Did I lose the need for tuning adapters in the switch from TWC to Spectrum?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by abovethesink, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. abovethesink

    abovethesink Member

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    Aug 26, 2013

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    I've had a pretty bizarre experience so far in this transition.

    I was curious what deals they were offering to get people off TWC legacy plans so I called. They offered me the typical phone/internet/cable deal for $100 and I said I didn't need phone. Of course removing a service makes the package more expensive, etc. While I am talking I am also surfing the website and it offers me 60 Mpbs cable and TV for $60/mo plus the usual fees. I tell the rep and she says she can't do that, but if it offers it then try. I did, and it worked.

    I know by now they are going to send me a cable box and a modem so I didn't fight it. In fact, I was happy to get the cable box. I have a few channels that had stopped working, most notably FS1, and I hadn't had time to troubleshoot. The time I was using to do this was supposed to be that time, but I decided to try to pinch pennies instead. So the boxes and modem arrive, I throw them under the bed.

    About a week goes by and I notice I am not getting the internet speed I signed up for and the channels still don't come in. Finally, a day off, so I talk to a rep and they say I have to hook up the equipment to get the plan. This probably isn't true, but I have time so I play along. I also learn at this time the Spectrum doesn't charge separately for the modem, so I decide to just leave theirs hooked up, activate it, and now I have my speeds. None of the auto-activate services work for the cable box though so I have to call back. Eventually a rep gets that going, I say thanks, and go to see if by chance this account refresh fixed my V52 errors on my Bolt and Roamio.

    Nope. So I decide to troubleshoot a bit on my own first. I keep the tuning adapters tucked away, so I pulled one out to reboot it. It was dead. No flashing light, just completely dead. Plug it in, unplug it. Nothing. I go to my other one and it is exactly the same. Weird. So I figure somehow they both died, unplug them, and figure I will start the battle to get two new ones tomorrow. Then my channels came back.

    Without the tuning adapters, I get everything I am supposed to get as far as I can tell. Did I lose the need for them when I switched to a Spectrum TV package? That doesn't seem possible as they still must be using all the same old TWC infrastructure, but I am staring at it. Did they remote kill my tuning adapters somehow? Or did they just both die and it took their death for me to realize I didn't need them? I am so confused.
     
  2. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    I've always had Charter. The TA is basically useless here. There are only a half dozen or so HD channels that actually need it, all of them obscure. The vast majority of SDV channels are SD and I have all of those deselected from my list anyway. On one of my TiVos the TA has been broken for a couple of years now. I've never even bothered to replace it because it doesn't affect any of the channels we watch.
     
  3. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to take some time and go through all the channels to see which, if any, require the ta. Last week, when rebooting my ta (as a preventive measure), I started flipping through channels. All worked, but then I was interrupted when the ta came back on line. Is there an easier way to see what channels need the ta?
     
  4. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    Not that I could find. I did the same thing a while back and only found a handful of channels that would not tune. Only one I had an even passing interest in (HDNet Movies) the rest were obscure channels or Spanish language channels that I didn't care about at all.
     
  5. LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

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    I'm in northeast Ohio and a long-time TWC subscriber for cable TV and internet. I have 2 Roamios and 1 Mini. I contacted Spectrum several weeks ago and after on-line chatting with several sales reps, was almost tempted into signing up for the 60Mb internet and their "Silver" TV channels package. After being dumped off the on-line chat twice (after more than an hour of back and forth questioning of the reps), I called on the phone and spoke with a live person. I was told I could get the 60M internet and Silver package deal for approximately what I was paying now. Then I was told that I would need to turn my two tuning adaptors at the local TWC/Spectrum store and get 3 "HD boxes", one for each of my 3 TVs. I said "Whoa -- I have TiVos and they work with cable cards and tuning adaptors. Then the agent said that I needed to have the HD boxes and "they would work with my TiVo's."

    That was it - told the agent that I was done with our conversation about "upgrading" to Spectrum. I'm convinced that the vast majority of Spectrum's sales agents have no idea of what a TiVo is or how it's connected to their cable. I am going to hold off making any switch to Spectrum for as long as I possibly can. In the meantime, here's the Spectrum webpage on CableCard Reference and Troubleshooting. And here's their page on Switched Digital Video (SDV) Overview. This page states that for existing customers: "Third-party CableCARD devices, including TiVo and retail PVR devices, don't currently support SDV without the aid of a Tuning Adapter, which enables access to the full range of digitally encrypted channels (based on subscription). You can contact Spectrum to get a tuning adapter."

    I suspect that TWC's infrastructure is still in use, and therefore the SDV-carried channels (most of the high-definition and Showtime premium channels that I primarily watch) will not work without using the Tuning Adaptor. I know I get errors from my TiVo Roamios every now and then when a TA is having a problem and needs to be rebooted. I am not convinced (without talking to a knowledgeable Spectrum technician first) that Spectrum has installed new infrastructure that has eliminated the need for Tuning Adaptors in my geographic area.
     
  6. tim1724

    tim1724 Active Member

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    Rancho...
    As with most things in Charter, it depends a lot on your local franchise. My Charter has a fair amount of HD on SDV (things like HBO2), although I agree that more SD channels than HD are on SDV.
     
  7. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    @abovethesink,

    I'm confused by your first post. Do you have a TiVo (if so, what model) and do you want to keep using it? You seem to be using the "cable box" and, at least for any TiVo that tunes digital cable (series 3 and later), I don't know any way a cable box can be used with the TiVo.

    Anyway, a Tuning Adapter isn't needed with a cable box because that functionality (handling SDV channels) is built into the box.

    What is your location? As posted earlier, that matters.
     
  8. FitzAusTex

    FitzAusTex Member

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    I'm a Spectrum (former TWC) customer in Austin. At least here I need a turning adapter for a significant number of the HD channels that I watch. Most of the premium movie channels, but a good deal more than that. Needed it with TWC, and need it for the same exact channels with Spectrum.
     
  9. randywalters

    randywalters AVS Old Timer

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    When i was at my local Spectrum/TWC office last month turning in an extra Cisco DVR, i asked the guy if Spectrum will be getting rid of SDV (which i hate), and if not, if they'll continue offering CableCards and Tuning Adapters. He said SDV is staying, nothing about that is changing, and yes they're still offering CableCard and including the TA along with it. And he was aware that some phone reps have mistakenly been telling people that CableCards are no longer being offered. Their infrastructure is the same as when they were TWC. I'm concerned about this because i want to continue to use Tivo, and am considering upgrading my 2-tuner Premiere to a 6-Tuner Roamio Pro (which is cable only). The unreliability of the TA is what keeps me from upgrading though (i record a lot of OTA over my antenna so i'm hesitant to ditch the antenna and be forced to rely on the unreliable TA for my local programming).

    My TA usually and randomly stops tuning once or twice per month (yet the green LED remains solid, not blinking) and my Tivo fails to record. This has already happened twice since i was last at their office and it failed to record programs on FS1 and NBCSN. This behavior hasn't changed since my TWC became Spectrum.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017
  10. sbillard

    sbillard Member

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    The best solution for this is to regularly power off the TA. I have mine on a home automation system which powers it off and on again every Monday morning at 4am. Never had it freeze up since doing that. But of course, Monday when you turn on the TV, TiVo nicely[sic] tells you that you have a tuning adapter attached. you have to press a key to clear the message. Wish pressing the TV power key would do that, but no, some other key. Better still if TiVo would remember it had a TA that went off line and just continue on about its business.
     
  11. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    This only applies to Cisco TAs. Motorola TAs never freeze or require reboots. Would be nice if cable companies gave us a choice. IMO, Cisco should either fix theirs or take them off the market.
     
  12. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    That's not a practical option. The TA type must be compatible with the rest of their SDV infrastructure. Also there is NO significant incentive, financial or otherwise, for Cisco to "fix" their TA's. Only a tiny percentage of cable TV customers use them and nothing would please the providers more than for those customers to give up in disgust and stop using them.
     
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  13. ej42137

    ej42137 Well-Known Member

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    I wish! One of my Motorola tuning adapters will crap out every couple of months, requiring a power-cycle to recover. I'm seriously considering adding a power timer as others have done.
     
  14. randywalters

    randywalters AVS Old Timer

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    I tried cycling my TA every week using a digital timer (Woods 50008), but found that when it comes back online my Tivo does not record any of my scheduled recordings while i'm sleeping or away from the house on the weekends since i'm not there to press the Select key to clear the message and restore normal recording capability.

    I do wish Tivo would add a function to their software where it senses that the TA has been cycled or rebooted and just start recording instead of waiting for me to press the Select key.

    What i try to do instead is remember to manually cycle my TA before the weekend.
     
  15. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, that's aggravating. I'm fine with the screen popping up saying the ta has been disconnected, but I see no need for screen saying it's connected . At least it would be nice if it just deleted itself after a few seconds rather that disabling the box. Oh well, I'm resigned to remembering to do a reboot twice a month although that's not always completely effective.
     
  16. andyw715

    andyw715 Well-Known Member

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    Sort of related.

    I had a tech over to diagnose an issue with my cable modem. I was getting a good downlink (bonded) but sporadic uplink (noisy). He said my modem (which I own) would try to negotiate and adjust to the line noise but sometimes wouldn't be able to make a link.

    Anyway.....he determined there was issues with the splitters at my house box, plus the splitter I use at my tv (for the TiVo, TA, modem). He replaced those and I get a great connection now!.

    I asked about the switch from TWC to Spectrum, he mentioned the growing pains of a merger and a few things he didn't like, but overall was an ok transition so far.


    He did mention keeping my "legacy" TWC contract/plan for as long as I could because CC/TA's are "hard to come by" (meaning they push for set top boxes hard at the customer service level) and it might not be worth the trouble to go to a Spectrum plan.

    Of course to me it depends on $$$...in any event that was my experience so far with TWC/Spectrum.
     
  17. rassi

    rassi Member

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    About 10 days ago my TA for our 2nd Tivo (a Premiere) crapped out and wouldn't get a solid green light. Just kept getting the 8 flash, pause pattern after repeated resets. I've been using the TWC TA's and cable cards for many years so I know all the tricks. Used to have to reset these things monthly - thankfully in the past couple of years they've been more stable. Anyway, since I couldn't get it to behave, I had to call their tech support. Asked the tech if they could help me with a TA issue or if they could send me to someone else who could help. Guy said he'd never had a TA call but would assist me. Put me on hold a while (reading his documentation I'm sure) and then came back. I explained what they usually have to do and he did the same (sending a hit/reset) but we couldn't get it to work. Finally he said he'd have to send out a truck. Haven't had to have a truck visit in several years for one of these problems, but figured I'd put up with it.

    When the truck came the following week, the first thing the guy tried to tell me was that TA's and cable cards weren't supported anymore. I told him that was news to me and that without the TA I didn't get all my channels. Went into our back room to work on the TA and wouldn't ya know, but we have a solid green light and all the channels are working. He insisted on checking everything in the house, plus the outside wiring (claimed he replaced 2 things outside that had some water damage) but we're back in business.

    Worried that when I have a real issue they won't be able to handle me still using TA's and CC's.
     
  18. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    8-blinks-pause means the TA has lost its subscription. Cisco TA's must be pushed a subscription refresh signal from the head end about once per month. If the subscription expires, the TA goes inop and the light repeats 8-blinks-pause. The date the subscription ends can be found in TA diagnostics, as Sub Expires in the Powerkey Info section. Pushing these signals, I've been told, requires execution of a computer script at the head end, and your TA must be on the list for this script. For the first year I had a TA my head end either wasn't executing the script properly or my TA was not on their list -- I had to call in every month to get them to manually do it.

    The (formerly) TWC national cable card desk, at 866-532-2598 is the place to call for support -- frequently local support doesn't have a clue.
     
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  19. rassi

    rassi Member

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    I've had the cablecard desk from before - I didn't know they still existed. Thanks for the tip!!!
     
  20. mrizzo80

    mrizzo80 Well-Known Member

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    After several years of near rock solid Tuning Adapter functionality, the last few months have been troublesome with the TA doing a fast blink every 6 weeks or so.

    The TWC/Spectrum Cable Card Hotline always resolves it. The last time I called in the tech also had me report several readings to her. All passed until we got to the "EMMs Processed" (via CableCARD Menu --> Cisco CableCARD CA screen). It was at 0, and it should be above 40 per the tech. She sent some hits and it's been around 140 since then.

    I'll have to remember the Sub Expires date next time this happens if the EMMs count is still above the minimum threshold.
     

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