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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Aug 7, 2007 #3121 of 9367

    mike_camden New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    The Comcast lady told me last night that the channel mapping was correct for me and all of my subscriptions were active on my cable cards. Anyone want to guess what her next response was.... it's a Tivo problem.

    I'm going to call when I get home from work today to see if I can speak to someone more experienced.
  2. Aug 7, 2007 #3122 of 9367

    RavenFan New Member

    Oct 3, 2002
    Baltimore, MD
    Latest status from Baltimore County, MD.

    A real Comcast technician arrived very early in my time window (4:15). Not a contractor this time. He had installed CableCARDs before, although never in a TiVo. He immediately said that "We'll get you working. I have a bunch of cards in the truck, and I have plenty of time to work on this." So far, so good.

    He immediately took down the HostID, CableCARDID, and Data numbers and paged someone on the head-end. He did have to wait about 5 minutes for a reply. The lady on the other end took down the numbers and worked her magic. The names of the available channels disappeared, and then reappeared after about 5 or 10 minutes.

    It works!

    I have checked many (not all) channels, including some analog channels, the premiums, HGTVHD, A&E HD, National Geographic HD. So far, so good.

    The tech said that he had a good person to work with on the head-end who had never let him down. He also said that he is not a "Lead Technician", although they don't have too many leads available, so it's hard to get an appointment with one. He also said that he was never officially trained on CableCARDs, but he was able to figure out what to do. Sometimes he has bad cards, but they're "not hard to get working." He said that contractors do not have access to the same people at the head-end as real employees.

    Other notes:
    The tech said that "this is really no different from a TV with a CableCARD".
    He did not make negative comments about TiVo.
    He asked if I wanted to turn in my Comcast DVR today. (I didn't because we still want to finish a few episodes of "The Tudors" and The Big Lebowski in HD.)
    His only comment about the Comcast DVR was if I used OnDemand. I said that I don't. He did not try to push it on me.

    In the end, the difference in people who provided service today made a huge difference. It does NOT excuse the nonsense that I had to deal with over the past week.

    My one bit of advice would to be sure to specify that you have an experienced tech visit the house, not a contractor. Perhaps it's even worth the wait for a lead technician if they accept your request.
  3. Aug 7, 2007 #3123 of 9367

    Gerhard New Member

    Sep 29, 2002

    I've noticed that there are contractors and Comcast in-house techs.

    I've also noticed that it's a big crap shoot in general. I've had contractors that are clueless, and I've also had Comcast techs who were just as clueless.

    It seems that if you get someone that's been with Comcast for a long time, they know what they are doing. If they are a younger tech, they end up being only a little better than the contractors.

    With the contractors I've noted that they all have to purchase their own tools... so you get a huge variation on quality based upon what they can afford.

    (I had them out here about 6 times in the past year... 4 for the Tivo...)
  4. Aug 7, 2007 #3124 of 9367

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Tech showed up today with two single stream cable cards. I sent him back to try to get me an M-card based on other posts indicating that M-cards are available somewhere in Colorado.

    If he can't get me an M-card then I guess I will just have to eat the fees on the 2nd card, etc, until sometime in the future when I can get it sorted out.
  5. Aug 7, 2007 #3125 of 9367

    chef616 New Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    I had my install today. I had a 8-12 appointment and the tech showed up about 15 minutes after 12. The tech was nice and did not seem negative about cable cards, but was also completely without knowledge. He indicated to me that he had just been trained on them yesterday. He showed up with M-Cards which was a good start. All he did was put the card into the Tivo and tell me that he had previously activated the card. He had no idea that he needed to call in to activate them once they were installed. I just sent him off and took care of the rest myself.

    After the tech left I called Comcast. The CSR was friendly and seemed to know what she was doing. After a few minutes she was able to hit the card and I was getting channels. After getting of the phone I notice that I was only receiving HD channels, but none of the basic channels. So, I called back and again the CSR was very helpful and was able to get my basic channels working.

    In all it wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting, but I am still a little annoyed that I essentially had to pay $17 to have a tech deliver the cable card to me.
  6. Aug 7, 2007 #3126 of 9367

    AGBulls New Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I'm literally just about to lose my mind. After Tivo tech support was able to determine that something was wrong with slot 1 on my tivo, i went to best buy to exchange it. i came home, put the cards back in and guess what?

    it wont read the card on slot one either! obviously this is some kind of cable card problem..but im really getting near the end of my rope here. i spent all day trying to get this to work, and am having no luck. the last person i spoke to was another clueless person at comcast, who claims my cable cards are marked in the system, so they should work.

    i told him about all the relevant pairing information, and he seemed to have no clue what i was talking about. i told him id need a person to come out to activate the cards and he said he'd escalate my problem and have someone call me back in 4 hours. 4 hours!!!!

    That is 10:00 chicago time. There is no way someone from comcast is going to call me that late...i just don't believe it. can anyone help me? i need some direction here...I really told myself this couldnt be so difficult...

    but it definitely has been. :(
  7. Aug 7, 2007 #3127 of 9367

    d_anders Sr Legacy Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Twin Cities...
    Well, I'm working now...everything, including HBO, and I have no idea what they did to fix it.

    I called @ 5pm tonight and stated that I hadn't received a follow-up call from last night's failed visit from the installer. By the way, I don't really believe it was the installer's issue. The poor guy sat in my house for close to an hour waiting on hold for to get through to their support back office. I heard the music and prompts and the guys call into the same environment as the customers (with some amount of priority I hope), but he waited and waited.

    In the end, he wrote all the info down and had someone email my host and data info to the "right guy". Nothing was working as of this morning, so when I called back and noted my issue they said that they would look into it.

    When I got home tonight from work I had a voicemail waiting stating that they "rehit" the cards (I'm thinking, oh great, that will be 8th time and no avail), but when I checked everything was working...so far...so good.

    This is definitely down to procedures and Comcast simply documenting what to do. Nothing else. Pure and simple. I'm convinced that the system they have to support cable cards is very cryptic and requires a lot of configuration and checking. They could probably have better support software, but it's clear they don't have the mass of cable card customers for it....

    Regardless, I'm writting emails and a follow-up paper letter.
  8. Aug 7, 2007 #3128 of 9367

    mike_camden New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    Congrats that it's working for you. Still no dice on my end. I called Tivo, and we had a conference call with Comcast. The lady at Comcast was very nice but clueless. The Tivo guy tried to walk her through it, but she couldn't figure out how to remap channels to a cable card. her supervisor is supposed to call me back tonight. After the conference call, the Tivo guy told me to call them back if CCast doesn't get it working in the next couple of days. he said they had an internal unit that is tracking this and advocating for the customer when the cable company is unable/unwilling to resolve the issue.

    So if any of you are getting the run around from your cable provider, I'd recommend calling Tivo before throwing in the towel.

    Hopefully, I'll hear back from Comcast tonight.
  9. Aug 7, 2007 #3129 of 9367

    maharg18 Active Member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Chattanooga, TN
    Here's my experience:

    I bought my S3 last September, took 1 week of hell for Comcast to get the cablecards working, since then it has functioned flawlessly.

    I bought a new Tivo HD for the bedroom the other day. Went and picked up two Motorola s-cards from the Comcast office today (No m-cards available, so they said). I called customer service, and to my amazement they activated both cards within 10 minutes! All was well!

    Unfortunately, a while later I go turn on my S3 and now both of it's cards, that have worked flawlessly for almost a year, are dead. I called Comcast back up, the guy re-hit all my cards after a little convincing, and miraculously both Tivos are now working perfectly!

    I must admit that today's experience has actually renewed "a little" confidence in Comcast, as even with today's hiccups, it still went MUCH smoother than it did last September.
  10. Aug 7, 2007 #3130 of 9367

    d_anders Sr Legacy Member

    Oct 12, 2000
    Twin Cities...
    Yeah, that's about right. It took me 5 business days, almost one year later from your experience.

    We're the passionate ones about their TiVos....good lord, this will never make mass appeal with someone new to the Tivo experience. Unless their purely an OTA customer, they'll give up and return the box.

    TiVO is right in building a cablecard support unit. For the upcoming Christmas shopping season and adoption, they've got to work hard and fast in the next month to get all the cable companies to have better setup procedures.

    I know that what I'm about to say will not sit well with some, but I highly suggest that TiVo provides some type of additional one-time revenue directly to the cable company for each box successfully setup under a certain SLI (service level incentive). Forget stating that FCC requires it....guess how many would setup additional procedures and get them communicated for the revenue....all of them.

    That said, otherwise ComcasTivo boxes for the majority of comcast customers will be the way to go. For the other cable comapnies and for comcast customers insisting on having their own box, providing an incentive will be the way to go.
  11. Aug 7, 2007 #3131 of 9367

    ScottE22 How YOU doin'?

    Sep 19, 2003
    Loveland, CO
    My experience was, surprisingly, not as bad as anticipated. Alas, I fear that it isn't over yet...

    Called Comcast (Northern, CO) last Friday on my way home from purchasing my TiVo HD and was told they don't do CableCards in TiVos - only TVs. I said, "I'm sure you're mistaken. Is there a supervisor I can speak with?"

    So we got that straightened out and the install scheduled for today -- Tuesday -- between 3 and 5pm. Well, I was a little miffed that I left work at 2:45 and the guy didn't show up until 5:15, but that's OK. I'll live.

    The installer had with him 2 Motorola cards so I was VERY glad to see that given what I've read about the Scientific Atlanta (?) cards. Card 1 goes well. TiVo recognized it and displayed "SCard insterted." He waited a minute and called in with the "host" and "data" numbers that showed up on the screen. Solid. We're halfway home.

    We appeared to have a little hiccup with card 2. After he installed it, TiVo did say, "Card inserted," but not "SCard inserted" as it had said with slot 1. I figured this was probably because slot 1 could take an M or an S card so it needed to differentiate whereas if there was a card in slot 2 it was assumed to be an S card and so it was not explicitly indicated.

    But, the "Host" and "Data" info wasn't coming up. Strange. We finally found it under "Cable Card pairing" and he phoned it in. Here's where it got weird...

    The girl on the other end (I know b/c it was a Nextel on speaker) said, "That's odd - I'm getting 'card not in inventory.'" He re-read the host and data info to her and she repeated the same thing. Of course, by now it's after 5:30 so the "cable card expert" was gone for the day...

    So she calls the main office in Denver and calls us back saying that she'll have to let the guy take a look at it in the morning. The weird part is that while he's talking, I start messing with TiVo and notice that both cards seem to be working... I can record two shows in HD at the same time.

    This perplexed him quite a bit. On further examination, it seems card 2 is getting most of my "network" channels in digital and HD, but no premiums like Discovery HD or Encore. Card 1 is getting everything.

    Installer thinks this is due to the issue with the card not being "in inventory."

    So I'm at about 75% right now. We left it that the "cable card expert" would see if he could resolve the issue from the office in the morning, and if not the installer promised to return tomorrow with a new card for slot 2.

    All in all, I'm a little disappointed that it's not all up and running today, but given some of the horror stories I've seen on TCF I'm not complaining... I can still watch any channel I want and record most of what I want as long as there aren't two shows on premium channels at the same time (I can't think of when this would be an issue for us).
  12. Aug 8, 2007 #3132 of 9367

    cr33p New Member

    Jan 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor MI
    Well Crapcastic showed up today after I called and harassed them 2 times for failing to follow instructions to call me and not my wife when they showed up for the install so I could run home. Anyways the tech showed up with 4 cable cards all motorolla and to my great excitement three of them where red and said M card right across them so I immediately told him what that meant and of course he had no idea but I told him to try that card first, after about an hour on the phone with the cable card provisioning dept they had almost gave up and I asked them to try one more of the M cards and voila we are in bizzness. One weird thing I cant explain though is some HD channels have no audio, ESPNHD and TNTHD so far. Any ideas?
  13. Aug 8, 2007 #3133 of 9367

    xander2007 New Member

    Aug 6, 2007
    Well here is an update on my Chicago experience, which started great as the local North Ave Comcast office just up and gave me 2 M Cards for free...

    Get home, write down all the info and put one of the M Cards in the machine. Call up Comcast, have the nice lady hit the card. I make the BIG mistake of letting her get off the phone before I check all the channels. DO NOT LET THEM GO.

    I now get very basic channels and HD locals, no digital programming at all. The CC Info screen shows the Validation at ? and getting the MP issue (Missing Program Rekey for the single stream Motorola cards, multistream just shows MP)

    So I call back, get some jerko who hits the card, no change, then I mention the dreaded word Tivo, then he says it's a Tivo problem. I start to explain the pairing does not look right and he transfers me to a waiting state on some other weird tech support line. I was in the middle of talking and he just basically hung up on me!

    Called again, get someone else to hit the card, try to explain pairing again, get nothing but a trouble ticket number to their CableCard group, who would either 1) get back to me within 4 hours, or 2) fix it by the morning. She and I were both confused as to what they would do.

    So wait till next morning, nothing changed. Call back at 7AM, another hit then nothing, another promise for a 4 hour callback. 2pm, no callback. Call back in from work, call wife on my cell phone, 2 phones, one on each ear.

    Have wifey turn on TV and let me know what's happening. Get a nice woman who is very competent, start to explain my dilemma, mention it is a Tivo, tell her that the message boards said I should do a "Hard Reset or Initialization, then a Hit, then a Refresh, whatever that means!" (Of course I know what it means but I want to play dumb so she feels like the expert. Power struggles rarely result in working cable service)

    This woman tells me that is already exactly what she did, except she did not do a Hard or Cold initialization, but a "warm"? or something init, but anyway she seems to know what to do with these Tivo's.

    Wifey tells me that the channels (she is on 201 or Discovery HD for testing) come in, then go black, then come back in again. Nice lady tells me it may take a few minutes to settle down. I tell nice lady "If I have to call back and have them do the magic you just did what would I say" She says "I already wrote down in the notes that I did an init, hit, refresh so it's there already." I say "thank you so much, you have really helped me make some progress here!"

    Come home expecting to see missing channels, audio dropouts, etc. Nothing. HD channels and DVR works perfectly, can record to HD's at once, the dual tuners are AWESOME!


    Up and working w/in 24 hours with one M-card.


    - Do not let them off the phone until it is working!
    - Do not let them talk you into a truck roll unless your card looks like it is actually bad!
    - Fight hard to get an M-card! The M Cards are probably newer and clearly say M CARD on the front.
    - Most of all this confusion is from them not doing a "Init, Hit, Refresh"
    - Call back until you get someone who can do a "Init, Hit, Refresh"
    - I will say it again, call back until you get someone to do a "Init, Hit, Refresh"


    I have noticed a few *tiny* pixelization artifacts occur, both during live HD and on the Tivo menu. Does not bother me one bit. They are small areas and resolve quickly.

    While navigating channels in the program guide the audio drops out for a second on HD channels. No biggey to me, but wife noticed it.

    I also had a new line run to the house last year with the newer cable (I believe RG-6U?) which handles HD better. I ran new line from the splitter directly to the TV with this new higher quality cable. No older RG-59 at all to the HD Tivo.

    Good luck everyone!
  14. Aug 8, 2007 #3134 of 9367

    eschmith Registered User

    Jun 21, 2002
    Bellingham, MA
    I was a former Tivo user who has used the Comcast Motorola DVRs for a few months, after dumping DirectTV due to poor HD offerings and one of the worst DVR interfaces known to the mind of man. Read as many posts on the forums as possible, and not being able to get any real details about the upcoming Tivo-Comcast-Motorola offering, decided to get the HD and try it. Got the box delivered a few days back, ran setup and got the software upgraded to 1b. No problems. Called and scheduled the installation. Installer came out with 2 cards and had never installed on a Tivo before. I had everything printed out and had him follow the official instructions. We got the first card working fine, 2nd card was DOA. He said he had no more, and his warehouse had no more, he left.

    Called comcast cust svc who said they would send out another tech that night. Right before the 2nd install window, a comcast dispatcher called and said the Comcast CSR was mistaken about being able to give me a 2nd install in one day, that the cablecard lead was normally 4 days. She did schedule a new install 2 days out (today, I'm waiting for the tech now), and I asked her to a) make sure the cards brought were tested, and b) get the tech to bring out several cards. Not a horrible experience.

    Notes: Tech spent 45+ minutes on hold. When I called in to Comcast tech support, I got through in 15 seconds, and I told them their system was really screwed up if their own techs can't get through, and that if I was an installed being paid by the install, I'd be really upset about wasting 45 minutes at a stop

    Tech seemed to have to make multiple phone calls to get the card activated, not sure if he had the proper info about the process

    Comcast says Mcards are not available in my area

    Picture quality is, if I had to guess, a bit worse than my Comcast Motorola HD DVR box. Channel tuning possibly slower too, and as others have reported, menu is slow. Very concerned about this as this is the newest Tivo on the market, but hoping (as others have said) that it will be patched like the S3 has been.

    Crossing fingers for 2nd card today..
  15. Aug 8, 2007 #3135 of 9367

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    In my experience nothing you say to the CSRs about testing cards, m-cards, etc, make it to the technician.
  16. Aug 8, 2007 #3136 of 9367

    superpac New Member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm in Houston, TX and just bought a TiVo HD last night at Best Buy. Went in to the local Comcast (Time-Warner just a few months ago) sales office this morning, asked for a cable card for the TiVo. While I was waiting for the new girl at the register to figure out how to ring it up, the guy behind me explained he was returning an M-Card he couldn't get to work, but he said it wasn't for a TiVo. I saw the card he had was red and had an M-Card sticker on it.

    So the girl at the register got someone else to come over and help her, and the first card they brought out was not an M-Card, so I was like, "oh, well I'll need two of those--or just one of the M-Cards with the red sticker." They went and looked and they had ONE M-Card (that's all I need though, right?). They rang it up, and now I gotta install it later today. I'll probably leave work early to do that since I guess you have to call in to customer service, huh?

    I asked if they had any instructions sheet on how to do it or who to call, but they said the didn't have anything. So... I guess I'll try my luck with Customer Service later. Do I just do the 800 number or my local office?
  17. Aug 8, 2007 #3137 of 9367

    gardavis New Member

    Nov 24, 2001
    I had my install appointment yesterday evening and had requested an M-Card. The contract installer showed up with no cards! My M-Card request was on the paperwork misspelled Mutl Stream).

    Another install is scheduled tonight. Hopefully they will bring an M-Card.

  18. Aug 8, 2007 #3138 of 9367

    DonRoeber New Member

    Nov 30, 2003
    My settings were correct in the phone support person's computer, but they were somehow stuck on their channel mapping box. She needs to escalate this to those engineers.

    Good luck.
  19. Aug 8, 2007 #3139 of 9367

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    You should print the setup instructions from www.tivo.com. I believe that you can find a link to them earlier in this thread or in the Comcast Cablecard thread. Those instructions should make it pretty clear what needs to happen to get the cablecard installed.
  20. Aug 8, 2007 #3140 of 9367

    eschmith Registered User

    Jun 21, 2002
    Bellingham, MA
    Well, the same tech that was here 2 days ago arrived an hour ago with 3 new cablecards. While he still spent 30 minutes or so on hold, the first one he tried seemed to work great. Asked him if his office would be testing the original "bad" card to see if the error was actually a bad card or the card handshaking with my Tivo, he said no, the cards just get RMA's back to the vendor for a replacement. It could be that someone\somewhere in Comcast will find out if that card was really bad or not, no way to know.

    Side note - after the tech left, while running guided setup again, I got the 161-4 error message popup, but ignored it and completed the setup. Also, for the first time since I have had the unit, I saw the pixellation that I've read about in so many posts .. only after installing the 2nd cablecard.

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