- DIRECTV Authorized Dealer
Authorized Dealer

Cable Cards

Recording television is a valuable tool for busy households that do not have the time to view programming when it is initially broadcast. While most viewers opt for a DVR box directly from their cable service provider, this is an option that can be costly. Viewers who have a television that is compatible with a cable card reader can save money by using the technology to access cable programming.

What is a Cable Card?

A cable card is a device that is used to record television shows through the use of a card reader. High-definition televisions that are compatible with card readers are needed to use this method of recording television.

Digital televisions are typically able to display cable without the use of a cable box, so people who have a cable card can enjoy the benefits of a DVR without having a box at all. Even if a cable box is needed to display encrypted programs on a television, a cable card can unscramble certain channels in the same way that a box unscrambles these channels.

Reasons to Use Cable Cards

The benefit that prompts many people to choose cable cards over other recording methods is the option to forgo cable boxes completely even if a household desires to save programs to watch at a later time. In the past, anyone who wished to save programming would need to use a DVR box and pay a higher monthly fee to their cable service provider.

Card readers are relatively cheap to rent or purchase, so households can save any money that would be paid to a cable service provider for the use of a cable box. Since high-definition and DVR boxes tend to add a significant amount of money to a monthly cable bill, the savings enjoyed while using a cable card can be substantial.

Installing a Cable Card

Installation methods vary according to the type of card reader that is used, the card itself and the cable service provider. Some providers require customers to schedule an installation appointment, but there are others that now allow their customers to install and activate a card through the use of an online tutorial and activation code.

Choosing a cable service provider that allows customers to complete installation themselves may be preferable for busy households that do not have time to wait for a technician.

Providers That Offer Cable Cards

The good news for any household that would like to try cable cards is that cable service providers in the U.S. are required to allow the use of these cards if households have the equipment needed to do so. The customer will need to purchase a television that works with the technology and the cable card itself. Card readers can be purchased through an electronics retailer or online. Rental of readers is also possible.

Some cable service providers still require viewers to use a box to unscramble channels, but these customers can use a cable card as a cheaper option for recording television.

When choosing cable services that fit into the household budget, it is important to be aware of all of the options available. While a cable service provider will probably tell potential customers about their cable boxes, there is a more affordable option available that uses cable cards and a card reader that can be rented or purchased to watch television and record shows. Remember to research compatibility issues prior to making a purchase to avoid having to return items and go through the selection process again.