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Emergency Alert System

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AUTiger7222
AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant

I searched for help on this and found an old thread from last year that I couldn't reply to, but my cable box locks up whenever I get an Emergency Alert System message. Used to be I just changed the change and back again. All the replies in that previous thread said it had something to do with older boxes but the box I've got is 6 or 7 years old and it does it. Of course this same box routinely freezes and I have to turn it off and back on again to get it to come back on. Had a tech come look at it several months ago for a completely different issue but I have no once been offered a new box despite all the issues I have with this current box. You figure that a box as old as the one I've got I would eventually be offered a new box. But that's not the case, I've got the exact same equipment I was given when I got Spectrum 6 or 7 years ago.

Best Answer

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
    Answer ✓
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    Thanks for the reply and the guide photo @AUTiger7222 ,

    That still looks like new Spectrum Guide. There may be subtle differences between the guide depending on the software version and box on which it runs. You can always try again with the lines issue. Yea, maybe a lazy tech that day. It can happen. Although most of the Spectrum techs are cool!

    Yes, Spectrum Guide is more sensitive to Internet and signal issues. You might have had some ingress (interference) from the router with the box in your original location.

    Satch

Answers

  • Tyleen_Z
    Tyleen_Z Posts: 708 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator
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    Hello and welcome to the Spectrum community,

    I apologize for the issues you are having with the box. Depending on the issues you have had when the technician was there they may not have suggested a new box.

    You can take the box to a local office and swap it out for a new one to see if that helps with the issues you are having. If that does not help definitely let us know.

    -Tyleen

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    Was finally able to get in touch with Ask_Spectrum on Twitter and according to whoever I talked to the box locking up when receiving an Emergency Alert System message is FEMA issue that Spectrum has no control over and I've just got to live with it. Just another reason I asbolutely hate dealing with Spectrum customer service. That doesn't exactly make me jump for joy.

    I'll see about taking it to my local office, but I'd have to find out if they're open or not. Last time I attempted to visit them in person the store was closed for remodeling.

  • Tyleen_Z
    Tyleen_Z Posts: 708 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator
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    Unfortunately some of the older boxes have issues like that and that is why I had suggested swapping out the box for a new one as the newer boxes are not showing this to be an issue.

    Click the following link for store locations and hours. The site shows the most updated locations and hours.

    -Tyleen

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
    edited March 2022
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    Good morning @AUTiger7222,

    If you are getting a lot of Emergency Alert System (EAS messages) this is unusual. I can't remember the last time that I got one on my box. My box is a Cisco 9865 running the ODN Guide. If you are getting a lot of EAS messages, it is true that Spectrum can not control those messages, as these are FCC mandates. I might suggest a power off of everything for five minutes if you are getting a lot of these EAS messages. Unplug your box for five minutes. Than plug everything back in and see if that solves the issue. If not, why not set up a tech visit? It is free and more thorough than Chat service. You can ask for a newer model box. This would save a trip to the office. It could be that if your box is super old that Spectrum is no longer updating that model to fix bugs. Is it one of those SA silver models? Those are super old and slow, and should be swapped out if you are having problems with them.

    What model box do you have? I second @Tyleen_Z 's advice, if the issue is recurring, go to your Spectrum office and ask for a newer model box. Are you running the new Spectrum Guide on this box?

    Satch

  • K8Ashworth
    K8Ashworth Posts: 1 Newcomer
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    I had Spectrum service installed exactly two years ago. Both of my boxes completely freeze anytime the "Spectrum Emergency Alert System details channel" message displays. It's hard to believe "old equipment" is to blame here. If there was an actual emergency, it would be extremely helpful to tell us the nature of the emergency, to provide actual details of the alert, and not just display this message with an otherwise blank screen and no means to change to a different channel to find out what the emergency is. Do better, Spectrum.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Welcome to the community @K8Ashworth!

    How is your box doing otherwise? If you are not getting "Please Waits", blank screens, long boot times, pixilated video/audio, and slow On Demand, your lines and signals should be fine.

    If your box is a DVR and you are able to playback and record fine, your box/hardware should be fine.

    What model box do you have? If the above conditions are OK for your viewing experience, than I would agree with you, Spectrum should be able to put out an update to those boxes to stop the freeze ups every time an EAS message appears. Additionally, some markets don't always have the newest boxes, so if customers do a swap in those markets, they may not be able to get a newer model.

    Now, if you are getting pixilation, blank screens, no audio, constant "Channel Not Avaliable" messages, than you should call Spectrum for a signal and drop line test. New boxes won't solve bad signals or line problems. Spectrum needs to update your lines and wiring to do that. If you have had a lot of bad weather and you are having the problems I mentioned, set up that signal and drop line test. While the tech is there, you can mention that the box freezes up whenever you get an EAS message.

    Satch

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    @Satch I only get the EAS messages when there's bad weather and given that I live in Alabama and we get a lot of bad weather throughout the year I receive quite a few messages.

    I have a non DVR box that says Spectrum 110 on it. I don't watch my cable box a whole lot except for the local news and sporting events but when I attempt to after a few days of not watching it, it usually has a blank screen or a pink screen. I have to unplug it and plug it back in and let it reboot before I'm able to watch it. It is an extremely slow boot process too. Also, sometimes I cannot view the guide cause it causes my screen to go blank and I have to unplug the box and reboot.

    I just now turned it on just to see what it would do and I have the message "Channel Unavailable." It's always something with it. I'm just beyond frustrated to routinely have issues with it. I talk to the Ask_Spectrum handle on Twitter all the time and that just aggravates me more cause nothing they do ever helps me.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Thanks for the reply @AUTiger7222

    You should call Spectrum for a signal and drop line test. Bad weather will cause signals and cable lines to go bad. New boxes won't fix bad signals and lines. You need a service call to get your lines updated and signals checked. Set up your signal and drop line test with a service call.

    The new World Boxes that don't have clocks on them are very sensititve to signal issues. You will need to get this resolved, so that you are getting quality monthly service. If your lines and signals are good from the tech's check, he will swap out the box.

    Satch

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
    edited March 2022
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    @Satch I wish it was that simple for me but I live in government housing and they refuse to let the techs go into the attic to fix any issues with the lines. Its just something I have to deal with until I can move and get my own place. Thanks for responding!

    I guess we can mark this question as answered and closed since the original problem isn't in Spectrum's control.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    @AUTiger7222 ,

    A mod might want to respond here. But the your goverment housing from what I understand does not have the athority to keep Spectrum techs from checking the lines. It is Spectrum's service and the cable wiring and equipment is Spectrum's property. It is not your government programs property. If Spectrum has a problem with their equipment and their lines the tenents have the right to call or contract Spectrum to get the lines or equipment updated to get good service.

    At least get you should have the right to get your drop line outside the housing unit checked. Mods, what can Spectrum do to help this customer? Something doesn't seem right here.

    Satch

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    @Satch I only know what one of the tech's told me one time when I offered to let him go into the attic to check out the lines. He said they weren't allowed to go into the attic or drill new holes for lines. They had to use whatever existing cable lines were in place.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Thanks for the message @AUTiger7222,

    I suppose the request would have to come from your community landlord/landlady or building manager.. But in these kinds of cases, your lines and wires are likely going to have to go completly dead where you are out of service completely and Spectrum says to managemt, "We have to go into the attic to replace the lines or your tenants won't have service." Do you pay an added fee for Spectrum? Or is it included within your government housing project?

    Satch

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Guys,

    One of my tech people also suggests that this may not be a box issue, but a headend issue- see this:

    It may not even be the boxes it could be the EAS Encoder-Decoder in the OP’s local market not releasing the equipment from the EAS message once it has completed. If that is the case it might be government red tape slowing down the process of fixing the equipment/issue.

    My own experiance with the EAS messages is rare on my box, because we almost never get them. I run ODN Guide on a Cisco 9865 DVR.

    If you are affected by this issue, post your box type, guide type, and zip code, and we can get a better understanding through data collection if this is:

    1.) A box bug

    2.) A guide software bug.

    3.) A head-end issue

    4.) Also indicate that type of guide running on your cable box. To find that, Google Search, Spectrum, "What guide do I have?" First result will be a page where you can enter your address and zip code, showing the guides for your area.

    Others who have talked to Spectrum say that the ODN boxes don't have this bug. The problem is that literally all boxes that come from legacy TWC/legacy Brighthouse Networks offices, now run the new Spectrum Guide. Legacy Charter markets most often run I-Guide. Have not heard of reports with EAS messages freezing up those guides or the boxes that run those guides.

    Satch

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    @Satch

    I Googled like you said to and pulled up this https://www.spectrum.net/support/tv/which-guide-do-i-have

    My guide doesn't look like any of these listed. The closest option is the first one but there's some slight differences and I have a black control like is shown.

    According to my online account I have a Humax Spectrum 100 box.

    My zip code is 35055. My local TV market is the Birmingham, AL market.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Hi @AUTiger7222 ,,

    There are agreements that Spectrum makes with commercial establishments, (hotels, hospitals, condos, housing developments) where they give out a different guide to these types of communities, over non-commercial residential service. You will generally get the smallest package (no premium packs) especially if building management is paying for the service.

    Due to your residing in a community-based housing development concerning your issues with the EAS message, you would have to contact your building managment or front desk and say, "My cable box keeps freezing all the time" and than they, and only they, would have to make the call on what to do with the issue. But it is totally their call.

    Satch

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    @Satch That's not the case here. It used to be the case before Spectrum took over from the previous cable provider. But I have to pay out of pocket for my Spectrum service and it's in my name just like if I lived anywhere.

    I think the tech that told me he couldn't go into the attic was just being lazy that day and didn't want to do it. A couple days ago I moved my box away from the internet router and it seems to be operating better now. I just wonder if maybe there was some type of interference happening with them being right next to each other. We'll find out next time there's bad weather if it freezes up again.

    Here is how my guide looks. You see it looks most like the first one in the picture. But there are some little differences.


  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Got another response from a techie on the EAS Alert message freezing some boxes: (Could be head-end issue.)

    ********************************

    "I take care of a couple of radio stations on the side. It is possibly for the EAS ENDEC to lock up causing the EAS audio source (Local Primary radio station, or NOAA Weather Radio) to get "stuck" on the air. Typically the fix if that happens is to power cycle the ENDEC. Maybe someone needs to go to the head end and power cycle the box or whatever controls the interrupt on local cable boxes." (for areas and boxes/cable guides reported to Spectrum through data collection that have the freezing box when an EAS alert appears.)

    Satch

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    I wouldn't even begin to know who to contact to attempt to fix such an issue.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    @AUTiger7222 Regarding the possibility of the post below above concerning EAS box freeze ups:

    "I take care of a couple of radio stations on the side. It is possibly for the EAS ENDEC to lock up causing the EAS audio source (Local Primary radio station, or NOAA Weather Radio) to get "stuck" on the air. Typically the fix if that happens is to power cycle the ENDEC. Maybe someone needs to go to the head end and power cycle the box or whatever controls the interrupt on local cable boxes." (for areas and boxes/cable guides reported to Spectrum through data collection that have the freezing box when an EAS alert appears.)"

    This could only be fixed by Spectrum personel contacting whoever is responsible for the EAS interrupt system on boxes with freezing issues and would be out of a customer's hands. A customer could still report the EAS message freezing and should do so indicating the box models on which it occurs. But only Spectrum personel would be able to do the power cycling of the EAS system message interruptor at the head-end(s.) causing the problem for affected boxes and guides.. Fixing this would involve research and implementation at the local head-end engineering level. (Tier 3 to tier 4 field/bucket crews.)

    Satch

  • William_M
    William_M Posts: 1,116 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator
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    An issue at the headend would likely impact many others in the area and would probably already be known. Given the other issues you are having (black screens, slow loading, guide problems, channel unavailable errors, and the fact that we have not been allowed to work on your wires previously) tells me it is far more likely to be a problem with the receiver or the signal.

    While the owner of a property has the ultimate say in what work we can do to a building, and sometimes permission is required before drilling holes, it is extremely unusual for our technician to not even be allowed to access, test and repair the coaxial wiring which would not normally require any building modification. Wiring will degrade over time and needs to be repaired or replaced occasionally, if we are not permitted to do this we cannot guarantee the service will work correctly.

    I highly recommend replacing the cable receiver at a Spectrum store and/or talking to your landlord or whoever would be responsible for providing permission for our technicians to access your attic and test your lines.

  • AUTiger7222
    AUTiger7222 Posts: 9 Participant
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    @William_M I haven't had any issues with my box the last couple of days since I moved it away from the router. We'll see what happens with the next severe weather event.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
    edited March 2022
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    Thanks for the updates @AUTiger7222!

    I agree and like the response from @William_M Since new boxes won't solve signals or line problems, you really must work with your landlord/landlady to get permission to allow Spectrum to signal test the quality of your lines in your attic. The techs are professional and will absolutely need to keep those maintenance systems updated or your whole network over time will stop working. It may be a long time, but your building management has to understand from any service vendor, inside and outside wiring have to periodically be updated. There is no other work-around, and it will lead to issues never, ever being resolved, if the Spectrum teams can't get onsite to do all the needed work. This includes outside and inside of all dwellings.

    I would recommend getting something like this resolved, with a copy of the agreement in writing that you should keep as reference to avoid any miscommunications before the next bad weather or service outage might hit. .

    Satch

  • BernaE
    BernaE Posts: 2 Newcomer
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    Like another poster above, I also live in Alabama where we get many severe weather warnings. We can be in the middle of a tornado warning in our area, watching the weatherman closely on television, when the emergency alert warning comes on, usurping the weather broadcast, and the alert stays on and on and on, repeating continuously in English and Spanish.

    How can this be FEMA related? When we had DirecTV our viewing was never interrupted in this way. It’s dangerous. I can understand it coming on for a few seconds but it shouldn’t stay on. I’ve tried contacting Spectrum and sent emails to FEMA (no response).

    We’ve hooked an antenna up to our television so we can switch to antenna mode in order to keep watching weather coverage during the height of storms, but the reception in our area is not always good. It’s worrisome that our screen goes gray just when we’re trying to see where a tornado is heading.

    There has to be a better way to alert people.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    Hi @BernaE

    Welcome to the forum! The Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages and "Amber" Alert Systems (AAS) for missing children are controlled by the FCC. You would need to file a complaint here: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us

    They in turn would collect the necessary data and investigate with the proper authorities regarding the improvment and reliability of EAS messages locking up some of the cable boxes, messages coming in too often, among other factors to strike a balance between providing weather information, while minimizing TV distractions and equipment problems when these distractions occur.

    My research over the years is that in areas affected by bad weather, that these responses are happening way too much, and regardless of box hardware make and guide software running on the box, they should not be locking up equipment, I would start with the FCC complaint.

    The FCC, not Spectrum, are the ones sending out these messages.

    Satch

  • BernaE
    BernaE Posts: 2 Newcomer
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    Thank you, Satch!

  • Hares4
    Hares4 Posts: 1 Newcomer
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    We are having the same issues as BernaE and the same concerns. When we need the local weather coverage the most (especially during April in central Alabama) EAS freezes the screen after the message plays and the only solution is to unplug and reboot the box. If I use the spectrum app on the smart tv, this doesn’t happen, so it’s definitely the box. I filed a complaint with the FCC and zero response. This is putting lives at risk and is unacceptable. We do not use the spectrum app since the channel line up is different than with the box, but no choice during severe weather events.

  • Satch
    Satch Posts: 5,328 Contributor
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    If you are still having persistent EAS problems, and no response from the FCC:

    1.) Get a tech out to check your signals, and drop wiring. New boxes won't solve bad signal or line problems.

    2.) Have the tech replace the box with a different model.

    Satch

This discussion has been closed.