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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by amjustice, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    The old polls indicate that about 70% had no (or minor) problems with the CableCard installs, and that in most places it depends on the cable companies experience. At this point of time Comcast San Francisco should be in good shape. Given that the 70% included all the "leading-edge" folks who had to deal with teaching their cable company what to do, the no-problem percentage is probably much higher now.
  2. sfhub

    sfhub New Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    Same area. No problem with CableCARD operation. 15 minute install and have worked since. Just pain of multiple calls and explanations to get incorrect billing fixed.
  3. jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo New Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    I'm in San Francisco and Comcast installed my cable cards in December. It took multiple appointments (some of which Comcast didn't even show up for!!!) until they got the cable cards properly set up, but since that time I haven't had any problems with them (no spontaneous reboots, no suddenly missing channels, etc).

    I don't know whether more Comcast employees are sufficiently trained in terms of properly installing and authorizing cable cards now than there were four months ago. My guess is that the situation has changed only marginally if at all. So, given my experience, I would say that it's quite probable that you'll have to have multiple appointments until you get a competent tech at your home on the phone with a competent person at their head end in order to get your Series 3 working properly.

  4. chrishiggins

    chrishiggins New Member

    Jul 22, 2003
    FWIW, my CableCard install in Portland, Oregon on Comcast was pain-free. The guy showed up, followed the instructions that came with the unit (there's a sheet explaining how to install the cards -- written for cable company installers), and everything just worked. The S3 has continued to work flawlessly, and I haven't had any of these freaky problems (reboots etc.) I've read about. The only issue I have with it is some user interface functions (like scrolling through lists of programs) is slower than the S2, but I'm assuming that'll be fixed in software at some point.

    And I bought my unit on the first day!
  5. markp99

    markp99 TakoKichi

    Mar 21, 2002
    My Comcast cablecard install was relatively pain-free.

    CC#2 was bad, so the installer drove out the local Comcast office and picked-up another. Added ~1hr to the install process.
  6. Mike in NJ

    Mike in NJ New Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    The tech showed up, and when I told him they said a hit would "fry" the card, his response was "You're kidding!? I can't believe they would tell you that. The first thing I would do in this situation is call and ask them to send a hit!". He was a very nice guy.

    He called dispatch, waited on hold for 30 minutes, told the dispatcher what was happening, then waited on hold for 10 more minutes. The dispatcher then came back told him to see if the channels were working now. I tested, and they were!

    He asked the dispatcher what she did, and she said that she added some missing codes to the account. I guess I'll have to wait and see the bill next month to see what she did (because I'm not going to call customer service again and risk them messing something up).

    FWIW, I didn't see any indication (161-4 or otherwise) that they sent a hit to the cards. The missing channels just "came back".
  7. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood New Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    My Fresno Story:

    I called Comcast on Saturday and was told they don't have cable cards for Tivo, just for TVs. I said that is what I need (2 of em). She scheduled the rep for Tuesday.

    Friendly tech came out said he's never setup tivo before so I gave him the instructions. Cable card one went great, Cable card two had a few hiccups but SEEMED to work.

    Didn't play around much with the tivo again until yesterday when I noticed sometimes when I change channels I get nothing.

    Long story short, when I go look at the cable card configuration menu, Cable card one shows "Authorized" under one of the sub menus (3rd or 4th option) and cable card 2 has an error (not at home can't recall the exact error something about missing program key).

    800 number verified the serial number, checked the "host" and sent a signal to the card to reset it. The reset came back with the same error so I've got a tech coming back out and he will most likely replace the card (cause I doubt that he or the 800 tech can do any kind of programming to the card).
  8. jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo New Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    This is consistent with my experience. Instead of admitting that the staff at their head end don't all know how to properly authorize cable cards (and do whatever account settings are necessary so that you get the channels you are paying for), Comcast wants to inconvenience the customer by sending out techs to the home again and again to swap out cards. I bet that there is nothing wrong with the card that isn't functioning properly; they just haven't properly authorized it. Another card won't help matters unless the person at their head end working with your tech knows what he/she is doing, so you might end up having multiple tech visits to swap cards again and again until one of them has a direct line to a competent person at their head end.

    I do tech support for a living. I would really like to see the systems Comcast is using to authorize cable cards. Either their systems are needlessly complex/convoluted or they simply haven't sufficiently trained all of their staff. It shouldn't take several appointments to get working cable cards unless the cards really are bad. (Missing Program Rekeys and CP Auth issues, allowing some channels to be received and others not, indicate working cards not properly authorized.)

  9. ejs2000

    ejs2000 New Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Thanks, everybody, for putting my mind at rest. I'll go ahead and order that S3, and if I do have any CC problems, I'll just come here to see how to fix it, because someone else will have had it before. And meanwhile I'll hook the box up to a digital antenna.

    Thanks again!
  10. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    my dink small town provider is getting absorbed by the borg:

    Comcast Buys Patriot Media

    Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing-

    I guess SDV is in my future? (I was kind of hoping he dink wouldn't do it anytime soon- but I've seen threads here that comcast is doing it by year end?)

    But I guess if that happens I can sell my S3 and rent comcastivo's - I just hope they get some semblance of MRV or something. (My dink is already Motorola so I guess)

    So can someone aim me to the latest info on comcast and SDV.

    And is there a place to see what HD channels comcast has and what prices they charge (I think prices vary a ton so maybe that's not possible but aren't the channels sort of the same everywhere?)

    thanks for your help assimilating
  11. jerwin

    jerwin New Member

    Mar 26, 2004
    I had Comcast out yesterday to replace my DirecTV stuff. I purchased two brand new S3 TIVO units and had them installed and running before the Comcast guy showed up. All they needed was the Cablecard installations. He had never done S3s before, which worried me, but he made a call, read the TIVO instructions (brilliant move, by the way, on TIVO's part to include these) and it all want smoothly.

    He did have to go through eight (8!) Cablecards in order to find four that worked though. He said the problem is that other installers just return the bad ones to stock without marking them as bad.

    Other than some minor pixillation on the local HiDef channels, which Comcast says is a local (Seattle) problem ('That IS a problem and we ARE working on it...) the system is working flawlessly. The TIVO even found my iTunes on my Mac Pro and I have access to my 5000+ song music collection! How cool is that?

    The installer did leave a new working Cablecard behind by accident. ANy thoughts as to what I might do with it? Does it have any value?
  12. ah30k

    ah30k New Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    Uhmm, call them and have them come get it?

    Right and wrong aside. there is very little use for them unless the cable company configures them by serial number in their system and associate them with a customer account. Otherwise, cases of CableCARDs would go missing off the Moto and Comcast loading docks.
  13. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood New Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    Interesting Update Jeff. The tech who came out (without another cablecard I might add--waiting for a 3rd visit from a tech with a card) made small talk with me while calling the supervisor to authorize the next visit and told me Comcast here doesn't HAVE the ability to TEST the cards (seems pretty easy to me, buy a cable card TV and plug in every card, pre - authorizing it on that TV for testing then reseting it?) so they bring out the cards and hope they work.

    Also, to provide the details of the error on my machine the second card showed this under "Conditional Access", about the middle of the screen:

  14. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    That requires a "cold init" or a "hard init", not just a normal hit.
  15. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood New Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    Ah good news! I got a new card in the second slot, I have new cable connectors outside my home, and after initializing the new card I now have both cards "authorized".

    Crispy, after reading through this site and others I told the tech my existing card needed a "Cold initiation" or something of that nature and he went through all the other steps while waiting for comcast on the other end to enter the card information. . .think of all the time they could have saved by some training to their staff...IMHO I think the staff are afraid of these cards.
  16. jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo New Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    Even though they are (theoretically at least) a technology company, I agree that many of their staff seems "afraid" of these cards. Too bad they cannot attract more employees who are actually interested in technology and want to understand it versus just "having a job." Of course it doesn't help that Comcast potentially stands to benefit when customers get frustrated due to hassles involved getting cable cards properly installed: just get the Comcast DVR instead!

  17. dconner

    dconner New Member

    Mar 13, 2004
    I sense that part of the problem is that there's approximately one person at each Comcast office who understands the meaning of that sentence. And it's not knowledge that's ever disseminated through their customer support system, so unless you eventually make contact with the one person who knows what he's doing (in my experience, it took 6 failed service calls to get to this point), it'll never happen.
  18. pl1

    pl1 New Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    Actually, it is the same thing they do with an STB. I have read on these forums that a hit to the cableCARDs also affected the STB, so if that IS the case, they should be very familiar with the term.

    EDIT: And, the 141 error is because the cableCARD is not resetting like the STB does.
  19. doubleagent

    doubleagent New Member

    May 13, 2006
    Called comcast to add hbo to my cable cards and the hits did not work. Made an appointment to replace the cards. Called back a second time to speak with someone else about updating the data fields and she told me it wouldn't matter because they are like "memory sticks". Can anyone verify that my cards need to be replaced? They would not perform a cold hit for me over the phone.
  20. mattm29

    mattm29 Seattle TiVo stud!

    Aug 12, 2001
    No they don't need replaced. You just have to find someone that knows what they are doing and knows which HIT to send. I had a tech out and even he couldn't fix the problem. I finally found someone on the phone that knew cable cards and she solved my issue in 30 seconds or less.

    It's just finding that person that is a pain in the butt.

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