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Charter & Series 3 Problems

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

  1. Feb 18, 2007 #621 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    Unfortunatley, it seems the only thing customer service can do for you is "hit" the cards. They don't have access to the data used to provision them. Only the techs have access to the people who set up the cards so only a tech can check those numbers. If a card still doesn't work after getting a hit from the head-end, a tech has to come out. Best just to have the card replaced.
     
  2. Feb 19, 2007 #622 of 1052
    kevindk

    kevindk New Member

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    Feb 19, 2007
     
  3. Feb 19, 2007 #623 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
     
  4. Feb 19, 2007 #624 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

    38
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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
    Shoot me an email at Jdoster@chartercom.com and I can see if I can locate their tech supervisor up there, I linked earlier to the instructions on the TIVO website, they are pretty good. And most sites won't give out cablecards, so a tech will have to come out to insert the cards.

    Also catching up on other posts, if both cards are inserted too soon, it does appear a cold init should get them going
     
  5. Feb 19, 2007 #625 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
    Well, here we go - updating the issue I've been working on -

    My customer has been dilligently working with TIVO, as the box is locking up and resetting for her in the evenings. There is nothing I've ever seen in cablecard specs that would cause this from our end.

    While on the phone with TIVO friday night with me there they said they did not support Mediacypher cards and that I needed Motorola "s" cards. Here's the catch there. I think they freaked when they heard her say the cards say "Mediacypher-M" because they thought they where Multistream cards (once these cards are availible you can use only 1 because they handle multiple streams of video) however the same person on the phone with me earlier said they supported the new M cards and I was saying I'd have to try one in her box once we got them... "MediaCypher" is moto's brandname for cablecards, that's been their name since day one in the moto world.

    Then as I find out this guy is one of their best s3 techs, I find out he's had no experience with a motorola based headend/DAC equipment and really doesn't know much about them (This is like having a PC guy troubleshoot a Macintosh...)

    We had to go through the guided setup and the box would not get the channel data update in a timely manner from the new cards which were in a tech status (which are authorized for all normal encrypted channels and should have worked fine) they also happened to be on the latest firmware we had.

    I went back to her old cards and by then my laptop battery died... Like a doof I left my power cable at home (I had been on vacation and but promised the customer I'd come out when she got her replacement box from TIVO)

    I managed to get one of my co-workers to send a cold init and the channels came up and it behaved as it's been for a while.


    Update on that behavoir
    701 - 703 will go to the cable card screen when tuned. If you clear you can watch the channel, but it will go there each time like clockworks. as of Friday the music choice (also unencrypted) did it too.

    I checked the encryption and CCI settings and the S3 was getting a 0x02 whereas my DCT6416 would get a 0x00. I went into my DAC and changed the channel settings from "Externally Defined" to NO Encryption/NO CCI.

    Now, for every other card enabled equipment it knows if the channel isn't encrypted to let the box tune. For some reason TIVO only tunes to cable channels when there's an enabled cable card.

    At this point I added 701-703 to a new package in the system and put them on the cards... it should be acting like any other (encrypted) channel, I'm not even letting TIVO assume it's encrypted because I'm sending it an authorization now...

    Per last customer's email - no change.

    I'm going to hit some ppl in our labs as well as some contacts I made in TIVO's labs. I have grown to like the tivo interface, but it seems like they are overcomplicating their tuners and authorization mechanisms.
     
  6. Feb 19, 2007 #626 of 1052
    ScubaCat

    ScubaCat Shades of Blue......

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    Jun 26, 2003
    N.E. GA
    ...and the saga FINALLY comes to a successful conclusion... :)
    On the fourth Charter tech visit he shows up on time, has two cable cards in his hand and they both work! Yaaaa! He was here less than twenty minutes and had both cards installed and working. What a difference a functioning cable card makes!

    I did see error 161-4 a few times after he left while I was re-running guided setup. That spooked me. But right now all the channels appear to be working. Sweet! :up:
     
  7. Feb 19, 2007 #627 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
    161-4 I've learned is generated when we send the initialization to the box - Part of the initialization command is a reset for the cable receiver - cablecard cannot execute that command since it's only a conditional access module, most equipment ignores the reboot part - TIVO does an internal reset and generates that error to let you know it was forced to reset.

    Essentually the 161-4 is an acknowledgement of the initialization command (at least in a motorola system)
     
  8. Feb 19, 2007 #628 of 1052
    kevindk

    kevindk New Member

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    Feb 19, 2007
    I was not receiving entire tiers, but Charter stated they were turned on.

    I came home tonight and my channels were all there! Last night when attempting a cold init, I got the 161-4 error for the first time. Reading your latest post tells me that the card finally reset the TIVO. All settings in the "conditional access" are now reading correctly.

    I don't know if the last cold hit was what did it, but it works now and I'm going to cancel the technician visit for Wed.

    BTW, the technician did check all signal levels and attached a Charter digital box to see that all signals were being received. So I knew it had to be a settings issue.

    Thanks for the response.
     
  9. Feb 20, 2007 #629 of 1052
    czmt

    czmt New Member

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    Feb 14, 2007
    Blowing...
    i've made several calls to charter the past few days, and they keep hitting the card that's not getting all the channels and telling me to take the card out and restart the tivo, but no one seems willing to do a cold init. on the conditional access screen it says that the card is not enabled by the cable provider, but they say everything is looks right. i guess i'm going to call back today to get a tech to come out.

    at least one of my cards is getting all of the channels, but inevitably it records stuff with the other card.

    i'm also noticing that the abc hd channel (wsoc) is kind of choppy and the audio sometimes doesn't match up. the picture is beautiful and the other hd channels are great, though.
     
  10. Feb 22, 2007 #630 of 1052
    pbrass

    pbrass New Member

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    Sep 26, 2003
    As a funny side note to difficulties with Charter: I lost access to all digital channels on one of my CC's (channels > 99). I called Charter for help with this and they informed me that a tech would need to be dispatched. I explained that this shouldn't be necessary and that they should be able to reset the card via remote (which is exactly what a tech on site would call in to have them do anyway). The CSR checked with a "specialist" who told her that the only thing they could do would be to "hit" the card. However, that could "fry" my card and "they would not be responsible for that." I asked to speak to a supervisor at that point. I got absolutely no where with him either. I gave up and hung up before I lost my mind.

    Figuring things couldn't be made worse, I went through Guided Setup again, and during CC setup, removed, waited, and reinserted the problem CC. While NO channels showed up on that CC for 5-10 minutes after reinsertion, I went ahead and let Guided Setup do its thing anyway.

    By the time it was finished, both CC's were working just fine.

    I really don't like Charter's phone support. They are way too quick to require a tech to be dispatched. On a professional level, I deal with 3 other Cable companies and while none of them has what I would term "good" customer support, Charter's is far and away the worst.

    Sorry for the rant... just wanted to share.
     
  11. Feb 22, 2007 #631 of 1052
    bk406

    bk406 New Member

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Charter hooked up my series 3 on monday.
    However, the installer would not listen to me when i told him to install each card seperatly. He proceeded to do it the way he wanted. Said if he did each one instead of togther, it would take too long.
    He called the headend, gave them the Mac address, serial numbers, and the host IDs.

    We got a few channels ro come up, but a lot of the digital and HD channels didnt work. he said it could take up to 12 hours (this i did not beleive).

    The next day, i still had NO channels at all on cable card1, and intermittant channles on card 2. Got another guy out on wednesday. He took both cards out, rebooted Tivo, stuck the cards back in one at a time. bingo, up and running in 20 minutes.

    Make sure they installer puts the cards in one at a time, lets the channels load, then go thru the setup for the second card.

    Not sure if this was a problem, but the 1st guy was a contractor for charter. The second guy was a direct employee.
     
  12. Feb 24, 2007 #632 of 1052
    TracyMiller

    TracyMiller New Member

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    May 12, 2004
    Kingsport, TN
    Well, after having a DirecTivo for four years, then switching to a Charter DVR (SA 8300HD after we got our HDTV), my wife and I had severe Tivo withdrawal for two years. We finally got sick enough of it to take the plunge and get the Tivo Series 3. When it arrived I hooked it up and played with it with our analog channels to get it set up and tested. When I first heard the TIVO blips and chimes, I almost cried it was so beautiful. Those of you converting from other DVR's after first having TIVO know what I'm talking about.

    The CableCARD installation was on Thursday morning (after they cancelled the Wednesday appointment). The Charter guy was very nice, but said this is the first Tivo Series 3 he had done. He was enthusiastic to see how TIVO worked with HD.

    I gave him the instructions and he tried to follow them closely. After getting the first card installed, the channel test showed only the analog channels working. He continued with the second card, with the same result. After a few calls to Charter, he got them to re-initialize the cards (I think this was his terminology). Still no luck. Called TIVO, but they didn't have much to recommend except re-inserting them again and having Charter hit them again. We did this, and still no luck. We rebooted the TIVO. Still no dice. Went through the Guided Setup. Still no digital channels.

    After talking with his supervisor, the tech was prepared to leave and come back tomorrow if need be to continue trying with different cards. Finally, right before he left, the digital and HD channels started working! He had been there about three hours at that point. My wife and I were ecstatic to finally have HD Tivo. We thanked him and sent him on his way. He was such a trooper.

    We're extremely pleased with the unit. I have some issues with motion artifacting that we didn't have with our SA8300HD, but that's for another thread. Also, the guide data is still missing from UNVHD and MAXHD, but I've contacted Tivo, who contacted Charter, and they're working on the problem.

    Long live TIVO!
     
  13. Feb 24, 2007 #633 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    Hehe, got a chuckle out of your post. Yea, those TiVo chimes are comforting, like an old friend. Glad to hear your cards are working.
     
  14. Feb 24, 2007 #634 of 1052
    TBarclay3

    TBarclay3 New Member

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    Feb 14, 2007
    Smyrna, GA
    After my initial bad experience with the Charter cable card install, I called twice to try to get things working over the phone -- no luck. And I was told that a tech could only come out on weekdays, either morning or afternoon. Since I had already taken one day off from work, I had to wait to find another day I could take off an afternoon. Finally, I found a day I could take and called Charter to arrange another visit. At that point, the installer said his records showed my cards had never been initiated -- and that my cards would be working when I got home that evening. But just in case, he scheduled a truck roll for -- Saturday morning! (So I had been lied to about weekday-only appointments!!) Unfortunately, still no luck on the encrypted channels that evening. So I waited for Saturday morning. The visit was scheduled for between 8am and Noon. The installer arrived at 11:55. He was already calling to get the authorizations and wondering why he had to come in person. He did bring some new cable cards in case the first ones were bad. When he finally connected with the office after waiting for 15 minutes -- the cell phone disconnected -- and I was getting a really bad feeling. He tried to call again, on his phone and mine -- and this time he gave the information and all of a sudden, I got that 161-4 error message, twice (once for each card) in a period of about a minute. And voila -- all the channels were there! I couldn't believe it was that easy. Took about 30 minutes -- with 25 of those waiting on the phone for an agent to pick up. I can't believe there's not a quicker way for Charter techs to connect to their office. But now I'm not complaining -- I'm getting my movie channels and HD premiums and I'm a happy camper.
     
  15. Feb 25, 2007 #635 of 1052
    CraigHB

    CraigHB __________

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    Dec 24, 2003
    Reno, NV
    I think Charter has not yet realized cable card activation is really a simple process, call in the numbers, initialize the cards, done. For some reason, they think anything invloving cablecards requires a techinician visit. They could make the process a lot chepaer and easier on everyone if they would allow some customer interaction. I don't know if they'll ever get it together, but once you get past the waiting around for appointments, clueless techs, and inept CSR's, things do seem to work just fine.
     
  16. Feb 25, 2007 #636 of 1052
    pl1

    pl1 Active Member

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    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Same with Comcast. While part of me thinks it is just their way to get another $50 installation fee, it does not correlate with them allowing us to pickup cable boxes and DVR's.
     
  17. Feb 25, 2007 #637 of 1052
    Rick&CAT

    Rick&CAT Rick & Carole-Anne

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    Feb 25, 2007
    Riverside, CA
    CraigHB hit it right on the head.
    We were told initially to come down to the Charter office to pick up our two cablecards. Went down last Tuesday to pick them up - oh no, we have to install them!!
    On Thursday, the installer came to install - never done a TIVO before. Took him three hours. Some stations didn't come in so he called in his supervisor. Supervisor came over, yanked out the cards and reinstalled them. An hour later, the super tells him it takes a few hours for all the stations to "kick in".
     
  18. Mar 6, 2007 #638 of 1052
    CharterJames

    CharterJames Digital Guru

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    Jan 29, 2007
    Hickory, NC
    The Cards are pretty simple and straight forward, there are just a few things you have to look out for:

    1) Customer Service (and even technicians) are not really trained at all on this. As far as the Cableco goes, we're pretty much taught that you should just be able to pop in the card and go... which is MOSTLY true... but to get the card to "pair" with any hardware it has to be initialized. - a "Cold Initialization" will do the trick and most CSRs should be able to do this (depending on the system and it's billing interface, the "CSG" billing system I know does this - "ICOMS" I'm not sure of.)

    One thing to look for - if you get sent a cold init you should see an Error 161-4 on your screen (At least if it's a motorola card, Scientific Atlanta Systems might be different) - this is not a bad thing - what happens in a Motorola system is the Cold Init sends a "reboot" command at the end of it's run and this command cannot be executed by cable card equipment. Most CC equipment will ignore the command but TIVO gives the 161-4 error. I like to think of it as an Acknowledgement of the Cold Init.

    2) Because different CC equipment reacts differently to different firmwares, the cards will not be upgraded in the field - they are left on their base firmware. *Nothing a CSR can do remotely can Wipe this root firmware off* - I mean this... NOTHING - I run a Digital Controller - this is the server that actually sends the commands down to boxes and cablecards - I've sent both Cold and "Warm" inits as well as "Hits" and "Refreshes" - all directly from the controller - and none of them will "burn out" the card.

    Sometimes it will take a different Card - one thing to look for (again in a moto system) is a MEDIACYPHER-M card - the ones with the picture of a globe on it - it will probably also have gold/brash looking "studs" on the insertion end and holes in the back - the older non-M mediacyphers have a smooth insertion end and no holes on the back edge.

    M cards should work with TIVO, however these Mediacypher-M's initially come with a pre-release firmware that does not "play well with others" :rolleyes:

    Later this year new "M" cards should be rolling out, these will look COMPLETELY different on the label end, with a Red / Blue color scheme - one for 1 way and one for 2 way.

    The new "M" cards will support multi-stream and if I'm correct you'll only need 1 card (in the first slot) in your TIVO to run both tuners. There's no ETA on this, but I'm thinking they'll trickle out into the field by 3rd Quarter 2007 - I'm hoping to have some to test for my market in the next month or so.


    3) Because cablecards require the cold init to get started - we prefer to have a technician there when the cards are put in or removed. In theory yeah, all you'd have to do is pick up your handy-dandy card and call in and have someone init it... just like a cable modem - just call in and have them put it on the account and provision it... but then again, in theory the Titanic was Unsinkable...


    "Cold Init" / "Cold Initialization" is the magic word... often you can get a less knowledgable CSR to do this by asking them to "Reset" the card - if they worry they will break something, tell them it's ok.

    and again, from my earlier rant, just a reminder - Cable Companies support CableCard, not TIVO... so expect to have to find out any oddball error codes, don't expect anyone at any CableCo to understand how to work your menus etc and make friends with people on the other side of the fence who know the ropes and can help you out ;)

    Worst case senerio, Go up the chain - if the CSR or CSR supervisor refuse to help you, keep asking to go up the chain... if they give you any flack about TIVO, just tell them you want support for your CableCARD.

    Personally I think the best support route is to go to the local office and let them know, ask if there's someone who can help you troubleshoot it like a chief tech or some sort of guru - with luck you'll be passed on to someone like me who loves playing with oddball stuff! :cool:
     
  19. Mar 8, 2007 #639 of 1052
    blybarg

    blybarg New Member

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    Dec 9, 2006
    St. Louis,...
    Long time Charter customer in St. Louis. Recently bought Tivo 3 and had Charter install a CableCard, tech had never seen a Tivo 3 or installed a card in one. I guess being a Charter service tech, it's long hours and no time to keep up with current technology. Initially, he was scratching his head over why the card would not receive channels after relaying the codes to the mothership. He removed the card and re-installed. Bingo, everything worked, digital channels, movie channels, HD channels. Took him 10 minutes and he was gone. Tomorrow, I'm having a second card installed, I'm crossing my fingers this install goes well.
    Can't say enough about the Tivo 3 box. Looking forward to replacing another Tivo 2 box when Tivo 3 box hits <$300.
     
  20. Mar 9, 2007 #640 of 1052
    bk406

    bk406 New Member

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    Feb 22, 2007
    Why didnt you have both cards installed on the same truck run? That doesnt make sense to break it up over 2 days.
     

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