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Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

wayner92
I'm a reliable contributor

I am still on legacy cable in Scarborough, ON.  I just got an email from Rogers that said:  "Your account shows that your current TV Box with a model number starting either with SA or PA will be decommissioned as of April 30, 2024."

 

Does anyone know what is behind this?  I have quite a few cable boxes of various types - SA3250HDs, SA4250HDs, SA8300HDs, etc.

 

Are they totally getting rid of legacy cable in my area?  Or just decommisioning some boxes?

 

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Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

wayner92
I'm a reliable contributor

I found more info here:  https://www.rogers.com/support/digital-cable/digital-tv-box-retirement

 

TV box models retiring on April 30, 2024:

  • SA HD3250 DTV
  • SA HD3100 DTV
  • SA E940-C
  • SA DTV
  • SA 940 DTV
  • SA 8300HDC PVR
  • SA 8300HD PVR
  • SA 8300 PVR
  • SA 8000HD PVR
  • SA 8000 PVR
  • SA 4290 DTV
  • SA 4250HD DTV
  • SA 3290 DTV
  • SA 3200 DTV
  • SA 3190 DTV
  • SA 3100 DTV
  • SA 3000 DTV 
  • SA 2200 DTV
  • SA 2010DTV
  • SA 2000 HD
  • SA 1840 DTV
  • PACE551HD
  • PACE501

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Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

wayner92
I'm a reliable contributor

I found more info here:  https://www.rogers.com/support/digital-cable/digital-tv-box-retirement

 

TV box models retiring on April 30, 2024:

  • SA HD3250 DTV
  • SA HD3100 DTV
  • SA E940-C
  • SA DTV
  • SA 940 DTV
  • SA 8300HDC PVR
  • SA 8300HD PVR
  • SA 8300 PVR
  • SA 8000HD PVR
  • SA 8000 PVR
  • SA 4290 DTV
  • SA 4250HD DTV
  • SA 3290 DTV
  • SA 3200 DTV
  • SA 3190 DTV
  • SA 3100 DTV
  • SA 3000 DTV 
  • SA 2200 DTV
  • SA 2010DTV
  • SA 2000 HD
  • SA 1840 DTV
  • PACE551HD
  • PACE501

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

They are totally getting rid of legacy cable, I am sorry you have not heard about this sooner. It has been discussed widely on here about the end of its usable lifespan.  Yes you will be required to migrate to the Ignite TV platform to continue to watch TV, otherwise your current TV equipment will eventually stop working altogether after they send you a few more notices of it becoming decommissioned.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

By that date, IgniteTV will have been around for almost 6 years.  I'm surprised that some later boxes like the 9865, 4K and 8642 are not on the list.  I'm guessing Rogers is doing it in phases for some reason instead of simply ending Legacy Digital Cable, as has been discussed here for years. (A little nudge at a time?)

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

They may still have a service contract with their vendor for the later boxes, thus they still have to provide support for the newer ones.  But in reality, customers might have a mix of newer and older boxes anyways so if that's the case, having a faulty older box which is on the list you probably will be offered to be migrated because you can not have both systems servicing your household at the same time.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

wayner92
I'm a reliable contributor

I realize that legacy will be going away, and I started a thread here about this back in October.  https://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/TV/How-much-longer-until-legacy-cable-is-discontinued/m-p/5151...

But it just wasn't clear to me when that would happen.  And it now seems that it is about to happen.  I presume that this is because they are doing something like switching from MPEG-2 encoding to MPEG-4 encoding and the older boxes don't have MPEG-4 decoding hardware.

But this is a catalyst for me to decide whether I continue with Rogers or switch to Bell, especially since Bell has more compelling internet offerings.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@wayner92 wrote:  I presume that this is because they are doing something like switching from MPEG-2 encoding to MPEG-4 encoding and the older boxes don't have MPEG-4 decoding hardware.

Not at all. Rogers is switching from Digital Cable to IPTV (Internet Protocol TV), totally different technology similar to Bell Fibe, but on Rogers the recordings are stored in the Cloud.

 

I suggest you read recent IgniteTV posts and/or the IgniteTV Knowledge Base.

https://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/Ignite-TV/tkb-p/IgniteTV@tkb

 

https://communityforums.rogers.com/t5/Ignite-TV/bd-p/IgniteTV

 

 

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

wayner92
I'm a reliable contributor

I know that they are eventually forcing everyone to IPTV, but are they totally turning off legacy cable now?  Some non-Ignite boxes will still be supported, like the SA4642HD as it is not on that list.  Can that box work with Ignite TV? 

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

It is not possible to have Digital Cable TV and Ignite Television service both active in the same household. Its one or the other.  This is an entire different Television product that Rogers has licensed from an American company and offering here, it is not compatible with its older cable television, even the software that the employees use to manage Ignite is completely different from the traditional cable TV software. Once your old boxes no longer work, that's it, you will be offered to switch over.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

tcedfc
I've been around

Rogers is just trying to avoid this bug with the SA boxes - so just easier to claim they are being "decommissioned":  

 

'time-warp-could-cause-millions-of-old-powerkey-set-tops-to-go-on-the-blink'

 

This has nothing to do with "legacy" cable, that's why other boxes, like Cisco Explorer 8642HD DVR, are not on the list.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

wayner92
I'm a reliable contributor

Thanks, I posted about that bug in the TV forum.  That makes sense.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

Pauly
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

We just heard about the Scientific Atlantic PowerKEY bug now, but we have known about the decommissioning of Legacy Cable TV set top boxes for a while now, it might be a real problem but if they decommission it by april, then the bug is not the reason why, but it might just be coincidence and they are saving them self a headache by decommissioning early.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Just as an FYI, the same is (and has been) happening at the former Shaw cable out west. Looks like they've been doing several boxes a year.  I guess this picks off a few more people each year until eventually no more Legacy Digital Cable. See link below:

 

https://support.shaw.ca/t5/tv-articles/about-legacy-tv-box-upgrade-program/ta-p/9242

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

ostrich2
I've been here awhile

The information I've received on this has been somewhat ambiguous - I recently received this notification.  I had one box which does match the models on the decommission list (i.e. SA E490-C),  so it would make sense the notification would apply to this one. 

 However I currently have a much newer Nextbox,  and the only model number I find on the labels does not match any of the listed model numbers (Technicolor 10242HD). I presumed therefore that this model should remain operational at this point.   Nevertheless, when I happened to be making an unrelated service call and I asked the customer service rep if they could confirm this,  they told me that this model would also be decommissioned,  on the basis that "any Nextbox" model will be discontinued.  However,  the notification does not say anything like this,  and doesn't mention Nextbox specifically at all.  So I don't really know whether this will be an issue or not,  it's hard to know if the person you're talking to really knows what they're talking about or not.  

 I suppose that migration to Ignite is probably inevitable at some point - however,  in our condo building I'm nearly certain that there has never been any Rogers fibre infrastructure installation,  so I'm unsure whether it's even possible to use Ignite with older infrastructure? 

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@57 wrote:

Just as an FYI, the same is (and has been) happening at the former Shaw cable out west. Looks like they've been doing several boxes a year.  I guess this picks off a few more people each year until eventually no more Legacy Digital Cable. See link below:

 

https://support.shaw.ca/t5/tv-articles/about-legacy-tv-box-upgrade-program/ta-p/9242


Shaw switched to Comcast cable boxes even while they still offered a Digital TV service, and then proceeded to retire all the remaining Motorola gear.  That would allow them to decommission a ton of infrastructure in the back-end that was only there to support the old Motorola gear out in the field.

 

Now that BlueCurve/Ignite TV IPTV is their main offering, they have slated the legacy Comcast gear for retirement as well.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@ostrich2 wrote:

I suppose that migration to Ignite is probably inevitable at some point - however,  in our condo building I'm nearly certain that there has never been any Rogers fibre infrastructure installation,  so I'm unsure whether it's even possible to use Ignite with older infrastructure? 


Ignite TV runs perfectly fine on Cable Internet.  In fact, it was designed to run well on cable Internet.  Basically, Ignite TV uses the same underlying technology to deliver TV channels that Netflix, Prime Video and all the other major streaming services use to deliver their content.  Each HD TV channel consumes approximately 10 Mbps of bandwidth on your Internet connection and delivers TV channels at a higher bitrate than legacy Digital TV.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

Glenn-Toronto
I plan to stick around

I am in the same position … I currently have a newer Netbox, but received a notice about the older SA boxes. The Rogers rep I spoke to said the Netbox units were not being decommissioned. But I was also told that with Ignite TV I wouldn’t need a set top unit with an HDMI cable if I had a smart TV … but I know that’s false, so I’m not sure now what to believe. Reading this forum, others have said that the Nextbox units are not being taken out of service at this time.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@ostrich2 wrote:

The information I've received on this has been somewhat ambiguous - I recently received this notification.  I had one box which does match the models on the decommission list (i.e. SA E490-C),  so it would make sense the notification would apply to this one. 

 However I currently have a much newer Nextbox,  and the only model number I find on the labels does not match any of the listed model numbers (Technicolor 10242HD). I presumed therefore that this model should remain operational at this point.   Nevertheless, when I happened to be making an unrelated service call and I asked the customer service rep if they could confirm this,  they told me that this model would also be decommissioned,  on the basis that "any Nextbox" model will be discontinued.  However,  the notification does not say anything like this,  and doesn't mention Nextbox specifically at all.  So I don't really know whether this will be an issue or not,  it's hard to know if the person you're talking to really knows what they're talking about or not.   


 

There are actually a number of reasons to retire old set-top boxes.

 

Since the PowerKEY issue was mentioned earlier, yes, the internal clock rollover is one issue that needs to be dealt with.  It affects both the set-top boxes and equipment in the back-end that encrypts the stream.  It is decades-old code, and it is a complicated problem to address because Cisco acquired Scientific Atlanta and then, years later, split the division up and sold off the pieces to different companies.  The PowerKEY code is also baked into set-top box software, boxes that are no longer supported or maintained.  To fix the software, source code had to be dug up in old archives, the build environments to compile code had to be recreated, and even the people who were familiar with the old code have long since retired or even died.  The options for fixing the clock rollover issue are to either update code (which the cable companies would need to pay for) or go with Adara's solution, which is to implement a hacky workaround.

 

Rogers no longer sells or rents any of the set-top boxes that are slated for retirement.  It's going to cost Rogers money to push out a software update, money that they will not get back.  There's also a risk of bricking the old boxes.  If Rogers plans to sunset Digital TV, there is no point in even going through this effort.

 

Retiring those old cable boxes will also allow Rogers free up bandwidth consumed by legacy MPEG-2 streams and retire legacy hardware in the back-end.  However, this is a secondary concern.

 

Rogers is also in the midst of transitioning their HFC plants to mid-split, where cable modems will use the 5-85 MHz frequency range for upstream traffic and frequencies above 108 MHz for downstream traffic.  The problem is that the cable tuners in legacy set-top boxes expect the 5-42 MHz range to be used for upstream traffic and frequencies above 54 MHz to be used for downstream traffic.  Those tuners were not designed to receive the upstream traffic being sent by cable modems, especially at those power levels.

 

Another problem with old cable boxes (especially those that do not use DOCSIS for communication) is that they use out-of-band signals to update their channel line-ups, EPG and related metadata, software updates, etc.  Yes, there are ways to deal with this... but these communication schemes are also somewhat proprietary so no only is it desirable to get of this traffic on the cable plant, you also want to retire the proprietary hardware in the headend that supports it.

 

Legacy hardware also complicates the migration from legacy CMTS/Integrated CCAP to disaggregated and virtual CCAP.  As cable companies switch to DAA/R-PHY nodes, the new hardware technically can still support legacy STBs, but it's problematic to support ancient hardware that still have weird proprietary/non-standard behaviour baked into their hardware.

 

The old set-top boxes also require infrastructure in the back-end to manage them and allow them to register.

 

We are now at a point where it makes absolutely zero sense to keep Digital TV around anymore.  It's probably costing Rogers more to keep the old infrastructure powered up than what they get from subscriber revenue.  It should have also been obsoleted by a move to Fibre-to-the-Home.  However, even with DOCSIS 4 on the horizon, and near-term plans to allocate more spectrum for DOCSIS 3.1, legacy equipment and infrastructure in the field weighs on Rogers' ability to evolve and innovate.  The sooner that the old stuff can go, the better.

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

ostrich2
I've been here awhile

 One thing that doesn't seem entirely clear is how the basic IgniteTV setup works and how it differs if it's IgniteTV with or without Ignite internet.  I'm suspecting that the latter isn't a useful option in my case (since as noted I'm 99.9% sure there is no fibre infrastructure in my building),  and it appears that Ignite internet is premised on fibre based infrastructure. 

 So at present I have Rogers cable modem (connected via standard digital cable wall connection via coax),  and my own wireless router currently being used for internet connectivity.  I'm assuming an IgniteTv without Ignite internet would just use the existing Rogers modem (or replace it?).  But from trying to read a few articles I can't really tell how the TVs would interface with the Ignite box (via HDMI cable or some other way)? 

 It's interesting though to note that there is no fibre infrastructure,  the Rogers site for my address claims that "Ignite TV bundles with fibre-powered internet speeds are available".  I don't see how they can claim that,  I'm very dubious of this. 

 I may end up having to bite the bullet sooner than later though - rather coincidentally the cable Nextbox connection has been really misbehaving the last few days (after a full internet+cable outage for the neighbourhood), characterized by intermittent garbled picture, and the box losing connection,  and then being unable to reboot successfully for long periods.  They seem to want to keep blaming this on the box,  although I still suspect bad signal. 

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@ostrich2 Only a tiny, TINY minority of Rogers customers have fibre Internet.  Whoever told you that this was a requirement for Ignite TV was misinformed.  (My parents subscribe to Ignite TV, have multiple set-top boxes, and only have a 150 Mbps cable Internet service.  They use a standard, Rogers-supplied and supported configuration, no third-party equipment, and it works great.). Rogers won't let you purchase Ignite TV (with or without Internet) if they cannot deliver a suitable Internet service to your home.

 

 So at present I have Rogers cable modem (connected via standard digital cable wall connection via coax),  and my own wireless router currently being used for internet connectivity.  I'm assuming an IgniteTv without Ignite internet would just use the existing Rogers modem (or replace it?).  But from trying to read a few articles I can't really tell how the TVs would interface with the Ignite box (via HDMI cable or some other way)?  


With Ignite TV, Rogers will provide you with a new modem/gateway and the Ignite set-top boxes connect either via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.  It is technically possible to run Ignite TV over your own network gear (I do it) but Rogers will not provide you with any support in this configuration and there are certain tricks that you need to keep in mind, if you decide to go this route, or else you may find that the Ignite TV service will glitch constantly or your set-top boxes may keep losing their Wi-Fi connection.

 

The Ignite TV set-top boxes only have an HDMI output.  If you have an older TV, it may be possible to use an HDMI-to-Composite or an HDMI-to-Component converter but I don't think that this is an option that Comcast officially supports.  (At one time Rogers techs carried HDMI-to-Composite adapters in their trucks.  I don't know whether or not they still do.)

 

For more information about what an Ignite TV installation looks like, see the following page: https://www.rogers.com/support/getting-started/tv

Re: Rogers email about decommissioning cable boxes

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@ostrich2 wrote:

 One thing that doesn't seem entirely clear is how the basic IgniteTV setup works and how it differs if it's IgniteTV with or without Ignite internet.  I'm suspecting that the latter isn't a useful option in my case (since as noted I'm 99.9% sure there is no fibre infrastructure in my building),  and it appears that Ignite internet is premised on fibre based infrastructure. 


When you get a standalone Ignite TV service without Ignite Internet, you still connect to the Rogers network using an Ignite cable modem/gateway, and the set-top boxes still connect to the Gateway via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.  However, with that service, you can only reach Rogers' internal systems and have no functional Internet connectivity.  You can use the Ignite set-top boxes to watch Ignite TV but you will not be able to use the service to access streaming services, such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ or YouTube.

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