1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Digital cable guide data from eBay CableCard

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by audiodane, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    I could not decide which thread to put this issue in, so please pardon my starting this one. It's a fairly specific topic however, and if I'm right may prove to be quite useful to others. I tried searching for answered regarding this particular topic but kept finding conflicting results.

    Quick Summary
    I'm now getting guide data for the unencrypted clear QAM digital cable channels (abchd, cbshd, nbchd, etc) withOUT any cablecards.

    "Quick" Background
    I had a cable modem go bad. A knology tech came out (modem is rented) to test and replace the modem (power supply failed). After some discussion, the next day he came back and installed a cablecard (Mcard) while I was at work. Came home to play with it and woohoo! ... uh-oh... only one tuner working. Online research = S3 needs two cards. :( I leave him a message to come back when he can for a second card, and in the meantime remove the Mcard. Re-ran guided setup for cable+antenna, back to normal, both tuners working with OTA antenna. (e.g. I have analog cable SD and OTA HD for the broadcast channels abchd, cbshd, etc. I can manually tune to ch901-905 for the CATV-packaged versions of the abchd, cbshd, etc channels but have no guide data.)

    Here's where it gets interesting. In re-running guided setup, one Tivo S3 screen (sorry, don't have a screenshot right now [at work]) talks about CableCARDs and gives me three choices: "no cable card," "yes cable card," and "going to use cablecards but don't have them yet." I thought to myself, hmm... I wonder where the guide data / channel maps REALLY come from... Hopped over to TitanTV.com and looked up the Knology analog and digital cable listings.. Identical! Except the digital listing goes on forever where the analog listing stops at channel 99 or so. Hmmm.....

    So I go back to the Tivo and selected "going to use cablecards but don't have them yet." Tivo did it's thing connecting and downloading data, yadda yadda. When it finished I went to LiveTV, I could still tune all my analog channels just fine, and what's this?? All the digital channel guide data is in place! Of course I can't tune any of those channels... but wait, what about channels 901-905 (abchd, cbshd, nbchd, etc)? Guide data? YES! Tunable? YES! Went into Tivo->"Find Programs" and tried one at random ("WIPEOUT") ... Three listings showed up: analog cable SD (ch12), OTA antenna HD (ch31-1), and digital cable HD (ch901). Went into ch901 and setup for a season pass, checked upcoming episodes, and the episode on ch901 was setup to record! Not wanting to wait, I selected a few upcoming programs that day on several of the 901-905 channels to record. That night, all had recorded just fine, with program information fully intact!

    Now, the questions..
    I *did* have a cablecard installed. But then I took it out, reran guided setup back to analog cable, then reran guided setup AGAIN and went back to "going to use cablecards but don't have them yet." So one of two things is going on then, I think--

    1) "residual" guide data leftover from when a cablecard WAS installed; or

    2) guide data for digital cable is in fact available over Tivo/TMS, Tivo just chose to have the digital lineup behind the cablecard screens and leave the "cable/antenna/cable+antenna" analog only for a "less complicated user experience." That would mean that the CableCard does provide the 'decoding' for subscription digital channels, but not the actual "channel map" (as suggested everywhere else on these and other forums).



    Has anyone else tried the above without ever having a cablecard?

    thanks,
    ..dane
     
  2. socrplyr

    socrplyr Active Member

    1,076
    1
    Jul 19, 2006
    First off, you are thinking wrong about the cablecard possibly not providing the channel map. It does. Now there are two things that could be happening (one of which you have already mentioned).

    1. The mapping as it is right now is temporarily in the system from when you had the cablecard inserted.
    2. FACT: The cable companies can choose a virtual channel number to have their channels show up on. Typically they use one of two virtual channel numbers. Either their analog channel number with a "-1" appended or the OTA number (which also has a subchannel). POSSIBLE EXPLAINATION/THEORY: Knology chose for their virtual channel number to exactly match their digital channel number (901 in your case) with no subchannel (no "-1"). Assuming that is possible and the case, I theorize that the Tivo would properly associate guide data under that circumstance as the channels exactly match.

    Again, I stress that what I wrote for 2. is only a theory. Although, I would love to validate it. One way to try to test it is to do a channel scan with a HDTV and then try tuning to channel 901 and see if it comes in that way (with no subchannel) on the TV.

    Josh
     
  3. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Hey Josh,

    Okay, there is certainly some stuff in your reply that I don't fully understand.. channel mapping vs virtual channel numbers vs TitanTV's channel guide lineup (which I assume also comes from Tribune)...

    But I can confirm that a year ago when I first got my HDTV (months before getting the TivoS3), I did a channel scan and yes, channels 901-905 were available as the unencrypted hd broadcast channels. Once I did get the S3, of course I could still manually tune to channel 901 and it would work, but no guide data. And if I did a Tivo channel scan, it would also find 901 (and others) but of course still no guide data.

    In Knology/Huntsville-AL's lineup, channel 12 is analog ABC-SD. Using my OTA antenna for the past couple of months, OTA channel 31-1 is ABC-HD (OTA). And as I just mentioned from testing a year ago (Feb 2010), ABC-HD (CATV) is channel 901.

    What I don't get is the distinction you are placing between the HDTV's tuning of channel 901 and the Tivo's tuning of ch901-- are you suggesting that what the HDTV sees at ch901, the Tivo guide data might have seen as something different? And that we just "lucked out" that Knology-HsvAL just happened to decide to map them together?

    Admittedly I don't know a ton about virtual channel mapping, etc.

    thanks,
    ..dane
     
  4. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,364
    22
    Aug 2, 2003
    Yeah, I gotta go with the leftover mapping theory. Possibly it will even remain valid until the cable company decides to move some channels around.

    Don't confuse the mapping with the guide data, BTW; those are two different things. The mapping (between real and virtual channels) is provided by the CableCards, while the guide data comes from TiVo.

    Edit: Ah, never mind, apparently scenario 2 is correct after all. Weird.
     
  5. Grey Griffin

    Grey Griffin Member

    123
    0
    May 24, 2007
    Tulsa, OK
    I can tune local HDs off cable in my area like this. My understanding is that the clear QAM channel has data attached to it that tells it what virtual channel to map to. So, while the QAM may be 80-1 it knows to show up as channel 705. When you select "getting cable cards later, use digital line up" then the Tivo has the guide data for those channels. In my area the TV Starter package includes several digital channels and after a channel scan and guided set up to use the digital line up they all show up as they would with a cable card.

    From what I've seen here, most companies do not include this data on their clear QAM channels so it only works for a small number of people.
     
  6. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Is there a "layman's guide to channel mapping and guide data" somewhere? The guide data is for what, virtual channels? And the Tivo has to tune what, Real channels? so the channel mapping is between the two?

    I FULLY understand the difference between real and virtual channels as it relates to OTA reception. Here in Huntsville, AL, virtual channel 31-1 is real channel 32. I understand that guide data comes in a "virtual channel" but that the tuner is actually tuning to a frequency determined by the "real channel." Does that same process apply or is it something different for digital cable?

    So your understanding is that the QAM channel can contain virtual mapping information, but not all providers do give virtual mapping on their clear QAM channels, right? Might there be a reference you can cite that I could read up on about that in more detail?

    ..dane
     
  7. Grey Griffin

    Grey Griffin Member

    123
    0
    May 24, 2007
    Tulsa, OK
    I just read the Wikipedia entries on QAM channels and PSIP data. But I have a Tivo that has never had cable cards in it and it gets all the local HDs on the cable channels my provider indicates. I originally had done a channel scan and found the QAM style channels. A few months later I wasn't getting a picture and so I scanned again and noticed the channel numbers matched the channel guide. I re-ran guided setup and told it to use the digital lineup and I had guide data to match. I also have noticed that if I look through the QAM channels from the channel scan it will show up briefly with an odd number (like 79-1) then change to a regular number (like 131). My best guess is that it takes the tuner a second to read the data and redirect to the virtual number.
     
  8. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Hey Grey, thanks for that reply. So just so I can understand things a little better, you did a channel scan and it worked for a while but then you lost signal. Running guided setup to use the digital lineup however, and since then have you ever had a loss of signal to need rescanning again? I imagine "no" but wanted to make sure..

    ..dane
     
  9. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    9,821
    9
    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/298

    Why do you assume that TitanTV has any relationship w/Tribune? http://info.titantv.com/ says "In February 2010, TitanTV was acquired by Broadcast Interactive Media..."

    If one goes to http://www.silicondust.com/hdhomerun/lineup_web/US:98052#lineup_4362178 and select Verizon FiOS, you can see the mappings are a mess and the list is woefully incomplete. I'd wager than 60+% of the channels are missing.
     
  10. Grey Griffin

    Grey Griffin Member

    123
    0
    May 24, 2007
    Tulsa, OK


    In December 2008 I got my 2nd S3 OLED and did a channel scan. At that time the local HD channels showed up as QAM frequencies like 80-1 and 101-3. I used manual recordings to record the shows on this Tivo as I was basically using just it as a 3rd and 4th tuner. In April '09 I noticed that the local HDs were not tuning on the channels they had been. I had read that companies often move channels to different QAM frequencies so I ran another channel scan and found the locals again. On my cable system the local HDs are channels 704-711. I noticed after the scan that the channels matched the digital cable lineup. Since I had told Tivo I didn't get digital I didn't have any guide info for those channels. That's when I redid guided setup and told it to use the digital lineup and I would get cable cards later. I have had to rerun the channel scan when they added a new channel like CW or ION but I have received the local networks on the correct channels with guide data ever since.

    I have also noted that this only works on the channels in my providers "limited basic" package. That package includes the local HDs and about a dozen other digital channels. I pick up all those on the correct channel numbers but I'm not able to get any other channels from the digital or HD tiers.
     
  11. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Thanks cwerdna for the links. To answer your question, I had assumed that Tribune provides all the program listings for north america. My bad. Looking at wikipedia I see there are a small handful of information aggregation companies that provide such data. thanks for the tip. And thanks also for the Fios example. You're right, it does look quite the mess. So it looks like a few of us are just lucky (for now, at least)?

    Thanks Grey-- that agrees with what I've seen on my own tivo. Seems Knology (and your provider) has done us a terrific service to map their clearQAM channels the way they have. :up:

    thanks!
    ..dane
     
  12. cwerdna

    cwerdna Proud Tivolutionary

    9,821
    9
    Feb 22, 2001
    SF Bay Area, CA
    TV Guide/Gemstar (producers of the TV Guide print magazine) was always a competitor to Tribune Media Services. Now that Rovi owns TV Guide/Gemstar, I don't know the relationship between "TV Guide Online Holdings LLC " listed at http://www.tvguide.com/services/copyright.aspx, the print version and Rovi.

    As for FiOS, here's the national portion of my lineup: http://www22.verizon.com/NROneRetai...AB69-9B361594E7F7/0/PremierOnline_Nov2010.pdf. This doesn't include my locals which spans some channels <100 and a few in the 500 range. Despite what might seem like random numbering due to the list being alphabetical, they actually are logically grouped.
     
  13. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Resurrecting an old thread of mine to provide an update; it seems no matter what I try I cannot get my TivoHD to accomplish the same goal as my Tivo S3OLED did back earlier in this thread (two years ago).. My dad did the same trick I did two years ago with his TivoHD, and it worked the same as my S3OLED.. Now, however, the TivoHD cannot seem to accomplish the same goal.

    After re-reading this thread, however, I wonder if I need to re-run guided setup as analog-only, THEN channel scan, THEN go back and re-run guided setup with digital cable.. That seems silly, but is just about the one thing I have not yet tried.

    I've considered picking up another S3OLED and copying the HDD from one to the other and see if the channel mapping copies over that way too. Somewhere someone told me that would not work.. I don't have a spare S3OLED to try it though.

    If I could get the free HD broadcast channels on this TivoHD, I'd be golden..

    cheers,
    ..dane
     
  14. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,364
    22
    Aug 2, 2003
    There was a suggestion recently in another thread that a CableCard purchased from eBay worked for mapping, even though it couldn't be authorized or paired, and so couldn't decrypt anything. I can't vouch for this, but it's an intriguing possibility.
     
  15. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Wow, very interesting.. I will have to look for that thread. Thanks for the tip..

    ..dane
     
  16. nlayton

    nlayton ;)

    97
    0
    Sep 16, 2003
    I recently cancelled my cable and had to return the cable cards in my S3. As soon as I popped them out I lost all the channels.

    Buy chance I had purchased a couple of cable cards for $7 each on eBay. I was going to swap them out and save the rental fees but never got around to doing it.

    So i figured this was a good time to install them. As soon as installed them, I was able to tune the local HD. Guide data still working. But it too soon to tell if its just buffered.

    These used cable cards came from 2000 miles away, no way they any previous connection with my channel line up.
     
  17. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Thanks so much for your post, nlayton. If you don't mind updating us in two months if the channel mapping still seems to work, that would be fantastic.

    cheers,
    ..dane
     
  18. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Well I went ahead and bought a Motorola card today for under $7 shipped.. We'll see how that pans out first.. Not a whole lot to loose for less than 10 bucks.. If it gives me the free broadcast channel-mapping, then I am an extremely happy camper!
     
  19. Tivoitis

    Tivoitis Member

    50
    0
    Sep 12, 2005
    That's probably the same vendor I used ... good luck!
     
  20. audiodane

    audiodane New Member

    127
    0
    Oct 28, 2009
    Thanks. I'm trying to keep realistic expectations. I have no reason to believe that it will do any good at all. But it's too cheap and easy to pass up "just trying it." :)
     

Share This Page