Some cable box follies...

Discussion in 'Hardware Lounge' started by Randy Rhoton, Nov 3, 2017.

  1. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    I have three plasma tv's. In March of 2016 when I upgraded to Xfinity, they installed three new boxes, one really good new one, and two older models as they said they didn't have enough of the new ones to give me three of them. OK, fine, but after some time, I noticed that the older type - the ones with the round power button on the front - had a habit of freezing if I surf the menu a bit too fast. And they were realllllly slow to reboot after a power failure, which is something routine around here. The new box in the living room is about the size of a cigar box but no buttons, just a vertical blue light on the right front corner. All of these boxes have/had the usual array of output jacks - l/r/video, fiber optic, HDMI, cable in/out.

    So okay I finally got tired of rebooting the old ones after frequent freezes, and took them to the Xfinity store about 26 miles away to trade them for ones like the one in the living room. And the fun begins. They've upgraded even those to a smaller version about the size of a thick smart phone. With only the blue vertical light and a power button on top. BUT, only jacks on the back are cable in/out to tv, and a single HDMI. Okay I think, I'll just have to go back to cable in/out on my two vcr's. Yes, I still have them. Have been using the l/r/video inputs for better picture since I bought them. But when I get home, I found I had forgotten that neither of these units have cable in/out jacks, just l/r/video in & out. Oh, joy. But not to worry, the young man at Xfinity said that B/B had cable adapters HDMI to l/r/video for cheap. Since there was a B/B near my route home, I stopped in. Young man in blue shirt says "we don't have anything like that, and I've never heard of it". So I'm screwed if I want to record anything.

    So at home I look on our friends at Amazon and find dozens of them, plus the needed HDMI splitter that I'd need. So I thought I'd post this and see if any of you have a better idea before I place the order. Plan is to go from cable box HDMI to splitter, ones of those to tv, other to adapter cable then to VCR's. Concern is will this be too many connections to work properly. Other issues?

    Thanks is advance. Sarcasm welcome.

    One other fun thing. As part of the upgrade and two year long discount for doing so, they included HBO at no charge. And I never noticed it. Till just last month. Well shit.
     
  2. Denton

    Denton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Demand some respect! Geez, Randy, the ol' US of A is free* because of your efforts. I mean, support the troops! Tell them I threatened to send them to Xfinity and beyond!!!

    HDMI splitters are offered at parts express... :(
     
  3. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    A VCR? So you can record anything? Two (not one) VCR's?

    How often do you use these VCR's with their amazingly shitty resolution? Here and now in the world of hi-def?

    Forget about it. If you want to save old tapes and play them do so, you need nothing just stick the output in the low res input on the TV.

    And then when the VCR's eat those tapes you can toss in all in the e-waste bin and be done with it.
     
  4. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Denton: Groooooaaaaaaaannnnnnn!

    Mike, actually I have three vcr's. The one in the l/r has the cable in/out jacks that the others lack. I do play old tapes from time to time, but I find it much too easy to record something by just putting in a tape and pressing the record button. Plus they still work and none of them have ever eaten a tape. If they ever quit then maybe I'll do something different.

    As a side note on this, the old boxes I turned in were connected via HDMI directly to the tv's, but these new little ones put out a better picture.
     
  5. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    I'm very impressed with the DTV stuff so far. I have 4 boxes, the main unit with the DVR that is the biggest at about a cigar box, the 4K unit that is much smaller about one third the size of the main and 2 wireless boxes that are tiny about one third the size of the 4K.

    Yup, the stuff just keeps getting smaller.
     
  6. DYohn

    DYohn Well-Known Member Donor

    Top Poster Of Month

    In convenience as well as image and sound quality, a DVR beats any tape based recording system by so much it's like a top-fuel dragster against a bicycle in the quarter mile.
     
  7. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Agreed, but mostly I tape late night old reruns for next day viewing. Source isn't all that great, so not really an issue with me.
    And I had a DVR once, hated it.
     
  8. Mike B

    Mike B Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    You mean you don't have one with Xfinity?
     
  9. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    With Comcast. Briefly. Back when HDMI first came out I got a box with it just to see if it was a better picture than component. It was, but at that time the only HDMI boxes they had were also DVR's. This when they were all a Motorola box with a large clock on the front. But, as I tend to wear out remotes channel surfing, about every third click of the menu button the DVR would start to record without me telling it to. And it wouldn't stop. Was annoying to say the least. But worse, at EVERY channel change click, EVERY speaker in the system would give a loud pop! To the point that I was afraid of losing drivers. So after just 4 days in the house it went back for what I had before, non HDMI and component outputs. I never actually did use the damn thing as a DVR. That experience soured me on them. To the point that if one or more of my VCR's finally croak I'l first try to find one on Ebay.
    I didn't get an HDMI box till Comcast started bricking some channels to force the changeover.
     
  10. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    So $47 later, used the link here and bought the stuff I hope I need to make it work. We'll see.
     
  11. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    And the stuff arrived only to find I had clicked on and mistakenly ordered the wrong kind of hdmi adapter cable. OOPS! Correct kind ordered and supposed to be here Tuesday.
     
  12. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Shit never stops. Correct cables - HDMI to composite - arrived. So hooked up short HDMI/HDMI from cable box to new little switch, from output one of that to tv, output 2 to VCR composite in. New switch is HDMI powered, has button to make output changes, LED to indicate which is in use. TV works, VCR still blue screen. Swapped cables, inputs, and switch boxes. No change. Suspect the el cheapo composite cables ( there were no high end ones listed ) as other swaps worked with tv. That's in the bedroom. Will try the basement setup later today, different brand of VCR, but a bigger pain to get behind.
     
  13. Denton

    Denton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member Top Poster

    Damn.
     
  14. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Tried basement setup. Same result. Even tried just going from cable box straight into VCR and still blue screen, but some audio static at low volume. The wrong cables I ordered are for HDMI to component, I may try those on something that has that input just to see if I can get videos a test of concept for these cables in general. If the living room VCR ever croaks I'll be forced to stay up late on Saturdays as my favorite thing to record for next day is the old Dr. Who reruns and they don't start till 11 pm. At least till I can find a VCR with a tuner.

    I hate this forced upgrade crap. Last week I had some extra time while out and about, so used some of it hanging around the last brick & mortar store in the area. Because of all the emphasis on 4K, in their discount room, there was a 55" Samsung out of box marked down from $2k to $800 along side of a still in the box brand new 75" one marked from $10k to $1500. Neither being 4k, and they weren't even being looked at by anyone else. What a waste. And no I didn't bite. 75" is way to big for my place. 65" maybe someday, but not yet. 60" KURO is just fine.
     
  15. GSmitty

    GSmitty Member

    Randy - I feel your pain. Now, besides HiFi and Home Theater 'stuff', my wife and I also RV. We spent close to $1000 to update our 2004 Country Coach, to accommodate the shift to ULSD diesel. (Rubber fuel lines to our generator and our HyroHot water & coach heating systems. Had rubber fuel lines that after about 12-24 months started showing problems with the forced (Vs the industry recommended more gradual 10 year phase to ULSD.) shift to ULSD. Porosity, meaning small tiny leaks of diesel fuel (Always nice to have fuel leaking on hot items. Thousands of RV's did have fires caused by this...), as well as air getting into to fuel lines (Caused failure of many diesel engine fuel injector pumps, and about $3-4.5K repair, depending on engine.)... Talk about a forced upgrade... (Of course, CaliKornia EPA refused to listen to the caution of industry experts that 'More research' should take placed, if they were not going to allow a gradual shift to ULSD.).

    And to be clear sir, are those VCR's VHS, or are you talkie Beta!!

    What a PITA for you... Fingers crossed that this works out!!!
    Smitty
     
  16. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    VHS! The last time I had to deal with Beta was in the service in the 80's when VHS was clearly winning the format war and Beta was getting really cheap. Had some serious talks with govt. purchasing types because they were bound by rules of low bid only. Format was utterly irrelevant to them. My boss finally got around them by using the model # on a VHS unit followed by "or equivalent".
     
    capsuleri likes this.
  17. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    So prototypical government!! Once I wanted to attend a Conference the hotel where the conference was $10/day more than the per-diem. The travel dept. insisted I stay at a remote hotel and taxi back and forth even though that ended up $50/day more!!
     
  18. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Sounds about right.
    But I did slip one past them one time. The naval eng. office next door asked if I could procure them a small hand held tape recorder. They always had trouble going under a ship that had just been lifted into dry dock with keeping their note pads dry. Idea was to put a recorder in a plastic bag and transcribe it later. I went to the local Radio Shack and got the info on one that would work. Nope, finance rejected it. That's a dictaphone, and GSA has a freeze on buying office equip.
    I told Naval about this and asked for a few days to try again. At the end of that week I typed up a new requisition with the same vendor info for a "storage microphone" and ran it through a different clerk. They bought it.
     
  19. capsuleri

    capsuleri Well-Known Member War Zone Member

    Unfortunately, it's Congress's attempt to root out waste, fraud and abuse!! Every govt. employee is crook in their minds.
     
  20. Randy Rhoton

    Randy Rhoton Well-Known Member Donor War Zone Member

    Well well well. Was within a couple miles of the Xfinity store today so stopped in to see if they had any more ideas. Different guy, older, with a better knowledge base. Didn't have any new ideas on how to fix my existing HDMI only boxes, but, he said "we were out of the boxes like the one in your living room for some weeks, but we have been restocked". Went in back and got one, just what I was hoping for when I started all this. Could have gotten two, but opted for trying just the one I use most. Was told that in multiple box installs sometimes they talk back to each other when they're not supposed to through the box on the outside wall, but usually only an issue if more than four of them in a home. Anyway, got it installed, have no crosstalk/control issues, VCR is back on composite inputs, and with the digital box, picture out of the VCR is way better than it was on the old boxes. Will record something tomorrow just to test. May just go back early next week and get the third one.
    So now I have some more cable junk for my shop. Stuff cost too little to bother sending back. Who knows, it might get used somewhere someday.
     

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