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jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA

1 recommendation

[TWC] socal - channel changing after typing in # is slow

just wondering if anyone has seen similar: sometime in the past week/week and a half both our motorola cable boxes (one HD DVR, one just HD) have become much slower at changing channels when typing in the channel number.

old way-> type in number, channel immediately changes when the last number is put in.

new way-> type in number, wait a few seconds, channel changes.

- wait, i think i know what it is. we now have channels in the 1000 range. so, i guess if i type 0### it'll change immediately. i'll check when i'm home.

sigh. i guess i'll have to see what the 1000 channels are. i can't imagine that we needed to go there.

anyway, aside from that, the boxes seems a little sluggish when using the guide. it could all be related, maybe this number of channels is taxing the memory used for the guide.
--
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.


motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4

1 recommendation

said by jig:

just wondering if anyone has seen similar: sometime in the past week/week and a half both our motorola cable boxes (one HD DVR, one just HD) have become much slower at changing channels when typing in the channel number.

old way-> type in number, channel immediately changes when the last number is put in.

new way-> type in number, wait a few seconds, channel changes.

- wait, i think i know what it is. we now have channels in the 1000 range. so, i guess if i type 0### it'll change immediately. i'll check when i'm home.

sigh. i guess i'll have to see what the 1000 channels are. i can't imagine that we needed to go there.

anyway, aside from that, the boxes seems a little sluggish when using the guide. it could all be related, maybe this number of channels is taxing the memory used for the guide.

yeah it is related to the 1000s being used for channels and channel changes take longer for some reason as it is expecting a 4 digit number instead of a 3 digit number.


Vertigo

@myvzw.com
OP, I'm also in the San Gabriel Valley and noticed our boxes are slower as well. The channel input is indeed 4 digits now but the guide also takes longer to load and navigate.

What Motorola boxes are you using?


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
DCX3400 and one of the old silver ones - DCT5100 i think.

Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1
reply to jig
Not sure if this works with iGuide on the Motorola boxes, but with Navigator, if you’re keying in a one, two or three digit channel number, if you hit the Select button after the last digit, the channel will tune immediately, no waiting for you potentially add another digit.
--
For the future of our nation, we must unite and vote out the terrorist known as Hussein Obama. Come November 6 2012 we must remove the socialist pig out of office and get our country back on the RIGHT track.


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
might as well just start it with a zero.

this is kind of a pisser. there are only 3 new channels, two are NFL channels (probably copies of ones in the 400 range) and two are two versions of the new TW sports channels, which also appear elsewhere in the lineup.

very, very poor choice on their part. there are plenty of other available channels they could use that are beneath 1000.
--
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.


Suit Up

join:2003-07-21
Los Angeles, CA
said by jig:

very, very poor choice on their part. there are plenty of other available channels they could use that are beneath 1000.

They are prepping for a complete lineup change. I believe all SD channels will be in the 1000+ range, which is why there are SD versions of these recently added channels are in the 1000+ range. I'm not sure what their logic is for this change though.


hobgoblin
Sortof Agoblin
Premium
join:2001-11-25
Orchard Park, NY
kudos:11
"They are prepping for a complete lineup change. I believe all SD channels will be in the 1000+ range, which is why there are SD versions of these recently added channels are in the 1000+ range. I'm not sure what their logic is for this change though."

It would be a fantastic idea to standardize all lineups across every market. If every cable channel was the same number in EVERY market it would be one of the greatest things for a support agent ever. Be hard to get there....but you have to start somewhere!

Hob
--
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


TWC TEX

@rr.com
reply to jig
The channels change slowly here in Texas now that they have run an "update" several times. The update has made the cable outdated as compared to how it functioned before the update.

I have an uncle in Florida that is experiencing the same problems and he uses Brighthouse which was a Time Warner company. So are they using the same software and upgrades?

It can take a long time to use the up and down buttons while scrolling through the channels. Same as with typing in the channel number. Everything worked fine until the updates. The updates have made everything worse instead of better.

That is okay since I have Direct TV installing a dish on Monday and I am changing my internet service also.

My uncle is doing the same thing this week. He is fed up and he said two people he knows at church are going to do the same thing.

Maybe TWC wants to go out of business. They definitely are not consumer friendly. Our channels go out more than my neighbors that have Direct TV. Now the entire system is less functional.


antdude
A Ninja Ant
Premium,VIP
join:2001-03-25
United State
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
reply to jig
I noticed this too on my a few months old Motorola DVR-DCX3400 with its iGuide. It is definitely slower than my over the air (OTA) DVRs (DTV Pal DVR and computer's DVB Viewer Pro in an old, updated Windows XP Pro. SP3). I read iNavigator is even slower for other DVRs.


Suit Up

join:2003-07-21
Los Angeles, CA

1 recommendation

reply to hobgoblin
said by hobgoblin:

It would be a fantastic idea to standardize all lineups across every market. If every cable channel was the same number in EVERY market it would be one of the greatest things for a support agent ever. Be hard to get there....but you have to start somewhere!

Would be nice for customers too. Would also be nice if they stopped duplicating channels. Some channels are listed up to 3 times and that doesn't even include the HD version which would be a 4th. Disney Channel, for example, is at 65, 186, and 846. Plus the HD version at 435.


Vertigo

@mpionbroadband.com
I agree that going into the 1000 range is excessive, though Time Warner needs a massive overhaul of its channel lineup in the LA market. The HD channels are scattered by who owns them (universal, viacom, disney, etc), and the SD channels are scattered and over-duplicated. The best universal lineup I've seen is Verizon Fios where each channel is grouped by genre. Why not simply adopt a standard lineup 1-400 and have the corresponding HD channel with a 5, 6, 7, or 8 in front of it? There are nowhere near 1000 channels, and that would add the flexibility without the frustration of remembering 4 digits.


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
my main gripe is that it functioned pretty well one day, then the next day it got worse, and i personally haven't seen any value-added as a result of the change. there's that old adage for service providers - first rule is to do no harm. sigh.

there is a slight chance that the slow down is entirely due to the decision to enable 1000s channels. i would bet pretty good money that our boxes allocate memory for the guide based on powers of 2... regardless of whether all the channels in that range are populated. so, a couple of weeks ago, our boxes allocated 1k (1024) worth of guide entries for our less than 1000 channels. then, for whatever reason, they decided to add 4 new channels and make one of them 14xx (can't remember all the numbers).

now, the firmware programmer had a choice somewhere along the way to allocate memory in chunks of powers of 2, or just according to powers of two. i've seen a lot of programmers get it wrong and allocate according to powers of 2. if that's the case here, then the firmware is now allocating twice as much memory as it was before - i.e., we're allocating 2k (2056) worth of guide entries. however, even if the programmer was a little smarter and allocated in chunks of powers of 2, the choice of 14xx means that the firmware likely allocated another 512 - it's unlikely that the programmer used chunks less than 128 to build up the memory allocation.

end result, by a poor choice of channel number, TW may have doubled the memory use of the guide, or at least increased it by 50%. and that's just the guide - i have no idea if there are collateral memory issues. you'd hope that something like this wouldn't matter - but the pointers are 1 bit longer, block memory copies might take twice as long in clock cycles...

there are plenty of ways to code around the problem... like only allocating guide entries to actual live channels that aren't copies of other channels, making the memory subsystem less dependent on guide allocation, etc, but my guess is that the coding is more of a "just good enough for this round" process for these devices, and optimization only happens after something breaks.

i think we all know that actual copies of channels are just a mapping of the data in the channel to multiple channel numbers, so having multiple copies of disney in SD (if they're all the same stream) doesn't mean more channel bandwidth from the headend. but, i don't know if that's been implemented in the guide - i would bet that even if the guide data for two channels is identical, it's stored in duplicate. sometime someone made the decision that the extra function call wasn't worth the effort and added risk (and that's probably a good decision - why build a function that shouldn't ever have to be called?).

so, the solution. either fix the memory allocation or whatever update code issue that is causing the degradation in performance, or drop the channels down to a number that doesn't result in the degradation we see now.

my consumer input: no-one want to type a decimal point or a but-load of digits or an enter key to change channels. do whatever it takes to keep the channels in the three digit range. remove all truly duplicate channels from the guide. i'm not the only one who thinks it's a bogus attempt at justifying the ever increasing cost of subscription (as well as just plain lazy and unorganized).

the issue with the duplicate channels - i know it's one way the cablecos advertise their lineup. that's why the primary channels for premium channels is right after ESPN and such - you bring it up on the guide, and you see a movie you wouldn't mind zoning out to, so you up your subscription. but, they want that same advertising moment in other places on the guide where customers spend a lot of time - like near TCM. AND, they need another copy so that they can group all the HBO channels together AND put them right next to the group of SHO channels so that they can cross-sell. so, we've got a minimum of three places they want to advertise their lineup, so we get three copies of the same channel.

fine, but don't over-do it to the point that the typical cable box starts running like molasses, and don't make it take forever just to scan through the typical HD lineup. don't let marketing take away customer satisfaction and convenience.

i like TW generally - they've been fairly good to me so far - very few service outages, though the price hikes are getting a bit silly, and the upload rates for data are becoming more and more uncompetitive. but, there are some real problems with the functioning of the HD DVR devices that make it frustrating to keep paying $10-15/month for the privilege. they're loud, there are some weird bugs now and then, they seem to get slower and slower, and the guide doesn't seem to track what's on the channel as well as some online services do.

[side comment - lately, i can't seem to get the last few 10s of seconds of any comedy central recording (and adding the seconds to the series record settings causes problems with overlapping shows) - this may be a problem with the broadcaster, but i haven't heard it's a problem with other cablecos. probably not a DVR problem, per se]

so, i'm considering something like the HDHomeRun cable card device. i'm not absolutely sure about the savings (package deal issues), but i think i can save something like $10-20/month by using one of those. i'd have to purchase and set up the backend hardware for recording, guide, and wife-factor, but i'm technologically inclined, i could probably get it up and running for less than $1000, and i have other uses for the hardware that could share with DVR duties. if the savings really work out to $20/month, then i break even in a little over 4 years, which is bad, but i'd get some additional functionality (DVR playback anywhere in the house - currently we have it only at one TV, and if we had it at two TVs it would cost an additional $10-15/month i think). we've had the same TW hardware for at least 4 and 10 years (two boxes). tough call, really. if TW got new hardware/updates that worked just a bit better than now, in the next 4 years, then the switch wouldn't be worth the risk, fiscally. wish i knew what TWs plans are. plus, there's a good chance i'd jump ship if FTTH/FIOS showed up (promised for 4 or so years), and i'm not sure what hardware i could re-purpose. sounds like there's no real way to justify doing it without relying entirely on its fun factor in the set up.

post back if you hear of/see the problems clear up in our area or elsewhere in the TW domain.
--
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.


Suit Up

join:2003-07-21
Los Angeles, CA
said by jig:

so, i'm considering something like the HDHomeRun cable card device.

Getting the HDHomeRun Prime was one of the best purchases I've ever made. It shouldn't cost anywhere near $1000, unless you are buying a top of the line PC for other reasons. But if you were just going to have a dedicated HTPC, all you really need is something that can play back HD video with lots of storage space. I haven't priced it recently, but it should be manageable for under $300 + $180 for the Prime. Windows Media Center is so much better than the TWC DVR interfaces, it's worth the hassle to set it up.

BTW, the HDHomeRun Prime works fine with FiOS, if you were to switch.


jig

join:2001-01-05
Hacienda Heights, CA
good to know!

i set the $1000 to include the cost of a playback device at the TV, and to pad out the price a bit. i was wondering whether i could use a synology box to be the back end, and the one i was looking at is about $600.
--
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.


bradenmcg

join:2000-10-26
Cleveland, OH
reply to Vertigo
Remember, they have to devote an entire swath of 100 channels for the stupid digital music stuff (does anyone actually use those?) and another chunk for PPV and alternate sports channels and such. They also like to break things up so broadcast / basic cable channels are below 100, but higher tiers are above 100. How do you add an 8 in front of 116 (for the HD version) without making it a 4 digit number?

My area was re-numbered quite a while ago in a way that actually makes some sense. Channels with similar content are grouped together - DIY/HGTV are near each other, kids channels are in a clump, food channels are together. The SD versions are low numbers, and the HD versions are the same number plus 1000. So ch 3 in my market (NBC) is 3 for SD, and 1003 for HD. All other HD channels are 1000-something as well.

What I don't really understand is the digital re-encodes of existing SD channels. Why put them on there at all? Who uses them? Are they supposed to be higher quality somehow? If they were MPEG4 encoded and took less space on the DVR, then it would make sense... but as far as I'm aware everything is still MPEG2 so they don't save space?


motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4
said by bradenmcg:

Remember, they have to devote an entire swath of 100 channels for the stupid digital music stuff (does anyone actually use those?) and another chunk for PPV and alternate sports channels and such. They also like to break things up so broadcast / basic cable channels are below 100, but higher tiers are above 100. How do you add an 8 in front of 116 (for the HD version) without making it a 4 digit number?

My area was re-numbered quite a while ago in a way that actually makes some sense. Channels with similar content are grouped together - DIY/HGTV are near each other, kids channels are in a clump, food channels are together. The SD versions are low numbers, and the HD versions are the same number plus 1000. So ch 3 in my market (NBC) is 3 for SD, and 1003 for HD. All other HD channels are 1000-something as well.

What I don't really understand is the digital re-encodes of existing SD channels. Why put them on there at all? Who uses them? Are they supposed to be higher quality somehow? If they were MPEG4 encoded and took less space on the DVR, then it would make sense... but as far as I'm aware everything is still MPEG2 so they don't save space?

The SD channels in most markets are not re encoded anymore they are sent out as digital channels and then they create a parallel analog SD version.

You need the SD versions in digital to allow for DVRs that handle larger than 160GB hard drives as all of the 320GB and 500GB size DVRs do not have analog tuners and that actually saves money and allows for smaller DVRs.

Also the DTA's need the SD versions of the channels as well in digital.

Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1
reply to bradenmcg
quote:
Remember, they have to devote an entire swath of 100 channels for the stupid digital music stuff (does anyone actually use those?)
All the time! I frequently use Music Choice. I’ve been listening to Halloween Music the past few days on Sounds of the Season. I also listen to Metal and some of the Alternative channels and fall asleep a lot of times listening to Smooth Jazz. I love having a wide variety of music at my disposal. If the TV is not on, then I’m blasting either Music Choice on cable, DMX on DirecTV or Sirius XM. One of the guys at work used to have a massive neighborhood Fourth of July party every year and would run RCA Audio cables from the back of his cable box, out the window to a very large audio system and blast Party Favorites.

Besides the audio channels weren’t really designed for the home user. These audio only services from Muzak, DMX and Music Choice (and Galaxie in Canada), were designed for commercial subscribers in a retail setting. The music you hear over the PA system or the hold music you hear when you’re on hold. That’s what these type of services were designed for. The cable and satellite companies have them available to home subscribers as a way to over inflate their channel count. So while some may see them as a waste of bandwidth (really how much bandwidth do 45 audio only channels actually use), it is easily justifiable to carry them with the amount of revenue brought in from commercial subscriptions.
--
For the future of our nation, we must unite and vote out the terrorist known as Hussein Obama. Come November 6 2012 we must remove the socialist pig out of office and get our country back on the RIGHT track.

Happydude32
Premium
join:2005-07-16
kudos:1
reply to bradenmcg
quote:
If they were MPEG4 encoded and took less space on the DVR, then it would make sense... but as far as I'm aware everything is still MPEG2 so they don't save space?
Missed this part earlier. I believe in most areas Time Warner uses MPEG 4 for the iNDemand sports season packages (NHL CI, NBA LP, MLB EI, MLS DK). I want to day both the SD and HD feeds of all the Team and Game channels are indeed MPEG 4.
--
For the future of our nation, we must unite and vote out the terrorist known as Hussein Obama. Come November 6 2012 we must remove the socialist pig out of office and get our country back on the RIGHT track.


Elyria

join:2011-10-12
Elyria, OH
reply to jig
Unfortunately, TW has yet to release firmware/software that operates as it should. Slow channel changing has been a huge problem for many,many years. With the latest "push", things are now slower than ever. Tier 3 is quite aware of the problem, but they
arn't the one's coding up the actual firmware.

TIVO can take the very signal all of us receive, and you're able to change channels as fast as those fingers can push. Since TIVO already has a working guide,GUI........TW outta see about purchasing the rights of use. They also, without question, have the best user interface in the business.


Suit Up

join:2003-07-21
Los Angeles, CA
reply to Happydude32
said by Happydude32:

I believe in most areas Time Warner uses MPEG 4 for the iNDemand sports season packages (NHL CI, NBA LP, MLB EI, MLS DK). I want to day both the SD and HD feeds of all the Team and Game channels are indeed MPEG 4.

I have not heard that TWC uses MPEG 4 at all. Where did you heard this? Last time there was a free preview of them they were in MPEG 2 in my region.


hobgoblin
Sortof Agoblin
Premium
join:2001-11-25
Orchard Park, NY
kudos:11
"I have not heard that TWC uses MPEG 4 at all. Where did you heard this? Last time there was a free preview of them they were in MPEG 2 in my region."

The HD iNDemand channels are only available in MPEG 4. I believe ESPN 3d is MPEG 4 as well.

Hob
--
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson


motorola870

join:2008-12-07
Arlington, TX
kudos:4
said by hobgoblin:

"I have not heard that TWC uses MPEG 4 at all. Where did you heard this? Last time there was a free preview of them they were in MPEG 2 in my region."

The HD iNDemand channels are only available in MPEG 4. I believe ESPN 3d is MPEG 4 as well.

Hob

actually that varies by market. Only the markets with GAME 1-9 HD and TEAM 1-9 HD have the MPEG4 versions all of the other areas that have GAME HD and or GAME HD and GAME 2 HD as well as TEAM HD are MPEG2. But ESPN 3D is MPEG4 nationwide and to be able to have ESPN 3D on your system you need to have digital simulcast with a DCX motorola box, Samsung 3260/3270 or higher, Cisco 4640HDC/8640HDC or higher.


hobgoblin
Sortof Agoblin
Premium
join:2001-11-25
Orchard Park, NY
kudos:11
Thanks for the clarification, I guess that was what I meant.

Hob


Suit Up

join:2003-07-21
Los Angeles, CA
reply to jig
Ah. We only have Game 1 and 2 in HD. So I guess that's why they're still MPEG 2. I'm glad to hear that they are using MPEG 4, even if it is limited. Hopefully they will start rolling out more MPEG 4.