Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lies from the cable company...

We have Media Com cable.  Those of you who have it also, especially in our area, know that yesterday, October 2, Media Com went digital.  If you have an analog TV that means without additional equipment, you will not be able to see any channel above 23.  Actually, it was channel 17 on my TV because channels above that are reserved for premium channels which we don't have.  My understanding of the change over was:  if you have a TV purchased in the last four years you would be good to go, no additional equipment necessary.  We have two analog TVs so I had to order two digital adapters to make sure those two TVs would get cable channels above channel 17 and while I was talking to the service rep at Media Com, I also ordered an HD cable box.  The regular cable box would be free, the HD cable box which comes with a year of all the Starz and Encore channels would be $7.95/month for a year.  I can only guess that it will go up a bunch when the year is up, our Media Com bill goes up several times a year.  But, we've grown to like the box and all the movie channels in Starz and Encore as well as TV on demand.  Unfortunately, I spend more time in my craft room on the top floor than I do in the family room with the big TV, so I really don't get as much use out of the new set up as my husband does.  He does the majority of his TV watching in the family room and has full control of the TV when I head for bed around eight pm.

My only beef with this whole process is I have a unique set up in my craft room.  I have a nice Samsung TV, a Panasonic DVD recorder, a Sony Blu Ray player, and a VHS player all hooked to my TV.  The reason I have all this equipment is:  1.  I spend a LOT of time in this room and like to 'listen' to TV - I don't watch it, I'm usually working, but it's like white noise, I miss it when it isn't there.  2.  I have been recording a lot of video tapes onto DVDs.  Which is why, sometimes, I don't watch, I just listen.  My TV has an incredible picture so when I do watch a movie, it's usually Blu Ray and I needed a player for that.  My DVR will play movies but the picture quality is not Blu Ray.  Yesterday, when the change happened, all of a sudden my DVR doesn't work anymore.  It's got an analog tuner.  Drats.

I spent the whole day yesterday researching articles on the web about DVRs and the digital switch that cable companies are doing.  Eventually, I found an article that said you need to hook your digital adapter to your DVR.  So, I stole one from one of our analog TVs and after doing that - and tuning the DVR to channel 3 - and tuning the TV to channel 3, the DVR both played and recorded, although the timer recordings will work differently.  The DVR must be tuned to 3, the TV tuned to 3 and the digital adapter set to the station you want to record.  The DVR will record channel 3 at the time you designate if you leave the digital adapter on and remember to leave it on the station you want to record.  But no matter how much I cursed, I could not get the VCR to work using a tape I recorded yesterday.  All I got was snow and the message that the AV signal could not be found.  I found a splitter and ran the cable signal through the splitter and to the VCR and the DVR - same result.  Back to the internet (wonderful thing, the internet) and research on the VCR player, downloaded the user manual, banged my head against my desk.  Then, I had an ephiphany ---- the tape I recorded yesterday was recorded during or after the change over to digital - the tape was actually snow and error messages.  I popped in a purchased VHS tape and it worked, all is well in my digital video world...

In all the literature and e-mails we received from Media Com, nowhere did they mention your VHS or DVR recorder wouldn't work - the young man who came and hooked up our cable box and digital adapters told us that they wouldn't work - he offered no fixes, didn't suggest we put an adapter on the VCR or DVR.  I expect that's because they want to rent you their DVR and our obsolete equipment is not their problem.  The VHS player we have in the analog TV - forget it - it will only work if you don't use the digital adapter and only up to channel 17 - so you can either record very few channels or watch a lot of channels and not record at all.  Now that I type this, I'm wondering if I put a digital adapter on the TV with the VCR inside, turn to channel 3, leave the adapter on tuned to the station I want to record, and then record channel 3 - that might actually work.  I imagine a whole lot of people standing in front of their newly digitalized TV and wondering how to record CSI.

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