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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    Usually that sort of charge is associated with the cable company's receiver equipment rental and not with programming delivery. But you'd have to check the specific price list from your cable company.
  2. mroach

    mroach New Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    So today I went to my Best Buy and asked for the new Tivo HD. The truck had just arrived with the first shipment and the guy opened the Tivo crate and got one for me. I was customer #1 for the new Tivo at that store!

    So that's where the excitement ended. I called Comcast about getting a CableCard; they told me they don't have them available for pickup at service centers. I said thanks and waited a few hours and called back. Same answer. So I asked for an install and before she even checked the service schedule, she said there's a minimum of a four day wait for getting a CableCard. Sounds like some BS policy designed to tick people off. So now I have to wait until Monday and pay $17 for a house call. What a PITA...
  3. fishboy

    fishboy New Member

    Aug 19, 2002
    My "install" date is not for another week (2 weeks total). Consider yourself lucky at just 4 days.
  4. pdt66

    pdt66 New Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    I also was unable to pick up the CableCard at the service center (in Northern VA). They require a $24 installation service visit. I called on 1 Aug and they are coming on 3 Aug (would have come on 2 Aug, but I couldn't be home). I thought that was pretty reasonable timing.

    So happy to be returning my Scientific Atlanta HD8300 DVR and getting back to TIVO....the SA box was the most user unfriendly piece of crap. TIVO is worth the money.
  5. gschoen

    gschoen New Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    I was told on the phone I must schedule home install appt. and I did. Heard of people getting CC at service center (North Ave, Chicago). Went to suburbs (Naperville, Ogden Ave.) where they didn't have CCs. Stopped at North Ave. center and (after 45 mins in line) had my pick of 4 different cards (she didn't know the difference, thankfully I did my homework and selected the M-Card). No problem.

    Activation wasn't painless, it took about 6 hours, running guided setup 4 times, and 4 different Comcast reps. The reps I called had no clue, the ones who CALLED ME BACK (! wow!) knew exactly what they were doing.

    Summary: an installer isn't necessary. There is an equal likelihood of errors whether they are there or not.
  6. mroach

    mroach New Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    In that case I guess having an installer will be nice, so I can sit back and relax while he deals with any problems. The Comcast rep I spoke to said they don't have M-Cards. Sounds like either the CSRs don't know what's what or it varies greatly by region.
  7. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    My anecdotal experience indicates that there is some merit in this new policy. It was not in effect last year when they made three unsuccessful attempts to install CableCards for me. Now, with this new policy, the CableCards are tested and configured before the visit, and my fourth CableCard install attempt, a couple of months ago, went fine. :up:
  8. bastion999

    bastion999 New Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    Overall I'm pleased with the way my installation went. The objective to have a pain-free installation, and this forum helped out immensely.

    The installer was late but due to one my kids blocking unknown numbers, he wasn't able to call. Not a problem as I was working from home anyway.

    The work order was for installation of the 2x cable cards and removal of the 8300HD. I also upgraded to digital basic for the Tivo HD.

    The installer has only been with Comcast for 2 weeks and had never completed a CC install before. He let me drive the process from the printed instructions provided by Tivo. He was very diligent, writing down the serial number of the card, the host ID, and card ID.

    Card 1 went in, firmware upgrade took place, and he called in the pairing information to his coordinator who in-turn relayed the information internally. It took about 20 minutes for the "Authorized" message to appear, but the ECM and EMM counts stayed at zero. Another call and another hard hit didn't change the status. Paired, but no entitlement messages.

    After about 10 minutes he called back and was escalated to someone at the head-end who "did his magic" and the ECM and EMM count started to increment. Sure enough, I could then to the various channels within the Digital Basic and HD packages.

    Card 2 went in, firmware upgraded, and the pairing took place, this time within about 20 minutes. He did have to call the enigneer again to send a hit. I also took the opportunity to have them send a hit to my Aquos TV to verify channels on that outlet too.

    All-in-all it took a lot longer than needed, but went as expected. The only weird thing is that card one has a "S-Card" designator on it while card two doesn't have that bit. Both work and are decrypting channels, but I will be on the lookout (and expect) some potential billing and loss of channels.

    But at least now the cards are paired and it shouldn't require a truck-roll.

    During the wait time I did learn a lot about how installers are paid and the issues they have, especially on house wiring. I'll never let a cable, satellite, or telephone installer touch anything past the demarc without me being there.

    As with others, my HD Tivo now is showing the macroblocking issue (Scientific Atlanta cards), but I've detailed that in the appropriate thread.
  9. mroach

    mroach New Member

    Jul 24, 2007
    If that's the case, I don't mind the wait. Maybe they got tired of each installation requiring hours of work and repeat visits and phone calls.
  10. jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I posted a thread above this one that asks for the M-card model numbers or part numbers from those who have had one installed.

    If you can share the info (maybe even a part number from your install receipt) here or in that other thread it would be much appreciated.


    From another user the Comcast information for M-card follows;

    Motorola PN: 514517-002-00
    Barcode SKU: 12572 14271
  11. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    It needs to be repeated that guided setup should not be done as part of cable card setup. Channels can be checked from within the cable card menu.
  12. RavenFan

    RavenFan New Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Disneybear...thanks for posting your experience. It sounds very similar to the problems that I am having in Baltimore County, MD.

    I made an appointment to have cableCARDs installed in my new TiVoHD box on Tuesday. The CSR told me that I would have to wait until Thursday or Friday because only certain experienced technicians perform cableCARD installations. I took this as a positive sign that I would have the good fortune of a tech who could actually get my box working. I was able to arrange to take the morning off of work for my Friday appointment with an 8:00 to 12:30 time window. Naturally nobody arrived by 12:30, so called and was told that the tech would be an hour late.

    1:45 - The tech arrives talking on his cell phone. He said that he was getting advice on how to install the card because he had never seen a cableCARD before. Great. I managed to keep my cool...it wasn't this tech's fault that he was sent to do a job that he wasn't trained to do. We spent almost an hour and a half trying to get it to work, but I was unable to get a picture on almost every channel.

    I had a blank black screen on every channel that I tried except for Comcast CN8. That was odd...the useless Comcast propaganda channel worked, but nothing else did.

    I kept mentioning that I thought that he needed to provide additional info to the main office to authorize the device (host ID, etc), but he didn't really pay attention to me and only supplied the serial number of the card.

    I called Comcast immediately after he left. The CSR was amazed that they sent a contractor who had never seen a cableCARD before and repeatedly apologized. I have another appointment for Tuesday between 4 and 6 PM.

    Called Comcast AGAIN

    I didn't want to give up, so I called Comcast again after I got home from my office. I got a helpful individual, although it was hard to convince him that he needed to enter additional info. He tried several times to "hit" the box, but still no success. I kept mentioning the need to pair the cableCARD, but he kept trying to do things his own way. Finally, he talked to someone else and said that he would try something different since he really couldn't mess things up beyond what they already were.

    He asked for a CableCARD D, a Host ID, a Data #, a model, and a unit or box ID. WOW...that's the same info that appears in the CableCARD Pairing menu! He entered the info (although I didn't have a model - he just entered "Motorola". I thought things sounded pretty good, but when he submitted the info it kicked him out. There was a field that he did not have permission to change. He said that he has to wait until the local office has people available to authorize the change - something to do with assigning units to accounts. I can call back on Saturday between 9 and 5.

    I found this post after my call. It confirms my suspicion that I am not correctly paired and that my account is not authorized to receive anything but the Comcast CN8 propaganda.

    I also found this posting at ecoustics by Cheryl Staber.

    I'm hoping for the best tomorrow. Thanks to the info that I found using this forum and Google, I have hope.

    Thanks again.
  13. jrrpd34

    jrrpd34 New Member

    Sep 22, 2004
    Just bought a HD Tivo and was finally able to get the cards paired. Still no HBO though.

    Was wondering if everyone experiences a gray screen in between channel changes? Seems like a slow response while changing channels.
  14. RavenFan

    RavenFan New Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Not a surprise, but here is my update as of this morning.
    I called to provide the hostID, part number, etc. in order to pair the card as I had done last night. The first woman said that a tech had to visit the house to do this, even though the problem was at the main office. She hung up on me while I was talking.

    I called again and talked to another person. Same story. He refused to transfer me to a supervisor. Told me that I was wrong. He look up the person who I talked to last night. He was a part time employee and will not be in until Sunday at 6PM. The part time worker was the only helpful person who I had talked to and was the only one who came close to solving my problem.

    I asked to speak to a supervisor today, but kept being told that I simply kept repeating myself. He would not transfer me.
  15. adamwsh

    adamwsh New Member

    Oct 22, 2002
    I am in Collegeville, PA

    My appointment day was today. Scheduled to install one M-Card or two S-Cards in my TivoHD.
    Appointment was scheduled for 8am-10am.
    I got a call from the tech at 7:30am to let me know she was on the way. I asked her if she was coming right from the office. She said yes. I asked her to bring a bunch of cards just in case the first didn't work. She said she has two and that is all she's allowed to bring with her. I asked if they were M-Cards and she said yes. So, already off to a good start, two M-Cards... one to try, and one as a back up.
    She arrived in front of my house around 8:05 and sat in her truck, I think eating breakfast, for about 10 or 15 minutes. She then collected her equipment and come to the door.
    As I was walking her to my basement, I asked if she had done CableCard installs before and she said yes. I asked her if she has done them in Tivo's before and she said, "We just put the card in. The software part is up to you." Which I was COMPLETELY fine with! I showed her the install instructions that came with the Tivo. I said it tells me to write down the serial number of the card. She started to read it to me, then handed it to me. I wrote down the S/N, UA & MAC and handed it back to her. She had already started calling her service line on her speakerphone. She didn't know where to put the card in the Tivo, so I showed her. She plugged it into Slot1 (on the right). The Tivo immediately recognized the card and brought up the config menu. She gave the person on the other end of the phone the S/N, then the CableCardID, HostID and Data number (all of which are on the tivo screen). Took about 5 minutes for the person on the other end to get it set up, and sent a couple of hits to the box. I went to the test channels screen and all channels that I should get were there.

    All in all, I guess it only took about 20 minutes. The tech was a little rude, but otherwise cooperative. After all the horror stories I've read here, I was prepared for the worst, but it went about as smoothly as it possibly could have.

    I think I was lucky to have someone that has done CableCard installs before plus someone on the phone that knew how to active them. I was also lucky to have an M-Card available to me, so I only had to worry about one card being installed.

    So, kudos to Comcast for getting it right the first time with no trouble!

    I think as long as they get the numbers right, and the person on the phone knows how to properly do the activation, it SHOULD be a painless process.

    I wish everyone else as much luck as I had with my install!
  16. CoyoteTeacher

    CoyoteTeacher New Member

    Aug 4, 2007
    Northampton, MA
    I picked up the TiVo HD Thursday afternoon (Aug 2) and went through the set-up (without the cards) that evening. Comcast came out Friday at 11:30 am, and the tech had two Motorola cards completely installed within an hour. The premium channels plus HBO and Starz were working in HD on both cards without any problems.

    This is for the guest bedroom where my wife does most of her casual TV watching; this makes her happy since she makes use of Wish Lists and doesn't appreciate the 3416's re-recording programs she's already watched and deleted.

    I still have the Mot. 3416 in the living room with the larger TV, since I occasionally use it for On-Demand HD movies and it does work if you know the work-arounds and are patient.

    *** This just to let you know things often work the way they are supposed to.

    P.S. The tech knew about the TiVo software for the Motorola, said the company told him employees may get a crack at it soon, and said he was looking forward to seeing it. We're in western Massachusetts.

    P.P.S. The tech only had two cards with him and one was bad. But he managed to contact another tech who was on the road not too far away, and that guy brought a replacement by. That and we were still done in an hour.
  17. hoopsfan

    hoopsfan Hoopsfan

    Aug 4, 2007
    San Mateo
    My first post here- great resource for consumers!

    I assume this is a blatant error but wanted to check for other customer experience on this before complaining to Comcast.

    I'm a customer in San Mateo CA office though apparently routed through Foster City Comcast office (I have 94403 zip).

    I already had two TV locations with Comcast boxes and Tivo2's attached, and HD service (through the Comcast box) on one of them. The relevant monthly charges for this setup, beyond the digital package:
    - High Definition TV $7.00
    - Digital Addl Outlet $6.99 (I assume this is box rental)

    I put in a Tivo3 in a third location (a contractor ran the cable), installed Cablecards with the typical minor hiccups (one bad card) but not too bad compared to the stories I've seen here. Comcast installer knew what he was doing- plugged in both cards at once but it didn't seem to matter.

    So I got the first bill and found these monthly charges including the previous services which I'm still getting:
    - High Definition TV $7.00
    - Digital Addl Outlet $6.99

    and new charges:
    - Dual C-Card Dig Access $1.79
    - HDTV Additional Service $7.00
    - HDTV Additional Service $7.00
    - Digital Addl Outlet $6.99
    - Digital Addl Outlet $6.99

    So I'm getting charged an additional $29.77 per month for putting in the Tivo 3. I was assuming I'd just be paying $1.79 per month for the second cable card (they said one was free), or else $6.99 for the 'additional outlet' (even though there's no new box) plus $1.79. The double 'HDTV additional service' seems particularly bogus- has anybody else seen this charge? Any experience with Bay Area Comcast on this billing practice would be appreciated.

  18. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    For new S3 should just be:
    - Dual C-Card Dig Access $1.79
    - Digital Addl Outlet $6.99
  19. drcos

    drcos HD where available

    Jul 20, 2001
    Venice FL
    Don't know about the Bay area, but in SWFL, there is a $7.00 'additional digital equipment' fee on each of my 'second' cards, which according to the folks at the head end, has to be there (and apparently, when they remove it, the cards stop working). They've said they're 'working on it.'

    I am in the process of contacting corporate for assistance.
  20. RavenFan

    RavenFan New Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    I'm happy to hear that someone has had a good experience. At least you were allowed to talk to people in the Comcast office to provide the numbers. And they were people who actually believed that they needed to enter a CableCARD ID, HostID and Data number.

    I wasn't even allowed to talk to anyone at Comcast on Saturday on the phone to try to give them the numbers.

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