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Do I need a cable card?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by kevlar, Sep 12, 2006.

  1. kevlar

    kevlar New Member

    Feb 17, 2002
    San Diego
    With the series 3 recorder do we really need a cable card? My cable company is very reluctant to give them out as they are still buggy and difficult to program correctly. Can I just use my existing HD cable box to feed the series 3 unit via HDMI or component in? My television is digital cable ready and already tunes in most of the HD channels I would be interested in recording. Can the series 3 unit also tune in unscrambled digital HD channels? I'm reading things on here regarding mapping. Wouldn't Tivo already know what digital channels I receive from my local cable provider based on where I live? For example, isn't channel 75.2 ABC-HD for anyone with a digital cable ready HDTV in my neighborhood?

    I also question the cost/benefit the series 3 is providing us. I've been a TiVo subscriber for 7 years now. I purchased the lifetime service on my series 1 unit for $199 after winning the unit in a contest. I then later transferred my service over to a series 2 unit for free after purchasing that unit directly from TiVo. Now it looks like I have to pay $800 PLUS the equivalent of my original lifetime contract purchase to transfer over my existing lifetime contract.

    I know TiVo is doing us a favor allowing us to transfer over lifetime contracts since they are not obligated to do so as lifetime service contracts are bound to the unit for the most part. Can someone explain to me the benefit of shelling out $1,000 to simply upgrade my existing TiVo unit to one that records HD when cable companies supply their own DVR's for merely $15 a month?

    I know a lot of people have complaints about these cable company supplied DVR's but bottom line, if they can record HD when most units can't, isn't that worth dealing with a few bugs here and there? If we break down the $1,000 cost of the series 3 unit PLUS the cost of the cablecard(2 if I want dual tuner HD recording) we are talking about $15 per month versus $10 per month a cable card($20 for two) on top of the $1,000 I'm paying up front to own the right to record in HD. The math here just isn't making any sense. ROI is something like 8 years out. By then most of us will probably be on to bigger and better units.
  2. mstahlkr

    mstahlkr New Member

    Apr 30, 2004
    Hoboken, NJ
    You will not be able to record HD content that is put out by another device (STB or whatever). You can record unencrypted QAM cable, encrypted cable (w/ cablecard), or OTA HD. If you only want to record OTA and/or QAM, you do not need a cablecard.

    My cableco rents cablecards for $1.25/month.
  3. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

    Mar 3, 2002
    Most of the questions are answered in the FAQ and Review. And no, you can't use the S3 with a cable box - search and you'll find past threads explaining why.

    Without cable cards you can use antenna or analog cable, or any non-encrypted digital channels by manually tuning them. For full use of digital cable you must have CableCARD.
  4. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    It's not that CableCards are buggy, but rather early CableCard hardware. Tivo has spent many months testing the Series3 to eliminate such bugs.

    Most of your other questions are answered by the FAQ.

    Tell your cable provider you want to trade-in their set-top box for CableCards. Many (most?) cable providers offer free CableCards for the first TV as an alternative to their set-top box when you subscribe to a digital package.

    You don't buy a Tivo Series3 to save money. You buy a Series3 because you value your time and don't want to deal with the frustrations associated with cable DVRs. Life is short, why put up with frustrations that are unnecessary?
  5. mick66

    mick66 Dirty Burger

    Oct 15, 2004
    The 'verse

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