Cable card/tuning adapter swap for cable box?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Chris Jones, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Oct 9, 2019 #1 of 10
    Chris Jones

    Chris Jones New Member

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    Oct 8, 2019
    Hey forum.... long time reader, first time poster. :)

    I've got a premier xl w/cable card and I recently had my cable package updated (was on an old plan so long that I started losing channels). So when they finally updated my package I saw that many of the channels I should be getting I wasn't. Dealt with the cable company (Spectrum) again and they said that I needed a tuning adapter due to the switched digital video they did (never knew anything about that... so I got to learn new stuff!).

    It worked great for a while, but lately many channels (not just the ones not working from before, but existing ones) will pixelate some. I'll see the red light showing up on the tuning adapter often. I've tried rebooting the adapter, and sometimes that helps, but the problem comes back.

    Now I know I could get a hold of my cable company to swap out a possibly faulty tuning adapter, but I'm afraid it will be a waste of time. In getting to this point I've had three different folks come out and the last one told me that in our whole area they have less than 6 customers he thinks that even *have* a tivo / cable card / tuning adapter. I'm afraid any adapter replacement I get will be some refurbished one, or the problem will come back.

    So my question is - can't I just stop using the cable card/adapter and put in a cable box instead? I mean, the cable box does the same thing as the card/adapter combo, right?

    I submitted this question to tivo's support, and they came back with "If your cable provider will stop supporting tuning adapter, then you can just use your TiVo with antenna." Well, that's nice and all... but that didn't answer my question.

    I'm hoping there's some experts here that could help. I'm also wondering the same thing with the new tivo edge.... could that use a cable box instead of a cable card too?

    Thanks in advance,
    -chris
     
  2. Oct 9, 2019 #2 of 10
    pshivers

    pshivers Retired!

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    Alhambra, CA
    Tuning Adapters are a necessary evil with cable providers like Spectrum, I know as I was a customer for 10+ years in Southern California until I moved to Texas last July and am with Suddenlink now and no tuning adapter requirements for my two Roamios!

    I do not know if this will cure your problem,. But...

    If Spectrum wired you cable coax into the tuning adapter and then connected a coax cable to the Tivo from the TA, you need to separate them.

    Add a cable splitter and connect the tuning adapter and the Tivo separately to the splitter with the only connection between the tuning adapter and the Tivo being the USB cord.

    Power everything off and restart your equipment.

    I found that weekly reboots were still required to keep my system working with occasional calls to Spectrum's Technical Support robot to "Refresh my Box" to get things working properly again after losing many of my paid for channels.

    Since I've moved to Texas and am using Suddenlink I have had zero problems with cable programming since installed three months ago.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Oct 9, 2019 #3 of 10
    Chris Jones

    Chris Jones New Member

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    Oct 8, 2019
    I've got the cable line (pretty sure) split... one going into the tuning adapter and the other into the tivo (and then the usb wire connecting both boxes). So with the 'power everything off and restart'... do you mean the tuning adapter only, or that *and* the tivo?

    And still being specific - are you saying that my configuration will not work with a cable box only? I'd *much* rather do that if it can work. Sure seems like it should. Somebody's got to know the answer to that. :)

    -chris
     
  4. Oct 9, 2019 #4 of 10
    pshivers

    pshivers Retired!

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    Nov 4, 2013
    Alhambra, CA
    I mean power both off, seems to work better than just recycling the the TA.

    You can disconnect the TA completely, but you will lose any channels that are "switched" by Spectrum.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  5. Oct 9, 2019 #5 of 10
    krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    You can use a cable set-top box (STB) or DVR instead of your TiVo/CableCARD/TA setup but a cable STB is not a substitute for a TA. (Modern TiVos don’t work the way they used to, when they could encode a video input to digital.)

    See also: https://support.tivo.com/articles/FAQ/How-Switched-Digital-Video-Impacts-Me-FAQ
     
  6. Oct 9, 2019 #6 of 10
    Chris Jones

    Chris Jones New Member

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    Oct 8, 2019
    Thanks for the webpage... reading it.

    But when you say I can use a cable set-top box or DVR *instead* of my tivo/cable card/ta setup.... what exactly are you referring to? A different tivo box, or a non-tivo product entirely?

    I'm sure you're trying to help me, but since I'm not fully following your reply, can you be clearer for me.... can I use a cable company cable box *in place* of having the cable card in my tivo and the tuning adapter?

    Thanks,
    -chris
     
  7. Oct 9, 2019 #7 of 10
    lhvetinari

    lhvetinari Si non confectus, non reficiat TCF Club

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    Jun 24, 2019
    Chicago
    Hi Chris,

    I also have Spectrum (and a Tuning Adapter + Cablecard config). My experience is with Cisco/SA, so I might not be as helpful here, but I'll try.

    Red light tells me you're on a Motorola system. How is the wiring done (splitter at the wall, one leg to Tivo one leg to TA is optimal - don't use TA passthrough, especially with Moto units). The red light usually means the head-end is attempting to communicate to the TA. If it comes on very often, there is likely something wrong with the TA.

    You can NOT use a cable box in place of a TA on modern Tivos.

    As for a replacement, just about every one you'll get is a refurb (because there's just not that many going around). That being said, I've been lucky - mine have all been OK.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2019 #8 of 10
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Dayton OH
    Just to be clear: A cable STB will not allow you to use your TiVo without a CableCARD and TA.

    From what I've heard the Motorola TA is less trouble than Cisco, but you definitely want to use a splitter as the Moto TA has considerable pass-thru loss. Unfortunately Spectrum has probably the worst record for supporting TA's of any cable co. Good Luck!
     
  9. jmbach

    jmbach der Neuerer

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    Jan 1, 2009
    As far as I know, a tuning adapter has no bearing on pixelation. The tuning adapter gets the request from the TiVo for a channel and sends it to the head end of the cableco. The cableco tells the TA what frequency it is being broadcasted on and the TA tells the TiVo.

    Pixelation has different reasons. Some are external (signal) and others are internal (hard drive, power supply, etc).

    First thing I would do is get Spectrum to roll a truck to check signal. It is very possible that you have marginal signal and then adding a splitter to get the signal to the TiVo and TA causes the signal to be subpar giving you pixelation and the TA seeking the cableco head end.
     
    krkaufman likes this.
  10. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

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    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    As stated above you cannot use a cable box in place of a tuning adapter or CableCARD. If you want to use a TiVo with cable, you must use a CableCARD, and if you want to view any channels that are delivered by SDV, you must have a tuning adapter.

    When you're having problems viewing a particular channel, you can go into the diagnostics on the TiVo and see what the signal levels looks like on that channel. The way a tuning adapter works is that it will assign a particular frequency to the channel that you want to watch and then tell the TiVo what frequency that channel is on so it can be tuned, but those frequencies vary and are assigned each time you try to tune the channel. It's possible that you only occasionally have problems because sometimes the channel is placed on a higher frequency that has more trouble maintaining a good signal. You can play around with this by placing all of the tuners on the TiVo onto different SDV channels at once and then going into the diagnostics and seeing what frequencies those tuners are on and what the signal levels are like at each frequency.

    I was having tuning problems on SDV channels occasionally and I determined by looking at the tuner/channel diagnostics that whenever the the tuning adapter assigned the channel to a particular frequency I would have problems viewing the channel, but if it assigned it to a different frequency I didn't. I did some wiring rearrangements to try to boost the signal strength and it helped resolve the problem mostly.
     

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