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BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH

Nasty

This is a pretty slimy tactic, considering a lot of people grabbed ones they didn't really need when they rolled them out.


Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL

1 edit

2 recommendations

There's several issues I brought up in the Comcast forum when this first surfaced.

With all of the DTAs purchased, Comcast saved billions of dollars by going the digital migration route instead of upgrading all plants to 1 ghz or more. They also saved money by getting the FCC to give a waiver on the separable security mandate for the DTAs.

Now that they have a huge install base hooked on them, they go for an easy profit stream. After the year or so it will take to break even on the wholesale cost, Comcast will be making 100% on the millions of these deployed in the field every single month.

The worst part is they are so cheap but we have no way to purchase them out right. Customers are going to be paying for them many times over through a DTAs lifetime.

Then they could allow customers who have QAM tuners in their tvs to watch the channels a DTA decrypts without a box but they are eliminating Clear QAM to keep from having to install filters and cut down on theft of service. Another money saving tactic that they are making the customer pay for by having to rent a DTA instead of letting their TV do the work.

Also, Comcast has stated the charge consists of 50 cents for the DTA and $1.49 for a digital outlet. This shows perfectly how much of a scam the whole "digital outlet" charge is. It's clearly been designed as a system to work around the FCC's customer owned equipment rule. Since Comcast has to issue a credit for the equipment part of the charge for these customers.

Oh no customer, we're only charging you $2.50 for the equipment. It doesn't matter if it's an SD, HD or DVR box. The equipment is just $2.50. It's the "outlet" that you are paying $7+ for.

Yet here we see the outlet charge is only $1.49. It's the same outlet and if you have digital starter, the same channels.

Since the difference in price is so minimal between renting an STB and the credit you get for owning, this also incentivises customers to stick with the Comcast leased equipment vs buying their own and using a cablecard. This is certainly not what the FCC intended.


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

I am particularly irritated because I replaced two televisions in 2011 in guest bedrooms so visitors could watch TV without interfering with our viewing. At that time it was not necessary to use a STB to receive 70 extended basic channels. Then Comcast cut it down to 21 limited basic channels. Now it is 0 channels. In view of the fact that our lawmakers are corrupt do not expect to see any action to resolve this gouging. I am sure that Comcast will continue to raise prices on the DTA's until consumers are paying $5.00 or more per month without being able to view all programming that they are paying for. I cannot justify paying $9.95 plus tax per month for an HD STB that is only used a couple of weeks per year.



swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS

said by Mr Matt:

I am particularly irritated because I replaced two televisions in 2011 in guest bedrooms so visitors could watch TV without interfering with our viewing. At that time it was not necessary to use a STB to receive 70 extended basic channels. Then Comcast cut it down to 21 limited basic channels. Now it is 0 channels....

Well, you could always switch to that service that doesnt use boxes like satellite telco tv..oh wait none do anymore. Not sure why someone would really be upset over this. I look at TV without a box / dta (analog channels) as maybe a little benefit they extended to customers but it is time to move on and free up the bandwidth for more services.

Do you get disgruntled that DirectTV or Dish do not allow you to watch TV without a box or have you just always accepted it?
--
Usenet Block Accounts | Unlimited Accounts

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink

I did not just accept the fact that the DBS providers required customers to rent a Satellite Receiver for each television. I did not switch to satellite for just that reason. Back in the 90's consumers went to their local electronics store and purchased as many satellite receivers as they needed. The DBS provider arranged for installation. The customer did not rent their DBS receivers. At one time some television manufactures included satellite receivers in their high end projection television sets.

Then the DBS providers decided to price their service more like digital cable so they rented their DBS receivers. That was the excuse that some cable companies used to justify charging per outlet so they would have parity with the DBS providers.

Since the cable pigs are requiring a DTA for every television, customers no longer have the advantage of installing televisions capable of receiving extended basic cable without a STB at no charge. Before the DTA requirement a customer could receive extended basic channels on infrequently used cable ready television sets at no additional monthly charge. One of the reasons I stuck with cable was that ability. Anyone that is pissed off at their cable service provider should switch to DBS just so the cable pigs can no longer get their money. I am considering switching to DBS even if the cost is a little higher to stop feeding the cable pig.



r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44
reply to Zoder

Outlets are free as houses are pre-wired.
Comcast just has to plug into a homes splitter.

So if they said $1.50 per outlet and they did not install your outlet then they should take the $1.50 off per converter and you should only have to pay the $.50.
--
...brought to you by Carl's Jr.



Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
reply to Mr Matt

Mr. Matt wrong very wrong. People were hacking the boxes at a huge rate there was a whole industry going on, the boxes weren't hacked but the cards were. The sat companies charged you $4.95 for ever extra receiver you had if I remember right, they were not free. Of course if you had a hacked card you used your good cam number for the other cards oh wait a minute, never mine how all that worked. You did by the boxes but they had to program the cards for you for ever receiver unless you wanted to run off of one receiver and only watch one channel at a time.


alexintexas

join:2003-01-11
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

I am particularly irritated because I replaced two televisions in 2011 in guest bedrooms so visitors could watch TV without interfering with our viewing. At that time it was not necessary to use a STB to receive 70 extended basic channels. Then Comcast cut it down to 21 limited basic channels. Now it is 0 channels. In view of the fact that our lawmakers are corrupt do not expect to see any action to resolve this gouging. I am sure that Comcast will continue to raise prices on the DTA's until consumers are paying $5.00 or more per month without being able to view all programming that they are paying for. I cannot justify paying $9.95 plus tax per month for an HD STB that is only used a couple of weeks per year.

so what would your recommendation be?

have 1,2,15,25,50,100,200 analog channels?
then in that case have 1/2 your subscriber base stealing the service and screw the signal levels for everyone else = 1000's of un needed service calls/visits

go back to 1990 with 70 analog channels and 256kb internet if your lucky, no phone service, no dvr, no on demand and still have major signal issues due to theft of service

who pays for the upfront cost of equipment????
cable co are not going to eat these cost's and now due to content providers continued path of programming rate hikes. cable gets less and less profit. so now to keep those profits they jack the rental on equipment

you can build your own dvr box and put in the cable card/s
but even for a 3 tv setup the upfront cost are VERY high for most US consumers.

so i again ask you what is your recommendation?


AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1
reply to swintec

said by swintec:

I look at TV without a box / dta (analog channels) as maybe a little benefit they extended to customers but it is time to move on and free up the bandwidth for more services.

I get 0 channels if I plug my analog TV in. I never bothered to try to plug in a digital TV.
--
* seek help if having trouble coping
--Standard disclaimers apply.--

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to Corehhi

The cable service I subscribe to started to gouge customers before I subscribed to service. They originally included one digital STB in the price of digital service. If the subscriber added a DVR they paid for the DVR and still were entitled to a no charge STB. My cable service provider started gouging by eliminating the no charge STB and charging full price for the DVR, no credit for the STB if a subscriber added a DVR. If you subscribed to two DVR's you were charged for two DVR's you did not get a no charge STB or a credit for the one that was not supplied. Just another way to gouge customers.

You mention that the first receiver a DBS provider is included in the cost of basic service. Additional receivers incur additional charges. At least the DBS service providers provide one receiver in the cost of programming.


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to alexintexas

REGULATION is the answer. Up until last year I could receive up to around 70 channels without additional equipment on a cable ready television set. That was fine for guests that wanted to catch up on the news or cartoons for the kids. We are back to the pre Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992.

There was an article about why the act was made law. Some congressmen and senators were pissed off because they could purchase a cable ready television and not use the remote control because they had to rent a descrambling converter to watch programming on each television. That was the main reason that the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 was passed. The lawmakers got tired of being screwed by the cable industry. The cable companies were only allowed to scramble premium and pay per view programming.

One solution would be to regulate the price of equipment to descramble an encrypted signal. The cable company could charge a one time right to use fee and no monthly fee. Ownership and maintenance cost would be the responsibility of the cable company. An incentive to keep the equipment in good condition would be to return part of the right to use fee if the customer cancelled service. The DTA's should be provided at a low cost say $25.00 with no monthly charge. Ownership would be retained by the cable company. The DTA would have to be returned when service was discontinued. Cable companies should be prohibited from charging for each outlet.

I would be satisfied if I could purchase a STB at best buy or any other store, that accommodated one cable card and did not require that I paid a monthly fee for that outlet. Do not expect to have any relief on this gouging since the cable industry is paying off our corrupt lawmakers to screw their constituents.


Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to r81984

Review section 17 of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 here:

»en.wikisource.org/wiki/Cable_Tel···_of_1992

Don't expect relief on cost as the cable industry has lobbied up.


Joe12345678

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

in canada you can buy the box with out the outlet or mirroring fees. Some systems even have rent to own as well.



Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to r81984

Comcast has been charging $7.50 "outlet fees" for people who use their own equipment (i.e. cableCards) simply because they can.

Comcast originally rented cable boxes for $10 a month, but then lost this revenue when people switched to using their own equipment. So Comcast decided to rent cable boxes for $2.50 with a $7.50 outlet fee. People who rent from Comcast see no change in price, but people using their own equipment are suddenly socked with a $7.50 per device surcharge.

Basically Comcast is finding ways of implementing fees when there's no real reason to do so. For example the $10 "HD Technology Fee" which Comcast charges if you want HD channels. That fee applies whether or not you actually rent an HD box from Comcast (even if you have an SD TV) so it's simply a money grab.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.


Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
reply to Corehhi

The charging per receiver when you owned them was a scam to begin with.

It took $0 more dollars for them to deliver you signal to 1 TV or 10.

Just like the HD fee used and the fact that Dish charges $10 (at the time I was with them) just so you can have the component connection on the STB enabled.

Bottom line is that these people make up fees that have no relation to cost and they know we have to pay it because we dont have a much of a choice.



swintec
Premium,VIP
join:2003-12-19
Alfred, ME
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VoicePulse
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·RapidVPS
reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

Up until last year I could receive up to around 70 channels without additional equipment on a cable ready television set.

Yeas and? This is the result of technology and progress. They want the reclaimed bandwidth for advanced services with a bit of security sprinkled in. Satellite and TelcoTV got a free pass, cable should be under the same deal here.
--
Usenet Block Accounts | Unlimited Accounts


Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
reply to AVD

said by AVD:

said by swintec:

I look at TV without a box / dta (analog channels) as maybe a little benefit they extended to customers but it is time to move on and free up the bandwidth for more services.

I get 0 channels if I plug my analog TV in. I never bothered to try to plug in a digital TV.

If I plug in a DTV I get all the locals in HD plus another mix of analog and music channels. Just hit auto program and see what comes up.


Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
reply to Skippy25

said by Skippy25:

The charging per receiver when you owned them was a scam to begin with.

It took $0 more dollars for them to deliver you signal to 1 TV or 10.

Just like the HD fee used and the fact that Dish charges $10 (at the time I was with them) just so you can have the component connection on the STB enabled.

Bottom line is that these people make up fees that have no relation to cost and they know we have to pay it because we dont have a much of a choice.

I know they are always looking to bump up your bill. My local cable company actually gives you a STB that blocks out the HD channels which ironicly I receive since I simply just plug my TV into the cable, the HDTV channels are there at least the locals but they want an up charge for a HD box which you don't need at all. LOL. That make sense???

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
·Embarq Now Centu..
·Comcast
·CenturyLink
reply to Morac

Before the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 was implemented our cable company charged an outlet fee, a converter descrambler fee and a remote control fee. Only local channels were not scrambled for lifeline service. When will the gateway that has been discussed become available and will the FCC prohibit the cable service provider from charging for each outlet (television)? The FCC should use the telephone company model forcing the cable and DBS industry to allow the customer to own their own equipment.


alexintexas

join:2003-01-11
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

REGULATION is the answer.

REGULATION really??? you 100% sure about that...Pots is a fine example why government intervention is not needed, ah but wait you do come up with an idea.

said by Mr Matt:

One solution would be to regulate the price of equipment to descramble an encrypted signal. The cable company could charge a one time right to use fee and no monthly fee. Ownership and maintenance cost would be the responsibility of the cable company. An incentive to keep the equipment in good condition would be to return part of the right to use fee if the customer cancelled service. The DTA's should be provided at a low cost say $25.00 with no monthly charge. Ownership would be retained by the cable company

you still fail on answering, who pays the upfront costs of said equipment? Someone pays it, its not the cable company, its not our government..then you go on to say the cable co keeps paying to maintain it ------never going to happen

said by Mr Matt:

I would be satisfied if I could purchase a STB at best buy or any other store, that accommodated one cable card.

sure this is a fantastic idea however @ $600 per STB or upto $1200 per dvr? how many subscribers do you think will dole this out? you wouldnt. lets not forget you still would pay to lease said cable card per device.

one simple solution, CUT THE DAMN CORD!!! take that $1200+ per year you would save.

todays day an age there are way to many other streaming options to many to list.

another solution have the government REMOVE cable companies and content providers from ever being publicly traded companies, this however is a pipe dream


Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Mr Matt

said by Mr Matt:

The FCC should use the telephone company model forcing the cable and DBS industry to allow the customer to own their own equipment.

The FCC does force cable providers to allow users to install and use their own equipment by mandating that cable companies support CableCARDs which separates encryption from the device.

The FCC even mandates what can be charged for cards and that cable companies should refund customers the cost they would have paid renting from the cable company. In other words deduct the rental fee.

What Comcast did was arbitrarily decide that the box rental fee should now be $2.50 instead of the previous $10, so that's what customers who use their own equipment get back. Of course the box rental fee can't actually be $2.50 so they then tacked on a $7.50 outlet fee to make up the difference. Since it's not a "rental" fee, customers using their own equipment still have to pay it. It follows the letter of the FCC regulations, but not the spirit of said regulations. Basically Comcast found a loophole.

Don't expect the FCC to revisit this any time soon though as it's been neutered recently.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.


hambone42
Peace, through superior firepower
Premium
join:2002-02-02
Manassas, VA
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Zoder

said by Zoder:

(snip)

Oh no customer, we're only charging you $2.50 for the equipment. It doesn't matter if it's an SD, HD or DVR box. The equipment is just $2.50. It's the "outlet" that you are paying $7+ for.

Yet here we see the outlet charge is only $1.49. It's the same outlet and if you have digital starter, the same channels.

(snip)

That's the part that frosts me the most. I'm moving into a new house and am paying for all of the interior TV and network cabling. Except for the extremely small marginal cost of the extra power to boost the signal entering my home, my additional outlets cost Comcast nothing from an infrastructure perspective. I doubt they cost Comcast anything from a licensing perspective, either.

This reminds me -- they still haven't fixed my billing to credit me for their box that I turned in and replaced with a TiVO two months ago. If they start charging me for the DTA's that were supposed to be free, I'll be turning those in and going OTA for those TV's.

When does Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" start up again?
--
Sarcasm is the Body's Natural Defense Against Stupidity

Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL
reply to alexintexas

In what world would a DVR cost $1200 in a healthy retail market? You're talking about a QAM tuner, processors, and hard drive. Not exactly state of the art technology. It would quickly become a commodity item.


BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
reply to Zoder

The incentive to own your own MCE PC is pretty big when you can scale it out to 6 simultaneous users and 12 tuners for the price of two additional cable cards. That's way cheaper than crappy Comcast boxes, and most people would only need 4 or 8 tuners.

Also, these things are useless in the first place, as TV without a DVR... what's the point?

As for extra sets... just use MCE for the whole house, and throw a used XBOX with any extra TVs.

Also, there is no big scam to stop people from using CableCards... very, very few people do. They are pretty nice about them, and helpful when getting a self-install CableCard, at least IMO. And, they support ONDemand on TiVos on Moto systems, because then they make a crapton of money off of rentals. They would support it on SA systems if they could figure out how to accept IP input to the VOD system.

They did get rid of the remote control fee... that one was especially egregious, as you couldn't return the remote and not pay the fee, even if you had your own universal remote control.

DVRs don't cost $1200. That's absurd. Even a TiVo with Lifetime, which is a far more capable machine than an RNG200M or DCX3400M, which are Comcast's top Cisco and Moto boxes, respectively, costs less than $1k with a Lifetime subscription.

The "outlet" fees are just disguised box fees, one way or another. It has nothing to do with physical outlets. Heck, with MCE7 you could be running 6 TVs off of one or two "outlets". But they do have the analog cable thing back under control from when people were hooking up a ton of TVs to one subscription and not getting any more revenue for Comcast.


alexintexas

join:2003-01-11
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to Zoder

actually it wouldnt think about it,,,,also best buy and others need to make $$$ so yes that would be the cost per device believe it or not its reality..cable co's buy DIRECT from a manufacturer and in HUGE BULK not one by one nor do they deal with retailers

you obviously have no clue on manufacturing and costs involved in it..it entails huge amounts of $$$$ in R&D before anything is even manufactured once they do get a baseline they pay another large amount of $$$$ to build and test it,,,and they find problems thus more R&D and modifications which cost more money

the PS3 is an example look what the system cost the first 5+ years Sony "lost" money on every single unit sold and gambled on the hopes that they could make it up in accessory sales. i might add the ps3 was not cheap. Sony is not the only ones look at the "iphone" $450 bucks starting. my HTC sensation cost me $525, once a manufacturer recovers its costs in initial R&D etc they might lower the price however......

now an STB manufacturer is not going to lose money on this venture and then retailers need their cut as well, so we would be lucky to see no more then 3 total manufacturers building them


alexintexas

join:2003-01-11
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to BiggA

building an MCE PC is an excellent idea but in the tuners in your configuration is $1200 alone. to run those cards you need a top of the line pc thats another $1200 not to mention a pc or xbox at each tv as i have stated its an excellent idea but initial upfront cost is just well alot for your avg consumer

tivo???? LOL yes $400 for the box then pay $15. a month to be able to use it monthly or $400 for lifetime use thats min $800 or pay termination fees on the monthly, or pay more money for the boxes upfront and pay $20 a month to utilize it to avoid termination charges. and guess what if the cable co goes to ip based, your tivo is FUCKED!!!!! and useless


Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL
reply to alexintexas

The PS3 used a state of the art processor that Sony spend years developing.

I look at it like this. You have two main players in the STB market. Both refuse to sell their products at retail. They sell to the cable companies wholesale and set whatever price they want. That is not a real market price, it's a duopoly market price. The cable companies than pass this along to their customers in high monthly fees. The testing you are referring to is because they want a standard platform for their market so they have the manufacturer make custom changes that need to be tested extensively before it can be rolled out to millions of customers. If there was an open standard, not a locked down standard controlled by CableLabs, you could hook whatever device you wanted to the cable and innovation and competition would thrive.

What exactly is this highly innovative technology in a DVR that huge amounts of R&D is being spent on? It was innovative when TIVO developed it over a decade ago. What's changed? A faster processor, a bigger harddrive, and in some cases more tuners. We're not talking about an iphone which is constantly refreshed with new technology every year.

So yes, under the byzantine system Moto, Cisco, and the cable industry currently have in place, a retail box probably would end up being over priced. But it would be due to manipulating the market and not the reality of the technology in a DVR.

Now ideally, something like Allvid would become a standard. All incoming signals whether they be cable, telco, or satellite would be converted at the entry into the home into IP which any device in your home could understand. Then you could hook up a tv, stb, tablet, smartphone, dvr, computer, etc... driving down costs and letting the customer own their own video equipment.


Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL

1 edit
reply to BiggA

said by BiggA:

The incentive to own your own MCE PC is pretty big when you can scale it out to 6 simultaneous users and 12 tuners for the price of two additional cable cards. That's way cheaper than crappy Comcast boxes, and most people would only need 4 or 8 tuners.

Also, these things are useless in the first place, as TV without a DVR... what's the point?

As for extra sets... just use MCE for the whole house, and throw a used XBOX with any extra TVs.

Also, there is no big scam to stop people from using CableCards... very, very few people do. They are pretty nice about them, and helpful when getting a self-install CableCard, at least IMO. And, they support ONDemand on TiVos on Moto systems, because then they make a crapton of money off of rentals. They would support it on SA systems if they could figure out how to accept IP input to the VOD system.

They did get rid of the remote control fee... that one was especially egregious, as you couldn't return the remote and not pay the fee, even if you had your own universal remote control.

DVRs don't cost $1200. That's absurd. Even a TiVo with Lifetime, which is a far more capable machine than an RNG200M or DCX3400M, which are Comcast's top Cisco and Moto boxes, respectively, costs less than $1k with a Lifetime subscription.

The "outlet" fees are just disguised box fees, one way or another. It has nothing to do with physical outlets. Heck, with MCE7 you could be running 6 TVs off of one or two "outlets". But they do have the analog cable thing back under control from when people were hooking up a ton of TVs to one subscription and not getting any more revenue for Comcast.

That's something someone who frequents dslreports would do. I'm talking about the average American cable customer.

The point I'm trying to make is that they make more money when you rent their box. The FCC has tried to encourage COE by forcing the cable companies to issue a credit for the STB rental price. Comcast has found a loophole by making most of the STB rental price consist of this "digital outlet" fee so they could issue as little a credit as possible. The DTA price breakout exposes that.

There was a reason Comcast would not charge you per outlet for cableready tvs. It was outlawed in the early 90s. The move to digital has allowed them to resurrect a decades old fee.

Zoder

join:2002-04-16
Miami, FL
reply to alexintexas

said by alexintexas:

building an MCE PC is an excellent idea but in the tuners in your configuration is $1200 alone. to run those cards you need a top of the line pc thats another $1200 not to mention a pc or xbox at each tv as i have stated its an excellent idea but initial upfront cost is just well alot for your avg consumer

A 4 tuner ceton card costs $200 right now on Amazon. Which equipment are you looking at?

alexintexas

join:2003-01-11
San Antonio, TX
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable

said by Zoder:

A 4 tuner ceton card costs $200 right now on Amazon. Which equipment are you looking at?

your correct but still $400 in upfront costs imagine what manufacturers would charge to build an MCE pc and you still need a high end pc for this not to mention 4 cable lines and 4 cable cards. and again if the cable co moves to ip based those cards are useless this is the reason i have not done this