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Old 09-22-2006, 01:09 PM   #1
sockgap
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I want my QAM-in-the-clear TV!

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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:12 PM   #2
rainwater
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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).
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:19 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rainwater
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).
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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:42 PM   #4
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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
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:45 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lemketron
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.
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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Saxion
I believe they are reluctant to add features to the S3 that directly hurt cable companies financially,
Kinda like coming out with a product that replaces a cable company's very profitable set top box?
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Old 09-22-2006, 01:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwoody222
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.
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...
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Old 09-22-2006, 02:53 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 03:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Steve Richards
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...
Thats why we are only asking for MANUAL mapping, not automated. I can map them myself and take responsibility when they are changed.
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Old 09-22-2006, 03:23 PM   #11
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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'.
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Old 09-22-2006, 03:58 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by cwoody222
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.
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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwoody222
Using a CableCARD leads to a good experience.
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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jazhuis
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.
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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rainwater
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.
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
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Old 09-22-2006, 04:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cwoody222

Using a CableCARD leads to a good experience.
Stop it....you're making me laugh too hard. I'm still wiping the soda off my monitor and out of my nose (submitted on behalf of 99% of those people who have had to deal to the S3 and cable cards and their respective vendor)
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Old 09-22-2006, 05:20 PM   #16
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How hard can it be?

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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 05:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by sockgap
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.
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).
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Old 09-22-2006, 06:02 PM   #18
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ATSC channels and Qam see

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=317844

I hope they can help us there are many more out there yet to speak up....we need a big voice so they make the move ......
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Old 09-22-2006, 06:23 PM   #19
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saxion
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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.
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.
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Old 09-22-2006, 06:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by cwoody222
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'.
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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Old 09-22-2006, 06:50 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by sockgap
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.
It doesn't work that way on all systems. Fox is analog channel 11 on my system and digital at 82-6 and HD at 116-1.
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Old 09-22-2006, 07:08 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by cwoody222
Kinda like coming out with a product that replaces a cable company's very profitable set top box?
I think this is misleading.

I don't think a set top box is profitable by itself for the cable company. People have reported that these boxes cost the companies $500 or maybe even $800. Therefore they are not profitable when rented at $10/mo.

It is only when a box is used together with digital cable or premium channels or PPV or VOD that is becomes profitable.

Right now S3 still allows cable companies to sell profitable digital cable and premium channels. It even gets them out of the hassle of dealing with the boxes which probably have a churn of 24 months or less. So those boxes need to be handled quite a few times during their useful life.

If the companies want to continue making money on PPV and VOD they can either:

a) stop stalling on CC 2.0
or
b) allow ordering PPV over the internet. PPV is doubtlessly where the money is. VOD is more of a loss-leader and/or TiVo competitor.
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Old 09-22-2006, 07:23 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Phantom Gremlin
If the companies want to continue making money on PPV and VOD they can either:

a) stop stalling on CC 2.0 or
b) allow ordering PPV over the internet. PPV is doubtlessly where the money is. VOD is more of a loss-leader and/or TiVo competitor.
Seems that if they recognize the potential here, they should just write an app that runs right on the TiVo (or get it integrated) for ordering PPV. If the TiVo is "on the net" it should be able to post the request over the 'net, and have the head-end send the cookie to your cable card to let you watch the show...

Or maybe we'll have to wait for Amazon's movie service to appear on TiVo (since that rumor is all over the news today). ;-)
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Old 09-22-2006, 07:38 PM   #24
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If the TiVo is "on the net" it should be able to post the request over the 'net, and have the head-end send the cookie to your cable card to let you watch the show...
This is a great idea. Screw CC 2.0, just let the TiVo make requests over the net. But its way too logical to ever happen!
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Old 09-22-2006, 08:14 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by cwoody222
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'.
I disagree...if it doesn't happen, it won't be because it's technically difficult or degrades the user experience, it will be because cable would be unhappy about too many people getting "free" HD.

Nothing about manual QAM channel mapping "requires" a user to do anything...why do you think it would? We are talking about an advanced feature buried deep in a menu somewhere. Average Joe would have no idea it even existed, and would just go out and get a cablecard just like today. Technically savvy users could choose to ditch the cablecard and map manually (and suffer the remapping if the channels should move). Adding a new option and keeping everything else the same doesn't make for a "bad user experience", it makes for a larger customer base.
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Old 09-22-2006, 08:22 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by cwoody222
Kinda like coming out with a product that replaces a cable company's very profitable set top box?
Indeed. TiVo walks a fine line here...cable obviously wants their own STB sitting there, for a variety of reasons. Did you see the TVWeek ad? It was very much reaching out to cable, trying to convince them that TiVo is good for cable, not bad. I sense a hesitancy on the part of TiVo to rock the cable boat any more than it has to.
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Old 09-22-2006, 08:43 PM   #27
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Does anyone know if the S3 TiVo will acknowledge PSIP data in the unencrypted QAM streams?

My cable company (Cox) provides the PSIP data in the stream. My HDTV is smart enough to insert the unencrypted QAM HD channel into the lineup. So when I channel surf its 3 (NBC), 3-1 (NBC HD), 3-2 (NBC WX), 4, 5, 5-1,.... etc.
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Old 09-22-2006, 08:59 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Saxion
I disagree...if it doesn't happen, it won't be because it's technically difficult or degrades the user experience, it will be because cable would be unhappy about too many people getting "free" HD.
Nobody would be getting "free HD", other than that which they are already entitled to.

You aren't going to get any encrypyted channels, even if you can map them.
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Old 09-22-2006, 09:03 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Saxion
Indeed. TiVo walks a fine line here...cable obviously wants their own STB sitting there, for a variety of reasons. Did you see the TVWeek ad? It was very much reaching out to cable, trying to convince them that TiVo is good for cable, not bad. I sense a hesitancy on the part of TiVo to rock the cable boat any more than it has to.
Makes sense. Consider how useless an S3 box is without Cable. So TiVo needs Cable to not completely hate this box, which is to say the cable card installation experience needs to get better/faster/foolproof (for users and installers), not worse (because, say, cable people see that every time a customer mentions "S3", they cringe and think "oh great, there goes another two hours of my installer's time". Ideally things would get so good that all of the cable companies would happily hand out a pair of cable cards to the customer, rather than forcing a truck roll (which I guarantee you costs them more than $15.99, and they're sure to resent having to do it).

OTOH, Cable needs TiVo S3 too; perhaps they just don't realize it yet. S3 obviously replaces (or pre-empts) cable company DVRs, which reduces cable company (PPV/OD) revenue. So, assuming the cable companies don't end up hating S3 because of installation headaches, the next logical thing would be to add in some PPV ordering functionality right into the S3 box (as I've previously suggested) which (lo and behold) starts turning the S3 into a revenue generator for the cable company.

Picture this: S3 has all of the (potential PPV) user revenue of a cable company dvr, but they didn't have to subsidize the dvr purchase because the user shelled out $800 of their own money to buy it. That makes S3 (PPV-watching) customer even more valuable to the cable company than a (PPV-watching) cable company dvr customer.

(I'm sure they love all this armchair strategizing from the peanut gallery... I'm certainly often amused to read about what people think is going on in my company and/or industry...)
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Old 09-22-2006, 09:19 PM   #30
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OTOH, Cable needs TiVo S3 too; perhaps they just don't realize it yet.
Well, if you were the cable company, would you rather have to maintain 2 solid state cards that cost about $50 or a problematic Motorola DVR that cost about 10x that?

From a hardware cost perspective, it's a no brainer - the cable company SHOULD love the Series 3.

But no matter what happens, it won't make a difference to any cable company. Even if the Series 3 sells 100K units this fall, it'll be nothing more than a blip to the cable industry.
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