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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is an article about CableCards I found on CR's website. I don't see that it has been posted anywhere on this forum yet, as is says it was written in Aug. of this year. (It never appeared in the magazine as far as I can see.) It is available for a limited time for free on their website, so I will also post it below:

CableCards: Fair deal for consumers?

It's now possible to get digital cable, including high-definition programming, without using a set-top box. In July 2004, a new FCC regulation took effect requiring half of new TVs with screens 36 inches and larger to have integrated digital TV tuners. Within the next few years, smaller TVs will have to offer the same functionality.


Like any integrated HDTV, these new sets can decode HD signals from an antenna without the need for an external tuner. But the new TVs go one better by incorporating some of a digital-cable box's capabilities into the set itself. Other circuitry, such as the ability to unscramble premium channels, is contained on a card that's inserted into a slot on the TV. These sets are called plug-and-play or digital-cable-ready (DCR)--not to be confused with plain cable-ready sets, which have been around for some time.


As you might expect, these new options come at a price. TV manufacturers are gearing up to introduce a slew of these new plug-and-play sets this fall, at a cost of up to $500 more than a similar TV without a built-in tuner. You get the card itself from your cable operator, which may hit you with a monthly rental fee and a service charge--up to $75 if the installation is complex.


The chief drawback of first-generation DCRs with CableCards is that they permit only one-way transmission: from the cable provider to you. That means you lose the two-way communication provided by a cable box and the features that it allows, including an interactive program guide, video-on-demand access via the remote control, and more pay-per-view (PPV) events than analog cable offers. You also won't get the hard-drive video recording or picture-in-picture some cable boxes provide.


If you don't care about such features, a plug-and-play TV with a CableCard may be a handy way to get premium channels or HD capability in the bedroom or kitchen. It could also be a good choice for situations where you don't want to deal with a box--such as with a wall-mounted flat-screen TV.


On the other hand, if you value video-on-demand, PPV, a navigable program guide, or hard-drive recording, you're better off with an analog set and a cable box (to get premium cable but not HD) or an HD-ready set and a box (to get both)--at least for now. Stay tuned for the next generation of CableCard technology, which promises two-way communication.


And you don't have to use a CableCard with one of these sets to enjoy HD. Even without a card inserted into the slot, the integrated off-air tuner plus an antenna could get you broadcast HD channels (but no cable channels) if you live close enough to transmitters.

The article can be found here: http://www.consumerreports.org/main/...=1098310492059
 

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Pretty basic stuff. Nothing new. I wonder why they don't publish it? Thanks for the post though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This could be very helpful to the newbie's who keep asking basic questions about CableCards.
 

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I'm still really curious as to why they don't publish it. You think it would be a priority to get the information out there with so many CC sets on the market/coming to market.
 
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