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Tivo Series 3 + Comcast? Cable Box or No Cable Box

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by scasarano, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    I am about to purchase my first HDTV. I have read horror stories about people using the Comcast Tivo DVR for HD. I have no problem spending the extra money for the Series 3 HD Box. However, will I also need to get the Comcast HD box in order to get HD or can I connect the cable (out of the wall) into the Series 3 Tivo Box, and get all of my HD channels (including premiums like HBO HD)?
     
  2. retired_guy

    retired_guy New Member

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    Aug 27, 2004
    Saratoga,...
    You will not need the cable box to get premium HD, but you will need to get cable cards from Comcast. They typically cost less than a cable box or may even be "free" depending upon the Comcast plan you sign up for. To get Video on Demand and Pay per View, you would need a Comcast box (although some systems allow Pay for View to be ordered by telephone).
     
  3. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Thats what I thought. Looks like the Comcast Tivo is pretty crappy. Does anyone know what it costs per month for a second Tivo Box if I keep my standard def Tivo box for the other TV?
     
  4. VivaLasVegas

    VivaLasVegas STeVo HD

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    May 17, 2007
    Shirley, MA
    From TiVo's site:
    Multi-Service Discount ("MSD") is available for $9.95 per month, 1-year of prepaid service at $99 or Product Lifetime Service for $299.
     
  5. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Guess I'll have to see what would cost me more:

    299 Tivo HD Box + 2 Cable Cards + $10 extra / month for second Tivo Box

    or

    Comcast HD Tivo DVR Box (I know its not as good as a regular Tivo Box but I guess I'll see what adding the box would cost)
     
  6. retired_guy

    retired_guy New Member

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    Aug 27, 2004
    Saratoga,...
    The HD box supports the M-Card from Comcast so you'll only need one cable card; the S3 requires two cards. Also, I'd go with the $99/year plan or buy a lifetime for $299 rather than the monthly plan; you'll save quite a bit of money over time.

    I used the Comcast box for about a year prior to getting my S3; I think you'll find a HD or S3 box to be a great decision.
     
  7. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Does the $299 HD Tivo Box require 1 or 2 Cable Cards?
     
  8. cantona7

    cantona7 New Member

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    Jan 9, 2007
    You can use 1 M-Card. That's what I have in mine and it works great. The only caveat is that you can't get OnDemand services--not an issue for me, but if you're used to using it, bear that in mind.
     
  9. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Jan 20, 2004
    Be aware that many Comcast techs don't know what an M-card is, even if you request it (they will say that they are requesting the M-card and then the Comcast tech will show up to do the install with two S-cards).

    Additionally M-cards aren't available in all markets. I gave up on getting an M-card for my Tivo months ago, even though not having one is costing me an extra $7 per month with Comcast.
     
  10. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    I may just suck it up and just get the Comcast Tivo. Sure the interface will be slower but I dont really feel like dealing with buying another Tivo Box and the hassle of getting the right cable cards from them.
     
  11. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Jan 20, 2004
    The Comcast box isn't horrible (as some would have you believe) but the Tivo is much much better. The primary reasons that I went with the Tivo were that I could upgrade the Tivo to much more storage (the Comcast box only stores about 20 hrs of HD which is not nearly enough for me) and that I could use the PC features with the Tivo Desktop (which has turned out to be a mixed bag to say the least).
     
  12. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    20 Hours of HD should be good for me. I usually keep my Tivo pretty lean. Especially because I will be taping the kids shows on my SD Tivo upstairs.
     
  13. ewilts

    ewilts Who, me?

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    Feb 26, 2002
    Mounds View, MN
    It depends on where you live. In some areas, SDV is rolling out or will be soon. No TiVo shipping today supports SDV today so there's a possibility that there are some channels you may not be able to see.

    In most areas, the Series 3 will work once you install CableCARDs, something many/most of us (me included) have done without issues.
     
  14. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    What is SDV?
     
  15. retired_guy

    retired_guy New Member

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    Aug 27, 2004
    Saratoga,...
    Here's a link describing SDV; you should ask your local Comcast office regarding when or if they expect it to be used locally. As stated previously, TiVo doesn't have support for SDV so far but have indicated they plan to support it with a Comcast device which would attach to the TiVo's USB port.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_video

    One approach you could try is to install the standard Comcast DVR now and see how you like it since there's no penalty in replacing it. I did this myself for a year since I wanted HD prior to the S3 being available. Some find the Comcast box OK and I'm certain it's improved since I had mine 21 months ago. I found replacing it with the S3 best described by the old saying "it was like stepping into a warm bath". I had minor problems with cable cards initially on the S3 but a year later when I got my HD, Comcast clearly had their act together and it took their service guy about 15 minutes to call in the data and get the card working.

    Note that the HD now sells for slightly under $250 on Amazon.com.
     
  16. scasarano

    scasarano New Member

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    Aug 23, 2004
    Does the Comcast HD DVR have HDMI or only Component?
     
  17. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

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    Jan 20, 2004
    There are versions with HDMI, Component video or both HDMI and component video. You will have to request one that has the type of connection you prefer.
     
  18. retired_guy

    retired_guy New Member

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    Aug 27, 2004
    Saratoga,...
    21 months ago when I got rid of my last box, new Comcast boxes had both HDMI and component. But they earlier distributed a bunch with only Component and if you are offered a used or reconditioned one, you might get one on those. In those days, even with a HDMI box, they didn't include the HDMI cable. The ones with component only had 120GB of disk whereas the HDMI boxes had 160GB. So ask about these factors when you get a box. Note that even with 160GB if you're recording primarily HD, you'll effectively have less space for programs than recording in high density on a 80GB Series2. That's one of the factors which make the S3 and HD so appealing; it's really easy to add additional disk space if you find out you need it.

    How much space a given program can take varies but I just checked my S2 and S3 for typical storage requirements for one hour of recording using a HD program on the S3 and high quality recording on the S2. Each hour on the S2 took about 1.6GB; one hour of HD on the S3 took about 6.3GB. So 80GB yields about 50 hours of recording on the S2; 160GB would permit only 26 hours of HD recording on a 160GB HD TiVo (or Comcast boxes since all HD boxes record the signal bit for bit). These numbers vary by channel and cable provider but probably are close to what you'd see if you use high quality for SD recording.
     
  19. MikeAndrews

    MikeAndrews Registered abuser

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    Jan 17, 2002
    Northern...
    No. The Comcast tech will show up with ONE M-card and tell you they hate CableCARDs because they take so long to install, especially since they only stock the trucks with ONE card when you've told them you'll need TWO, so the tech has to find another to get a card from and drive to his location.
     
  20. Meklos

    Meklos New Member

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    Nov 22, 2002
    I thought Tivo had come out with a solution to the whole SDV problem? Or was that just an annoucement of intent?
     

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