VERY basic 3 questions

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Tymb, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. Tymb

    Tymb New Member

    Feb 20, 2005


    We're considering installing the new series 3 TiVO to replace our two current series 2 units. Of course talking to our cable company has only increased the confusion.

    Obviously the person I spoke to at the cable company knows little about the options-- very nice gal but not tech savvy at all. This is a small, local cable provider and I'd rather educate them (and myself) rather than yell/scream about how ignorant they are. <g>

    Their 1st level of support claims:

    I couldn't use TiVo for HD and I would have to use their DVR system. Of course this is just plain wrong, correct?

    Asking about cable cards they said they do have cards available, but seemed confused when I suggested I would need two. I've read numerous threads here about getting the two cards, but it's still unclear to me how/where/why they are used? Again, they claim I only get one card.

    Any advice/insight greatly appreciated. Perhaps there's series 3 user guides available online that I could refer to as well?
  2. Dssturbo1

    Dssturbo1 New Member

    Feb 22, 2005
    as long as they use qam for their transmission the S3 will work with the unscrambled channels, sd or hd.
    the cablecard(s) come into effect when you need to unscramble the added fee channels they carry and you want to subscribe too.
    the s3 is a two tuner device and that is why you need 2 cablecards,(although it will work as one tuner if you only get one cablecard installed). most cable companies are/were only used to giving out 1 cable card for a tv that only has 1 cablecard slot, the S3 has 2 cablecard slots, one for each card that is a seperate tuner.
    yes, their are stickys at the top of the forum page about s3 review faqs and also one about cablecards.
  3. jasonpot

    jasonpot New Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Yes, that's just wrong.

    The Tivo Series 3 is capable of receiving HD content provided by the cable company through two CableCARD devices and through unencrypted free Over the Air HD transmissions.

    In order to get the first option, you'll need to contact your cable company and order two CableCARDs. They will probably want to install them for a nominal fee and you'll rent them also for a nominal monthly fee. If they don't know why you need two, calmly explain that you have a DVR that requires two cablecards because it has two tuners. Some people have had to "lie" to the cableco and say they have two TVs, but the Series 3 is a CableLabs approved device and they have to support it. If they still refused, you can call Tivo and they will contact your cableco and explain it to them.
  4. Jeff_W

    Jeff_W Member

    May 21, 2005
    Related newbie question: What about digital cable? My cable company broadcasts all of the "upper" channels in digital (I can tell because I regularly see artifacts, digital cable sucks). If I get a Series 3 and install a cablecard will I be able to watch and record digital channels?

    At $800 plus the cost of tranferring my lifetime subs I am seriously considering saying goodbye to Tivo and getting myself a cheap MCE box. It's a really tough call.
  5. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

    Sep 21, 2005


    Yes, you can.

    You'll end up spending at least that, plus have the headaches that come with supporting it, and none of the CableCard support until Vista shows up (and then you'll be dealing with all the x.0 bugs in a "new" OS).
  6. Jerry_K

    Jerry_K Don't know much

    Feb 7, 2002
    Regarding the MCE boxes. Look here for one persons experience trying to duplicate TiVo functionality with a Computer.

    On AVS forums there is much chatter in the MCE forum about the MCE becoming a brick due to "content protection" from the creators.

    The S3 is approved such that the "content protection: police are somewhat satisfied.
  7. Jeff_W

    Jeff_W Member

    May 21, 2005
    Thanks. Do I need to verify anything about my cable company's method of transmission? My cable company is very small. They have a few corners of Comcast territory, I don't really know why they even exist.

    I am really torn between Series 3 and MCE. The cost is going to be similar but I absolutely love Tivo. I'm a hardcore geek but I'm not terribly interested in having to maintain a PC in my HT room. I love Tivo because it just works with no hassle. On the other hand, MCE is coming along pretty well I think, Vista is in my experience so far very nice (and solid), and if I move to MCE I will have the ability to do more stuff than with a Tivo.

    It's a tough choice. I'm really having a problem with $1k+ to move from Tivo 2 with lifetime to Tivo 3. As much as I love Tivo it's not worth that much to me. Ah well... time to go research MCE and figure out if I would be happy with that type of solution.

    EDIT: Content protection issues: yuck. That sucks. Yet another thing I have to think about.
  8. ewilts

    ewilts Who, me?

    Feb 26, 2002
    Mounds View, MN
    I too was torn about spending $1000 on the S3 + lifetime (although you can get the S3 for 15% off right now at the TiVo Community store). In the end, I decided that the money was worth it - I *know* the TiVo just works and it has features and stability not seen in MCE or the cable company's DVRs. My wife is already comfortable with the TiVo. I also know that the TiVo was designed for the higher-end market so it does a lot of stuff really, really well. You'll even find an HDMI cable in the box. The CableCards have worked like they're supposed - in fact, the CC installs has been a lot less hassle (and I still don't have working properly) than setting up my Harmony remote to work with my new TV!

    Don't discount the importance of having two tuners either...

  9. ashu

    ashu User title defunct

    Nov 8, 2002
    Another hardcore geek reporting the S3 is less stressful and WAY more satisfying than a self-built, self-maintained and perennially-n-need-of-babysitting MCE system, which starts out being addled with content-protection issues and inability to record digital premiums.

    Get the S3 :)
  10. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Though to clarify, at least currently, you NEED two cablecards to be able to use the Tivo as intended *to record even unencrypted HD stations on cable*.

    Hopefully this will be fixed in a future software update (allow the user to take some risk of channels being remapped, by letting them manually remap channels so the Tivo guide knows where they are).. But as of now, you need the cablecards to do this, even if you don't pay for extra digital channels.
  11. Tymb

    Tymb New Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Great. Very informative responses-- thanks to all who replied!

    Off air HD is not an option here as we're very rural and in a valley with pretty poor reception in general.

    With the info kindly offered here and reading through all the FAQs, I'm feeling much more informed. Of course if the cable folks give me any grief, I'll come crawling back here for further assistance. :)

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