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Clarification, do I NEED a cablecard?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by pppingme, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    I can't seem to find a clear answer anywhere, and calling tivo twice gave me two answers, and neither person sounded sure.

    Using a Premier on comcast cable, do I "NEED" a cablecard if the only channels I care about are in the clear (i.e. if I hook the cable straight to my tv, without any boxes, tuners, converters, cards, etc. I can see all the channels I want).

    The only answer I've heard, and even that seemed unsure, is that the cable card was needed for the channels to map correctly, but even that person seemed unsure, and they admitted they didn't know for 100%.

    As a side question, I know comcast will give the first cable-card for free, but is that still true on the low end must carry package ($19/month)?

    I'm currently running a S2 but comcast is removing the last of the analog channels in June, so going forward it looks like the only option is to upgrade to a premier, so I don't yet have a premier to test with.
     
  2. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

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    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    Well, if you want guide data and thus the ability to do more than manual recording, then yes, you need a CableCARD. Theoretically it shouldn't cost you anything but Comcast has been known to play fast and loose with the rules.
     
  3. sushikitten

    sushikitten 143 down, ??? to go! TCF Club

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    Jan 27, 2005
    DC-ish Suburbia
    We have a Premiere with TimeWarner and no, we don't need a cable card. The rep was of no clear help in the matter, so we just never installed it and we get channels 3-75 or something just fine (we didn't care about the HD channels since its a MBR unit). And we haven't had any issues recording shows.
     
  4. sushikitten

    sushikitten 143 down, ??? to go! TCF Club

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    Jan 27, 2005
    DC-ish Suburbia
    Never mind. I'm an idiot. I was thinking about the tuning adapter that we didn't need. We still need a cablecard.
     
  5. ncted

    ncted A leaf on the wind

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    May 13, 2007
    Durham, NC
    From what I understand, you will want a cable card if you want to get digital channels, like your locals in HD. This is what I plan to do when I move in August. I will be on TWC though, so, YMMV.
     
  6. sharkster

    sharkster Well-Known Member

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    Jul 3, 2004
    NV
    That is my understanding, also. When I hooked up my Premieres (before the cable guy got here to add the cable cards) I had full functionality and connectability. The only thing I did NOT have was access to the 'digital' channels(i.e. higher number, upper tier cable channels, and all the movie channels). It had nothing to do with Tivo features.

    What the CableCARD does is replace the cable box. So, if you are getting cable with just the channels you can get from the cable that comes through your wall you just hook up to that (cable plugs into Tivo box). If you get the higher tier channels for which you previously needed a cable box, then you need the CableCARD.

    That was my experience anyway. Not that it should make a difference, but I have Charter cable here.
     
  7. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

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    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    You can actually tune to and receive "clear QAM" digital channels w/o a CableCARD, you just can't get guide data for them. Some Comcast locales, like where I am, have gone all digital, so no analog channels at all.
     
  8. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    What does the cable card have to do with guide data? That comes across the internet on the "daily call" that the tivo makes.
     
  9. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    While I know and understand the cable card is needed for channels above around 20, are they needed for channels below that point, which are all "in the clear", and thus no cable box or anything is needed?

    I'm curious if your tivo will still work with "clear" channels without a card.

    I think a lot of the confusion comes from the fact that everyone answering tends to have a much higher channel package than I'm asking about, which means that there will be scrambled channels in the mix, thus the absolute need for a card.
     
  10. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    I understand what the cable card does, it gives the needed information to unscramble the higher tier channels (typically upper channels, movie channels, etc).

    What I'm not clear on, is if the channel is already "in the clear" (not scrambled), i.e. channels that can be received by any tv with a digital tuner without any boxes, cards, etc.

    I'm hearing a lot of "I think so" but every one has come from someone that only knows its needed for upper-tier channels, not lower tier channels that aren't scrambled to start with.
     
  11. Thinkdiff

    Thinkdiff New Member

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    Oct 13, 2003
    The guide data is specifically mapped to channel IDs only available when using a CableCARD. When you do a manual scan and tune to ClearQAM channels, the numbers are "2-1", "50-1", etc. These don't map to the channel numbers in the guide data, so it doesn't work. If you have a modified TiVo, you can get the guide data to line up with the ClearQAM/Analog station IDs and the guide data will work (but this requires A LOT of time and effort). On this point, I am 100% sure as I've done this process myself on a TiVo HD. You will not get guide data if you tell your TiVo you do not have a CableCARD and then do a manual scan.

    Overall, No, you do not need a CableCARD if you can receive ClearQAM channels. But as explained above, ClearQAM channels won't have any guide data making them basically useless on a TiVo (only manual recordings).
     
  12. Thinkdiff

    Thinkdiff New Member

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    Oct 13, 2003
    The CableCARD does more than that. It also maps the PSIP information to a common channel map. In ClearQAM, "Fox" might be 5-1, but on a normal cable box it shows as just "5". Without a CableCARD, the TiVo will read the PSIP information, display the channel as "5-1" and none of the guide data will match.

    Even worse, many channels either don't have PSIP information or useless information (CNN might be 768-3, for example). And cable companies can move channels around whenever they want. The CableCARD will receive the new channel map and your TiVo will immediately know the difference. Without this, you'd have to rescan your channels and then learn all the new locations.
     
  13. spsmith303

    spsmith303 New Member

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    Jun 18, 2009
    Aurora....
    If your paying for cable then get your FREE cable card.
    If your using a ANTENNA NO.
    This question is asked many many times on here.
    Also same question is answered on tivo web page.
     
  14. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Thank you! This is the most clear answer I've seen that didn't sound like a guess because everyone assumed there were encrypted/scrambled channels or other issues involved.
     
  15. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

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    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    You seriously need to work on your reading comprehension skills. It appears to me that all of the misunderstanding was due to your mistaken impression that you knew what a CableCARD did.

    Now that you actually do know what a CableCARD does, I suggest you re-read all of the other responses. For the most part, they were written by people who already knew and there is absolutely nothing in most of them that suggests that the poster "assumed there were encrypted/scrambled channels or other issues involved".

    You asked a question. You were given an answer and later a brief explanation of why. You rejected it since it was at odds with your preconceived notions about CableCARDs. In particular, I never said you couldn't get guide data w/o a CableCARD. What I said was that you couldn't get guide data for the "clear QAM" channels ( the ones found by a cable channel scan). You can't. TiVo does not make it available. (I know there was mention of a "modified" TiVo but, not even considering the difficulty, I don't believe it is even an option for a Premiere.)
     
  16. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    I know EXACTLY what a cable card does, you gave poor and incomplete answers that by all appearances were based on assumptions.

    I have very carefully re-read all of the answers, and while yours may be technically correct, gave no basis, and thus no reason for me to accept at face value, with your answer sounding more like an assumption.

    Because you gave NO basis, it actually sounded like YOU were assuming that somehow the cable card magically generated the guide info, which I think we both know is absolutely incorrect, but your answer was to vague and lacking to determine if that was your thought or not.

    The very problem with my question, is that every single answer I've heard from everyone has clearly been based on guesses, so I have to critique each answer and determine if that is the case. Your answer, while technically correct, had a ninety mile hole in it.

    As for the rest of the answers here (except the correct one), its very clear they were all based on assumptions of higher tiers with encrypted channels, and it should be clear that is not what I'm asking about.

    Only one person gave a valuable and reasonable answer, and it wasn't you.
     
  17. sharkster

    sharkster Well-Known Member

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    Jul 3, 2004
    NV
    wow. It seems to me like people were just trying to help and giving responses based on the questions asked. To insult all of us for responding in good faith is kind of harsh. It seems to me that each response has some value and none of them seem unreasonable. It also did not appear that "every single answer" was based upon guesses. Maybe the only guess was in trying to decode the convoluted question.

    Part of the board experience is that many people read threads and also find answers to their questions. While all of us were attempting to answer YOUR question, hopefully, somebody else also gets helped. It makes one rethink their desire to try and help somebody else when they are attacked for their attempt.
     
  18. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    Wow, you're the idiot that gave bad info when you said your unit worked without a card. So, is your answer correct? Or is the answer that the card is needed correct? Since you seem to be siding with the others throwing temper tantrums because I didn't bow down and thank them, that speaks for itself.

    The question was VERY clear. If you thought it was "convoluted", then you don't have a grasp of being able to answer anything beyond simple questions. Only one answer was clear, and I thanked that person.

    For those of you that took my thanks to the one and only correct answer to be an insult, well, based on your reactions after the thanks, it sounds like I did indeed thank the correct person.

    Its very obvious people are making assumptions, and those assumptions will throw the answer, such as receiving 75 channels (where most clear channels only number a dozen or so), or many others if you read the answers closely.

    The question is very specific, and probably only applied to how a small handful of people would use their tivo, the one answer that was correct was very specific and explanatory, so I thanked that person.

    The only other answer that came close, when presented with a follow up question, fell apart. Why did it fall apart? Because the person that answered either didn't have a clear grasp of the question, or he was trying to be overly vague for who knows what reason.
     
  19. pppingme

    pppingme New Member

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    Apr 21, 2012
    If you even call my answer an attack, it was clearly directed to someone who first attacked me, because they gave an overly vague answer with no basis, and couldn't answer a simple follow up question.

    One person gave a correct answer, and I thanked him, others seemed insulted because I thanked the first clear and coherent answer instead of vague answers with no detail.
     
  20. lillevig

    lillevig Hot in West Texas

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    Dec 6, 2010
    San Angelo, TX
    My cable company currently includes the analog versions of channels 2-99 on its system. When I hook up a Premiere without a CableCard, all I get is the analog channels. I do not get any digital or Clear-QAM HD channels like I do on my TV. Your results may vary but I wouldn't count on getting anything when your company goes all digital unless you have a CableCard.
     

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