Cable television or like alternatives in Toronto?
October 13, 2013 6:19 PM   Subscribe

With the change from the default broadcasting of cable signals in analog to digital, my mom has fallen into a terrible television conundrum and would like some advice on what the better/best alternatives are to Rogers Cable in Toronto. Can you help us out? The saga of what has been tried is inside.

For the last 5 of so years, my parents have had, and liked, a Tivo but as the signals switched from analog to digital the Tivo just kept losing channels and finally lost a bunch that my mom wanted to watch things on.

In researching how to make the Tivo play nice with the analog to digital converter it's been determined that we could make the Tivo work but only record one thing at a time. This feels crazy to me - Tivo is just not going to sell things in Canada in the future? But maybe this is really the only Tivo-based alternative?

So then my dad bought a used Roger PVR and that worked for a about a week until they got a message that they weren't authorized to use it and all TV went away. We have currently set it up hooking a different television (a digital one so it wouldn't need the box) directly to the cable but it doesn't get all the channels they pay for so this feels like a bust too.

My mom primarily watches PBS and TVO mystery series as well as things like NCIS, NCIS:Los Angeles and umm... things of that ilk. We had a lot of somewhat junky but entertaining police and medical procedurals set to record weekly. Also, Food Network for things like Top Chef and my dad like Space for basically just Stargate SG1 (I seriously think that's all he watches.) They both really liked how the Tivo worked and found the Rogers PVR challenging to use as it wasn't as friendly.

As I see it our options are:
1) Tivo hooked to analog to digital converter with only one tuner
2) Call Rogers and make them tell us why the digital TV doesn't get all the channels
3) Call Rogers and sign up for digital cable (I think?)
4) Call Rogers, cancel all cable, live in media-less world forever more
5) Netflix? Or something else streaming?

Any thoughts? For some reason this has become one of the items that my parents are unable to discuss with each other as it spirals into a world with too many options and too little information about any of them.
posted by machine to Technology (5 answers total)
I'm a bit confused - your parents already have some kind of cable package right? I'm gathering that b/c you said they watched the Food Network and Space, both of which are cable only.

There shouldn't be any reason the used Rogers PVR won't work. I sold my old Rogers PVR on craigslist after I decided to go internet-only. I had to call Rogers to deactivate the PVR, and then the purchaser simply had to call Rogers and reactivate it on his account.

If they didn't call in, then that is why it will have stopped working - it simply needs to be registered to their existing rogers account.
posted by modernnomad at 6:28 PM on October 13, 2013

Response by poster: Yes - they have a cable package - it is likely that they just need to register but didn't realize they needed to. For some reason this whole thing is terribly confusing to them (and then to those of us they try and explain it to).
posted by machine at 6:32 PM on October 13, 2013

I'm also a bit confused, and I don't know a thing about cable nor about PVR/Tivo type-things but we just got a TV and a HD digital antenna. For $0 per month we get eight sharp-looking channels (CBC, CTV, City, TVO, Omni and some other stuff). The antenna ran us about $65 (we got a RCA ANT1650, works great) and it's a one-time cost. If the issue is money, consider whether your parents would be happy with a digital antenna and a Netflix subscription, for less than $10/mo.

In short, you don't need to go with option #4--there is still free TV out there if you buy a cheap antenna.

If the issue is not money, then whatever problem you have with Rogers, they will provide you an overpriced solution. If it's a communication issue, perhaps you could offer to call Rogers for your parents.

(Current events sidenote--the federal Conservatives are going to announce a pay-per-channel proposed regulation for cable in the coming Throne Speech.)
posted by Carton at 7:03 PM on October 13, 2013

Tivo is shit in Canada. Get a proprietary Rogers PVR.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:17 PM on October 13, 2013

OP, I totally do not understand why you don't just call Rogers and ask what you need to do to get authorised, working PVR with the channels you're subscribed to, either on your existing package or a new service or package.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:32 AM on October 14, 2013

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