Rogers On Demand Menu FAILS on 4:3 TV Screens

Rogers offers its paying digital cable subscribers a handy feature known as Rogers On Demand (ROD).  With ROD, customers can call up pre-recorded TV programs and movies from the Rogers collection at any time of the day (hence, the “On Demand” concept).

To use ROD, you must:

  • be a Rogers Digital Cable Subscriber
  • have a Digital Cable Box
  • have a Television Set

Problem with ROD

Early in 2010, several Rogers customers complained that they were experiencing problems with their ROD on the ROD Facebook Page.

The Symptoms

The ROD on-screen menu, which contains a list of selectable menu items located on the right portion of the screen, would not appear when called upon.  Pressing the remote control navigation (up or down) and the SEL button seemed to cause the ROD menu to react, proving that these menu items did exist but were not visible.  Albeit, it would bring up yet another BLANK menu page.

According to these Rogers customers, this problem was consistently reproducible on their HD digital terminals and their 4:3 CRT television sets.

Rogers’ Remedy – REBOOT!

Rogers Client Support suggested to these customers to re-boot their HD digital boxes.

While this suggestion seemed to work initially, customers reported back a while later that the same symptom returned shortly after!

Furthermore, rebooting the box each time to temporarily “fix” this problem was not a viable long-term solution.  It would take a tremendous amount of time for the HD digital box to complete its booting process every time.

Our Investigation

Black Belt Reviewer went under investigation to attempt to reproduce this on-going customer-reported problem.  We know that the Rogers QA team has tried but was unable to reproduce this problem.

We hope that these detailed steps and descriptions can be used as a guide by the Rogers QA team and eventually resolve this lingering problem for good.

The Set-up

Based on the information provided in the original post on Facebook, we were able to match our set-up exactly to theirs.  We have acquired:

  • a 4:3 Toshiba 32″ TV Set
  • a Scientific Atlanta EXPLORER 3250HD digital cable box

We followed the Rogers digital terminal set-up guidelines from http://www.rogershelp.com.

After we powered on the HD terminal box, it took several minutes for the “bOOt” process to complete.  During that time, it was downloading the contents from Rogers.

Duration of this Test

As we know, after a fresh reboot, the ROD on-screen menu would appear to function properly.  However, we also know that it would eventually relapse into the original symptoms (i.e. BLANK menu screen).  As such, we conducted this experience over the stretch of 7 days.  We hope Rogers QA team would do likewise as they troubleshoot this bug.

On Days 1 and 2, the ROD on-screen menu was fine.  However, the symptoms returned on the start of Day 3.

Day 3 – Power On!

After changing the channel to 100 for the designated ROD channel, we pressed the [A] button on the remote to bring up the ROD on-screen menu.  It took about 15 seconds to load.  During the waiting period, a “Welcome to On Demand” splash page was shown.

BLANK On-Screen Menu

The ROD on-screen menu finally came up.  Lo and behold, the MENU ITEMS were missing (see actual photo on the right).

Notice that other than the background image and the video overlay, every other textual elements are invisible on the screen.

Our Assessment of the Problem

Since other graphical elements are able to display properly on the 4:3 television, we conclude that the invisible menu is a GUI (Graphic User Interface) Bug which can be resolved.

We suspect that the positioning of the menu items are likely calculated correctly for the 16:9 resolution but incorrectly for the 4:3 resolution.  Hence, on a 4:3 TV set, the menu items and other textual elements are being shown Off-Screen.  By correctly calculating these coordinates on the Scientific Atlanta EXPLORER 3250HD digital terminal and being mindful when it is running on a 4:3 television set, the problem should be resolved.

Other possible reasons for this GUI Bug include the use of wrong font colors for the menu item.  For example, the use of Black font color on Black background will cause the menu to not appear at all on screen.  However, this would be such a fundamental oversight, we would be surprised if Rogers would release a product with such a big glaring bug.

As to why the menu comes back after a reboot but eventually relapse to the same problem?  When your digital box is plugged in, it constantly retrieves data from Rogers.  We speculate that one of the updates by Rogers might have triggered this relapse (perhaps during the downloading of new program contents from Rogers when a new day rolls over).

The Facebook Discussion is Back!

Black Belt Reviewer has re-posted this issue on the ROD Facebook Page.  You can follow the discussion here.

Conclusion

We hope the time that we took to conduct this experiment and to create this detailed blog article will help Rogers resolve this lingering HD digital terminal/4:3 television mystery.

Now, the ball is back on Rogers’ court once again.  Can you get this fixed ASAP, Rogers?

Please pass this on to the Rogers QA team.

Feedback

If you are a Rogers digital subscriber and have experienced the same problem as described above, we’d love to hear from you.  Please post a comment below.

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Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 7:08 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great write-up, Black Belt Reviewer!!! I think your blog succinctly summed up our frustrations!!! I just checked my ROD and got a blank menu. ARRRGGG!

    I hate to hear rebooting as a fix because I can’t remember the countless times I’ve wasted my time doing it and it still comes back as blank menus.

  2. Hi BBR,

    It’s Lindsay, Online Community Specialist for Rogers On Demand. I know we’ve chatted before on the Rogers On Demand Facebook page, but I wanted to make sure I responded directly to your blog post.

    First, thanks very much for providing this detailed information on the issue you are experiencing with Rogers On Demand. I passed along this feedback to our video services product team. They recommend that you swap your current 250HD digital cable box for a newer model (try the 4642 HD box). You can do this by taking your current box to your local Rogers Plus store, which you can find here: http://www.rogers.com/web/Rogers.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=store_locator&customer_type=Residential.

    This should help solve the situation, however, if you have any other questions related to your On Demand service, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

    Thanks again,
    Lindsay

    • Thank you for your response, Lindsay. We’ll stop by Rogers Plus and see if we can get our 3250HD replaced. Will they give us a brand new package or one of the refurbished ones?


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