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Ender3rd

join:2001-07-15
Connecticut

Contour installation this Monday

My "Cox Bundle" expired so I went ahead and negotiated a new one. By dropping a few things we didn't really use I was able to end up with a bundle that was a buck less than the old bundle that included an upgrade from our 2 tuner Motorola DCT 6416 III DVR to the 6 tuner Contour package.

I tried to get some details about what STB is used with the Contour package but the rep simply mentioned that it was a Cisco 6 tuner DVR and she directed me to some of the online videos featured on the Cox website that explain the multiple profiles and some of the features of the Contour guide. From doing some searching I gather that the Cisco 8642 HDC is the 6 tuner STB that is used and if sometime in the future I want to access it with other TV's in the house that the Cisco 4742 HDC is used for those clients.

1. Have I sorted that out correctly?
2. I've read some horror stories (stuttering, pixelation, audio dropouts) about early installations of Contour that were related to some firmware issues. Has that been sorted out?
3. Any issues that I should be aware of with the Cisco 8642 HDC STB?
4. Is it true that other client boxes in the house are networked to the 8642 through the household RG-6? Just curious how well multiple video streams play with the DOCSIS 3.0 modem (that has no MOCA filter) that shares the RG-6.
5. Since my DCT 6416 III connects to the HDTV through an HDMI cable, is the hardware part of this installation a simple STB swap involving only the HDMI cable and AC power?

Our Motorola DCT 6416 III DVR has worked great since 2008 so I'm a little anxious about dumping it for something different, but there are definitely times where the ability to record more than 2 programs simultaneously while watching something else would be great.

Thanks for any insight you can share.

Ender
--
"The dog days are over... The dog days are done..."


DDR329

@72.218.32.x

1 recommendation

The 6 tuner box will be a Cisco 9000 series. The 8642 is the 2 tuner Cisco DVR so this is not the same equipment you will be having installed.

1. If/when you decided you want more boxes yes an install of a client 4742 or there are some older 1600 series that work just fine as well. I have a 1600 series packed in a closet that has been there since Cox started offering whole home.
2. I have not experienced stuttering or audio drop outs. I have randomly lost connection between boxes where a simple unplug/replug fixes the lost sync.
3. Again if you you are getting a 6 tuner it will not be the 8000 series but a 9000 series. I have not had any issues with the 6 tuner since installed.
4. The D3 modem uses different frequencies than the MOCA network. D3 = around 500 and 800Mhz with MOCA working over 1GHz so no issues there.
5. Should be a simple swap yes. There may be a power adapter used and not just a cord that will need to be swapped.

I have been very pleased with the Contour service personally.

ajwees41
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Omaha, NE
did they have to do much inside work to install it?

signcarver

join:2005-03-20
Phoenix, AZ

1 recommendation

reply to DDR329
MoCA can affect things that are running under 1 GHz as there are occasional harmonics that have negative effects... for instance here, I have frequently seen pixilated channels around the 777MHz range when the beacon power level is set too high (This is when the frequency being used is around 1200MHz and the device is limited to using the "D" band frequencies above 1150MHz)... two solutions for just about any device, put a filter on the device (assuming it doesn't need it, unlike WHDVR) or lower the power level... I usually will do both. Some devices may support a third option of fine tuning what frequency it is running, but that may make it affect other frequencies. Similarly this can affect modems if they are using the frequencies that are being affected.

Since "contour" is usually, if not always, professionally installed, a proper filter will be put in place particularly at the point of entry (that is why it is frequently called a POE filter) and you may get a few extra for other devices including modem and non-networked STBs (though I would probably wish to replace those since they generally cost the same)... I would probably state the concern about the modem and they should put a filter on it.

Personally I would probably have the modem connection split off as soon as it enters the house and then have the point of entry filter on the other split that leads to the splitter (or amplifier, though an amplifier usually also acts as a filter) that connects all the STBs however, if you keep the modem in the office and also expect TV there, that may not work but usually I have the modem in the wiring closet at the point of entry.


dvd536
as Mr. Pink as they come
Premium
join:2001-04-27
Phoenix, AZ
kudos:4
its ALWAYS pro installed. they're very adamant about that $60 because we can fee to screw in a coax and plug in a hdmi.
--
Despises any post with strings.


Ender3rd

join:2001-07-15
Connecticut
reply to signcarver
Thanks for the answers from contributors to this thread. I've written down a few ideas from here and have another short list of things to check before the installer leaves tomorrow. At this point in time there won't be any MOCA client boxes in the house so that will make the install a little more straight forward.

Due to chronically low signal levels from the street my residential wiring has had a lot of attention from Cox to get things working here over the years. After the grounding block in the basement the RG-6 feedline goes into a 2 port splitter with one port connected to a straight run to the Motorola STB for the HDTV. The other port connects to a Cox installed SA preamp that has two 11dB output ports. One output port of the preamp connects to a straight run to the cable modem and the other port connects to three SD televisions in various parts of the house. Cox has installed numerous inline high-pass filters in the system as a preventive measure since I am a ham radio operator.

It has all worked fine for years and it also has no issues with my ham radio equipment which runs at power levels up to 1500 watts across the HF/VHF/UHF spectrum. Hopefully, the CISCO DVR STB will be as resistant to ingress (and egress) issues as my current Motorola STB. I'm always a little concerned about anything that has an external switching supply as the CISCO 6 tuner STB appears to have since they can be real RF noise makers across the spectrum. I guess I'll see tomorrow how it all turns out!

Thanks again,

Ender
--
"The dog days are over... The dog days are done..."
Expand your moderator at work


Ender3rd

join:2001-07-15
Connecticut
reply to Ender3rd

Re: Contour installation this Monday

I had my Contour installation yesterday. It involved an inspection of the residential wiring from the pole to every connector inside the house. The installer confirmed that it was all RG-6 with compression connectors and noted that it all looked new, which is accurate as it was all re-done about 3 years ago. He checked signal levels at the point where the CISCO 9865HDC box would be connected and noted that the signal levels were on the low end of acceptable and that there was considerable "tilt" in the signal levels.

Since the 9865HDC would be running as a stand-alone box he installed a MOCA filter at the RG-6 connector on the box and plugged the new unit in. It booted up, he made a phone call to have it initialized, and it re-booted and grabbed a few hours of the Contour guide. The installer then ran through the STB and Contour Guide features so that I could navigate through the menus. The STB seemed to deal with the signal tilt issue without any problem but after checking my cable modem he installed an EQF-12 filter at its input to address the tilt issue and doing that brought the SNR up from around 34 dB to over 37 dB.

I'd like to say it all went smoothly, but it did not. The CISCO 9865HDC STB appeared to not initialize fully so the guide did not update overnight. Without the guide data it would not record anything, even if a manual "timer" recording was attempted. It also would not access On Demand and the box could not be accessed through the Cox Channel Lineup on the web.

So... I called Cox Support this morning and the representative looked things over from his end and then re-initialized the CISCO STB remotely. After about 5 minutes the box came back to life and he stayed on the line with me to confirm its functionality. It took about 10 minutes for the box to fill out the guide on all channels for the next 14 days. The box was also able to access the On Demand services. The web programming feature from the online Channel Listings reported that the service was unavailable when I attempted to set a recording from one of my computers but in fact the STB received the information correctly and then recorded the show successfully.

I definitely like the Contour Guide which is very responsive and very intuitive. As expected, the 6 channel recording capability is pretty awesome. It took about 15 minutes to set up series recordings for about a dozen shows that my wife and I watch regularly. It's much easier to set that stuff up in comparison to the guide that was present in the Motorola 6416 III that was replaced. Picture quality and audio quality is outstanding through the HDMI port of the CISCO 9865HDC with no signs of choppiness, pixelation, or dropouts.

So... in the end, it was a painless installation and once the box was initialized correctly, the Contour service seems to be really nice. The only feature we lost in the upgrade is the ability to force the unit to the HD version of a channel when the 2 digit SD channel number is entered. This is not a problem for me but I frequently walk into the room and find my wife sitting there watching a program in SD rather than HD. The user profile feature should make it possible to prevent that as I can simply set up her "Favorites" with the HD channels of the lineup she uses and that should work fine.

So far so good. I'll check the guide for a couple of days to make sure it is continuing to fill in but I don't anticipate any issues. I like the feature set of the Contour Guide very much and have to say it's a huge step forward from the old guide.

Ender
--
"The dog days are over... The dog days are done..."


dontheman

@68.101.104.x
How many client boxes did you have installed?


Ender3rd

join:2001-07-15
Connecticut
At this time I have no client boxes installed. The other 3 televisions in the house are old CRT sets with built-in cable tuners that only have access to the SD channels. One of them has an old Panasonic E-85 DVR that I installed many years ago and it reliably records a few shows for my wife each day. When that eventually fails I'll install an HDTV and a client box there. So, with no clients installed the CISCO 9865HDC STB has a MOCA filter installed right at its RG-6 jack.
--
"The dog days are over... The dog days are done..."