CableCARD M-Card Support Overview

Some cable operators are deploying M-Cards™ (multi-stream CableCARDs) into the field. An M-Card is a CableCARD that is capable of running in either single-stream mode (supports one tuner) or multi-stream mode (single card can support multiple tuners). Both the Series3 HD DVR and TiVo HD DVR have M-Card support. For further information, see below.

TiVo Series3 HD

Currently, the Series3 HD DVR will support M-Cards in single-stream mode, which means that the DVR requires two (2) CableCARDs to run in dual-tuner mode. The DVR must also be running software version 8.0.1c or later. (S-Cards are supported in all software versions.) Your Series3 HD DVR may have shipped with an earlier version of the software installed. The software will be updated automatically, but not until the DVR completes Guided Setup for the first time, and then downloads and indexes the full 14 days of Guide data immediately after Guided Setup.

To ensure that your CableCARD installation runs smoothly, we recommend that you complete Guided Setup on your Series3 HD DVR before the installer arrives to install the CableCARDs. If you perform Guided Setup at least two days before your installation appointment, your DVR will update to the latest software automatically and will be ready to run either S-Cards or M-Cards.
If you perform Guided Setup on the day of the appointment, you should check your software version and, if necessary, force a software update.  For more information, go to Software Version Troubleshooting.

TiVo is also exploring support of M-Cards in multi-stream mode for the Series3 HD DVR.

You can perform Guided Setup even if you don’t have cable service yet. For instructions, go to Running Guided Setup (Series3 and TiVo HD DVRs).


The TiVo HD DVR supports multi-stream mode for M-Cards. This means that the TiVo HD DVR requires only one (1) M-Card to receive two digital cable channels at once.

TiVo Premiere Line

TiVo Series4 units require M-Cards or Multistream cards to be able to record more than one show at a time. These Premiere units have only ONE CableCARD slot.