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Old 03-20-2014, 10:00 AM   #1
jollygrunt777
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Are tuning adapters still needed...

I'm planning on purchasing a Roamio and using it with Time Warner Cable. I subscribe to all channels plus premiums. I've currently got their 2 tuner dvr on 1 TV. I don't watch any non HD channels. Would I still need a tuning adapter in order to use the Roamio?

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Old 03-20-2014, 10:25 AM   #2
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:26 PM   #3
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I have Charter and some areas need them and others don't. I have no idea if it's the same with TWC.
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Old 03-20-2014, 12:59 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jollygrunt777 View Post
I'm planning on purchasing a Roamio and using it with Time Warner Cable. I subscribe to all channels plus premiums. I've currently got their 2 tuner dvr on 1 TV. I don't watch any non HD channels. Would I still need a tuning adapter in order to use the Roamio?

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The answer is yes for most or all TWC systems, but post your location to get a more definite answer.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:06 PM   #5
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I don't know of any TWC markets that do not require a tuning adapter to receive many of the HD channels and all of the premium channels. So yes, you will need a tuning adapter.
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:03 PM   #6
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Rio Grande Valley area in deep South Texas. Zip code 78586

So the tuning adapter is is mainly for access to SDV channels then?

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Old 03-20-2014, 04:06 PM   #7
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Rio Grande Valley area in deep South Texas. Zip code 78586

So the tuning adapter is is mainly for access to SDV channels then?

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The tuning adapter is ONLY for access to SDV channels, but there are a lot of those on TWC systems. So if you don't have a tuning adapter attached to the TiVo, there will be a good number of channels that you are unable to receive.

Edit: I think the tuning adapter also does the "best quality video" function, where if you tune to a SD channel, it will pull in the HD channel automatically for you.
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Old 03-20-2014, 04:21 PM   #8
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We don't have that new channel lineup in this area yet. We still have most HD channels in the 1000 block and up while SD ones are in the lower channels. For example, HBO HD is 1700 while SD one is 700.

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Old 03-20-2014, 05:29 PM   #9
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........
I think the tuning adapter also does the "best quality video" function, where if you tune to a SD channel, it will pull in the HD channel automatically for you.
Aaarrrggh! So soon the SDV tuning failures I now get will be extended to **all** channels? That might be the final straw prompting me to cut the cord.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:20 PM   #10
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Aaarrrggh! So soon the SDV tuning failures I now get will be extended to **all** channels? That might be the final straw prompting me to cut the cord.
I assume you're with Time Warner. Do you have a Motorola or a Cisco tuning adapter? If you have the Cisco TA, did you get the 1901 firmware update a couple weeks ago? That update solved pretty much all of my tuning failures.
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Old 03-20-2014, 06:41 PM   #11
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In my experience, tuning adapters are highly dependent upon signals in both directions being up to par and balanced with each other. If you have downstream or upstream issues, or if the "tilt" isn't right, you're going to have headaches. If you have repeated issues with SDV, might be worth asking for a service call. When they come out, be their second shadow and make sure they put in the time to check all the signal levels thoroughly.
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Old 03-20-2014, 08:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by tarheelblue32 View Post
The tuning adapter is ONLY for access to SDV channels, but there are a lot of those on TWC systems. So if you don't have a tuning adapter attached to the TiVo, there will be a good number of channels that you are unable to receive.....
You can say that again.....I have 239 SDV channels here. Even TiVo, after looking at my logs one time, was like "Wow, you have a lot of SDV!!!"
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:02 PM   #13
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I had thought that a tuning adapter was only used to have access to analog channels. So, I figured that since I don't watch any analog only stations, I wouldn't need one.

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Old 03-20-2014, 09:21 PM   #14
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Huh?

Why would Switched Digital Video have anything to do with analog channels?

The D in SDV is Digital (not analog). A tuning adapter is ONLY for digital channels. Thank goodness I have Verizon FiOS and don't have to deal with SDV.
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Old 03-20-2014, 09:28 PM   #15
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I was thinking about the digital TV transition and the tuning adapter required for old tvs to watch digital channels. I thought it to be the same thing for tivos.

I know now that I was wrong.


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Old 03-20-2014, 09:39 PM   #16
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Actually it was not a tuning adapter

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Originally Posted by jollygrunt777 View Post
I was thinking about the digital TV transition and the tuning adapter required for old tvs to watch digital channels.
Actually, the change to digital TV required a digital tuner not a tuning adapter. Calling it an adapter would mean that it adapted the tuner in the TV to receive digital signals. Those boxes did not adapt the tuner in the TV - they bypassed them.

Much like the HD Ready digital televisions (1080i and 720p) that were prevalent years ago, the box required after the stations went digital tuned digital stations and converted the signal to the analog inputs on the TV. Years ago when I bought my first Hi-Def television (a Sony Grand Wega III 50 inch rear projection LCD set at 720p) it did not have a tuner of any kind - no OTA channels. You had to get a separate HDTV tuner box or use a HDTV cable box or HTDV satellite box to get an HD signal. When I got that Sony TV there were no HDTV DVD players - no HD-DVD or BluRay. They hadn't come to market yet. Funny, that Sony Grand Wega III is still going strong at my niece's house hooked to a Verizon FiOS DVR using an HDMI to DVI cable...
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:27 PM   #17
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You might consider turning off the signature in Tapatalk. A lot of people consider it an annoying, unpaid advertisement. At the very least, it is very repetitive to see it included in every post.
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:53 PM   #18
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....When I got that Sony TV there were no HDTV DVD players - no HD-DVD or BluRay. They hadn't come to market yet. ....
I had a pretty smokin' D-VHS HD setup though!
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:06 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by tarheelblue32 View Post
I assume you're with Time Warner. Do you have a Motorola or a Cisco tuning adapter? If you have the Cisco TA, did you get the 1901 firmware update a couple weeks ago? That update solved pretty much all of my tuning failures.
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In my experience, tuning adapters are highly dependent upon signals in both directions being up to par and balanced with each other. If you have downstream or upstream issues, or if the "tilt" isn't right, you're going to have headaches. If you have repeated issues with SDV, might be worth asking for a service call. When they come out, be their second shadow and make sure they put in the time to check all the signal levels thoroughly.
I'm on TWC and I got the 1901 update on 2/21. I need to clarify my situation:
I have a Tivo HD, not a Roamio. The manual SDV tuning failures are maybe once every day or two, and are resolved by a channel up/down sequence. Every two or three weeks I lose all, or a lot of, my SDV channels and have to reboot both TA and Tivo, sometimes twice each, to get the right map back. So far this hasn't happened since the 1901 update (a month now) -- fingers crossed.

In past years the manual SDV tuning failures were more frequent, and I would miss a recording at least once a week. In the last year or so I rarely miss a recording.. I can't say yet if the manual tuning failures have become noticeably less frequent after the 1901 update - possibly.

I'm somewhat familiar with the TA technical aspects. My FDC and RDC levels are always well within spec. I know what tilt is but I don't understand why it would be a factor for signaling between the TA and cable plant if FDC and RDC levels are within specs. (And it certainly will not impact USB signaling between TA and Tivo.)

I've had techs out for various problems over the years and always look over their shoulder. I've known more about TA signals than any of them have, and I'm not impressed with their signal checking procedures which don't take long enough to be really comprehensive. I don't doubt that **some** techs with more skills and/or better meters may do better -- just haven't had one like that. My current situation isn't bad enough to justify making a big stink about it --- which might get a super tech out --- if my TWC even has one. Their policy is you have to have two truck rolls with regular techs before a problem gets escalated to super tech tier -- just not worth the hassle unless my problems were bigger.

Do either of you **never** have tuning failures, or is my rate about par for the course?
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Old 03-21-2014, 12:19 AM   #20
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Do either of you **never** have tuning failures, or is my rate about par for the course?
When I first got my Roamio back in November, I was having pretty regular tuning failures where I had to do the channel up/channel down thing to get the channel to retune. But sometime in December I think it was, a software update came through on the Roamio that allowed my Roamio to deal with tuning failures more gracefully. Instead of just sitting there with a blank screen after a tuning failure, which required me to initiate the channel up/channel down, the Roamio began automatically re-tuning the channel for me whenever a tuning failure occurred. When this happened, it would take the channel an extra couple of seconds to appear, but it also meant that I never missed any recordings due to a tuning failure. And since getting the 1901 firmware update several weeks ago, I don't recall having any more tuning failures at all. So for me at least, the December Roamio software update and the 1901 tuning adapter firmware update have solved my problems with the tuning adapter. *knocks on wood*

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Old 03-21-2014, 12:46 AM   #21
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I'm on Cox in Santa Barbara,CA still get the occasion tuning/recording failure although I would agree with the post above that actual recording failures are more rare now. It's still not uncommon to turn on the TV and have Tivo say it can't tune the channel, but simply hitting 'select' and waiting a few seconds usually brings it in.
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Old 03-21-2014, 02:33 AM   #22
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I'm on Cox in Santa Barbara,CA still get the occasion tuning/recording failure although I would agree with the post above that actual recording failures are more rare now. It's still not uncommon to turn on the TV and have Tivo say it can't tune the channel, but simply hitting 'select' and waiting a few seconds usually brings it in.
Did you get that "1901" software update that people are talking about?

I'm on Cox in Nevada, and no sign of the update here.

Lots of SDV headaches here on .1601 firmware here. I have to go around pulling/reconnecting power on the three TAs (Cisco STA1520), on an almost weekly basis, when nothing is recording, or they will "lock up" (disconnecting & reconnecting the USB cable does nothing, TiVo TA diags won't see them, and even the button on the from of the TA does nothing) and nothing gets recorded and no Live TV.

Nothing out-of-spec with my signals, SNR, or "tilt" (technically "reverse-tilt" is a problem, while "tilt" just means the expected change in signal strength and SNR going from one end of the frequency range to the other end of the spectrum). I had to have an under-road lateral cable replaced because of reverse-tilt being detected on my side of the road, several years back.

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Old 03-21-2014, 07:20 AM   #23
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Did you get that "1901" software update that people are talking about?

...on an almost weekly basis, when nothing is recording, or they will "lock up" (disconnecting & reconnecting the USB cable does nothing, TiVo TA diags won't see them, and even the button on the from of the TA does nothing) and nothing gets recorded and no Live TV.
What does the TA diagnostics show when it locks up? Do you get "Tuning Adapter diagnostics not available. Press CLEAR to exit."

I'm on the "1901" and got this message for the first time on both my Roamio and TivoHD last week when my TA locked up and lost all channels on my Tivos. Unplugging the USB didn't fix it, so I had to pull the power. For us, though, it might be related to the CableCARD firmware update (1101) Bright House pushed out last week. There were several folks in their forums that also reported the issue over the last week. Otherwise I've ran "1901" fine since December.
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Old 03-21-2014, 09:48 AM   #24
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When I first got my Roamio back in November, I was having pretty regular tuning failures where I had to do the channel up/channel down thing to get the channel to retune. But sometime in December I think it was, a software update came through on the Roamio that allowed my Roamio to deal with tuning failures more gracefully. Instead of just sitting there with a blank screen after a tuning failure, which required me to initiate the channel up/channel down, the Roamio began automatically re-tuning the channel for me whenever a tuning failure occurred. When this happened, it would take the channel an extra couple of seconds to appear, but it also meant that I never missed any recordings due to a tuning failure. And since getting the 1901 firmware update several weeks ago, I don't recall having any more tuning failures at all. So for me at least, the December Roamio software update and the 1901 tuning adapter firmware update have solved my problems with the tuning adapter. *knocks on wood*
Yeah, at least Tivo finally implemented (on Roamio's) the automatic re-tuning to deal with SDV tuning failures. Those of us with Series 3 boxes have been asking for that for years and apparently will never get it. It's a sad commentary on the SDV/TA "solution" that such kluge measures have to be used to overcome a problem that's been known for at least four years now.

And just review the posts starting with #20 in this thread, up through this post, to see what a bad idea TA's in general are, (not to mention thousands of other posts on this forum).

Note: What I (at least) call "SDV Tuning Failure" involves a blank (black) screen and no message and (usually) can be resolved by a channel up/down. And if you compare the channel frequencies in DVR Diagnostics and TA Diagnostics you find they differ. The other kind of failures, with the message to hit select to retry, arise from different problems, presumably that (1) your setup has lost the channel map or authorization for the channel or (2) the SDV system actually is unable to give you a frequency slot for the desired channel. If the cause is #2 hitting the button may work. If it's #1 you're going to have to power-cycle the TA and probably also restart the TiVo.

I occasionally get #2 messages and **never** has hitting the select button worked. It's reboot time then for me.

If I could believe these problems have actually been beaten down to insignificance with the Roamio's it would make me want to upgrade, although their inability to simultaneously tune OTA and cable is problematic for me. I would probably opt for the basic model so I would at least have an OTA box if I decided to cut the cord.
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Old 03-21-2014, 01:14 PM   #25
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The Roamios have indeed greatly improved the experience with tuning adapters. I upgraded from a TiVo HD, and the experience difference is night and day, particularly after one of the updates that changes the way the Roamio talks to the tuning adapter and requests channels.
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Old 03-21-2014, 03:13 PM   #26
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Following the Time Warner lineup change, the tuning adapter is used more than ever. I unplugged it from the roamio as an experiment, thinking maybe it wasn't needed anymore.

All of the channels below 100 reverted to SD, and a lot of the channels above 100 were not available at all.
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Old 03-21-2014, 03:26 PM   #27
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All of the channels below 100 reverted to SD
Yes, that's one of the functions of the tuning adapter, to pull in the HD channel when you tune to an SD channel. All of the pre-100 channels are SD channels by default.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:03 PM   #28
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What does the TA diagnostics show when it locks up? Do you get "Tuning Adapter diagnostics not available. Press CLEAR to exit."
<snip>
That is the message I get. Rebooting the TiVo alone does not fix it, while just pulling power from the TA, waiting 30 seconds, then reconnecting power to the TA, and waiting for about 2 minutes, gives the "tuning adapter connected" message, and all channels work, without doing more with the TiVo, no TiVo rebooting required. What shows up on the TV screen when this happens to me is something like "The TiVo could not tune to the channel", with no V.__ error, or any options to re-attempt, and changing to any channel displays the same error, which is exclusive to this TA lock-up state, AFAIK.

What's missing (and makes me wonder if there might be some tiny issue with how the TiVo interacts with the TA) is the "tuning adapter disconnected" message, which you will see if you pull power to a working TA, or disconnect the USB cable, while everything is working.

For those who haven't explored enough to find this out: Rebooting the TiVo does not reboot the TA. The only reason the TA light flashes, while a TiVo is rebooting, is due to loss of USB communication, until the TiVo has booted far enough to restore it. So, if your are about to reboot your TiVo for any reason, it might be a good idea (and perfect time) to pull power to the TA as soon as the reboot starts, and wait at least 10 seconds to plug the power back in.

I pull power at the back of the TA, because the power brick stores enough residual power to make the amount of time it takes to get a full and proper reboot much longer. It's a PITA, but if you want the cleanest and quickest way, at the back of TA is the way to go.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:25 PM   #29
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It's a sad commentary on the SDV/TA "solution" that such kluge measures have to be used to overcome a problem that's been known for at least four years now.

And just review the posts starting with #20 in this thread, up through this post, to see what a bad idea TA's in general are, (not to mention thousands of other posts on this forum).
SDV is here to stay and is actually likely to get more popular going forward. Especially as cable systems transition to all digital. The only way cable systems are going to be able to continue offering hundreds of HD channels, increased internet speeds and OTT solutions like cloud DVRs is to free up bandwidth. There are really only three options for doing that...

1) Upgrade to a 1000MHz system
2) Switch over to H.264
3) Deploy SDV

#1 and #2 cost a lot of money in both headend equipment and replacement of equipment in the field. However since SDV uses basically the same technology as VOD it's relatively cheap and easy to deploy.

All in all SDV isn't a bad technology. For most people it works seamlessly. For us TiVo users it's a bit more front and center because we're forced to use TAs to access it and TAs have not been well supported or well tested by the providers. They're basically like CableCARDs in that sense. People still have tons of trouble activating CableCARDs even though they've been available for nearly a decade and cable operators use them in their own devices. Why? Because they don't care about CableCARD users. Same applies to TA users.
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Old 03-21-2014, 07:42 PM   #30
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The Roamios have indeed greatly improved the experience with tuning adapters. I upgraded from a TiVo HD, and the experience difference is night and day, particularly after one of the updates that changes the way the Roamio talks to the tuning adapter and requests channels.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarBowl View Post
Following the Time Warner lineup change, the tuning adapter is used more than ever. I unplugged it from the roamio as an experiment, thinking maybe it wasn't needed anymore.

All of the channels below 100 reverted to SD, and a lot of the channels above 100 were not available at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tarheelblue32 View Post
Yes, that's one of the functions of the tuning adapter, to pull in the HD channel when you tune to an SD channel. All of the pre-100 channels are SD channels by default.
Looks like a Roamio may be in my future. Does anyone know if there is any difference in TA interaction among the three Roamio models?
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