Can I buy a Tivo DVR to work with Comcast?

U

Unregistered

Guest
#1
Is it possible to buy a Tivo DVR that will work with Comcast instead of renting one and paying a monthly fee?
 

Jim5506

DTVUSA Member
#2
Contact your local Comcast office to see if they have cable cards that are compatible with TiVo.

I have an HD TiVo (Model TCD652160) and it has 2 cable card slots that may very well work with Comcast cablecards.

BTY HDTiVo's with lifetime service are selling in the area of $250-350 on eBay, higher prices for units with hard drive upgrades.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#3
All cable companies except the very small ones are supposed to be offering multi-stream cablecards (M cards). Comcast most certainly has them. The M cards can decrypt up to 6 channels at once. Most TiVo units only have 2 tuners, however.

For Series 3 TiVO (with the OLED display) you'll need two cards. These can be M cards or S cards but you need two of them. It has 2 CableCARD slots.*
For TiVo HD (no display, just LEDs on the front), you'll need either one M card or two S cards. It also has 2 CableCARD slots.
For the TiVo premiere (latest model) you'll need an M card. It only has one slot and only works with M cards.

If the local system has deployed Switched Digital Video or SDV you will also need a tuning adapter.

If you don't want to pay any monthly fees, you'll want lifetime service. If not, you'll be paying TiVo a monthly fee.

*The backstory here is that a firmware upgrade for M card support was supposed to be released for the Series 3 but somehow TiVo never got around to it. I believe the CableCARD interface in that model TiVo became obsolete and the vendor that supplied it to them never gave them a software update for M cards. They went with a different one for the TiVO HD and Premiere. So all series 3 units need two cards for dual tuner support. And the really dumb thing is that if you have only one CableCARD you can only record from one tuner, period, even if you have an OTA antenna attached. To record two OTA shows you either have to have two CableCARDs or none. Weird.
 
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#4
"Lifetime service"

Just bear in mind that companies can, and do, go out of business. Even if you can get them to define "lifetime" their promises could wind up being worth less than the paper it's written on.

I guess TiVo is doing OK right now, but they ain't eggzackly General Electric. Or General Motors (oops ... did I say that!?).

R.
 

n2rj

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Just bear in mind that companies can, and do, go out of business. Even if you can get them to define "lifetime" their promises could wind up being worth less than the paper it's written on.

I guess TiVo is doing OK right now, but they ain't eggzackly General Electric. Or General Motors (oops ... did I say that!?).

R.
yeah that's always a gamble.

If TiVo goes out of business the DVR will stop getting guide data and will be pretty much a doorstop unless they open source it and hand it over to the community. (Hollywood and big cable probably won't let that happen though.)

However, with their recent patent lawsuit wins they might be around for a while.

I dropped TiVo and went with media center powered by Ceton and SiliconDust. I doubt microsoft will go belly up and even if they kill off media center I can still use the hardware I bought.

Much better than paying $13/month to the cable company to rent a HD DVR!
 
#6
Is it possible to buy a Tivo DVR that will work with Comcast instead of renting one and paying a monthly fee?
Yes, TiVO will work with Comcast but it takes some configuration changes.

If you have a Series 1 or Series 2 Single Tuner DVR and want to continue receiving all of your channels, you’ll need to connect your TiVo DVR to a digital adapter or a Comcast digital cable box. However, connecting to a digital adapter will not allow you to use TiVo's dual-tuner functionality. To do that, you’ll need to use a Comcast digital cable box and a cable splitter (included in the Series2 Dual Tuner package). Only one tuner will receive your complete channel lineup—your second tuner will receive only basic channels.

If you have a Series 3 or above HD DVR and do not already have CableCARDs installed in your TiVo DVR, you will need Comcast to provide you with either:
Series 3 HD DVR: Two CableCARDs
TiVo HD or TiVo HD XL: Either one M-Card or two S-Cards
TiVo Premiere and Premiere XL DVR: One M-Card
 
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