New Comcast Scam?

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New Comcast Scam?

Post#1 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 5:35 pm

Hi: I just sent my daughter in FL a prime tuner, and told her to get a cable card from Comcast and told her it was free. She went to Comcast and was told the SD card was free but the HD card was $10 a month. I do not have a prime, only dual tuner, but as far as I know there is only one cable M card, and it decodes everything that comes down the wire. Has something changed or is this a new Comcast scam. Any info would be appreciated.
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Post#2 » Thu Dec 24, 2015 9:40 pm

There is an extra charge for the HD service. I think the charge is around 10 bucks.

Comcast actually pays us 2.50 because the cablecard is in customer supplied equipment.

They get the 2.50 back, plus more with the 10 dollar extra line charge.
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Post#3 » Fri Dec 25, 2015 3:52 pm

Confirm a similar situation here. I have 5 cablecards (1 for a Sony XBR TV with a built-in CableCard tuner, 3 HDHRs and 1 Ceton). When I recently had a problem with one of the cablecards, the only way Comcast could get my cards working again was to shift me to the new price schedule - which jumped the per month per card costs to $10 - minus the $2.50 discount for customer-owned equipment.

With Microsoft's phaseout of WMC support underway, I'm evaluating options for a WMC replacement - SD's DVR project, Comcast X1, TiVo and possibly JRiver (if they can come up with another way to fund their DRM project). The increase in monthly CableCard costs ($7.50 per card) will have an impact on the financial comparison between the options - though what's of greater importance is to find a replacement with at least the same capabilities we've been using as WMC - and, as of today, not sure if we're ready to embrace any of the other options (and their respective constraints).

What's unfortunate is that while Comcast is increasing the pricing on CableCard - they are also providing less support. Last week one of our cards lost access - and it took several calls and an hour on the phone to find someone who could send a refresh signal to the card. Evidently they removed that option from the normal technical support interface - and the issue had to be elevated to 2nd tier support before someone could send a refresh signal to the cablecards.

Comcast really wants to encourage customers to move off the old cablecard equipment (including their own STBs) and onto the newer X1 technology (which doesn't use cablecards). And by increasing the cost of cablecards to $7.50 per month - they've made a cablecard cost much closer to the cost of getting X1 clients.

When I'm finished testing SD's DVR software - I'll likely turn off two of the cablecard devices - and return those cards - saving me $15 per month. But while I'm testing SD's software (and anything else others might come up with as a replacement), I'll pay to have extra cablecards - so I can run WMC and the alternative devices separately.
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Post#4 » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:20 pm

bob_p wrote:1 for a Sony XBR TV with a built-in CableCard tuner.

Wow that's rare. They can't use tuning adapters though but I guess you don't need it for Comcast.
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Post#5 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 12:31 pm

At least so far, Comcast is not using tuning adapters.

One nice feature about the X1 service is access from browsers and Apple/Android apps on your home network - allowing you to watch live TV (including copy protected channels), recorded TV and On Demand - from virtually any device. And when away from home, there's a smaller list of live channels, recordings and on demand available.

The X1 DVR service is a vast improvement over Comcast's previous DVR offerings, though in some areas WMC is still a better choice.
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Post#6 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:24 pm

Merry Xmas Guys,

If the X1 doesn't have a CableCard, what does it use to authorize the channels?
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Post#7 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:00 pm

It does have a card, just no tuning adapter. As with all cable boxes, card is internal.

Many have reported dropping the $10 HD fee and still receiving all their HD channels. I think it's worth a try.
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Post#8 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:31 pm

Bob says X1 doesn't have a CableCard 4th paragraph Fri Dec 25, 2015 10:52 am. unless I'm not reading right.....
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Post#9 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:49 pm

You're not reading it right
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Post#10 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:48 am

Hi: Thank you for your replies to my question, I now know that the fee is an add on for the HD turn on and not a card charge, just another way to charge another fee, to increase the bottom line. Thanks again, oldtech
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Post#11 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 6:01 am

bob_p wrote:Comcast really wants to encourage customers to move off the old cablecard equipment (including their own STBs) and onto the newer X1 technology (which doesn't use cablecards)


I read this as X1 does not use CableCards. Could someone clarify if X1 does or does not use CableCard?
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Post#12 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:20 pm

Comcast has been inconsistent on messaging about the compatibility of their X1 service and cablecards.

The issue is not about what's inside the X1 boxes, it's whether or not Comcast supports customer cablecard devices with the X1 service.

For a long time, when asked about using cablecard devices with X1, the answer by Comcast staff has been "you can't do that". Which is why I didn't upgrade to X1 until after Microsoft announced no WMC in Windows 10 - and I began the long process of finding an eventual replacement for WMC (which might be X1). Even today, searching Comcast's website for "X1 cablecard" - you can't find any statement by Comcast ensuring they support customer cablecard devices with X1.

Technically, I've been running cablecard devices with X1 without any problems since upgrading last summer. The only issues I've had appear to be with their device database - every few months one or more of my cablecards lose authorization - and I end up spending several hours with Comcast's technical support to get all of my cards working again.

The following page summarizes Comcast's policy for customer-owned equipment, which documents the fees they may charge, in addition to the $10 per month cablecard fee:

http://customer.xfinity.com/help-and-su ... t-top-box/

When we first decided to use WMC, we did a financial analysis - and determined that even with the purchase price of a computer powerful enough (at that time) to run WMC plus several extenders, we would break even after several years due to savings in Comcast fees. Even though the hardware costs to support WMC are considerably lower today, with Comcast's higher fees for customer cablecard devices - there's less financial benefit for "rolling your own". The biggest benefit remains that, overall, WMC is still a much better DVR solution than X1.
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Post#13 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:39 pm

This is indeed a Comcast scam. First, ceasing cable card compatibility at this time is still illegal. Second, X1 is just a model number. There is nothing different about the service that makes it fundamentally incompatible with cable card devices, as you have already proven yourself. This is just a scare tactic designed to make you think you must upgrade to their "new" service and use only their devices.
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Post#14 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 2:56 pm

Comcast is still supporting cablecards. They could do a better job by providing more information on compatibility with their new X1 service and providing better customer support. While it's frustrating and disappointing for them to increase the cablecard fees, doing so isn't illegal - and based on the relatively small group of their customers using cablecards, both the fee increase and the difficulty in getting support are probably justified from a business perspective - similar to Microsoft's decision to drop WMC - since they had so few customers using it.

For the channels I want, the most cost effective package I can get from Comcast also includes their X1 DVR or whole home DVR service - for free - so upgrading to X1 didn't cost me anything, other than the angst with the uncertainty about having my cablecards continue working once they had switched me over to X1 (which they do).

My preference is to continue using my own cablecard tuners - and the DVR service I believe best meets their needs. While X1 is a significant improvement over their previous DVR/STB service - it still falls short of WMC in several key areas when watching live & recordedTV.

Unfortunately, when Microsoft pulls the plug on WMC, unless someone comes up with a replacement, we'll likely be forced to choose between X1 or TiVo...
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Post#15 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:31 pm

Crash2009 wrote:
bob_p wrote:Comcast really wants to encourage customers to move off the old cablecard equipment (including their own STBs) and onto the newer X1 technology (which doesn't use cablecards)


I read this as X1 does not use CableCards. Could someone clarify if X1 does or does not use CableCard?

It's a nebulous statement and your interpretation can't be faulted; the sentence can be parsed to read that X1 is a newer technology, and X1 doesn't use cablecards. However there is at least one other interpretation. "Newer X1" could possibly mean "post-STELLER X1 technology". I don't know of an example of an X1 box that doesn't have a cablecard, perhaps bob_p can post a link.

X1 boxes were introduced in 2012, and they were required by law to include cablecard technology at that time. So the vast majority of X1 boxes have cable cards. I believe some newer X1 gateways don't use cablecards (I can't find a link validating this). Certainly the Xi3, Xi4 etc don't have cablecards but they rely on a whole home DVR that typically has a cable card (and MoCA for communication with that box). An Xi3 box is NOT an X1 box.

The Comcast DOCSIS 3.1 modems being trialed can act as IP cable gateways without cable cards (the Arris boxes have the capability, I don't know if Comcast has enabled support), but I don't believe they are branded as X1 technology.

And of course Comcast's IP cable TV doesn't use cablecards, but it's not X1.

I used to have a COX tuner box without a cablecard. But that was obviously not an X1 box.

In short, Comcast is no longer required to use cablecards in their new X1 boxes, lots of non-cablecard cable boxes are in use, but I don't know if X1 boxes without a cablecard have been deployed.
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Post#16 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:41 pm

I put on my detective shoes. Per The Xfinity website http://forums.xfinity.com/t5/X1/X1-DVR-Capabilities-Expanded/td-p/2555796 X1 boxes are made by Arris and Pace (2 model numbers each).
Model Box Type
MX011AN Arris XG1v1
PX001AN Pace XG1v1
PX013AN Pace XG1v3
AX013AN Arris XG1v3

I found the Arris FCC internal photos:
FCC ID ACQ-XG1 https://fccid.io/ACQ-XG1 (click on 'internal photos') was submitted in 2013
DSL report user posted the V3 photos: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r30335360-X1-X2-New-XG1-A-lacks-hard-drive

I couldn't find any internal pics for the Pace, but I suspect it has similar capabilities to the Arris. Given that the Arris V3 box was released in 2015 and uses a cablecard, I think it's safe to say X1 boxes use cablecards. :D
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Post#17 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 6:42 pm

I could only post 3 links in the previous post, so I will continue here:

FCC page for Arris XG1v3 is very sparse, but it provides a 06/10/2015 date for the V3 box: https://fccid.io/ACQ-XG1V3
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Post#18 » Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:55 pm

I think only Charter has managed to get a cable card waiver from the FCC so far, and they haven't yet released any cable-card-less hardware.

The OP was most likely simply misinformed by Comcast. Wouldn't be the first time.

Bottom line is, drop the $10 HD fee if you have Comcast, and feel free to use any cable card devices you wish in addition to or in lieu of any X1 hardware.
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Post#19 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 12:22 am

mike_ekim wrote:
Crash2009 wrote:
bob_p wrote:Comcast really wants to encourage customers to move off the old cablecard equipment (including their own STBs) and onto the newer X1 technology (which doesn't use cablecards)
I read this as X1 does not use CableCards. Could someone clarify if X1 does or does not use CableCard?
It's a nebulous statement and your interpretation can't be faulted; the sentence can be parsed to read that X1 is a newer technology, and X1 doesn't use cablecards. However there is at least one other interpretation.[/b]


Thanks Mike, you just saved me the trouble of going back to school to learn how to read. I was questioning my ability for a bit. Great answer on the X1-CableCard bit as well. Now we all know. I am going to have to remember that trick. If you ask a question and don't get an answer, ask again, and again. Thanks again!
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Post#20 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:22 am

bob_p wrote:The issue is not about what's inside the X1 boxes, it's whether or not Comcast supports customer cablecard devices with the X1 service.


Now that we have a definitive answer, (Mike) I am now able to understand your statement. My opinion is that Comcast should be required to support, devices they own such as the X1 system. Also they should support their CableCards that are in your devices. When they install an X1 System, I think they should have enough brains to isolate it properly from your non MoCA equipment. The early X1 installs appeared to be trial and error regarding the MoCA aspect.

I don't think they should have to support your equipment such as your Sony XBR TV, 3 HDHRs and 1 Ceton.
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