Series 3 TiVo and Comcast Install

This post was published more than a few years ago (on 2006-09-12) and may contain inaccurate technical information, outmoded thoughts, or cringe takes. Proceed at your own risk.


I've been looking at the new Series 3 TiVo this morning, and drooling over it. However much I vastly prefer the TiVo interface, though, I'm not sure I'm prepared to shell out an extra $800 plus $13/mo on top of my Comcast service for the privilege. At $8/mo for the box and service, I think I'm going to have to stick with the Comcast DVR for now. We actually don't have DVRs at the moment, though--- We just moved to a new house, and had the installer come this past Saturday, but... well, read on.

He came in with two boxes, I told him where to put them, and asked him to plug them in to the two HD sets. I was working on unpacking and sorting stuff, so wasn't paying much attention --- I foolishly assumed he knew what he was doing. He did the one upstairs, and then came downstairs where I was, and I asked him to connect component cables into the receiver. He said, "Component? Oh, let me get one from the truck," (which should have set off bells, but again --- me not paying attention).

He came back down, and I asked him (since he had the box off to the side, not on top of my other components, like I asked), if the cable he ran was long enough to reach. He indicated he thought it was, while plugging the component into the back of the box. He then asked me to connect the component cables to the receiver, which I thought not terribly unreasonable, since there's a bajillion ports in the back. Then he fiddled with stuff for a few minutes, called in to the service center with the serial numbers of my boxes, and said I was good to go. I signed his sheet, and off he went.

Of course, after I got done with the boxes I had been concentrating on, I went over to put the cable box on top of my other components, since it was still off to the side, but --- surprise! --- it wouldn't reach.

Then I went upstairs to take a look, and instead of the box being in the cart under the TV like I asked, it was off to one side because YET AGAIN, the cable was too short. So short, in fact, that he had moved the cart over about six feet to sit next to the box on the floor. Not only that, but instead of a component or HDMI connection (the only way to pass the HD signal), he had connected it with a very short coax cable (so short, it was pulling on, and was in danger of damaging the connector on my TV). So, in effect, we were watching it via RF modulation on 'channel 2' of the TV instead of through the HD inputs!

I don't know about you, but if I'm paying extra for an HD cable box, don't you think I might actually want it hooked up so I can see the HD? In all fairness, he did knock his noggin on the low ceiling on his way down to the basement --- perhaps the blow to the head impeded his judgement.

I called and complained, and they were very apologetic, and refunded my install fee, and since they couldn't get a hold of the same guy, and all of the other installers were booked, said the earliest they could send someone out would be next Sunday, between 9am-1pm. Fine, so long as it gets fixed. And please send someone else out who has half a clue.

On top of all that, a few hours after the install, the DVR menu disappeared from the box, and the DVR buttons would not work on the remote either. I figured maybe since it had just been hooked up, it might be downloading a software update or something, so I let it go for a couple of days. But last night, when it hadn't come back, and I finally called tech support, the guy said "It just disappeared? [clickclacklick] You say you have DVR boxes?"

"Umm... they're supposed to be. I specifically called you guys before the install to confirm I was getting DVR boxes, and the lady told me, 'Definitely, all of the HD boxes are DVR.'"

"Does it say 'Dual-Tuner DVR HDTV Capable' on the front?"


Well, turns out that I didn't actually have DVR boxes, just the "plain HD boxes." "I see they're scheduled to come back out on Sunday... any particular reason Sunday, and not earlier?"

"Nope, that's when they said was the next available date."

"Ohhhhhhhh-kay. Well, I can schedule you for Saturday... or Friday, or Thursday, or [clickclackclick] Wednesday?"

So, they're going to come back out and give me the right boxes and hook it up properly tomorrow. Cross your fingers for me.

1 thought on “Series 3 TiVo and Comcast Install”

  1. They were a no-show today, as apparently the guy got in a car accident. Here’s hoping he’s okey, and will show up for the resheduled appointment tomorrow!

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