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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Sep 21, 2006 #261 of 9367

    richburr New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    My S3 will be arriving today. I called Comcast's 800 number and spoke to a person there who did not seem to be aware of the new Tivos.

    I told her that I wanted two CableCards, and she told me that I would not be able to view VOD content with them. I told her that I was aware of that, and that I would also like an HD box.

    She told me that I only needed the HD box. I told her that no, I also needed the CableCards as they are required for the Tivo. At some point she put me on hold, and after she came back she told me that she had spoken with a tech who told her that I only needed the HD box. I told her again that I also needed the CableCards, that the tech was wrong.

    She scheduled me for an appointment, I have to wait over a week to get one that is outside of my work schedule. She told me that they would need a second outlet, and that there was a fee of $24 to install that. She said there is a $16 fee to roll the truck, but that they would only charge me the $24.

    She also said there would be a monthly fee for the HD box. I since have seen that FAQ and it does appear that should be free, I guess I will hash that out with them after I get my bil...

  2. Sep 21, 2006 #262 of 9367

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Not in any sane system, but we are talking about Comcast here.

    This seems to be a way to deflect the customer and let the installer leave, without the install being completed.
  3. Sep 21, 2006 #263 of 9367

    Omnius New Member

    May 30, 2006
    Everybody keeps talking about the FAQ and the "free cable box" with cable cards. I believe that is wishfull thinking and I read it completely different. As long as you pay for a digital package, you get a free cable box. The FAQ answer stating that they will be happy to provide you with a free cable box is just another way of saying you don't have to be cheap and get a cable card to save money, because you can get the full box for free.

    I believe you can get a free cable box, or a free cable card, if you pay for a digital pacakge, but not both a free cable card and free box.
  4. Sep 21, 2006 #264 of 9367

    singletb New Member

    May 12, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    That's the problem. If I disconect my S2 so that there are no splits in my cable when I install, then it will miss all of the shows I was going to record tonight.
  5. Sep 21, 2006 #265 of 9367

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Do you forsee a problem putting a splitter in the cable? It made no difference for me. You could always get a buffer amp if you're that worried about the signal level.

    What about taking the output from the S2 and making sure its in standby? (S2s do have RF out don't they?)
  6. Sep 21, 2006 #266 of 9367

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    HD box is $5/month here, not free, and that's also considered an additional digital outlet since you already have other outlet(s).
  7. Sep 21, 2006 #267 of 9367

    Ereth Unemployed Bum

    Jun 16, 2000
    I thought I'd add my own experience, at least so far. My S3 isn't here yet, but the tracking number says it'll be here tomorrow.

    I originally called Comcast the day the S3 was announced and was told that I could not pick up the Cablecards myself but had to have it installed, at $29.95 per cablecard. Since I didn't know when the S3 would be in, I didn't schedule the install.

    So last night I called to schedule that install and they inform me that I CAN just go get them if I want. But they were closed right then.

    So I went down this morning on my way to work and they gave me two Cablecards. I only have the very minimum cable necessary to drive my cablemodem, so she told me the Cablecards would be $9.95 each. I said cablecards should be free and then we realized she was including the cost of the new HD service that I didn't have at that point, so that was fine (though I argued I should only get charged once, not twice, since it's one box, she wasn't having any of that).

    I won't get anything but local channels in HD at this level, and the next level is about $45/month more than I'm paying, so I'm going to stick at this level until I see what it can do.

    But I have the Cablecards and will install them myself tomorrow night. Both are Motorola, but I can't tell the firmware version, of course.
  8. Sep 21, 2006 #268 of 9367

    AdamSKahn New Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    I live in Palo Alto, CA (halfway between San Francisco and San Jose). I called 1-800-945-2288. I told the technician I needed 2 cable cards installed. He figured out right away that I must have one of the new TiVos because they've been getting a lot of calls. He said that there was a one time $15.99 installation cost and that both cards were free of charge. I don't think this information was a fluke because this is the same information I received when I called Comcast on the 14th, the day I ordered my TiVo (however I did not set an appointment up at the time since I did not know when the unit would arrive). The only downside is that they've been getting so many request that the earliest they can come is October 11th. However the technician left a note for his dispatcher to see if they might be able to schedule an earlier appointment.

    Also, he said the reason that a technician had to install the cards is because when they used to let customers install them on their own, the customers would often damage the cards since they are apparently very sensitive.
  9. Sep 21, 2006 #269 of 9367

    xtoph New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    De-lurking to share my relatively positive experience... about 24 hours after deciding to get an S3, I'm all set. Not bad at all.

    Decided yesterday I could justify getting an S3. Best Buy and Circuit City were out (or not yet stocking them), but each of the two Ultimate Electronics I called had a couple in stock. (This is in the Lakewood, Colorado area.)

    On the way home from UE I stopped at the closest Comcast office and asked for a couple cable cards. Was told only tech can install them, but they set up an appointment for the next morning (today!)

    Tech was running late, and this was the first S3 he'd seen, but he was game to make it work. The cable cards looked shiny-new -- Motorola branding only, firmware version 4.21 on each.

    He was willing to follow the TiVo instruction sheet, except for the "wait for the grey screen" step -- he poked around in the Cable Card menu and hit "Hunt" over and over until the numbers came up (probably not needed.)

    The person he called to activate the first card did so quickly, and the card got its channels within a minute of the call. The tech tested a few channels from every "batch" including premiums, HD, etc. No problems.

    Card 2 was slightly more complicated because when he called he spoke with a different person who was skeptical of the whole scenario, and asked to have it explained to him a few times. Then he said the work order had been entered wrong and he had to re-enter it before he could assign me the second card, But after the red tape was cut, the activation went smoothly and the tech again tested almost every channel. Then he handed the remote back to me so I could redo the guided setup, and all is well!

    I'm upgrading from two single-tuner S2s, each with a cable box attached to it -- so I'm replacing 4 boxes & remotes with 1. Joy.

    Next week I'll return the cable boxes to the local office and ask/argue about what all this is going to cost. I was afraid to have that conversation before the cards were installed and working, lest I turn an ally into an enemy...
  10. Sep 21, 2006 #270 of 9367

    Jharrington New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Here in Sarasota FL they want to charge me a 49.95 instalation fee and 19.95 per moth for the 1st card and 11.95 a month for the second card. No pick-ups allowed. How is it that people get these for free in some areas and it costs more than 30.00 here?

    Is there anything I can do? Anyone else in the area experiencing this? What could I possibly say or do to get them to lower these outragous fees? This is by far the highest price I've seen on these boards.

    They told me if I keep my STB they would lower the price of the cards to 11.95 each per month...wow...how kind. I'm in a crappy apartment complex that only has Comcast for available service but if I could...bye bye Comcast. First thing I do when I move is get a new provider.
  11. Sep 21, 2006 #271 of 9367

    dlstrick New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Alexandria, VA
    After reading several posts about the confused nightmare that is Comcast, I called to set an appointment to get 2 cablecards in advance of the arrival of my Series 3. I call Comcast on 9/20. First, the rep tells me that they can only issue one card per customer. Then it changed to one card per television set. Then, the Rep goes into how he has received an advisement from the Tech Department that the cablecards used in Northern VA. are not configured to be used with TiVo. After trying to explain the Cable Labs standard and asking why would VA have different cablecards than the rest of the Comcast network, the Rep told me that he was trying to give me some "understanding" of how things worked, and that he would not issue the cablecards because they will not work with TiVo. Realizing that I had come to a rude brick wall, I asked for a supervisor, and he said there was not one. Will take up that fight on another front. Called Comcast today after reading this thread, and the new Rep, after reading the history of my last phone call, goes into the exact same routine as the first one. Cablecards in Northern VA. will not work with TiVo, we will issue you one card only even if we decide to provide it. After wrangling with this piece of work, she finally relents, sets up the appointment, and tells me she is going to charge me $24.95 to "roll the truck out to prove that the cablecards won't work." They are charging $5 per month per card as well. Has anyone in the DC/No. VA. area encountered this same hostility, confusion and incompetence?
  12. Sep 21, 2006 #272 of 9367

    jay_man2 jay_man-also TCF Club

    Sep 14, 2003
    Same here the first time, that they reused to install them, using the local Comcast number. Hung up on them. Then went to the local office. Cards are free, but service to each card is $9.95 a month. I left without scheduling an appointment. Then called 800-COMCAST. Different story. Cards are free, and after the rep looked at my account and saw that I pay for HD on 3 outlets, the cards appear to be free, except for a $9.95 per card one-time install fee. I set up a Monday install. We'll see.
  13. Sep 21, 2006 #273 of 9367
    Brainiac 5

    Brainiac 5 New Member

    Aug 24, 2003
    Comcast's FAQ states here that CableCards are free. If they change their story and say that the charge is not for the CableCards, but for the "additional outlet," I'd look for any inconsistency in that story (like would you have to pay that charge if you were getting one of their STBs?).

    Also, Comcast reported to the FCC that they are making CableCards available for free (there's a link to this in another thread, but I don't seem to able to find it right now). If that's not true, then they'd probably like to know that (actually we already know from other people's experiences that it's not true everywhere).
  14. Sep 21, 2006 #274 of 9367

    ad301 Member

    Dec 20, 2001
    Here in southern CT, I had my cablecards installed this afternoon. Comcast sent two techs, and they said it was the second S3 they were dealing with. The guy they were talkking to on the phone said that it was the sixth one he was working on today. I'm not sure if that was just for this local area or not, and I didn't think to ask at the time.

    The install was pretty much painless, and works just fine. I'm was charged $15 for the first card and $12 for the second for the installation, and the monthly fees are free for the first and $2.95 for the second.

    The bottom line is that I couldn't be happier. (Well, once they activate MRV and I get a second box, I'll be even happier.) This is a great box, the picture is fantastic. It really makes the D* picture, as seen using my hr10-250s, look really poor by comparison.
  15. Sep 21, 2006 #275 of 9367

    JoBeth66 Temp

    Feb 15, 2002
    So thanks to a WONDERFUL Comcast employee who reads this forum and was sympathetic to my plight, I got a call from a customer service VP in the Voorhees NJ office today. Spent about 15 minutes on the phone with me going over my issues and concerns, explaining that the people that answer the phone aren't always up on the technology and don't know sometimes what the correct answers are, they go by what they "hear" and that's not necessarily the RIGHT answer, but it's human nature. He was very pleasant and confided in me that before he went to work for Comcast he was a DirecTiVo user, and he's jealous of the S3, he wants to open up his Comcast DVR and hack it but he can't. :)

    A few hours later I get a call from the head "CableCARD guy" in Voorhees, he's switching over my appointment tomorrow from the tech it was assigned to, and he's coming out himself, probably with 2 or 3 other techs, to train. (I damn well better not get charged for this truck roll, either!) They're going to leave my Comcast DVR for a month for me to use free to make sure there are not issues - that was nice, I thought.

    He's telling me I'm only the 3rd install they will have done in an S3 in the South Jersey market. Nhaigh, you have the honor of being the first, I think - since he said the first they did was in Lawrenceville. :)

    He also told me that after my conversation with the VP this afternoon, they got onto Tivo.com and downloaded the install directions, he also checked THIS forum and found some of the problems others were dealing with.

    So we'll see how it goes. I'll report back.
  16. Sep 21, 2006 #276 of 9367

    nexus99 New Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    I have my S3 all hooked up and I am waiting for the Cable guy now... The appointment was from 1-5... and its 4:47. Who thinks he is gonna show in the next 13 minutes?

    More to come...
  17. Sep 21, 2006 #277 of 9367

    cschamp New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    I had an appointment today from 8-12:00, and at 12:10 I got a call saying that they have no cablecards right now (Sunnyvale, CA) but they could come to my house with a set-top box. Hah!

    To be fair, the operator gave me a $20 credit on my bill for this trouble, and rescheduled my appointment to next Wednesday morning. And if the 800-operator I spoke with yesterday is correct, my cablecards should cost me no additional fees each month.

    We'll see. At least I have roof-top antenna for receiving HDTV that will keep me happy until next Wednesday.
  18. Sep 21, 2006 #278 of 9367

    AdamSKahn New Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    So not only did I have a good experience with the Comcast customer support ($15.99 installation, both cable cards free). Originally the earliest appointment they had was October 11, however the technician contacted his dispatch to see if I could get an earlier appointment and a few hours later they e-mailed me saying they could come on September 25.
  19. Sep 21, 2006 #279 of 9367

    nexus99 New Member

    Oct 17, 2002
    Just called Comcast and they are supposed to have someone call me back in 15 mins. (Its 5:16 now).
  20. Sep 21, 2006 #280 of 9367

    aressa New Member

    May 9, 2002
    Well, my CableCARD install was completely painless. I put in the cards before I even installed the box or ran Guided Setup. When I got to the part of Setup that asks about the cards it popped up the information about the cards. I spent 3 minutes on hold with 800-COMCAST and then the CSR had no questions for me, he just started firing over the init signals. I got 164.4 on the first card, and then a few seconds later I got 164.4 on the second card. I think the CSR had had a few TiVo installs, because he was completely unfazed by my comments ("Ok, I got the 'good' error, that's good!") I had him hold on the phone until the cards synched, which took about a minute or so, and he said "I'll hold on the line as long as you need me...", so he was in it for the long haul, if required. I kept him on the line until I had HD on both cards (which was just a few minutes), and then let him go.

    Completely painless process, probably took 10 minutes total.

    Now to re-enter all of the season passes from the evil 6412 and get that dang thing out of my house!

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