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Old 01-18-2011, 10:25 AM   #1
swechsler
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Premiere as tuner, without subscription - definitive answers (hopefully)

OK, it's been noted enough times that I think almost everyone except maybe a TiVo noob (which I'm not - been with TiVo since '01) knows that you can't really do much with a TiVo without a subscription, so please, no groans from the regulars.

I currently have two HD and two Premiere boxes, all with lifetime service, in addition to various S2 boxes (also with lifetime) lying around the house (that I really should sell on ebay before they become worthless), and don't really need TiVo service on any more TVs. However, my cable company (Cablevision) encrypts all QAM signals except for network programming and a couple of other stations, so without a cable box I'd probably be better off just using an antenna.

I see that people are using TiVO HD boxes as cablecard tuners, but apparently there's a nag screen every time you change the channel. Does the Premiere have the same issue? Do the channel assignments in a cablecard automatically get updated? If you keep the TiVO connected to the net, does the nag screen go away, even if you have no subscription?

Thanks!
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Old 01-18-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
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The definitive answer is in the license agreements. Please read them because you're legally obligated to follow them.

The channel assignments in a CableCARD are updated by TiVo to subscribed users. Even it worked today without a subscription - and I don't know if they do or not - nobody knows if they will tomorrow.

If you keep your TiVo connected to the network without a subscription, TiVo could totally and completely brick your TiVo the next time it checks in and you would have NO legal recourse. TiVo explicitly states that the TiVo DVR is a brick without a subscription.

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7. Your TiVo DVR Won't Work Without the TiVo Service! A subscription to the TiVo service is required in order for your TiVo DVR to have any functionality. No functionality is represented or should be expected from the TiVo DVR without a paid subscription to the TiVo service.

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Old 01-18-2011, 01:10 PM   #3
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The channel assignments in a CableCARD are updated by TiVo to subscribed users. Even it worked today without a subscription - and I don't know if they do or not - nobody knows if they will tomorrow.

TiVo explicitly states that the TiVo DVR is a brick without a subscription.
Both of these contradict what's been written in other threads. Just because it's TiVo's official line, it doesn't mean that's what actually happens.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:20 PM   #4
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True. But "buyer beware" is a fair warning before we hear posts of "nobody told me i needed service" or other rants/whining. Not saying the OP would do that, but many others have.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:16 PM   #5
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Both of these contradict what's been written in other threads. Just because it's TiVo's official line, it doesn't mean that's what actually happens.
Today, what actually happens now, (could change ) is an unsub TiVo (TP) can be used as a cable tuner if you want to pay for a cable card, you can't get PPV or OD or record in any way, you will not have any guide data to know what on. I don't know what the difference is between the monthly cost of a cable card and a simple (non DVR) cable box, but it can't be that much to want to use a TP in the way you want.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:25 PM   #6
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Today, what actually happens now, (could change ) is an unsub TiVo (TP) can be used as a cable tuner if you want to pay for a cable card, you can't get PPV or OD or record in any way, you will not have any guide data to know what on. I don't know what the difference is between the monthly cost of a cable card and a simple (non DVR) cable box, but it can't be that much to want to use a TP in the way you want.
A cablecard is $2.49 per month. A cable box is $10.00 per month. After one year or so, the TiVo has paid for itself (assuming I don't care about PPV or OD, which I don't). Plus I get the half hour buffer.

You didn't mention the nag screen. Does that still happen? And are channel updates sent directly to the cablecard, the way they are to a cable box?
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:56 PM   #7
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A cablecard is $2.49 per month. A cable box is $10.00 per month. After one year or so, the TiVo has paid for itself (assuming I don't care about PPV or OD, which I don't). Plus I get the half hour buffer.

You didn't mention the nag screen. Does that still happen? And are channel updates sent directly to the cablecard, the way they are to a cable box?
If you start with a new TiVo and put the cable card into the unit the first day you set it up you will have about 7 days of free service, in the 7 days all your channels will get set up with the correct names. After the 7 days the TiVo will keep the channel names (like NBC TNT etc) but if and when your cable changes/adds channels your TiVo will not update itself with the new channel information. The nag screen comes on now and then but not on every channel change, and you will get a message all the time to get the TiVo service. I think (but i not sure) that after the 7 days if you disconnect the TiVo from the network you will avoid most of the nag stuff, your TiVo time will go off but your not recording so that should not matter to you. In the early days of HD cable and before the first Series 3, I purchased a cable card HDTV, I got all the channels but not knowing what was on I found a pain with all the channels one gets, so i did get the DVR cable box until I could get good pricing on the Series 3, than i switched.
Good luck in trying this out.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:41 AM   #8
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I've been doing this for sometime now with an HD in my bedroom. We only watch two channels ESPN and channel 3.1 so we only change between these two using the live tv button. We have switched to other channels and it works fine. I disconnected the Tivo from the network so I don't get much of anything from Tivo, just whats built into the box for nags. It does work.
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:43 AM   #9
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Yep this is one of the best reasons to buy a cheap refurb box for secondary TVs - just use it as a Cablecard STB. Not many folks do this or want to talk about it around here, but it does work and can pay for itself very quickly depending on what your provider charges for a card vs. an HD STB.

I would recommend unplugging it from the network after you get it setup as others have mentioned, but I don't think Tivo would disable this functionality - they could have done so with the s/w released with the Premieres but didn't.
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Old 01-19-2011, 05:53 PM   #10
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I am also waiting for somebody to try it, so there can be a definitive answer. I will tell you what happens with the Tivo HD, so whoever tries it can compare.

For a new Tivo HD, you would want to run setup and perform all the system updates. Then, get your cablecard installed within that 7-day trial period. Finally, you would disconnect the ethernet cable.

Eventually, you will lose your program/channel information from Tivo. That is why you get a "Tivo Service Interrupted" everytime you change the channel or try to use one of the subscription features. There is also different??? nag screen that may popup when you are watching tv. That is rare though. Thus, it is probably best to set the Tivo option for "Clear Banner Quickly". The positive is when you change channels, the "Tivo Service Interrupted" screen disappears quickly, and that 2nd type of nag automatically disappears within a second. The negative is that if you are navigating via CHANNEL UP and DOWN, it can be difficult seeing the channel label.

As mentioned when a channel changes names or is moved, that old channel will have the old label. Honestly, I am not sure what happens when your cable company starts broadcasting on a new channel.

With the Tivo HD at least, the ability to manually record returned after about 30 days from your initial install. So, one could use the Tivo HD like a VCR to record shows. I have been told in this forum that this will not happen on a Premiere. Also, the clock may drift a few minutes after awhile. Another person told me that reconnecting the Tivo HD to internet for 30 seconds or so will fix the time. I have not verified this claim.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:35 PM   #11
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I am on day 10 of my unactivated Premiere. Using a cable card and an OTA antenna.

1. Changing channels- no nag screen channel up or down / entering channels. works fine.

2. hit the guide button or any other function like thumbs up/down and you will see the nag screen

3. problem with the info banner when changing channels. can't change the size. it's stuck on the largest size and it asks you to register. a little different than the full screen nag but annoying since you can't resize it to show either just the channel or the one line banner.

I think a Premiere could be used this way. Just occasional annoyances. Livable I guess.

I am just waiting for my refurb woot Premieres to be delivered and will get lifetime on them, then this one is going back to Tivo. That's why I have not activated yet.

Last edited by robby818 : 01-23-2011 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:56 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by WPe View Post
As mentioned when a channel changes names or is moved, that old channel will have the old label. Honestly, I am not sure what happens when your cable company starts broadcasting on a new channel.
The CableCards themselves provide names for the channels. Once TiVo adds the channels to their own mapping, the TiVo-supplied name overrides the CableCard-supplied name. But in the interim (which is sometimes quite long, though usually just a few days, for those with a TiVo subscription), you'll see the CableCard name.

Sometimes the TiVo-supplied name is inferior -- e.g., for the ".TV" channels on Verizon, which the CableCard all labelled with their proper names, but which TiVo all calls "Local Origination".
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:01 AM   #13
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If you start with a new TiVo and put the cable card into the unit the first day you set it up you will have about 7 days of free service, in the 7 days all your channels will get set up with the correct names. After the 7 days the TiVo will keep the channel names (like NBC TNT etc) but if and when your cable changes/adds channels your TiVo will not update itself with the new channel information. The nag screen comes on now and then but not on every channel change, and you will get a message all the time to get the TiVo service. I think (but i not sure) that after the 7 days if you disconnect the TiVo from the network you will avoid most of the nag stuff, your TiVo time will go off but your not recording so that should not matter to you. In the early days of HD cable and before the first Series 3, I purchased a cable card HDTV, I got all the channels but not knowing what was on I found a pain with all the channels one gets, so i did get the DVR cable box until I could get good pricing on the Series 3, than i switched.
Good luck in trying this out.
Interesting.
If you are doing this do you NOT connect to internet during initial set up?
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:16 AM   #14
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You definitely want to have it connected to the net throughout the 7-day period to run guided setup and get the latest s/w. After your trial sub expires, disconnect it.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:18 AM   #15
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I am also waiting for somebody to try it, so there can be a definitive answer.
Been there, done that, works fine on the Premieres as well as the HDs. I too would recommend setting 'Clear banner quickly' in settings to avoid the occasional nag.
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:41 AM   #16
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Will it still work as tuner if you have been connected for a year plus and decide to cancel subscription-then-disconnect to internet?
Will it work as described above?
Thanks for reply.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:41 AM   #17
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Will it still work as tuner if you have been connected for a year plus and decide to cancel subscription-then-disconnect to internet?
Will it work as described above?
Thanks for reply.
Yes, just disconnect before you cancel as you will get full functionality (in operations that do not require the network, like MRV etc,) for about 30 days other than running out of guide data in about 12 days.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:33 PM   #18
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Honestly, I am not sure what happens when your cable company starts broadcasting on a new channel.
Just to clarify, I am not sure because new channels on my system seem to have been handled differently.

The first couple new ones appeared on the channels list with the proper name but unchecked. Perhaps these appeared during the 7-day trial, but that is unlikely. Then, there is a new channel that is listed on my cable system's website but does not appear at all on the channel list. I cannot even manually tune to that channel. Finally, a new channel showed up today in the channel list unchecked but with no label at all.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:48 PM   #19
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The first couple new ones appeared on the channels list with the proper name but unchecked. Perhaps these appeared during the 7-day trial, but that is unlikely. Then, there is a new channel that is listed on my cable system's website but does not appear at all on the channel list. I cannot even manually tune to that channel. Finally, a new channel showed up today in the channel list unchecked but with no label at all.
Is your cable company using switched digital? If so, you may need a tuning adapter.
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Old 01-23-2011, 05:40 PM   #20
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I am on day 10 of my unactivated Premiere. Using a cable card and an OTA antenna.

1. Changing channels- no nag screen channel up or down / entering channels. works fine.

2. hit the guide button or any other function like thumbs up/down and you will see the nag screen

3. problem with the info banner when changing channels. can't change the size. it's stuck on the largest size and it asks you to register. a little different than the full screen nag but annoying since you can't resize it to show either just the channel or the one line banner.
If you press RECORD on the remote, will it start recording the current program being shown?
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Old 01-23-2011, 07:19 PM   #21
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If you press RECORD on the remote, will it start recording the current program being shown?
Sorry, can't answer that one as I returned my Amazon one and am now using a lifetime Premiere.
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Old 01-23-2012, 04:51 PM   #22
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Can someone show me a copy of the screen shot of the nag message when changing channels and what pops up for those using it as a cablebox without a subscription?

I, like many others, want do use it as an HD box but I i would hate pop ups all the time if that is the case. Comcast in my location gives one free cablecard per account and all I want to do is get my HDTV channels in another room without having to rent a box at $9.20 a month.

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Old 01-23-2012, 05:40 PM   #23
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Can someone show me a copy of the screen shot of the nag message when changing channels and what pops up for those using it as a cablebox without a subscription?

I, like many others, want do use it as an HD box but I i would hate pop ups all the time if that is the case. Comcast in my location gives one free cablecard per account and all I want to do is get my HDTV channels in another room without having to rent a box at $9.20 a month.
With the new V20.2 software all functions, except channel changing, are gone, no trick play, no pause, no HDUI, you can just watch channels like the old type cable boxes, no information about the channel except the channel number. TiVo has made the TP as useless as possible, not that I can blame them as the hardware cost only about $80, must be a good loss for TiVo if one does not sub the box. You still get about 7 days of some use for a new TP.
The nag screen only comes up when you change channels and its in the banner that would have the program info if you had a sub.
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Old 01-23-2012, 06:47 PM   #24
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that is fine with me that they disabled all of those features. I just want my HD channels without having to pay 10 bucks a month for them. I know i will be in essence paying $10 bucks a month so as long as the box lasts a year.

I have never seen a tivo and that is why i was asking those questions as I do not want a bunch of pop-ups when tuning to channel. Anyone got any screen shots they can upload for me.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:18 AM   #25
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There's no 'bunch of pop-ups', it's the standard (full) channel banner when you change channels, that's all. Tivo just replaces the program info text (show description) in the banner with text saying that you're not subbed.

But if you go into display settings and set the banner to go away quickly, it's only on-screen for a second or so and is no bother at all. Try it and if you don't like it, return the box.
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:57 AM   #26
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awesome....thanks for the replies. I really appreciate it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:54 AM   #27
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I just want my HD channels without having to pay 10 bucks a month for them. I know i will be in essence paying $10 bucks a month so as long as the box lasts a year.

I have never seen a tivo and that is why i was asking those questions as I do not want a bunch of pop-ups when tuning to channel. Anyone got any screen shots they can upload for me.
mikedahammer, I have Comcast in south Florida, and I would have to pay approximately $10 per month to pair the cablecard in order to receive non-local HD channels and premium channels like HBO. I do get local HD channels (clear QAM) and digital SD channels that do not have Copy Protection with my unsubscribed TiVo Premiere. Almost all of the digital channels below 99 currently do not have Copy Protection in my location. Almost all channels in my area are now digital. I also get a cablecard nag screen when I reboot the TiVo and start watching live tv. You cannot pair the cablecard by calling Comcast and having them only send a hit signal (but you do need to do this to get digital channels). I am currently paying nothing per month to TiVo and nothing per month to Comcast for the cablecard. I hope this helps. Does anyone know how to get rid of the cablecard nag screen?
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:37 AM   #28
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"Originally Posted by Andyistic View Post
If you press RECORD on the remote, will it start recording the current program being shown?"

Depending on the software that the box has, it will start recording for a set half hour recording. (you can't change this to an hour or more by pressing the record button again like on VCRs. ) you can go into the 'to do list' and extend the recording. This only works with some Tivos. I have seen it work with SEries 3 and SEries 4 Tivos. But many people say on this forum that the newest software totally disables any kind of recording using the 'Record' button.

I have found with some Series 2 Tivos that if you press the 'record' button' that it totally locks up and only will start working again by unplugging it. But you can use the manual recording method.

I don't do any of this manual recording as I have enough lifetime Tivos and Replay Tvs to have one running in every room/closet/garage in my house.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:29 PM   #29
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Just got a premiere box for this purpose.

I plan to disconnect from network after 7 day free-trial. But what happens when Fios shuffles their channels? On a normal cable box not connected to network, the signal is sent to the cable line, right? Will the same signal reach the cable card?

I fully understand without subscription, I won't have proper channel labellings should the fios channel do a shuffle. I just want to know, will I still get the channel wherever it moves to without being online?

Would I need to connect the tivo back to network for this purpose?

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Old 04-08-2012, 11:03 AM   #30
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Just got a premiere box for this purpose.

I plan to disconnect from network after 7 day free-trial. But what happens when Fios shuffles their channels? On a normal cable box not connected to network, the signal is sent to the cable line, right? Will the same signal reach the cable card?

I fully understand without subscription, I won't have proper channel labellings should the fios channel do a shuffle. I just want to know, will I still get the channel wherever it moves to without being online?

Would I need to connect the tivo back to network for this purpose?
To answer my own question and to help other newbies. It works! It's okay that you're offline.. You will get all the channels that you pay for even when it shuffles to a new channel, you will see it at the new channel/location.

Just don't ever use the guide or info button. Think of it like the old days when you would plug the cable directly into your secondary tv without a box. No guide service, just flip channels. This has been perfect for my parents who don't ever push guide and info in the first place. Should have done this much earlier for them.
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