Wednesday, April 30, 2008


One of my biggest pleasures in life is watching a baseball game, and come midnight tonight, after an evening out, I was very excited to watch tonight's game (fast-forwarding between pitches, of course). Well, either Time Warner's crappy DVR broke down (this is the most unreliable piece of hardware I have ever encountered; I'd rather have an Amiga in charge of my television watching) -- as it neither played nor fast-forwarded from the beginning, freezing on the pre-game color bars -- or Fox Sports HD's wacky signal (I often have problems with that channel when every other channel is fine) contributed to the nonsense.

So I got to MLB.com, to see if I can watch it there. I bring it up, and there's the line score on the side, but you have to tell it to not hide the line score. Except when it loads, well, the score is there for an instant. So I see the score. Of course, watching it on MLB.tv is pointless at midnight, I can't fast forward (any attempt to do so brings you back to the beginning of the telecast), and for some reason I can't do the thing where you can skip to a half-inning or anything.

And in my inbox I have an email about a great catch being made! So now I'm watching the tail-end of the replay that started at 11 PM. Ugh. But with no suspense or anything. But I'll record the replay from the beginning tomorrow and watch it just out of spite.

Time Warner is really a catastrophe. This is a cable service that can't even figure out what stations they broadcast. Let me tell you a story:

Last fall, when TBS started offering the playoffs in HD, Time Warner saw fit to offer TBS HD for the first time. Good. Unfortunately, they put it on two different channels -- 417, which was previously unoccupied, and 413, which had previously belonged to Fox Sports HD. Not so cool.

Well, Fox Sports HD doesn't have programming all the time, so I waited about a week, and noted that 413 never switched over to Fox Sports HD. I call Time Warner Cable to explain the problem. They tell me that they have no idea that anyone is supposed to be getting these stations, as it's not listed on the website. That's right -- all the techs know is the channel listing on the website, which hasn't been updated in months. They offer to send out a tech to check it out. I know that won't do anything, but agree, anyway, hoping at least to demonstrate the problem.

The guy comes. I show him how TBS HD is on two channels instead of one channel, and how FSN HD is on no channels instead of one channel.

The guy's solution is to switch out boxes. I tell him to take a hike (politely) -- there's no way the box is the issue.

Within a week, the problem was fixed.

So, for a two- to three-week period, Time Warner was basically broadcasting the wrong channels, and had no way of knowing it. And their only solution was to switch out boxes. This is their solution to everything -- switch out the box. "My cable's out," "Switch out the box." "My DVR freezes all the time," "Switch out the box." "My kid has the measles," "Switch out the box." Inept fools.

And now they've ruined what may end up being the best game of the year. Thanks, cocksuckers.

I don't think it's their fault on the DVR. I have the same problem with Comcast. It's the manufacturer. Thing has a mind of its own. I'll hit rewind, and get nothing, so I'll hit it two or three more times. 10 seconds later, it will rewind at high speed, and I can't stop it. So a simple request to back up five seconds to see a replay of a particular play ends up taking me back about an hour and a half.

I miss TiVo.
I don't think the game was on HD last night. I had to watch on one of the regular def channels. So it wasn't the box but the Fox decision to not use HD that tripped you up. Maybe in the future have the DVR record the regular def broadcast, just in case. Also I have had to unplug my DVR several times to unscramble it's brains. All is good after you power back up, but you often have to reprogram what to record.
Shredder, it's Time Warner's fault in that they haven't licensed a better DVR. The Motorola POS I have now was a model originally given me by Comcast; Time Warner kept it when they took over. It's awful -- the problem you describe is routine. I've also had to employ Steve's solution many, many times.

I've had HD for roughly two years now, and am on my fourth or fifth box. If I can get one to last five or six months, it's a great victory.
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