Charter VOD Update
5:00 PM -- My Charter VOD saga may have been resolved. (See Charter's VOD Is DOA.) In Clue, the whodunit report would read: Phil Harvey, in the living room, with the remote control.
Or maybe: Cisco, in San Jose, with the HD-DVR.
After hearing of my VOD vexation, Charter did some thorough checking to make sure its network and VOD service were behaving as expected. At first, it seemed that the problem was a bandwidth/capacity shortage in my neighborhood. The VOD service worked fine at odd hours, like 10 a.m. on a weekday, when not a lot of folks are home watching movies. So I reckoned that maybe there were a lot of folks watching VOD programs at peak times and that Charter's system, while stable overall, might've been outmatched in certain areas.
But after a weekend of trying to recreate the problems that first prompted my complaint, I discovered that the fault may lie with me and how I use my set-top.
This Sunday, when watching a recorded program on the HD-DVR, I hit the "On Demand" button on my remote. That button switches the set-top over to Channel 999, Charter's VOD channel. Well, the system froze on the welcome screen. And that marks the first time I had successfully recreated the problem since blogging about it last week and sending Charter's corporate offices into a fit of (polite, courteous, and concerned) activity.
Apparently, the abrupt jump from a DVR program to a VOD menu -- without taking care to stop the program you're watching and gracefully exit the DVR "virtual channel" -- causes the set-top to toss its cookies, digitally speaking. I stupidly forget when I'm watching stuff on the DVR these days, because about 80 percent of what I watch is not live TV, per se.
So I'm probably at fault here. But I'll save a little blame for Cisco in case my Neanderthal button mashing is the type of thing a top-of-the-line set-top is supposed to be able to handle adeptly.
Charter is testing my set-top theory and I'll report back when they've come to a conclusion.
— Phil Harvey, Barely Managing Editor, Light Reading