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· Cranky old novice
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Here is the transcript of my chat w/ Spectrum Support today:

Hello, thank you for reaching out to Spectrum. I see you have questions about hardware. Please give me a moment to review your information.
To get started, may I please verify your full address including zip code.
Michael *, 2036 DR NE, *, MN,
Thank you. One moment please while I search that address.
How can I help?
I have received 2 e-mails about cablecard support ending, but none say when, and it is unclear why I am receiving this information. Do you have more detail as to how long my cable card will continue to operate?
If you are receiving the email it could be just one mass email to inform everyone.
I will check your account to see if you have anything pertaining to a cable card.
well, the e-mail seems more of a marketing type e-mail than a service update, but it is cause for concern
Alright let's take a look.
I can assure you, if Spectrum removes support for Cable Cards, i will cease being a Spectrum customer and will get my internet from elsewhere, and use a streaming service.
I understand. One moment.
Alright so I see where you have a Tuning adaptor which may be the reason you received the email.
I have a tuning adapter and a cablecard
We have discontinued them and they will no longer be available.
I run a TiVo on Spectrum TV service, have for more than 20 years
Right tivo will be cable card.
currently, have a TiVo Roamio with a cable card
The little small box that piggy backs off of the big box will be the tuning adapter.
so, the question is, when will these mentioned "service updates" take place that will render my TiVo useless?
I am aware about what the hardware I have is, and what it does
The text of the e-mail i received says this:
Dear Spectrum Customer, As a reminder, you are currently paying a monthly fee for one or more CableCARDs. A CableCARD is a one-way card device - about the size of a credit card - that allows access to TV services. As we continue to upgrade our networks and technology, CableCARDs will not be compatible with future service upgrades for some time. We have other options for you to consider that will enhance your TV viewing experience, including providing you DVR functionality and access to thousands of Video On Demand options.
2:28 PM
so, I am asking, WHEN?
it is the most horribly worded message ever: "...CableCARDs will not be compatible with future service upgrades for some time."
what exactly does that mean?
One moment and I will provide you with a when the system will change over.
June 14 at 2:32 PM
Still looking into this for you, thank you for your patience.
would prefer a true and correct answer to a fast one, so no problem.
I definitely understand.
Alright one moment.
June 14 at 2:37 PM
Alright so from what I gather we are not cutting them off we are simply discontinuing the product. Meaning if you have one you may keep it until it no longer works but once it stops working we will not have the equipment to replace it.
Right, totally understand that, asking when you are cutting them off...
is it in a week, a month, a year, 2 years?
or will it just quit working one day and that is that?
They aren't cutting them off.
That is what I thought at first when I read the email but they aren't cutting them off they are discontinuing the equipment.
so, if the equipment quits working, then I am out of luck, but if it keeps working forever, then it will just keep working?
I kind of doubt it, I thought the network operator had to get rid of it to make way for the high bandwidth network improvements...so when you roll out the next level (high-split??) internet, that is when cablecards are going to hit the dumpster?
As weird as that sounds yes.
So think of it this way. If you have a cell phone from 2010 they are not going to automatically cut the phone off just because it is old.
But once that phone breaks you will have to upgrade because they would no longer make that model.
Ok, I believe that is what you were told, but I don't believe it is the truth..we will see I guess...net, its a warning across the bow, sometime in the future, it may not work, but we have no plans right now...
This information was posted on something equal to an attention board.
So if it is wrong that think all agents would be in trouble haha.
ok
A good example of chat support handling a situation not covered by a script. You can expend a lot of time for little reward that way!
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
Thank you for posting this. As usual, only people at the very top know (maybe), and they're not sharing. Very frustrating.

For those of you using OTA in the St Louis area, what have you had to do in terms of getting good reception? I have a Roamio which apparently does not work with an antenna, so I'm wondering if purchasing an OTA is the way to go. I don't necessarily want to have an antenna installed on the roof in the backyard. However, I love the functionality of TiVo and hate to lose it.
The base model (4 tuner) Roamio can be configured to receive OTA. 6-tuner models can’t.
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
When that happens, it's almost always because the cableco has changed the routing table for Switched Digital Video channels, and the TA is not aware of the changes. They used to send a reboot signal to TAs when they changed the table, but that stopped about three years go.

Happens here 2 or 3 times a year. The fix has always been to unplug the power to the TA for 30 seconds, the reapply power. When the TA connects back to 'mom' (the yellow light stops flashing and becomes solid - anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour) it will have the new table and all the channels you're paying for will reappear.

If after an hour you can't get a solid yellow light, unplug the TA power and try again.
Good advice. With yellow light I think you are referring to a Motorola TA, whereas the Cisco TA’s have green lights. I sometimes had to restart my TiVo after power-cycling the TA and things would not be right until DVR Diagnostics said “Channel List Received: Yes”. (I’m happy to say its been 2.5 yrs since I took my TA out in a field and shot it. :cool:)
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
Yeah, the Motorola TA is used in my area. I have never had to restart the TiVo after the TA came to its senses, nor have I ever seen that Channel List Received prompt. Once mine reconnects to 'mom', things just work again.

I have mixed feelings about cable cards (and thus TiVos) going away, but the TA has been a necessary evil from the start of its deployment and I won't miss those at all.
Just to clarify: The “Channel List Received: Yes” is not a prompt. It’s just one item in DVR Diagnostics (i.e., you have to find it). I can’t remember exactly where it was. This was on a Roamio base (4 tuner) model.
 

· Cranky old novice
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Let’s hope the HSC experience will be better than the TA one. I used a TWC/Spectrum TA (1520 model) for 11 years (2009 - 2019) and they never got it right. For the first few years it would lose authorization every month, which required a phone call to get fixed. After that if would simply quit functioning every few weeks, requiring a power-cycle to fix, and usually restarting the TiVo also. Many people on this forum had to power-cycle much more often and even set up lamp timers to do it every day.
 

· Cranky old novice
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………. The tech who came to our house told me that high-split had been implemented here with no warning to them. He was unaware of the HSC possibility and had been telling other unhappy TiVo users that he couldn't help them.
……………..
Typically the techs know barely enough to handle the most mainstream issues (which excludes anything related to TiVo, Cable Card, TA and HSC). This is by design since doing better would require spending a lot more time/money training techs. And even with reasonable training, techs are going to forget things they only encounter extremely rarely in the field.
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
I'm in St. Louis and have a question. Before I just had split the cable and had one leg going to tuning adapter and the other going to Tivo. In the instructions for the high split tuning adapter they have the cable going through the tuning adapter to Tivo. Does it need to be done this way or can I just have a separate signal going to the tuning adapter?

Thanks!
Are you asking about the “old” type of TA or the “new” (HSC - “High split”) type? TA’s, at least the Cisco STA1520 ones, could always be configured either way (splitter or direct thru) and there was much debate on this forum about which way was better. IMO it made little difference but there were many who insisted the splitter configuration was best. I assume the HSC’s come with instructions and you should try that way first.

Have to admit I don’t have a dog in this fight. I cut cable 3+ yrs ago after enduring a TA for 10 yrs. I joyously took the TA out into a field and crushed it. (At least in my imagination).
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
Mine did that when the cable company had disabled/removed the TA on their end. Not a Tivo issue at all.
Survey says: Issues caused by
TiVo 0.01%
Cable System 99.98%
Flying Saucers 0.01%
Results of a rigorous scientific analysis conducted by me. For details PM me to arrange payment. :cool:
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
……. I don't like routing the signal through something else that could degrade it. ……..
[SMALL_POINT] Of course a splitter is something else that could degrade the signal, At a minimum it introduces at least 3 dB loss. It was my understanding that the STA1520 TA’s actually slightly amplified the signal (in the straight thru configuration). Granted, that amplification might be more likely to distort the signal than a passive splitter. [/SMALL_POINT]
 

· Cranky old novice
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9,541 Posts
Until someone does a proper tear down of the HSC(0)(1) one cannot be sure, but if I was designing the device I would have included a high-split HPF into the device to avoid the quite possible impacts to your TiVo (or other UDCP/OCUR tuner) from very common residential wiring topologies (even more so if the customer has chosen to use wally world "gold" splitters), of which none of the impacts may be seen until Charter actually enables the higher speed tiers with high-split enabled (at this point, Charter is mostly just doing the prep work that will allow them to move forward to the next steps at some future point).

Unless you strongly object to minimizing future failure modes (and will remember the recommendations and change appropriately if things go sideways at some future time), I would place the device inline as stated.


(0) And/or does a full spectrum analysis of the RF stream and decode of the signals sent, and that come out of the HSC (which may require your analyzer to be certified by CableLABs to obtain the required certs (which basically means very expensive commercial tools)).

(1) That may also require SMT rework tools to implement ICE tools and/or SPI/JTAG access to see what is actually being done (again, these tend to be very expensive commercial tools).
Wow, I’m suffering from acronym overload here.
HPF? OCUR? SMT? ICE? SPI/JTAG?
I thought I knew ICE (internal combustion engine) but that doesn’t seem right here.

Just as a favor to others suffering overload:
HPF = high pass filter
OCUR = OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver
ICE = in circuit emulation (?? 50 different meanings in IT context per acronymfinder.com)
According to acronymfinder.com:
SPI has 38 different meanings in the information technology context.
SMT has 18 different meanings in the information technology context
JTAG means Joint Test Action Group

The acronyms give an impression of expertise but I have to wonder what percentage of readers here are well served by them. I think what you’re saying in a few easily understood words is that the answer requires a more detailed engineering analysis using sophisticated tools — and that makes sense. There is of course another approach: try it both ways!
 

· Cranky old novice
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That was a bit of soup, but I don't think the expansions help. SMT is Surface Mount Technology; I'd probably have written "surface mount", the feeling of technology is gone when it's everywhere. ICE is indeed in-circuit emulation, SPI is Serial Peripheral Interface, and you got JTAG. The thing is, though, knowing what ICE expands to is only gives a small clue, and knowing what SPI and JTAG expand to tells you little without the right context. In this context, you'd use SPI and JTAG-based systems to read the contents of flash memory chips, at a minimum. JTAG might be usable to probe the processor, but only if the maker allows it (see below).

What they're saying is that a proper tear-down would require a high-quality setup for working with surface mount electronics (probably "BGAs" -- Ball Grid Array chips where all the pins are under the chip, and not just at the edges) and specialty hardware to interface to pick at what the microprocessors inside are running.

That said, I'd question how much insight ICE/SPI/JTAG would enable. It's all but guaranteed that the processors are running some sort of secure/verified boot setup that only permits code that has been cryptographically signed by the originators to run, and it's very possible that code is also encrypted as part of the setup. I'd also expect processor JTAG access to be disabled. In-circuit emulators, if they existed for the chips this box uses (it gets rarer and rarer to see available ICE), would probably require a discussion with the chip vendor. I'd doubt that off-the-shelf parts are used for most of this.
err …. thanks I guess! I’m an EE (that’s another acronym) myself, albeit an old one getting frayed around the edges and in need of a retread. So I understand some of this. But …. for the purposes of 99% of readers here, doesn’t this pretty much boil down to what I said before:
“ ….the answer requires a more detailed engineering analysis using sophisticated tools“ ?

I might be selling this forum short. Maybe more than 1% of members understand the technical details!
 
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