I broke my friend's cable TV connection. How do I fix it?
June 17, 2012 9:58 PM   Subscribe

I broke my friend's cable TV connection. How do I fix it?

The facts are these:

(a) I am pet-sitting my friend's cat while she's out of the country for 3 weeks. The cat gets lonely, so I am going over there for a few hours a night to hang out and watch TV with the cat.

(b) I do not have cable television or a Blu-ray player at home. Friend has both. Friend gave me a rudimentary rundown of how these things work before she left--push a button sort of stuff.

(c) I can't get her Internet to work whatsoever--it'll run on her computer but I can't log in with any of my machines. Am sure I have the right password and have tried all of the stuff she suggested to try to get it to work, i.e. unplug/replug. (Don't know if this is relevant or not, it was happening when I got to the house.) The TV was fine.

(d) I stupidly decided to watch a DVD. I couldn't find how to turn the thing on for quite some time, and moved the Blu-ray around a little bit trying to find where the on button was. Somehow moving the player has utterly disabled the cable television. I get static and a "check antenna cable" message on the screen. I can't do anything with it on the remote besides turn it off and on. Yes, it's definitely on the right television channel setup. I have unplugged and firmly replugged everything that is possible to unplug and replug. I can't "unplug" the cable cables because those things are TIGHTLY on. I am darned sure that "loose cable" is no longer the damn problem. So what the hell is it?

The cable box is a Pace RNG 110. The "power" and "data" buttons are sometimes off and sometimes on (which is how it was when I arrived). All of the buttons turn on when unplugged and replugged, then they slowly turn themselves off.

(e) Go figure, now that I figured out where the "on" button was on the Blu-ray, that's now the only thing that works on the television.

(f) Since I am not the account holder and don't have friend's account information, I can't call Comcast/Xfinity with this problem.

Any suggestions as to what the hell else to do? I have run out of things to try via the Internet and the folks I've asked IRL are all "I have no idea." I feel like an idiot for breaking her television and don't want her to stagger in home in a few weeks and have to deal with this stuff.
posted by jenfullmoon to Technology (13 answers total)
You can try calling Comcast. My cable provider (Time Warner) only asks for the account holder's name, as long as I call from the phone number associated with the account.
posted by acidic at 10:17 PM on June 17, 2012

You're quite sure that you've got the TV using the right input? The TV remote is likely to have an INPUT button that will cycle through the multiple options that modern TVs now have. Give that a shot first. (I have this conversation with my parents, who are 4,000 miles away, on a regular basis.)

If that doesn't work: what kind of connection goes from the cable box to the TV? That Pace box has multiple options for output -- component, composite and HDMI -- but only coax for input. Since the coax has the standard screw connection, we can discount that, and the most likely connection is HDMI.

But: is there a home theatre receiver or some other box in-between? If so, check the input setting on that.

Basically, you're going to need to sketch us a schematic of all the connections in this setup.
posted by holgate at 10:20 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd stop messing with it and resign myself to watching movies on the bd player when you're over there. Odds are this will take her no more than a few minutes to straighten out when she gets back.

But if you want to prod at it...

Is this a not-hd tv? Because it sounds like a bunch of HD stuff hooked up to a very old SD tv.

If it is an HDTV, I expect you're just being (like a normal person) confused by the differences between old cable systems/connectors and current ones. Current HDTVs wouldn't care about being set to the right channel -- you'd use either component video or hdmi to connect it.

Look at the cable(s) connecting the cable box to the tv -- what port is it coming out of on the cable box, and what port is it going into on the tv?

Likewise for the bd player.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:21 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

(on second thought, if the coax going in the cable box was messed up, that might cause these symptoms)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:32 PM on June 17, 2012

holgate almost certainly has it.

The pace box is an HD box with both component and HDMI outputs.

When you're seeing the "antenna not connected" message from the TV, what you're seeing is the TV looking at its coax connector which, these days, is almost entirely used solely for actual over-the-air broadcasting.

Look on the TV remote for a a button called "source" or "input" and use that to check the TV's inputs. If the cable tech and/or your friend was conscientious they'll be labeled, but you'll quite possibly just have to see which one has TV on it.
posted by kavasa at 10:38 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh and ROU, you can look at the back of the cable box here.

If OP is seeing static and "antenna not connected" they are 100% definitely looking at the TV's coax input and the Pace cable box does not have a coax output. If the Coax had come unplugged from the cable box and OP was looking at the signal being sent from it they'd see some sort of "check your connection" message but there absolutely would not be static.
posted by kavasa at 10:41 PM on June 17, 2012

oh and jenfullmoon - even if you can't get it figured out, don't worry too much: I'm like 99% sure that your friend would get home and you'd apologize and she'd laugh and push two buttons on the remote.

Chances that you've broken something are minimal.
posted by kavasa at 10:44 PM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

If OP is seeing static and "antenna not connected" they are 100% definitely looking at the TV's coax input and the Pace cable box does not have a coax output.

Ah -- I'd seen a different pdf that showed a coax out. Development unit maybe.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:49 PM on June 17, 2012

I am with holgate. Check the input to the TV. Also, I have a tv that the cable wire is securely plugged in, but the connection inside the tv (old TV, like 25 year old tv) is loose and I literally have to yank the cord or hit the tv a few times to get it to work.
posted by AugustWest at 11:57 PM on June 17, 2012

I'm like 99% sure that your friend would get home and you'd apologize and she'd laugh and push two buttons on the remote.

This. I don't even try to watch other people's TVs anymore. Mine is from the last century and the only thing it's connected to is a DVD player of similar vintage. I'm just not up on the new-fangled streaming TV through your Xbox to your Apple TV via your iphone stuff.
posted by fshgrl at 12:04 AM on June 18, 2012

The button on the remote may be labeled "source" if you don't see one labeled "input".
posted by Carbolic at 8:30 AM on June 18, 2012

If you don't care about spending money, call your local "Nerd Squad" or what-have-you for a house-call.

Or bring a book, play with the kitty and when your friend gets home she'll know what to do.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:42 PM on June 18, 2012

Response by poster: Sadly, in the end "wait for her to get back and it was fixed in 2 seconds" was the real life answer.

I will be catsitting for her again next week for a different trip and DEAR GOD I AIN'T TOUCHING THE SETTINGS ON THIS THING EVER AGAIN!
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:31 PM on July 11, 2012

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