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Old 09-13-2012, 07:27 AM   #1
Skullbussa
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TWC Customer, fed up with horrible DVR. Will TiVO help?

I'm a Time Warner customer, I am absolutely fed up with this ancient 8300 HD DVR and want to upgrade. Time Warner says "sorry, we can't afford new boxes" so I am now looking to alternatives.

If I put a CableCARD in a TiVO, will I get a superior UI and performance to my lousy Time Warner DVR? I do not care about Nextflix, Amazon, or any of that other BS - that's what my laptop is for. I need ESPN, CNN, Bravo, etc and I am not going to get those OTA.

My options are either stick with Time Warner and get a TiVO or go to U-Verse since their DVR's seem much better than Time Warners.

I would welcome any advice. Is the Premiere UI really that great?
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:02 AM   #2
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I had TWC Signature Home service w/whole house DVR for a little while. Got tired of having to reboot the DVRs every other day. We've had Tivos for a long time and really like them so the opinion my seem biased, but Tivos kick the snot out of TWC DVRs. Only downside is no PPV or On Demand channels. Not an issue to us though. My Tivo Premieres work great on TWC though. Just make sure a good TWC tech checks/corrects signal levels at the Tivo and tuning adapter and they should be problem free. I've had 3 up for about a month with nary a problem.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
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One way to go, is to accept the 'free' HD box (non-dvr) that comes bundled with your cable package, and then get the additional cablecards you need. You can use the cable box for PPV and on-demand if you want.

But on-demand rarely works around here..
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:31 AM   #4
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I just recently got my Premiere and the CableCard and Tuning Adapter installation was surprisingly painless. I was able to get TWC to ship both items directly to my house. You should also be able to pickup a CableCard and Tuning Adapter from TWC offices in larger metropolitan areas. The only reason would need a truck roll is if you're having issues getting the CableCard or TA working. Sometimes the CableCard is just defective, but many problems with the TA's are related to poor signal strength.

For setup, it should hopefully be as simple as inserting the CableCard, adding the TA and then calling the CableCard hotline for TWC and getting it paired with you Tivo. While you may have to wait on hold for a little while since there are usually only 2-3 people for the entire US staffing this desk, it will likely be the most satisfying customer service call you could make to Time Warner. These technicians actually know what the hell they are talking about!

I've been very happy with my 2-tuner Premiere and TWC CableCard. The HDUI is very nice IMO. You'll get the occasional lag navigating screens of a few seconds, but this is rare and most page changes and quick. Other users have commented that 4-tuner Premiere's have a more lag, but I can't speak personally to that. Another plus is that TWC only charges $2 for a CableCard and the TA is free. Big savings over their DVR charges; of course, the Premiere will have it's own costs, but they should at least offset each other.
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:36 AM   #5
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This sounds great...thanks everyone for your input!
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Old 09-13-2012, 09:46 AM   #6
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Based on my experience and reading the forums here for years I would say tatergator1's painless experience with TWC is the exception rather than the rule. In particular look at the huge TWC Cable thread
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=316313
and the huge TWC Tuning Adapter thread
http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...d.php?t=420059

A family member uses the TWC DVR. Based on both our experiences, two observations:
1. Ask for the newer Samsung DVR rather than the old Cisco 8300.
2. With TiVo you will get more tuning failures on SDV channels. (Those are the channels that require the Tuning Adapter.)

An earlier poster suggested
Quote:
Just make sure a good TWC tech checks/corrects signal levels at the Tivo and tuning adapter and they should be problem free.
That's comparable to advice to "save several million $$ for a comfortable retirement" -- much easier said than done!

For the moment I'm locked in to TiVo, having an HD model with lifetime sub. I'm continuously on the edge of "cutting the cord" from TWC. If I were starting over knowing what I know now (i.e., prior to buying a TiVo and getting digital cable, both of which I did simultaneously), I would try the TWC DVR for a few months and then go to TiVo if I saw tuning failures or other performance defects. My family member has no major complaints about his (Samsung) TWC DVR.
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Last edited by dlfl : 09-13-2012 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 09-13-2012, 10:30 AM   #7
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I had the Samsung DVRs for 8 months. They were junk. May be the software, but had to reboot them all the time. Not just for SDV tuning, the UI would became unresponsive. Sometimes would just lock up. Not sure what it was related to, but I swear using On Demand caused the issues. Like a bug or memory leak.

Had more problems with SDV tuning on the TWC DVR than the Tivo HD. Very few issues with Premieres so far. With TWC Samsung DVR, there were times I could not get a SDV channel tuned at all without DVR reboot, at least once a week. With the Tivo 4s, couple times had to try again but worked.

The TWC tech that did the whole house DVR install wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but every other tech has been very good at getting good signals to all devices. Usually involved putting new connectors on cables, trying amp in different locations but they took their time and got it right. Got nothing but good things to say about techs in our area.

I recently moved one cable card to new Premiere and did two other new self installs. Had to wait for a rep maybe 15 minutes once, but never had to spend more than 15 minutes on the phone with tech. Went smooth enough for me and I don't have a lot of patience.

The TWC SDV and tuning adapter threads go way back. There were a lot of issues in the past, but I think the Premieres work much better than the Series 3/HD models.
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Last edited by scole250 : 09-13-2012 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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TiVo will definitely help from a user standpoint, but it has taken me multiple visits from TWC techs each time I need a TiVo configured with a cable card. There are some techs who know what they are doing, but most just blame TiVo when they can't figure it out.
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scole250 View Post
.........The TWC SDV and tuning adapter threads go way back. There were a lot of issues in the past, but I think the Premieres work much better than the Series 3/HD models.
Those threads go way back but there are still plenty of problems being reported now. I hope the Premieres are better but you stated you had tuning failures and others with Premieres have posted about tuning failures. Perhaps the TWC-furnished equipment is even worse in some cases. Either way, TWC hasn't managed to get SDV working reliably after several years.

Unfortunately, cord-cutting (for me at least) won't get me away from poor reliability of TWC services. My only choice for both Digital Cable and Internet is TWC and their internet has not been reliable for me either. It performs well when it's up but it's down far too often. And dealing with their Internet support is like chewing nails -- unless you think someone in a call center in the Phillipines is optimum for dealing with your problems.
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:01 PM   #10
dsnotgood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skullbussa View Post
I'm a Time Warner customer, I am absolutely fed up with this ancient 8300 HD DVR and want to upgrade. Time Warner says "sorry, we can't afford new boxes" so I am now looking to alternatives.

If I put a CableCARD in a TiVO, will I get a superior UI and performance to my lousy Time Warner DVR? I do not care about Nextflix, Amazon, or any of that other BS - that's what my laptop is for. I need ESPN, CNN, Bravo, etc and I am not going to get those OTA.

My options are either stick with Time Warner and get a TiVO or go to U-Verse since their DVR's seem much better than Time Warners.

I would welcome any advice. Is the Premiere UI really that great?
I did the same with fios...hated fios boxes...got two premieres with lifetime and one very happy tv watcher. I did the math and was paying $40/month for 2 fios crappy dvrs...after getting two premieres with lifetime (about $1000), I am now over 2 years with them and love them. $40 x 24 months = $960 I would have paid vzw for their crappy boxes that I don't own. Great investment.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skullbussa View Post
I'm a Time Warner customer, I am absolutely fed up with this ancient 8300 HD DVR and want to upgrade. Time Warner says "sorry, we can't afford new boxes" so I am now looking to alternatives.

If I put a CableCARD in a TiVO, will I get a superior UI and performance to my lousy Time Warner DVR? I do not care about Nextflix, Amazon, or any of that other BS - that's what my laptop is for. I need ESPN, CNN, Bravo, etc and I am not going to get those OTA.

My options are either stick with Time Warner and get a TiVO or go to U-Verse since their DVR's seem much better than Time Warners.

I would welcome any advice. Is the Premiere UI really that great?
I made the switch myself at the end of August. We had two of the Samsung boxes but one just plain died and the other was having issues, so in mid-August we thought it would be a good idea to swap out both for some more Samsung boxes, but they were all out! We got stuck with the old Scientific Atlanta boxes and the new interface on them was way slower than on the Samsungs.

We got our first Tivo (an Premiere XL4) at the end of August. The cable card we got didn't work. We got a new one the next day that was just manufactured a few months ago and it's been working like a charm ever since. I'm not sure how things are done at your local TWC office, but I was led to believe that the tuning adapter would come with a coaxial cable and USB cord...it didn't. We had to scramble to get these.

We got our second XL4 two weeks later and we made sure to ask for a cable card made this year, and made sure to buy the cables we needed.

We haven't had any problems so far. You won't regret switching.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:59 PM   #12
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I hope the Premieres are better
Unlikely. I only very rarely had any problems with TA on my S3s, and there is no significant difference between the Premier and the S3 at that level.

Quote:
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Perhaps the TWC-furnished equipment is even worse in some cases.
In my 9 months of experience with them, far, far, FAR worse. About 20% of recordings were lost on the 8300HD. Far fewer than 1% on the S3 with a TA.

Quote:
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Either way, TWC hasn't managed to get SDV working reliably after several years.
This is simply false. I had three TAs for over four years, and in that entire time I suffered maybe one or two tuning failures. Every six weeks or so one or the other of the three TAs might lock up, requiring a reboot. Usually, only the SDV channels would be lost, but occasionally all the digital channels and once in a while all the channels would be lost. More often than not, simply pulling the USB cable would resolve the issue, but sometimes the TA would have to be rebooted, and in the case where all the channels were gone, the TiVo would also have to be rebooted. As I said, however, it didn't happen very often. On the other side of the coin, the TAs allowed me to record many thousands of programs during that time that I would never have been able to record without them. Perhaps 20 or so lost recordings with the TA versus many thousands without it - it's no contest.

A few months ago I finally disconnected Time Warner and went with Grande CATV. I did so because I was tired of TWCs high prices and totally fed up with their completely lousy customer and technical support. The TA and SDV in no way added any inducement for me to jump ship, as it were. Quite the opposite, in fact. It was Grande's lack of SDV that kept me with Time Warner for as long as I did stay with them. Now that I have made the switch I am rather more pleased with Grande's pricing and hugely more pleased with their customer service. It's not the greatest on Earth, but it is pretty good and far, far better than what TWC calls customer service. Their tech support is fairly poor, but even so it is somewhat better than TWC's. I am pleased with their pricing and their service, and I have absolutely no intention of going back. That said, however, TWC had several dozen HD channels available that Grande, because of their lack of SDV, only offers in SD - which is of no interest to me at all. More than a dozen of those, plus a couple Grande does not carry at all, are ones I rather miss a lot. I most definitely wish Grande would implement SDV so that they could carry them. The average number of recordings made per day has definitely dropped off sharply as a result.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
Unfortunately, cord-cutting (for me at least) won't get me away from poor reliability of TWC services.
This should not be the case. The equipment used by TWC is reliable, and so are their engineering standards. How have you documented these failures? What is their source? What is the commonality between them? Only the answer to those questions can pinpoint and eliminate whatever persistent problems you have, and if you truly expect anything to get resolved, then you are going to have to be prepared to present their technical staff with some of the answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
My only choice for both Digital Cable and Internet is TWC and their internet has not been reliable for me either. It performs well when it's up but it's down far too often.
Same questions and in a general sense the same answers.

I wouldn't give it very high marks for performance, though. TWC's basic internet service has barely 1/3 the downstream throughput and not even 1/4 the upstream throughput of Grande's basic service, and it costs significantly more. Of course, one can pay more to get more service from TWC, but why would I?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
And dealing with their Internet support is like chewing nails -- unless you think someone in a call center in the Phillipines is optimum for dealing with your problems.
Their internet support is indeed dismal, but I have never spoken to anyone in the Far East. The people to whom I have spoken on numerous occasions were all clearly American born, by their accents. It is highly embarrassing to admit any group of people that stupid were born in America, but clearly they were.
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:10 PM   #13
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Got nothing but good things to say about techs in our area.
Some TWC techs are not bad, and a few are pretty good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
The TWC SDV and tuning adapter threads go way back. There were a lot of issues in the past, but I think the Premieres work much better than the Series 3/HD models.
Uh-uh. The hardware and software is essentially identical. As I testified above, I only very occasionally had lock-ups with my 3 Series III class TiVos + 3 TAs, and they were always trivial to resolve.
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Old 09-20-2012, 11:19 PM   #14
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Originally NOT Posted by dlfl
Quote:
......... There were a lot of issues in the past, but I think the Premieres work much better than the Series 3/HD models
.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrhorer View Post
........Uh-uh. The hardware and software is essentially identical. As I testified above, I only very occasionally had lock-ups with my 3 Series III class TiVos + 3 TAs, and they were always trivial to resolve.
You apparently edited together part of my post and part of some other post. Please try to be more careful. There's enough chaos in these threads without misquoting due to gross editing errors.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:04 AM   #15
dlfl
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@lrhorer
Just because you haven't had much trouble with TWC's SDV system doesn't mean I and others haven't. TWC varies from region to region. And what logic says that good equipment and good engineering standards are all it takes for reliable performance? Ongoing maintenance and good operations are also needed. I realize that many TiVo owners may never have problems with TA's but even if only 5% of us do, that is bad -- and I suspect the number is much greater.

You claim to have had so little trouble with TWC I don't understand how you could have such a poor opinion of their support. What difference would support quality make if you never have problems?

If TWC uses such good equipment as you say, isn't that inconsistent with your extreme complaints about their DVR units?

Your implication that I haven't provided enough documentation of failures is ridiculous. All my internet outages have been problems that TWC acknowledged and (eventually, temporarily) fixed. There was no problem at my end, although I did attempt to provide TWC with modem logs, which they showed little interest in. BTW I know I'm talking to someone in the Phillipines for internet support -- all you have to do is ask, and some of them speak perfect English.

Of course all the SDV-related failures were never acknowledged as TWC problems. I've spent hours on the phone with them. I have all kinds of information from TiVo diagnostic pages and logs of when I've lost channels. rebooted, etc. What good is that documentation going to do anybody?

This just seems to be a case of you saying "well since I don't have problems but you do, the fault must be yours".
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