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buying cable box to work with my cable co  

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I just recently got the PVR service using the Scientific Atlanta 8000 box from Brighthouse Networks (Time Warner) here in Florida.

I see that I can buy this box on ebay. What happens if I do that? Will most cable companies let you use your own box? Here it is a flat $7 per month for the box to use it, but then I have to pay extra also for service to a second cable box.

I'd rather not have to pay for either. ~$15 total a month savings would have the box pay for itself in less than a year.


Also, I see there are firewire ports on the back, any way I can make use of them?
post #2 of 4
Good question. The 8000 has a slot that looks like a CableCARD would fit into. You're supposed to be able to get a CableCARD from your cable company (sometime soon). If you bought the 8000 and got a CableCARD from your cable company ... it might work.

Then again, it might not.

All the new cable boxes from SA and MOT have CableCARD slots ... seems they are planning for the eventuality of having to make their boxes work with them ... question is, do they work on your cable system now?

Don't know how you'd tell for sure. You can call your cable company but they probably won't have a clue what you're talking about.

Personally, I'm waiting untill we see products specifically labled / marketed / and sold as being CableCARD compatable ... but still very interested to know if any of the existing products work ...

Also don't know how much $$$ you'd save. My cable company is charging $9.99 for the DVR 'service' and $3.00 for the box. I have a sneaky suspicion that if I bought my own box they still might have a way to charge the $9.99 for the 'service' (I'd only save the $3.00 for the box).

It'll also be interesting to see if the cable company still has the ability to charge the 'additional digital service' charges for CableCARD devices ... again, I have the sneaky suspicion they will ... but again, hard to know for sure untill more equipment comes out and is in use.

Oh, and no one has reported any way to make use of the Firewire ports yet. They are still 'to be activated by a future software update'.
post #3 of 4
Some of the boxes I've seen on eBay (not necessarily PVR boxes, and just regular non-hacked boxes) say that there is an FCC ruling that says the cable companies must allow you to purchase and use your own equipment. I called my cable company and they said NO. So who to believe? I don't always trust what's written in an auction description... On the other hand, is my cable company bluffing me (or maybe the CSR just doesn't know!) so that I'll keep paying their box rental fees?

- Bob
post #4 of 4
Technically, there have been rules on the books for a while that require most cable companies to have the ability to support some sort of POD (point-of-deployment) solution ...

However, those rules were (mostly) useless for a variety of reasons ... specifically lack of a single POD standard (in theory different cable companies could implement different solutions so there was no incentive for manufacturers to make ... or consumers to buy ... equipment with no guarantee it would work) ... 'check with your local cable company for possible compatability' doesn't fly real well.

The recent digital cable plug-and-play agreement addresses this by specifying a single standard that (most) cable companies must comply with. The standard is for 'one-way' services only ... basically video reception. VOD, PPV, etc. aren't really covered (to be addressed 'later').


Specifically, Section 7 (starting on pg. 48)

§76.640 Support for Unidirectional Digital Cable Products on Digital Cable Systems.

(a) The requirements of this section shall apply to digital cable systems. For purposes of this section, digital cable systems shall be defined as a cable system with one or more channels utilizing QAM modulation for transporting programs and services from its headend to receiving devices. Cable systems that only pass through 8 VSB broadcast signals shall not be considered digital cable systems.

(b) No later than July 1, 2004, cable operators shall support unidirectional digital cable products, as defined in §15.123 of this chapter, through the provisioning of Point-of-Deployment modules (PODs) and services, as follows:

(1) Digital cable systems with an activated channel capacity of 750 MHz or greater shall comply with the following technical standards and requirements:

(2) All digital cable systems shall comply with:

(3) Cable operators shall ensure, as to all digital cable systems, an adequate supply of PODs that comply with the standards specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section to ensure convenient access to such PODS by customers. Without limiting the foregoing, cable operators may provide more advanced PODs (i.e., PODs that are based on successor standards to those specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section) to customers whose unidirectional digital cable products are compatible with the more advanced PODs.
So, if your cable company meets the above ... they must be able to provide you a CableCARD by July 1, 2004. There is some CableCARD equipment (such as some integrated Panasonic TVs) coming out.

There is probably some existing equipment out there (since the CableCARD standard has been out for a while) that has the potential of working ... but hard to know for sure.
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