cable card sucks no VOD no PPV no SDV (most tv) Tivo can do SDV. Also you don't get the cable co guide. Also network affiliated broadcasts are in clear QAM on cable but not the other stuff on most systems.
also sectv let's you Purchase CableCARD for a one-time fee of $125.00 and receive a one-year warranty on the CableCARD from the manufacture so you never have to worry about rental fees again!
and they let you Access to HD Pay-Per-View events with them as well.
they also have Standard Digital Converter
It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.