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GvilleCoxCustom's avatar
New Contributor

Cable box questions (missing channels, interface)

Hello, I signed up for cable about a year ago (Gainesville, FL market) and received an Explorer 4642HDC cable box (running Passport 5.7 guide). I have the following questions:

a) HD versions of many channels do not show up in guide. For example, only HBO and HBO2 (1300, 1301) show up. All other HBO channels do not, although their SD channel version is available. Manually keying in channel number on remote does not work either, interface quickly flashes ???? as channel number and does not change to channel. Is there any solution for this? I've already tried resetting box several times.

b) Bringing up the channel guide switches the display to a 4:3 aspect ratio with an interface indistinguishable from the cable box I had 10-15 years ago. Is there any way to change the guide to HD?


  • the extra hbo most likely is mpeg4 and you will need a new box/dvr

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  • wees41's avatar
    Contributor II

    the extra hbo most likely is mpeg4 and you will need a new box/dvr

  • Tecknowhelp's avatar
    Valued Contributor II

    I notice the HBO HD channels above 1301, except HBO HD Latino, are marked "*t" but I can't find that in the key. It isn't a triangle, which separates the "Contour Channels" aka MPEG4. Can you see HBO HD Latino?

  • Yes, HBO HD Latino is the only other HD HBO I can see/tune to. Sorry, missed that in my initial post.



  • bryaninphx's avatar
    Valued Contributor

    The extra HBOs are indeed MPEG4/H.264 and only the Contour boxes receive those channels.  The Contour boxes also have a 16:9 guide.

    I believe Cox now allows a stand-alone Contour Set-top-box without a DVR, but it might vary by area.

    You need to exchange your current Set-top-box receiver and ask for one with the Contour IPG.

    Or just get a TiVo and a CableCARD

  • Hi Jay,

    The channel lineup for your area is found HERE. The HBO channels that you mentioned are marked with a diamond-shaped icon, indicating that these are Contour-only channels.

              ◊ Requires subscription to Contour HD Channels.

    Contour-only channels use MPEG-4 formatting and require receivers that support MPEG4 video and can tune above 860MHz-1GHz (in addition to the lower frequencies). Our older DVRs (Scientific Altanta Explorer models, for example) are only capable of decoding MPEG-2. You're welcome to swap your current SA receiver for a Contour HD receiver! Swapping receivers will not change your monthly rate, as the rental fee for the receivers is the same.

  • Tecknowhelp's avatar
    Valued Contributor II

    So is the formal online channel line up just wrong? Or misleading? I know in RI you didn't need Contour for HD Premium channels. If you do now thats just one more reason I won't buy cable. 

  • The Rhode Island channel lineup uses the triangle icon to designate Contour-only channels, and it lists HBO Latino HD as a non-Contour channel. This explains why GvilleCoxCustomer can view it using a an Explorer 4642HDC cable box.

    While there may be slight differences in the available Contour-only channels across the different Cox markets, it appears that the Gainesville channel lineup PDF is incorrect. I've submitted a request to have it updated. I've also requested that the Contour HD channel verbiage on the Gainesville PDF be changed to match our other lineups:

    "Contour HD Channels, if included with your service level, require rental of a Contour receiver or Cox provided CableCARD™ together with a certified compatible CableCARD retail device capable of tuning those channels."

  • Bruce's avatar
    Honored Contributor III

    Last week, I noticed the conflicting symbols between the webpage and PDF while discussing the HD MLB Extra Innings channels.  The conflict, however, seems to have been corrected.

    It wasn't that the webpage was wrong, it was because the webpage didn't have the correct character codes.  When I reviewed the webpage, there were Arabic symbols or letters instead of the triangles and diamonds.  Somebody screwed it up.  The PDF did have the correct symbols.

    If there were daggers (†) yesterday with the HBO channels above 1301, they've been replaced with triangles now. Also, the diamond symbol seems to have been replaced with either the double-triangle or the dagger.

    Granted, this was the lineup for my area, but I don't think the web team typed 1300 HBO HD Δ for every market.  It imported from somewhere.

  • Tecknowhelp's avatar
    Valued Contributor II

    Becky said:
    The Rhode Island channel lineup uses the triangle icon to designate Contour-only channels,

    The RI does, but not the Florida one. See screenshots here. Looks like Cox put a + instead of a triangle, which doesn't match anything in the key. Also, pretty sure this has been wrong for months. A moderator said before they would put in a fix and nothing was done. Also, the fact that the fine print is ALLL the way at the bottom of 1000+ channels that only scroll 20 channels at a time tells me Cox wants their channel line up less then clear to reduce mini box push back.

    Also, whats this about OP recievers not being able to do MPEG4?See here.

    Features Network Utilization Enhancements

    1 GHz Tuning enables cable operators to expand network bandwidth to provide additional services such as VOD, tru2way, DOCSIS 2.0, and high-speed data

    MPEG-4 (H.264) Decoding supports compression technology that provides better video quality at approximately half the data rate of MPEG-2

     ::Edit::  Perhaps this might answer it, as per the box's manual:

    "Accordingly, please be advised that service providers, content providers, and broadcasters are required to obtain a separate use license from MPEG LA prior to any use of AVC/H.264 encoders and/or decoders." So it all comes down to money? 

  • Thank you everyone for the answers! Looks like I'll be braving my local Cox office soon.