time warner cable – different person, different problem?

I haven’t a problem that was maddening when dealing with Time Warner since 2010. It’s that time again.


My cable/DVR box has been slowing getting worsening problems for a while:

  1. freezing periodically for a few seconds
  2. saying there was 0% recorded (a reboot solved that, but it happened about once a month)
  3. turning off and not recording with a reboot. then after the reboot would start recording the middle of a show as if it were a long standing agreement

As I had shows I wanted to watch on the DVR, I chose to live with the first two problems. The third one is core functionality of a DVR so had to deal with it and get a different DVR.


I went to the Time Warner store. I returned the Scientific American box and was given a “new” Samsung box. And by “new” I mean a box that someone else returned, they presumably tested and then gave to me. Here’s what happened:

  1. I plugged in the box and it told me to call Time Warner to activate. I haven’t had to do that when trading boxes in the past, but ok. That’s reasonable. They activated the box and had me restart the box. I appeared to have TV.
  2. I went to “Free Primetime On Demand” and got a message to call Time Warner. The rep says she needs to check if it is on my plan. It is FREE primetime on demand. I’m pretty sure it is on everyone’s plan. (This is the station for network tv after it airs. Which I wanted to watch because my DVR wasn’t working last week when I tried to record them.) She eventually gets back to me and agrees I should have it. Guess what the solution was? Reboot the box. I imagine she did something at her end as well.
  3. A little later in the day, I found that cable stations would freeze after a few seconds of play. Network stations (over the air equivalents) played just fine. When I called time warner she “runs a signal test” and tells me the problem is with the box and they can send a tech. If the problem is with the box, I can go to the store and trade boxes again. I don’t need to wait for a tech. When I complain I don’t want to wait for a tech, she tells me it won’t come until Tuesday if they mail a box. I don’t want them to mail the box. I then tried rebooting again.
  4. Provisioning – H/E error – We never got to the bottom of this one although it sounds like an issue with the box. (I also had noCP, but that was when I had the box plugged in wrong.) The tech “ran a signal test.” The tech claimed the provisioning error was because it was a used box and it was downloading updates. At 6:30pm, the rep says she will call me back at 8:30pm to follow up.
  5. She calls at just before 11pm. That’s late to be calling someone. What if I had children who were sleeping? At 11pm, she “ran a signal test” and told me the problem was with the box.


Back to the Time Warner store. The rep lives near me and asked if there was construction nearby. There was. He then runs a signal test and tells me there is a problem with the signal. As I spoke to several people who did that the previous day who “ran a signal test”, I was suspicious. He shows me a red screen. However, the cable box was in my hand rather than plugged in at home so still suspicious. He tells me that they need to send a tech to check/fix the signal. Sigh. I give up. Fine. I’ll arrange to be home for a tech to come.


I had an appointment for between 3 and 4pm. That gave me time to work for half a day in the office and telecommute the rest of the day. I got home around 2pm. I have two messages on my cell phone voicemail and one on my home phone. Two messages say that if I don’t pick up, my appointment will be cancelled. The last says my appointment is confirmed and the tech will call before coming up. Weird.

Since I had time, I decided to go buy lunch. I get back at 2:15pm. At 2:21pm, the tech arrives. That’s not between 3 and 4. What if I wasn’t home? Would I have missed my appointment?

The tech said the problem was the box. (No kidding, this was apparent on Saturday.) He installed a new box. A brand new box.  This time a Cisco one. Which requires over 40 minutes of software downloads before it starts. Which their tech had to be here for. So he got paid to watch videos on my couch for almost an hour. This isn’t his fault. The tech did a great job. He was helpful and polite. Just not necessary. I am perfectly capable of plugging in a box and waiting for an hour.


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