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Need ClearQAM DVR

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
At one of my jobs, we have a coax feed connected to an SD Tivo. An external monitor is connected to the Tivo. We use it to record a live sporting event and go back at times during the game to review some of the plays. Unfortunately, the video quality stinks.

Someone recently connected a Mac laptop with EYETV to the feed and found digital feeds of the same channels we regularly record. I'm assuming this is what's called ClearQAM. The picture quality was great.

For right now, using a computer (with either EYETV or a Haupauge stick) is not a route we wish to use... but may be in the future.

I assume I can just pick up a used HD Tivo and call it a day. Would it need to be one with lifetime subscription?

Are there any other (fairly inexpensive) "Tivo" like alternatives I should consider?

Thanks!
post #2 of 20

Among your options, you might consider one of the new std def (SD) Magnavox HDD/DVD recorders described here.

 

Great pic via digital channels. Pause Live TV and some other "DVR-like" features. No Guide so timer recording is via menu.

post #3 of 20
Also, you should be aware that the CableCo (all of them) seem to like to shuffle the "clear QAM" deck (re-arrange channel numbers) often, for no good reason that makes sense to anyone but them. The primary reason is probably to cause problems for those people that are trying to watch clear QAM. In addition, the FCC has recently granted CableCo's the right to encrypt everything. So the clear QAM you have today may not be there tomorrow, unfortunately.
post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure what the source of the cable is. It's in a stadium, so it could be some internal channel numbering (frankly, I'm not sure yet). While I see some remnants/mentions of a satellite provider on some of the channels, I doubt it's a direct satellite feed, as those would all be encrypted, right?
post #5 of 20

Yes, sat channels are all encrypted, requiring one of their receivers/STBs.

 

Could you be getting your channel(s) via antenna or even microwave?

 

Cable companies can scramble all their channels if they go all-digital, which requires some system expense, subscriber notification and blowback, free boxes, etc., etc.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'll check out the Magnavox DVRs... but will a Tivo HD work? If so, will I need one with Lifetime subscription?
post #7 of 20
I have three TiVo's, but I've had subscriptions since Day 1. I have no first-hand experience using one without a subscription.

BUT, I don't believe a TiVo subscription would be of any benefit at all in your case. You appear to be looking to record QAM channels on some type of closed system. So there would be no Guide or listings of any type involved, and probably no scheduled (timed) recordings. Probably just someone tuning to a channel, then pressing a button to record what was on at the time?
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yea, that's the question. I'd pick up an HD Tivo (without subscription) if I knew for sure that it would allows me to record 3-4 hours without problems. While I hear this is not a problem with series 2 (SD), not sure if it's possible with the newer High Def versions.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmena View Post

Yea, that's the question. I'd pick up an HD Tivo (without subscription) if I knew for sure that it would allows me to record 3-4 hours without problems. While I hear this is not a problem with series 2 (SD), not sure if it's possible with the newer High Def versions.
You can't record shows on a TiVo without a subscription. You can do trick-play operations on Live TV, and watch recordings that have already been made, but you can't create new recordings. You won't get guide data, and you can't schedule manual recordings unless the TiVo service tells it you have paid for service. The only TiVos that were ever excepted from that were a few early (non-HD) models that had the "TiVo Basic" option. Otherwise, you need to 1) have a TiVo and the monthly TiVo Service, 2) have a TiVo and get the Product Lifetime Service, or 3) buy a TiVo that already has Product Lifetime Service on it.
post #10 of 20
A brand new HD tivo will work fine without subscription for about a week or so. After that you will stop getting guide data. Another point is, if you are getting a qam feed and not antenna you may need a cable card. This provides tivo with the mapping table for the channels. Without it you may find the channels are not mapped right which will mess up the guide.

You'll have 30 days to play with it. If it doesn't work for you send the thing back. Won't cost you anything. Get it from amazon rather than tivo though. Way easier to deal with.
post #11 of 20
Clear QAM will soon be a thing of the past. the FCC just approved letting cable companies encrypt all channels including the TV networks.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Clear QAM will soon be a thing of the past. the FCC just approved letting cable companies encrypt all channels including the TV networks.

But that doesn't mean "ClearQAM" will end on all systems. Many systems use analog & ClearQAM as marketing tools to those prospective customers that don't want a STB to clutter their TV area. Just plug the cable into the TV. Instant HD local network affiliates. No DBS company can claim this.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

But that doesn't mean "ClearQAM" will end on all systems. Many systems use analog & ClearQAM as marketing tools to those prospective customers that don't want a STB to clutter their TV area. Just plug the cable into the TV. Instant HD local network affiliates. No DBS company can claim this.

I honestly can't think of any cableco that mentions this on their website or in their marketing materials.
post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

But that doesn't mean "ClearQAM" will end on all systems. Many systems use analog & ClearQAM as marketing tools to those prospective customers that don't want a STB to clutter their TV area. Just plug the cable into the TV. Instant HD local network affiliates. No DBS company can claim this.

I honestly can't think of any cableco that mentions this on their website or in their marketing materials.

Neither can I, but a Cox executive told me that it is a marketing tool when I asked him about Cox's plans to go all digital and encrypt their basic tiers. He said that they are phasing in H.264 to save enough bandwidth to save their [shrinking] analog tiers.
post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post

Clear QAM will soon be a thing of the past. the FCC just approved letting cable companies encrypt all channels including the TV networks.

Yes, and my local cable company(Cablevision) is already doing this. They already had permission do this in the parts of New York city that they cover, and are now extending this to the neighboring counties that they serve. What they do is provide free cable boxes for a year(when the year is up you have to start paying the monthly fee). But without a box you get nothing since they do not provide analog anymore and the digitial transmissions are now being scrambled. They tell you all this on their website.
post #16 of 20
This FCC regulation went into effect Dec. 10. All the major cable companies wanted this. I expect within the next six months all the major cable companies will implement the encryption.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

But that doesn't mean "ClearQAM" will end on all systems. Many systems use analog & ClearQAM as marketing tools to those prospective customers that don't want a STB to clutter their TV area. Just plug the cable into the TV. Instant HD local network affiliates. No DBS company can claim this.

I honestly can't think of any cableco that mentions this on their website or in their marketing materials.

Neither can I, but a Cox executive told me that it is a marketing tool when I asked him about Cox's plans to go all digital and encrypt their basic tiers. He said that they are phasing in H.264 to save enough bandwidth to save their [shrinking] analog tiers.

Glad to hear Cox isn't encrypting (for now), but "Instant HD local network affiliates" doesn't sound like much of a marketing tool to me. True, no DBS company can claim this, but a little-known piece of advanced technology called an "antenna" can, and for $0.00/month; a price I suspect Cox can't easily match. But I suppose Cox, like everyone else, is just preying on folks' ignorance.

(Snark aside, I realize some folks live in apartments or other situations where they may need a larger antenna than they can put up. But DBS probably isn't an option for them anyhow, so Cox could go ahead & encrypt and they'd still be stuck.)
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

But that doesn't mean "ClearQAM" will end on all systems. Many systems use analog & ClearQAM as marketing tools to those prospective customers that don't want a STB to clutter their TV area. Just plug the cable into the TV. Instant HD local network affiliates. No DBS company can claim this.

I honestly can't think of any cableco that mentions this on their website or in their marketing materials.

Neither can I, but a Cox executive told me that it is a marketing tool when I asked him about Cox's plans to go all digital and encrypt their basic tiers. He said that they are phasing in H.264 to save enough bandwidth to save their [shrinking] analog tiers.

Glad to hear Cox isn't encrypting (for now), but "Instant HD local network affiliates" doesn't sound like much of a marketing tool to me. True, no DBS company can claim this, but a little-known piece of advanced technology called an "antenna" can, and for $0.00/month; a price I suspect Cox can't easily match. But I suppose Cox, like everyone else, is just preying on folks' ignorance.

There are a lot of folks (like me) that know about antennas just fine, but live in difficult reception areas. I have three different directions I need to access to receive all local signals, and need a 30-foot mast on top of my 90+ year-old house. I had an antenna and roter for about 10 years, but tired of fine tuning the antenna every time I changed channels. Made channel surfing impossible. Plus, having the weight of the antenna and motor 30+ feet up tied to an old house in a wind storm is not very relaxing. No, the "instant HD local network affiliates" approach with cable was better for me.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

There are a lot of folks (like me) that know about antennas just fine, but live in difficult reception areas. I have three different directions I need to access to receive all local signals, and need a 30-foot mast on top of my 90+ year-old house. I had an antenna and roter for about 10 years, but tired of fine tuning the antenna every time I changed channels. Made channel surfing impossible. Plus, having the weight of the antenna and motor 30+ feet up tied to an old house in a wind storm is not very relaxing. No, the "instant HD local network affiliates" approach with cable was better for me.

I know; no offense intended. I wasn't referring to folks like you, of course. But there are a lot of folks who think antennas quit working on 6/12/2009, and a lot more folks who were sold poor-quality "HDTV" antennas and were disappointed in their performance. If Cox or any other cable company is keeping clear QAM, I suspect it's for that bigger market. Luckily, more knowledgeable folks like you get the benefit also, as long as your cable company sees it as an advantage over DBS.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHBrandt View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

There are a lot of folks (like me) that know about antennas just fine, but live in difficult reception areas. I have three different directions I need to access to receive all local signals, and need a 30-foot mast on top of my 90+ year-old house. I had an antenna and roter for about 10 years, but tired of fine tuning the antenna every time I changed channels. Made channel surfing impossible. Plus, having the weight of the antenna and motor 30+ feet up tied to an old house in a wind storm is not very relaxing. No, the "instant HD local network affiliates" approach with cable was better for me.

I know; no offense intended. I wasn't referring to folks like you, of course. But there are a lot of folks who think antennas quit working on 6/12/2009, and a lot more folks who were sold poor-quality "HDTV" antennas and were disappointed in their performance. If Cox or any other cable company is keeping clear QAM, I suspect it's for that bigger market. Luckily, more knowledgeable folks like you get the benefit also, as long as your cable company sees it as an advantage over DBS.

No offense taken. Point was that for a lot of people it's not a matter of ignorance, but instead a matter of choice or necessity.
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