I live in an apartment complex for graduate students, where cable and internet are provided for us through CenturyLink. Because our services are handled by a 3rd party (campusconnect), they don't do Cable Cards, which Tivo requires to function (at least, that's what Tivo Support tells me).
So I was hoping someone might have some advice on what devices/services I can use to be able to record/rewind/pause live TV. Thanks in advance!
I would connect a TV directly to the wall. Tell the TV to scan for channels. Whatever is visible, should be visible WITHOUT a cable card. Now I believe that all cable providers are REQUIRED to support cable cards. The TiVo FAQ mentions that "major cable providers" are required, so there could be a loophole that allows your third party to NOT support....
It seems that the issue with Tivo is that it requires the cable card to actually pause/rewind/record tv. And according to this customer service response: Apogee is not an official franchise cable provider and we are not required to provide cable cards."
The signal coming from the cable outlet is unencrypted QAM, which is why you do not need a set top box. I do not understand why TiVO tech support is telling you that a cablecard is required. For solely unencrypted channels, it should not be. Rather than a TiVO box, however, I'd look at putting a TV Tuner card like the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2250 into a PC near the cable outlet.
If your cable subscription included encrypted channels, a set top box would be required. If your TV isn't ClearQAM compatible, then you wouldn't be able to receive any channels unless there is something else happening with the third party provider.