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Lion84

join:2007-08-10
Marietta, GA

[Billing] Comcast Monthly HDTV Fee

We live in metro Atlanta, and recently got a Tivo HD and returned our Comcast Motorola HDTV box (non-DVR). The HDTV box was shown as "HDTV Equipment" on the bill, and my understanding was that the $6.95 per month was for rental of the box, and that cost for the reception of the encrypted HDTV channels was included in the package (Digital Starter, DS). We liked the Tivo so much that we got a second Tivo HD. Comcast has had trouble sending the proper signal to the second Tivo cablecard, and right now this is only getting unencrypted channels (encrypted channels in the DS package aren't being decrypted). In the process of attempting to get this fixed, Comcast has stated that the encrypted HDTV channels in DS (e.g. - ESPN HD) are "included" in the DS package but that a $6.95 HDTV fee applies per unit, per month, in order to receive these channels. I pointed out that the Tivo unit is HD capable and that I am already paying $1.50 per month for the second cablecard (in addition to the $5.99 additional outlet fee). Comcast is adamant that the $6.95 HDTV fee applies. This gets a bit expensive if one has more than one HDTV, especially with cablecard units. The only HD channels that can be received without the $6.95 monthly fee are the local HD channels, which are unencrypted. As an example, a person with two cablecard-capable TVs and one Tivo HD would wind up paying an additional $20.85 per month in order to receive HD channels "included in the package" at each cablecard device. This is in addition to the $5.99 additional outlet fee per device, after the first device, and similar for the $1.50 cablecard cost. Since the cable signal is already being sent to my home, and I am already paying $5.99 for the "additional outlet" in addition to the cablecard monthly cost, I am having difficulty understanding what the $6.95 fee is for since I am not renting HD equipment from Comcast, and am paying for the additional cablecard, and the HD channels are supposed to be included in the package I am paying for. The $6.95 fee appears to be a monthly per-unit "cover charge" access encrypted HD channels supposedly "included" in the package one pays for.
I was curious if others were aware of this and had experience with this pricing.



Rob
In Deo speramus.
Premium
join:2001-08-25
Kendall, FL
kudos:3

The $6.95/mo. is the HD package that gives you access to all the HD Channels available in your market.

Without the HD package, you would only have access to the local broadcast HD Channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX).

The cost is $6.95/mo. + 5.99/outlet
--
CheckSite.us | YourIP.us | ReverseIP.us


Lion84

join:2007-08-10
Marietta, GA

Thanks...Comcast is saying the $6.95/mo is per unit to access HD channels included in the package subscribed to.
It would make sense that the $6.95/mo fee would apply to the account and not to a particular unit, but that's not what my Comcast office is saying.
My understanding was that the $6.95/mo was to lease the Motorola HDTV box from Comcast. Otherwise, Comcast never charged us anything for the box rental...it might be that the policy has changed but if it did it was not made clear. Our Comcast rate chart doesn't show a monthly rate for HDTV box rental.



mikedz4

join:2003-04-14
Weirton, WV
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
·Verizon Online DSL
·Comcast
reply to Lion84

with comcast hd and hd dvrs the hdtv fee is INCLUDED. I'm guessing that instead of charging just one $7 hdtv fee like the satellite companies do comcast is charging $14 for two hdtvs (or $7 per tv) to try to entice you to rent hdtv boxes instead!!! In other words if you want hdtv with comcast you gotta pay for each tv you want hdtv on.



joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit
reply to Lion84

Lion, the second TiVo should cost you $6.95 outlet fee, and it gets one cablecard for free. An HD can use one multistream card, so no second card needed.

I just went through this discussion, and got a lot of bad info until I contacted the regional office. My series 3 needed two cards and one clerk was going to charge me $6.95+$6.95 for 2 cards in the same TiVo. I am paying $6.95 outlet plus $1.50 for second card in that TiVo.

Your second box can get most channels with no card unless they've gone all digital by you.

(Are you saying they want $6.95 + $5.95 for the second TiVo?)


Lion84

join:2007-08-10
Marietta, GA

Joe, what they're saying is that they want $1.50 cablecard fee for 2nd Tivo HD, $5.99 additional outlet fee, and if I want the HD channels included with Digital Starter on the second Tivo HD, they want $6.95 for that. They also want another $6.95 to access HD channels on the first Tivo HD. For second Tivo HD I'm OK with the cablecard and add'l outlet fee, what I have trouble with is the additional HD fee (the HD fee for the first Tivo HD doesn't excite me too much either). Right now I am trying to just get the second Tivo cablecard to access encrypted channels. Once that's done I will start investigating the HD access pricing.



Brad Bishop
Premium
join:2002-09-27
Atlanta, GA

I'm in Atlanta and this is how it works (well, to my understanding):

1st TiVo HD: you pay for whatever package you want. All of the digital packages include their digital HD versions. If you have 1 Multi-Stream card then that's it. If you have 2 Single Stream cards (like for Tivo Series 3 or if they can't get you 1 Multi-Stream card) then you pay $1.50 for the extra card in that unit. You have to find someone knowledgeable who will go find the special 'Tivo Code' (that's how the one CSR referred to it when I finally got them to get it right). I don't know what the code is but I'd recommend asking for it. So your 1st TiVo, at most, should be package price + $1.50.

2nd TiVo: (I don't have one) you pay a $6.95 additional outlet charge. If they give you a multi-stream card then you're done. If you need 2 single-stream cards then it should be $6.95 + $1.50 for the additional card.

Again, there is no extra charge for HDTV, it's included with whatever digital package you get. I've never even had to ask. I just tell them, "Digital Starter" or "Digital Preferred" and they just flip the switch and I'm good to go.



gar187er
I do this for a living

join:2006-06-24
Dover, DE
kudos:4
reply to Lion84

any hds besides your locals are in the 6.95 add on....period...just cause you get tnt, doesnt give you tnthd for free...



joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Lion84

said by Lion84:

Joe, what they're saying is that they want $1.50 cablecard fee for 2nd Tivo HD, $5.99 additional outlet fee, and if I want the HD channels included with Digital Starter on the second Tivo HD, they want $6.95 for that.
I have digital starter, $61.65 total, including the second card on my series 3 TiVo. Your people are getting it wrong, you should elevate this.

GTFan

join:2004-12-03
reply to gar187er

said by gar187er:

any hds besides your locals are in the 6.95 add on....period...just cause you get tnt, doesnt give you tnthd for free...
Totally wrong in the ATL. HD channels except for NatGeo and Science ARE included in the Digital Starter tier. lion84 is getting billed with the wrong code just as a previous poster said. I have a Tivo HD and there is no HD fee, but I'm on Digital Preferred, not Starter. There should be no $6.95 HD fee if you're not using their HD STB.


markofmayhem
Why not now?
Premium
join:2004-04-08
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

Hmmmm... wonder if that's changed.

I've noticed over the last few weeks Comcast is now pushing "Digital HD" packages, so Digital Starter HD is different than Digital Starter and Digital Preferred HD is different as well. I do not believe the channel line up changes what-so-ever, but the new Triple Play HD packages have the tag line "No HD charges, no equipment fees unlike DirecTV". So, to push people into the new packages, perhaps this fee is new?



joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

said by markofmayhem:

So, to push people into the new packages, perhaps this fee is new?
The new packages don't treat extra boxes any differently. The extra outlet fee entitles one to the same service on that second outlet.


markofmayhem
Why not now?
Premium
join:2004-04-08
Pittsburgh, PA
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Comcast

I know, but I wonder if the extra outlet HD fee is new to people not on these packages. IMO, it's a billing code or misunderstanding representative error, but it's interesting that the OP stated he was told the second outlet would need to pay for HD specifically.



joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA

The rep is wrong. Not the first time.


spocko

join:2008-07-24
USA

1 edit
reply to Lion84

I am in AZ, and my experience is that what Brad Bishop, GTFan, and Joetaxpayer have posted is correct. There should be no separate "HD" service fee if you are using Tivo. I advise the original poster to just sign up for the DS package and see what channels you get. There are many people who don't realize that this package includes HD channels, and it's not worth the argument to try to convince them. If you sign up for DS, you should get them with the exceptions noted by GTFan.

Note that Tivo works with analog channels without a cablecard or any outlet fees to Comcast. You only get into those issues with encrypted digital channels. Tivo can receive unencrypted digital channels without a cablecard or outlet fees, but they are not mapped to the proper channel numbers so you would have no guide data or ability to do name-based recording on those channels.


Lion84

join:2007-08-10
Marietta, GA
reply to Lion84

Closure/update: I had a long talk with a Comcast rep, who informed me that the $6.95 is in reality a "HD Access Fee" despite the fact that it is shown on the bill for "HDTV Equipment." I pointed out that the latest rate card states "There are no additional HD programming fees from Comcast. That's a savings of up to $240 per year over satellite." The fine print does say that a monthly HDTV Equipment charge applies, but says nothing about situations where the customer owns the equipment and merely needs a cablecard to permit access to the HDTV channels. I was told that the $6.95 per month, per unit fee is to access the HD channels, whereas the cost for the HD programming is in fact included in the package. I expressed my displeasure and said that the rate card and website need to state this specifically. My guess is that a lot of folks aren't paying the $6.95 fee based on "luck" or whatever (had I not gotten "greedy" and got the second Tivo the lack of $6.95 fee probably never would have registered with Comcast). Because I have only one HDTV, I told Comcast to apply the $6.95 fee to "access" HD channels on the first Tivo but remove the fee from the second Tivo along with the HD channels. The rep showed that there are new HD packages now available that waive the "HD Access Fee" for the first unit on the account. IMO that's helpful but not a great savings. People who go out and buy HDTVs requiring cablecards for the rec room, bedroom, et al thinking that the only additional costs will be the $1.50 for cablecard and $5.99 for additional outlet are going to be suprised when they see the additional $6.95 per unit. The thing is, the way the rate card and website are arranged nothing tells you this is how the fee is applied. In fact, the rate card states "HDTV (monthly)" which would normally lead one to believe that this charge is a monthly one for the entire account and not for each unit.

I have requested an explanation from Comcast why the HD channels are so special that they require an "access" fee. I am guessing it is to cover the cost of the HD equipment at the headend, but normally I would think that the cost of that equipment would be included in the programming costs.


Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to markofmayhem

said by markofmayhem:

Hmmmm... wonder if that's changed.
"No HD charges, no equipment fees unlike DirecTV". So, to push people into the new packages, perhaps this fee is new?
That is a big lie comcast web site used to be easy to find out costs per tv It let you build a system box by the box but now they made it harder.

Comcast wants up front activation fees on there HD and HD DVR boxes + rent the $7 fee HD seems to be per box and $15 first, $20? after that HD DVR fee is per box as well.

1 SD box seems to be part of the basic pack costs

Digital Starter is a joke in my area $58 before box fess and tax.

no Weatherscan Local, G4, MTV 2, GSN, Sci Fi, National Geographic, The Science Channel, ESPN Classic, MLB Network, ESPNews, and others.

$73.98 + sports pack + box fees to get the channels that you can get with Direct TV HD DVR pack at $75 first box fee any other one $5 /m.

So with comcrap I may end paying $106.95 + tax to get same as direct tv at $80 + no tax but direct has more then X2 the space on the dvr more HD and better boxes.

Comcast seems to want to make you pay for a HD box but as you don't have they are trying to rip you off may makeing you pay for the cable card and the outlet and they saying you need to pay for a hd box per tv even if you don't have one.

There web site shows hd fee and a hd drv fee that is $15 so I think that is a box fee but they don't list it as that.

Joe12345678

join:2003-07-22
Des Plaines, IL
reply to Lion84

said by Lion84:

I have requested an explanation from Comcast why the HD channels are so special that they require an "access" fee. I am guessing it is to cover the cost of the HD equipment at the headend, but normally I would think that the cost of that equipment would be included in the programming costs.
If they want to pay per TV then it seems like a box fee and they are trying to double dip be makeing you pay just about the same for cable card + outlet as a box costs. If you just had there boxs will there be a outlet fee as well?


joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

1 edit

said by Joe12345678:

If you just had their boxs will there be a outlet fee as well?
When I had 2 Comcast DVRs, the second cost $6.95 more per month than the first. They charge an outlet fee for an outlet that uses a Comcast STB, DVR, or CableCard.

For what it's worth, you can live in a studio apartment, with one TV, but wanting multiple tuners asa big sport fan, you have two TiVos, each with cablecards. You also have a Comcast STB for on demand. That's 3 outlet fees. I am not saying it's right or that I care for it, it's just how they charge in my area. Others claim to get a cablecard for just $1.50 and pay no outlet fee.

Lion84

join:2007-08-10
Marietta, GA
reply to Joe12345678

said by Joe12345678:

If you just had there boxs will there be a outlet fee as well?
Yup. Comcast stated that if you have a second HDTV box the fee would be $5.99 for the second digital outlet, $6.95 for "HDTV Access," and $5.99 for the box rental itself. They stated that box rental is included in the package price for the first unit only, so for an account with one HDTV box, all you pay is $6.95 per month. The additional boxes are where things get expensive.


joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA
Reviews:
·Comcast

Lion - I believe you, but they are wrong.
The rate sheet that came with my bill says "Digital Additional Outlet service charge* (High Def or Digital) $6.95
* Price includes a digital cable box and remore or a CableCARD. An incremental equipment fee may be applicable for customers who have, or wish to upgrade to, a high-def cable box."

So one of the 3 fees you mention should not apply.