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CableCARD - What is it exactly?

Old 01-26-06, 07:50 AM
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CableCARD - What is it exactly?

Ok, I just ordered a HP LCD and i notice it has a CableCARD option. What exactly is it?

I have Comcast cable and I have the HD box conencted to my MAIN TV. The HP will be a second TV.

What are the advantages of CableCARD? Could I get HD programming with it? Would this be my BEST bet or should I just run my coax cable into my TV like it is now (I'm not sure if I could get ALL of my channels this way though, right)?

Do you know if Comcast charges EXTRA for this?

Thanks!
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Old 01-26-06, 07:54 AM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cable_card
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Old 01-26-06, 08:47 AM
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Thanks...any personal experiences with them? I sent Comcast an e-mail about it for pricing.
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Old 01-26-06, 01:54 PM
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Ok, if I understand this correctly. With a CableCARD I will get all the same channels I have on my HD box on my main TV. I will get HD channels which are like 202-234.

I currently have a coax plugged in my TV in the office and I don't get any other channels above the normal 99. However, with the new TV and the CableCARd I would get EVERYTHING, right? Comcast e-mailed me a generic response back...but it would be $6.95 a month since I already have ONE HD box in my home.

Is there another/cheaper way to do this, or would this be my BEST bet?
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Old 01-26-06, 02:09 PM
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From what I understand, the CableCARD gives you everything a digital cable box does except for PPV and VOD capability. In other words, it doesn't have the 2-way communication capability that a digital cable box does.
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Old 01-26-06, 06:53 PM
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Thanks...that is what I'm gathering. If I just plug my COAX I have ran now, I won't get everything, right? I guess I'll test it when I get my LCD

It's the LC26000N - HP
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Old 01-26-06, 10:10 PM
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If you just plug in your coax directly to the HDTV you won't even get HD or SD digital channels.
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Old 01-27-06, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by chipmac
If you just plug in your coax directly to the HDTV you won't even get HD or SD digital channels.
Thanks...that's what I thought. I guess I might get a CableCARD (or even another box) whatever is cheaper.
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Old 01-27-06, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
From what I understand, the CableCARD gives you everything a digital cable box does except for PPV and VOD capability. In other words, it doesn't have the 2-way communication capability that a digital cable box does.
They are working on the 2-way tech and I read that they hope to have it down by fall.
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Old 01-27-06, 07:24 AM
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You have to use a CableCARD from your cable company, correcT? I see one on EBAY that is a Comcast one, but I doubt it would work, right?
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Old 01-27-06, 11:34 PM
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It's probably illegal to resell those. Plus I think they need to be "activated" by a technician.
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Old 01-28-06, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by chipmac
If you just plug in your coax directly to the HDTV you won't even get HD or SD digital channels.
huh?

I have my cable line plugged directly into my HDTV and receive not only SD channels, but unscrambled HD channels (FOX, WB, CBS & PBS in my area). I also receive most of the SD digital cable channels (music, etc...).
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Old 01-28-06, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JNielsen
huh?

I have my cable line plugged directly into my HDTV and receive not only SD channels, but unscrambled HD channels (FOX, WB, CBS & PBS in my area). I also receive most of the SD digital cable channels (music, etc...).
What he means (and he's right) is that you don't receive the digital tier of channels (usually the 100+ numbered channels). he just didn't explain it very well.
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Old 01-28-06, 11:36 PM
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My bad I was too brief. Yes you can plug your coax from the wall to your digital TV but unless your TV has a digital tuner and you subscribe to the cable company's digital tier you won't get anything but the normal analog channels. Now if you have the digital tuner in the TV you might get your local digital channels but this seems to be hit or miss around the country based on the cable company. Now since DJ already has ordered the digital tier for his other HDTV plugging in the coax just might get him everything except scrambled stations so it won't hurt to try.
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Old 01-29-06, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by chipmac
My bad I was too brief. Yes you can plug your coax from the wall to your digital TV but unless your TV has a digital tuner and you subscribe to the cable company's digital tier you won't get anything but the normal analog channels. Now if you have the digital tuner in the TV you might get your local digital channels but this seems to be hit or miss around the country based on the cable company. Now since DJ already has ordered the digital tier for his other HDTV plugging in the coax just might get him everything except scrambled stations so it won't hurt to try.
Makes sense, and that was my thought before I actually tried it, but that's definetly not what I am seeing. I do not subscribe to digital cable, nor do I have a CableCard installed, but I get most SD digital channels through the digital tuner on my TV (channels 82-1 to about 102-2). This includes the digital feed of basically all the basic cable chanels (ESPN, Food Net., USA, etc...), the 24/7 music chanels that you get with digital cable, and I even get a range of channels (about 10) that show what appears to be other peoples OnDemand feeds. These channels turn on and off, I'm guessing based on when and what other customers are watching, but it is always the entire program or movie. I can actually see them rewind/pause during the movie and the station icons on the screen have the "on demand" tag on them.

I don't know why I get this, but I'm not going to complain to Comcast. The picture quality is 100% better than the standard anolog fee when watching the equivlent station through the digital tuner. There are really no stations that I have looked for and not found available on the digital side (except fot premium channels...no HBO or Showtime).

I figured this was the usuall behavior and the cable companies just didn't want to advertise it. I guess I'm just lucky.
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Old 01-29-06, 05:57 PM
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Thanks...I will try to just plug in my COAX ans see what I get. It appears that the HP TV I bought has THREE different COAX connectors. I'll play around with it. If I don't get some channels, that is fine. Although, it would be nice to get HD HBO and what not in there (which are channels 300-310)
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Old 02-02-06, 11:27 AM
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Well, I placed an install for my CableCARD from Comcast...next Saturday I'll get it. I tried hooking it up direct to my TV, no luck
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Old 02-02-06, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by JNielsen
Makes sense, and that was my thought before I actually tried it, but that's definetly not what I am seeing. I do not subscribe to digital cable, nor do I have a CableCard installed, but I get most SD digital channels through the digital tuner on my TV (channels 82-1 to about 102-2). This includes the digital feed of basically all the basic cable chanels (ESPN, Food Net., USA, etc...), the 24/7 music chanels that you get with digital cable, and I even get a range of channels (about 10) that show what appears to be other peoples OnDemand feeds. These channels turn on and off, I'm guessing based on when and what other customers are watching, but it is always the entire program or movie. I can actually see them rewind/pause during the movie and the station icons on the screen have the "on demand" tag on them.

I don't know why I get this, but I'm not going to complain to Comcast. The picture quality is 100% better than the standard anolog fee when watching the equivlent station through the digital tuner. There are really no stations that I have looked for and not found available on the digital side (except fot premium channels...no HBO or Showtime).

I figured this was the usuall behavior and the cable companies just didn't want to advertise it. I guess I'm just lucky.
We have had serious problems with our digital cable as for some reason we couldn't reliably connect in two way ever. Basically what this meant is that we couldn't watch PPV, which wasn't an issue. About 5 months ago, TimeWarner started requiring two-way communication for all west coast feeds, and like that all those channels suddenly went black (or most of them did).

We called them and a technician came out and replaced every bit of exposed cabling, and finally redid the curb run. We were able to get two way going just barely. I asked him why this would happen and he explained the two way communication on the west coast feeds. He also mentioned that for some reason, (convience? cut down on communication?) when someone in the neighborhood initiates a two-way communication, everybody in the area with a digital box can receive that feed. Instantly we had 4 Cinemax, Fox Movie Channel, Sundance, and a couple others. I've checked the PPV stuff, but either I tried at the wrong time, or they've got tighter controls on them. I wouldn't be surprised if the above poster's cable company is doing something similar.

We've since lost Cinemax (I'm wondering if someone in the neighborhood cancelled their subscription) but the other channels are still working fine.
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Old 02-02-06, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DJ_Longfellow
Thanks...I will try to just plug in my COAX ans see what I get. It appears that the HP TV I bought has THREE different COAX connectors. I'll play around with it. If I don't get some channels, that is fine. Although, it would be nice to get HD HBO and what not in there (which are channels 300-310)
What the tech is going to do (if they know what they are doing) is going to split the coax cable (from the wall). After they split the incoming signal, one line will go into your Analog cable input and the other will go to the ATSC and/or digital cable in (and they should already have the CableCARD installed). After those two are hooked up, they are going to call and have your system reset with a signal activating the CableCARD. Because of the second step, you need to get a CableCARD compatible with your cable provider. Don't buy one off Ebay. Motorola does not sell these to consumers directly so you may not know what you are getting. Now, don't get me wrong. You could easily get a CableCARD. Obviously if you do not return it to the cable company or "lose" it, they will charge you for it. But what happens when they go to trigger that card in a tv after it was "lost". Hmmm. Besides, the cable company should just give you one of these in lieu of a cable box. Keep in mind, you have to ask yourself if you still want VOD, channel info, etc.... I had to have VOD so back mine went to Comcast. Here's a link to your instruction manual. Check out page 13.

http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c00420343.pdf

Last edited by AOD; 02-02-06 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 02-03-06, 06:59 AM
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Thanks...I didn't realize they had to split the cable. I already have a splitter on my conenction going to my modem and my TV. Luckily, I believe my splitter has one more connection so it should be an easy hookup.
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Old 02-03-06, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DJ_Longfellow
Thanks...I didn't realize they had to split the cable. I already have a splitter on my conenction going to my modem and my TV. Luckily, I believe my splitter has one more connection so it should be an easy hookup.

Even though you already did the split, I bet Comcast charges you for setting up an additional line.
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