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DVR options without cable card?

Old 02-11-11, 01:41 PM
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DVR options without cable card?

I want a DVR. My cable company doesn't use cable cards. Only 10 year old Motorola digital receivers with composite outs. Yes we are a decade behind. I can get HD locals by bypassing the cable box and connecting coax to the TV. What would be the easiest way to set up a DVR so I can record digital cable channels plus the HD locals? I don't really want to go the HTPC route because everyone I've seen has shitty recording quality unless that has changed greatly in the past few years. I want a Tivo like experience that my non techie wife would be able to use. Am I out of luck?
Old 02-11-11, 02:10 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

I can't speak for other programs, but as far as I can tell, my HTPC DVR just records the HD signal straight from the antenna, it doesn't really affect the quality level. Maybe you are used to DVRs with SD signals, reencoding? I haven't tried it with cable, although it is capable of recording from various cable inputs.

Presumably, the HD locals you get are encoded in QAM. Doesn't Tivo record from that? Even without cablecard, it is still an option, I would think.
Old 02-11-11, 02:26 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

I'm not sure what Tivo records. I just thought it needed a cable card for everything. The channels my wife wants to be able to record (Bravo..etc) are in the digital tier of our cable and require the digital cable box. I assume the Tivo can't record from composite sources like the output from the cable box? I'm not sure where it would get the guide from or how it would be able to change the channels. Having it record the QAM signals would be an option but it would only be able to record about 1/3 of our obtainable channels.

I know switching to DirecTV or Dish would be the best choice but I get cable for free thru my work and aside from the expense my work involves the cable company so switching from their shitty service to another wouldn't be in my best interest.
Old 02-11-11, 02:46 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by Mopower View Post
I want a DVR. My cable company doesn't use cable cards. Only 10 year old Motorola digital receivers with composite outs. Yes we are a decade behind. I can get HD locals by bypassing the cable box and connecting coax to the TV. What would be the easiest way to set up a DVR so I can record digital cable channels plus the HD locals? I don't really want to go the HTPC route because everyone I've seen has shitty recording quality unless that has changed greatly in the past few years. I want a Tivo like experience that my non techie wife would be able to use. Am I out of luck?
I don't think your cable company has a say in the matter. According to Tivo:

Federal law mandates that all major cable companies provide CableCARDs to their digital cable subscribers, so if you experience any problems call our Technical Support team at 1-877-367-8486 and we will initiate a three-way call with your cable company to expedite setup.
I see the word "major" in there. Maybe there is a loophole. I have a small mom and pop cable company and they have cable cards. You just go in and pick one up.
Old 02-11-11, 03:21 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by CRM114 View Post
I don't think your cable company has a say in the matter. According to Tivo:



I see the word "major" in there. Maybe there is a loophole. I have a small mom and pop cable company and they have cable cards. You just go in and pick one up.
Well there must be some sort of loop hole because the cable companies manager told me they aren't required to use cable cards because of the size of the company.
Old 02-12-11, 12:44 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Looks like Tivo has a hard time with channel mapping if you use it for QAM only. This thread may be of assistance:
http://tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/sho...&highlight=qam

You may wish to search that site for other threads on issues like yours. If Tivo is something you want to pursue.
Old 02-17-11, 07:49 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

I just installed a MOXI DVR in my house, it will pick up analog cable and unencrypted QAM channels and record them from your cable without the cable card. If you can get some unecrypted HD channels on your HDTV it will pick them up too. I used mine for ~ week before I got the cable card installed and recorded several things from both analog and HD channels.
Old 02-17-11, 07:49 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Forgot the link www.moxi.com
Old 02-20-11, 11:05 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Is there a way to find out what are the unencrpyted QAM channels on Comcast?
Old 02-20-11, 11:19 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by Patman View Post
Is there a way to find out what are the unencrpyted QAM channels on Comcast?
Comcast changes channels all the time but this site is the best I have found:

http://www.silicondust.com/support/channels/

Enter zip, at top of next page you should be able to choose comcast.
Old 02-20-11, 12:28 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by Mopower View Post
I'm not sure what Tivo records. I just thought it needed a cable card for everything.
The newest model requires cable cards. It gets channel guide info from the internet.

The guy that said they don't have cable cards may have just been lying. Try asking someone else there. Some companies make it a pain to get them.
Old 02-21-11, 11:03 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by cseyer View Post
Comcast changes channels all the time but this site is the best I have found:

http://www.silicondust.com/support/channels/

Enter zip, at top of next page you should be able to choose comcast.
Thanks for the link. It looks like the HD cable channels are encrypted, so I'm not sure if Moxi is the way to go for me. Then again, I'm thinking of just chucking extended cable (and just go with Comcast internet, and that gets me to only pay for their basic cable feed, since Comcast doesn't provide internet without the basic cable feed due to the way they deliver both products).
Old 02-21-11, 11:26 AM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by Patman View Post
Thanks for the link. It looks like the HD cable channels are encrypted, so I'm not sure if Moxi is the way to go for me. Then again, I'm thinking of just chucking extended cable (and just go with Comcast internet, and that gets me to only pay for their basic cable feed, since Comcast doesn't provide internet without the basic cable feed due to the way they deliver both products).
Comcast is quickly moving to all encrypted in my area. I think we are down to 20 or so unencypted channels. That's why I chose a moxi w/ cable card, didn't want to rent boxes for the three HDTVs. It really defeats the cable advantage over dish now that you basically need a box for every tv.
Old 02-21-11, 01:43 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

building an htpc is a better and cheaper choice than moxi.
Old 02-21-11, 04:28 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by chino77 View Post
building an htpc is a better and cheaper choice than moxi.
Not for me.

HTPC and anything Windows media Center/ Extender related has about zero WAF in my house. Tried it, unsat.
Old 02-21-11, 10:44 PM
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Re: DVR options without cable card?

Originally Posted by cseyer View Post
Comcast is quickly moving to all encrypted in my area. I think we are down to 20 or so unencypted channels. That's why I chose a moxi w/ cable card, didn't want to rent boxes for the three HDTVs. It really defeats the cable advantage over dish now that you basically need a box for every tv.
There was a cable advantage? I mean, post-1994?

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