Telus 4K / Internet 50 upgrade saga and lessons

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Cherns
Coach

I've been a Telus customer for a long time--land-line since forever, Internet since dial-up Sympatico days, tv since the fairly early days of Optik. I got a call from them a while back with an offer: They would upgrade me from Telus Internet 15 Mbps to 50 Mbps, and set me up for future 4K tv, and it wouldn't cost much more than I'm paying now. In addition, the new router would handle 802.11ac WiFi. I agreed and asked them to send me a note detailing exactly what was changing, but I never received it.

 

My setup at the time:
In my loft office, a copper-wire DSL connection to the Actiontec V1000H modem/router, providing LAN service to my computers, printer, and assorted Ethernet peripherals. I also had a Cisco 330 set-top box (STB) (I *think* it had an Ethernet connection to the Actiontec), connected to a Hauppauge HD PVR2 box that had a USB connection to my computer, allowing me to watch tv on the computer. (My previous, deceased, Hauppage box had a number of inputs, including RCA component (red/blue/green) and audio (red/white) jacks; the replacement has a mini-DIN connector with a "breakout cable" with these inputs.) The Actiontec had a coax output that connected (though coax cable in the wall, originally intended for cable tv) downstairs to the Cisco 430 STB/PVR, going into my Home Theatre and thence to my TV. The 430's HDMI connection (to either my Home Theatre or TV set) had failed with (apparently common) HDCP errors some time ago, so I was unhappily using component/audio cables instead of the preferred HDMI.

I thought that the new installation would be a simple replacement of the old modem/router, the STB/PVR, and the STB.

 

Not so, by a long shot.

 

OK, installation day:

First thing is that the faster connection needs an additional copper-wire DSL conneciton, "bonded" to the first. This involved some setup in a neighbourhood sidewalk-side phone box that I wasn't present for, and then finding the appropriate pair in the telephone junction box in another part of my apartment, and connecting that to the riser going up to the loft where the new Actiontec T3200M was to be. Since an Ethernet connection is considered better than a coax one, a new cable went from the T3200M downstairs to the new Arris VIP5662W STB/DVR, and there on to the Home Theatre and via HDMI.

 

Long story short, it didn't work first time--the installer had to talk to his tech support, three long phone calls, before the third one discovered that the two lines had not been "bonded" properly. Click-click at some tech-support place, and: worked! Should have been set up in advance; wasn't. At the end of the process, Telus speed test showed a download speed of about 55 Mbps, as opposed to the previous 16.

 

I lost all the recorded shows on the old STB/PVR, of course, as expected. A pleasant surprise, though: although I had documented all the shows and series I had set up the old box to record and was prepared to re-enter them, they were there waiting for me. I guess that Telus stores them in some cloud, not (or not just) on the PVR box. (PERHAPS this was because I had set up Optik Smart Remote on my smartphone; I think it would always be wise to document the scheduled shows and series beforehand, just in case.)

 

I had expressed concern to the installer that the Arris VIP5602W STB didn't have the component/audio RCA jacks that I had previously used to connect my Hauppauge box to the Cisco 330. Both Arris units have mini-DIN plugs on the back, and the manual speaks of a "breakaway cable" with component/audio jacks, but apparently nobody at Telus has any idea about what or why it is. Fortunately, the work order for my upgrade had neglected to specify the 5602 STB (in addition to the 5662 STB/PVR), so the installer had to go to the warehouse and then return to my place the next morning with the VIP5602W STB. He told me he had discovered that the warehouse had a box of about 50 of the Arris "breakaway cables," apparently sent to Telus, along with the STBs, "as a courtesy"; Telus had no idea of what to do with them, but he (thanks to my grousing) did, so he snagged one for me. Good enough; I was able to connect the Hauppauge box and it worked fine. (I wonder: are breakout cables like this all the same? Instead of my current Arris breakaway cable to component/audio cables to Hauppauge breakout cable, could I have found a mini-DIN-to-mini-DIN connector cable?)

 

And note: presumably so that they don't have to provide new remote controls to their upgrade customers, Telus has jiggered the Arris units to use the same IR codes as the old Cisco units. So, if you are configuring a remote control (like a Logitech Harmony, for instance), you'll want to choose Cisco (or Scientific Atlanta) 430/330 for these units instead of any Arris codes.

 

I kinda liked the previous feature of flashing the Caller ID information from my (Telus) land line on the screen, and I noticed that it wasn't working any more. So, call Telus. Nice tech-support guy: "Let me try this {click-click]; now reboot the PVR [black screen, green flash, three dots, "Your box is initializing..."]; does it work now?" Repeat. Repeat again... It took about three hours for him to click the proper setup controls and make it work.

 

Next, I noticed that the premium channels (like HBO, Movie Network, etc.) seemed to have disappeared. Another long call to Telus, and most of them are restored. (Still no SuperChannel, but I'm too tired to talk to Telus again soon.)

 

The new T3200M modem/router has an interface almost exactly the same as the old V1000H, with the same 192.168.1.254 URL. One little change: the new one comes with a sticker showing its default unique SSID, WiFi password, and admin password. With the V1000H, if you forgot your password, you had to enter the unit's serial number (printed on the unit); with the T3200M, if you change your admin password and then forget it, you have to enter the original admin password--best not to lose that sticker with all that stuff on it! Also, allegedly because customers didn't like the flashing traffic lights on the front, they've been moved to the back.

 

I tell this saga not to vent against Telus work-order screw-ups (well, not only to vent), but to warn others getting the upgrade of some of some points to make sure of before signing off on the installation:

 

  • if you get an upgrade offer, insist that the salesperson email you a detailed description of what will change--services, rates, channels, etc.
  • make sure that the installer has access to the risers, telephone plugs, or whatever, necessary to hook up that additional copper pair.
  • if things don't work at first, tell the installer to make sure that the pairs are "bonded" properly, and that Telus sometimes screws this up.
  • if your current setup uses coax from the modem/router to the STB/PVR, be prepared to replace it with an Ethernet cable, with attendant wiring complications.
  • if you hope to connect an Arris unit to a device that doesn't have an HDMI input, make sure that your installer knows to pick up a "breakaway cable" at the warehouse.
  • don't lose the sticker with the modem/router passwords.
  • If you like the Caller ID feature, make sure it still works, because Telus sometimes screws this up.
  • If you have premium channels, make sure that they still work, because Telus sometimes screws this up.
  • If you use Telus Remote Record, you will have to set it up again.
  • (See belowSmiley Happy Check your Telus bill!

 

Now that all of that turmoil is over (almost: I still have to get SuperChannel back and tuck that extra Ethernet cable behind some mouldings and into the wall unit), I'm a reasonably happy chappy. Things are humming, everything seems to work, I have more Internet speed than I can possibly use. Thanks, Telus. (but maybe you could work on the work-order-coordination stuff.)

 

LATER: Looking at my recent bill, I find SuperChannel gone (but I can get it back for $10). I also find a $355.20 "Cancellation fee" and a "4K Digital Box Installation Charge" of $100.00 (plus another "4K Digital Box Installation Charge of $100.00 and a matching/cancelling "4K Digital Box Installation Discount" for the same amount).

 

When I tried to call Telus, I was told that there would be a 45-minute wait; when I chose "Chat" from the My Account web page, I was told that there were 19 customers ahead of me also waiting to chat. The heck with that. The "Contact Us" web page shows an email contact for Mobility questions only, but only a phone number for "Internet, TV, & Home." The phone number led to a familiar voicemail maze. One Telus rep once told me that, on the voice prompt "Press 1 for home, 2 for mobility," don't press anything, and eventually you'll get an opportunity to leave your name and number for a callback (no time for anything more), and that these messages get priority in the call centre. We'll see.

 

My condo has received an offer from Telus to upgrade to fibre optic cables, supposedly to enable an increase in speed all around. Unfortunately, the draft contract they sent was full of stuff that favoured their side--it looked as if they would claim the right to plop a cell-phone tower on the building, or ban competing WiFi--and the Condominium Home Owners Association is warning about this. Fortunately, I invited a Telus rep to look at the building, and he assured me that the contract was completely negotiable. and the contentious paragraphs wouldn't apply to us and could easily be jettisoned. Too bad the original draft wasn't phrased a little more reasonably, leading to less hair on fire.

 

I sure hope that the fibre cable upgrade will go a whole lot more smoothly than my 4K one...

Highlighted
Cherns
Coach

Well, I finally got through to Telus--actually, I just left a short message--"There are strange charges on my bill"--and was then suckered into waiting on hold (because the robot suggested that the wait would not be too long). While I was on hold, I got a voicemail message from Telus apologizing for messing up my bill and telling me that the charges had been reversed. I'm not sure that all of the questionable ones were gone, though, so maybe next time I'm downtown I can try to see if there are any billing-department humans to interact with in the new fancy Telus Gardens building...

pbsme
Advisor

I was thankful to read your post last night!  I had my install yesterday and assumed I would get boxes like I had seen in shops.  (I was always peeking at the back to reassure myself that there were component and optical audio outputs.)  However, the installer brought new 4K boxes which only had HDMI and a DIN output (I had no idea what that was at the time).  Eventually, when I showed him my Hauppauge, he hurried away and came back with a couple breakaway cables.  It seemed all would be fine and no testing of the Hauppauge connection was done.  The installer left after completing everything that was Telus' responsibility.

 

That evening I figured I'd better test the Hauppauge with my laptop and one of the wireless "remote" boxes that had been installed.  It woulldn't work!  No signal detected.  I tried switching component cables and the optical audio to RCA.  Still couldn't make it work.  I tried disconnecting the HDMI to the TV, in case the Arris 5602W couldn't output both HDMI and component from the DIN at the same time.  Still no video coming into the computer through the Hauppauge.  Then I tried connecting the breakaway component cables to my TV, to see if the output was working at all.  Sure enough, there was a picture and sound coming from my TV.  At this point, I thought I would either have to get the newer 4K Arris replaced with an older remote box or try to go back to Shaw!

 

However, then I read your post and gathered that you had your Hauppauge working.  I doubted my Hauppauge had broken down, because I had used it with my Shaw box several times in the days before my Telus install (clearing off some precious items from my PVR).  Assuming you had actually tested yours, I decided to connect with the breakaway cable to the actual Arris PVR (5662W).  With great relief, the signal was detected and I was able to record to my laptop!  

 

I decided to tell this, in case it might help someone else.  Unless my remote wireless 4K box has some defect, it would appear the Hauppauge can only work when connected to the PVR.  Perhaps this will make good sense to someone knowledgeable in this regard, but I have no idea what the difference would be --- especially when the signal goes fine from the DIN to the TV.  

 

Something else I might mention.  Neither the breakaway cable nor the digital audio cable fits into the Arris boxes very snuggly.  The breakaway can fall out easily and the optical cable usually clicks when fully inserted into equipment.  (I haven't actually tested the optical with the Hauppauge.  When the RCA connection worked, I was relieved and assumed the optical will, too.  And, I could live with just the RCA connection if I have to.

 

I would certainly recommend Telus TV to anyone.  And to top it off, the day after my install, a Telus rep, going around the neighbourhood, came to the door to ask for permission to install fibre to my doorstep within a couple months!

 

 

Cherns
Coach

It's been several years, but I have a vague memory that might bear on your experience:

 

I had bought a new monitor that had both HDMI and VGA inputs. I thought, fine, I'll connect my settop Box (it was a Cisco CIS330 then) to the Hauppauge box with component cables for recording and such, and to my monitor with the HDMI cable, and my monitor to the computer with the VGA, so I can switch monitor inputs and watch tv on my monitor (at that time, it was bigger than my tv set). Oh, no: I got a window from the box to the effect that the digital copyright protection had kicked in: I couldn't use bot the component and the HDMI outputs, because then I'd be getting two HD feeds from the  one device, and that's a no-no. Something like that, anyway, and maybe something like that happened to you. There are some differences: my Hauppauge is successfully connected to the 5602 STB, not the 5662 PVR/STB, and I don't have the additional complication of wireless.

 

As I say, it's been a while and my memory is a bit vague. At the moment, my monitor is connected to my computer video card's HDMI output, and the only way I can watch tv is through Hauppauge Capture--not a big problem. But, with the new settop box, maybe sometime I can experiment to see whether it can connect both to the Hauppauge box via component cables, and the monitor via HDMI.

 

As Telus rolls out its new stuff, I guess that it's useful that we have a forum like this to share experiences.

vishwa
Ambassador

That wasn't exactly what it was.  Given the timeline, your message was about the monitor not being HDCP compliant.  But, now with the new boxes, Hollywood has been able to get SOC(Selective output control) implemented.  So, now if it senses HDMI, the component output will be disabled.  I have actually used both simultaneously with CIS330 and even IPV6015.  

pbsme
Advisor

Hi vishwa,

 

I did try without the HDMI connected at the same time as the component.  The Hauppauge still said "no signal detected", so that was why I tried sending the component signal to my TV, which did work.  And, both the HDMI and component were connected to the TV (but of course, only one input was being accessed, so that might not prove anything).  Nevertheless, the same connections worked (giving the Hauppauge a video signal) when used with the PVR, rather than with the "remote" wireless box.

 

Hi cherns,

 

Thanks for your input, too.  I suspect you could connect to both your Hauppauge and your monitor.  I think the connection from the monitor to the computer with the VGA might have caused the problem.  I may not be totally understanding how you have it all working, though.  I will have a chance to do more experimenting on the weekend.

Cherns
Coach

Hi, vishwa...

 

Er, I thought that that was what I said: the STB wouldn't allow simultaneous output of HDMI to my monitor and component/audio to my Hauppauge unit. I had tried the HDMI to the monitor without the component/audio to the Hauppauge, and this worked (so I guess that my monitor was HDMI compliant, as suggested by its HDMI input); I tried component/audio to the Hauppauge without HDMI to the monitor and this worked. What wouldn't work was hooking up (never mind using) both output simultaneously.

vishwa
Ambassador

Hi Cherns,

I am not sure which box you are referring to.  In my experience, I have no trouble with that simultaneous connection with either CIS330 or IPV6015.  Only with the 4K boxes the simultaneous output is disabled.  I am currently using the IPV6015 for TV via HDMI and slingbox via component.  

Cherns
Coach

Hi, vishwa.

 

Well, that's interesting. As I said, it was a long time ago, but I'm pretty sure that my CIS330 had objections to using both its HDMI and component outputs simultaneously, with an explicit message to that effect. Oh, well, moot now, for me anyway.

pbsme
Advisor

I discovered today that the breakaway cable doesn't make a very snug connection.  The five cables (component plus audio) that need to be attached can be rather heavy and if they hang down from the back of the Arris, the connection might be lost.  That happened to me today.  As soon as I pushed the breakaway in firmly, it all worked.  

 

I do have the Hauppauge sending a recordable signal into my computer from the Arris via component and to my TV at the same time with HDMI.  (The HDMI from the Arris goes into my audio receiver before the TV, though (which acts as a switcher).  Then, the receiver is connected to the TV with an HDMI to DVI adaptor cable, if that would make any difference).  Maybe that chained connection disables the DHCP that prevents both component and HDMI from working at the same time?

 

I haven't tried the digital audio connection yet, since I found that the optical cable doesn't stay connected very well.

Cherns
Coach

>>"I do have the Hauppauge sending a recordable signal into my computer from the Arris via component and to my TV at the same time with HDMI."<<

 

Interesting again; I'll have to try it.  Thanks.

vishwa
Ambassador

Thanks for that observation.  My case is slightly different in that the component goes to slingbox.  But,with the Arris, this is what happens.  If I connect hdmi to tv and component to slingbox, the latter deosn't see any signal.  If I remove the hdmi cable, then the slingbox sees the signal.  With the IPV6015, both are active simultaneously.  So, I just transferred the slingbox to the IPV6015 and left it at that.