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Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by jibtiv1, Dec 28, 2012.

  1. jibtiv1

    jibtiv1 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    The problem as I see it:

    This channel is temporarily unavailable.
    Press select to try tuning to this channel again.
    Contact your cable provider for more information.

    My equipment:

    TiVo HD, with one multi-stream cable card. 3 years old
    Cisco STA1520 Tuning adapter. 1 year old

    My service:

    Cox San Diego South
    Cox Advanced TV
    Pretty much all channels they offer but NO premiums (HBO, Showtime etc...)

    I get the above message when I'm surfing channels 100 and above.
    And I do surf a lot!
    It's not always the same channel.
    I can be watching it one minute, continue surfing, tune back and it's gone.
    Also, I'll be watching a particular channel for an extended period of time and it will just freeze.
    Sometimes I can tune away from it, tune back and the problem is solved. But not very often.
    Recorded programs never affected. Mostly network stuff. Never in HD.

    I apologize if this issue has been addressed in the past.
    Just couldn't find it directly relating to my issue.

    What's going on?

    TiVo? Tuning adapter? Cable Card? Cox? Operator error?
     
  2. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    It could be any of those, possibly, except for operator error. The response means the headend server thinks there are no available timeslots on the node feeding your house to deliver the stream, and no one on the node is currently watching the stream. It is least likely to be the TiVo followed by the TA, but it is not impossible it is one of those. It's also possible the CATV plant is poorly engineered with too many houses served by the node. More likely, the SDV server farm has some sort of issue when allocating streams.

    The freezing issue sounds like something different. That could be the TiVo, or something wrong with the modulator at the headend.
     
  3. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    lrhorer is correct although "time slot" doesn't seem the correct term.

    To put it in simpler terms this is most likely an SDV problem resulting from poor engineering or setup of the cable co plant. You could check the strengths of the OOB ("out of band") signals used to communicate SDV tuning requests with the cable system. Go into Tuning Adapter Diagnostics ,,,,, Status Summary .... Next Page. What are the FDC and RDC values? FDC should be in the -5 t+5 dBmV range and RDC should be in the 35 to 45 range. Values outside those ranges are questionable and your cable co should look into the cause, although it's possible that excess loss in cabling or splitters in your home could be the problem. Beyond that, complaining to your cable co is about all you can do. If they can't fix it, you could request a new CableCARD and TA. If you get a new CC you will have to go through your Cable Cos "self install" procedure. Usually this is pretty easy but it varies with the provider. I think infrequent occurrences of these things is a cross many TiVo owners just have to bear.

    My TiVo HD on Time Warner Cable (with SDV) occasionally gives me the channel-not-available response but retuning the channel almost always brings it in. I also get occasional freezes, which are a mystery although I suspect it's something in the encoded video stream itself that my TiVo's decoders don't handle gracefully.
     
  4. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

    2,350
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    Jan 14, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    The list of SDV channels for Cox San Diego as of May 2012 is here:
    05/02/12 - Unofficial SDV listings from a Cox source

    Channel surfing with a SDV Tuning Adapter does not always work very well, directly tuning a channel from the Guide usually works best.

    In Phoenix, Cox puts all the SDV channels on only eight (8) frequencies, once you successfully tune any one channel assigned to that frequency, the rest of the channels assigned to that frequency should also be immediately available for a specified time. I used to see certain SDV channels time-out after about 30 minutes and prompt for a response, but I have not seen any time-outs in a while.
     
  5. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    It is indeed a bit misleading, but it is the one used by the industry. It's a legacy term held over from the days when most bitstreams were muxed in a fixed format chronologically. In a T-1 carrier, for example, the first 8 bits of the payload are voice channel 1, the second 8 bits channel 2, etc.

    Actually, I would not think this the most likely culprit. It is certainly a possible one, however.

    Given the symptoms, this seems unlikely. I suppose it isn't impossible, however.

    Not just TiVo owners. It is an unfortunate side effect of the implementation of SDV that such tuning failuires can be occasionally encountered, and it is no more likey on a TiVo than with the leased DVR. In a properly engineered plant, however, tuning failures should be exceedingly rare. If the CATV company skimps on the number of nodes in the system, this can occur more frequently, though.
     
  6. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    There should be no difference.

    I find that exceedingly hard to believe. That would only allow for 16 HD SDV streams per node. It's nowhere nearly enough. With 800+ receivers per node, there is just no way there are going to be 16 or fewer unique SDV streams. I think you may be thinking of the capacity of a single modulator. The most popular modulator in the industry serves 8 QAMs, so CATV companies typically add QAMs in groups of 8.

    Certainly not. The other timeslots are likely to be in use by other subscribers. Indeed, there is a good chance the stream one just abandoned is in use by another subscriber, so it may not be released.
     
  7. Janice

    Janice New Member

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    Dec 31, 2012
    Florida
    Hi, I was having this same problem, I removed the cable card and turned the turner off like doing a reboot. Put the card back in and turned on the tuner and it then worked. However it kept happening, so I took the cable card and tuner into Bright House and got new one's and now I have no problems at all. Hope this helps.:)
     
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I know it (tuning failures) happens on cable co DVR's but I think it happens more often on TiVo's, at least for some of us. A big difference is that for the cable co DVR, the Cable Co has to take ownership for such problems. For TiVo owners, no one has to take ownership. Also the TiVo owner has two devices to reboot and has to wonder whether they have the sequence correct, and what those blink codes on the TA mean.

    Note I'm not talking about "expected" tuning failures, which occur when a SDV slot just isn't available. I'm talking about failures such as those where the DVR Diagnostics say the tuner is on one frequency and TA diagnostics say it's on a different frequency. This was documented on this forum long ago and to TiVo, and it is known to happen on Premiere's as well as Series 3 machines. Usually a tune-up/tune-down sequence fixes this but it also causes failed recordings.
    I suspect this condition results from some kind of timing glitch in the signaling between TiVo, TA and the cable plant.
     
  9. jibtiv1

    jibtiv1 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    Thanks for all the info folks.
    Nodes, frequencies, FDC/RDC values, SDV streams... was lost on me, but I appreciate the effort.

    Cox tech just left. He rebooted all. Swapped cables here, there and everywhere.
    Things I had done in days previous.
    Came to the conclusion, as I had, that something wasn't right.

    I'm just going to replace the Cable Card and TA myself, as did the previous reply (Janice), and hope for the best.

    Just a note:

    In all my tinkering I found a wealth of diagnostic information in the TiVo screens. Between two phone calls and one tech visit nobody seemed the least bit interested in it. Does anybody actually use this?
     
  10. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    LOL, join the crowd! With few exceptions (perhaps one or two "special" people at the cable co) nobody understands, or is interested in, this info. This is a natural result of two facts:
    1. Cable Cos don't like TiVo's. They cut into their bottom line and are a PITA to support.
    2. Less than 1% of cable co digital subscribers use TiVo's.
    A possible exception to this is the few cable cos that are actually providing TiVo's, although I'm skeptical about the long term result there.

    Here is a link to a document explaining all the parameters found in the TA Cicsco STA1520 Diagnostics screens:
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/?omjm4jzhlq4
    It was written for their STB's and DVR's (not Tivo) so there isn't a perfect match. Nevertheless, a few of us have found it marginally helpful. All TA's are either Cisco or Motorola. This doc is only for Cisco units.

    The TiVo.com support pages supply some useful explanations if you are willing to dig around.

    Frankly the most significant body of understanding is right here on this forum.

    The most common cause of problems like yours is something not configured correctly for your account or equipment by the cable co, i.e, an incorrect or missing computer entry. Of course it isn't solved by a tech coming to your house. These type errors occur much more frequently for TiVo accounts it appears, probably because different procedures are needed to set up and authorize the account (?). Try escalating your support call, e.g., ask for the cable card specialist, or a higher support tier -- it's worth a try. If you were on Time Warner Cable I could make my suggestions a little more specific.
     
  11. videobruce

    videobruce OTA is still alive

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    Buffalo NY
    Funny, they will do a 'truck roll' that they hate to do, but won't let you talk to someone that might know something over the phone.
    I guess telephone time is more expensive than tyeing up a service guy and truck millage for an hour. :rolleyes:
     
  12. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    It does seem strange. I assume it's a matter of filtering who gets to talk to the real experts. I've been able to get transferred to higher level folks on a few occasions by noting I have a Tivo and asking for Tier 3 support or for cable card support. My son uses a cable co DVR and noticed there was just one channel he paid for but didn't get. After two truck rolls they finally fixed the problem with some computer correction on his account. Considering how long I have to wait for a scheduled truck roll, which implies they have a backlog, I would think it would pay them to stop the needless visits.
     
  13. videobruce

    videobruce OTA is still alive

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    Nov 30, 2012
    Buffalo NY
    A logical person with some intelligence would think the same way.
    Obviously, that excludes these corporations. ;)

    Your case was a perfect example, the fix was at the 'head end'.
     
  14. jibtiv1

    jibtiv1 New Member

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    Dec 6, 2007
    Problem solved!

    New Cable Card. New TA.
    Re-provisioned TA? Re-paired CC and TA? (Cox tech-speak).
    30 minutes on the phone.
    Weeks of frustration.
    STILL NOTHING! WTF!!!

    Now the facts...

    I should have mentioned this in my original post.
    But I didn't. My bad.
    Apologies to all.

    I recently signed up for Cox High Speed Internet.

    Of course I mentioned this to Cox when problems started.
    Nobody cared. Nobody was connecting the dots.
    Until, one savvy phone tech.

    He got to looking at the records of my customer service calls, tech visits, service logs, etc...
    Apparently, when the internet was turned on, they had me listed as "data only" and the coax was filtered accordingly.

    Filter removed. Mia culpas from Cox.
    And I'm back to watching way too much TV.

    Some channels were still passing the signal despite the filter.
    Hence the confusion from Cox.

    So, add this to your arsenal of knowledge.

    You all are awesome and informed.

    Thanks
     
  15. pops_porter

    pops_porter New Member

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    Sep 26, 2005
    Minnesota
    Interesting thread, I have the same problem with Charter. It only seems to happen in late evening so could be a usage/node issue. Now to decide if I want to take the time to change out CC and TA.
     
  16. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,997
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    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    Glad you got it solved and at the risk of an "I told you so":
    Of course just knowing this doesn't result in a quick fix, since you are completely at the mercy of people in a black box over which you have no knowledge or control.
     
  17. djones18

    djones18 New Member

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    Jan 6, 2006
    Alexandria, VA
    I've been having similar symptoms with my Premiere XL4 on Cox in Northern Virginia. Have a Tivo HD in another room without this problem. Can you elaborate on the fact they had you listed as "data only"? Did they tell you more about where that was on your account or how they found that out. I want to talk to my cable company to check this before I go for a new TA and Cablecard. Thanks.
     
  18. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

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    Jan 14, 2011
    Phoenix, AZ
    Was this a physical filter at the house or drop?
    or are you saying the account was filtered by codes on the account?
     
  19. sdnative1

    sdnative1 New Member

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    Mar 7, 2009
    I see the message "this channel is temporarily unavailable" in San Diego (Cox Cable) usually when I come home from work and the next morning after waking up. Tuning adapter is a Cisco. If it affected recording, I would have more of a problem with it. For now, it's just a inconvenience that those who don't have the crappy cable company box shouldn't have to put up with.
     
  20. Southie Boy

    Southie Boy New Member

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    Jun 21, 2008
    I'm a support tech for TWC. I don't know anything about the COX system, or even TWC systems outside of the Northeast. In my experience (both with my Tivo's and customers') if SDV channels regularly result in the "this channel is temporarily unavailable" message the likely problem is a signal issue. Call the cable provider, and have them send a refresh hit to the CC. If that does not resolve the problem, ask them to check levels of other devices (Tivo CableCard are one way devices, and cannot be read from the cable providers end). If no help ask for a service tech to come out. His meter will probably readily detect the problem. If you only occasionally see the message, the problem is likely a legitimate lack of a channel to push the programing down to you on. I find the quickest way to get to the channel is to tune up a channel then back down a channel. That gives another shot at getting a downstream available channel, and when your neighbor surfs off of an SDV channel, you can just surf right on. Of course, if you have a recording set up on one of these channels, and your Tivo tunes to it when no downstream is available, you get nothing recorded. Too bad TiVo couldn't develop a piece of code that would, when seeing no video, do the tune up/down shuffle on its own until it gets a signal.
    As far as evening and morning loss of sdv or freezing and pixelization on other digital channels, the problem could be something the field techs call "suck in". What happens is, as the drop to the house from a pole cools or heats up the inner core of the cable will expand or contract. This can sometimes cause excess noise, lowering the signal/noise ratio, and resulting in a crappy digital connection. Essentially you end up with a ton of packet loss in the data stream, and poor or no communication. If it is a regular morning and/or evening occurrence, call the cable company give them your observations of the problem and request a tech come out and do a whole house test. See if they can give you an appointment near the time of day when you experience the problem. Even if you have to wait a few days to get the appointment timed right it will be worth it. That way the tech will be able to see what is going on during the problematic time frame.
    Also, don't be too quick to beat up on the cable providers. It is amazing the number of happy customers there are that are never heard from. TiVo's with CableCards and tuning adapters are by all means sensitive set ups, and given that they are so few and far between the Techs are not used to dealing with them day in and day out. (Believe me, the problems are not specific to TiVo, the boxes the cable companies put in are just as susceptible to signal issues, if not more, as TiVo. If you don't feel your phone support person is savvy to TiVo, ask them to escalate your call to the next level, or ask for a supervisor. If the problem persists, try calling in for support during the daytime hours 9-5 would have most of the brain trust of the organization in the office, and able to assist. Having worked for Time Warner for a couple of years has taught me at least one thing, and that is that there isn't an employee in the company that WANTS to do a bad job. There are new employees that need more experience, there are occasional employees having a bad day and don't respond well to being dumped on by an angry customer. But all in all they really want to get your service operating perfectly. And if you get particularly good service from a phone support person, or a field technician, ask them for their supervisor, and give them a bit of a compliment. Compliments like that are akin to a tip for a support person, not from the monetary point of view, but just from the good feeling you get knowing you did a real good job for someone.
     

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