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Old 04-18-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
dlfl
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TWC SW OH: Do you get TA 8-blinks every month?

If you are in the TWC SW Ohio system (Dayton/Cincy region) please post here telling whether (or not) you get 8-blinks (and have to call TWC) at least once every month (if you use a Tuning Adapter).

One of the TWC National Cable Card Support desk people told me that TA's are programmed to require re-authorization every 30 days and he suspects our system isn't doing this. If this is correct everyone with a TA should be getting 8-blinks once a month.

If this really is what's happening it's probably worth trying to make a stink about it with higher ups at TWC.

It's conceivable that rebooting a TA might force a refresh of it's authorization, so if you DON'T get 8-blinks every month but you DO reboot your TA more often than that, please include that info in your post.
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Last edited by dlfl : 04-18-2010 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:27 PM   #2
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Have the same problem and power cycling does not fix it...

Hello!

I'm in Dayton and for the last two months, possibly three, I've been getting an 8-blink error about every 30 days, now that you mention the timing. Doing a reset of the tuning adapter does NOT resolve the problem. I've had to call customer service and get a tier 3 rep down in Blue Ash for them to send both reset and provisioning (authorization from the billing system) signals to the tuning adapter for it to work again. Even doing that, it sometimes takes the TiVo HD and/or the tuning adapter to be power-cycled to get all of the SDV channels working again.

At least I'm not the only one with this problem. I had an tuning adapter firmware upgrade not complete correctly that I basically had the tier 3 reps stumped (all of them in Blue Ash, at least, that have been trained for handling CableCARD and tuning adapter troubleshooting). I agreed to have a truck roll scheduled for two days later, but when the nightly channel list update occurred (around 3am), the tuning adapter was fine from then on. So, I was able to cancel the truck roll.

I'm glad that the new FCC mandate (issued around 3/17/10) requires MSOs to allow people with CableCARDs and broadband internet connections to get rid of their tuning adapters and handle what was the normal tuning adapter communications to happen via IP instead by "this Fall". Now, TiVo needs to update their software to do the work of the tuning adapter (which may delay implementation), but the infrastructure has to be ready on the MSO end. It was something that I never understood why we needed an external box to do this, when I already had an internet connection that could request anything from TWC (including OnDemand and PPV, which is something that will be possible supposedly by the end of 2011, according to the same FCC ruling).

I'm on my third Cisco tuning adapter since their release here in February 2008 and they're horrible. One had to be replaced because it took one of the head end managers in Dayton to hook up a couple of terminals and talk with me (not the tech he sent because he didn't really understand CableCARDs or tuning adapters) to figure out that the tuning adapter couldn't request a channel. If it wasn't already active on the local tap in my area, I couldn't get the SDV channel. The second one just bricked itself entirely. I can't wait to get rid of it.

Let me know if you have any questions or need help in calling or e-mailing a certain group of TWC people. I'm always up for arguing with them about their total lack of knowledge personally!

Thanks!
Jim
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Old 04-18-2010, 09:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
If you are in the TWC SW Ohio system (Dayton/Cincy region) please post here telling whether (or not) you get 8-blinks (and have to call TWC) at least once every month (if you use a Tuning Adapter).

One of the TWC National Cable Card Support desk people told me that TA's are programmed to require re-authorization every 30 days and he suspects our system isn't doing this. If this is correct everyone with a TA should be getting 8-blinks once a month.
FWIW, many of us on the TWC Northeast Ohio system have this problem as well. I've had to call in monthly to have the national cable card support center send a hit to my TA to reauthorize it. The last two times they said that they are eagerly awaiting a software update from Cisco to fix this issue so a monthly reauthorization hit is not required.

Conveniently this always happens when I'm on travel or on vacation.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:34 PM   #4
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.......The last two times they said that they are eagerly awaiting a software update from Cisco to fix this issue so a monthly reauthorization hit is not required.
........
NCCS told me a month ago they were expecting an update but were very vague about what it should fix. Did they tell you it would address this specific problem? I sure hope so, since the other alternative is each TWC system has to implement an automatic procedure (a script I guess) to do the re-authorizations every month, and I have very little confidence in that ever happening in SW Ohio.

When SW OH updated the TA software from .0801 to .1001 a few months ago they apparently botched their script and it knocked out all TA's for almost a full day.
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Old 04-18-2010, 10:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ontherebound View Post
................
I'm glad that the new FCC mandate (issued around 3/17/10) requires MSOs to allow people with CableCARDs and broadband internet connections to get rid of their tuning adapters and handle what was the normal tuning adapter communications to happen via IP instead by "this Fall". Now, TiVo needs to update their software to do the work of the tuning adapter (which may delay implementation), but the infrastructure has to be ready on the MSO end. It was something that I never understood why we needed an external box to do this, when I already had an internet connection that could request anything from TWC (including OnDemand and PPV, which is something that will be possible supposedly by the end of 2011, according to the same FCC ruling).
...........
That FCC mandate is news to me. It sounds promising. Do you happen to have a link where we can read about it?

Unfortunately TiVo updates have been few and far between, and they are probably putting most emphasis on the new Premiere. The only hope I would see for a timely Series 3 modification would be if the software changes are easily ported from the Premiere. SDV channel assignments have to be handled on a per-node (i.e., neighborhood) basis, so I wonder if the required cable co infrastructure changes might be considerable.

EDIT: The FCC mandate you mentioned is part of the National Broadband Plan, in Recommendation 4-13:

Quote:
On an expedited basis, the FCC should adopt rules for cable operators to fix certain CableCARD issues while development of the gateway device functionality progresses. Adoption of these rules should be completed in the fall of 2010.
And this particular item:

Quote:
Ensure equal access to linear channels for retail and operator-leased CableCARD devices in cable systems with SDV by allowing retail devices to receive and transmit out-of-band communications with the cable headend over IP
Note this is just a recommendation and Fall 2010 is just the date for (rule) adoption. I doubt the implementation deadline given in the rule would be anywhere near that soon.
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Last edited by dlfl : 04-18-2010 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 04-19-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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@dlfl:

This was an update released on or about 3/17/10. Here's a link to the information I found on on Engadget HD. I hope the link will help. The final residential gateways are not required until the end of 2012, not 2011 -- which seemed way too soon to me. Maybe this is a rehash of the current guidelines that are already in place, but it seemed like it was new and there were specific changes that had to be done by this Fall, like replacing tuning adapters for those UDCP device users with broadband connections. It seemed to read from their comments that it was more specific than the National Broadband Plan and put specific dates on goals the FCC wanted. I'm not sure if it was a ruling (or what the technical name was for it), but I have not checked the FCC website for any additional information yet, though. Since you obviously have more knowledge about the FCC, maybe you can clarify this a little even for me.

They did botch that upgrade because I remember the tier 3 rep saying they were up to three people at that time in the morning that had the same issues. Like I said, they seemed to be fixed by the next night. But, it was basically the blind leading the blind, even at tier 3 with their CableCARD "experts" in Blue Ash.

Can you give me the number for the National CableCARD Center for TWC? It would cut down on some of the arguments I get into when the local people in Kettering want to think they know more about tuning adapters than I do and that tier 3 only deals with telephone issues and I have to get a supervisor to transfer me (which adds up to 20 minutes just to get to a darn tier 3 rep). I'd appreciate it.

I hope my link helps and gives some good news the way you read it, as well. I'm hoping the infrastructure to allow tuning adapters to be done away with by this Fall will at least be in place, but it will take TiVo some time to catch up for their software to handle the work of the tuning adapters (and every region's own little infrastructure and plant issues will cause them a boatload of problems I'm guessing, too). Maybe not. I can be blissfully naive, can't I?

Have a great day! Take care!
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:05 AM   #7
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This was an update released on or about 3/17/10. Here's a link to the information I found on on Engadget HD. I hope the link will help.
Did you notice my edit on post #5 ? I found the original text in the National Broadband Plan....but thanks anyway!
Quote:
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Can you give me the number for the National CableCARD Center for TWC? It would cut down on some of the arguments I get into when the local people in Kettering want to think they know more about tuning adapters than I do and that tier 3 only deals with telephone issues and I have to get a supervisor to transfer me (which adds up to 20 minutes just to get to a darn tier 3 rep). I'd appreciate it.
The NCCS number is 866-532-2598 but, as I guess you are aware, they DO NOT like you calling it directly. However I've found it helps to tell the local support people this number and ask them to connect you, if they are clueless (as they frequently are).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ontherebound View Post
I hope my link helps and gives some good news the way you read it, as well. I'm hoping the infrastructure to allow tuning adapters to be done away with by this Fall will at least be in place, but it will take TiVo some time to catch up for their software to handle the work of the tuning adapters (and every region's own little infrastructure and plant issues will cause them a boatload of problems I'm guessing, too). Maybe not. I can be blissfully naive, can't I?
As I hinted in my edit to Post #5, I don't see much good news here. I'm doubtful TiVo will ever implement this for the HD/Series 3 models and Fall 2010 is just a goal for getting the FCC reg in place. But I applaud any way you can be blissful!
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:28 AM   #8
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I am in Cincinnati and I have the 8 blinks every 20 - 30 days. I have had them replace my tuning adapters. That didn't help. I've had them take the Tivo's coax off of the amplifier and that didn't help. No one at TWC tech support has ever heard of a tuning adapter when I call in and most of the reps either disconnect me because they don't know how to fix my problem or they transfer my call to the HD TV or RoadRunner department. I even had one rep say that there is no way I have a Cable Card from TWC because they don't carry that product. When I told her that I have 2 cable cards from TWC and that TWC must carry them per the FCC. She put me on hold and disconnected me.

I have a TWC rep come out every 3 - 4 weeks to reset my adapters (he calls the national cable card phone # because he never knows what he is doing either.) I feel like banging my head against the wall every 3 - 4 weeks. At least they put those blue shoe covers on before they come in the house.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:25 AM   #9
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I'm in Cincinnati, and have 2 TAs on 2 different TiVos, 1 an S3 and 1 an HD.
They both revert to 8 blinks every 30 days or so, and I have to call in for "hits." Recently the phone techs are getting better at this; last week the call only took about 20 minutes or so, but it's a major PIA.
On one call a few months ago, the tech said that they go off line because of signals sent out generally by TW that seem to have this side effect. Since they both go off line at exactly the same time, this would make sense. What does not make sense is why such signals continue to be sent out, or why a corrective hit cannot be automatically sent out as a follow up.
Lately, I have noticed that some stations are "unavailable" and recordings are blank. If I try to record the 3 hours of Imus (FBN; ch 353), the first hour or so is generally is blank, but then the signal is acquired and the next 2 hours will record - with no intervention by me. This morning, it started to pick up the signal in hour 2, but lost it again 20 minutes later. (This is reflected on both systems, which are in different rooms, which makes me think this is a problem with the signal rather than with the TA or the TiVos.)
Also, the TA boxes will not pick up (any longer - they used to) CH WGA America (or something like that), although my S2 analog box gets the program fine on CH 74. Again, this seems to be a SDV problem or a signal problem. And MGM HD is almost never available on either TA, even though it was there all the time 2 months ago. Again, both boxes will act the same, which indicates it's not a problem with the TA, unless it's due to a design flaw. (Really - could that happen?)
From where I sit, it looks like the whole SDV system is not working very well with the TA at all. It's a small problem, as things go.
I would be furious if this were a problem with one of the Network HD signals, or HBO, or even one of the big cable stations like USA or FX, all of which are fine and none of which, I think, is SDV.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:00 PM   #10
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I'm in SE Wisconsin and my tuning adapter goes out every 30 days. I heard from a Tier 3 rep that they've pulled Cisco in to try to figure out what's going on.
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Old 04-19-2010, 02:44 PM   #11
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I am in SW Ohio and also get the 8 blinks about once a month. I have used the direct Cable Card support number and the techs have always been very helpful in sending out the hits to fix the situation.

It is a major nuisance and anything anyone can do to get this resolved would be appreciated.
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:35 PM   #12
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I am in SW Ohio and also get the 8 blinks about once a month. I have used the direct Cable Card support number and the techs have always been very helpful in sending out the hits to fix the situation.

It is a major nuisance and anything anyone can do to get this resolved would be appreciated.
Are you calling the NCCS number directly, rather than having local support connect you? Don't they resist that?
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Old 04-19-2010, 03:48 PM   #13
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I called the direct 866 number mentioned earlier in this thread and elsewhere, not being transferred. No resistance from them any of the 3 or 4 times I have called. They go through the standard request for phone number, address and last 4 of the social.

Always courteous and apologetic about the problem.
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:05 PM   #14
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I called the direct 866 number mentioned earlier in this thread and elsewhere, not being transferred. No resistance from them any of the 3 or 4 times I have called. They go through the standard request for phone number, address and last 4 of the social.

Always courteous and apologetic about the problem.
sounds like they have given up on the locals ever getting it together. LOL
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:47 PM   #15
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I get this quite often. I haven't timed it, but I guess it could be about every 30 days. Now that I have another TA, I do know that they both stop at different times. I got one reset and the other one needed reset a week later. Some techs are actually good at it. I had one guy fix it within 5 minutes while the last time I called, it took quite a long time to get someone that knew how to fix it. The last guy I talked to actually remembered helping me with a problem about 4 months ago and was very helpful, but I had to talk to 2 other people before I got in touch with him.

Re: Ontherebound-I had one that couldn't request a channel, and I was able to get it working by using the other USB port on my Tivo.
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Old 04-19-2010, 04:55 PM   #16
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I also get the 8 Blinks about once a month. Sometimes I get lucky and the 1st
CSR knows what to do. But usually I have to get transferred. Time 10 min to 45 min
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:17 PM   #17
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So far no one has posted they DON'T get 8-blinks every month or less. Although this would go counter to my theory, I definitely want to hear about such cases, since it's important to know whether this is really happening to everyone. (Unfortunately people not having trouble are less likely to even be on the forum.)
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:19 PM   #18
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I'm on TWC SW Ohio and I get the 8 blink outage every month. I have two tuning adapters that were both recently reset on the same day, April 13th.

I'm not sure if this has ever been covered by anyone but, you can actually find out when your tuning adapter will lose its authorization by looking at the tuning adapter diagnostic screens under Settings and Messages menu on your Tivo.

You can get to the TA Diagnostic screens by following these menus on your Tivo:

Messages & Settings ->Settings->Remote, CableCARD, & Devices->Tuning Adapter->Tuning Adapter Diagnostics

Once you are in Diagnostics Navigation Map screen choose PowerKEY Information with the select button. Then press select twice more on NextPage. On this screen is a field called Sub Expires that shows the date and time that your tuning adapter authorization will expire. Mine currently shows 0513.123200, which means on May 13th at 12:32 PM it will lose its authorization.

Here's a little history on how I discovered this. Back in March after I had the TA refreshed by the CSR, I was paging through the TA Diagnostics I noticed the Sub Expires field had changed to 0413.1544 from what it was previously. I suspected that this was the expiration date and wrote it down and made plans to see if the thing would lose its authorization on April 13th at 3:44 PM. When April 13th came around I made sure I was watching the tuning adapter. At exactly 3:44 PM both Tuning Adapters started their 8 blink sequence.

This, of course, doesn't do squat to stop the TA from screwing up but at least this screen will let you know when to plan for your monthly call to TWC now!

Last edited by SASouth : 04-19-2010 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 04-19-2010, 07:48 PM   #19
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I'm on TWC SW Ohio and I get the 8 blink outage every month. I have two tuning adapters that were both recently reset on the same day, April 13th.

I'm not sure if this has ever been covered by anyone but, you can actually find out when your tuning adapter will lose its authorization by looking at the tuning adapter diagnostic screens under Settings and Messages menu on your Tivo.

You can get to the TA Diagnostic screens by following these menus on your Tivo:
..........
This, of course, doesn't do squat to stop TA from screwing up but at least this screen will let you know when to plan for your monthly call to TWC now!
Excellent info!

Another way to reach the TA Diagnostics screens is:

Messages & Settings ... Account & System Information ... Tuning Adapter ... Tuning Adapter Diagnostics

There is a PDF document on the TA Diagnostics screens that you can download **here**. Unfortunately it was written with the Set Top Box GUI in mind, so it doesn't fit the TiVo screens exactly -- but still pretty close.

On page 33 of that doc is the item you described.
Quote:
Sub Expires : Date and time that the subscription authorizations expire (MMDD.hhmmss)
Notes:
• Subscription authorizations generally expire 20 to 30 days from the previous renewal date.
• A date less than 20 days into the future indicates a problem.
I see my sub expires May 4th, which is less than 20 days in the future. Not sure what the logic for the 20-days-is-a-problem comment is.
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Old 04-21-2010, 02:38 PM   #20
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Red face

Quote:
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There is a PDF document on the TA Diagnostics screens that you can download **here**. Unfortunately it was written with the Set Top Box GUI in mind, so it doesn't fit the TiVo screens exactly -- but still pretty close.
Thanks for the number for the NCCS! Also, thanks for the Cisco Tuning Adapter Guide link. They had published a document called something like, "Field Troubleshooting the STA 1520 Tuning Adapter" back a year or more ago, but I've never been able to find it and I've contacted Cisco who then sent me to their Scientific Atlanta division who actually handles this product, but I never got a response because I'm not an MSO. At least this guide explains what all of the abbreviations and results mean (for the most part). It should be helpful.

My TA is set to expire on 4/25 at 9:20am, but that's less than 30 days than my last call to TWC to reset the provisioning last time. I can't wait to deal with either the Tier 3 group or the NCCS on an early Sunday morning. They'll all be happy to be there, I'm sure! NOT! Just so they send an update to the authorization and I'll be happy...

Thanks again for the phone number and the link to the TA Guide, dlfl!
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:26 PM   #21
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Thanks for the number for the NCCS! Also, thanks for the Cisco Tuning Adapter Guide link. They had published a document called something like, "Field Troubleshooting the STA 1520 Tuning Adapter" back a year or more ago, but I've never been able to find it and I've contacted Cisco who then sent me to their Scientific Atlanta division who actually handles this product, but I never got a response because I'm not an MSO. At least this guide explains what all of the abbreviations and results mean (for the most part). It should be helpful.

My TA is set to expire on 4/25 at 9:20am, but that's less than 30 days than my last call to TWC to reset the provisioning last time. I can't wait to deal with either the Tier 3 group or the NCCS on an early Sunday morning. They'll all be happy to be there, I'm sure! NOT! Just so they send an update to the authorization and I'll be happy...

Thanks again for the phone number and the link to the TA Guide, dlfl!
Why dont you try calling before it expires?
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:30 PM   #22
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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.
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:34 PM   #23
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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.
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:56 PM   #24
squiddohio
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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.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:01 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by squiddohio View Post
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.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:07 AM   #26
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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?
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:01 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by squiddohio View Post
........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.
Are they really "scrambling" to fix this? I hope so, but do we have evidence of that?
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Originally Posted by squiddohio View Post
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?
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).
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Old 04-22-2010, 01:07 PM   #28
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8 Blinks and Channels Unavailable

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?

Dennis
Loveland
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Old 04-22-2010, 04:14 PM   #29
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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.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:56 PM   #30
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Unavailable Channels

Thanks Squidd. It seems I can't avoid a truck roll. I'm going to try reconnecting all the cables first.
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