SD-only, tuning not required: Can I use a Series 3 (or 4?) for guide/recording?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by jj2me, Apr 23, 2021.

  1. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    Weaknees says No in their buying guide here (bottom or table, entry for "Cable" and "Standard Definition":
    "Your choices are ... Series 1 and Series 2 units ...".​

    But do they say that only because tuning wouldn't work? Which I don't need.

    My current setup is a Series 2 TiVo (Toshiba SD-H400, which just broke), an Xfinity cable box, an Xfinity SD-only contract, and a 22-year old JVC TV (picture tube!). I have to set my programs on both units: on the TiVo and on the old cable box, which allows programming 8 channel changes. The TiVo thinks it's changing the channel when it starts a recording, but of course it isn't.

    I have a spare Bolt, but I strongly suspect it would check to see that there was no cable card and therefore wouldn't let me get to selecting my cable guide.

    Would any Series 3 (or 4?) work that doesn't have a cable card slot? TIA.
     
  2. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    Series 1 will no longer work with the newer guide.

    Series 3 and 4 does have cable card slot and will not work with a cable box. You would need a cable card to be able to access cable. But the output to TV require the TV to have a HDMI connection, or Component (Blue/yellow/red, with white/red audio.) The 2+ tuners would only work with either OTA or cable with cable card.

    You should move to HD as SD would be phased out.
     
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  3. lhvetinari

    lhvetinari Ambassador to the City of Chicago TCF Club

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    Sounds like you are recording off the Xfinity boxes input - in which case you are limited to Series2 units, as they are the last ones that support recording off video inputs (as opposed to doing the video decoding internally from a direct cable/antenna connection).

    Series 1 no longer get guide data, it's a no-go.

    Frankly, why not simplify? Get a TiVo HD (Second revision of the Series3) box and a cable-card, it will receive the SD signals just fine. Send the XFinity box back.
     
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  4. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    SD is either analog or digital, but most have moved to digital.
     
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  5. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    Ah, thanks, that's especially what I didn't understand until now: there's a format mismatch between what's coming out from my cable box (video-ready analog?), vs. what those Series 3 "Antenna In" and "Cable In" coax inputs expect (two different types of digitally encoded signal?). I'm probably describing them incorrectly, but at least I now know it's a format mismatch.

    I haven't made the effort to get a CableCARD because I've read so many stories of trying multiple CableCARDs and having in-home visits to set it up, that I was just avoiding the hassle. Thanks also for naming the box that would work with SD.
     
  6. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Sounds like they’re on Comcast (Xfinity), so I expect that the TV signal is digital; they’ve just been using a Comcast set-top box to tune the channels, and capturing the content old school, encoding the STB’s video output to digital.

    If the SD-only contract allows for use of a CableCARD, I’d think a 4-tuner Roamio might be the box to consider. Or a 2-tuner Premiere (w/ Lifetime service) if there’s interest in being able to tune cable *or* OTA.

    What video inputs are available on the JVC TV?
     
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  7. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Every TiVo box from S3 on should work equally well with the SD-only Xfinity package, since they’d all require a CableCARD and could directly tune and save the available SD channels.

    You’d likely want to stick with Roamio models and earlier, assuming the JVC TV lacks an HDMI input. (BOLT and EDGE DVRs are HDMI video output-only, so would require a separate converter to display to an HDMI-less TV.)
     
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  8. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    (If looking to stick with early 2000’s technology, you could probably find a ReplayTV 5000/5500 DVR to continue with the STB output encoding approach, though you may need to manage your own guide service via Schedules Direct and a local PC. I’ve been away for quite some time, but it’s possible that the ReplayTV could be modified to support changing the channels on the Xfinity STB; it was able to do so with the basic DTA’s Xfinity provided at the time of the digital conversion.)
     
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  9. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    It’s really not a hassle with Comcast. I just paired a couple cards a few weeks back, and each just required a brief phone call with Comcast support.

    And it would certainly be an improvement over the STB/DVR coordination you have to manage, at present.
     
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  10. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    Thanks. The JVC has two composite inputs and one coax input, no HDMI. If I go CableCARD, since I have a spare original Bolt with lifetime, I could buy a simple HDMI-to-composite converter. Presumably that would work equally well.

    I'll also research the ReplayTV solution, thanks.
     
  11. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    If you are getting a Series 3 or 4/Premiere, be sure it has an active lifetime subscription as Tivo no longer activates new units for these old models.
     
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  12. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    Thanks again. Just the encouragement I need to get upgraded and use my lifetime Bolt.
     
  13. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    That's exactly the mistake I was going to make this morning I was considering taking a chance on a Series 3 from eBay. No wonder it was so cheap! Thanks.
     
  14. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    Thanks everyone, this is great stuff. Not only did you give me an education (I swear, I spent about 4 hours last night trying to figure this out) and saved me money and time, but you've set me on the proper path forward. Much obliged.
     
  15. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    The linked product appears to convert in the opposite direction, composite-to-HDMI. But with the right converter it may work acceptably; little harm in trying given the main expense is the DVR and its service.

    p.s. Or put the converter money towards a TV upgrade.
     
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  16. lhvetinari

    lhvetinari Ambassador to the City of Chicago TCF Club

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    I've seen reports of fair-to-middling performance of HDMI to Composite converters. The one you linked converts the wrong direction.

    If you can find one cheap, it's worth a try. Other options are a new TV (small HDTVs can be had for cheap as sin nowdays), or connecting an A92/A93 Mini to your network and using it's composite out to stream stuff from the Bolt.

    For what it's worth, aside from some small, geographically isolated systems, Comcast SD is entirely digital (which, ironically, provides a speed bump to future upgrades/changes - now they've got a small armada of DTAs out there that can only process MPEG2 SD channels...)
     
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  17. jj2me

    jj2me New Member

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    By luck I already have an A93 Mini, as I did plan on going HDTV, it's just delayed a bit (6-9 months) when I get this 105-year old house completely rewired (partial knob and tube still!) and cabled for the first time (blown in insulation behind plaster walls makes the task above my abilities). Meanwhile, I'll think about re-arranging things across floors, and maybe then I can use the Bolt and Mini.

    Thanks again, so much great knowledge here.
     

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