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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Sep 4, 2007 #3461 of 9367

    mike_sjc New Member

    Aug 14, 2007
    As a followup for those who wondered how this turned out, I called Comcast again today and the rep I talked to had no problems removing the 11.95 charge. :) Furthermore the HDTV service is included in the Digital plan I have, so there is no $7 fee either. I'm only paying for the $1.91 cablecard rental.

    The moral seems to be don't call on the weekends; the better trained and more experienced agents have enough seniority to not to have to work then. Call 8am-5pm.
  2. Sep 4, 2007 #3462 of 9367

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    No, sorry to disapoint you, but the moral is that you'll get a random result every time you call. Also, expect any combination of the following to now occur:

    * random authorization failures of any of your comcast equipment (cablecards, stbs, etc)
    * the same charge to magically appear on your next bill
    * the credit you supposedly got magically not appearing on your next bill
    * crazy new charges (multiple A/O, etc) magically appearing on your next bill

    I went through this for the first 4 months I had comcast when I insisted they give me a STB for On Demand stuff (their own web page says it should be free). I had to call every month and convince them to remove the HD and A/O charges from my bill. The result every month was an exciting new combination of the above.

    All in all, I realized that for the first four months, Comcast had lied to me every time I spoke to them. Every time. I eventually gave up and returned the STB, since it was the only way I could expect to keep my sanity. Since then, Comcast hasn't had the chance to lie to me (I haven't had to call).

    Good luck..
  3. Sep 4, 2007 #3463 of 9367

    WeBoat Member

    Nov 6, 2002
    And to follow up on my problems. Seven weeks now and comcast still hasn't fixed their "head end" issue. To remind everyone, I get all the channels fine, except for 6 now 7 HD channels including the ESPN's.

    I've just been told by the supervisor that now the person I need to talk to won't be back until Thursday. Every week, it's someone is out until the end of the week or next.

    If anyone has any good contacts high up at comcast, I would love to tell them this story and show them a 7 week open work order to get my Tivo HD to work correctly.
  4. Sep 4, 2007 #3464 of 9367

    clemon79 New Member

    Apr 12, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Because I'm really stupid, I'm thinking of swapping my two S-cards for an M-card, because I've heard they're showing up at my local Comcast office, and after my last experience with them, the principle of not giving them $1.79 extra a month is actually more appealing than the actual saving of $1.79.

    So, two questions:

    1) can I take out my CableCards and reinsert them and have them still work, provided I put them in the same slots they started in? Or would I be better off powering it down, taking them out, and then if I need to put them back in when I get home from work (because the Comcast office doesn't have an M-card for me, say), doing that?

    2) Anyone know of a way to call the Comcast Redmond office directly so I could see if they had M-cards in stock BEFORE putting myself through all of this?

  5. Sep 4, 2007 #3465 of 9367

    dswallow Save the Moderatоr TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    As long as they are put back in the same slots and no other card is inserted into either slot with the power on, you can remove/replace the cards freely with the power on. Powering off first won't hurt anything either.
  6. Sep 4, 2007 #3466 of 9367

    lickwid Member

    Oct 2, 2005
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Is this right...? I just had my CableCards installed a couple weeks ago. I got my bill today and am being charged the following:

    Digital Classic Package - $11.95
    Dual C-card Dig Access - $1.79
    High Definition TV - $7.00
    Digital Addl Outlet - $6.99

    Plus I'm already paying $35 a month via my HomeOwner Association for Basic Cable.

    I thought I'd be only paying the first two fees above. If I have to pay the additional $13.99, it doesn't seem too much of a deal to get several more HDTV channels, and a bunch of standard channels I'd never watch.
  7. Sep 4, 2007 #3467 of 9367

    tmesser Member

    Apr 12, 2003
    Naperville, IL
    Nope, that's wrong. The "High Definition TV" charge only applies if you're renting their box, and the first digital outlet is included in the programming charge for the digital tier.

    Provided you have no other boxes/DVRs from Comcast, you are correct: The first two charges you list are the only ones that should be on your bill. Sounds like you got the same billing treatment many others have received.
  8. Sep 4, 2007 #3468 of 9367

    DBH-HD New Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    This is a really long post but it has a happy ending!
    My new TiVo HD without any cableCards installed was able to pick up most of Comcast’s digital channels but they were mapped to digital numbers such as 85.6 and about 8 channels were mapped to number zero - all of which TiVo could not display a program guide for.
    My digital HD LCD TV has had a cableCard installed for over 2 years now. I had a bunch of problems getting the cableCard installed correctly in the TV by Comcast, so I was prepared for the worst or so I thought.
    Thursday morning I called Comcast to have cableCards installed in the TiVo and my Comcast HD box removed. Amazingly, they could send out a tech that evening. I explained that it required two CableCards unless they had the new multi-stream cards. The rep had never heard of a multi-stream card but said she would put that on the work order.
    Around 6:20 PM I got a call from the Comcast tech saying he would have to reschedule the appointment for the next evening since he didn’t have any cableCards on his truck.
    Friday morning I called Comcast and confirmed that I had an appointment for that evening. So Friday the tech never showed up or called.
    Saturday morning I called Comcast to find out what had happened to my service call. After about 20 minutes on hold I got a service rep who apologized and told me a supervisor would call be back in 20 minutes. No one called. After an hour and half I called Comcast back and told the whole story all over again. This time the rep gave me a $20 dollar credit for my trouble and said that the tech supervisor would call me back in 10 minutes. After over an hour still no one called, so I called Comcast back again and told another rep the whole sorry tale. She put me on hold then asked me if I was near the TV. I said no but there was no reason to do anything with the TV. She then said that she had made a change and that it should now be working. I said the TV was not the problem and since no cableCards had yet been installed in the TiVo there was nothing she could fix. It turned out the tech had marked the work order as complete the previous evening even though he never showed up. She also told me that there was nothing they could do until sometime the next week since cableCards could not be installed on weekends. I asked if I could pick up the cableCards myself and she said yes. I asked if she was sure about that since you could not do that in past and she assured me I could and gave me the address to go to. Just to be on the safe side, I made a service appointment for the next Tuesday 12 - 3 PM to install the CableCards in case I could not get to the service center that day. So around 12:30 PM on a day in the mid-nineties I drove over to downtown Arlington, found a parking spot several blocks away, and walked to the Comcast service center. Well guess what? You cannot pick up cableCards yourself from Comcast-Arlington; they can only be installed by Comcast techs. Needless to say I was livid. The customer rep gave me another $20 credit for my trouble but I told him that did not fix my problem at all.
    I took off from work early on Tuesday and two techs showed up around 2:30 PM. They had a multi-stream cable-Card and installed it in the TiVo. The TiVo recognized the card as a multi-stream card and started its configuration. The tech said that it would take several hours for all the channels to download to the card and left. Several hours later that night all I had on the TiVo was a handful of HD channels and the basic channels 3 – 9, nothing else and no HBO at all. I gave it a day and there was no change. I pulled the card and restarted the TiVo with the same result.
    Wednesday morning I called Comcast about my billing which as I expected was really messed up. They had me down for 5 cableCards and two converter boxes. After a bunch of being put on hold and being asked questions, I was put on hold and was dropped back into the waiting queue. I hung up. I’ll wait for my monthly statement to see if it was corrected or not.
    Wednesday around 5:00 PM I called Comcast tech support and had them hit the cableCard again. They found that both the TiVo and TV cableCards were not entered in their system correctly. After the rep re-entered the IDs, etc. for both cards, I lost all the channels I had on the TV except for the same ones the TiVo had! After several return phone calls from the Comcast tech, he got all the TV channels back but the TiVo was unchanged. The rep setup another service call for the following day, Thursday at 3 – 6 PM.
    Thursday I left work early and when I got home at 2:50 PM, a Comcast tech was waiting for me in the parking lot. Rather than swapping out the TiVo cableCard he spent an hour checking all the coaxial cables and splitters on my system. I had the same rigmarole with the TV CableCard previously months ago. They treat the cableCards like they were made of gold and resist swapping them out. The tech had Comcast try and initialize the card again and they got a weird error, ‘invalid IPPV table size’, that no one at Comcast had seen before. They said that they needed Comcast’s IT department to fix the problem. I asked the tech to swap out the TiVo’s card anyway but he refused saying that the problem would resolve itself in a day or two and left.
    Friday morning before I left for work I checked the TiVo again and it still was missing all the same channels. I called Comcast and asked if my problem ticket was still open and the rep said “no, it was closed”!! So I had to tell my spiel all over again. She apologized and said the earliest service appointment would be Monday morning, 9 – 12 AM. I said that day was Labor Day and the rep said that they worked on Labor Day.
    Monday around 9:30 AM a tech called me and asked me what my problem was. So I told him that the TiVo cableCard was not working correctly. I had to explain the difference between multi and single-stream cable cards as he had never heard of the multi-stream kind. While on the phone he had me give him all the IDs from both the TV and TiVo cableCards and even remove them and give him the model numbers from the card cases. He claimed that both cards were not entered in their system correctly, still! After 3 or 4 more phone calls he said everything should now be working correctly. I checked and the TV was fine (as always) but the TiVo still was only getting about 12 channels. He said he would come out to my house but only had one multi-stream card. About 30 minutes later he arrived and swapped out the cableCard on the TiVo. He called Comcast, read all the new ID numbers and had them initialize the card. Same thing as before, the TiVo only saw about 12 channels. On the Comcast side they did something else and now the TiVo saw some more digital channels. They did something else at the Comcast side and the TiVo was now getting everything but HBO. Once again Comcast changed something on their side and now the TiVo got the HBO channels, Sweeet!!! I had about given up hope I would ever have it working correctly. I checked the TV and made sure it still worked correctly and thanked the tech for his help and he left. I checked all the channels on the TiVo and it actually gets a few more than the TV does.
    So I now started completing the TiVo setup to get all the program listings correctly loaded. However, the TiVo could no longer connect to my home network. This has happened before. Since I got D-Link’s new N-type wireless router, every once in a while it stops allowing any access. Just powering it off for a few seconds solves the problem. However this time when I did it I got a weird Comcast setup screen for new internet access. I tried calling Comcast’s support but was put on hold. I walked through the setup process online while on hold and got a message about my internet access being recently cancelled. So I completed the setup up to the point where it was about to install Comcast’s crapware and then quit. I tried powering off the cable-modem and then renewing the router’s connection to Comcast. That worked and got me back online. However when I tried emailing none of my accounts worked, not even using Comcast’s web-based email. I was still on hold with Comcast (for about 45 minutes now). While trying to get my main email account working I noticed that Comcast had an online chat tech support option. I tried that and someone responded immediately. After telling her my problem and that I had my TV connection serviced earlier, she said that they had reset my cable-modem at some point and that had disabled all my Comcast email accounts. She quickly activated them and I tested them to see if all was well.
    Then I finished the TiVo network settings and downloaded the current program guide. I must say it now works just great, but what a pain getting there.
  9. Sep 4, 2007 #3469 of 9367

    ScorpioATL New Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Comcast Atlanta.. evil evil evil

    First called twice to customer care to see if I could pick up cards from their office. Both times yes so once I finally bought the tivoHD and headed over to their office to pick one up. "Nope" They say they don't keep them in their office and it requires a technician visit and a home setup charge. And to top it off, there wouldn't be appointments available for 2 weeks.

    Cut today, two weeks later... They set up an appointment for between 2-5pm... I take a half day at work to meet them, 4pm comes around and they call and say they won't be to my house till 6:30pm(!). Whatever, I just want my tivo working now and I've already packed up the Comcast HD-DVR for them to take away with them.

    6pm comes around and I get a call from the technician saying he's not coming because his supervisor says the cards they have won't work for me and they are out of stock on what I need probably for a month.

    They never asked me what model of Tivo I am using... So now I don't know if its because they have Scientific Atlanta cards for some reason or they only have M-cards and didn't bother asking if I have a TivoHG or a Series3. I asked to be escalated to whoever called off my technician from coming to my house now... but not feeling confident.
  10. Sep 4, 2007 #3470 of 9367

    eagle104 I hate Comcast

    Sep 4, 2007
    I had a service call scheduled for a couple weeks ago. It was a saturday 7-9 window at 10 I said forget it and went to sleep. 30 Mins later I get a call from tech who is 1 mile away and is lost. I give directions and few mins later the contracted technician shows up. He has never done a cable card installation and has never seen a tivo. I put the card in because he is clueless and it is a singlestream instead of a multistream. He said he did not know the difference and just grabbed a card. He said he could come back tomorrow with the right card I said come tuesday cause it is my day off and I am not staying up late again for a stupid card. So tuesday comes and goes and I get no showed. I go to the local office that day and complain, I want my cable card. She says they have none there and I need a tech to come and install it. OK schedule me for an appointment, but send someone from comcast I do not want a contractor. OK she notes that and the fact I want a multistream card several times in the notes.

    So today was the day, I was finally going to be able to use my new tivo. Nope 2-4 window and I get a call at 3:16 the tech is running late and will be here after 4. Ok so when it hits 5 I call the number back that called me and yup I get thaks for calling Ocean Cable Group, what they gave it to the contractor again. OK I'm pissed and 1-800-COMCAST I am dialing. I hit the prompts and when it comes to the part asking if I am calling about todays scheduled appointment hit 1 I do and nothing happens I get an endless repeating loop as it will no let me get farther into the call and am stuck. So I go to the website and do online support. Type in the story and I am fuming.

    So after a while online chatting she finally gets a hold of the contractors dispatch and tells me the tech will cal and she can do no more. I said your right I'll have to do this again tonight again anyways bye.

    At 6:15 the tech calls and says he does not have a cablecard and there are non available in my area. I said don't tell me that it is on my service order and I want a card at my house now. He said this is a pick up job he got 2 hours ago. He got the job 15 mins after my job window ended? The job that siad I don't want a contractor. So he tells me he needs to speak to his supervisor and he will call me back in a few mins. I told him I don't care what he does I just want a cablecard here now. That was 45 minutes ago.

    So here I am 3 supposed calls into getting a cable card, I live 20 miles from philly, and can't get a cablecard for my tivo after 2 weeks. I wish i had FIOS available in my neighborhood.

    So their dispatch just called 7:15 and the tech should be here by 9. I said does he have the card she said yes he had to drive an hour to get it. I said ok good and hung up.

    It is now 10:15 and have heard nothing. Will ***** out comcast again soon.

    And at 10:30 they call back and tell me the tech can still come out, but it will be like 11:15. Well damn I work 3-11 so now they just coming into my evening, I wouldn't be home from work yet if I wasn't off today. So if it was a scare tactic to try to get me to say forget it they tried it on the wrong person. My guess is he will have either a bad card or a singlestream card. He did just call for directions.

    He got here around 11. He brought 2 S-cards I said screw it were putting them in as I am not waiting for my TivoHD anymore. He called comcast to install card 1 and the rep was giving him a hard time as it was 11 at night. That card was up and running and it was time for card 2 she told him it was too late and she was not doing it. She refused to give him her name and told him the job was past window and she was not doing another and she hung up on him. So now we are here I put the second card in and brought up the numbers as he was clueless to install a ccard in a tivo and I had to do the install. He called his dispatch who called the girls supervisor who did get the second card set up for me. Now I will call comcast tomorrow and now try to get a m-card set up or make them give me the second card free as all my install notes specifically said m-card multiple times. I know stuff has to be all messed up on the billing side now. On the plus side the 2 cards are in and working and I am presently doing guided setup. Comcast has made a simple 30 minute thing into a long drawn-out project which inconvienenced me 3 different days. And I know this will only continue.

    The tech told me he got the job around 3:30 and since he left the warehouse for the day did not have the cards for the job. My window was 2-4 and he had another job which was an install on a new house which needed to be totally wired 1-5 window. He was on the way here and they made him do the other job first. Is it worse to show up at 2 jobs a little late or be late for both, but 1 be 7 hours late? He was here 40 minutes because I knew what I was doing and if the lady never hung up and just initialized the card it would have been like 25 mins. Then again if he had the correct card then it would have only taken like 15 mins as wouldn't need to switch cards around and such as the 1 card wouldn't read in slot 1.
  11. Sep 4, 2007 #3471 of 9367

    KeithRos New Member

    Aug 23, 2007
    Update on Comcast/cable card problems
    Last week Thursday I called the Tivo cable card support and someone called back within an hour. We went over everything and he was able to help me attempt to get the M-Card working. He could do everything except the excryption codes for HBO. The only problem we had was getting the Tivo to recognize the INIT. I believe I am supposed to get the 161-4 error when the INIT hits the TIVO. Never got it. They tried sending the code several times. The guy on the phone was extremely helpful but in the end agreed a truck roll was needed because he thought it was a signal issue.

    The guy called back Friday night to see if anything had changed. He made a lot of notes on the workorder for the tech that was coming Tuesday.

    The comcast tech showed up around 9 am this morning. As feared, he had never done a cable card install. Also, he said everyone in the office groans when they hear they have to set up a Tivo. I taught him everything I knew about cable cards (thanks to this forum). He only brought two cards because he said that's all the warehouse would give him. Thankfully one was an M-Card. We had an issue with the first person on the dispatch desk setting up that card, so they tried the S-Card. Got the same results. A lot of low frequency channels missing (2, 5-12, 19-22, etc). I am getting HBO and the HD channels in fine. He check the signal at the Tivo box and was getting -5/5 (those are his numbers) - which he said was a great signal. According to the Tivo box, I was getting a signal strength of 41-43 on channels that were coming in. On the channels that weren't coming in, the signal strength was a dash (-).

    After they hung up the tech called dispatch back and got a different person. They tried the M-Card again and got it set up. Unfortunately it still wouldn't take the INIT and I had the same channel problem. The dispatcher went and got a senior guy that had experience with the TIVOs and he grumbled about them as well. The last customer that had channel problems gave up and got a Comcast DVR. He tried everything to no avail. So then we conferenced in the TIVO tech desk.

    The Tivo people didn't sound very knowledgable and put us on hold a lot. It seemed like he was following a script, which is fine, but we weren't getting anywhere.

    Finally, the Tivo guy offers to replace the box. So I say why not - we seemed to have tried everything else. So a new box will be here in 3-5 days.

    The Comcast Tech spent 2-1/2 hours at my house missing his other two morning appointments. He was very apologetic about the problems. At this point I feel that Comcast has done everything they can.

    Stay tuned for more fun...
  12. Sep 4, 2007 #3472 of 9367

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    That number should be 90+. Even 80-something would be marginal.
  13. Sep 4, 2007 #3473 of 9367

    oldnacl New Member

    Mar 23, 2007
    I stopped in at the local Comcast office this afternoon, a different office from the one I had been visiting previously which was close to work where the place was small, crowded and the CSRs were surly. This experience was pleasant - CSR helpful - complete change from the previous place. She scheduled a truck roll for Saturday and while I have little hope things will be done in one visit, I'm hoping. I don't have the price yet other than a quote of $17.90 for the service call. I asked for an M card but she seemed ignorant - she did say she noted that it was for a Tivo and requested same.
    So far I'm not seeing any significant pixelation on basic cable, QAM HD or OTA HD. The SA8300HD DVR has been having major (unwatchable) pixelation on the speed channel - 732 here, though. I'm hoping they'll be able to rectify that while they're here, but, with history taken into account, I doubt it.
    Wish me luck this go-around.
  14. Sep 5, 2007 #3474 of 9367

    jfh3 New Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Moral of the story (or novel):


    The "it will take several hours for channels to download" is nothing but BS. If you don't see all your channels in 5 , 10 minutes tops, after the cards have been activated/initialized/paired/validated, then Comcast (or any provider) hasn't done their job correctly.

    If the cable companies are going to get this right, customers can't let them off the hook by letting the installers go.

    There's generally no reason for an installer to be doing this in the first place; if the cable companies are going to insist on the approach, then they need to get installs done properly the first time.
  15. Sep 5, 2007 #3475 of 9367

    jfh3 New Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    You will not always see the 161-4 error code, but if you do, it's likely a good thing. Most other 161-x codes are not.

    If you see a 161-4, don't worry.

    If you don't see a 161-4, don't worry (about not seeing the error).

    If the installer doesn't call in the serial number, HOST ID and data value for each card - WORRY! ;)
  16. Sep 5, 2007 #3476 of 9367

    ScorpioATL New Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    Hmm was just told by customer care that all the M-cards they have now are designed just for their new boxes and that the M-cards cards that can be used in people's TV's and tivo units won't be available till the end of the year.

    And of course the warehouse is out of single stream cards.

    I wasn't aware there were more than one design spec for M-cards....
  17. Sep 5, 2007 #3477 of 9367

    mhargr03 New Member

    Aug 29, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Like most everything else from Comcast, this is probably BS.
  18. Sep 5, 2007 #3478 of 9367

    dswallow Save the Moderatоr TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    There aren't. I think the cable companies are basically gluing M-cards into their own boxes so they can all be pre-configured for authorization and just need the serial number entered on the customer account to activate.

    (I'm not sure if I mean literally gluing or just figuratively gluing, not having seen how they're providing the new boxes to customers).
  19. Sep 5, 2007 #3479 of 9367

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Wanted to provide an update RE billing and additional charges.

    I'm in the Denver Comcast market and was warned that when I got the 2 singlestream cable cards installed into my Tivo HD that I would get an additional $7 a month charge on my bill. Since I couldn't get the install otherwise I went ahead and had them do things the 'normal' way.

    I've gotten my 1st bill since then. The only device I have other than the Tivo HD with two S-Cards is a regular Comcast HD reciever (non DVR).

    The items showing up on the bill are;

    Standard Cable
    Preferred Package (includes digital converter and remote if applicable)
    Tivo3 Cable Card Pkg
    HDTV Converter (my one Comcast Box)
    $6.95 Digital Additional Pkg (includes digital additional service, digital converter and remote)

    Apprently the 'Digital Additional Pkg' is tied to the cablecards for the Tivo HD. I talked to five different Comcast Reps including a billing specialist with the department that can make line item changes to the bill. I was told by all of the reps that this charge MUST be on the bill as it is tied to the cable cards and removing it will break the cable card functionality.

    I asked what the charge was for and why I was seeing 'additional digital converter' so many times in my line items. I was told that the $7 charge and $6.95 charge for my Tivo HD are for 'special programming' and that I had to pay these charges for HD access.

    As I said, talked to numerous people and spent 2 hours on the phone trying to get this figured out to no avail. I even pointed the Comcast folks to their own webpage that shows that only $1.50 for a 2nd cable card was to be charged and was still told that the $6.95 charge must be on the bill for my HD stuff to work, that if they removed it they would have to take the cable cards out of the system, making them unuseable.

    Any insight? If I wanted to write a letter to Comcast and the local franchise authority how would I go about obtaining that information? I'm interested in pursuing this since several of the reps admitted to me that this was 'wrong' but that there's no way in the Comcast system to get service without these charges.
  20. Sep 5, 2007 #3480 of 9367

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Some Comcast offices have been known to charge this sort of thing, then also put a credit on the bill to compensate. All you should end up paying is the $1.xx charge for the second card.

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