Major Crisis with my HDHR-Primes, cable-CARD and Charter-Spectrum

Jun 30, 2004
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Two or three weeks ago, I was getting the full complement of my premium and encrypted subscription channels excluding the "On Demand" channels via my HD HomeRun Primes (two of 'em). CableCARDs for these devices were rented from Charter @ $2/each/mo., and Charter provided the tuner adapters.

Then, at that time, I received a letter in the mail from Charter/Spectrum, telling me they were increasing my downstream internet bandwidth -- something we wouldn't associate with the cable-TV part of our subscription. On that day -- into the hours after midnight -- we suddenly lost our internet, e-mail server, cable-TV -- possibly our telephone service for 15 minutes, after which everything returned crisp and tip-top.

Except for one, major thing.

Most of the HBO, SHO, STARZ, Cinemax, INDIE and other premium encrypted channels were no longer available through my Silly-Dust tuners and cable-cards. I began troubleshooting, to start with SiliconDust support (they are always good), since they could poll my tuners and test to determine the likely source of the problem. They suggested that the upstream signal was too weak to request some of the premium channels, urging me to contact Charter/Spectrum and get a visit from a technician.

In the past, similar symptoms were fixable at Charter's end with a re-pairing of cableCARDs and the tuner adapters, power-cycling the tuners and adapters, etc. This time -- no cigar.

They sent a tech, who tested the coax cables, and decided that he needed to replace the cable into the room with the SH HDHR-primes. However, the HDHR Setup channel scans only showed an increase of premium reception by another handful of channels -- not the full subscription.

Tech suggested that the changeover in internet speed was also accompanied by moving channels to new frequency ranges for SDV, or that the cable-CARDs were not equipped to receive on these new frequencies. He also noted that Spectrum would eventually "get out of the cable-CARD business." Added that we would probably see a further loss of channels sometime in the future. He said they didn't have any "replacement" cable-CARDS that would enable me to get back my channels.

Web search turned up forums for TIVO and other devices voicing the same complaints about Spectrum and cable-CARDs, insinuating that they should provide new tuner adapters.

I have two PCs configured with Win 7 and WMC, and a third PC with Win 10 and HD HomeRunDVR.

What do I do now? Isn't Charter/Spectrum required to provide fully-operable cable-CARDs by the FCC? What suggestions do any of you have for restoring our DVR and full-channel reception? Or do I have to dump these SD HDHR-Primes and re-think my entire HTPC function?

I don't really like change, when something was working so well.
 
Aug 25, 2001
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#2
Tech suggested that the changeover in internet speed was also accompanied by moving channels to new frequency ranges for SDV, or that the cable-CARDs were not equipped to receive on these new frequencies. He also noted that Spectrum would eventually "get out of the cable-CARD business." Added that we would probably see a further loss of channels sometime in the future. He said they didn't have any "replacement" cable-CARDS that would enable me to get back my channels.
That's basically what I would have said. Although, I don't think that the cableCards "receive on that frequency" - the tuners handle the analog spectrum, not the CCs, I believe.

But it's possible that Spectrum moved the frequency spectrum for those channels above what your tuners can handle.

It could just be a software limitation as well.
 
Jul 24, 2012
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#3
I had a similar issue in the past, it turned out to be a bridge tap that was installed on our block during scheduled maintenance.
 
Jun 30, 2004
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I had a similar issue in the past, it turned out to be a bridge tap that was installed on our block during scheduled maintenance.
The SiliconDust techs got back to me after I sent them a summary of the Charter/SPectrum tech's visit. He replaced the entire cable-drop from the household attic, and vouched that the signal was nice and strong. But the HDHR'-s still didn't see the premiums through a channel-scan.

The SD tech was pretty terse about Charter/Specturm, noting that "cable-Cards weren't just going away," and that the cable provider was obliged to offer the cable-card option -- that they had to support it according to the FCC and rules going back to 2011. So I need to start another ticket cycle with the Charter/Spectrum people. At least they keep the entire history of our tech-support in their digital records.

So charter/Spectrum's "Live Chat" tech tells me they're having trouble with all sorts of cable-cards and devices, after the increase in internet speed. They say the cablecards are properly paired and initialized. But this is apparently a widespread problem, and their tech should have kicked it up to a higher tech-level to troubleshoot their line beyond our house. Or -- at least -- that's what I think he said.

Until they fix this, I can watch all channels using the web-browser of the HTPC. I can only record (or watch) non-DRM channels using WMC. I'll set aside time in the next week to contact Sharter/Cpectrum again.
 
Oct 9, 2002
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#5
If it's a "switched digital" system (using those tuning adapters), they should be free to feed the premium channels through the same frequencies they use to feed the other channels dynamically.
 

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