Cox, CableCard, and OTA Reception on 4-Tuner Roamio

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Tchaika, Dec 3, 2019 at 12:51 PM.

  1. Tchaika

    Tchaika New Member

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    Apr 16, 2016
    Greetings all,

    I have the old four-tuner Roamio box; for many years it sat in a box, collecting dust, but when I moved in 2018 I was finally able to put up an OTA antenna and get fairly decent reception, albeit with intermittant issues on a few local channels. I'm limited in what I can do to address these issues, as I live in an apartment and needed something small/discreet (I went with this, on my 2nd floor balcony, aimed at the transmit sites, but I'm aiming through numerous trees/my neighbor's house and can't really do much about it) so recently I flirted with ordering video service from Cox.

    Cox absolutely refuses to sell me any sort of video package -- with promo or regular pricing -- unless I lease one of their Contour boxes. They will happily lease me a CableCard but only if I lease at least one Contour box. I've spoken with online sales, telephone sales, even loyalty, and they 100% will not budge on this point.

    I have zero use for their stupid box, I only have one TV and it's attached to my TiVo, so why would I give them $10/mo for a box that's going to sit on a shelf and collect dust?

    Is this permissible under current FCC rules? My understanding is they have to make CableCard available and can't obligate me to purchase or lease one of their boxes. PPV might not work but I should have access to the non-PPV/non-on demand lineup, correct?

    Any workaround here? I feel like that meme, "HERE, TAKE MY MONEY!!!" but Cox refuses to actually sell me the service I want/need. You'd think they'd be more flexible since video customers are leaving in droves, but nope, apparently they hate money and don't want an easy sale. :(

    In lieu of Cox, how do the newer TiVo boxes compare on the OTA reception front? With my current setup (the aforementioned antenna, 30 feet of high quality RG6 directly into TiVo Roamio, no splitters or amps) I get most of our (New Orleans market) channels consistently, but I have issues with PBS (the one I care the most about) and Fox (meh, but useful for Saints games) and I'm not at all clear if these can be overcome. I can't raise an antenna any higher as a renter, anything with higher gain is going to be huge/obnoxious and annoy the landlady, and I'm skeptical that an amp will do anything when my issue is probably multipath interference, though I'd certainly be willing to give one a shot if the braintrust here thinks it would pay dividends.
     
  2. osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

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    Go into a Cox store, it's the only way I ever get anything done. Otherwise file a complaint with the FCC.
     
  3. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    File the FCC complaint anyway -- Cox deserves to be bothered on this. The only way I can see they might be legal not furnishing just a CC is that all their service is IPTV, i.e., they don't have a service that would work with a CC. Not familiar with Cox but highly doubt that is the case.
     
  4. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    don't order a package order alacart
     
  5. Tchaika

    Tchaika New Member

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    Apr 16, 2016
    I did file an FCC Complaint but by the time that actually gets looked at the aggressive two year deal they were offering me will be gone. I did screen shot it and attach it to the complaint, FWIW, so we'll see where that goes.

    The Cox store is a decent idea, only problem with that is the only one worth going to in my area is 30+ minutes away; there's a closer one to home but they've always got insane lines and I don't have two hours of my business day to throw at this endeavor.

    The whole thing makes my blood boil, frankly, I despise Cox and the broader cable industry, for reasons too numerous to list; suffice it to say, this episode is just an additional entry in the list of reasons why I hate them. If I had any other option for home broadband I would take it.

    Any insights into my OTA woes? If I could get consistent reception on PBS this would all be a moot point. I just don't think there's much left for me to do, my 2nd floor balcony faces in the right direction, so I got that going for me, but the trees/surrounding structures are completely outside of my control. PBS is the only VHF channel in this market, so I can't get away with a pure UHF antenna, I need SOMETHING with a VHF element, and anything with higher VHF gain than I currently have is going to be too large/obnoxious to fly under the landlady's radar.

    (Yes, I know I have the right to mount an antenna, irrespective of what she says, but I pick and choose my battles, as I love my apartment and pay below market rent for it, so no reason to rock the boat more than necessary)

    My OTA setup is this antenna on the 2nd floor balcony, roughly 8 feet AGL, aimed at the transmit sites 6 to 8 miles away from me. There are multiple sites, on a compass bearing ranging from 88° to 141°, with the channels I care most about between 97° and 141°, so I've got the antenna aimed at roughly 120°. Antenna is connected to a RG6 run, which looks like this:

    Antenna -> 15 feet of RG6 -> barrel connector -> 10 feet of RG6 -> grounding block -> 6 feet of RG6 -> TiVo

    I get good service, most of the time, but when the wind picks up I start to lose PBS (VHF) and Fox (UHF). I suspect it's multi path interference, from all the trees I'm shooting through and surrounding structures, which is why I'm skeptical an amp will help me. I've flirted with trying this guy, can always return him if he doesn't work, but in my experience an amp won't overcome problems like mine. I need more antenna gain and/or elevation and neither of those are options for me right now. :(

    Failing any improvement to my antenna setup, do the newer TiVo models have better OTA tuners in them? I remember one of the older units I used to have (Series 3 I think?) had a pretty lousy tuner in it, the Roamio was a significant improvement over that old unit.

    Edited to add: No, Cox isn't IPTV, it's traditional cable. They just don't want to meet their obligations. I did have AT&T uVerse IPTV service for a few years, which is why my poor TiVo was in a box in the attic, but I've since moved to a new address that AT&T doesn't service. Completely at Cox's mercy for any sort of linear TV service at this address. :(
     
  6. osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t really looked into it, but Cox does offer some type of iptv with cloud dvr now, using the Panoramic WiFi gateway and wireless boxes on the TVs. My nephew was setup with it a couple of weeks ago. Seems to work really well.

    Cox also has their contour app, you can watch in home while on Cox Internet. It has live feeds of most channels. I just tried on my iPad and computer and the local PBS OETA streams live on it.

    I used the Contour app a little the last time I was in Vegas at our Condo, which is also on Cox Internet. My dad just switched his Bolt to OTA and moved to YoutubeTV now, so he can access it at both homes. Returned the cable card and tuning adapter here in Tulsa yesterday. I’ll be making the same move in a couple of months when my current deal with Cox expires unless they can keep the bundle price less than Internet and YoutubeTV separately.
     
  7. Tchaika

    Tchaika New Member

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    I have a network full of Ubiquiti wireless gear and a SonicWall firewall/router; I have zero inclination to downgrade my Enterprise level setup to Cox’s crappy ass consumer level garbage.

    Why is it so hard for these companies to wrap their head around the fact that some customers just want a dumb pipe and the ability to use their own stuff?
     
    kpeters59 likes this.
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Rhetorical question, right? The answers seem obvious: (1) most customers can't handle just a dumb pipe and (2) they make more money providing their stuff.
     
  9. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Worse: they get the dumb pipe then they see this $30 router and look at all the money they will save.
     
    osu1991 likes this.
  10. Tchaika

    Tchaika New Member

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    Apr 16, 2016
    Oh, it was definitely a rhetorical question, lol, but also a lament.

    This whole thing is beyond frustrating, the linear TV business is literally dying, Cox is no exception, yet they still make it a royal PITA to sign up for video for a customer that's interested? No hard sale here, just give me a video package and a CableCard without compelling me to jump through additional hoops.

    Half tempted to ask my neighbors if they'll give me $20/mo for access to my cable subscription and just giving them the stupid Contour Box (we already share Internet) but I shouldn't have to do that. I have the legal/regulatory right to use the STB of my choice. Why is this so hard? :(
     
  11. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    You seem to specialize in rhetorical questions. :D Because doing what's right doesn't fit their business model, and there is no effective enforcement.
     
  12. Tchaika

    Tchaika New Member

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    Apr 16, 2016
    Well, the store was a complete waste of my time. Apparently Cox doesn’t do CableCard anymore, the part of their website that says they do is “out of date”, and the retail employee is going to contact the web team to get that updated. *eyeroll*

    I hate this company. It will be interesting to see what comes of the FCC Complaint but after all this I’m not even a little inclined to give them more of my money.
     
  13. ajwees41

    ajwees41 Well-Known Member

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    you should post on cox forums and cox facebook page
     
  14. Tchaika

    Tchaika New Member

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    Apr 16, 2016
    I don't do social media, so Facebook/Twitter are out. The Cox forums are worth a shot.

    They'd have to come back with something pretty aggressive to get my business at this point though. I just scheduled a site survey with a local WISP who costs almost twice what Cox does, but at this point I'd rather give them the money. I really can't put into words how much I hate Cox. I could pen a wall of text detailing all the bad experiences I've had with them over the years but I suspect y'all have heard the same stories ad nauseam from others.

    It's a shame there's no more TiVo for satellite option. I wish I could lock down my OTA reception and render this whole issue moot.
     

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