Optimum cablecards - keep getting black channels

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by eskovan, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. eskovan

    eskovan Member

    Sep 30, 2002


    I have a Series3 HD TiVo with software version 11.Ok-01-2-652, and Optimum digital cable with two S-cards. Don't think it matters but I also have a 1TB WD external drive.

    It's worked on Optimum ok for about a year, but it was a bear getting it setup. They first brought an M-card but couldn't get it to work. They then brought two S-cards which seemed to work, but after they left I found I was only getting the very basic channels. The next day a tech spent three hours at my place getting the two S-cards working: on the phone with Optimum, would tell them to change a setting, have to reboot my TiVo, didn't work, change another setting, reboot etc. over & over. Finally got them both working ok.

    Don't know if any of that matters, but the problem I'm having is that occasionally I or my TiVo will tune to a channel and it will be black. No 'Searching for signal' messages, just no picture. Sometimes its only one tuner (i.e. card) sometimes its both of them simultaneously. Its never a premium channel as I don't subscribe to any. It's usually an HD channel but sometimes it will happen on an SD one too. The only thing I can do is just keep changing the channel up or down and it usually finally appears, though not always. I used to try rebooting and ejecting & reinserting both cablecards but that doesn't seem to work any better than just changing channels and takes much longer. This problem used to occur only occasionally, but in the last few months it seems to be happening more and more.

    Signal strength is between 90-100 on both cards whenever I check it. There's only my TiVo and one other Optimum cablebox with only one splitter in the basement installed by Optimum, so I don't see how it could be a signal strength issue.

    I'm afraid it's probably an Optimum cablecard issue because:
    • My dad's TV that's connected to their cablebox never does this.
    • I previously had this exact same TiVo on FiOS with their M-card and it was easy to setup and worked rock solid, no problems whatsoever for nearly three years.
    Is there anything I can try?

    I'm really hesitant to call Optimum because I know they're just not sympathetic to cablecard problems and their solution will just be to tell me to use their DVRs instead!
  2. sieglinde

    sieglinde Active Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Sebastopol, CA
    How long does the black last. Mine will last a second or so.
  3. yjr

    yjr New Member

    Apr 26, 2006
    I don't have Optimum any more(switched to Verizon-Fios), but I remember the problems I had with them trying different S-cards(At that time they didn't have M-cards) but eventually they got it working.
    You are right, they rather you rent a DVR from them-more money in their pockets.
    Don't feel hesitant to call them!. Bug the S**T out of them until they give you what you are paying for, let them escalate it until they send someone who knows what they are doing!.
    I don't know their track record with M-cards. If this is a Tivo HD, Why pay for 2 S-cards if 1 M-card will do the job?
  4. eskovan

    eskovan Member

    Sep 30, 2002
    Unless I do something (change channels etc.) the black lasts, well, forever! It never seems to fix itself. I've seen things appear in my Now Playing that I assumed were recording only to have them disappear. I check Recording History and sure enough it shows it never recorded: "...because the video signal was not available".

    I wonder if an M-card would be better. Seems like it might (half as many things to go wrong!). Plus a couple bucks cheaper. Like I said they initially brought an M but the tech who finally got me working with two S-cards said that they didn't have much luck with M's.

    I so miss FiOS. Blu-Ray quality picture and not even so much as a hiccup with their M-card...
  5. eskovan

    eskovan Member

    Sep 30, 2002


    Well I think I've fixed my problem! I went to Optimum and got an M card and installed it myself (just plugged it in). I anticipated huge problems getting it to activate (like when I first got the two S cards activated it took the tech hours!) but I just called the number and boom I was up and running! Its been a week and no more black channels!

    I guess the problem was my TiVo just couldn't always handle two S digital decoder cards. I never had a problem with FiOS but I never had two S cards with them, only an M card. I remember way back when I first got my Series 3 and learned about CableCards everything I read said get an M card if possible because it works better than two S cards. I guess that's good advice! :D

    Anyway, just wanted to pass this info on in case anyone has a similar situation & problem.

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