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Television Government Verizon

Coming Set-top Box Mandate May Help Break Pay TV Firms' Hold Over Viewers (latimes.com) 153

Joe_Dragon sends a report from the LA Times about proposed regulations that could disrupt the cable industry's hold on consumers by targeting set-top boxes. These boxes are required to view most pay-TV programming these days, and consumers often require multiples if they have more than one TV. The rental fees add up to almost $20 billion in revenue for the industry each year. Yet the technology within these boxes is nothing special, and alternatives could easily arise if there was incentive to create them. "The changes aren't coming fast enough for some lawmakers and consumer advocates as well as tech companies such as Google Inc., which are eager to jump into the set-top box market. They want the Federal Communications Commission to require that pay TV providers make their services more easily compatible with third-party set-top boxes or similar devices. ... Such a mandate could allow consumers to access their pay TV and streaming services through one device instead of having to switch between two or more. And it could lead to innovations such as an ability to search for programming across services to determine, for example, whether a movie is available on Netflix or on-demand via a pay TV provider."
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Coming Set-top Box Mandate May Help Break Pay TV Firms' Hold Over Viewers

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  • by cruff ( 171569 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @10:38AM (#50892495) Homepage

    And it could lead to innovations such as an ability to search for programming across services to determine, for example, whether a movie is available on Netflix or on-demand via a pay TV provider."

    A recent Tivo can do this. It can show you the various sources from which a movie or series is available.

    • by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @10:54AM (#50892597)

      Yes, I was going to say that Cablecard technology [wikipedia.org] was developed years ago with this in mind. The problem is that very few devices support it (Tivo being one of them). There was nothing to stop MS (or Sony) from putting cablecard slots into their console if they really wanted to do a "one device to rule them all." But most device manufacturers chose not to.

      The only downside of Cablecard is that you have to get the cards from your local cableco. But there aren't many practical ways around this.

      • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @11:04AM (#50892665) Homepage

        And, just like happened when Cablecard came out ... the cable companies will do everything in their power to make sure it doesn't work ... either they'll just dig in and refuse, or they'll just add on additional fees.

        If anybody thinks the cable companies will allow this to happen without trying to gouge people and make up the shortfall, they're delusional.

        The cable companies simply don't give a crap about consumers. They never have, and never will. And they sure as hell aren't going to make it easy to stop paying them.

        Honestly, all they have to do is seem so grossly incompetent as to not be able to make the system work. And that should be shockingly easy.

        But don't start thinking this will work any better now than when cable cards came out in the first place.

        • by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @11:41AM (#50892949) Homepage Journal

          "The cable companies simply don't give a crap about consumers. They never have, and never will. And they sure as hell aren't going to make it easy to stop paying them."

          You are correct. They don't care about consumers. They do, however, care about money. A lot.

          We "cut the cord" almost 2 years ago. We only have internet through our provider. Over the last two years we've received some crazy decent offers from them to "add on" tv service ($10/mo for basic cable) + a cable box (at no charge). At first, for a year, then 2 years, then indefinitely at no charge for the box.

          They are bleeding money because they are bleeding customers. They'll change or they will die.

          • We "cut the cord" almost 2 years ago. We only have internet through our provider. Over the last two years we've received some crazy decent offers from them to "add on" tv service ($10/mo for basic cable) + a cable box (at no charge). At first, for a year, then 2 years, then indefinitely at no charge for the box.

            This pretty much matches my experience. We've been "internet only" for nearly four years, and still get those offers. They're not happy campers....

            • We cut the cord 2 or 3 years ago, switching to an Internet-only package at a drastically reduced rate (compared to what we were originally paying). We try to keep the costs to around $ 80/mth, while getting more than 25 Mbps (currently 60 Mbps).

              Every year, they offer us a triple-play package (basic cable + 1 or 2 channel packs, VoIP phone service, bump up a tier in Internet) for 6 months at no additional cost. We take it, mainly for the bump in Internet speed, and then cancel everything back to Internet-o

        • by Anonymous Coward
          They still charge $2 month to rent cablecards, ant it still requires getting the cable company's tuner adapter box to get all the channels, and it has to be rebooted once or twice a month because they keep loosing channels. Tivo isn't the only cablecard tuner, I have a Samsung GX-SM530CF Cable Box that's available on Amazon, it paid for itself after two years, saving what Cox charges for cable box rental.
        • I ended up dropping premium channels because they did not work with the cable card. Charter's loss for not working along.
        • There where alot of Cablecard tv's and then came SDV that did not work with a lot of them.

          And don't get started on comcast cable card billing mess.

        • What they do, and I can this from first hand knowledge, is make it impossible to use. I had Verizon FIOS for years in Northern VA. I had a Cable Card plugged into an HD Homerun Prime and connected to my MythTV backend. It worked perfectly, no on demand, no pay per view, but who cares. I move to North Carolina and am forced to get Time Warner, every single channel they can legally flag, is flagged copy once. I have a choice now of Windows Media Center or nothing. Ok, I make the switch, now I have pictur
      • Actually the problem with CableCard is that there is but ONE way to use one as a DVR and get past all the DRM rules and that's Windows Media Center, which was last supported on Windows 8 and will NOT be supported going forward. Yea, you can play stuff, but you cannot record it for later use (for those channels who have full protection turned on).

        Yea I know you can go out and buy a TiVo but for the love of money that's expensive if you need enough of them for every set in the house. I also am looking forward

        • As the sibling AC pointed out, Tivo Mini can be used on any TV, and it connects back to the main Tivo. Tivo Romeo now handles 6 tuners, and up to 4 Tivo Mini. It works well over MoCA, Wired network, and even utilizing a wireless bridge, but for some reason, they won't allow the Tivo Mini to use wireless only.

          • Yes, I'm aware of TiVo's but they are EXPENSIVE and require a monthly fee.

            The cable company charges me $12/month for a basic set top box and $25/month for a DVR. If you use the "whole house DVR" option they hit you up for $50/month plus the standard $12/month set top box fees. So for whole house DVR on three sets it cost you nothing up front, but $75/month or $900/year.

            The TiVo DVR is going to set you back $200 plus $15/month for 4 tuners or $600 and $15/month (after the first year) for 6 tuners. The M

      • by cruff ( 171569 )

        The only downside of Cablecard is that you have to get the cards from your local cableco. But there aren't many practical ways around this.

        On the upside, the last time I had to do this with Comcast (Colorado), it was pretty painless. Just walked into the local Comcast storefront, stated what I needed, had it within 5 minutes. Called to activate it, was fully functional within 5 minutes of the call.

        • On the upside, the last time I had to do this with Comcast (Colorado), it was pretty painless. Just walked into the local Comcast storefront...

          In other words, you as a CableCard user were treated as the second-class red-headed stepchild, by the fact that they forced you to actually go to one of their shitty stores and stand in line rather than mail you the device like they would for somebody asking for a set-top box.

          • by cruff ( 171569 )

            In other words, you as a CableCard user were treated as the second-class red-headed stepchild, by the fact that they forced you to actually go to one of their shitty stores and stand in line rather than mail you the device like they would for somebody asking for a set-top box.

            No, I chose to go over there myself. Needed to get out of the house anyway.

          • Why would anybody wait for a box in the mail when they can just take a short trip to the cable center and have it the same day? What a stupid complaint.

      • There was nothing to stop [manufacturers] from putting cablecard slots into [devices]

        Well, nothing except for the fact that the entire CableCard standard and hardware certification process was controlled by the cable cartel itself, which had a vested interest in making it as difficult as fucking possible to actually get devices approved (except for the devices which were intended to be rented from the cable companies, which sailed through the certification process despite being among the shittiest electroni

      • An amusing CableCard/Tru2Way anecdote was when the dev lab at my employer [a cable company] attempted to get a pair of compatible test TVs, the distributor balked as 'your local cable tv provider does not support CableCard'.
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Yes, I was going to say that Cablecard technology was developed years ago with this in mind. The problem is that very few devices support it (Tivo being one of them). There was nothing to stop MS (or Sony) from putting cablecard slots into their console if they really wanted to do a "one device to rule them all." But most device manufacturers chose not to.

        The only downside of Cablecard is that you have to get the cards from your local cableco. But there aren't many practical ways around this.

        CableCARD is a

    • TiVo

      More to the point, TiVo has Cable Card slots, which even supplied set-top boxes require for decryption. Otherwise the set-top boxes literally aren't anything special. Theoretically you could even own the Cable Card(s) and have the cable company do the configuring for their system.

  • by An Ominous Coward ( 13324 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @10:40AM (#50892507)

    Good, hope this will accelerate a CableCard-like standard for IPTV like it did for cable systems. I love my home-brew DVR, and I'm not willing to switch to Google Fiber or AT&T UVerse until third-party TV equipment can work with their service.

    • Re:Good. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bigpat ( 158134 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @10:55AM (#50892609)

      Good, hope this will accelerate a CableCard-like standard for IPTV like it did for cable systems. I love my home-brew DVR, and I'm not willing to switch to Google Fiber or AT&T UVerse until third-party TV equipment can work with their service.

      Yes, paying $18 per month "rental" for a $100 device really sucks and it feels like the bad old days of Grandma renting her phone from The Phone Company for $10 per month. The encryption keys can and should be simply software based...forget the CableCard, they still have those supposedly and nobody uses them because they don't offer key services such as the channel guide, VOD, etc. It could be so much simpler and you could just register your device ID and an open standard protocol negotiates the keys to unlock any encrypted content and the cable companies could provide the other services in a more standard way that encourages hardware competition.

      The cable companies are too big.

      • by kbdd ( 823155 )
        "Yes, paying $18 per month "rental" for a $100 device really sucks" Totally agree, even more so considering that when integrated into the TV, the cost is probably more like $20. I looked at SAM's Club over the week end, and the "smart TV" versions of otherwise "non-smart" TVs in the 40" range cost about $40 to $60 more for the "smart" TVs. The hardware for a smart TV is more than capable of dealing with the cable data. Another advantage of having the hardware integrated into the TV as opposed to a set top
      • Google Fiber / AT&T UVerse / comcast gigabit pro / others lock you into there gateway and if this pan's out they can just jack that fee to $15-$20

    • The only thing that keeps them alive is lack of broadband to some viewers. Once the infrastructure is completed the only way to watch TV will be over the web.
      • The only thing that keeps them alive is lack of broadband to some viewers.

        That and the long-term exclusive contracts among sport leagues, pay television networks, and multichannel pay television system operators.

        • by tomhath ( 637240 )
          Sports over the web (preferably on demand) would be far better than buying cable packages that are padded with garbage. Maybe netflix, maybe YouTube or ESPN, someone will win the next bidding war.
      • The only thing that keeps them alive is lack of broadband to some viewers. Once the infrastructure is completed the only way to watch TV will be over the web.

        Not really. People who are wealthy will have cable for decades yet. At some point It will become decoupled from the infrastructure, but they'll still have it. The biggest thing about it is still its role as a content aggregator, plus the fact that amazingly, nobody has the killer media search interface yet.

    • The story has nothing at all to do with IPTV. The proposals would have no effect on that.

  • Who cares? Cable TV companies hold on customers is already broken thanks to companies like Netflix. The only thing missing in North America is a service like iPlayer in the UK which lets you watch recently broadcast BBC programs when you want. The broadcast channels should switch over to the internet broadcast and providing services on demand. Having a box which merges broadcast with internet is just providing a crutch for what is rapidly becoming an outdated business model.
    • by Jawnn ( 445279 )
      Would that it were so. The cable (and dish) companies' hold won't be broken until a la carte programming is a requirement. There are, maybe, I dozen channels that would pay to see and which are not available on Netflix or the other current alternatives.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Don't blame your cable companies for that. Content owners require that low value, lightly watched channels get bundled with high value, heavily watched channels. And even if they did offer a la carte programming you'd wind up paying way more per channel for a smaller number of channels. It might bring down your bill a little if you don't watch and raise some other heavy watchers bills, but the end result wouldn't be nearly what you think it would be.

        Until content creators just offer everything 100% str
      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        Sling tv has a decent selection of channels for $20 / month. Looks like it works with the usual devices, chromecast, xbox, etc.
    • RE Netflix, This just isn't true. We need more real time services. I'm a cable cutter, 5 years to date. I have Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Plex for downloaded shows. But you know what I still can't get? Things my wife likes. News when it happens on CNN. Ad hoc cooking shows on Food Network. Sunday Night Football on ESPN (live). Moreover, I am delayed on TV shows to the point that I must abstain from the water cooler. For example, I have to not talk to my friends for a year because I won't get the last
      • I can't help with the spoilers of scripted series or the Food Network. But for news, you could follow sources on the web, such as breaking news microblogs on Twitter. For gridiron football, you could visit a bar or a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          Scripted shows of any significance are available PPV on various streaming services.

          Food Network simply isn't worth the balance between the cost of a couple of streaming services and the cost of a cable subscription.

          • by tepples ( 727027 )

            Scripted shows of any significance are available PPV on various streaming services.

            How much does PPV cost for a few series compared to cable? And is it available the same night as cable, or does one have to avoid water cooler spoilers the next morning?

          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            sling has food network,
      • We need more real time services.

        That was my point. But we need realtime on demand services via the network not via a cable broadcast box. That way you can either stream the live channel or, if you sit down half way through the news, you can watch it from the beginning only a few minutes delayed. While you can do that with a PVR you have to remember to set it to record in advance and you have to have lots of local storage. With something like iPlayer you don't have to do any of that.

      • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
        Sling has a package that will address most of your issues. It's $20 / month.
        Or you can go the vpn/torrent route.
    • Cable's hold on people is seriously cracked, but not broken and I say this as a cord cutter for the past 8 months. Cable companies still hold monopoly (or duopoly in some cases) control over wired, high-speed Internet access. They can and do use this to keep people from leaving cable TV for other services.

      1) Bundle Pricing - Some cable companies price Internet Only packages so that they are more than Internet + TV. So if you only want Internet, you will likely take the Internet + TV bundle to save money.

  • Pity this is coming as Microsoft is in the process of killing Windows Media Center once and for all. For all its faults and backwards feature creep (removing sports, Netflix, etc), it is still the only (or one of the very few?) non-embedded systems that can record and playback copy-protected video, which is kind of a big deal if you want to DVR those HBO series. I'd ditch it in a heartbeat if I could find another non-embedded, non-WMC alternative that could do this.

    • No, Windows Media Center is the only one with the certifications necessary right now.

      I hear that Silicon Dust is working on a solution that will have the full DRM certifications but so far I don't know how far away they are. I'm guessing they are trying pretty hard, because if they don't succeed with this, their main consumer business line will effectively be dead, so they are fighting for their lives.

  • by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @10:50AM (#50892565) Homepage

    Cablecards were suppose to usher in the great revolution in consumer set top boxes, breaking free the need to rely on cable companies expensive STB rentals. Aside from Tivos, Ceton InfiniTV products, and Silicondust HDHomeRun Prime, there's really not much out there for a compelling consume device.

    WMC was the only HTPC-related software that was certified to play encrypted non-copy-freely channels from a InfiniTV and HDHomeRun. And with many content providers/cable companies marking many/most/all channels copy-once, it really hurt the usefulness. Extenders for WMC were basically a non-starter, and with Microsoft killing WMC in Windows 10, it'll be all but dead in the near future.

    Cable companies and content producers aren't going to let up on their demands for DRM/restricting content/etc. STB mandates aren't going to suddenly open up a market that was already extremely tepid. And even if the mandates were passed, cable companies will do everything in their power to find loopholes around them, actively discourage customers from using 3rd party devices, offering no support for them if not outright lying about being able to use them, or otherwise making it a PITA to try to use one.

    • Cable card was always doomed to failure, it was designed to fail.

      You had to get the cable card from your provider, it took me 5 install attempts from comcast the first 4 they showed up with a DVR in the end I pulled a cable card from one of their cisco STB and got them to make it work in my tivo and then HD homerun. It should be no different than cable modems, get anything on their supported list. Now to keep things moderately secure probably need to keep the we load our firmware here bits isolated and ot

      • No kidding. Here's the only acceptable real solution: require that cable companies broadcast only in ClearQAM. Period.

        If cable companies are given even an inch of DRM or hardware control, they find new and creative ways to fuck over everyone.

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        It should be no different than cable modems, get anything on their supported list.

        Their "support list " is Model XYZ cable card. Insert cable card. Doesn't work? Tough shit. This cable card works find in OUR equipment and the card is certified cablecard compliant...

        That's basically what happened when M-cards came out and things were flaky for a while.

        Copy once, WTF did we forget that whole time format shifting from the 80's? We need to be able to get DRM free copies of whatever we legally have access to.

        Pre

    • How about we take this one step further than the Cable Card. Let's get the FCC to force cable operators to support FREE software that is certified. Make the Cable Companies provide free DVR solutions as closed source binary distributions (at a minimum) for a number of the popular media center replacements. OR they can turn off the "Copy Once" flag on all their channels...

      • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

        You're funny.

        I don't want the FCC or the CableCo to force support of anything 3rd party, let alone supporting software package(s). Make them do that and they'll just support the most basic, horrible, outdated software package that turns people off to the idea. And supporting one software over another is just favoritism towards that package and leaves any competitors, larger or small, out in the cold.

  • Good luck ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @10:54AM (#50892603) Homepage

    The cable industry has far too much power, far too many lobbyists, oh, and did we mention they pretty much run the FCC these days?

    There is simply no way in hell these companies will allow anything to happen which cuts into profits. They'll stop it dead in its tracks, or make anything so onerous and impossible that it won't actually work.

    Since they mention this in the first paragraph ... this will be exactly like the old black rotary phone ... even if you no longer have it, they're going to gouge you for "touch tone dialing" and pretend like it costs them anything.

    Which means they'll charge you whether or not you have their box, will charge you to connect your box to their stuff, will charge you for the privilege of connecting your box to their stuff and for maintaining the infrastructure, and will find all sorts of ways to keep gouging consumers.

    These companies have strangleholds, and monopolies ... they sure as hell aren't going to accept any regulations which cost them money. They're far too entrenched and feel they're entitled to that money.

    And they have far too many fucking politicians on the payroll whose job it is to entrench in law their revenues.

  • Count on it. You can't have it both ways. Every step you take to strip a company of revenue will just increase your bill. To bad few are smart enough to see it. Cable set top boxes use encryption and technology that is usually limited to a few types of set top boxes. Forcing cable to replace those systems will increase your bill. I don't think it will hold up in court since many industries have similar practices. Float the idea at whatever your job is of starting to give away what they have been cha

    • Exactly ... take away one revenue stream, and they'll just tack on some new line-items to the bills to make that up.

      Between their business people who will ensure they don't lose the money, and their lobbyists who will ensure it will never happen ... there is no way in hell those companies are going to allow any loss in revenue.

      And they'll have enough politicians on the payroll to ensure their profits are entrenched in law.

  • So... does anyone actually put a set top box on top of their TV set these days? Once upon a time, TVs were deep enough front-to-back to support this; these days, most aren't.

    Or is this a term that was once accurate, but will never be accurate again, like "dialing" a phone? It's been a long time since phones had dials, unless they're being purposefully retro.

    • You know, at a certain point, the language doesn't change just because the technology does.

      No, my cable box isn't on top of my TV.

      But people still "tape" shows, "dial" the phone, "film" an event, "rewind" through a movie, and all sorts of things.

      Something comes along, it becomes the word used to describe something, and it becomes part of the language. Over time the underlying technology changes, but people have no interest in changing the language.

      • by Mr Z ( 6791 )

        I admit to being a bit of a smartass. :-) Our language is rife with these fossils.

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      Well, your car still has a dashboard even though nothing is being dashed at you. In fact, we use "dashboards" all over in technology now, to mean a set of gauges and readouts, which has nothing to do with its original meaning.
    • by Passman ( 6129 )
      Well my cable box is sitting on top of a TV. Not the one it's hooked up to, or even one that works for that matter, but it is still technically a "Set-top Box."
    • The cats were disappointed when we switched from CRT to flatscreen monitors. I never did figure out why the tail absolutely had to go down the front.

  • "There is no quicker way to disrupt this vibrancy that is creating the greatest TV programming in the world than for the government to try and fix something that isn't broken," said Brian Dietz, a spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. trade group.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA (pounds table) HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ... oh ah wow good one...

    The Verizon FIOS Arris media set top box is the biggest piece of shit ever. Shittiest programming. Just try to change a channel, and watch the how long it takes for the box to respond. Try to enter a number and watch digits drop. Glitches galore in the video too. And just TRY, yes TRY to call Verizon on it and see if they give a shit. Yeah some vibrancy and user experience. The only thing vibra

    • I beg to differ. The new Comcast Xfinity X1 boxes are the biggest pieces of shit ever. Super slow, unintuitive, and full of bullshit like not allowing you to rewind a current show if you're not using the 'main' box (of which you get ONE per house, so good luck if you have 2 or more TVs!) It also drops connection regularly, and god help you if it gets turned off. You won't have TV again for at least 20 minutes, maybe more. Of course, Comcast's solution to all of this is 'don't ever turn it off, and all

      • The sad part is that the X1 boxes are an upgrade from the old boxes that didn't even work properly on 1080p televisions.

        Good luck getting on demand programming to work properly on those. Most of the time they would crap out with some unknown error that Comcast couldn't fix over the phone.

        • I have one of those older HD DVR boxes and it does work "properly", but it simply doesn't have the capability of doing 1080p, just 1080i.
      • I assume your secondary boxes are RNG150s? Call Xfinity and have them swapped for Xi3s. They support rewinding.. As well as a lot of other stuff.. Plus they are smaller and use less power
      • The old-school boxes are NEARLY useless for 20 minutes, too, because it takes at least that long for channel labels and listings to come up. You might think, "OK, I'll just watch something on my DVR," but OF COURSE FOR NO REASON WHATSOEVER it doesn't let you play your DVR either!
  • I misread the headline as "Coming Sex-Bot Mandate" and therefore can't muster up any interest in the real story.
  • right now i can take my time warner box into their store and exchange it for any reason. new boxes are expensive and if there is a problem time warner will just tell me it's my fault. they already have to buy a lot more boxes than they have customers and run the retail stores and support. people buying their own boxes is money saved for them
  • by WhatHump ( 951645 ) on Monday November 09, 2015 @12:28PM (#50893311)

    We have one cable drop with a PVR in our family room, and our service is for the most basic cable package you can get. It's connected to a Samsung TV with some streaming capability (Netflix and a couple other services). This month I'm putting a second TV in our basement rec room and hooking up an Apple TV to deliver content. In six month's time I will ask everyone in the family (four of us) to give me a good reason why we need to keep the cable service. I'm predicting I'll be cutting the coax next summer.

    • In six month's time I will ask everyone in the family (four of us) to give me a good reason why we need to keep the cable service.

      In four months, NCAA division 1 men's basketball playoffs. In six months, NHL and NBA playoffs.

  • Some ISP's force you to rent there gateway / modems that part also needs to be banded / part of the base internet rate. What will be the point of haveing your own box when there is a $15-$20 gateway box / fee on top of the base tv rate or even then saying to get TV you must buy our internet.

    They also need to stop renting modems and just sell them / give them out for free to stop the Comcast billing errors where your owned modem shows up as being rented.

    Also ban outlet / streams / mirroring fees as well.

    On s

  • It seems clear that the set top box is basically just a signal converter used so the cable company can exploit customers further. Its clearly not anything you technically need, since OTA proves that multiple channels of digital TV can go through the air and over existing coax just fine (QAM), and all tvs I've ever seen on sale still come with a digital tuner.

    Instead of coming up with a law to make cable boxes more interchangeable or whatever, they should make the law so that it eliminates them entirely. Apa

  • As I explained in my FCC complaint - you have filed one too, right? - I don't mind my provider (Cox) switching to all digital and thus requiring a box betwixt the actual cable and TV. What I do object to is not having the choice (CHOICE!) of buying my own 'tv' modem' in the market place instead of paying a lucrative monthly fee* for a box foisted upon me (and for each TV not hooked their existing DVR / box). Ironically, Cox has always allowed their customers to buy their own cable modems and use them in t
    • What I do object to is not having the choice (CHOICE!) of buying my own 'tv' modem' in the market place ...

      As far as I know, you can buy a Tivo and use it with Cox, but still have to rent the CableCard(s) from Cox. The latest Tivo systems even support a tuning adapter via USB for Switched Digital Video. In addition, the Tivo system will integrate with your Netflix (and possibly Amazon / other) accounts. I have friends in another city on Verizon FiOS who has a Tivo system and several Tivo mini-boxes in their house and it all seems to work rather well. (FiOS doesn't use SDV)

  • Not a moment too soon. I had two rented set-top boxes that cost $20 each per month so $480 per year. They hadn't been changed in three years so that's $1440 paid. When I finally replaced them they wanted the old ones shipping back. UPS was slow delivering them due to bad weather and I got an email to the effect that if they didn't arrive within 30 day's I'd be charged $300 each of them. So $600 for three year old hardware (full of dust and stuff) that I'd already paid $1440 for! Fortunately they did arrive

  • Umm, CableCard has been out for a very long time now.. and as other posts mentioned, Tivos can already do much of this (including VOD and PPV, though I've never used the latter).

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