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Explaining Serial control in Cable company lingo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by mojoTivo, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. ILubMyTivo

    ILubMyTivo New Member

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    Oct 13, 2003
    Wausau, WI
    Bah, now I am going to have to hook it back up just to confirm. I'll work on it tonight.
     
  2. ILubMyTivo

    ILubMyTivo New Member

    37
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    Oct 13, 2003
    Wausau, WI
    FYI - after thinking about it a lil bit more, I remember doing the IR emitter bit for a little while before switching to the serial cable. I could only get slow channel changes working either time, hence why I stopped using either.

    I will still hook it back up and check tonight.
     
  3. ILubMyTivo

    ILubMyTivo New Member

    37
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    Oct 13, 2003
    Wausau, WI
    First, an apology. I very well may have been speaking out of turn when I said that I had this once working, based on tonights results, I am starting to doubt that fact. It was over a year ago and I do not remember clearly now.

    My test so far was:

    coax --> cable box --> coax --> tivo --> coax --> tv

    And

    tivo --> 1/8" plug serial to 9 pin serial cable --> 9pin serial adaptor on cable box

    This did NOT work. Behavior was:

    During Guided Setup, it prompted me for IR codes, though I believe I specified serial connection.

    When trying to change channel, the video feed would go black, then return to the same channel (tivo thought that the channel changed). This means to me that the cable box is getting some sort of signal, but was not able to carry through on it.

    Next steps:

    It was suggested on the Cable/Satellite Box Compatibility & Codes List that there may be some changes in behavior of the cable box depending on if the serial cable is plugged in during power up.

    I did not check that tonight, I will Friday night when I get back in town. Tonight I did a power on with the serial cable plugged in, I was not aware of that particular recommendation.

    Questions:

    Mojo - obviously you have tried to do the hookup and it didn't work, what behavior did you see when you were at that point?
     
  4. Mchero

    Mchero Almost old member

    241
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    Dec 20, 2001
    Concord, NH.
    I am located in Concord, NH. I was originally with mediaone, then AT&T & now Comcast. I have a Phillips SA in the living room using IR blaster to my Motorola digital box.

    i was told that the firmare in the cable box ILL allow channel changes from the Tivo serial. I was told that the new series 2 Tivos have the serial controll option in the cable box setup screen.

    I ordered a refurbed 80hr Tivo ftom Tivo.com last Friday. I'll prob. see it this next Monday. I will connect/config it for serial controll in the upstairs bedroom (Also Motorola digital box). Will COMPLETELY cover the IR emitter on the Tivo & let you all know it it works or not.

    I'm not sure if I can HACK the SA Phillips Tivo to open the menu options for serial controll.

    Wish me luck!

    Robert McHenry
    Concord, NH
     
  5. mdscott

    mdscott Active Member

    1,601
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    Jun 26, 2002
    Hermosa...
    On the TiVo side you still need to have the IR receiver open -- so the peanut has something to talk to.

    mds
     
  6. Bucket772

    Bucket772 New Member

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    Oct 16, 2003
    I wonder if the Comcast people REALLY know how to turn the port on but don't want to so they can push their 'On Demand' feature. This in the hopes that people will think its like Tivo thus allowing them to sell more digital boxes. $$

    Just a thought
     
  7. mbernste

    mbernste Member

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    Apr 6, 2003
    Piscataway, NJ
    Don't forget that they are deploying DVRs as well (Scientific Atlanta and Motorola).
     
  8. mojoTivo

    mojoTivo New Member

    39
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    Oct 11, 2003
    NC
    First, I should note that a couple of years ago when I first got a Tivo, I hooked up the serial cable and thought it worked. It turned out that it was using IR anyway, and disconnecting the serial cable had no effect. I was disappointed, but decided to live with it.

    Now, the Tivo actually has a setup option specifically to try serial INSTEAD of IR. With the serial cable set hooked up, I go to settings and under "Changing Channels" (I think that's where it is, I'm about 3000 miles from my Tivo at the moment) I select "Serial" and run the test. The Tivo tries something for a moment (I don't see anything happen during this time) and then comes back and says something like "Serial control was not sucessful. Retry or use IR instead?"

    The list of brands to try is short (4-6 total) and I suspect are mostly the same thing anyway (GI == General Instruments == Motorola: the former created the box, the latter just bought them and changed the branding). No difference among the brands.
     
  9. Bucket772

    Bucket772 New Member

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    Oct 16, 2003
    I thought the same thing when I had my old Sony series 1 box. Hooked it up at thought wow, I got lucky. Then one day I was playing with the new camcorder that has nightshot. I had it pointed at the Tivo just as it was changing channels. Thats when I realized that it had an IR port on the front. I have since upgraded to a series 2 box in hopes that I could have the serial control. NOT. Called the slugs at Comcrap and the first two people that I called didn't even know what the port was. The "tech guy" knew a little more but said he was unsure when and if they would ever enable it. I plan to call several times a day to see how many different answers I get.

    I had a similar incident when I was trying to get a digital box that had an S-video cable and a coaxial digital out. Even had a truck come out and the installer brought the same box that I had. HE didn't know what a S-video cable was. Anywho I just called enough times until I got someone that knew what tehy were talking about.
     
  10. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

    1,061
    1
    Aug 29, 2002
    Sacramento...
    Given that Comcast along with Motorola is coming out with their own PVR set top box, I cannot imagine that they would have any interest in helping TiVo's to work better. The "flakeyness" of the IR blaster would be a selling point for their integrated boxes.
     
  11. Bucket772

    Bucket772 New Member

    3
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    Oct 16, 2003
    I just hope that the PVR's that the offer have the flexablity and features that the Tivo has. If its as cheesy as the on screen guide loaded with ads, then I will stick to the Tivo and the marginally effective IR Blasters.
     
  12. mojoTivo

    mojoTivo New Member

    39
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    Oct 11, 2003
    NC
    Success!!!!!!!!!

    I have to say, I'm shocked, but I now have serial control!

    A couple of weeks ago I spoke with an engineer at Charter in NC. He said he'd look into it and call me back. Later that same day, I left town on business for two weeks. What I didn't know until five minutes ago (didn't get the message) is that he called back a day later to say he had turned it on.

    On a lark, I tried serial control this morning and found that it worked. When I went screaming in to my spose to share the great news she told me the engineer had called the day after I left to say it worked. Sweet!

    Bottom line, I have three DCT-2000 boxen in the house one connected to a Philips S1/SA and another connected to the Pioneer 810 (the third isn't hooked to a tivo at the moment). Both tivos can now control the box via serial. I have changed the setting from "IR Blaster" to "Serial" in each box, run the test, and received the message "Tivo was able to change the channel via serial control". I use the "GI" setting in each case (tried "Motorola" and it worked too). Still works with IR Blaster disconnected.

    I'll call the engineer on Monday to thank him. I'll ask him if there is any data he would like to share that could help others get this working. If so, I'll post it here.

    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and comments. My new "dream" is that this is part of a trend toward enabling serial control, and not just an isolated incident of an excellent, highly-responsive Charter employee providing good service. It is undoubtely the latter, hopefully it is the former as well.

    mojoTivo

    P.S. Speed of channel change is the same when going directly to a specific channel, however, speed is now very fast when simply pressing the "Channel Up/Down" button. I'd suspect that channel up/down is a discreet serial code. Very cool!
     
  13. cyex

    cyex New Member

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    Oct 25, 2003
    FWIW, I have Comcast & Series 2 Tivo. Called Comcast to ak about the serial port--confused the life out of them.
    Let it go for awhile but really hated the IR Blaster.
    Then remembered how ignorant the installer had been and hooked up the serial. Redid setup and all has worked wonderfully since.
    Hey mojoTivo--I also then went in triumph to my spouse--you didn't say--did your's actually give a crap at all? (My wife has many wonderful qualities, but the one made work hard not to yawn.)
     
  14. mojoTivo

    mojoTivo New Member

    39
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    Oct 11, 2003
    NC
    ROFL!!!!!!! I just went downstairs and read her your post. She's laughing now too. Our wives are similar in this regard, many wonderful qualities, and yet no consuming interest in A/V equipment. I can't imagine why... :)

    mojoTivo
     
  15. Mchero

    Mchero Almost old member

    241
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    Dec 20, 2001
    Concord, NH.
    CONGRATS MOJOTIVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You should be nominated Tivo Forum member of the month!

    It's people like you that help others! I commend you for sticking it out and giving it all you got! You did it!

    I was reading the posts above from ;
    Stromkie;
    I hate to be another cynic here, but you don't really have a shot at making this happen. Here's why:
    RAMBLE RAMBLE RAMBLE

    Mbernste:
    Your chances are less than zero, let me tell you why.
    RAMBLE RAMBLE RAMBLE


    Need I say more?

    Congrats
     
  16. sibble-comp

    sibble-comp New Member

    2
    0
    Nov 11, 2003
    Just wanted to let y'all know what I've come up with on this subject.

    I am up here in Vancouver, BC, Canada with Shaw cable. I spent a good portion of the day on the phone trying to get serial port control of my DCT2000 working. After talking to Motorola Cable tech support and my provider, here is what has to happen to enable serial port control by the user:

    1) your cableco has to send the "'app_if enable' command from their billing software" to your box (info from motorola)

    2) cableco may have to reinintialize your dct2000 for this to work, the tech at Shaw enabled the feaure but it didn't work until he had rebooted my box. Once that was done all was okay.

    Hope that helps folks.
     
  17. Mchero

    Mchero Almost old member

    241
    0
    Dec 20, 2001
    Concord, NH.

    Thanks for the info!!
     
  18. cabledude

    cabledude New Member

    1
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    Aug 6, 2004
    Hey Guys,

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the authorization of the serial port is not currently possible through Shaw cable.

    I am Ron representative 0326 from Shaw.

    At this time we have specific reasons in which we will not be implementing this feature. I can't get to specific with the details, all I can say is that it is not completely out of the realm of possibility that we would activate this at some point, but we are not at this time. If we do make it available, we will advertise it on shaw.ca.

    So, there is no reason to call us to have this function activated.

    Thanks

    -CableDude-
     
  19. Mchero

    Mchero Almost old member

    241
    0
    Dec 20, 2001
    Concord, NH.
    Specific Reasons..... That's a new one. Thank god I have Comcast!

    RM



     
  20. cd_mackenzie

    cd_mackenzie New Member

    1
    0
    Aug 16, 2004
    Hi Ron Representative 0326 from Shaw,

    I would like your assistance in arranging for a full refund on my Shaw digital cable box. I purchased it in late May as a gift for my wife, and then before activating it, I spent some time getting it working with Snapstream's BeyondTV so that BeyondTV could change the channels using the serial cable. The idea was that we would use BeyondTV to record shows off the digital channels that my wife can't otherwise watch due to her shift work. I had it working. Having done my "due diligence" I then called to activate my cable box. Then it broke; the serial interface no longer worked. So, it is totally useless to us now. You can even check my account to see that we're not using it.. we haven't been able to use any of our free pay-per-view credits and our 3 months is almost up.

    I do not want to purchase Shaw's PVR product. For one thing your product was WAY WAY too late on the market, and I already had an investment in my own Home Theatre PC. More importantly, it lacks some pretty big features that we need.

    I have the potential to be a pretty lucrative customer for Shaw. I already have the full home package plus Xtreme internet. I could potentially be a customer for Shaw business internet services products. I would be a customer for your VOIP product, but again, you are WAY, WAY too late on that count, I have already signed up with Primus TalkBroadband.

    So I am pretty confused why you think I am the enemy. Maybe you think I am going to try to hack my digital terminal through the serial port, as if that was even possible? The funny thing is that the port is active on unsubscribed terminals!

    Let me know how I can follow up with you to get my $99 refund.

    Thanks!

     

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