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where can i buy my own dvr

New Poster

where can i buy my own dvr

I've done a lot of research on this topic, I have been lied to by Comcast and it has been a nightmare dealing with them I have compiled info here to make it easier for other consumers.
 

A dirty little secret cable companies don't want you to know, you CAN own your own digital cable box or dvr.

 

Month after month, year after year, consumers pay rental fees on cable boxes and DVRs. $7, $10, $15 per room each month and as time goes by their equipment is antiquated and the consumer could have just bought the equipment outright saving them hundreds. The information is very hard to come by though, so I've compiled my research here. I have been lied to by my cable service provider, they straight up said it was not possible to own your own cable box. There has been an FCC ruling on this matter though. I urge you to inform yourself by visiting the FCC website:

 

fcc.gov/guides/cablecard-know-your-rights 

 

Cable service providers have to provide you with a CableCARD if you request one, it is used to descramble cable signals. Most cable service providers will not tell you that you can use the CableCARDs in any device that supports them. Most cable service providers will tell you they only work in Tivo units. Tivo is a subscription based service, the cable service providers get a huge chunk of that fee. Most cable consumers find themselves paying monthly rental fees for antiquated equipment with little to no options. You can use tuner cards for your PC and create a network media center but that is for the more advanced crowd. There is options but you wont hear about it through your providers customer support.

Avoid EBAY when buying cable boxes.

The majority of cable boxes and DVRs on ebay are stolen and you will run into many roadblocks when trying to activate them. If you want a reliable retailer in the US that can walk you through the activation process check this site out: JustAboutSavingMoney.com

 

JustAboutSavingMoney.com was the only site I could find that sold legitimate equipment at a decent price. Also for no extra charge they guide you through the installation process, which you never want to do using your cable service providers tech support. Cable service providers have made it particularly difficult to activate your equipment, they don't want customers leaving the rental fee scheme they have created. More often than not if you try to activate your own equipment through your cable company and you say the wrong thing or have a technician come to your home, your account will be flagged and your equipment will become useless.

 

I tried buying my own equipment directly from the manufacturers but they will not sell to consumers directly. This is kind of like trying to go directly to an auto maker to get a car, not possible you have to go to a dealer. Consumers in Canada have the option of going to a retailer and buying their own cable boxes, but here in the US were a bit behind.

 

Help consumers gain access to equipment by signing a petition to the FCC.

 

Ultimately I found that getting information was too difficult and I want it to become easier for your average consumer. Also by allowing consumers access to purchase their own cable equipment the manufacturers in time will respond by making equipment that has to compete in an open marketplace. Down the road this means better DVRs and cable boxes for us, the consumer. You can sign my petition to the FCC here:  credomobilize.com/p/Cable-Hardware-Freedom

Valued Contributor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I know there is cable card tv and Tivos, I wonder what type of equipment there is out there? My brother in law mentioned he had recorder through his computer hooked up to his tv, I am thinking that there is some computers that take cable cards too maybe?.

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

SiliconDust and Ceton make tuners for PCs that use cable cards. There used to be Moxi but those are not being made anymore I think.

Also Happuange makes some devices.

 

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

The only cablebox DVR you can buy and use with Comcast is Tivo. There are no others.

You can also buy and use the PC/ cablecard setups, but they are not really cableboxes.

The Motorola and SA boxes sold on Ebay and other sites, will NOT be activated by Comcast, and are useless. 

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

So, your saying that only Tivo would work with Comcast, and I assume that means that you are stuck with paying the $14.95 a month to Tivo so you can use it?  Is that the only plan Tivo offers?  I remember a long time ago they had lifetime memberships, and I may have bought one.  I wonder if that is still good?

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Tivo still offers lifetime service. If you had it before, it only applies to the box you put it on.

They offer deals, check their website.

IMHO, Tivos work better than anything comcast offers, and they pay for themselves in the long run.

Regular Visitor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

TIVO is not your only option.  I won't subscribe to radio either.  I went to Kmart and bought a Toshiba DVR for about $165 two years ago (when my last VCR finally died) and I've been happy ever since.  I still have to use Comcast's cable box for tuning but my DVR will record whatever I tell it too.  This is an old-fashioned disk recorder, not to a hard drive, so you have to buy disks but if you want permanent portable copies this is the way to go.  It will record in five speeds and it has multiple inputs and outputs.  It doesn't play Blue-Ray but it has a 1080P upconvertor.  It's not as fancy as TIVO but if you ever mastered programming a VCR you can master this.  It even has some edit functions so you can (hide) those scenes that drag-on and spoil your favorite movies - kinda like STAR WARS 1, The Phantom Edit (goodbye Jar-Jar).

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Your Toshiba is not at all the same thing. It is not a cablebox or a DVR. It is a DVD recorder.

You cannot even record a different channel that what you are watching. I will stick with my quad tuner Tivo, which has long since paid for itself.

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Thanks for all this information--not exactly what I wanted to hear, but very helpful.  I'm going to sign your petition now.

Official Employee

Re: where can i buy my own dvr


L8Bloomr wrote:

Thanks for all this information--not exactly what I wanted to hear, but very helpful.  I'm going to sign your petition now.


Yes. You can purchase your own device or DVR from retail, below are a list of a few of the models of "purchasable equipment" that Comcast supports:

 

Company

Model #

ADB

DMX-CT1

Diego, Inc

HDDMR7000

Mitsubishi

HD-6000

Mitsubishi

HD-4001

Motorola

HDT300

Samsung

GX-SM530CF

Sony

DHG-HDD 250

Tivo

TCD652160

Tivo

TCD648250B

Tivo

TCD658000

Tivo

TCD748000

Tivo

TCD746320

Tivo

TCDA90000

Tivo

TCD750500

Tivo

TCD848000

Tivo

TCD840300

Tivo

TCD758250

Tivo

TCD846500

 

 

Any customer owned device (above) would need to be activated via a Comcast supplied cablecard.  

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Comcastteds: You need to update your list. The only boxes on that list that are still available are the Tivos and the Samsung. The others are long gone.

Official Employee

Re: where can i buy my own dvr


barbie123 wrote:

Comcastteds: You need to update your list. The only boxes on that list that are still available are the Tivos and the Samsung. The others are long gone.


Thanks. Comcast still supports the devices I listed and some customers may have them already in the home.

 

Also some of these devices can be found on the secondary market and they will be supported, so we keep them on the list.  

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

seeing conflicting info

can you buy your own dvr?

how much does comcast charge you to rent the cable card.

 

Official Employee

Re: where can i buy my own dvr


anna007 wrote:

seeing conflicting info

can you buy your own dvr?

how much does comcast charge you to rent the cable card.

 


Yes, you can purchase a TIVO or other DVR (listed above) that would be available from a legitimate retailer and-or authorized reseller in the United States.

The cablecard would need to be provided and activated by Comcast. There is a small monthly charge for the cablecard rental. 

 

Some additional detailed information can be found at the links below:

 

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/about-cablecards/

 

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/purchasing-a-cablecard/

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I have Comcast service now and would like to bu my own DVR.  From reading these posts, it looks like the Tivo is the best option.  Does Tivo charge a monthly / annual fee in order to used these DVRs ?  

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

You have to subscribe to the Tivo service for it to work.

You can pay a monthly fee, and pay very little for the Tivo, or purchase lifetime service.

Check Tivo.com for prices.

Frequent Visitor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Hi,

 

I purchased the Samsung GXSM530CF Smart Media Player and obtained and activated the cable card.  All normal channels work okay, but none of the the pay channels i.e., HBO, Max, showtime etc work.  I get a message: "the channel is scrambled, or too weak".

 

Does this Samsung unit support the pay channels?

 

Is this a problem with the Samsung box or the cable card?

 

Reqards,

 

 

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I would say the cable card since that is the interface device to Comcast to allow you to receive any of the channels.

Always possible that the Samsung box is bad but start with the cable card.

Call the Cablecard support team at

877-405-2298

They should be able to check to make sure the card is setup on your account correctly to receive the channels you pay for.

 

Frequent Visitor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Commanguy

 

Thanks for your help, They sent a new activation to the device (cable card) and it now works great!

 

Thanks

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

You're welcome.

Glad they fixed it fast for you.

Just to ask, how do you like that Samsung box?

Frequent Visitor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Commanguy,

 

The Samsung unit is very nice, picture quality is excellent. It was easy to setup once I figured out where the Cable Card pairing menu was.

 

The channel lineup and guide are different than Comcast. Not sure yet if it is better or worse.

 

Stations I am not paying for i.e., Showtime still say “scrambled or weak signal” instead of saying unauthorized.

 

I have not tried the streaming video from NETFLIX or other internet services yet.

 

I will probably buy another one in the near future. I wish they made a DVR.

 

Thanks again for your help!

Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I have been using my own digital tuner on my PC for 2-1/2 years now. This in addition to the Comcast DVR I use on my main TV. I received a CableCARD from Comcast but there is no charge for it. I do have to pay an outlet charge as follows:

 

Additional Outlet Svc Digital Converter  $9.95 per month
Customer Owned Equipment                -$2.50 per month
--------------------------------------------------- ------------------------
Net Charge for using my own Tuner      $7.45 per month

I use Windows Media Center to watch TV with the tuner so I am able to used its DVR features and record up to two programs at one time. Windows Media Center uses Zap2it.com for data for its program guide.

 

Note that using your own CableCARD tuner is one way only. That means that OnDemand, PayPerView, and Comcast's program guide are not available. All other regular channels are available depending on what package you are paying for. That includes Showtime, HBO, and other movie channels.

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I was checking the  Samsung GX-SM530CF Media Player, but the website doesn't say anything about the capability to record or be a DVR box. In another forum I found that indeed this device doesn't have DVR funtions.

 

Am I missing something? What other DVR's can I purchase after getting the cablecard from Comcast.

 

Thanks

Silver Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I will say it again. Tivo is the ONLY cablebox/ DVR that you can purchase and use with Comcast.

Regular Contributor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Paul,

Looks like you found a dvr that actually works in conjunction with Comcast, congratulations.  Are you still being charged a monthly fee for any part of the DVR? 

 

Unfortunately for me,  Comcast customer service told me buying a DVR was no an option and if I did, it would not be compatible with Comcast equipment or service. 

 

They told me the same thing about buying my own modem, and I found one that actually said "COMPATIBLE WITH COMCAST" on the box and it works great.

 

I had another Comcast customer service tell me that she was not aware of a dvr on the market that would be compitable with comcast equipment or services and that even if there was a dvr that you could buy,  Comcast was still going to charge me for the HD connections monthly.  True or not true?

 

I appreciate your time

Manuel Robles

Problem Solver

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

If you have your own DVR Comcast will probably still charge you an outlet fee. In other words you will be charged $7.45 per month for the privilage of hooking up to their cable TV network.

 

Additional Outlet  Digital Converter        $9.95
Customer Owned Equipment (credit)  -$2.50

------------------------------------------------  ---------
Net charge for having your own DVR     $7.45

 

If you are already are either paying the HD Technology Fee or have a cable package that includes HD (ex. HD Preferred) you will not have to pay extra for getting HD channels on your own HD DVR. In other words what channels you get on your own DVR depends upon what package you are paying Comcast for.

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

  I have an antique SONY analog ANALOG!! DVR, that records to DVD...

  and the signal off an antique ($1/month) cable converter IS ANALOG.

   So it gets several of the channels, but not digital ones and not subscription-- 

    only networks and such- BASIC cable.  But the DVR was $100 many years ago, and blank dvds are 10cents.

   So this IS a solution for some recordings- but not HD ones.  

 

New Poster

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

I purchased an HD Tivo 6 years ago. It cost me around $600 to purchase the box with a lifetime plan. If you divide that by 72 months it comes out to $8.33 a month. The longer I have it, the cheaper it'll end up being. The Tivo dvr's are so much better than what Comcast offers. Forget about the new X1 Comcast is pushing. That system has had nothing but problems since they launched it. The older Motorola boxes didn't have as many features as the X1 does, but they at least were reliable.

Frequent Visitor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

Build your own DVR. I did that and it has been working well since 2010. I use mythtv which runs under Linux. Setup is not easy but the features are way better than other DVRS such as the cable company supplied one. You can record many channels at the same time depending on how many tuners you have. Currently my setup has 4 tuners, so I can record 4 channels at once. You may need a cable card from Comcast depending on your setup. Amount of storage is up to you, you can attach as many hard drives as you want.

 

Peter

Frequent Visitor

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

May I use this information in a new blog I'm working on? It's a consumer blog, but I am giving Comcast its own page. Where we live COMCAST is the only option.  thanks!

 

Expert

Re: where can i buy my own dvr

This thread is old, and much of the info has changed.  In 2015 the only DVR to purchase is a Tivo Roamio, all others will stop receiving HD cable channels when the local system is converted to enhanced HD.

 

I would not point any link to this since it's outdated and was started in 2013.  Tech info on the internet gets outdated very fast, and this forum is proof if that.

 

It's so old and no action, I'm now locking it.