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Charter & Series 3 Problems

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by ckoble, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. Feb 9, 2007 #601 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
    The 161-4 error is normal - that is something that would have had me thinking we had a problem if it where not for the instructions the customer pulled off of the Tivo site.

    I have no idea what it means, but apparently it's nothing to be concerned about.


    One problem I know that affects the TIVO is how much pressure Techs are under (across all MSOs) to get in, fix it and get out. Many of them will check their signal levels, not see an obivious problem and blame the box / modem / hardware.

    Course 95% or more of this equipment is fully functional and it will wind up a repeat trouble call. Things like occasional resets and specific channels causing unusual activity (like in my case jumping to the cable card screen) are hard to get resolved if they don't happen while the tech is there and if they can't find any other problem they tend to think it was just a bad box.

    This isn't to say they don't know what they are doing, most of them know their craft very well - but like any other diagnostic (car mechanic, or in my case computer repair) often if you can't get the problem to happen, you can't figure out what's causing it.

    My best suggestion on issues like that is to keep a notebook near your prefered viewing spot and track your issues, get times, dates and errors as well as what channel you where on when it happened. You may want to call Tivo first and see what they think about it, because our techs won't - They support the card, not the box, so if your box is doing something wierd about all they can do is check for obivious signal issues or change cards.

    I'm learning alot about the "jumping to cable card status screen" issue now, Tivo is replacing the box again for the customer and I'm going to put two new cards in this box (as the old one started resetting randomly in additon to the cablecard error) and use the old one at my desk for a few days to see what I can find out - when and where it's happening. With luck I can narrow down the list of possibilities and find what is driving that TIVO crazy!

    The biggest thing I can say about anything with a cable card is generally once it's up and running well, it tends to stay that way! :D
     
  2. Feb 9, 2007 #602 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

    38
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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
    Is it still rebooting? If you've still got your cards in there drop me a PM and I can probably go into billing and send an init to it. Does it seem to happen at random or on specific channels?

    I have a customer with a similar problem and they are replacing her TIVO, I'm going to take the old one and attempt to duplicate it, see if I can find out what's causing it
     
  3. Feb 9, 2007 #603 of 1052
    brentsg

    brentsg New Member

    16
    0
    Sep 19, 2004
    Nope, I tried but they wouldn't allow me to start billing and keep the cards. It reboots after like 15-30 minutes. Then I have to power cycle it with a decent amount of downtime to get it back up. I will try some of the suggestions here and let you know what happens.
     
  4. Feb 10, 2007 #604 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

    2,870
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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    The Charter installer is here now. He started out following the TiVo instructions but when all the channels didn't come up on the first card he shoved the second card in too. It's been an hour now - no change. I heard him tell his supervisor that the second card was configured wrong - as a modem? - but it is still installed. He's calling for a cold initilization now. I really hope that fixes it.

    I told him about the occasional problems with cable cards and that he might want to try a different one. Of course he doesn't have any more. At least he did bring two to start with and knew he would be working with a TiVo3.

    He's been pacing back and forth for the full hour. I really hope he can get this working.
     
  5. Feb 10, 2007 #605 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    The "Conditional Access" screen under the Cablecard menu can tell you what's going on. When a card is working right is shows;

    Unit Address: [your unit address]
    [more address numbers]
    Encryption: DES
    Connected:yes, EnabledByCP: yes
    Auth: SUBSCRIBED
    CA Enable: possible
    ECM PID: [non zero]
    Component PIDs:
    [non zero] [non zero] [non zero]
    0x0000 0x0000 0x0000
    Host Validation: Unknown 00
    Copy Protection Key: Disable
    CCI: 0x00

    When powering up the TiVo, the screen (card?) doesn't update/authorize until an attempt is made to tune a digital channel. My guess is the reboot problems some people are having may be related to head-end communication problems causing the card to remain in an unauthorized state. If I run into this problem myself, what I'll do is attempt to force card authorization manually before going to live TV. That can be done by tuning a digital channel from the "test channels" function (under the cablecard menus). It can take a few trys and you get "No Channels Available" until the card authorizes. I just tried this on my S3 which is working well right now (no reboot or tuning problems).
     
  6. Feb 10, 2007 #606 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

    2,870
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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    The Charter cable installer hung around for two hours waiting for the encrypted channels to show up (pacing the whole time). I'm getting some channels and not others. He finally gave up and left taking the cable card that thinks it's a modem card with him.

    So after waiting two weeks for installation so I wouldn't have to take a day off work, now I have to take half a day off work on Monday so they can send someone else with new cable cards.

    I asked him if he disconnected my Dish Network feed, since it is still operational and he said one of the three cables coming out of the wall should still have it. I figured I could plug it back in to my S2 TiVo and still get all my channels - but I've tried all the cables and none of them have a signal. :(

    So the end result of today is loss of Dish Network/TiVo2 setup and partial Charter cable hookup to S3 with half the channels missing (including all the premium ones). At least he didn't blame the TiVo box for the problems. :up:
     
  7. Feb 11, 2007 #607 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    That's rough. I wouldn't have let the tech mess with my satellite wiring. My tech asked about it and I quickly said, "Don't worry about it, they're wired separately". I think he was all set to start stealing wires from the satellite system. I set them up that way on purpose so I can switch when I want. So far, I was on cable for a few years, then switched to satellite for a few years. Now I'm back on cable. Who knows, I may go back to satellite someday.

    Your tech didn't do anythig right. He should have brought more than 2 cards. Then, he should have gotten the first slot working before attempting to mess with the 2nd slot. He should have used the second card on the first slot because the 1st one was probably bad. Maybe they were both bad. Sometimes, the office gets the numbers wrong when provisioning the card. The first thing the tech should have done was check the numbers the office entered then have them hit the card again. He should have reseated the card if it wasn't working after the 2nd hit. After that, he should have repeated the whole process with the other card in slot 1. At best, it takes only a few minutes and at worst, 15 or 20 minutes for the card to enable channel testing after it has been provisioned and hit. If the channels test, the card is working properly. You don't get the channels in the line-up until the cards work properly and you re-run guided setup. If he waited around for 2 hours, he was wasting his time and yours.

    Hang in there. It will work. It's just unfortunate you got a bad tech who didn't know what he was doing and didn't bring any spares.
     
  8. Feb 11, 2007 #608 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

    2,870
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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    Hey CraigHB, thanks for the advice. I'll know better what to do when the new Charter tech comes on Monday.

    When I called for installation, I did ask them to bring extra cards but he only brought two. He said he had set up cable for one S3 before and he specifically went over the installation process with his supervisor before he left the office. He also consulted with several levels of support while he was there, so I have to give him credit for trying. He didn't seem too open to my suggestions even after I told him about this website. Maybe he doesn't like to take tech advice from a female. He did hold off installing the second card for about 45 minutes but then his office asked him to try them both - so he did.

    As to the technical aspects of the installation, as I was telling him the first card goes in the bottom slot, he was plugging it into the top slot. He then pulled it out and put it in the bottom slot and we got the cable card1 installed screen. We got channels as soon as we went to channels testing - just not the premium channels. It was at that point the two hours of waiting and calling and adding cards began. He left one card in the S3 and I did re-run guided setup again after he left. It didn't change anything.

    I will be more proactive when the next guy shows up. I'd rather he be annoyed with me and have a successful install than go though two hours of staring at a grey screen. I'll keep your suggestions handy.

    The good news is after another session of fiddling with cords I was able to get one of my Dish Network signals back (satellite 119 but not 110). So as of now I have partial Dish Network connected to my S2 and partial cable connected to my S3.
     
  9. Feb 11, 2007 #609 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    I hear you. After reading many threads about people having problems with S3 and cable cards, I was a bit hesitant to drop my DirecTiVos. They do work really well, but I can't get HD with DirecTV without giving up TiVo and increasing my bill quite a bit. I'm still running one DirecTiVo in the bedroom. I think I'm about ready to take it offline now. The S3 has been running well since my CC install last week. I don't think most people are having problems with cablecards, but there are a lot of people having problems. There's definitely an early adopter factor with Series 3.

    If you are getting most of the encrypted channels, the card is probably ok. It's a configuration problem on their end. There are lots of posts about this problem. Seems they almost always get worked out through some action on the cable provider's end. No need for the tech to hang around for hours and take a whole day off work for that.
     
  10. Feb 12, 2007 #610 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    ...and the saga continues...
    I took half a day off work today to wait for the Charter representative to bring new cable cards to fix my problem with not receiving encrypted channels (I'm only getting one or two out of about a dozen and I only have one cable card installed.). He was suppose to be here between 1 and 5 PM. I received a call shortly after 1 PM to confirm the appointment. It's now almost 7 PM and no one has come or called. :mad:

    I just called the Charter help line and they said he might come up to 3 hours after the scheduled time - so that means I can't go anywhere this evening just in case he might show up. Charter went ahead and scheduled another appointment for Saturday. I can't keep taking days off work - especially if they are not going to show up. Of course, that means my Saturday is shot. Right now I'm kicking myself for giving the first guy a check for the first month's service. And the Charter tech support guy has the nerve to ask how I'm enjoying my Charter cable service! :p

    Let's hope someone actually shows up for the next appointment.
     
  11. Feb 13, 2007 #611 of 1052
    jdmass

    jdmass Member

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    Dec 1, 2002
    Westborough, MA
    Be careful that they don't try to blow you off on Saturday. On one Saturday, I waited all day only to have the Charter service guy call at 4pm and tell me that they can't install cablecards on Saturdays because no one is working at the head end. The next Charter guy who came the following Tuesday told me this was a lie and that the guy probably just wanted to get home early.
     
  12. Feb 13, 2007 #612 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    Thanks for the info. The first visit from Charter was on a Saturday and he had two (bad) cable cards with him, so I hope that won't happen here. I was offered the 8-12 time frame which I probably should have taken so maybe I could have been the first stop of the day. But, dang it, I don't want to get up early on a Saturday to accommodate these guys when they can't show up when I take time off work for them.

    I would be a lot more patient with this process if the first guy hadn't messed up my Dish Network service - which I am still paying for and not getting. Well, I am getting some of it or I would cancel it immediately. I went through last night and deleted all the shows I had scheduled on my S2/Dish on channels I no longer receive (all locals and all premiums). :(
     
  13. Feb 13, 2007 #613 of 1052
    brigita

    brigita Ba-BOOP!

    2
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    Nov 11, 2006
    Madtown, WI
    Recently upgraded to a S3 and thought that the CC installation would be as easy as having the cards dropped off and plugged in. Clearly, I should have read this thread beforehand. :(

    Unfortunately, all I can pull in are the OTA channels (regular and HD) as well as C-SPAN and the Spanish channels which is good but not great (read: The Mister wants his ESPN).

    I'm looking for advice for the second run at getting TiVo up and running:
    • Do I need a technician to come to do the install properly or is it a matter of getting the right person on the phone?
    • If I do need a tech, can anyone recommend the name of a S3-savvy person with Charter in Madison, WI?
    • Does anyone have a better set of directions to give the tech than those that came with the S3 (or do those actually have enough detail for the average installer)?
    • Are there any buzz-phrases (like "cold initialization") I should have at the ready to help speed the process along?
    Thanks in advance for any and all input!
     
  14. Feb 13, 2007 #614 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    Good luck brigita. My only advice is to read all the way through this thread, which you have probably already done. I'll be reading any replies you get with interest.

    My saga continues....Today when I got home from work I had two messages on my answering machine from a Charter tech who apparently figured since he didn't show up yesterday he could just show up today. I pulled up caller ID and phoned him back - got his voice mail - and politely let him know my appointment was for yesterday NOT today and I did not stand him up. Clearly I just need to take a whole week off work to accommodate these guys if I ever want the cable service to work.
     
  15. Feb 13, 2007 #615 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    They don't "drop off" the cards. A tech comes to install them, but I don't see why. It's just a matter of providing a few numbers to the office so the card can be "provisioned". Once the card is provisioned, they hit it (aka initialize it) from their end then it starts working. The numbers required are the s/n printed on the card and the ones shown on the pairing screen (the screen that the TiVo pops up after the card is inserted). I don't know, maybe they have some sort of problem with customers talking to the people that handle the cards. That would be good if they could get over that problem.
     
  16. Feb 14, 2007 #616 of 1052
    TBarclay3

    TBarclay3 New Member

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    Feb 14, 2007
    Smyrna, GA
    I just moved to an area where satellite is not an option and Charter is the only cable company. Believe it or not, I was told that they had No DVR's available when I subscribed in early December (HD or otherwise) but I'd be put on a waiting list. After 2-and-a-half months, I got tired of waiting and went with the S3. I LOVE the box. But so far, the Charter cable card experience has been frustrating. I took an afternoon off from work yesterday for the install and I immediately sensed trouble when the technician (who arrived at the end of the window) said he hated installing cable cards because of the time it took to get them to work. He didn't want to follow Tivo's instructions and left before I could tell if they work. As you might expect, they didn't. I called Charter after he left to try to get the authorization process re-started (and to complain about the technician). Still no luck. I'm going to start over and call again tonight since I still have the two cable cards.
     
  17. Feb 14, 2007 #617 of 1052
    czmt

    czmt New Member

    2
    0
    Feb 14, 2007
    Blowing...
    First of all, I'd like to say that other than some unrelated problems, our S3 install went pretty well. However, I noticed that we aren't receiving our expanded basic (channels 100+) on cablecard 2. We are receiving the local HD channels, but not the others. Cablecard 1 is fine.

    So I did a lot of research to find that maybe Charter did not have the proper Data number. I called them, but was dismayed to discover that they only have the Unit Number listed in their computer, but not the Data number or anything else. So I was told to take out the card and wait 30 sec and put it back in and reboot the Tivo. This didn't work. Do I just keep calling until I get a more knowledgeable person, or is there something else I can do on my end to get the channels working?

    Thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide. I was kind of hoping that CharterJames might be able to assist me, since I live in his service area. :)
     
  18. Feb 17, 2007 #618 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    ...and the saga continues...
    Lucky for me the Charter guy actually shows up today which is an immediate improvement over the last appointment I had. I was waiting for him to bring new cable cards to try in my S3. He informed me as soon as he walked in the door that he didn't have ANY cable cards - the warehouse is closed on Saturday so there was no way for him to get them. So why on earth did they make an appointment?????!!!???

    He rescheduled me for Monday. At that time it will be approximately three weeks since I first called requesting cable installation. I asked if I could pick up the cable cards myself and he thought that was a good idea. I asked if Charter would loan me a cable box until they could get the cable cards working and he thought that was a good idea too. However when he called in to make another appointment for me he didn't mention either idea to the main office. If it wasn't so painful it would be funny.
     
  19. Feb 18, 2007 #619 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    Man, I'm starting to feel lucky I only needed one phone call and two cable guy visits to get my cards working.
     
  20. Feb 18, 2007 #620 of 1052
    TAsunder

    TAsunder Debates Ghee vs Gi

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    Aug 6, 2003
    Madison, WI

    Any progress? I live in Madison WI and had no issues with the install. A technician is not technically required but it's best to have one there to cover your butt. The directions have enough detail. The one thing to remember is that it can take a few minutes after you insert the card before it automatically shows the initialization screen. My tech guy refused to look at the instructions and kept going around in the cable card menu until it automatically showed after a few minutes.

    When you say ESPN you mean regular ESPN? ESPN in HD is part of the HD Tier that costs $7. If you don't pay for the HD Tier (I didn't) you still get locals and premiums in HD, but not ESPN, TNT, etc.
     

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