Originally Posted by devky
Yesterday I ordered the Magnavox 2160 from Walmart, after doing LOTS of research. Thanks so much, Wajo, for your invaluable insights and some hilarious posts.
This evening I called my cable provider, Insight Communications, to see if I could get a box with HD channels that wasn't a DVR - of course the answer was no. In my conversation with the CS rep, she told me that "You'll have to pay a fee to use a DVR box, even if you buy your own." After lots of incredulous questions, she convinced me that Insight Communications will try to stick it to me every way they can. I asked her what was the difference between recording to a DVD recorder and recording to a hard drive, like on the DVR. She didn't know enough to come up with an answer.
My question is, how can the cable provider tell whether I'm using a DVR I purchased? If I'm running the cable signal through a standard digital box (so I can get channels 100-600), how does Insight know that there's a DVR box attached to it, or a DVD recorder, or a VHS recorder?
This conversation made me want to buy an antenna and go to the library - read more, watch less TV. Sounds like I'll be returning the 2160. In all my research, I saw no mention of cable company fees for this, just lots of "no more monthly fees." I'm pretty puzzled.
You need to get your 2160 and give it the "lyin-pack-of-prevaricators" test!
My advice is to get the unit, plug it into the coax directly and set it up, w/o any other boxes. That setup will include an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital). You might see that there are many channels available that may just be in different channel slots than they would be on a cable box.
We even have an "All-or-Nothing" Manual Channel Preset procedure for finding out if their "hiding" channels in deep subchannel numbers. That's in case you don't immediately find a "sufficient" number of channels (not what you might expect). That procedure and its reason for existence are described here.
If you still need a cable box for scrambled channels, then use a bi-directional,
digital 2-way splitter with one output to the box and one to the 2160. That leaves a "clean" path between the cable head end and their box so they can ping away and not know your 2160 is there. (The 2160's coax circuit is not bidirectional, so having it 1st on the coax will block any backwards comm. the cableco needs to have to know everything is OK with their box.)
In other words, prove for yourself what the 2160 can tune by iteself in your
system and, if it's not satisfactory, return it to your nearest Walmart... but don't BELIEVE anything the cableco tells you, except for how much their service is (even then, it'll be MORE than they tell you when they add the facilities fee, fee for extra profit, fee-on-fee, fee-fee-on-fee, etc.)?