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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. levineaj

    levineaj New Member

    Jun 22, 2007
    I went to the Best Buy at Clark/Diversey and they had just sold out their last one. The guy said the next shipment would be in on Tuesday (today).
    I had him check the inventory of the other Best Buy stores in Chicago. Peeking over his shoulder, I saw many stores with zero in stock.
    I ended up buying one at the Best Buy at Harlem/Irving Plaza, which I think was the only one in the city with any at all.

    Useful tip: After they told me the HIP store had them in stock, I went home and purchased it online and selected "in store pickup". The Best Buy site lets you check store inventories...so I actually bought it online on Friday but didn't need to rush to pick it up until Saturday, as it was "mine" and not out on the floor for sale.
  2. DocNo

    DocNo Member

    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Actually, they don't train all of them.

    Since when did the truth get nasty? The tech (that finally resolved my problem) was just as frustrated as I was at the lack of commitment by Comcast management in making cable card a success.

    It's very clear to me that Comcast is doing the bare minimum to support cable card. Every CSR I spoke with badmouthed it. Every one!

    That isn't hyperbole, that's my experience. I'm sorry that doesn't fit with your rosy picture of Comcast, but there it is. And I know I'm not alone in my experience.

    Now that it's working, I have no problems with Comcast. But it was way harder than it needed to be to get it set up. And I consider myself lucky that on the fourth phone call I found a very helpful CSR that actually understood the billing system (even though he still complained about how they hated cablecard), and I also am thankful on the fourth truck roll I got a knowledgeable tech that actually showed some basic troubleshooting skills and a sincere desire to fix the problem. I consider myself lucky since there are many people here who it took allot more fussing - and some who still don't have working setups :(
  3. DocNo

    DocNo Member

    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Try rebooting first. My Cable Card 2 worked briefly, then wouldn't get any digital or premium channels - complained about failed auth and wanted me to call Comcast.

    I rebooted and it authorized and worked just fine. Not quite the same situation you are facing, but it's worth a shot. Also make sure they verify the CC and Host ID numbers - on Cable card two they had the third to the last number as an 8 when it should have been a 6....
  4. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I just got onto this thread after going through hell with Comcast on setting up a cablecard installation and thought I'd share my experience in the Denver market.

    Currently I have a Comcast HD DVR and a Comcast HD receiver. I have digital service without paying for any of the premium channels.

    I want to turn in my Comcast DVR and rent two cable cards for the HD Tivo I just bought.

    1st tech I talked to said that they have to charge me the $7 monthly charge for the HD TV that the Tivo will be connected to. He said it was an "HD rental charge". I asked him to double check and he says he is mistaken and it will be taken off. $15 to have a tech come out and install the cards. He says that there is no option for self install.

    At this point I should have left well enough alone, but instead talk to a 2nd rep online who says I can pick up the cable cards at the local Comcast office. I cancel my install appointment, drive to that office, and they have no cable cards.

    Call Comcast back to set up installation and this rep insists that I must pay the $7 a month fee that it's for programming on the 2nd HD set and not for equipment. She says she has two different SKUs for cable card and only one can do HD and that as soon as she puts that in the computer it puts in the $7 a month charge and it can't be taken out. I get frustrated and basically hang up.

    Call Comcast again and get an extremely helpful rep (Thanks Chris!) and explain the situation. He says that the previous rep is right, that the $7 a month is an HD outlet fee that I have to pay whether I have a Comcast HD box on that outlet or not, but he says "let me see what I can do".

    He says that he thinks he got it set up to have my two cable cards installed with just the $1.50 fee for the 2nd cable card. He says that he did this by basically putting in the HD cards but indicating that the 2nd set was NOT an HD set. He says that when M-cards become available I should be able to have the single M-card put in and delete that 2nd $1.50 a month rental charge. I'm worried though that at that point the $7 a month "outlet fee for HD" would find it's way back on there. The rep was nice enough to offer his direct extension if I had any issues.

    Having worked in the telecom/technical world for a decade and dealing with customer service issues on a daily basis, this ranks as one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had with a piece of consumer technology.

    Why on earth can't Comcast simply set up a web page for their reps that has all of the relevant info for setting up Tivo boxes.

    If it is this bad, I imagine many HD Tivo boxes that people purchase will be promptly returned to the store after they have the pleasure of dealing with their local cable company.
  5. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    You see they *were* trained. :)
  6. DocNo

    DocNo Member

    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    lol - how stupid of me :)
  7. Gerhard

    Gerhard New Member

    Sep 29, 2002
    I think I was very clear and honest. Furthermore, the Comcast people I've spoken to have indicated that they don't received any training. Another person from THIS SITE indicated that he was told that they do. If I admit to them being trained it is ONLY because I'm willing to accept that person's account.

    I am not acting out, I am not being mean, and there are so many other things I could say... but it's VERY clear that you've got an agenda. That agenda appears to be making me wrong, and, for some reason, protecting Comcast in the face of their many faults.

    Based on the number of posts about problems with CC installs and Comcast, I'd say it's very likely that they have a poor, at best, record. I am CERTAINLY correct that they do not train the personnel as a corporate entity in all regions. If they did, they would not have the problems they do, let alone have managers telling customers that they don't.

    It is NOT an "outrageous ascertation" to indicate Comcast doesn't train their personnel about Cable Cards, when Comcast employees tell me they don't. This includes the last the last technician to visit my house, and the person in the local office that didn't know what a cable card was when I dropped them off to cancel my service.

    Obviously, I'm just making it all up...

    Based on the grief you've given me, I wonder:

    Do you work for Comcast? Do you own stock in Comcast? Are you a contractor for Comcast?

    This is not about "acting out," this is about voicing dissatisfaction based on first hand experiences in a public venue so that others will be made aware of the situtation. This allows potential customers to know exactly what to expect and weigh their options by potentially using other vendors. In the mean while, other Tivo Community users may be able to determine a game plan to deal with what ends up being a relatively untrained staff at Comcast.
  8. wizzy

    wizzy S1, (2) S2, TivoHD

    Nov 11, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I bought mine at the Clark/Diversey Best Buy mid-afternoon on Friday..it was the only one on the shelf, so I'm guessing I got that last one.
  9. Aug 1, 2007 #3049 of 9367
    T u r b o

    T u r b o New Member

    Feb 23, 2000
    Got my new TiVo HD hooked up and wanted to share my experience.

    Picked up TiVo HD at CC on Thursday. Called Comcast Thursday night, where they assured me I could simply stop by the local office and pick up the 2 cablecards I needed (even though they didn't understand why I needed 2). Perfect.

    So I go there Friday, and the people at the local office have no idea why they told me that. They say "We don't have any here". Really they have them, but they're not allowed to give them out. WTF?! I need to have a tech come and install them. So I call back to their 800 number and they give me this same information. I ask, why was I told just 18 hours ago that it would be no problem to pick them up? Nobody knows. Ok so the tech was scheduled for Tuesday, at least I didn't have to wait 4 weeks for them to come out.

    The TiVo was working great with the analog channels and manually tuning the digital channels in. If I had guide data for the QAM stations I might not have bothered with the cablecards at all.

    So the guy comes out Tuesday (on time!!) and has 4 cablecards with him. I ask if he's done a TiVo before and he says yes but not many. He does the slots one at a time. First cablecard never comes up with the pairing info. Second cablecard works OK. So now he just needs to get it activated.

    The guy calls the number to activate the card. Then we wait - almost an hour, just for somebody to pick up the phone and punch the numbers in their system. I was totally amazed how poorly they support their field techs. They took what would have been a 15-minute job and turned it into a 90-minute ordeal. No wonder the techs are often late for or miss appointments.

    So the install was a success, everything works OK.

    One thing I'm really disappointed in is the fact that I can't "override" the cablecards and record the standard channels (2-99) in analog mode. The digital simulcast version of the channels look really poor here. I did a comparison with some recordings made the night before the cablecards arrived and the quality is much better. Yeah HD is great but it really sucks to have SD recordings that look much worse than my Series 1 box, and even significantly worse than the box is obviously capable of.

    - Turbo
  10. Aug 1, 2007 #3050 of 9367

    adamwsh Member

    Oct 22, 2002
    I got my new TivoHD hookup using Analog at the moment. I, too, noticed that the non-digital channels look quite better than when I was watching them via my Comcast HDDVR box. They are totally bearable! I just thought the Comcast HDDVR box picture sucks compared to the TivoHD box. Now you have me worried that after the CableCards are installed on Saturday that I'll be unhappy with non-digital channels again. UGH!!! I wonder if Verizon FIOS TV signal will be better (once it is available to me).
  11. Aug 1, 2007 #3051 of 9367

    disneybear New Member

    Jul 31, 2007
    I Call Comcast to install cable cards to my new TivoHD and they schedule for next day.
    I have my instructions ready and explain to the tech when he arrives that I have them and he says that he doesn't need them. He tries to put the first card into the second slot. I explain that he should put it in the first slot and get it working before going to the second slot. He says it doesn't matter. I ask him to please start with the first slot and he agrees. He inserts first card and nothing happens. He tries another and it comes up to call call Comcast. He calls and we wait 40 minutes before someone picks up! He reads data to the guy on the phone and inserts the second card and then reads stuff to the head end. I told him we should check the channels first, but we didn't get to check them while he was on the phone. Cable card 1 and 2 gets all lower channels and some of my Encrypted channels, but no HBO or Showtime. He calls back and after another 20 minutes gets someone on the line, and sends some hits to the card, but nothing changes. He hangs up and says that he is gonna test my line. I tell him it can't be the line because hd channels that are not premium are coming in fine and if the power is there for their bandwidth it should be there for the premiums. He tests it and it is OK. He looks at my 8 distribution amp and tells me that he wants to replace it with one of his. I tell him all my other boxes are working fine and that he can do that but I KNOW that is not the problem. He says that he isn't convinced Next he tells me that it is probably something wrong with the Tivo, I tell him no, and that other people are having the same problem and that it sounds like something wrong with the pairing. That didn't register with him and told me that it just should work. He ran out of time and decides he will have to come back tomorrow. He leaves and I am really frustrated as I know that it is something wrong at the head end, and it bugs me that the tech guy isn't instantly convinced of this. I call Comcast and try to find someone who might know what the problem is. I called several times and got someone who was willing to try sending a reinit hit or something. He does but it still does not work. I ask him if he can enter numbers in anywhere to change and he says nothing but the card id. He was very helpful, but still couldn't figure it out. I decide to do some research and of course come up with the answer my self. The info is on the Tivo site under Tivo Support...Troubleshooting CableCard Activation . In a nutshell everything one needs to know is there. My problem showed up as bright as day under the Tivo Conditional Access Menu. When on the offending channels, the Conditional Access page revealed the problem. It listed the fact that I was subscribed to the channel which means that the codes for my subscription were correct, but my Host Validation was unknown, which means my cards were not paired to my slots! Hmm didn't I tell the tech guy it was something about pairing? I was frustrated but printed out the sheet so that I could explain it to the tech in the morning. Frustrating!
    The tech arrives and I explain the situation, I explain that the Data on the Pairing screen as well as the host info must match what the head end has. He calls(15 minute wait for them to pick up) and sure enough their data do not match. Once matched and a hit was sent and everything Works. I give him my documents and tell him to read up on it and spread the word! Almost all the trouble shooting info one needs is listed on the Conditional Access page if you know what to look for. Two things are very important. It must say you are subscribed to the channel you are having problems with and in my case that you have Host validation. I hope this helps those with similar problems! Tivo HD Rocks!
  12. Aug 1, 2007 #3052 of 9367

    boyettdw Frequent Browser

    Jan 23, 2005
    I am still having problems with my CableCards on my Tivo HD. I had a Comcast tech here today for 2 hours and he wasn't able to solve the problems. At the very least, I was able to convince him that the problem wasn't with my TiVo or cables. The only thing that the tech managed to do today was to get the Host Validation field changed from Unknown to Valid.

    The strange thing is that I am receiving all my digital channels, including the HD channels. I am not receiving any of my analog channels now. Before I put the CableCards in, the analog channels come in fine, but once the CableCards are inserted, they do not come in anymore. One interesting tidbit, if I reboot the TiVo, I can access the analog channels when it first comes up. However, within 30 seconds or so of use, they disappear. It looks like it is allowing me to access the channels until the CableCard info has been fully read, and once it is read, they are disabled.

    On the Conditional Access screen I have the following info for the analog channels which I am not receiving:

    Encryption: DES
    Connected:yes, EnabledByCP: yes
    CA enable: possible
    Host Validation: Valid 01
    Copy Protection Key: Disabled
    CCI: 0x00

    Does anyone have any ideas?
  13. Aug 2, 2007 #3053 of 9367

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    Well, your CableCARDs look like they are installed correctly and decrypting channels. It sounds like there is something wrong with the channel map they are providing you, which usually is an account configuration issue. I think the reason it is working when you first boot up is because TiVo hasn't received the channel map from the cable company yet.
  14. Aug 2, 2007 #3054 of 9367

    wilrod New Member

    Dec 24, 2006
    Today ComCast downgraded my service from Digital Plus to Limited Basic + 2 CCs. When I got home from work I went into the CableCARD menu to see how the settings have changed but the screen only displayed an error message. I went online and checked the recent activity for my account and it shows new Tivo Series 3 CableCard charges from 7/25 through 8/22, so the cards are on my account.

    I'll redo guided setup when I have the chance, in the meantime is there anyone out there who also has Limited Basic (no digital tiers) with 2 CCs working? If so, what does the CableCARD screen display for each card?

    I know that I'll need to call ComCast to have them rehit(?), re-pair(?), or re-authorize(?) the cards, but it would be nice to know what I should expect to see on the CC screens that would indicate that things are OK.


    PS I'm in the Bellevue, WA area if it matters.


    :cool: Got it working, but it was a pain. Here are the (abbreviated) steps I took:

    1. Unplugged TiVo and waited around 10 seconds
    2. Pulled out CC1 (bottom)
    3. Pulled out CC2 (top)
    4. Plugged in TiVo (long boot up)
    5. Ran guided setup -> said cable only and no CCs
    6. Completed guided setup
    7. Ran channel scan and found some weird channel numbers (i.e. 72-1). Randomly tuned in one of these and it turned out to be the local NBC HD broadcast
    8. Hit the live TV button
    9. Inserted CC1 (bottom) -> waited for CC setup screen
    10. Selected "Configure CableCARD 1"
    11. Went into the conditional access screen, which showed:
    • Encryption: DES
    • Connected: Yes, EnabledByCP: Yes
    • Auth: Unknown
    • CAEnable: Unknown
    • Host Validation: VALID 01
    • CopyProtectionKey: Enabled
    12. Exited conditional access screen
    13. Exited setup -> ignored warning about completing guided setup
    14. Returned to live TV
    15. Inserted CC2 (top) -> waited for CC setup screen
    16: Repeated Steps 10-12 for CC2
    17. Completed guided setup (took about 10 minutes)

    Voila! I have my limited basic analog channels and the network HD channels properly showing up in the guide all without having to call ComCast. :D

    Note: As for billing there's a one-time $18 change fee (truck roll to put filter on cable line), but I'm now paying $13.15 for limited basic and $1.67 for each CC. This makes sense to me since the limited basic package does not include a STB which the first CC would have been a free substitute for. Overall, I'll be saving about $40/month. :up:
  15. Aug 2, 2007 #3055 of 9367

    Shanezam203 Member

    Jul 27, 2007
    Anyone else in Chicago with Comcast Cable Cards?

    The cable cards are not "Self Install" so I had to make an appointment for tomorrow.
    They will be bringing out 2 Cable Cards, and there is an install fee of $17.90
    Then an extra $1.50 a month for both.

    Does that sound correct? When I talked to them on the phone, it was like they were reading from a script on "Cable Cards", and I had to help piece their sentences together.
  16. Aug 2, 2007 #3056 of 9367

    wizzy S1, (2) S2, TivoHD

    Nov 11, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    I'm in Chicago, and was originally quoted $20-something to install 1 cable card. Someone else on here mentioned they picked up their card from the North Ave Comcast location (across from Home Depot), so I did that. If you have a TivoHD, you only need one card, as long as it's an M-card (which is what they gave me without asking). Be sure to put the M-card in the right-most slot.

    Tech support is not fully adept at cable card installations yet, so be prepared for multiple tries. If you have a premium channel (HBO, Encore, etc), you will need to have a second group help you out, as the tier-1 techs don't know how to pair the card to the tivo. You get put in a "4 hour callback" queue when you need help from the other group, but it took 9 hours for me to get a call.

    I am not being charged for the 1 card that I got. I asked, and I've double-checked my account online, so I think I'm safe. Is it $1.50 for both cards, or $1.50 for each? If both, that makes sense, as others have reported that any card beyond one costs money. If it's $3/month, something seems off.
  17. Aug 2, 2007 #3057 of 9367
    Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Member

    Feb 12, 2002
    Wood Dale, IL
    I'm in Wood Dale and I have two Comcast cards. I'm pretty sure that's what my pricing is.

    I had trouble finding somebody knowledgeable about CableCards, but once I did he knew exactly what to do and had worked with plenty of Series3's before. I think it was somebody from their 'same day service' line. He even called to follow up later and make sure all was well.
  18. Aug 2, 2007 #3058 of 9367

    ALK3011 New Member

    Jan 27, 2007
    you should get card one for free (whether it is an M card or an S card.
    the second should be $1.50.
    I had nightmares with the installation. Make sure the person on the phone takes ALL the numbers down. EVERY ONE on the first screen. If a new card gets tried or a card gets changed - ALL THE NUMBERS CHANGE and they have to take them ALL again. Make sure that they do that if cards get swaped. That is how all the problems start - try an new card, and only take some of the new numbers assuming they stay the same.
  19. Aug 2, 2007 #3059 of 9367

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    If you have other receivers already and are adding the TiVo receiver to your account, then you'll pay an additional outlet fee which will include the first CableCARD and then you'll pay $1.50 for the second CableCARD (if your first isn't a multistream card).

    If this is the only receiver you have then the first outlet fee is already included as part of your digital package so there'd only be a $1.50 charge for the second CableCARD, if needed.
  20. Aug 2, 2007 #3060 of 9367

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I was quoted a charge of $7 for "HD Programming" when they found saw that I had digital cable and an HD box.

    Is this a legitimate charge for having cable cards installed into an HD Tivo?

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