500 HD Channels on Cablevision? No More Programming Until CableCard Is Easy!

Illustration for article titled 500 HD Channels on Cablevision? No More Programming Until CableCard Is Easy!


Reuters today said that Cablevision would have "the capability" to carry over 500 high-definition channels. This would include the 15 channels that Lazarus-like startup Voom HD Networks (now owned by Cablevision) plans to introduce next Tuesday, along with the 20-some HD channels that are allegedly in the lineup now plus, I suppose, 460 more channels of come what may. (Never mind the fact that Cablevision doesn't even carry BBC America, the company itself acknowledges there are not yet 500 channels worth of HD programming.)

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As a Cablevision subscriber with all of the channels the carrier now offers, all I can say is, "Please, dear God, no more programming!" Why would I say this?

The story mentions that Comcast and DirecTV are also building up capacity for HD, but not once does the story mention how the hell anyone intends to access this veritable sh'load of content. Cablevision, based mostly in and around the New York metropolitan area, uses the same Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD that its archrival Time Warner Cable NYC uses, yet with an even worse user interface, if you can imagine it:

• There's no way to search for shows (without growing a full beard in the process)
• There are 17 redundant options for scheduling a season pass, yet no way to skip recording one given episode
• By default, old content stays and when capacity is reached it stops recording new content, with no warning
• DVR and VOD options are separate channels, so there's no good way to do contextual search, among many other problems

I have been contemplating it, but now I will solemnly vow it: I will walk the fiery-coal path towards a Cablevision CableCard, to use with DVRs from TiVo and Microsoft. I will do so in the name of Giz, and in the name of 500-channel shitty-DVR sufferers everywhere. Down with the CableCo-mandated EPG!!!

Cablevision could air 500 HD channels by year-end [Reuters]

DISCUSSION

Going to the TiVo w/ CableCard is a definite step in the right direction. I just hope for your sake that Cablevision is ready.

I have a Comcast HD DVR, but was just sickened by all the shortcomings that you mentioned in your article. I jumped on the Comcast website, dug thru their FAQ for a bit and found that they claim to support TiVo with CableCard. I immediately called Comcast to order two CableCards. The phone rep told me that they do not support any third-party devices, and that the only way for me to get CableCards is to have the installer put them in my TV, not the TiVo. I quickly hung up and gave TiVo a call. I had already purchased a new TiVo Series3 from Amazon when I saw that they were offering a $200 rebate for Father's Day. TiVo said that Comcast is required by law to supply me with the CableCards. The TiVo rep then makes a three-way call to Comcast and speaks to a supervisor. While it is true that Comcast is indeed offering CableCards for consumers' TiVos, Comcast says that they are having 'issues' with the new CableCards. I'm guessing they mean 'new' by the fact Comcast just had everyone in my area trade in their Motorola equipment for Scientific Atlanta equipment. The supervisor told the TiVo rep that they should have the new CableCards ready in one week to one month. I'm on my second week with my new TiVo and still no CableCards. I haven't let go of my Comcast HD DVR yet either. I can't miss all those new Big Love, Flight of Conchords and John from Cincinnati episodes now can I? I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that Comcast gets their act together soon!