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Any Suddenlink CableCard stories?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by raober, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. chachierodriguez

    chachierodriguez New Member

    Oct 22, 2007
    Well here is an update. I filed a complaint with the FCC. I then called Suddenlink to tell them that I did so, and hoped that they would do something. The rep told me a tech would be out tomorrow to do the install. They called back about 15 min. later and told me that there were no cable cards in our area. However, if I waited a few more days, they would have them in.

    A few days later he showed up with "all three" cable cards that they have. He told me that they should work, but I would get no HD channels. I told him to go ahead because I have another HD tv upstairs and really really wanted to get this tivo working. Install took two hours, and none of the cards worked. I got this really weird white pixelation on my analog channels and got no digital channels.

    He suggested that I buy my own cards and then have them authorized by Suddenlink. Is this even a possibility? He said he did not know. Do any of you?

    He then suggested that maybe I should return the tivo. Meanwhile my 30 days is up. Amazon nor Tivo will accept my return!
  2. agrabren

    agrabren New Member

    Oct 29, 2007
    I have Suddenlink in Pflugerville, TX (Stop laughing, it's a nice place) ;)
    I got a Tivo Series 3 DVR for my birthday (I had already done my homework, was a Tivo user in the past) after getting really tired of the Suddenlink DVR.

    I had great experience so far:

    Called Suddenlink on Sunday night for an appointment, and they showed up Monday morning to set me up, no complaints or protests at a Tivo.

    They arrived, and at first thought I only needed one card, since they use mCards, but I informed them that the Series 3 needed two mCards, since it couldn't multistream. He said ok, installed card 1, got it running, repeat card 2, all is set. I sign off, he leaves. All is good, so I thought at the time.

    I got home that night, playing around more, realized that card 2 hadn't paired properly. I couldn't watch AETV or FOODHD on card 2. Despite my email request to Suddenlink getting the response that HD wouldn't be available, I got everything on card 1 that I should get. Tivo is apparently very popular in my town, according to the guy I talked to today.

    Called up, they couldn't re-pair over the phone (the guy said he doesn't have that ability, it's a different group which does cable cards) but they could have someone back out the very next morning. I had to postpone to today because of I had meetings yesterday. So I worked from home again today, guy shows up, calls in the card, and they re-pair it. Everything now works perfectly on both cards. He even brought a spare card today in case it didn't work with a re-pair.

    We talked a few minutes, he asked questions on how to set up the Tivo, since he's almost always had people who knew how to do all the screens, so in case he ran into a new Tivo customer, he could help get them all set up quickly and easily. I'm very impressed with Suddenlink in our area.

    So they get a :up: from me in Pflugerville, although corporate may be a bit more questionable, and possibly far less useful. Your mileage may vary.
  3. strob777

    strob777 New Member

    May 6, 2002
    Like raober(the OP) I also live along I-64 between Charleston and Huntington in WV. I had a 8300 HD DVR from Suddenlink and hated it. Bought two TivoHDs and use them for OTA. Work perfect. I called Suddenlink and took the 8300 back and told them I needed 2 Mcards. Didn't tell them it was for a tivo and they didn't ask. Scheduled for last Saturday 1-5 and nobody showed up or called even though I called at 9 a.m. to confirm my appointment. When I called the 800 number at 6 p.m. the csr told me it had been noted on my order that they didn't have any cards even though the girl at the office told me they did after calling back to their tech guy to verify they did.Now they are telling me they will call me when they come in. I'm not going to hold my breath.
  4. larryinlubbock

    larryinlubbock New Member

    Dec 9, 2007
    I filed a complaint to the FCC also. About a month later I got 5 frantic calls from 5 different Suddenlink people asking if I still wanted cablecards. Cool! So now my install is scheduled for this coming Wednesday. It's kind of amazing considering that the Suddenlink office here in Lubbock had previously told me that in no uncertain terms would they give me cablecards for a tivo.
    Now I'm worried that I won't get the HD channels to work with my HD Tivo.
    After all, isn't that the point?
  5. colin1497

    colin1497 New Member

    Nov 20, 2006
    HD channels are just like other digital channels as far as their authorization system is concerned, FYI. If you don't get your HD channels it's because they don't have them properly turned on in the billing system. The garbage about HD channels not working is just ignorance on the part of the customer service folks.
  6. ZikZak

    ZikZak Neurostim Addict

    Aug 12, 2002
    Arecibo, PR
    I was also told by Suddenlink in Northern California that I would not be getting HD programming with the cablecards, and in fact I did not. I spoke personally to the installer and the chief engineer in the head office, who were EXTREMELY nice and tried to be as helpful as possible. In fact, they were the most helpful and genuinely concerned people I have ever dealt with in the cable industry and I was their first CC install, EVER. But I could not even convince the engineer that, yes, cablecards decode HD channels just like all the others. I didn't push it because I knew I would be moving away in a couple of months.
  7. chinhster

    chinhster New Member

    Dec 6, 2007
    I had mine installed two weeks ago (College Station, TX). It was pretty painful. The installer showed up 40 minutes late. The installer had done them before with Tivos but he said every install he's done has been different.

    The first card he put in took a good 20 minutes before the Tivo put up an error that it had a problem with the card. He put in a different card and it worked right away. He then put in an M-card in the second slot and it worked. I asked him if the second card is a multi-stream card, why doesn't he just put it in the first slot so that we can use just that one card. He said that they don't support multi-stream yet so the card would only work as a single-stream. I didn't know if this was true or not so I didn't press him any further.

    It took another 30+ minutes for us to get my HD+ tier working (regular HD was fine). When he left, I got everything I subscribed for. This past Monday night, I decide to check out Monday Night Football near the end of the game and I get a blank screen. So I call Suddenlink all week long telling them I can't get ESPNHD but I can get all of my other HD+ tier channels (I later find out I can't get National Geographic HD either). I had an appointment with an installer a couple of days ago and he calls me before my appointment telling me he doesn't need to come by because the problem is that for some reason, they took ESPN HD off my account and that it's been corrected and I should pick it up within a few hours.

    I check the next morning and I still don't get it. I call them later and they tell me they did a lineup change earlier in the week. So I had been tuning to the wrong channel for ESPN HD because the Tivo didn't know the lineup had changed. I tune to the new channel and still don't get it. I wonder if it had been working earlier (but on a different channel) and it screwed up when we tried to "fix" it. I've got an appointment later on today so we'll see what happens.
  8. DrBunsen

    DrBunsen New Member

    Jan 1, 2001
    Fate, TX USA
    Short version:
    After 3 truck rolls (and one scheduling screwup by them) I'm up and going with single M-Cards in my 2 TiVoHDs. Reception seems to be fine. In a day or 3 I'll call to cancel (or suspend) DTV and donate my HR10-250s as a going-away present to my boss (who still has DTV).

    Long, drawn-out version:
    I live in Fate, TX, which is so small that mail has to be addressed through Royse City (about 7 miles away). I have 2 TiVoHDs to replace my soon-to-be-retired HR10-250's. I arranged to have Suddenlink come out and when doing so I tried to specify 2 M-Cards and explained that I'd prefer 2 M-Cards over 4 S-Cards. The cost per card was said to be $3.99/month (yuck).

    Truck Roll #1:
    Tech called 2 hours early hoping that I'd be home already. Since I work in downtown Dallas (30 miles away) he was SOL, so he went do to something else (I did admire that he was trying to not be late). I got home before the appointed time, and 3 (?) techs showed up right on time with 2 S-Cards, and said that it was all they had at the local office, but that I could reschedule and specify 4 cards and they'd be able to get them. They had never done any CC installations.

    Called and rescheduled. The sales person I spoke to had to put together another package deal for some reason, and with 4 cards instead of 2 the pricing was only about a dollar more so I was pleased.

    Truck Roll #2:
    Tech called before hand and said that all he had was 3 cards, and couldn't tell if they were S-Cards or M-Cards (he was a different tech from the earlier guys, and hadn't done any CC installations either). I tried explaining the difference to him, but it didn't register so I dropped it. I figured that I didn't want to wait any longer (want to get away from DTV) so we proceded. He didn't want to pay much attention to the TiVo instructions, preferring to take cues from his tech support. He had to call around for almost 2 hours (including hold times) before he could find a tech to activate. He didn't bother to check reception on first card before inserting and activating the 2nd card (in the TiVoHD that was going to have 2 cards). I let him leave before running through the guided setup since I knew that a return visit was necessary anyway, and I kinda didn't want him around any more than necessary. (He did ask me, before leaving, if I knew that it was possible to get a single M-Card that would do what 2 S-Cards would do (he heard about it from their tech support), and I told him that that was what I was explaining when we first talked (sigh...).) After testing I could see that in the TiVo with 2 CC's, the 1st CC wasn't decoding, so I called the next day to schedule the next truck roll and let them know that one of the cards wasn't decoding. I found out that the tech had apparently already scheduled the next visit for the next Monday at 1pm-3pm (yikes - no good for me), so I got her to reschedule for 3pm-5pm (though I'd have to leave work a few hours early). Since I needed the 4th card, as well as possibly one more to replace the balky one, the person I spoke to said that they'd bring out 2 cards. I did manage to get her to put M-Cards on the order (just in case they had them).

    I left work at 1:20pm to catch the bus to the park-n-ride, then ride my motorcycle home by 2:15pm, plenty early for the 3pm-5pm appointment time. At 5:30pm I call and ask if there was a delay that they knew about, and the person I spoke to said that the scheduled time was for 8am to noon the next day (this past Tuesday).


    I'm rather peeved, but just express my disappointment in a friendly manner. She said that any change to the schedule would've showed up on her screen, so from all appearances it had always been scheduled for then. I did explain about how one of the cards wasn't working, and she did go through the effort of tracking down someone to hit the card, and I could see the status change, but it still wouldn't decode. I rescheduled for Thursday (which was the next evening I had open). After hanging up I rebooted the TiVoHD with the balky card and it worked. At least that was a bright spot. I didn't want to call back and tell them to only bring one card since it was possible that they could bring out 2 M-Cards (which is what ended up happening), and as far as I knew the card that they hit could be one that's defective.

    Truck Roll #3:
    Tech shows up with 2 M-Cards (yay!), but says that he's tried M-Cards in TiVos with no luck (uh-oh). He also says that he's not supposed to put them in TiVos ("if I told my boss that they're for TiVos he'd tell me to leave") but was willing to go through the motions. I take out the S-Cards, put in the M-Cards, he calls in the serial numbers, and boom, everything's shiney. He was out the door in 45 minutes (most of the time was spent trying to reach someone to activate the cards). So at least he can say that the M-Cards do work in some cases.

    BTW, I did try to let him know about the FCC mandates, and the problem that Series 3's have with M-Cards, but his eyes told me he wasn't too interested so I dropped it.

    Anyways, I'm doing fine now. The only other glitch of note occurred when doing the Guided Setup. I first used the zip code for Fate (which is where we really are) and the channel lineup was incorrect on a number of channels. When I used the one for Royse City (which is about 7 miles away, but where we get our mail through) it worked fine. Suddenlink was a choice for both Zip Codes, but they apparently have different lineups in different parts of Fate, which seems strange for such a small town.

  9. keiffer6

    keiffer6 New Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    When I bought my Series 3 Tivo I called SuddenLink to see about getting the CableCards. The Customer Service lady told me that their cards only work in TV's. She also said that they could not give me 2 CableCards in the place of 1 DCT. She also gave me the whole "We don't support TiVo" argument. I finally told her to put me through to the Tech Support. If they were going to tell that they didn't work with TiVo, I was going to get a technical answer as to exactly why they wouldn't.

    After talking with Tech Support for a little bit I got the tech to agree with me that there should be no reason that their cards wouldn't work in the TiVo. He did say that he was not sure how the Digital channels would work on both cards. He was thinking that the primary card would get all channels and the secondary card would only receive the analog channels. He went ahead and scheduled a install for me for Yesterday.

    I received my TiVo Series 3 yesterday and had already scheduled an appointment with Suddenlink to come out. They were supposed to be there between 5 & 7 yesterday. About 7:15 I got a call from the tech saying that he was on his way. When he got there he was suprised to see that I was putting them into a TiVo even though I told them that from the start. None the less he gave it a shot. He said he had never done a CC install. It showed.

    We went through the install of the first card and had the main office activate it. He then started on the second card and the lady at the office said that there was no way for her to add a second card to replace a single DCT. That effectively stopped us in our tracks. The tech asked if I would mind if he took the TiVo back to the office and they worked on getting running at the head end. I asked if they were going to be responsible should anything happen to my $600 Tivo. That ended that idea rather quickly. He then said that they would schedule another service call for today between 5 & 7 and that they would make sure that one of their more experienced techs was the one to come.

    So that is where I stand currently. I have a TiVo with 2 M-Cards installed in the back and no cable working at all on that outlet. According to the tech, since they didn't complete the service order neither of the cards would work until that order was completed. Hopefully tonight they will be able to get everything working.

    ** UPDATE 3/6/08 **

    The tech was there again last night for about an hour. By the time he left it looked like the cards were paired but I was still not getting any channels. After several reboots and checking all the numbers again he called it quits and told me to try TiVo support or SuddenLink support.

    After he left I called TiVo technical support and spoke to a very helpful lady. After describing what was going on she said that one of two things was wrong. Either the coax cable was not plugged into the right spot or not tightly connecter OR the cards were not authorized on my account. I checked the coax and that was in the right spot and connected tightly. That left the cards not being authorized.

    With this new knowledge I called SuddenLink support and told the lady that the cards did not appear to be authorized . She put me on hold and all the sudden I was getting channels. YEAH!!!! I thanked her for her help and hung up the phone.

    I am now getting all my channels on both tuners and now have some HD channels (HD locals are free in our area). We love the HD. Amazing how much difference there is in the quality of the picture. Everything appears to be 100% for us.

    I hope this helps others that have problems with SuddenLink. It seems that Suddenlink suffers from a severe lack of knowledge even when it comes to their own services.
  10. DrBunsen

    DrBunsen New Member

    Jan 1, 2001
    Fate, TX USA
    A followup to my earlier post...

    When I got my bill I found that they're charging me for 5 cable cards, including partial-month charges for 3 cards and the another shorter partial-month charge for 2 cards. I called customer support and explained that the tech that came out the 2nd time took the 3 earlier cards with him. He could tell from the entries that that was so, so he adjusted the account so that I'll only be charged for 2 cards going forward. But for some stupid reason I need to actually drive to the Suddenlink office that did the install in order to get a refund done for the incorrect charges.

    They also charged me $45 for an aerial install, which the guy on the phone said was to cable up the house, but no cabling needed to be done, and was noted as such on the receipt that I had to sign. In fact I had to initial the section that showed that he didn't do any cabling work so that I was taking responsibility for the quality of the lines.

    Getting the charges wrong is something that can happen, and the guy on the phone obviously could see that I only had 2 cards authorized on my account. And he could see the various truck rolls and when things were authorized. So why can't he do the adjustment thing on the incorrect charges? Why do I have to drive to the office to get it straightened out? Even weirder, I asked if he could transfer the call to that office, or if he could give me the telephone number, and he said he couldn't. So I guess that other office doesn't have those telephone gadgets there. Welcome to the 90's Suddenlink.

    The 1890's.

  11. lukepurdy

    lukepurdy New Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    My HDTivo arrived yesterday so I called Suddenlink to order the CableCards. The person at the callcenter told me that they had them in my local office and that I could schedule a service call or pick them up myself. I foolishly thought, "Wow, that was easy" and told him I'd pick them up at the local office.

    When I arrived the woman behind the counter informed me that the callcenter guy was incorrect and that I would have to schedule a service call. This was Wednesday and the soonest they could schedule someone is Monday afternoon. Stay tuned...

    Update for Monday
    I'm sure few of you will be surprised to learn that nobody showed up on Monday. When I called Suddenlink assured me that they were very sorry but that my appointment was now scheduled for all day Thursday. They weren't sure why the meeting was rescheduled without me being notified. I was able to get them to narrow the time down to a two hour window. Long story short....it will take Suddenlink over a week to even show up to install the cablecards.
  12. joeball

    joeball New Member

    May 12, 2008
    Got my new Panasonic HD TV, Tivo HD and got Suddenlinkto come out and install the cable card or cablecard(s). The bad news is that the guy had no idea about cable cards, how they work, how to install them or anything else. Good news is that the one (1) cablecard he brought just happened to be an M card. He slipped it in, and I and Tivo did the rest through guided set-up. He did make the call to activate, but I did the rest. Everything is working beautifully and HD is incredible. Bottom line is that Suddenlink has access to M (multi-stream cards) and my experience is that if you have the choice, INSIST on the 1 multi-stream card rather than the two (2) S cards. You then avoid all of that "pairing" business. I truly believe that is where many of the problems happen.........simply because they don't yet know what they're doing. Hope this helps someone or many someones...................JB
  13. keiffer6

    keiffer6 New Member

    Apr 18, 2007
    I thought I would update my story....

    After getting the Series 3 TiVo working with SuddenLink cablecards, I fell in love with the cablecards. I went out and bought a TiVoHD for the living room. I had Suddenlink back out to install the single M-Card in the new tivo. After 5 different techs and 7 different service calls, my TiVo still did not work. Finally I decided to take matters into my own hands. I searched the web for answers. I was only able to get my basic channels on the new TiVo. Every time I went to a channel above 100, the screen would flash to the Pairing screen. Research led me to call Suddenlink and ask them to read off my host ID and Data ID numbers. Turns out that they had the numbers totally wrong. Once they changed the numbers I was in business and had all my channels.

    I just thought someone else might benefit from my experience. Hopefully I can save someone else the headache of 7 service calls from techs that have no clue how to do their job.
  14. rangermonk

    rangermonk New Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Houston TX
    Does anyone know if Suddenlink is going to update their channel lineup anytime soon? I'm moving into an area where they are the cable provider, and their HD lineup isn't that great from what I see. They have even less HD channels than Comcast, which I currently have now. Thought about switching Directv, but I don't want to lose that Tivo goodness.
  15. MFDDriver

    MFDDriver New Member

    Jan 4, 2008
    Well here is my SL story. I called and place order with CS rep and they set and appointment up for two days later within a 2 hour window, which didnt seem too bad. Well when the tech showed up he didnt seem to opptomistic, but he forged ahead anyway. After trying to get the 1st card to work for about and hour with no luck he went ahead and tried the s 2nd card, BINGO, worked almost instantly. He said the first slot must be bad because the second worked so fast, said that was all he could do and it was on TIVO.
    I called CS back and let them no how uninterested the guy was and they said they would send someone else out and they would put a note on it not to send the same guy. Well when the second tech showed up he had one card with him swapped it out with no luck. He had a much better attitude but still no luck with card.
    I called CS back and got a real helpful woman who kept me on the phone for over an hour with no luck. I told her about my conversation with TIVO rep and that she had told me it may take a few cards before we find one that works. She found that strange, she said all cards are the same. She said she would dispatch a third tech instructions to bring multiple cards.
    Well when the third tech showed he had two cards, the first one immediately showed an error when he inserted it. He inserted the second card and it would not show pairing info. he said it had to be TIVO because there is no way 4 cards could be bad. He had no more finished his sentence when he looked at card #3 and said well this card is crushed, sure enough it looked like it had been stepped on. He got frustrated and called his boss and ask if four new unused cards could be rushed over to my house, boss said sure and brought them himself. I thought that was very customer friendly.
    Well when boss arrived and dropped off new cards the tech, who by the way was one of the friendlist guys you would ever want to meet, inserted the first new card and bingo after just a brief wait for pairing info the card worked like a charm.
    Moral of the Story-Not all cards are the same! relate my story to CS and request new unused cards.
  16. alto

    alto New Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    These problems with SL:

    First tech (who came in the morning) suggested using one multistream card vs 2 single. The tech said he could not get one because the warehouse could not be accessed. I found out later that it could have been. Then the tech informed us that he was mistaken and that they didn't have MS cards and told my wife he was on the way to put in two singles. He never arrived even though I waited for a couple of hours while my wife and her family from out of town went to eat.

    Of course I called and complained but CS would not get someone out in the evening but promised a call from the Tech's sup on the following Monday. No call came. Called CS and was told that they would get someone out at 2-4 window but would not agree to have someone meet me at 6 so I could avoid leaving work. I asked for the general manager and was transferred to another person who represented herself as the general manager (actually I learned later that she was a mid-level sup in the call center) She also "confirmed" that they didn't have MS cards.

    Guess what, tech finally shows up at 6pm. He had been given a MS card (which supposedly they didn't have). He had some problems and was told MS cards don't work on SL. He kept at it and the MS card worked fine ultimately.

    I have dealt with about 6-7 folks so far. Usual attitude, at least at the supervisory level was implicitly "we are sorry for your inconvenience due to our errors, but don't expect us to do anything that is inconvenient for us to solve your problem or lessen your inconvience" In contrast, the CS reps who took my calls initially tried to be helpful within their authority. The techs, except the one who said he was on the way and didn't show, were fine also.

    Obviously they have some organizational confusion about what cards they have and what work. It could be they would rather charge for two single cards vs one MS, but I am not sure that is the case.

    [Aside - I have generally been very please with the CS assistance I have received on the internet side. This is my first bad experience with SL overall.]

    The concept of withholding necessary equipment or parts from the techs who discover a need for it during the day is beyond me but is apparently an organizational practice. As a policy, SL seems to be much more concerned about their convenience than that of their customers.

    Misrepresenting a representative's position within the company, i.e., "I'm the general manager" is plainly deceptive and inexcusable.

    I am continuing the complaint process about the service received.
  17. jaredog

    jaredog New Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Dumas, TX
    I had a Suddenlink CableCARD install today and apparently I took part in a rare event...everything went great.

    I called last week to set up my install. It went fine. They didn't even ask what they were for.

    Installer showed up today with several different cards and we ultimately installed a multi-stream card. The installer was very nice and even brought his own Tivo installation intructions!

    I even mentioned how I had read horror stories online about trying to get a cablecard installed by Suddenlink and he laughed and said they only install one or two cablecards every six months.

    I have to say I was extemely pleased and surprised with Suddenlink's service.
  18. JettM

    JettM New Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    I have a TIVO HD and Suddenlink service. I scheduled SL to do an install and, while they said they hadn't done a TIVO install and were not sure it would work, they would give it a try. They installed a single M-Card. Everything seems to work fine with the exeption of HD channels. I simply get a blank screen. SL is looking into it but have many sources providing conflicting information. One conclusion is that the cableCard won't support HD which I don't think is the case.

    Has anyone seen this before or have any suggestions I might pass on to SL Abilene?

    The whole point of this upgrade for me was to get HD channels. Thanks in advance...
  19. Pete Abel

    Pete Abel New Member

    Dec 2, 2008
    I'm with Suddenlink Corp. HQ. If you're willing to email me -- pete.abel@suddenlink.com -- and let me know name and address on your account, plus who you've been dealing with locally -- I can make sure senior managers in your area are aware and involved.

    More on who I am here.
  20. cableguy763

    cableguy763 New Member

    Oct 29, 2006
    You sir, are brave. I commend you for your customer service.

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