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FAQ- Do I have a Sgnal Issue or a Box Issue? This List Will Help!



My cable experience shows that some reps and techs think that "Swap out the box" is a panacea for all cable TV problems, when the real problem is often a signal or drop line issue.  Users with issues, the box should be LAST thing that needs to be replaced.  Not the first!  The tech needs to check three things when there is a cable issue:


Check for signals, drop-line problems, wiring, and junction box issues first

1.) The signals going to all equipment in the home rented from Spectrum,  (boxes, modems, routers for Internet and phone.) Those should be checked first.


2.) The main drop line coming into your house can have weathering problems or other types of corrosion such as brittle wires or animal chews. This may need to be updated.


3.) The main junction box on your street providing cable to several homes in your area.  This may need to be updated.


A SWAPPED BOX WILL NEVER EVER SOLVE BAD SIGNAL ISSUES FROM ANY TV VENDOR!  Users with service calls scheduled should avoid resetting their box for at least six hours.  The same with modems and routers.  Resets also reset the error codes to zero.  And the tech needs to see the error codes to get readings.


A DVR is not a permanent storage archive.  Maintenance and software updates during the night from time to time may cause recordings to be lost.  If this is a recurring issue, we need to look at your signals, drop-line, and main junction box on the street first.  The cable box, should be the last resort of replacement, not the first!  Field techs often make it the first, because t takes the least amount of time to hook up a box and leave rather than do other tests for what is causing the real problem.


When SHOULD a cable box be replaced?

1.) Signals and line drop are good as confirmed by a tech visit.

2. Number 1 has been checked and the box does not boot after multiple attempts or keeps rebooting.

3.) The box makes a  clicking or loud humming sound, indicated hard drive failure.

4.) Customer has a box with an interface that is about 15 years old, like an SA or Motorola model and requests a faster box with newer more modern guide features and expanded DVR storage.


*Mods may want to pin this if it gets enough  views and for easy reference.




Re: FAQ- Do I have a Sgnal Issue or a Box Issue? This List Will Help!

There are no diagnostics in cable boxes to show errors that have occured or intermittent coax/outside plant interference/dropouts/errors.

A snapshot of the signal levels doesn't necessarily reflect what happenned 5 minutes ago.



If a customer has all sorts of video issues, they need to look at their modems error log to see if it's having issues at the same times. Resetting the modem clears out the error archives and is counterproductive to error analysis. Resetting cable boxes and dvr's does seem to clear internal errors but it too won't fix coaxial issues no matter what the people on the phone say.