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Old 05-03-2015, 09:18 PM   #1
KariStar86
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Arrow Need help! Channels not authorized

Hi! I've spent a few weeks lurking on these forums and learned a lot, so thanks for that. But I'm having a problem that no one seems to be able to figure out, and I haven't been able to find the answer yet in your threads.

After years of having Time Warner Cable's "Starter Cable" tier, we finally upgraded at the end of March to "Standard Cable." (We're near Salisbury, North Carolina, which is the Charlotte metro area.) Not wanting to pay TWC to rent a set-top box or DVR, we decided to get a TiVo Roamio Plus. Our cable line is split two ways at the point of entry (used to be four, but we're not using two of our coax wall jacks, so a cable tech put in a two-way splitter a few years ago when we had a previous issue). Then we have a three-way unbalanced splitter. At first, the stronger end went to our modem, and the weaker two went to the TiVo and a tuning adapter. (I recently changed this so that the stronger signal goes to the tuning adapter.)

It's been working perfectly, except we're missing exactly six channels that we're supposed to get in our package:

115 Pivot (Switched)
165 Travel (NOT Switched)
180 DLC/Discovery Fit & Health (Switched)
227 C-SPAN 3 (Switched)
468 Family Net (Switched)
806 AZTECAE (Switched)

They all come up with the message, "This channel is not authorized. Contact your cable provider for more information. (V58)". The problem is consistent - it's not as if they work sometimes and not other times. As far as I'm aware, we have never gotten these channels.

Here is what we've tried so far:

1) Power cycling everything about a billion times, removing and re-inserting the CableCard, then removing the tuning adapter entirely to see what happened. No difference.
2) Having TWC re-send signals to both the cable card and tuning adapter. CableCard techs say the codes for these channels are being sent and show up on the cable card (I asked them if it could be an account/authorization issue, and they said they checked).
3) Truck roll. They sent a tech with no cable cards, no tuning adapters, and very little experience with either. I felt bad for him. He checked signal levels, and they were fine (not sure how that's defined) coming into the house. While they were on the low side (-7 to -10) by the time they reached the tuning adapter, it's still within Cisco's recommendations. Just to make sure, he swapped the splitter, and then moved the tuning adapter to the stronger side (instead of the modem), so that the lowest we saw on the diagnostic screen was -7... and the channels still didn't work.
4) Swapping out the CableCard. I was optimistic about this, as we replaced a 2008 Cisco PKM802 with a 2015 Cisco PKM803. But the same six channels are missing. They're sending out a third CableCard this week, but I'm not optimistic this time. I don't understand how two cards of different models made 7 years apart just happen to block the authorization of the same small group of channels.
5) A CableCard tech sending a new "TAR file" (?) to the card. Didn't work.
6) Swapping out the tuning adapter. They're both Cisco STA1520, and it didn't work.
7) Calling TiVo. They wanted me to try unpairing and re-pairing the card a few different ways, then replacing the CableCard again, because they say it's unlikely that the TiVo is the issue. When I called TWC back, the guy I spoke with didn't think that would do any good, because we had just gone through that process a day ago when we swapped the card.
8) FINALLY escalating the issue to TWC engineers to check whether there's a problem at the headend. This was Saturday, so hopefully they'll start looking into this tomorrow.
9) Calling TWC again today when I noticed that the tuning adapter was reporting a -10 signal level again. They're sending another tech this week to check for "intermittent" signal problems (which is apparently different than what the first tech was checking for). I'm worried that this will distract them from troubleshooting at the headend ("oh, it must be a signal level issue then") but the CableCard support guy assured me it wouldn't. The TiVo signal level readings are almost always above 90%. SNR on both devices tends to show 37-40. I even got the "SNR might be too high" thing from the TiVo guy, but fortunately he didn't dwell on the idea of there being too little noise...

What could we possibly be missing? I haven't spoken to anyone in billing yet, to see whether there could be a problem there. But the CableCard people say the card has the right codes... meaning they know the channels I'm supposed to have. Could it still be a problem with my account/billing codes? (We negotiated ourselves a promotional rate when we upgraded, so I'm nervous about doing something that messes that up.) And if it's a tuning adapter issue, then how is it that one of the channels we're missing (even with the tuning adapter disconnected) is NOT an SDV channel?

Also, it may be worth noting that we have a TiVo Mini and want to use it with MoCA at some point. Right now, it's hooked up to an Ethernet cord that runs from our family/living room to the master bedroom... which I keep tripping over.


Last edited by KariStar86; 05-03-2015 at 11:31 PM. Reason: To add a few details I forgot
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:03 AM   #2
tarheelblue32
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It looks like you have tried just about everything. It definitely sounds like somewhere there is a problem with how the CableCard is provisioned on your account. The fact that you have tried multiple CableCards with the exact same channels unauthorized makes it likely that it is either a problem with the headend or with the codes TWC is sending to the card.

Have you tried hooking up one of TWC's standard cable boxes to see if it can receive the channels missing on the TiVo? I'm sure the TWC techs have probably tried that already, but just making sure.

I see you have 1 channel missing that is non-SDV. I assume you have tried completely disconnecting the tuning adapter from the setup and seeing if the TiVo could receive that channel with just the CableCard. If not, that would be something to try. I doubt it will work, but it's still a good thing to try.

Another thing I would try, is if you have access to the TWC app, either on Android, Roku, or a Samsung Smart TV, see if you can view the live channel streams on the app that you are unable to receive on the TiVo. If you really want to access those channels, that at least would give you access to them without having to get a TWC cable box.

As long as it seems like TWC is still trying to work with you on the issue, I probably wouldn't do this, but if it ever seems like they are giving up, you could file a formal complaint with the FCC. That usually gets your problem escalated up the chain to the higher engineers.

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Old 05-04-2015, 08:59 AM   #3
dlfl
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The TWC national CableCARD help desk should be called:
866-532-2598

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Old 05-04-2015, 10:10 AM   #4
SATXTom
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In Tuning Adapter Diagnostics, Status Summary Screen, what reading do you have for INITIALIZATION STATUS?

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Old 05-04-2015, 07:48 PM   #5
KariStar86
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelblue32 View Post
Have you tried hooking up one of TWC's standard cable boxes to see if it can receive the channels missing on the TiVo? I'm sure the TWC techs have probably tried that already, but just making sure.
Good idea! The first field tech didn't try that for some reason, but I'll call and make sure that the second guy is prepared to. If it works, that takes us back to the beginning... but if it doesn't, that proves that the issue is on their end (as long as my signal levels are what they should be).

Quote:
I see you have 1 channel missing that is non-SDV. I assume you have tried completely disconnecting the tuning adapter from the setup and seeing if the TiVo could receive that channel with just the CableCard. If not, that would be something to try. I doubt it will work, but it's still a good thing to try.
Yep. I guess it's possible that there are two separate issues here - one with the tuning adapter and one with the Travel channel. It's hard to tell.

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Another thing I would try, is if you have access to the TWC app, either on Android, Roku, or a Samsung Smart TV, see if you can view the live channel streams on the app that you are unable to receive on the TiVo. If you really want to access those channels, that at least would give you access to them without having to get a TWC cable box.
I've had issues getting the Android app to work on my phone, but I just tried their web app... and none of the channels I'm missing are even listed.

I mean, if they told me my package just isn't supposed to have those channels, I'd be fine. It's mostly the fact that we're paying for them and DON'T get them that bothers me. I keep trying to watch Pivot and Travel in particular, because I'll see something interesting in the guide and not notice the channel it's on. I'm also concerned that it could be a symptom of a larger issue (faulty equipment, wrong account setup) that could cause more problems later on.

Quote:
As long as it seems like TWC is still trying to work with you on the issue, I probably wouldn't do this, but if it ever seems like they are giving up, you could file a formal complaint with the FCC. That usually gets your problem escalated up the chain to the higher engineers.
I've been pleasantly surprised that they're not just throwing up their hands and blaming it on TiVo. That's good to remember in case they do, though. Part of me feels like this wouldn't be worth going to the FCC, but the rest of me wonders why I'd care about TWC's trouble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
The TWC national CableCARD help desk should be called:
866-532-2598
Thanks! I've actually called them a few different times. As soon as I say "TiVo" and/or "CableCard," TWC tech support immediately tells me to call the CableCard line. They're learning.

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Originally Posted by SATXTom View Post
In Tuning Adapter Diagnostics, Status Summary Screen, what reading do you have for INITIALIZATION STATUS?
It says "Ready," and under Switched Digital Video, it says "Authorized: Yes."

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Old 05-05-2015, 09:31 PM   #6
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Be sure to ask for credits on your account when you can't get all channels you're paying for. In my TWC region you have to endure a truck roll for the problem before they will consider a credit.

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Old 05-07-2015, 03:35 PM   #7
KariStar86
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Red face

Update! I think I know what the problem is, and it's not even a technical issue.

Apparently, the local TWC office and corporate TWC customer service/tech support disagree on what channels I'm supposed to get. The local field tech office (I think?) called before today's appointment to ask what my problem was (because apparently no one bothered to give them that information). They also said they couldn't bring a set top box, after a TWC rep assured me a couple days ago that this had been added to the work order. I got frustrated with the tech on the phone and told him I doubted signal strength was the real issue, and this is the second time that they would be coming without the equipment that could actually help solve the problem. I think that motivated him to call back about a half hour later.

He said he looked into this for me, and these channels are all part of the "Variety Pass," which I'm not paying for. I told him I've never heard of that (I learned later that it's another name for Preferred TV), and multiple TWC representatives have confirmed that I am supposed to get those channels... but it WOULD nicely explain the problem. At his suggestion, I canceled the truck roll and called TWC customer service, who again told me I'm supposed to have those channels until I kept pressing. They're "looking into it."

It turns out that the "Channel Lineup Finder" on the website, along with whatever system the TWC reps are using, shows these six channels as part of Standard TV in my area. But when I click "Download PDF," it brings up a list that shows that the package does NOT include those channels. The PDF says "Effective April 2015," so I'm thinking it was changed right after we upgraded. I'm disappointed, but also relieved that it doesn't appear to be a technical or billing error - just TWC being disorganized.

tl;dr: There's a conflict between the local office's listings and what shows up for my area on TWC's website (and for their customer service and tech support people). Apparently, that took nearly a month of troubleshooting to figure out. But at least it looks like nothing is actually wrong!

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Old 05-07-2015, 03:53 PM   #8
tarheelblue32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KariStar86 View Post
Update! I think I know what the problem is, and it's not even a technical issue.

Apparently, the local TWC office and corporate TWC customer service/tech support disagree on what channels I'm supposed to get. The local field tech office (I think?) called before today's appointment to ask what my problem was (because apparently no one bothered to give them that information). They also said they couldn't bring a set top box, after a TWC rep assured me a couple days ago that this had been added to the work order. I got frustrated with the tech on the phone and told him I doubted signal strength was the real issue, and this is the second time that they would be coming without the equipment that could actually help solve the problem. I think that motivated him to call back about a half hour later.

He said he looked into this for me, and these channels are all part of the "Variety Pass," which I'm not paying for. I told him I've never heard of that (I learned later that it's another name for Preferred TV), and multiple TWC representatives have confirmed that I am supposed to get those channels... but it WOULD nicely explain the problem. At his suggestion, I canceled the truck roll and called TWC customer service, who again told me I'm supposed to have those channels until I kept pressing. They're "looking into it."

It turns out that the "Channel Lineup Finder" on the website, along with whatever system the TWC reps are using, shows these six channels as part of Standard TV in my area. But when I click "Download PDF," it brings up a list that shows that the package does NOT include those channels. The PDF says "Effective April 2015," so I'm thinking it was changed right after we upgraded. I'm disappointed, but also relieved that it doesn't appear to be a technical or billing error - just TWC being disorganized.

tl;dr: There's a conflict between the local office's listings and what shows up for my area on TWC's website (and for their customer service and tech support people). Apparently, that took nearly a month of troubleshooting to figure out. But at least it looks like nothing is actually wrong!
That sounds about right. TWC's left hand often doesn't know what its right hand is doing. I agree with you that there is nothing technically wrong, it's just TWC has told the CableCard that you aren't supposed to be receiving those channels as part of your TV package, so the CableCard is doing exactly what it is designed to do by preventing you from viewing those channels.

I still think it would be an interesting test to go down to your local TWC office and pick up one of their cable boxes and hook it up to see if it receives those missing channels or not. But if you don't really care that much about the missing channels, it might be more trouble than it's worth.

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Old 05-11-2015, 07:47 PM   #9
mainegeek
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But you can't get Preferred when using a Tivo and CableCard! lol That's the line I got... hoping my setup later this week is less complicated than what you have endured!

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Old 05-12-2015, 09:05 AM   #10
KariStar86
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Question

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But you can't get Preferred when using a Tivo and CableCard! lol That's the line I got... hoping my setup later this week is less complicated than what you have endured!
I got that line, too! It doesn't matter to me right now because I don't want Preferred/Variety Pass/whatever they're calling it. But I'd never heard that before, and it was kind of a "wait what?" moment. It bothers me that we might have to ditch TiVo if we decide to pay TWC more for a higher tier eventually. And there doesn't seem to be any technical reason for it... they just want people to rent their inferior equipment.

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Old 05-19-2015, 02:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by KariStar86 View Post
I got that line, too! It doesn't matter to me right now because I don't want Preferred/Variety Pass/whatever they're calling it. But I'd never heard that before, and it was kind of a "wait what?" moment. It bothers me that we might have to ditch TiVo if we decide to pay TWC more for a higher tier eventually. And there doesn't seem to be any technical reason for it... they just want people to rent their inferior equipment.
That's confusing. Why would you ditch Tivo? Because it isn't getting all the correct channels?

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Old 05-22-2015, 11:01 PM   #12
KariStar86
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Thumbs down

Update: I returned the spare tuning adapter and three spare cable cards at the local TWC office today. Came home to find ALL channels, except the locals, with the "channel not authorized" error!

I logged in to the TWC website and saw that the woman at the store left the wrong cable card on our account, so the one we're currently using must no longer be authorized. Unfortunately, we were watching recordings tonight and I didn't discover this until the hotline hours closed. So I guess I'm calling tomorrow to pair my cable card... again.

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That's confusing. Why would you ditch Tivo? Because it isn't getting all the correct channels?
Oh, no. Did you read the whole thread? I was responding to the fact that mainegeek and I have both been told that we could not get the upper tier of channels (Preferred, which would be 100+ more than I currently get) with a CableCard, not my original situation. I was saying that I would hate to have to ditch TiVo in order to get expanded cable, if we ever decided we wanted to upgrade again. But I'm pretty sure that if they won't allow people to subscribe to Preferred without their box, they're breaking FCC regulations.

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