Installing CableCARDs in a Series3 HD DVR

This article is reprinted from TiVo’s knowledge base article published here .

Two CableCARDs (either S-Cards or M-Cards) must be installed in the Series3 HD DVR and activated by your cable provider before you can view and record two digital cable programs at once (including high definition cable programs). If you install only one card, you will be able to view/record only one program at a time.

Most cable companies require CableCARDs to be installed by one of their field installers. If your cable provider allows you to pick up the CableCARDs and install them yourself, make sure you get a telephone number to call to get the cards activated.

If you already have a CableCARD installed in your TV, contact your cable provider to see if you can transfer it to the DVR. Many cable providers associate CableCARDs with the device numbers of the slots in which they are installed when the CableCARDs are active; if you insert the card in the Series3 HD DVR, the card will not work, and may stop working when inserted back into the TV.

Before the Installer Arrives

If possible, do the following at least two days before your installation appointment, to ensure that the DVR can connect to the TiVo Service and download any software updates that are available:

  1. Write down the serial number of each CableCARD (or any other information that the cable provider may need), and then begin Guided Setup. Follow the on-screen instructions to agree to the Service Terms, confirm that you’ve activated your service, and enter your zip code. (See How Do I Begin Guided Setup? for instructions.)
  2. From the TV Programming Source screen, highlight your program source (Cable Only orCable & Antenna) and press SELECT.
  3. On the CableCARD Decoder screen answer Yes and press SELECT; The CableCARD Decoders screen appears.
  4. Insert the first CableCARD decoder into slot 1 (the bottom slot) on the back of the TiVo DVR. Make note of which card is in this slot. After a few minutes, the gray CableCARD MMI screen appears automatically.

    This screen provides data that may be needed to activate the CableCARD decoder. The content on this screen is determined by the cable provider; TiVo makes a screen available to display the information in compliance with CableCARD certification requirements.

    The CableCARD will take a minute or two to initialize. During this time, the CableCARD screens will display a message such as “Card not in normal operation”.  This does not indicate damage to the CableCARD; as soon as initialization is complete, the message will be replaced with information generated by the CableCARD and the installer will be able to proceed with activation.

    If you see the message Updating Firmware when you insert a CableCARD, or if the configuration screen does not appear within 5 minutes, it means that your cable provider is updating the CableCARD’s internal software. DO NOT remove the CableCARD or unplug the DVR until the firmware update is complete! Doing so may permanently damage the CableCARD.

  5. Call your cable provider to activate or initialize the card.

    For Motorola CableCARDs, many cable providers send an activation signal that causes the DVR to issue error 161-4. This is normal and can be ignored. If you see 161-4 more than once, or if you see any other 161-x signal, it means that the card is damaged and needs to be replaced.

  6. Press CLEAR on the TiVo remote to continue installation. On the CableCARD Decoders screen, highlight Configure CableCARD1 and press SELECT. You are about to use the TiVo menus to test the channels on the CableCARD.  Some installers may want to perform a channel scan; this is not necessary.
  7. Highlight Test Channels and press SELECT.
  8. Press the CHAN UP/DOWN button to make sure the card is receiving channels. Then, using the number buttons on the remote, enter the number of at least one encrypted channel (a premium channel, for example) to make sure the card is decrypting properly.
  9. When you finish your tests, press CLEAR to return to the menu, and then highlight Go Back and press SELECT to return to the CableCARD Decoders screen.
  10. Repeat Steps 4 through 9 to configure CableCARD2.
  11. When you are finished, highlight Continue on the CableCARD Decoders screen and press SELECT.
  12. On the TiVo Service Connection screen, highlight the method you want to use to connect to the TiVo Service, and press SELECT.