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Old TiVo user considering a return... (TWC / NC)

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Thess, Jan 15, 2014.

  1. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    I've been a TiVo user since series 1 (I found this old account just now, saw the creation date, and felt old). I go through phases of cable use and then cord cutting, depending on how much Time Warner is annoying me.

    I've been 'cut' for about three years now, relying on streaming services, but I'm starting to get that cable urge again. (Which means, in a year when I decide I want to turn everything off, I have to tell TiVo retention I'm leaving the country again, haha. Or are they not as aggressive as they used to be?)

    The Roamio seems intriguing. I sort of can't believe TiVo still charges $15/mo for guide data, but my main blocker is that my last tango with Time Warner involved a TiVo series 3 and the dreaded cablecard/TA dance. I expect I posted a lot here during that one.

    Can anyone in the NC area tell me if this process is still as painful as it was about four years ago? And does the Roamio require the separate TA for TWCNC?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

    3,687
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    Oct 31, 2007
    I am not in North Carolina and I do not have Time Warner. :)

    But from my perspective the CableCard pairing process has improved dramatically since the early S3 days. You can even do self installs now...

    One point though - you are not paying $15 a month for guide data, you are paying $15 a month as a service fee for using the TiVo software and services.

    That now includes not only the software and services directly supporting your TiVo but also 2nd screen tools like the IOS TiVo App and now the introduction of streaming services. Just making a point.

    You will LOVE the Roamio and it works really well paired with one or more Mini's to serve multiple TV's (and yes the Mini requires a service fee as well.)

    As always, I recommend getting lifetime service - it is just a better deal and you never have to call TiVo to cancel your service. Just sell the TiVo for a profit when you are done using it!
     
  3. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    I can't believe I'm about to type this, but "back in my day" the TiVo fee was strictly for those listings...via landline phone connection. So with the increasing availability of that kind of data online (thetvdb.org etc) I'd expected to see the price go down. But what you say makes sense and I wasn't aware of iOS apps. (Have that open in another tab now.)

    I am, unfortunately, at what is possibly my lifetime cap of patience for dealing with TWC. (I also have to deal with them at work as they provide my company's bandwidth too.) If I could actually get the equipment and install/provision myself, that would be ideal. Some additional googling suggests to me that I probably do still need a TA, which is kind of a downer (other settop hardware is getting so sleek and non-cluttery now), but I guess it's still better than IR blasters.

    In any case: thanks!

    (Still hoping someone in the area may be able to tell me how painful TWCNC is with this at the moment.)
     
  4. SugarBowl

    SugarBowl Member

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    Jan 4, 2007
    Cary, NC
    in Cary, you can pick up the cards yourself now at the cable office, then get home and call an 800 number. There is a person on the other end that knows what they are doing and it takes less than 10 minutes.

    EDIT: 866-532-2598
     
  5. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    3,649
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    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    I am with Time Warner in the Raleigh, NC area. I just purchased my very first TiVo (a Roamio Plus and 2 Minis) this past November. It has taken me 2 trips (and an hour waiting in line each time) down to the local Time Warner office and several phone calls to TW support, but I have finally gotten everything working (mostly) and am loving my TiVo Roamio and Minis.

    The first trip down I picked up a CableCard and a Tuning Adapter, both of which were manufactured 3 or 4 years ago, which concerned me. The main reason I wanted to switch to a TiVo was that I was sick and tired of TW's crappy old equipment.

    Anyways, I get home and pop the CableCard into the back of the Roamio and surprise, surprise it has to update the firmware on the CableCard which takes about 90 minutes to accomplish. However, once that is done I start getting the basic channels to come through. I then call Time Warner's main line to pair my CableCard to the Roamio and surprise, surprise nobody seems to know what the hell a CableCard is. I get transferred around to some other people who say they need to transfer me to other people and eventually someone hits the wrong button and hangs up on me.

    So I do some google searching and find the direct number to the TW CableCard activation line and finally talk to someone who knows what he's doing. After about 5 minutes the CableCard is paired and I can get all of the channels I should that don't use switched digital video. I then plug in the tuning adapter and surprise, surprise it doesn't work.

    After spending some time on the phone with the TW CableCard support guy looking at the diagnostic screen, he determines that the tuning adapter is probably ****ed up and says he can either send out a tech or I can go back down to the TW office to pick up another one. I opt to go back down and pick up another one because I figure the average TW tech won't know a damn thing about CableCards and Tuning Adapters.

    So I get the second Tuning Adapter home, plug it in, and it works!...sort of. Sometimes when I switch channels to a SDV channel, the channel doesn't tune and I just get a blank screen. It's kind of annoying, but doing a channel up then channel down usually gets the channel to tune properly. Strangely, I never get a tuning error on either of the 2 Minis I have connected to my Roamio, it only happens with the Roamio unit.

    Anyways, I decide to go back down and get another Tuning Adapter to see if that will fix the problem, but before I do a TiVo software update comes through and seems to allow the Roamio to deal more gracefully with a tuning failure. Instead of just getting stuck on a black screen when the channel doesn't tune, the Roamio now seems to ether re-tune the channel automatically or it gives me a popup message to hit the "select" button to re-tune, which pretty much always works.

    After doing some experimentation, I have found that if I set all of the tuners on the Roamio that I am not currently using to the local broadcast channels, which I know are non-SDV channels, the tuner I am using for live TV almost never gets an error when trying to tune a SDV channel. This makes me suspect that the real problem is Time Warner's crappy old tuning adapter not being able to properly tune multiple SDV channels at once.

    Eventually, I may go back to the TW office to pick up another TA to see if I can get a better one, but I am reasonably happy with my work-around solution, particularly since I am saving about $45/month on my cable bill not having to pay rental fees for a crappy Time Warner DVR and 2 cable boxes.
     
  6. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

    3,687
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    Oct 31, 2007
    If that were true then all the TiVo functionality would continue to operate normally albeit without guide data.

    TiVo has been "bricking" non subbed TiVo's since I purchased my first Series 2 unit. As an example, network functionality - moving content via TiVo desktop has always been a component of the subscribed service. Today, you can't even use the buffer and simple trick play with the most modern units.

    The guide data is the most obvious service you receive and people have been attributing the fee to it for years, but it is only a portion of the "service" you get from the tivo systems.
     
  7. JC Fedorczyk

    JC Fedorczyk New Member

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    Oct 13, 2008
    Huntersville...
    TWC here in Charlotte. The process is MUCH better. Dedicated cable card hotline with people that know their stuff.

    I upgraded from a premier to a roamio plus about 3 months ago and the longest part of the upgrade was being on hold waiting for a person to synch my cable card with the new device. Now granted I was just swapping the cable card into a new device so I don't know if obtaining a card has improved but I would imagine it has.
     
  8. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Thanks for all the responses!
     
  9. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Another question, it seems like for out-of-home streaming, I would have to buy the $400 Roamio model (ouch). Is it true to say that the same thing could be accomplished via the $150 model + TiVo Stream?
     
  10. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

    3,687
    4
    Oct 31, 2007
    Yes, you can pair the TiVo Stream with either the Premiere or Roamio Basic models.
     
  11. JohnnyO

    JohnnyO Crimper

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    Nov 3, 2002
    Twin...
    Yes, you can.

    Also, check out the thread on hard drive upgrades from the Roamio. Much easier than the old method of upgrading, with the caveat that you want to swap drives before firing up, as there is no way to carry over the old programs to the new drive.
     
  12. SugarBowl

    SugarBowl Member

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    Jan 4, 2007
    Cary, NC
    And if you decide to cut-the-cord again in a year, the $150 model will work with OTA. The $400 model will not.
     
  13. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Thanks again for the answers. I hadn't gotten around to thinking about harddrive upgrades but I would have. And the OTA stuff is good to know, although like at most points in my life it seems, I am ~25 miles from the nearest antenna farm (with that one PBS affiliate 5 miles in the opposite direction). I'm sure that's a metaphor for something.
     
  14. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Update: I pulled the trigger last night, placed the order on TWC's website for service (we're not supposed to need a truck roll; I'll believe it when I see it) and overnighted a Roamio from Amazon. Roamio should be here today, and I'll be picking up the SIK today as well.

    So far it's been about the typical TWC experience: At the same time we upgraded our internet speed, and it took many contacts with TWC until we found the one person who could tell us our current modem cannot handle the higher speed. Meanwhile, even though my account reflects the new TV package, I can't access any of TWC's web-based tv services on my account, it just errors out or says I don't have a qualifying package. I'm sort of hopeful that'll resolve itself when I provision the cablecard. Haha. I crack myself up.
     
  15. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    7,058
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    Sep 21, 2004
    Just be aware that TWC may have a trap on your line preventing tv service. So you may need a truck roll for them to remove it. If you can't get the cablecard paired or working correctly, I would make sure they have checked before you pull all your hair out trying to figure out why.
     
  16. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    3,649
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    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    If you want to avoid paying the $6/month TWC modem fee (and you should), I recommend buying the Motorola SB6141. I've been using it with TWC in NC for about 6 months now and it has been rock solid. You can buy it on Amazon for around $80 and it'll pay for itself in about a year. If you do buy it, just make sure you buy the white model not the black model.

    http://www.amazon.com/ARRIS-Motorol...ie=UTF8&qid=1390420747&sr=8-1&keywords=sb6141
     
  17. shrike4242

    shrike4242 Member

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    Nov 30, 2006
    Saint Louis, MO
    What's the difference between the white model and the black model?
     
  18. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    3,649
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    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    From what I've read (see the reviews on Amazon), the white model is the retail model and the black model is the wholesale model sold only to the cable companies. If you'll notice, Amazon sells the white model directly, but does not sell the black model directly. You can only buy it on Amazon through third-party sellers.

    Since Motorola will only sell the black model directly to cable companies, the ones you can buy online are either stolen or possibly were surplus units that have been sitting in some cable company's warehouse collecting dust that they decided to sell off. If you buy a black model, it's highly likely to be used (even if advertised as "new") and possibly stolen, which could make it impossible to activate and use on your internet account.

    Another problem is that TWC refuses to push firmware updates to user-owned modems. And since end-users can't update the firmware on a cable modem themselves (only the cable company can do it) you definitely want to buy a new modem manufactured recently so that it will have the newest firmware already installed.
     
  19. Thess

    Thess Drive-By Poster

    57
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    Mar 23, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Interesting you should say that--I have the UBEE modem now and a friend of mine said darkly "yeah, you don't want that", and offered me his spare...SB6141. The Ubee is already sort of provisioned (I'm still at my old speed, though)...but apparently I do need a truck roll, which I wasn't told until I went to the (second) TWC office to get my new equipment. Then, due to the usual TWC...shenanigans?...even though the lady at the office said my new modem would work right away, it wouldn't. And the first few times I called, they said it would work when my 'order was completed'...meaning some vague time after the truck roll tomorrow.

    Eventually I talked someone into turning it on (I don't know what they did, this isn't a provisioning issue, I think), but they said it might turn back off after they do (whatever) tomorrow. And then I will need to call back.

    So at some point in the future after all of that is fixed, I will get my friend's modem and start the whole process over again. GOD I LOVE TWC.

    So I have my TiVo Roamio set up now, mcard and TA set up, and while it is tempting to call and provision the card, I assume there is almost no point in trying that until tomorrow.

    Meanwhile: TWC's page said the kiosk at the Southpoint mall is a pickup spot for the cablecard SIK. The guy at the kiosk, when I asked for one, gave me such a deadpan blank stare that I thought he was joking around at first.

    "You want a what now?"

    When I figured out he wasn't joking, I tried describing it another way: "I need a cablecard kit for a Tivo."

    "A Devo?"

    I can't make this stuff up, folks.

    So eventually when I was able to get him to understand what I meant, he said "Yeah, we don't do that kind of thing here," while managing to convey the impression that I was asking to buy crack. He also wouldn't give me the upgraded modem, I guess because it was all part of one order and he didn't want to figure out how to do it. Then he sent me off 15 minutes down the road. Note for locals: The lady at the Glen Lennox/Chapel Hill office said I got the last TA today. Be advised.

    Unfortunately I have to answer my own original question at this point: Yes, TWC is still every bit as painful. And I'm only halfway done.
     
  20. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Active Member

    3,649
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    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    Hang in there. Eventually you'll be able to get it worked out despite TWC's incompetence. And look at the bright side, you'll get the satisfaction of depriving TWC of some revenue every month by no longer renting their crappy equipment.
     

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