast then sent out a semi-competent technician who figured out that the signal to the room in which I had the HDTV was very weak. A little makeshift rewiring and everythings worked perfectly since. I'm very happy with it and can't wait till they come out with the 2-way CableCards they are supposedly designing, even though it will mean a new TV. I just really dislike the STB, needing an extra remote and how it makes the channels look slightly worse.
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post #17 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optivity View Post

Eh, what's an extra $1.75 per month to lease a CableCARD? I'm more inclined to drop Showtime & TMC as well as on-Demand service because these channels content being carried by Time Warner has been so shabby lately.

Here in the Bay Area, Comcast charges $6.95 for the CC and $9.95 for the DVR. Still I prefer not having the extra box and remote.

Cheers,
Spyder

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post #18 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickw2 View Post

I can tune to the TWC NYC digital music channels, no problem! I guess as long as they're not interactive I don't see why they shouldn't work as long as they are included in your digital package.

Rick

Thanks for the info on this, Rickw2. I appreciate it.
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post #19 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 03:05 PM
 
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Another con... for SD my 50PX50U only supports 480i w/CableCARD while 480p actually looks better w/SA8300.
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post #20 of 46 Old 08-31-2006, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optivity View Post

Neither source input renders as good a picture as it could if I didn't have to split the incoming coax cable to support both devices.

I have Comcast coming out to install a CableCARD alongside an SA 3100HD cable box, and I was hoping to connect the card via coax out from the cable box (main coax from wall to cable box). Are you saying this won't work? I'd hate to have to split the line....
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post #21 of 46 Old 09-01-2006, 12:05 PM
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How about running coax cable from the wall to the tv (for cablecard); then from tv out to the cable box; and back to the tv via component/s-vid. Would that work for a dual install (box + card)?

I'm also wondering now whether the Pioneer 6071 will support 480p via the cablecard/coax.
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post #22 of 46 Old 09-01-2006, 01:08 PM
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I have cable card from Adelphia and can get digital music channels. I got the channels without the card, also, with no subscription to digital cable.
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post #23 of 46 Old 09-01-2006, 04:04 PM
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just a little tip: If establishing new service, you're better off getting the cablecard first. If you already have a DVR/STB they're more likely to give up if there are problems (besides, they make more $ off the DVR/STB). I was insistant that I would only have a cablecard and they finally got mine working properly. Then, I picked up the DVR.

Cory
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post #24 of 46 Old 09-01-2006, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dah-Dee View Post

How about running coax cable from the wall to the tv (for cablecard); then from tv out to the cable box; and back to the tv via component/s-vid. Would that work for a dual install (box + card)?

Split the cable, what are you worried about? With digital cable you won't see any difference!

Rick
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post #25 of 46 Old 09-01-2006, 06:00 PM
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So, as luck would have it, I was minding my own business watching US Open Tennis on Universal HD when the picture went blank! ALL my cable channels went dark. This was the case with my first CableCARD (the one I'm using now is my second), I got the broadcast channels in SD and HD but no cable channels.

I called TWC, they "hit" the card, I turned off the 5070, pulled the CC, turned on the set, reseated the CC, turned off the set, turned it back on to reboot the card. All is well!

The moral of the story is: be prepared to do this sort of stuff when you have a CC. I STILL think it's worth it (even though I was cursing out the CC and TWC today). If the "hit" didn't work, I was ready to march over to the cable company and pick up a STB/DVR. I still might get a DVR, but I want to keep the CC.

Rick
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post #26 of 46 Old 09-03-2006, 11:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickw2 View Post

Split the cable, what are you worried about? With digital cable you won't see any difference!

Rick

Not true. There is always signal loss and increased noise each time the cable is split.
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post #27 of 46 Old 09-07-2006, 04:20 AM
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Of course there is a signal loss. Digital will either work or not work in most cases regardless. So long as it is above the tolerance of a steady stream there should be no problem. DC does not use an exceptional amount of bandwidth. Now, analog on the other hand could be ugly if the splits are poorly done.
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post #28 of 46 Old 09-07-2006, 06:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by optivity View Post

Not true. There is always signal loss and increased noise each time the cable is split.

I never said there wouldn't be any signal loss, I said with digital cable you won't see any difference. Having tried it with and without a split (for VCRs, yeah I'm still using VCRs), my statement comes from personal experience.

Rick
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post #29 of 46 Old 09-09-2006, 06:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickw2 View Post

I never said there wouldn't be any signal loss, I said with digital cable you won't see any difference. Having tried it with and without a split (for VCRs, yeah I'm still using VCRs), my statement comes from personal experience.

Rick

So you see no difference in the picture rendered when running a home run from the ground block to the antenna input of your DTV versus (in my case) a cable that has been split in half two times, causing an insertion loss of 3.5dB & 3.5dB, before reaching the TV?

I suppose YMMV based upon how good the signal strength and noise isolation may be to begin with. In my case, my home is ~200' from the road at which point the buried coax enters the dwelling.
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post #30 of 46 Old 09-09-2006, 07:10 AM
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I have Adelphia/Time Warner digital cable for internet and digital TV. Yesterday they came out to install my cable card and DVR for my new Plasma (the house now has a total of 6 cable boxes/DVRs/internet connections all split from the single lead from street). For a long time now, I've had issues with my internet being very slow to load up and would get error messages when checking for e-mail. I mentioned this to cable guy, and he checked the line strengths and found I had piss poor signal to all the lines, but especially the primary internet connection. He ended installing a booster at the main entry point, as well as the weakest branch (the internet connection). My internet is now significantly faster, I can't tell much though with regards to the PQ of my TVs though.
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