Thank you for less than nothing, TWC…

The TimeWarner Cable guy arrived around mid-day. Nice guy, we chatted amicably. One of the early things he told me was “I’ve never installed Cable Cards before”. Apparently he had no training on them either. In the back of my mind I couldn’t help thinking “boy, I’m glad they charged me $40 to have him install them instead of me”.

Apparently he’d never used a TiVo before. That’s fair enough, he’s a cable guy. I gave him the “Give to the installer” sheet that comes with the TiVo XL HD. He skimmed it, but having had no training in CableCard, it was greek to him.

The first anomaly that gave me concern: There are two types of CableCard. Single- or Multi-Stream. The TiVo instructions clearly state that to record two channels at once, you need two streams – so either two S-Cards or one M-Card. He’d arrived with two M-Cards and proceeded to assume they handled different groups of channels. Despite the TiVo saying “Hey, you’ve inserted two M-Cards, I’m not gonna use the second one ever. Please take it out”.

Then, mid way during the install; he removed one of the cards. Immediately the TiVo complained “you just took card #1 out, this isn’t a good thing. I don’t want to use card #2”.

He then proceeded to swap the cards around, and during the registration process he may or may not have given the wrong numbers to the cable company.

After some fiddling around, we had a picture on screen. Oddly, it was SD and letterboxed. He was about to leave, but I asked him to try another channel. For some reason I went for Spike (Ch #32).

No picture.

We faffed for a bit and finally he wrote his number on the contract and asked me to call him if it didn’t start having picture in an hour or so.

I gave it an hour, and decided to re-run guided setup. Still no picture on most channels. I started noticing it was the (720p) channels.

So I plugged the HD antenna in and re-ran guided setup telling it to use both antenna and cable.

After it had completed, yet again, no picture on #32. When I go to channel #8 (cbl) I get an SD picture in letterbox. If I go up to 8-1 (ant) I get a nice, stunning, HD picture – from the antenna.

So I called him, and he told me to wait for another engineer to call me shortly.

3 hours later, no call.

So I called TWC, got asked a bunch of questions I didn’t have answers to, and then got hung up on. I got the info they’d asked for, and called back. This time I got walked through a bunch of tests, and finally the guy said “your box isn’t talking to us, we’ll send an engineer in the morning”.


At least they aren’t charging me for that. But I’m guessing he’ll turn up without additional M-Cards and the two already in my box will be dud no because they’re mis-paired.

Meanwhile, “Rockband Beatles” and “Video Catnip” are sexy as hell on my TV.

At least the cats can enjoy it.

But since my “upgrade” has rendered my cable virtually defunct for now, $40 got me a definite downgrade… :(  i.e: less than nothing.


Yeah I wound up dumping the horrible TWC DVR and getting an HD TiVO, luckily the CableCards worked without too much hassle. You may also need an SDV converter as well for some channels. It is pretty ridiculous how complicated it’s getting. Thought about switching over to ATT cable, but that’s another set of hassles, TiVO doesn’t work with it apparently, so I’d be stuck with ATT’s DVR of unknown quality. Although if TWC ever puts those ridiculous Internet bandwidth caps in place like they were considering, I’ll change regardless just on principle.

Engineer came this morning and went thru a bunch of stuff; he took one of the M-Cards away and got the engineering dept to correct the numbers on the other. Works fine now – although I can’t see a HD version of Syfy?

– Oliver

Did they also hook up a SDV tuning adapter? Did you ask about that? HD Syfy might be on one of those switched digital channels.

No; I guess I’ll have to ask ’em.

What a disgrace.

For him to leave with basically nothing working and not having a clue about the setup is pretty poor.

I got them to install my Sky HD box and he knew his stuff got it sorted and tested the HD channels before he left. Love it now.

Anyway at least your getting there :)

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