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I want my QAM-in-the-clear TV!

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by sockgap, Sep 22, 2006.

  1. Sep 22, 2006 #1 of 185
    sockgap

    sockgap TiVo'd in Jan 2000

    51
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    Sep 20, 2006
    Sunnyvale, CA
    So my S3 is all hooked up to the cable feed, waiting for the Comcast guy to show up next week with my cablecards. But I've got no HD channels in the meantime, so I hit on the bright idea of running the channel scan to see if the HD locals show up in the clear and low and behold there they all are, like Fox is on 2-1 in great quality, easily as good as it would be on 702 if I had my cable cards. Trouble is, TiVo won't supply guide data for it, won't admit the channel is Fox, keeps putting its hands over its ears and saying "I'm not listening" etc.
    Yeah I know, this is in the FAQ - QAM-in-the-clear is half supported, no guide data, yada yada yada.

    Then I tried splitting my cable feed (already had it through a splitting amp anyway) feeding the copy into the antenna input, then redoing guided setup for cable and antenna. My theory was that it would find channels like 2-1 on the antenna input in the course of the scan. Turns out that doesn't work though. Damn. Must be that only ATSC channels are looked for on that input.

    So here's my plea. Please TiVo, make digital local channels work.
    It gives multiple HD channels that work even if your cable card is missing or on the fritz. Some people wouldn't even need to get cable cards, if all they want is HD locals and analog cable.
     
  2. Sep 22, 2006 #2 of 185
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    7,061
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    Sep 21, 2004
    There's no way for TiVo to automatically map those channels to their channel ids. This is basically what a cable card does.

    A lot of people have requested that TiVo offer channel mapping however, so you could manually set each channel. Hopefully, TiVo will add this someday to allow non-digital subscribers to use clear QAM channels. Considering the initial cost is $800, you can't blame them for not rushing this feature. Most of the people paying that much will be paying for digital cable already (or will be now that they have the TiVo).
     
  3. Sep 22, 2006 #3 of 185
    lemketron

    lemketron Senior Bit Twiddler

    73
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    Jun 24, 2002
    Sunnyvale, CA
    TiVos are networked devices though. Like jukebox software that connects to CDDB, I would expect that once someone has manually mapped the channels for a given area (assuming TiVo doesn't just do it themselves), that information should be made available -- at least as a preliminary set of defaults -- to any other TiVo users on that cable system.

    Mapping is a PITA, and (IMO) there's no reason to ever make two people in the same area have to both do it (unless you take the first few just to confirm the data is correct before releasing it to others). Once it's been done (or updated) it should be automatic. How often does the QAM channel mapping change anyway? It never changed in the month I had my HD set before the S3 arrived.
     
  4. Sep 22, 2006 #4 of 185
    Steve Richards

    Steve Richards New Member

    51
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    May 6, 2004
    Norwell,MA
    Then I tried splitting my cable feed (already had it through a splitting amp anyway) feeding the copy into the antenna input, then redoing guided setup for cable and antenna. My theory was that it would find channels like 2-1 on the antenna input in the course of the scan. Turns out that doesn't work though. Damn. Must be that only ATSC channels are looked for on that input.[/QUOTE]


    So call ATSC channels are actually 8VSB which is not QAM. Some cable systems do send 8VSB over cable though.

    Steve
     
  5. Sep 22, 2006 #5 of 185
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
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    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    I pay $12/month for cable and for that I get all the HD locals, which I can tune using the built-in QAM tuner in my TV (no cable box). I suspect I'm not alone, and that there is a large group of consumers who are interested in the S3 precisely because they want to record HD without having to upgrade their cable subscription. Which begs the question: why didn't TiVo include manual channel mapping of unencrypted QAM channels on the S3? The S3 has been delayed for years...they had plenty of time to add what should have been a trivially simple feature.

    I have a worrisome suspicion. TiVo is trying to foster a cozy relationship with the cable industry (see their recent TV Week ad for the S3 making a "customer loyalty" / "churn reduction" argument direct to cable execs in pointing out the lack of satellite support in the S3, and their recent business deals to bring the TiVo interface to cable STBs). TiVo wants to be a partner with cable, not a competitor. I believe they are reluctant to add features to the S3 that directly hurt cable companies financially, and manual channel mapping would mean that customers would not have to buy "official" HDTV support from their cable provider which entails a digital tier, an HD tier, a cablecard rental, etc.

    I'm worried that we will never see manual channel mapping of unencrypted QAM channels on the S3. I won't buy an S3 without this feature, and I know I'm not alone. Perhaps if we make our voices heard, we can overcome TiVo's reluctance to upset big cable too much.
     
  6. Sep 22, 2006 #6 of 185
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,137
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    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    I am pretty sure QAM data can differ between people in the same given area. It depends on what cable "headend" your home is served by. There's no way for TiVo to know that and no way to know it won't change.
     
  7. Sep 22, 2006 #7 of 185
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,137
    1
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    Kinda like coming out with a product that replaces a cable company's very profitable set top box? :rolleyes:
     
  8. Sep 22, 2006 #8 of 185
    Steve Richards

    Steve Richards New Member

    51
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    May 6, 2004
    Norwell,MA
    Not to mention that you could be served by different vendors (IE Comcast/Verizon).

    Since the mapping can change at anytime Tivo would need an agreement with each MSO to provide the data and agree to provide it real time. Very unlikely to happen...
     
  9. Sep 22, 2006 #9 of 185
    jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Yup, a manual QAM mapping function is needed for sure. It should be very easy to implement, so maybe we'll see one in the next release.
     
  10. Sep 22, 2006 #10 of 185
    ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    2,212
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    Jan 8, 2006
    Thats why we are only asking for MANUAL mapping, not automated. I can map them myself and take responsibility when they are changed.
     
  11. Sep 22, 2006 #11 of 185
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,137
    1
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    Not gonna happen.

    TiVo's all about 'ease of use'. They're not going to add a feature that 'requires' customers to go thru that painstaking process. Especially when 99% of their customers don't know what the heck "QAM" is. Plus customers would be expected to re-map QAM stations when/if they change.

    Basically: it leads to a bad product experience.

    Using a CableCARD leads to a good experience.

    I don't expect TiVo to EVER add remapping for any purpose. It's just not something they think a big enough percentage of customers would find useful especially considering the possible side-effect of alienating people who 'don't get it'.
     
  12. Sep 22, 2006 #12 of 185
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    7,061
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    Sep 21, 2004
    I don't know. They already said they are "considering" it for a future release. So they are certainly aware of this. From what I have been told, the sony box did channel mapping in a pretty intuitive way. Obviously, this would be an advanced feature, but I don't think its an impossible feature.
     
  13. Sep 22, 2006 #13 of 185
    Jazhuis

    Jazhuis New Member

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    Aug 30, 2006
    Despite the argument that manual QAM mapping might make things complicated, I think there are about 20 threads in this forum that contradict that statement. :D
     
  14. Sep 22, 2006 #14 of 185
    cwoody222

    cwoody222 Active Member

    11,137
    1
    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    From users that understand what the heck it is in the first place.

    Personally I don't think it's complicated. But my father or friend or co-worker with TiVo? They'd have no clue.

    They're also working on TiVo ToGo for Mac. And a Netflix deal. And a Verizon deal. And HMO apps. And adding features for DirecTV users. Shall I go on?

    "Considering" and "you'll see it in your lifetime" are not the same thing :D
     
  15. Sep 22, 2006 #15 of 185
    mindstorm

    mindstorm New Member

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    Jan 7, 2005
    Stop it....you're making me laugh too hard. I'm still wiping the soda off my monitor and out of my nose :D (submitted on behalf of 99% of those people who have had to deal to the S3 and cable cards and their respective vendor)
     
  16. Sep 22, 2006 #16 of 185
    sockgap

    sockgap TiVo'd in Jan 2000

    51
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    Sep 20, 2006
    Sunnyvale, CA
    What gets me is that it doesn't even seem hard for TiVo to map these channels automatically.

    Example: Fox is on analog 2. Guess what digital channel 2-1 is? Clue: it's a cute animal with red fur.
     
  17. Sep 22, 2006 #17 of 185
    lemketron

    lemketron Senior Bit Twiddler

    73
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    Jun 24, 2002
    Sunnyvale, CA
    Heh. And, it wouldn't be that hard to do an assisted mapping either. Heck, the guided setup already asks "what channel do you see on channel x - is it foo? or bar?"

    Given that some areas (like Sunnyvale) only get seven HD channels in the first place, two of which are encrypted, mapping the other five would be trivial: Show a HD channel, and have the user select "ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, or PBS?" The second channel has only four choices left, and so on. If nothing else, it would give people programming guide information to hold them over while they're waiting for cable cards, or help those who don't plan to get anything other than basic cable (never mind whether that's a waste of a S3 box or not).
     
  18. Sep 22, 2006 #18 of 185
    Robo1234

    Robo1234 New Member

    18
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    Sep 20, 2006
  19. Sep 22, 2006 #19 of 185
    theone

    theone New Member

    28
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    Nov 11, 2002
    saxion
    That unfortunately is the exact reason I just bought another S2. I dont want to pay for digital cable just to be able to record HD. No cablecards without digital cable in my area.
     
  20. Sep 22, 2006 #20 of 185
    jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
    0
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Why? It's in the Sony DVRs and was easy to use.
    Besides, this isn't for the 99% of customers that don't know what QAM is - it's for the 1% that do.
     

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