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Old 04-22-2010, 09:56 PM   #31
dlfl
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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.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:58 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by squiddohio View Post
Had these folks thought this through,
I think that is the real issue. no real thought was put into it.
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Old 04-28-2010, 07:49 AM   #33
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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.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:26 PM   #34
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"Preemptive strike", but what lesson learned?

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.

BREAKING NEWS:
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!
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:59 PM   #35
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Same problem here

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.

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Old 05-04-2010, 05:50 PM   #36
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(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:

1) Tuner:
(Note all signal levels are in dBmV units.)
Acceptable range: -16 to +15, Recommended range: -8 to +8

2) FDC:
Acceptable: -16 to +15, Recommended: -10 to +10

3) RDC:
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!
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:29 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
(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:

1) Tuner:
(Note all signal levels are in dBmV units.)
Acceptable range: -16 to +15, Recommended range: -8 to +8

2) FDC:
Acceptable: -16 to +15, Recommended: -10 to +10

3) RDC:
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
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:17 AM   #38
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Is there any sanity to TWC support?

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.


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Old 05-05-2010, 06:46 PM   #39
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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 (?).
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:10 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
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?
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:50 PM   #41
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So what did he say about your 2 channels missing?
Oh that! Well he had no theory on that, and neither do I. It appeared they just decided to return -- but not as a result of anything anyone had done. My theory was that when they were sending a scheduled overnight refresh to my TA, they also sent a signal that unauthorized those two channels. (?).

He did point out these channels (MNBCHD and CNBCHD) are not on any premium tier, i.e., EVERY digital cable subsriber is authorized to get them. Thus he couldn't see how any signal they sent out could have told my system I wasn't authorized for them. Seems to make sense, I guess.

The more you try to understand this stuff the more it feels like the Twilight Zone. My take on the big picture is this is what you get when you try to force a complex, hard-to-diagnose, technical system on a company for the benefit of only 0.25% of its customers.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:13 PM   #42
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..........
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.)
.......................
If it turns out that rebooting the TA will handle re-authorization I will be tempted to just do it that way.............
As I suspected, rebooting your TA does NOT extend its expiration date. It's been 3 hrs since I rebooted mine and the date remains unchanged.
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:51 PM   #43
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As I suspected, rebooting your TA does NOT extend its expiration date. It's been 3 hrs since I rebooted mine and the date remains unchanged.
I hate to disagree, but there might be something to the whole reboot thing.

And not just restarting either (I tried that too, it did nothing) but pulling the plug on the TA, pulling the plug on the Tivo, resting for 30 secs or so, plugging in the TA, and plugging back in the Tivo.

I've noticed that the CA Time field now increments about every 60 seconds. Where previously it was stuck on 0428.somethingsomething, now it represents the current time.

And the Time GBAMs and App GBAMs increment about once every 15 seconds and have for the past 30 minutes or so. Before I rebooted, these numbers hadn't changed in days.

Though, in fairness, the sub expires date hasn't changed from 0520.0640 but that looks like an early morning thing based on the timestamp.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:15 PM   #44
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.........
Though, in fairness, the sub expires date hasn't changed from 0520.0640 but that looks like an early morning thing based on the timestamp.
I think sub expires is the one that counts, however. Let us know if it updates or not.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:50 PM   #45
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The sub expires time is what determines your authorization date. if you do not get re-authed before that you will either get the 8 blinks or solid light but disabled.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:04 PM   #46
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The sub expires time is what determines your authorization date. if you do not get re-authed before that you will either get the 8 blinks or solid light but disabled.
Yes, as reported by SASouth in Post #18 of this thread, but thanks for the additional confirmation.

Since you seem to be pretty up on this stuff and have just joined the thread, what do you think of my TWC contact saying the lack of frequent refreshes of sub expired must indicate a signal quality problem or a bad TA? My RDC and FDC signal strengths are both quite nominal (43 and -4 dBmV) and have always been so. I see no other signs of TA malfunction unless you want to say the occasional failure to tune an SDV channel on the first try is "unusual". (TiVo doesn't think it's unusual -- they cover the manual tuning retry work-around in their support web pages.)

I suspect the problem is simply TWC failing to send the required hit.
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Last edited by dlfl : 05-07-2010 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:18 PM   #47
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Lol

Not true
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:25 PM   #48
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Lol

Not true
Your post crossed my edit, so I'm not sure what you meant isn't true(?)
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:32 PM   #49
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The information you were given is anything but flaky, signal issues would only be a problem if your adapter wasn't working at all. Since it goes from working to non-working usually after 20-30 days as depicted by the sub expires that indicates the auth is not registering with your piece of equipment. All digital equipment is on the same system (auth that is) and all need a refresh of authorization before 30 days.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:35 PM   #50
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The information you were given is anything but flaky, signal issues would only be a problem if your adapter wasn't working at all. Since it goes from working to non-working usually after 20-30 days as depicted by the sub expires that indicates the auth is not registering with your piece of equipment. All digital equipment is on the same system (auth that is) and all need a refresh of authorization before 30 days.
Yeah, he pointed out that STB's are auth'ed by the same signals as TA's (and they aren't having problems with STB's) so that's apparently why he suspects something in my TA or signal quality. Does that sound right?
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:49 PM   #51
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nope.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:20 AM   #52
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I think sub expires is the one that counts, however. Let us know if it updates or not.
My sub expires time is now 28 days in the future after forcing a hard reboot of my tuning adapter. (0604.133600) I'm not sure what time it updated last night, sometime between midnight and 7 am.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:45 AM   #53
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My sub expires time is now 28 days in the future after forcing a hard reboot of my tuning adapter. (0604.133600) I'm not sure what time it updated last night, sometime between midnight and 7 am.
I just did a hard reboot of my TA and Tivo and my sub expires remains as it was. No change.
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Old 05-08-2010, 06:55 AM   #54
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I just did a hard reboot of my TA and Tivo and my sub expires remains as it was. No change.
It didn't happen right away. I rebooted at about 6pm yesterday evening. The first thing I noticed was that Time and App GBAMs were incrementing upwards about once every 15 seconds. Then I noticed that the CA time field matched the current time and incremented about every 60 seconds, but before the hard reboot it hadn't updated since 0428.somethingsomething.

And then this morning, my TA must have processed whatever signal gets sent because my sub expires date went from 0520 to 0604.
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Old 05-08-2010, 07:00 AM   #55
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It didn't happen right away. I rebooted at about 6pm yesterday evening. The first thing I noticed was that Time and App GBAMs were incrementing upwards about once every 15 seconds. Then I noticed that the CA time field matched the current time and incremented about every 60 seconds, but before the hard reboot it hadn't updated since 0428.somethingsomething.

And then this morning, my TA must have processed whatever signal gets sent because my sub expires date went from 0520 to 0604.
I'll keep my eye on it and report back. Hopefully, mine will do the same.

If my TA/Tivos can duplicate your results it will be a somewhat acceptable workaround if it lets me avoid that monthly call to TWC!
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Old 05-08-2010, 08:27 AM   #56
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As reported in my post #42 I tried a (hard) reboot of my TA on the morning of 5/6. I periodically checked my Sub Expires date through late yesterday (5/7) and it had not changed. However this morning it had pushed out one day to 6/4/10. If this change is related to my reboot, it sure is a "loose" relationship, having occured at least 36 hrs after the reboot. (?) It seems more consistent with an overnight "hit" by TWC actually succeeding.

BTW, I checked the TA boot time just to verify it hadn't rebooted itself since my manual reboot. Although I have it on a UPS, there have been electrical storms.
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Old 05-08-2010, 09:40 AM   #57
SASouth
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As reported in my post #42 I tried a (hard) reboot of my TA on the morning of 5/6.
Did you reboot the TA and the Tivo at the same time?
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Old 05-08-2010, 10:13 AM   #58
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As reported in my post #42 I tried a (hard) reboot of my TA on the morning of 5/6. I periodically checked my Sub Expires date through late yesterday (5/7) and it had not changed. However this morning it had pushed out one day to 6/4/10. If this change is related to my reboot, it sure is a "loose" relationship, having occured at least 36 hrs after the reboot. (?) It seems more consistent with an overnight "hit" by TWC actually succeeding.
I'm just guessing here, but it sounds like your expiration date was already current when you did your reboot, so there really wasn't anything to update since your sub expires date was already 28 days out.

Another thing I noticed after forcing a hard reboot--I had a whole page or two on the diagnostic screens that looked like debugger/error code. Those messages are gone completely. I'm thinking maybe there's some error in just the program on the TA handling the expiration date causing execution to halt which is resolved on reboot--because my channel map stayed current and I was able to decode SDV channels just fine throughout.
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:20 PM   #59
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Did you reboot the TA and the Tivo at the same time?
I'm not sure, but don't think so. When I get 8-blinks and have to call TWC, I always end up rebooting both boxes, in order for the TiVo to reacquire channels but this was different.
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:27 PM   #60
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I'm just guessing here, but it sounds like your expiration date was already current when you did your reboot, so there really wasn't anything to update since your sub expires date was already 28 days out.
...........
Could be. Another week should tell the story. I'll wait five days or so and reboot again, assuming it doesn't update on its own.
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