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Lost some channels on Tivo HD - Comcast & Tivo are stumped Ideas?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by tedshred, Aug 24, 2013.

  1. tedshred

    tedshred New Member

    17
    0
    Jan 27, 2006
    Rainy Ol' NW
    I have lost channels above basic locals (Comedy central, Cartoon Network, Disney, USA) on Comcast cable in Seattle. We noticed that Comedy Central had really deteriorated prior (pixelation) to disappearing altogether. About the time we lost the channels we had been experiencing very slow internet connections. Comcast sent techs out, ID'd a signal issue ("Hot" too of a strong signal). Techs made external adjustments somewhere along the street, replaced our cable modem w/ a DOCSIS 3.0 model, and replaced the line from the pole into our house. We were out of town for a few days right after this. Came back and realized that we had lost the "next tier" channels just above" locals". We're on an economy digital package so don't get any premium (HBO, etc) or HD channels except local HD's, but the comedy cenral, toon network, disney, etc... are digital, but not High Def.

    Cable comes into the house, goes to a splitter, one cable goes to the cable modem the other goes directly into ourTivo HD after a run of ~30 ft. Details on our unit:

    Series 3 TCD652160
    TSN 652-0101-XXXXXXXXX
    SW 11.0k-01-2-652
    157 Hrs HD, 1367 SD -- 1TB drive
    The HD has been in use since 10/2009
    1 Motorola Multistream CableCard, replaced 8/4/13, previous card in use since activation

    Multiple calls to Comcast to reset the Cable Card, multiple calls to Tivo tech support w/ no resolution. I went to a Comcast svc center and swapped out the Cable Card. Reviewing DVR Diagnostics w/ Tivo tech. support showed signal strength of 100 and SNR of 36 DB on the channels we were receiving. Tivo suggested we try a splitter or an attenuator to bring signal back in spec. Tried a 3, 6, 10 DB attenuator. The 3 brings signal back in spec for strength and SNR. the 6 & 10 seemed to bring strength down too much. Have rebooted the Tivo and re-run guided setup as well.

    Last call to Tivo CableCard tech support left of w/ no answer, but presumption that a tuner was broken w/ an offer to get a refurb premiere and transfer of lifetime service for ~$350. Asked the tech why both tuners would work for locals & CNN (44 out here) but not the other channels if "one tuner" was broken. He didn't have an answer for that. Seems curious that this unit has run flawlessly for almost 4 years, then flakes out at the same time Comcast acknowledges a signal issue w/ our service. Coincidence or could the "hot signal" damage the Tivo's components?

    Looking for input from the community on best next step:

    1) Get Comcast out here to try different CableCards
    2) Take Tivo up on the transfer option - see if I can get the transfer to a new Roamio Tivo instead of Premiere
    3) Other troubleshooting I haven't done yet ???? - have seen threads that a bad power supply could cause this kind of issue, will look into the capacitors on the PSU in this unit.

    DVR Diagnostics from tonight:

    Tuner 0
    Channel 5 (NBC local)
    Freq. 165000KHz
    Modulation QAM 256
    Conn RF2
    Cable
    CableCARD 1
    Signal Strength 87
    Sign Lock Yes
    Program Lock: Yes
    Search Complete Yes
    SNR 35 dB
    RS Uncorr 0
    RS Corr 0

    Tuner 1
    Channel 42 (Cartoon Network)
    Freq. 189000KHz
    Modulation Toggling between QAM 64 & QAM 256
    Conn RF2
    Cable
    CableCARD 1
    Signal Strength -
    Sign Lock Yes
    Program Lock: NO
    Search Complete NO
    SNR -
    RS Uncorr -
    RS Corr 0

    Thanks for any suggestions!
     
  2. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,994
    16
    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    Kudos to you for including a lot of pertinent info in your post, rather than the kind we often see that just says: "Duh, mah tivo don't get all the channels -- what do I do?". :up:

    You didn't mention a Tuning Adapter --- so you don't use one, correct?

    Definitely check the power supply for bulging caps. Here is a photo of what to look for:

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=8750894#post8750894

    Even barely detectable bulging is a problem and must be addressed before suspecting any other problem.

    The most common failure for your box would be the HDD, but your symptoms aren't consistent with that.

    I suspect a provisioning problem, i.e., Comcast hasn't set your account up properly. There have been numerous cases reported on this forum where the cable co repeatedly re-authorized and re-sent signals but days or weeks later they finally discovered what they did wrong and fixed it. Unfortunately this doesn't give you a good option for pursuing it other than to just keep complaining. You could challenge them to set up one of their STB or DVR boxes and show they work with the same signals, although I'm not confident how much that proves. My impression is that TiVo's require different account provisioning than their equipment.

    Your experiments show that your signal strengths above 100 were not high enough to be a problem (because 3 dB attenuation brings them under 100). Half the channels on my TiVo HD run slightly over 100 -- because if I attenuate, some of the other channels get too weak for good reception. I suspect this much "frequency tilt" in my signals indicates poor setup of the cable system but good luck trying to work that issue with them. I've had techs come to my house with fancy meters and they still didn't have the capability to measure the tilt, i.e, the signal strength on each channel.

    Somebody with the right equipment and knowledge, including understanding the details given in the Tivo's diagnostic screens could probably diagnose your problem easily. The odds of you getting attention from one of the few people of this caliber are low. I suspect only about ten such people exist in the world.
     
  3. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    6,994
    16
    Jul 6, 2006
    Near...
    I just noticed you had Signal Lock on chan 42 but no program lock. To me this is consistent with improper provisioning, i.e., your Tivo/CableCARD has not been authorized to decrypt that channel.

    It doesn't seem logical that there would be no signal strength value if you have signal lock but .... ????
     
  4. tedshred

    tedshred New Member

    17
    0
    Jan 27, 2006
    Rainy Ol' NW
    Thanks for the suggestions. I do not have a tuning adapter. I'll try to check on the PSU later today, and then go back to Comcast to quiz them more about the account provisioning and ask why my tivo has a signal lock but can't display the channels.

    Comcast' provisioning system must be a nightmare. Used to have phone service from them and in the process of changing our TV package the Comcast rep reset our phone service and changed our phone #. Got it back but dropped them for phone service. Will report back on PSU findings, maybe tonight. Got lots of running around today.
     
  5. Soapm

    Soapm Active Member

    1,564
    0
    May 9, 2007
    So close,...
    I had a similar problem and had to get Comcast to complete remove my cable card from the system and re-add it from scratch. That worked for me. Just resending the signal etc... never changed a thing.
     
  6. SNJpage1

    SNJpage1 Active Member

    3,681
    11
    May 25, 2006
    Atlantic...
    I had a problem where I would lose 4 channels when trying to watch them. Comcast did everything they could think of trying to fix it. I have a Comcast box right next to the TivoHD and the channels would be OK on that box but lost on the Tivo. They replaced the cable cards 3 times and completely remove my account and rebuilt it 2 different times and still had the problem. Comcast finially said that it had to be a problem with the TivoHD and I started to think the same thing. However, it would cost me $150 to send it back to Tivo for repairs. Since I could switch to the Comcast box to watch them I decided to not send it back. After a few months the channels came back and haven't had a problem since.
     
  7. Soapm

    Soapm Active Member

    1,564
    0
    May 9, 2007
    So close,...
    Comcast has some very competent and knowledgeable high level people, it's a shame they're not customer facing. I recently had a problem getting ipv6 working and the girl at the center didn't know what ipv6 was, the guy at tech support kept sending me to the center for a new modem and all this left me frustrated thinking Comcast was the biggest group of idiots to list a symbol on the stock exchange.

    Then I was posting my complaint on the forum and met an engineer that looked at my service and presto, all was fixed. The question is why don't they have a process to get problems like mine (and op's and yours) to that engineer without frustrating the customer???
     
  8. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    As indicated in this thread

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=507304

    I'm seeing that same "toggling" on cable tuner 0 on that same model (652) on analog cable on all available analog cable channels.

    So it might not be a cable card-specific problem, as, at least for now, we don't do digital cable in this house in any way.

    And since cable tuner 1 works just fine, I don't think I can blame Time-Warner, as much as I'd like to.

    And since both OTA tuners work, and since a power supply swap makes no difference, I probably can't blame "capacitor plague" either.
     
  9. tedshred

    tedshred New Member

    17
    0
    Jan 27, 2006
    Rainy Ol' NW
    Checked on the capacitors on the power supply. All seemed to be very flat w/ no bulging or any sort doming. Busy w/ house projects today, so no time to talk w/ anyone @ Comcast. I'm wondering if the best shot would be to call during the week when their more experienced techs are working, and possibly get a bump up to a supervisor on engineer.

    Thanks for the suggestions. Will try Comcast tomorrow or Mon. & see if that brings any resolution.
     
  10. billbillw

    billbillw Member

    161
    0
    Aug 15, 2005
    Atlanta
    Sounds very much like the problem I was having:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=507077

    I lost 3 channels and the overall signal strength was low. I tried 2 different cards, and a bunch of other things including deoxit on the cable connector, reflowing some of the solder joints, different locations, redoing my cable splitter, etc.

    Nothing seemed to help. I finally ordered the replacement from Tivo (since I had a lifetime sub on the S3), and when I went to check things before doing a clear/erase and all the channels were suddenly 100% signal. I'm still baffled.
     
  11. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Do you by chance have a lifetime subscription on that particular channel losing TiVo?
     
  12. tedshred

    tedshred New Member

    17
    0
    Jan 27, 2006
    Rainy Ol' NW
    I do have lifetime on this unit.

    Finally got a chance to call Comcast tonight. was on the phone about 30-40 minutes. They went through supposedly deleting and reprovisioning my account, pairing the Tivo w/ the card again and refreshing the signal.

    Still no dice gray screen and "searching for signal" on non-local channels. They made an appoinment for a tech to come on site this Thursday to try different cards & check in person.

    I'm a bit wooried that they may blame the issue on Tivo & charge me for a truck roll. No charge if it turns out to be a Comcast CableCard issue, which seems to the consensus w/ similar experiences on this forum and other boards I've reserached on this.

    Wil wait and see maybe I'll get the random resolution to this issue like others have reported. Fingers Crossed.
     
  13. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Since I'm only on analog cable, I can't blame cable cards or SDV or TA's or anything to do with digital cable channels.

    But billbillw's experience of having his S3 HD cable tuner problems clear up right after lifetime status got removed from the machine has me suspicious if not downright paranoid.
     
  14. tedshred

    tedshred New Member

    17
    0
    Jan 27, 2006
    Rainy Ol' NW
    ISSUE RESOLVED -

    Comcast tech came out Thursday and I have all channels again. After checking signals from the drop into the house and at each junction he replaced the coax cable between the wall and the tivo, which was an ~8ft commercially bought coax patch cable (factory installed connectors @ each end). The tech said that the cable he installed had better shielding on it. I had used that patch cable since activating the Tivo in 2009, with no issues.

    I still think the root cause for all of this was changes to the Comcast system. On the way out the door the tech mentioned that CC had changed the channel mapping about a month ago, which is when we dropped channels. That's also when we were having issues with our CC cable internet dropping out and they sent techs out to resolve a signal issue of some sort that their diagnostics showed at our house. The changes must have placed those channels into spectrum that was getting some sort of interference in the cable, or possibly was degraded by corrosion on the connectors of my patch cable.

    Happy that I didn't have to cough up $$$ to replace a unit. CC tech saw the attenuator in our line, assumed the techs at our house last month put it in, so he didn't charge us for the visit. Appreciate the troubleshooting tips supplied here. Enjoy the weekend.
     
  15. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
    2
    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Glad to hear that your issue is resolved, but I still wish someone could explain to my why it happens with one cable tuner and not the other when both are connected to a common feed.
     

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