While Comcast only rents its HDTV cable boxes, you can purchase the same models of the boxes by going to hddvrtv.com and selecting one of the Motorola DCX-series products, such as the DCX3400 HD/DVR. One catch to using this option is that the On Demand feature is disabled through these products. A common alternative to access On Demand is to use another component, such as an Xbox.

Comcast members who opt to use a product purchased from a different source must still rent Comcast's cable card, but it comes at a cheaper cost than renting the entire equipment set. However, consumers have complained about the process of activating the cards obtained from Comcast. One customer spoke with eight or nine Comcast representatives who had minimal experience in dealing with cable card activation before finding a representative who was able to complete the activation. Even after activation, the premium channels were missing, and another phone call was necessary to correct the error.

Consumers also complain that Comcast sometimes distributes defective cable cards to customers who are not renting cable boxes. Some consumers smash defective cards with a hammer before returning the cards to Comcast, so that other consumers can recognize these defective cards.