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Fios phone tech says HBO not possible with S3

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by headless chicken, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. Dec 2, 2012 #1 of 28
    headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

    248
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    Oct 8, 2004
    After spending 2 hours trying to get my new HBO subscription with Verizon FiOS to work on my OLED Series3, the tech spoke to some other department who told him its just not possible for me to get the channels to work on this model. He said its not a matter of encryption, but the fact that HBO channels are the only ones to use the MPEG4 format or something. Is this BS? I got HBO without a problem with Cablevision, and with FiOS I get Showtime with no issues (as well as Starz, Cinemax, etc. whenever they have free previews).

    He advised me to call TiVo, but I don't see what they can do. Help?
     
  2. Dec 2, 2012 #2 of 28
    Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    3,960
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    Oct 14, 2004
    Philadelphia...
    I thought you needed a Series4 box to tune MPEG4 channels.
     
  3. Dec 2, 2012 #3 of 28
    headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    Oct 8, 2004
    Not sure. All I do know is this tech can't entirely be right. I mean, these 2 M-cable cards work perfectly well with other premium channels.
     
  4. Dec 2, 2012 #4 of 28
    wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,366
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    Aug 2, 2003
    Yes, it's BS. All the HBO/Cinemax channels are currently transcoded to MPEG-2 by Verizon, even when they receive them as MPEG-4. The only issue with getting them on an S3 is getting the cards paired, which they have to be (and which Verizon did not used to do with their CableCards), because of the non-zero CCI flags.

    I have an old S3 with old single-stream cards that I haven't yet bothered to try and get paired in the time since they turned the flags on, since I already had two Premieres with paired multi-stream cards that can tune HBO. So I can't personally vouch for the fact that they can be made to work. (I think others here have done it, but I'm not sure.) But if they can't, it will be because Verizon can't get the cards paired, not because of MPEG-4, which they're not using for HBO, and I can vouch for that.

    Verizon does use MPEG-4 for a few channels, and it's true that the Series 3 can't tune that, either, with its current software (and TiVo seems determined not to update that, sadly). But these channels are in obscure foreign-language and sports packages, not HBO. Most of Verizon's own deployed STBs can't handle MPEG-4, either, so they're not ready to use it for the more popular channels.
     
  5. Dec 2, 2012 #5 of 28
    WO312

    WO312 Active Member

    1,372
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    Jan 24, 2003
    Finger...
    If FIOS has converted HBO to mpeg4, then no the S3 won't work with it. ANY channels that get converted won't work. So yes, the tech is right, if this is what has happened.

    But if HBO is still being broadcast the old way, then there is another issue.

    Edit: I hate it when someone posts better info while I'm typing :p
     
  6. Dec 2, 2012 #6 of 28
    wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,366
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    Aug 2, 2003
    Fios has not converted HBO to MPEG-4. You can verify this for yourself on a Premiere, even if you aren't subscribed, by tuning to an appropriate channel, and then going into the DVR Diagnostics menu. There you will see the video codec displayed, as either MPEG-2 or H.264 (MPEG-4).

    Just recently, at HBO's demand, Fios started using the CCI flag on the HBO and Cinemax channels. This is the flag that tells the TiVo "No, you can't do network transfers with these shows." Previously, Fios had set it to zero on all channels, except (ironically) for the "barker" channel that tells you about Fios equipment, etc. Although its purpose is to control copying, as a side effect, the flag prevents tuning a channel unless the CableCard is "paired" to the tuning device. Since nobody (especially TiVo owners) ever watches the barker channel, this usually went unnoticed. Anyway, it used to be that Verizon did not "pair" their CableCards with the devices they were put into, because it wasn't really necessary if the channels had a zero CCI. They changed that policy a while back, well before the change to HBO. But those of us who signed up in the early days still had unpaired cards.

    Note that this is totally unrelated to the issue of encryption! Nor is it related to conditional access. All of Verizon's channels are encrypted, except the locals and PEGs. Verizon can turn your access on and off for any set of encrypted channels, even if the CCI is zero -- which is (for now?) still the case with Showtime and Starz on Fios.
     
  7. Dec 2, 2012 #7 of 28
    headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    Oct 8, 2004
    My issue was finally resolved after calling TiVo and speaking with a knowledgable tech support rep. Apparently the cable cards had not been paired after the deactivation/reactivation nonsense Fios did. To check, go to TiVo Central and select
    Messages & Settings > Account & System Information > CableCARD Decoders > Configure CableCARD 1 (or 2) > CableCARD menu > Conditional Access.

    The Conditional Access screen must display Val: V (Mine was showing Val: ?)

    I called Fios again (this time I did not dial the activation number displayed on the gray/black screen of behalf of the cable provider but rather dialed Verizon directly and selected tech support, and told them my cards were not paired to the device.

    Fios tech: 0, TiVo: 1
     
  8. Dec 2, 2012 #8 of 28
    jay_man2

    jay_man2 jay_man-also

    4,318
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    Sep 14, 2003
    Northern...
    I paired mune back when I got the letter from Verizon, but noticed today that they were showing the activation screen on channel 131 again. I reactivated one through the automated system, but had to get a tech on the line to reactivate the second one. The Cablecard ID and Host ID stayed the same, but at some point with the tech on the line the Data number changed. He entered that number and everything's good again. I did power down and pull the card before getting him on the line, so that may have caused that data number to eventually change.
     
  9. unixinit

    unixinit New Member

    4
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    Feb 28, 2003
    Gaithersburg...
    Is there a magic phrase for getting a knowledgeable tech support person on the phone? I resubscribed to HBO just this past weekend, and had Verizon send out two M-Cards which I installed today. Still no luck pairing them (I have val: ?) :( They keep "refreshing" the cards and saying that they "show no errors". Trying to tell them that they need to be paired hasn't worked so far. Any other tips?
     
  10. headless chicken

    headless chicken Member

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    Oct 8, 2004
    Did you call the 888 number that the TV screen displayed for card activation? The people you get there aren't as knowledgable as calling Verizon directly and pressing the option for technical support. Then you just need to get a rep who understands how to pair the card to your device. If they don't, hang up and call back until you get someone who does.
     
  11. cjgadd3

    cjgadd3 Member

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    0
    Mar 30, 2008
    I had to call the 1-800 Verizon number and ask for tech support to get my last card paired in my Premiere. I tried the automated 1-888 number and the VZ in- home agent app but the card would not pair correctly.
     
  12. mulscully

    mulscully Member

    321
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    May 31, 2003
    Malvern, Pa
    Verizon does have this home agent software you can download from the site. I was able to pair my cablecards using that software after repeated attempts to get the verizon tech to try and do it... becareful.. they can do something on their end that bricks the cablecard.. then it's a truck roll or a card swap at the store
     
  13. unixinit

    unixinit New Member

    4
    0
    Feb 28, 2003
    Gaithersburg...
    I was on the phone with the 1-800-verizon tech support while posting, and while it didn't look like it was going to work, this tech was finally able to get it to work! Swapping out for m-cards and re-pairing through the 800-verizon number worked for me.

    Thanks!
     
  14. teasip

    teasip Member

    521
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    Aug 24, 2002
    I noticed last night that when I went to check the TiVo for grins that mine shows a "?" also, but also I don't have any premium channels. What I found interesting is that when I followed the instructions whenever it was that the FiOS letters were sent out I was able to see the channel in question thus I didn't worry about pairing. Guess I still don't need to but I'm curious as to why I was able to see the specified channel earlier in the year?
     
  15. tivosupport_jacob

    tivosupport_jacob New Member

    18
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    Nov 19, 2012
    teasip,

    The TiVo Premiere boxes are TiVo(s) only offering to be compatible with MPEG-4 or H.264 programming. MPEG-4 is by far superior, but due to a hardware limitation the older legacy TiVo(s) do not have the needed decoding chip for h.264 channels.

    You will not receive premium programming if the VAL value doesn't show V, short for "Validated". Since the pairing value (and any value, for that matter) can change at Verizon's whim, they may have changed something on the card that's causing the channel to disappear and re-appear periodically. According to information provided to us from Motorola, the values must fall within the expected threshold for programming to come through.

    I'm hoping that I was able to clarify something for you, or someone else on this thread.

    Thank you for your time with TiVo. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this or any other issues, please feel free to contact us here or give us a call.

    Thank you!
     
  16. am95

    am95 New Member

    34
    0
    Jun 2, 2012
    Is this correct? To my understanding HBO East and West are sent out as mpeg-2 as well. I've noticed the other HBO channels don't look as sharp either which would make sense.

    I'm not sure if this dated but if it's still current then it would seem to confirm this:

    http://www.homeboxoffice.com/to/Recently_Updated/HBO_MPEG4_HD_Tech_Summary_B2B_20080916.pdf
    ..
     
  17. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,366
    22
    Aug 2, 2003
    This is incorrect, unless by "older legacy TiVos", you mean Series 1 and 2. Series 3 models do have the hardware capability for h.264, as can be seen when we play MP4 files on them, via streaming or TiVoCast (push) delivery. What's more, in New Zealand, the TiVo HD is actually recording h.264 cable channels right now. TTBOMK, the only difference between the NZ and US models is the software.

    Now, all MP4s aren't alike, and the Premiere is a little better at playing them than the TiVo HD, which in turn is a little better at it (I think) than the OLED S3. So, if you had said something like "TiVo Inc. has decided that the level of h.264 support available on the Series 3 would not provide for a good customer experience with h.264 cable TV channels, so we think we're better off just not enabling it at all," I might buy that, although I still wouldn't agree with the decision. But if your bosses are telling you, "The Series 3 can't play h.264," they're misinforming you. (And, I'm pretty sure the real reason that the Series 3 hasn't been updated for h.264 support is "Those models are end-of-life, and we can't be bothered.")
     
  18. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Does the Premiere currently do MP4/h.264, or is that scheduled to be added in a future software update release?
     
  19. DaveDFW

    DaveDFW Member

    523
    0
    Jan 25, 2005
    Richardson, TX
    The various Premiere models already support h.264.
     

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  20. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    10,366
    22
    Aug 2, 2003
    It's there now.
     

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