Awhile back I shared my fury going through the frustrating process of regaining access to my just-upgraded online checking bill-pay system.  Entitled “BEWARE OF STRANGERS BEARING UPGRADES” this post recounted an all too familiar condition of being offered an “improvement” only to be bedevilled by an agonizing series of detours, failures and meltdowns that makes one question why they even got started.

In case you are wondering, that online bank site has now been wiped clean of all personal information. As warned, in a fit of revengeful glee I have not closed the account – let the bank deal with it.

Unfortunately we live in a world that dictates that any and all services we subscribe to will inevitably succumb to the above or similarly maddening situation. This week it turned to my cable system, specifically my DVR.

I have been a subscriber of Time Warner Cable since I moved into my coop over 30 years ago.  It has served me well and has not, despite others who say the contrary, delivered sub par service.  However, on this particular day I was confronted with a most unfortunate reality: the DVR was no longer recording.

As I have mentioned I am pretty much a tech geek so I thought I could figure out the problem but despite my endeavors (including the mandatory “reboot”)  the DVR no longer offered me the prompt to “record program/series.”  With GoT (“Game of Thrones” on HBO for those of you who aren’t fans) approaching I knew I had to resolve this issue soon but since it was the beginning of the week I wasn’t panicked.  Getting a TWC rep on the phone I reviewed the situation and she was congenial and assured me she would be able to provide a more powerful and successful reboot from her end.


No worries, she assured me – there is now an UPGRADED (uhoh)  DVR that offers up to 6 simultaneous recordings – my present set only offers two. In addition, an “Easy Connect Kit” can be sent to my house so I don’t have to schlep to a TWC store location.  Now this appealed to me – I could easily set the new DVR up – after all I had no issues setting up my Amazon Firestick with Netflix a few weeks back.  Confidence surging I put in the order and the kit arrived quickly in two days.

I am very methodical – OC in fact (self-diagnosis).  First things first, I opened the kit and took out the DVR and various accessories and did a quick inventory check. Here were my findings:


Hmm – not good.  Thinking I might have to send the box back and get another one, I decided to call TWC customer service to see if there was a quicker alternative.  After the series of interminable prompts I was connected to a rep “Will” who instantly commiserated with my incipient slow burn about my faulty kit.  Mollified somewhat I asked if I could just use the cables from my current DVR and with the reps blessing I concluded our call and was well on my way. Or so I thought.  Coming up next – my version of this clip from Apollo 13 (which ironically was airing right after I concluded this exercise – serendipity):

ISSUE #1 –   The Easy Connect Kit was short one coaxial cable, but I had two others from the old DVR. These cables connect a) the DVR via an “IN” sockets to the cable outlet in the wall b) connects the DVR to the TV via the “OUT” socket (see lower left part of DVR):


ISSUE #2:  Since my TV set was already connected to the Cable outlet I thought I only needed to connect b).  However, while my old DVR  had an innie and an outie, the new improved DVR did not, so there was no b).

WIll had given me his direct dial to call in case of problems, but true to my methodical ways I first went to check to see if there were other stumbling blocks and lo and behold I had another doozie:

ISSUE  #3:   My now not-so-Easy Connect KIt had no composite cables which are supposed to provide high-definition connections between the DVR and the TV.   The prongs are color coded to match their respective ports; however the new improved DVR had ports for red, green and yellows, the old DVR component cable had only these prongs:


WHOA. I had enough and immediately set about calling WIll, put him on speaker and calmly told him Armageddon was approaching.  No worries, says he,  I can bypass all the above by just setting up the connection via HDMI instead:


Here is the Wikipedia definition:

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a proprietary audio/video interface for transferring uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant source device, such as a display controller, to a compatible computer monitor, video projector, digital television, or digital audio device.[3] HDMI is a digital replacement for analog video standards.

Blah, blah blah, need this to get video and audio data from one source to another.

ISSUE #4:   I mentioned above that I had previously set up my Amazon Firestick.  It so happens that it is connected to HDMI Port #1 on the back of my TV.  Easy-Peasy says Will just connect the DVR to HDMI Port #2:  Yeah??  Here is the back of my TV:



I must say Will was one of the most calm, patient and helpful reps I have ever had to deal with – no doubt his acumen was sharpened to such a high point of excellence due to interactions with many irate customers.  His solution?  Look on the side of the TV – and Eureka!  There was HDMI Port #2.

Moment of truth came as I made the connections and gingerly pressed the Power button on the remote – and a beautiful, IMPROVED image shown before my eyes.  All systems go!

Thank you Will.

PS. I’m keeping the extra two remotes as hostages.


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