Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. - Cyril Connolly
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Geek Squad Alert
Not a fun day.

I started by trying to turn in my old cable box to Comcast for an HD Tuner. Headed to the nearest Comcast office way out on West Northern Parkway, in a not so great area of town. I waited in a line that would make the DMV proud, only to discover that they WERE OUT of HDTV boxes!! They called Whitemarsh for me, and it turns out that office was flush with them, so I drove a 1/2 hour out of my way to Whitemarsh. Once there, it took about 10 minutes, there were no metal detectors or security guards waiting to pat me down, and I finally had a tuner. The whole process took 2 hours.

Got everything home and started unpacking and disconnecting things. Since when do you need an electrical engineering degree to watch your freakin TV? HDMI cables, component cables, splitters, coax, serial pins, RGB and RYW connectors? I got 'em all. The trouble is that the HDTV hookup instructions assume that all of your components are HD ready, and I'm still gonna be watching DVDs and Tivo in SD for a little while. After 3+ hours of messing with the new HDTV and trying to string together the DVD player, Tivo, and HD Cable Box with no success whatsoever, no matter what configuration I tried, I started downsizing.

I rarely rent DVDs anymore - I download movies and watch them, so I took out the DVD player and tried to connect the Tivo to the cable to the TV - still no dice. I can upgrade my Tivo box for about $100, but for now, I disconnected it and hooked it up to another TV in the house. My shows will still get recorded, and it buys me time to figure this mess out.

So....if anyone out there has had success in stringing together an HDTV, Comcast HD cable box, Tivo and a DVD - please drop me a line and give me some hints.

Thank you for letting me whine.

In other news - the TV is AWESOME, and it fits PERFECTLY into the armoir with just millimeters to spare.

I hear a rum and coke calling me....
posted by Broadsheet @ 7:01 PM  
3 Editorial Opinions:
  • At March 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey I could use a DVD player if you care to ship your old one my way. Later, I hope to need a tutorial on the stuff you just figured out. For now, I'm still recording on VHS! This won't do.

    Youngest Sister

  • At March 07, 2008, Blogger Summer said…

    You can get an upconverting DVD player that uses an HDMI connection for about $40 at Costco. That way you can still play your DVDs but they'll look a little better on your new tv. Congrats on the new purchase!

    Also, you may want to call Tivo for suggestions on hooking it up. I did that and they gave me a really good plan using RYW cables. It won't record in HD, but you can still use it. We turned ours off though, intending to order one from DirecTV that would be HD, but haven't actually done that yet. I was really bummed to hear that HD Tivo is for cable use ONLY and doesn't work with satellite, which is what we have.

  • At March 07, 2008, Anonymous mokiejovis said…

    I used to have a similar setup to you.

    If you're going to be simultaneously using the Tivo AND your HD Cable box, the connections need to go like this:

    Cable from wall -> HD Cable box -> Tivo -> TV

    This can be problematic, especially if you're really looking forward to watching HD programming, since your Tivo will only do SD. Also, for the Tivo to be able to control the cable box (in order to change channels, etc) you have to connect an IR reblaster from the Tivo to the HD box, which is no fun, let me tell you.

    So what I'd suggest instead is this, assuming your TV has enough inputs:

    Cable from wall -> splitter
    Splitter -> HD Box -> TV
    Splitter -> Tivo -> TV

    This means you'll have TV programming on two different inputs. On one, probably your HDMI input, you'll be able to use the Comcast remote/menu system to get to things like On Demand and your HD programming. On the other, probably one of your RYW inputs, you'll have SD programming and you'll get to watch your recorded shows.

    Comcast offers HD DVR service for a fee - there's that to consider. I've heard it's not as nice as Tivo but it's a little like having both on one device. I've also heard they're planning on rolling out Tivo-branded service to their HD DVRs for a few dollars extra a month, as well.

    Your other alternative is to get an HD Tivo. This is one of your better options because it gives you access to all of Comcast's HD goodies like On Demand and all of the Tivo's recording goodness via cablecard support.

    In any case, on to your other issue - hooking up your DVD player. This should be pretty basic. You probably have a number of inputs on the back of the TV, labelled "Input 1," "Input 2," etc. It is important to note that none of these are ever SHARED inputs, i.e. if your DVD player has an S-Video cable for output and your Tivo uses RYW, they can't both be plugged in to Input 2, despite the fact that there are RYW plugs labelled "Input 2" and an S-Video plug labelled "Input 2."

    So plug your HD Box into the HDMI port. Put the Tivo on Input 1. Put the DVD player on Input 2. Then you should be able to hit a button on your remote such as "Input" or "A/CH" or "TV/Video" to change to the different input channels. Make sure they're all on and you should be able to flip between all three.

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