Verizon Jacks Up FiOS TV CableCARD Fees (Again)


Verizon is sending customers links and literature covering updated FiOS TV fees. And, sadly, TiVo owners will be paying the price. Already the most costly provider when it comes to CableCARD rentals, Verizon has jacked up the price, once again, to $4.99/month. By comparison, a DTA set-top box runs a single dollar more at $5.99/month.


Unfortunately, the differential doesn’t logically scale as the cost to replace a damaged or misplaced CableCARD runs $100 whereas the DTA is $175…. leading me to believe this supersized fee for a mere PCMCIA card is both punitive, designed to encourage folks to utilize Verizon’s own equipment, and intended to offset whatever additional support costs Verizon incurs due to (their) activation/pairing issues and the like. Of course, as all who follow this space know, CableCARDs are under attack … by the very same industry that put forth this imperfect technology and, yet, without a viable replacement.

My FiOS bill shows the new fee, but I can’t say that all customers will be hit as I wonder if a recent change to my account (dropping HBO for a spell) may have triggered the increase… and I’m hopeful others have been grandfathered in at their prior rates ($1.99 – 3.99). And, if nothing else, this surely supports trading in legacy TiVo hardware for TiVo Mini extenders. Otherwise the math just doesn’t work.

18 thoughts on “Verizon Jacks Up FiOS TV CableCARD Fees (Again)”

  1. It is amazing how the same cards I have been using for years now magically cost more money yet the fee to replace them when lost is the same.

  2. Makes the 2 single stream cards in my Series3 pretty pricey… time to drop the tivo all together for my HDHomerum Prime and mythtv.

  3. I’ve got 2 2 tuner premieres, a 2 tuner HD Tivo and a 6 tuner Roamio Pro. I wonder if I can get by with 3 Minis in addition to the Roamio. Would save me $15 a month plus whatever I net out from selling the Lifetime service Tivos in favor the Mini + lifetime service costs, but I’d be down to 6 tuners (out of current 12) and 3 tb storage (out of current 8)… Hmm… Decision, decisions…

  4. Speaking of Verizon, and their ridiculous pairing issues, I’m receiving my third cablecard for the Roamio in the mail tomorrow and will likely be making my 4th call to support in a fruitless (so far) attempt to get HBO and Skinemax working. I don’t even know why I try to use the online cablecard activation process anymore. It NEVER works….

  5. I never thought I’d say these words but here goes, man Comcast sure is affordable, for cable cards at least.

    I have two TiVos each with one card. They charge $1.50 per card and then credit me back $2.50 for each TiVo being customer owned equipment. I actually make $2/month by using cable cards.

    It’s a shame that each area is a little monopoly and you can’t price them against one another.

  6. Comcast is even worse. They charge $9.95 for the card (billed as Digital Service) and then credit $2.50 for (customer owned equipment). That comes out to $7.45.

    I have a Tivo and an HDHomerun Prime, so it costs me $14.90 a month for the cards.

  7. I think this warrants a filing under 97-80 for any Verizon customer. The FCC doesn’t mandate CableCARD fees but filings will become part of the public record. With that said, all electronic systems for the FCC are currently shut down — “We regret the disruption, but during the Federal Government-wide shutdown, the FCC is limited to performing duties that are immediately necessary for the safety of life or the protection of property. FCC online systems will not be available until further notice.”

  8. Cable cards aren’t the only price going up. The HD Box is moving from $6.99 to $7.99. The activation fee has been rising steadily over theast two yeas (for new customers) so it’s just a matter of time until there’s an installation charge (also for new customers). Plus, Time Warner gas soured on incentive pricing which will lead to across the board price hikes for all cable customers.

  9. I thought I’d chime in to clarify a couple of things. The Cable Card as well as the Digital Adapter fee increase will be applied in a wholesale fashion, so there is no “grandfathering”. Also, the 9.99 return fee applies not only to Cable Cards but also Verizon issued STB’s and only under certain scenarios. For those having pairing issues with the Roamio, the problem has been isolated to a firmware issue with certain Cable Cards. You’ll have to check the MCARD part number located directly above the bar code. The only one that currently works is 515517-017-00. If you receive any of the cards that end with 006-00 or 002-00 they will not pair properly and the copy protected channels “HBO and Cinemax” will not be authorized

  10. @km: But would you pay an additional $7.45 for each additional CableCard? I have Comcast, and the cost of each additional CableCard is $1.50 for me.

  11. James Lin wrote

    @km: But would you pay an additional $7.45 for each additional CableCard? I have Comcast, and the cost of each additional CableCard is $1.50 for me.

    Until a year ago they charged me $1.50 then they switched. I got a rep to put it back manually, and of course that lasted a month until the billing system put it back to $7.45. I went ahead and filed a complaint with the FCC, which triggered a call from Comcast corporate to me. They told me that the $9,95-$2.50 was now the correct rate. As a concession they lowered my main rate a bit on a promotion that has now expired.

    It may be region by region but they insist that the $7.45 is correct.

  12. Of course, this is all designed to keep people from getting 3rd party DVR’s. My word, a TiVo user SAVES the MSO money, but they also view a TiVo user as revenue unrealized (I refuse to use the business term of “loss” because in the real world consumer sense, it is NOT a loss). Of course, what is really outrageous is our “hands off” FCC for tolerating just about everything about the CC, but a price increase for CC (or ANY price beyond a $1, IMHO) should be a no brainer for action on behalf of consumers. One expects avarice to reign at the “piggy” MSO’s, but it seems to make no difference which party is in power as the FCC’s actions regarding CC have been consistently anti-consumer during the current and previous administration. TiVo users have had every stone thrown at them by the MSO’s and the FCC does nothing but seemingly enabling it.

  13. This price gauging really boils my blood, especially since there are FCC regulations to put it in check. What’s worse is that Verizon charges the same price for BOTH cablecards needed to operate the Series3.

    If you own a Series3 like me, please post your outrage in the following thread at the official Verizon forum (and vote for the topic):

  14. As usual this made me look at my Comcast bill again, and of course its changed AGAIN. Last time they weren’t crediting me for the CableCARD I returned when I got my first Mini. So back in June I was paying (Northern California Comcast) 2x$8.75 for two “digital outlets” (e.g. CableCARDs) and getting 3x$-2.50 back as credit for “customer owned equipment”. Then after I complained they adjusted it to 1x$8.75 (correct, the first CableCARD is no charge) but eliminated the seemingly correct 2x-$2.50 meaning my bill was wrong by $5.00 per month since then. And in July they raised the rate to $9.25. So either I’m paying $9.25 for 2 CableCARDs or $9.25 for the one they make me pay for… which is either better or worse than what you’re seeing with Verizon. Need to chat with them tonight and try and get this fixed. Still not planning to get rid of the #2 CableCARD for a Mini for a little bit yet… will need to update to a Roamio and don’t plan to do that until they get streaming working.

  15. They have been jacking the rates every month for 2 years. Time to go to Comcast..I’m paying $107 for just internet and phone, and the phone is always telemarketers. F Them.

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