Warning for Suddenlink customer considering Tivo/CableCards in 2020

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by wendlan, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. wendlan

    wendlan Member

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    Apr 21, 2002

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    I've been a Tivo and Suddenlink customer since 2001, and have used CableCards for over 10 years of that. Every few years when setting up a new Tivo or after a failed hard drive - you have to call tech support, and perhaps after a few false starts or multiple calls, you'll get the card paired. Maybe that particular support tech was a bit unfamiliar or mistyped the numbers, but you could make progress.

    However, a few years ago, Suddenlink was purchased by Altice, and this was my first call to what is now Altice with a fresh Tivo. This was a completely different and frustrating experience. All support appears to be routed to an overseas call center - fine, I work with remote folks daily. But over three days, I talked to six different people, including several over chat. Basically - no one has any idea what I was talking about or asking regarding CableCards! It's not that they were unsure - only one even knew what a CableCard was, and there was long stretches on hold and being asked to repeat my problem.

    I firmly and repeatedly asked to be elevated to a supervisor or next level support, and was told multiple times that was only possible by them calling me back within 48 hours - but that never happened. Once service rep got angry because I was supposed to "activate the CableCard myself" because they had no involvement with customer owned equipment. Also, the voice support system had "I don't understand your question" for CableCard, and their online chat bot assume CableCard was a typo. And to get to each person was an average 15 minute wait on hold.

    I also tried going through "customer retention" to cancel - but it resulted in the same call center, and that person was able to give me the magic phone number to 2nd level support. Great, but it was actually to the Xfinity/Comcast CableCard support line, which is the wrong company!!! I was finally able to schedule a truck roll if I wanted, but it would be $75 because it was a "problem with my equipment", and they were doubtful he would be able to fix it, either. At this point, I decided that if they couldn't even support getting it setup, I would have no confidence in them being able to keep it functional. I am bailing and going full-time to YoutubeTV/Philo.

    Yes, I could have tried the truck roll, filed a FCC complaint, or attempted to contact their executive leadership. But as Suddenlink seems to have gone from it's historic "not great" to terrible with 100% offshore support under its new management, Tivo/Rovi is no longer stellar, and IP-based delivery is imminent - I'm out. In short, it shouldn't be this hard to spend $100/month to use their product.

    I'm sharing all of this not because I'm looking for a solution anymore, but if someone has Suddenlink/Altice - heads up that you're probably going to have a very difficult time getting a Tivo activated.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2020
    Hank and osu1991 like this.
  2. seaninde

    seaninde Active Member

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    Never heard of Suddenlink. What is it?
     
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
  4. wendlan

    wendlan Member

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    Just to save a click, they're a smaller cable company and ISP in the US. At least in Texas, they tend to serve cities with less than 150,000 people. Also a bit interesting is that Suddenlink used OEM Tivos as their DVR solution until they were bought by Altice - which is maybe another reason the support dropped off?

    Suddenlink Communications is an American telecommunications subsidiary of Altice USA which specializes in cable television, high-speed internet, broadband phone, home security and advertising. Prior to its acquisition by Altice, the company was the seventh largest cable operator with 1.5 million residential and 90,000 business subscribers. After Altice acquired Cablevision Systems Corporation (Cablevision) on November 30, 2016 Suddenlink was combined with Cablevision to become Altice's American division known as Altice USA. Together with Optimum, the service brand name used by Cablevision for its products, Altice USA became the United States' fourth largest cable operator with 4.6 million subscribers and the sixth largest pay tv service provider with 3.50 million subscribers.
     
  5. mattyro7878

    mattyro7878 Well-Known Member

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    You could have filed an FCC complaint as soon as you read the writing on the wall. It probably would have been satisfying to make them comply.
     
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  6. wendlan

    wendlan Member

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    LOL, true!

    As a final follow-up, I called today to cancel the service and after the third transfer up the chain and 30 minutes (apparently there is a department higher than customer retention?), I finally got someone who wasn't working from a script. This last person was quite nice, and he assured me that he could personally find someone to get it activated, and would credit me a month's service for my trouble (though even he didn't really know what a CableCARD was, but at least he had heard of them). I gave the feedback that they just need to provide some support path for activation, and he seemed genuinely open to hearing it. I cancelled anyway, as it shouldn't be this much trouble, and what happens the next time I need tech support?
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2020
  7. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    If your TiVo hardware has lifetime service on it, you should try to sell it on eBay while it still has some value left in it, before everyone else gives up on TiVo too.
     
    wendlan likes this.
  8. rondawes

    rondawes New Member

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    So I found this tread after just finished posting on another thread wondering if Suddenlink would be an option for me as I'm not happy with Spectrum pricing but am happy with the way they supported my cablecard request and am quite happy with my TiVo setup. I live in Wylie TX and it *appears* from the website that Suddenlink provides service to my address and supports Tivo. I'm wondering how they will service my address as it's a new development and the only infrastructure is owned by Spectrum. I guess I'll call and see what happens. Any further advice is certainly very welcome. Thanks
     
  9. wendlan

    wendlan Member

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    I'd say to call them to see if they actually service that address, as it's uncommon for two cable providers to service the same area (though not unheard of). In my opinion, I'd say to stay away from Suddenlink. Not just because of the cable card support, but that they are a smaller company and have always been technologically behind others (lagged by several years on cable internet and HD channels, for example) and have never seemed that competent or friendly on the phone or in person.
     
  10. riffjim4069

    riffjim4069 Member

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    We left Comcast heading to Texas the end of 2018. Everything was great in the place, with the exception of AT&T (not traditional cable) being the only provider in town. Their 1GB up/down internet was great, but I miss all the Tivo. Fast-forward to April 2020 and we ordered Suddenlink Internet/Cable. The area is contracted-out and installation nightmare took 6-weeks and nobody knew anything about Cablecards. The service works great...just as long as you never have to call Customer Service with goats and chickens in the background. True!

    We had another cablecard issue when we upgraded to a Edge (getting it activated and billing) so I didn't dick around and immediately filed a complaint with the FCC. I got someone from the Bethpage HQ (assume it's the former Cablevision site) to contact me and make things right. Sadly, we should be having such issues with Cablecards here in 2021 - it's like they're not part of company training, and they always want to know the serial number of the Tivo so they can start billing you for a Suddenlink DVR with total disregard that it's own equipment and we're merely leasing that cablecard. Ugh!

    Anyway, we also really miss that Tivo/Xfinity On Demand app we had with Comcast. We'll ride it out because we have a great price on Cable/internet...but don't have a lot of faith that Tivo will be supporting the individual consumer market after another 2-3 years. We shall see.
     
  11. kpascuch

    kpascuch New Member

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    Exactly what I did today. I have had ENOUGH! Suddenink is the company I am dealing with and after 10 hours on the phone and multiple techs, I still can't get my new Edge working. I hope the FCC gets them to call me!
     
  12. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    FWIW, that app was pulled from TiVo boxes some time ago.

    Xfinity VOD app
     
  13. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    It's worth a try but keep in mind that the FCC dropped the CableCARD rule last year. So cable companies like Suddenlink are no longer required by law to support CableCARDs. Among the larger operators, it seems like Altice (Optimum/Suddenlink) is the worst at supporting them any more (based on first-hand reports on this site and others).
     
  14. kpascuch

    kpascuch New Member

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    Thats for sure. What a nightmare this has been. Ridiculous. Thanks for the reply though. Much appreciated!
     
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  15. riffjim4069

    riffjim4069 Member

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    I received a call from Altice One/Optima/Suddenlink (whatever they're called) HQ a week after filing my FCC Complaint. She connected me to her tech in Bethpage NY and the cablecards were properly provisioned, and working, within minutes. For all disgruntled Suddenlink Cablecard Customers, call Chantel @ 631-846-5317 before or after filing your complaint.
     
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  16. riffjim4069

    riffjim4069 Member

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    I had no idea! Do you mean that Suddenlink could legally discontinue Cablecard support, thus bricking all my Tivos? Holy Crap!
     
  17. kpascuch

    kpascuch New Member

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    I agree. It took a complaint to the FCC to get a call from the Suddenlink/Optimum/Altice support people. They escalated it to the "Top Tier" and after a week of dealing with techs on the phone, with no luck at all, I finally got Maria at the number above. Within 24 hours my new Tivo Edge is up and running and I get ALL my channels. This is the direct email.
    cecrsdl@alticeusa.com
    Be sure to include the PK number and CableCard host ID you see on the black "CLEAR" screen that says you do not get that channel. She was excellent! Every channel works, so don't let them tell you that you do not get certain channels. Do not fall for the "WAIT 24 HOURS and it will be fixed" nonsense. I did that for 7 days with 7 different techs. Once done right, all channels load immediately. I love my Tivo Edge and am so happy it works. It's an Edge for Cable...Not OTA...Best of luck to all! Thanks for all the suggestions here on the Tivo Forum.
     
    NashGuy likes this.
  18. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, any cable TV operator could now legally stop issuing and supporting CableCARDs. If Suddenlink did that, it wouldn't brick your TiVo, it would just mean that it could no longer be used with that operator (but could still be used with a different one that continues to support CableCARDs, like Comcast).

    That said, I'm not aware of any cable operator that has officially discontinued support. What tends to happen (and this is especially true of Altice/Optimum/Suddenlink) is that there are fewer and fewer technical support folks who know anything about CableCARDs and can get them properly activated for you. Instead, you tend to run into reps who say that you can no longer use them, or who give you bad technical guidance.
     
    wendlan likes this.
  19. kpascuch

    kpascuch New Member

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    I had to put a complaint in to the FCC after 10 hours on the phone with Optimum/Altice/Suddenlink over the course of a weekend to no avail. Each time I was told it would rectify itself within 24 hours. Six different techs tried to help. Was disconnected twice after being on hold for over an hour each time. This is not true that we have to wait 24 hrs. When they get it right, it works immediately. I finally (after 10 days of trying) got the service I deserved because the FCC called Altice, and someone at Suddenlink figured it out, and it worked immediately after a restart. They have no plans of eliminating cablecards they tell me, so don't worry about it becoming a brick. The email to the person that finally got it working is CECRSDL@alticeusa.com . Her name is Maria Torres, and her direct line is (631)-846-5317 . Once my request for pairing got to her, it was fixed within minutes. I now get every single channel, and am extremely satisfied with my mew 2TB Tivo Edge for Cable. Good luck to all that are trying to get their cablecards paired!
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2021
    krkaufman likes this.

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