Digital Cable without CableCard / M-Card?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by Steve28, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. Nov 8, 2015 #1 of 48
    Steve28

    Steve28 Member

    35
    0
    Oct 12, 2009

    Advertisements

    Hello,

    I just bought a Bolt for my parents who live in a large retirement community. They have their own community cable system which provides all of the channels in digital unencrypted form. That is, when I plug the cable from the wall directly into their TV set and do a channel scan, I get like 100 channels a mix of HD and analog.

    However, when I set up the bolt, it says I need a CableCard in order to be able to show ANY channels - even the analog ones do not show. Does this thing not even have a tuner capable of "cable" frequencies?

    The community does provide a cable card, but you have to buy it for $100. Just seems ridiculous that the Bolt can't/won't let you get in-the-clear digital or analog cable channels without a CableCard. They don't even alter the channel numbers - it's the same direct to the TV and with the card.

    Am I just missing something ... or is the Bolt missing a cable tuner?
     
  2. Nov 8, 2015 #2 of 48
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    20,332
    3,780
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Well, speaking as a Roamio owner here. There is no analog (NTSC) ability. Forget that. As for clear QAM, if you go to the Settings, Channels, Channel List, there should be a list of all digital channels your Bolt detected. None will be checked. Check them. Make them favorites with thumbs up. Do this for the whole list. They should be the same numbers as shown on your TV (minus the analog).

    Back to the guide. Select the "A" option then display channels to Favorites. Exit the guide. Now select the channels that appear. They will not have guide information. The guide depends upon a cable card. During the Guided Setup you should select the option to "add a card later". You should be able to select and view those channels on the guide, even though they have strange numbers. You may be able to make manual recording, you may not. To verify your cable card lineup, go to www.zap2it.com and enter your zipcode and provider. That should be how they will display on the Bolt.

    If they are giving you a one time cost of $100 for their cable card that's cheap. I would do that in a minute. I pay $2.95 each for two every month. Good luck.
     
  3. Nov 8, 2015 #3 of 48
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    53,825
    7,153
    Apr 17, 2000
    Nevada
    The CableCARD provides a map from the frequency the channel is on to it's actual call letters. Without it you can't record anything because TiVo has no way to match the guide data to the proper channel.

    If you find out which brand it is you might be able to find one on eBay cheaper. I've read about people getting them on eBay for a few bucks. But you need to know if it's a Motorolla or Cisco/Scientific Atlanta system so you can get the right card.
     
  4. Nov 8, 2015 #4 of 48
    Steve28

    Steve28 Member

    35
    0
    Oct 12, 2009
    The cable company already does that.. The channel numbers are already correct when the cable is plugged directly into the tv. No need to map.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  5. Nov 8, 2015 #5 of 48
    tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

    4,348
    592
    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC

    Advertisements

    As stated above, the Bolt has no analog tuner, only a digital tuner. It should be able to tune any digital SD or HD channels, but it's not really designed to work without a CableCard. If all the digital channels are unencrypted, then buying a cheap CableCard off ebay should work, if you get the correct brand.
     
  6. Nov 8, 2015 #6 of 48
    zerdian1

    zerdian1 Roamio PRO, Roamio,

    343
    0
    Apr 19, 2015
    SouthEast...
    Isn't the Series 6 BOLT (500GB Basic and 1TB Plus) both Cable and OTA?

    If it is OTA, then it should work WITHOUT A CABLECARD for OTA.

    And if it is Cable Ready, then it should work WITH A CABLECARD FOR CABLE.



     
  7. Nov 9, 2015 #7 of 48
    tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

    4,348
    592
    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    That is, of course, true. Since the OP was asking about cable, not OTA, my statement that it isn't designed to work without a CableCard was referring to it not being designed to work with cable TV without a CableCard.
     
  8. Nov 9, 2015 #8 of 48
    Steve28

    Steve28 Member

    35
    0
    Oct 12, 2009
    OP here... I guess I'm a little baffled by not being able to tune in-the-clear digital cable without a cable card.

    In this situation, the community has its own cable system that broadcasts the same cable package to all residents of the community. This cable package is entirely unencrypted digital (because the cable tv is covered under the fees required to live in the community., so there is no need to block it to anyone).

    Just like I can get the entire lineup of channels on the TV when I connect directly to the cable without a cable card, I would expect to be able to get it on he Bolt without the cable card.




    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  9. Nov 9, 2015 #9 of 48
    Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    53,825
    7,153
    Apr 17, 2000
    Nevada
    You can tune the clear QAM stations you just can't really use the TiVo to it's full potential. This is because the only method TiVo has for mapping the QAM frequencies to their channel data is from the map provided by the CableCARD. In QAM the frequencies mean nothing and can, and do, change at random. The only way for TiVo to know which frequency belongs to which channel is via a map. Some other CableCARD devices allow you to manually setup a map, but TiVo does not. It requires a CableCARD to supply the map.
     
  10. teeitup

    teeitup Member

    30
    7
    Mar 30, 2009
    The Moxi HD DVD has the ability to remap clear QAM channels when used without a cablecard. I wonder why TiVo has never done something similar.
     
  11. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    20,332
    3,780
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Please provide the call letters and channel number of your (their) CBS channel. Thanks.
     
  12. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    20,332
    3,780
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Sony did that in 2005 as long as the channel numbers were only 1 to 2 decimal points.
     
  13. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    20,332
    3,780
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Analog(VSB) is not 8VSB (OTA). The last box with analog and QAM simultaneous support was the two tuner Premiere. There are still some low power and cable analog channels in a few spots in the country. Since the OP is in a community with its own system, it's very possible analog is still used.

    Like the basic Roamio, I think the basic Bolt can receive EITHER OTA or Cable, but not both at the same time.
     
  14. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    23,568
    1,241
    Jan 31, 2002
    Northern...
    Yes. It's either Cable or OTA. Not both.

    Although I think some people actually got it to use both by combining the OTA and cable signal. But they had to make sure that there were not any overlapping frequencies.
     
  15. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    7,962
    93
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    Each Cable Card has it own address so unless the card was already mapped from the system you are on it will not work in any other system, if the head end can be set up to use any Cable Card than you would have to call whoever runs your system to see if they can put you E-Bay cable card on their system. Cable Cards don't map themselves.
     
  16. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    3,732
    1,407
    Aug 13, 2015
    We know that virtually no cable system will authorize a cable card bought from ebay. If they would, I'm sure we'd all be doing that rather than rent one. But such a card will provide a channel map whether it's authorized or not. Unauthorized, you'll get your map, but you just won't be able to tune in any encrypted channels.

    I personally don't mind paying $2/month for a cable card when it means I get over 700 channels instead of zero. Watching TV is usually much more interesting than staring at a doorstop.
     
    leswar likes this.
  17. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    20,332
    3,780
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    This year my feed changed headends. My VCT ID went from 3010 to 6. Until I got my card re-initialized, my Channel List Received was NO. Sure it was still working, but any channel lineup change, and I've had a few additions, would not have worked. Like you said, the VCT is very local. But people say it works. Who am I to judge?

    I have bought a cable card on eBay for $3. It didn't work.
     
  18. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

    4,348
    592
    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    Your statement has been proven incorrect by the experience of other people on this forum who have bought CableCards off ebay and successfully used them to remap clear-QAM channels.
     
  19. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    53,825
    7,153
    Apr 17, 2000
    Nevada
    It doesn't work that way though. There is a technology some TVs have called PSIP which can be included in the signal that contains a map, but that's mainly used for OTA not cable and is heavily controlled by the FCC. The CableCARD provides a similar map and that's what TiVo has chosen to use in their product since it's intended for use with main stream cable systems which encrypt most/all of their channels and require a CableCARD anyway.
     
  20. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    20,332
    3,780
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    Way before my cable feed went all digital and before they went all encrypted they stripped the PSIP from everything. I was using TVGOS at the time in a Sony DHG that could use OTA and cable card at the same time. But all cable is local.

    It's what got me to buy my first TiVo. I have no chance of OTA.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements