TiVo Roamio Pro - Tuning Adapter Issue

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by ma91cs4d, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Jan 2, 2020

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    Hi all,

    I'm just about at my wits' end and am hoping someone can point me in the right direction. Over the last several weeks I've spent more time learning about Cisco tuning adapters than anyone should reasonably have to. After many hours of online research and troubleshooting, I'm seeing 2 issues on my tuning adapter which is preventing me from being able to tune any SDV channels.

    Issue #1: The tuning adapter only receives an RF IP address occasionally, if at all. In the 3 weeks I've had it, it's only received an address twice and it didn't last for long. As a result of this:
    Issue #2: The tuning adapter stays in "Read - B'cast Only" mode and isn't able to establish a DAVIC connection at the hub/headend.

    So far I've had two technicians come to my house to check signal levels, ingress, etc. Both times neither of them were able to find any issues. They were also (as expected) completely clueless about anything related to cable cards or tuning adapters.

    I've also had a replacement tuning adapter shipped out after Spectrum assumed the first one was defective. The new one connected and worked for about 3 hours, then rebooted itself and hasn't received an RF IP address since.

    At this point I have two questions I'm hoping you can help me answer.

    1) What can I do to escalate this issue internally at Spectrum? They no longer have a dedicated CableCard team so each rep has little to no knowledge about these things. I've spoken with several supervisors and their only solution is to send a technician out.

    2) Is there anything else I can try on my end to get this working more reliably? I'm a sysadmin by day and by my estimation, it appears there aren't enough available IP addresses in the pool and the TA is only able to receive one when another device's address lease expires. Obviously that's an internal issue at Spectrum, but if there are any additional reboot/reset methods I can try on my side I'm certainly open to it. If anyone needs or wants additional info from the diagnostics screens please let me know.

    I really want to keep cable and the TiVo, but if this continues much longer I'm going to have to throw in the towel and just go back to streaming.
     
  2. kad7777

    kad7777 Member

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    Mar 20, 2008
    Silly question, I know, but - do you have the cable coax split (with proper splitter), one cable then going to TA and the other to your Tivo? Then, of course, you need the usb connection between adapter and Tivo (which should be connected last, AFTER you know the tuning adapter has initialized with solid green light in front.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  3. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Jan 2, 2020
    Yes the coax for the TV setup goes to a two-way Antronix CMC2002H 5-1002Mhz splitter with one leg going to the TiVo and the other to the input of the tuning adapter. I've also tried the following connection methods and experienced the issue with no RF IP address.

    - Same two-way setup as above, but using an Antronix MMC1002H 5-1675Mhz splitter.
    - Same two-way setup as above, but using an CommScope SV-2G 5-1002Mhz splitter.
    - One way (Coax to the tuning adapter, then from the output of the tuning adapter into the TiVo.
    - One way (Moved the tuning adapter, TiVO, and a small TV to where the drop terminates into the house) and connected directly to the drop from Spectrum.
    - All 5 options listed above with a MoCA POE filter placed where the drop terminates into the house. I don't use MoCA but tested with the filter on to avoid any possible ingress from other subscribers.

    On your second question - Yes, each setup above was tested by making the coax connections and booting up the tuning adapter without the USB connected. Each time it follows it's normal boot process (slow flashing, quick flashing, solid green). Only after the light turns solid green was the USB connection made between the tuning adapter and the TiVo.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  4. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Dayton OH
    Disappointing, but not surprising, if Spectrum has finally shut down their national CableCARD/TA support desk, which was located in Buffalo NY and employed about 30 people (they told me). They inherited this from TWC and I was surprised they retained it as long as they did.

    Don’t know how much time you spend on this forum but complaints about Spectrum and TA’s are very numerous and seem to be growing lately. You should post your location so others in your region who have had similar problems can help you.

    I suffered with Spectrum/TWC cluelessness and poor support for my TA for ten years. The national desk was much better than local support but even they were far from perfect. Finally in November 2019 I cut the cord and am now a happy YouTube TV (YTTV) customer.

    How much prior experience do you have with Spectrum? In addition to their poor support for TA’s they were a real PITA in general when it came to fighting huge rate increases for cable TV, initially once a year then recently even more often. Their reps really try to jerk you around in these situations. I would advise you to seriously consider dropping Spectrum cable tv and going to streaming. The TA situation is just going to get worse. If your TiVo can tune OTA, and if your antenna reception is acceptable, you could use your TiVo for local stations. Or sell the TiVo on eBay. YTTV covers local broadcast stations pretty well now.
     
  5. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Jan 2, 2020

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    Yes I'm unfortunately all too aware of the endless issues many people experience with the tuning adapters. I'm located in Canton, OH in a legacy TWC area so Spectrum has been in the area for approximately 2 years. Generally speaking their customer service has been fine, but this particular situation is difficult because there is seemingly no escalation path for customer service reps and technicians when a technical anomaly occurs. Trying to relay anything technical to the customer service reps or field technicians falls on deaf ears because they simply do not understand terms like Forward Data Channel, QPSK modulation, DAVIC, etc. These are all things someone working at the hub or headend would know and be able to look into, but it's impossible reach them.

    I called and left a message this morning at the number I was given for the supervisor of the last technician that was here. Assuming that doesn't pan out, it sounds like my next move is going to be submitting a complaint to the FCC. Hopefully that will garner a response from someone in leadership that can reach out to the right people to help. If anyone else can recommend other agencies/organizations that may be able to pressure them please let me know. I'm happy to write as many letters as it takes.

    My parents also have a Tivo with the same model tuning adapter and have no issues whatsoever. I can reboot theirs over and over and it always gets an RF IP address. It is on a different Hub ID than what mine connects to, however.
     
  6. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    Makes me wonder what the DOCSIS and QAM Levels are, as reported by your Modem and TiVo. Does the T/A report that info, too?

    Are you using any MoCA? I've read that some T/A's can struggle with MoCA and (might) respond to a MoCA Filter at it's input.

    -KP
     
  7. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Jan 2, 2020
    See below for the signal levels from my Modem, TiVO, and Tuning adapter. I have tried with and without a MoCA POE filter on the tuning adapter with the same result. However, I don't use MoCA at all with my setup and it's disabled on the TiVO.

    Cable Modem
    Low End
    Frequency: 579.00 MHz
    Power: 0.10 dBmV
    SNR: 40.95 dB

    High End
    Frequency 759.00 MHz
    Power: -2.40 dBmV
    SNR: 38.98 dB

    TiVo
    Frequency: 129.00 MHz
    Signal Strength: 98%
    SNR: 39dB

    Frequency: 249.00 MHz
    Signal Strength: 100%
    SNR: 40dB

    Frequency: 771.00 MHz
    Signal Strength: 100%
    SNR: 41dB

    Tuning Adapter
    FDC
    Frequency: 75 MHz
    Level: -6 dBmV
    SNR: 34 dB

    RDC
    Frequency: 10.00 MHz
    Power: 41 dBmV

    QAM
    Frequency: 567.00 MHz
    Level: -2 dBmV
    SNR: 37 dB
     
  8. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

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    Jun 19, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    I don't use a Tuning Adapter, but your T/A signal is substantially lower than your TiVo signal and your SNR is a bit low, too.

    Any chance of rewiring to improve that T/A Signal level?

    -KP
     
  9. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Jan 2, 2020
    Funny story about that. I showed the diagnostic screen to the tech that shows the FDC details with the low SNR at 75MHz and his response was that “We don’t use 75MHz for anything and my meter won’t even measure that frequency.

    I’ve reconfigured the splitter configuration to have the drop cable connected directly to the tuning adapter previously and received the levels below. If there’s some kind of signal loss or ingress at that frequency, it’s up the line from me. Interestingly, my parent’s tuning adapter has the same SNR and will connect consistently when rebooting it.

    FDC
    Frequency: 75 MHz
    Level: -2 dBmV
    SNR: 34 dB
     
    dlfl and kpeters59 like this.
  10. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Sounds like that tech simply isn’t even aware of OOB signaling (out-of-band signaling, using FDC and RDC channels), which have to be used by ALL their cable TV equipment for SDV channel selection, as well as TA’s.

    None of your signal levels or SNR’s are out of spec enough to explain your problem. Your TiVo SNR’s are a little on the high side, indicating somewhat hot signals. (Strangely, hot signals in DVR diagnostics show up as high SNR’s.). I doubt this has anything to do with your problems but at some point it would be advisable to insert either inline attenuation (or a splitter) at the input to the TiVo. Supposedly, continuous hot signals can cause long term tuner damage according to TiVo support documents. Also extremely hot signals can cause momentary video drop-outs caused by protective tuner circuitry — although I don’t think your levels are that hot.

    You described Spectrum customer service as generally fine. I have to wonder what issues you base that on. Regardless of how good their customer service might be (for you, not me), they have raised their cable TV rates three times in the last 12 months. in March 2019 after one big increase, they essentially forced me to take their Gold service by offering it at a much better rate than the Silver service, which was all I wanted. Then in October 2019, another huge rate increase, and they would not negotiate any relief. At that point I initiated my contingency plan to switch my TiVo to OTA only and cut cable, and free-trial YouTube TV. In late November 2019 I called in to actually cut the cable and was subjected to a half hour of pleas and special offers trying to retain me, perhaps good enough if they had been offered back in October when the agent stiffed me. This is a common sleazy tactic they use — they won’t seriously negotiate until you actually request (not just threaten) dropping cable TV. Then just to add insult to injury I had to drive 20 miles each way to the nearest Spectrum store and wait in line an hour to turn in my TA and CableCARD. (The unreturned equipment charge for these items is about $150 — always get a receipt!)
     
    kpeters59 likes this.
  11. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    It seems like these days many of the field techs are only trained to fix basic in-home signal issues by replacing faulty connectors, splitters, amplifiers, etc. Many of the rudimentary cable terms I was using during our conversation seemed to have him scratching his head.

    If I end up getting this fixed I'll keep an eye on the signal power going to the TiVo. I have a few 3dB attenuators laying around and could add one to the TiVo's leg of the splitter. I actually have a really nice CommScope 9-port MoCa 0dB drop amplifier and a couple MoCa adapters that I'd like to implement if I can ever get this issue fixed. To eliminate any possibility of their technicians placing blame on any of my equipment, I've kept the setup as barebones as possible recently.

    As for their customer service, as I suspect most people have experienced, I've had both good and bad interactions. At the end of the day, the truth is that they don't have customer service. The same as with many companies nowadays, the idea that they care about your satisfaction is simply an illusion to remind you of how things once were. No one that works in these call centers gets paid enough to care that your channel 39 pixelates sometimes, or that your internet is slow, and they certainly have no incentive to learn about how cable systems actually work so they can help people more effectively. Every interaction is run through the same flow chart and gets the same predetermined responses and outcomes.

    As for the price increases, I feel your frustration. Who wants to pay more for the same thing? However, from a business standpoint I get it. Their operating costs never go down and ultimately their job is to answer to their shareholders. They know by increasing prices by 6% that most people will just shrug and accept it. The only weapon you have to combat that, as you mentioned, is to be willing to actually cancel your cable service. Any time I've called and been ready to cancel, they've found some kind of savings they can extend to me for a year. I make the same call every year and get the same ~$45-55/mo discount to stay. The good thing is, in today's world you actually have choices. You can go to Youtube TV, Sling, Hulu, etc and use their services instead. On the flip side, those services aren't immune to price increases either. Each of them went up by $5-$10 last year and I'm confident that as time goes on, content providers will continue squeezing them just like they do with the Cable TV companies. The real question is what's the next alternative? The streaming industry was largely born out of the high cost of Cable/Satellite services, but only becomes more fragmented by the day. Who can realistically be expected to have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, AppleTV+, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, HBO Now, and so on? Before you know it, you're right back to the Spectrum pricing model to get the content you want. Personally, assuming I can get the tuning adapter resolved, I'd rather make my one call every year and stick with cable & TiVo.

    On a more positive note, I did get a call back from the last technician's supervisor this afternoon regarding the issue and he's reaching out to someone at the headend to have the issue researched internally. Fingers crossed.
     
  12. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Actually YTTV and (now gone) PSVue have already approached the cable TV model. I don’t see streaming TV as an antidote to the increasing costs of content. Nor do I see ala carte as the answer to that either. Ultimately the only thing that will limit the cost of content is how much consumers are willing to pay rather than do without.

    The cost increases Spectrum foisted on me over the last several years were more like 20% to 30% — not 6%. Up until this last year I was able to get the major reductions like you say by calling once a year and threatening to cut cable. However over the last year there were two increases and just threatening to cut didn’t work. Not only am I escaping that torture with streaming, but I can cut or switch providers easily. And I don’t have to power cycle a TA once a month to keep it running. Note that many TA users on this forum have their TA’s on timers to power-cycle them in the wee hours of every morning, or once a week.
     
  13. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Ouch. I can't say we've seen increases that high in my area, but I don't think you'd have to look hard to find anyone that thinks their cable bill is reasonable.

    At least for me, once my tuning adapter was booted up I didn't run into the issue that many others do with not getting an updated authorization date. I think that largely depends on the configuration at the headend or hub that services the area.

    On another note, I was working from home today and noticed my internet went down. A few minutes later a knock at the door revealed a Spectrum line maintenance technician. This guy actually knew what he was talking about and was able to confirm that this isn't a signal or equipment issue, but likely a staging or configuration issue at the hub or headend. He drove back to the office and grabbed a very basic DTA which he said is the only other device they have which still uses the 75 Mhz band for FDC. After booting up it was able to receive an IP address and tune SDV channels without issue. He also mentioned that 75 Mhz (at least in my area) is one of the few bands they still broadcast as an analog signal so the slightly lower than ideal signal and SNR levels aren't an issue.

    He's following up tomorrow with the supervisor I've been working with and a hub engineer to have the configuration reviewed to see if that's where the issue lies. Still not working, but we're one step closer. Until next time...
     
  14. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    BTW the reason many people have to frequently power-cycle their TA's isn't that they haven't received an updated authorization date, although that can also be a problem. For the first year I had a TA I had to call in every month to get a new authorization update. The need for power-cycling is something mysterious that has never been discovered, or at least never revealed by whoever knows it.
     
  15. ma91cs4d

    ma91cs4d New Member

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    Just wanted to drop in and post an update on the tuning adapter issue. It's taken about 2 months, but the problem has been resolved. In this case, the issue was being caused by noise in the return path at 10.000Mhz between the hub and node. Since that has been cleaned up, the tuning adapter is able to communicate properly and receive an IP address reliably. Thanks to everyone that weighed in with suggestions.
     
    kpeters59 likes this.

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