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Old 01-01-2012, 09:55 PM   #1
herbman
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Greater milwaukee experiences with cable providers and tivo?

My wife and I are going to move to the greater Milwaukee area this year from the Boston area. We currently have a premiere and are on Verizon FIOS. I realize we won't be able to get that level of service but I was curious. Does anyone have a recommendation for a cable provider with TiVo in mind as well as good net bandwidth? I work from home so bandwidth is critical.

I realize UVerse is out of the question. There is TW but I think there may be copy protection and/or SDV. Maybe Comcast?
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:01 PM   #2
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For virtually all of metro Milwaukee, the cable provider is Time Warner. There are pockets of Charter Communications in the outlying areas, such as up in Jackson and West Bend. I think there may also be Comcast in extreme southern Kenosha county.

Time Warner here, like virtually all of their areas, uses SDV, and also copy protect flags everything but broadcast.

I've been on Time Warner with a TiVo HD for a couple of years, and I have had very few issues. Ever so occasionally, the tuning adapter needs a initialization signal sent to it from the head end, but those are few and far between. The key is to make sure to have the technicians test the lines, and make sure both the lines in the house and the feed line from the street are both as good as possible.

For additional input, stop by the Milwaukee HDTV Users Group forum at www.milwaukeehdtv.org. I know there are a couple of other cablecard users there - at least one other TiVo user, a Windows Media Center user, and I think a Moxi user.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:38 PM   #3
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My wife and I are going to move to the greater Milwaukee area this year from the Boston area. We currently have a premiere and are on Verizon FIOS. I realize we won't be able to get that level of service but I was curious. Does anyone have a recommendation for a cable provider with TiVo in mind as well as good net bandwidth? I work from home so bandwidth is critical.

I realize UVerse is out of the question. There is TW but I think there may be copy protection and/or SDV. Maybe Comcast?
As someone whose only cable choice is Time-Warner, I just wanted to express my condolences on your upcoming tragedy.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:33 PM   #4
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As someone whose only cable choice is Time-Warner, I just wanted to express my condolences on your upcoming tragedy.
Honestly, while I'd prefer FIOS, and I'd rather Time Warner not use SDV or copy protect flags... overall, I really can't complain too loudly about them. Overall, I'm satisfied with Time Warner.
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Old 04-29-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
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We are starting to gear up for this move. Looking in tosa, greendale, hales corners, whitefish bay, fox point, Glendale, bayside.

Seems like TW is the majority but there are some other options in some of those areas. This will happen in approximately 2-3 months.

I will keep posted!
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Old 04-30-2012, 06:40 AM   #6
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We are starting to gear up for this move. Looking in tosa, greendale, hales corners, whitefish bay, fox point, Glendale, bayside.

Seems like TW is the majority but there are some other options in some of those areas. This will happen in approximately 2-3 months.

I will keep posted!
Out of curiosity, what other options are you seeing? The only two options I'm aware of for a terrestrial wired television service in this area are Time Warner and U-Verse.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:42 AM   #7
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We are starting to gear up for this move. Looking in tosa, greendale, hales corners, whitefish bay, fox point, Glendale, bayside.

Seems like TW is the majority but there are some other options in some of those areas. This will happen in approximately 2-3 months.

I will keep posted!
We live up in Bayside and just discontinued TWC. Saved us $100/mo, and we felt we weren't getting the value. Bayside is at the end of the run, and we had a lot of service issues. About 1/4 of our HD channels went dark every evening at about 5 PM. It was like clockwork.

The tuning adapter was a nightmare for us. It took a total of 7 service calls and almost 2 months to get it working. Needed a headend reboot about once a month, and a box power cycle every 3-5 days. We also surprisingly had issues with the locals over the cable, with numerous dropouts. This reached the point where we were choosing OTA for the locals over the cable. Always better quality. Higher bandwidth picture and fewer dropouts.

Eventually, wecould not justify $100/mo for the chance that we might be able to record a show we wanted to see. We then dropped all cable and upped the internet bandwidth. We are finding that we have access to virtually everything we want, although we sometimes have to wait a week or so. We bought a Roku 2 in addition to the TIVO internet features, and are quite content.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:23 PM   #8
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Honestly, while I'd prefer FIOS, and I'd rather Time Warner not use SDV or copy protect flags... overall, I really can't complain too loudly about them. Overall, I'm satisfied with Time Warner.
I can't agree on either count. If TWC were to drop SDV, I would have almost nothing to record. Better than 90% of my recording is on SDV channels. Were they to discontinue SDV service, I would switch to Grande in a heatbeat. The availability of a number of important channels on TWC that are not available on Grande (all of them SDV, by coincidence) is the one and only reason I have not switched.

The fact their channels are all copy protected is a trifling matter: I have modified Series III class TiVos. If I had a Premier, of course, it would be a different matter. That is the main reason I don't have a Premier. 'Not the only reason, mind you, but it is certainly at the very top of the list.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:06 PM   #9
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Out of curiosity, what other options are you seeing? The only two options I'm aware of for a terrestrial wired television service in this area are Time Warner and U-Verse.
Just uverse. I saw some web Comcast ads for north shore areas and Franklin but when I pressed in a bit they didn't have the service. Zap2it confirmed what you said, just TW and uverse.

What sucks to me, as bad as the TiVo situation is, I work from home and am used to my sweet 25/15 fios. Highest I saw was 15 for TW and 12 for uverse. Ugh.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:16 AM   #10
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What sucks to me, as bad as the TiVo situation is, I work from home and am used to my sweet 25/15 fios. Highest I saw was 15 for TW and 12 for uverse. Ugh.
I am currently running 15 from TWC, and there is at least one higher tier. The website says 30 and 50, although I am not sure if 50 is offered on the north shore. Just checked by selecting upgrade and they will let me select 30, but not 50.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:38 PM   #11
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I can't agree on either count. If TWC were to drop SDV, I would have almost nothing to record. Better than 90% of my recording is on SDV channels. Were they to discontinue SDV service, I would switch to Grande in a heatbeat. The availability of a number of important channels on TWC that are not available on Grande (all of them SDV, by coincidence) is the one and only reason I have not switched.
Since I'm not familiar with what Grande is, I am not able to follow part of your argument.

That said, my preference would be to have TWC not use SDV (or at least use it as sparingly as possible) and instead go exclusively digital, a la Comcast, and MPEG-4/h.264 as necessary (now that I am aware that TiVo can handle it).

Correct me if I'm wrong (not like you need prompting on that one ) but if they eliminate all of the analog channels, that would free up sufficient bandwidth to handle the current number of digital channels with a greatly reduced need for SDV, and possibly no need at all.

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The fact their channels are all copy protected is a trifling matter: I have modified Series III class TiVos. If I had a Premier, of course, it would be a different matter. That is the main reason I don't have a Premier. 'Not the only reason, mind you, but it is certainly at the very top of the list.
Yes, I've considered having my TiVoHD modified as well, but that is an additional cost that I'd prefer not to take on just to make use of a feature that I should have access to already through the TiVo software.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:45 PM   #12
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Just uverse. I saw some web Comcast ads for north shore areas and Franklin but when I pressed in a bit they didn't have the service. Zap2it confirmed what you said, just TW and uverse.

What sucks to me, as bad as the TiVo situation is, I work from home and am used to my sweet 25/15 fios. Highest I saw was 15 for TW and 12 for uverse. Ugh.
Time Warner has higher tiers of service - Extreme (30/5) and Ultimate (50/5) - but they are more expensive. I think Extreme is around $69/mo (base price, discounts available when obtained with other TWC services) and Ultimate is $99/mo.

At one point Ultimate was only available with the Signature Home package, not sure if it still is or not.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:56 PM   #13
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Since I'm not familiar with what Grande is, I am not able to follow part of your argument.
A competitive CATV company servicing a fairly large area of South-Central Texas. They are significantly less expensive than TWC, but offer fewer channels. As it happens, I am in their service area.

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That said, my preference would be to have TWC not use SDV (or at least use it as sparingly as possible) and instead go exclusively digital, a la Comcast, and MPEG-4/h.264 as necessary (now that I am aware that TiVo can handle it).
I am not certain that has been established.

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Correct me if I'm wrong (not like you need prompting on that one ) but if they eliminate all of the analog channels, that would free up sufficient bandwidth to handle the current number of digital channels
Linear channels - probably. I haven't counted lately. A fully digital deployment on a 750MHz system can drop reasonably about 110 QAMs. At industry norm rate shaping, that's 220 HD channels and 110 SD channels. It would be cutting it very close, but even then they would have to drop their VOD channels (and they have well over 100 of them) entirely. They would have to roll back their IPPV deployment so that the only way a customer could order a PPV event is over the phone. They would have to completely eliminate such features as "Start-Over".

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with a greatly reduced need for SDV, and possibly no need at all.
Yeah, not so much. It's true the number of channels being added has slowed somewhat, but they are still adding channels from time to time. With SDV, they can easily fill up all 9999 channels available to virtually all devices. With a full digital deployment of MP4, they would top out somewhere around 400 HD channels and 200 SD channels, if they forego VOD. Note a single VOD "channel" can eat up numerous streams on numerous QAM carriers. Every person who orders a VOD event gets assigned their own stream. If 1000 people order an HD VOD event at roughly the same time, it uses 1000 video streams, or more capacity than the entire CATV spectrum without SDV. With SDV, in a city like San Antonio, it may only require half a QAM carrier on 1//4 of the nodes in the city, or loosely speaking 0.0001% of the total capacity city-wide.


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Yes, I've considered having my TiVoHD modified as well, but that is an additional cost that I'd prefer not to take on just to make use of a feature that I should have access to already through the TiVo software.
Blame CableLabs and TWC, not TiVo. You have three choices:

1. Live without it and suffer in silence.
2. Live without it and bitch and moan to the rest of us.
3. Take the plunge and give CableLabs the finger.

If one is reasonably adept at soldering medium-density Surface Mount Devices, the cost is minuscule. If one prefers to have it done, the cost is quite reasonable - well under $200 with shipping.

Note there are a great many features and capabilities other than unfettered MRV / TTG services available to a modified TiVo. IMO, these features by themselves quite apart from the unrestricted MRV / TTG capability are worth the cost.

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Old 05-01-2012, 06:29 PM   #14
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Linear channels - probably. I haven't counted lately. A fully digital deployment on a 750MHz system can drop reasonably about 110 QAMs. At industry norm rate shaping, that's 220 HD channels and 110 SD channels. It would be cutting it very close, but even then they would have to drop their VOD channels (and they have well over 100 of them) entirely. They would have to roll back their IPPV deployment so that the only way a customer could order a PPV event is over the phone. They would have to completely eliminate such features as "Start-Over".
Ok, so maybe not eliminate... but definitely reduce. (And possibly eliminate, if they were to retire all analog channels, fully deploy h.264, and possibly use IP backchannel for nonlinear services.)

Of course, my biggest issue with SDV is when you tune into a switched digital channel, and get nothing but a black screen. You have to tune up or down a channel, then back again to actually get video. If whomever is responsible for that bug would just fix it already, I wouldn't give (much of) a care if they use SDV or not.
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:41 PM   #15
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Ok, so maybe not eliminate... but definitely reduce. (And possibly eliminate, if they were to retire all analog channels, fully deploy h.264, and possibly use IP backchannel for nonlinear services.)
Why? It's a lot of extra money to deliver vastly fewer channels.

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Of course, my biggest issue with SDV is when you tune into a switched digital channel, and get nothing but a black screen. You have to tune up or down a channel, then back again to actually get video.
I have heard of this, but I have never experienced it. Of course, I never tune channels, either, but in every case I have lost a recording (so far as I know), it is because the TA requires re-initializing, not because of a one-time tuning failure.

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If whomever is responsible for that bug would just fix it already, I wouldn't give (much of) a care if they use SDV or not.
How many channels does your local TWC office provide? Mine supplies 570 channels, excluding 46 music-only channels. (Austin has 1725.) Of course, over half of those are VOD or IPPV channels, and not available on the TiVo. While it is true they could deliver all of the channels I prefer by converting to full digital and 100% MP4, who is to say those would be the channels they would keep, when they shut off nearly 100 channels? (Or 1000 in Austin.)

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Old 05-02-2012, 08:21 AM   #16
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I have heard of this, but I have never experienced it. Of course, I never tune channels, either, but in every case I have lost a recording (so far as I know), it is because the TA requires re-initializing, not because of a one-time tuning failure.
It happens here on a regular basis. I've seen it most on SyFy, for some reason. It also happens whether I tune into the channel manually, or have a scheduled recording on the channel.

If it's a scheduled recording, the TiVo dutifully tries to record for the duration of the show, then deletes the recording and has a "not recorded" entry in the Recording History that says "The program was not recorded because the video signal was unavailable."

Quite annoying.
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:14 AM   #17
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It happens here on a regular basis. I've seen it most on SyFy, for some reason. It also happens whether I tune into the channel manually, or have a scheduled recording on the channel.

If it's a scheduled recording, the TiVo dutifully tries to record for the duration of the show, then deletes the recording and has a "not recorded" entry in the Recording History that says "The program was not recorded because the video signal was unavailable."
Yes, I get those from time to time, but with only 1 possible exception of which I know, every time the video signal has been unavailable in the log, the TA is locked up. This happens roughly once every six weeks or so on one or the other of my TAs.

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Quite annoying.
To be sure. There is no question the TA is not as stable as the TiVo itself, although it is far, far more reliable than the POS Scientific Atlanta 8300HD with which I was plagued for 9 months. The main point is, however, the vast amount of programming allowed by the presence of the TA far more than offsets the loss of a few programs here and there. To put it in perspective, the TA failures represent one or two missed recordings every couple of months or so, while the absence of the TA would represent several missed recordings every day. There is simply no comparison, especially when one factors in the fact virtually every single missed recording will be aired again at a later date and can be recorded at that time. Usually, the re-airing is within a few days.

Getting rid of the TA is very much a matter of burning down the house to kill the termites. It is certainly not perfect and it most certainly could be (should be) better, but a somewhat buggy implementation that gets me a tenfold increase in quality programming is much better than no implementation at all.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:00 PM   #18
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Sorry to drag back on topic..

We've arrived and are staying at a family house while we look for houses. We're still looking in Greendale, Hales Corners, Bayside, Tosa, WFB, Fox Point. Hoping to be in a house in 4-6 weeks if possible. May do just internet w/OTA tv to see how it goes first.

North shore people: Has the quality situation improved at all on TWC?

Everyone with TWC around here: What is your realistic stability with the tuning adapter? I have one premiere and don't really want to ditch it for Uverse but if the tuning adapter is a liability I may go crazy.

Anyone do OTA with tivo in Milwaukee county around here? Curious how it would work.

Finally, is TWC still the only game in town for a cablecard setup?
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:24 PM   #19
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Sorry to drag back on topic..

North shore people: Has the quality situation improved at all on TWC?

Everyone with TWC around here: What is your realistic stability with the tuning adapter? I have one premiere and don't really want to ditch it for Uverse but if the tuning adapter is a liability I may go crazy.

Anyone do OTA with tivo in Milwaukee county around here? Curious how it would work.

Finally, is TWC still the only game in town for a cablecard setup?
The situation I described earlier still applies for Bayside. Frrequent loss of signal and almost daily tuning adapter reboots required. Not just the TIVO/cablecard/tuning adapter either. Was rebooting a regular TWC DVR about every third day.

I am now on OTA. There was an OLD existing roof antenna that we connected with a twinlead to coax balun. No problem getting any OTA channnels. A bedroom TV using rabbit ears is somewhat marginal on channel 58 (CBS) Sometimes fine, sometimes pixelated.

I am 1/2 mile east of Port Washington RD and north of Brown Deer Rd.

I know of no other TIVO friendly alternatives. After cutting the cable, I connected it back to the TIVO and do receive a good set of OTA channels (plus FOOD, TBS and CSPAN. Their filter didn't block these) I called TWC and asked about the legality of this and was told not a problem, so I am using this as the antenna solution for the bedroom set. This could be an option if you use TWC for internet.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:29 PM   #20
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The situation I described earlier still applies for Bayside. Frrequent loss of signal and almost daily tuning adapter reboots required. Not just the TIVO/cablecard/tuning adapter either. Was rebooting a regular TWC DVR about every third day.

I am now on OTA. There was an OLD existing roof antenna that we connected with a twinlead to coax balun. No problem getting any OTA channnels. A bedroom TV using rabbit ears is somewhat marginal on channel 58 (CBS) Sometimes fine, sometimes pixelated.

I am 1/2 mile east of Port Washington RD and north of Brown Deer Rd.

I know of no other TIVO friendly alternatives. After cutting the cable, I connected it back to the TIVO and do receive a good set of OTA channels (plus FOOD, TBS and CSPAN. Their filter didn't block these) I called TWC and asked about the legality of this and was told not a problem, so I am using this as the antenna solution for the bedroom set. This could be an option if you use TWC for internet.
I think we're looking in your neighborhood, funny enough! Saw a couple places on Fielding.

I'm a bit confused by how you're mixing OTA and TWC. Or did you go back to TWC? Or just using TWC's signal without paying? Not clear to me, sorry.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:36 PM   #21
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Everyone with TWC around here: What is your realistic stability with the tuning adapter? I have one premiere and don't really want to ditch it for Uverse but if the tuning adapter is a liability I may go crazy.
I'm rock solid in Brookfield, and was equally solid in New Berlin. Absolutely no issues to speak of, except for an annoying habit where occasionally the switched digital channels don't tune in the first time you tune to them. (Simply channel down or up, then back again, and they come in.) I can't remember the last time I've had to reboot my tuning adapter.

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Finally, is TWC still the only game in town for a cablecard setup?
Yes.

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The situation I described earlier still applies for Bayside. Frrequent loss of signal and almost daily tuning adapter reboots required. Not just the TIVO/cablecard/tuning adapter either. Was rebooting a regular TWC DVR about every third day.
I think your problems are localized, not widespread. Quite possibly a bad feed between the aerial lines and your house. I have not seen those sorts of issues with either of my two places, nor up at my parents house in Ozaukee County.
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Old 05-22-2012, 05:38 PM   #22
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I think we're looking in your neighborhood, funny enough! Saw a couple places on Fielding.

I'm a bit confused by how you're mixing OTA and TWC. Or did you go back to TWC? Or just using TWC's signal without paying? Not clear to me, sorry.
He had TWC and ended service. Instead of disconnecting the line, it sounds like they installed a filter on the line, one that is still allowing through clear QAM signals. He's using that on one of his TVs in lieu of OTA.

The other is actually hooked up to an antenna.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:17 PM   #23
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Got it.

Looks like twc it is! Hope it goes smoothly.

Still gotta find a house. I will post my setup experience here when it happens.

Thanks very much for your help, guys.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:57 PM   #24
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He had TWC and ended service. Instead of disconnecting the line, it sounds like they installed a filter on the line, one that is still allowing through clear QAM signals. He's using that on one of his TVs in lieu of OTA.

The other is actually hooked up to an antenna.
Exactly. I cancelled all video services, including lifeline BASIC. I also called TWC and explained what I was doing. I asked if I needed to subscribe to some OTA only package. Their reply was to go ahead.

Herbman, don't forget that you have 30 days to decide on service, even if you do a commitment. Make sure you have the cablecard issues resolved in that timeframe. It took me nearly two months and 5 service calls to get everything working the first time. Perhaps they are better now, but I have had other neighbors comment on poor quality. (BTW, I am on Rexleigh)
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:28 AM   #25
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House in tosa closed a few weeks ago, not getting fuzzies from TW from the start but I am going to give it a chance.

Stuff isn't moved in yet, but I work from home so I wanted to get things turned on so I can take a day and work while other things in the house are being set up. I placed an order online for 50mbit cable Internet an one cable card on an existing outlet.

Right away (Sunday or Monday last week) I get an email that I should call about my order right away. I call and the service line tells me the old owner never cancelled and I need to bring my house sales agreement to a physical store. I am currently staying in west bend and I said I would go to my closest store to the house in Mayfair on Friday.

I get there and they tell me the order can't be found and it probably auto cancelled. I had to reorder from memory and fight to get the same monthly rate as I got online. Then I was told the install would be 29.99 for the visit because "I was declining to take equipment in person." I said I would just take it all but they said they don't have cable cards there. So I mentioned the FCC rules about customer installs and he didn't know anything about what I was talking about. I am prepared to fight that charge when it shows.

So far, a little weak. Install set for the 28th so hopefully I will have a smoother time. My TiVo won't even be here yet (still with movers) so I hope the guy will activate the Internet, and just leave me an mcard and tuning adapter for future self activation.
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Old 07-25-2012, 09:48 AM   #26
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Sounds about right for TWC service. Round 1 goes to them in a split decision.

The next round happens when the clueless installer shows up. Stand your ground, and have the TIVOO and TWC cablecard hotline numbers handy. Expect he won't have the M card and/or the tuning adapter.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:24 AM   #27
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Sounds about right for TWC service. Round 1 goes to them in a split decision.

The next round happens when the clueless installer shows up. Stand your ground, and have the TIVOO and TWC cablecard hotline numbers handy. Expect he won't have the M card and/or the tuning adapter.
The tivo won't even be here yet. I'm hoping I can simply coerce him to leave the cable card and tuning adapter and let me activate it myself when it gets here.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:03 PM   #28
herbman
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Join Date: Apr 2008
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Round 2:

Situation: Need internet on to work from home while house is being finished w/remodel ahead of mover delivery. TV + Tivo not delivered yet, so I needed the tech to activate the internet but just drop off the cable card + tuning adapter.

He showed up, installed internet (shockingly solid seeming), 50 mbit with their combination modem+wifi router. He would not simply leave the cablecard + tuning adapter, something about it needing to be activated so he wouldn't get in trouble. On TOP of that, because I was now effectively "breaking up my package", I have to:
- schedule a new visit for the card when the tivo is present
- pay 29.99 for ANOTHER service visit
- fight like hell to get my original rate back after everything is live.

Internet is on, but I think round 2 goes to TW too.
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