Hoping someone here can help me - I bet I'm not the first to fall into this hole.
(Hope this is the correct forum for this - if not, please be gentle and let me know)
Most basic question: Can my current hardware be made to work as it once did?
I have a Panasonic DMR-EH50, and I believe it's working perfectly. Just can't get the TVGuide OnScreen service to work, and now can't record anything off the unit.
I have basic digital cable service from Comcast in Seattle, WA. Cable signal comes in via coax into a Comcast-branded Motorola DCH70 DTV converter box, then into the Panasonic DMR-EH50, then to our analog Sony TV. Nothing HD.
The DMR-EH50 worked fine and as advertised for a couple years - all the channels we subscribed to came in fine, appeared in the little preview window in the TVGOS, all the channels' programming data appeared, we could select and record them. Once in a while the TVGOS would flake out, but resetting it would eventually make it come back to life.
With the changeover to digital TV, we lost some portion of the functionality: Comcast sent us a DTV converter box, which I installed in-line between the cable feed and the DMR-EH50. At that point, everything worked properly for channels 2-13 and 99. Programming info for channels 14-98 were listed in the TVGOS feed, but those channels had no program signal so we could neither view those channels in the little preview window in the TVGOS screen, nor record them. That's how things have been for about the last year and a half. Since we most recorded things off PBS (channel 9 here) and some stuff off the legacy networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, all of which are on low-numbered channels here), it was an annoyance, but it mostly worked for us.
About 2 weeks ago, I went to schedule a recording, and every channel just showed "no listing". I figured I had to reset it, so I pressed the up/down buttons simultaneously for 5 seconds, entered the setup screen and went through the initial setup questions, let it sit overnight. But now all I get is "the search for data has failed". Have gone through this routine a dozen or more times now, same results. It's obviously not connecting to the feed it needs.
I know this is an older unit, but it meets all my needs - at least when it works. I'd like to get it working again. I'm confident that the hardware is just fine, it's just a question of the TVGOS and program feeds.
I also know what I'll get if I try to call Comcast (they're blissfully clueless and will just try to sell me something I don't want) or Panasonic (the worst customer support experience I've ever had, breathtakingly bad) - they will be of no help whatsoever. I know there are smarter and better-motivated people here.
Can anyone tell me if it is possible to get this combination of hardware and feed to work?
Is there a way to determine if the TVGOS service is available in this area? If it is, how can I get the DMR-EH50 to access it?
What's the best way to resolve this? If the current combination is just not possible to get working (even though the DMR-EH50 is in perfect condition), then what's a good alternative to get the same functionality? I'm not willing to pay the cable company a monthly fee for this. I want to be able to see program listings, schedule recordings, record them to a hard drive, and occasionally burn a DVD. The DMR-EH50 does this perfectly - if it can get the proper feeds. That's what I'd really like.
Many thanks in advance to anyone here who can help.