Greater milwaukee experiences with cable providers and tivo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by herbman, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. Jan 1, 2012 #1 of 28
    herbman

    herbman Member

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    My wife and I are going to move to the greater Milwaukee area this year from the Boston area. We currently have a premiere and are on Verizon FIOS. I realize we won't be able to get that level of service but I was curious. Does anyone have a recommendation for a cable provider with TiVo in mind as well as good net bandwidth? I work from home so bandwidth is critical.

    I realize UVerse is out of the question. There is TW but I think there may be copy protection and/or SDV. Maybe Comcast?
     
  2. Jan 2, 2012 #2 of 28
    LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    For virtually all of metro Milwaukee, the cable provider is Time Warner. There are pockets of Charter Communications in the outlying areas, such as up in Jackson and West Bend. I think there may also be Comcast in extreme southern Kenosha county.

    Time Warner here, like virtually all of their areas, uses SDV, and also copy protect flags everything but broadcast.

    I've been on Time Warner with a TiVo HD for a couple of years, and I have had very few issues. Ever so occasionally, the tuning adapter needs a initialization signal sent to it from the head end, but those are few and far between. The key is to make sure to have the technicians test the lines, and make sure both the lines in the house and the feed line from the street are both as good as possible.

    For additional input, stop by the Milwaukee HDTV Users Group forum at www.milwaukeehdtv.org. I know there are a couple of other cablecard users there - at least one other TiVo user, a Windows Media Center user, and I think a Moxi user.
     
  3. Jan 2, 2012 #3 of 28
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    As someone whose only cable choice is Time-Warner, I just wanted to express my condolences on your upcoming tragedy.
     
  4. Jan 2, 2012 #4 of 28
    LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Honestly, while I'd prefer FIOS, and I'd rather Time Warner not use SDV or copy protect flags... overall, I really can't complain too loudly about them. Overall, I'm satisfied with Time Warner.
     
  5. herbman

    herbman Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    We are starting to gear up for this move. Looking in tosa, greendale, hales corners, whitefish bay, fox point, Glendale, bayside.

    Seems like TW is the majority but there are some other options in some of those areas. This will happen in approximately 2-3 months.

    I will keep posted!
     
  6. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Out of curiosity, what other options are you seeing? The only two options I'm aware of for a terrestrial wired television service in this area are Time Warner and U-Verse.
     
  7. jayn_j

    jayn_j New Member

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    Oct 29, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    We live up in Bayside and just discontinued TWC. Saved us $100/mo, and we felt we weren't getting the value. Bayside is at the end of the run, and we had a lot of service issues. About 1/4 of our HD channels went dark every evening at about 5 PM. It was like clockwork.

    The tuning adapter was a nightmare for us. It took a total of 7 service calls and almost 2 months to get it working. Needed a headend reboot about once a month, and a box power cycle every 3-5 days. We also surprisingly had issues with the locals over the cable, with numerous dropouts. This reached the point where we were choosing OTA for the locals over the cable. Always better quality. Higher bandwidth picture and fewer dropouts.

    Eventually, wecould not justify $100/mo for the chance that we might be able to record a show we wanted to see. We then dropped all cable and upped the internet bandwidth. We are finding that we have access to virtually everything we want, although we sometimes have to wait a week or so. We bought a Roku 2 in addition to the TIVO internet features, and are quite content.
     
  8. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    I can't agree on either count. If TWC were to drop SDV, I would have almost nothing to record. Better than 90% of my recording is on SDV channels. Were they to discontinue SDV service, I would switch to Grande in a heatbeat. The availability of a number of important channels on TWC that are not available on Grande (all of them SDV, by coincidence) is the one and only reason I have not switched.

    The fact their channels are all copy protected is a trifling matter: I have modified Series III class TiVos. If I had a Premier, of course, it would be a different matter. That is the main reason I don't have a Premier. 'Not the only reason, mind you, but it is certainly at the very top of the list.
     
  9. herbman

    herbman Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Just uverse. I saw some web Comcast ads for north shore areas and Franklin but when I pressed in a bit they didn't have the service. Zap2it confirmed what you said, just TW and uverse.

    What sucks to me, as bad as the TiVo situation is, I work from home and am used to my sweet 25/15 fios. Highest I saw was 15 for TW and 12 for uverse. Ugh.
     
  10. jayn_j

    jayn_j New Member

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    Oct 29, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    I am currently running 15 from TWC, and there is at least one higher tier. The website says 30 and 50, although I am not sure if 50 is offered on the north shore. Just checked by selecting upgrade and they will let me select 30, but not 50.
     
  11. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Since I'm not familiar with what Grande is, I am not able to follow part of your argument.

    That said, my preference would be to have TWC not use SDV (or at least use it as sparingly as possible) and instead go exclusively digital, a la Comcast, and MPEG-4/h.264 as necessary (now that I am aware that TiVo can handle it).

    Correct me if I'm wrong (not like you need prompting on that one ;)) but if they eliminate all of the analog channels, that would free up sufficient bandwidth to handle the current number of digital channels with a greatly reduced need for SDV, and possibly no need at all.

    Yes, I've considered having my TiVoHD modified as well, but that is an additional cost that I'd prefer not to take on just to make use of a feature that I should have access to already through the TiVo software.
     
  12. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Time Warner has higher tiers of service - Extreme (30/5) and Ultimate (50/5) - but they are more expensive. I think Extreme is around $69/mo (base price, discounts available when obtained with other TWC services) and Ultimate is $99/mo.

    At one point Ultimate was only available with the Signature Home package, not sure if it still is or not.
     
  13. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    A competitive CATV company servicing a fairly large area of South-Central Texas. They are significantly less expensive than TWC, but offer fewer channels. As it happens, I am in their service area.

    I am not certain that has been established.

    Linear channels - probably. I haven't counted lately. A fully digital deployment on a 750MHz system can drop reasonably about 110 QAMs. At industry norm rate shaping, that's 220 HD channels and 110 SD channels. It would be cutting it very close, but even then they would have to drop their VOD channels (and they have well over 100 of them) entirely. They would have to roll back their IPPV deployment so that the only way a customer could order a PPV event is over the phone. They would have to completely eliminate such features as "Start-Over".

    Yeah, not so much. It's true the number of channels being added has slowed somewhat, but they are still adding channels from time to time. With SDV, they can easily fill up all 9999 channels available to virtually all devices. With a full digital deployment of MP4, they would top out somewhere around 400 HD channels and 200 SD channels, if they forego VOD. Note a single VOD "channel" can eat up numerous streams on numerous QAM carriers. Every person who orders a VOD event gets assigned their own stream. If 1000 people order an HD VOD event at roughly the same time, it uses 1000 video streams, or more capacity than the entire CATV spectrum without SDV. With SDV, in a city like San Antonio, it may only require half a QAM carrier on 1//4 of the nodes in the city, or loosely speaking 0.0001% of the total capacity city-wide.


    Blame CableLabs and TWC, not TiVo. You have three choices:

    1. Live without it and suffer in silence.
    2. Live without it and ***** and moan to the rest of us.
    3. Take the plunge and give CableLabs the finger.

    If one is reasonably adept at soldering medium-density Surface Mount Devices, the cost is minuscule. If one prefers to have it done, the cost is quite reasonable - well under $200 with shipping.

    Note there are a great many features and capabilities other than unfettered MRV / TTG services available to a modified TiVo. IMO, these features by themselves quite apart from the unrestricted MRV / TTG capability are worth the cost.
     
  14. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    Ok, so maybe not eliminate... but definitely reduce. (And possibly eliminate, if they were to retire all analog channels, fully deploy h.264, and possibly use IP backchannel for nonlinear services.)

    Of course, my biggest issue with SDV is when you tune into a switched digital channel, and get nothing but a black screen. You have to tune up or down a channel, then back again to actually get video. If whomever is responsible for that bug would just fix it already, I wouldn't give (much of) a care if they use SDV or not.
     
  15. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Why? It's a lot of extra money to deliver vastly fewer channels.

    I have heard of this, but I have never experienced it. Of course, I never tune channels, either, but in every case I have lost a recording (so far as I know), it is because the TA requires re-initializing, not because of a one-time tuning failure.

    How many channels does your local TWC office provide? Mine supplies 570 channels, excluding 46 music-only channels. (Austin has 1725.) Of course, over half of those are VOD or IPPV channels, and not available on the TiVo. While it is true they could deliver all of the channels I prefer by converting to full digital and 100% MP4, who is to say those would be the channels they would keep, when they shut off nearly 100 channels? (Or 1000 in Austin.)
     
  16. LoadStar

    LoadStar LOAD"*",8,1

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    It happens here on a regular basis. I've seen it most on SyFy, for some reason. It also happens whether I tune into the channel manually, or have a scheduled recording on the channel.

    If it's a scheduled recording, the TiVo dutifully tries to record for the duration of the show, then deletes the recording and has a "not recorded" entry in the Recording History that says "The program was not recorded because the video signal was unavailable."

    Quite annoying.
     
  17. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Yes, I get those from time to time, but with only 1 possible exception of which I know, every time the video signal has been unavailable in the log, the TA is locked up. This happens roughly once every six weeks or so on one or the other of my TAs.

    To be sure. There is no question the TA is not as stable as the TiVo itself, although it is far, far more reliable than the POS Scientific Atlanta 8300HD with which I was plagued for 9 months. The main point is, however, the vast amount of programming allowed by the presence of the TA far more than offsets the loss of a few programs here and there. To put it in perspective, the TA failures represent one or two missed recordings every couple of months or so, while the absence of the TA would represent several missed recordings every day. There is simply no comparison, especially when one factors in the fact virtually every single missed recording will be aired again at a later date and can be recorded at that time. Usually, the re-airing is within a few days.

    Getting rid of the TA is very much a matter of burning down the house to kill the termites. It is certainly not perfect and it most certainly could be (should be) better, but a somewhat buggy implementation that gets me a tenfold increase in quality programming is much better than no implementation at all.
     
  18. herbman

    herbman Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Sorry to drag back on topic.. :)

    We've arrived and are staying at a family house while we look for houses. We're still looking in Greendale, Hales Corners, Bayside, Tosa, WFB, Fox Point. Hoping to be in a house in 4-6 weeks if possible. May do just internet w/OTA tv to see how it goes first.

    North shore people: Has the quality situation improved at all on TWC?

    Everyone with TWC around here: What is your realistic stability with the tuning adapter? I have one premiere and don't really want to ditch it for Uverse but if the tuning adapter is a liability I may go crazy.

    Anyone do OTA with tivo in Milwaukee county around here? Curious how it would work.

    Finally, is TWC still the only game in town for a cablecard setup?
     
  19. jayn_j

    jayn_j New Member

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    Oct 29, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    The situation I described earlier still applies for Bayside. Frrequent loss of signal and almost daily tuning adapter reboots required. Not just the TIVO/cablecard/tuning adapter either. Was rebooting a regular TWC DVR about every third day.

    I am now on OTA. There was an OLD existing roof antenna that we connected with a twinlead to coax balun. No problem getting any OTA channnels. A bedroom TV using rabbit ears is somewhat marginal on channel 58 (CBS) Sometimes fine, sometimes pixelated.

    I am 1/2 mile east of Port Washington RD and north of Brown Deer Rd.

    I know of no other TIVO friendly alternatives. After cutting the cable, I connected it back to the TIVO and do receive a good set of OTA channels (plus FOOD, TBS and CSPAN. Their filter didn't block these) I called TWC and asked about the legality of this and was told not a problem, so I am using this as the antenna solution for the bedroom set. This could be an option if you use TWC for internet.
     
  20. herbman

    herbman Member

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    Apr 8, 2008
    I think we're looking in your neighborhood, funny enough! Saw a couple places on Fielding.

    I'm a bit confused by how you're mixing OTA and TWC. Or did you go back to TWC? Or just using TWC's signal without paying? Not clear to me, sorry.
     

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