The Pain and Horror of Giving Up on TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by GibsonCRG, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. GibsonCRG

    GibsonCRG New Member

    Oct 19, 2006
    Round Rock,...


    Even since getting my TiVo Series 3, I've been hungry for all my channels in HD, and used my TiVo Series 3 to the utmost. I dealt with clueless techs and CableCARD changes, but then Time Warner Cable (Austin, TX) pulled the SDV card and forced one of those Cisco Tuning Adapters on me.

    Suddenly, we just couldn't count on our channels tuning any more! We changed Tuning Adapters, we had TWC technicians visit (with full-day appointment windows to boot, so I had to take days off work), we changed CableCARDs, but the problems remained. Suddenly, after a day, or week, or sometimes a few weeks, suddenly a bunch of our channels could not be tuned. We'd have to reboot the TiVo, or reboot the TiVo and the TA, and then that would fix the problem - for a while.

    In the meantime, the volume of complaints from my Better Half continued to rise and rise, and finally after being a TiVo owner since (good heavens, I just found the receipt) August 22, 2000 (Philips HDR312 with lifetime), as well as a Series 2 and Series 3, I have bowed to what I view as the cable industry's deliberate and ultimately successful campaign to use the premium (non-broadcast) HD channels as their latest weapon against TiVo, and I succumbed and had TWC out to install an... an.... (crud, I can hardly bring myself to type it!) a TWC DVR.

    I hate it. I hate its interface, I hate its remote, I hate its responsiveness.

    But, I have TV. Every time. All in HD. I also have cool new things, like On Demand shows and movies. And most importantly, I have a happy Better Half. But it really, really upsets me that my beloved and very very expensive TiVo is sitting unused due to what should be illegal machinations to close down a free and open market.

    Does anyone who's gone from Series 3 to the latest models of TiVo that support the multi-stream CableCARDs have a tale of woe turned to success to give me hope? I won't be buying a new TiVo just yet as I am not ready for that fight with the wife, but I'm hopeful that even she will grow tired of the horrid experience of the TWC DVR, and am looking for a ray of hope.

    Is there a life without Tuning Adapters to be had out there in TiVo land? Will TiVo get the ability to truly live on the cable system and have the two-way communication that makes other cool things possible? Or, ultimately, is the cable industry succeeding and driving our beloved TiVo into obscurity?

    Lookin' for hope, even as I choke on my bile while (at least) getting my HD channels every single time I turn on the system.

  2. texasPI

    texasPI Member

    May 9, 2010
    Unfortunately, your experience was similar to mine. I loved my Tivo but the deliberate dragging of feet by my cable company caused me to cry uncle. Rather than admit defeat and get their DVR, I took my business away from them and became a Dish subscriber. There's not a day I don't miss my Tivo. I'm thinking of activating it for OTA use but it seems impractical given that I really can't justify it because I get everything I want on my Dish DVR....*sigh*

    My wife asks me all the time why I still hang around here so much since I'm not a TiVo user anymore...:rolleyes:
  3. gastrof

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.
    If a cable company is failing to provide service to a third-party tuning device or recorder, they're breaking the law. Getting rid of the third-party device isn't the solution. Getting the FCC after the cable company is.
  4. eztider

    eztider New Member

    Sep 3, 2004
    Well, I posted somewhere here (hard to find my way around to my original post) about my replacement Tivo Premiere and the CableCard fiasco. In a nutshell, I ordered a Premiere from Tivo to replace my Tivo HD. Time Warner (Southern California) needed to take the two single stream cards from the HD and put a new M-card into the Premiere. After two days of failed attempts to get my HD channels I posted my experience here. That was Monday.

    Today I got a different tech. The first tech insisted I had to have the tuning adapter, and installed same on Monday. After multiple failed attempts between the second tech and the guy in the TW office "who really knows what he's doing", the tech removed the tuning adapter (and installed yet another new M-card). It still took a couple more attempts but suddenly, this afternoon, voila! I have all the channels I had before. Now I don't really care for the Premiere but at least it's working now and I can customize it to something bearable. I should mention I don't subscribe to premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and the like. If I have to hang another box on my system it just isn't worth it to me.

    Judging from the scuttlebutt I overheard between the tech and the guy on the other end of the phone, I guess the tuning adapter regime isn't "live" yet, so I'm going to hold off installing the tuning adapter until I absolutely have to. In the meantime I feel it's prudent to keep my options open. I'm disappointed that Tivo isn't easier to set up and, as mentioned, I feel the Premiere is a step backward instead of an improvement. I really wish Apple would buy this company so we can get time shifting done right, with equipment that just works, right out of the box. In the meantime, hang in there and don't let them get to you.
  5. eztider

    eztider New Member

    Sep 3, 2004


    I want to mention that, the first TW tech who tried to install my CableCard hadn't done an installation in at least a year, and the cards he had on his truck had been there for a year. The second tech said his last installation was about three months ago. They just don't do a lot of these, and if anything changes between installs --- Tivo releases a new model, the cards change, etc. --- they just don't get trained to handle them.
  6. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

    Nov 17, 1999
    Living in a...
    Be sure to register a complaint about your experience with the FCC. New regulations require that cable companies provide a means to tune all scheduled programming that you can get on their boxes. It's only difficult because cable companies don't really care whether it works or not.

    The FCC has threatened to watch consumer complaints about cable cards and tuning adapters closely so it's important that they see what consumers are really experiencing.
  7. brewman

    brewman Member

    Jun 28, 2003
    I have an S3 and two HD's and experienced similar tuning issues when Charter in Gwinnett County, GA turned on SDV. The first couple months with the tuning adapters resulted in a spate of shows that didn't record along with complaints from wife and kids. Over the last few weeks it appears (fingers crossed) that Charter may have resolved the issues, because things finally seem to be working correctly.

    Of course, that's only until Charter breaks things again as they've done in the past.

    I can't speak to other cable companies, but I don't think it's a deliberate attempt by Charter to sabotage 3rd party devices, but just a lack of training and technical expertise on the part of the people that maintain the head-ends.

    FWIW, I just bought a Premiere and am having the cable card and TA installed today - wish me luck.
  8. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Good luck with that! You guys have a lot more faith in the power and intentions of the FCC than I do. Even if they made Tuning Adapters one of their high priority issues, they don't have the horsepower to do the massive investigation and enforcement it would take to fix it.

    And it's not like I haven't tried -- see **this thread**.

    I agree we must communicate our concerns with the FCC but in this particular case it's way too late to do any good. Making cable cos show love for TA's is like making water run uphill and that's way beyond the power of the FCC.

    Finding a solution that doesn't depend on TA's is now the only practical recourse, as the OP has done.
  9. BruceShultes

    BruceShultes Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Albany, NY
    In my area, TW did such a bad job of installing and supporting TA's that I dropped them and switched to DirecTV about six months after the TA's came out.

    I have still been using my S3 and Premiere XL for OTA since then.

    My S3 gave up the ghost last week. It started to boot about every 15 minutes, so I ordered a HD XL from weaknees.

    This monday I am supposed to have FIOS TV installed. Hopefully, both the HD XL and Premiere XL will receive everything from FIOS.
  10. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    Apr 2, 2001

    My experience with Time Warner and SDV has been pretty good, actually. To be honest, I'm surprised. Based on everything I always heard, I was prepared for the worst. But I gotta be fair. My stuff basically works. (FTW, they have me on a Motorolla SDV box up here in in Dallas)
  11. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    As someone else said, complain to the FCC.

    But why don't you use your Tivo *WITH CABLECARDS* but without the Tuning adapter, to at least get MOST of the positive experience? Then you'll get something that "just works", and only have to deal with the bad DVR for tuning adapter channels?
  12. NJ_HB


    Mar 21, 2007
    I decided it wasn't worth having the TA when it started re-booting randomly and I would miss shows. I removed it from the TiVo, unchecked those channels from the channel list and never looked back. If more channels start going to SDV then I may have to go the way of the OP.
  13. bluelinex

    bluelinex Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    I don't know about Time Warner in other parts of the country but here on Staten Island they don't fool around. FIOS has been here for almost 4 years & the compition between them is unreal. That's a good thing for us. I have an S3 with two cable cards & a tuning adapter & it has works perfectly for years. That's not to say that something can't go wrong but so far so good. They have only a few repair men that install cable cards so they know what they are doing. When I had to have my S3 sreviced it took him 20 min in & out to reinstall the cards. The only thing I didn't like is the 29$$ servic fee but I love my Tivo so I pay. If you guys can get FIOS switch, if not I think when it comes things may change. Good luck.
  14. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    it is never too late and why be defeatist after saying we must communicate with the FCC? The FCC has the power to do away with Tuning adapters/SDV altogether if they want to. They are currently looking at better solutions and many consumer electronic companies are chiming in. Once a solution that is simple for consumers is in place the CE companies know they have a new market so there is indeed a lot of momentum for something better.
    if we all stay silent and just rant in forums instead though, the FCC has nothing to indicate the real scope of the problem, even if individual issues are not fixed due to the complaint
  15. TolloNodre

    TolloNodre En Fuego

    Nov 3, 2007
    Time shifting done right?

    Is this the same Apple who's cell phone can't handle the daylight savings switch for three years running now?

    No thanks...
  16. timckelley

    timckelley run of the mill TCFer

    Oct 15, 2002
    I have time Warner Austin, and a TiVo hd, and the tech did take quite a few hours getting everything installed. He did put in a tuning adapter, which I just assumed was necessary. It's all worked perfectly though and has never given me problems.

    Now I'm considering getting my wife a TiVo premier, so I'm guessing they'll want to install a second tuning adapter. Hopefully there's not a fee for using 2 adapters.
  17. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

    Nov 17, 1999
    Living in a...
    I don't agree that it's too late. Well, perhaps for this specific poster. But the FCC is going to be continuously revisiting the success of the current rules as the Cable industry tries to dismantle the integration ban and fight the Allvid initiative.

    Part of the problem that we've seen in the rulemaking process is that there was no established place for consumers to complain about problems with cable card or tuning adapters. So the cable industry claimed that everything was fine and TiVo was left quoting forum complaints to prove otherwise. Now that there's a specific place to complain, we should urge everyone to use it.

    The only chance that things will ever improve is if consumers who don't have reliable reception of all digital channels complain to the FCC in numbers great enough to get their attention.
  18. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    I agree with both of you and I'm not being "defeatist" in general. My point was that as a practical immediate solution for someone having TA problems now, complaining to the FCC will be about as effective as (to paraphrase another astute statement of Del Griffith) ".. playing pick-up-sticks with our butt cheeks". I can confidently predict that nothing the FCC does will ever improve the performance of your TA or make your cable co support it better.
  19. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    The FCC should independently verify that the tuning adapters and cable cards are functional for every cable provider. Every time an issue is discovered for a cable provider, the FCC should force the cable provider to issue a prorated refund to all customers using cable cards and tuning adapters every month until the issue is resolved.
  20. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    Thus my bolded point about " even if individual issues are not fixed due to the complaint" which I think is more important to emphasize.
    The idea of letting the FCC know is not because they will send a tech right over, but because the FCC is in the midst of deciding on how to reshape the rules and requirements and needs to get consumer input on how things are going.

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