Explain HD TV Packages To Me?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by DVDerek, Jul 27, 2007.

  1. DVDerek

    DVDerek <WittySaying />

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    Sep 30, 2002
    Boston, MA
    The new TiVo HD model has me finally considering an upgrade to HD TV. I am currently an analog cable holdout. I use analog cable primarily because I am able to subscribe to just the basic package at $15.44/month and receive standard cable free of charge. Apparently my provider, Comcast, is unable to shut off the standard channels and still provide me with a cable modem.

    My assumption was that an upgrade to HD would require that I subscribe to a digital package or mount an antenna on my roof to get locals that way. The antenna is not an option and the idea of a $50/month increase in my cable bill has me thinking maybe I'll stay analog after all.

    According to my coworker, however, there may be another option. He claims Comcast sends their basic (local) HD channels in the clear, and that I would only need a cable card from them to tune these. There would be no increase in my bill and I would get local HD access. This would likely be enough to please me. Does seem like something that might be true?

    According to Comcast, I am able to get 1 cable card for free for each outlet I paid to have installed/activated. I paid for 5 outlets, so I shouldn't have a problem getting 2 cards for free, so long as I don't tell them they will both be used on one outlet (it would be $1.91/month otherwise).

    Seems to good to be true to me...
     
  2. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
  3. DVDerek

    DVDerek <WittySaying />

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    Sep 30, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Thanks, though I had to fix your link a bit (yours was FTP which wasn't working):
    http://www.brianandrobbie.com/ComcastQAMMappingBurlingtonMA.JPG

    Surprised to see NBA TV there! Now how does TiVo work with this - do you need to get them to generate a lineup for you or does the cablecard handle telling tivo what's available?
     
  4. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Florida
    Thanks for catching my boo-boo in the URL.

    That NBA thing was just a promo channel for the NBA pay service. It never showed games or anything.

    TiVo has no way to work with this. If you try to use your TiVo to record QAM without CableCards, you're stuck setting up recordings just like with a S1 without a subscription: By time and channel.

    With the CableCards, this is completely transparent to you as the end-user. I believe that you'll see only the channels that the cable company tells the CableCards you have, even if others are available in the clear.
     
  5. Steve_Martin

    Steve_Martin Grandminion

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    Jul 18, 2004
    Orange...
    Be careful about the cost 'per outlet'. With our cable company, that means cost per digital outlet and they charge $14.95/month per digital outlet. I'm paying for 2 digital outlets to cover a STB and a CableCard on the same TV.
     
  6. lish

    lish New Member

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    Dec 27, 2002
    SoCal
    Steve_Martin... I am on Cox in OC as well. Maybe you can answer a couple of questions for me.

    Currently I have 2 Cox HD-DVRs and I pay $14.95 for digital cable, $19.90 for DVR service and about $5 rental on each box.

    So if I replace both Cox DVRs with Tivo HDs will I need to pay $14.95 x 2 as well as $1.99 x 2 for each Tivo?

    Thanks... and sorry about the hijack.
     
  7. Steve_Martin

    Steve_Martin Grandminion

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    Jul 18, 2004
    Orange...
    I would suspect so - sucks doesn't it?

    My setup is a S2 TiVo (the Toshiba with DVD player) into a plasma TV. I split the cable and send one leg directly to the TV with CableCard. The other leg goes to a STB which outputs to the TiVo which is connected via RGB to the TV. The Tivo has sole control of the STB via serial cable.
     
  8. ericr74

    ericr74 Member

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    Apr 16, 2001
    Broomfield,...
    Is this really true? According to this thread TiVo Series 3 (and probably also TiVo HD) will look for PSIP data in cable rebroadcasted signals WITHOUT a CC. This should allow the TiVo to record free OTA broadcasted HD channels from your cable coax without using CCs.

    Can anyone confirm if this works on Comcast in the Denver area? I'll buy a TiVo HD if so - that means I can keep the basic cable lineup I have now and start watching the local HD channels.
     
  9. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    You can record them, but only by Time/Channel (e.g. VCR mode). There is no mapping of the channel data to the Tivo guide data. For that to work w/o CableCARDs, we need support for what is commonly called "QAM mapping".
     
  10. ericr74

    ericr74 Member

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    Apr 16, 2001
    Broomfield,...
    Hmm. Ok, I guess I just figured that TiVo would have worked that out already. There's no way to map the cable's QAM channels to the OTA QAM channels? There must be some way to "find" the OTA channels already, why not have a way to just map them to ones that come from your cable?
     
  11. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    I suspect TiVo would have worked that out already, if it was something that they had intended to do. I believe this isn't a major priority for them.
     
  12. parzec

    parzec Wizard of Oz

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    Jun 21, 2002
    Charlotte, NC
    Is a Tivo subscription necessary to use the S3 only to record QAM channels? Or will it allow time/channel recordings without a sub like early S1 models. Same question for OTA recording on the S3 without a Tivo subscription.

    I ask this question because I am considering putting one in my mountain house which lacks telephone or internet connectivity.
     
  13. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    6,936
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    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Yes TiVo subscription is required to record anything on S3 or TiVo HD unit.

    Thanks,
     
  14. ericr74

    ericr74 Member

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    Apr 16, 2001
    Broomfield,...
    How is that possible? Enhanced functionality by simply allowing TiVo subscribers to manage mapping a few channels? This is a deal breaker for me. I'm not willing to pay the TiVo subscription cost plus an additional $15 to the cableco just to get local HD channels, and I don't want to mess around with an antenna either.
     
  15. bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you saying you cannot imagine TiVo having other priorities that would be more important than the one you're asking about here? While each of us have our own priorities, it is important to understand that companies need to follow those priorities that are a reflection of an understanding of all their prospective customers and of their stockholders.
     
  16. Austin_Martin

    Austin_Martin New Member

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    Sep 12, 2006
    There are some cable companies that provide the proper psip information on their qam channels. In Austin, I didn't have cablecards for a while, and received the qam channels perfectly fine, including all the tivo guide data. You would need to check with someone in your area to make sure of this, though.
     
  17. jbcrwentz

    jbcrwentz New Member

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    Jul 16, 2007
    About 6 months ago I purchased a second Series2 box at Fry's with the special Rebate that that made the Ser2 cost $0.00. The Hook was that I had to sign up for a 1, 2 or 3 year deal on the 2nd box which effectively extends the 1st Ser2 because you can't have the multiples price on the 2nd without having the 1st box in place. Anyone smell a "Catch 22" here?
    Now I have an HD TV with a CableCard and I am looking to purchase a Series 3 box or the box which will save 20 hours of HD for only $299.00. What I would like to do is replace the #1 Series 2 box with the new Series 3 box for HD and have the original contract with no time commitment cover the new box. I have a feeling that I am going to have to sign up for some sort of extended contract for the new box. I am like the TIVO service and intend to keep it for a long time, but don't like the plan they have in place. Any thoughts or strategies to make this less painful and less expensive? What are the pros and cons of the SONY PVR box?
     
  18. ericr74

    ericr74 Member

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    Apr 16, 2001
    Broomfield,...
    This is a good thing, but were you able to schedule season passes and one-time recordings of future HD QAM programs when you didn't have cable cards (not just record by channel/time)? If so that makes me feel a lot better. I'm trying to figure out which local HD channels have PSIP information on Comcast using the Comcast Denver section of avsforum.
     
  19. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario Canada.
    Just change the TSN on the account from the old series 2 to the TiVoHD or Series 3. No muss. No fuss. You will have to forfeit any rebates though, if any.
     
  20. Status

    Status New Member

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    Jul 11, 2007
    Seattle, Wa
    I too am an analog cable hold out with Comcast, but I live in Seattle. I did a lot of research about HD in my local area before I finally took the plunge...into the different pool. There aren't a TON of non-cable HD channels still, the number is growing, but slowly, so I opted to go for getting my local channels with an antenna (OTA HD) and bypassing Comcast.

    OTA broadcast can be of higher content quality then what you receive through Comcast. Because, it's local broadcast and not something that can/is downgraded due to bandwidth concerns. The antenna cost me a whopping $25 with a 50' cable. I tested the reception inside my house and got great signal strength, so I mounted the antenna in my attic instead of outside on my roof. I now get my local ABC (720p), CBS (1080i), NBC(1080i), FOX(1080i, I think) and PBS(1080i) stations in all their HD goodness and I get five other HD channels that are some local hodge-podge of odd bits.

    Use antennaweb you want to check out general availability in your neighborhood. I also did a lot of research using the AVS Forums/OTA HD Reception thread (AVS Forum/Local HDTV Info and Reception search for Boston or your local for more specific threads).

    Slowly more cable channels are going HD, but it's going to take a few years before Comcast carries them all. Until then I'm getting my local reception for my one time investment of $25.
     

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