Last Thursday I blogged about my phone conversation with Time Warner Cable and how I setup an appointment to get two CableCARDs installed in my Series 3 TiVo. Well, my appointment was yesterday and after two hours of dealing with Time Warner’s incompetence, I am happy to say that I now have two CableCARDs installed and working in my Series 3 TiVo. Before I get into any more detail about the installation, I’d like to make it clear that the issues I encountered, had nothing to do with my S3 TiVo. All of the problems I had, stemmed from the fact that the Time Warner Cable (TWC) reps that I worked with had no clue about CableCARDs and how to install them. If the TWC reps were more capable, it would have only taken a couple of minutes to get both cards installed. I’m not trying make a blanket statement that all TWC employees are bad. Instead, all I’m trying to say is that the individuals that I had to work with didn’t know how to install a CableCARD and get it working properly.
My appointment was scheduled for 12-5PM however, around 11:15AM my wife called me at work to let me know that the TWC installer was at our house (45 minutes early). Since I expected there to be a problem, I left work to go home. While on the way home, my wife called me and told me that the rep asked if the TV could be removed from its wall mount so that he could install the cards. I told my wife that it wasn’t necessary and that I would be home shortly. Along with this comment, the rep also mentioned to my wife that he “hates this kind of job”. I’m not sure what that means. Maybe it is because he didn’t know what he was doing and TWC should get him some training?
When I arrived home, I was surprised to see that the console table that holds my electronic devices had been moved. There really wasn’t a need for the rep to move it but I didn’t say anything because I could tell that the rep was confused. Right from the get go, the rep was puzzled as to why I needed two CableCARDs, I explained it to him why I need two cards and he went ahead and got another card out of his truck. I gave the rep the instructions (PDF) that are included with all Series 3 TiVos and the rep proceeded to install each of the cards.
I can’t even tell you how many times the rep popped each of the cards in and out of my TiVo. Each time he did, he seemed to be hoping that something would magically start to work. In the end, the problem had to do with the fact that the agent that he spoke with, didn’t actually “activate” the second CableCARD. Until they activated the second card, I wasn’t able to get any high definition content on the second CableCARD. The entire time the rep was pretty much helpless. He wasn’t able to understand any of the diagnostic screens and I even had to help him troubleshoot the problem. On a number of occasions, I mentioned to the rep that he probably had to activate or pair the cards with my DVR. Maybe I should get a job with TWC. What do you think?
The entire experience really was a pain. Like I said before, the Series 3 worked just fine, all the problems that I encountered were the result of TWC not knowing how to install and configure their CableCARDs properly. Maybe the latest FCC mandate will force TWC to become smarter.
For whatever reason, my S3 TiVo doesn’t get all the channels that a standard TWC DVR receives. For example, I no longer am able to get A&E HD as well as ESPN2HD. I’m not sure if that is because the channels are switched digital or if it because of some other reason. Maybe somebody could shed some light on this? Along with A&E and ESPN2, I’m also not able to get any of the video on demand (VOD) content which I knew I wouldn’t get with a S3 due to the fact that the CableCARD 1.0 standard only supports one way communication.
Honestly, I really don’t care that I can’t get the content mentioned above. The S3 is so much better then a TWC DVR that I’m willing to give up VOD and some other channels for the sake of having the TiVo experience. If you’ve ever used a cable company DVR then you know what I am talking about. In actuality, I’m really not giving up a lot of content since my S3 allows me to record HD over the air using my antenna. Prior to the S3, I use to watch OTA content live.
I hope that this post doesn’t detract you from buying a Series 3 TiVo. In my opinion, the S3 is the best DVR on the market. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you awhile to get CableCARDs installed in your S3. It really is well worth it….