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Home » Cable, Featured, Satellite-Cable-Antenna & More, TVs, home audio & home entertainment

You Don’t Need A Cable Box

Submitted by on April 30, 2009 – 4:32 pmOne Comment


CableCARD - looks like a PCMCIA card used in laptops

CableCARD - looks like a PCMCIA card used in laptops

If you subscribe to cable TV, you don’t need to rent their cable box, you have choices. I’m about to move into a new house here in Bend. I’ve been living on acreage in Northern California, and have had to subscribe to Dish Network Satellite to get my TV programming. But now I have choices. I can get cable (and cable broadband internet at speeds over 10 times faster than I’ve had). Don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved having Dish, but the cable choices have increased.


Over the past several years, cable TV has opened up.  (Remember when TVs used to be “cable ready?”)* Today many devices have CableCARD capabilities.** With CableCARD, you can obtain a card from your cable company and use any CableCARD enabled device.

It could be a

  • TV, 
  • a TiVo digital video recorder, 
  • a full functioning network entertainment device like Monster Cable’s upcoming Moxi device,
  • a computer or home theater computer
  • and more are being designed and sold all the time.

The original CableCards were not two way interactive.  This means that they could not do pay-per-view or video on demand.  However the newer version –“Tru2way” should be able to do anything that your cable box can.  Tru2way(tm) is not just a new type of CableCARD that you can put into any TV or device that can take a CableCARD.  Rather Tru2way(tm) is circuity  in the TV or device – in other words, you can only get Tru2way if you have a device that is Tru2way.

I will be shopping for my TV program service, and for the perfect device.  For me, the perfect device will have not only the ability to record and save my TV shows, but will be able to also:

  • Connect to my computers to get photos, music and movies on my home theater
  • Will be high definition with the best digital surround sound available
  • Will have a number of online partners (like Hulu, Amazon movies, YouTube,, Pandora, and more)
  • Will be able to record more than one program at once
  • May be able to send the programming to other TVs in the house and/or
  • Be able to send programming to my iPhone or my computer when I’m away from home
  • Have good searchability, suggestions

I understand the technology that it will take to be able to have all of these options available.  Come back to follow my adventure to find the perfect “cable box.”  I’ll let you know the requirements, costs, and considerations as I go along.


*Some TVs and components may still be digital cable ready (often listed as DCR).  A “QAM tuner” (quadrature amplitude modulation) can bring in standard digital cable channels but cannot unscramble premium stations. This means if you have basic cable you can just plug into the TV.

** CableCARD was made possible when the FCC ok’d OCAP- open cable application platform that allowed manufacturers (other than just the cable box guys) to make devices that could receive cable channels.  The devices (TVs, computers, TiVo, etc.) could have circuitry and software that could work with a CableCARD to tune into, and record cable channels.  You still have to subscribe to a service and you have to get the CableCARD from your cable company.

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