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Comcast Houston Switching to SA CableCards

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by matt@thehickmans, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. Dec 19, 2008 #1 of 239
    matt@thehickmans

    matt@thehickmans Hemo_jr

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    Jan 8, 2008
    Got a letter from Comcast today telling me to bring in my Motorola cable cards to my local service center and get new ones (SA M-Cards apparently).

    To install the SA cable cards, all I need to do (according to the letter) is:
    1. insert the new cable card
    2. Wait 3-5 minutes for the "TV" to define channels once installed

    Considering the multi-week ordeal required to get the Motorola cable cards (in now) working, I am a bit skeptical that this will go smoothly.

    If/when anyone in Houston exchanges cards I would like to hear their stories. I'd like to hear any clue as to how they do pairing (Comcast is painting this as an automatic process). Do you have to put the new SA card in a specific TiVo? (I have three that take CCs) .

    I was also thinking of getting the new SA cards first, switching them at home, then when (if) they ever actually work, taking the Motorola card back to the service center. Not sure how that would fly.

    Thanks
     
  2. Dec 20, 2008 #2 of 239
    blibman

    blibman New Member

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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    I went to the midtown Comcast today and asked if I could get new CCs and bring the old ones back later. I was told no. I insisted that this would be best, the (very rude) lady said absolutely not. Then I acted like I needed new cards for a new device, she said no.

    Supposedly when you take in your old cards they will update the information in their systems and activate the new cards while you are in the store. This is why you should be able to go and just "plug and play". I have my doubts.

    I guess they already have the information for your Tivos in their system and since the CCs are unidirectional (data sent from Comcast to you), maybe it will work.

    If I feel brave enough, I may give it a shot on Saturday.

    It is my understanding that the Series 3 will not support Multi cards and that I will need two Single cards. I will be searching the forums tonight for this answer as well.

    Wish me luck!

    Brian
     
  3. Dec 20, 2008 #3 of 239
    Langree

    Langree The Gimp

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    Apr 29, 2004
    Freezinmyass...
    Correct, the Series 3 needs S cards, while the TiVoHD can use M cards.

    If I get the letter I'm making them come get it. Not taking a cab just to swap cards.
     
  4. Dec 20, 2008 #4 of 239
    blibman

    blibman New Member

    78
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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    What I have found in the forums is that the S3 needs two CCs, either S or M (a M card will act as an S card in the S3).

    I'm guessing the clerk at the Comcast office will have a set of steps to complete and will not actually know what they are doing--as long as I leave with two cards, S or M, I'll be fine.

    I am curious on what the changes are that require all the Motorola CCs to be replaced by SA CCs. Earlier this year, they forced people to replace the Motorola HD cable boxes with SA HD cable boxes or SA HD DVRs. If CC is a standard, why should one card work when the other doesn't.

    Brian
     
  5. Dec 20, 2008 #5 of 239
    rv65

    rv65 New Member

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    Aug 30, 2008
    SA and Motorola use different encryption standards.
     
  6. Dec 20, 2008 #6 of 239
    bicker

    bicker bUU

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    Nov 9, 2003
    Georgia
    Keep us updated, please, regarding whether this "works". Thanks.
     
  7. Dec 20, 2008 #7 of 239
    jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    Oct 17, 2003
    Pittsburgh
    Very interesting concept. They will update the information in your account when you exchange the cards. Seems like, if done properly, it should work. However, it seems that this would mean that they need to tell you when you get the new cards which card goes into which slot on the TiVo, assuming they use the card serial number in the pairing process. If they don't specify which is which you may have to swap them in TiVo if the first try fails.

    The poster with three TiVos may have a little more of a control issue. May want to do one TiVo at a time if they aren't properly controlled. Before going in to get the cards I would check the Host-id on each TiVo and them ask them which cards are for which Host.
     
  8. Dec 20, 2008 #8 of 239
    TheDecn

    TheDecn New Member

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    Feb 9, 2006
    This swap has been a real mess for me, which unfortunately is what I expected. I have an S3 and an HD, so took in my 3 Moto cards yesterday to swap for SA. I asked the rep how this was going to work when they didn't have my Host ID or Cablecard ID, and she said all she needed to do was put the new serial numbers into my account and everything would be fine. I could just plug the cards in, wait for 5min, and I would be good to go. I asked her if she was sure I didn't need to call in ID numbers and she said not anymore.

    I knew this wasn't going to work, and sure enough it didn't. I waited a couple hours and of course no encrypted channels. So I called tech support and they indicated I would need to wait at least 24hrs for Cablecard activation. Now, the three other times I went through this process in the past it did not take 24hrs and I was certain they needed my HostID, but I could not get anyone to listen after calling back 2 more times to 2 more techs. Late last night I checked in the Cablecard menus and sure enough the cards were still not activated.

    So...this morning I sent a tweet to http://www.twitter.com/comcastcares and Frank hooked me up with a local (very polite and apologetic) corporate rep. He confirmed they do indeed need HostID and took all my info once again. Then he called back to tell me he forwarded info to their tech department, apologized that they were swamped but promised to have me fixed up by the end of the day. He called back once more after that to confirm that the techs had the info and would be working it soon. (By the way, the absolute best way to get help from Comcast is to send a tweet to Frank@comcastcares. This is the third time I've used him and I always get top-notch help that goes way beyond what I would get with a normal phone call to support.)

    So...hopefully they get this process fixed but as you can see it's definitely not going to be as simple as just taking cards in and swapping them. I will expect to have my encrypted channels on line by the end of the day, but we'll see! At least the local rep gave me his direct number so I won't have to go through a bunch of nonsense if I have to get support on the line again.
     
  9. Dec 20, 2008 #9 of 239
    blibman

    blibman New Member

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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    How do you send a tweet? Don't they actually have to be following you?

    Thanks.
    Brian

    PS I am in the middle of "the nightmare", will update soon.
     
  10. Dec 20, 2008 #10 of 239
    blibman

    blibman New Member

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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    I just sent an email and got a response from Frank, but I am not optimistic that my nightmare is over.

    Brian

    Frank said: "I have reached out to our contacts in Houston to see if they can assist. I also shared your email with the leadership staff because I have seen a few people having trouble with the conversion. Obviously we would not want to see them have this difficulty. There is a specific are that is handling setting these up so I am hoping our team we deal with will be able to make sure this is cared for as quickly as possible."
     
  11. Dec 20, 2008 #11 of 239
    blibman

    blibman New Member

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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    So, emailing We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com did get me a email reply and a call from a Corporate response person here in Houston named Micheal (on a Saturday evening).

    From what I understand, what they do at the Comcast store is not going to work, because they need your host id. Of course, they should have this information for your prior cards. For the new cards, they need the serial number of the card and its mac address, both of which they already have. Customer support can only submit this information to Engineering via some kind of message/email. Then you wait. Some promise 24 hours, some promise 48 (the letter promised 3-5 minutes, the rep at the store promised 2 hours). I have talked to reps in Houston, "not in Houston" and in Mexico today. All different stories. If they could train all the store reps what to do, don't you think they would have sent some kind of memo to the telephone people?

    I'll get a $5 credit out of this, yet I have lost a day of time AND I have not been able to watch programs that I really wanted to see (priceless?)

    As I wait now, I have been told "by midnight tonight".

    More updates later.

    Brian
     
  12. Dec 20, 2008 #12 of 239
    ajwees41

    ajwees41 Active Member

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    May 7, 2006
    Omaha,NE
    I have heard of places where SA cards are used while the boxes HD,DVR where from Motorola and vice-versea
     
  13. Dec 20, 2008 #13 of 239
    blibman

    blibman New Member

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    Oct 23, 2001
    Houston,...
    I think in Houston it all has to do with HD encryption/compression. They are keeping Motorola boxes for non-HD boxes. All HD DVRS, boxes and cable cards will have to be SA. The letter lists the channels you will not be able to get if you keep your Motorola CC or box.

    B
     
  14. Dec 20, 2008 #14 of 239
    Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!! TCF Club

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    Denver ish
    The series 3 works just fine with M Cards. You just need two of them two record two things at once on a Series 3.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2008 #15 of 239
    Langree

    Langree The Gimp

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    Apr 29, 2004
    Freezinmyass...
    ok, so you can't use one M card for 2 tuners like you can on the HD.
     
  16. Dec 20, 2008 #16 of 239
    Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!! TCF Club

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    Denver ish
    Right but it's important to note, because some cable companies only offer M-Cards...
     
  17. Dec 20, 2008 #17 of 239
    gpsj1966

    gpsj1966 New Member

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    Aug 9, 2002
    I swapped my cards today and they aren't working (Went to the office in Katy off of Mason Rd). I'm only getting a few channels 2-60 and then a few others like BBC and the locals. I waited about an hour and then called Tech Support. The tech I talked to said that I should at least be getting all 2-80 and the locals (~305 - ~311) and the music channels. She took down all of my info but seemed a little clueless.

    They had a really good system in place earlier. I have no idea why they just didn't stick with that. When I moved here from Dallas in June getting set up was virtually painless. I went to the office, picked up my cards, installed them, called support and gave them the card # and Host ID. About 2 days later everything worked fine.

    Dallas was a nightmare. Took 2 months and about 6 service visits and everytime it was the same story "I don't know cable cards going to have to get a superviser". You'd think after a while when you say "Cable Card" and "Tivo" they'd send somebody that knew how to set it up. Finally found a "Comments to The President" form on Time Warner Dallas's Web page and within 24 hours everything was working fine. I have no idea why these companies make this so difficult.
     
  18. Dec 20, 2008 #18 of 239
    lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    Incorrect. The S3 requires 2 cards. They work fine with M-cards, but regardless of the card type, the S3 requires 2. The THD can handle either 1 M-card or 2 S-Cards.
     
  19. Dec 20, 2008 #19 of 239
    lrhorer

    lrhorer New Member

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    Aug 31, 2003
    San...
    No. Whether HD or SD, Cisco gear will not work with Motorola gear, period.

    This is no doubt transitional for a staged rollout. HD customers represent less than half the total subscriber base, so by moving just the HD channels first, they can reduce the load on their deployment - not to mention their wallet - by doubling up the SD channels on both SA and Motorola QAMs and rolling out the upgrade for only HD customers first. Since SD channels only use 1/6 the bandwidth of HD channels, doubling up on SD channels on their new equipment is not technically or financially burdensome. Eventually I am sure once the HD deployment is complete, they will begin to roll out a staged SD deployment, perhaps in large measure through simple attrition. The turnover in STBs is huge.
     
  20. Dec 21, 2008 #20 of 239
    TheDecn

    TheDecn New Member

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    Feb 9, 2006
    Michael is the guy that called me also, though it was around 11am this morning. Guess he is working late! And he was definitely able to help, as 2 of my 3 cards were indeed activated as of about 5pm tonight. One card in my S3 and the card in my HD. The other card in my S3 is still not working...guess maybe they made a mistake entering the info or something (hopefully I don't have a bad card). I have Michael's office phone number so I'll call him tomorrow or Monday.

    I completely agree...their previous system was stellar. I activated cards 3 times in the past and had no trouble at all. Called a direct line and got a tech who knew exactly what he was doing and had all channels up and running in no time. Why in the world they would screw this up so bad knowing they are going to have to do this with many people over the next 30 days is beyond me!
     

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