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Old 02-10-2014, 01:20 PM   #1
Jstkiddn
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Cable channel authorization issues with TiVo

I have been having an ongoing issue with my cable company and since I believe many of the people here are much more knowledgeable than the service techs they send out, I want to see if anyone has any ideas what could be going on.

I have a TiVo Premiere with cable (using M card) will suddenly start showing the message "You are not authorized to receive this channel. Please contact your cable company."

The message is very specific that it's not a signal issue and that is a channel authorization issue. As a matter of fact, when it happened last week I received the EBS test message, all the while having the "channel not authorized" message on the screen.

When it happens, I can receive ALL channels under 100, and any local channel over 100 (which happens to be the HD locals). Every other channel besides those will give me the "not authorized" message.

When I call in, the instant they send a refresh signal to the cable card, the issue is resolved until the next time.

It usually happens on the den unit, although it has happened twice on the bedroom TiVo. I thought it might be the cable card, so I installed a new one. I have also recently replaced the TiVo unit with a brand new machine and it's happened with the new TiVo as well.

Another strange thing is that 95% of the time it happens on Sunday, which is naturally the day when nobody is in the office to send the refresh signal, so I have to wait until Monday morning. That could just be bad luck, or I'm also wondering if there is something they "run" on Sundays that is causing the issue.

This has happened at least 50 times....maybe more. It's been an ongoing issue for a while and they've sent people out but I can tell that have no idea what's causing the issue. All they try to do is get me to use their DVR. As annoying as it is, if they had someone to refresh the signal 24/7 I wouldn't be as irritated, but as it is now I live in fear for my Sunday night tv viewing because I may or may not be able to watch.

Anyone here have any thoughts?
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:36 PM   #2
lgnad
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Have you checked your wiring? Make sure connections are tight, that you don't have splitters with open taps, check the external wiring for corrosion, etc.

Make sure your wiring layout makes sense... Do you have lots of splitters, possibly leading to low signal levels at certain points?

Do you have any really ancient splitters rated to a really low frequency range?

Has the cable co come out to check your signal levels?

What happens differently on Sundays? More people home? More appliances being used? Anything that could generate a lot of rfi/electrical interference and cause things to get glitchy? Does the church next door throw wild parties and are making your electrical service brown out?
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Old 02-10-2014, 05:19 PM   #3
dlfl
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For better chances of help here, add your location to your profile so it shows beside each post and provide your cable system. Can we assume you are not using a Tuning Adapter, since you haven't mentioned it?

In DVR Diagnostics what is OOB SNR ? Normally this is around 26 dB.
And how many seconds for "Time Since OOB Tune Start"? This should be the time since you last rebooted the TiVo. If it's much less it probably means the OOB signal is dropping out and then retuning. OOB means "out of band" and this is how the cable system communicates with your CableCARD. I'm theorizing that OOB dropouts could cause your CC's to lose their authorizations.

It's disappointing that very few cable techs understand CableCARD (or Tuning Adapter) signaling or have instruments to diagnose them.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:47 AM   #4
Jstkiddn
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Thank you for your assistance. I am located in Hot Springs, AR and my cable company is Resort TV Cable.

Correct...no tuning adapter. One other bit of information - We've had TiVo's since 2003, so this problem suddenly cropping up was strange, but sometime within the last year my cable company has made the switch to some type of new service...all digital? Something like that? I can't be positive but I'm thinking my problems may not have started until after their conversion. But again, I'm not 100% sure.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lgnad View Post
Have you checked your wiring? Make sure connections are tight, that you don't have splitters with open taps, check the external wiring for corrosion, etc.

Make sure your wiring layout makes sense... Do you have lots of splitters, possibly leading to low signal levels at certain points?

Do you have any really ancient splitters rated to a really low frequency range?

Has the cable co come out to check your signal levels?

What happens differently on Sundays? More people home? More appliances being used? Anything that could generate a lot of rfi/electrical interference and cause things to get glitchy? Does the church next door throw wild parties and are making your electrical service brown out?
House is 15 years old and everything was wired during construction, so wiring *should* be good. The last time a technician was out he did replace what appeared to be a bad end on the coax coming into the box on the house. We sit about 1/2 mile from the road and although we are a great distance the tech did say we had an excellent signal. All wiring is underground from road to house. He didn't think it was a signal issue after he took the readings.

There really is nothing that happens on weekends that doesn't happen each weeknight after school and work is over and no wild church parties that I know of.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfl View Post
For better chances of help here, add your location to your profile so it shows beside each post and provide your cable system. Can we assume you are not using a Tuning Adapter, since you haven't mentioned it?

In DVR Diagnostics what is OOB SNR ? Normally this is around 26 dB.
And how many seconds for "Time Since OOB Tune Start"? This should be the time since you last rebooted the TiVo. If it's much less it probably means the OOB signal is dropping out and then retuning. OOB means "out of band" and this is how the cable system communicates with your CableCARD. I'm theorizing that OOB dropouts could cause your CC's to lose their authorizations.

It's disappointing that very few cable techs understand CableCARD (or Tuning Adapter) signaling or have instruments to diagnose them.
Okay, here we may see something interesting.

OOB SNR = 2 dB. Just for fun, I looked it up another TiVo we have in the bedroom and it was fluctuating between 23 dB and 25 dB on that machine. Big difference between the two machines.

Time since last OOB Tune Start = 185,580 seconds = approx. 52 hours? Right? Last reboot I did was on Saturday afternoon-ish. I checked the above tune start reading at 10:45 am on Tuesday. So that isn't too far off, right?

The tech that was out last week admitted to me that I am one of only about 30 customers that use CableCards, so he was pretty much telling me he didn't know that much about them.

If your theory is correct about the OOB dropouts, what might be causing it and what (if anything) can fix it?

Thank you again for your help!

Last edited by Jstkiddn : 02-11-2014 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:53 AM   #5
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Bumping back up in hopes that my helper(s) will see.
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Old 02-13-2014, 09:34 AM   #6
dlfl
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OOB SNR of only 2 dB is very suspicious to me. It would indicate either (1) a very weak OOB signal, or (2) something interjecting noise on the cable feeding that Tivo, or (3) a problem with the circuitry in either the TiVo or the CableCARD. #1 is by far the most likely cause.

Can you swap the Tivo's so you can feed the problem Tivo with the cable drop now feeding the other Tivo that had higher OOB SNR?

Also, what are the SNR and Signal Strengths for several different channels in DVR diagnostics? Weak signal may show up there, although it could be only affecting the OOB frequency, which is below the channel frequencies (thus "out of band").

Cables, connectors and splitters are the likely candidates for causing signal problems, including those that affect only a few channel frequencies. I had just one 6 MHz channel (out of 800 MHz bandwidth) that was too low and it was fixed by a service technician tightening a cable connection at the box where my signal was tapped off the "main" line.
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