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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. JTYoung1

    JTYoung1 Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    Well my cable cards have been working from day 1, I've been trying to get the billing issues resolved. I finally thought I had it worked out in December when they issued their price list giving a price for a 2nd cable card of $1.50. I called and they actually told me there was no charge at all for a 2nd card on a Series 3 TiVo and they took care of it, both cards work and I didn't pay any extra. A few weeks ago they needed the data off my cards so I had to call in and give them the card info so they could issue an "update"
    I get my bill today and the "update" apparently was a $6.95 additional outlet charge for the 2nd cable card. I called in and they said that if they took it off my cable card would not work. I've been waiting all evening for a call back from a supercisor. .
  2. SMcCormack

    SMcCormack New Member

    Oct 9, 2002
    Concord, CA
    I've had my tivo since october and until today I hadn't had a single problem. Then today I went to watch TV and noticed all of my digital channels weren't working and all I was receiving on both tuners was what amounted to basic cable.

    I called comcast and was told that they have been 'fixing' cable cards and that some weren't coming back to life after the fix was done. The rep couldn't tell me what exactly they were fixing but apparently it didn't go well. :(

    They sent hits to both cards and Card 2 came back to life but Card 1 is suck in basic cable hell and a tech is coming out on Sunday to swap it. Oh the joy of comcast! :)
  3. themtx

    themtx New Member

    Apr 12, 2007
    Wealth of info here, thanks folks.

    My story - abbreviated version:

    Had 2 Comcast cards that were both working fine as of 12/06 in S3. Channel re-org happened on 4/3, worked ok but we were unable to receive AETVHD and NGCHD here in South FL. 3 service calls later, the techs finally got someone in the home office who knew how to hit each card individually, and voila! lineup correct, all is good.

    Interesting thing we learned - the newest cards we installed appear to be M-cards! When we were troubleshooting cards / slots, we left just one in slot 1, and lo and behold - multituner action on one card - Live TV button would switch between 2 separate channels. I was ready to call it a day when we got just that 1 working (since we tested and it could actually record 2 hd streams simultaneously!) - but the techs persisted and got the second going in tandem.

    So, my question is - does anyone know if we gain any functionality w/2 M cards installed? Can we record more than 2 streams simultaneously if both cards are M capable? I might be way off base here, and the tivo might not support it, but I was shocked that a single card did the multi-tuner thing... Also, how far off are the CC2 cards w/2way? Is it possible the M cards we have now are 2 way capable? Diag screens report "the host considers this a one-way" deal - but is it?

  4. TerpBE

    TerpBE Go Terps!

    Jan 23, 2003
    Philly 'burbs
    JTYoung, I was in that loop for months, and finally found somebody who could help. See my post a couple of pages back for her contact info.
  5. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    The Series 3 is a one-way host device; it has nothing to do with the cablecard itself. It will never be able to communicate with the head-end and will never be able to support PPV or SDV without additional hardware and a separate communication path to the head-end, and there's no indication any such add-on is or will be in the works, ever, and any such add-on would require support by both TiVo and the cable company it's connected to.

    More likely, you'll see a new version of the Series 3 introduced that has 2-way host device capability.
  6. Roderigo

    Roderigo New Member

    Mar 11, 2002
    Brookdale, CA
    MCards fall back to S-Mode in an S3. So, most likely you were watching at least one unencrypted channel, and not actually seeing the card decrypt two channels at the same time. The real test is to tune to some premium channel (that you know is encrypted, though most SD digital is also encrypted), and see if you can have two different channels at the same time with only one card.

    For now, you still need two cards, regardless of them being SCards or MCards. Who knows when/if tivo will release MCard (running in M-Mode) support for the S3. The number of recordings you can do at the same time is also limited by another scarce resource - the number of actual tuners. MCards can process more than two streams at the same time, but the host has to have tuners to get the data to feed the card.
  7. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    I wonder if anyone has tested the combination of M-card with the new 8.3.1 TiVo OS, either wittingly or unwittingly?

    Previous initial reports indicated some people had problems getting M-cards to work at all in S3 (but that could have been general CableCARD issues unrelated to M-card)

    Is the 2nd tuner active when you only have one S-card? That would be the implication if the 2nd tuner was active with one M-card working in S-card mode.

    If so then the subclass of folks who only care about HD locals can get away with just 1 single CableCARD, S-card or M-card because nothing they are watching is encrypted. Might save them some CableCARD config hassles.

    These folks could also get away with 0 CableCARDs if Comcast would use their PSIP to map the channel #s to match their own system (vs propogating the OTA PSIP channel #s)
  8. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    After you set up the TiVo with two cards, you can pull one out.
  9. doubleagent

    doubleagent New Member

    May 13, 2006
    Did the error 161-4 go away after update 8.1?
  10. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    Meaning only 2 CableCARDs are needed for initial setup, or that I should try that and see if it works? I think you are probably saying the former, but I wasn't sure.
  11. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
  12. ChickenCheese

    ChickenCheese with BBQ sauce

    Sep 8, 2003
    I figured I would chime in on how my cablecard install went this morning. The tech shows up and tells me that this is the first time that he's done a cablecard install. In fact, he's never heard of a Series 3. :(

    Uh oh. Now I'm thinking it's gonna be a long day. But not too worry, he says, we'll get it working. Long story short, it only took about 1/2 hour! He was able to call his supervisor who connected him to someone else who's done these before. With me working the remote and him on the phone calling in the numbers, it worked out great. :up:

    He was a really nice guy and thanked me for helping him out. I seemed to know WAY more then him about cablecards and the S3! I'm glad someone else mentioned about giving the cards some time to get working. I thought for sure we had a couple dead cards when they wouldn't "work" right away. But the first two were good.

    I'm very happy S3 owner right now :D
  13. ToyRunner

    ToyRunner New Member

    Aug 31, 2006
    I only have basic plus digital...no premium stations.
  14. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I think that they charge the A/O for premium stations. I have not been charged anything (yet) for either cableCARD, but I have been charged for one A/O of $2.75 and that is with HBO and SHO. When I also had an STB, I was charged for TWO A/O's at $2.75/mo each. No extra charge for the cableCARDs.
  15. jstrazz

    jstrazz Jstrazz

    Jan 20, 2007
    I'm in the Fort Lauderdale area and I have a Series 3 Tivo with two cable cards and a separate cable box. I have a Samsung TV with a cable card slot that didn't work after the first day of installation. I got nothing but pixillation and then just a black screen. After NUMEROUS visits by Comcast technicians, I was finally told that three cable cards will not work in the system...so therefore, I got a cable box to watch a third program when two other shows are recording. The cable box (with no DVR) works fine. The cable cards in the Tivo unit have not been able to receive National Geographic HD or A&E HD since the channels were added to the system. I have since made endless phone calls to Comcast about this problem, I've had them send signals to the card, I've had technicians come to the house, I've had the cards replaced...in other words, I've done everything short of re-wiring my apartment building to try to get the two new channels on my Tivo. At first, I was getting a Cable Card Message, now I just get a black screen when I tune to those channels. I have given up on this problem. If anyone knows anything about this problem and how to resolve it, please let me know so that I can tell the Cable Technicians how to solve it.

    In the meantime, I have also ordered the MLB EXTRA INNINGS. I get that only on the cable box. Once again, I do not get those channels on my Tivo with the Cable Cards. Is anyone familiar with this problem? Are we not supposed to receive those channels on the cable cards?

  16. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    Sounds like this is totally a cableco issue, especially since the cableCARD in your TV is not working. But, to answer your question, if your MLB station is a regular channel that you can see on your TiVo guide (for example, mine is channel 621-630), then you can get them on your TiVo with cableCARDs. I've been getting the NHL Center Ice package on the same channels all year long. You may have to let the CSR know you want them on your cableCARDs, though.
  17. jstrazz

    jstrazz Jstrazz

    Jan 20, 2007
    So this goes back to my initial problem with the CableCards. Now I have two problems to resolve with Comcast, The NATGEO/A&E problem and the MLB PACKAGE problem. All the signal sending in the world by Comcast and all the changing of the CableCards have not been able to resolve the issue. Now, I'm really worried that any more new channels that are added to the lineup will also not work in my Tivo either.

    If anyone from Tivo and/or Comcast views these forums, PLEEEEEEEEZE HELP ME!
  18. May 4, 2007 #2578 of 9367

    AgentSmith New Member

    Dec 22, 2001
    Kokomo, IN
    I just received my S3 last night, and had my CableCard install (Insight, which is really a Comcast affiliate) this morning. It went like this:

    The installer inserts CableCard 1. We wait for the MMI screen, he calls in, gets it hit, everything works. I hit all my pay channels and several basic digital channels through the Guided Setup Test Channels function, eveything works great.

    The installer inserts CableCard 2 and has it hit. Test. Digital channels work. Copy protected channels (HBO, SHO, etc) are all grey screen. CA screen says "MISSING_REKEY" or something similar. Office guy tries an unpair/repair, it fails, then he says "his reader probably needs a firmware update". Major fear commences on my part. I explain that it IS up to the latest S/W. He calls the tech supervisor.

    Tech supervisor suggests a reboot. Yeah, right. I appease them. No joy. Finally, the tech supervisor says "hold on, let me try something else". The Cablecard completely resets, re-downloads the channel map then goes to "No Channels Available". Once the card woke up from the reinit, everything worked! The tech supervisor said he "hit it from the DAC", whatever that means. Total install time, 1 hour. I've recorded 5-6 hours of pay/non-pay/HD/SD content tonight, without a single issue.
  19. May 4, 2007 #2579 of 9367

    sriggins New Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    AgentSmith, my install was similar, #2 was borked, had them reset the card, then it worked.
  20. May 4, 2007 #2580 of 9367

    ivyvine420 New Member

    Mar 14, 2007
    Just did a manual network connection an hour ago or so, found a new "message" from Tivo which states:

    Well I'm not gonna quote it, but this is basically what it says, Comcast has notified (Tivo) that in the SF Bay Area they are going to implement the Copy Protection Management System... This will affect Tivo customers with Cablecards, and this is how to tell if you need to do something about it (call Comcast) or not. If you go under the Cablecards menu (select #1 first, cablecard 2 should be the same anyways though) and to the Conditional Access item (which is #4 out of 5 on the menu list), then look at the (bottom) of the screen area for the HOST VALIDATION: this should show either Unknown or Valid. If Valid, you are fine, if not (unknown) then the cablecard is *not* totally paired up to the Comcast Copy Protection Management System which means that when the "switch" happens, any of the encrypted channels won't go through, you have to have it listed as "Valid" for things to run normally.

    I have no idea if this has any relation to the random 0:00 recordings (I have even had some "error screens" where it shows the cable card screen like for the above yet the recording -when checked right after the program has finished recording- is totally fine) but I will try and get my cablecards properly paired and validated with the HOST Validation and keep an eye on an errors (and/or cable card screen pop-ups) plus 0:00 recordings.

    Maybe they were having problems without using the copy protection and once switched over to the "on" side, things will stop, or maybe (but less likely) it was having problems as they were setting up the system, maybe those times we got the 0:00 recordings were when they did a quick test of the system - meaning it would block out the channel if it was an encrypted one and you didn't already have the "Host Validation" as Valid and not Unknown... Actually, the more I think about it, it all makes sense with a "Test", the blocking of the feed for that one channel only etc, but again, I may be reading more into it all (finding things that are not actually connected even though it looks like it)....

    Ah well, who knows...


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