Observer

Two tuning adapters frequently fail at the same time

Hoping to hear from a community member re: a problem unresolvable by TWC service techs and CableCARD support. I apologize for the lengthy post but it captures the TWC customer experience.

 

Equipment:

Two TiVos. Each with an M-Card and TWC tuning adapter.
1) TiVo Premier XL, Cisco Cable Card PKM803, Cisco STA1520 tuning adapter
2) TiVo Bolt 1TB, Cisco Cable Card PKM803, Cisco STA1520 tuning adapter

 

Problem:

One or both TiVos periodically lose channels to the point where the TiVo stops communicating with the tuning adapters. When one TiVo starts with this problem, the other TiVo also starts losing channels. This happens almost immediately or within a few hours of each other. Resolution is to unplug the tuning adapters to reboot. Both the channels and communication with the TiVos are restored. I've tried just rebooting the TiVos and just unplugging the USB cables and the problem does not clear. Only rebooting the tuning adapter fixes the issue. Since the only common point in this setup is the cable itself, the most obvious source is the TWC cable network. Rebooting the tuning adapters, emphasis on plural, needs to occur anywhere from a couple of times a day to about once a month. I've also had TWC's automated system send a reboot signal. It temporarily resolves but no different than pulling the power plug

 

Interactions w/TWC customer service:

Multiple phone calls with a service tech and have had everything from bring both tuning adapters and cable cards to a service center for replacement, they're obviously broken to let me give you the CableCard 1-800 number to troubleshoot.

 

Tech visits:

Multiple home tech visits where a) I don't know how to spell TiVo, CableCard or tuning adapter, call the 1-800 number, I need to go to my next service call (or lunch), to b) you have a strong signal but I'll re-connectorize all of your cables because that might help. For the b)-type visit, I had to loan the tech pliers and a screwdriver to open the TWC box. Fortunately he had a wrench and a meter. "Strong signal" was never quantified with any sort of power level that I can report.

 

1-800 CableCard support:

Surprisingly, those calls I mostly got someone knowledgeable. They had me look at the forward and reverse data channel (FDC, RDC) power levels. My understanding is those are the carrier channels used by the tuning adapter to communicate with the TWC hub. The hub is a box in your neighborhood that converts from fiber to RF for the local neighborhood distribution of the switched digital video (SDV).

 

Levels are:

TiVo 1) FDC: -7dBmV, RDC: 42dBmV
TiVo 2) FDC: -6dBmV, RDC: 42dBmV

 

Unfortunately, on my most recent call to the 1-800 cable card support, the tech didn't know what good levels should be but I recall from a previous call about -5dBmV for the FDC was preferred. RDC of 42dBmV was a little high but indicative of the -7dBmv ingress level.

These numbers were after re-connectorization by the TWC tech visit. My FDC numbers improved by 1dBmV. 1dBmV is pretty trivial and it didn't help the with the tuning adapter needing reboots.

 

Splitter setup:

This setup was reviewed by a tech visit and his comment was it wasn't excessive. Although he didn't quantify with power levels.

 

1-3 splitter at the house entry
Leg 1) to TiVo/Tuning adapter. This was split by a 1-2. One side to the TiVo other to TA
Leg 2) to Tivo/Tuning adapter. This was split by a 1-2. One side to the TiVo other to TA
Leg 3) to cable modem.

 

I have attempted to use the passthrough on the tuning adapter to avoid the second 1-2 splitter but the TiVo forums mentioned issues with the Cisco adapters and the passthrough quality. I never found any improvement with the passthrough over the 1-2 split.

 

My 2 cents:

Since both tuning adapters fail at almost the same time, it's unlikely just the signal level. I've even walked from one TiVo to the other to see the same message on occasion.

 

Support from TWC directly vs asking a community member:

I'm pretty much certain that TWC has a note that says "let this customer leave" on my account. Ironically, I was on the phone with the CableCARD tech yesterday and a Spectrum monster commercial was playing on TV. He thought it was funny to.

 

One final note directed to any TWC employee who may respond to this post .... please don't start off with an apology. If I hear another "sorry about your experience" line from a TWC rep, I'll dig my own yard up for an AT&T fiber install Smiley Happy