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How Charter Forced Me To Stop Using My Beloved TiVo

October 21, 2011

I have had a few TiVos over the years and I’ve loved them.  My current one is a TiVo XL HD.  It can record 150 hours of HD programming or 1,350 hours of standard-definition programming and can access Netflix streaming among other things.  The user interface is silky smooth and it is very reliable – well, it WAS very reliable.

As most of you know, my current cable provider is Charter Cable.  When I first started using the the XL with Charter, we were missing numerous channels that we were paying for.  After a few visits to my home, Charter realized I needed a tuning adapter to compliment the cablecard they installled in my TiVo.  Of course, that first tuning adapter they installed failed after a few weeks, so they came back and replaced it.  A few weeks later, they were back again with another replacement.  The third adapter failed yet again.  They then rewired some of the cables in my living room and the situation improved.

Now, for the first time, we were receiving all the channels we were paying for.  This presented a new problem.  Now whenever I remained on the same channel for a few hours, a prompt would appear on the screen asking me to press “Select” on my remote if I was still watching and if I didn’t press “Select”, the channel would become temporarily unavailable.  As annoying as this was, I complied and pressed “Select” for months.  However, this presented a problem for TiVo.  I began to notice that TiVo was either not recording certain shows it was supposed to or didn’t record the entire show because it couldn’t deal with the ridiculous task of having to press “Select” in the middle of recording a program.    I’ve missed the conclusion of every Tour de France stage that was broadcasted on Versus HD, I’ve missed entire episodes of Dexter (Showtime) and Entourage (HBO).  I’ve missed numerous other shows as well.

After some trouble shooting with TiVo, I was told that the digital tuning adapter Charter installed was giving the press the “Select” button message to try to save power/bandwith and that the fix was relatively easy – ask Charter for a tuning adapter that doesn’t have this energy saving feature – or disable the feature on the present adapter, if possible.

So Charter sends their TiVo specialist over.  He was very nice and explained the situation to me.  Cool cat – someone I’d have a beer with.  Long story short, he indicated that the “Select” button screen prompt is something their entire system does to save load on their system.  It’s not just a problem for TiVos with tuning adapters – it’s a problem sometimes for even their Charter branded DVRs.

So now, despite our $200+ monthly bill we’ve been paying for over 5 years, I have to be at home to press “Select” to make sure TiVo can record the shows I want it to record – all because Charter wants to save bandwith/energy.  This pretty much negates the need for a TiVo since I’ll be home to press “Select”.  Rhetorical question: do I get any discounts or benefits from Charter saving energy broadband?  What’s the fix (if I don’t want to stay home and press select every few hours)?  Make sure that TiVo doesn’t stay on certain channels for more than 6 hours.  Or have the TiVo record a channel that doesn’t prompt the “Select” button message before recording a channel that prompts the same message.   Huh?  Yup.  If I chose to go this route, I’d have to flow chart a strategy for recording shows.  Add in the fact my TiVo has 2 tuners and the simplicity of recording programs with TiVo becomes an exercise in math and advanced strategic planning.

What BS.

So now I have a few choices – go to DirecTV or AT&T U-Verse.   We’ll save about $50/month for more programming with either, but neither supports the use of the TiVo XL HD and, unfortunately, neither, to my knowledge, has  a DVR with a hard drive as large as the TiVo XL HD.

It looks like I’m going to have to give up on TiVo all because of Charter.

Thank you Charter.  You don’t surprise me one bit.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2011 11:53 am

    There’s got to be an Apple solution here…. I’m working on it.

    • effectivepull permalink*
      October 21, 2011 12:15 pm

      Apple helps with the solution. I do not believe I can access Netflix w/ the U-Verse dvr so I’ll rely on my Apple TV for Netflix!

  2. Tommy permalink
    October 21, 2011 12:01 pm

    Charter has struck a deal with Tivo where they will be offering Tivo boxes made specific for Charter service. Supposed to be coming out in early 2012. Doesn’t solve the problem with your current Tivo boxes but will provide you the Tivo service that you seem to love. Just an FYI.

    • effectivepull permalink*
      October 21, 2011 12:15 pm

      Sigh. The cost of my TiVo XL plus lifetime subscription was close to $1,000….

  3. October 21, 2011 4:00 pm

    Hello Scott,

    I want to apologize for your frustrations with the missed recordings and am here to help. It looks like you have already found the answer. If the TiVo is sitting on the same channel all day, the server is going to shut down the stream after a certain period of inactivity. However, if your TiVo is changing channels to record programs this should not cause you any trouble. If you have any other questions or concerns please send an e-mail to with the name, address, and phone number on the account, as well as the best number to reach you. Also, please put “CharterAbby –“ in the subject line so that I can keep an eye out for the e-mail.

    For more info on Charter’s Social Media Team please see our webpage:

    Looking forward to resolving your concerns,

    Abby Catron
    Senior Social Media Specialist – Charter

  4. October 21, 2011 5:00 pm

    I have nothing but repeated problems ever since I was forced to get tuning adapters back in January. No less than 10 calls, 7 visits and 3-4 different tuning adapters. I’ve been a tivo user since 97 and am ready to bail on it and get something else as both Tivo and Charter both blame each other and meanwhile my television viewing and recording problem sucks! My current problem and this is a new and different issue for just the last couple weeks, the one in the bedroom will go back and forth on tuner disconnected to tuner connected. When it does this it completely stops recording the show it was on and is lost forever. Even when I am watching a recorded show on tivo it will do this in the middle of it and when I get back to the show I have to fast forward to the part it crashed on me! Literally sick of it!

  5. effectivepull permalink*
    October 24, 2011 10:32 am

    Bill, I’ve had your problem too. Truly mind boggling how such a great service (TiVo) can be jacked up by Charter.

  6. Ray permalink
    September 4, 2015 8:44 pm

    Wow, I’m glad I read this, because it’s been driving me crazy. It started a month ago with my Time Warner Cable. Same exact problem. If channel has been tuned too long, it cuts it out. Looks like TiVo can fix this by forcing a channel change before recording.

    • Lisa permalink
      October 28, 2015 5:34 am

      The tuner issue started with brighthouse. Not good for tivo since we have been thinking about throwing tivo out (tivo member for over 10+ years).
      So sad. Our once awesome beloved tivo has been pushing it’s members away. It had added so many advertisements, tells you about shows on channels it doest get, it suddenly is harder to record tv shows, and now this issue that we see ourselfs saying goodbye. Brighthouse is coming out with its own new system and if tivo starts not recording my favorite shows it will have lost another lifetime member. So sad to see tivo going down like this.

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