Originally Posted by ned215
Sony may as well leave off the cablecard and save us some money. After all, CableCards may very well become useless in the near future. The reason for that is switched digital. You can read this thread for more info The Demise of CableCards
TWC, Cox, and CV are talking up switched digital, while Comcast (and Verizon) are going all digital. Note that Comcast is the largest cable company, and also has the most pro-CC plan (while Verizon is also all-digital, it requires a STB for reception of all non-basic programming; Verizon also doesn't support CableCARD whatsoever). TWC has deployed SDV in three systems; Comcast has deployed ADS in almost a quarter of its systems (including Prince George's County, MD, which serves me). Verizon's FIOS TV is cheaper in terms of programming costs, but the STB requirement pretty much wipes out any cost advantage (and actually results in a larger total bill with greater than four sets). Satellite, like the telcos, is cheaper than cable in terms of programming costs; however, like the telcos, it requires a STB to receive programming. Worse, unlike either cable or the telcos, satellite is extremely unfriendly to households with more than four sets.
The ability to not use an STB (which Comcast retains) has pretty much helped them to keep me as a customer (along with the fact that I have had little trouble with them in terms of service). I currently have *one* STB (due to the one non-cable-ready TV in the house) out of the six TVs (and one PC) currently equipped with Comcast's analog cable TV service. While Verizon FIOS TV would be cheaper than even my existing basic+standard programming package (FIOS TV Premier, which is the equivalent of Comcast Digital Cable, is $39.95 monthly) I would need seven STBs ($3.99 each per month, or $27.93 for seven per month). That is $67.88 per month for FIOS TV (programming plus equipment). And that doesn't include HD ($9.99 per month per STB) or a DVR ($12.99 per month per STB, and includes HD). So much for any cost advantage for FIOS TV! I live in an area where Verizon is currently upgrading to FIOS (in fact, they will be upgrading my own subdivision within the upcoming month); however, that sort of tradeoff (lower programming costs offset by higher equipment fees) will keep me a Comcast customer for TV for a while yet.