How to Watch unencrypted QAM on Tivo Bolt

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by lucid-dreams, Dec 14, 2015.

  1. lucid-dreams

    lucid-dreams New Member

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    Nov 26, 2015
    This is my first Tivo. I was very excited to receive it today, but I cannot even get the basic TV to work.

    I live at 53182 with Time Warner Cable Basic (non-digital). All of the channels I watch are available digital for free via unencrypted QAM. My old 32" Sony, my "smart" 60" Sony, and my ex-WinTV-HVR-2255 Dual Hybrid PCI-E TV Tuner Board via WinTV and Windows Media Player all received and played the unencrypted QAM channels without difficulty, and all without a cablecard.

    For the life of me, I cannot figure out how to watch these unencrypted QAM channels on my Tivo. They are not detected via Guided Setup. I tried detecting my cable signal strength, idk I keep pushing channel up and it kept saying no digital channel found. I can't even get the standard shows to show up, much less the unencrypted QAM.

    I tried setting up first as Cable Kenosha (Basic / non-digital), then in desperation as antenna (I know but it was something to try), and no luck either way.

    I can't image that I need to buy a cablecard just to watch non-digital cable and unencrypted QAM when no other device seems to need this. So I'm reaching out to my new community, how do I do this guys and gals?

    Thank you in advance!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  2. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

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    Chicagoland
    Cablecard is required. TiVo does not do analog.
     
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    First, on your TV what are the channel numbers? Make a list. They should have decimal points. Whole numbers are analog, and don't work on a Bolt. To check, go to www.zap2it.com and compare the channels listed for your location and provider. That list assumes a cable card.

    On the TiVo, go to Settings & Messages, Settings, Channels, Channel Scan. Wait for it to finish. Note the count.

    Now go to Channel list and manually enable the same channels shown on your TV. Use the thumbs up to enable those channels. Now exit to Live TV.

    Hit guide, then "A", then select Favorites. This will make only those the channels with a green thumbs up display. Let me know how this works.

    Life without a cable card is possible with clear QAM on a TiVo, but it really sucks. Only a two tuner Premiere works with analog. Run guided setup with "I will add cable card later".
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  4. apw2607

    apw2607 New Member

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    Nov 16, 2012
    Channel scan is not available on the bolt with cable and therefore the bolt cannot be used without a cablecard, even for clearQAM
     
  5. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    19,198
    3,466
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    That's sad. I can't do a scan with a cable card in my Roamio or Premiere either. But until that card is installed the scan still works. Not progress.

    My cable still supplies 3 clear QAM channels. Probably a mistake. I get five analog channels too, probably used for reference levels since they are all test patterns.
     
  6. lucid-dreams

    lucid-dreams New Member

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    Nov 26, 2015
    Thanks for the reply guys.

    I'm surprised that a device whose foundation was built on it's DVR features cannot view un-encrypted QAM or analog channels without an add-on device. Inexpensive TV's and computer TV cards can do this. My two TV's just know how to map the channels, I'm not sure how. Using a TV card, WinTV and Windows Media Player do not know how to map the channels and Windows Media Player even hides them by default, yet for both the user can dive into the settings and map them where they want. In Windows Media Player, you can even tell it that the frequency is a specific station and it will sync with the Media Guide/Schedule.

    I'll try and get a cablecard from Timewarner for my Tivo Bolt. I hear that per FCC, if they require you to have a cable box, they are required to offer a cablecard. My cable company requires a cable box even for starter TV (sits in the closet), so I should qualify. However, reading online I hear that in reality it can be quite difficult to get a cable card when you don't pay for digital cable.

    Well, if push comes to shove, guess I can always order digital cable for a week, or buy one off eBay.
     
  7. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    19,198
    3,466
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    It sucks. But you have tried this, right?:
    On the TiVo, go to Settings & Messages, Settings, Channels, Channel Scan. Wait for it to finish. Note the count.

    I saw the post that Channel Scan has been removed from a Bolt.
     
  8. lucid-dreams

    lucid-dreams New Member

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    Nov 26, 2015
    Yes, thank you, I tried and can confirm that there is no Channel Scan for the Bolt when using cable.
     
  9. GoodSpike

    GoodSpike Active Member

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    Dec 17, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I used to own a HD Homerun device which was not the Prime (not Cablecard) and the problem was that the cable companies will periodically reassign the QAM channels without changing the user channel assignments. That would mean your device would be recording the wrong thing until you noticed the changes, and then you'd have to try to find the new channel assignments.

    So basically, a DVR that records from cable without Cablecard is not that useful.
     
  10. lucid-dreams

    lucid-dreams New Member

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    Nov 26, 2015
    Ah I see that's good to know. I did get a CableCard from my Timewarner office today. They warned me that I might have to keep (and pay for) the box too as it's "part of the plan." I had a printout of the FCC policy as well as there's hidden in my back pocket and ready to whip out if need be, but not needed as it all went smooth and fast.

    Now the Tivo's up and running! :)
     
  11. lucid-dreams

    lucid-dreams New Member

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    Nov 26, 2015
    So, I received a tuner adapter with my CableCard. Hooked up the CableCard by itself and channels are displaying and changing just fine.

    Is there any benefit to using the Tuner Adapter--what would it change? I don't have any channels like 4.1 or 5.2--those appear to be remapped to stations over number 1000. Would using the Tuning Adapter change that?
     
  12. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    Los Angeles
    You would get some channels that you aren't getting now. In my area, at least, the Tuning Adapter channels are mostly stuff that most people wouldn't tune to anyway. You might find something you want though; in my area Sundance is one of those channels, and so I need to keep my TAs working to watch "The Returned".

    Channels that need a Tuning Adapter to view are called SDV, or Switched Digital Video channels.
     
  13. georgeorwell86

    georgeorwell86 New Member

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    Sep 14, 2015
    Are you in some sort of bundled introductory plan with TWC? What they might mean is that you need to keep the box to keep getting that discounted plan price. Aside from that, I don't think they can make you pay for a box you don't need, just to get the cable card.
     

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