Cable TV. You would THINK I'd be able to move a TV from one damn room to another...

…Without having to schedule a service call.

Here’s the backstory: We used to have three TVs in three rooms, along with three boxes and three cable outlets. This was the way things were set up for years. Then my stepdaughter moved out and took the third TV with her, so for several years we were just using the two remaining TVs, one in the master bedroom (the main one that we watch), and the one in the living rioom.

About a month ago, we decided to move the living room TV into my SD’s old room, and found that the cable no longer worked there. So we had to schedule a service call. The tech came and did whatever he did to make it work in that room.

Then about two days ago I moved the TV from my SD’s old room back to the living room. And now that doesn’t work. The screen doesn’t show random snow, but a clearly legible message from the cable company saying this channel will be available shortly. The only way to get this problem fixed is…you guessed it…to schedule another service call.

You know, it reminds me of what car people say about cars. With all the computerization, they say cars have become too hard to work on. The older ones were easier to manage.

I could barely change an air filter on a carbureted Buick, even in the old days. Changing the oil, to me, would be an impossibly intricate project in mechanical engineering.

But I did use to be capable of moving TV sets from room to room in my house, and now I can’t even do that.

O tempora mores!

It’s not like it’s broken. They are using a security method to make sure unpaid for connections aren’t being used. I’ve seen connectors used to interrupt the signal before, only removable by the cable company. They of course could be removed by a determined person, but then the cable company knows somebody tampered. Your particular manifestation is new to me, but it wouldn’t be hard to do.

Do you have cable set-top boxes? Theoretically, if you have six rooms wired and 3 set-top boxes, you should be able to move the box to any room with a wire and view from there. Although, it is just as likely the cable company has instituted something to ‘prevent cable theft’, which usually means something that inconveniences honest users more than it does thieves.

So you want the cable company to rewire your whole house “just in case” And the guy after you is mad because he has to wait from 9-8 because the buy is busy rewireing your whole house!

Its a total scam. The cable company will charge you X$ for a “service call” when all it takes to activate an outlet is for them to flip some switch on their computer system. But if they can send a guy out there and he farts around for 30 minutes or so “activating your outlet,” well, then they can charge you $50 or so. (And he doesn’t actually do anything but call in to HQ to activate the outlet.)

Huh. Cable must have changed since I’ve had it. When we first had cable, the house was wired for it. Just about every room had an outlet and you could move the TVs at will. No box was required at that time. You paid for cable to come into the house. From there, you could have 20 sets if you wanted.

Then the cable box came. Each set had to have one to work properly and get all the available channels. But again, you could move the box anywhere in the house and attach it to a TV and it would work. You paid for the line coming in, then also paid a ‘per box’ fee. Some companies sold you the box, others rented them to you.

There should be no reason, from my experience, why you can’t use any cable wire in the house to hook your box to and have it work. If you paid for 2 boxes, and tried to hook up a third, that wouldn’t work, but if it was one of the two you paid for, you should be able to move them. I thought (and maybe wrongly) that there was a card inside. Without the card activated, the box wouldn’t work.

Guess times have changed. And I can’t get cable at all where we live now. They laughed at me last time I asked about it.

My apartment is wired with four cable outlets, two in the living room and one in each bedroom. I am paying for one DVR box and a cable modem. I have a second TV plugged directly into the cable outlet in my bedroom, and it gets everything but the premium channels without benefit of a cable box. And by “everything but the premium channels” I mean USA, Sci-Fi, CMT, etc.

I think your cable company is jerking you around. As Boggette and D_Odds pointed out, I can’t think of any way they can control which outlets in your house are getting a signal. The box should work regardless of which outlet it’s connected to.

Who’s talking about re-wiring? He had TV’s with cable in three rooms, A, B, and C, then the TV in room C went away and he’s trying to move the TV from room B to room C. The wiring is already there.

Maybe, maybe not. And this attitude is so prevalent that it’s beginning to piss me right the hell off, so let me explain a few things to you about the cable TV industry.

First, let’s talk about service call charges. My company did a study last year (you’ll have to forgive me for invoking ‘my post is my cite’ here) which concluded that, given manhours, materials, fuel cost, etc., every time we roll a truck on a service call it costs us an average of $85.00. For years we absorbed that cost. (Yeah, OK, all the other customers absorbed it. Still…) But I swear to God, if I had a nickel for every person who calls me insisting that I send someone to their house because they can’t work their own remote control or the purple on their new Gigatronic 3000 hi-def flatpanel blah blah blah just isn’t purply enough, I’d have an absolute fucking fortune. We just can’t afford to absorb it anymore. So I hope you’ll forgive us for asking you to offset 25 of that 85 dollars to ride out to your house and show you how to operate your own shit. If the problem is on our system or with our equipment, and no fault of yours (like, your dog didn’t piss in your DVR or chew through the cable that connects it to the wall) it won’t cost you a penny. The lines, receiver boxes and all the splitters and stuff in between are the property of the cable company, and we don’t expect you to pay (directly) for their upkeep or repair unless you fucked them up. I don’t know of any cable companies that operate differently. If there are, they’re ripping you off, and should be beaten severely about the head and neck right before you cancel your service.

You will most likely be charged for installation of a new outlet, and just because you see a faceplate with a barrel sticking out of it in your bedroom, that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a cable in the wall behind it, or that that cable is (eventually) connected to the street. That’d be the ‘farting around’ that the service tech is doing at your house. Which brings us to How Shit Works…

There are two types of taps (the bit that connects your service line to the street), ‘interdiction’ and ‘passive’. When they were introduced (and cable was all analog), interdiction taps became all the rage for the very reason you state: they can be activated (or deactivated) right from a desktop PC at The Cable Company. They could also be used to set and modify sevice levels (basic, expanded basic, etc.). Unfortunately, they’re also mostly unreliable as hell, and a pain in the ass to work on in the field. (And let’s be honest here, the reason the cable companies loved that concept isn’t because it made it easier to turn on your service from the office, it’s because it made it easier to turn it off. Nothing gets a past-due balance paid faster than the threat of missing this week’s episode of American Idol.)

With the advent of digital cable service, control over activation and modification of services was easily transferred from the tap to the set-top box, thereby making interdiction taps unnecessary. (If your bill isn’t paid, your boxes are all disabled, rather than the service line.) So many cable companies are now returning to the more reliable passive taps. This does require a site visit for activation/deactivation of services, but unless you have some odd ‘per outlet’ contract, it really should work exactly as LurkMeister described. When it’s on, it should be on in every outlet that’s been connected.

Since the OP says “We used to have … three cable outlets”, it seems we’ve all assumed that he has standard cable service rather than one of those ‘dish’ services. I wonder though, since most satellite providers charge ‘per room’. (At least they did last time I noticed; things may have changed.) If that’s the case, I could see them coming out and deactivating an outlet in a room you’re no longer paying for.

If the OP does have cable rather than satellite service, something doesn’t sound right. The outlet worked before, it should still work. I’d suggest calling and complaining (nicely, please, it may be me you’re talking to). They may credit your account, apologize for your inconvenience, and make things right. Cable is an extremely competitive business in most areas, and most cable companies really will bend over backwards to try to keep your business.

(But no, sorry, I can’t do anything about the rate increase. You’ll have to complain to ESPN and HBO about that.)

Roonwit, the Cable Guy

If he had satellite it should still work as the receiver not the line determines what signal to receive. Of course if it were satellite I would walk you through trouble shooting and have a 90% chance of fixing it without a service call. Which is good because we charge you $70 for a service call. That is still an estimated $50 loss for us.

OH! and cable company’s never ever ever charge for service calls. I know this because at least 10 people a day inform me so, as they are threatening to leave us for cable. Apparently ComCast is blessed by god to never cause a moments worry to their customers.

Snarky, much? Why do they have to rewire my whole house?

I thought the cable is already there (once they’ve installed it). The box should serve to protect signal integrity and guard against piracy, or more specifically the access card inside the box. That being the case, why shouldn’t I be able to move my two TVs among 50 outlets in the house, if I had that many, as long as there’s a legally valid box between the cable and my TV?

Does the receiver have a reset button? I don’t know about cable but with satellite if you unplug the box and move it you often need to reset it. With either the reset button or unplugging it from the power outlet for 15 sec.

Hey, I paid for purple, I want purple, dammit! Chop-chop!

This thread has reminded me to change my car’s oil, incidentally.

My apologies if my ignorance of satellite systems struck you as being derisive in some way. All the same, ‘cable vs. satellite’ is about as much fun as ‘Mac vs. PC’, so I’m not the least bit interested in that discussion. Good on you for your outstanding customer service record.

As for “I’ll switch to ComCast (or Dish)!”, yeah, I get that, too. I also have customers who switched from those services tell me that they’re horrible in every way. Greener grass, and all that, I suppose.

The instruction book that came with your new Gigatronic 3000 has – get this – instructions in it describing exactly how to milk every last drop of purply goodness outta that bad boy. (Ten thousand dollars? My goodness, that’s impressive.)

What’s that? You can’t find the instructions? Do you think that might be because you threw them right back into the packing crate unopened, and hauled them out to the curb?

Uh huh. <sigh>

Hey, shouldn’t you be out changing your oil? Why don’t you go do that, and I’ll see what I can do about getting some extra purple piped to your house.

And none of that lavender crap dammit! I want royal purple!

Spectre, go into your basement with a 7/16" wrench and find the cable splitter. The splitter is where all of your cable hooks together at. One should be marked “IN” - do not touch that one. There should be two marked “OUT 3.5dB”. These are the outputs of the splitter. There should be a fourth wire just dangling loose up there near the splitter. That should be the dead living room line. Unhook the cable that leads to your SD’s old room, then put the dangling living room wire where that one was. That will activate your LR outlet.

More than likely, when the last tech came out, they removed a 3-way splitter and put in a 2-way, so that you are losing the same amount of signal on each outlet, rather than 3.5 dB on one and 7 dB on the other two. Plus, active outlets that aren’t hooked to anything can throw ingress back into the whole system, fucking up your neighbor’s cable or modem.