The CableCARD tuner is up and running

Vista Media Center with tuners

DHL delivered my ATI CableCARD tuner about 3:30 this afternoon, so it was hard to be productive at work knowing I had a new new toy at home and to make matters worse, I had to stay late due to some issues. After I got home it took me about 45 minutes to unpack the tuner, plug it in, check the firmware version and configure VMC to use it. It wasn’t the most straight forward configuration and when I was all done, it didn’t work. The video was more blocks than video. So later I went back to it and proceeded to monkey around with it for an hour or so until I finally got it working.

Here’s the interesting part. I used one of the CableCARDs from my wife’s TiVo, which was activated on the TiVo. And what do you know, it works fine. No I didn’t re-pair, and no I don’t understand why it works. I got the idea because the last time I paid $50 to RMA my Wife’s Series3 — happened twice in 14 months — I didn’t have to re-pair the CableCARDs.

Now that it is working, it’s working great. Channel changing isn’t as fast as I would’ve wanted, but it’s about the same as the Series3. The good part is that the VMC mini-guide makes it easier to channel surf.

As for TiVo vs VMC, I have a full post coming, but rest assured VMC is better, but requires quite an investment in time to set things up.

8 Responses to “The CableCARD tuner is up and running”

  1. Tyler says:

    Lets see some screen shots!

  2. Mark says:

    Cool. I’ve got my XPS 420 w/cablecard tuner on order. Hopefully it will get here before the estimated 6/5 delivery Dell gave.

  3. Garrett says:

    All this cable card HTPC goodness is making me jealous and want one to replace my Tivo. Right now I am using one of the Pinnacles that gets clear QAM for my third tuner of HD and 360 as extender. I would love the premium content though. Pain setting up my recording conflicts from 2 sources.

  4. Dave Zatz says:

    Ben, when we moved the Comcast guy came with three CableCARDs – all were active prior to him calling in. In fact, one of the SCards has Starz and other channels we don’t subscribe to. Whatever! I’m just glad we got them here and installed in a timely fashion without having to call the county cable licensing/oversight/complaint office as we did a few months ago.

  5. Mitchell says:

    Seeing the picture of your MC makes me wonder why the heck Dell doesn’t give a better form factor for this thing. Why is is CC not an option for the slim style Inspiron computer. They look much more “Living Room” Friendly. Also, that would keep the price down. Honestly a HD MC shouldn’t require a 3GB of RAM and a Quad Core 2.4ghz CPU. My MythTV box runs on 2gb of ram, a AMD X2 4700 (which is really overkill but i want to play the 1080p MKV files).


  6. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    I agree 100%, in fact the list of “huhs” go on and on. Like why doesn’t Dell sell them as accessories? Why doesn’t Dell offer the Internal version?

    I understand them requiring a powerful computer, but the 4 cores sit dormant most of the time, especially since the video card does such a great job at doing the heavy lifting.

    You know what though, I figured it out yesterday, I still had more money invested in my TiVos. In fact I’ve given them $2k for two TVs, which is much more than I spent on my Dell and I got a Blu-ray player too. With TiVo the hidden cost is the service, out of the 2k I spent, $600 was service, and that doesn’t include CableCARD rental fees.

  7. Fred says:


    I have the same system and my card will not pair. I cannot download a security update, It doesn’t recognize the cablecard, even though Verizon activated it.

    I need a good deal of help, and Dell’s tech support isn’t up to the task. I’m not paying for Microsoft to help.

    Any help great appreciated

  8. Jonthomasdesigns says:

    Is your Xps420 rack mounted ? That is hardcore , I have a Xps420 setup with the Ati cablecard since Xmas , i just havent had Comcast come out yet i can imagine the horror