Cable System EAS tests

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Joe S, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Joe S

    Joe S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    110
    The cable company periodically tests the "Emergency Alert System". When they do, the screen goes blue and a test notice is displayed for several seconds, accompanied by a weird buzzing sound. Trouble is, this happens when I am recording some show or movie late at night.

    It happened last night, but fortunately at the end credits (as far as I know). I did see it a few minutes later (Twice), since I set the recorder to run a bit longer than the movie was in case they got the time wrong.

    Do you think they should publish a schedule for these tests so you know when it's not safe to record? I have erased other programs where the test occured in the middle because I wanted to save the program to DVD.
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Messages:
    3,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    CJ
    it's probably available if you ask them, but i dont think they would actually publish such information.

    CJ
     
  3. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,493
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    That's total bullshit- every day cable becomes more like broadcast TV.
     
  4. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm not sure why you are so angry Jesse, but I'd be a lot more worried, if emergency systems were not tested frequently.
     
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,493
    Likes Received:
    339
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Cable is PAY TV- if I'm paying for it I don't care if the world is coming to an end; I only want to see the movie or whatever that I paid for! It shouldn't be their job to be an 'emergency system' anyways, that's what broadcast TV is for.

    BTW check out www.mycablenightmare.com for some amusing stories.
     
  6. Joe S

    Joe S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Right, even the premium channels get interrupted by this.
    In the summer when there are thunderstorms, they sometimes interrupt with a thunderstorm warning. I don't think it's right to interrupt every channel with this nonsense. Got along fine without it for decades! Now it's another annoyance.
     
  7. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Messages:
    3,597
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    CJ
    for some reason, weather is now considered breaking news. we got over 9 feet of snow here last season, you think we'd be used to it, but when we are about to get a few inches of snow, the weather report takes up the bulk of the time on the news.

    CJ
     
  8. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    8,311
    Likes Received:
    13
    Trophy Points:
    5,610
    Location:
    Florida
    Real Name:
    Joseph DeMartino
    Cable systems, like broadcast radio and television stations, are required to participate in the Emergency Alert System (which those of us old enough to remeber the Cold War knew as the Emergency Broadcast System.) The EAS is now used for things like severe weather warnings and will, indeed, disrupt local programming loudly and obnoxiously. It is supposed to. The cable company would much rather listen to you bitch than end up on the losing end of a class action lawsuit because it faied to carry a warning and people in its service area were killed or injured in some disaster.

    The cable oompany itself doesn't conduct the EAS tests, the local EAS does, and the whole point of testing the system (like having fire drills) is to see if it works when nobody is expecting a test - so no, nobody has a schedule of these things that they can publish for your recording conveience. Don't forget, the cable company makes its money by delivering a TV signal to your house, and channels you watch make money either by selling your eyeballs to advertisers or by subscription fees for delivering uncut, commercial-free entertainment to your living room. Nobody is being paid to proivide content for you to archive or time-shift, so making it more convenient for you to record things is pretty far down on everyone's priority list.

    I actually complained to my local cable company because their set-top box's noise cancellation program would cut the audio and go to a blue screen whenever one of these things came up - which destroyed their vaules as a warning while still subjecting me to the interruption of their programming - which made no sense to me at all. I find the whole thing irritating on some level, but I know why the system is there and I know the cable company really isn't at fault, so I deal with it. Life is not mostly about problems with clear-cut solutions, it is mostly about trade-offs and compromises between things that have both good and bad points. I think on the whole that severe weather warnings provide a social good that more than makes up for my ocassional spoiled recording or inability to transfer a file using TiVo2Go (which chokes on that cable company blue screen and halts the transfer.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  9. SteveA

    SteveA Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    May 25, 2000
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Comcast in VA doesn't just interrupt for thunderstorm warnings (meaning dangerous storms are out there), but for thunderstorm WATCHES - and usually for watches that are for areas well outside their service area.

    They'll continue the "alerts" every 10 minutes or so for the duration of the T.S. watch, which can be several hours. Everytime they do an alert, the audio is cut on every channel for a minute or so. These "alerts" - as well as the weekly tests - usually tend to occur in prime time.
     
  10. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    Messages:
    12,060
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    [​IMG] I never realized until now that Mother Nature was concerned with TV schedules. [​IMG]
     
  11. Linda Thompson

    Linda Thompson Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2004
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    0

Share This Page