Question about Panasonic DMR-EH55 DVD Recorder/HDD Recorder
I have a Panasonic DMR-EH50 digital video recorder, fed by an (analog) cable TV (via coax cable - no cable TV "set-top" box). Source is Comcast Cable, in Seattle, WA.
For a couple of years, all was well. Then, back in November, suddenly the TV Guide program listings stopped appearing (these program listings are a feature of the DVR, and make recording convenient; the data is piggybacked on a local channel, or so I've been told).
At first, I thought this was one of the occasional reset annoyances (every few months, I'd turn on the DVR, to see the "setup" screen, and I'd have to go through some of the setup again - a pain in the ****, but not a showstopper; I was always able to make things start working again). This time, I tried switching zip codes, leaving it all off for 48 hours, etc., to no avail. I resigned myself to calling Panasonic Support. Sigh.
I called and spoke with a support person there, and explained what had happened. She immediately told me that it was because of the upcoming digital TV switchover. Hmmmm. I told her I was skeptical. She insisted, and told me to sign up for the government coupons, go buy a DTV converter box, and run the incoming signal through that. I protested that we had cable TV, and that my local cable TV supplier was running ads (incessantly) blithely saying that their subscribers would not have to do anything, they were all set for the upcoming DTV conversion. She said, no, that the TV Guide listings were carried on a channel that I was receiving (yes, that was what I had heard - on my local PBS channel), but that (as she put it) "the part of the signal with the TV Guide data was already being fed in digital format", and that in order for my DVR to display the TV Guide data, I would need a DTV converter box. I told the Panasonic support woman that as I understood it, the cable signal was already converted to analog, so whatever was coming over that coax cable was nothing but analog -- and that this was in November 2008, and the digital switchover wasn't going to happen until February 2009. I confessed I was skeptical and asked if she was sure. She sighed and said she answered this same question hundreds of times every day, and yes she was sure. She said to go online and get the government coupon, then go buy a DTV converter, and all would be restored. OK, I said (still skeptical).
I went online and ordered the coupons. According to the coupon website, I wouldn't get my coupons for another month. OK, I grumbled, I'll be patient (this was before they just ran out of them).
A few days later, I came across an online forum with some details on how to do a deeper reset of this unit (hold down the power button, wait, repeat). I figured I might as well give that a try, since my coupons wouldn't be coming for a few more weeks.
I went through the reset procedure, and let the DVR off for 24 hours. Next time I turned it on....to my surprise, the TVGuide listings were there! Well, they were there but only extended out for about 3 days. No problem, I thought, it just needs more time to download the listings for the rest of the week, right? I turned the DVR and left it off overnight. Next day, I looked and the listings had not changed - I only had about 2 days of program listings, nothing past that. I left it off again, but no more listings downloaded. OK, I figured I'd try the deep reset again and just let it sit for a few days and download more. But no dice: after a deep reset and 2 days inactive, there were no TVGuide listings at all. I've tried it a couple more times since, and still receive nothing. Hmmm.
I'm still able to watch TV with the signal coming in via cable TV through the DVR and then into the TV. I can even record on the DVR -- the TV signal is still there and still good -- I just get no TV Guide programming info.
I checked with the Macrovision website (they supply the TV Guide programming feed), and they claim that the TV Guide signal should be live and available in my area (based on my zip code and cable TV provider).
OK, so my coupons arrived. I went to a local big-box electronics store and picked up a basic digital TV converter box (a Channel Master D2A). I tried running the cable TV coax cable feed into that (then into the DVR, then into the TV). Nothing - not even a basic TV signal (the DT box appears to be expecting a signal from an antenna). I returned the ChannelMaster converter box.
OK, so here are my questions....
1. Was the Panasonic technician telling me the truth? That is, that in order to get the TV Guide feed in the DVR, and do I really need a DTV converter box? This still sounds like she was blowing smoke, but I'm willing to give it another try (although it would be with a different converter box).
1A. If so, how should the hookup go? I have a coax cable coming in from the wall. We have never had a cable TV "set-top box" (and don't want one). Should it go like this:
coax cable -> DTV converter box -> coax cable -> Panasonic DVR -> component video plugs -> TV set.
2. If a DTV converter box *is* needed, can anyone recommend a good model (or if not a specific model, exactly what I should look for in the box)?
Sheesh, this stuff should not be such a PITA to get right...
Thanks for any guidance.
I'm having the same problem in Middletown, NY with Time Warner Cable. I currently have two dvr's, one from Time Warner and my Panasonic DMR-EH55. Each is hooked up separately to the tv, and each is connected to a cable which brings the signal from Time Warner. Until early March my TV Guide onscreen listings loaded each day. Now I am getting a message that says TV Guide onscreen may not be available in all areas. Time Warner has no explanation; their rep. said I could solve the problem by running the signal into THEIR dvr/cable box and running a cable from their box to the Panasonic machine. Since my listings had been loading for years with my current set-up, I tend to feel there is something about the SIGNAL that is causing the problem.
My TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS) has not worked since June of 2009 it is almost November 2009 I have called Panasonic, Rovi, Comcast. Each points their finger at the other, and nothing gets fixed. If you have the same problems PLEASE contact Michale Finney of ABC news.com 7 on your side. If he hears from enough people He will get the transmissions fixed. copy and paste the URL below to reach him.
Posted on Oct 29, 2009
In our case, Time Warner has dropped the channel TV Guide, it used to be channel 99, but it's not even offered any longer, so it would appear that unless this TV guide info/source is fed to the DMR - DVD by some other method, rather than having to have that specific tv channel, I think we are S. O. L.
Posted on Aug 23, 2009
I can tell you how to get the TVGOS system working again in your area. I worked with Rovi on this for almost a year but together with them, my cable operator and me, we got it figured out and it has been working flawlessly now for a year. email me at [email protected]
Posted on Sep 03, 2012
A LOT of people are having this problem (for example see http://www.dtvusaforum.com/electronic-program-guide-tvgos-guide-plus-gold/) and nothing is getting fixed. From what people are saying, contacting Panasonic and/or the cable company is a waste of time. (sorry to all of you who wasted your time -- we DO appreciate your sacrifice, though). And it seems like the tv stations that are supposed to be transmitting the TVGOS signals couldn't care less about this problem. Bottom line -- nobody cares about the little guy (that's you and me).
But maybe the owner of TVGOS themselves would care about this problem . Rovi (formerly called Macrovision) is the company that owns TV Guide On Screen. Since Rovi has a contract with whomever transmits the TVGOS information, this is really a case of someone violating the contract. This is a business matter between two companies, one of whom is paying the other. The only thing I'm not sure about is who is paying whom in this whole TVGOS scenario. I assume that Rovi is paying the TV networks to transmit their signal. Is Panasonic paying for a license that allows their DVRs to translate TVGOS signals? And since there are also advertisements on the side of the TVGOS screen, if you're not seeing the advertisements then the advertisers are losing their money. Either way someone is paying someone else to do essentially nothing, and I think the payer(s) would be interested that the payee(s) isn't holding up their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, wasted corporate money will probably get more attention than unhappy people who have already shelled out the money for their DVR's.
Ways to contact Rovi (formerly called Macrovision), the owner of TVGuideOnScreen:
There's also a web site specifically for TVGOS -- presumably the site is also run by Rovi, but it can't hurt to send duplicate complaint messages:http://www.tvguideonscreen.com/services/CustomerForm.aspx
Here's a list of the stations that are contracted to transmit TVGOS listings in major cities-- hopefully it's accurate, since it was just updated last week. http://www.rabbitears.info/market.php?request=tvgos
When I contacted these companies this is how I started it (feel free to copy and use this):"I would like to report a widespread problem with TVGuide OnScreen (TVGOS) signal transmissions. Whoever has the contract to transmit TVGOS information is not fulfilling the terms of the contract. Please notify the corporate staff and/or legal department about this matter. PLEASE forward this message to a supervisor if you are not sure how to handle this message. Please DO NOT reply with a canned pre-written answer that does not really address the situation described below."
I'm thinking of sending this once EVERY DAY to all of these people. Might as well have some fun being annoying.... Good luck.
Posted on Dec 08, 2009
I am a cable technician with time warner and have been for almost five years...first off the digital converter box is for ONLY ANTENNA SIGNAL.which you have already found out unfortunately most cable companies are still and will be working on updating this stuff for a while. All cable card customers now have to have a convertor box we offer for free to pull this info and most of their hd channels. I dont know for sure if this will help you but you should call your cable provider and ask if they off this....Hope I was some help and Good Luck!!!
Posted on Aug 23, 2009
There is no data feed in Seattle. There is no solution until June.
I just got off the phone with a woman at KCTS (Channel 9-PBS Affiliate). KCTS had the contract with Macrovision. They lost it to KIRO (Channel 7) with the digital transition. As the digital transition did not occur, KIRO's contract did not kick in, but KCTS's stopped.
No one in Seattle has picked this up.
I called KIRO's consumer line to report a problem with the service. You might want to as well to lobby them to do something before June (when, the woman at KCTS believes, the transition will occur and KIRO's contract will kick in and we'll get our guide back).
Best of luck.
Posted on Mar 20, 2009
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