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A/B Cable Systems with TiVo

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  • A/B Cable Systems with TiVo

    Back in the day, cable systems often carried signals over two coaxial cables--half on the "A" side; half on the "B" side.

    Unfortunately for some, "back in the day" is still today. Surprisingly, even some very big towns (eg. parts of Dallas) sill use A/B Cable.

    According to TiVo's website, "a TiVo DVR can only accept one coaxial connection. If your cable box cannot switch between cable A and B automatically, or it requires a button to be pressed to switch between them, the DVR will only be able to record shows from either cable A or cable B, but not both." However, if you have a cable box from an A/B system, you a probably fine with standard definition TiVos, because cable boxes typically combine the two sides into one, and your TiVo will control the box.

    Unfortunately, A/B cable systems give dual-tuner TiVos a bit of heartburn: "If you have a Series 2DT (dual tuner) DVR, the signal from the coaxial connection will be split internally, to enable the dual tuner functionality. This means you'll be able to watch/record two channels at the same time, but only from the A or B side."

    And finally, A/B cable systems seem to spell trouble for the Series3 TiVos, despite a law requiring cable companies to provide cable cards for all customers. Evidently, a CableCARD can only see one or the other side...and the Series3 units, of course, have only one coaxial input. You cannot use a cable box with a Series3 TiVo, so having a box combine the A/B sides is no help, either.