TiVo HD, TW Cable Dallas, and newbie questions

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Joe Siegler, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. Jun 9, 2008 #1 of 42
    Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

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    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX

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    I am looking at moving from DirecTV to Time Warner Cable, and in doing some research today, I've run across several issues. I've read about this stuff a bit, which I like to do on my own instead of just blundering in asking questions first. Having said that, I'm confused on a few things. Here goes:

    Background stuff on me:

    First off, I'm in Dallas (hello DaveDFW). Technically Garland (right outside of Dallas), but I fall under the Dallas TWC banner - I know, I'm already a customer.

    The primary reason I'm doing this is cost. I already have TWC's digital phone and Cable Internet services. I've had DirecTV for several years now, primiarly because I wanted NFL Sunday Ticket. I stopped getting ticket a year or so ago, because of the cost of the thing vs the games we actually ended up watching. NFLST was my "tie" to DirecTV. With that not being there now, I don't have a special allegience to DirecTV anymore. I used to be a TiVo customer, had Series 1, and Series 2 boxes, and then went DirecTiVo boxes when I first started with DirecTV, but then DirecTV bought out that stuff, pigeonholed it, and eventually killed it, so right now on DirecTV I have an R10, and a HDVR2 unit. I know both of them would need to be replaced if I went to TWC. I also called D* today and checked - my account is "clear" of the "two year commitment or big fine if you quit" stuff, so that's a non issue. The bundle package I would get from TWC for all three services vs the two I already have plus my DirecTV bill is about $50 cheaper a month. This I admit is the primary focus for all this action. A lesser reason is that I just miss "TiVo". Yeah, my DirecTiVo box has some TiVo features, but I've been essentially stuck with the same featureset for years.

    OK, that's the why I'm doing this. Here is my plan of action I came up with when I gave some real thought as to doing this today.

    I was going to get a TiVoHD box for the living room, and my brother has a spare Series 2 box with lifetime on it he was going to give me for use in my bedroom. I was planning on getting a TiVoHD and using it for just standard def stuff for now. I figure on going HD at some point later this year, so I figure I'd have a TiVo ready for it. The integrated solution of TiVo and receiver was the reason I went DirecTiVo in the first place a few years back. Since I'm SD only, there was also the option of doing just two Series 2 boxes for now, but if I know I'll be going HD, I might as well just get that box now instead of getting an SD for our primary TV room. Furthermore, I remember from my days with cable that I detested the cable box with a TiVo box combination. The bedroom S2 TiVo would have that, but I could live with that as not a ton of recording is done in there - the living room one though I would want the integrated deal, hence my looking at the TiVoHD box. The service package I was going to get from TWC was their "Digital Cable" offering on this pdf channel lineup - no HD at this time.

    OK, that's what I was going to do - now the confusion sets in.... :)

    So I get on these forums, and start reading about SDV and cable cards and all that crap. One big thing here (I think) is that I do *NOT* have an HDTV yet. This is all for SD viewing at the moment. If I am not getting any HD channels for the time being, and just looking at SD digital cable, do I need the Cable Card? I'm a little unclear as to whether I do for just SD material. If I do, think I'd want one M-Card for the TiVoHD, since I'll want to record more than one thing at a time. The bedroom one would likely be using their box with the S2 TiVo, so that's not relevant from what I can tell. Gah! I'm confused. Can someone clue me in?

    Nebulous Future stuff:

    The SDV adapter for the TiVoHD box seems to be something I would only need for HD signals, corect? I know it's not out yet, but from what I read here, it will be released at some point between now and when I'll likely go HD, which probably won't be until later in the year.

    While I don't need it now, I did investigate the "DirecTV 90+ HD channels" vs what is available on TWC Dallas. After looking at the available channels plus knowing the family's viewing habits, I concluded that there's just one channel I wouldn't be able to get - that being the NFL Network. Mildly annoying, but I can live with that. There's also some other stuff I would gain (like local government channels which I'm actually interested in). Also from looking at DirecTV's list of HD channels, the bulk of them seem to be upsourced clones of the SD channels - not true HD sourced material, is that right?

    A random question that probably is dumb, but I wanted to ask. If I stuck an antenna in the TiVoHD box, what would it do with the .1 .2 channels it would see from HD signals? I presume I'm just not presented with them, right? I assume it wouldn't downconvert them to SD and let me see them with no HDTV, right?

    Fios:

    Oh, and FiOs is not an option for me. If it was, that's where I'd be going. But my area has not been wired, and Verizon has "no idea" when it will be. Talking to some other residents in the area who have been here a long time (I've been in this house for about 6 years now), they say that when they were built, it usually takes awhile for things like that to make it back our little neighborhood. We're kind of in a bit of a cubbyhole in terms of our location. We're literally one block from the end of the city limits.

    Bottom Line:

    I guess the bottom line here is if I buy a TiVoHD unit to use with SD only TWC service, do I need to worry about cable cards and whether they're M-cards and all that? Sorry for the bit of a ramble here, but I have to admit to being a bit confused about all this stuff, plus my personal variable of "SD only (for now)".
     
  2. Jun 9, 2008 #2 of 42
    RonDawg

    RonDawg Well-Known Member

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    Jan 12, 2006
    Neither...
    The SDV adapter for the TiVoHD box seems to be something I would only need for HD signals, corect?

    It is only necessary to receive those channels that have been designated as SDV. Whether or not you will need it in your particular situation will depend on your local cable provider. I will leave this up to the DFW locals like TexasGrillChef.

    If I am not getting any HD channels for the time being, and just looking at SD digital cable, do I need the Cable Card?

    Yes. The CableCard takes the place of the cable box. Without the CableCard you will be limited to analog cable and OTA.

    The bedroom one would likely be using their box with the S2 TiVo, so that's not relevant from what I can tell.

    Correct. The cable box may have its own CableCard built-in depending on date of manufacture, but you won't need to be concerned with that.

    Also from looking at DirecTV's list of HD channels, the bulk of them seem to be upsourced clones of the SD channels - not true HD sourced material, is that right?

    Depends on the channel and program.

    Discovery HD Theater and HDNet broadcast programs that were originally recorded in HD.

    Other Discovery HD channels, A&EHD channels to include History and Biography, and most other HD channels for that matter will depend on the source material. If the program was made before 2000 chances are it is an upconverted SD program. Many others made since then are also upconverted SD.

    ESPNHD for the most part is mostly HD, but some sections of programming are upconverted SD. I don't know about the premium movie channels as I don't subscribe to them.

    The OTA HD channels are also a mix of true HD and upconverted SD.

    If I stuck an antenna in the TiVoHD box, what would it do with the .1 .2 channels it would see from HD signals? I presume I'm just not presented with them, right? I assume it wouldn't downconvert them to SD and let me see them with no HDTV, right?

    The ->| button on the TiVo remote allows you to tune in the digital OTA subchannels. If they are in HD, and the TiVo is set to Native or Hybrid, and you have an HDTV, you will get them in HD. Otherwise, the TiVo will automatically downconvert the signal to SD.

    I guess the bottom line here is if I buy a TiVoHD unit to use with SD only TWC service, do I need to worry about cable cards and whether they're M-cards and all that?

    If you are happy with TWC's analog channels, and/or want to stick with just OTA, you won't need CableCards. If you want to tune any of their digital channels, SD or HD, you will need CableCards

    If possible do try to get an M-card for your TiVoHD since most cable providers charge per card, though it's only a couple or so dollars. However if they will only provide two S-cards that is fine as well.
     
  3. Jun 9, 2008 #3 of 42
    TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    I too have TWC in Dallas... (Carrollton area). TWC is in the process of adding about 15 new HD channesl to the lineup for our area by the end of the year. Mesquite allready has those channels. Various other areas of Dallas will get them sometime between now & the end of the year.

    Next year by June 1, 2009. TWC will add another 20 channels of HD including all of the new HBO HD channels. (HBO is owned by TW).

    One other point. TWC will be dropping Analog cable service by the end of 2010.

    Just information I thought you should know before I answer/comment on your post.

    First off... Don't choose Cable or DirecTV based on price only. Base your decesion on 2 factors. Channels & Features.

    DirecTV & TWC will have about the same offerings on HD content as well as currently SD content (That will soon be HD content anyways). There ARE a few channel differences. But keep in mind within the next year or two, the differences in channels offered will be close to non-existant.

    Features.... The stand-alone TiVo box will always be more capable feature wise that what DirecTV will offer from its DVR. Including the DirecTV TiVo DVR. Such as MRV, TTG, TTCB, Downloads etc...

    You could hook up the S2 and receive the analog cable channels from 2-99 & use dual tuner. But like I said, TWC will be dropping analog cable by the end of 2010.

    You can also get a STB (No DVR) for the S2 and have the S2 control the STB and get all the channels offered except for the HD channels. Although they will be soon dropping the price of the TWC DVR to the same price as a STB.

    In addition to that. TWC will also be dropping some Digital versions of the HD equivelant by 2010 as well. Example... They will drop the NON-HD version of National Geo in favor of keeping National Geo-HD.

    One other thing to point out... You can MRV SD shows FROM the TiVoHD TO the S2. But anything recorded in HD WON'T MRV to the S2. The TiVo HD will REQUIRE the cable cards to get any of the digital channels on TWC. (ALL channels above 99 require the cable card for TWC in our area)

    Dallas is currently in the process of a 650 million dollar cable system upgrade. Dallas area TWC has no plans or need for SDV in our metroplex.

    Yes... the cable card IS REQUIRED to view ANY channel OVER 99, HD or not. All digital channels for our area require the cable card as there are NO CLEAR QAM channels our our system.

    TWC in our DFW area will only give you M type cable cards. Anyone who has S-Cards can have TWC come out and trade them for M-Cards if they choose. TWC uses motorolla cards.

    SDV isn't coming to Dallas, So no need for the SDV adapter in Dallas with TWC.

    Dallas area is adding about 15 HD channels currently. Mesquite allready has them. Other areas of Dallas will have them added by the end of the year. Some areas even sooner. 20 more HD channels including all the NEW HBO HD channels will be added by June 1st 2009.

    All HD channels are true HD channels as being broadcast by the broadcaster. In otherwords... National Geographic HD is coming straight from National Geographic as HD. Same with HBO etc... Now the actual show being broadcast may or may not be a show that is upscaled. HBO lets you know shows that are "FILMED" in HD as being "TRUE HD". Some HD is 720p, other is 1080i. It all depends on the actual production of the original show.

    Keep in mind that over time, the SD digital channel version will be dropped in favor of keeping the True HD version. As I mentioned before.

    I have an antenna on my TiVo HD/S3 unit and receive all the HD/Digital OTA channels for the dallas area as well as my TWC. The S3/TiVo HD can work with both systems at the same time.

    Bottom line:

    If you want to receive digital channels above 99, then YES you will NEED cable cards. TWC only gives out M-Cards in the Dallas area.

    You can get HD channels on your TiVo HD and view those HD channels on a SD TV. You will just get letterboxing on your NON-HD TV.

    TGC
     
  4. masterwick

    masterwick Member

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    Feb 10, 2006
    FYI...2 weeks ago I had TWC installed and they provided 4 cable cards in total (2 S3s), 2 S-cards, 2 M-Cards. Since it doesn't matter with my S3s, I don't care as long as it works.

    Just curious, where did you hear/read this? Is this inside information or press release? If this is the case AND they are adding additional HD channels, then this will take the sting out of switching from FIOS to TWC. Before any jumps on me for being crazy, I moved from a FIOS area to a non-FIOS area and TWC was my only choice with TiVo :(.
     
  5. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006

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    They still have a few S-Cards around. You also probably had a "Contractor" for your install guy around.

    Yes this is inside information as I have a relative (by marriage) that works at the TWC office in Iriving, TX.

    The channels that they are adding between NOW and the end of the year are allready in progress. Some areas of the Dallas Metroplex allready receive the new HD channels (Mesquite is one of the areas allready receiving the new HD channels). The other 20 or so HD channels will be added next year once contracts have been negotiated.

    I currently live in an area of DFW that is NOT a Fios area. So I am forced to use TWC or go with DirecTV.

    The NEW HD channels that will be in various areas between NOW and the end of the year (For the DFW area) are:

    740 CNN HD
    744 TBS HD
    745 History HD
    752 Food Network HD
    753 HGTV HD
    754 A&E HD
    756 Discovery HD
    757 Animal Planet HD
    771 National Geographic HD
    786 Versus HD/Golf HD
    787 Fox Sports SW HD

    A couple of the NEW HD stations coming in 2009 are the HBO HD stations. Check with HBO.Com for the list of available HBO HD options. I think it's like HBO 2, Signature, Family, etc...

    TGC
     
  6. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

    808
    8
    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
    Too bad it won't get here in time for the end of the Rangers season. Of course, I don't have an HDTV anyway, so I guess it doesn't really matter. :)
     
  7. masterwick

    masterwick Member

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    Feb 10, 2006
    It was a contractor who performed the initial installation.

    Good information. Too bad SciFi HD is not listed. Hopefully sooner than later.

    Thanks for the information. BTW, I moved to north McKinney so hopefully they won't delay the rollout too much in my area.
     
  8. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Frisco, The Colony, Allen, McKinney Should have the new stations by the end of August or September.

    They are in the process of upgrading our "Headend" Distribution center. Once that has been completed. We should get the new channels.

    SCI-Fi HD is in negotiations

    TGC
     
  9. Aug 7, 2008 #9 of 42
    Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

    808
    8
    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
    Tonight I got a message telling me there were four new channels added to my lineup. They were:

    742 - CNBCHD
    743 - USAHD
    788 - NBCSOC
    789 - NBCBSK

    So I went to check them out. I got a pop up message I've never seen before. It said this:

    So I went and checked the channel list I quoted above. Some of them had this message, some were just black. I do not subscribe to the TWC Dallas HD package, so I assume that's why some were just black. The other ones I'm not sure about. Is that popup (which was black rectangular message box with rounded edges and a TiVo guy in it) something that comes up with SDV?

    Earlier up in the thread it was said something about TWC Dallas not doing SDV, but I can't imagine what else this error box means. If it's telling me I simply haven't subscribed to this channel, then why do I get it on some channels, and not others?

    The intersting thing about all of this is that my TV is not HD. However, since I'm using a TiVoHD, I can watch the HD channels, and they look a HELL of a lot better than the standard def equivalents. I've disabled the SD versions of channels where I do get one of the HD ones for free. :) Once I get an HDTV (around Christmas I hope) I'll up for the HD tier, but for now, I just go with the free HD options.
     
  10. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    742 - CNBCHD
    743 - USAHD
    788 - NBCSOC
    789 - NBCBSK

    These channels have been added for the purpose of the 2008 Bejing Olympics.

    788 is Olympics Basketball
    789 is Olympics Soccer.

    Both channesl will cease to exist after the Olympics.

    We are only getting 742 & 743 during Olympic time only. Then they will go away too. Why we can't keep them I have no idea. Has something to do with contracts.

    Go figure

    TGC
     
  11. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

    808
    8
    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
    OK, I understand for the Olympics, but what about that Cablecard message I posted above? It feels like SDV to me.
     
  12. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Nope Dallas isn't on SDV.

    I checked on my Tivo AND on my Cablecard TV's. I received the SAME message on my TV's as well as on my TiVo's.

    Made a few calls. They haven't turned on the Olympic channels yet. Why I wasn't able to find out. Although they are suppose to have them enabled on Friday 8-08-08 sometime.

    Go figure

    TGC
     
  13. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

    808
    8
    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
  14. InkBlot

    InkBlot New Member

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    Sep 11, 2006
    I live in the mid-cities area between Dallas/Fort Worth, under TWC, and we recently got access to the new HD channels. I almost missed it, because when Mesquite got them, they appeared in my TiVo and I just took them off the list (because back then, they didn't work). About a week or two ago, I got notice of a new channel: Universal HD, nestled next to my local NBC stations. I decided to look at TWC's website today to see if anything else was being added, and on a whim tried those HD channels again. They work!

    So a note to anyone else in North Texas who might have gotten that bunch of HD channels when Mesquite did - check them out again, they might be working.

    InkBlot
    :eek:
     
  15. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

    808
    8
    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
    Do you have any special insight into the message I was getting? I just checked tonight on Sep 19th on all the channels listed further up in this thread, and I'm still getting the same message. The one that says this:

    Am I misunderstanding this message? This reads like I need an SDV decoder.

    If I'm wrong, please let me know.
     
  16. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    The "Areas" of Dallas are determined really by how the cable systems first developed in the DFW metroplex. Back in the 1970's, each of the cities contracted with various different cable companies. As a result, each city had their own system & network of cable runs etc installed.

    As time went on, bigger cable companies bought out the smaller ones. As a result over time what we have in DFW is one major company that owns & runs about 50-60 cable networks. Each of the networks relates back to the city the cable network was established in.

    Because of this, it makes DFW a very expensive area to maintain & even upgrade. This is why COMCAST was only in the DFW market for a couple of years before they sold our market to TWC. Comcast didn't realize the mess they were getting into when they bought our market from AT&T back in early 2000.

    Thus.... upgrades are coming to us city by city. Mesquite has it, while Garland does not. I now live in the Frisco/Plano area. I used to live off Chaha & I-30. South side, 36 feet from the Mesquite / Garland border. So I know exactly the issue going on there! (even though that was 5 years ago). It was interesting because back then I had one channel line up, & my next door neighbor had a different channel lineup. I was in Garland, & he was in Mesquite. This of course was back in the days when our cable was AT&T, and also when it was Comcast. (I moved when it was comcast & before it was sold to TWC).

    Word though is be patient... Everyone should have all the new channels for TWC in DFW by the end of the year.

    TGC
     
  17. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    It's not SDV. Anyone NOT in the area where they have flipped the switch on the new channels will get that message.

    Once they turn those channels on in your/mine/our areas. The message will go away.

    The way the system is techically working & the reason we are getting that message is similar to being able to get HBO, but since your not buying HBO they haven't turned you on to receive it. Similar to that with a few minor differences. Since we are getting some of the channel information, it is just confusing the TiVo and so the TiVo gives a weird message.

    TGC
     
  18. masterwick

    masterwick Member

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    0
    Feb 10, 2006
    McKinney area now has additional HD channels as of Sept 21 (when I noticed).

    740 CNN HD
    744 TBS HD
    745 History HD
    752 Food Network HD
    753 HGTV HD
    754 A&E HD
    756 Discovery HD
    757 Animal Planet HD
    771 National Geographic HD
    786 Versus HD/Golf HD
    787 Fox Sports SW HD
     
  19. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

    808
    8
    May 10, 2000
    Garland, TX
    I'll have to check when I get home to see if Garland has them.

    BTW, are all these on the free tier, or on the ones that you have to pay? Was that ever stated?
     
  20. TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Sep 15, 2006
    Expanded Digital tier with HD option for my area

    TGC
     

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