Neutral Axis

Tivo Setup for Mediacom Digital Cable

by on Apr.04, 2012, under Uncategorized

Mediacom here has recently been abandoning their analog channels between 2 and 80 and moving those channels to 51.xx, 52.xx, 53.xx, and 54.xx channels.  I just bought a Tivo and have been struggling to get it to find the correct new channels.  Finally, I’ve got it all figured out and it’s working fine.

First, Tivo doesn’t seem to know that Mediacom is in this transition.  When I select “Mediacom” from the guided setup, it asks me if Lifetime is on channel 31.  Umm… It used to be, but isn’t anymore.  Now it’s on 54.17.  I said no the first time and it loaded a completely wrong channel lineup.

I ran the guided setup again, and this time said “yes”.  It loaded the old channels and a ton of digital channels above channel 100 that I don’t subscribe to, but nothing in that weird virtual channel 51.xx, 52.xx, 53.xx, 54.xx range.

A bit more snooping through the menus and I found an option for “channel scan”. I ran that and about 45 minutes later, it had found all those digital channels, and had the proper network names attached to them.  But there was no programming information for any of them.  They all said “To Be Announced” and it was noted that they would fill in over the next few hours.

48 hours later, they still said “To Be Announced”.

An online chat with Tivo just barely helped.  The guy told me that until I activated the service, I couldn’t watch those channels, so therefore it wasn’t downloading the channel information.  I told him I was currently watching them, and it seemed silly to me that without activation, it would download programming for a wrong channel lineup, but wouldn’t download it for the correct lineup.  That stumped him.  And by the way, you get 7 days before you have to activate the service.

Finally, he hit upon the problem.  I didn’t have my cable company’s cablecard installed yet.  That was also an optional part of the setup process and I didn’t think I needed one because I don’t subscribe to any premium channels.  In the case of Mediacom, apparently that’s wrong.  He said without the cablecard, the program information wouldn’t ever fill in.  Turns out he’s only half right about that.

Today, I picked up a cablecard (which will be another $1.99 a month) from Mediacom and plugged it into the back of the Tivo.  I called Mediacom to have them activate the card and was connected with someone who in 2 years working there had never activated a cablecard.  Literally an hour later, I hung up while she had me on hold for about the 6th time.  I noticed then that all those 50 series digital channels with the “To Be Announced” programs had disappeared from my program guide.  Grasping at a straw, I went back to my channel list and put a checkmark next to History Channel on 71.  That’s not where it is anymore, but let’s see what happens.  Bingo.  I get a digital History Channel at the old analog channel number.  Somewhere along the line, I guess the Mediacom rep managed to get it done without knowing it.  I guess the cablecard is doing some kind of remapping thing where channel 71 actually pulls in 54.14.  Which is kinda nice, since the Tivo remote doesn’t have a decimal point on it.

So in this case, neither Tivo, nor Mediacom had a clue what they were doing, but at least it’s working.

I’ll put up a post of my first impressions of Tivo vs ReplayTV in the next few days after I have used it a while.

1 Comment for this entry

  • Walter

    My first impressions of Tivo are entirely favorable. I didn’t think I’d like it recording things I hadn’t explicitly told it to, but I find that I like having some surprise recordings.

    My only complaint, and maybe it’s because I haven’t completely learned my way around the UI, is that if I start watching a movie and turn things off in the middle, I have to fast forward back to where I was when I want to start watching it again. There doesn’t seem to be a way to jump forward a specific number of minutes like I could with my ReplayTV, and it also would remember where I had stopped.

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