Total Tivo newbie with CableCard question

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by kfpauli, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. kfpauli

    kfpauli New Member

    Sep 10, 2007


    (I'm trying to figure out exactly what the CableCards are for.)

    I just bought the Tivo HD and have a question concerning the CableCard. I don't have any 'premium' cable channels - no HBO, Showtime, etc. In fact, the only thing other than basic cable are my HD channels.

    Do I need the CableCards to get those channels? Comcast is willing to give me 1, but other is an extra $7 per month. I dont know if i actually need them. Everything I read says they are needed for 'premium' channels.

    Now, if I DO need them, do I need 2? The way I understand it is that you need 2 so you can record two things at the same time. But since I dont really have all the cable extras, do i really need them? Can the unit record one show from the CableCard and the other from the regular channels?

    Thanks for your help. I look forward to many years of Tivo!
  2. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    For full TiVo functionality (i.e., integration with the program guide), CableCards are needed for any and all digital cable channels, not just premium, not even just encrypted. Without CableCards, the TiVo does not know where to find your digital cable channels, and so cannot follow your Wishlist, Season Pass and scheduled recording instructions.

    If you only have one S-card, only one of your two tuners will work.
  3. holligl

    holligl Member

    Dec 28, 2004
    The Cable Card(s) is required to get the Digital and HD content over the cable.
    The TiVo will process the analog signal (SD-Standard Definition) without the Cable cards.
    If you get a single M-Card (for TiVo HD) it will process the signals for both receiver channels. If you get standard cable cards, you will need two for full utilization.

    If you live in a major metropolitan area and can mount an antenna, the TiVo does great with basic broadcast channels over an OTA (Over the Air) antenna - In High Definition - The only monthly fees you pay are to TiVo.
  4. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    CableCARDs do two things:

    1) Decrypt authorized digital channels
    2) Map a QAM frequency to a cable channel number for the guide

    In your case, if you don't get encrypted digital channels (and it sounds like you don't), the only thing you would need the CableCARD(s) for is to map the information for digital versions of the networks (what I presume you are calling your HD channels) to the Tivo guide data until Tivo provides support for something known as QAM mapping (if ever).

    If you decide to get a CableCARD, a multistream card would be best. In your case, if you don't have any encrypted channels, you could use one single stream card and still use both tuners for any unencrypyed channels, although this isn't documented and isn't recommended.

    For more on CableCARDs, see the Installation FAQ:
  5. cwoody222

    cwoody222 Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY


    No. With only 1 CableCARD the entire TiVo will default to "single tuner mode" meaning you could only record ONE channel at a time, EVER.

    You need either two cards or zero cards to be able to record two things at once.
  6. megazone

    megazone Hardcore TiVo Geek

    Mar 3, 2002
    You can use *one* card in the TiVo HD for both tuners - *IF* that one card is an M-Card.
  7. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Not true. I have successfully run dual tuners with one SCard under the conditions I mentioned, which is how I know it works. I certainly don't recommend anyone actually run that way though,

    It's documented as "single tuner mode only" because of the issues involved if there are encrypted channels and far more confusing to explain to most the situations where you can use two tuners with one card.

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