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Soooohave you cut the umbilical yet?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have had my HTPC, ceton Tuner for a year now, my beta-version Echo for a few months. All doing well now after a struggle with the tuner (USB version). I took on a Comcast Xfinity (Preferred HD) package a year ago. I called them the other day to see where my pricing was going and to try to get some control over that (ha-ha I know) and the lady said "no change in your pricing at least through April, so I thanked her. Now two weeks later I get my bill with a $20/mo plus taxes increase!!!

I have an HD STB, an multi cable card in the tuner and a single card in my second TV, where the Echo is. For the "priviledge of the two "extra outlets:" I am nailed for over $16/month after tax. My sense is it is time to take the STB and single card back to them and save the $18. That will leave me with the tuner/HTPC doing all the premium channel HD receiving.

Here is my question: What signal will I be getting from Comcast through the tuner sections of the two TV's? (as back-up if the HTPC or tuner fail) The TV tuners are split off the main Comcast signal entry so there must be some signal there right? Digital signal with HD only to the network locals, analog only ?(digi migratiion is not compete in my town). A fair list of channels, but obviously not the true HD's and premiums.????

So back to the question: Have you guys dumped your STB's and/or single cable card, etc. and how happy are you?
Edited by sgbroimp - 1/19/13 at 10:59am
post #2 of 30
Paragraphs make reading sooomuch easier!

You should get all analog chennels and all clear QAM channels with the tuner in the TV's if they are of fairly recent (10 years?) vintage.

I went from uverse straight into using a HDHR Prime last June and have not used a STB since.
post #3 of 30
I say take it one step further and dump cable altogether. That's what we did about 6 months ago. Don't even use a DVR. Just OTA straight into TVs. Netflix and Hulu Plus vi Apple TVs provide the rest of the entertainment, aside from our movies we already had access to with our HTPC.

PS The enter key is a really cool key on the keyboard. Check it out.
post #4 of 30
I think it's safe to say most of us with HTPCs and cable card tuners have no STBs. The primary reason I have an HTPC in the first place is to avoid cable DVR fees. So living with the inconvenience of an HTPC AND renting cable boxes would be foolish. I wish I could dump cable entirely like the previous poster. But I'm not there yet.
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Paragraphs make reading sooomuch easier!

You should get all analog chennels and all clear QAM channels with the tuner in the TV's if they are of fairly recent (10 years?) vintage.

I went from uverse straight into using a HDHR Prime last June and have not used a STB since.

Thanks and see my edit with paragraphs!
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

Paragraphs make reading sooomuch easier!

You should get all analog chennels and all clear QAM channels with the tuner in the TV's if they are of fairly recent (10 years?) vintage.

I went from uverse straight into using a HDHR Prime last June and have not used a STB since.

So do I just go to Comcast local office with the STB and single stream CC in my hands and they drop the two "outlet service charges"? The reason I ask is the fact that the STB technically came with my service plan (in my case HD Preferred) and the two cable cards are the outlet service charges, one in the PC's Tuner, the other in the second TV. In this case, I am only turning in one of those, the other being in the HTPC Tuner. I wonder if the clerk is going to try to argue that he is still going to try to charge me one outlet charge.
post #7 of 30
You need a multi stream CC with the tuner. They have to give it to you. IDK what the pricing scheme of Comcast is but they are required to give it to you in writing by the FCC. You should be charged no more than their "rack" rates. If you can talk them into promo pricing then it might be less.
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

You need a multi stream CC with the tuner. They have to give it to you. IDK what the pricing scheme of Comcast is but they are required to give it to you in writing by the FCC. You should be charged no more than their "rack" rates. If you can talk them into promo pricing then it might be less.

That makes sense. What you are kind of saying is that it is my call if my basic "decoder" for my package is in the form of a CC or STB, right? And that is not subject to a separate outlet charge.
post #9 of 30
http://www.fcc.gov/guides/cablecard-know-your-rights

New rules went into effect on August 8, 2011, that clarified and expanded rights for owners of CableCARD-ready devices. Here are a few things you need to know.

Pay only for equipment you have. Your operator must give you a discount on any packages that include the price of a set-top box if you choose to use your own CableCARD-enabled device. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(5).
Accurate information on the rental cost of a CableCARD from your provider. Your operator must list the cost of a CableCARD rental on its website or billing inserts and on its annual rate notice, and must provide you with this information when you call. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(5), 76.1602(b). Typically operators charge $2-4 per month to rent a CableCARD.
Use your own set-top box without extra charge. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(5)(C). Your cable operator may charge you to lease a CableCARD or tuning adapter, but may not charge you an additional service fee for using your own digital-cable-ready television or set-top box.
Self-install your CableCARD. Effective August 8, 2011, cable operators must allow self-installation of CableCARDs if they allow self-installation of other equipment, such as digital boxes or cable modems. By November 1, 2011, all cable operators must allow self-installation of CableCARDs. Your operator may decline your request for self-installation if your equipment manufacturer or vendor does not provide you with instructions on how to install a CableCARD and offer a toll-free telephone number for product support. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(1).
Receive the number of CableCARDs you request. If you opt for a professional installation by your cable operator, the technician must arrive with at least the number of CableCARDs you request. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(3). If you opt for self installation your operator must provide them to you through their normal self-installation procedures (for example by mailing them to you or letting you pick them up at the operator’s local retail location). Some CableCARD devices may require two CableCARDs to access all features. Refer to your user manual for more information.
Receive a multi-stream CableCARD unless you request otherwise. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(2). If you have a retail device with more than one tuner and that device supports multi-stream CableCARDs, one multi-stream CableCARD can allow you to access multiple simultaneous channels.
Receive all “linear” channels (channels other than “on-demand”) in your subscription package. This includes premium channels and specialty channels. For some channels delivered using a technique called “switched digital video,” you may need a second device called a “tuning adapter.” This device is typically provided at no additional charge to CableCARD customers. FCC Rule 76.1205(b)(4). CableCARD-ready devices currently cannot receive your cable operator’s Video on Demand services.
Get accurate information about services available to CableCARD subscribers. FCC Rule 76.1205(c).
If your cable operator does not resolve your concern, you may file a complaint with the FCC and/or your local franchise authority. To file your complaint with the Commission, click on www.fcc.gov/complaints.

For more information about CableCARDs, go to: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/digital-cable-compatibility-cablecard-ready-devices.

For more information pertaining to the Media Bureau, please call: (202) 418-7200.

Some more links for your pleasure reading:

http://www.fcc.gov/guides/regulation-cable-tv-rates
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/evolution-cable-television
http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/evolution-cable-television#sec13 , which says the following:

Information to Customers

The following information must be provided to customers at the time of installation and at least annually to all subscribers and at any time upon request: products and services offered; prices and options of programming services and conditions of subscription to programming and other services; installation and service maintenance policies; instructions on how to use the cable service; channel positions of programming carried on the system; and billing and complaint procedures, including the address and telephone number of the local franchising authority's office.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
Most helpful! Thank you. They say nothing about the so called "extra outlet charges" I guess.
post #11 of 30
They can have an extra outlet charge so long as they explain what it is. I think it is for each STB or CableCARD location but with CableCARD tuners such as the HDHR Prime or InfiniTV4 you only need one outlet (Cable CARD). I don't have Comcast but I'm sure others here are familiar with their pricing scam, err, scheme.
post #12 of 30
from some other posts, Comcast will actually give you a discount for using your own STB.

As for what you'll get, run the pipe directly to your TV. You'll get what it gets with your Infinity and CableCard. I don't know about your area, but Comcast is phasing out all analog channels; they have in my area about three to six months ago. I don't have more information that may be useful because I'm on limited basic.

For pricing, check your bill past bills. They usually have pricing all the equipment and packages on the back pages every few months, especially when they do rate changes. As for turning in equipment, just go to the office on do it. If they send someone, it's whatever door fee they charge; in my area, it was fifty dollars a couple years ago.
post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have to run the main feed to the Centon Tuner (HTPC) with the multi stream card. That will give me my HD channels, premiums etc. Before that I split to the 2 TV's and take whatever feed is default to the house. If it is some analogs and some digitals like networks, etc. that will be enough as these feeds will be just for backup if case the HTPC/Ceton dies.

If I understand the math correclty, that will leave me with no extra outlet charges and by returning the STB, I think they have to reduce the package cost a bit also, but I full expect they will find some way to not do that. I did just get a list of services and incredibly, there is no listing for STB's under "Video Equipment."
post #14 of 30
They can't just "find some way" to charge you for services and devices you do not have. If they do, file a complaint with the local franchise or with the FCC. Ceton hassome information you may find useful here as well.

CableCARD Activation

Sample CableCARD. Your version might look different.
All cable operators must allow self-installation of CableCARDs and many cable providers have a dedicated CableCARD support hotline. We have listed a few below:
Comcast:877-405-2298
Automated: 800-671-9094
Cox: 888-556-1193
RCN: 888-891-7770
Time Warner: 866-606-5889
Verizon:888-897-7499
Self-install: http://www.verizon.com/fiostv/selfinstall
TV Setup in Windows Media Center will guide you through the CableCARD activation and pairing process and provide you with the necessary pairing information to give your cable support technician by phone. If you have difficulty with activation and pairing of the CableCARD, please visit Ceton Support or call us at 866-265-5541.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
Excellent! Many thanks!
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

I have to run the main feed to the Centon Tuner (HTPC) with the multi stream card. That will give me my HD channels, premiums etc. Before that I split to the 2 TV's and take whatever feed is default to the house. If it is some analogs and some digitals like networks, etc. that will be enough as these feeds will be just for backup if case the HTPC/Ceton dies ....

I'm not exactly clear here. You really don't want to be using splitters unless you have to. Splitters weaken your signal. I depending on where your PC with Ceton tuners is located, say your home theater, you may have to split there to feed the Ceton and your TV in there. Beyond that, if your house was building from the late 80s on, it was should have feeds to each room, unless who ever originally bought requested it not to be. Thus, each room will have it's own cable feed. Those rooms with direct feeds to the TV just may not premium channels on the TV such as HBO or something. This is where the Echo will fill is a STB for those channels and watching your DVR recordings.

Some TV service providers will give you the ability to watch everything but premium channels, VOD and pay-per-view without a STB or cablecard (still no VOD, and have read may be able to pay per view, but you have call to order).

I don't who your TV service provider is. I know Comcast does list the rental fees for all the various equipment on the bills when they print it. Not that I looked much, but you may have to dig more to find it online. As for the discount, from other people, it was just a couple dollars. From what I could tell, it was the difference in price because the basic STB and the cablecard; the STB fee included the cablecard. Thus, don't expect some huge change. You're probably only looking at your bill going down about twenty to twenty-five dollars depending on the federal fees that they collect.
post #17 of 30
That is $240 to $300 a year and is not small potatoes to most. I much rather use that for a mini vacation than give it to the CableCo.

Yes, do not do any more spitters than necessary. I use the HDHR Prime and the reason I chose it is because the signal in my Family Room where the HTPC is very bad in this old house. I have the prime by my modem which is a recent drop put in by charter that goes direct to my office where there is one splitter to my Prime and to my modem. I get very strong signals. At the time ceton was still working on networking their internal card. That is done now and if I were to buy now I would consider it for sure as the PC in my office is on 24-7 anyhow and I could feed the HTPC with three spare tuners after allowing one for the occasional viewing I do on the PC in my office.
post #18 of 30
I wasn't questioning the total itself. I was getting the impression that the OP was thinking he was going to get a significantly larger discount from his estimated eighteen dollars from turning in the one STB and cablecard. It may only end up being two dollars more. I also realize it could be more.

Like you, have my TV tuners in the home office as well. I just use the HDHome (HDRHR3CC) which I have one splitter that feeds the HDHR and modem. I have a TV in here, but it's not plugged in nor has a TV signal. It's a really large paperweight at the moment.
post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2 View Post

That is $240 to $300 a year and is not small potatoes to most. I much rather use that for a mini vacation than give it to the CableCo.

Yes, do not do any more spitters than necessary. I use the HDHR Prime and the reason I chose it is because the signal in my Family Room where the HTPC is very bad in this old house. I have the prime by my modem which is a recent drop put in by charter that goes direct to my office where there is one splitter to my Prime and to my modem. I get very strong signals. At the time ceton was still working on networking their internal card. That is done now and if I were to buy now I would consider it for sure as the PC in my office is on 24-7 anyhow and I could feed the HTPC with three spare tuners after allowing one for the occasional viewing I do on the PC in my office.

Yep, I know about the minimum splitters rule. I also rewired with 3 home runs a couple years ago using top grade coax. The second set is now fed via the Echo. The first set is the STB I will turn in. Both of those sets will get Comcast signal as back up only with the HTPC with Ceton Tuner becoming the new "master location" if you will. Heck, if I save $20-25 a month, that is a big deal over time. Helps pay for the HTPC and Echo and takes a few bucks away from the monopolist.
post #20 of 30
Thread Starter 
So I go to Comcast today to turn in my STB and second TV's cable card. Yep, I get the 2 x $7.45 "outlet fee" removed, but then I ask about the discount I should be getting on my now solo device because my Xfinity Package includes the price of an STB (I believe). Nope, I get nothing, the clark states. "The cable card is our equipment which runs your equipment" he explained. This seems to run against FCC 76.1205 which states that "your operator must give a discount on any package that includes the price of an STB if you choose your own cable card-enabled device" In my area this is apparently $2.50/mo. Opinions????
post #21 of 30
I would call them out on that...
post #22 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

So I go to Comcast today to turn in my STB and second TV's cable card. Yep, I get the 2 x $7.45 "outlet fee" removed, but then I ask about the discount I should be getting on my now solo device because my Xfinity Package includes the price of an STB (I believe). Nope, I get nothing, the clark states. "The cable card is our equipment which runs your equipment" he explained. This seems to run against FCC 76.1205 which states that "your operator must give a discount on any package that includes the price of an STB if you choose your own cable card-enabled device" In my area this is apparently $2.50/mo. Opinions????

This isn't surprsing at all - I had the *hardest* time getting Comcast to add this; I must have called nearly 10 times to get this through... and eventually gave up. Even their "management" was making up rules that don't make any sense (direct contradiction to the requirements for the owned equipment credit)... they think that since the first cablecard is "free", you're not entitled to any credit. FYI - show them this: http://www.comcast.com/equipmentpolicy/?SCRedirect=true

Maybe print it out and take it to the service center b/c phone support is clueless. Eventually the credit got added, but it magically appeared (not sure how, but not questioning)... Glad we finally have it, but damn, it was a PITA.
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I would call them out on that...

You betcha!
post #24 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mslide View Post

I say take it one step further and dump cable altogether. That's what we did about 6 months ago. Don't even use a DVR. Just OTA straight into TVs. Netflix and Hulu Plus vi Apple TVs provide the rest of the entertainment, aside from our movies we already had access to with our HTPC.

PS The enter key is a really cool key on the keyboard. Check it out.

Yup, all I need is an antenna on the roof and a fast internet connection.
Of course I'm still paying a bit $30 to comcast for internet and $8 for netflix. I might have to dump netflix for hulu plus, not sure. Like you said with hulu plus you might not even need the antenna and DVR, I NEVER watch live TV.
Edited by jeffkro - 1/29/13 at 10:51am
post #25 of 30
If I could buy decent HD quality online access to ESPN and Fox Sports for the 10-15 football games I watch a year, I'd ditch cable (assuming the wife would let me, but now that she has Amazon streaming she seems to care a lot less about cable). I can 'borrow' my brothers WatchESPN login, but that still leaves the 4-5 games on Fox Sports Net. I've seriously considered just buying a slingbox and putting it at my parents for those games. Quality wouldn't be perfect, but probably good enough.
post #26 of 30
About those "outlet fees"... I have two HDHomerun Primes, and therefore two cable cards. They (Comcast) still charges me for the extra outlet fee because it's two devices. So if anyone that has multiple CC tuners and got out of their outlet fee... tell me how you did it.

I'll admit, I didn't fight it that hard, because it took weeks to get them to program each CC correctly. I probably spent 20+ hours at various times on the phone with their activation team... escalating, waiting, transfers that dump me back to customer service where I have to start all over again, fighting them over sending another truck, trying different cable cards. All it took was a magic phrase, and I can't believe I deleted that RSS feed from Silicon Dust when I put in a trouble ticket to see if they could help.
post #27 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puwaha View Post

About those "outlet fees"... I have two HDHomerun Primes, and therefore two cable cards. They (Comcast) still charges me for the extra outlet fee because it's two devices. So if anyone that has multiple CC tuners and got out of their outlet fee... tell me how you did it.

I'll admit, I didn't fight it that hard, because it took weeks to get them to program each CC correctly. I probably spent 20+ hours at various times on the phone with their activation team... escalating, waiting, transfers that dump me back to customer service where I have to start all over again, fighting them over sending another truck, trying different cable cards. All it took was a magic phrase, and I can't believe I deleted that RSS feed from Silicon Dust when I put in a trouble ticket to see if they could help.

Are you at least getting the $2.50 credit per outlet for use of your own equipment? (Happily I did not have issues with setting up my 2 CC's a year ago. I may have needed an extra "hit" one time, but that was it, but many have the same sort of nasty experience you report having.)
post #28 of 30
I get the $2.50 own equipment credit. I have one cable card. I got mine done through the local office, not sent out over the phone. I had no problems with pairing other than I had to call and walk through the phone tree to have it send me a "hit". Go to the local office if you can. They set up my account and everything right in front of me and did it right. They knew about the own equipment credit, they knew about cable cards, no hassle, no issues.

I feel lucky it went this easy and unfortunately for SD and Ceton all the difficulty means even though I'd like to say get the 4 tuner HDHRP when it comes out there's no way in hell I am touching my configuration.
post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

If I could buy decent HD quality online access to ESPN and Fox Sports for the 10-15 football games I watch a year, I'd ditch cable (assuming the wife would let me, but now that she has Amazon streaming she seems to care a lot less about cable). I can 'borrow' my brothers WatchESPN login, but that still leaves the 4-5 games on Fox Sports Net. I've seriously considered just buying a slingbox and putting it at my parents for those games. Quality wouldn't be perfect, but probably good enough.

Yup, the cable companies aren't going to let this happen.
post #30 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by sgbroimp View Post

So I go to Comcast today to turn in my STB and second TV's cable card. Yep, I get the 2 x $7.45 "outlet fee" removed, but then I ask about the discount I should be getting on my now solo device because my Xfinity Package includes the price of an STB (I believe). Nope, I get nothing, the clark states. "The cable card is our equipment which runs your equipment" he explained. This seems to run against FCC 76.1205 which states that "your operator must give a discount on any package that includes the price of an STB if you choose your own cable card-enabled device" In my area this is apparently $2.50/mo. Opinions????

Don't waste more time sitting on hold. Call your local Attorney General's office. Like most people, they probably despise their cable provider. You may be surprised at the response. Companies that brazenly flout the law and assume customers will get too frustrated to fight it-- these are what get an assistant AG's hackles up.
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