Do I need a Cox mini box?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by terryjamison, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. terryjamison

    terryjamison Member

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    We have a TiVo HD and a Romio. Currently, in Northern San Diego County, we have Cox basic cable with no cable boxes, cable cards or switched digital boxes. I have avoided set top boxes up to now.

    Over the air is not an option in our location.

    Channels have already started to disappear, replaced by "Cox is going All Digital. The Channel in this location has transitioned to a digital-only format."

    With cox going all digital, practically speaking, what are our options?
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  2. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    you need a cable card and maybe switched digital adapter since everything will be encrypted
     
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Are you losing channels on your TV also? Have you done a rescan on the TV to see if the channels moved?
     
  4. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    rescan will not help since cox is encrypting everythig when they remove the channel they just shut the analog version down
     
  5. Idealsol

    Idealsol Member

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    I'm in Cox Orange County
    You will need a cable card and tuning adapter for TiVo
    For the tv's not on TiVo you will need either a cox mini box, or a TiVo mini
    Cox gave me a cable card/tuning adapter for free for 1 year instead of the mini box
     
  6. nleavitt

    nleavitt New Member

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    I'm in COX Fairfax County, VA. They announced the transition for March 2016. I have one tv n analog. Maybe I can get them to give me a cablecard free for a year instead for one of my other Tivos. Although they only charge $1.99/mo for the CC and the TA is free. Worth investigating.
     
  7. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    some cox areas are all digital already like Omaha and others after the new year
     
  8. BRiT wtfdotcom

    BRiT wtfdotcom Active Member

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    The Cox Cleveland area seems to be "all digital" already and has been for around a month, perhaps a little less but it's that general timeline.

    Their switch to all digital began around August / September and was what prompted me to finally switch over to an complete Tivo setup, using Tivo Roamio in the main room and Minis for the 4 other rooms.
     
  9. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Why use quotes around "all digital"? Perhaps you mean all encrypted? I only ask because the Cox Cleveland web site says: "▲Digital or HD channel included with service level noted; requires rental of digital receiver or CableCARD,™ except TV sets with Clear-QAM digital tuner may receive local broadcast channels without equipment rental."
     
  10. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    In 2006 I moved to Pennsylvania. No Cox cable, just a small cable company. I was used to Comcast. I had about 70 analog channels. I bought an LD LST-3410a and a Magnavox 2160A.

    In 2009 I received a letter that I would have my channels converted to digital. I would need a DTA, Cable Box or QAM TV. I bought my first Sony DHG. It had HD recording on clear QAM, guide by Rovi, and nothing on cable was encrypted. I still had 16 analog channels. The company's web site had a pdf of the QAM channel numbers and their network. All 170.

    In 2012 I received a letter, that I was expecting, telling me all channels were going to be encrypted. Decision: get their box or chose an alternative. I chose a TiVo. On the day it happened, I already had my cable cards and watched the chaos. My local office ended up opening on Saturdays.

    I'm glad I don't have a major cable feed. I still have 5 analog channels and three clear QAM channels. They keep forgetting to encrypt new channels. On some weekends they offer a free weekend preview of HBO, MAX, Starz, Encore, etc. which are sent in the clear also. Nothing is perfect.

    I would never use a TiVo without a cable card. But a TV? Anytime.
     
  11. terryjamison

    terryjamison Member

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    I spoke with COX over the phone. Unfortunately, the phone rep couldn't answer all of my question about the TiVO and the switch to all digital. She seems to think that I only need the cable card and not the Digital Tuning Adapter (DTA) with a TiVo. She told me to go to the Cox Store. It.'s Sunday and the COX brick and mortar is closed until 10 AM tomorrow. I'll see, tomorrow
     
  12. BRiT wtfdotcom

    BRiT wtfdotcom Active Member

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    Its in your best interest to get the TA as well and setup now rather than later because eventually they will be switching over to SDV (switched digital video) in all their markets to free up bandwidth for internet speed increases using Docsis 3.0 / 3.1 channel bonding.
     
  13. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    And you still haven't found time to use your TV to do a channel scan? Well, it's your choice.

    In two weeks I'm getting Showtime for a Friday-Monday weekend without encryption. If I rescan my TV it will also pick up the channels. So will my Premiere without a cable card.
     
  14. terryjamison

    terryjamison Member

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    I really don't watch live TV. It's all TiVo. I don't even have cable directly connected to the TV.

    Using the TV to do a channel scan does what for me?
     
  15. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Tells you if your channels have gone digital and if they have been encrypted. While I don't watch much live TV, I like to have a second opinion if the cable goes out. It has happened once in 5 years, but it was county wide so it made the news too. It also gives you a second opinion on picture quality, especially for the HD channels. When I had clear QAM I could receive 10 channels that were not on my list. I still receive 5 analog test patterns and three clear QAM channels. Two of those are probably a mistake.
     
  16. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    Every level of cable probably has channels you don't watch, but apparently somebody watches some of them and somebody else watches some of the other ones and some that you watch may not be watched by some others.


    So some cable companies, including Cox and Time Warner, wind up with more channels than slots for them on the cable.

    The way they deal with that situation is that the more popular channels get assigned certain slots (frequencies) more or less permanently, and the less popular ones are handled by what's called Switched Digital Video, which is sort of a way to stuff 10 lbs of cable channels into a 5 lb sack by having them time-share the sack.

    That's where some piece of equipment in your home signals to the cable company's head end that you want to look at one of those channels and it starts feeding it to your neighborhood's node on one of the SDV slots and sends back the info that that particular channel is available to you at present in which slot, that is, on which frequency, so that your equipment knows to which frequency to tune.

    This equipment might be a set top box feeding your TV directly.

    Or it might be what's called a Tuning Adapter, or TA, which is used in conjunction with a cable card if you have a TiVo that has to use a cable card to get digital cable channels.

    This is necessary because the cable card is only designed to receive information from the cable company head end, not to do the 2 way communication with it that SDV makes necessary.

    The cable card gets info from the head end about your account--what channels you're paying for and entitled to receive, to what frequency to tune to get them, and, I suppose, what "key" to use to de-crypt them.

    If you don't care about any of the SDV channels, you can use a cable card in your TiVo and not bother to hook up a TA, although they may make you take one with every cable card you pick up, in which case you can leave it in the shrink wrap and sit it on a shelf somewhere to gather dust, like I'm doing.

    If you have a set top box it has a cable card already installed with a cover over the slot and tamper proof sticker over the cover, and the Tuning Adapter is built into the Set Top Box as well, as is a single digital tuner.

    If you have a pre-cable card, pre-digital TiVo, like a Series 2, you can use the STB to feed an analog output to the input of the TiVo and plug a cable into the back of the TiVo that has an infra-red Light Emmitting Diode or two on the other end so that the TiVo can send channel changing signals to the STB, which otherwise you'd control with a cable company supplied remote if you were feeding the STB output straight into a TV set.

    That STB can do 2 way communication with the cable company head end.

    There's another device, which is sort of like an STB, which can feed a TV directly or feed a Series 2 TiVo or your old VCR, and this is called a Digital Tuning Adapter, or Digital Television Adapter, or Digital Transport Adapter, or Digital to Analog Converter, or DTA.

    The DTA has a single digital tuner, and incorporates circuitry which does what a cable card does. As best I understand it, a DTA, like a cable card, does not do 2 way communication with the head end, but only receives info from it, and cannot get SDV channels.

    As with the STB, a Series 2 TiVo can use the IR cable to switch channels on a DTA, or you can feed a DTA's output directly to a TV and use the remote supplied with the DTA to change channels.

    So your Series 3 or newer TiVo needs a cable card* if your cable company has eliminated analog channels and gone all-digital, and if you care about getting any of the SDV channels, a TA, but does not need and cannot use (because it doesn't have any way to change channels on it) a DTA.


    *Originally the cable card was what's called Single Stream, or an S card, and could only service one TV (if the TV had a cable card slot) or TiVo tuner. Then came the multi-steam or M card which can service up to 4 or 6 tuners.

    All of the Series 3 models have 2 cable card slots. The later S3 models, the TCD652160 and TCD658000, can use one S card in one slot for one tuner and a second S card in the second slot for the other tuner, or they can use just one M card for both tuners.

    The original Series 3, the TCD648250B, was in production before the specs for the M card were finalized, so while it can use M cards, it still has to have one card for each tuner, so it can use 2 S cards, or 2 M cards, or, I suppose, one of each, as long as both slots are filled.

    Most cable companies probably don't have any S cards available anymore, and their STBs, which only have 1 tuner, will still likely have an M card installed.

    If you wind up using a TA with your TiVo, in conjunction with the cable card in it, you'll need to connect a USB cable from the TA to one of the USB slots on the TiVo so that they can talk to each other. The USB cable should be supplied with the TA by the cable company.

    Something they might not give you is a co-ax splitter.

    The TA has a place to connect the cable, and another one of those threaded things to connect another cable to connect to the cable input of your TiVo.

    But don't do it that way.

    Use a splitter to turn the incoming cable into 2 cables, connect one to the TA's input and the other to the TiVo's input, and don't use the TA's output.

    But you still have to run the USB cable between the TiVo and the TA.

    Also, you should probably get a lamp timer to plug the TA's power supply into to power cycle it about once a week.

    For some reason having the TA on and in communication with the TiVo interferes with an internal process of the TiVo called "Garbage Collection", so it needs about 4 hours of not being in communication with the TA to carry that out.

    There are other threads around here about that, just search this site for "lamp timer" and it should lead you to them.
     
  17. terryjamison

    terryjamison Member

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    unitron,

    That affirms what I basically thought. I do further believe, then, that as long as Cox does not encrypt the new digital basic service, then I could get by without a DTA and cable card, using only the TiVo's digital tuner(s). (assuming that COX does not re-map the basic high-demand channels included in basic service)
     
  18. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    You may or may not need the cable card to tell the TiVo on which frequency to find which channel, even if they aren't encrypted.


    A mini box and DTA are probably the same thing, since the Cisco 170HDs I have to use on my Series 2s are a little smaller than a paperback book.
     
  19. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    it will be encrypted and cards will be needed the is why plugging the cable from the wall directly will not work after the area goes all digital.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
  20. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

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    Phoenix, AZ
    Cox will be encrypting everything, including the Local channels, in the Starter TV Package. There will be no more Clear QAM, and the digital TV tuners will no longer work.

    You will need a box on every TV to get any channels, so either a Cox Mini box, or a TiVo Mini on every TV, and the TiVo DVR's will need a CableCARD and Tuning Adapter.
     

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