[Tig] OT TiVo (was: Re: Is packaged media close to end of life?)

Bob Kertesz bob at bluescreen.com
Tue Jan 8 18:10:39 GMT 2008

>One particularly interesting feature of the newest HD TIVO's is that they
>output both HD and SD "simultaneously" from an HD recording.  I haven't set
>mine up yet but both Weaknees (where I bought them with a terabyte of
>storage) and TIVO verified this before I bought my new ones since this was
>essential for my application.
>To me that seems quite a feat (HD to SD downconversion) for a $299 DVR.

The original and more expensive Series 3 HD boxes (I know a lot less about the
newer TiVo HD) will also do cross conversion in both directions, and can have
their HDMI and analog component outputs locked to a particular standard or
float with the input standard. Mine were about $400 after discounts and

>One thing missing from the new ones, however, is the ability to control a
>cable box via the IR blasters the old ones supported.

This would be a worthless feature, since the HD TiVo boxes can't record from
baseband or HDMI. The only two sources for the box are its off-air tuners
and/or the cable cards which plug into it. Controlling a set top box would be

>That means I will have to keep an old TIVO until I can give up the cable box
>which is still necewssary to receive certain services from my cable company
>(like Pay-per-view) that require interactive communiucation which the
>regular cablecards can niot do. 

This is correct and may be a long time coming. The three features the HD TiVos
do not support currently are PPV ordering, VOD (video on demand), and SDV
(switched digital video, where they can move your tuner to a specific segment
of the cable loop signal and send a requested channel to only you and around
500 of your closest personal friends who tune to a weird channel on the same
loop. They control the weird channel, not you). This is because the hardware
currently can't talk back to Mom at the head end. They're apparently working
on it, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

>My cable company (Time Warner) talks about the new "open" cablecards (on
>their website) that can do everything a cabkle box can do as being available
>about now (4 Q 2007, 1 Q 2008) but I haven't been aable to reach a "human"
>at Time Awarner who even seems to know wht a cable card is or whether they
>have th M Card or just the oldeer cablecard that only tunes one channell -
>much less anything about the new "open" cablecards.

I don't know where you live, but in most markets, TW is very aware of cable
cards. I live in Los Angeles, and I just called and said I had two HD TiVos
and needed four cable cards to get up and running, and they rolled a truck the
next day to get me going. It was relatively painless to get set up. Be sure to
request they bring a couple of spare cards with them, as there always seem to
be some issues getting them authorized with Mom. To get four working cards
here, the guy tried seven total.

Since you've already bought the box, I recommend you get a couple of
cablecards and just use it for now, then upgrade as things change. Otherwise,
you'll be waiting a long time.


Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California
bob at bluescreen.com

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