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How Can we Lobby Tivo to support information for QAM Tuners?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Rocko62580, Nov 19, 2006.

  1. Nov 21, 2006 #61 of 165
    Rocko62580

    Rocko62580 New Member

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    Sep 25, 2006
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    Called my cable company today and asked for the cable cards. You need to subscribe to full cable (I only get basic) plus digital plus HD service. That would be an extra 65.99 a month. You do the math! We need QAM technology on the S3 NOW!!!!!! Your idea doesn't work!
     
  2. Nov 22, 2006 #62 of 165
    woodie

    woodie New Member

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    Feb 7, 2005
    Menlo Park, CA
    Comcast issued me cablecards with only limited-basic + HD ($13 + $5).
     
  3. Nov 22, 2006 #63 of 165
    mportuesi

    mportuesi As seen on TV

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    Try calling the cable company again and get a different customer service rep. CSRs these days can be totally clueless, no matter what company you deal with (cell phone, satellite, cable, Tivo). You might get a different one who actually knows what's going on.

    As for the extra cost in general..... I'd love to get HBO, Showtime and Cinemax service in HD too, but the cable company wants $$$$$ for that, so I don't pay. It's reasonable for the cable company to charge extra for premium programming, but it's not Tivo's fault if you have to pay extra to get HD. The cable company's rates are public information, and you can easily determine if you're willing to pay for the extra service before purchasing the S3 unit.

    Finally, if you really can't get CableCARD service so you can get the clear QAM channels, look into attaching an antenna to your Tivo to get over-the-air broadcasts. In general, the clear QAM channels are the same ones broadcast OTA, and OTA is free. The Series 3 happily accepts both antenna and cable at the same time.
     
  4. Nov 22, 2006 #64 of 165
    c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    Silicon...
    $5 is for HD set top box rental, which you shouldn't have to pay unless you have that box from Comcast.
     
  5. Nov 22, 2006 #65 of 165
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    Impossible for many people, including myself. I live in a valley on the bottom floor of a 5-story condo.

    We've also clearly debunked the theory that CableCards are always a negligible cost. Did you see the news that Comcast are raising rates again by 6.5%?

    There is no reason TiVo cannot do what other HD-DVRs have been able to do: manual tweaking of the channel map. Overblown fears of massive customer confusion obviously did not stop Sony and others from including this useful feature. The bottom line is, excluding it will keep some consumers from ever buying an S3. This is bad. TiVo needs every sub it can get.
     
  6. Nov 22, 2006 #66 of 165
    mportuesi

    mportuesi As seen on TV

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    I was only trying to be helpful.

    Comcast is raising their rates for all customers, including the 99.9% who do not own Tivo Series 3 units. That has nothing to do with CableCARD.

    As I understand it, the FCC requires cable system operators to make the CableCARDs available at nominal cost. The real issue is that some cable system operators are requiring customers to subscribe to programming packages they don't want in order to get CableCARD. I don't know if that's legal or not, but that's the cable company's fault, not Tivo's.

    Tivo doesn't have an obligation to offer users access to every bit of functionality that is ultimately possible with their hardware, especially when doing so is likely to cost them money by support issues in the long run.
     
  7. Nov 22, 2006 #67 of 165
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    You are telling people to go out and upgrade their cable service to solve this problem, exposing them to higher costs and higher rate increases in the future (rate increases to a "Basic Cable" package will always be less than increases to a "Basic Cable+Digital Gateway+HD+CableCard" package). All to free up TiVo resources to fix the issues you want fixed. Are you asking me to subsidize your pet features?
    They have an obligation to sell to as large a market as they can. You are totally blowing the implications of this feature way out of proportion.
     
  8. Nov 22, 2006 #68 of 165
    mportuesi

    mportuesi As seen on TV

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    San...
    I'm saying that Tivo doesn't deserve the blame for cable company pricing policies.
     
  9. Nov 22, 2006 #69 of 165
    mportuesi

    mportuesi As seen on TV

    1,891
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    As I recall, QAM remapping is your pet feature, not mine.

    My "pet features" are either:

    - bug fixes for debilitating flaws in the current software (toxic recordings, partial recordings) which have appeal to 100% of the user base
    - or Series 2 features that should be part of the product but aren't there (MRV, Tivo-To-Go) that have appeal to the vast majority of users.

    Go ahead and put up a poll and find out how many people want QAM channel remapping, if they even know what it is.
     
  10. Nov 22, 2006 #70 of 165
    Runch Machine

    Runch Machine New Member

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    Minneapolis
    This is true. The Sony reads the PSIP data that the local stations send as part of the digital broadcast. For those that done't know, PSIP data is what tells your tuner that when it receives digital channel 32, to map it to 4.1 (or what ever). In my area, local channel 4 has their digital broadcast on channel 32. PSIP data makes it show up as 4.1. Tivo can read PSIP data from the over the air tuner. It should be easy to make it read the same data from the cable input and map channe 112.1 to 4.1.
     
  11. Nov 22, 2006 #71 of 165
    rehr0001

    rehr0001 New Member

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    Sep 17, 2006
    According to what I've read in the forum, cable companies are not required to send the PSIP information along with the cable feed and quite often, they don't.
     
  12. Nov 23, 2006 #72 of 165
    Runch Machine

    Runch Machine New Member

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    Feb 7, 2002
    Minneapolis
    I am not sure about the ability to take the PSIP data out. It's part of the digital bit stream. Many cable systems pass the digital OTA received signal unmodified.
     
  13. Nov 23, 2006 #73 of 165
    vstone

    vstone New Member

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    Martinsville...
    On a station which is broadcasting one HD channel and one or two SD channels, isn't the PSIP data attached to the full data stream, not the individual channels? If so, the cable company would have to add this info to the indivudual channel. They aren't going to pay to do this.
     
  14. Nov 23, 2006 #74 of 165
    moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    From what I've seen capturing entire OTA transport streams with a HD PC capture card and examining them with TSReaderLite the PSIP information is stored along with each substream - each substream has a video track, 1 or more audio tracks, 1 or more CC tracks and a PSIP track. For my cable company re-transmissions for whatever reasons most have the PSIP information stripped with the exception of ABC HD and FOX HD.
     
  15. Nov 23, 2006 #75 of 165
    vstone

    vstone New Member

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    Martinsville...
    This inconsistancy supports my contention that most, or at least some, cable systems probably are not set up right.
     
  16. Nov 23, 2006 #76 of 165
    moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

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    Mission...
    This really has no bearing on QAM channel mapping. As long as I know the frequencies of the clear QAM channels (which I do) and have a means of tracking any changes (HD local channels have not changed for 2 years in my headend) I don't really care if there is PSIP information in the cable re-transmissions or not.
     
  17. Nov 23, 2006 #77 of 165
    dt_dc

    dt_dc Mostly Harmless

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    Northern...
    Cable plants that are 750MHz or greater are required to carry the PSIP data for all unencrypted channels if it is supplied by the broadcaster.

    See 47CFR76.640

    http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/...ccess.gpo.gov/cfr_2005/octqtr/47cfr76.640.htm
     
  18. Nov 24, 2006 #78 of 165
    vstone

    vstone New Member

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    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    Yes, you have the frequencies, but as you said earlier, you had to use a PC to find all of them. You admitted that the Tivo couldn't find them. At this point we don't know if the failure to find them is hardware or software related on the Tivo end or hardware setup related on the cable plant end. A combination of these may (or may not) be very hard to identify. I don't know whether or not some relatively simple software can fix it. If it's problem with the S3's chip set with some cable plant hardware, then Tivo is not likely to be able to address this without going to S3.1. If it's a problem with improper configuration of the cable plant equipment setup, that's pretty hard for them to identify on a case by case basis and still may be hard for them to fix.

    My brother just went down our vacation home Wednesday. 3 weeks ago our clear QAM TV picked up 8 of 11 clear QAM HD channels. The tuner also picked up 3 clear QAM SD channels (that you could find up running channel up through the frequencies) that were not identified with a given cable channel number. Yesterday he could get 1 HD clear QAM channel. That may or may not indicate changing frquency assignments (perhaps affected by the NFL's manipulation of their channel and availability of games, but that's subject for another day) but the disppearance of most, but not all clear QAM channels is certainly troubling. It doesn't prove anything, but it's troubling.

    My comment about inconsistent transmission of PSIP info by cable companies infers that other technical issues also probably exist with cable system transmissions and some of these issues may affect identification of channels and/or frequencies by the S3.

    I think it's fair to say that we paid big bucks for the S3 and continue to pay for support and Tivo should repay us by at least briefly acknowledging the issue publicly with possible causes and with a disclaimer that they have their programming priorities and this may not be amoing them. I know they have good reasons for not doing it, but I think they should.

    My PC clear QAM tuner card once found a hard core video. PPV, I assume. Maybe Tivo is trying to protect us from that. If so, they are taking the wrong approach as someone in another thread saw some of this on his Tivo that he'd bought for his children to be able to watch without monitoring.
     
  19. Nov 24, 2006 #79 of 165
    vstone

    vstone New Member

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    May 11, 2002
    Martinsville...
    But how do we verify that they do? Perhaps part of the solution lies in having the Tivo tell us when there are unencrypted channels without PSIP data. I wouldn't think that Tivo is looking for PSIP data, but for the virtual cable channel number, so adding a manual unsupported mapping feature now might be superceded by an automatic one later. The second solution may require modifying the Tivo DB layout and may require modifying the programming data that we receive via phone or Internet. I wouldn't expect automatic support soon, if ever.

    THis assumes that local HD channels are unencypted, which depending on who you believe, is or is not required by the FCC.
     
  20. Nov 25, 2006 #80 of 165
    cogx

    cogx Member

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    Sep 22, 2006
    Wow, I thought everyone gave up on this two months ago, like I did after
    my twelve e-mail replies back and forth with the TiVo "lineup agents"
    finally led me to sadly accept the fact they were never going to give in
    on this issue (out of stubbornness as far as I can tell, because it is
    *NOT* a complex programming issue at all.)

    First, my plea to TiVo is limited in scope perhaps from what others are
    asking for. I do see that some people appear to be asking for the ability
    to map all digital cable stations to their cable company's corresponding
    QAM channels. Well, I do concede that is the purpose of and why TiVo
    added support for the CableCard.

    No, what I'm asking for is trivial, because ALL OF THE DATA IS ALREADY IN
    MY TIVO! I am *ONLY* talking about broadcast television stations (ABC,
    CBS, CW, FOX, PBS, NBC, etc.) which many/most of our cable providers re-
    broadcast unencrypted, specifically the HD channels, which are the ones of
    interest specifically those TiVo owners who shelled out top-dollar for the
    Series 3 in the first place.

    Here's what I'm talking about, as an example, because I find that many
    posts in this and other threads on this forum really are arguing against
    something they clearly aren't fully understanding.

    During setup of a TiVo S3, one enters in a zip code, so that the
    channel:station database is populated with the relevant "ANT" (over-the-
    air) channel:station entries for one's viewing area.

    Let's use an example, suppose one's S3's CHANNEL LIST screen looked
    something like this:


    2_1 ANT KABCDT [KABC-DT digital frequency 52, ABC affiliate]
    3_1 ANT KFOXDT [KFOX-DT digital frequency 53, FOX affiliate]
    24 CBL USA
    25 CBL TNT
    ...
    101_1 CBL *
    101_2 CBL *


    Now, let's assume that channel 101_1 is a clear QAM channel the cable
    company is re-broadcasting KABC-DT on and channel 101_2 is KFOX-DT.

    In order to use 101_1 and 101_2 properly, that is, to have guide data
    associated with it, all we need is either for the TiVo "line agents" to do
    it or to add some simple mechanism to let the end-user do it, to set an
    association (pointer, link, whatever programming term one might
    understand) between QAM channel 101_1 to station KABC-DT and QAM channel
    101_2 to KFOX-DT.

    That's all I'm talking about. As they say, this ain't rocket science, it's
    basic computer programming concepts (data structures). The data structures
    that TiVo uses to associate station KABC-DT to ANT channel 2_1, in this
    example, can just as easily be used to also associate station KABC-DT to
    QAM channel 101_1.

    So, frustratingly, the guide data I personally want for my clear QAM HD
    broadcast channels is ALREADY ON MY TIVO S3, but alas because TiVo doesn't
    want to support it, those clear QAM channels are useless for recording
    purposes, which is the entire point of owning a TiVo in the first place.

    Now, people with CableCards working in their S3s can roll their eyes all
    they want, but digital cable here is an *EXTRA* $25 per month, simply to
    allow people in my area the ability to record say CSI and Lost in HD. With only
    trivial changes to my S3's configuration, TiVo could do the right thing and associate, or allow me to associate, *existing* station guide data already on my S3 box to my clear QAM channels.
     

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