I'd like to throw my 2 cents in here, as well as clear up a few misconceptions (I think.)
I'll also point out that I am a CableCARD user (I have an ATI Digital Cable Wonder installed in my desktop), and am looking forward to (finally) getting my InfiniTV4.
I'm also a Bright House (TW) subscriber. They started rolling out SDV here earlier this year; I'll get my TA after I install my Ceton tuner.
I'll start with Tuning Adapters (namely, Cisco units, for those on SA headends.) While it's true that a single Cisco TA can only resolve 2 streams, you can (and, with a 4-stream tuner, must) use 2 TAs.
They're not daisy-chained, either - each has its own USB connection to the PC, and its own coax connection. Parallel, not serial.
As you said, those on Motorola headends require only one TA.
And, yes, TAs suck. Suck to the point of requiring near-daily reboots of the TA(s), sometimes. Such is the current state of TAs.
However, the FCC has proposed (and, is looking to adopt) a rule change on them, moving TA functionality to an IP-based solution - this will eliminate entirely the need for a hardware TA.
Installs: Yes, it sucks that many markets require a truck roll to install a CableCARD (or, sometimes, even a TA!) And, yes, some techs are better than others. Blame the cable office for that.
Here's a fun little loophole, though: you can often get the roll charge waived, for several reasons:
- you are quite capable of physically installing the hardware yourself (they just don't let you);
- you had to walk the tech thru the physical setup, and get the ID numbers for him/her.
Don't let them bulldoze you with the "it requires IP address configuration, blah, blah, blah" BS line - it is, quite literally bullshit.
Cards are set up at the office (the tech does nothing but insert the card and call in the numbers), and a TA requires no configuration at all.
As for having any issues - I've actually had very good luck , the one time I had real, honest-to-god issues here.
The most important part is getting a more seasoned tech (even if s/he has little CC experience), who's actually good with signal-quality diagnosis.
90+% of CC issues are related to initial pairing (office), authorization issues (office again), or signal issues (which a decent tech can handle rather quickly.)
Two-way (VOD/PPV): not Ceton's fault. It's not there because Media Center for Windows 7 (which, BTW, is the only app that can use this tuner) doesn't have 2-way support.
Under current CableLabs regs, you wouldn't want it, anyways, as it would require you to run the crappy cableco software on your PC.
Ceton has actually said that the capability is there in their hardware; it'll simply require a firmware change to implement it (once CableLabs changes the rules, and MC supports it.)
Sorry if that was a little long - I got to the thread a little late.