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Old 12-07-2009, 11:17 AM   #4531
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I am looking at buying a new TIVO HD DVR instead of my cable, but I want to know what type of cable service, if any, do I need to keep once I get the box and the 2 CABLECards. Can anyone help me with this? I was hoping that I could cancel my cable all together except for the CABLECard fees but I wanted to make sure before I dropped $300 on a new TIVO. I am in the Raleigh/Durham NC Area. Thanks.
I'm in Cary (Raleigh area, for those who don't know). They definitely support M-cards here - you don't need 2 S-Cards.

However, as dlfl said, I think you're a bit confused about how cable cards work. (No worries - gotta start somewhere. ) The thread he posted is a great source of info.

In short, CableCards are just a mechanism to decrypt the signals coming from the cable company. You still have to buy all the same stuff every month to get the same channels. All the CableCard does is allow you to not rent the cable box (and remote) from Time Warner Cable.

Incidentally, you'll also need a Tuning Adapter to get the Switched Digital Video channels (most of the HD channels and many of the less-watched regular SD channels). The Tuning Adpater is free (for now), and is a box that will sit between your Tivo and the cable jack on the wall.

You may want to check out the Carolina's Tuning Adapter thread for more info on this. It's a bit frustrating since the tech is pretty new and doesn't work flawlessly yet. Link is here.

Lastly, you'll need to buy the Tivo (a couple hundred dollars), plus pay for Tivo service to get guide data (and so the Tivo will work at all). $13/month, $130/year, $300 for 3 years, or $400 for lifetime of the box. (I think those are the rates, anyway.)

Tivos and CableCards aren't really a good way to save money (which is what I think you're looking for?). At best, you'll probably break even after 3 years or so (if you get a lifetime subscription for the Tivo). The Tivo is really about avoiding Time Warner's crappy DVR and getting some additional services like Netflix streaming, ability to expand your storage capacity, wishlist guide searches, better overall experience, etc. My opinion.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:57 AM   #4532
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Isn't TWC Maine using Motorola Tuning Adapters? Which points out that each TWC region can be different in the delivery system technology they use, since most TWC regions use Cisco TA's AFAIK.

Are the moto TA's actually available? At least they do seem to maintain a nation-wide consistency in the spotty knowledge of their CSRs.

One can only hope they will do better with the TA rollouts in Maine than they have in several other TWC regions. I wouldn't hold my breath on that.
as far as I understand not all of that area is Moto though. I think some are what they call an "overlay" system where they use both, but not 100% sure since I dont live up there.
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:02 PM   #4533
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Iggygirl6:

You were misinformed by TWC. This is a common problem: TWC personnel either haven't been trained properly or, perhaps, simply don't want to tell you the truth.
Honestly, I think it's more a lack of exposure issue, then an actual malicious attempt to sink cable cards. Not sure but I heard someone on here say that cable card subs only make up a small % of total revenue for some of the cable companies. Now if you think about it, ask the next tech that comes out to your house how many times does he deal with cable cards on an annual basis? Unless he is the lead tech on these issues I bet the answer is pretty low.
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:34 PM   #4534
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not malicious? just ill informed-

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Honestly, I think it's more a lack of exposure issue, then an actual malicious attempt to sink cable cards. Not sure but I heard someone on here say that cable card subs only make up a small % of total revenue for some of the cable companies. Now if you think about it, ask the next tech that comes out to your house how many times does he deal with cable cards on an annual basis? Unless he is the lead tech on these issues I bet the answer is pretty low.
My experience with a new Tivo install was that the first two techs out, talked freely about how they had no training in installing either cable-cards OR tuning adaptors, and about how they were scared of the devices, and about how they never worked the first time.
I don't know, but the third installer clearly DID know what he was doing and solved all the problems within 10 minutes.
Well, not all...I still don't have a solution for the TWcable policy of copy protecting almost ALL the channels so that tivo desktop is virtually useless.
Oh well...
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:12 PM   #4535
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Anyone else in Queens or Brooklyn having trouble after last week's outage? I have to say I am getting really fed up with the cablecards losing random HD channels for weeks after any little hiccup in service.
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Old 12-14-2009, 12:15 PM   #4536
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Tracer, I am seeing problems with missing channels again here in Manhattan after a long streak of problem free service. It is quite frustrating to turn on my TV in the morning to catch a weather forecast and being greeted with a gray screen that says "Channel Unavailable" and wonder what shows didn't get recorded the night before. I feel pretty powerless and wish there was another option. Abandoning cable and Tivo altogether and getting my entertainment from Netflix and Hulu is starting to look like a real possibility.
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Old 12-14-2009, 02:03 PM   #4537
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Honestly, I think it's more a lack of exposure issue, then an actual malicious attempt to sink cable cards. Not sure but I heard someone on here say that cable card subs only make up a small % of total revenue for some of the cable companies. Now if you think about it, ask the next tech that comes out to your house how many times does he deal with cable cards on an annual basis? Unless he is the lead tech on these issues I bet the answer is pretty low.
I'm the "someone" who said only about 0.5% of digital cable subscribers are TiVo users. The thread where these numbers are discussed is **here**. I think defining "malicious" behavior is a gray area. I picture a TWC high level meeting where cable cards, tuning adapters and TiVo's were discussed and it became apparent to all present that these items are losers and nuisances from a TWC business perspective. Perhaps no explicit policy was generated to "sabotage" them but can you really expect support and training for these items to get much management priority after such a meeting? Do you picture a lower level manager being called on the carpet to explain why he/she isn't providing better support and training for these items?
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Old 12-14-2009, 03:58 PM   #4538
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I'm the "someone" who said only about 0.5% of digital cable subscribers are TiVo users. The thread where these numbers are discussed is **here**. I think defining "malicious" behavior is a gray area. I picture a TWC high level meeting where cable cards, tuning adapters and TiVo's were discussed and it became apparent to all present that these items are losers and nuisances from a TWC business perspective. Perhaps no explicit policy was generated to "sabotage" them but can you really expect support and training for these items to get much management priority after such a meeting? Do you picture a lower level manager being called on the carpet to explain why he/she isn't providing better support and training for these items?
I believe the 'calling on the carpet' would likely come from Customer Care management when they are exceeding their 'service cost estimate' (as we call it) for them. However, if it is all riding under the cost radar, then nobody would likely notice.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:19 PM   #4539
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I'm the "someone" who said only about 0.5% of digital cable subscribers are TiVo users. The thread where these numbers are discussed is **here**. I think defining "malicious" behavior is a gray area. I picture a TWC high level meeting where cable cards, tuning adapters and TiVo's were discussed and it became apparent to all present that these items are losers and nuisances from a TWC business perspective. Perhaps no explicit policy was generated to "sabotage" them but can you really expect support and training for these items to get much management priority after such a meeting? Do you picture a lower level manager being called on the carpet to explain why he/she isn't providing better support and training for these items?
I think so yes. TWC created the Cable Card Support desk for a reason & they pay those people to do that job. Now I believe that some of it has to do with the many complaints to the FCC, but that is another subject.

To just throw out a blanket comment saying that none of them care & that it is a conspiracy against Cable Card Customers is a bit paranoid. just because we do not get, what we perceive to be the level of attention that WE think we deserve, does not mean that we were all written off as just big PITAs.

If they were just writing us off, then I would not expect TWC, Comcast, COX, or any of the others to be even trying to support 3rd party users. I know that my experience with the Cable Card Support Desk, they all "Seem" to be very versed in the 3rd party equipment. That indicates to me that at least they are keeping them current on these devises. They have all worked with me on all three of my Cable Card devises. TIVO/MOXI/& ATI Tuner.

Because we at least saw an effort by one cable company, I "ASSUME" that we are at least valued enough to them to pay some attention.
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:54 PM   #4540
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I think so yes. TWC created the Cable Card Support desk for a reason & they pay those people to do that job. Now I believe that some of it has to do with the many complaints to the FCC, but that is another subject.

To just throw out a blanket comment saying that none of them care & that it is a conspiracy against Cable Card Customers is a bit paranoid. just because we do not get, what we perceive to be the level of attention that WE think we deserve, does not mean that we were all written off as just big PITAs.
.......
Whoa! That appears to be a reply to me (since you quoted me) and that's way exaggerated compared to what I said. All I said is I don't believe we get very high priority from TWC, and I gave the reasons I think that might be.

The National Cable Card Help Desk is a good thing, and thank goodness for it. Twice now it has saved me having a truck roll to get my TA going again. That happened because my local TWC CSR's were not even aware of the NCCS desk's existence -- one insisted it didn't exist even after I insisted it did -- and this was all within the last two months. (I had to go thru TiVo support to get to the NCCS desk.) This is poorly trained CSR's which seems like a pretty good example of management not putting priority on TiVo-related service items.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:17 PM   #4541
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All I said is I don't believe we get very high priority from TWC, and I gave the reasons I think that might be.
I would never dispute that fact. I only think that, to believe they are intentionally trying to sink a product is a bit over the top.

As for CSR training I go back to what I have said before. Lack of Exposure is a huge issue. I Also think that in your case for the last two months, I would have demanded to speak to that CSR reps Supervisor.
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Old 12-14-2009, 06:45 PM   #4542
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I would never dispute that fact. I only think that, to believe they are intentionally trying to sink a product is a bit over the top.

As for CSR training I go back to what I have said before. Lack of Exposure is a huge issue. I Also think that in your case for the last two months, I would have demanded to speak to that CSR reps Supervisor.
Just need to clarify I've never said I was convinced they are "intentionally trying to sink" TiVo. I think that is unlikely although not impossible.

Regarding CSR training, making CSR's aware of the NCCS Desk for TiVo customers (putting it in the "script" ?) is a simple thing that doesn't depend on "exposure" but rather on managment giving more priority to TiVo problems.

The CSR who insisted there was no NCCS Desk did check with "the two lead people on duty" and they backed her up. The NCCS Desk person I talked to on that occasion said she sent email out to make sure all the local CSR's were made aware of the NCCS Desk. A couple of days later another person from my region had the same TA problem, which the CSR could not fix, and he was also told the NCCS Desk did not exist! Creating a NCCS Desk manned by 5 people then not making CSR's aware of it isn't just low management priority, it's bad management, effectively wasting what they're spending on the help desk.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:11 PM   #4543
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The CSR who insisted there was no NCCS Desk did check with "the two lead people on duty" and they backed her up. The NCCS Desk person I talked to on that occasion said she sent email out to make sure all the local CSR's were made aware of the NCCS Desk. A couple of days later another person from my region had the same TA problem, which the CSR could not fix, and he was also told the NCCS Desk did not exist! Creating a NCCS Desk manned by 5 people then not making CSR's aware of it isn't just low management priority, it's bad management, effectively wasting what they're spending on the help desk.
That is horrible & unacceptable!!! I have never had such an issue & am sorry that so many people on here have to deal with incompetence like that. I am just astounded that the LEADS told you the same thing.

Just remember they are not Just for TIVO users. Still wonder if all those CSRs did know about it, how they would be quick to hear the word cable card & cold xfer you to the CCSD. I imagine that there would be a very long hold time at that point. What i was told is that yes there may be 5 total on that desk now, but that normally only two are on there. That fact in itself seems flawed too
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:36 PM   #4544
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Just need to clarify I've never said I was convinced they are "intentionally trying to sink" TiVo. I think that is unlikely although not impossible.

Regarding CSR training, making CSR's aware of the NCCS Desk for TiVo customers (putting it in the "script" ?) is a simple thing that doesn't depend on "exposure" but rather on managment giving more priority to TiVo problems.

The CSR who insisted there was no NCCS Desk did check with "the two lead people on duty" and they backed her up. The NCCS Desk person I talked to on that occasion said she sent email out to make sure all the local CSR's were made aware of the NCCS Desk. A couple of days later another person from my region had the same TA problem, which the CSR could not fix, and he was also told the NCCS Desk did not exist! Creating a NCCS Desk manned by 5 people then not making CSR's aware of it isn't just low management priority, it's bad management, effectively wasting what they're spending on the help desk.
Sunday morning I called TW local support and stated I had a TA issue. She said she was not familiar with the TA's but she could transfer me. After 10 min on hold someone answered from the NCCS desk. Gave my TA the proper "HIT" and I had all channels again. Total Time 38 minutes.
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Old 12-14-2009, 07:47 PM   #4545
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That is horrible & unacceptable!!! I have never had such an issue & am sorry that so many people on here have to deal with incompetence like that. I am just astounded that the LEADS told you the same thing.
Maybe our region just sucks. I know it isn't that bad in other regions based on posts I've seen. It's very spotty. On another 8-blink occasion the local CSR hit her keyboard and had it fixed immediately! She admitted some of them know more about TA's than others (understatement!).

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Just remember they are not Just for TIVO users. Still wonder if all those CSRs did know about it, how they would be quick to hear the word cable card & cold xfer you to the CCSD. I imagine that there would be a very long hold time at that point. What i was told is that yes there may be 5 total on that desk now, but that normally only two are on there. That fact in itself seems flawed too
If I have to choose between CSR's that won't escalate you to the NCCS Desk and having a phone queue at that Desk, I choose the latter for at least the following two reasons:

1. If they won't escalate to NCCS I either have a truck roll (which may end up being more NCCS business anyway) or I have to call TiVo support and have them connect me to NCCS.

2. A big queue at NCCS is at least likely to get more high level management attention and maybe pressure them to train their CSR's to handle these cases at the local level.

Come to think of it, if local CSR's can't handle it, it's going to end up at NCCS one way or another because they are the only place that can fix things, so the only thing that's going to reduce that queue is either (1) they fix the system so we don't get 8-blinks, missing channels, etc., or (2) train the CSR's to handle it, or (3) put more people on the NCCS Desk. Those 3 solutions are in order of my preference.
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Old 12-14-2009, 09:43 PM   #4546
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Maybe our region just sucks. I know it isn't that bad in other regions based on posts I've seen. It's very spotty.
Yeah; I've had the 8-blink issue twice. The first time, it was an immediate transfer to the NCC help desk, and everything fixed in under ten minutes.

The second time, it was two transfers to the internet department, one transfer to a dead line, and then finally back to an unfortunate rep who could only schedule a truck roll (at which point I lost my cool and hung up - sorry to the rep if he's reading it) Finally got it fixed via Tivo, who got (presumably) the NCC help desk to fix it without even involving me in the conversation.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:07 AM   #4547
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I have the same experience as others, here:

* I talked to 1 local CSR once that was actually able to fix my issue by following a field tech manual he had just been emailed that morning.
* Since then, I talked to 3 different CSRs (who also "talked to their management") who insisted that the national cable card desk did not exist. One was local, two were "national support". At least the local person tried to help me before rolling a truck.

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Come to think of it, if local CSR's can't handle it, it's going to end up at NCCS one way or another because they are the only place that can fix things, so the only thing that's going to reduce that queue is either (1) they fix the system so we don't get 8-blinks, missing channels, etc., or (2) train the CSR's to handle it, or (3) put more people on the NCCS Desk. Those 3 solutions are in order of my preference.
I'm with dlfl on this.
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Old 12-15-2009, 08:37 AM   #4548
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Yeah; I've had the 8-blink issue twice. The first time, it was an immediate transfer to the NCC help desk, and everything fixed in under ten minutes.

The second time, it was two transfers to the internet department, one transfer to a dead line, and then finally back to an unfortunate rep who could only schedule a truck roll (at which point I lost my cool and hung up - sorry to the rep if he's reading it) Finally got it fixed via Tivo, who got (presumably) the NCC help desk to fix it without even involving me in the conversation.
When I was on the phone with CC support last week I mentioned the eight blink thing and the dude didn't know what that was. Same with the tech that came to the house sunday.
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Old 12-15-2009, 09:16 AM   #4549
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When I was on the phone with CC support last week I mentioned the eight blink thing and the dude didn't know what that was. Same with the tech that came to the house sunday.
This was the TWC National Cable Card Support Desk ??? Or are you talking about a TiVo support unit? It might not be surprising for a TiVo support person to not know this, but for someone at TWC NCCS to not know about the 8-blink sequence is somewhat unbelievable.
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Old 12-15-2009, 10:53 AM   #4550
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This was the TWC National Cable Card Support Desk ??? Or are you talking about a TiVo support unit? It might not be surprising for a TiVo support person to not know this, but for someone at TWC NCCS to not know about the 8-blink sequence is somewhat unbelievable.
I called TWC, mentioned the TA blinking thing and missing channel and was transferred to "Cable Card support". The dude answered the phone that way, more or less. Do they have more than one Cable Card support center?
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:01 AM   #4551
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I called TWC, mentioned the TA blinking thing and missing channel and was transferred to "Cable Card support". The dude answered the phone that way, more or less. Do they have more than one Cable Card support center?
Not that I know of. Maybe it was the "new guy". When I talked to them recently they said they had recently added one person. Not encouraging though. First time I've heard of any such bad experience with them.

I guess it's possible a service area could have set up a local CCS group.
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Old 12-15-2009, 11:15 AM   #4552
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Not that I know of. Maybe it was the "new guy". When I talked to them recently they said they had recently added one person. Not encouraging though. First time I've heard of any such bad experience with them.

I guess it's possible a service area could have set up a local CCS group.
It wasn't a bad experience, just the guy didn't know about the eight blink thing. He thought my signal was too hot, but when the tech came out he discovered/claimed it wasn't hot enough. Seems to be working at present and I've been very pleased that TWC will deploy people on the weekend and after hours. Not so pleased about other corporate policies.
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Old 12-15-2009, 12:48 PM   #4553
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I called TWC, mentioned the TA blinking thing and missing channel and was transferred to "Cable Card support". The dude answered the phone that way, more or less. Do they have more than one Cable Card support center?
Very Disturbing indeed.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:17 AM   #4554
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I've had a long-standing suspicion that TWC support will tell you something like, "I'm transferring you to CC support, since you insisted.", but then just transfer you to the guy sitting next to them. I don't mean to blindly besmudge their ethics - I had a bad experience a long time ago with Road Runner along these lines (not long after it came out).

This isn't unique to TWC. I've had a couple friends who worked in call centers who said this happens all the time - especially when you get upset with the CSR and ask for a supervisor. Maybe TWC is different. I really do find that the local CSRs try hard to help you, and have very rarely been upset with them (even if they don't know what they're doing sometimes).

I believe Stormspace's account, but maybe they were just trying to appease a customer? It does seem incredible that anybody they added to the CC desk wouldn't know about TAs and the (very common) 8-blink re-authorization hit. It also sounds like they weren't able to solve the problem, which is out of character for that help desk. (Why not just put you on hold and ask one of the other more experienced guys?)

Stormspace, did increasing the signal level solve the issue, or did the tech have to call into a help desk, too?

Isn't it the general consensus that these TAs are really sensitive to signal strength? This could further substantiate that theory.
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Old 12-16-2009, 07:27 AM   #4555
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Isn't it the general consensus that these TAs are really sensitive to signal strength? This could further substantiate that theory.
I havent seen anything that would convince me that TA's are signal strength sensitive. They are effectively Cisco Cableboxes with a USB interface tacked on. Cisco tuners are pretty darn good and are specifically designed to work on a cable infrastructure and are driven by modulators made by the same company. SNR's indicated in diags are very very good. TiVo's on the other hand... are sensitive to signal strength...
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:37 AM   #4556
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......... I really do find that the local CSRs try hard to help you, and have very rarely been upset with them (even if they don't know what they're doing sometimes).
I guess I would have to agree the CSR's in SW Ohio are "trying" but it's of little help when they don't know enough to do the right thing, or even connect you with the NCCS Desk.
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.........
I believe Stormspace's account, but maybe they were just trying to appease a customer? It does seem incredible that anybody they added to the CC desk wouldn't know about TAs and the (very common) 8-blink re-authorization hit. It also sounds like they weren't able to solve the problem, which is out of character for that help desk. (Why not just put you on hold and ask one of the other more experienced guys?)
...........
With only a 5-person staff, I suspect there may be times when only one person is on duty. I've heard stories about CSR's posing as supervisors too, although not specifically about TWC.
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Old 12-16-2009, 09:52 AM   #4557
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I've had a long-standing suspicion that TWC support will tell you something like, "I'm transferring you to CC support, since you insisted.", but then just transfer you to the guy sitting next to them. I don't mean to blindly besmudge their ethics - I had a bad experience a long time ago with Road Runner along these lines (not long after it came out).
..............
You can get connected to the TWC NCCS Desk by calling TiVo support and asking for that. It will probably be faster than calling TWC support, (and will prevent TWC faking an NCCS connection if you suspect they would do that). In one case the TiVo support guy didn't know about the NCCS Desk but he had "a number for TWC" -- which turned out to be ..... the NCCS Desk.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:39 PM   #4558
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I believe Stormspace's account, but maybe they were just trying to appease a customer?
Normally, I would agree with you. But I didn't go off on the lady, I just told her I wasn't getting some channels and my TA was blinking. All told I think I spoke to her 2 minutes before she transferred me. I went off on the second guy.

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Stormspace, did increasing the signal level solve the issue, or did the tech have to call into a help desk, too?
I didn't see him call anyone, but he was outside for a good while after he checked the signal level. I'm afraid that I was the typical customer that calls with a problem and when the tech arrives the problem doesn't exist, so he has to guess what was wrong.
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Last edited by Stormspace : 12-16-2009 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 12-16-2009, 08:14 PM   #4559
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I havent seen anything that would convince me that TA's are signal strength sensitive.
Low signal strength was definitely the cause of my eight blink problem.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...64#post7575664
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:55 AM   #4560
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Low signal strength was definitely the cause of my eight blink problem.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb...64#post7575664
Certainly there is a lower limit as to just 'how low can you go'... When someone says a device is 'signal level sensitive', I interpret it to mean that it is very 'picky' about the level and wont operate throughout the typical -10 to +10 dBmV signal strength range. I havent found that to be the case with the TA. If its being run at -15 dBmV or it is running 55dBmV return path power then its likely not gonna work very well.
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