This is not just for cable card subscribers! I have a R5000 with Comcast in Los Altos Ca (close to San Jose) and i also pay the $6.99. I hadn't really paid much attention to it. I don't rent anything from my cable company and yet they charge me like I am? WTF?
On the bright side, this makes the HD-PVR the same monthly price as having a R5000 and more economical than a cable card.