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Portland, ME - HDTV - Page 167

post #4981 of 4993
What is WMC? Is it Western Maine Cable? When I see those letters, I only think of the Memphis NBC affiliate. tongue.gif
post #4982 of 4993
WMC-Windows Media Center. Sounds like he is using a homerun device to record shows instead of the stock DVR
http://www.silicondust.com/products_new/

of course I could be totally off base there wink.gif
post #4983 of 4993
Yes, I'm using Windows Media Center 7. I have a KWorld UB445-U usb stick tuner. It's a dual tuner so I can record and watch at the same time. I'm using cable directly into the tuner, no STB (set top box). Basically, I've ditched TV and just kept internet. My bill was running over $200/month and some recent financial setbacks mean that I just can't afford that any more.
Anyway, I've found all the channel frequencies and everything is working great. I have several TVs, but the main one in my living room won't pull in channel 8, wmtw or 51.1, wpxt. I have no idea why. They're both transmitted on 119 with TMC, I believe. But those channels come in fine on all my other sets and my usb tuner, and that TV will pull those channels in just fine with my antenna hookup.
My antenna is a home made 4 bay bowtie. It's amazing how many channels I can pull in with good signal strength. The only one we want that I can't get with the antenna is ION (out of Concord NH), I get 19 channels.
The Toshiba 32" in the bedroom doesn't have a channel guide. That seems odd. They all work good on antenna and auto scan works to find the channels. Most of them auto scan cable, too, but WMC has trouble with it. The problem isn't the usb tuner because I can use the Total Media program with it and it auto scans fine. With WMC I have to enter the cable channels manually. Total Media will record shows like WMC does, but the channel guide in WMC is just so much nicer than anything else.



Gary
post #4984 of 4993
Another tick in favor of dropping TWC.

Last month we received a brochure/pamphlet from Time Warner Cable titled "Simpler Smarter Better" with the new channel lineup in Maine. I did not pay too much attention to it, as we downgraded to basic a while back (for a combination of what we view + cost of boxes + programming changes on our favorite channels + overall value ...), but it looked all right to group alike channels above 100 into blocks.

Flipped on the TV last night, after being out of town, no signal on any channel? Kind of odd. Maybe cable is out? I was convinced something had happened to the line with recent stormy weather. Checks out fine this morning. Then I started to think about the channel line-up.

All basic clear QAM channels have moved to new locations :roll eyes:
Not single primary station (ABC NBC ...) matches the pamphlet mad.gif
And MPBN + CREATE are GONE ?!


As an example there's no 5 WABI, 6 WCSH ... the first station I see is 9-6 EWTN, followed by four tv guides on 11, 13 should be CBS but is infomercials, ...
15-1 is ABC

... sigh ...

I'm going to do a few channel scans to see what I get where and try to share a list.
post #4985 of 4993
PS: And as I've complained about before to TWC, why can't TWC in Maine do what can be done in Florida (and likely other markets) and just match the Clear-QAM channel line-up to the traditional listing of old? With just all -1 -2 sub-channels; which in Maine would mean 5-1 WABI, 6-1 WCSH, 8-1 WMTW, 10-1-2-3 for MPBN etc .

How hard can it be? And how neat would it be for customers?

I tried to call the local TWC office number but got patched through to a call center that was likely abroad. I didn't expect much, and certainly not an immediate resolution given the nature of the issue, but it is funny how the person on the other end seemingly has never dealt with a customer who doesn't have a cable box. Rep. did not know about the digital adapters being SD only ... suspecting an incompatibility issue between the adapter and my TV. She said she was doing a reset of the system on her end, to check my channels now ... completely oblivious to the fact that channels do not magically appear when you don't have a box. And few other things that are just so scripted-ly sad.

Anyhow. They could only dispatch a technician to my house (declined) and could not give me another contact number (direct branch number) nor request a call back from the local branch. So, if the local branch doesn't take calls during M-F business hours; I will have to stop by in person.
post #4986 of 4993
I wanted to have something in hand to take to TWC tomorrow to complain politely about my missing channels, as I am basically down to 4 (just counting news on the primary 3 and the Big Bang Theory).

Without a correction from TWC, I'm out of PBS/MPBN & CREATE, our most watched TV channels and most likely up the creek without a paddle. Distance and topography don't favor an antenna. Plus MPBN doesn't put CREATE on the air.

I find it especially bad since they publicly said they had to raise prices due to increased cost of re-broadcasting local OTA content.

Anyway, I added an extra column to my old channel line-up list. Note that it may not be 100% accurate. Last channel scan was whenever I experienced a change (I think when ABC went off 99-2 ?). This morning 15-1 and 19-3 carried ABC & CBS, now they've got infomercials? (sigh) CW could be on something that has infomercials this morning.

Since the forum would scramble a copy / paste of the document, I figured I could try to share it as a screenshot. Before left, after right. Bold highlights are "favorite" channels.

[ Edited to remove the Before - After channel line-up image. Missing channels are mostly back since removing the tap at the pole. ]
Edited by icerabbit - 4/8/14 at 8:50am
post #4987 of 4993
Final note for the day. Nice to see that TWC is on top of things. NOT.

The line-up pamphlet effective April 2014 lists:

180 Discovery Fit and Health
181 BET
182 Centric

While the online channel line-up guide (with new-to-me product tiers called starter tv, standard tv and preferred ) lists:

TWCChannelline-upfindermpbnpbs_zps36ca3fed.jpg

which is the same from the old channel line-up guide
180 MPBN
181 MPBN
182 Create
183 PBS World

and is the same as the download link from the above "live" channel guide online, that gives users a 2013-sept line-up.

Looking a little more at the pamphlet mailed a couple weeks ago.

Local programming is now 1200+
1200 WMTW ABC
1203 WCSH NBC
1206 WPFO FOX
1209 WGME CBS
1210 WABI
1212 WPXT CW
1215 WPME
1221 PBS WCBB
1238 CKSH CBC
1240 WMTW D2 News 8 Now
1241 WMTW All News
1245 News Center Plus
1260 WPXT D2 MeTV
1276 WCBB D3 World
1277 WCCB D4 MCC
1278 WCCB D5 Create
1301 Local Access

... who knows what happened to WCBB D2?

Note the absolutely brilliant move to not keep channels from the same station together!

WMTW 1200 1240 1241
WCSH 1203 1245
WPXT 1212 1260
MPBN PBS 1221 12766 1277 1278

Simpler, smarter, better? Not for local programming.
post #4988 of 4993
Stopped by the TWC office in Augusta today.

While waiting in line, I overheard another representative broadly (no specifics) mention to another customer that there were technical issues with the changes TWC made last week.

Then after stating my issue, I got a semi-acknowledgement that TWC heard about missing channels. No straight scoop or any details (of course), combined with the fact that my missing channels have to verified by a technician first, which made it feel like I was being brushed off. When I expressed doubt the issue was at my house, she said the technician will check the signal at the pole and correct the issue there. I'm not sure what the tech will fix at the pole. Since I could properly receive any analog and digital station on the band before, I don't think it is an issue with a tap or filter; but rather where they re-broadcast and map channels at the headend. But, I will happily be surprised tomorrow morning to see a part swapped on the pole and get my clear-QAM channels back.

To be continued.
post #4989 of 4993

If you're contacting Time Warner please suggest they start carrying CBMT-DT (CBC) from Montreal. It offers alternate programming from a Canadian perspective. All of the Time Warner service areas north of us get it, so it would not be a huge effort for them to add it. Would be great for hockey and things like the Olympics. 

 

[It's too bad that CKSH and CHLT don't offer English on the SAP channel for programs made in English but dubbed into French. Or maybe they do but TW doesn't provide the feed?]

post #4990 of 4993
The good news is, I don't need to buy an antenna yet, as most channels are back (notably missing is WCSH6 2 news/weather) and maybe another one or two which I never watched.

The technician was early. He said that with last weeks changes everybody lost broadcast TV and that they have to check every pole to remove taps. I'm shocked really that TWC would make sweeping changes that would cause such a hassle for customers and such a load of service calls (remember, this is not a change/upgrade/downgrade in service level). Couldn't they avoid it? Or at least make the changes at the poles last summer/fall ... prior to channel shuffling? Wouldn't that be sensible? Anyhow.

After he made a change at the pole, I started a channel scan on our big tv (because it takes a while). When the tech stepped inside, seeing that scan screen in progress and no TWC box, he said "oh you don't have a box?" to which I said: no, I did get two of those Digital Cable Adapters, but they are SD only and so I just tossed them aside, complained to TWC and kept using straight cable from the wall. Why would I go from clear-QAM HD to sd? No acknowledgement there, followed by the un-sympathetic response that people were never supposed to get these channels, that TWC should have cut "that" off 3 years ago, but they were lazy and that now they finally went all encrypted last week and that a box is now mandatory per TV.

At which point I cancelled my tv channel scan. No point in highlighting that stuff still came/comes down the pipe. No point in talking about straight-up cable.

We talked briefly about options, because I was not going to watch SD from a crappy DCA. He said there are new HD Digital Cable Adapters now or full on boxes etc. (no thank you). The new DCA are essentially the same feature wise, but slightly bigger, HDMI required for setup & HD. Stations received would be 1-24 in SD and then some of those on 700+ in HD.

So I let him drop two of those new HD DCA off. I declined his offer to install them. I'm pretty used to AV stuff and wasn't going to get into seeking AC splitters and/or extension cords to add an extra outlet behind mounted TVs, have him fuss with cables, routing, ... Plus I wanted to see if there was any change with the tap gone. If it mattered to box customers, maybe it also mattered to basic folks.

Once he drove off. Flipped the TV back on. Start channel scan. 0 Analog. 53 digital channels. Up from 30 (30+ if the tv doesn't filter out some test channels). Promising! Sure enough. The missing primary channels appeared as sub-channels to 24, 25, 26 and 119.

So, this is my new shortcut list for clear-QAM:



I will try one of those HD DCA later, out of interest. First I have to re-scan some small bedroom sets and scrub out the channels we never use, so you can just to CH+ CH- surf between the HD versions of ABC NBC CBS without the crud (which is easier & faster then tapping nn-n with all new numbers).
post #4991 of 4993
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake V View Post

If you're contacting Time Warner please suggest they start carrying CBMT-DT (CBC) from Montreal. It offers alternate programming from a Canadian perspective. All of the Time Warner service areas north of us get it, so it would not be a huge effort for them to add it. Would be great for hockey and things like the Olympics. 

[It's too bad that CKSH and CHLT don't offer English on the SAP channel for programs made in English but dubbed into French. Or maybe they do but TW doesn't provide the feed?]

Does CBMT carry different programming?
On my guide, for Kennebec County, it is listed as #2 CKSH CBC. A number of things I've noted have a TVA logo. I have no idea if they simulcast. I will have to try it some day.

Generally speaking, I'm happy to ask TWC (or any service provider) for more value/features/channels/service/... but even back when I had the bundle and extras; asking anything from TWC (or Verizon, Comcast, Brighthouse, etc.) is like talking to a wall. Try to get an answer from anybody with a say-so. First line reps may nod, you may get to a supervisor/manager; but that's it.

I've expressed concerns about service levels, value and complained about technical issues/limitations in the past, and it pretty much falls on deaf ears. They just do their own thing, cashing in as much profit as they can while they can. Typically one company has the local monopoly and if there is a competitor, their price is pretty much in lock step. Despite what they advertise, I never feel like a "valued customer". If we all were "valued customers" and they actually listened to what customers reasonably want; then the deck wouldn't be stacked against us with tiers and bundles, neighbors paying different prices based on new/existing/re-negotiated/discounted/... So, we have just gradually been cutting back over time. Your HD sucks and is always over compressed on channels x y and z; so here's your HD box back. Need a cable box for expanded service? Cut it back to broadcast. (Which we supplement with netflix, amazon prime, hulu, redbox, library, ... )

This whole encrypting basic cable mandate they got the FCC to agree to, under the guise of countering theft of service, reduced service calls and better service ... was the last drop for me. I used to think that cable cared at least a little bit about customers, but they don't. I can understand reasons behind removing analog (doesn't mean I agree with it) and recognize that HD is the future. But with basic encryption becoming the norm; I am literally waiting for them to kill clear-QAM, and then my vote is to never subscribe to cable again, technically speaking. I say technically, because I know in Florida for instance that low cost internet service is disappearing rapidly, and standalone broadband internet is approaching $60 now! Same thing with expanded TV $80. ??? All while they advertise the triple bundle TV + internet + phone at $79.99 (plus equipment, taxes,...) locked in for two years. Word has it that they are not going to have these special introductions any more and instead focus on value-added features and extras. Which would be in the form of alarm systems, home automation, ... which really sets you up for a locked-in situation you cannot get away from. That is looking at a 2-3 year agreement with an ETF equaling the remainder of your 2-3 year agreement. And, doesn't mean the price won't go up a buck here and there.

Anyway. I don't know how many requests it would take for TWC to consider adding Montreal to basic. I fear you really would have to know somebody at TWC to even get that on the table.
Edited by icerabbit - 4/8/14 at 10:13am
post #4992 of 4993
Quote:
Originally Posted by icerabbit View Post


Does CBMT carry different programming?
On my guide, for Kennebec County, it is listed as #2 CKSH CBC. A number of things I've noted have a TVA logo. I have no idea if they simulcast. I will have to try it some day.

Generally speaking, I'm happy to ask TWC (or any service provider) for more value/features/channels/service/... but even back when I had the bundle and extras; asking anything from TWC (or Verizon, Comcast, Brighthouse, etc.) is like talking to a wall. Try to get an answer from anybody with a say-so. First line reps may nod, you may get to a supervisor/manager; but that's it.

CBMT carries the CBC network and is 100% in English. It's a different network than TVA. 

 

CKSH and CHLT are both in French (which is good for those who speak French).

 

I agree that asking TWC is like talking to a wall. The only reason I keep it is because it's the best option for me for internet access.

post #4993 of 4993
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jake V View Post

CBMT carries the CBC network and is 100% in English. It's a different network than TVA. 

CKSH and CHLT are both in French (which is good for those who speak French).

I agree that asking TWC is like talking to a wall. The only reason I keep it is because it's the best option for me for internet access.

English news from Canada would be neat. Especially since we're right across the border. I understand a fair bit of French, but Quebecois is a slightly different animal wink.gif

Fortunately I have one alternative option for internet & phone, but TWC is the only simple option for TV, outside of rigging up two long range directional antennas on the roof. I've resisted bundling with TWC, even though it may save money in the short run while offering more channels (box needed though) and offers a higher up to internet speed. Simply because we don't need to watch more tv and because I no longer like nor trust TWC. That's why I'm sticking with GWI for phone and internet.
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