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Old 08-03-2014, 03:48 PM   #1
bhelman
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TiVo and clear qam

There are several posts are using TiVo with clear qam channels, but I'm not finding definitive answers and nothing overly recent. My scenario is very basic and straight-forward. It's a university environment using a hybrid satellite/OTA system that ends up presenting the channels as clear qam over in-house coax (no tuner/box needed). I understand that channel guides may be tricky (although our system does have a channel guide), but does TiVo have a dvr that is capable of tuning in/recording our mix of SD/HD (roughly 50 of each) channels? Also, the system uses sub-channels (e.g 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, etc). Can Tivo recognize all of the channels?
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:06 PM   #2
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There are several posts are using TiVo with clear qam channels, but I'm not finding definitive answers and nothing overly recent. My scenario is very basic and straight-forward. It's a university environment using a hybrid satellite/OTA system that ends up presenting the channels as clear qam over in-house coax (no tuner/box needed). I understand that channel guides may be tricky (although our system does have a channel guide), but does TiVo have a dvr that is capable of tuning in/recording our mix of SD/HD (roughly 50 of each) channels? Also, the system uses sub-channels (e.g 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, etc). Can Tivo recognize all of the channels?
A Tivo can record clear QAM, no problem on that. You won't have any guide data on a system like that though. So, you would have to do manual recordings.

I had Wide Open West for a provider and they numbered/mapped their clear QAM channels to their virtual channel numbers. So my Tivo could record using the guide service. But from what I've read, WOW is an anomaly when it comes to clear QAM.
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:15 PM   #3
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From what I've read, there is also confusion over features across TiVo DVR's. As far as you know, will all of the TiVO DVRs (that aren't cable company specific) support this? If I run up to Walmart and buy a Roamio, will that work? I haven't used TiVO in years (since DTV ended their relationship with them), so I don't know much about their line anymore). It also looks like the service will work for a week w/o registering the device. Is that your understanding too (so I can buy a Roamio et al and test it)?
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Old 08-03-2014, 04:54 PM   #4
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You'll get better advice if you post the zip code, university and any documentation they gave you about technical requirements.

The issue of support breaks down into a few parts.

Can the Tivo decode and display the video?
Does the Tivo know what's playing / where?

For Digital systems (ignoring Analog):
Some Tivo models can decode OTA/ATSC(8VSB) and/or QAM.
Some Tivo models can decode only QAM.

A Tivo that matches your system type, should be able to tune into everything there is. If Tivo has no notion of your cable plan, the Tivo can still do a channel scan and you end up with channel numbers like you get when a (digital ready) TV is connected to this cable system.

This lets you watch live TV, have a live buffer, but does not tell you what you're watching.

To figure out what's playing and when/how to record things, a tivo box needs a schedule guide, and a channel mapping system, which depends on data providers.

This is where you type in your zip:
www.zap2it.com
And see if you're listed and if the numbers match or not.

If you're listed and all the channels are there, then the schedule data is available. (and not, if it's not)

For the channel mapping part, Tivo for most commercial cable systems has "modernized" and then depends on a CableCard to map the channels.

In theory, Tivo could still create a static, ClearQAM map, just in downloaded data / software, for any systems which don't move their channels around. Some people on the board (on medium-smallish cable systems) had reported that this has worked for them. Some other people (on larger cable systems) beiieve CableCards are the only way to do it now.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:21 PM   #5
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I'm actually the one who is managing the install of the video system for the university. I'm trying to find DVR functionality for anyone who may wish to go that route. We have a few faculty-in-residence who have already asked how to get dvr functionality back (they had it when we were using a traditional cable provider). The managed service is provided by Campus Televideo. Again, they bring in DirecTV, Dish (foreign language programming), OTA and a couple other services. These collapse to a head-end in our Data Center and then gets retransmitted as clear qam channels over house fiber/copper to the other buildings/TV's. The guide is provided by Campus Televideo. I believe there's is a feed that can be tapped in to (it will also be displayed via a computer-injected channel). I'm not at that point. The guide will be relatively static. Changes will be based on requests from the Resident Student Association.

So, getting back to TiVo, I'm looking for a DVR solution that will let people record programming, even if it's more like a VCR (ie you need to know the channel and time as opposed to selecting a program).

Thanks.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:22 PM   #6
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From what I've read, there is also confusion over features across TiVo DVR's. As far as you know, will all of the TiVO DVRs (that aren't cable company specific) support this? If I run up to Walmart and buy a Roamio, will that work? I haven't used TiVO in years (since DTV ended their relationship with them), so I don't know much about their line anymore). It also looks like the service will work for a week w/o registering the device. Is that your understanding too (so I can buy a Roamio et al and test it)?
Don't know whether or not TiVo still has the "works for a week w/o service" option.

A Roamio should work fine (although as noted above you probably won't be able to get guide data so all recording would have to be manual), but you have to understand that the issue is not SD vs. HD, it's analog vs. digital. A Roamio is digital only. It is perfectly capable of receiving and recording SD as long as it is digital. I'm pretty sure that channels of the form n.n have to be digital.

Yes, HD requires digital but digital does not mean that it is HD, Nor does 16x9. 16x9 doesn't even require digital.

I have a Roamio (w/CableCARD) connected to an all digital Comcast system and I watch and record SD (480i) content all the time, mostly old TV shows and even older movies.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by bhelman View Post
I'm actually the one who is managing the install of the video system for the university. I'm trying to find DVR functionality for anyone who may wish to go that route. We have a few faculty-in-residence who have already asked how to get dvr functionality back (they had it when we were using a traditional cable provider). The managed service is provided by Campus Televideo. Again, they bring in DirecTV, Dish (foreign language programming), OTA and a couple other services. These collapse to a head-end in our Data Center and then gets retransmitted as clear qam channels over house fiber/copper to the other buildings/TV's. The guide is provided by Campus Televideo. I believe there's is a feed that can be tapped in to (it will also be displayed via a computer-injected channel). I'm not at that point. The guide will be relatively static. Changes will be based on requests from the Resident Student Association.

So, getting back to TiVo, I'm looking for a DVR solution that will let people record programming, even if it's more like a VCR (ie you need to know the channel and time as opposed to selecting a program).

Thanks.
You might want to talk to TiVo directly, explain your situation, and see if they can create guide data. I'm not sure it is doable, but it doesn't hurt to ask. You might also want to contact Tribune Media Services.

When dealing with clear QAM, it's not lineup changes that are usually at issue, it's frequency changes where the cable company moves an existing channel to a different frequency, which requires that the channel scan be redone even though the lineup didn't change.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:36 PM   #8
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Some people on the board (on medium-smallish cable systems) had reported that this has worked for them.
Can you provide a link to a post where anyone, anywhere has reported this.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:38 PM   #9
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Frequencies won't be an issue since I control the channel remapping and retransmission on campus. TiVo doesn't make it easy to find the appropriate group to speak with, but yes I intend to call them tomorrow. I was trying to collect information before I called so I asked the right questions.

Thanks for the input.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:40 PM   #10
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Since you're the one managing the university's video service, I'd think there would be a way for you to notify Tribune/TiVo of your service, what channels/networks are available and on what channel numbers, and then when someone searches in your zip code, your university video system would be a provider option they could choose. I don't know what steps you'll have to take to make that happen, but I'm sure it's not difficult.

But until then, you'll only be able to do manual recordings by time/channel.
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Old 08-03-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
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You might also want to investigate what it would require to support CableCARDs purchased by the user, since it may not be possible for TiVo to provide guide data for clear QAM absent a TiVo s/w modification.
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:33 PM   #12
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Ok, that's something I've been trying to follow. If the signals are coming through in the clear without any encryption, what is the purpose of the cablecard? I though cable cards were coded to the cable company. In this case, there really isn't one. Or are there cablecards that are just generic, for this purpose?
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Old 08-03-2014, 06:44 PM   #13
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Can you provide a link to a post where anyone, anywhere has reported this.
Are you not counting this?

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...3#post10194683

Not much point in arguing this, since OP will have a definitive answer from Tivo, unless the answer is No and there are older systems that are grand-fathered.

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Frequencies won't be an issue since I control the channel remapping and retransmission on campus.
You might want to try to pretty-up the channel lineup then, it'll be more friendly for the users. Are the SD and HD channels duplicates?

What about locally sourced content... like a student run TV or FM station, Broadcast lectures, Webcams? Someone would have to feed that kind of data to Tribune, if you have those.

Quote:
TiVo doesn't make it easy to find the appropriate group to speak with, but yes I intend to call them tomorrow.
It's an option on this consumer facing page:
http://www.tivo.com/lineup.html
Guess they're called a TiVo Lineup Specialist

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Originally Posted by DevdogAZ View Post
I don't know what steps you'll have to take to make that happen, but I'm sure it's not difficult.
I recall a Tivo rep making a lineup for a tiny university apartment, probably the only Tivo user there. Long time ago though.

Last edited by telemark : 08-03-2014 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:32 PM   #14
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Seriously? Your sole cite is a post in this thread and it is at odds with every other post on the subject made since the first digital capable TiVo? Not to mention the fact that it is far more likely that he was seeing the simulcast analog channels. WOW supports CableCARDs so why would they even need to do this, even if it were possible, about which I have my doubts.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:33 PM   #15
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Ok, that's something I've been trying to follow. If the signals are coming through in the clear without any encryption, what is the purpose of the cablecard? I though cable cards were coded to the cable company. In this case, there really isn't one. Or are there cablecards that are just generic, for this purpose?
In addition to decrypting, CableCARDs are also used to map the transmitted channels/frequencies to the cable channels. There have been some reports of people using cards they purchases of of ebay to get a channel map for clear QAM channels and thus be able to get guide data.

While CableCARDs are usually set up to be used by a specific head end, I believe it is the cable company end that enforces this and since you control the system, it may be possible for you to support these cards. You'd still need to contact TMS and TiVo, but it makes it more likely that TiVo can provide guide data.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:52 PM   #16
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Seriously? Your sole cite is a post in this thread and it is at odds with every other post on the subject made since the first digital capable TiVo? Not to mention the fact that it is far more likely that he was seeing the simulcast analog channels. WOW supports CableCARDs so why would they even need to do this, even if it were possible, about which I have my doubts.
I connected my Tivo HD to WOW's clear QAM after reading a thread posted by another person in the Roamio forum who had 3 Tivo HD's and a Premiere Elite connected in this manner. He didn't want to upgrade to cable cards and he was happy with SD pq. So it does work with WOW, just because the guide service doesn't work with the majority of cable systems (because of channel mapping or lack of) doesn't make it less true. A Tivo WILL RECORD CLEAR QAM.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:32 PM   #17
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I connected my Tivo HD to WOW's clear QAM after reading a thread posted by another person in the Roamio forum who had 3 Tivo HD's and a Premiere Elite connected in this manner. He didn't want to upgrade to cable cards and he was happy with SD pq. So it does work with WOW, just because it doesn't work with the majority of cable systems (because of channel mapping or lack of) doesn't make it less true.
TiVo HDs have analog tuners. I know that doesn't explain the Elite since the Tivo Elite|4XL|4 are digital cable only, but my skepticism is based on more than just the lack of any other reports like yours, and numerous reports to the contrary, it's also the fact that TiVo has repeatedly stated that they have not and will not provide guide data for clear QAM channels.

Installing a CableCARD isn't an "upgrade". It doesn't enable HD and it's absence doesn't disable the capability. It's the digital tuners in the Series 3 and later model TiVos that enables reception of HD, not the CableCARD.
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Old 08-04-2014, 06:16 AM   #18
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I'm actually the one who is managing the install of the video system for the university. I'm trying to find DVR functionality for anyone who may wish to go that route. We have a few faculty-in-residence who have already asked how to get dvr functionality back (they had it when we were using a traditional cable provider). The managed service is provided by Campus Televideo. Again, they bring in DirecTV, Dish (foreign language programming), OTA and a couple other services. These collapse to a head-end in our Data Center and then gets retransmitted as clear qam channels over house fiber/copper to the other buildings/TV's. The guide is provided by Campus Televideo. I believe there's is a feed that can be tapped in to (it will also be displayed via a computer-injected channel). I'm not at that point. The guide will be relatively static. Changes will be based on requests from the Resident Student Association.

So, getting back to TiVo, I'm looking for a DVR solution that will let people record programming, even if it's more like a VCR (ie you need to know the channel and time as opposed to selecting a program).

Thanks.
My son is going to George Mason University who also uses Campus Televideo and we were able to use an HD TiVo in his dorm room. If I recall correctly George Mason was an option during guided setup after entering the zip code for Fairfax, VA. I would assume that that Campus Televideo provides the lineup information to Tribune but you should be able to confirm that with them.

Scott
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:22 AM   #19
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You could just buy a Roamio and try it. YOu have 30 days.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:00 PM   #20
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Can you provide a link to a post where anyone, anywhere has reported this.
There was one guy who posted here years ago (and then within the past few years IIRC responded to my message much like this one), who did have the cable "just work" on his system without a cable card.. But IIRC even that stopped working.

Basically, you NEED a cable card to use a Tivo as "intended" for cable recording.

If there are any of the clear QAM recorders (I think there are some, check the tivo competition threads), they would be able to do what you need.
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