Cable Cards?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Resist, Oct 13, 2007.

  1. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

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    I have read the other threads and still don't understand why an S3 box needs a cable card.

    As I understand it, I have to rent Charter's digital cable box, purchase a Tivo Hi Def DVR box and rent the cable cards so the Tivo will work? All this while paying monthly for the Charter HD package. Oh and the monthly Tivo service.

    My current Scientific Atlanta 8000 HD DVR box doesn't use cable cards and I get all their HD channels. Can you tell I am having trouble keeping up with the hardware?

    It just seems like it will cost me a ton of money just to watch and record HD TV with an easier interface. And I certainly don't understand how many people can afford mutiple boxes and services. Am I the only poor person out here?

    When will the TV technology be easier? Wide screen and high definition content only!
     
  2. demon

    demon BURNINATOR

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    The CableCARD contains a decryption processor, which decrypts digital video streams from your cable provider. It also manages the lists of channels from your provider, mapping the "virtual" channel numbers generally used for the individual cable channels to QAM channel and subchannel (stream) numbers.

    You don't *have* to get CableCARDs if you don't want them - if you get all the HD content you care to over the air, you're more than welcome to use that method. Also, if your cable provider transmits local OTA channels as clear (unencrypted) QAM streams on their cable network, you'll be able to watch them - however you won't get guide data for those channels, as the numbers won't match up (and may be subject to change). Keep in mind that this is not always the case - there's an FCC mandate that says they're supposed to, but different providers show differing levels of interest in complying with that.

    The SA 8000 box has security logic hard-wired onto its system board - it has chips which serve the same purpose as the CableCARD. However, newer cable boxes (anything used for the first time after July 1, 2007) will have to use CableCARDs - this is a new FCC requirement.

    Dunno about that - I'm not wealthy, but I threw my lot in for a Series3 because I'd read up on the SA and Moto DVRs, and found that they were generally quite bad, by most actual customers' accounts.

    It's not going to get easier. Unfortunately with the availability of higher-quality (visually at least - overall quality can still be argued for a lot of what's on TV) content, the content producers are more and more paranoid about you, the end customer, taking their precious content and selling it for profit. CableCARD is the result of that, and the requirements spelled out in section 629 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (requiring reasonably open access to new digital content by third-party hardware). Unfortunately CableCARD is something of a red-headed stepchild as far as the cable industry is concerned - they don't want to deal with third party hardware, and they don't like CableCARD (ironically, they're the ones that speced it out - so it's kinda their own damn fault, but I digress). Fortunately once you get them set up, they (usually) just keep working.

    Also, keep in mind that many cable operators tack on assorted hidden fees when you use their DVRs - I haven't used a cableco myself, but I've seen other threads where those who have enumerate all the different charges they stick on your bill for the box, for the DVR functionality, and several other things you wouldn't expect. Obviously, it's a matter of choice, but if you ask people around here, you're probably going to hear "Yes, TiVo is better". Is it *cheaper*? Well, not necessarily - it may work out that way under some circumstances, but for a lot of people using the new HD-enabled TiVos, it's not about saving money (or at least, not primarily so), but having a better overall DVR experience than what you'll get with the cableco box.
     
  3. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

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    Well if I need a cable card for an HD Tivo then what is the point of the Cable box? Seems like I have to pay for several things that do the same thing that one box can do.
     
  4. bguzik

    bguzik Barry R. Guzik

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    McMurray, PA
    That's the point...a TiVo S3 or TiVoHD is a REPLACEMENT for the Cable Company's Set-Top box/DVR. If you have a TiVo, you don't NEED their Set-Top

    I have a TiVo S3 here with CableCARDs and no Converter Box from my Cable Company...
     
  5. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

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    Northern...
    What bguzik says -- the CableCards are REPLACING the converter box.

    You will still need the converter box, however, for video on demand or pay-per-view.
     
  6. demon

    demon BURNINATOR

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    If you really care for either, yes; some people don't. My current provider doesn't offer any on-demand content at all (I think they don't have the bandwidth, and they're not what you'd call savvy about the latest in their business), and I can get PPV content (better quality even) via Unbox or XBox Live on my 360. My old provider's on-demand selection didn't really have anything that seemed worthwhile either - some apparently do, but to me the whole idea of TiVo is making your own on-demand...
     
  7. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

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    I don't care for PPV. So then this is good news that I wouldn't need the Charter cable box! Thanks for clearing that up. Now I wonder if Charter actually has the cable cards for a Tivo box and how much they cost. I hope if they have them they don't cost more than what I am paying for the SA8000 a month.
     
  8. zaknafein

    zaknafein Shorthanded

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    Kansas City, MO
    They have them, as they are required by law to give them to you.
     
  9. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

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    I currently pay $11.99 a month for the SA8000 DVR box. The cable cards will cost me $1.50 each, so only $3 a month. I will save a few bucks a month on my cable bill. That is great!

    Now to decide which HiDef Tivo to purchase. I want to get 2 and transfer the lifetime on our Series 2 for one of them.
     

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