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Customer Discussions > Television forum

FiOS without the set top box?

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Showing 1-25 of 84 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 6, 2011 8:34:47 AM PDT
T. Stoner says:
I'm trying to select a new HDTV (26 to 32 inches) for our kitchen. We have Verizon FiOS service, but given the TV's location, I would like to avoid using a set-top box. I was hopeful when I first read about CableCARDs, which supposedly permit full one-way service (nothing interactive, such as on-screen guides and video on demand -- things we can live without in the kitchen). But now that I've researched CableCARDs a bit more, it seems that the industry has abandoned that technology. What are my options?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 20, 2011 4:18:08 AM PDT
EdM says:
The technology is not abandoned, but providers would rather you rent their cable boxes... It depends on the provider, also. For example:

"Where can I get a CableCard?
You can lease a CableCard directly from Verizon for a low monthly fee. CableCards plug into the slot labeled "CableCard" or "POD" (Point of Deployment), usually located at the back of your DCR TV or DVR. Visit us online to add a CableCard to your existing FiOS TV service."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 25, 2011 6:54:27 AM PDT
J. Lancaster says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jul 26, 2011 10:07:13 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 27, 2011 4:28:58 AM PDT
MikeT says:
" J. Lancaster says: ....... Its not the same as the old cable company. With the old type, all the channels weren't sent over the cable line to your tv. Then your tv would tune into that channel...... "

I'm assuming that was a typo? Should read "(with the old cable TV system) all the channels WERE sent over the cable line to your TV"

This is the current bottleneck of cable TV tech, too many ch's and limited bandwidth (because every single available ch is indeed sent over the single copper wire to every subscriber on that cable system). This problem is compounded now with the advent of cable co's offering high speed internet and telephone service, all over the same single copper wire along side the video ch's.

Cable co's are combating this in two main areas:
1. Going all digital by removing all analog ch's. Some cable co's are already all digital (like around me), while some are still a mix of analog & digital. Example: If all digital, to receive even basic cable you must have a digital cable tuner. If you have an old analog TV set you must rent a digital converter box, even for simple basic cable.

2. SDV: Switched Digital Video This is where only the currently chosen (tuned in) ch is delivered to your cable box instead of delivering all/every ch on their system to all/every cable box. Currently this is a select few ch's that do this, though I'm guessing they want all ch's delivered this way in the future, or at least all ch's offered beyond basic cable.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2011 10:56:09 AM PDT
J. Lancaster says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 12:53:52 PM PDT
MikeT says:
You are very welcome. :)

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 3:54:25 PM PDT
EdM says:
J.L. - "Fios is a fiber to your house." Well, yes, but all FIOS has a box/ONT [optical Network Termination] where the optical fiber stops and cable starts. An ONT converts fiber-optic light signals to copper/electric signals.

The quote above was from Verizon FIOS. So, FIOS is capable of doing that - use a CableCard - in at least one location without a separate box. Options would be limited, no PPV, no premium channels, but basic TV, yes. BUT, anyone wanting this would have to check their local FIOS provider, as locations/divisions differ in their policies. You may be right in your location, but not in all locations.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 28, 2011 6:09:17 PM PDT
H-Bomba says:
Fios cable cards are now 2 way and do offer interactive features,however,finding a cable card ready TV is another subject.... I suspect settop box mfrs and cable providers are lobbying TV mfrs to abandon card ready TVS

Posted on Aug 29, 2011 4:42:46 AM PDT
MikeT says:
The TV mfr's will include any feature (like CableCard) if they see enough of a market to include it. The problem is that the TV mfr's got burned on the previous round of CableCard integration. The CableCard industry made a lot of promises then dropped the ball making CableCards widely incompatible, very glitchy, unreliable, very limited in usage, swamped the TV mfr's customer service centers with CableCard issues, etc... CableCard's have come a long way since this first round disaster but it will take a LOT of convincing to get TV mfr's to adopt it again.

Posted on Sep 29, 2011 12:01:23 PM PDT
MYB says:
So does anyone know of a current manufacturer making CableCard ready TV's? It's near impossible to find anything current and the store help has been useless.

Posted on Oct 8, 2011 11:28:56 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 8, 2011 11:32:24 AM PDT
Shutterbug says:
We have ATT UVERSE cable tv and internet with fiber optic service in our area. I understood from the salesman that the tv Cisco set-top box/recorder would be paid for after a year (or so) and would become mine (they're still charging a monthly fee). If we switch to non-cable tv (or internet tv) can I still use it to receive tv programming? Our tv is a Toshiba pre-HD, so will need a converter for non-cable reception. I purchased a set-top antenna, but am not sure if it can be connected to the UVERSE Cisco box. We need to ditch the cable tv, but not sure what equipment is needed, without investing in a new tv. Ideas?

Posted on Jul 18, 2012 4:54:30 PM PDT
R. Ruiz says:
So, all very interesting, I have the same issue in the kitchen. Can someone point me to a cable-card ready TV set?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 5, 2012 2:31:00 PM PDT
D. Francis says:
If you are happy with basic cable (local broadcast channels, many in HD), you need neither a set-top box nor a cable card with FiOS. The secret is ATSC/QAM (sometimes called ClearQAM). In my area, Verizon's own web site says in a footnote that digital TVs equipped with a QAM decoder do not need a set-top box to get the basic channels, including HD. Check the web site to see what's available. Check your TV's specs to see whether the tuner has QAM. When shopping for a new TV, don't expect the sales people to know whether a TV has QAM. Your best bet is to find the manufacturer's specs on the web. Don't expect Verizon personnel to know about QAM either. It's a secret. My newest TV - a 4 year-old Sony Bravia - gets basic channels just fine, most in HD. I bought an aftermarket QAM tuner for an older flat screen. It works fine, too. I can't swear that QAM will work everywhere, since there are several implementations of FiOS. Check the channel lineup on your Verizon web site.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012 9:54:33 PM PDT
mrsfisher says:
hello we have a Verizon fios and a 5 year old and so of course we didnt feel the need to have a cable box for her she has a 24in LED HD tv and we hooked it up to a Motorola DCT-700 Digital Adapter it is a small device that is like a digital converter box but it is for your cable. it is only about $3 a month and it shows just as good.

Posted on Aug 17, 2012 7:53:42 AM PDT
R. Ruiz says:
Thanks all, I have the digital adapter hidden behind the TV, and the image is decent. Will try D. Francis' suggestion of eliminating the little box...more later. Thanks again.RR

Posted on Oct 8, 2012 3:10:05 PM PDT
Ning Liu says:
So, basically no one knows what tv's nowadays are cablecard ready?

Posted on Oct 9, 2012 4:21:08 AM PDT
MikeT says:
Correct. CableCard was a major flop so TV mfrs stopped offering the CableCard hardware into their TV's. I haven't kept up with CableCard tech (because like the vast majority of consumers I have zero interest in it) but I would not be surprised if there are no current model TV's offering CableCard. I know this was true two years ago.

You can contact the organization behind the whole CableCard/Tru2Way technology and ask them if they know of any current model TV's offering their technology. None are listed on their web site and their last posted press release was May 2011. Their phone & email are posted on their site.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 12:24:43 PM PST
Casey says:
If you want to use a cable card, don't get a cable card TV, get a cable card reader, preferably a reader that handles more than one card at a time. Also you don't have to rent a cable card, it's a FCC Law that your cable service provider has to allow you to use your own equipment if you have it. I would just buy one off the net, find out what FIOS Uses and go purchase one. If they give you any issues you can always go to your local Attorney Generals Office, and also file an FCC Complaint. They have to let you use it. There are tons of web sites that offer cable cards, and readers. Most of the units are small. So if you just want to pay for the basic service and not the extra equipment fee's buy your own. They get all the digital HD channels.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 8:09:51 AM PST
Does anyone know where to get a list of the HDTV that were manufactured that were Cablecard compatible. I thought I had one, a Samsung TD260HD but just checked and the slot on the side is not there. If I could find a list, I think I could hunt down the TV.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:15:37 AM PST
J. Lancaster says:
Casey this is not true.

You cannot buy your own cable card or cable box. That is illegal. Most cable systems have moved to digital and require a cable card to descramble the signal. That being said, you will have to rent the cable card from the cable company.

Fios uses fiber and then changes it to coaxial cable. It would be best to rent the box from the cable company to avoid being accused to stealing cable or using illegal equipment.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 8:19:59 AM PST
J. Lancaster says:
There isn't a list. Mainly because cable card was not a huge selling point for HDTV's. All it saves you from doing is having to use the cable companies cable box. Which means, no real support from the cable company and no use of the features you would get on the cable box. IE the guide and OnDemand features.

Your best option is to go buy a regular HDTV and spring that extra $10 a month for the additional boxes... Cable card rentals are usually $5 a month. Plus you would get the support for the cable company for the box. The cable company has no idea about your tv. So if you buy one, don't expect the installer to know how to install the cable card and have it work correctly.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 12:08:34 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 12:10:20 PM PST
J Lancaster, you should not assume I don't know what I want nor how the product works. With a CableCard from FiOS I can get the HD channels with my HDTV, whereas the digital converter box only gives me Std channels, and therefore I am not utilizing the HD capability. I do not have room in either the physical location of the TV or my budget to pay for the additional HD STB which is between $11 and $19 / month. So, its either a new (or used) TV, or a CableCard reader that doesn't need a PC hookup for the solution. I am looking for a listing of TVs that have been made in the last several years that have CableCard slots, and from there will see if I can get a decent deal on a used or new one. Thanks for the reply though.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 4:35:02 AM PST
MikeT says:
I'd suggest asking or searching the FIOS forums for such TV models. Or call your FIOS provider and ask. Not all TV's with a Cable Card slot will work with all cable co provided Cable Cards. Also make sure the TV and card is Tru2Way compatible if you want menu navigation of the program lineups etc..

Good luck, cuz there are very few TV's to choose from, and possibly no new models at all.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 12:21:32 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 12:22:03 PM PST
Thanks Mike, tried the FiOS customer service route, they were useless, but I will try the FiOS forums, that is good suggestion.

Posted on Nov 29, 2012 11:43:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2012 11:57:09 PM PST
W. Collier says:
You guys are completely off-base when it comes to Cablecards and Verizon. The CableCard 2.0 specifications fix a lot of the mess that the cable companies stuck in as limits for CableCard 1.0 - and they are required by law to support the 2.0 (interactive & encryption) standard. First a little tech: the ONT is there to take the fiber to copper, and at that point it separates into video-data and IP-data streams. The former go over the coax cable, the latter can go over the coax as well via MoCa, or via Cat5 Ethernet at the ONT. Typically the Actiontec router is used to provide internet service via the MoCa coa-ax point, which it supplies the back channel to the Set Top Box (STB). This allows the STB to provide interaction with the FIOS TV center, and allows the video on demand and other functions of the STB to work. When you take out the STB, you lose those (there is no longer a terminal to provide them). When you take out the MoCa router you lose those (they dont have a bridge to the data anymore).

HOWEVER - if you have a tuner device with a cablecard slot in it (like a HDTV or a Home Theater PC with an HD-DVR in it), you can lease a cablecaqrd from Verizon cheaply, pop the card into your device, and they will activate it over the phone. At that point, you get all your channels, including HD, and the premium channels that you pay for -- thats what the Cablecard does - it acts as a terminal point for the digital TV signal, and decrypts the ones that it is authorized to decrypt per the provider. To get a duice, you need an internet connection and a service that will provide you with listings. If you have an HTPC, running WIndows 7 and Media Center, you get this as part of the operating system. There are also open source alternatives. You can also put in a Tivo, whihc will let you record programs and provides its own channel guide and DVR stuff.

The advantage of a cable card is that they have multiple tuners availabile, meaning you can watch one channel and record several others, you can play different channels or recordings in different rooms (for example, Win7 HTPC can be recording one channel, watching another and playing back a recording in another room on an XBox360 that is configured as an "extender". The advantage is that you can add as many channels as your equipment supports, without paying Verizon anything other than the normal cable fees. No more charges for DVR, or set top boxes, or multiple remote set top boxes. Also, you can add disk space easily, back up yout saved programs and shows, or even burn your programs to DVD or BluRay (but only those that are not digitally copy protected - most PPV events are "no record", most premium channels are marked "Record Once", but broadcasts are typically OK).

So if you want to run your own TV without the STB, get a cablecard ready device that has the tuners built in, but remember to also be sure you have a channel guide source and an internet connection for it (the internet is NOT for the TV, its only for the channel guide so it doesn't need to be superfast, just reliable).

In my case, I want to run my own router (I use a lot of VPN, and remote access to my home servers), so I got an HTPC, got a tuner, installed WIn7 64, and Media Center, made sure everythign was working and connected. I also set up my LAN and WIFI to use my own gear, and prepped the entire thing for Cat5 at the ONT. Then I called Verizon, ordered an account change - they came out, switched the ONT over to Cat5 for the data and changed their router to Ethernet (told me I could replace it once they left), checked the coax levels, removed some no-longer needed splitters, got the signal levels way up, and installed the card to the slot in the back of the HTPC's tuner. They then called in and had the card "hit" (authorized), and everything works.
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Discussion in:  Television forum
Participants:  59
Total posts:  84
Initial post:  Jul 6, 2011
Latest post:  27 days ago

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