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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. vanstrien

    vanstrien New Member

    Jun 8, 2007
    I'm in Houston which is switching from TWC to Comcast. Our local store is branded Comcast.

    The folks at customer service on the phone said I needed to book a technician to come out and I did. However on a whim I stood in line for twenty minutes at the local store and sure enough they gave me two cablecards for 1.95 a month.

    Incidentally, when I got home and got the cards working I cancelled the truck roll. The customer service person goofed as when I returned my old SA8300 the lady said they didn't have it listed any more and they weren't charging me for it any more. Doh!
  2. gnordy

    gnordy New Member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Had my appointment to add the cable cards to my Series 3 this morning. Comcast showed up at 10am with only 1 cable card, had to come back at 4:30 with the second. He called in and told me everything was OK. The screen went to "Acquiring Channels" for the next couple hours. I called technical support and was stuck talking to a rep that had never done a Series 3 install.

    Needless to say, I still do not have Tivo after an entire day of trying to get my cable cards to work. The Tivo can identify the cable cards, but the channel line up will not work. The support at Comcast in Chicago has been awful!

    They are supposed to call me in the morning to let me know when someone can come back out to try again and fix the problem. They are going to try to install new cable cards and see if that solves the problem.
  3. lgardner

    lgardner New Member

    May 28, 2007
    Follow up from yesterday's post.

    The comcast tech stopped at my house yesterday and informed my wife that they didn't install cablecards in tivo devices! He left four cable cards and called the office to activate them.

    I installed them in two Tivo 3 units last evening. Got no error messages and was able to receive digital and HD channels, but no premium channels on either machine. From what I read this is a problem with "pairing" which I admit to not understanding.

    Does anyone have advice as to how I best phrase this issue when I call comcast today to get the best response?


  4. ScottW_CO

    ScottW_CO New Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Fun convo I had with a Comcast rep a little while ago:

    Got in my S3 yesterday afternoon. Called up Comcast to set up an install for the two CableCards.

    Rep asks me if I need the "HD CableCards". I'm like... is there a difference? I said "yes" just to be safe... but is this legit or just yet another misinformed phone monkey?
  5. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    :rolleyes: Thats's a good one! Maybe you should have said, "No, I want the free ones instead."
  6. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    Just another misinformed phone monkey.
  7. sfhub

    sfhub New Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    I wonder if that is a new way to say you requested an HDTV equipment surcharge?
  8. That Don Guy

    That Don Guy Now with more GB

    Mar 13, 2003
    Last week, I made an appointment for someone to come in and install CableCARDs into my S3 on Friday (June 15), "between 1 and 5 PM." I'm lucky to have gotten home from work at all - after a slight snag at work just as I'm about to leave (and promises to "get right on it first thing Monday morning"), I'm driving home when I turn off the highway onto a secondary street (the 40 MPH kind), come to a stop, and when I put my foot on the gas, the engine starts knocking - foot off the gas, knocking stops; back on the gas, knocking starts and "Check Engine" light flashes for the first time in the seven years I've owned the car. (I just had the tank filled; I hope there wasn't anything wrong with the gasoline.)

    Anyway, it's 4:45 PM, and I call Comcast asking when the tech will get there; the person on the other end says the dispatcher will call me. Ten minutes later, the dispatcher says, "He'll be there in about 15 minutes." The cable guys (for some reason, they arrive in two trucks) finally arrive at 6:30. (BTW, Comcast did say they would give me a $20 credit.)

    The first card goes into the bottom slot...and error code 161-1 (not 161-4, which is what other people are getting) keeps showing up until the card is taken out. The other card is put into the bottom slot in its place, and after a little back and forth between the techs and the person doing the authorizing, plus a slight delay while they have to move a truck as the person who owns the parking spot (in the townhouse complex where I live) where they parked wants to park his own car there, the first card works. (In the meantime, the techs are surprised to hear that the S3 is HD, as they are wondering why I am having them take back my Comcast HD-DVR box.) Also, during this time, the activator keeps telling them to put the bad card back into the TiVo as he thinks the problem is on his end, but every attempt to put the card into either slot returns a 161-1 error.

    Eventually, they put just the one good card in, and schedule an appointment for the next day - all together now - "between 1 and 5 PM" for someone to come by with a new CableCARD (they only have the two). (By the way, the one card works fine; ESPN-HD shows up in all of its 1080i glory.)

    Addendum: the guy with the second cable card showed up at 3 PM the next day; there were no problems with the second card, other than taking a few minutes for the hit to be recognized by the TiVo, but both tuners recognize the digital channels (during which we had a chat about Slingboxes and how the NFL threw a fit because they could be used to get around their blackout rules). As a bonus, the tech said there was no charge for the second visit.

    -- Don
  9. mattyk2

    mattyk2 New Member

    Jun 1, 2007
    Wondering if anyone has had this happen and maybe steer me (and the local Comcast Cablecard sticker-inner) in the right direction.

    I had Comcast come haul off my HD DVR last week and install 2 CCs in my Series 3. The install seemed to go well, but like a moron, I let the tech leave before I had a chance to verify all the channels. After the CC install, my S3 doesn't let me see all the channels I used to get on the old Comcast DVR. I only get 2-19 (basic cable, I think) and 803-813 (broadcast HD channels.) When I tune to a digital channel, either get just a black screen with the Info banner, or a black screen with a banner reading "No signal detected." The Comcast phone people tell me that my account shows I should be receiving those channels; they're stumped.

    So when the tech comes out on Sunday (!) to fix this, he should bring 2 new Cablecards. But is there anything else I should suggest he try? Did I just get 2 bum CCs, or is the problem somewhere else (billing, headend, etc.)?

    Thanks guys, love this site!
  10. woofmaster

    woofmaster New Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Went to 3 Comcast centers yesterday and only got 1 card. Found out later they can look up inventory on other branches if you ask but you can't call a branch office nor can you call anyone at Comcast to tell you if/where they are in stock.

    This card did not work. Today based on the horror stories in this forum and the trouble I had finding them I got 4 cards to be safe. Yesterday one phone tech told me it can take 3-5 cards. The first 2 worked although the cable card channel tests showed and still say they cannot receive channels on the second card. However the dual tuner is clearly working when you ask it to record 2 shows at the same time or 1 and channel surf live tv.

    I activated them at 4:30 and they told me the premium channels would be locked until the next day from 8am-5pm. However when I tested HBOHD a couple hours after calling it already worked. So far picture is good...
  11. rpm29

    rpm29 New Member

    May 29, 2007
    A long time user of DirectTivo, I jumped to cable for HD. Tried the SA8300 (junk), but the Tivo rebate finally lured me. Lured me to Cablecard hell.

    They are trying to charge me $4.95 per Cablecard. I cannot get anyone on the phone who even acknowledge the existence on the S3, let alone will acknowledge their pricing complete conflicts with their website.

    Does anyone have phone numbers or contacts beyond the standard CSRs?

    It seems the only way to get this problem corrected is class-action. It seems Comcast charges whatever they can get, and only those who spend lots of time and do lots of complaining actually get the pricing they claim on their website and to the FCC.
  12. LoREvanescence

    LoREvanescence Always Autocorrected

    Jun 19, 2007
    I'm not that familiar with cablecards or how they work. I'm looking for some information becuase I am interested in getting this Tivo in the near feature however I might have some limitations on actualy being able to get it to work with cable cards so that's why I'm asking here.

    I am currently living on campus at southern new hampshire university and recently bought a hdtv. Over the air all I can get for HD is ABC. I have looked into getting a set top box only to find out I can't. The school has no program available where you can apply for one and when contacting comcast directly their contract with the university states that students are not allowed to obtain any equipment or services from the cable company.

    So with that said and done, would this rule out the possibility of getting a cablecard? Or is it possible you could just stop by the comcast office and pick one up and maybe pay a onetime fee.

    If this is not possible, would it be possible to pick it up from my home which is 2 hours away in mass, but under the same comcast network. And if I did that would it work up here or does it have to be activated with a particular location and package?

    And lastly, can this box get unencrypted HD channels with out the need of a cable card. My laptop has a Fusion 5 HDTV USB Gold tunner and I can receive all the locals, abc, cbs, nbc, fox, pbs and cw in high definition. Would the Tivo Box do the same?

  13. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    One-time fees are a losing proposition for service providers, and so don't expect to see that offered for CableCards. Regardless, it sounds like your landlord (the school) is the obstruction here. Your best approach to addressing your needs is to get the school to change its policies.
  14. LoREvanescence

    LoREvanescence Always Autocorrected

    Jun 19, 2007
    I have talked to the people directly in charge of the contract here at my school only to find out there is no chance they are changing it. The university is relativity small with only 2,000 or so students who live on campus here. The school simply does not want to deal with keeping track with who has cable boxes and who doesn't and who they need to charge for them, so for now it's going to remain the same.

    As for my other questions, if I got a cable card back home and brought it up here would it work and would the tivo box receive unencrypted hd and sd channels without the need of a cablecard?

    Thanks for the quick reply
  15. maynerd

    maynerd New Member

    May 7, 2004
    I had a tech come and do an install of the cable cards for me on Saturday. The cards were recognized without a problem. He called comcast to hit the cards and they were backlogged so he left with them unactivated. After a couple of hours the tivo started working but wasn't receiving all of the channels. I looked at the card info per Tivo's tech support site (I might add their solutions were spot on) and isolated the issues between the cards and after a couple of calls to comcast they were up and running. A bit of a pain but everything works! :)
  16. ScottW_CO

    ScottW_CO New Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    I believe the whole point of the CableCard is to get the digital signals, period - HD or not.
  17. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    The bums!

    Almost surely not. The CableCard is useful only within the head-end node it was configured for.

    Given that you're within what is essentially a private network, there is no way to know without trying.
  18. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    No. The whole point of the CableCard is to facilitate decryption of encrypted digital channels. CableCard is unnecessary to support reception of unencrypted signals.
  19. LoREvanescence

    LoREvanescence Always Autocorrected

    Jun 19, 2007
    I know for a fact it wont work (yet). I used to work for the A/V department on campus. The cable network is a private network. It's the basic cable with a bunch of added stuff, such as 6 school access channels, and all 6 hbo's (the have a rack of cable boxes that put those through on the system) Right now the limitation to digital and HD is the fact they have a filter on the front end of the cable system which is suppost to block higher frequency singnals so they can put the school access channels and hbo's on channels 72 through 85. This filter also blocks all digital signals. However the university is looking to upgrade the system so they can hook up select locatiosn to hdtv, (the student center, the pub and lounges in some dorms) They have a new filter coming in which is supposed to be installed at the end of this month which will allow all the digital signals through while still letting them add their own channels to the system.

    I actually did the first round of testing for hdtv for them with my fusionhdtv 5 gold usb tuner on my laptop, we found that digital signal was only available in front of the filter.

    So, when this new filter is installed, and all digital signals are allowed through the school system which can be picked up with qam/quam256 devices like my fusionhdtv 5 box or comcast cable boxes I would assume that the tivo should be able to pick up the same signal from what you are saying. Which is good news.

    But knowing this school, and comcast in this area i doubt comcast will be installing the new filter by the end of the month, they always take their time, but it will be coming this summer before all students return in the fall (i'm staying on campus over summer) since the school has already approved the funding and ordered the filter

    It still sucks I can't get a set top box, but I much rather have the Tivo anyways. Comcast boxes in Mass / New Hampsire are missing the hdmi ports and only have component, sd and coaxle not to mention tivo would be something I could always have after school and would be a great dvr. Plus I like the fact that it can take both antenna and cable in.

    Well, I just have to wait till that new filter is installed and I should be able to get the unencrypted channels (better test with my fusionhdtv first though) and then maybe try getting a cable card if I can find a way that is all possible.
  20. ScottW_CO

    ScottW_CO New Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Well, today will be my first dealings with CC, so it's good to know these things. :p

    So since I've done the guided setup with my new S3, short of the CC install - and I'm not seeing any digital channels in the channel guide - I'm assuming that Comcast (at least in my area, Denver suburbs) has no unencrypted digital channels? Or did I simply do something (or not do something) in guided setup that I shouldn't have (or should have)?

    This whole thing will be moot by this afternoon (I hope) as my CC install is scheduled for about 3 hours from now. :)

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