CableCard Confusion
October 10, 2006 9:16 AM   Subscribe

So I got an HD Tivo for my birthday...

And I have found that my television doesn't have any CableCARD slots.

Are there any work-arounds? Are there moderately priced HDTVs with CableCard slots? Can I use my Tivo without the CableCard bits and still get my HD content and OnDemand stuff? Or is it either use the Tivo/DVR capabilities OR use the cablebox? What should I do?
posted by aburd to Technology (11 answers total)
Best answer: I thought the Tivo had the cable card slots -- the TV doesn't need them.
posted by o2b at 9:19 AM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: According to this diagram, the slots are in the back:
posted by o2b at 9:20 AM on October 10, 2006

Response by poster: If the Tivos are the ones that use the cablecard, why do some HDTVs have the slots also?
posted by aburd at 9:29 AM on October 10, 2006

To allow the owners of those TVs to eliminate their cable boxes, if they so desire.
posted by o2b at 9:32 AM on October 10, 2006

Best answer: The official site has nice step-by-step instructions for setting up your cable cards. If you still have questions after that, the unofficial Tivo Community Forum will have what you need. But no, you don't need a new TV.
posted by Sibrax at 9:43 AM on October 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you very much. Well that gets rid of all my headaches.
posted by aburd at 9:52 AM on October 10, 2006

to add a bit more, you (usually) still need a box to get OnDemand. (your cable operator would need to give you a CableCard 2.0 card for the OnDemand stuff to work, and afaik no one's doing that yet.) on my TiVo (I have a Series 2), there's a cable it came with to control the cable box.
posted by mrg at 10:40 AM on October 10, 2006

generally putting cablecard tuner in a non-tivo device (like a TV) is kind of a bust. one guy at work did this and he gets no set-top box-like features, i.e. no guide! that's lame.

cablecard is also lame, in that at least comcast requires a truck roll (which means waiting 6 hours for the guy to show up) just for them to insert this (very user-installable) card into your device, and leave.
posted by joeblough at 5:40 PM on October 10, 2006

Response by poster: I actually am a Comcast customer and it was completely easy for me. Yesterday afternoon, post-reading this, I called and asked how to get a cablecard. The told me just to come by their office. So I drove down there and asked for two. They gave them to me after one signature and I was on my way. Really simple.
posted by aburd at 7:14 AM on October 11, 2006

that's interesting. up until now, everyone that i've talked to about cablecard had to have someone come out to their house. you should see the hoops cablelabs makes cable equipment vendors go through... the point being that a cablecard should be very much user-installable.
posted by joeblough at 10:31 PM on October 13, 2006

Response by poster: Well if anyone else reads this... installing the cablecard was quite easy. Configuring the cablecard was not so self-explanatory. In the Configure CableCard section (the only option other than Test Channels, I can't remember the exact name) you have to choose to "Hunt" for channels. This forces the CableCard to look for the channels that it has been enabled to access. It took me almost a day of frustrating calls to Comcast to realize that this needed to be done.

I think the problem isn't so much with a nefarious scheme by Comcast to disuade people from getting the cards. Instead it is that they haven't been training people at all. All of the Comcast people I spoke with on the phone had zero apparent cable card training. They kept asking me questions about the lights on the comcast box. I'm sure the entire problem could be remedied with one or two company wide memos/emails.
posted by aburd at 8:44 PM on October 16, 2006

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