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Time Warner Cable Tuning Adapter (ALL LOCATIONS) / Bugs & Issues

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by dolfer, Feb 26, 2009.

  1. Nov 13, 2009 #401 of 1485
    aine

    aine New Member

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    Dec 23, 2003
    So -- your experience -- there's no harm in having the TA because at the moment, I get none of those SDV channels. At least with the TA I would have some >0 probability of a successful recording on SDV channels.

    But then I read Max's comment:

    that describes the TA possibly locking up the TiVo and preventing recordings even on NON-SDV channels. This is exactly the problem I want to avoid, and the reason why I have so far decided to forgo the TA even though I am missing many channels.

    Thanks to all those "early adopters" who are complaining to Time Warner and helping to work out the issues. The rest of us are grateful.
     
  2. Nov 13, 2009 #402 of 1485
    gbrown

    gbrown New Member

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    Oct 31, 2006
    While I had a horrid time getting the TA setup, once it started working, I have had very few problems. Only once (yesterday to be exact) I had to call TWC-SanDiego to have them restart the device.

    It is my understanding that there are two different TAs that TW uses. I have the CISCO TA.
     
  3. Nov 13, 2009 #403 of 1485
    pninen

    pninen New Member

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    Jun 25, 2003
    I'm into my 3rd day of TA nonfunction. San Diego.

    I called TW again this morning. They connected me to the "tuning adapter center". Tech there went thru the usual sequence of trying to send stuff to my TA, with no success.

    He says he's received lots of these calls, but has been able to restore most boxes by sending (whatever they send) to the TA. Mine however just sits in the 8 blinks mode.

    He put me on hold for about 5 minutes then said he would try to download "new code". That didn't work either. He then said there's nothing he could do.
     
  4. Nov 13, 2009 #404 of 1485
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Maybe the TA is just bad (?) Or has it already been replaced? You are power-cycling the TA before and after they hit it, correct? Leave it powered down for 30 secs. No, it shouldn't need a second power cycling after they hit it, but it's just a desperation move.
     
  5. Nov 13, 2009 #405 of 1485
    BrentlyL

    BrentlyL Brently AV

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    Palm...
    Day 4...

    Today they said that I can plan on waiting "a few more days" for this to be fixed. Criminals! F this company
     
  6. Nov 13, 2009 #406 of 1485
    BrentlyL

    BrentlyL Brently AV

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    Palm...
    As a TiVo dealer I have access to the higher-ups and I was just told by them that they didn't know about this current issue. (At least the person I spoke to didn't know about it.) I'm told their process is to bring it to engineering immediately and then it will go to corporate. The person I spoke with said that someone at the corporate level will contact me once they know better what is happening. I tried to convey to them that they MUST put pressure on Time Warner because TW is ruining the TiVo experience.

    It's my feeling that someone at TW knows exactly what's going on right now. I think this because of the fact that it's happening in many states at the same time. I don't think it's a coincidence. My guess is that they're making a system switch of some sort and some suit made the decision to not notify us customers of anything beforehand, why...because it would have cost them money to notify us. This process is very typical of TW.

    I'll say it again, "Please let the new DirecTV TiVo be perfect". I'm going to make that my signature.
     
  7. Nov 13, 2009 #407 of 1485
    BrentlyL

    BrentlyL Brently AV

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    Palm...
    DirecTV's new TiVo. That's my plan
     
  8. Nov 13, 2009 #408 of 1485
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    You're a TiVo dealer? Store front, or what kind?

    I'm amazed TiVo doesn't know about this. I can't believe some of them don't read this forum. How high up was your contact?

    We are a pimple on TWC's business plan, and they would probably like to pop us. When I talk to a TWC CSR, after twice giving my telephone mumber, they don't seem to know I'm a TiVo user until I tell them. I wonder if that's even in their databases. Well I know it's in one database: the one that makes sure I'm charged for cable cards! Anyway, they probably don't have an easy way to prepare a mailing list for just TiVo users.
     
  9. Nov 13, 2009 #409 of 1485
    dolfer

    dolfer Myles Standish Proud

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    Nov 3, 2000
    Milford,...
    Me and my TA are solid baby... Solid... Looks like the dude on the TW Chat Line knew what he was doing.

    I came home and the TA was powered off? I turned it on and it remained solid. Hopefully it will stay that way for awhile... Nighty night... :D
     
  10. Nov 13, 2009 #410 of 1485
    BrentlyL

    BrentlyL Brently AV

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    Jul 29, 2008
    Palm...

    I'm an independent custom installer. I spoke to TiVo Dealer Services. I pointed out that I'm not inclined to sell TiVo anymore because of the problems Time Warner is causing. They don't like hearing that.

    My goal for my clients is a system that works perfectly all the time. When people have Time Warner's hardware they end up calling me all the time because of the lousy box. I recommend TiVo because it's a better box. I can always be sure it will work...at least I used to be able to. Now it seems the TiVo is more problematic than the Scientific Atlanta boxes and that's because of the the tuning adapter. Given TW's track record with hardware I knew this was going to happen. I think that adapter IS the pimple popper. It's going to make people dislike their TiVo and go with whatever is less hassle even if it mean fewer features. I'm sure as heck not going to recommend TiVo if it doesn't work properly, for whatever reason.

    Time Warner is required BY LAW to support these devices and they're not doing it. I wish I could connect with a brilliant class action lawyer and discuss the possibilities.

    I just spoke with another TW rep. They say it's a sync issue and that it's still not fixed and there's no eta. You are a lucky dude dolfer.
     
  11. Nov 13, 2009 #411 of 1485
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Surprisingly, cable cos. are not required by law to support TA's as far as I know. See this post and the answering post #4 by bicker, who is quite well read on the laws of the cable industry.

    I agree it looks like the TA may be the TiVo breaker, whether by intent or by negligence, or maybe by just being a poorly implemented technical solution.

    I'm curious how you define "works perfectly all the time". I haven't had the massive problems with my TA that many are having, but some of my SDV channels do have occasional breakups (pixelation) and, rarely, even freezes. I've studied the problem a lot using the diagnostics built into the TiVo and I'm convinced these problems are actually in the signal encoding as distributed by TWC. They may not cause problems for TWC STB's or DVR's because they use different mpeg2 decoders than TiVo and obviously TWC tunes the encoding of their signals to be OK for their equipment (or they get massive complaints). Thus I don't believe the best possible installation (at my house anyway) could avoid these pixelation/freeze problems. Would that prevent it from being an acceptable installation by your standards?

    What does TWC mean by a "sync issue" I wonder?
     
  12. Nov 14, 2009 #412 of 1485
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    No, but it would be strange for them not to, since they invented them.

    Unlikely. Most people are not having severe problems with the TA.

    That is only partially the CATV people's fault. They weren't the ones insisting on a USB solution for no good reason.

    Uh-uh. 'Same Broadcomm chip.

    There is no "tuning". The encoding is produced by the broadcaster, not the CATV company, unless of course they are the broadcaster.

    Well, they are, although perhaps not the same complaints you have. The problems they are having are sometimes pretty bizarre.

    It means the OP spoke to a moron who has no idea of what they speak, and then the OP bought the ridiculous load of crap.
     
  13. Nov 14, 2009 #413 of 1485
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    I'm not convinced (not yet at least) that:

    1. Using the same mpeg2 decoder chip means identical response to input signals.

    Are there no parameters involved? E.g. buffer sizes, max bit rates, and something called "rate profiles" that I've heard mentioned?

    2. Cable cos. don't modify the encoding in some cases.

    See for example posts 358-361 in this thread, where SCSIRAID is working with TWC engineers on TA problems.
     
  14. Nov 14, 2009 #414 of 1485
    dolfer

    dolfer Myles Standish Proud

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    Milford,...
    Bret, it seems California might be having a bigger problem... But don't discount the fact that you just might have a bad TA unit. When I first got my TA I tried and tried to get it to work and it just wasn't reliable. It kept rebooting periodically. I waited through firmware updates. And most of the time it remained disconnected. Disgusted, I thought I would just try and get a new one. Since then it has been very solid. I have had to call/chat twice to get it "hit" by TW. A price I am willing to pay to stay away from the godawful TW DVR. (We have it at work so I know how truly terrible it is! ;) )

    How's Palm Springs???? I attended a huge Microsoft event there in the late 90's! Web Tech Ed?? Or some awkwardly-named Microsoft named affair. Awesome mountains!
     
  15. Nov 14, 2009 #415 of 1485
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    San...
    Well, first of all, the decoder doesn't receive the "input signals". The receiver does. It demodulates the signal into a 38 Mbps mux stream. The stream is then demuxed and sent to the CableCard. The CableCard inspects the stream for encryption. If it is not encrypted, the signal is passed through the CC without modification. If it is encrypted, then the signal is decrypted and then re-encrypted for delivery to the video system. In the TiVo, the stream is re-encrypted again and then sent to the hard drive. Whenever the user wants to watch the content (perhaps immediately), it is read off the hard drive, decrypted, and sent to the decoder. With the exception of the Tivo encryption, which is proprietary, everything else in the path must conform to industry standards, many of which are set by CableLabs. MPEG standards are set by the Motion Picture Experts Group, which is an arm of the International Standards Organization. All MPEG coders and decoders are required to meet the standards laid down by MPEG.

    Now yes, the decoder chip responds to code in the host, and a bug in that code can cause the chip to react inappropriately. In the same vein, a bug in the software controlling an encode chip can do the same thing.

    'Tons of them. Take a look at the documentation for ffmpeg some time. They are all covered in the spec, however, and the values of the parameters are embedded in the transport stream. That's how the decoder knows how to decode the stream. They are also variable within a stream. The encoding for a commercial may be different than the encoding for the main program, for example.

    He is talking about rate shaping, which can involve transcoding, but rate shaping is not employed to provide some superior function for some proprietary something in the CATV system devices. It's employed to allow more video to fit in a 38MHz QAM. Remember, too, that the CATV company does not manufacture the DVRs and STBs. They buy them off the shelf - in large quantities, of course. They don't buy from a single manufacturer, however. I believe TWC buys essentially all their DVRs from Cisco, but they often buy STBs from Pace and Zenith, as well as Cisco. SDV protocols are proprietary, but everything else is standardized.

    Now all that isn't to say TWC in your area isn't inadvertantly doing something that the Tivo doesn't like, or that conversely the TiVo doesn't have a bug which prevents it from responding correctly to the rate shaping being done by TWC in your area. I don't have enough data to say one way or the other.
     
  16. Nov 14, 2009 #416 of 1485
    SCSIRAID

    SCSIRAID Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    TWC has seen the issue here in Raleigh with their own eyes and have concluded that they are generating something that is tripping up TiVo resulting in macroblocking/pixelation which their Cisco STB's are handling with no issue. The key experiment is doing a simultaneous recording of a show on multiple TiVo's plus an 8300. The 8300 recording is clean. The TiVo recordings all exhibit breakups at exactly the same spot in the recordings and look basically identical. Just prior to the end of the recordings, the RS Stats for the TiVo's all indicate Uncorrected = 0 and the 'tune time' is correct indicating no 'retunes' have occured. This issue is only seen on SDV channels. The current TWC theory is that the rate shaper is generating something that TiVo doesnt like. However, TWC further indicates that all the Edge QAM's (Cisco GQAMs) for the different service groups should be receving the same rate shaped MPEG. This would mean that the same issue should be seen on all service groups if the rate shaper theory was correct. We did an experiment last night which showed that not to be true... My friend (on a different service group) and I recorded the same show and mine exhibited breakups on multiple TiVo's with 8300 clean while his TiVo recordings did not exhibit breakups at the time spots that mine did. That would seem to suggest that the problem is in the Edge QAM... I wouldnt expect the GQAM to be messing with the 'video' mpeg but perhaps he is fouling up the muxing information or not handing the merging of new streams properly (from TiVo's perspective anyway).. just a guess on my part though... Ill be passing the results of this experiment on to TWC next week.

    Any input / thoughts / theories would be appreciated....
     
  17. Nov 14, 2009 #417 of 1485
    digs0

    digs0 New Member

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    Oct 5, 2007
    San Diego
    In case it's of interest, I'm going to report some details I overheard from the calls the TW tech here in the house yesterday placed to a guy he described as the best cable card expert he knew in the company. Unfortunately, my computer seems to have destroyed the notes I took, but I'll try to recreate the info as well as my limited technical knowledge allows.

    According to the service tech and his expert, TW introduced some kind of service update on Wednesday, November 11. The guy on the phone was saying that TW cable boxes have to be reauthorized (not sure that's the exact word he used) basically every month to keep working. Otherwise they get "bricked." He was saying that Tuning Adapters have never had the capacity to receive that reauthorize hit, but it didn't ever seem to matter before the service update on Wednesday, because they didn't get bricked. Apparently, since the service update on Wednesday, the Tuning Adapters can now get bricked by not receiving the regular 30-day reauthorization.

    As of last night when the tech left, my Tuning Adapter still wasn't working (after a reboot and the hit being sent and the usual rigamarole), but the CC expert on the phone was saying that he hadn't been able to get in touch with the engineers in charge of creating the fix for the TAs, and it may not have been implemented yet. They told me that they expected the problem to be solved sometime within the next few days and to keep trying the SDV channels.

    Given that my TA has been nothing but a bundle of trouble since I got it, I was skeptical, but I'm happy to report that as of this morning, it came back to life. Instead of the 8-blink pattern, it was completely lightless this morning. I hit the power button on the front and it immediately went solid. I've learned not to trust the light as an indicator, but after a few seconds I briefly got the "acquiring channels" screen that you normally get after a reset, and after that, my SDV channels were working again. I'm choosing naively to hope that whatever service update caused this problem in the first place may solve all the problems I was having before, as well. (I'll change my tune at the first sign of trouble.)

    Contrary to beliefs that I and others have had about TW's level of interest in TiVo customers, both the in-home tech and the guy on the phone evinced quite a bit of concern about making my setup work right. I have to give them credit. They were saying, however, that when it comes to TA and cable card issues, the TW engineers who work on that stuff are practically like a secret club and only dole out information sparingly.

    As for whether TW is legally required to support TAs, I'm no lawyer nor an expert on the FCC, but if I understand it correctly, the law requires them to provide the same level of channel access to customers who don't use their boxes as to those who do. I thought the whole reason for the existence of the TA was that legal mandate. SDV removes channels from non-cable company boxes, and the cable co is legally required to make those channels available. If that's not the case, then the FCC mandate to provide the same level of service has absolutely no teeth whatsoever.

    Regardless of federal law, though, contractually they are certainly bound to provide me with the channels I'm paying for. I subscribe to one of their tiered packages, and all of the channels included therein seem to be SDV. If those channels don't come through, they're not providing me with a service that I have paid directly for and they will have to answer for it.
     
  18. Nov 14, 2009 #418 of 1485
    BrentlyL

    BrentlyL Brently AV

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    Palm...
    This morning my adapters were not blinking, their lights were off. I pushed the button, the lights turned on and they're working again...for now. 4 full days of Time Warner BS is totally UNACCEPTABLE.

    Have 2 TA's plus all the TA's that belong to all of my clients. Every client I spoke with was having the same issue. (Part of my hatred of TW is the fact that when they screw up, my clients all call me instead of TW). Now days I send an email blast to them letting them all know that I already know what TW is doing to them.

    What I meant earlier about "TiVo used to work perfectly all the time before the TAs arrived" was that I didn't get calls from my clients about the TiVo box acting up but of course now it's the only box I sell that has constant problems, thanks to TW. Yes, we have the same issue with pixelation like everyone else has but we live with it. I've worked with Time Warner field supervisors a lot trying to resolve the pixelation issue but they don't know why it happens and they don't really care to investigate beyond getting a "proper" signal into the home. I love the fact that some of you guys are really digging into the pixelation issue but I can't help but think TW should be doing this. If you can do it, they can do it...yeah right.

    If the new DirecTV TiVo proves to be good I will move most of my clients over to that. A lot of them and myself used to have the old HR-250 DTVTIVO and feel that that box performed better than the TiVoHD on a cable system. (the price we pay for our love of TiVo goes way beyond a dollar value) I personally am at a point where I'd rather have that old HR-250 DTVTIVO without the big HD lineup and network functionality just so that I can have peace of mind.

    Hey dolfer, Palm Springs is awesome right now. It's sunny and 74. That convention center was remodeled a few years ago and now looks like something from the Flintstones

    http://www.palmspringscc.com/
     
  19. Nov 14, 2009 #419 of 1485
    pninen

    pninen New Member

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    Jun 25, 2003
    My Cisco TA suddenly has a solid green light this morning (TW San Diego) after 4 days of blinking.

    Now we get to see if TW can keep it working for more than 5 days in a row (their previous record).

    TW did a very poor job with this situation. Their customer service people were ill-informed. Their special "Tuning Adapter Center" technical support people were ill-informed. They wasted my time, and the time of thousands of other customers, as well as the time of all their folks who answered our phone calls.

    I have to rate TW a 0 on a scale of 1 to 10.
     
  20. Nov 14, 2009 #420 of 1485
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Yes I knew that. What I meant by signal was the binary bitstream after correction/reconstruction by the Reed-Solomon error correction algorithm, which yields the RS Corrected and RS Uncorrected error counts seen in the DVR Diagnostics Pages. These values are almost always zero even for channels that are pixelated. This is supposed to mean that the TiVo is processing the exact binary stream as sent where ever the RS encoding was applied.
    Yes, I've used FFMpeg. I believe one of the parameters is buffer size (`-bufsize size' ). As an example of the kind of problem I was wondering about, what if the transport stream specified a buffer size greater than what the TiVo can provide? Or perhaps something related to `-maxrate bitrate' ? Is every last thing like this guaranteed to be OK just because the same decoder chip is used and the TiVo design supposedly meets industry standards?
     

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