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His master's voice
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Like many of you, over the past couple of months, I have been getting phone calls, emails and letters from Spectrum, telling me that my cable card would not be compatible with future network upgrades. Spectrum was offering either a receiver (free for the first 24 months) or 50% off an Apple TV. The letter was supposedly from Kathleen Griffin, the VP of Marketing Communications. This might be a generic name, much like Betty Crocker or Ronald MacDonald.

I was too busy to do anything about this, but this week I decided I'd better look into the situation. What a mess!

On Tuesday (8/9/22) I called the toll-free number in the letter. The number (866-532-2598) turns out to be the Spectrum cable card support line. Initially I was connected with some guy who did not know much about cable cards or TIVO or this program, so he handed me over to a woman named Star in the billing department. I explained that I had a TIVO with a cable card, and that since the cards were not going to work in the future, what I needed was a box that would go between the cable line and the TIVO that would perform the function of the card. Star did not know anything about this; as a matter of fact, this was the first call she had ever received about this program. She talked to a supervisor, who then talked to another supervisor. Nobody could figure this out. I was on hold several times. After about an hour, Star said they would sort it out and send me what I needed. The receiver would indeed be free for the first 24 months, then $8.99 per month after that. And if I had any problems, I could call back to the billing department and ask specifically for her. Yeah, right.

The next day (9/10/22) I received a big box from Spectrum. What did it contain? Not one, but two Spectrum DVR units. One was a Motorola DCX3501-M. The other was a Motorola DCX3510-M ; both were labeled as being HD Dual Tuner DVR units. These DVRs were obviously used, since they were scratched and dented. And here's the odd thing: both contained cable cards. The 3510 had a grill top through which I could actually see the cable card. The back plane of each unit had a slot identified a “M-Card Device Only.”

I did not need – or want – a DVR, so I called back to Spectrum. Talked to 3 different people. (I tried getting to Star in the billing department, but I was informed that there was no way to contact a specific individual. Of course.)

The third person I talked to really gave me the run-around. When I asked about the fact that these units actually had cable cards, at first he denied that they did. Then he said that the units would work without the cable cards. Then he said that the cable cards would work with their equipment only. He said he could send me a receiver, but he could not guarantee that the unit would have a coaxial cable out connection. He suggested that I visit my local Spectrum store; I think he just wanted to get me off the phone. Oh, and you must make the channel selection on the receiver, not on the TIVO DVR. This obviously would not work.

I remember with my model 2 TIVO, there was a jerry-rigged capability of hooking up a pair of infra-red lights controlled by the TIVO to change the channel on my set-top box. Are we back to that?

After 2 hours on the phone with Spectrum and 3 different people, I got disconnected. I cannot find an email address for Spectrum support. I suppose if I go to my local store, I won't get disconnected. But what are the chances of some local clerk being able to address the problem?

What are my choices at this point? Continue to try to work with Spectrum to solve the problem? Go with ATT? Ditch cable and just go OTA? Simply go through Internet?

In case you ever need it, here is a website with the manuals for all of Spectrum's receivers and DVR units: Spectrum.net
 

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Your only option with TiVo is cable card or OTA. There is no such thing a a box that goes in between that can decode and feed video to your TiVo. So Star was correct to be puzzled by your proposal and send you the thing that actually does work.

You are correct that Spectrum DVRs also have a card and that your TiVo should continue working as long as their own boxes do.

Personally, I would sell the TiVos, cancel Spectrum and get YouTube TV. Why give Spectrum your business if they won’t support your equipment.
 

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His master's voice
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Per Spectrum's site, I need to obtain an authorization to return the two DVR units. But, when I called Spectrum, they said that all I need to do is box up the units and take them to my nearest UPS store. Be sure to get a receipt

The woman I spoke to was very forthcoming. I asked about the warning that cable cards would no longer work at some future time. Yes, she confirmed that. Then why do the two DVR units have cable cards? It's not that cable cards per se will no longer work; Spectrum will continue to support cable cards that are installed in THEIR DVRs. But, at some time in the future, they will not support cards that are installed in TIVO units. So, I can continue using my TIVO and my existing cable card as long as the cable card works. At some time in the future, if the cable card stops working, then Spectrum can / will decline to replace it. The FCC requirement to support cable cards in 3rd party units has been rescinded. So this whole issue is about marketing. They want you to use their DVR units, rather than 3rd party units.
 

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His master's voice
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Personally, I would sell the TiVos, cancel Spectrum and get YouTube TV. Why give Spectrum your business if they won’t support your equipment.
As you suggest, maybe the time is right for a server-based solution, rather than a client-based one. Our TIVO boxes at home have provided successful client-based solutions for years. Has anyone tried the TIVO Stream-4k media streamer?
 

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As you suggest, maybe the time is right for a server-based solution, rather than a client-based one. Our TIVO boxes at home have provided successful client-based solutions for years. Has anyone tried the TIVO Stream-4k media streamer?
The Stream 4k is just another streaming stick, no Tivo functionality whatsoever aside from the poorly executed streaming aggregator front end they attempted to build. On the plus side, I think they're about $15 on clearance at Walmart, if they have any left. I think a more mainstream streaming stick with hope for future updates would be a better move, i.e., Apple, Amazon, Roku, Google, etc., even though they cost a little more.

I was also sad to leave my old friend Tivo as well. But cable card is essentially dead, and there is no replacement. You really have no choice but to move on if you want to DVR cable channels. I moved to streaming years ago simply because cable TV got too expensive. It's been a little bumpy, but I've saved a ton of money. I still have one Tivo left as an OTA backup in case streaming gets too expensive (it's getting close to my limit).
 

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The Stream 4k is just another streaming stick, no Tivo functionality whatsoever aside from the poorly executed streaming aggregator front end they attempted to build. On the plus side, I think they're about $15 on clearance at Walmart, if they have any left. I think a more mainstream streaming stick with hope for future updates would be a better move, i.e., Apple, Amazon, Roku, Google, etc., even though they cost a little more.

I was also sad to leave my old friend Tivo as well. But cable card is essentially dead, and there is no replacement. You really have no choice but to move on if you want to DVR cable channels. I moved to streaming years ago simply because cable TV got too expensive. It's been a little bumpy, but I've saved a ton of money. I still have one Tivo left as an OTA backup in case streaming gets too expensive (it's getting close to my limit).
What internet service do you have?
What is the speed?
What is the cost?
 

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The Stream 4k is just another streaming stick, no Tivo functionality whatsoever aside from the poorly executed streaming aggregator front end they attempted to build. On the plus side, I think they're about $15 on clearance at Walmart, if they have any left. I think a more mainstream streaming stick with hope for future updates would be a better move, i.e., Apple, Amazon, Roku, Google, etc., even though they cost a little more.

I was also sad to leave my old friend Tivo as well. But cable card is essentially dead, and there is no replacement. You really have no choice but to move on if you want to DVR cable channels. I moved to streaming years ago simply because cable TV got too expensive. It's been a little bumpy, but I've saved a ton of money. I still have one Tivo left as an OTA backup in case streaming gets too expensive (it's getting close to my limit).
How is CC “essentially dead?

It’s still supported by Spectrum, VZ Fios, Comcast, Cox and others.
 

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What internet service do you have?
What is the speed?
What is the cost?
T-mobile at the moment, terrible speeds, but only $50/month. It’s sufficient for what I need. If slower internet was an option at an even lower cost, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. My YouTube TV is $55. Beauty of it is I can use it in 3-4 homes simultaneously, saving me and my family hundreds of dollars per month over all. If it were only me, I’d be satisfied with OTA only, which is free.
 

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T-mobile at the moment, terrible speeds, but only $50/month. It’s sufficient for what I need. If slower internet was an option at an even lower cost, I’d sign up in a heartbeat. My YouTube TV is $55. Beauty of it is I can use it in 3-4 homes simultaneously, saving me and my family hundreds of dollars per month over all. If it were only me, I’d be satisfied with OTA only, which is free.
Thanks for the info.
 

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His master's voice
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Ha Ha. Seven days later, my cable card stopped working. I called Spectrum. They said that cable cards do not work in my area any more. My conclusion is that they disabled my cable card and are refusing to reactivate it. My choices are ATT / Uverse or Satellite or YouTube TV. I will be able to keep Internet and Phone on Spectrum.

Now, the next day, I have installed YouTube TV and I am 95% happy with it.

I watched a movie on the Sundance Channel. There was one series of commercials, about 7 of them, 30 seconds each. I could not fast forward through the commercials, but that was the end of them.

There is more of a graphic / visual interface than TIVO, which is text based. The YTTV interface is more like Netflix or Prime.

YTTV can also run on its phone app, where there is a built-in button to cast to my TV, but I don't see the advantage of doing that. Maybe if I did not have a smart TV.

On YTTV you can have 6 legal accounts. This would be good for families. Since this is server / cloud based, it's good for folks who travel.

Since my TIVO Bolt acts as my downstream MoCA adapter, I should try running YouTube TV over WIFI. But I might need mesh distribution from the router for speed.

Have not figured out yet how to tell YouTube that I have Netflix and Prime. I have to exit from YTTV and then go to the TV hub.

The fast-forward in YTTV is in 15-second intervals through commercials.

Speed over Internet is fine. No stutters. Ethernet, not WIFI.
 

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Ha Ha. Seven days later, my cable card stopped working. I called Spectrum. They said that cable cards do not work in my area any more. My conclusion is that they disabled my cable card and are refusing to reactivate it. My choices are ATT / Uverse or Satellite or YouTube TV.

I will be able to keep Internet and Phone on Spectrum.
Why would you do that?
Especially if you can get ATT fiber optic internet; I got an offer of 300mbps internet for $55 @ month plus tax. With no contract.
Punish spectrum the only way you (we) can... drop them like a hot rock.
 

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Ha Ha. Seven days later, my cable card stopped working. I called Spectrum. They said that cable cards do not work in my area any more. My conclusion is that they disabled my cable card and are refusing to reactivate it. My choices are ATT / Uverse or Satellite or YouTube TV. I will be able to keep Internet and Phone on Spectrum.
Where is this?

Still not convinced it’s not a technical error.

Did they provide notice your services were changing? Are you being charged for the CC rental?

Surely we’d have heard from others if this was happening.
 

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Interesting random find on Reddit. (Unsure if this was some internal Spectrum comm or someone posting a pic of their bill. Feels like internal to Spectrum.)

At least in this one apartment complex in Austin, they'll be getting high split and "app-only TV" soon, if it hasn't happened already.

I have a promo through 5/17/2023, figure I'll ride that out, then transition completely over to YouTube TV. (I've found YTTV to be very good in many ways, but it just can't match up to having tuners filled with College Football on a Saturday afternoon!)

Font Writing Circle Paper Paper product
 

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His master's voice
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Where is this?

Still not convinced it’s not a technical error.

Did they provide notice your services were changing? Are you being charged for the CC rental?

Surely we’d have heard from others if this was happening.
Where: St. Louis MO
Technical error? No, I think it's all marketing.
Did they tell me? No. Am I being charged for the card? I guess I will find out on the next bill.
Have others had similar problems? Different parts of the country maybe. Maybe not everyone is on this blog.
 

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Where: St. Louis MO
Technical error? No, I think it's all marketing.
Did they tell me? No. Am I being charged for the card? I guess I will find out on the next bill.
Have others had similar problems? Different parts of the country maybe. Maybe not everyone is on this blog.
So they disabled your ability to view all television with no prior notice to official change notice to your billable services?

I don’t buy that.

I suspect a technical error occurred and the CSR you spoke you INCORRECTLY stated “CableCards no longer work”.

If an entire region was deactivated, there’d be other reports.
 

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The OP's problem could be as simple as a Cisco vs Motorola branded cable card, as the two brands are not interchangeable.

Went through that earlier this year. Went through several truck rolls before 99% of the problems were resolved.
One truck roll, the tech had a cable card, but it was a cisco. He said this card will not work in this area. So he left.
The next guy had a Motorola card and got it working.

Context: the above problem started after replacing a failed HDD in a S3 model 648250. Which uses 2 cable cards.
 

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Ha Ha. Seven days later, my cable card stopped working. I called Spectrum. They said that cable cards do not work in my area any more. My conclusion is that they disabled my cable card and are refusing to reactivate it. My choices are ATT / Uverse or Satellite or YouTube TV. I will be able to keep Internet and Phone on Spectrum.

Now, the next day, I have installed YouTube TV and I am 95% happy with it.

I watched a movie on the Sundance Channel. There was one series of commercials, about 7 of them, 30 seconds each. I could not fast forward through the commercials, but that was the end of them.

There is more of a graphic / visual interface than TIVO, which is text based. The YTTV interface is more like Netflix or Prime.

YTTV can also run on its phone app, where there is a built-in button to cast to my TV, but I don't see the advantage of doing that. Maybe if I did not have a smart TV.

On YTTV you can have 6 legal accounts. This would be good for families. Since this is server / cloud based, it's good for folks who travel.

Since my TIVO Bolt acts as my downstream MoCA adapter, I should try running YouTube TV over WIFI. But I might need mesh distribution from the router for speed.

Have not figured out yet how to tell YouTube that I have Netflix and Prime. I have to exit from YTTV and then go to the TV hub.

The fast-forward in YTTV is in 15-second intervals through commercials.

Speed over Internet is fine. No stutters. Ethernet, not WIFI.
You can no longer order U-verse Cable TV. If you get AT&T TV service, it can only be DIRECTV or DIRECTV Stream
 
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