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Problems with Time Warner, free digital channels, and Tivo?
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henningspruth
Mueller Community

Posts: 488
Joined on October 20th, 2007
Problems with Time Warner, free digital channels, and Tivo?
by henningspruth on August 30th, 2009

I'm not sure if others have the same problem, but wanted to share this:

My TV setup consists of the neighborhood's $50 Time Warner deal and a Tivo HD. Even the "standard" cable package includes the broadcast TV station (CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS) in digital high def, on channels 1501 ... 1540. Tivo is aware of this and can record shows in high def.

That is, until some time around last week Thursday. Since then, the digital channels stay black (even though they work fine when the TV is hooked directly to the cable). More confusingly, after a Tivo channel scan, some of the digital programs show up with weird channel numbers like 83.21. I still can watch the digital programs, but since Tivo doesn't know about them I'd have to manually schedule any recordings.

A possible cause is that Time Warner has changed some of the information in the digital ATSC data stream which prevents Tivo from associating the "physical" channel (such as 83 subchannel 21) with the "symbolic" channel 1501. The thought has crossed my mind that this might be a subtle invitation to subscribe to TW's higher priced HDTV packages, or to at least rent a cablecard from them.

Another possible cause is that Tivo failed to update some of their local channel data.

My quick solution has been to spend $13 on Radio Shack's cheapest indoor antenna and connect it to Tivo. The network stations tune in fine, and even though they use weird channel numbers such as "7.2", Tivo recognizes them.

 
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kpwickham
Mueller Community

Posts: 22
Joined on August 31st, 2008
Problems with Time Warner, free digital channels, and Tivo?
by kpwickham on August 30th, 2009

I am also using my Tivo HD with the Time Warner package. For less than $3 /month extra, we rent a two-stream CableCard and tuning adapter (for switched digital channels) that allows us to get almost all of the digital channels and watch/record two different programs at once. It is a pain to pay a $3 bill every month, but we do get over 30 HD channels for chump change.

TW won't allow you to install the CableCard yourself, so you do have to schedule a time for a technician to come to your house. The installation should be free of charge. (According to Section 629 of the Telecommunication Act of 1996, cable companies must allow non-cable company devices free access to their network). One must only pay the ~$3 "rental fee" since the cable company owns the CableCard itself.

If you are interested, send me PM and I am more than happy to show anyone with/considering Tivo HD.
 
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Hellojustice
Mueller Community

Posts: 52
Joined on August 16th, 2008
Problems with Time Warner, free digital channels, and Tivo?
by Hellojustice on August 31st, 2009

I do not have TIVO but on Thursday I lost channels 1541, 1542 and 255 from my TW neighborhood package on my Sharp TV. My Panasonic did not lose the channels. I rescanned for channels on the Sharp on Saturday and it picked them backup. I think the signal strength for some reason was so low that the Sharp dropped the signals. Maybe your TIVO did the same.
 
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henningspruth
Mueller Community

Posts: 488
Joined on October 20th, 2007
Problems with Time Warner, free digital channels, and Tivo?
by henningspruth on August 31st, 2009

Thanks everybody for the information so far. It seems my current solution (using a small antenna for the free high definition channels) works. It's not that I can't afford $3/month for the cablecards, but I don't feel like rewarding TW's behavior.

By the way, here is an interesting quote from the Wikipedia page on QAM_tuner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QAM_tuner:

Quote:

Many cable providers offer little or no details about unencrypted QAM channels and often insist that a set top box from the cable company is required to watch any digital cable channels, including unencrypted channels. In some areas, QAM channels may move without notification and some channels may have odd numbering schemes. This sometimes makes watching QAM channels frustrating for the casual viewer, potentially encouraging them to purchase a "digital cable package" which includes a set top box and guide data.


Henning
 
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