How crazy am I?: Tivo + Minis + TWC Dallas + 80 yo parents

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by thumbtech, Jul 20, 2015.

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  1. thumbtech

    thumbtech New Member

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    Jul 6, 2015

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    My parents live in a Dallas high rise where they have enjoyed free TWC cable for years by just plugging their 3 old CRT TV's (living room, bedroom, kitchen) into the coax jacks in their unit. Magic!

    They are 80 years old, and now their free ride has ended with TWC's transition to digital only. Yes it is a first-world problem ... but it is definitely a major one. (They also have [slow] AT&T DSL internet service, which they pay for.)

    They used to record shows all the time, but lost that ability a couple years back because the calendar on their VCR could not go beyond 12/31/2012! They have a DVD player and we buy them series like "House of Cards" which they watch.

    Clearly, they need to buy new flat screens and sign up for cable with TWC (FIOS & satellite are not options in their building), getting a TV/Internet bundle & ditching the DSL.

    Based on my experience with TWC and their set top boxes, DVR's, and remote controls, I think I would have to move in with them as a full time operator ...

    So a TIVO set up (roamio + 2 minis) is probably the way to go, right? ... but ONLY IF it works, and I know that is always a BIG IF.

    Reading posts here, I understand that the tuning adapter is a big fly in the ointment ...

    Question 1: With a tivo + tuning adapter set up, do all those receivers in the tivo have to share the "tuned" subset of channels? In other words, can you simultaneously view/record both "A" & "B" channels, or not? If not, isn't that a deal breaker for lots of people?

    Question 2: Since they lack CAT5 running to the locations of their TV's, I would use MoCA to connect the mini's. I'm not sure how the setup might look, though. Does the attached diagram look correct?

    tivo setup.jpg

    Question 3: On a scale of 1 to 10, how crazy am I?

    Thanks!
     
  2. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    Assuming a base Roamio, it has four tuners. You can watch any of the tuners even if the are recording. Should be plenty for two people.

    If it were me, I'd just tell them to get TWC DVRs and boxes. I'm assuming they aren't too tech savvy if they still have a vcr. A simple two tuner TWC DVR will be a big improvement over what they now have. And, they can bug TWC if something goes awry. There's just too much going on with tivos for average people to deal with, imo.

    Btw, I think you'll probably need a MOCA adapter provided one isn't built into the modem. Someone else can chime in on the other details.
     
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    You're not crazy, you just need to calculate time into the equation. You like TiVo, I like TiVo. but it's not a toaster. I convinced my sister (who lives next door) to go with Dish. She also spends 60% of the year in Florida. Dish is portable, cable is not.

    So I second the vote to use the TWC box. It's your life, and your heart is in the right place, but sometimes it's best to leave hi-tech where it belongs.
     
  4. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

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    I wouldn't consider DSL as slow. I use a 3MBs DSL and my Roamio 4 tuner does fine on it, along with youtube and Netflix.

    Think dial-up, now that is SLOW!

    I do not even want to think when your parents have to pay a $150+ cable bill, much less a heart attack.
    There is also an option to go OTA with an antenna, which is free, the Roamio 4 tuner, Premiere 2 tuner models can handle either cable or OTA. (It all depends on their own needs) A good indoor antenna works even in an apartment. A used box (with Lifetime Service) would be much less on their pocket book.

    If they only have 1 TV, they wouldn't need a Mini.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2015
  5. mainegeek

    mainegeek Member

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    I know my Tivo setup took about 4 hours on the phone with TWC, 4 TA's, and 2 CC's to finally get someone to stop and realize the equipment wasn't the problem. They even blamed the Tivo and tried to point me in Tivo's direction instead. It's a frustrating setup to begin with and continues to bring on surprises. Put it this way, I love my Tivo but I would NEVER set my dad up on it. I'm tech savy (IT worker), he's tech inept.

    If you plan to move forward I'd like to add a few suggestions to your diagram. I would not feed the Tivo's through the TA. The way I did it was used a 3-way unbalanced splitter at the TWC demarc. The -3.5 went to the cable modem. The first -7 went to the TA (which does have a built in MOCA filter), and the final -7 went to a MOCA POE filter and then on to a 2-way MOCA splitter which feeds my Roamio and mini. I have some old posts with diagrams you might be able to find.... it's some of my first posts and I don't have too many (yet).
     
  6. thumbtech

    thumbtech New Member

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    Jul 6, 2015
    I appreciate the advice. In my family, I'm usually the voice of reason for trying to keep it simple when it comes to tech-ing up the parents. I suspected that I might be creeping up the crazy-meter with this idea.

    Since they do watch cable-only broadcasts, have multiple televisions and can afford whatever TWC throws at them, I think I will suggest that route.

    But still out of curiosity on Question 1: I get that tivos have multiple tuners that can be used to view/record different channels simultaneously, but when you have a tuning adapter (SDV), isn't the entire cable feed set to just feed a subset of the channels? So if the TA is switched to feed "A", would any of the "B" channels be available to any of the other tivo tuners?
     
  7. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

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    The TA doesn't restrict what you can tune to. It simply makes a sdv available. In theory, you could have multiple six tuner TiVos and have all the tuners tuned to SDV channels or any combo with non-switched channels.
     
  8. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

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    Do they even want a dvr? Maybe just a simple dta so they can watch tv like they have been. Then you can still send them dvd's to watch. At 80 even if they are sharp, it's hard to teach new tech.

    If you live in Dallas maybe ok so you can help them. Otherwise your crazy.

    Edit: If they can get a cable box that can work with a series 2 ir controller this would work with their older tv's and be simple to use. I was able to use a comcast x1 box on my series 2. So I'm sure you can find the right cable box.
     
  9. thumbtech

    thumbtech New Member

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    If the TW DVR is as easy to record as the tivo, I think they'll actually use it! But I'll leave it up to them. They have the classic living-room / bedroom TV set up, so if they get the DVR, they'll want to do the whole house set up.

    But no, I don't live anywhere near and already do too much tech support dealing with email, the computers, etc., so I appreciate everybody here talking me off the ledge.
     
  10. convergent

    convergent Member

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    I think you are wise to steer back to a solution provided by TWC, unless there is a financial concern. Getting the full bundle from TWC is expensive and if they are on a fixed income it may not be doable. I think I'd suggest they start with just getting the TVs and set top boxes, and have one DVR on one of them. See how that goes. Then if they really need to have whole house, go to that but its more money.

    Its funny, but I used to be the families tech support because I worked for a company that allowed good discounts on PCs, so they used the friend and family program based on my recommendation. The only problem was that all my friends and family thought they were buying me too. So I over time started discouraging them buying from my employer! The turning point for me was when I was walking my mother in law through a windows registry change over the phone, NY to TX, and hoping like heck she didn't make her computer go brain dead.

    If they get something from TWC, then they can alway call and have someone from TWC come to their house and help them and that is priceless in my mind.
     
  11. CoxInPHX

    CoxInPHX COX Communications

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    I recently gave my 79yo mother one of my old Premieres, I set it up for her, this install was completely painless CableCARD and Tuning Adapter were Paired and Authorized on the first attempt, 10 minutes total.

    She is learning as she goes, and I talk her though doing things over the phone. I mostly manage her Premiere with the Android App, since it is on my account.

    I labeled all the plugs on the TA, the TiVo, the Router and WiFi bridge, so I can have her reboot them as needed. I can always tell when her Router needs rebooted, because I cannot access her Premiere with the Android App.

    She loves it.
     
  12. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    My 77 year old Dad has my old THD and loves it, my slightly younger stepmom doesn't want to deal with anything, not even a cable box so he's in charge, but he does just fine, if they get past the initial change I think your folks will be fine with it since they can use the BD player and Netflix.
     
  13. mainegeek

    mainegeek Member

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    Considering I just literally had a call today with my dad after setting up his first Internet connection w/ WIFI this last weekend about the Kitkat update "I" pushed out to his phone!

    Let me explain this one in detail for a second. My wife and I have a cat named Kitkat. She is ~16 years old and we got her in '99 when we were first 18/19 and first moved in together. She's like a grandchild to him. He walks in the house to visit and calls "Kitkat, where are you? Hi!"

    That was a funny conversation as I tried to explain he got an android OS update and they are named after candy (Jelly Bean, Kitkat, Lollipop...). He thought it was part of my "remote support tools" (TeamViewer) I told him I had installed.

    I won't set him up with a Tivo.... not yet at least.... :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  14. convergent

    convergent Member

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    I think learning how to use it is possible, but what happens when it has some problem and needs to be diagnosed. With the cable companies equipment, they can send out a truck and fix it. With a Tivo, you are mostly on your own and I'd hate to be sitting on a phone with them trying to walk them through Tivo screens diagnosing a problem. A lot of people depend on having their TV around.
     
  15. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    Considering how user friendly and bullet-proof the Tivo logic and systems are I have never really had that issue with them, a CableCO DVR is far more confusing to use.

    If there's a bigger issue I go over and help, like when it kept rebooting and I had to diagnose the bad caps I then fixed. Dad has never had a support issue on his Tivo other than that.

    I also make sure it's set up bullet proof with wired ethernet so they don't have to deal with wifi.
     
  16. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

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    How far away from them do you live? If you are within a 30 minute drive and can go over there to troubleshoot for them should their TiVo setup ever experience a problem, then it would probably be workable. But if you are unable to go over there if they ever experience a technical issue, then you would probably be better off getting them to go with the crappy TWC equipment for your own mental health. It really pains me to say that too, since TWC's equipment is god-awful and TiVo is far superior.
     
  17. HarperVision

    HarperVision TiVo's Italian Cuz!

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    I setup my parents last Christmas while visiting with one of my upgraded Roamio pluses and three minis, mainly for cost savings for them because I already had the plus there to use with my Slingbox and the stream to watch my Philly sports from here in HI. They had one basic box and a couple DTAs on their TVs, but upgraded to HD sets a few years earlier when the DTAs were free. Then they started charging them along with additional outlet fees so I told them to tap off of my plus that was already there with minis at eachTV. (Den, kitchen, bedroom). Setting them up up using moca was actually plug and play and quite easy which surprised me because their home is old and has some questionable wiring that I couldn't do in that visit.

    I haven't really had any calls from them about it other than my mom didn't like that the mini timed out after four hours since she likes to have it on all the time for background noise. They also had an issue where they'd get messages that all tuners were in use because they'd leave all the minis tuned to a tuner and just shut off the TV when they left the room and my dad would use a different tuner to watch a game when I already had one being used to record said game, so one show tied up two tuners. I just turned off suggestions (which shouldn't effect minis grabbing tuners, but apparently does!) and stopped recording my games and showed them how to stop recordings, etc and get back to live tv. This seemed to have cured those issues.

    Smooth sailing ever since, but of course YMMV. My parents aren't quite 80 yet, but getting there.
     
  18. mstrumpf

    mstrumpf Member

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    New England
    A quick explanation of SDV:

    Once upon a time, in order to increase the number of channels a cable company can carry, some systems used to cables, an A and B. TV's VCRs and the like would have to switch between the two cables and could not access anything on the other cable.

    That is not SDV.

    SDV uses one cable. There are many channels like normal that can be tuned at any time. There are then a pool of channels that are available, but do not have a specific station assigned. When you tune that station, the tuning adapter sends a signal to the head end requesting the station. It is put on one of the available channels to be tuned.

    So, you and your neighbors can request many SDV stations, each getting a SDV channel. So, you can record multiple SDV channels at a time.

    At some point, the system might run out of available channels to use at the same time. Then you would not be able to record or watch that station. The idea is that cable companies put less watched channels on SDV so that does not happen.
     

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