Sacramento, CA - SureWest - Page 26 - AVS Forum
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post #751 of 973 Old 01-07-2010, 10:22 AM
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"With the announcement of Microsoft Mediaroom 2.0 at the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Microsoft Corp. has shown the world the future of TV entertainment."

"With Mediaroom 2.0, everything a subscriber can do on the TV - view premium channels, recorded, video on-demand, interactive applications, etc. - will all be available through a broadband connection."

I hope Surewest includes the upgrade at launch.
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post #752 of 973 Old 01-07-2010, 03:48 PM
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Just called an ordered the new Mediaroom DVR setup. One-time $50 "setup" fee. Coming out next week to get me all set up. Finally!
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post #753 of 973 Old 01-07-2010, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by js_ View Post

Just called an ordered the new Mediaroom DVR setup. One-time $50 "setup" fee. Coming out next week to get me all set up. Finally!

Are you a current fiber customer? If so, what is the $50 setup fee for?
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post #754 of 973 Old 01-07-2010, 09:14 PM
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I've been watching the video demos about the new Mediaroom DVR system from SureWest's website and see it mentions it will only record 2 HD channels at a time... I currently have 2 DVRs... each has the capability of downloading 2 HD channels at a time... allowing 4 HD channels being recorded at a time. Why would they decrease this? There are currently MANY times I record 3 HD shows at the same time; it always amazes me that networks try to put their best shows on at a time you would normally have to make a choice as to what you wished to watch.
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post #755 of 973 Old 01-08-2010, 08:55 AM
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I called following js's post and ordered new DVR. Coming out on the 15th. Sweet! Concur with the info. concerning the $50 setup fee.
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post #756 of 973 Old 01-08-2010, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

I've been watching the video demos about the new Mediaroom DVR system from SureWest's website and see it mentions it will only record 2 HD channels at a time... I currently have 2 DVRs... each has the capability of downloading 2 HD channels at a time... allowing 4 HD channels being recorded at a time. Why would they decrease this? There are currently MANY times I record 3 HD shows at the same time; it always amazes me that networks try to put their best shows on at a time you would normally have to make a choice as to what you wished to watch.

bigRoN,
I concur with your post. The reason I want the new DVR is that it will not have the lag that the current pos has. That, plus the ability to watch shows in different rooms that are taped on the DVR.
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post #757 of 973 Old 01-08-2010, 12:30 PM
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Just called and ordered the New Media Room DVR - my bill actually went down getting rid of the old DVR and Tivo boxes. Yes, a $50 fee, but I anticipate it to be worth the cost. Scheduled for next Friday.

FINALLY!!!
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post #758 of 973 Old 01-08-2010, 03:21 PM
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are you folks fiber customers? what is the new rate plan?
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post #759 of 973 Old 01-08-2010, 10:01 PM
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I called today about the Mediaroom DVR system and learned some interesting things. First, I was questioning them on the $50 set-up fee. I asked why this was required. The sales person tried to make up a BS reason, but when she realized that her BS answer wasn't going to fly, she said she'd send me to tech support once I was finished with her. She told me that due to incentive pricing, it will actually be $30/month cheaper than I'm paying now for the same channels. This makes the $50 set-up fee not seem as bad. I'll be replacing 2 DVRs with a DVR and a STB. The nearest installation time I'm available for them to install is not until 1/24/10... a couple weeks off. It could have been sooner, but they only schedule in 4-hour time blocks and I must leave for work by 11 AM... they couldn't guarantee that they could be there earlier... closer to 8 AM. After arranging that, I was put on hold for a while and reached a senior tech manager for answering more technical questions.

The BS answer the sales woman had said was that technicians needed to come out and rewire a few things outside at the box. I was quite puzzled, trying to figure out what they could possibly need to rewire in my network. I have the each of the 6 jacks on the residential gateway wired to the first 6 jacks of my 48-port patch panel. I can then jump any Ethernet jack in the house to be either a video jack or an Internet jack. I've run many tests on my connections and they all work fine... so I couldn't figure out why a technician from SureWest would need to do anything. When I reached the tech guy and told him of my setup, he admitted that in my case, they probably won't have to do much. He said that for some people's setups, it may be a bit more tricky... especially for people that had been running Ethernet over 75Ω coaxial cable. They were worried that the process would be too confusing for many of their customers, so they decided to make each customer to the new platform have a technician to inspect and workout potential errors in the system. There is also the part about provisioning the boxes and mating the DVR with the other STBs.... something that it would seem to me could be done elsewhere or instructions given to customers to do. He mentioned that they were going to look closely at the issues technicians had with the installs and determine whether they would later allow customers to come in and pick up the new equipment.

When I questioned about the DVR only recording 2 HD channels at a time instead of 4 HD, he stated that it was a "platform" issue, not a bandwidth issue. He said people could have 4 additional set-top boxes and they could all be watching HD channels while the DVR was recording 2 HD channels, but for the moment, the DVR could only record 2 HD at a time.

I also asked about additional features I've seen advertised about controlling the DVR from a website or portable electronic device, such as the iPhone, similar to what AT&T Uverse is doing with their Mediaroom-based setup. He stated that we will be using a more up-to-date platform than AT&T is using and that many of the added features AT&T is using are additional modules that can be later added. He mentioned one of the main reasons for using the Mediaroom platform instead of using the current platform is that they will be using a mainstream platform and not needing to put all the effort in to designing the software, but rather using an "off-the-shelf" system. He stated the intention is to offer many of the same features people have become accustomed to with AT&T, Comcast, Dish Network and DirecTV... the biggest competitors. The biggest advantage to SureWest is they have the most advanced infrastructure compared to their competitors, providing a dedicated 100 Mbps synchronous connection to their fiber customers' homes... far more bandwidth than AT&T uses and much more efficient and effective bandwidth than traditional cable or satellite (traditional cable and satellite provide more than 100 Mbps to the home, but fill it up with everything possible, not just what you want and need.)

So... before I actually start using the system, here is my opinion of the changes:

PROS:
  1. Ability to watch recorded material at any set, not just from the DVR.
  2. The user interface is supposed to be much easier/intuitive than current.
  3. Ability to pause playback and resume at another set in the house.
  4. Reported to have faster channel changes.
  5. Apparently cheaper... I'm told it will be $30/month less than I'm currently paying.
CONS:
  1. $50 setup fee
  2. REQUIRES a scheduled technician install
  3. Limited to recording only 2 HD channels at a time
  4. Only 40 hours of HD recording capacity
  5. No external storage, so stuck with the size hard drive SureWest chooses to get
Again, this is a preliminary opinion... anyone have any other cons or pros as a preliminary opinion? I'm sure I'll be reporting back once I get my new setup.
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post #760 of 973 Old 01-09-2010, 09:34 AM
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The TV packages are now on their website with the new DVR. Prices look the same for the Digital Choice package, $67.99, with a promotional rate of $62.99.
I currently have a $10 discount I asked for. Wonder if I will lose that when I switch. If I try to order the service like a new customer, STBs prices have gone up from $6.49 to $7.99 and the DVR is included with the Digital Choice package and the HD package was free for 6 months. I wonder if that is for new customers only. I could not find the rental price of the new DVR. If I was to order like a new customer for the package I have now, I would be saving $26 and $14 after 6 months but I still wonder when the DVR monthly rental price would kick in and how much.
Seems like us fiber customers should be able to just go a to service center to exchange out the old DVR and STBs. There should be nothing to change in their box on the side of the house.
I think I will call them today. The don't list any phone numbers of their service centers and now my Elk Grove service center is only open M-F, no more Saturdays. I thought I would go and talk to them today but I guess not.
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post #761 of 973 Old 01-09-2010, 03:59 PM
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bigRoN,
The $50 setup fee is what I would consider an "early adopter" penalty. I am almost positive that in a few short months there won't be a need to for Surewest to charge an installer fee.
What is funny though, is that the customer should be asked if they feel they could install the boxes, mate them with the other STB's. Barring that, at least have the info in a .pdf file on the the site with instructions.
Either way, I am anxious to see if indeed there is no lag when changing channels, when recording or not. I do think that they owe us an apology for the current POS that we have.
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post #762 of 973 Old 01-09-2010, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adinn View Post

Seems like us fiber customers should be able to just go a to service center to exchange out the old DVR and STBs. There should be nothing to change in their box on the side of the house.

I thought the same thing, which is why I had to talk to a tech support person about it. As you stated, the $50 appears to be an early adopter's fee, as the tech support guy said they may change it in the future. I don't think the installer will do anything I couldn't do myself. There should not need to be anything changed wiring-wise for me. They also mentioned a more complicated provisioning. They would not elaborate on the complicated provisioning, but I presume it is telling the DVR the MAC addresses are of the non-DVR set top boxes are and vice-versa. It doesn't seem like it would be THAT complicated, but not an automatic process. It does seem to me that it wouldn't have to be that complicated. I would think that all they should have to do is provision each device's MAC address to your account and then push the mating information from their server to each device... I'm not exactly sure how they are doing it, I only know that they said the provisioning was more complicated. I'm not a professional networking engineer, just an amateur networking hobbyist.
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post #763 of 973 Old 01-11-2010, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adinn View Post

They don't list any phone numbers of their service centers and now my Elk Grove service center is only open M-F, no more Saturdays. I thought I would go and talk to them today but I guess not.

I'm in EG too and will be going by the service center tonight to see what is available to us with Fiber. From press releases I read quoting SW Execs was that the DVR will record up to 3 HD channels, allow viewing of photos on users computers and stream music from PCs as well, though this may be future capability.

I have 2 HD DVRs currently, one HD and one SD STB. I have one Replay DVR still on the SD STB for my kids room. The ReplayTV DVRs had the "Whole House Sharing" 6 years ago which is why I went with them. I had a total of 3 running and a Replay TV server that would be able to suck the recorded shows off the DVRs and store them on the computer HDD. Each ReplayTV was upgraded to 250 GB HDDs each. Man I loved those things. And they had the ability to send a recorded show to any other ReplayTV (model 5000 series) that was hooked to the internet (up to 15 times per show). That rocked. So if you missed a show, you could request it from someone that did record it. Way cool. Ah, the good old days.

But I will see what SW has for the EG people with FIOS and report back later.

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post #764 of 973 Old 01-11-2010, 03:12 PM
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MediaRoom will be capable of supporting Media Center but only Windows 7 MC not Vista or XP MC. All you need is an ethernet cable and it will fully work. Thats if SureWest will be deploying v2.0 which they will sometime in the near future.
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post #765 of 973 Old 01-11-2010, 05:37 PM
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When I asked the senior tech manager about it, he had not heard that Microsoft had announced a Mediaroom 2.0. I thought that a bit funny that he didn't keep up with the news. When it comes to using a Windows 7 Media Center PC to work with Mediaroom, I'm curious as to how it will work... your computers operate on a separate network than the set-top boxes. Does one need to setup port-forwarding on the router or is there some sort of program that creates a tunnel to get through the router?

Norbert... I too at one point had three 5000-series ReplayTVs and a server to offload programming to. My brother and I would send shows to each other (between California and Nebraska) as well as many people I didn't know using Poopli. I initially only had 1 ReplayTV but when they announced they were coming out with the 5500 series, I brother and I made a mad-dash to get more series 5000 machines. The 5500 series was the death warrant for ReplayTV... it came out as a result of a lawsuit. Apparently, broadcasters were under the opinion that when you purchase a TV, you unknowingly sign a binding agreement that you WILL watch every commercial... you could not jump over them or use that time to use the restroom or grab something to eat. We watched what was going on with the lawsuit with amusement and disbelief at the opinions of those suing ReplayTV.
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post #766 of 973 Old 01-11-2010, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigRoN View Post

When I asked the senior tech manager about it, he had not heard that Microsoft had announced a Mediaroom 2.0. I thought that a bit funny that he didn't keep up with the news. When it comes to using a Windows 7 Media Center PC to work with Mediaroom, I'm curious as to how it will work... your computers operate on a separate network than the set-top boxes. Does one need to setup port-forwarding on the router or is there some sort of program that creates a tunnel to get through the router?

Funny you should ask BR!
http://www.multichannel.com/article/...TV_Set_Top.php
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post #767 of 973 Old 01-12-2010, 10:04 AM
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I'm really happy this is rolling out. I called and got scheduled for Jan 22. I'm in Roseville with fiber to the house and ethernet throughout so install should be a breeze. I ran Uverse in Carmichael over coax without any issues so Cat-5 will carry the signal very well. Surewest gets to keep my business... I was ready to pull the plug.
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post #768 of 973 Old 01-14-2010, 12:40 PM
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Signed up just to provide some info. Got mediaroom installed today. I'm renting so I didnt get to run cat-6 like I did in my old house (4 ports in every room with switch in closet).

Anyway, I'm an existing FTTH subscriber in North Sacramento. They replaced the old HPNA device in the garage with a new one for coax. All set top boxes support both ethernet and HPNA so no need for separate device anymore to run over coax. Surewest seems to be running Mediaroom 1.6 at the moment, so no xbox or Windows 7 support yet.

They are considering xbox integration but it is not yet decided, although this does hint at moving to 2.0 sometime.

As for the quality, HD looks the same, great at a distance but obvious compression artifacts up close. STB only allows EITHER 720p or 1080i, no autodetect based on channel. SD televisions can now see HD channels and display them in 4:3 with black bars.

I have not tested out the whole home DVR functionality yet but pausing live tv only works on the main dvr unit.

Couple things to look out for is that video output is defaulted to 4:3 output and needs to be set to 720p or 1080i from the start. for sdtv using coax, RF output is defaulted to channel 3 instead of 4. digital audio output is defaulted to 2.0 instead of 5.1, also needs to be changed if you have surround.

Channel changing is indeed much quicker and PIP guide and browsing is nice but no PIP support for simply watching unless you keep the info bar up indefinitely.

That's about all I have at the moment.

BEER™
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post #769 of 973 Old 01-14-2010, 12:50 PM
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Alright, got my Mediaroom DVR set up today.

$50 fee is pretty much just a "configuration fee." They come in, unplug all your current boxes, fill out some paperwork, then come in and plug in/set up the new boxes. No changes needed to be done to any of the wiring or anything like that. I'm a fiber customer.

The remote is far better. It's solid, but not bulky. Doesn't feel as cheap as the old DVR remote. Channel switching is instant. The interface is a huge improvement over the Minerva box. You can schedule recordings from any TV. I was pleasantly surprised that when watching a recorded program on a regular STB, you can fast forward and rewind.

Overall, I'm very happy and gladly paid the $50 fee.
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post #770 of 973 Old 01-14-2010, 07:45 PM
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Thanks again js. You too djBeer. I am getting installed tommorow and am looking forward to the quicker channel changes. Let you know how it goes.

Installer just left. Mediaroom up and running.
The channel switching is instantaneous. Seriously, wow fast!
The Remote is cool, small, backlit and is universal. Press the STB button and Power shuts off and turns on both tv and box.
The onscreen Menu is very WMC like. Sound effects are akin to the Xbox's.
The DVR gui is taking some getting used to. Far different than the Minerva POS.
Tried to search for "The Office" to setup series recording, only search points to some Adult content ****. Go figure.
Went onto other STB in different room to watch recorded program, works like a charm. Sweet!
Tried to record more than 2 HD streams, no joy.
Cannot rewind from STB's in other rooms, other than on the DVR.
Very, very nice addition for us Subs!
Well done to Surewest!
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post #771 of 973 Old 01-15-2010, 11:55 AM
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Installed this morning - took about an hour (already had the black coax converter boxes which are required for the new DVR). Channel switching instantaneous now. Similar search function as TIVO - simple now to find a show/series to record. Nice feature of PIP in lower left corner when scrolling channels in guide with current channel viewable in background. Will try recording and viewing on other TVs this afternoon.

A HUGE upgrade and very pleased so far...
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post #772 of 973 Old 01-16-2010, 06:59 PM
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(already had the black coax converter boxes which are required for the new DVR).

A HUGE upgrade and very pleased so far...

Tub,
What is the black coax converter box you speak of? I know not of those things.
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post #773 of 973 Old 01-17-2010, 05:50 PM
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The black SMC boxes receive the coax from my wall and cat 5 out to the DVR. I previously had white boxes that were swapped out about a month ago. Apparently the white boxes have known power supply issues. At the time, one of my TVs would just stick in boot mode and replacing with a black SMC box fixed the issue.
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post #774 of 973 Old 01-17-2010, 06:36 PM
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Thanks for the explanation.
My wiring is all Cat5e. No Coax.
That is why I was wondering what you were referring to.
By the by, have you figured out a way to get the "Caller ID" feature to work with the new Moto boxes?
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post #775 of 973 Old 01-18-2010, 03:42 PM
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Any folks with an XBOX360 using the new setup?

Wondering if it allows streaming from the DVR to the XBOX360.
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post #776 of 973 Old 01-19-2010, 06:14 AM
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Any folks with an XBOX360 using the new setup?

Wondering if it allows streaming from the DVR to the XBOX360.

Not until the upgrade to the 2dot0 software version.
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post #777 of 973 Old 01-21-2010, 04:41 PM
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Scheduled appt for Whole Home DVR and 2 STBs next Thursday. Went to the service center to see if I could replace myself but no luck. Will have to pay for the $49 install fee. Good news is that the new DVR comes with the Digital Choice package now, no extra charge. The STBs went up from $1.50, but I still saved $6.99. They extended my $10 discount another 6 months and gave me a $3 discount off my phone 300 min phone service. So I think my monthly will be lower with the new setup but will need a few months to see savings because of the install fee.
I will lose my shows I have saved so far on the old DVR. Wish they would enable the USB port.
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post #778 of 973 Old 01-21-2010, 05:15 PM
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Given they don't even know about 2.0 per some other post, I am sure this upgrade will happen "next month" - laff.
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post #779 of 973 Old 01-22-2010, 07:42 AM
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Ad,
You are going to love it! The actual channel change is instant. The lag after the channel change is still there.
You do have to re-submit all of your Favorites to record though.
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post #780 of 973 Old 01-24-2010, 12:24 AM
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Got my new Whole Home DVR setup on Thursday. The wife did not know about the "no time shifting" on live TV on the STBs only on the DVR unit. So I had to swap the living room and master bedroom units Saturday. I wonder if you could run multiple DVR units in the house?

Sure wished that the STBs could do at least 30-60 rewind. Should be possible with and SSD installed. Oh well. The HD clarity is improved over the Minerva/Amino & ATD (ADT?) boxes.

I hope they upgrade to 2.0 for Mediaroom. I would also like to be able to access my music library. Well, flexibility wise, its like the ReplayTVs I had except that it does HD but not able to time shift at each unit. Give and take I guess.

My bill is supposed to come down with some deals and lowering my phone minutes so that should be a plus. All in all, its a nice system. A HD TiVo might come in handy at the STB units. Might have to check out Craigslist...

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