[DVR] My conversation with Comcast - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 07-23-2004, 06:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I must say, it was very hard to actually get to speak with someone at Comcast that has any technical knowledge. Calling the CSR's over and over got me nowhere. Sending an email got me nowhere. The email from Comcast, can you believe, told me to call Comcast. Hunh??? I decided to go in person to my Comcast HQ in Union, NJ. I walked in the front door, not the CSR door. Once I explained I had technical questions, they sent someone down. Although this person couldn't answer my question without getting the answers from someone else, she was helpful.

My questions were all DVR based. I wanted to know a few things and I figured that they should know, right?

1. The time that Comcast sends to the DVR/Digital STB was off by a minute and a half. That isn't too good if your product is a time based DVR. I asked could it be corrected. Doesn't seem too hard, right?

2. When, if at anytime will we see a new Guide (Pioneer, iGuide, MS Guide 1.7) on the 6208?

3. When will we see the 6412?

4. What Guide will be on the 6412?

Well, I must say, it must have seemed I was speaking a different language. None of my questions could be answered. I wasn't going to leave until I got some sort of answer. But, since I wasn't going to get one, I asked is there was someone "technical" I could speak with. She said you can call the HQ in Philadelphia. So she gave me the number and I left.

I called HQ. I got someone in Engineering. She listened to my questions and sent an email to an Executive. Within two hours I was called, yes Comcast called me. On the phone was the local Director of Technology. I think I'm getting someplace!

I asked my questions (stated above) and he had answers. Here they are:

1. The time displayed is the time received from an atomic clock. The reason the STB isn't correct is that the new Digital STB's don't "automatically" update the time from the atomic clock. It is a manual operation. He was surprised that GI, now Motorola, didn't use the same technology that was in the Analog STB (that was fully automatic). As our discussion went on he agreed with me that the time checking/correction needs to happen more frequently. He also said that if I look at my STB now, the time would be dead on to my XP PC. XP also gets its time from an atomic clock. He was right, dead on exact. He personally fixed the time error once he received an email from my phone call. Although that may seem impressive, why did I have to call them to inform them their time is off on their STB¡¦s. Going forward he said they would check/correct the time more frequently. Only time ƒº will tell.

2. This answer is multifaceted. First off he pointed out that the 6208 is not what Comcast wanted to deploy. Frankly, Comcast is not happy with the 6208 and they would not have deployed it. But¡K since there are people like me that want it and there are people that will leave Comcast to go to satellite, they had to offer something. And now, the something is the 6208. The guide question. Well, there are no plans to do anything with the guide on the 6208. Ugh! Comcast has a relationship with Gemstar/TV Guide that seems, more to do with settling a lawsuit then Comcast really wanting to use their Guide product. He hinted that it wasn't the best guide out there. I agreed, that compared to Tivo, it is lousy. He agreed too. Now, going forward with the 6412, we may see a different guide, but that was too far off to know for sure. So, it seems we are stuck with this lousy guide for now.

3. 6412. Well, the original plan was to be deployment in August. Now the plan is to deploy very late 4th quarter. Why? Well, the TV Guide software will not work on a dual tuner STB. So, we are stuck with TV Guide. Maybe, maybe not. He wanted to make it clear that between now and the actual deployment of the 6412, many things can happen pertaining to the guide. So, again, we have to just wait and see.

4. Too early to tell. He seemed to think that the relationship Comcast and TV Guide have may lead it to be the new iGuide. But he couldn't say this with any factual certainty. So that does leave the door open for maybe the Microsoft software solution. But I think the door is only open a crack.

What he told me for the most part isn't what I wanted to hear, but at least I know have a contact within Comcast that will listen to me and is knowledgeable. He did say that he has to reply back to the Executive the topics covered in our conversation. Hopefully they will listen to, and address my concerns.

I encourage anyone concerned to call their MSO. Don't give up. The only way they will change for the better is if we can persevere to get the decision makers ear.

PM me if you want more details¡K contacts... phone numbers.
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-20-2004, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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One Month Update:

1. The time that Comcast sends to the DVR/Digital STB was off by a minute and a half. That isn't too good if your product is a time based DVR. I asked could it be corrected. Doesn't seem too hard, right?

The time was corrected for about two weeks. Now it is almost 2 minutes slow again. This time I was told that Motorola is suppling a new interface that will automatically keep the time current. This interface should be installed in 4 weeks. We shall see.

2. When, if at anytime will we see a new Guide (Pioneer, iGuide, MS Guide 1.7) on the 6208?

No change to the answer above.

3. When will we see the 6412?

Looks like December or January. Looks like the iGude is not coming along as planned. Will this open the door for Microsoft's guide? I hope so.

4. What Guide will be on the 6412?

Looks like the iGuide but there may be problems that could open the door for another guide provider. We shall see.

I'll call back in October and see what has transpired.

Mark
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-23-2004, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

Looks like Comcast is Officially rolling out DVR's. I guess I have an unofficial one since I have had mine since May.

Some news on the new iGuide too...

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040823/phm024_1.html

Too bad there is no news on the Microsoft Guide. :(
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-27-2004, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Two Month Update:

1. The time that Comcast sends to the DVR/Digital STB was off by a minute and a half. That isn't too good if your product is a time based DVR. I asked could it be corrected. Doesn't seem too hard, right?

Good News! The new controller/interface has been installed. The new controller/interface is directly connected to the atomic clock. The time for the past two weeks has been right on so I know it is is working.

2. When, if at anytime will we see a new Guide (Pioneer, iGuide, MS Guide 1.7) on the 6208?

Update! The Gemstar/TV Guide - iGuide is what Comcast is providing us. Comcast has to install some new equipment (so that iGuide can work) in their head end. This is scheduled for mid to late October. Once that equipment is in and working (no bugs), then the iGuide will be deployed to all Digital STB's late October to early November.

3. When will we see the 6412?

Update! Looks more like January. It seem like Comcast wants to deploy the 6412 after the iGuide has been deployed and they are sure it works as advertised. Nothing in stone here but I would bet later than sooner.

4. What Guide will be on the 6412?

Update! It is the iGuide.

I'll call back mid to late October to see if everything is going as planned.

Mark
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-22-2004, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Three Month Update:

2. When, if at anytime will we see a new Guide (Pioneer, iGuide, MS Guide 1.7) on the 6208?

Update! December. The Gemstar/TV Guide - iGuide is what Comcast is providing us. Comcast has installed (or is currently installing) the new equipment (so that iGuide can work) in their head end (each cable sub has a headend). The iGuide will be deployed to all Motorola Digital STB's by mid December.

Only Comcast in Seattle, Washington will see the new Microsoft Foundation Edition 1.7. This is only a test run as of now. We’ll have to see how well consumers and Comcast embrace the Microsoft guide. I hope it goes well, since I still feel it will be superior than the iGuide.

3. When will we see the 6412?

Update! Looks soon (this year). Comcast will deploy the 6412 with the iGuide on it regardless of when the nationwide iGuide roll out takes place.

November looks quiet with all the action taking place in December.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-24-2004, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Five Month Update:

2. When, if at anytime will we see a new Guide (Pioneer, iGuide, MS Guide 1.7) on the 6208?

If you don't have the i-Guide on a non 6412 STB then you can expect it sometime in January.

Well, November and December have been far from quiet. 6412's have been deployed across the country with the i-Guide.

The i-Guide is far better than what I expected. I'm looking forward to it on my non DVR Digital STB's soon.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-07-2005, 02:25 PM
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How's you clock doing?

I just got a 6412 installed Friday and it is 42 seconds slow.

Atlanta, GA - Comcast
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-08-2005, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by troll565
How's you clock doing?

I just got a 6412 installed Friday and it is 42 seconds slow.
Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

It is dead on. Refer to item 1 in this thread: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...84#post4416084

You may have to do what I did.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-08-2005, 05:13 AM
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mark -

It didn't say what you DID to get the atomic clock... just that you had it.

How did you get it? Call up a CSR? Maybe will auto-get it with the new firmware roll-out?

Dawn
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-08-2005, 06:36 AM
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I called a Comcast Tech and got a "huh?" Someone in the 6412 thread said he just got FW version 9.15 this morning...Hopefully that will fix it.

Atlanta, GA - Comcast
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-08-2005, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by bronowyn
mark -

It didn't say what you DID to get the atomic clock... just that you had it.

How did you get it? Call up a CSR? Maybe will auto-get it with the new firmware roll-out?
Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

I thought in this thread I clearly explained my issues and what I did to resolve them. Maybe not.

I called Comcast Corporate. I explained my problems. Someone from Comcast (local) called me back. That someone happens to be a high up not a CSR. CSR's do not have any means to fix problems other than "hit your box" or dispatch a service call.

Anyway, I explained the time was off. He said they had to adjust it manually in their Headend. He then said they were getting (for their Headend) a device that will check the Atomic Clock and keep the time displayed on the STB's in sync. Now, this is for my area only, not a System Wide fix.

You will need to get a hold of your local Comcast Engineer or high up the way I did. They will have to get and install this piece of equipment.

The Firmware 9.15 is going to be deployed in small areas and not to the whole system as of yet. They (Comcast) want to make sure it fixes more than breaks.

The Firmware will not fix the clock issue.
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-08-2005, 08:59 AM
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Gotcha. I missed that part. I wonder if anyone else from my area has ever gotten a CSR that high. I've tried, but I've had no luck. That's why I pad my recordings 2 minutes on either side.

Dawn
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-09-2005, 07:51 AM
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Update for me:

Fort Lauderdale, FL Head-End

I placed a call to the corporate offices on Monday and left a voicemail with the head of the technical department. He called me back this afternoon and explained the whole clock issue with my 6412. He said that they are installing GPS synch boxes in all the head-ends and he would personally look into my area and call me back with an answer.

Atlanta, GA - Comcast
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-09-2005, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by troll565
Update for me:

Fort Lauderdale, FL Head-End

I placed a call to the corporate offices on Monday and left a voicemail with the head of the technical department. He called me back this afternoon and explained the whole clock issue with my 6412. He said that they are installing GPS synch boxes in all the head-ends and he would personally look into my area and call me back with an answer.
Comcast NJ - Union/Verona

Excellent. I'm hoping my efforts in this matter will soon help all Comcast customers.
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