free cable channels and cablecard

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Boneless, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    Dec 29, 2001
    I currently pay for local channels only in analog. However, I also receive over 50% of cable channels OTA for some reason and includes ESPN, Travel, History, Food network, to name a few channels that are usually included in a basic package. This is after I just got my new tv and scanned the QAM tuner. I also receive digital channels too. I have a HD series3 tivo and know that only a cablecard with get me the channel info for these channels to program it with guide data. Otherwise I have to record analog only on a splitter, or program it with channel and time only. Should I take a chance that those channels will be gone if I get a cablecard? It's obviously a glitch on TimeWarner's side. I think a card should be downstream only, but hate for them to set it up on their side and delete my free channels. The cablecards or self-install now, so no tech needed.
     
  2. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    You are not receiving those channels "OTA". That means "over the air", i.e., being broadcast- and received-by antenna. Some cable systems simulcast analog SD versions of some of their digital channels and that's what you're getting. In the old days (10 years ago) they would have installed filter traps at your cable service box to prevent you from getting these channels you're not paying for but now they don't bother -- presumably because digital service is so much more important it isn't worth them worrying about. The digital versions of local broadcast channels (called "clear QAM") are also on the cable and you don't need a cable card to get them because they are clear (unencrypted).
     
  3. mec1991

    mec1991 Cranky old coot

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    Back home...

    You cannot receive those cable channels over the air.

    Ooops... dilfl beat me to it! :)
     
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    He He! Welcome to the "cranky old <whatever>" club. ;)
     
  5. mec1991

    mec1991 Cranky old coot

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    Back home...
    Thanks! :up:
     
  6. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    So then I should look into a cablecard for my series3 and shouldn't worry about losing ESPN or those other channels I don't pay for? I literally am paying only $15/month when the normal basic digital package starts at $60 and I still get about 70% of their channels in addition.
     
  7. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    I am confused. Are you saying that your cable company still has analog versions of ESPN, Travel, History, Food network, etc. or that they are available on clear QAM (digital)?

    And what purpose would a splitter serve? A TiVo 3 only has one cable input and you can record both analog and digital from it.

    As long as you can do a self-install, I would suggest getting the cable card and seeing what happens. You can always remove it if it messes things up.

    Either way you are getting the channels you are not currently paying for, analog or clear QAM, i suspect it won't last much longer.
     
  8. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    Dec 29, 2001
    My cable co still has analog and QAM of those channels. Of which I received free analog and digital by some glitch since they're not part of my local broadcast only plan. I guess I could setup my cable directly into the tivo and into my tv. If I receive those channels from cable directly into my tv now, it shouldn't change with the addition of a tivo3.

    I have a series1 that I still use which is setup on the splitter since I don't have enough composite sources on the tv. I did not realize about series3 accepting both analog and digital at the same time. My series3 is only about 2 mos old so I'm still a newbie on it. I can still get the analog guide data on it with my sub. So if I don't get a cablecard, it's only analog for it. A waste for sure, but I wouldn't risk losing all those extra channels I get now if it is a glitch and gets fixed by messing with a Cablecard.

    Except I'm still worried a bit about losing those "free" cable channels since one time before I had a problem and had to call them to fix it. After that I lost my "free" ESPN and only have ESPN news now and lost some channels like History channel too. Just have to decide if I want to take this risk I guess. The cablecard only provides show info to the tivo? Or does is actually block anything I don't pay for like the old boxes?

    BTW, I don't know if this makes a difference, but it's a series3 HD.
     
  9. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    Installing the CableCARD will probably end your TiVo access to any clear QAM channels you are not paying for but you should still have access to the analog channels. Now here is where a splitter could be employed - put one output to the TiVo and one to the TV. That way, you would still have access to the clear QAM channels through the TV.
     
  10. tonestert

    tonestert Member

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    Charlottesvi...
    I use a cable card and only pay for basic cable and I get a bunch of HD channels like ESPN, CNN, AMC, USA, TBS, HGTV, ect. For a while I was not getting any of those channels then all the sudden they started working.
     
  11. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    If it is an original Series 3, model TCD648250 (TiVo Service # begins with 648), you need two CableCARDs to utilize both QAM tuners. They can be m-cards but that model will treat them as single stream cards.
     
  12. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    My tivo series3 begins with a 652-. This is a testament to tivo in that I haven't looked at others since I got my 2 series1 in 2001. Lifetime subs and other than changing out the HD maybe 3x total among them, they've been fine. My Toshiba SDH-400 is from 2003 and the tuner just died in Feb.

    I think maybe I'll do the splitter method you mentioned and give it a try. Hopefully they don't do anything to my account when I order the card. I assume it's just like getting a cable box and shouldn't change anything hopefully.

    I just had a thought. Is tivo able to record QAM channels because of the weird numbering scheme used by cable co's? My local HD Fox is 46-1 on my tv. Can it record off that or does it need a whole number like on a cable box?
     
  13. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    OK. That's good. It is a TiVoHD. Only needs one M-card, which is the only kind that cable companies are supposed to be providing now. They may make you pick it up to avoid a service call. If they allow self-install of anything, such as a Cable Box, the Must allow you to self-install the cable card. BTW, who is your cable provider?

    Correct - theoretically.

    The weird numbering is not the cable companies doing. That is how digital channels are. Some of the broadcast channels have sub-channels. Like here in Atlanta, MeTV is on channel 2.2. On Cable it is channel WSBDT2, channel 248. WSB (the local ABC affiliate) is broadcast channel 2.1.

    That is part of what the CableCARD is for. It maps the QAM channel that it comes in on to a cable channel. One of the reasons that TiVo doesn't provide guide data for clear QAM channels is that cable companies sometimes move them around, forcing you to do a rescan. With a CableCARD, these changes are transparent to the TiVo.
     
  14. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    I have TimeWarner and locally they are very good and accomodating unlike some horror stories elsewhere. My tivo looks exactly like this one. But I don't recall the cablecard slot on the back. I'll check it when I'm home later.

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us
     
  15. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    That's because on that model, they're on the front. The lower black part is a hinged access door. There are two slots. Put the m-card in slot 1.
     
  16. dwit

    dwit Active Member

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    On the Tivo HD(pictured), the cable card slots are on the front panel. The black strip below the silver/grey inlay is actually a flip down cover for the compartment with the cable card slots.
     
  17. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    Dec 29, 2001
    Ok, so I wanted more input after updating this thread. I tried a cablecard but it won't work for me. I didn't think about it, but the CC is for digital cable only(duh :( ). I only subscribe to analog local stations from Time Warner so the CC wouldn't pickup any guide info for me and thus my tivo is only setup to record SD analog over my cable. My tv has a QAM tuner and I receive all the OTA digital and 2/3 of a basic digital cable package(no HBO etc.. but Food network, ESPN etc..).

    My tivo doesn't work with a cablecard, so is there any way I can

    1) still use the QAM tuner in it to record off the digital stations?

    2) And tivo is limited to xxx.x channel capacity selection. My tv tuner goes to xxx.xxx, does that mean my tivo has no chance of getting the xxx.xxx channels?
     
  18. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    I'm curious. What happens when you try to use a CableCARD? After you get it set up, do you loose access to those channels? Are they not in the package you are paying for?

    Edit: Sorry, read the prior post in isolation. Just ignore the questions. Following too many threads.:eek:
    You should be able to do manual recordings of the clear QAM channels.
    While both my THD and TP have CableCARDs installed so I can't actuallyaccess the clear QAM channels, the TP for one allows me to enter channels of form xxx.xxx. I was even able to create a manual recording, once I looked on line to find one that exists in the area. Haven't checked the THD.

    Don't be surprised when one day the "free" channels go away.
     
  19. Boneless

    Boneless New Member

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    Dec 29, 2001
    I did try, but it hanged at the channel scan screen with that circular mesmorizing spinning symbol :) . I did it a few times and when I called TW, they told me since I don't subscribe to any digital package, their system won't give me guide data for which channels to map correctly.

    They are not in the package I pay for. What I get is exactly what is not available OTA anymore at all, i.e. analog local stations. For some reason, my house connection picks up some extra basic cable stations other than what I paid for. Then when I got my tv with QAM tuner, I picked up even more stations I'm not paying for. It's a bonus since I haven't had ESPN, etc... ever since I moved about 12 yrs ago and now I got about 80% of a digital package without paying for it. Not complaining, just figuring out how to record it now :D . I bought a Hauppage QAM tuner card for a PC to hook up to the cable and use MCE to record, but I'd sure like to use tivo instead.
     
  20. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Well-Known Member

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    John's...
    See my "revised and extended" post above.
    (If congress critters can do it, why shouldn't I?)
     

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