Please help us find a way to OPT-OUT of the disruptive emergency alert system messages!

Discussion in 'TiVo Suggestion Avenue' started by jmccorm, May 11, 2017.

  1. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    I'm just sitting here trying to watch a movie. Maybe this is more of a problem in less dense urban areas, but I've been kicked out of Netflix three times now for a weather warning that is 50 miles north of here, and in no way heading my direction. It is a meaningless disturbance.

    My cell phone allows me to opt-out of child abductions and weather alerts. Surely, there is some way, political or technical, that TiVo can be made to do the same? I don't need to be kicked out of Netflix over and over any time a storm passes through the region.

    I have TiVo because I want to take control of my TV and my multiple media feeds. Please help defend me against disruptive features which I choose not to embrace.
     
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  2. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    Just had my fourth one. This really makes TV unwatchable.

    Picture attached in case you haven't had the pleasure of being bombarded with them. TiVo will leave whatever you are doing, change to this channel for approximately 60 seconds, lock out all controls so that you can't do anything, and then eventually dumps you back to Live TV.

    EDIT: I'm not in either of the areas mentioned. I get regular interuptions as the storm moves through the region. I just want some choice to opt-out so that I can watch TV.

    eas-screen.jpg
     
  3. sharkster

    sharkster Well-Known Member TCF Club

    10,479
    2,565
    Jul 3, 2004
    NV
    Oh, I wish!! I've complained about this for years. Talked to people at Charter about it a couple of times and it's a big, fat NO.

    It's bad enough if you get kicked out of live tv viewing but it doesn't matter what you are watching - recordings, etc. Then, that freaking sound makes you want to kill the tv.

    But that's not enough - half the time it's something like 'it might rain 200 miles from here'. Yeah, who cares! Whatever the EAS message du jour is, I would rather just stay uninformed and I think we should have the choice to opt out. I think there is some kind of broadcast law or something. Sorry - ya got me started. This pisses me off to the nth degree.

    Another annoying bit is that the 'monthly one is usually about twice a week. UGH!
     
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  4. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    I really would like to see TiVo (Corporation) hold the banner and drive the legislation on this issue, if that is what it takes. I haven't heard of any progress of any group moving forward on this EAS issue, and it is such an incredible annoyance to so many of us. I refuse to believe that this system is operating as intended, and if it is, then someone had the wrong intentions.

    Also, kicked out of Netflix, again, and trapped on a weather screen for the 6th time. Rather than track all of these for the rest of the evening, I think I'll find something non-television to do for a while.

    eas-screen-6.jpg
     
  5. osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

    1,049
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    Mar 6, 2015
    Oklahoma
    Yep in the same area. That's 4 in the last half hour or so. This is the worst it's been for me since switching back to Cox last year. Getting ready to switch to plex or the OTA TiVo.

    Bad enough I have to listen to all the weather garbage from the Tulsa stations no matter how severe the weather may be, the EAS interruptions are just adding insult to injury. :(
     
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  6. HTH

    HTH No Avatar Selected

    4,075
    4
    Aug 28, 2000
    Lincoln, NE
    I think TiVo's hands are tied on this, especially with CableCard licensing and the tech involved. At best, maybe you could deploy a frequency trap that blocks the signal before it reaches your first in-home device. I don't know how open the documentation on the signaling protocol is, but it could involve a filtering out a particular channel or channels. If it is in the digital signal data, then it would be a lot harder to block.

    But that means you'll be taking on the responsibility to keep yourself informed for any threats that directly involve your area, such as a weather radio. That extends your personal responsibility for the welfare of everyone watching TV in your home who would otherwise have been informed by any alert.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  7. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    That may very well be the case. But if they're not willing, themselves, to push back, I'd really appreciate it if they let us know who we should be focusing our attention on in order to get a change. Is it purely an FCC regulatory item? Something else? Who or what is stopping them, exactly, from implementing an opt-out feature?

    Absolutely, and I accept that responsibility. My cell phone already gives me this power. It allows me to disable the alerts. This is exactly what I'm wanting for my set-top box, too, so it isn't too big of an ask.

    Funny thing, though... keeping informed actually isn't an issue. I'm in the city. I've got a civil defense siren just down the road, which goes off at far more appropriate times for all the usual weather situations. Thankfully, the siren blasts just the local alerts and not all the regional ones like I get through cable. They only thing I'd be missing out on are the AMBER alerts, and frankly, I'm not going to be trying to track people down, much less remembering any of the details spoken by the announcer.

    If TiVo can't give us the choice to opt-out, and if TiVo doesn't want to chase down this nuisance for us, then please, give us the information so we know where to target our efforts to take back our television. I want appropriate alerts. If I can't have that, I want to opt-out.

    PS: I had two more alerts, one at 5:52pm and one at 6:10pm. I was just trying to watch a movie on Netflix, and I was inappropriately pulled away for seven alerts over the course of two hours for an issue that absolutely didn't impact me. That's some really broken functionality, regardless of where the blame should be given.
     
  8. hefe

    hefe Rebus Philbin

    36,911
    1,748
    Dec 5, 2000
    CO via Chi-town
    I've never seen such a thing. Is it only on the cable units?
     
  9. osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

    1,049
    235
    Mar 6, 2015
    Oklahoma
    Lucky you, I'm in South BA and the dang pole and siren is right next to me, 50ft or so away, in my neighbors backyard. :eek::(
     
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  10. John Gillespie

    John Gillespie Well-Known Member

    737
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    Oct 27, 2016
    Do you have a Netflix app on a DVD player?
     
  11. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    Actually, I've got one built into the TV. I avoid it because it is very slow. I could watch it on phone, but that's not what I want, either. But I'll infer your underlying question which is, "Why don't you find a workaround?"

    If I happened to have been doing anything different, like watching a recording, or watching a live program, I still would have had to have gone through seven uninterruptible alerts during that same period of time. Even if there had been an active tornado in my area, and I was watching the live coverage of the weatherman on a local news channel, I still would have been ripped away and locked out all those times. (And the civil defense siren down the road would have been going off.)

    The feature is more disruptive than benefitial to myself as well as others. We'd simply like to have the choice to opt-out of it rather than scramble for alternative TiVo services when bad weather rolls through somewhere in the region.
     
  12. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    6,891
    920
    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    The EAS appears to be a national requirement so I don't think there's going to be a way for TiVo to provide an opt-out option.

    "The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that requires TV and radio broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service providers, direct broadcast satellite service providers and wireline video service providers to offer to the President the communications capability to address the American public during a national emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information such as AMBER (missing children) alerts and emergency weather information targeted to a specific area."

    Emergency Alert System (EAS)

    I can't tell from the rest of the description who controls the weather emergency alerts (state? cable company?), but you can try contacting the FCC to find out and see if you can convince them to only send weather alerts that are relevant.

    "How can state and local authorities use EAS?
    Along with its capability of providing an emergency message to the entire nation simultaneously, the EAS allows authorized state and local authorities to quickly distribute important local emergency information. A state emergency manager can use the EAS to broadcast a warning from one or more major radio stations in a particular state. EAS equipment in other radio and television stations, as well as in cable television systems in that state, can automatically monitor and rebroadcast the warning.

    What about weather emergencies?
    Additionally, EAS equipment can directly monitor the NWS for local weather and other emergency alerts, which local broadcast stations, cable systems, and other EAS participants can then rebroadcast, providing an almost immediate relay of local emergency messages to the public."
     
  13. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    The mandatory section (Presidential alerts) I don't have any argument with. The "may" section with local government is where it runs into problems.

    Most of your post was taken from the consumer EAS page, right? I wish it was a blueprint for improving the system. I went through some of the more obscure regulatory documents, too.

    Ultimately, this shouldn't have to involve changing the notifications themselves. My cell phone has an opt-out option for the local EAS alerts. I stopped getting them. Problem totally solved there. It seems that the simplest solution here is to have the same option on the set-top-box which, as an opt-out, which simply takes no action when a local weather or AMBER EAS alert comes through.

    The question is, what if anything blocks us from having that option on our TiVo, too?

    I don't use an iPhone, but they document their opt-out function here...
    LINK: Turning AMBER and Emergency alerts off on your iPhone
    ...and this would be a great option to implement on the TiVo.

    When enabled, the signal is still received, but the unit does nothing.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  14. jmccorm

    jmccorm Special Forum Guest

    87
    2
    Oct 8, 2000
    Tulsa, OK
    I've also noticed that! I manage to catch these far more frequently than once a month. I'll pay more attention the next time one happens (last one was yesterday morning).

    What I suspect happens (but have not confirmed) is that the cable company isn't the one doing the test. Each local station does their own monthly test, and every one of those tests passes through and interrupts your TiVo, regardless of what channel you're on or what you're doing.

    Those local stations issuing the alerts are also why I'm being interrupted for weather phenomena over 100 miles away. They've got a large viewing area, so they pass along any warning for anything that happens anywhere inside their coverage area.

    This really wasn't well thought out when it comes to cable systems and set top boxes. Seven obtrusive "cry wolf" events over two hours is ridiculous. It is far less intrusive on the cellular side with their Wireless Emergency Alerts, because they're tightly targeted by location, but even then, they had the sense to allow for users to turn off non-Presidential alerts at the device level.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  15. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    17,193
    2,953
    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I get weekly, monthly local, plus statewide monthly EAS tests. They always come during non-prime time, so it's just a pain, not a catastrophe. I always put my Mini into Standby so it doesn't get enabled.

    I think in three years I have had two amber alerts and one weather alert. The tornado missed by two miles.
     
  16. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    15,038
    845
    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    I wonder how many deaths and/or severe injuries the EAS has prevented?
     
  17. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    15,038
    845
    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    Is it my imagination or has TiVo stopped recording EAS tests?

    I record lots of stuff overnight and I believe I have had a recording interrupted by one in a while. In fact, I think I was watching something that was recording when a test came on and after the test I went back to the recording and it was intact. The full recording was there with no EAS.

    Maybe this was new with the Roamio and I'm thinking back to TiVoHD behavior.
     
  18. osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

    1,049
    235
    Mar 6, 2015
    Oklahoma
    Cox Oklahoma does the tests weekly, usually on wednesdays and then I think there is a monthly test. I know around 11am-12pm on Wednesdays I get interrupted. I work from home and usually have music choice playing in the background that gets interrupted. If I'm not home I'll know when I get home that an alert has been issued as my 2 minis will have taken over 2 tuners.
     
  19. cp2k

    cp2k Member

    82
    2
    Mar 15, 2004
    I've experienced that too. Once I was recording a show on one tuner and watching a second tuner when a weather alert hit. The recording was complete without any interruption.

    Another tip is to Google and find your states monthly EAS test schedule. Many states like mine post those online for broadcasters. I try to avoid recordings when an EAS test is scheduled. That doesn't help with weather of course, but it does eliminate some of these from affecting your recordings
     
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  20. waynomo

    waynomo My One Time TCF Club

    15,038
    845
    Nov 9, 2002
    Seven...
    Great idea. Thanks. I didn't think that something like that would be available. Here it is for NC.

    NC DPS: Emergency Communications

    Now I'm going to have to pay attention and see if the alerts adhere to the schedule. :D
     

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