This one really has me aggravated as a consumer advocate. So, Comcast decided that the FCC regulations only require them to give one CableCARD per household for free. And, thus, they tacked on a $1.79/month fee for the second CableCARD. This is actually sneaky tactic to bump up the cost of TiVo HD service to equal the cost of Comcast’s DVR service.
But, CableLabs had a bright idea… M-Card! Or, Multi-Stream CableCARD. The idea is to authenticate two tuners in a single CableCARD, thus removing the financial burden on the cable operator of two CableCARDs.
And yes, I got the first M-Card in my market, inside of my TiVo HD.
So, I was shocked to open my bill this month, and find I was getting charged for two CableCARDs! The charge is listed as “DVR Own/dual” for, you guessed it, $1.79.
Calling Comcast is always a fun experience. The representatives I spoke to had never heard of an M-Card. From what I was able to piece together with her talking to her supervisor, was that Comcast considers the M-Card as suppling functionality to two tuners, and thus, is two CableCARDs in one device. This, of course, is crazy… the same hardware of one CableCARD is supplying two tuners, there is no (material) added cost for the M-Card versus a CableCARD (and certainly not $21.48 per year).
After putting all this together, and remininding Comcast of FCC policy that, at a bare minimum requires a single free CableCARD per household… they manually removed the charge from my account.
My advice: If you have an M-Card, check your bill. If you don’t have an M-Card, request one from Comcast and save yourself $21.48 per year… they’re already getting enough of your hard earned money.