Need Advice - TWC violating mandate?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by MirclMax, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. Oct 17, 2007 #1 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    I'd love some advice from you folks .. particularly where to go from here ..

    Beginning of this month TWC-San Diego launched a few new HighDef channels.. including CW and TBS. From the get-go they were having problems implementing them. It looked like the CW was just a rebroadcast of the analog station for a few days (TiVo would let me set quality of recording) .. calls to technical support were extremely unhelpful. The first round techs basically have a document that says its TiVo's fault and to talk to TiVo about it.

    Now, I know what you're thinking .. you're thinking SDV .. stay with me ..

    I try going up the chain of technical support about a week ago.. they eventually tell me that its a problem on their end, the NOC is aware of it and there was no other information available. Of course ... no one is permitted to talk to the NOC. One thing I was able to get them to say was that they have no deployed SDV yet and thus these channels are not being broadcast that way.

    So I wait a week .. I figure if its a glitch, let them work it out. So I call in today basically insisting on getting an answer ... following up every "I'm sorry, I don't have that information" with a "Can you please tell me who I could speak to who would". The guy puts me on hold forever .. and then attempts to explain to me that the new channels are being broadcast on a frequency that the cablecards can not pick up. Again, not SDV .. just something that seems to not work with the cablecards. He also indicated to me that there were no plans to make any attempt to "fix" that situation, just that they were not going to offer those channels to CC users (note: their website makes no indication that those channels are not available to CC users).

    I push the guy for quite some time trying to get someone higher up .. his response is that the technical department doesn't make those decisions .. and he wouldn't know exactly who would. So I eventually get the name of the President .. call back, ask to be transferred to her ... eventually get someone else's voicemail (not too surprisingly .. but hopefully that person is at least connected.. no title given in voicemail) .. I left a message briefly explaining what I wanted and asked to be called back.

    Now .. am I overreacting .. or if this is not a deployment of SDV is it a blatant violation of the FCC mandate regarding cablecards? Is my next step (given I'm going to assume my call will go unanswered) to fill out a form to the FCC that will likely never be seen (c'mon.. its the government) ..

    Anyone have any advice here?

    -MirclMax
     
  2. Oct 17, 2007 #2 of 141
    emmpee

    emmpee New Member

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    My understanding is that the same thing is currently happening at TWC Rochester (NY).

    Apparently the channels being blocked for CC users are "targeted for future SDV implementation", but are not currently using SDV.

    Unfortunately I haven't had the time/energy to follow up to the extent you have, just sent a couple letters that got no response. Interested to see how your communications work out.
     
  3. Oct 17, 2007 #3 of 141
    PRMan

    PRMan New Member

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    Yorba...
    If the FCC gets enough complaints, I believe they will do something.

    It can't hurt to spend a couple minutes filling out a form on the FCC website.

    Complaining about PacBell/SBC/AT&T to the FCC and the California Public Utilities Commission has worked wonders for me over the years.
     
  4. Oct 17, 2007 #4 of 141
    GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

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    Yeah, this sounds like the "future SDV" thing.

    Second link in the sig refers to a poster that had some luck complaining to the FCC (and contains a link to the FCC complaint form).
     
  5. Oct 17, 2007 #5 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    Actually did get a call back from TWC ... apparently my message got bumped down to the appropriate "Technical Department" person (probably the person I should have been directed to the first time).

    She too stated that they have not deployed SDV .. but described a situation that these channels are (for lack of a better term) "blocked" due to bandwidth issues.

    I asked about the legality of this .. given the FCC mandate .. as well as the fact that one of the channels involved is a network channel (sorta.. its the CW) .. but as far as I know.. they shouldn't be blocking core tier channels.

    Anyhow, she said she'd have to talk to the VP of Public Affairs who is up on the legal issues and why they are doing what they are doing.. and that she'd get back to me.

    My guess is that they won't have a particularly good answer..

    Does anyone know of anything other than SDV that legally permits a cable company to refuse to transmit a channel specifically to a CableCard person?
     
  6. Oct 17, 2007 #6 of 141
    sinanju

    sinanju Active Member

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    Blocking a local broadcast channel, even if it is the CW, is a huge no-no.
     
  7. Oct 17, 2007 #7 of 141
    TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    They can in fact block certain channels from being received by Cable Card. Especially if they have plans of putting that channel on SDV within in the next 2 years.

    HOWEVER... what they CAN NOT do... is block any channel, (SD, HD, Digital, or Analog) of any local Broadcast channel.

    They can block the Network feed of CW, but can't block the local CW affilate who rebroadcasts a CW network feed.

    So here is the question. Is the CW channel that is being blocked, a Network feed, or are they blocking the local CW Affiliate who is rebroadcasting network CW feed?

    TGC
     
  8. Oct 17, 2007 #8 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    While my gut agrees with you.... can you find me anything "official" that would say this?

    (And just to clarify .. its the HD version of the channel ... there is of course the analog version still available ..... and I'd say the cable co *might* argue that the signal is available via QAM .. just not CableCards)

    But does anyone have any source they can point me towards? Would be helpful when/if I file a complaint with the FCC ... (Giving TWC 48hrs to get back to me)

    -MirclMax
     
  9. Oct 17, 2007 #9 of 141
    BrianAZ

    BrianAZ Back on the wagon

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    I am in a similar situation... I ordered the NHL Center Ice hockey package over the phone. I received it perfectly fine during the free preview, but once that ended, I got grey screens on those channels on the tivo while my STB received them fine. I called in and the woman immediately said "Oh, I see why it's not working... they didn't add it to your cable cards! I can't do it or it will double charge you but let me get my supervisor on the phone and he'll fix it right now."

    So I sit on hold for quite a while and then she gets back on and said that appearantly she's mistaken and that it's not possible to receive ANY PPV via cable cards. She confirmed there is no SDV in my market and I replied that the statement about no PPV is just completely false. Obviously it works as I had no issues during the free preview. I got nowhere with Cox (Phoenix) so I hung up.

    My next call was to Tivo support. I relayed the story to them and they agreed with me that there should not be any reason why I could not get the package. They indicated that since I had already interfaced with a supervisor (by proxy), they would escalate the case to their legal department who would call Cox and inform them that they are mandated by the FCC to enable the package for me (or get a very technical explanation of why it was not possible). They indicated it would be 4-5 business days before I got a call back. It's been 5 actual days now so I expect a call tomorrow or Friday. I'll let you know what comes of it.
     
  10. Oct 17, 2007 #10 of 141
    BrianAZ

    BrianAZ Back on the wagon

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    Do you have any links to the 2 year rule you speak of?
     
  11. Oct 17, 2007 #11 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    Oh, its definitely the local affiliate.

    Love all the feedback .. would love it more if people could site some specific sources that I can throw at them.

    -MirclMax
     
  12. Oct 17, 2007 #12 of 141
    sinanju

    sinanju Active Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Must-carry
     
  13. Oct 17, 2007 #13 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    If I read that right.. it looks like that gives some legal authority to The CW to demand to be carried ... that is.. essentially.. they have to say "hey.. carry us" .. now, while that might be an option (contacting the network and getting their help) .. in and of itself, the law doesn't seem to be aimed at consumers saying to the cableco that they "must carry" a specific channel.

    What's particularly sad about this is.. I'm not really a fan of the CW's programming.. they're down to just "Smallville" for me. but I'm sticking this one out on principle.

    -MirclMax
     
  14. Oct 17, 2007 #14 of 141
    sinanju

    sinanju Active Member

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    It is highly unlikely that the local CW affiliate hasn't demanded to be carried. I'm sure that if you suggested to TWC that they're in violation, their tone would change quickly. I'm sure a call to the local station as a follow-up couldn't hurt. I'd bet you'd never get as far as having to complain to the FCC.
     
  15. Oct 18, 2007 #15 of 141
    TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Actually I don't. I don't infact have any links to back that fact up.

    Honestly, it was something I had heard, seen a while back. I don't remember where. I do remember the source was crediable enough for me to beleive that it was in deed fact.

    I will admit though, that I could be wrong on that 2 year rule.

    TGC
     
  16. Oct 18, 2007 #16 of 141
    TexasGrillChef

    TexasGrillChef New Member

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    Hey thats an IDEA, Call the local Affliliate & let them know that you are unable to view them on the local cable system. Talk to whoever you can, Talk to the NEWS department as well.

    I have found (From experiance) you get something in the NEWS... and sometimes (Not always though) a buisness will make changes to keep from looking bad.

    Just a thought...

    TGC
     
  17. Oct 18, 2007 #17 of 141
    adamsd

    adamsd New Member

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    MirclMax I am also in the San Diego area and I have been trying to get this issue resolved for quite some time now. I started way back in July or August. Back then TWCSD started to offer ESPN2HD, but when I tuned to the channel via my Tivo box I saw a screen telling me to call and get a cable box. I rarely watch ESPN2, but it was a principle thing, plus I felt they would start doing more of this in the future, which they are now doing.

    I called TWC and they told me that the contract they held with ESPN did not allow them to broadcast ESPN2HD through cable cards, but only through a set top box. That sounded fishy to me, and illegal. So I went and filed a report with the FCC. They did get back in touch with me and told me I needed to contact my Local Franchising Authority (their number can be located on your cable bill). I called them and left a message. After I few weeks they got back in touch with me and I explained the entire situation to them. They told me that they did not believe that this was a violation since cable providers do not need to provide specialized channels, such as ESPN2, via cable cards if they do not want to. Needless to say I was pretty upset. I told them that it did not seem right that this was allowed. They told me they would contact the cable company and have them contact me to explain why they feel they could do this.

    Shockingly I have not heard back anything, and this was like 3 weeks ago. I called the LFA again last week and left a message, which I have not heard anything back from yet either. I think the more people that call the LFA, the more they will realize this is a problem.

    Then TWC introduces more HD channels that I can not access, and not just one this time. I am not sure if you noticed, but when the CW was introduced, they also introduced, TBSHD, and some Golf HD channel. All of them have been inaccessible from my Tivo box. So now there are 4 channels that are not available through my Tivo box. I was really pissed now, so I called Tivo and I spoke to someone who was surprised to hear of my situation. She had me call TWC while she was on the line and recording the call. She needed to hear from TWC that these channels were not on SDV, that TWC had just decided not to offer them. Once she heard that she said she was passing on the issue to the Tivo legal department and that I would need to call Tivo back to see about the resolution.

    Now I am out of town for a couple of weeks for work and I have not had a chance to call back Tivo, but I plan on doing it in about a week. I would recommend you call Tivo too. The more people that complain about this the more incentive they have to resolve this issue. I told them I am a huge fan of Tivo, and have recommended it successfully to friends and family for years now. And that with this new development I am going to need to cancel and stop recommending it. Tivo definitely has a reason to get this fixed or the cable companies are going to kill their business.

    I will post an update in a week or so when I get the chance to check with Tivo. If you hear from them before then, please post any updates.
     
  18. Oct 18, 2007 #18 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    Thank you for relaying your story ... I just wanted to touch on one aspect .. from my countless dealings with TWC .. I believe that ESPN2HD (730) and Fox Sports Net (731) despite what it says on the website, are part of the "HD VIP Pak" .. and obviously, if you don't have that, you couldn't get them. I've tried to get them to update their channel listing to reflect this (another point I touched on with this last person on the phone). Now I can not confirm this since I don't have the "VIP Pak" .. but its quite possible that you would indeed get the channel if you had that. I wouldn't wager on it, but its a possibility.

    As far as the other points in your post .. thanks.. its all being considered.

    -MirclMax
     
  19. Oct 18, 2007 #19 of 141
    adamsd

    adamsd New Member

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    Actually I have the VIP Pack and I still do not get them. I get all the other VIP Pack channels, just not the ones I listed. That is what frustrates me even more. I am paying extra for the VIP Pack and I am still having channels withheld from me.

    Of course as the TWC representative let me know, if I am willing to drop Tivo with my $3.50 worth of cable cards and pay TWC about $20 dollars a month I can get a DVR through TWC and get all these channels. So kind of them.
     
  20. Oct 18, 2007 #20 of 141
    MirclMax

    MirclMax Ancient Member

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    Okay.. well at least thanks for confirming the VIP Pak BS part of that then.. Its as I expected.. but didn't want to spend the $7 just to test the theory.

    -MirclMax
     

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