TiVo, Portland, Comcast and Digital, oh my

Posted in Media, Tech at 3 am

[Originally posted to the TiVo help forums.]

If you are in Portland Oregon and are missing channels 32-99 of your extended Basic (analog) cable through your TiVo, continue reading below.

On Friday March 6th, your TiVo’s guide was told that Comcast’s Analog Channels had been reduced to channels 2-31. You may have gotten a TiVo message saying that ‘Channel 32 (Versus) has been dropped’.

This schedule change has happened about 4 months too early. Comcast is planning on removing the 32-99 channels from analog and broadcasting them ONLY in digital. (Note: this is a different transition from the one that is going on with BROADCAST channels.) Most all of the cable companies are going to digital transmission on their own networks. Comcast in Portland is planning on doing this during the summer of 2009. Comcast is offering two free DTAs (Digital Transport Adapters) to every subscriber. I picked up one at the office on NE Sandy.

Because the guide information’s publisher jumped the gun, you are now stuck with a TiVo that thinks it only has channels 2 – 31. In order to get this fixed, you will need to do one of the following:

A) Wait until the guide is fixed. (TiVo and Tribune Media have been notified, though adding your voice may speed up the process.) I was told the updates to the guide data only happen after 4 to 5 business days. Considering the issue was reported on Friday, I’m guessing that the earliest we would see this fixed in Thursday, March 12th or as late as Monday, March 16.

B) Get the DTA converter box. This box is meant to provide the digital equivalent of extended basic service to your television. You don’t get the On Demand stuff or the music channels, but you do get your full channels 2 – 99 back. You can re-run the Guided Setup to get this box configured. (Takes about 40 minutes if you do everything right the first time. A lot of that is waiting for the guide data to come down.)

If you get the DTA from Comcast and try to set it up, be sure to select “Comcast Digital Converter” as the name of the box. NOTE: In other threads you may see this referred to as manufactured by Pace. While this is correct, you cannot use Pace as the Set-Top Box manufacturer in the guided setup. Read the TiVo’s screen very closely: “What is the name of the company on the front of the Set Top Box?” That name is Comcast, not Pace. I thought I was being smart by using Pace, but that’s exactly wrong. You must use the “Comcast Digital Converter” as the name/manufacturer of the converter box. I spent the better portion of 6 hours trying to get the (****) thing to work before realizing my error.

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