The Curtain Begins To Close on CableCARD

From the FCC yesterday:

we terminate a proceeding in which we sought comment on the adoption of new regulations for “navigation devices”—devices that consumers use to access multichannel video programming and other services offered over multichannel video programming networks— and eliminate outdated CableCARD support and reporting requirements.

I could write pages on CableCARD and how we got here, but to what end? TiVo is the pretty much the only game left in town, with limited retail success and wavering interest. Hopefully Silicon Dust, a small company with limited resources, has jettisoned their 6-tuner effort. If not, this would be the sign to do so despite the Commission’s report suggesting that “cable operators have strong business incentives to continue to support retail CableCARD devices” — because CableCARD support is a significant and poorly understood drain on cableco resources.

Trivia: The report indicates 456,000 CableCARDs were in circulation earlier this year, with a 9% drop in year-over-year installs, providing some rough scale as to TiVo’s consumer business. But keep in mind, only the largest operators report and there are a few of us HDHomeRun Prime users to account for. Also, when crunching TiVo numbers, remember there’s no direct parallel here to ongoing revenue given (a high concentration of) amortized Lifetime/All-In service plans.

63 thoughts on “The Curtain Begins To Close on CableCARD”

  1. My experience trying to get my Bolt working again says that CableCard is already dead. After attempting to pair five different CableCards and having a tech come out and still not getting a successful pairing, the Bolt sits in my wife’s home office acting as an overpriced Mini. The only surprise at this point is that my Premiere and Roamio still work. I’ve had TiVos for 17 years, but it’s time is drawing to an end. I can’t help wondering if the end will be abrupt or the lingering death of the ReplayTV.

  2. Well, this news … sucks.

    I have two TiVos (8 year old Premiere, new Edge) and pay $5 a month to Optimum, now under Altice, for 2 CableCARDs at $2.50 each. And I have two TiVo Minis to extend TV to 2 other rooms. Lifetime on the Edge, $10/month on the Roamio. Can’t beat that – the CableCARD price was great compared to other providers!

    But when Altice took over Optimum from Cablevision, Altice started making a LOT of changes. I noticed getting CableCARD assistance got a LOT harder. My BoltVox died on 8/3/2020 and I got a replacement Edge, but it took until 8/31 to get a CableCARD that worked and could be successfully bound to the Edge. Every call was a nightmare, with every solution being to “swap the CableCARD”. The front-line agents didn’t have access to the CableCARD tools, or didn’t know what one was, or they wanted me to reboot my box and wait for the clock to show “turn on” (as if I had an Optimum cable box!). I was “this close” to filing an FCC complaint, but we finally got a working CableCARD to bind to the TiVo.

    Yet now with this FCC report stating CableCARD support is no longer required, seems like FCC complaints won’t matter, and I can see Altice cutting off service to CableCARDs within the next year. They may offer an introductory deal on their Altice One service, but full price ($9.99 a month for the box plus $19.99 a month fee for 75 hour cloud DVR) is highway robbery! And it’s still not clear if the DVR fee is per account, or per box, so for 2 TVs I’d now pay $40/month ($10+10+$20) or $60/month ($10+$20+$10+$20) for the privilege of DVR in 2 rooms, AND I would lose the extenders in the other 2 rooms… Oy.

    I may need to look into YouTubeTV again – I tried them on a trial, and they have all of my locals (the only streamer that does) – but I hate “trick play” (scrubbing) on remote streams. I guess I’ll adapt if I have to, because I suspect Altice won’t give me a choice with CableCARDs.

  3. OK, I dug some more into the PDF of the order, and here’s where the FCC says, hey MVPDs, you no longer need to support CableCARD, but because of the installed base of 48 Million CableCARDs and your fear of losing customers to streaming, we really really really think you MVPDs will continue to support CableCARD even though it’s not worth your time and we’re no longer requiring you to support them …
    The FCC report: “(11) NCTA also asserts that since there are tens of millions of CableCARDs currently deployed in cable operator-provided devices, “[c]able operators have strong business incentives to ensure that CableCARDs continue to function properly.” We agree and further find that competitive market forces should incentivize cable operators to continue to support retail CableCARD devices. ”

    My bottom line: I don’t trust Altice will have my interests in mind, but I’d love to be wrong.

  4. If Verizon cuts off cable card, I’m more likely to drop cable than pay for DVR and cable boxes. I would guess that’s a common reaction from many cable card users, since they already went to the trouble of having the card to begin with.

    Cable has been in decline for years. Box requirements, no CATV standard, has got to be part of this trend. The stupid fight over who gets to own the UI to try and up sell is going to be a study in short sighted planning.

  5. That’s fine. The Cable Companies are cutting off their own revenue streams as far as I am concerned. They are literally driving people to streaming the more they try to dictate hardware choices. I have questioned the value proposition of a cable subscription for a long time now, and Tivo isn’t doing themselves any favors by not supporting their DVRs on their new streaming device. The day they pull cable cards will be the day I go to torrents full time.

  6. Hi Dave.

    What do you think is the best option for us longtime TiVo/cablecard users if/when our current DVRs start to falter (knock on wood)? I have a Bolt (living room) and Roamio (bedroom) but my main cable outlet/modem/router is in another room (home office).

    I am a rare TiVo user who, with Comcast/Xfinitys help, was able to pair the cablecards with minimal fuss and have not had any issues (again, knock on wood), other than replacing a Roamio that died with another Roamio with lifetime service.

    Keep up the great work Dave. Hope you and your family are staying safe and happy.

  7. Now that Channels DVR supports TV Anywhere logins, I’ve seriously considered getting rid of my FIOS CableCard and just streaming over the internet. The only downside is I wouldn’t get local networks so I’d either need an antenna or pay for Locast. Both options are also supported by Channels but going OTA would require some new hardware. I may test Locast first.

  8. @Tom: You can only use TV Anywhere when you have login credentials from your paid TV provider. You pay the cable company, Verizon, DIRECTV, etc., and you use your login for them to sign in to TV Everywhere. Haven’t seen a way around this to be honest…

    Google “channels dvr tv everywhere” and you’ll get to this page showing the below:

    Sign in with your provider and start recording in minutes.

    How does this actually work?

    Cable and streaming providers give customers the ability to watch live TV streams via network provided web sites or mobile and TV applications. By signing in with your provider, those network channels can be watched with Channels.

    Is my provider supported?

    If you can sign in to network TV apps or websites with your cable or streaming provider account, your provider is supported.

    You can learn more about how TV Everywhere works with Channels in our support article.”

  9. I’ve been thinking about this throughout the morning, and reconsidering my original post, here’s how I think the cable companies are going to respond to the the change to requiring support for CableCARDs:

    households that already using them can continue but they won’t allow new households to get them. They may even limit existing households to the current CableCARDs in use: you can’t get more than what you have.

    Then within 6 months to a year, they will aggressively start offering promotions and discounts to the existing CableCARD customers to move them to their own hardware, eventually eliminating CableCARDs by attrition.

    So yes, the end is near… but a couple years away.

  10. I think Drew paints the most likely scenario in that we’ll see at least some MVPDs stop issuing/activating any more CableCARDs but allow the ones currently in use to remain. If the customer is paying their cable TV bill every month and their equipment is working, may as well let sleeping dogs lie. But if the CC stops working or there’s some kind of call in for technical support, the cableco’s answer will be that the customer must swap out the CC for their own box or app.

    As far as targeting CC users with aggressive promos to switch over to their own hardware, IDK. That FCC-reported figure of 456,000 CCs currently in use among the four largest providers (Comcast, Charter, Verizon and Cox) works out to only about 1% of their collective total TV subscriber base. I don’t really think this small group of consumers matter to them all that much. I mean, a quarter when an MVPD loses only 1% of their TV subs is actually a *good* quarter! So I really question whether the marketing department in these companies will even bother with an effort to target CC users.

    Wonder what this portends for continued sales of the TiVo Edge for Cable? Will TiVo continue to try selling expensive DVRs — and even more expensive lifetime service — to consumers knowing that MVPDs are now legally free to turn those DVRs into doorstops at any moment if they so choose?

  11. Glad I ‘cut the cord’ a year or two ago. I’m on Optimum and two things really impacted their support quality:
    – Altice buying Cablevision
    – Wilt Hilderbrand retiring & dying –

    Wilt provided beyond white-glove service to customers. I once had a team of 2-4 top level dudes in my driveway with their own TV and such to debug a CableCard issue I was having. They ended up running a dual drop to my tiny house where one drop fed my bedroom with a TV & Cable modem and the other drop fed the two TVs in the kids’ rooms.

    Now, I ‘just’ have 400/40 service from Optimum along with Youtube TV and a slew of streaming services.

  12. Dave

    i haven’t seen anything official about Silcondust jettisoning the Prime 6. They still have the vague in development page. Of course those of waiting for it are skeptical but did they really announce something?

  13. Oof. Cable card managed to thread the needle of giving operators and regulators control and giving consumers choice and flexibility.

    I sold my Bolt on ebay last year and moved to an HDHomerun prime running on Plex. I think I would probably be happy for a really long time with this setup, maybe I add an ATSC 3.0 OTA tuner at some point. But I have the ability to archive nearly anything I want for as long as I want and avoid Charter/Spectrum’s DVR hardware and fees.

    Cable card’s demise might give charter the ability to pry me out. This has me wondering if I shouldn’t pick up a second tuner and start the process of finding a suitable cable card just so I have a backup in the event the current ones go under.

  14. @Drew Yes, I know you still need login credentials. I want to give back my CableCard and stop paying the monthly rental fee, but still keep my tv service even though I’ll then have no boxes or cards at all.

    I’ll just use the TV Anywhere login with Channels.

  15. I just reactivated my two TiVos on Cox after trying to deal with DirecTV’s horrendous DVRs for a year. TiVo isn’t perfect (and the new interface is still overall worse than the previous one) but it is still better than anything provided by the MSOs and probably will be until the end. I got the last two CCs Cox apparently had and they had no idea if or when they were getting more. They were pretty nice about it though and when I called them back because it didn’t seem my cards were pairing, I immediately got a guy who knew what he was talking about and told me to just wait a while as I stayed on the line with him. Sure enough, channels slowly started coming in one by one until I had them all about half an hour later. Overall it wasn’t as difficult an experience as a lot of people led me to believe it would be right now… but I am glad I got those last two in stock CCs.

    I’ll keep using my TiVos as long as I can. Just replaced the hard drive in my Roamio since the old one seemed to be going south (it had been sitting in a Phoenix area garage in 120+ degree temps for a year) so that box now has a lot of life left, and now that I know how to replace the drive, both boxes really probably have unlimited life left. So as long as I can keep using a cable card, I’ll keep my TiVos going.

  16. Comcast cable installer here, and in 8 years I’ve installed 2 cable cards. With box rental dropping to $5 a box, it leaves little reason to even bother dealing with a 3rd party company any more.

  17. How about this instead since cable cards are about the size of credit cards how about a plastic credit card size sim type card with a chip in it that cable card companies could sell instead of rent and a plastic adapter case with a chip reader with the seriel port in the front instead of the current cable cards, which look very outdated, if they did that I would buy it since I would need 3 of them for my tivos.

  18. Even with the FCC mandate, it’s been impossible for my provider to actually ship one. Oh, well, the TV service is getting turned off once the promo period is over, it’s antenna and streaming for me. I should have expected this from Frontier.

  19. I can’t say I’m really that bothered by this. Thankfully my Tivo can do cable or antenna, so I’d simply switch to antenna + streaming.

  20. My town’s cable company refuses to implement cable cards, and since that’s the only way tivo will provide Guide listings for remodulated (and unscrambled) ATSC channels, I had to cancel my cable and switch the Bolt to OTA-only (very glad I didn’t get the 6-tuner model, now, which is cable-only). Tivo also doesn’t support HBO’s on-demand app via xfinity when I move to a comcast town, so overall I’m glad I sold my tivo stock when it was around $20.

  21. Thanks for the article, long time Tivo subscriber, sorry to see it starting to fade. In following other news not surprising at all as the current Tivo management look to be planning on ditching hardware. Either as they knew this was coming, or simply can’t figure out how to make any $ with the hardware. Very sad. I’ve managed to stay with the old interface so far, tried the new one and complete disaster.
    To Steve’s comment about the installs, I’m sure you’re correct as i know very few Tivo owners personally, but that doesn’t mean that Tivo isn’t the best service. Sure you can get a box from cableco for $5, but the Tivo is soooo much better, most people just don’t want to pay for it. Porsche is a small % of the car market, does that mean there’s no reason to buy one because you can get a Hyundai for less?

  22. Great discussion, folks.

    Manda, not all TiVos can toggle between cable and OTA. So consider yourself fortunate!

    Gabriel, this was never about technology, all about control.

    Steve, thanks for sharing your experiences and perspective as a cable installer!

    Jeremy, don’t count on ATSC 3.0. Not clear to me if recording is possible or will be enabled across the board…

    Ken, Silicon Dust didn’t announce anything. I am suggesting they pull they plug. Even before this FCC action.

    Kevin, if your TiVo dies, find a Lifetimed replacement on ebay? If CableCARD support truly dies before you’re ready, that’s a harder question to answer and would depend upon viewing and technological preferences.

  23. The cable card isn’t the real problem. It’s the wretched tuning adapter! Spectrum made some sort of change a couple of years ago and I started randomly losing sdv channels, they would pop in and out losing the recordings. Sometimes rebooting it fixed it, 5 visits by good techs didn’t fix it.

    I cut the cord when sports stopped. Fubo seems like the best alternative for sports, but there’s the TiVo and 4 minis to consider. I guess they just go on Craigs list.

  24. Does the 456k number potentially include any TiVo boxes still leased out by cable partners? My experience has been exclusively with RCN (which I know isn’t representative) but I know they were distributing TiVos with CableCards installed.

    Walked away from TiVo (and cable) last year and don’t really miss it one bit. We planned to use Sling for the channels we watched and to connect an OTA antenna to our Bolt. Well, we never bothered hooking up the antenna, and haven’t used Sling in months. Simply not enough on cable for us to bother with given the various streaming options.

    (Sadly we can’t cancel Sling, because my partner’s mother watches it constantly! De gustibus…)

  25. This has been dead for years as far as I’m concerned. Replaced by better technology. The reality is that the streaming options available today are just better (for most people) than a DVR from TiVo etc. I realize there were fringe use cases, but that is hardly enough to make CC to be useful.

    I stopped using CC over a year ago and don’t miss it at all. The Apple TV with apps is working awesome for me (I still use an antenna for some sports).

  26. Dan T, no, the 456,000 figure reflects only the four largest MVPDs that issue CCs (which would be Comcast, Charter, Verizon and Cox). None of those four provide TiVos as their own cable boxes, as RCN does.

    As for the long-promised HDHomeRun Prime 6, I’ve doubted it would ever materialize and its chances have to be pretty close to nil now. Is it even possible for a new CC-using retail device to hit the market at this point? Do those devices have to be certified by CableLabs or whatever group is behind the CableCARD standard, in order to ensure that the device is fully compatible with the spec? I can’t see why CableLabs would certify any new devices now that the FCC has killed the mandate. (Nor can I see why any business such as Silicon Dust would take the risk of coming to market with a new CC device without an official statement from Comcast and/or Charter promising to provision and support CC for a minimum amount of time going forward, a development I doubt will come to pass.)

  27. > My bottom line: I don’t trust Altice will have my interests in mind, but I’d love to be wrong.

    MY bottom line: I don’t trust the FCC to have your OR my interests in mind, unless we are major transport/content providers.

  28. Yep, Dave, I recall RCN deploying TiVo Android TV but AFAIK that’s only on their newer IPTV service, which I think may only be on their FTTH installations. Have they also begun shifting over from traditional QAM TV service (that uses traditional TiVo boxes) to IPTV on their HFC network too?

    At any rate, let us know if you hear of any internal reaction at TiVo to the FCC’s abandonment of CableCARD. Between this and the recent merger with Xperi, I’m really wondering if we’ll see them abandon retail DVRs completely. Wouldn’t surprise me if this is the final coup de grace.

  29. My 10+ years working in the cable Industry taught me that 99% CableCard issues stem from dispatchers simply not knowing how to properly provision them. Techs like to think that they go bad or die easily. This simply isn’t true. Finding a competent rep. who ACTUALLY understands how to properly provision a CableCard is the problem.

  30. @FormerCableGuy: I can attest personally to the validity of your statement about the reps as I struggled to get a CableCARD bound to my replacement TiVo. For every one agent at Optimum who understood what needed to happen (“had to replace my TiVo, so please bind an existing CableCARD on my account to a new host device and authorize it”), there were four who didn’t. For that majority, there were a lot of excuses, too: sorry, we no longer have access to CableCARD tools; sorry, only advanced tech can do it, so I have to submit a request and they’ll get back to you; sorry, that system is down; sorry, have you tried unplugging your cable box?”
    But I do also have to fault Optimum dispatch / inventory management…As part of “troubleshooting” with all the issues getting a CableCARD bound to my new TiVo, they did a truck roll and the tech came with a replacement CableCARD to swap my pre-existing one. Problem is, the firmware was out of date. He had a handful and went through 4 of them, but for each one the TiVo needed to do a firmware upgrade to the CableCARD. Tech said it should be under 6 minutes, but each one took more than 15 – which at that point he went to the next one. After an hour (and 4 cards) he got one that was “current”, then “called in” my Host ID and the card serial number, and told me to wait for a call back when someone activated/bound it. Because even though he was on a truck roll to specifically swap a CableCARD, there was no one live for him to talk to to get it done. So shame on them for loading him up with cards with old firmware, and shame on them for not being on standby to active a card during a truck roll.

    But that’s Optimum under Altice now, anyway: “your call is important to us, but all agents are busy. Press 1 and we;ll call you back in more than 45 minutes.” Press 1. Get a call back the next day… Rinse, repeat.

    I’m just so happy I finally got it working. 28 days of cable swaps, truck rolls, Optimum insisting the replacement TiVo was bad, convincing TiVo to swap that TiVo for another, and do it all again. Now fingers crossed Altice lets optimum continue to service my CableCARDs for the foreseeable future…

  31. The end of CableCARDs is quite sad, because it was a standard that allowed DVRs to flourish in the first place. TiVo came up with so many innovations that immediately became must-haves for any DVR. It’s also something cable companies have clearly been against since the beginning, since the alternative is to pay more to them.

    TiVo is a shadow of the company it was before, and no wonder — their independent boxes only work through CableCARD, which has been given less-than-no-support from so many big cable companies. And working with the cable companies on proprietary DVRs has poisoned their recent releases with mandatory advertising, among other things.

    If you have to give up on TiVo, the best alternative is to cut the cable and move to streaming live TV. Even if you subscribe to multiple services, you will still likely end up saving a ton of money. And you shouldn’t reward these companies for their anticompetitive behavior.

  32. I use an MCARD every day in my HDHOMERUN in DVR mode capable of recording three channels and playback to any computing device on my home network. So much for conventional wisdom and general statements.

  33. A little follow up. I am a COMCAST/XFINITY use in St. Paul, MN. I will not be cutting any cords. My wife loves Xfinity DVR and she thinks she is getting her money’s worth. I use my HDHOMERUN DVR that feeds a NAS with two 3 TB drives in a RAID 1. I use the HDHOMERUN because the program storage is virtually unlimited, a really slick use of technology. I don’t understand all the excitement about the MCARD. It is just another kind of cable box. My local Comcast didn’t blink an eye during configuration. Compared to some of the Comcast-hating stories I see on the Internet my local Comcast has given exceptional service for many years.

  34. @M: Trick play/scrubbing in traditional DVRs is the use of the “transport” keys on the remote to control playback of the video: PLAY, PAUSE, FFW, REW, SKIP (ADVANCE), REPLAY, etc.

    I’ve seen in online streamers a lot of inconsistency in how they implement these controls. Because most streamers are via set top boxes (Roku, Apple) or builtin smart TVs where both may have only UP/DOWN/LEFT/RIGHT/OK buttons on a remote, the streamers rely on on-screen controls for trick-play where you have to navigate to and select, or they use the LEFT/RIGHT button for either FFW/REW or SKIP/REPLAY.

    IIRC, YTTV used the RIGHT button for SKIP, and LEFT for REPLAY. But what I disliked was how each SKIP (RIGHT) didn’t resume PLAY – you had to press OK/SELECT to resume play. So jumping ahead in a recording was tedious.

    It was also hard to FFW through video, because it would only show random frames above the progress bar.

    Use of FFW is important to me when watching tennis, for example. Right now I’m recording record 10+ hours of ESPN’s coverage of the US Open and use FFW on TiVo to scan the recording at FFWx2 speed. It lets me watch game progress and keep up with matches and I can drop to PLAY mode when something interests me. This use case (perhaps unique to me, but surely some other sports viewers do this with baseball or tennis, too!) is nearly impossible on streaming video providers.

  35. NashGuy, I expect TiVo will continue to deprioritize their “legacy” retail DVR hardware. No reason to formally cut things off as long as they tightly manage expenses, since those on monthly and even annual plans generate good money. I can’t imagine we’ll ever see new CableCARD hardware, tho the Edge and refreshed Mini are essentially new. There’s probably some opportunity for a lower-end OTA DVR and/or revisiting the Mavrik, but company is clearly, perhaps singularly focused on the Stream platform at this time.

  36. (noob commentator here, apologies if this has been addressed elsewhere)
    Anyone have a guess how quickly this will make a Cable Card Tivo (such as my Roamio Pro w/lifetime) lose resale value?
    I’m lucky in that my installed CableCard has been stable for years, even with Time Warner becoming Spectrum, changing channel lineups, glitchy Tuning adaptors, etc.

    Thanks for your thoughts and expertise.

    TiVo since 2000, 1st 14-hour model won in the TiVo essay writing contest

  37. Dave, it looks like Comcast and Charter have about 2/3 of the US’s total cable TV customers who could potentially use CableCARDs. If those companies decide this fall (or at any point in the future) that they’re no longer going to activate additional CCs/devices, then that might be a good reason for TiVo to decide to formally cut things off with regard to sales of the Edge for Cable. I imagine that they’d just try to sell through any existing inventory (hopefully with an advisory on the sales page listing the MSOs that it’s incompatible with) and then officially kill the product.

    I’m not predicting that either Comcast or Charter *will* drop CC support soon, even though they legally may do so. But if/when they do, that would effectively be the end of TiVo’s retail cable DVR business. (Of course, no reason to think that TiVo would cease to provide ongoing service to any and all retail DVRs still in use on those MSOs that continue to support CC.)

  38. Have Tivio ‘Romio” I think with a working cable card. Connected to Verizon FIOS for internet. Not connected to FIOS TV. Can’t get FIOS PPV. I like the Tivio dogbne remote. I know and like the Tivo consumer interface. think this means the guide?
    I also have an OTA antenna connection. I get lots of HD channels “over the air”. Unfortunately NOT the channels I watch, Shopping and Spanish channells
    What new hardware set top box should I Get?
    What new smart TV should I get?
    Is there any way to hold on to Tvio remote AND GUIDE?

  39. Joseph Danko is lucky his Comcast system must still be sending programming in the clear. My Cox system long ago imposed DRM on all channels making my HDHomeRun worthless for any type of recording. We’ve been waiting for the long promised Prime 6 with DRM and the lame excuses why it is delayed. I’ve been paying CC rental for 3 years now waiting for the day SiliconDust comes through so that I am grandfathered to have one. On top of all this, my HDHomeRun isn’t visible on my Samsung Smart TVs when Samsung made some OS changes in a download without warning what was changing.

  40. I would love to get an email from my cableco saying, for example, that they were shutting off all CableCards at the end of the year since it would be the perfect justification for me to drop cable TV…forever.

  41. After the recent storm that tore up Long Island, Altice is losing lots of customers to Verizon FIOS. Seeds were planted a while ago. Apparently Altice laid off a substantial percentage of its techs, with a bad effect on TIVO support. Around last May, TIVO users started seeing regular freeze ups and V58 not authorized messages – and chose not to deal with the many complaints, telling users that they would come out to your house to check it out but be billed for $80. Then the storm, when Altice chose to NOT put out generators to keep coax distribution amps running, even though Cablevision had before selling out to Altice. Combo – there was a huge line at my local Altice store with many of those in line returning their Altice gear after having FIOS installed. When I called to turn off the service, a salesman offered to put me on Altice’s new fiber network, but I no longer trust them for anything.

    Now when FIOS set me up days ago, I did have some cablecard pairing issues (missing channels on one of my TIVO’s). Fixed after 4 days, now working well. Unlike couple decades ago when I had Verizon / NY Telephone / NYNEX POTS service, techs showed up on time, were generally knowledgeable. And the FIOS Motorola M cards did not look badly fried like Altice’s NDS M cards. And 2 of 3 techs I’ve dealt with have decent TIVO experience.

  42. At this point, I am getting significant discounts with Optimum/Altice that I will stay for the time being. $200 for full cable package with one cablecard and one non-dvr box (in case TiVo goes on the fritz), 400 mbit Internet, and two land lines. But their customer service has gotten worse and they appear to have “given up” on support for cablecards.

    And as Dave says, TiVo’s committment to the retail channel isn’t what it used to be, but it’s basic DVR service is solid. That said, I have had two Bolt+ 3TB not last two years from drive failure, likely due to heat buildup in what my non-professional opinion is a very poorly designed case.

    When either TiVo or Altice fails, I will look at available options…

  43. As a Time Warner/Spectrum customer for 7 years who had to deal with moronic installers, failed CC pairing and the dreaded Tuning Adapter, nothing makes me happier than when I got a new TiVo and new card from Fios and simply had to type 2 numbers into a website to get it to work.

    Going on four years later I’ve had ONE problem which required an online chat with Fios. And the problem was caused by a loose coax at my end.

    Unless Fios jacks up my price or my TiVo dies (*knocks on wood*) I’ll be using my Roamio with Fios CC as long as they let me. There’s no better solution out there.

  44. On FiOS, 3 M-CCs and 3 STB’s (which contain locked CCs): clearly I’m committed to the tech. Recordings via CC are just solid and stable, whereas with streams, even getting around the obstacles, recording is a crap shoot every time.
    Or, is this a reason everyone but the customer hates CCs?

  45. I think the TiVo Stream 4K is a good path forward if one can get over not having actual “recordings”. I got one and signed up for Sling $30 plan to get my feet wet in IPTV. To be honest, I find that the bigger draw to my old TiVo Bolt is the UI. Not the newest UI, but the one that shipped with the box that I never upgraded.

    I got the TiVo recommendations when I need them and app based recommendations from AndroidTV at other times. Supporting other providers other than Sling would be nice, but not sure if I’ll need that.

  46. If FiOS drops cable cards then it will make my decision easy. I will drop their TV. Their video quality is already crap. And has been that way for years now. RIght now I watch a combination of broadcast from FiOS on my TiVos and streaming services. But if they force my hand, then I will dump their TV.

    Of course that is what they really want anyway. Since my price will be the same or higher. Which is more profit for Verizon.

  47. Wish I found this thread three weeks ago.

    We’ve gotten ten years out of a TIVO Premier 4, Lifetime, with Comcast/xFinity cable card.

    Three weeks ago the disk drive died. I ordered a replacement from a company in LA with ‘leg joints’ in their name. Replacing the drive was easy, but somewhere alog the line the TIVO lost the Host ID and would not talk to the Xfinity channels. I can see the guide, set up recordings but all channels are “Not Allowed Error V58”

    Several hours with Comcast later, I can’t find anyway to load the Host ID into the TIVO. They are shipping second replacement card.

    Nearly looking like time to cut the cable and put up a digital antenna for the local news. The old Tivos allowed cable and antennas, thank God.

    Thanks for the thread. I can now see why Xfinity support really cant help me.



  48. Long time tivo user here… Had pretty much every one since the 15gb Tivo 1 which I installed an ISA ethernet card into… so, definitely a fan. They’re probably going to lose me as a customer in the next couple months, partly because of the pre-roll commercials (I didn’t pay extra to SKIP commercials, just to have them insert more.. I know I can ask to be excluded, but its the principal that they would treat a customer that way!) and partly because the dead cablecard.. I recently went to XFinity to upgrade my internet speed, and they literally said they would NOT change my plan unless I gave up the cable card and go with their box. I even offered to take, and pay for one of their boxes, but they said I would have to discontinue use of the cable card. So, now I’m stuck.. We like the Tivo interface – Xfinity’s DVR is horrible in our opinion, so I think I’m about to embark on a slow migration to Channels, and I’ll have to figure out what hardware to run it on. It would be awesome if someone could build an Android distro for Tivo hardware, but I guess I’m in the market for some Amazon fire boxes.. I already have plex and an antenna connected to an HD Homerun, so I guess I’m ahead of the game there. I guess it’s just a fact that there aren’t that many people who will go to the effort of doing other than what they’re spoon feeding us for services.. Customer satisfaction/choice has certainly not been considered in any of these recent corporate decisions, and I for one would enjoy watching them go out of business, but I doubt it would happen

  49. I run two HD home run primes so I have 6 tuners, so not burning for Silicon Dust to release the 6 tuner prime since I am already there. The issue is Altice support since they took over cablevision it is the absolute worst. I have two Cable cards and get most of the channels I pay for except when there is a finals hockey game on or the world series or playoffs on TBS or TNT then magically I can’t get the channel to come in on my device. So I call Altice support and as others have said you get endless voicepromts in a lame attempt to have you solve a problem you don’t have through automation so they don’t have to pay a qualified tech. Then when you do manage to get a live person they are obviously offshore and are not capable of helping. Recently I when I politely insisted on speaking to a cable card technician the rep gave me a number for cablecard support , so I happily hung up and called it, it was Cox cable card support, I kid you not, an Altice rep actually did this. Today I called again the rep said the system is down she will call me back. Unreal, it is a conspiracy to try force you to pay for their boxes. I already pay for 2 any more is completely unreasonable. I am hanging on as long as I can with the help of HD Homerun but if they drop support for cablecards I am finally out. Not that they care, pity after 25 years I can’t get simple help and I am being gamed by Mega Monolith Cable.

  50. Well it’s officially over. Altice/optimum no longer support non-HD channels which means that hundreds of channels no longer work on my 3 TiVo bolts plus 2 minis. I am
    more than heart broken over this commercial move that not only had me wasting tons of time (numerous calls and 5 service calls later) that optimum didn’t even tell it’s technicians, I have all this equipment and lifetime service wasted. I’m at a loss what to do and what to move to as I have been a loyal TiVo subscriber for over 20 years. Very disappointed with both altice and TiVo as neither care about us if this could happen.

  51. Longtime Tivo customer on Cox. Just learned of this FCC ruling through a conversation with Cox retention, after I mentioned the requirement, he let me know about the decision. I am on a one year package deal, and he said Cox will no longer offer any deals for customers with CCs, meaning Cox will be forcing out Tivo customers through high prices. After 20 years with Tivo, I’ll be moving to satellite. Love the interface, skipping commercials, season passes. Really sucks.

  52. I have 7 or 8 cable cards – I probably have the most usage in all of NJ for residential. I use them with Samsung Media players, which were one of the very few devices that had a cablecard slot. I didn’t want to pay for every tv having a box when many of them go unused throughout the year. But paying $2.50 a card seemed palatable.

    What amazes me is that these companies are so naive to think they can just force people to use their boxes and pay higher fees rather than giving them the ability to keep cable and use the cards. Human nature will always seek out easier and cheaper alternatives and people will just begin not getting the boxes and switch to streaming – putting the cable company out of business eventually.

    These executives think the right move is to put the customer in a stranglehold not realizing they will always escape, rather than keeping them as long time customers, even if they aren’t making a killing on them.

    When did people forget about cash cows?

  53. I’ve had TIVO’s since they came into existence. I just transferred from Comcast to Wow. It was just about as easy as it gets. Not a single issue and all 5 of mine work from my Bolt to my HD Series. This was on Feb 1. 2021. Cable cards must be provided by all cable card companies and must be supported. If you’re not getting your TiVo’s working, you’re dealing with a bunch of moron’s. Usually, if they aren’t paring up its because the cards are not provisioned by your cable provider.

  54. This is an old thread, but relevant, as I just got some good news from Optimum that shows they WILL continue to support CableCards at least for a while: they are replacing NDS cards with PowerKey cards. Below is the email I received. I’m hoping they send 2 cards, as that’s what I have and would need to replaced in the next 2 months.

    “Our records indicate that you’re using a CableCARD in place of a cable box on one or more of the TVs in your home. Unfortunately, the CableCARD manufacturer, NDS, has made the decision to discontinue support of the product as of April 1, 2021. If not replaced, you will no longer be able to watch TV.

    To ensure you don’t miss out on all the great entertainment available to you today, a replacement CableCARD by PowerKey is being shipped to you in the next few weeks – at no additional cost to you.

    When the replacement arrives, call us at 866.###.#### for assistance removing your old CableCARD and setting up the new one.

    Thanks for being an Optimum customer.”

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