Original Roamio CableCard question

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by ScottE22, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    Good afternoon! I've been away from TiVo for about a year. OTA worked well in the past, but things have somehow changed at I no longer get every channel without a major antenna install on the roof and I just don't want to deal with the install, the upkeep, the Front Range wind and snow, etc. Anyway, about 18 months ago I got tired of ABC going in and out of range and did a $50/month DirecTV promo. (I'm about 55 miles from the towers on Lookout Mountain and down in a little "valley" so even though it's a clear, straight shot, it's just too inconsistent to be watchable. I also read somewhere that our ABC and NBC affiliates reduced the antenna power output a while ago on VHF which is part of the issue...)

    Since my DTV bumped up almost double ($90/month for the absolute cheapest package with whole-home DVR and I'm still paying for Hulu and Netflix because my kids use them almost exclusively), I've started looking around again. I bought a different antenna, a pre-amplifier, transitioned from an attic antenna to an outdoor antenna and still can't get everything. I'm always missing at least one major network which makes a total cord-cut a non-starter in our house.

    When it was clear that wouldn't work, I started poking around Sling and even DTVNow since we have an Apple TV on every TV in the house.

    Then it occurred to me to have another look at Xfinity. I have internet through them now for $60/month and it looks like I can add the local/basic package for only another $5. This is a savings of about $85 over what I pay now for DTV. I also have an original Roamio (not the OTA) and two Premieres (all with Lifetime).

    My first question is, if I do the $5/month basic cable deal (which I'm assuming is HD?), can I just plug in the Roamio without a CableCard? My research has been inconclusive. It's looking like a "Yes, but..."

    My second question is, if it DOES work, can I add TiVo Minis in a couple other rooms without paying more to Xfinity? I assume the answer to this is yes because, presumably, Xfinity doesn't "know" what's happening to the signal after it hits my one Roamio, but I just can't imagine it would be that easy...

    Thank you in advance for your help!
     
  2. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    You would need a cable card, it does the mapping of digital channels.
     
  3. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    Thanks! That’s what I was guessing.

    After that, though, if I just add a couple minis there would be no other need for Xfinity to know or care, right?


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  4. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Minis does not involve anything from the cableco.
     
  5. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    As stated, you'd need a CableCARD for the Roamio.

    As for costs, you'd then be eligible for a $2.50/month "Customer-Owned Equipment" credit for supplying your own set-top box (the Roamio), and, as hoped, the Minis would not result in any additional costs/fees.
     
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  6. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    Again - thanks. That’s what I thought, it was just hard to get my head around being able to have cable on multiple sets with Xfinity only “knowing” about one of them.


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  7. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    One drawback of using this TiVo setup on Comcast/Xfinity is that you'll be limited to a single active Xfinity On Demand stream between your host DVR and all its connected Minis.

    Of course, this could be viewed as a glass half full, since you *do*, at least, get access to Xfinity On Demand content. It's usually the case that going TiVo means losing access to the provider's on demand library.
     
  8. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    For sure... for me, it’s a replacement for OTA as the vast majority of what we watch is DVR’d network TV and then streaming services. Apple pays the bills in my house so we use the iTunes Store for most of our on-demand content we can’t get from Hulu and Netflix.

    Thanks again!


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  9. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    No problem.

    Just to be clear, I was referring primarily to the free/included content available through the XOD4TiVo app, not PPV content, though that's available, as well.

    Also, did you see the comment re: the Comcast COE credit?
     
  10. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    I did! That could make the net price $2.50 if the first Card is free. Can’t even buy a Starbucks for that so it’s kind of a no-brainer.

    I forgot about the free OD content. But mostly that would be a bonus for us anyway. My kids are all about the Netflix and Hulu and don’t even know what live TV is.


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  11. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    $5 is a good deal regardless.

    I don't know what Comcast is doing now and their billing practices are different for different areas (and sometimes doesn't match corporate), but the way it used to work is the limited basic package didn't include any equipment so there wasn't an "embedded" outlet/STB in the package, thus you wouldn't get the -$2.50 Customer Owned Equipment credit. On the bright side though, you shouldn't be charged an "Additional Outlet Fee" of $9.95 / device (which then qualifies you for the -$2.50 COE credit) Instead you should be just charged something like $1.50 for each CableCARD when on a limited basic plan.

    This is as opposed to a regular cable package, where the package "includes" one outlet, so you immediately qualify for the "Customer Owned Equipment" -$2.50 credit and the first CableCARD is your first "outlet" that is bundled in. The bad part on Comcast regular cable packages is when you want an additional CableCARD, you can't just pay $1.50 for the CableCARD. They charge you another $9.95 "Additional Outlet Fee", then give you a -$2.50 COE credit for taking a CableCARD instead of a STB, so effectively your CableCARD costs $7.45.

    The caveat is Comcast has different billing practices around the country and YMMV.
     
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  12. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    We have these Xfinity “stores” now in this area so I may swing over tomorrow and see if I can have them activate service and walk out with a Card to try it out. I have internet now so I imagine it’s pretty simple to add TV. The coax into the basement from the curb is terminated in a 1x3 splitter where only one of the 3 outputs is in use and runs to my (personally owned) modem.

    [​IMG]

    What are those gold things? Do they effectively “block” the internet from those ports in case I ever add TV?


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  13. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Not sure, they look like some type of filter or attenuator. Do they have any markings on them?

    It is possible there were cable modem problems at some point and they bumped up the signal strength but didn't want it too high for the rest of the house so they installed some attenuators to lower the power back down?

    It could be they want to block ingress back into their system.

    Maybe these are leftover from the days when they didn't encrypt limited basic and they wanted to block you from receiving "free" TV in your rooms, but usually they do that outside your house.
     
  14. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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  15. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    I wouldn't worry too much about those gold cylinders (whether filters or attenuators), since nothing is connected to them, and you'll be removing them, regardless. You could replace each of them with a 75-ohm terminator, I would think, short-term. That said, you may end up replacing the current splitter, as well, depending on how you'll be connecting your Minis.

    First thing you may want to do, though, is get into your modem's UI to determine its current signal levels. This will enable you to know how the various changes you are about to make affect the modem's signal.
    e.g.

     
  16. ScottE22

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

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    This thread is awesome so far - thank you so much.

    I did check out the gold things and the markings are nearly rubbed off. As near as I can tell, they seem to say "ViewTEQ" or possible "New EQ" and I can clearly see "VTCACR" on them. A little creative Googling brought me here where it appears that they are a "Terminator, Locking, CAM type tool, Gold Annodized Aluminum, with resistor." That means nothing to me except that they'll likely be coming off and/or I'll be replacing the splitter.

    Regarding the networking of any Minis, I've been reading up on the forum and, since I have ethernet drops at every TV in the house, I'm thinking there's no reason not to go that route with MOCA as a backup plan.
     
  17. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Yep, you should be set with Ethernet.

    And those terminators are where they need to be, then, with nothing connected to those two unused outputs of your splitter. It seems like some past tech used the 3-way splitter and terminators simply to attenuate the signal reaching your modem -- rather than just using an attenuator.
     
  18. kazak99

    kazak99 Member

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    You'll likely need a tool like this to remove the terminator locks: https://www.amazon.com/RioRand-LTT-...id=1508980936&sr=8-1&keywords=terminator+tool

    Might be cheaper to buy a new splitter.
     
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  19. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    You should probably just replace that 3-way splitter. I can't tell if that's a 'balanced' 3-way or not, but you'd do well to have one. Those locking terminators are removable with a carefully applied set of vise-grip type pliers.

    I'd be pretty surprised if the 'package' Comcast is offering you for $5 includes HD...they LOVE the $10 up-charge for "HD Technology".

    -KP
     
  20. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    According to the specs, it is balanced.

    In my experience Comcast doesn't charge the HD Technology fee on limited basic subscriptions unless you ask for an HD STB. Again the big caveat is Comcast billing practices vary from area to area.

    There are a lot of "exceptions" on the rate sheet for limited basic subscriptions where customer-unfriendly practices they impose on regular cable packages don't apply to limited basic.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2017
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