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Digital cable? - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
Digital cable?
Anybody on my friends list know anything about digital cable? I've got a local digital cable provider (TVMax). They include a digital cable box in their subscription package, but it's really awful. In particular, sometimes the TiVo can't get the channel to change using the IR transmitter, and it won't accept a direct serial input. It's a GE digital cable box.

I called TVMax this morning, and they tell me I'm out of luck. I have the latest version of the box, and they're "working on" a new type of box that takes the serial input, but can't give me an ETA. They don't have Cable Cards (although I thought they were federally required to have them), so upgrading the TiVo won't help. I can't change cable companies.

But I see lots of places online that sell digital cable boxes, many of them by reputable manufacturers. Several of the boxes I looked at had statements like "This chip contains a digital receiver compatible with North American digital cable and digital terrestrial broadcast television standards". However, when I asked TVMax if I could just go out and buy my own box, they told me it "wouldn't be compatible" with their service. I don't see how this could be, because there's got to be a standard, and if they're giving out GE boxes, I have to assume they're following the standard and not wrapping their own. They didn't say "If you buy your own box, your violating our TOS" or anything like that, they just said it wouldn't work.

Am I right? Can I just go buy a new box and hook it up? If I bought one with a return guarantee, the worst that would happen would be that it wouldn't work, right? I'm not likely to blow up the entire neighborhood's cable service, I don't think. And if it did work, how would it benefit TVMax to tell me it wouldn't?

I'm confused.

Current Mood: busy busy

3 comments or Leave a comment
(Deleted comment)
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: March 7th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I sent in a complaint. And having to authorize a MAC address makes perfect sense.

Maybe it's time for a dish.
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: March 7th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I bet if you pester them enough, they'll do whatever is needed to support CableCARD (I'm not familiar with it - when I lived in League City, I had Time Warner cable and it didn't even have a box, it plugged straight into my TV. Not that I cared, I only got cable access for broadband)

I suspect it's more a case of 'clueless CSR with a script' than what they will actually support. Unfortunately, dealing with big companies is like this - support is set up for the lowest common denominator by the lowest common denominator. Communications companies in the US (ironically) have the worst customer communication and customer service of any kind of company I've encountered. They are even below Texas New Mexico power for terrible customer service :/
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 7th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Cable boxes are like branded cell phones; where the box may meet industry standards but than the company has the box flashed with their codes onto the chip. scthea
3 comments or Leave a comment