TIVO HD questions - sub transfer, QAM mapping

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by smbaker, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. Aug 1, 2007 #1 of 214
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    25,327
    2,218
    May 24, 2003

    Advertisements

    First question. I currently have 3 Tivos:
    S2 ST w/ lifetime subscription
    S2 DT purchased Oct/2006, 6.95/mo subscription
    S1 that I reactivated July/2007, 10.95/mo subscription (1yr commitment)

    I just ordered myself a TIVO HD. I don't really have a need to have four Tivos. Can I transfer one of the above subscriptions to the new Tivo?

    If not, then what rate will I have to subscribe at? I've seen people mention they are getting the $6.95 multi-unit discount on their Tivo HD, but last time I activated a Tivo, I was stuck at 10.95.

    Second question -- I'm one of those people who watches HD content without a cablecard. I get the four networks in digital HD as well as a few other things such as Discovery (and gobs of video-on-demand and crap that I don't care about) that showed up when I do a channel-search. I'd really like to be able to record these in HD without having to pay money for a cable card. As I understand, the Tivo HD doesn't support mapping the HD channels to analog channel numbers and you can only record the HD channels by manually using time/channel/duration. Does anyone know if they plan to fix this? It sounds like a HUGE glaring omission.

    Finally, can I get my cable co (Comcast) to give me cablecards without paying to upgrade to digital cable? I'm already shelling out $100/mo to these crooks for analog cable and Internet. I don't want to have to give them any more money than I have to.
     
  2. Aug 1, 2007 #2 of 214
    pkscout

    pkscout Well-Known Member

    4,009
    43
    Jan 10, 2003
    Honolulu, HI
    Nobody from TiVo has said anything about doing QAM mapping, and the Series 3 has been out for quite awhile. You might do a search, as I recall someone figured out a hack, but it required removing the hard drive and adding some files manually. I have no idea if the hack would work on the TiVo HD though.
     
  3. Aug 1, 2007 #3 of 214
    ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    25,527
    2
    Jan 2, 2004
    if it was me i would transfer the S1 sub onto it. Once you get the TiVo HD just go online and relace the S1 TSN with the new TSN for your TiVo HD.

    the 6.95 rate is for a 3 year commitment - you are paying 10.95 becasue you only committed for one year. Whne the initial year is up you can make a new 3 year contract and get 6.95 a month.
    it is not a glaring ommission. TiVo is not going to enable you to steal digital cable with full season pass functionality is all. The ywould get hammered by cable companies if they did. The good news is - you can buy an digital antenna and get these same stations OTA and TiVo will supply guide data for that and mix it in with the cable guide data.
     
  4. Aug 1, 2007 #4 of 214
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    25,327
    2,218
    May 24, 2003
    How is this theft of service? I thought the cable cos were required to broadcast the networks in HD. You mean to tell me that with encryption and cablecard capability and the virtual monopoly that the cable cos have, they're broadcasting HD networks in the clear by MISTAKE ? Someone ought to tell them!!!!
     
  5. Aug 1, 2007 #5 of 214
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego

    Advertisements

    Nobody is stealing anything. The FCC requires that local digital channels rebroadcasted over cable be unencrypted, and available on the most basic tier of cable service. This was done to ease the transition to digital plug-and-play service, and to keep at least a minimum level of service open/unencrypted; you better believe that without such a rule, cable companies would encrypt everything in a heartbeat. You have a right to these channels without a CableCARD. TiVo has chosen not to support them at this time; that's their right, but as a business decision I think it is a mistake.
     
  6. Aug 1, 2007 #6 of 214
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    That's great, if you can get them. Not everyone is in a geographic location that allows them to receive all their digital locals OTA.
     
  7. Aug 1, 2007 #7 of 214
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    25,327
    2,218
    May 24, 2003
    So do we know that this is a business decision? or is it something that has simply not been implemented yet? [I'm really hoping the latter]

    I can't see why they would make this business decision, unless there is a backroom deal with the cable companies (or cablecard vendor) in order to force the consumer to upgrade to digital cable, which many consumers do not need or want. My personal viewing habits are such that I watch 90% of programming from the networks.

    If the cable cos and Tivo have conspired to specifically prevent the Tivo HD from recording content that is mandated by the FCC to be unencrypted and available on basic cable, then this does not bode well for Tivo. Sure, it's a free world and Tivo can do what they want, but alienating customers is never a good idea and will end up with the product getting a bad reputation.
     
  8. Aug 1, 2007 #8 of 214
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    By "business decision", I meant the decision analyzed from a business point-of-view; I wasn't implying exactly why they've done what they've done. No one really knows for sure why TiVo decided not to support unencrypted digital cable channels without a CableCARD, but the guesses range from support costs, to user confusion, to the instability of QAM assignments in some markets, to a desire to "play nice" with big cable (who are happy to obscure the fact that these channels come "for free" with basic cable) in order to grease the wheels for making deals to host the TiVo UI on cable-owned settop boxes.

    Regardless of why, clearly a decision was made. From a business point-of-view (i.e. bottom and top line revenue), I think it was a mistake.
     
  9. Aug 1, 2007 #9 of 214
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Tivo may not have any means to do [automatic] QAM mapping if that data isn't offered by Tribune.

    Back when I had Comcast, they would periodically re-arrange the QAM lineup every month or two.
     
  10. Aug 1, 2007 #10 of 214
    smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    25,327
    2,218
    May 24, 2003
    That's what happened to me. I had no idea until I brought the TV home back in December and did a channel scan that there was any such thing as a an unencrypted HD channel. In fact, browsing TV's at the local costco, I think each one of them had a 'you must buy digital cable or satellite to get this picture' type of disclaimer sticker under each one of them.

    Going on comcast's website, I could find no mention that basic cable comes with digital HD channels, nor do the channel lineups include the channel numbers for the HD channels.

    Although I'm no fan of government regulation, I think this is one place where some increased oversight from the FCC may be helpful. They may be abiding by the word of the law, but by obfuscating the HD channels, they are certainly violating the spirit of it.
     
  11. Aug 1, 2007 #11 of 214
    jblake

    jblake New Member

    340
    0
    Jan 24, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Ok, I just had almost this exact scenario. I have a series 2 DT whose commitment is up in 10 days. I called Tivo and they gave me the MSD for one month, and then when the commitment on the s2 is up, I'm just going to cancel it. She did say I could "transfer" the Series 2 sub to the HD, but suggested it'd be easer to do it the other way.

    Also, I get all the open QAM channels with the HD, but they aren't mapped to the right channels and I don't get any guide info. They are perfectly watchable, and you can use trick play, pause, etc. You could probably setup manual recordings, but of course if they move around alot that's not very useful. Honestly, I want cable cards (will be calling to get them ordered soon) so I can get some of the non-open channels.
     
  12. Aug 1, 2007 #12 of 214
    lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    7,961
    93
    Jan 23, 2005
    CT
    If TiVo can map CBS HD at (in my case) Ch 233 than why without a CC can't they map the same data to (again in my case) to 3-1 (the CBS HD free cable ch.) ?
     
  13. Aug 1, 2007 #13 of 214
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    I don't understand your question.

    The cable company provides remapping information for digital cable with CableCard. With CableCard, you get a table of QAM channels and their appropriate channel numbers. For example, it tells your Tivo that QAM channel 106-11 is actually channel 205.

    A small percentage of cable systems also offer PSIP info with channel mapping information. Some do this for their locals, but very rarely do they do it for all their QAM channels. For example, a cable provider may include PSIP information telling your Tivo that QAM channel 98-4 is actually channel 5. If your cable provider offers that PSIP guide information, Tivo will use it and display it as channel 5 with the appropriate guide information.

    Tribune does provide remapping information for OTA channels.
     
  14. Aug 1, 2007 #14 of 214
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    That last part is incorrect...even if PSIP maps the channel to the equivalent OTA channel number, the TiVo will not supply guide data for it. TiVo separates "antenna channels" from "cable channels", and will not use guide data from the former on channels in the latter, even if the channel numbers match.

    The above is one very simple way TiVo could fix this issue for a large number of users: if PSIP data is present, then use it to obtain the channel number (which it already does) and look up that channel number in the "antenna channel group" to supply guide data for it. Should be trivially easy.

    Also, cable companies are required to pass along the PSIP data if received from the broadcaster. I suspect the number of markets where this occurs is much higher than "a small percentage"; I suspect it is "most".
     
  15. Aug 1, 2007 #15 of 214
    Saxion

    Saxion Substantive Member

    485
    0
    Sep 17, 2006
    San Diego
    It isn't currently offered by Tribune Media Services, but it could be with some effort on their part.

    Or, TiVo could use PSIP to obtain the OTA channel number and look that up in the guide, as explained above.

    Or, TiVo could allow the user to manually associate the 6 or so locals (be they QAM or PSIP channel numbers) with the matching channel guide data for antenna-received channels; if QAM frequencies change, the user would be responsible for updating the map information.

    Any of the above would be better than nothing, which is what we have now.
     
  16. Aug 1, 2007 #16 of 214
    jblake

    jblake New Member

    340
    0
    Jan 24, 2002
    Birmingham, AL
    Cable companies don't provide channel mapping data to Tribune. Think of how that's arranged in the same way that satellite companies handle transponder assignments. Month to month these may change, and the boxes normally handle finding the frequency. That's what the cable card is for, otherwise the box has no way to know what channel 88-4 is for example.

    The rest of your suggestions would be nice, but remember that features on the box would have to have customer and technical support behind it. It's not as easy as putting a feature out there that a few hardcore geeks on TCF want and then expect joe consumer to not call in to customer support when TWC changes the maps and screws it all up. To the customer, it looks like Tivo screwed up, even if it wasn't their fault. Really, requiring a cable card is the best way to handle it since it puts the onus on the cable company for providing correct data in the CC system, which they will, since their boxes use the same data.
     
  17. Aug 2, 2007 #17 of 214
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
    2
    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    I think you misinterpreted my comment.

    I was referring to the instance where cable companies use PSIP data to remap QAM channels to the same channel numbers used on cable, which may or may not be the same as the OTA channel number. It is my understanding that a few few Comcast systems do this.

    I now have FiOS, but when I had Comcast, they didn't pass PSIP data, so I had no way to test. However, are you saying that if channel 5 on Comcast is FOX5, and QAM channel 98-4 is remapped to FOX5, you won't get guide information for that channel?
     
  18. Aug 2, 2007 #18 of 214
    Austin_Martin

    Austin_Martin New Member

    124
    0
    Sep 12, 2006
    You're making a mistake here. The psip can map the channel to the proper cable channel number. When I didn't have cablecards in the Austin area, I did a channel scan, and the HD locals which are QAM were found. They then had the proper guide data for it.
     
  19. Aug 2, 2007 #19 of 214
    BigJimOutlaw

    BigJimOutlaw Well-Known Member

    3,317
    655
    Mar 21, 2004
    The "customer support" thing seems to keep popping up when it comes to QAM mapping, and it also keeps getting dismissed as some sort of fringe nerd desire, which is just as confusing.

    Movie downloads were a geek's wet dream once. Tivo's CS managed to survive that addition, as well as all other features that were nerdy at one time.

    QAM mapping wouldn't add any more of a tech support crisis than any other feature that's prone to real-world errors. For all anybody knows, it's on the to-do list along with everything else that's been missing since day 1 with the S3. The "CS" excuse is just a guess.
     
  20. Aug 2, 2007 #20 of 214
    Budget_HT

    Budget_HT Heavy User (of TiVo)

    990
    0
    Jan 2, 2001
    Renton, WA
    I don't have an S3 or a TiVoHD, but I can relate what Comcast is doing in our area with PSIP data on HDTV channels.

    The PSIP data provided here on Comcast maps channels to the OTA logical channel numbers, NOT the cable channel numbers being used on their own boxes.

    For example, Comcast numbers the HDTV channels in the 100 series here, e.g., channel 107 (HD) on cable (with a Comcast box) is actually on 111-2 (IIRC) natively on cable and 39-1 natively on OTA and maps to 7-1 on OTA and on cable (QAM without a cable card); the old analog channel is 7.

    It gets worse on some channels. Channel 16 analog OTA is carried on channel 6 analog cable. The PSIP data on the cable native HDTV channel (can't remember the exact channel assignment right now) causes a QAM tuner to treat it as channel 16-1, like it would for OTA reception.

    A cable card would map the channels to the Comcast STB equivalents, enabling the the cable guide data to match.

    I can't imagine a general TiVoHD or S3 user being able to manage manual mapping if they don't understand the concepts and details of channel mapping, constantly-changing native cable channel assignments (at least here in our Comcast service area), cable-specified unique HDTV channel numbers for their STBs and guide data, and so on.

    I can see why TiVo would chose not to offer or support such a confusing arena. Even if you do understand PSIP and cable channel mapping from native cable channels, it is still quite a chore to keep up with ongoing changes.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements