Blocking EAS

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Gigs, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH


    I recall a thread/post (which I can't find now) where it was explained that there are three different types of EAS technical mechanisms -- so yes, it is likely that behavior will depend on how your local cable system implements them. In the 8 years I've had digital TiVo's, all on the same cable system, I've seen the behavior vary all over the place. Thus I would be skeptical that even putting your TiVo in standby will guarantee uninterrupted recordings on **all** systems. Not surprisingly, providing a uniform EAS experience to TiVo users is probably down around item 1000 on their to-do list. ;)
  2. morac

    morac Cat God TCF Club

    Mar 14, 2003
    I'm not sure if there are 3, but I know there are at least 2:

    1. EAS sends a signal which tells the box to change to a specific channel were the EAS alert is display. This is the original way of displaying EAS back before there were digital boxes. This type of EAS is recorded.
    2. The EAS message is sent as part of the digital control channel which contains the message and causes it to be displayed over the current channel. This type of EAS is not recorded. It is basically what should be used for digital cable and has been around since 2007. See 18 2007 J-STD-042A 2007.pdf

    Which system is used depends entirely on your cable company and local headend's equipment. At this point since nearly all cable systems are digital only, the second version of the EAS should be used nearly everywhere, but many cable companies are too cheap to update their equipment. For example, I have Comcast and my EAS alerts are always recorded. Granted I haven't seen an actual EAS alert in several years. I did see a monthly test the other day, which occurred at 3 AM. I almost never have recordings around that time.

    I made a post about this 6 years ago in Comcast's forums, Why does Comcast use the older intrusive analog EA... - Xfinity Help and Support Forums which never received a response.
  3. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

    Jul 24, 2001
    Milwaukee, WI
    Initially, all the work of EAS was done at the head-end. The video feed for all the channels was hijacked and switched over to the output from the EAS character generator. There was no client-side channel switching, because most cable boxes and all cable-ready televisions weren't "addressable" - they were simply tuners/decoders.

    It wasn't until the addressable converter that cable systems first had the ability to tell the boxes to perform actions, like switching cable channels. Even then, the old "hijack the channel feed" method still worked, so why change... and besides, that still left cable-ready televisions that weren't addressable.

    I'd wager that there are still some systems that are doing things the old way, although I'd hope that most larger cable systems have switched over to one of the methods you describe (or, unfortunately, both simultaneously, which I have seen on our cable system here.)
    morac likes this.
  4. FitzAusTex

    FitzAusTex Member

    May 7, 2014
    Spectrum/TWC in Austin has EAS around 2 or 3am Monday mornings, which is actually annoying as hell since I push some recordings off till then since my 4 tuner roamio is slammed Sunday night with just about every show I record for the week airing Sunday night.

    The EAS causes anything recording at the time to have a gap.
  5. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...


    I don't find the weekly, monthly, yearly tests plus weather and amber alerts annoying since the usually happen during the day. I wish I could block school closings on late night programs during the winter. On my feed, those cause the aspect ratio to get changed to make the crawl fit. I really hate snow. My feed causes all tuners to switch to my Information channel then the alert test happens at twice normal volume. As soon as I see it coming, I hit mute. But all tuners switch back. I keep the Mini boxes in Standby when not in use.
  6. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    You say it's not recorded, but does the Tivo continue to record the ORIGINAL channel, without a gap, while this happens?

    I would say I'm 100% positive that I've seen EASes show up in live TV buffering _and_ recordings, obviously all digital, within the last year, and probably much more recently than that... But I did notice what I said above recently, that even on an awake Tivo (I think it was my premiere 4), that at least the background tuners' recordings weren't affected.
  7. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

    Jan 6, 2003
    If I understand your question correctly, the answer is yes, the original recording on the original channel is just fine, no gap and no EAS overlay. Comcast in Houston uses #2 from above, so we don't have the problems others do.
  8. JackStraw

    JackStraw Member

    Oct 22, 2002
    With FIOS in South Jersey I have seen EAS as early as 12:30am. Ideally they should only issue them at 3:45am. This is 15 minutes before the earliest morning newscasts and late enough where you wouldn't be recording anything. The cable operators tell you that EAS test messages can be issued at anytime. Start sending them out at 9pm on a Sunday and see how long that lasts.

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA
    I have the type 2 system so it's not too big of a deal. But yes, it would be nice if they tested the system in the middle of the night. It's annoying when you are watching a recorded program and the EAS system flips you to a live tuner and you have to wait out the message.
  10. JackStraw

    JackStraw Member

    Oct 22, 2002
    New Jersey local authorities love sending out EAS test messages. They live for it.
  11. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I record World News Now, which airs then.
  12. idksmy

    idksmy Guest

    Jul 16, 2016
    No matter when they air them, someone would whine about it.
  13. MLM1

    MLM1 New Member

    Apr 26, 2008
    Comcast issued a "required weekly test" at 8:42 am on 9/11, during the remembrance ceremony. My wife freaked out.
  14. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA
    As was said, if you have type 2 system then recordings are unaffected. To impact the least amount of people, send tests in the middle of the night just like the way TiVo reboots after an update (usually).
  15. KimHedrick

    KimHedrick Member

    Oct 12, 2014
    We were watching recordings Monday night and were interrupted 5 or 6 times with warnings of bad weather in the area. I had about 5 or 6 programs recording between 8 and 11:00 and none of them had any breaks in them. It appears only the tuner we were viewing showed the warnings.
  16. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    Gah! Watching a recording this afternoon and I get yanked out of it to a football game with an EAS message overlay. Not only did I have to watch an incredibly slow scroll of a message about tornado warnings (telling me to stay inside, which is where I already was), but then I got to watch the same incredibly slow scroll with the spanish version of the message. Somehow I was spared the creole version (which should have been there since I suspect there are more people with creole as their native language in this area of south Palm Beach county than spanish).

    Naturally when the message ended, the TiVo did NOT take me back to my recording. I had to manually get back there again.

    The only real surprise was that it didn't interrupt me several more times as the weather service made microscopic adjustments to their estimates :).
  17. Nov 3, 2017 #117 of 117

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    OK, just last night I had the normal 1AM Friday EAS test (though I swear it's sometimes on Saturday instead.. but it is 1AM).

    It broke me out of Hulu too (I just started the free trial a few days ago, and am getting even lazier -- for shows that show up there, even if they have skip mode on the Tivo, I'll watch a day later on Hulu. Annoying since you don't have good FF/rewind, but still nice)..

    Anyway, I checked the recordings that were happening, and did NOT see the EAS in the recording..

    BUT then I went to live TV, and there WAS an EAS in the CNN buffer... but it seemed to keep skipping it in a weird way when I'd go back to it (I'd see a brief flicker of it or something).. So I skipped back, and managed to crash the Tivo by going back to the EAS in the buffer over and over..

    But at least one or two of the recordings (I think some were suggestions) did not have the EAS in the recording at 1AM. So maybe circumstantial evidence that it is only the 'current' tuner affected nowadays, even for those kind of alerts?

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