Trouble setting up Tivo
December 28, 2005 12:32 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to set up my non-DirecTV TiVo to a DirecTV box.

The Tivo is asking me what type of cable I have connected: a) IR Cable, b)serial cable MPG, c) serial cable APG. Have looked around online (and tryed calling DirecTV) and can't seem to find which cable I have. How can I tell? Do I need to purchase a new cable? Currently using the coaxial cable that connected the DirecTV box to my television. Thanks for your help!
posted by ebeeb to Technology (3 answers total)
Best answer: You're mixing up the remote control mechanism with your input.

The coax cable carries your satellite signals, but the a/b/c choices you list have nothing to do with the source or video signal. Those choices relate to how the TiVo box will interact with your satellite box.

An IR cable or "blaster" came with your TiVo. It's a black thin cable with a plastic end that has an infrared light on it. It basically mimics a remote control pointed at your satellite box. When the TiVo wants to tape channel 278, it would have to send the signal 2-7-8 to your satellite box to change the channel at the right time. It usually works, but I've had problems with every IR blaster I've used where 1 in 10 times it goes to the wrong channel and you don't get the show taped, which is quite frustrating.

The other two choices are for direct cable links between your TiVo and satellite box. It will depend on your satellite box, but call either DirecTV or TiVo's customer service with the model number of your satellite receiver box and they should be able to tell you if there is a serial port. Serial ports are great because they're a direct link. When you want to tape channel 278 for an hour, the TiVo sends a command to the satellite box directly and it will always go to the proper channel at the proper time (and usually with less lag than a IR blaster).
posted by mathowie at 1:06 AM on December 28, 2005

Best answer: Second the recommendation on the serial cable method, it's much more reliable. The serial control cable should have been included in the box (assuming it's not a second hand TiVo). The serial cable will have an 1/8" mini plug on one end (looks like a headphone jack) and probably a phone-type RJ-11 jack on the other (the clear plastic kind). The headphone jack end goes into the back of the TiVo in the socket marked Serial and the phone jack thingee goes into the back of your directv box into a slot labeled something like 'Data Port' or 'Low Speed Data' or maybe 'Serial'.

As to the MPG/APG choice, try one and if it does weird things when you try to change the channel try the other one.
posted by banshee at 8:20 AM on December 28, 2005

Response by poster: Ah yes. This all makes much more sense. Thanks so much. Unfortunately for me, there's no serial cable jack on my DirecTV box. I guess I'll have to take my chances with the IR. Who knew setting up a TiVo would be so complicated?
posted by ebeeb at 2:51 PM on December 28, 2005

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