I put this in General as I did not know the appropriate specific forum for this.
For at least the past dozen years, Cablevision software has had a setting for timers.
There were eight timers that could be set to turn on/off the cable box, and most importantly, set the channels for each event. One needed only to set the timer on the DVD recorder to coincide with the cable times, set the DVD recorder to record from Line In, and the recording was done.
This week, Cablevision installed new software for their service. With remarkable stupidity, they removed the timer settings option. Now, the only way to record programs is to turn on the cable box and manually switch to the desired channel at the time of the broadcast. Which means that you must be home and at the box to do it.
At best you could turn on the box in the morning, tune it to a specific channel, leave it on all day and set the recording time in the DVD recorder. But that works only if the show(s) you want to record that day are on a single channel. It will not work if you want to record shows from more than one channel. Nor will it help if you are away and want to record more than one show while you are gone.
When I spoke to Cablevision yesterday, they were very polite. But they clearly thought I was weird with some off-the-wall need/complaint. They had no concept of people doing timed recording of cable shows to DVDs. They also said that i was the only person to complain about the loss of this capability.
What can be done? At the very least, I would hope that everyone with Cablevision would call to complain about this. I spoke to a high-level manager to whose attention these complaints need to be brought (I can add her name here if people want it). She promised to bring this up at a meeting they were having later yesterday, but cautioned me not to raise my hopes that anything would change.
I would like to hear what others think about this. I can't be the only person recording from Cablevision who will no longer be able to do so.
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Not surprising as most cable providers have boxes with some form of PVR capability. This is the reason there are so few recorders left on the market. You should first look at your cable box manual to see if you can use it as a PVR (by adding a USB hard drive, you're looking at about $60 for a drive). Next option is find out what it would take to upgrade your box to a PVR capable one.
Some recorders had an infrared blaster (Samsung) that would turn on the cable box and set the channel, no need to program the cable box (check your manual).
Last thing I can think of, some universal remotes include a timer function; you program the remote and leave it pointing at the cable box. I can't recall brand names for that.
Thank you, nic2K4, for your post.
The cable box is a Samsung. It has a USB port (and an RJ45 port, which seems to be irrelevant). The manual is a generic Cablevision all-in-one manual and tell me nothing about the specific cable box. The manual's only reference to recording is Cablevision's "DVR Service".
I'm not clear what you mean about making the cable box "PVR capable". Is that function from cablevision that would allow channel timed selection? Is "PVR" USB Disk Drive output convertible to to AVI/MP4 formats for storing on my PC disk drives?
My recorder is the Magnavox 513H. I don't see anything in its manual about it being able to change cable box channels.
I was thinking of that old vcrplus deal and I just looked it up on youtube and I don't think that is what nic2k4 was thinking of so I can't help there.
@novice20 - is there any chance you have any competing cable companies in the area?
Here in southeast Michigan Comcast is the main player but we also have wow and brighthouse in the area. Along with at&t of course.
Assuming you have at least one cable competitor I would inquire what their services are like. If they have what you need than i'd switch asap.
What you could do if you need to stay with your company is threaten to leave and see if you can get a deal on the dvr service to stay with them. Couldn't hurt to ask......
But as for what nic2k4 was discussing do a net search for ir blasters and something should pop up that will be suitable for your needs.Donatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Get the Samsung's model number off the front or back of the box and try the manufacturer's website for a manual, or try Cablevision's website. No one reads cable box manuals, so companies don't give them away; it's an unnecessary expense to hand out 250,000 printed manuals that people ignore.Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
That's true, but I'm not sure which "Samsung box" the O.P. refers to. Cablevision issues several set top boxes, some are just tuners/descramblers, others are tuner/DVR boxes, and more than one model and manufacturer. The O.P. implies he's been recording to the Magnavox, which is not an HD recorder. O.P. also states there are only two i/o jacks on the Samsung. I think we need more information.Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
i agree, this there is some confusion. the op should describe all the equipment involved, from getting the service contents (tv shows) to recording it, all equipment, from provider to personal external devices, etc.
I have a Magnavox 513H too. To use the Magnavox recorder you have, you will need to change the channel manually. The Magnavox 513H does not have IR blaster capability to change channels itself. Very few DVD recorders had that ability. Some Sony recorders did but Sony stopped making DVD recorders several years ago, and the ones I remember had no hard drive.
I have not heard of a US cable box with the ability to accept a USB hard drive so it could be used as a DVR, only some US cable DVRs that allow adding one for additional storage to supplement their internal hard drive. Satellite receivers on the other hand may have the ability to accept a USB hard drive, and if you pay for DVR service you can use them as a DVR, but of course they won't work with cable.
If you need a recording option that changes the channel for you, your best options are to rent a DVR from your provider and record what you want to save with the Magnavox 513H, get a TiVo, or build an HTPC. Using Windows 7's Media Center, you can either install a cablecard tuner, or a TV tuner card with analog capture capability or Hauppauge HD-PVR to record TV. A WMC compatible IR receiver with IR blaster capability is also needed to change channels if you use a TV card or HDPVR.
Thank you all for your posts and assistance.
Cablevision is a monopoly. In my area, the cable companies divvied up the area so no one competes with anyone else. I did threaten to leave which did get them upset. I am to get a call back from them on Monday evening.
I did a search on "IR blasters for cable boxes" but a ton of different stuff (tivo, TVs, non-Samsung box devices, Hauppauge devices et al) showed up. As my userid implies, this is not an area in which I have expertise. And from the Google line descriptions, most of this looks like it has nothing to do with what I need.
The software that controls the boxes - that makes options and features available to users, was completely replaced. Perhaps they have not changed it in your area but they did in mine. The "Settings" button bring up a completely different looking display. The "Info" button shows different program information.
Assuming "PVR' was available, could I record the playback through the cable box Video Out?
I'm sorry if my post confused you. The box has a full set of RCA and coax connectors;, in addition it has USB and RJ45 connectors. The model is Samsung SMT-C5320.
Samsung box model above; DVD recorder as stated: Magnavox513H. Cable-to-Mag connection via RCA jacks Video Out to Line In.
When I looked into Hauppauge devices before I got the Mag recorder, I wasn't happy with all of the complaints people had with the quality of the device as well as the problems with WMC. If I may ask, which approach are you using?
From what I can see from your responses, I am pretty much stuck.
You could record video from the Video Out (composite or s-video) of the cable box, but those connections won't transmit HD. Many of those channels will be copy protected, so the only way you can save them to a disc would be saving to DVD-RAM (your original HDD recoring would be deleted afterward). From there, you couldn't copy to a PC. I don't think the Magnavox will accept DVD-RAM.
I have the Hauppauge PVR and an XP computer I built for it. Records via component video from the HD box. I haven't had problems with it.
I also still have my older standard-def digital box that I use for almost all of my SD recording, and for shows I don't plan to keep forever. The recorders I use other than the Hauppage setup are a Toshiba RD-XS34 and an ancient Panasonic DMR-ES20. The RD-XS34 came with an IR blaster, but it never worked. If Cablevision changes my menu I've already composed my hot-blooded spiel about switching my service.
This business about making it impossible to record anything and telling viewers to go out an buy the DVD or BluRay is utter nonsense. About 99% of material I record isn't on DVD, BD, VHS, or any other medium. Who the hell is going to stay up at 3-AM to watch an oldie and not be able to record it? Most of that stuff isn't in On Demand, and I'm not paying extra to watch something on a channel I've already paid for once. And their rented PVR's are crap gear anyway -- my Hauppauge and even my SD recorders do a dance around them when it comes to PQ.Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. -- Henry David Thoreau
Who the hell is going to stay up at 3-AM to watch an oldie and not be able to record it? Most of that stuff isn't in On Demand, and I'm not paying extra to watch something on a channel I've already paid for once. And their rented PVR's are crap gear anyway -- my Hauppauge and even my SD recorders do a dance around them when it comes to PQ.
You can't keep what a dvr records. I disagree about the PQ. It's not so great. Most cable broadcasts are noisy and bitrate starved, and that looks bad when encoded unless you use their godawful denoisers, which are horrible. DirectTV is not a choice in my coop building anyway. The idea of having to rent their dvr is just another rip-off. We're already renting their service anyway and paying another price by putting up with commercials every 7 minutes or less, and ignoring the dumbed-down junk that we pay for whether we watch it not. Phooey. Maybe that's why our TV watching has steadily decreased for the last few years, and we're going to more and more movie theaters and live events -- and reading, too. You remember that stuff, right?
yep, i remember. and i agree about the dvr rip off. but, directv (satelite) is not allow where i live. dispite the rules or laws that say otherwise. however, i have my dish inside my apt, so its a moot point.
anyway, i believe that it is your PQ that is not so great but then, i'm talking about SD material. but what they do to some channels is horible. i was watching a little bit of SNL very late last night (due to the 2OT in hockey, which was great btw) and it (NBC) was so blurry. lets compare some pics. i'll dig a pic from snl and post, if anything, just to show how horible nbc is to us or directv viewers.
edit: i found a budweiser commercial, the one detailing our r/w/b, i'll post the clip shortly, it was a progressive (PPPD) 30p video.
I have tried my PC with WMC for analog capture with both a Hauppauge HVR 2250 TV card and an ATI TV Wonder 650. A MCE USB IR Receiver/IR Blaster is used to control the cable box. The PC has to be on or in sleep mode. It worked, but since I only have one PC and I don't want to keep it in the living room, this was just a short trial. When I finally get an HTPC built, I plan to get a CableCARD tuner.
I meant for the IR blaster to be controlled by the recorder, Samsung had it on some recorders, Sony and maybe others too, but as was said good luck finding anything like that new.
If you have an external USB drive (with a wall wart) laying around and can afford to delete the data on it, you could take a chance to plug it into the cable box. If the box wants to format it, there's a good chance that you'll be able to use the PVR function. Some additional options should appear in the guide panel. Otherwise it would just tell you to call your provider to enable the functionality or something in that line of thought.
Here, took the time to lookup some info on timer capable remotes. Sadly, you won't find anything new so check ebay, kijiji or craigslist for Sony RM-AV3000, 3100 or RM-VL1000 or Philips Pronto TSU2000 or Marantz RC5000i or ProntoPro TSU6000. I think any of the Pronto remote might have that capability, check with remote central before buying. I'm sure there are others, I have a Meringue remote that dates from 1987 that has a timer.
Just to add, the Yamaha RAV-2000 is the same as the Pronto TSU2000.
Had another thought, switch to Dish, the PVR is free.
Last edited by nic2k4; 9th Jun 2013 at 18:24.
Cablevision/Optimum does offer a service called "DVR Plus" for the OP's cable box, in selected locations, but there is no external hard drive involved. Recorded programs are stored on Optimum's remote servers and accessed via a channel reserved for that function. DVR Plus isn't free though.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 9th Jun 2013 at 19:18.
Never I'm an OTA guy, I wouldn't pay to watch the crap on TV. Whether you have 20 channels or 200, it's all the same repetitive garbage and I'm not just talking about the shows; I just hate how they keep showing the same shows over and over all week long, once you've seen something it's like there's nothing new to watch. Worse, you pay extra for specialty channels and they think it's OK to throw commercials in your face. Enough with the rant.
I figure you don't know for sure until you try it, at worse you get an error message and you only wasted some time.
thank you again everyone for taking the time to help me.
thank you for searching for remote control devices. The Sony RM-AV3000 remote control is available from Amazon.
If I understand you correctly, the 12 Timer macros (listed in the Remote Central description) can be programmed to change the channel at specific days and times. If I was to get that and set it up so it is always pointing at the cable box RC input, that would solve my problem. That assumes that the unit could be "taught" the Samsung cable box commands. Is my understanding of all of this correct?
"Novice question": Does tivo come into play at all as a "costly, no-other-choice" option? There is some allusion to Toshiba making tivo recorders with DVD capability, which, if true, would allow it to be copied to my PC (where I store all of my Mag recorder shows converted to MP4)
you pay tivo separately. might be cheaper to rent a dvr directly from the cable companyDonatello - The Shredder? Michelangelo - Maybe all that hardware is for making coleslaw?
Here are two links that I found.
The first http://optimumbusiness.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/2644/~/samsung-hd-digital-cable-box lists all of the features of the Samsung box, showing the many connection features which Cablevision does not support. If they did there would likely not be a problem.
The second http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/r27608476-Using-the-Samsung-SMT-C5320-with-an-IR-Blaster is about Cablevision not using Samsung codes in the Samsung box.
Contrary to Cablevision's explicit denial to me, it is obvious that the only reason they would disable the connection features is to force people to buy their recording service.
The DVD recorders that used TiVo service are long out of production, and are probably not easy to find in working order. I don't think any of them took CableCARD for directly tuning digital cable like the current TiVo boxes do. They used an IR blaster. I don't think they are great option for what you want to do.
TiVo is expensive. You buy the box, and pay service fees on top of that. Without a paid TiVo subscription, current TiVo boxes are only useful as a doorstop. To be fair, people who have them say that their PVR functionality is superior to any cable DVR or PC solution, and it is possible to use special software to transfer some recordings to your PC. (Recordings of "copy once" programming is the exception.) Plus it is still possible to record from the TiVo's analog outputs.
With all of your input, which I greatly appreciate, and after doing additional research, I am coming to the reluctant conclusion that tivo is what I will have to use. I am not happy having to pay for what I heretofore already had but::
1) As Cablevision caused this problem, I won't give them the satisfaction of getting more money from me for their DVR
2) The net difference in cost between the cable box and the cable card somewhat reduces the tivo cost
3) I've seen complaints about the intermittent poor quality, and outright failures, of Cablevision's DVR.
4) Both the Sony RM-AV3000 and the ProntoPro TSU6000 are available through Amazon. But:
(a) the Pronto is an expensive proposition for something that only may work. And some reviewers complained that its frequency range isn't high enough for newer devices
(b) The Sony does not have memory battery backup. When the batteries need to be changed - according to most reviewers every six months - all of the settings are lost. It has to learn all of the commands again and the timer macros must be re-entered. And though it is a good deal less expensive than the Pronto, it is still an expense for something that may well not even work.
But I still have to consider the issues of the ease/difficulty of getting the recorded programs to my PC Disk Drives where I keep them.
With Cablevision, I would have to manually play the recorded program and record it on the Mag recorder as it played (Video Out -> Line In), recording to a DVD instead of to the HDD. Then take the DVD, as I do now (now I convert it from the HDD) to the PC and convert it to MP4. An inconvenience because the MAG recording is in real-time; the MAG HDD-to-DVD conversion that I do now is relatively fast.
Tivo said that the unit can be hooked up via RJ45 to my Linksys and hence to my PC. They said they have software running on the PC to handle that. But sending just a single two-hour program across my local LAN could take forever. And it's not clear whether I would still have to convert the tivo output to MP4.
But I am still a novice with all of this. Any comments on my thinking outlined here would, as with the prior assistance, be most appreciated.
Last edited by Novice20; 10th Jun 2013 at 23:47.
I was all excited when I bought my Hauppauge 1212 and got my COX Digital DVR a few years back. Not long after that, Cox Cable changed their software and from midnight to 4:00am (you never knew exactly when) they would pop up a warning that they were fixing to turn your DVR off to do you a favor and save you energy. Since the Hauppauge records what the cable box broadcasts then everything that I tried to copy to the PC was ruined.
I got rid of the digital cable box and went back to basic extended cable (I had a Hauppauge 1800 also with QAM tuner) since it wasn't worth all the extra expense ans told them that I wouldn't get digital again until they updated their software. They kept telling me they were going to update it at a certain time and the unwanted feature would be removed but they never did update it.
Now I have Dish satellite but I haven't upgraded to the DVR service and I doubt that I will because they not only show the same stupid warning but they show it 10 ot 20 times a day.
This is something that the movie industry is forcing the broadcast companies to do to keep people from copying their precious property and it will not stop until everyone stops paying for the DVR service which isn't going to happen.
I think about hooking the Hauppauge 1212 back up at times but it's still sitting next to the TV in it's box. I'd have to hook a 20' USB cable up anyway to reach my PC and I'm not sure it would work at that distance. It worked at 15 feet but sometimes I'd get corruption. Not sure if it was from the distance or because of the poor bandwith that the cable company used to broadcast the signal.
EDIT: To bad there isn't a popup blocker you can install on the STB to stop the annoying pop ups. It's a PITA when you're trying to watch a movie and you have to search for the remote to get rid of the stupid popup.
Last edited by DarrellS; 11th Jun 2013 at 01:37.
Novice20, this is a long shot, but it *might* be a simple case of Cablevision changing the interface for the timer functions. Customer service is utterly clueless on any question other than your service being out, they never have any info about things like box settings and functions, so we need to figure that stuff out for ourselves. It is possible you still do have a timer function but not in the way you've grown used to doing it. You sort of suggest in your earlier posts that you have been programming the timer by going into the "settings" menus: this method has been discarded by most cable systems in favor of the "program grid" method (the same method you use to program the timer on their DVRs).
I have Time Warner Cable, and they long ago changed the timer function from "settings menu" to "program grid." Most cablecos now use a variation of this procedure: use the Guide button to bring up the program guide, use the up/down arrow keys to find the channel you want, then use the right arrow key to scroll forward in time until the grid displays the show or movie you want to record. Say it is now Tuesday at 8AM, and you want to record Mad Men on Sunday at 10pm: press the Guide button, scroll down or up until you see the listing line for AMC channel, then scroll right thru the days until you hit the listing for Mad Men on Sunday at 10pm. Highlight the "Mad Men" listing (scroll onto it), then press the "OK-Enter-Select" button on your remote. This *should* bring up a menu with options to "set reminder." Arrow down to "set reminder" and press the "OK-Enter-Select" button again, and the words "set reminder" will change to "delete reminder." Arrow down past that to "return to guide," and you should now see "Mad Men" highlighted with a small timer symbol. This means the box has been programmed to switch to AMC at 10pm on Sunday. Upon switching to AMC for "Mad Men" on Sunday at 10pm, it will remain tuned to AMC unless you change the channel manually (or you've set another timer for another show that goes on after "Mad Men").
The drawback to setting timers this way is you are usually limited to six days in advance (the program listings generally only go that far ahead). Also you can't set a show to record weekly or daily: you have to manually remember to set the timer for that show every week or every day. This can use up the eight timer slots pretty quickly. Also in my neighborhood, the Samsung decoder boxes choke a couple times a week and won't display program listings more than a day ahead: when this happens I need to hold the power button on the box until it reboots and reloads the grid (annoying).
As I said, all this was a long shot: you have probably tried the program grid timer and found it has been disabled by the new software. It is true many cable companies are killing these timers to push customers into their DVR offering: if that is indeed what happened, you'll need to make a fuss about it and demand they cut you a new deal that includes the DVR service (New York has heavy FiOS and satellite penetration: threaten to change to one of those). If you go this route, you would continue to use your Magnavox exactly as before: the only difference is you would be setting timers on the cable DVR instead of the plain old cable box. The DVR will automatically change channels and programs, sending the signal out to your Magnavox, just as the standard box did before (you don't need to manually play each DVR recording into the Magnavox). You would actually gain two benefits: one, the DVR records in true HDTV, so when you watch the shows you have the option of better picture quality (the simultaneous recordings on the Magnavox will of course be standard def). Two, the timer options on the DVR are better: you can set the same show to record weekly, etc. The disadvantage is the DVR will increase your cable bill, and the DVR reliability can be spotty (you may miss a recording now and then). But if you manage to negotiate effectively with Cablevision, you should be able get at least a one-year deal where the DVR doesn't cost much at all.
As far as the TiVO alternative, that is very popular now with people whose end goal is to store their recordings on a PC. With its networking feature, TiVO can send the full HDTV-quality recording directly to your PC (where you can either keep it in HDTV or downconvert it to SDTV or DVDs). This networking function normally does not burden your home network: it isn't active all the time, only when you tell the TiVO to dump a recording file to your PC. You also get the fantastic TiVO interface, which is the best timer/guide system available. Drawbacks of the TiVO include upfront expense (approx $600 for a new unit with lifetime service subscription instead of monthly fees), getting Cablevision to install the CableCard properly (more difficult than you might imagine), technical problems with the CableCard, and learning how to work with the TiVO files on your PC.
Going the full-on HTPC route is another option that more and more people are jumping on. There are many ways to do this, but it can be hard to wade thru the tidal wave of info posted on forums like VH. Some of the better solutions are buried in the chatter and you need to dig for them.
Regarding the cable box popups and power off intrusions, these are due to all the new channels being crammed into the system. They add more channels by "time sharing" them, and at this point everything but the major networks is time-shared (what they describe as "switched video"). It is really, REALLY annoying that they monitor and micro-manage every single minute that we watch, yet don't offer us the simple choice to pick a dozen "favorite channels" that we never want to "time share" or "time out."
Last edited by orsetto; 11th Jun 2013 at 07:34.
Thank you, orsetto, for your very clear and detailed post. And thank you for taking the time to enter it. That was most kind and considerate.
I did not check on using the grid with "reminders" as Cablevision said that only puts a reminder on the screen but does not do anything. I will, however, try it tonight.
Am I understanding you correctly that the Cablevision DVR, while recording, is still putting out a signal through the Video Out that would still feed into the MAG? And that I could continue to then copy from the MAG to my PC (HDD -> DVD -> PC MP4 file)?
Though I really don't want to reward Cablevision for what they did, that would save the expense of buying a tivo unit, plus the expense of buying the tivo PC software (until last week the software was free). And it would be a simpler change. And I would not have to leave my PC on all the time to get tivo's auto-transfer (tivo confirmed that a transfer is in real-time; so doing a manual transfer when I was home would entail a minimum of one hour transfer time per one hour recording, an annoying and big delay)
The drawback is that Cablevision's DVR is far less reliable than tivo's service, based both upon your comments and others that I've seen posted elsewhere.
Find a neighbor with that cable DVR and see if you can record the channels you want.
In New York, most of the City proper is covered by Time Warner with only the Bronx and part of Staten Island serviced by Cablevision. I have been fortunate in that TWC has not dropped the grid timer feature despite many software "upgrades" over the past few years (the software gets worse with every upgrade, but at least they keep the timers). The last time I visited someone with CableVision, the grid software was even worse than Time Warners, which amazed me. I did not check whether the timer grid had the same functionality as TWC, I guess you will report back to us after you try it this evening.
Am I understanding you correctly that the Cablevision DVR, while recording, is still putting out a signal through the Video Out that would still feed into the MAG? And that I could continue to then copy from the MAG to my PC (HDD -> DVD -> PC MP4 file)?
jagabo's excellent point about CGMS-A copy protection might become a concern if you opt for the Cablevision DVR: some channels might have an anti-record signal that enables the DVR but disables the Magnavox from simultaneous recording. There are accessories you can buy to work around that issue, but don't worry about it unless/until the problem actually occurs.
Last edited by orsetto; 11th Jun 2013 at 16:22.