CenturyLink Prism® new customer education

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Welcome to CenturyLink® Prism TV! 

We appreciate your business and we want to help you get to know the basics of using your new television service. Below, we're going to go over your equipment, including an overview of your remote control. We're also going to talk about how to record and watch programs with your DVR, how to start a recorded program in one room and finish in another, and much more.

Please Note: DVR subscription required for basic Prism TV. DVR service is included with Prism Complete TV and Prism Premium TV services.

Equipment overview

Let's get started by talking about the three different pieces of equipment you receive at installation: a gateway, a set-top box and a remote control.

The residential gateway

The residential gateway is your connection to the Internet and the Prism service. It is a fully-functional router and wireless access point. It also provides firewall protection to the networked devices connected to your Prism service. During installation, both your set-top box and your computers were connected to the gateway.

The set-top box

The set-top box is the link between the gateway and your television that receives your TV signal from the gateway. During normal operation of the set-top box, the green power light will remain lit. If this light isn't on, the unit is off or needs to be reset due to a power failure or interruption. To reset it, simply press and hold the power button for five seconds. The set-top box will return to the active mode.

The green light labeled "Link" should also be lit during operation. The red recording light indicates a recording is in progress. If you subscribe to High Definition programming, the blue light labeled "HD" will be lit when you are receiving High Definition programming.

If you subscribe to DVR service your primary set-top box is also your DVR. If you have service on more than one TV, you will have a set-top box for each of those TVs.

Remote Control

Now, let's talk about the features and commands you'll find on your remote control. Your remote control may look a little different from what's in the video, but in general, they all function the same way.

  • The POWER button turns modes and corresponding devices on and off.

  • Mode keys that control devices are across the top row of the remote control. Press the corresponding mode key to operate a device. Press the STB mode key to control the set-top box.

  • The Setup key is used to program devices into MODE keys; and to teach commands from a device.s original remote control to your Prism remote control.

  • The Menu key launches a menu, which enables you to Search, Browse Live TV, Record, or deactivates it when pressed a second time.

  • The Arrow keys allow you to navigate directionally within guides and menus; Yet, while you.re watching live TV, they provide you additional functionality Press the UP Arrow to display your .Recently Watched. bar or .last 5 channels.. Press the up arrow twice to see recent DVR recordings. / Press the RIGHT Arrow to see viewing options such as Favorites, Subtitles, TV Zoom and more / Press the LEFT Arrow bring up .Menu. from the left of the screen. Bar / Press the DOWN Arrow to show details of the program you are currently watching and what.s currently on other channels... Then arrow forward to see what.s next.   

  • The Guide key is very useful for browsing programs and channel lineup. Pressing the Guide Key once launches the Prism Program Guide, which lists scheduled programming up to 14-days in advance. Press the Guide Key twice to launch the Channel Line-up Guide . featuring a vertical guide view of all program information for a single network. The Guide Key can be pressed three times to launch the On-Now Guide, and shows programs that are currently .On Now. across all networks.

  • The INFO key activates the program info screen for the program you're watching or have selected in the program guide.

  • Press the BACK key to return to the previous screen you were viewing or press EXIT TO TV to return to watching live TV full screen.

  • The RECORDED TV key launches a list of programs recorded on your DVR. You can view recorded programs by date, title or series. You can also add recordings and view programs scheduled to be recorded.

  • Use the ON DEMAND key to access On Demand shows, events, Help videos and more.

  • The RECORD key records live TV with one click. You can also use it to set up a recording from the program guide.

  • The PAUSE key pauses live TV or a recorded program. Pressing PAUSE a second time resumes the program. A program can remain in PAUSE for up to 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, the program will automatically resume from the point at which it was paused.

  • The STOP key stops playback when you're watching recorded or On Demand programs. STOP also stops a recording in progress when you're viewing that program.

  • The PLAY key resumes normal playback from PAUSE, FAST FORWARD or REWIND.

  • FAST FORWARD advances quickly through a program, and REWIND moves backward. Pressing FAST FORWARD or REWIND twice or three times will increase the speed of the function. A progress bar at the bottom of the screen indicates forward and rewind limits. FAST FORWARD and REWIND keys can also be used to skip ahead or back by 24-hour intervals in the program guide.

  • The FORWARD (FWD) Key advances a recorded program by 30-second intervals. REPLAY replays the last seven seconds of a recorded program.

  • Use the CHANNELS/PAGE key to change channels or to move through the program guide a page at a time. To go directly to a specific channel, enter a channel number on the keypad and press OK or ENTER.

  • In addition to entering channels by number, the number keys are also used to enter PIN numbers and other numbers on selected screens. The DELETE key clears entries in text fields such as SEARCH.

  • Pressing the ZOOM key changes screen dimensions for viewing a variety of formats including standard, letter boxed and high def programming. Options include: Normal, Stretch, Zoom 1, Zoom 2 and Zoom 3.

As you're navigating Prism, remember Menu and Guide are the two primary buttons you will use to find what you want to watch.

There are couple other cool features on your remote control.

Remote control tips:
  • Sometimes you're watching more than 2 shows at once and you don't want to miss a thing. The LAST button allows you to choose from the last 5 channels you were watching.

  • And you can check what's playing on your favorite channels quickly. Just press the ENTER button to add the channel you're watching to your Favorites list and personalize your TV experience.

  • Select the GO INTERACTIVE button on your remote to see your interactive dashboard. With our apps you can view and share photos with Picasa, follow all your favorite teams with Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, and stay up on the latest news, weather and gas prices.

Using your DVR

Ok. Let's move on to using your DVR. You can pause, play and rewind live TV on any PRISM-connected television in your house with one DVR. You can watch and record up to four programs at once on any PRISM-connected TV and you can watch the same program, live or recorded, through any connected set-top box in your home.

Please Note: You must subscribe to DVR service to be able to use these features.

Recording programs with your DVR

To record the program you're watching, press the record button. A recording message will appear on the screen, and the red record light on the set-top box will remain on while recording is in progress. Or you can press the GUIDE key on your remote control to select a program from the Prism GUIDE. Use the ARROW keys to navigate the Guide. Press the OK key to highlight the program you want to watch or record. Press OK to select RECORD EPISODE. Press OK a second time to confirm.

Accessing recorded programs

To access your recordings, press the RECORDED TV key on your remote control for a list of programs in the recording queue. Or Press the MENU key on your remote control and use the RIGHT ARROW key to select RECORDED TV from the MAIN MENU. Press the OK button to select VIEW RECORDINGS.

Using Whole Home DVR

Now that you know the basics of recording and watching programs with your DVR, here's how to start watching a recorded show in one room and finish it in another.

Start watching a show in one room.

Start watching a recorded show in one room by pressing RECORDED TV on your remote to see the Recorded TV screen. The screen shows a list of recordings sorted by date with the most recent recordings listed first. Use the UP and DOWN ARROWS to scroll through the list and highlight the program you'd like to watch. Press OK to make your selection and launch the Program Info Screen. Select PLAY to watch the program. And press OK.

...And finish watching it in another room.

When you're ready to move to another room, press PAUSE. Now you can move to another room and continue watching the program from the point where the program was paused. Press RECORDED TV on your remote to see the Recorded TV screen with the list of recordings. Use the ARROWS to scroll through the list and highlight the program you were watching. Press OK to select that program. Select RESUME PLAY to continue watching the program. Press OK.

To find out more about using your DVR, like recording a series or deleting recordings, you can go to Channel 411 on your TV to watch any of our Prism Help On Demand videos.

Programming your remote control

Now here's how to program your remote control so you can operate other devices like your TV, DVD player or stereo all with one remote control.

Let's start with your television first.

  • Turn on your television. 
  • Press and hold the setup key until the current mode key blinks twice. 
  • Then press the mode key for the device you want to setup, TV in this case. The mode key will stay lit. 
  • Press and hold the OK key until the device, in this case the TV, turns off. 

Repeat this process for each device you want to control. If this method doesn't work, refer to your Remote Control User Guide for additional setup instructions.

Please Note: Actual equipment may vary. Download the user guide tailored for your remote.

Prism On Demand

Our Prism On Demand library is full of shows and movies -- including new DVD releases, free movie previews, free kids programming Network On Demand, Premium channels and the entire Prism Help On Demand series. Video on demand selections change frequently, so you can watch what you want, when you want it. 

  1. Press the ON DEMAND button on your remote control to launch Prism On Demand.
  2. Use the ARROW keys to navigate the main menu categories on the left side of the screen.
  3. Go to JUST IN to see new releases or MOVIES to see even more choices.
  4. Continue using the ARROW keys to navigate to the movie you want to watch. As you scroll through the movie selections, the title of each movie appears below the cover art. If the selection is in High Definition, you will see an HD icon over the cover art.
  5. Press OK to see more information -- like description, cast, rental price, rating and length.
  6. Use the arrow keys to navigate.
  • Select Rent to start watching the movie immediately or you can Preview the movie or save it to Your Favorites in MY PROGRAMS.
  • If you decide you don't want to watch the movie, select the Left Arrow icon to return to the previous menu.
  • You can also select the home icon at any time to return to the main On Demand menu or you can press the EXIT TO TV button on your remote to return to live TV.

You can pause, rewind, fast forward and even leave an On Demand program and continue watching it later. There's a 24-hour rental period to watch purchased On Demand shows.

Once you select OK for an On Demand rental, the purchase price is automatically added to your bill and cannot be cancelled.

You can set parental locks so a PIN must be entered before watching On Demand programs or purchasing On Demand rentals. A PIN must be set up on each set-top box for parental locks to work.

Using Parental Controls

There are many ways you can use Parental Controls to protect your children besides locking On Demand Rentals. You can lock programs by rating or lock certain channels. For example, if you have small children, you may want to choose a setting that unlocks only programs appropriate for children to view.

There are several Help On Demand videos you can watch about using Parental Controls. To learn more, you can go to Channel 411 on your TV.


If your set-top box isn't responding when you use your remote control, press the STB button in the upper left corner of your remote to ensure you're in the correct mode. If your other devices are not working properly, make sure you press the corresponding mode button that you programmed for that device.

During your installation appointment, we set up a wired and wireless network.  Be sure to ask the technician for your wireless key. Write it down or keep it somewhere you can find it. The key is the password you need to access your wireless network when you add more devices, like a smartphone or an Internet-capable blu-ray player.

CenturyLink offers several resources for you to find more information about using Prism. Again, you can always go to Channel 411 to watch detailed Help On Demand videos.

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