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View Full Version : Can a TiVo HD DVR use a regular digi cable box?


Ziggie
05-05-2009, 06:24 AM
I'm considering getting a TiVo HD DVR. I've read some posts about using a "cable card". Granted, I really have no clear idea on what a cable card does or offers (I've heard you can't do PPV).

So, I was wondering, can a TiVo HD DVR be attached to a regular digital cable box? Something like how I have my Series 2 set up now? Or does it require cable card(s) in order to work?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Resist
05-05-2009, 06:50 AM
The cable card is basically the digital cable box only smaller and costs you less to rent from the cable company each month. The Tivo HD needs cable cards if you want it to show cable content.

LifeIsABeach
05-05-2009, 06:50 AM
The TiVo Series 3/TiVo HD units do not work with cable boxes. Only cable cards. Just think them of them as very small cable boxes. You rent them from your cable company just like the boxes. They are used to map the digital channels into the correct channel numbers just as the boxes do. You are correct that they do not directly support PPV. However, for my cable company I can call to order a PPV event and then tune to the channel to watch with no problem. That does not work for all cable companies. It does not support your cable company's OnDemand programming at all (although TiVo has its own OnDemand content).

lrhorer
05-05-2009, 06:50 AM
I'm considering getting a TiVo HD DVR. I've read some posts about using a "cable card". Granted, I really have no clear idea on what a cable card does or offers (I've heard you can't do PPV).

So, I was wondering, can a TiVo HD DVR be attached to a regular digital cable box?
Nope. The only inputs are RF. Hypothetically, you could attach the RF output of the STB to the Antenna input of the THD, but you would have no wayto control the STB from the TiVo. All you would be able to do is start a manual recording on the TiVo on channel 3 / 4 as the case may be and then manually select the channel on the STB.

Or does it require cable card(s) in order to work?
CableCards are not required for OTA (digital or analog) or for analog Cable. They are required to receive digital CATV channels.

Ziggie
05-05-2009, 09:30 AM
Thank you everyone for your replies!

The TiVo Series 3/TiVo HD units do not work with cable boxes. Only cable cards. Just think them of them as very small cable boxes. You rent them from your cable company just like the boxes. They are used to map the digital channels into the correct channel numbers just as the boxes do. You are correct that they do not directly support PPV. However, for my cable company I can call to order a PPV event and then tune to the channel to watch with no problem. That does not work for all cable companies. It does not support your cable company's OnDemand programming at all (although TiVo has its own OnDemand content).

Ah, thank you. PPV + OnDemand is a big part of our lives. So I guess the TiVo HD unit isn't a good option for us(?) I was one of the people who received the "free" upgrade email but if it doesn't suit our lifestyle then maybe it's not a good fit for us :(

LifeIsABeach
05-05-2009, 10:11 AM
Ah, thank you. PPV + OnDemand is a big part of our lives. So I guess the TiVo HD unit isn't a good option for us(?) I was one of the people who received the "free" upgrade email but if it doesn't suit our lifestyle then maybe it's not a good fit for us :(

You may want to just hang in there until the Series 4 comes out. Not sure when that will be. Of course it will probably pretty expensive for the first year after it comes out.

Conard
05-05-2009, 10:32 AM
Another option, if your TV has several inputs you could keep the cable box for VOD and PPV.
Just hook up the Tivo HD with cable cards and use it for regular viewing and if you want to do the 2 way thing with VOD switch the TV input to the cable box.

Works for me:)

Ziggie
05-05-2009, 11:54 AM
Thanks again for your helpful replies. A new Series 4 is out of the question for us as we live in FL and will be using any extra money to pay for homeowners insurance. State Farm recently informed the state that they will be leaving and all the insureds will need to look for other coverage. Not an easy task in a hurricane state.

Thanks Conrad for your suggestion :)

Stephen Tu
05-05-2009, 02:59 PM
Ah, thank you. PPV + OnDemand is a big part of our lives. So I guess the TiVo HD unit isn't a good option for us(?)

Although the current TivoHD doesn't work with the cable company's PPV/OnDemand, if you have high-speed internet it works great with Netflix's streaming & Amazon's download services, which are good substitutes for cable VOD. I only occasionally use cable company VOD, for their free movies only. For anything else Netflix/Amazon is cheaper.

Netflix is really a lot cheaper for a high-volume movie watcher, if you utilize the primary DVD(or Blu-ray)-by-mail service. Their instant streaming selection isn't good if you prefer newer releases, but at least it's a totally free add-on to the DVD-by-mail.

Amazon is more expensive but has better selection of new stuff, if you want instant gratification and don't want to wait a couple days between movies to exchange by mail. Also they recently added HD/5.1 content which makes them a lot more attractive than what was previously available.

Ziggie
05-06-2009, 06:42 AM
Thanks so much Stephen for your informative post. I appreciate your reply!