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I need advice in adding two more S3 Tivos

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by promark747, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. Sep 1, 2008 #1 of 11

    promark747 New Member

    Jul 15, 2007
    I currently have an S3 with two cable cards (Comcast) in my family room. It works great.

    I would like to add two more S3s -- one to my master bedroom and one to my basement. (Right now I am using the Comcast-supplied Motorola boxes and I hate them.) I have a few questions regarding this endeavor:

    1. If I add two more S3s, do I need to have Comcast come out to install four more cable cards? I assume that is the case if I want to watch/record two shows on each S3, but if I am willing to use the basement and/or bedroom unit just for watching what is on the family room S3, is there a way to network them? Will Comcast charge for each additional CC?
    2. If I do go with a total of six cable cards, will there be an issue with bandwidth? It is conceivable that I could be simultaneously recording six HD shows and also surfing the internet with my cable modem. How much can the cable support?
    3. I am one year into a three-year contract with Tivo for my first S3. Is there an additional charge for adding more Tivos?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Sep 2, 2008 #2 of 11

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    I would consider going with the TiVo-HD and a single cable card (M type ) for each TiVo.

    I am using 4 TiVos of the HD type and bandwidth has never been a problem

    There is a charge (from TiVo) for each new TiVo on your account but you should get MSD pricing on the new TiVos

    You may also consider that having 3 TiVos you can record 6 programs at once, if you don't need that the last TiVo may not need any cable card as you can xfer between TiVos.

    Just some thoughts
  3. Sep 2, 2008 #3 of 11

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    Recording HD content shouldn't have any impact on your bandwidth usage or limitations. Comcast will need to install cablecards in each new Tivo HD if you want to record any encrypted shows. If you have digital cable then most likely all of your shows are encrypted. Comcast will charge you for each cablecard. The suggestion to use M-cards is a good one since you'll only need one card per Tivo HD and should help keep your monthly Comcast bill to a minimum.

    You can network the Tivo HDs and use MRV to view the contebnt of any Tivo on any other Tivo. The show is actually copied over to the remote Tivo for viewing and will reside on both DVRs until you delete them.
  4. Sep 2, 2008 #4 of 11

    moldymac New Member

    Mar 26, 2006
    Depending on how much HD your recording, you could do what I did and thats to have a single tivo (in my case an series 3 with 2 cable cards) and have the tivo HDs in the other rooms with no cards and just use MRV to watch the pre-recorded HD shows. Worked out so far for me.
  5. Sep 2, 2008 #5 of 11

    Gregor save the princess save the world

    Feb 18, 2002
    You may run into signal strength issues, depending on how many splits are in your RG6 wiring. Cable cards can be very fussy about low signal levels.

    I had to run a couple more "home run" lines to get my S3s a stronger signal, and even then I needed a +15db amplifier on one S3 to get an unpixellated picture.

    Comcast finally had to run a new line from their distribution point to my house, and it still left a craptacular picture at times.
  6. Sep 3, 2008 #6 of 11

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    1. RF signal levels are irelevant to the CableCards. They do not receive RF of any sort.

    2. The tuners in your receiver (in this case a TiVo) are capable of receiving signals that are quite low, especially compared to nominal analog signal levels. Digital transmisions in general, and QAM specifically, is tolerant of relatively low levels and low S/N ratios.

    Unless your situation is fairly unusual, you should not require amplification. If you have more than 8 outlets in your house, and if the total cable run to the splitter and then the subscriber tap is over 100 meters, then an amplifier may be in order. Otherwise, in general, not. If your wiring topology is incorrect, then fixing it can make a vast difference. Otherwise, the average consumer should be just fine with 4 sets and ordinary wiring, provided the CATV provider's signal at the subscriber tap is within engineering specifications. Most contemporary CATV systems spec the output of their subscriber tap to be no less than 10 dBmV or more at channel 2 and 12 dBmV or more at what would be the highest analog channel. Digital carriers are typically run 10 -15 dB lower than analog channels.

    Bad coaxial drop cables can cause problems, period, but replacing a drop cable won't make up for an improperly balanced CATV system. Adding amplifiers and other signal conditioning equipment may partially cover up the issue, but the answer is to have Comcast provide a good signal to the entry point of your house. After that, it's pretty much up to you, but once again unless you have a very large house with lots of receivers, an amplifier is probably not necessary.
  7. Sep 3, 2008 #7 of 11

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    Ignoring SDV for the moment, the bandwidth has nothing to do with the number of receivers. Your provider will probably have something like 100 analog channels (600MHz) and perhaps 20 - 50 QAM carriers. These will be present at the back of every receiver no matter how many receivers you have. Increasing the number of receivers does not change the bandwidth. Indeed, nothing changes the bandwidth. It's a fixed number determined by the active devices used in the CATV plant and the number of modulators at the headend.

    Again, ignoring SDV for the moment, however many channels your CATV company has. If we throw SDV into the mix, then there is a fixed limit to the number of channels the CATV system delivers to a particular node, but the number is typically in the hundeds, and since your S3 cannot currently receive SDV channels in the first place, the question is moot.

    Internet usage is a somewhat different matter. Your downstream bandwidth is whatever your CATV company offers and you have purchased. Your applications will share that bandwidth. If you are downloading videos on both the Tivo and your PC, you will possibly notice a slow-down in the data transfer. Add a VOIP conversation or two and some large file transfers, and things might start to seem like dial-up again.

    Yes. See the TiVo website.
  8. Sep 4, 2008 #8 of 11

    supie New Member

    Mar 28, 2007
  9. Sep 5, 2008 #9 of 11

    drew00001 New Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    I also have two TiVos, with the S3 having 2 cablecards and the THD having 0 cablecards, but am only able to transfer SD content via MRV. All of the HD content on the S3 has the copy protected symbol on it, preventing transfer. Otherwise, this is a good setup, but only because I have the THD hooked up to a 4:3 television.
  10. srcohen

    srcohen New Member

    Sep 23, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Adding a HD TIVO without cable cards is intriguing...
    Will it receive digital channels? HD channels?
    Or just "lower" channels?
  11. RonDawg

    RonDawg Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2006
    CableCard(s) allow a compatible device to receive encrypted digital cable channels. Without them, only OTA, analog cable, and unencrypted digital cable channels (clear QAM) can be received with a Series 3 or TiVoHD. TiVo does not provide guide data for clear QAM, thus limiting its usefulness with these channels.

    On my cable system, only the OTA locals, and a few foreign language channels, are on clear QAM. Everything else that is not on analog is on encrypted digital.

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