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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. mhargr03

    mhargr03 New Member

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    Aug 29, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Well here's a good one...called Comcast, got through to a tech support person in the Woodridge, IL call center. After a total of about 45 min on hold (she checked in once in a while to tell me she was still looking it up and asking other people in the office) the rep came back and said: "I'm sorry, but we will have CableCARDS in about 1-2 years. The technology is not available yet but it is something we hope to offer in the future." Nice. I guess I'll just go pick one up at a location several on the board have already gotten them from...
     
  2. Guy Kuo

    Guy Kuo New Member

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    Feb 10, 1999
    Seattle, WA
    Took half a day to successfully install and activate two cablecards in an HD TiVo. No trouble picking up two single stream cablecards from the Redmond Comcast cable store. The clerk happily accepted return of the Comcast DVR. We were strongly motivated to switch back to TiVo after the recent introduction of iGuide to the Seattle area. The MS Foundation software would lose recordings, but iGuide had an even clumsier user interface.

    Anyway....

    First round of installation was successful with one card. The other card would not activate after about an hour on the phone with friendly Comcast CS reps. They were patient and tried to no avail. Swapping out the bad, second card was also done without hassle in Redmond. The new #2 card initialized much faster than the original card. Just a single hit and it was up. All were Motorola cars. The first two cards were red labeled cards. The third card was a much later serial number with a blue label. That third card showed on the pairing screen a message about one way RF, whereas the first card did not.

    Once the cablecard hastle was solved, things progressed well.

    As mentioned earlier in the thread, channels may not appear for several minutes after a cablecard is activated.

    Also, TiVo really should redo the software so the "good" error says something like "busy" instead of just an error number.

    If both cablecards had been new, good ones, the process would have gone MUCH better.

    Multistream cards were not available in Redmond.
     
  3. bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,403
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    Nov 9, 2003
    Georgia
    You always have a choice to do without.
     
  4. clemon79

    clemon79 New Member

    45
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    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Hi gang! I'm in Seattle, and I picked up a Tivo HD over the weekend. I decided I was sick to hell of waiting for Comcast to get off of their duffs with regard to their own Tivo software, and that if I was gonna pay $13 a month, I'd rather pay it straight to Tivo than to Comcast, the initial cost of the box be damned. (But not TOO damned...basically, the $300 Tivo HD hit my price.)

    So, let me add my experience to this point:

    I stopped by the Comcast office on Aurora on Saturday afternoon, where I informed the lady I needed two Cablecards. Boom, bang, lickety-split out the door, and I was told there would be no charge. Sweet! Next stop: Best Buy, and I'm on my way home.

    Later that day, I set everything up, and call Comcast to get the card activated. The card...doesn't respond. At all. The only channels I get are the over-the-air unencrypted QAM channels. Everything else is a black screen. And this is the card that KINDA works...the second one throws an error the second I put it in the Tivo. Great. Should have known Comcast was gonna find a way to gum it up.

    Called back several times, and the idjits tried several different ways to alert the cards. Nothing. Set up an appointment for a drone to come out Tuesday morning.

    This morning, I stop off at the Comcast office in Redmond off of Willows Road (since it's right around the corner from my office), to drop off my cable boxes and swap the cards for two that might work. And the girl does that, and gives me two brand-new cards. (I asked, and as mentioned above, the Redmond office does not have "M" cards.) I then say "The lady at the other office told me that there was no charge for these, that's still the case, right?" And she says "Oh, no, the first card is free, the second card costs $6.95 a month." She ALSO mutters something about how some code or another wasn't set on my account, and that's probably why the first card didn't work. Nice.

    Understandably, I'm a little pissed, particularly after the ineptitude they've displayed with regard to making these work, but I still come out ahead, since I turned in a hi-def and a standard-def box to do this. So I took them, and here I am at work. I'll try them tonight, and if they work I will cancel the appointment tomorrow.

    So, my questions:
    • Am I getting screwed on this monthly charge (I am particularly not thrilled with this because I think that the lack of "M" cards is Comcast's excuse to screw me with this extra fee),
    • Does anyone think calling Comcast's 800-number and "discussing" this with them would bear fruit (and if so, what are the magic words I need to say to bear said fruit),
    • and if we have someone here who knows the innards of Comcast better than I do (which wouldn't take much), does this stuff about a "code" being wrong (and we're not talking about the CableCard ID's, I KNOW those were right because I went over them with the CS people on the phone like four times) make a lick of sense?
    Thanks for your help!
     
  5. AGBulls

    AGBulls New Member

    89
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    Jul 30, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    Don't bother picking them up at the North Ave office in the city. I did this and neither worked. I'm pretty sure they were grabbed from a pile marked "broken." You just need to keep calling back -- over and over and over again.

    I would recommend a three-way conf call with Tivo if you have issues after the cards are paired. This has resolved many problems for people here (including myself). If you call Comcast and get someone who doens't know what they're talking about -- just hang up and call back.

    I called three or four separate times and got answers just like yours until I got a friendly CSR who was extremely familiar with cablecards. It may seem rude, but until they're all trained (who knows when that is) it's the next best option. Good luck.
     
  6. Canoehead

    Canoehead 1 of The Curs'd 200

    144
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    Sep 12, 2006
    NJ
    I am paying $7.95 a month for my second card - Comcast in Jersey City, NJ. Apparently they are charging each card as an "outlet with equipment" - my first outlet is "free" as part of my package, but I have to pay the same for the 2nd card as if it was a whole outlet with a cable box on it. This is total BS since both cards go in the same machine. I was thinking about trying to get an M card, but the guy who installed the present cards was the only competent guy in an otherwise retarded organization, and I don't want to press my luck.
     
  7. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

    35,116
    73
    Jan 23, 2002
    Philadelphia...
    That doesn't sound like the Comcast policy elsewhere in the country.

    Here in Philadelphia, the policy is that each "outlet" beyond the first one costs $8.90, but a second cable card in an existing outlet only costs $1.50. So, the extra charge for having a TiVoHD instead of a standard Comcast box is only $1.50 (plus the service charge to TiVo, obviously). Of course, if you have a TiVo AND a cable box in a different room, you will pay the second outlet fee.

    They can't tell you that they don't know if you're using the cable card in a second outlet or not, can they? The card is married in their database to the piece of machinery into which it is plugged, right? I couldn't take a cablecard out of my TiVo and plug it into my cablecard-ready TV, could I?
     
  8. clemon79

    clemon79 New Member

    45
    0
    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Before this, I had *three* cable boxes, and they never charged me an additional outlet fee here in Seattle. (Two in my front TV, one slaved to my old Tivo, one for HD, and one in my bedroom.) The two front TV ones went back today, and are being replaced with two Cablecards. If I wasn't paying a second outlet fee before, I fail to see why I should be now. (I'm not at home so I can't look at the menu of stuff I saved out from a past bill.) I expected one card for free and $1.50 for the other one AT MOST.

    So, yeah, I'm still irked, and I'd still love to know if anyone has successfully gotten Comcast to change this on the phone, and what they said that convinced them to do it.
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

    7,308
    1
    Jan 10, 2002
    NJ
    FYI- just some more oddities to be aware of-

    If I read the regulations correctly, the “additional outlet” fee is only for digital outlets- so if the boxes were analog then they wouldn’t have that fee.

    The other thing to keep in mind is lots of time providers some how bundle the fees- not sure how that’s legal but an example would be my provider would charge 6.95 for a second HD box of theirs. But when pressed you can find out that it’s actually 4.95 for the box rental and 2 dollars for “Hd programming” it’s not quite the same as ‘additional outlet’ but I wonder if lots of places weren’t bundling that crap before tivo’s came along because it just wasn’t an issue until now???
     
  10. kido

    kido New Member

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    Aug 17, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    I called Comcast and told the CSR to go to http://www.comcast.com and do a search on "cablecards how much". The results show the following page:

    http://www.comcast.com/customers/faq/FaqDetails.ashx?ID=2651

    which pretty much lays out what you should be paying. Now, whether the CSR will be able to actually change your account to reflect this policy is anyone's guess, but they will know after reading that page that the additional outlet is in error.
     
  11. clemon79

    clemon79 New Member

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    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    MOST interesting. Thank you very much. I knew $6.95 was too much, I expected it to be around $1.50 or so. I will absolutely be citing that when I call them tonight to activate these two CableCards.

    In poking around, I found this:

    http://www.comcast.com/customers/faq/FaqDetails.ashx?ID=2540

    Based on this, it seems to me I should be charged:

    • Nothing for my cable box (it's included in my digital cable fees)
    • Nothing for the first CableCard (first hit's free!)
    • No more than $1.91 for the second one.
    I think they're trying to pop me for an extra outlet because the second box is hooked up in my bedroom, but they've never done this before (and that box has been there for a while) and it seems it's none of their business where I have these hooked up: the nutshell is that I get the box and CableCard included and the second one is $1.91 or less. So I'm just gonna tell them that I have the box in the living room for On Demand purposes and that it's all one outlet and they need to fix this.
     
  12. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

    1,952
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    Jan 20, 2004
    Well good luck. I've argued with numerous Comcast reps about this fee and all they do is conveniantly change their description of what it's actually for. At the end of the day they will tell you it's been dropped and then you will still see it show up on your bill.

    And as for the "first box is free" they will tell you that it is for digital cable only. If you want an HD capable box that is an extra $7. Even with the FCC mandate that all broadcasts have to go HD/Digital by the end of the year 2008.
     
  13. DVDerek

    DVDerek <WittySaying />

    6,450
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    Sep 30, 2002
    Boston, MA
    I believe it's 2009, and the mandate is that broadcasts go digital - which is unrelated to going HD.
     
  14. MichaelK

    MichaelK New Member

    7,308
    1
    Jan 10, 2002
    NJ
    also one says OVER THE AIR broadcasts have to go digital- cable can stay analog as long as they want (although the fcc is hoping they go all digital by then too...)

    the actual date is just after the superbowl in 2009 (they dont want to piss off everyone trying to watch the superbowl on analog tv's
     
  15. clemon79

    clemon79 New Member

    45
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    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I have no problems with calling back repeatedly and moving as far up the food chain as possible.
    Which I have, so we're good.
    Which I don't. I'm fine with SD on this box, since for their purposes I'm only using it for On Demand, anyhow...the HD is gonna be on the Tivo with the CableCards. Nothing says I have to have an HD box just because I have an HDTV if I don't care about it not putting out an HD signal, right?
     
  16. dswallow

    dswallow Save the Moderatоr TCF Club

    51,040
    50
    Dec 3, 2000
    Long...
    Once you have everything functioning, write a detailed letter to Comcast's corporate offices regarding your billing. Don't waste your time re-explaining yourself to CSR's by phone.
     
  17. clemon79

    clemon79 New Member

    45
    0
    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Well, I'll try talking to them first, since I have to call to get the CableCard turned on anyhow. If they don't snap to and recognize this is a screwup (and it IS a screwup...my friend with exactly the same setup is being charged the usual digital cable rate + $1.79 for the second card), then I'll look into a letter.

    The thing with a letter is that I really don't want to wait for them to drag their heels responding to it (if they even bother...I'm pretty sure it would just wind up in the trash), I want this fixed and fixed NOW. And it WILL be fixed.

    I do appreciate the suggestion, though.
     
  18. aindik

    aindik Well-Known Member

    35,116
    73
    Jan 23, 2002
    Philadelphia...
    Don't bother lying about what room the box is in. I don't think they'll care. It's an "outlet" fee, not a "television" fee. If you have two digital outlets on the same television (two boxes, a TiVo and a box, a TiVo and a cablecard in the TV), that's two outlets to them. I think, roughly defined, an outlet is a self-contained piece of machinery that can receive a digital cable signal. It's not "a room" or "a television."

    I have three outlets and they only charge me for one extra, though. I'm not sure why that is. Maybe because the third is a DVR and the additional outlet is wrapped up in the DVR fee. But I think it's probably just an oversight by them.
     
  19. AGBulls

    AGBulls New Member

    89
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    Jul 30, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    Go the ol' Supervisor route. It works 99% of the time if you have a forceful personality.

    Immediately ask to talk to a Supervisor when a CSR answers the phone -- and then get the Supervisor's name. If they can't help you, get the name of the Supervisor's boss. If this doesn't work, then you have actual names to put into a letter -- should you even have to go that far. It'll help in stating your case.
     
  20. clemon79

    clemon79 New Member

    45
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    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Then they're contradicting themselves, because the FAQ I linked to...here, lemme link it again for convenience:

    http://www.comcast.com/customers/faq/FaqDetails.ashx?ID=2540

    ...states in that last question (before the truncated one) that they will be happy to provide me with a digital cable box at no charge so I can use the On Demand stuff I am paying for. (And, again, I can cite someone I know with exactly the same setup who is only being charged $1.79 for the additional card.)

    They really don't have a single leg to stand on here.
     

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