How Charter Forced Me To Stop Using My Beloved TiVo
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.
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.