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CableCARD installation FAQ

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jfh3, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    Yeah, I thought about my reference to her pole climbing abilities after submitting the post. Not before, promise! She had such a great combination of knowledge, charm, looks and physical ability that it was impossible for me to not be very impressed. She came on a Saturday to repair damage caused by an elm branch falling on the fiber optic cable coming from street pole. Verizon PA is very reluctant to schedule Saturday appointments because of the overtime involved. But in this case everything was knocked out - phone, Internet & TV. The ONT had been mounted on exterior wall with plastic inserts and screws in holes drilled into the pointing mortar of the stone center of a house first built in the 1780s! The falling branch ripped the ONT off the wall and up in the air before the cable shredded (elm wood is on the far end of heavy). I dismantled the ONT and remounted it with Tapcon screws directly into stone. Suzie appreciated my work; I'm certain the jerk from yesterday would have resented it as meddling. The incident occurred when the love of my life (past life) was visiting from Germany for a week; also a beautiful woman. Over there you're lucky if you can get initial phone service installed in less than 3 weeks. I told her it was true: In the USA repairs are always completed within 24 hours of trouble even on weekends; and all our phone techs are just like Suzie. Of course! ---- Frontier customers excluded perhaps. FWIW I asked her who was responsible for the repair, me or VZ, as the elm was on my front lawn and had been clearly dead for some time. She said it was still just an act of Nature so it fell on Verizon; if I had been working on the tree and caused the damage, it would have fallen on me (the tab). So I opted to have a tree surgeon (great climber also; didn't notice his butt however) take down the elm as it was still enmeshed with the replacement cable.

    As far as the jerk from yesterday goes, my life lesson is simple: There are plenty of wonderful people out there. When you encounter somebody new or old with little or no trust and appreciation for you, move on ASAP. There's no point in wasting a second of your short life on them. Actually once we were done, Pete the jerk said that it had been a learning experience for him; that he was the first to admit it when he was wrong. And if I had not held his feet to the fire? I hope what he learned was about civility, not just about S3s and their unique need for 2 cablecards. And I learned that there still is a place for anger in my life, though only as last resort! I trust my blood pressure has stabilized by now.

    I've been a sniper in picking off S3s in the last 2 seconds of auctions. I think they're great buys. I always ask the sellers if they're happy with the prices they got; they uniformly are. Most are sold because of difficulties caused by their providers, not the TiVos. One of the recent ones, the cheapest, came with 2 SA cards inserted. Piecing together the data, I'm sure the unit went through an estate auction following the death of a subscriber to Comcast Delray Beach/Boca Raton. (the seller doesn't know its history) Comcast down there is clueless as to what the issue is so I'm about to return them to the local facility in a hope that the account is credited properly. Have you ever heard of such a situation? :confused:
     
  2. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    May 28, 2005
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    Just an FYI - the S3 does not always like the Verizon M-cards. At least mine didn't! I have had my S3 and FiOS since long before the M-cards were even available, and it has always worked perfectly with two S-cards.

    I also have a THD unit that had two S-cards in it. Last year I got Verizon back out here to swap those two S-cards for two M-cards so I could save a bit of money. Just for the heck of it, I also had him swap the two S-cards in the S3, figuring that in the future I might have a different unit that could use the M-cards, so might as well have them done now instead of having to call a tech back out in the future.

    Initially things seemed to work OK, but I did not fully check out the premium channels. After the tech left, I discovered that the S3 would not receive any premium channels on any of the M-cards, but all four of them worked perfectly in my HD box. Coincidentally, I discovered that my very old Sony plasma HDTV had the same problem with the M-cards as the S3 did.

    The solution was simple - I had the tech come back out the next day and give me back three of the old S-cards, which immediately worked perfectly in the S3 and the Sony HDTV. I have no idea if the tech could have gotten the new M-cards to work with my S3 - I didn't even want him to spend the time trying since the S-cards worked fine.
     
  3. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    It's my guess that your M cards in the S3 were not authorized properly for the premiums - a head end problem. Best way to tell would have been to try them in the TiVo HD. I've run into this fairly often with one out of my five S cards. It tends to lose its authorization and needs to be rehit by over the phone tech. Don't let in house tech leave before all types of channels are checked. Use whatever means necessary to keep him/her there...
     
  4. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    May 28, 2005
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    You seem to have missed the information. As I specifically said in the last post, ALL 4 of the M-cards worked perfectly in the THD box, receiving all premium channels.

    You are absolutely correct about the need to check everything in detail before the tech leaves. I made this mistake simply because I had never had any problem moving FiOS cards between my different TiVo boxes and TVs - if they worked in one, they worked in all. So when I tested the M-cards in the THD box and they did receive all channels, I had no reason to suspect they would not work the same way in the other devices.

    And that was the whole reason I made the post at all - just to point out for people having trouble that there seems to be something peculiar about the way the S3 (and some other older devices) deals with M-cards differently than the old S-cards. This is even supported by what Verizon is saying in a letter they have begun sending to customers in some regions, where they state they will be making changes to their system that will cause some older devices that use cable cards to stop working. Even though they say TiVo boxes should not be affected, their letter clearly indicates that there has been some change in system specifications since the original cable cards were introduced.
     
  5. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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  6. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    Yes, all eight cable cards were Motorola - four S-cards, and 4 M-cards.

    All four S-cards worked perfectly in the TiVoHD, the S3, and the Sony Plasma TV.

    All four M-cards worked perfectly in the TiVoHD ONLY. They would only receive analog channels in the S3 AND the Sony plasma TV.

    I am glad that I tested them in both the S3 and the old Sony TV, which came out around the same time as the S3 was introduced. This shows the odd problem is not specific to the TiVo Series 3, but may be related to early implementation of cable card devices.
     
  7. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    You make an interesting point. Everything I use now depends on TiVos for tuning but this wasn't the case several years ago. Back then I had cards in 2 Sony DVRs, a first generation Sony Lcos SXRD, and a small Toshiba TV. The Toshiba was problematical. Its card would fairly regularly lose the premiums or everything beyond the locals. Power cycling would sometimes restore them; swapping cards with any of the Sonys nearly always did; in the worst case the card would have to be rehit. The fact that just installation in another device awakened the lost channels suggests to me that something was amiss in the Toshiba's software related to cablecard decoding interface; and an interactivity between card and device. Perhaps that's going to be an issue now with S3s and Motorola M cards. If so, we'll be dependent on TiVo updating their software for S3s or Motorola providing a firmware update for their cards.
     
  8. richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    We had the exact same experience when we switched from Comcast to Verizon. Pulled two S cards out of the Series3 and installed two M cards. Everything looked fine...tech left and then came to find out that none of the premiums worked. Spent about an hour on the phone with VZ support and they finally reauthorized both cards...tah da! Similar issues came up when Frontier took over (a whole other rant) and each time it was a card issue. So I think it's more a matter of authorization than anything to do with the Series3. Glad things worked out though.
     
  9. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    I should have mentioned a little more. Once a cablecard with lost channels in the Toshiba had been reawakened in any of the Sonys (usually the TV), the card held all the channels when reinserted into the Toshiba - until the next time it lost channels. On the occasions that the Sonys did not restore channels to the card, a phone tech was needed for rehit. This was rare, less than 5%. So with my adventures with this Toshiba, it wasn't a head end problem. Tail end would be apt. Initialization and authorization remained through at least 95% of the events
     
  10. hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    Well, I've joined the club! I requested 1 additional cablecard from Verizon on Monday. The agent assured me 3 times that it would be UPSed for self install - no charge. You all know the rest of the story; automated call yesterday informing me of FiOS TV installation scheduled for a Friday window of 8:00AM to 5:00PM. After being rerouted through the system for 20+ minutes, the CSR confirmed that no VZ cards are self installed but he would waive the $79.95 truck roll charge due to the agent's confusion. $79.95 to stop by & set up 1 cablecard? It must be Pete the jerk and cablecard expert. My luck has to change with VZ. Are you listening, Suzie?
     
  11. mdowden

    mdowden New Member

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    Jan 26, 2006
    Yes.... you should talk about tuning adapters. At least in my TW area (Dayton), the cable card is worthless on the HD and digital 'bands' without the tuning adapter because of Switch Digital Video (SDV).

    I wouldn't say completely worthless....but you will be missing a LOT of channels....Channels that you want.
     
  12. Oct 1, 2010 #532 of 646
    hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    The 1 cablecard install with VZ went OK; not great. At least I got a very nice guy, Mike, instead of the fool from Tuesday. He also swapped out the router for free with an Actiontec wireless N. This was easy. Cablecard should have gone better but he hadn't done one for 9 months. He set it up from inside his van rather than using customer's laptop as done Tuesday; apparently some confusion with which and how many numbers to enter; I was otherwise occupied so it didn't matter to me how long it took.

    Once he left, I inserted the donor S card from my primary residence into slot 2. It sorted itself within a minute or so. Seems to get along fine with the M card below. I don't intend this as a permanent setup as I know Verizon pings the cards (or some such thing) every so often and they might have a way to see that a card from a different account is in operation miles from its billing address (if anybody's paying attention on their end). But it's worked for me in the past during times when visitors have been around for up to two weeks. The cards reset so quickly that I think I'll put a spare S3 into the bedroom and just move 1 or both cards upstairs when wanted.

    I told Mike I was a little disappointed that it wasn't Suzie at the door. Her name brings a smile with all the local VZ techs. I found out a little more about her. She's been with VZ for 10 years, the first 5 of them in office. She got tired of that so trained for field work and has been doing it for the recent 5 years. Good for her! As he sees her at the end of each day, I asked him to pass it on that I'd be heaving branches at the fiber optic in the hope I could make it shred again; expect a service call here. Wish me luck...
     
  13. Oct 2, 2010 #533 of 646
    willv28

    willv28 New Member

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    Nov 17, 2009
    Hey everyone. I just got a new Premiere. Likely my TiVo HD will be donated to those less fortunate to not have a TiVo (but a regular cable box that makes popping noises in the sound...

    So the TiVo HD had the cablecard. I want to move it to the premiere, they would need to update the host information. Any way I could convince my cable company (Charter) to do this over the phone and not have a tech come out just to read off a host number. It's a complete waste of half my day to wait for that. Or should I just schedule the tech and try to waive a truck roll fee?
     
  14. Oct 2, 2010 #534 of 646
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

    8,893
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    Jan 4, 2003
    If they'll let you do it over the phone, by all means, try it. You should only have to read back three numbers from the cable card info screen, the CableCARD ID, Host ID and Card S/N. That's generally all the tech would do.

    Some cableco's are progressive enough to let customers read numbers, others not so much. The policy can even vary within the same company area-to-area so it can't hurt to ask. Folks here who are on Charter may be able to relate their experiences.

    Best of luck and let us know how things go. Oh, and enjoy your new TiVo!
     
  15. Oct 2, 2010 #535 of 646
    willv28

    willv28 New Member

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    Nov 17, 2009
    Well, I tried twice, they wouldn't do it. Despite having everything I needed. The first time, I voiced my displeasure at them after they wouldn't even talk to me about it. Wouldn't even discuss waiving the fee. I'm in the IT field and it's not exactly rocket science. I already had removed my old tivo, put the cablecard in the new one so I could get the information, I had the hardware address, host information, serial number, etc for the card all written down and ready to go. My quote was "I understand what they tell you to do. It's not you, but, your company don't give your customers enough credit. It's not that complicated. It's a waste of my time and theirs to do this. I'll call back and see what can be done." She "noted it on my account".

    The second lady gave me grief for removing the card. I plan to give the old tivo to my brother in law if they decide they want it. I already removed it from my tivo account. She was going on about "how it breaks it and it has to be a technician to come repair it because they have to 'configure' the tivo". Her and I have different ideas of the what the word "break" means. I tried to explain to her it's not magic, we need the host ID. It has to be paired again. I explained it does not, it doesn't work because it's not PAIRED to the device, I just need to give you the new device information. She insisted that "she has the information right in front of her". She did the ol' send a hit to the card trick, of course it didn't work... If it did I could just give the card to anyone and steal service by just popping it in. At least she was nice enough to "try". So I was nice to her and let them send someone.

    Luckily they're sending someone out today, I just couldn't convince her that her information is not current and it's not automatic. All she'd have on file is the hardware address, serial number, the host id is not current. They should be here in the next hour or two and there's no fee. She was nice, but it's just plain silly. It makes me feel silly like when they came to install the cablecard originally the guy got it done but had to have someone help them.

    The guys around here have very little knowledge. All they know about a MAC address is that they have to call it in when they install a cable modem. At least the contractor company is terrible, the Charter guys are fine but they're more reserved for big jobs around here because we're not their focus area. The contractors get paid by job and don't care, it's also a revolving door company. When they installed my tuning adapter, I was laughing because they had to read the directions... Plugging in a USB cable is not that difficult. Then they used RG-59 cable to plug it in. When they left, I immediately rewired everything.

    My brother in law has poor signal. So when a contractor came to fix it, they found water inside the connector at the tap, they also replaced the whole drop, which is certainly over 200'. They only had RG-6, so instead of scheduling someone to come out with higher grade cable, just to be done and be the one paid for the job, they just ran it and the service is no better. They blame the signal amp I installed (one of theirs too). It's not the amp, digital signals won't work at all unless there is an amp...
     
  16. Oct 2, 2010 #536 of 646
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    How frustrating. Unfortunately your experience is more the norm than not. I can understand why the cableco would like someone on site to address something else that might come up. However I've never understood not allowing the end user to at least try to pair the box over the phone. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work and a truck roll is in order. If it does work they've saved everyone time and themselves the expense of paying a contractor to visit your home. :confused: Since cable card applications are such a small part of their business the need for support probably just doesn't happen often enough for it to appear on their bean counter's radar or I have to believe they would jump on the opportunity to cut expenses.

    Based on posts here and elsewhere the bar for "techs" doesn't seem to be set very high. Again though, it's probably the 80/20 rule…80% of jobs being within some basic parameters that even the least trained tech can accomplish. I'd bet the cost for the other 20% is a large chunk of their costs though.

    Bottom line is that it's probably the old axiom "That's the way we've always done it" that controls their business model. :rolleyes:

    Let us know how things go!
     
  17. Oct 2, 2010 #537 of 646
    willv28

    willv28 New Member

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    Nov 17, 2009
    I know, that's why it's annoying. Of course. The guy shows up, takes literally two minutes to call, give the new host id. Then everything worked again... I could have been where I wanted to go today three hours ago if they had just done it when I called.
     
  18. Oct 2, 2010 #538 of 646
    richsadams

    richsadams Active Member

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    Jan 4, 2003
    Well…at least it's all done and now you can enjoy it!
     
  19. Oct 4, 2010 #539 of 646
    Brighton Line

    Brighton Line Member

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    Mar 15, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    I know its too late, next time try calling in a problem. Ask to talk to a cablecard expert like you are going to ask them to rehit or rebind the cards. Once you are talking to the tech and not the gatekeeper, read the numbers and see if they would do that.

    I tried that with cablevision and once past the gatekeeper and talking to a "cablecard expert" it worked. Though note that it worked once and not the second time ;)
     
  20. Oct 5, 2010 #540 of 646
    hmm52

    hmm52 New Member

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    As a follow up: The M card installed in one of my S3s Friday is still working fine, except that it's paired - the first time with FiOS through the four years with Verizon. As of this afternoon 4 out of my 5 S cards have seen significant changes in their Conditional Access screens. None are now paired but the future is rather obvious at this point, at least for Philadelphia area subscribers.
     

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