After what was an apparently successful test run, Cox Communications has begun rolling out a special adapter for customers who prefer to record cable TV using a TiVo rather than a Cox recorder.
Thanks to reader Roger Elliott who spotted the message on the TiVo forums, Cox notified users this week that “Tuning Adapters are now available and are being offered to Cox Orange County and Palos Verdes / San Pedro Digital Cable customers with a CableCARD in a TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL digital video recorders at no charge.”
I’m still waiting to hear officially from Cox. I’ll post any update here.
If you’re among those affected, another reader Michael Taube encourages you to get your adapter today. In an e-mail, Taube said this after getting his adapter:
“Well, I reviewed every single blessed HD channel Cox offers, now that I have my free, trusty Motorola Tuning Resolver (MTS). The picture quality on ALL HD channels is simply amazing! It makes my previous HD reception look positively awful. Please urge your TiVo audience to run, don’t walk, to their nearest Cox store to obtain their MTS. It makes a HUGE difference!”
Without such a device, TiVo users who rely on CableCARDs are unable to get several channels.
Since cable companies have limited space in the cable pipes to a customer’s home, they are trying to find new ways to squeeze more channels in the available space. Cox is using “switched digital video” technology to free up its broadcast stream for new HD channels. But it means some channels turn to on-demand status, making it impossible for CableCARD users to tune in.
The majority of customers probably won’t notice the change to switched digital. There could be a slight delay when selecting a switched channel, but just like an on-demand movie, the channel should tune in quickly. To see the channels affected, read the earlier story, “Cox moving 100 channels to on-demand format.”
CableCARD customers, however, who buy small cards to insert into TiVo boxes, TVs, computers or other devices in order to skip a cable set-top box, won’t be able to request those channels based on the limited technology of CableCARDs.
They will need an adapter and right now, Cox is providing one from Motorola for free to affected TiVo customers. Non-TiVo CableCARD customers are still waiting for an adapter. In the meantime, Cox is providing an HD receiver free for six months or a standard digital receiver for $1.99 a month for the first year. If you’re interested in one of these, you can call Cox at 888-246-3465.
For those who want to order the new tuning adapter, call Cox at 1-888-246-3465. The adapters can also be picked up at all of Cox’s local retail centers except the Queen Creek Quail Hill, Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita offices (updated 11/30/09). Here’s a link to locations: Visit Cox retail stores.