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Time Warner Cable Controdicts Themselves, All I Wanted Was The Samsung SMT-3270 HDDVR

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
OK so I have a SA 8300 HD DVR and an even older box non HD DVR from Time Warner Cable. After doing some research I found out that the newest cable boxes Time Warner Cable offers in Milwaukee is the Cisco 8640 HDC DVR and the Samsung SMT-H3270 HD DVR. I was told by customer service that the 8640 still has the 4:3 Standard guide so I decided to go with the 3270. They told me to just take in my cable boxes to one of the 2 retail locations they have and they would exchange them as they can not come out and install them. I decided to call first. So I called retail location one and they said they didn't have it in stock. He said he would call me when they did and it would be one or two days or two weeks who knows. He said they get shipments regularly but they go quick. I asked him if he knew about whether or not the 8640 had been updated to a 16:9 guide. He reassured me it was (so I thought well maybe I'll get the 8640). After talking to him for 5 min he's like actually the guide is 4:3 on the 8640. So I call retail location 2 to see if they have the Samsung 3270 and the sales person there says no. So I ask him to call me or hold them when they do and he replies we can't do any of that. Then he says there is no difference between the SA 8300 HD DVR we have vs. the SMT-H3270 HD DVR. So I decide to try to call there payment centers because they stock them to. When I look up the payment centers it gives me the 800 number which is there general TWC call center who I talked to earlier. I call back the 800 number and talk to a tech. He tells me they can have a tech come out and install the 3270 but it will cost me $30. I ask him will it cost $30 to install 2 or $60. Then he puts me on hold and I get sent back to the main menu hence Thank you for calling TWC, for English press 1. Now I get sent to a customer service rep. I explain what I've been through and she says I'll make a note on your account about what you want. So I decide to try there online help and this is what I get:

User Mary_ has entered room

I need to upgrade my 2 cable boxes to Samsung SMT-H3270 HD DVR. I can pick them up. I need to know who has them in stock and if not when and who will have them in stock?

Analyst jean Marie has entered room

jean Marie>
Thank you for contacting Time Warner Cable. At the end of our chat you will be given the option of taking a brief survey. My name is jean Marie. Please give me a moment while I access your account.

jean Marie>
I would be happy to help you with your cable box inquiry.

jean Marie>
Is there a problem with your current cable boxes, Mary?

Mary_>
Yes one is not HD 1080p and the 8300 HD we have shows a 4:3 standard guide and I don't like it.

jean Marie>
I'm sorry, but the guide isn't provided in HD and we support 1080i not 1080p.

Mary_>
that's ok we've decided that we like the samsung h3270 and we want two of those.

jean Marie>
You're welcome to exchange them at any Time Warner Cable retail location or payment center, however.

jean Marie>
If you want to connect using HDMI, you will need to purchase your own HDMI cable as we do not provide them with the boxes, I'm sorry.

jean Marie>
Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Mary_>
Yes we have are own HDMI cables. I just want to know who stocks and has the samsung h3270?

jean Marie>
All of our locations carry all of the boxes and we haven't had any notifications that anyone is out of any particular type of box.

Mary_>
Mayfair mall and Southridge mall said they don't have any and I can't get a hold of any other places cause they do not have phone numbers?

jean Marie>
No, the payment centers do not have telephone numbers.

jean Marie>
I'm sorry.

Mary_>
How do I find out if a payment center has the Samsung h3270? And why is Mayfair and Southridge say they don't have any when you haven't received notification that they are out?

jean Marie>
I'm sorry, but we aren't notified by brand because we don't provide specific brands. We haven't received notification that we are out of DVRs HD boxes, etc.

jean Marie>
I apologize, but we can't call any of the payment or retail centers for you to locate a particular type of box.

Mary_>
How do I find out if a payment center has the Samsung h3270? Can I be notified when 2 are available?

jean Marie>
You can visit the payment centers.

jean Marie>
I apologize, but that's the only way.

jean Marie>
As I said, we can't specify a type of box and we can't hold them.

Mary_>
I find it hard to believe that your payment centers don't have a single phone line in them? I'm sure you guys could get a hold of them if you wanted to.

jean Marie>
I apologize. We do not call the retail or payment centers looking for equipment for customers. We also cannot place them on hold.

jean Marie>
When the boxes are ordered, they are ordered by DVR, non DVR, HD, etc, and not by brand.

jean Marie>
When we send out a technician, we cannot specify what brand of box is installed, either.

jean Marie>
The only way for you to request a specific brand would be for you to go into a payment or retail location and ask for one. I apologize.

jean Marie>
Is there anything else I can assist you with today, Mary?

Mary_>
You've been no help. You need to update your systems so you know who has what in stock. What pisses me off is I called Time Warner Sales and if I was a new customer they had no problem with having me set up with two Samsung h3270's.

jean Marie>
I'm sorry that you were given incorrect information, Mary.

jean Marie>
We cannot specify a particular type of box for any customer, new or existing.

jean Marie>
Again, as I said we don't order by brand of box.

Mary_>
I was also lied to that the samsung h3270 has no better features than the SA 8300 HD.

jean Marie>
I can tell you that none of our payment or retail centers are out of DVRs or HD DVRs.

jean Marie>
I'm sorry you feel that way. Both boxes provide quality picture, digital channels and services.

jean Marie>
I am sorry I cannot help you with your request other than to direct you to one of our retail or payment centers.

jean Marie>
Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Mary_>
They have different Hard Drive sizes, different Processors and more. So don't tell me I'm sorry you feel that way.

jean Marie>
As I said, Mary, if you would like a specific brand, you are welcome to visit any payment center or retail location.

Mary_>
OK again you've been no help.

jean Marie>
I've offered all the help I am able to, Mary. I apologize.

jean Marie>
Do you have any other questions for me?

Mary_>
No just want you to know that every Time Warner Cable rep has a contradictory answer to what his or her other reps have told me.

jean Marie>
I apologize for that. It's something that we, and other call centers are working on to make sure that everyone is on the same page. I understand the frustration.

jean Marie>
I have been here for nearly 10 years and I strive to make sure that everything I tell a customer is correct the first time I relay the information.

Mary_>
Well I give you a gold star for your " I strive to make sure that everything I tell a customer is correct" but TWC is in major need of help to say the least.

jean Marie>
Thank you and I also thank you for your input, Mary. I will pass that along.

jean Marie>
Again, my name is jean Marie. Thank you for chatting with Time Warner Cable. We value you as a customer and are here to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you would like to take a brief survey, please click on End Session and the survey will load.

I took the survey but I don't think they got the feedback they would have liked. What do you think and any guesses on if I get a call back from TWC?
post #2 of 11
Mary


Couple of things you should keep in mind. Your online chat probably goes to someone in your region, but not to your local office. The procedures of box swaps vary from division to division. The call center reps and online chat reps can't verify the stock of what model boxes are available at payment centers, and main offices.

Additionally, you may request a particular model box on the order when a tech visits, but there are no guarantees. If the tech is issued all SA8300HD (MDN HD DVRs) from his/her warehouse, how will he/she be able to accomodate your desire for a different model?

Also, do you think that the cable company should dump all of its older boxes because every customer wants the newest box. Do you understand what that would do to your cable bill if the company had to distribute brand new boxes to every customer?

They do their best to issue out requested equipment, but if its not available, there's nothing that can be done. You're one of thousands of people who feel like they are entitled to a certain model, when in reality all of the DVRs do the same thing, some just work on a different interface (MDN vs. ODN), and some have larger hard drives than others. Sad to say if you want to own a particular model perhaps you should consider a TiVo unit, then its yours and you can buy whichever one you want. However, using third party equipment means it works on a best effort basis and is in no way guaranteed.

Also hate to break it to you, the SMT-3270 guide is still 4:3 everywhere I've seen. You're going to have sidebars on your guide, and you're going to have bars top and bottom on some of your SDTV channels unless you stretch it. That's just something you're going to have to tolerate. There are still a LOT of people using 4:3 CRT televisions in the world, and until those are phased out years and years down the road, there won't be total uniformity.

As far as HDMI, thats the LAST thing you want to do with a Samsung DVR. If you want your recordings to have missing pieces, a pixelating picture, missing channels, or if you like your box to reboot, using HDMI on a 3270 may do all of that or more for you. Use component cables. No cable box out there is producing 1080p anyways. Component cables make a picture that looks just fine.

Sorry you're frustrated and I hope your cable experience brightens up.
post #3 of 11
I have 2 3270's and they show a 16:9 guide, though it's stretched.
post #4 of 11
Can someone explain how a HDMI cable from box to display will cause missing channels. Someone better go back to school and not accept corporate BS.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by dlm10541 View Post

Can someone explain how a HDMI cable from box to display will cause missing channels. Someone better go back to school and not accept corporate BS.

Do you frequently install these converters into homes on various brand/model televisions? It seems like It shouldn't matter which output method you use right? Yeah, I get that, and I hear that a lot. Keep in mind though that HDMI is a DIGITAL signal. In fact HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface (interface being the key word). It is uncompressed video, or video and audio. It needs software for it to work right.

Component cables provide ANALOG High Definition. The picture clarity is the same at 1080i. I have done some research and there are quite a few Cable providers who are experiencing issues with HDMI, particularly on DVRs. Cisco and Samsung produce Cable DSTs and DVRs for all of them. It's clearly a software issue.

Here's a good comparison. If you have a new video card installed on your PC and you dont have the right drivers for them, is it going to work right? It may or it may not. There's probably going to be errors, and certain resolutions will not be available, certain outputs may not work right or not work at all. I agree it seems crazy to think that using one output method over another would make or break your ability to record. But I'm not an engineer. I can tell you from repeated experiences, that when the HDMI cable comes off and another output method is used, the box will (provided theres no other issues, network or signal) begin working properly again.

For all intensive purposes a DVR is a computer. It has a motherboard, a hard drive, memory, a video output, and an "operating system". It's really more of a workstation following commands of a server, but it is a computer. If the software isn't right, it's not going to operate properly.

I can understand why people are frustrated at not being able to use an output they want, because HDMI is new, clean, and hip... but really if component cables do the same job, just as well, there's no harm in using them. The only real people who have a problem then are the ones who have HDTVs lacking component input(s). There were many sold two years ago on Black Friday that I came across that only had HDMI and Cable inputs on the back, some of them didnt even have composite inputs. In this case you would need to go component to a receiver and out HDMI to the TV. I've seen a lot of success doing it this way if you were previously having issues with HDMI.

I personally had 3 Samsung 3270s at one time in my home. Every one of them had the same issues. I would go to record something and when playback time came it would be bits and pieces (namely the first or last 3 minutes of the program only). Tuning into certain channels was problematic also. And it would tell me I had less available storage space than was actually available. Eventually I went back to Cisco 8640s and they also had HDMI issues. The picture would flicker in and out on my Vizio 32" 1080p. It would do similar things on my 47" Philips 1080p. After having enough, I switched to component -- ZERO problems since.
post #6 of 11
CableFTW, your facts here are simply untrue. In fact, many of the boxes are having issues with component cables and service techs are fixing the issue with HDMI cables. Your comparison to a PC Video card and wrong drivers is irrelevant to using cables. The cable doesn't decide what resolution is outputted. If your having issues, I would check with you TV manufacture.
post #7 of 11
3 Different TVs (Dynex, Vizio, Philips)
3 Different brand HDMI cables
3 of the same boxes SMT3270s

none worked properly with HDMI
switched to component, again ZERO problems afterward.

I suppose thats a coincidence then?
Maybe I was just nuts when I saw the same thing at everyone else's homes.


I don't know if you are a cable tech, but if you ran service calls for these issues, you would start to see patterns. Maybe the issues are different in your area because of different hardware on the converters or the software itself could be different. Across the board it seems to be the same to me, as I have family/friends in Ohio, Florida, and North Carolina.

It is not the TVs problem that causes the issue. Otherwise XBOX, playstation, PCs, Blu-Ray, and DVD players connected to the TVs would have similar issues.

As far as output method determining output resolution, many converters set themselves to Automatic as soon as you plug in an HDMI cable. While using component the default is 480i. But I'm wrong still right?
post #8 of 11
Cable guy,

TWC is terrible when it comes to getting cable boxes. You can apologize for them all you want, but customers should not have to drive all across the city to get a cable box.

Let's look at these excuses - How can they keep track of inventory? How can techs be expected to bring you what you requested? How can stores be expected to hold a product for you to pick up later?

I don't know, how about if they cared about customer service they would figure it out. It is not as hard you seem to think. Bottom line, TWC is not doing their best. Can you imagine any other business operating like that? "I'll have a cheeseburger, please." "You may get a chesseburger or a hamburger - I cannot help you any further than that, sorry...."

I can tell you when I had a similar conversation with my local store, they suggested that I call ATT and they charge $130 to come out. I said "Thanks for the advice - I can call someone and I'll get what I want - that is the only good information you provided to me."

Lastly, I must address your stated experience with HDMI cables. I can tell you that when the TWC tech first installed my HD cable box - the picture only filled a small portion of my screen (he set the cable box to say that I had a 4:3 screen, and then output a 16:9 picture) so I had grey bars all around. Not knowing what the problem was, I asked him if that was the best it could do - he said yes, that's the problem with these boxes, and left.

Most troubling (to me) is that you say you are having this experience with your customers, and yet, you don't know what causes the problem or how to actually fix it - you just tell people a work around that degrades their HD experience. If this problem exists, how about you use your access, ask people why this problem exists, and when they plan on fixing it, and get back to us.
post #9 of 11
Realize this is an old thread but...

First post here but this is really a sore point with TWC for me. They simply don't understand the concept of customer service. As Calrak says, no other business would last a week using the "we apologize, there's nothing we can do for you" business model. We've had techs install and remove line amplifiers at least four times now - if it's there the tech says it's not needed, if it's not there another tech says that's the problem and installs a new one. No idea if it makes a difference or not at this point. The Scientific Atlanta cable boxes are hit or miss at best and seem to have limited capacity. As far as HDMI, we have two SA HD DVR boxes using HDMI cables with no picture issues - maybe that's why there's an HDMI connection on the box?

Now to the real question - can you use a Tivo HD DVR with TWC? If so, what's involved and how is it working for those that have one? TIA! smile.gif
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calrak View Post

Cable guy,


TWC is terrible when it comes to getting cable boxes. You can apologize for them all you want, but customers should not have to drive all across the city to get a cable box.

-- Maybe you'd prefer satellite? Perhaps they handle box swaps better?
Quote:
Let's look at these excuses - How can they keep track of inventory? How can techs be expected to bring you what you requested? How can stores be expected to hold a product for you to pick up later?

-- I know this is frustrating. I'm not in charge of any warehouse, or anyone who does the ordering/inventory of customer premise equipment.

Quote:

Lastly, I must address your stated experience with HDMI cables. I can tell you that when the TWC tech first installed my HD cable box - the picture only filled a small portion of my screen (he set the cable box to say that I had a 4:3 screen, and then output a 16:9 picture) so I had grey bars all around. Not knowing what the problem was, I asked him if that was the best it could do - he said yes, that's the problem with these boxes, and left.

Most troubling (to me) is that you say you are having this experience with your customers, and yet, you don't know what causes the problem or how to actually fix it - you just tell people a work around that degrades their HD experience. If this problem exists, how about you use your access, ask people why this problem exists, and when they plan on fixing it, and get back to us.

-- The above experience mentioned by me was not in reference to my experience with HDMI cables, but with using the HDMI output method from certain STB's to TV. The problem isn't the cable itself. As of now, most compatibility problems over HDMI have been resolved in my region. We still have some known problems with certain TVs (Dynex TVs namely, and some older Vizio HDTVs as well). We can debate this all day long but there is no difference in clarity between HDMI and component so long as the TV is not a 3D HDTV. Even then you would have to subscribe to the 3D channels to even need the HDMI cable's benefits.

As to why the picture doesn't fit your screen, it has nothing to do with the type of box and everything to do with the way the programming is formatted. Granted some brand STB's such as Samsung have the interactive guide and menu interface stretched the fit the screen, whereas the Pace, Scientific Atlanta and Cisco boxes are not stretched -- they will have bars left and right inside menus and when the guide is open. Can't recall right now about Motorola or STBs. As for programming and commercials, we have little control there -- that's up to the broadcaster. Until practically everyone has 16x9 format TVs we will have some stuff that simply doesn't fit.

Sorry you were having issues. I know its frustrating dealing with issues like this, but remember TWC doesn't normally charge for a trouble call visit. If you have satellite or the telephone company out, they charge like $75.00 just to show up.
Edited by CableFTW - 3/2/13 at 9:28am
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jwight View Post

Realize this is an old thread but...

First post here but this is really a sore point with TWC for me. They simply don't understand the concept of customer service. As Calrak says, no other business would last a week using the "we apologize, there's nothing we can do for you" business model. We've had techs install and remove line amplifiers at least four times now - if it's there the tech says it's not needed, if it's not there another tech says that's the problem and installs a new one. No idea if it makes a difference or not at this point. The Scientific Atlanta cable boxes are hit or miss at best and seem to have limited capacity. As far as HDMI, we have two SA HD DVR boxes using HDMI cables with no picture issues - maybe that's why there's an HDMI connection on the box?

Now to the real question - can you use a Tivo HD DVR with TWC? If so, what's involved and how is it working for those that have one? TIA! smile.gif


-- Sorry every case is different as to the house amplifier situation, but yes you can use a TiVo DVR but you'll need a cable card from TWC as well as a tuning adapter to pick up switched channels. It's a big hassle for you and us to set it up, but some people like it. You can expect to spend $300-400 on the TiVo and then another $4/month or so in rental fees for the CPE you need. Keep in mind if something happens to your TiVo, you are responsible for it. Whereas if you have a TWC STB, its easily swapped for another model.


Also SA STB's have entirely different hardware and software versus Samsung STB's. They would naturally have different issues.

SA DVRs have 80 or 160GB HDDs
Ciscos and Samsung have 160/320/500GB HDDs depending on model #
Edited by CableFTW - 3/2/13 at 9:26am
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