Slow death of ChannelsDVR for cable subscribers has begun

i've had Comcast(Xfinity) for 17yrs, and i first started using the Channels app over 6yrs ago. over those 6yrs, i've become completely dependent on my SiliconDust HD Homerun tuners (two of them), and multiple AppleTVs running the Channels app, and a Synolgy NAS running the Channels DVR.

well, looks like that'll be going away in the near future unless someone here can educate me on a GOOD solution that will keep me from having to ditch Channels altogether.

here's the problem... in 2020 the FCC removed the CableCard requirement for cable companies, and cable companies have jumped at the chance to make user provided equipment a thing of the past.

i went in today to Xfinity because my current TV/Internet package deal had expired, and i was going to see about getting "repackaged" with another cheaper deal. the long and short of it, they no longer have CableCards in their system, so if i pick a different package i'll loose my existing CableCard support, and will have to lease their equipment and can't provide my own.

so i'm screwed. for now i can keep the package i got, and the CableCard in my HDHR will continue to work just fine, but i'll be paying more for the package than what i could be otherwise.

here's one rub i have. the FCC did say that providers no longer had to provide CableCard, but they "are still required to provide separable security", whatever the f*&k that means. my guess it means they have to provide some other means of authenticating with their encrypted network but still be able to have user provided equipment. does anyone know what method(s) they are using, or plan to use?!

SiliconDust would be a great source of info on where the industry is going with regard to CableCard alternatives for user provided equipment, but trying to speak to someone within that company that would even have a clue would be a nightmare endeavor to say the least.


Yeah, we've known cable cards are going away so it's not a huge surprise. I've used Xfinity with TVE. It has some annoying authentication quirks but it works. You can experiment with it before changing anything with Xfinity which is a plus.

This might be a good time to reevaluate your viewing needs. I ended up ditching Xfinity and with Philo and antenna fill the needs I have. Not to mention saving $100 / month.


There's your problem. Do it over the phone: 1-877-405-2298

Comcast will continue to support retail CableCARD-compatible devices well into the future.

That's inaccurate, I've changed my packages multiple times across multiple Cablecards, all done over the phone and in real-time.

Xfinity just isn't going to lose an existing customer who is already set up.

That may be true, but not for the reason of changing a plan.


"reevaluating" has always occurred, and will continue to be. that said, i've been with Xfinity for 17yrs and still am, because there are things i can get still over cable that i can't elsewhere. everything from content, to convenience, to cost. obviously some of those things are changing but not enough at this point to justify me just dropping everything cold turkey right now.


i fully intend on calling and trying my luck over the phone. i've been with Xfinity 17yrs, so i know all too well that what they can't do in store, is not necessarily what they can't do on phone.

that said, before calling them i came on here seeking an education to what exactly the alternatives may be before calling up Xfinity and not having any leverage in my pocket IF it came to that. knowing that you've had success with this "issue" is helpful.

still hoping someone knows what the future holds for devices like HDHR type devices, and what method(s) will be used to support them.

I suspect (please correct me if I'm wrong) you know that there aren't any options that provide the same capabilities as a CableCard and Prime. Surround, convenience, picture quality are differentiators that OTT viewing can't yet match for linear TV.

The future is on-demand and various streaming services. While this is sub-optimal for those of us who still appreciate a linear menu, I would propose that we're gradually being left behind.

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Fair enough. No offense intended. Just sharing my experience.

It varies based on service location for Xfinity.
My area, Cable cards started to not be offered shortly after that ruling passed that they do not have to anymore. Was told by a old friend of mine who worked there as an installer at the time, each Xfiinty office would not be getting new stock of the cable cards, so when they run out, they run out. Recently, they no longer even use cable boxes with them in it, but use some new box.

I have not had Cable in at least 4yrs or so years now. But a neighbor of mine I helped setup his Channels DVR and he could not get a cable card, told no longer offered. He called in and was issued one, but, when he got it mailed to him, it would NOT provision to his account when he tried to activate it, and that phone person said not supported in his service area anymore. Just my experience.

I just upgraded my XFINITY over the internet to X1 and my 2 primes are working just fine ... also upgraded to 1 gig internet and my price dropped significantly... All they did was send me a new Cable Box and Modem/Router. Everything else just worked.

If my primes die I will just give up on Cable cards and Primes. Use TVE for recording and any Channels not available I can use the XFINITY stream App to record in the Cloud.

BTW I am going to move the end of this month already have disconnected my primes and really do not miss them. TVE/XFINITY Stream is enough.

Mine is sitting in the box it came in. I hate the interface and performance. But it came with a free Peacock account which I use occasionally, but I don’t need their crappy box for that.

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I've been using gigabit internet through Xfinity since sometime around 2016. And thats it. I don't rent any hardware from them. I have my own modem (Netgear CM1000) hooked up to my own wired and wireless networks. Bill has gone up over the years, currently at about $113 per month. But still cheaper than any package they offer that includes internet. I get good OTA and the broadcast networks are really the majority of anything I want to watch. And so there is no way I am going to let Comcast charge me for re-broadcasting the free TV I want to watch.

And then I use HDHomeRuns for OTA to ChannelsDVR. I'll probably stay with Channels until the networks stop broadcasting. Maybe you could find a way to get the free broadcasts also.

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Trouble is, it is not true gigabit in most places. And not symmetrical connection.
They advertise "up to gigabit" downloads speeds.
Often is is slower, depends on how many others share your main trunk line to your neighborhood, since cable internet is shared by design.

Also, you can get 1gig down, but its always very slow upload, for my folks, its 1gig down, 3megs up is the best top package they offer.

Meanwhile, i pay $50 for dedicated 1gig down and up dedicated fiber symmetrical connection from a local ISP that has a small service area. ( i hope I never have to move)
For those who do not use cloud storage, or post vids to youtube or want to stream in FHD or higher, anything that would benefit from fast upload, its fine.

My folks do not do any of that, but, the extremally slow upload makes it impossible to remote view their homes CCTV cameras system, 8 cams all at 4K res, even set to 720p settings for remote stream, the lowest the thing will do, it saturates and bottlenecks trying to load more than 1 cam at a time.

I just use an HDHR, Philo, and my folks secondary Xfinity account login tied to Channels DVR for my and live in disabled mother's TV needs. Dumped cable few years ago. As, the Comcast bill just for basic CATV service here(that has the few specific channels we want) is near $200 and was raising. $80 a year +$20 a month, saved lots of $. Well worth it.

its gigabit down, about 40mbps up.

downsteam is the same speed as a direct network connection:

Yes, upstream of 40Mbps is slower, but its plenty for all the remote streaming I have wanted to do.

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Exactly what I have 1gig down 40 up.

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Point was that a good internet connection is all you need. Get rid of the cable package, even if it seems like only a small amount more to bundle some TV channels... they are going to tack on new taxes and equipment fees and other charges. Forget about it. Just get the good internet. And an antenna.

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I get 300 down and have never maxed it out, not even close — even with two people working from home and the cord cut. Gig speed is just marketing and bragging rights for most people. Probably how they’re able to give it away so cheap. Wouldn’t mind that 40 up though.

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Never renew with there packages, let contracts run out. Then when you want changes tell them what you want. This works great with FIOS. I have not had a contract in years and 6 months ago I called up and told them I want an additional cable card. Do not change anything else. I got the card and maintained my legacy package at much less than they would charge someone today.

They are scared of lousing customers as 50% of US households have dropped cable TV and go Internet only. This puts us in the drivers seat.

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I don't usually max it out, unless I am downloading something. I do work remotely most of the time as a software developer and often have large files that need to be moved across the network. Wish I had more than 40 up, but its the highest ul on any plan offered in Baltimore. It's significantly more than needed for any Channels remote streaming though. Its not only marketing if the ISP is giving you the advertised gigabit speed consistently... and they do. It is most useful for people who do more than video streaming. What is mostly marketing, however, is that they recently increased the max download to 1200mbps. Which is guaranteed as long as you have 2.5gbps+ NICs in your modem, computer, and any network gear in-between. That is ridiculous. But its not like they are tricking anybody. They just renamed the gigabit plan and said, "Its the gigabit plan, but if you have a faster than gigabit network, we'll give you faster internet than gigabit and won't limit you until you hit 1200mbps."

I totally understand @nkawtg72 here. The ONLY reason i don't go for an annual subscription on channels is the platform shakiness:

Cablecards sunsetting soon (if not already)

TVE isn't really a standard, and a bunch of broadcasters have DRM'ed up (even PBS, FFS). If more go DRM, or TVE ends up sunsetting, it's game over.

If you have great OTA options, it's a better deal, but single-vendor dependency on SiliconDust is also worrying.

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Yeah. I didn't mean to say the ISP's were being dishonest. My ISP promises me 300mbps and they deliver consistently something more than they promise. What I meant to say is that they advertise (and deliver) gigabit speed because it sounds good -- not because it's something most people actually need gigabit. But if they came to my area with higher upload speeds, I would take a serious look at that. I do all my backups online and currently have about 8TB backed up. When I changed providers a year ago, it took months to upload everything. I don't think that's a timely backup by anyone's standards. Sequential up and down speeds would be very nice as long as there wasn't a ridiculous data cap.

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