Don't Let Comcast Charge You Double For One M-Card

If you’re a Comcast cable TV customer and they sent you a M-Card, a card that lets you use two tuners off the same cable card, make sure you’re not getting double-charged, reports blogger Christopher Price. They were charging him double for one card and he had to call them up and remind them that FCC policy mandates one free CableCARD per household to get them to manually remove the charge. Chris says, “If you have an M-Card, check your bill. If you don’t have an M-Card, request one from Comcast and save yourself $21.48 per year… they’re already getting enough of your hard earned money.”

Comcast Treats M-Card as Two CableCARDs, Bills Accordingly [Christopher Price]


Edit Your Comment

  1. mattman0726 says:

    what’s an M-card?

  2. Ben Popken says:

    A cable card that lets you use two tuners off the same card.

  3. @mattman0726: CableCARD (or M-card) is a plug-in card approximately the size of a credit card that allows consumers in the United States to view and record digital cable television channels on digital video recorders, personal computers and televisions without the use of other equipment such as a set top box (STB) provided by a cable television company.

  4. ldavis480 says:

    I just moved to the San Francisco bay area. Thanks to consumerist I avoided a potential bullet by signing up with a DSL provider rather than Comcast. Thanks!

  5. CharlieInSeattle says:

    Umm where does the FCC mandate they have to give it to you free? They mandate they have to give you one, but not free.

  6. Dervish says:

    So, if I wanted to ditch my leased Comcast DVR in favor of an HD Tivo, would I only need one M-card (as opposed to two CableCARDs) to be able to record on two different channels at once?

  7. At my company they have both types.. older PKM600 models that are single stream and PK800s that are dual/multi stream cards. It only seems to matter in the Tivos right now since it’s the only instance where the duals can take the place of 2 cards. The techs are at the mercy of the warehouse as to what they are issued though, so it’s PARAMOUNT that the customers insist on the type of card they get so they are only charged for one multitstream card instead of 2 singles.

  8. Dervish says:

    @Dervish: Ah. Did my own research and it seems like this is the case.

  9. ThomFabian says:

    Yes, 1 M Card per HD Tivo.
    We have this set up, and other than the annoyance of having to go back 5 (I kid you not) times to get a working Card, it is excellent once it works correctly.

  10. calldrdave says:

    I’d like to call my cable company on this. Does anyone have a source that I can quote that requires a cable company to give a cable card for free?

  11. Carencey says:

    yup…”FCC says” is nice, but do we have a bit more concrete source info?

  12. BronzeHammer says:


    For Comcast subscribers, this page is relevant:


    The first card is included in the “additional outlet fee”, and the second can only cost up to $2.05/month. Since the M-card is only one card, it certainly should be free, by Comcast’s own admission. That is, you won’t pay a separate fee outside of your $6.95/month outlet fee or whatnot.

  13. calldrdave says:

    @BronzeHammer: That’s not an FCC requirement. Please provide source that FCC requires cable companies to provide free Cable Card

  14. rbf2000 says:

    Better than FiOS. They charge $3.99 per card and they conveniently don’t have M-cards, which means I have to pay $8 a month. I could get the standard box for only $5 a month…

  15. juri squared says:

    Comcast tried to pull this on us when we got our HD TiVo. I’m lucky I know an employee who warned me in advance.

  16. mattman0726 says:
  17. IndyJaws says:

    Interesting timing…I just had one of these installed in my new HD TiVo yesterday. Installation went pretty smooth, other than the tech had never installed one. Fortunately, the TiVo came with a sheet specifically for the installer to let them know what to do. A bit of a glitch at first, but that was due to a new firmware downloading. Whole process was about 45 minutes, which wasn’t too bad. And I’m now loving no cable box!

    Surprisingly, no option to install myself, but even more surprising, no charge for the installation. I’ll keep an eye on the bill to make sure they don’t try to charge me for the card.

  18. steveliv says:

    i spoke with comcast about cable cards on saturday, and at least in the North Augusta, SC market, the first cable card is free, and can be picked up from the local office and installed by the customer.

  19. BronzeHammer says:


    Hey, ass. I didn’t say it was an FCC source, did I? If you have Comcast, one of the largest cable companies in the country, then that link would be sufficient. If not, you can go pound sand.


  20. stopNgoBeau says:

    @BronzeHammer: Nice!

  21. Charred says:

    @BronzeHammer: Angry much?

  22. karmaghost says:

    I’ll have to check my bill to be sure, but I do faintly remember something about being charged for two cards when I only got one M-card for my TiVo HD. Time to make some calls.

  23. robbiemd says:

    1. Can the M-card be used on a Series 3 Tivo despite the fact it has two cable card slots?
    2, What is the status of two-way cable cards that support On Demand for TIVO owners?

    Many thanks- Rob

  24. dipsy30 says:

    I’m curious as I know I’m paying the 1.79 for an M-card. If I had a FCC statement to back me I’d go great guns to get this crap stopped

  25. BronzeHammer says:

    @stopNgoBeau: @Charred: As an internet tough guy, I think I took appropriate action.


    1. Unless there’s been an update that changes this, the Series 3 needs two cards, regardless of their type. If an M card is installed, the S3 only reads it as single stream, so you still need two for full functionality.

    2. As far as I know, don’t hold your breath.

  26. JustThatGuy3 says:


    1. Yup. Two slots for two single-tuner cards, or just use one slot for the M-card.

    2. Issue isn’t the cards, it’s the TiVo, which doesn’t have the upstream transmitter necessary to send signals back for on-demand and the like. They’ve got a dongle through the USB port that should solve this, but who knows when it’s coming out.

  27. BronzeHammer says:

    FWIW, everything that JustThatGuy3 said is not correct, in case any eventual Tivo owners are still trolling around this thread.

    The M-Card will not give you full functionality in the Series 3 if you only use one.

    The Cablecard issue is completely a CableLabs problem, not Tivo.

  28. weischris says:

    they are also called M cards because the mac address starts with an M, i see them all day long at comcast.