Dear Tivo, I want my IR Blaster back!

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by fonewiz, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. fonewiz

    fonewiz New Member

    Jul 20, 2011
    San Antonio, TX


    Long time Tivo user since first Series 1 Tivo came out. The last Tivo model I bought was a series 2, actually I own about 4 of them but not all on and in use at the moment.

    I have watched all the new Tivo models come out over the last several years and always wanted to upgrade but kept hold off.

    Finally, I bought a shiny new Tivo Premier a few days ago.

    I am VERY disappointed at this point mostly due to all the cable card and tuning adapter issues.

    Can someone tell me what the point of a cable card is instead of the original IR blaster setup?

    If the benefit is suppose to be eliminating the external cable box then I don't think that was a success, I now have a Tuning Adapter from Time Warner that takes up as much space as the cable box I have in my bedroom.

    The installs and problems with this card and adapter so far are horrible and I just fail to see why the IR Blaster method is no longer available.

    IR blaster just works and always has. There is no compatibility or install issues with the cable card, no special setup required from the cable company and so on. Tivo just simply changes the channel like a remote would. Arrg...

    Just don't get it.

    Give me my IR Blaster back Tivo, so far cable card and tuning adapter sucks!

    What happens when there is a power outage and I am not home? Do I miss shows because the tuning adapter flakes out or Tivo doesn't see it and something needs to be rebooted? I ask because I noticed when the tuning adapter it power cycled, the Tivo doesn't really see it every time until the Tivo is then rebooted.

    So if I am out of town for a week and there is a storm with a power outage, then I miss a weeks worth of recordings because of this garbage setup.

    Maybe I just don't understand it all at this point???

    Finally, am I suppose to get ALL channels through the Tivo as I do through the Time Warner provided Digital Cable box in the bedroom? At the moment, I am not sure. I saw a brochure that showed almost half the channels from Time Warner as "Not available with Cable Card".

    Rant Over..
  2. SullyND

    SullyND L: 31-14 (10-2) TCF Club

    Dec 30, 2004
    Chicago Burbs
    Would you be happy recording only one channel at a time, and likely not in HD?
  3. fonewiz

    fonewiz New Member

    Jul 20, 2011
    San Antonio, TX
    I want the HD but is Cable Card the only way to accomplish that? My TV receives HD from the cable box, why couldn't the Tivo?

    Same issue with dual tuner, pretty sure there is a way to accomplish that without cable cards.

    But, with that being said, I am truly curious as to what options are gained by using a cable card.

    It seems there are a lot of complications but I just may have had some bad luck so far.
  4. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    The cable card was indeed supposed to neatly eliminate the need for an external cable box. Interestingly, many cable company boxes now contain cable cards, and they manage to program those correctly, yet they struggle to get them working in TiVos. Instead of embracing an easier way to do things, they invented the Tuning Adapter as a new stumbling block. So, yes, given the adversarial relationship that cable companies have with their customers, it might be smart of TiVo to again allow use of an IR blaster. I suppose the cable companies could then try to come up with new, incompatible remote codes.
  5. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    Sep 21, 2004


    IR blasters aren't coming back. No way TiVo is going to advertise a HD TiVo that can't record but on one tuner and not in HD.
  6. LoREvanescence

    LoREvanescence Always Autocorrected

    Jun 19, 2007
    Salem, MA
    I bet their are more likely to go blue tooth, which would render an ir blaster usless. Tivo would need to come up with some thing newer.

    But even with that, you could never record over hdmi due to hdcp (high definition content protection). A couple years ago recording hd over component was not possible, it is now. But you would see a loss in quallity since it's analog and the recordings will likely be larger then what's in the cable company's stream. Also, having to have the tivo change the channel on the cable box leaves more room for for possible failed recordings.
  7. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    It would also mean TiVo wouldn't get cablelabs certification if they wanted to support cablecards. So, basically, they can do it, but TiVo can not longer record HD and only support one tuner. It will never happen.
  8. seattlewendell

    seattlewendell New Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    The primary purpose of cable cards is not to save space. It is to allow boxes like Tivo to record HD. Without it all Tivo can do is record SD.
    That's it, that's the list. Everything else is secondary

    When I first saw your post, I thought clearly Tivo community should implement some sort of drug testing. But you came here in earnest so let met try to help.

    I remember about 2001 everyone I knew was talking about this great piece of advanced technology called a Tivo. Well I bought one and the IR blaster nightmare began.

    Let me say that 25-30% of my recording were botched on a weekly basis. My cable box required 3 numbers to change a channel. Example CBS was 002. Tivo was almost never get the numbers correct. I tried everything; New blasters, the aluminum foil shield. Everything.

    I eventually gave up and came back to Tivo once the series 2 came along. I switched to Directv because you could connect the Tivo the Directv box via a serial cable to change channels. Finally the Tivo started to feel like advanced technology and not some piece of junk cobbled together in someone's garage.

    Once HD started to explode I spent the money on the DirecTivo box. Great box. Then the series 3 came along, and I switched back to cable, and incountered cable cards. I don't know if they always did this but since 2007 (when I got my Series 3) in Seattle Comcast has given you the option of a truck roll or pick up the cards at their office, and self install. They don't volunteer this info you have to say "I don't want a truck roll". After you pick up the cards, you need to call in to give them the host id, and other numbers and they send the signal.

    Since then I have installed 2 premieres. I have never had a problem with my Tivo installs. Period. They have all take about 5 minutes on the phone.

    Now I realize that I am lucky that Comcast in Seattle does not use tuning adapters, please do not lump tuning adapters in with cable cards. Tuning adapters are intended to save the cable company money. They don't have to send all the signals to your area. Only the signals currently being used. They are completely unrelated to cable cards.

    So if you want HD you need one of two things:
    1-A Tivo and Cable company box in one
    2-Cable Cards.

    Feel free to go back to SD and enjoy your IR blasters. 2001 called they're waiting for you.
  9. fonewiz

    fonewiz New Member

    Jul 20, 2011
    San Antonio, TX
    Thanks for the responses so far..

    I was not aware the dual tuner and HD required the use of the cable card. I guess this is why..

    Still my experience so far versus my Series 1 and 2 experience sucks.

    I mean, HD and dual tuner is great but not getting half the channels I am paying for, Tivo/Tuning Adapter not happy after power hit etc is not.

    I have used the IR blasters with various companies cable and satellite boxes and NEVER had an issue. So, I guess it's all about the luck you have.

    I could give a s**t if it's IR Blaster or cable card, I just want it to work.

    So far, IR Blaster works and cable card doesn't.

    The cable installer that came out didn't have a clue how to install the card or tuning adapter. He called someone else over which sort of had a clue but barely.

    They were here on the phone with their tech support and trying to get it all working for about 2 1/2 hours. When they left they said "Well, it can take up to a few days to get all your channels working, call us if it doesn't work by then".

    I called Tivo first today and they conferenced Time Warner in, the call lasted almost 2 hours.

    In the end, Time Warner dude says I have a bad Tuning Adapter and they will send another dude with a different one. I am not convinced this is the issue.

    I started this post because I didn't really get what improvements cable cards brought to the table, while they bring so many problems.

    Now I know, thanks for the education.

    I don't belong in 2001, I just want my shiny new Tivo and $100 plus per month cable service to work. Is this wrong?

    Call me old school, old man whatever but all of my experiences with Tivo prior to this one was just good. I have had many conversations with many friends and family over the years that have resulted in at least 20 Tivos. After this experience, regardless who's fault it is, a new Tivo is not something I will recommend at least not at the moment.
  10. aristoBrat

    aristoBrat Well-Known Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Va Beach, VA
    No. It can also record over-the-air (OTA) high-def from your local stations.

    For me, cost is probably the #1 advantage.

    I have 4 TiVos (two Series 3, two Premiers). That's 8 tuners. Requires 6 cable cards (because the Series 3 needs two cards per unit).

    At $1.99/month to lease each cable card, 6 cable cards cost me $11.94/month.
    4 tuning adapters cost me $0/month -- they're free.

    Your IR blaster solution would require a separate digital cable box per TUNER.
    At $7.99/month to lease each digital cable box, and 8 tuners, that'd be $63.92/month for the same capability that costs $11.94/month with cable cards.

    I also don't have to pay for electricity to run 8 digital cable boxes in addition to my TiVo, or have to deal with the fact that each cable box will need its own coax feed (vs. 4 coax feeds for the TiVo). Talk about a mess of wiring!

    I'm sorry you're having problems with Time Warner getting yours setup and working properly. Once it's figured out and you've used it for a week, I don't think there's really much to complain about.
  11. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    Why not in HD?
    If a cable box can output an HD signal to a TV, it can do so to a Tivo, and if that Tivo can receive an HD signal, it can record and output that signal.
  12. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    Jul 6, 2002
    I disagree, IMNSHO what CableCARD brought to the table was to eliminate HD encoding needing to be done by the Tivo, you record the digital stream as is and store it without any processing.

    The CableCARD when it wasn't being screwed over by TWC, installed by inexperienced techs, and banished to second-class status by the MSOs was a solid technical solution to a ton of problems that Tivo had needed to engineer workarounds for in the analog world previously.

    The CableCARD from a functional standpoint works, and once set up properly works surprisingly well. I can only imagine the different world we would have out there if the CableCARD hadn't been waived for satellite, and all but made as difficult to get installed as the MSOs could make it. We'd have a decent encryption key that let us, the consumers make the determination as to what device we wanted to use.
  13. danjw1

    danjw1 Member

    Sep 13, 2005
    In the Series 3 forum, there is a dedicated Time Warner thread. You can get useful tips on how to deal with them in that thread. It is a good resource you may not be aware of.
  14. rahnbo

    rahnbo Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Greenville, SC
    I'm not entirely thrilled with the CableCARDS and especially tuning adapters either but they've been much better than the IR blasters in my experience. A while back Brighthouse did something that made it impossible to change channels with IR blasters on the hour and 1/2 hour. That meant doing lots of work to get everything to record a minute later or earlier than start time. If you loose power to the STB does it turn itself back on? No STB I have owned can do this. I'm not saying none can, but none that I have leased did. Perhaps the cable company DVR's self-power can but I don't know. At least when the power is restored everything should resume to normal with a CC and TA. That's assuming it is even out long enough to totally drain the UPS. I've never seen the Premiere/CC/TA combo not come back up properly after a total power failure. In fact every time I reboot a Premiere I'm causing a total power failure by simply resetting the UPS. 10-20 minutes later all is well. The blasters also ran the risk of becoming dislodged by cats and things like that. Blasters don't work well when they're strewn across the room. Haven't seen a cat remove a CC yet. I don't know what brochure you're talking about but the only channels not available with the CC is PPV and for that I have my one free HD STB which remains powered off almost all of the time.
  15. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    I would appreciate a TiVo with component inputs. Sure it only does one channel, but it's better than using the cablebox.

    If you got CableCARD, great, everything is peachy. If you don't, like us, the cable provider's pretty much dictated "use our crappy boxes for everything". Right now I use an HTPC with a HD capture card (over component). It works, but it ain't TiVo.
  16. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

    Apr 18, 2002
    Fairfax, VA
    No. There are plenty of devices that can record in HD. As poorly as it may seem implemented, CableCARD is an industry standard and designed to simplify integration. As Diane mentions, it also allows for a pure digital transmission, tuning, and capture of the protected content.

    Now I will agree with OP that Tuning Adapters are awful in so many ways. That's what I'd like to get rid of. Actually, *I* did get rid of them when I dumped Cox for FiOS.
  17. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    The Cablecard maps, authorizes and provides for decryption of channels, it has nothing to do with the transmission method (i.e., mpeg2 over QAM) or how they are captured to disk. Any HD tuner can capture clear QAM or ATSC OTA to disk without a card.

    The card is there because of protected content, in other words, not to enable HD recording in general. We're splitting hairs, but some folks might not understand the purpose of the cards.
  18. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    While I do not believe TiVo will every build an HD DVR with IR Blasters, it isn't because of technical reasons, it is because I do not believe at this point the market would be big enough for it.

    That doesn't mean lots of people wouldn't find a HD DVR without cable cards and dual OTA tuners that could also record HD from a STB via component inputs very useful.
    1. Without cable cards TiVo would not have to pay any attention to cable labs rules or pay the cable labs fees for the DVR. And Tivo could still build other cable card compliant DVRs
    2. It would be able to record 3 things at once 2 from OTA and one from a STB
    3. It would work with everything including cable, satellite, & AT&T uverse. Meaning you could switch providers and keep your DVR
    4. The HD recordings from the STB could be in MGEG4 thus still being very high quality but taking up less space.
    Frankly if they are release such a DVR a year or 2 ago I think they would have sold more than many people on this forum believe.
  19. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    Like I said earlier, I don't believe TiVo would ever get Cablelabs approval for a cablecard device that supports IR blasters and outputs over component.
  20. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    Component is not going to be around forever. Once they stop putting any analog outputs on BD players in Jan 2013, they will probably start to remove them from other devices. They've already stopped putting Svideo inputs on most Tvs. What will be the next analog format to disappear?

    Plus any new BD players made since Jan.2011 have stopped outputting anything higher than 540P over component. I have no idea how soon other devices will start to change, but there is no question that the days of component outputs is numbered.

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