Basic Cable, Decimal Channels, and Cable Cards

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jotsbox, Jan 8, 2009.

  1. Jan 8, 2009 #1 of 24
    jotsbox

    jotsbox New Member

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    Jan 7, 2009

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    Configuration: TW cable w/basic service (22 channels) + TiVoHD + broadband connection via RR.

    Here's the issue: With basic cable, we also get "free" HD channels like 1813 for NBC-HD. For some reason, TiVo sees these HD's as decimal channels, like 18.13 (or 18-13). The channels are in the channel list after you allow TiVo to scan its coaxial connection, but only as decimal. The guide does not recognize these decimal channels.

    I have read some conflicting posts on the use of CableCARDs enabling TiVo to see these HD decimal channels in their native non-decimal form, and thus improving the possibility that the guide will see 1813 as NBC-HD.:confused:

    Please comment, thanks!
     
  2. Jan 8, 2009 #2 of 24
    jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    The channels that you are seeing are clear-QAM channel that are provided by TW. There are dozens of threads with thousands of posts about these. Use Search to find them. Bottom line, there is no guide data available from TiVo for these.

    If you had cablecards installed these channels should be mapped to the proper cable channel and thus provide Guide Data. However, many cable providers will not provide cable cards unless you subscribe to their digital tier. You'll have to check with your local cable office.
     
  3. Jan 8, 2009 #3 of 24
    jotsbox

    jotsbox New Member

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    Yes, I read about this in other posts - I'm starting to learn the terminology (like QAM). I was just looking for a concise answer after spending over an hour on the phone with three different TW reps who gave me 6 different stories on this issue.

    Now, if we toss-in the SDV tuning adapter, does this change the issue?
     
  4. Jan 8, 2009 #4 of 24
    ewilts

    ewilts Who, me?

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    Nope. The Tuning Adapter helps with tuning switch signals, not clear QAM.

    The real answer for digital programming is to subscribe to the provider's digital service. Then everything happens somewhat automagically.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2009 #5 of 24
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    That is not correct. It has been proven that a Tuning Adapter connected to a TiVo in the absence of CableCARDs maps the Clear QAM stations to the cable company specified channel numbers, and thus allows the TiVo to get full guide data for them.

    A CableCARD will do the same thing as a TA for Clear QAM channels (i.e. map them to the cable company specified channel numbers). If you could convince your cable company to provide either to you without subscribing to digital cable, you will get full guide data for them.

    There is a proven hack for this that associates OTA guide data onto the Clear QAM channels, but that requires one to remove the TiVo hard drive, extract the drive image onto a PC, and send that image to a fellow who will modify it and send it back. I have done this and now get full TiVo guide data on all my Clear QAM channels (no TA or CableCARD installed).
     
  6. Jan 8, 2009 #6 of 24
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    CableCards currently serve two purposes: (1) decrypt any encrypted channels you pay for, and (2) remap QAM channels to the official numbers in the cable company's lineup. [Some have reported that a TA will also accomplish #2.]

    That's why you need a CableCard to see these digital channels on the "official" lineup numbers in the TiVo guide with program information. The TiVo has program information for the official channel number, but not for the internal QAM number.
     
  7. Jan 8, 2009 #7 of 24
    wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    Interesting. Since the tuning adapters tend to be free, and the cards not, that could actually be useful.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2009 #8 of 24
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    Yes indeed. A TA is a much, much better solution for Clear QAM channel mapping than CableCARDs. CC's have a ton of cost associated with their decryption services; channel mapping is almost an afterthought. It's like hitting a small nail with a very big hammer. The TA is specifically designed to do 1 thing only: map channels (including, but not limited to, SDV channels). The TA is actually a very elegant solution to the Clear QAM problem.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2009 #9 of 24
    wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    Eh, I don't think I can go along with calling the TA elegant in any respect. :) It's an ugly kludge. But possibly a money saver in this case.
     
  10. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    The TA solution also suffers from two limitations:

    1. It is only available in a limited number of markets

    2. In most cases, the cable company will only provide it if you subscribe to Digital Cable
     
  11. jotsbox

    jotsbox New Member

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    Well, TW here in Albany NY does not have the TA yet. The TW tech told me they will be available in late January. In any case, I'm having TW install two one-way CableCARDS for a total of $3.70/month. They did not have an issue with this + my basic cable service and agreed this is the only way to get the guide working on TiVo. Their m-cards are still in testing...

    The TW tech also said that eventually I must have the TA (it will be free), but probably more for standard service and premium tiers. He was inclined to say that a TA would not be required for basic digital cable service. Who know? The geekfactor with all this must be formidable to Joe the Plumber.

    SAXION: Do you have a ref for your statement about the TA and guides?
     
  12. jotsbox

    jotsbox New Member

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    Jan 7, 2009
    post
     
  13. jotsbox

    jotsbox New Member

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    Jan 7, 2009
    Found this:

    Does the DVR still need CableCARD(s)?

    Yes. CableCARDs are still required to decrypt encrypted programming and to decode copy-protected channels.

    Your CableCARD(s) will need to be authorized for the additional channels. Some cable providers will allow their customers to pick up a Tuning Adapter at a local office and will “hit” the CableCARDs remotely to authorize them to display all the channels in the SDV lineup. Some will send an installer to connect the Tuning Adapter and either swap out the CableCARD(s) or call in to get the existing ones re authorized. Still others may offer multiple installation options. Your cable provider will give you complete information when they roll out Tuning Adapters in your area.

    If the Tuning Adapter is not operational because it is disconnected, powered off, in standby mode, or is getting a firmware update, the DVR uses the channel map on the CableCARD to tune to your channels. During these times, you will not be able to view or record programming on SDV channels.
     
  14. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    ...but if you're willing to forgo those channels, you could use just the TA. Personally, I wouldn't, since that's usually the bulk of the digital channels; but I can see where someone might find the option beneficial.

    With just a TA, I'd expect to receive analog + OTA-equivalent digitals.
     
  15. Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

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    Here you go.
     
  16. vstone

    vstone Active Member

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    Digital cable transmits many digital streams. Some are video/audio streams. Some are data streams. Proprietary data streams tell your cablebox or cable card to relate cable channel 1813 to the video stream of interest. There is another, standard, non-proprietary data stream that is supposed to relate the video stream of interest to a number for QAM tuners. If this is a broadcast channel carried by the cable system, it is supposed to map this stream to, say, 7-1. For non-broadcast channels like ESPN, the value to map the video stream to is undefined. The standard, non-proprietary data stream that I'm discussing is usually not properly formed and therefore doesn't work. Even if it did, it wouldn't do your Tivo much good.

    You may thank who ever wrote the law, the FCC, the cable companies, and Tivo for this mess.
     
  17. DealDuderino

    DealDuderino TiVo Enthusiast!

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    NYC
    I plan to subscribe to basic cable with one cablecard (Time Warner NY, $16).

    My goal is just to get the channel mapping and guide info for local stations. (Of course, I wouldn't mind if TNT HD, which comes through unencrypted on a digital channel, happens to get mapped and give me guide data as well -- but I can live without it, definitely not worth any extra $$.)

    If I only want unencrypted basic cable, then will one card suffice to retrieve my guide data? Or do I need to get two?
     
  18. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    If it is a m-card that will be sufficient. If it is an s-card the TiVo will revert to single tuner mode.

    If you have the original S3 model it will require two cablecards regardless of type.
     
  19. DealDuderino

    DealDuderino TiVo Enthusiast!

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    Jan 3, 2009
    NYC
    I should have been more specific. Tivo HD model. Hmmmm, so it sounds like I need two cards if they are S-cards or one M-card. Thanks, jrm01!

    Any thoughts on whether I'll retain TNT HD once the CableCard's inserted?
     

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