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Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by dlfl, Apr 18, 2010.
Why dont you try calling before it expires?
Yeah, I thought of that too. Hopefully if they re-authorize it before it expires, we get by seamlessly, i.e., no blinks, no TA reboots, re-acquring channels etc.
Seems that it would make sense. Oh Wait, lol there I go trying to make sense.
There is a good chance that won't work, but I guess it's worth a try. Remember, we are dealing with people who sat around a table thinking this up, and somebody said "Hey, why don't we set this thing up so it goes dead every month or so, and the customer has to call in to get it going again?"
Now, you may ask: who ever thought that was a good idea, but my guess is that this guy was the only guy in the room with any idea at all.
funny, but that's not the attitude I would use with those on that desk. They tend to be very adept with TIVO, & seem to be the only ones that help. Remember if TIVo had of been progressive maybe they could have worked on the equipment so the Tuning adapter is not needed. I was sad to see that the new s4 still needs a TA.
That's not the attitude I take when on the Phone getting my monthly hits to the TA; I am very understanding and helpful, as often I seem to know as much about the TA than they do.
In fact, when 2 technicians were at the house yesterday for a signal strength problem, I showed them the date when the TA would go dead next month, and they were also curious as to how that design ever got past the initial memo. Had these folks thought this through, they would not have the mess that now appears to be going on to as they scramble to fix this 30 day cutoff. I still cannot figure out what problem they were trying to solve by having the TAs require a monthly phone call to customer service. Don't they get enough calls as it is?
Are they really "scrambling" to fix this? I hope so, but do we have evidence of that?
It does make you wonder. But remember TA users (i.e., essentially TiVo users) comprise about 0.5% of their digital subscribers, which means they probably approached the whole situation as an afterthought.
I hope other SW Ohio users will continue to post on this thread that they either are -- or are not -- getting 8 blinks monthly (or more often).
Yes, I get the 8 blinks of death about once a month. My next expiration date is 5/20 at 06:40.
I also have the same problems as SQUIDD with several channels reported as unavailable such as Speed, UHD and several others. It is somewhat intermittent, but Speed HD is rarely tunable.
SQUIDD, did you contact TWC about the unavailable channels?
I did, and the boys from TWC showed up at the house yesterday with their tools and their testers. After nosing around and testing things, they jiggled some splitters in the basement (where there a number of splits, originally set up when cable was all analog). My dropped stations were, it seems, due to low signal strength. By making some un-splits, they boosted the signal about 4 or 5 db, and everything now seems to be working fine.
The guys didn't know much about the TA, and said that they did not, but they were very good at testing the cable and figuring out my system, and I enjoyed their visit.
Thanks Squidd. It seems I can't avoid a truck roll. I'm going to try reconnecting all the cables first.
This is an old issue but the short coax cable that comes with the tuning adapter used to be notorious for bad quality. My installers last June (July?) knew almost nothing about TiVos but they did know about this and made a new cable for me without me even suggesting it. Just something else to check on.
I think that is the real issue. no real thought was put into it.
Has anyone successfully avoided 8-blinks by calling in and getting their TA re-authorized before the expiration date? If so, did you have to reboot either the TA or TiVo in the process?
Also, please see the first post. If you use a TA in the TWC SW Ohio region and haven't already responded, please post.
My TA auth was scheduled to expire at 11:44 pm tonight so I decided to see if I could get it re-authorized BEFORE then.
Called NCCS directly (they didn't complain). They hit it three times -- no change in the date. They called my head-end and had them hit it -- no change.
Waited a few minutes then rebooted the TA just to see if that did anything -- it didn't.
Called local TWC support. While talking to the CSR, the call was dropped -- don't know what if anything he did, but the date didn't change.
Called back to TWC support (different CSR). While talking to her, I noticed the date had changed to 6/3/10. She said she hadn't done ANYTHING.
So it looks like my preemptive strike worked, but I don't understand what happened. I don't think rebooting the TA did it, since the date remained the same after that. Was this a delayed reaction to a hit sent by NCCS? Or by my head-end? Or the first CSR?
The date was only updated by just over 29 days, taking the hours and minutes into account.
As I was composing this post, I got a call from "Larry" at TWC, who made several very interesting comments:
1. If you call TWC SW OH with a TiVo-related problem, you should select the menu item that you are having trouble with your PHONE service (!). He says they are the group that has been trained to troubleshoot TiVo's.
(At that point I was having very skeptical thoughts.)
2. He was listening in on one of my CSR calls and he actually sent the hit to my TA because he could tell the CSR didn't know what to do!
3. THIS IS THE BIG ONE: They send reauthorization signals to TA's (and STB's) every night! One or two may be missed, but at least every few days the expiration date should be pushed out 30 days hence. If this isn't happening there is a signal problem which they can diagnose. (Note this is consistent with the comment in the TA document about a date less than 20 days out being a problem.)
He suggested that if you have the 8-blink problem, call into the phone suppport CSR's and give them a chance to troubleshoot it before reauthorizing.
Well, it's plausible anyway........I hope someone else will give this a try and report back what happens!
Kettering, OH area - have gotten the 8 blink problem approx every 30 days for a while now. TA replaced, no help. If I fiddle around with it (unplugging, replugging, hitting the power button), sometimes it will go into a continuous slow blink mode - not the typical 8-blink, pause sequences.
Some of the techs at the regular cable support have handled the call well - off the phone in 5 mins once I get off hold, others it is excruciating to get them to help or transfer to NCCS. Once a manager finally got on the line and told me they were transferring me to the TW NCCS, and sent me to the Tivo general support line instead.
The good techs I've asked if there was a technote or knowledgebase article I could give the uninformed techs to get me to a resolution faster - all they've said are they send 'hits to the cablecard'
I'll check my expire date when I get home. I've also gotten screen shots of all the diag screens off the Tivo in a 'working' mode to compare the next time it is in the 8-blink mode.
(See my post #34 for background info.)
Larry the TWC guy said that signal level problems were the primary suspect when TA's don't respond to the nightly reauothorizations, and he said the problem could either be in their system or at your house.
There are three signal levels that can be read from the TA Diagnostics screens, and which are discussed in the TA Diagnostics PDF:
(Note all signal levels are in dBmV units.)
Acceptable range: -16 to +15, Recommended range: -8 to +8
Acceptable: -16 to +15, Recommended: -10 to +10
Acceptable: +25 to +55, Recommended: +27 to +53
All three of these levels have always been comfortably in the "Recommended" range on my system. If there is a signal level issue in my case, it must be in their end of the system!
I find those acceptable ranges laughable! LMAO
This morning I couldn't tune 2 of my SDV channels. Rebooting the TiVo and reacquiring the channel list from the TA didn't help. DVR Diagnostics indicated the channels were tuned just fine. I believe this means an account balancing problem.
So I tried "Larry" the TWC guy's advice -- what a fiasco.
1. First there is no way to access TWC internet phone service support via the telephone menu system. I tried every possible menu combination. I don't use TWC internet phone service but Larry said it should still be on the phone menu.
2. A CSR transferred me to Tier 3 support.
3. The Tier 3 guy said what Larry told me was a crock, and he never heard of Larry.
4. He sent all five kinds of hits on his menu, which rebooted my TA.
5. After rebooting the TiVo again, and reacquiring channels again, the two channels were still missing.
6. While I was talking to him and after verifying some other channels did tune OK, I tried the two missing channels again and they DID tune OK.
7. He read my FDC and RDC signal levels. Although they didn't agree exactly with my readings, they were well within the good range.
8. He never heard of the NCCS, but thought that would be a better place to get support than Tier 3.
9. I questioned him about what kind of troubleshooting he could do on the problem of failure to re-authorize the TA. Other than reading the signal levels he had no clue.
I decided to contact "Larry" to discuss how his advice was "not correct". I was able to get him to call me again by going through a CSR.
1. He said the 3rd tier guy (who denied what Larry had said) was wrong and had been "instructed" (or something like that).
2. The internet phone support group he told me to contact actually is just the 3rd tier support, which was part of the confusion. 3rd tier is supposed to handle CableCARD and TA support.
3. He hadn't realized there was no "digital phone" support choice on the phone menus. Thus if you have a TiVo (i.e., CableCARD or TA) problem you call regular cable TV support and they should escalate you to 3rd tier. (My comment: if they don't, ask!)
4. He said unfortunately not all support people remember everything they have been told about TA stuff because only about 1,000 of their subscribers have them, out of 400,000 total in SW OH. I didn't think to ask him if the 400K number included analog-only subscribers. This number (0.25%) is in the ball park for national estimates however.
5. He thinks that rebooting your TA will force a re-authorization (i.e., push the expire date out further). I will be testing this soon, but I did reboot my TA this morning and the date did get pushed out a few hours. (I thought it might be because an overnight refresh actually worked.)
6. He still thinks there is some signal quality problem required to explain TA's that don't get re-authorized automatically (and thus go into 8-blinks).
7. Thus he offered to investigate further immediately if I wanted to, commenting it would probably require a truck roll.
8. I opted to sit it out for now and see what develops and told him that a lot of us are not thrilled by truck rolls where the tech doesn't know about TA's and CableCARDs. (If and when I have a truck roll for this, I will contact him again and try to ensure the right techs are sent out.)
9. I tried to get him to say something about NCCS, policy-wise but he was non-commital.
If it turns out that rebooting the TA will handle re-authorization I will be tempted to just do it that way, especially since we can see the time it will expire in the TA diagnostics. However, I'm now wondering if the need for occasional tuning retries on SDV channels could be related to a signal problem that is also causng the re-authorization failures (?).
So what did he say about your 2 channels missing?