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WOW! cable subscirber -- channels changing on own accord

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WOW! cable subscirber -- channels changing on own accord

Post by Justice! » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:53 pm

EDIT: I realize this should have been put in the "Getting Connected" forum. Admins/mods please feel free to move it there. Thank you.

I apologize in advance if this is long-winded, but hopefully you will be able to get a few chuckles out of this and perhaps, just perhaps, you may be able to help solve a mystery.

Last year, I moved from Mason, where I had Dish Network, to Williamston, where I now have WOW! cable. It definitely was a trade-off as I had no issues with Dish Network's tv service, they had all the channels I want and acceptable rates. The bandwidth limits for the internet usage, however, were annoying, especially considering they way you check your bandwidth was constantly changing and often times unaccessible. With WOW!, the internet has been great, no limits on bandwidth, but the cable tv is a train wreck. One of the biggest annoyances is my inablility to be able to swap out my one afforded *premium* channel for a regular channel. The hell? I want to give up my more expensive option for a lesser option. Why won't they do this? They claim its because that's the way the packages are set up. Okay.

Anyways, I work third shift, so I'm up unusual hours and have just started getting into Dateline Mysteries reruns in the middle of the night and just hoping it's a Keith Morrison one. In the 3 o'clock hour every Saturday and Sunday, the channel flips suddenly to QVC while the display box goes from showing the channel number to EAS, which I assume means Emergency Alert System. There are never any emergencies, Amber Alerts, weather issues or anything. I have to turn off the cable, turn it back on and change the channel back, which takes a moment. It may not seem like much, but when you're trying to follow a case with a lot of facts, it's annoying as hell. Plus, I also like to record and preserve things for future use.

I contacted WOW!, who sent a signal to my unit(s) in an attempt to fix the problem. It didn't.

I contacted WOW! a second time, and they sent a tech to my place to swap out the boxes as they figured it was just a faulty box. That didn't work.

I contacted WOW! a third time, and the guy suggested I upgrade to HD and that might fix the problem. I told him I really didn't want to commit to paying more money without knowing if that was going to fix the problem (and I didn't think it would -- and it didn't.) But I relented and they said they'd send a tech out.

I'm 37 years old and still have a box tv. I bought it just before the rapid transition to flat screens and I really didn't feel like throwing hundreds of dollars out the window for something that was still fairly new (although already outdated). Plus I'm not exactly wealthy. The tech, who is a 19-year-old, arrives to install the HD and quickly excuses himself to go outside and place a phone call to his superiors, presumably saying "Holy crap, this guy still has a box tv, I didn't think any of these people still existed on Planet Earth". I think he was checking the parking lot to see if I had a model T ford parked somewhere.

He returned and I have to give him credit because he was fairly nice, although he spent the entire conversation taking veiled potshots at me being behind-the-times and saying the problem was with my television. I politely explained to him that I really didn't think that was the case because I never, ever had that problem with that tv in all the years I had DishNetwork (or to that extent, regular antenna tv), and the problem has only arisen recently now that I'm watching tv more and using their service. He doubled down on the "the problem is your tv" assertion. We went through a few more rounds of this until I realized I was getting nowhere and thanked him.

Still not thinking the problem is with my tv, I contacted a relative, who said the problem was absoutely not with my tv but with their service. He said it was most likely a neighbor of mine who is close enough to my receiver that they are changing the channel when *they* watch tv. I thought that made sense, although you really have to wonder who in the hell would watch QVC every day at 3 am in the morning. He suggested I contact WOW! (which would be my fourth time for just this incident alone) to request a new remote and that should do the trick.

I'm so confused.

Now for the funny stuff.

The 19-year-old technician. I feel that he really is a nice guy deep down, although he kept saying mind-blowing things (albeit in the nicest way possible.) Some of my personal favorites:

"Do you have a cell phone?" (translation: Since you have a box tv, do you still use a landline or even a rotary phone?)

"I'm two years older than this tv!"

"I'd like to go back to the 50's myself."

"I suggest you get some sleep." (I'm twice your age bub, I don't need your recommendations on how to live my life.)

"I work from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. Don't call me before 10:30 a.m. or after 7 p.m. because I will be asleep. (Does he sleep 15 and a half hours a day then?)

"That's why they're not out in the field." (in response to my statement that the people at WOW! customer service suggested a HD box would solve my problem.)

Literally unbelievable. He also went into a story about trying to get a hotel room but being denied service because he was underage. I constantly found myself not knowing how to respond. I'm going to give him a pass because of his youth and because I think he meant well. But now I feel so old. So incredibly old.

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Re: WOW! cable subscirber -- channels changing on own accord

Post by KC8YQQ » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:52 am

If your's is RF (not infrared), it's likely one of your neighbors is the culprit. When my wife and I lived in Cadillac we had Dish and the remote was RF. Occasionally the channels would start changing on their own, especially when the neighbor was channel surfing. A quick call to Dish's support and they walked me through with how to change the channel (frequency) the remote/receiver was using. Problem solved.

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Re: WOW! cable subscirber -- channels changing on own accord

Post by organman95 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:11 am

But if it's the neighbor, that doesn't explain the EAS hold/freeze on the box. Sounds like a firmware issue to me, as that was the case with two boxes when I had that issue with Charter a decade ago. But if it's EAS, could also be where the signal is coming from. For some reason (in 2010), while the headend for Houghton Lake was located in West Branch, the EAS monitored the Detroit area, which caused MANY problems in Houghton Lake during weather events in Detroit.

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Re: WOW! cable subscirber -- channels changing on own accord

Post by MWmetalhead » Fri Apr 13, 2018 8:29 pm

Here is the most important clue from Justice's description:
I contacted WOW! a second time, and they sent a tech to my place to swap out the boxes as they figured it was just a faulty box. That didn't work.
Clearly, the converter box is not the issue here.

WOW's control center is apparently sending out an EAS signal - with no actual EAS information - to the converter boxes in Justice's area at a scheduled time each week.

Whether this is an intentional test on WOW's part or human error due to a faulty programming algorithm is tough to say.

Why does the box automatically flip to the QVC channel? My guess is that is the channel number used to broadcast actual EAS civil emergency messages.

I know when Comcast uses EAS to broadcast tornado warnings, my cable box following the EAS message briefly displays another channel before turning back to the channel I was originally watching.

So, Justice, I'm afraid you are stuck. Sending a tech out to your house isn't going to fix the issue, nor will swapping equipment.

The hideous electronic billboards in each end zone make Spartan Stadium look like a corny Arena Football League venue!

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