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Gardentool

join:2013-01-18
Oklahoma City, OK

[OK] Pleased with HSI and TV Economy so far

After 2 years of using U-Verse Internet only with an FTTP installation, decided to look into Cox's service here. I wasn't pleased with AT&T's lack of offering faster tiers, especially limiting the fiber users to slower than bonded copper can offer. Increased rental fee for its "required" gateway and a service price increase coming soon. I never did have their TV service and used OTA for about the last 8 years exclusively. So I will say Cox did win back an OTA/Flix/Hulu Plus user.

I went ahead and ordered Premier Internet and TV Economy. The Solutions Store had better promotions than online so I'm happy I stopped by there. 12 months of TV Economy for $25.99 including an HD DVR. I opted for an additional CableCard for $1.99 to use with a lifetime sub TiVo. No tuning adapters required here, at least yet.

I had it installed Saturday. The Tech showed up within the window, after a call to get directions since the address isn't found using Google maps. House was built in late 2010 and never had cable service before so he started outside running the line from the box in my backyard to the garage. He used the conduit to get the coax into the garage and mounted the gray box underneath the circuit breaker panel, next to AT&T's ONT. At least he was smarter than the first AT&T outside tech that mounted the ONT outside even after I said there's a conduit to inside, but that's another story.

He didn't do the inside as I expected, but it still works great. All the cabling in the house is structurally wired with the enclosure in the coat closet by the front door. He split the service coax with a 4-way: one for modem, one for TiVo, one for HD-DVR, and one to another 4-way for the rest of the outlets (which he said would work fine for basic cable/ClearQAM stuff). I previously had an 8-way installed that was of the same brand as the enclosure so it fit nice and was pretty organized. I was only splitting an indoor amplified antenna to it with usually only 2 TV's turned on at once but the signal was still strong enough to support the big dB drop on most stations. He did say it could have been done using a 2-way, one to modem, other to an amp powering an 8-way but since my power level was good coming into the house this way would work just as well, without introducing any potential noise from an amp to the TVs. Outside of the TiVo and HD-DVR, I don't have plans for another STB anytime soon so it works for me and probably save more space than the 8-way and then having to buy an amp too to mount.

The signal levels on the modem I've seen have been between 0 to -2dB on each down channel. The up I've seen range from 40-45dB. I do get 8/4 bonded channels here so that's good news. Although I do remember about 18 months ago a contractor coming to do some work in my backyard. He did say it had something to do with channel bonding so I had a good feeling they were bonded here. The TiVo reports around 80% signal strength on each channel. I don't know how to do see it from the SA Explorer 3800HD but I'd assume it's about the same as the TiVo since it's off the same splitter.

I've ran some tests throughout the day and especially at peak times so far on Speedtest.net and Speakeasy. Both are showing right around 33 down / 6-7 up so even a bit higher than what the advertised PowerBoost is rated. Sustained speeds are dead-on at 28 down and 3 up, compared to the 12 down / 1.5 up I was getting through AT&T (and the highest offered to FTTP is 18 / 1.5 up currently).

TV Economy is only lacking about 3 channels that I would really like to have. I do like that it eliminates ESPN, MTV and several of the other high $$$ channels to slash the price in half of Essentials. The other bummer seems you cannot add Variety or Sport Pak, just Movie. I'm considering adding Movie to also get Bonus Pak, which would be awesome for Nick Jr. for my kid, but I'd much rather do Variety instead.

I also like being able to provide my own equipment, and it's officially supported. I did buy a retail Motorola SB6141 so anything after 12 months is money I'd save as opposed to renting from Cox. I stopped using the U-Verse HG about 6 months ago and it solved a lot my complaints with the equipment shortcomings, but I still had to keep it in case I needed to authenticate with their end, which also meant $6/month rental fee was still required.

Now I'm just curious if it will live up the acutal service I had from AT&T, which was no noticable outages and no required customer service calls during the entire 2 years. At least I hope it works well enough until AT&T decides to get it's head out and start offering faster speeds for it's fiber customers. I don't think I would cancel the TV service though as long as it stays pretty cheap. I enjoy being able to use my TiVo and having ClearQAM available at all the other outlets. It also beats having to mess with the antenna to get certain stations as I never did get around to installing a larger antenna in the attic like I planned for 2 years. Guess it's okay anyway now.



Optimus2357
Premium
join:2010-11-21
West Warwick, RI
kudos:3

Thats a really good break down of your install. Glad its working out for you. Its nice to hear a positive experience for a change, and it shows other in the OK area what to expect when they are prepared and informed as you.


brad152

join:2006-07-27
Phoenix, AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to Gardentool

To the OP, for the Economy TV, on your other TV's that have no box, do you get all of the expanded channels?

I just had the Economy TV set up, and in the bedroom without a box, i'm getting channels 2-99, i'm not complaining though. Just wondering if maybe he forgot to put a trap on my line.

Although, the Economy package is so spaced out here channel wise i dont know how they'd even trap it off in a condo considering the size of the tap.

I got mine for $27.99/mo with a free DVR as well, but i'm going to go and see if i can swap it for a Trio box at the store tomorrow since i think i can get one for no additional fee here.


Gardentool

join:2013-01-18
Oklahoma City, OK

Brad152, I haven't tried out the 3rd TV yet and I would need to round up a coax cable and find the remote to check. I know the tech told me I'd get all the ClearQAM channels but he didn't know which ones those were. I'll try to test this out later or tomorrow if I get time.


Gardentool

join:2013-01-18
Oklahoma City, OK
reply to brad152

I didn't see many of the channels at all. Some locals scattered about, the 3 C-Spans and then the locals in HD in the 700s along with a Disney station too I think. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.


ajwees41
Premium
join:2002-05-10
Omaha, NE
reply to brad152

for the Trio boxes you need pro even just for one. Plus the software is still to buggy that's why I went with Tivo.


Gardentool

join:2013-01-18
Oklahoma City, OK
reply to Gardentool

Okay I figured out why my other channels weren't coming in on the spare T.V. It's a slightly older (late '05) HD CRT with two separate tuners, one for analog and one for digital. I had connected just the digital tuner. The room is only used when using the treadmill right now so I'm not too concerned as long as something is on the TV.

Apart from that, almost 2 weeks in I'm still pretty happy with the service. The only thing that I'm not too happy about is they didn't tell me they were about to increase rates. So the Internet service is going up $1/month after the first bill. Not a huge deal but I'm sure sales knew about it 3 weeks ago when I went to the store to order.

The only problems I've actually noticed is my modem, SB6141, has reported several T3 Timeouts, along with some other errors I've read is common reporting with the firmware installed. I've put in a ticket to see if there is a newer firmware available. I've read there is but I haven't read if it's actually being pushed out. It hasn't caused me any noticable problems while I'm using it.

I'm still not a fan of the provided DVR. Clumsy is a good word to describe it. I think I'll try to set aside the money being saved, since it's included free for a year, to pick up a 4-tuner TiVo when the promotion ends. Then I'll see how well the TiVo Mini is working in practice to see if that's a better solution for me in the long run since every room also has Ethernet. The other idea is to wait to see if the Ceton STB's improve and build an HTPC to serve the same purpose.

Does anybody have any recommendations on a flaring tool that works well with RG6-Q? I can put compression fittings on normal double shield just fine but when I tried on a spare piece of quad, I had a lot of trouble getting the white insulation part flush. I checked behind a faceplate to see how the builder's subs connected the keystone, and without much surprise, they are crimped. So I'd like to replace those someday but without a lot of working room and about 6 to replace and 2 I'll end up doing to an unfinished room, I think spending a few dollars on a tool will be well worth it.