[mythtv-users] What's happening with Cox in RI?

Rod Smith mythtv at rodsbooks.com
Mon Dec 2 21:30:17 UTC 2019

Hi all,

I'm hoping somebody is more "in the know" than I am (or the clueless Cox
customer support people are). Until last week, I had Cox service with a
3-tuner HD HomeRun Prime with cable card and some sort of auxiliary box
that Cox requires; and a conventional cable box (Scientific Atlanta?)
provided by Cox feeding into a Hauppauge HD PVR. All of this feeds into
my MythTV backend, of course. I can tune most channels on the HD HomeRun
Prime, but a few require the cable box and HD PVR, thanks to copy
protection. I also have a Cisco cable modem that provides me with
Internet and land line phone service. Here's the contradictory
information I've been told and what I've done:

- A few weeks ago, I began seeing pop-ups in some of my browsers
  advising me to swap my cable equipment for a new Contour box. Details
  of why I should do this were vague (it wasn't even clear if it was the
  cable box or the cable card equipment that would be affected) and I
  got stuck in automated phone call limbo when I tried calling about it.
- I eventually received a snail-mail notice saying that my cable
  equipment would stop working in January. Again, it wasn't clear WHAT
  equipment would be affected.
- About two weeks ago, I stopped by a local Cox store to ask what was
  going on. I was told that the cable box would stop working in January.
  I explicitly asked about the cable card equipment and was told that
  it would continue to work.
- Annoyed at the hassle, I took in the old cable box on Wednesday of
  last week and exchanged it for a Contour box with component video
  output. I managed to get it working with MythTV.
- The nagging popups continued over the long weekend, so this morning, I
  initiated an online "chat" with Cox customer support. Whoever I was
  "chatting" with seemed scattered and gave imprecise and contradictory
  information, but I was told I'd need to replace my cable modem. I
  again asked about the cable card equipment, and was told it was fine.
- Soon after the chat, I received an e-mail saying that I'd see a $20
  fee for a "TV self activation kit" on my next bill.
- Annoyed, I called customer support. That person had no idea about
  that $20 fee, but said that my cable card equipment would stop working
  in early January (the 1st or 2nd, IIRC). This person also said that
  it was RECOMMENDED, but not REQUIRED, that I replace my cable modem,
  simply because it's old. He said there was no advantage to my doing

So, what's the deal? Is my HD HomeRun Prime going to become useless (or
at least stop tuning most channels) in January? I actually have a spare
HD PVR, so I suppose I could swap out the cable card for a second
Contour box, but that would be less flexible and reliable than what I've
got now.

If Cox stops supporting cable card, I may just drop cable TV entirely,
at least from them. I pay close to $140/month for TV service alone,
which is tough to stomach even without these hassles. Does anybody have
experience with Verizon Fios in RI? Do they support cable card devices?
If so, how many stations can MythTV record via cable card? (I'm most
interested in HBO, Comedy Central, Cartoon Network, BBC America, Science
Channel, History Channel, and local broadcast channels; currently, some
of those require the HD PVR, but most record fine via the HD HomeRun
Prime.) Does Verizon Fios offer any tuner boxes with component output so
I can keep using my HD PVR and record copy-protected channels I can't
tune via the HD HomeRun Prime?

If I drop cable TV entirely, what's the state of using MythTV to
interface with streaming services? I find MythTV's user interface,
latency, and cable's picture quality to be much better than streaming
services, but if Cox takes themselves out of the running, I'll consider
adding some streaming services, especially if I can access them via MythTV.

Sorry for the length of this post -- Cox's customer "support" has just
left me with more questions than I should have.

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