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Series 3 and Basic cable? Comcast On-demand?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Jeff Lam, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Jeff Lam

    Jeff Lam New Member

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    Sep 5, 2003
    Santa Clara
    How good of a job does the series 3 do with basic cable over a standard cable line? I don't think it's quite worth the $50-100 per month just yet for digital cable to get only a handful of HD channels, most of which are available free OTA. I do watch mostly local primetime shows and would love to get them in HD on TIVO with an antenna...

    When they start getting the majority of programming in HD maybe I'll jump on the digital cable bandwagon. Although I am facinated with the Comcast On-Demand feature... However I wasn't sure if the tivo series 3 box w/ cable card supports the On-Demand... Does it? Or do you need to have the Comcast box to get On-Demand?
     
  2. Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

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    Feb 18, 2002
    Series 3 cannot do the 2-way communication necessary for On Demand. You need a cable box for that.
     
  3. A-1

    A-1 New Member

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    Mar 12, 2007
    Chicago
    Yep, I wish it could but ON-Demand still needs cable box.

    Man i hate the cable box it's so ugly and the S3 only makes it look even more ugly.
     
  4. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    ~$15 limited basic + $1.50 for the second CableCard would give you the local HD channels. That's what I have. Adding another $12 per month for digital classic would give you all of the non-premium HD channels.
     
  5. mrmot

    mrmot Lumberjack

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    Aug 27, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Just to answer that question for you - I switched from a series 2 last month and was still on my basic cable for a couple of weeks with the S3. In my experience, the S3 did a much better job encoding basic cable than my older S2. I had a very hard time telling that the signal was compressed, compared to my S2 which sometimes had issues with certain scenes.
     
  6. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

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    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Are you using cableCARDs? If so, you are probably seeing the digital version. You can tell whether or not it is analog or digital by looking in the diagnostics screen for that channel.
     
  7. mrmot

    mrmot Lumberjack

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    Aug 27, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Oh.. I am now - but that two week window I was talking about was without cable cards, so it was encoding analog cable then. You're right though - once I installed the cable cards I noticed that a bunch of the analog channels were being broadcast in digital too. Much more than I thought would be.
     
  8. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
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    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Well, you see, I'm running one S3 with cableCARDs and one S3 without them. I find that the S3 with no cableCARDs looks pretty awful with analog cable coming in. It may in fact be better than the S2, though, as you say.
     
  9. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    19,178
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    Jan 31, 2002
    Northern...
    It depends on the cable system. I have comcast here and the analog channels look better than the SD digital channels. Fortunately I only have 4 SD channels programmed in. Most of my viewing is HD.
     
  10. mrmot

    mrmot Lumberjack

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    Aug 27, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Oh, sure - my observation was certainly relative to the S2. I had them both running side by side for some time while I migrated settings and season passes over to the S3.

    I guess though overall YMMV, as aaronwt points out. In my case, I'd actually say that the analog recordings on my S3 with my cable input (comcast, bay area) were nearly indistinguishable from the original broadcast. I don't have any left on there to compare to digital recordings of the same show though...
     
  11. andrewb

    andrewb New Member

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    Jun 25, 2002
    I recently installed an S3 and have been waiting for cable cards for a couple weeks. (The cable guy is coming to install them tomorrow.) I hooked up some rabbit ears just to try over-the-air high-def (OTA HD) out.

    I have analog cable and OTA HD coming in, and the only things I'm not getting are ESPN HD, NESN HD, Discovery HD, and HD Net. (I don't subscribe to premium channels.) Analog SD cable looks better than ever, I'd say -- better than the S2. And OTA HD is awesome. I don't see any compression artifacts, which I always notice on the RCN/Motorola HD DVR. Also, there are lots of SD digital broadcast channels here in Boston that I've never seen before and can't get over cable.

    I'm pretty happy with Analog cable and OTA HD on my S3. I've even considered ditching cable altogether because most of the stuff I watch is available OTA. However, I'm giving cable card a try anyway, mostly because the wife says she likes crap like HGTV and Oxygen. Oh, and Red Sox baseball is only on NESN.

    Even if all you have is over-the-air as an input, S3 is still worth the $600 price tag (Costco). In fact, it enhances the OTA experience so much it might make you forgo cable and therefore pay for itself in short order.
     
  12. russwong

    russwong New Member

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    Sep 17, 2002
    I don't think that's true. In order to go to Digital classic, you must add expanded basic, prior to adding the $12 a month for digital cable, thus the $50-$60 increase just to get digital classic from limited basic. Were you able to add digital classic with out expanded basic? If so, I'm curious how you were able to.
     
  13. Jeff Lam

    Jeff Lam New Member

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    Sep 5, 2003
    Santa Clara
    That's what I thought... If it only costs $25 and I can get all the non-premium HD channels I may as well do that.
     
  14. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    I'm not the only one who has done it, although my local Comcast office did say no. Called Comcast to add digital classic, and my CableCards were authorized pretty quickly. A couple weeks later I decided not to keep it, and those channels were disabled. The CableCard system worked without any problem.
     
  15. wilrod

    wilrod New Member

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    Dec 24, 2006

    I'm in the Bellevue, WA ComCast area and the local pricing sheet shows that in order to get Digital Classic (or any Digital ***** package) customers must also subscribe to Basic Cable (includes Limited Basic and Expanded Cable).

    So, when you say that "A couple weeks later I decided not to keep it", were you talking about Digital Classic, Expanded Cable, or Limited Basic?

    I currently have a single S3 with two CCs and I'm trying to cut my cable bill, but I don't want to lose access to the non-premium HD channels. Any help appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  16. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    1. limited basic
    2. bought S3: limited basic, 2 CableCards
    3. added digital classic: limited basic, 2 CableCards, digital classic
    4. cancelled digital classic: limited basic, 2 CableCards

    I have never had expanded basic since I started Comcast many years ago. YMMV.
     
  17. wilrod

    wilrod New Member

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    Dec 24, 2006
    I'm surprised that the CCs weren't disabled or that you weren't asked to return them after dropping Digital Classic. Maybe they're just happy that they get to charge you $1.50/month for the CCs on top of your limited basic fee?
     
  18. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

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    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    Why would my CableCards be disabled? I had no problem getting CableCards installed with just limited basic.
     
  19. QZ1

    QZ1 New Member

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    Mar 24, 2003
    S.E. PA
    FCC mandates MSOs to provide customer requested CCs.
     
  20. QZ1

    QZ1 New Member

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    Mar 24, 2003
    S.E. PA
    Digital Classic having a pre-requisite of Expanded service or not is a local Comcast service area policy decision. If your prices/service list (FCC-mandated) says that, then you won't be able to get Digital Classic w/o Expd. (except if the CSR errs, assuming the system would even allow it).

    Our area's list allows this, as there is no pre-requiste listed. The trouble in such areas similar to mine, is they put stumbling blocks in front of the customer. Even here, the website shows services in a tiered manner- Basic, Expd., Digital, Premiums. (Heck, it is FCC mandated that one get Basic + a Premium) Obviously, the website is just a sales tool. As for the list, it shows Basic as the only universal pre-requisite. Digital Classic or Plus is required for a DVR.

    Talking to CSRs will get varying info. But, if it is in writing to allow it, telling the CSR that (sometimes they need to talk to a Supervisor) usually gets it done. Some have to go the office with the list. In rare occasions, they defy what is in writing, so one would have to complain to the Local Franchsing Authority, and then the FCC, but usually people don't bother pursuing it that far.
     

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