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Old 02-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #1
ghiggz
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How many cable cards do I need for TiVo Premiere?

I'm getting ready to purchase a new 2-tuner TiVo Premiere, but I'm slightly worried about the cost of the CableCards. I know Comcast provides the first one free, but charges an additional fee for the second one.

Does the TiVo Premiere need two CableCards in order to utilize both of its tuners, or can it do so with only one? I also heard something about multi-stream CableCards...

Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:29 PM   #2
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You need 1 M card and 1 tuning adapter.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:33 PM   #3
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Are the standard CableCards provided by Comcast M cards? Is the tuning adapter free?
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #4
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Are the standard CableCards provided by Comcast M cards? Is the tuning adapter free?
The M card is standard now. You won't need a TA, Comcast doesn't use SDV.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:44 PM   #5
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The M card is standard now. You won't need a TA, Comcast doesn't use SDV.
Great, so I shouldn't need to worry about a second CableCard then.
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Old 02-01-2013, 03:47 PM   #6
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The premiere only has one cablecard slot.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:57 PM   #7
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I have a 2-tuner TiVo Premiere and it uses just 1 Mcard. I kinda thought I could watch live TV and record 2 shows, but it can only record 2 shows.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:48 AM   #8
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I have a 2-tuner TiVo Premiere and it uses just 1 Mcard. I kinda thought I could watch live TV and record 2 shows, but it can only record 2 shows.
No Different then any other 2 Tuner DVR. Only has 2 Tuners. If both are recording then that is it
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:28 AM   #9
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I have a 2-tuner TiVo Premiere and it uses just 1 Mcard. I kinda thought I could watch live TV and record 2 shows, but it can only record 2 shows.
That's only logical: If both tuners are engaged in recording a particular signal, then there is no mechanism (viz. tuner) available for receiving a third separate signal.

However, remember that while all the tuners are in recording mode, you CAN either watch a previously recorded show on the TiVo's hard-drive or watch any of the programs as they are being recorded beginning at any point in the recording. And you can pause, resume, fast-forward (up to the real-time point) and rewind within the recording.

But if that's still not ample flexibility, you can spring for the 4-tuner Premiere.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:45 AM   #10
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Are the standard CableCards provided by Comcast M cards? Is the tuning adapter free?
Be sure to specifically ask for an M-card. While the M-card might be the "standard", Comcast still seems to be handing out S-cards. Might be rare and dependent on your market, but S-cards will allow just ONE tuner in ANY TiVo.

I say this cause I recently went to my local Comcast office to get some cable cards for my Series 3 (OLED). This older/past model requires 2 cable cards, but can use either M-cards or S-cards. I tried to get two M-cards (in case I wanted to maybe use them in a future Premiere), but the rep said they were all out of M-cards and only had S-cards. Since these worked for my situation, I just took the two S-cards for now and figured maybe in the future I would try to obtain some M-cards by trading them in.

So, just be sure to specifically ask for M-cards.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:40 AM   #11
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Comcast where I live knew a lot about TiVo I am in an area where I get On Demand
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:43 AM   #12
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Whether you need a tuning adapter depends on your service area. In my case, a tuning adapter is NOT required for Comcast service to a TiVo.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:54 AM   #13
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I'm getting ready to purchase a new 2-tuner TiVo Premiere, but I'm slightly worried about the cost of the CableCards. I know Comcast provides the first one free, but charges an additional fee for the second one.

Does the TiVo Premiere need two CableCards in order to utilize both of its tuners, or can it do so with only one? I also heard something about multi-stream CableCards...

Thanks!
Both the Motorola M-Card MediaCipher Multi-Stream CableCARD and Cisco PKM800, 801, 802, and 803 Multi-Stream CableCARD support up to 6 simultaneous program streams (6 tuners) The Cisco PKM908 Multi-Stream CableCARD supports up to 8 simultaneous program streams (8 tuners)
Regarding the switched digital video equipment, as far as I know Comcast killed off that project years ago by turning off the analog signal through the cabling thus recovering more bandwidth then what would have been gained from switched digital video alone.

Last edited by Mike-Wolf : 02-28-2013 at 10:57 AM. Reason: potato salad
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Old 02-28-2013, 05:56 PM   #14
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TiVo is a success at least in the sense that Comcast defaults to asking about your TiVo when you ask about CableCards... apparently they see a lot of TiVos and not many MCE boxes, which are the only other DVRs that I know of that can use a CableCard.

Comcast doesn't use SDV... yes they killed analog, but debatably they are way short on bandwidth, as they are overleveraged on bandwidth on the HD channels, which results in their rather interesting triple-channeling system that causes some quality problems. Not sure how many other providers triple-channel. Comcast has upgrades almost all their systems to 860mhz, with only one analog channel (test pattern). They cram something like 100 HD's, hundreds of SDs, a bunch of VOD channels for their market-leading VOD selection, as well as internet up to 100mbps and digital phone. I can't imagine there's much breathing room left on there.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:17 PM   #15
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If they're so short on bandwidth, why do they do On Demand?

Heck, how many people can use On Demand at the same time anyway? Even if we pretend that there are 800 free channels between 1-1000 (which I don't think there are anywhere near that many), can 800 people be using On Demand at the same time? If so, what sort of area does that cover? All the people from "some cable equipment" to me, but presumably there is other demarcation, so I can be using channel 939 for On Demand and a few miles (??) away, someone else can be using channel 939 for On Demand for some other show.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:00 PM   #16
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I have a 2-tuner TiVo Premiere and it uses just 1 Mcard. I kinda thought I could watch live TV and record 2 shows, but it can only record 2 shows.
tygerdan, you can use a cable splitter to send a feed to the cable-in port on your tv (thru the DTA from Comcast). Send the second feed to your Tivo. Then just use the input selector on the tv to select that feed or the Tivo. That way you can watch basic cable while recording two shows.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:30 PM   #17
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If they're so short on bandwidth, why do they do On Demand?

Heck, how many people can use On Demand at the same time anyway? Even if we pretend that there are 800 free channels between 1-1000 (which I don't think there are anywhere near that many), can 800 people be using On Demand at the same time? If so, what sort of area does that cover? All the people from "some cable equipment" to me, but presumably there is other demarcation, so I can be using channel 939 for On Demand and a few miles (??) away, someone else can be using channel 939 for On Demand for some other show.
There's nowhere close to 800 channels. That would be 4800mhz, which is absurd. Even DirecTV on inside wiring in only using up to about 2200mhz with SWiM, and the rest RG-6 out there is swept to 3000mhz. There is no such thing as channel 939. That is a fictional invention of your cable box's EPG (a TiVo is a cable box too for the purpose of explaining a cable system). There's only 135 channels on the whole system. 860-50 = 810/6 = 135. A 1ghz system has 158 channels, but you can't put linear programming or DOCSIS 2 above channel 135, as those types of tuners can't go up that far. On Demand for some boxes and DOCSIS 3 would work fine up there. This is an approximate guesstimate of a typical Comcast system by carrier:

4 x DOCSIS 3
1x CDV
1x analog
30x SD: 300 SD's, 10 per QAM
35x HD: 100 HD's, mostly triple-channeled
3x channels in the FM band that are bad

That's 74 out of the 135 channels gonezo, and those compression measurements might be a bit optimistic, channel numbers a bit low, and there may be other ones one there are that I'm not accounting for.

Even if everything HD is compressed to 1/3 of a QAM (basically 12mbps), if you want to have 30 users simultaneous with HD VOD, you'd need 10 QAM carriers.

EDIT: That bandwidth estimation looks a bit off. I think there are more channels on there, and I don't think they're getting quite 10:1 out of SD channel compression, and some HD's can't be triple channeled like HBO and ESPN, as their carriage agreements have bitrate requirements. There may be other factors I didn't account for as well.

XoD is a big differentiator for Comcast, as well as a big money maker. Although a lot of stuff is free, there is also a lot of HBO content that requires that $15/mo subscription, as well as Streampix, which is a monthly fee, as well as PPV movies and the like.

XoD, as well as CDV and DOCSIS are handled at the node level. Older cable systems were pushing upwards of 2,000 subs per node (and of course one sub can have multiple boxes), some of the most modern small-node systems are only a few hundred. My guess is Comcast is somewhere in the middle, maybe several hundred subs per node, although I'm not sure anyone really knows. One way to get more bandwidth is to split nodes, and push the fiber farther out into the field, as each time you split a node, of that portion of the bandwidth that is used for XoD, DOCSIS, and CDV, you double the bandwidth available by cutting the number of users sharing it in half.

Theoretically, if you make the nodes small enough (a few hundred subs at most) you can use SDV to have an infinite channel lineup, as you are effectively delivering everything except locals and expanded basic cable on an on-demand basis. Comcast, however, doesn't use SDV.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_A...on_frequencies
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:39 AM   #18
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Whether you need a tuning adapter depends on your service area. In my case, a tuning adapter is NOT required for Comcast service to a TiVo.
Comcast does not use TAs anywhere, unless someone here claims differently.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:55 PM   #19
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Comcast does not use TAs anywhere, unless someone here claims differently.
That's correct. Comcast doesn't use SDV.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:26 PM   #20
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There's nowhere close to 800 channels.

That's 74 out of the 135 channels gonezo, and those compression measurements might be a bit optimistic, channel numbers a bit low, and there may be other ones one there are that I'm not accounting for.

EDIT: That bandwidth estimation looks a bit off. I think there are more channels on there, and I don't think they're getting quite 10:1 out of SD channel compression, and some HD's can't be
OK, I just went to the XFinity TV channel lineup.. and got 22 pages of items, showing 10 at a time (1 was overlap when scrolling the list).. So I just did 22 * 9 = 198. Plus the one on the first page not overlapped.. = 199.. The last item is "45 Music Channels". How much does that really take up?
Paging through, it looks like the vast vast majority are HD.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:12 AM   #21
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OK, I just went to the XFinity TV channel lineup.. and got 22 pages of items, showing 10 at a time (1 was overlap when scrolling the list).. So I just did 22 * 9 = 198. Plus the one on the first page not overlapped.. = 199.. The last item is "45 Music Channels". How much does that really take up?
Paging through, it looks like the vast vast majority are HD.
Well, in the math above, I was assuming they were putting 10 SD's per QAM (it maybe actually be a bit lower, maybe 6-8), and I know that most HD's are running 3 per QAM. So if you assume 200 SD's and 100 HD's, that's 20 channels for SDs, and about 40 channels for HD's (since you can't triple-channel HBO, ESPN, and a few others that forbid it by contract. That's 60 out of the 135 channels for linear content. If you figure the music channels are what, 192kbps TOPs, 45*192 = 8.7mbps. That would leave 29mbps left on that channel for other stuff, and if we keep using 3.8mbps for SDs and 12.5 mbps for HD's, you could fit quite a bit more.

I think I may be slightly overestimating how well they can smush stuff onto the system, but once you account for bad carriers, like in the FM band, the analog test channel, CDV, CHSI, possible a channel for the STBs (not sure if it's separate from the CHSI DOCSIS channels), it all starts to add up. Then throw VOD on top of that, and you've blown through most of your bandwidth.

Verizon FIOS is able to offer their HD's 2 per QAM carrier, because they have no VOD, no internet, and no phone on their cable system, since those are carrier to the ONT separately from the 860mhz 256QAM signal.

On Comcast, my area has about 75 HD's.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:17 AM   #22
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BTW, this is all just simple math. It's hard to say for sure exactly what Comcast is doing, but you can get pretty close, or make other hypothetical scenarios a cable company can do.
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