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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Oct 6, 2007 #3841 of 9367
    ji0005

    ji0005 New Member

    29
    0
    Sep 28, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I kind of started to wonder the same thing about mine... I just kept thinking, "how can it be this hard?!?" But sure enough, with the right combination of techs customer service reps, they aligned the stars and got it to work.
     
  2. Oct 7, 2007 #3842 of 9367
    smartleydunn

    smartleydunn New Member

    6
    0
    Oct 6, 2007
    Where to start? 'Cause i'm certainly not finished.

    Bought a TivoHD on Tuesday called Comcast to arrange Cable Cards got an appointment for Thursday between 1 and 5. Took the afternoon off work, sat around and waited for the tech who showed up at my house at 4:30 only to tell me he didn't have any Cable Cards, and he tells me to call and reschedule.

    I reschedule for Saturday between 1-5, blow my entire Saturday waiting for the technicians, actually got a Supervisor and a tech. The tech who had been assigned my call had never installed a Cable Card, so his Supervisor came with to "show him how it's done".

    I asked the guy if he had Multistream or Single stream cards and he told me there was no such thing as a Multistream card. So, i had to show him the TIVO literature and he was like "Oh, we have those, but, I don't think they'll work in the TIVOs" and then went on a rant about how much he hates "these things".

    I handed the guy the Cable Card Installation Instructions as soon as he walked in the door, which he of course "didn't need, because he does these Tivos all the time". First thing he does is stick both cards in both slots simultaneously, which is contrary to the TIVO instructions which clearly state "Complete the first installation before starting the second."

    Of course the TIVO starts throwing errors, all of which are saying to contact the cable company (Error Code 161-1), but, since i have two technicians from Comcast here including a Supervisor, one would think they'll be able to sort it. (I can dream can't i).

    Called TIVO Tech Support while the Comcast technicians were here and they told me the cards needed to be hit by the cable company, the cable company said the cards can't be hit unless they're in the machine, but, they finally agreed to do it. After the cable company we finally got to a pairing screen, but, it was showing all zeros for Host, etc.

    The TIVO guy was blaming it on the cable company saying the cards weren't properly set-up, the Comcast guy of course said it was a defective TIVO. After 2 calls to TIVO (25 minutes on hold each time) and 2 calls to Comcast (40 minutes on hold each time). I finally asked the guy if he could leave me the cards, and I would go and exchange the TIVO (knowing full well it wasn't the TIVO), but, i couldn't argue unless i tried.

    Got the new TIVO home and plugged it in and began set-up again, tried to figure out which channel lineup I had, which isn't clear so called Comcast and waited on hold again for 40 minutes (that makes a total of two hours on hold and at this point it's 8 p.m.) Reception was fuzzy, but, discovered that the cable guy had unplugged my line amplifier...GENIUS!

    Finally, got through to someone at Comcast, and unloaded my frustration on the poor girl, who turned out to be the only person I spoke to at Comcast in 4 days who seemed like she actually cared about the customer, and actually kind of knew what she was talking about... I think? She was also the only person at Comcast who didn't offer the "we don't support TIVO" line, which i find hilarious since I've been waiting for 2+ years for the Comcast/TIVO DVR.

    She asked if I have a Tivo HD and when i said i do, she said "I'll bet they didn't bring the right cards", and informed me that the Tivo HD requires a different kind of Cable Card, then the Cable Cards that they have. (is this accurate?)

    So, she tells me we will need to schedule another appointment, and of course the first available appointment is next Thursday the 11th. I asked her if i could go to Comcast and pick up the correct cards and she said she wasn't sure but, i could try going there on Monday.

    So, back to the Comcast Motorola cable box until i figure out what's next. I plan to go to Comcast tomorrow to see if i can pick up a Multistream card or the correct Single Stream cards, provided that there actually is a difference between the cable cards i have.
     
  3. Oct 7, 2007 #3843 of 9367
    johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    77
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    Feb 2, 2005
    These installers make me sick.

    As Will Rogers said, "It ain't what people don't know - it's that so much of what they DO know ain't so."

    I got the exact same attitude - they don't know how to install them, don't want to read the explicit TiVo instructions, and then complain that they "hate these things."
     
  4. Oct 7, 2007 #3844 of 9367
    dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    50,979
    32
    Dec 3, 2000
    Long...
    No, that's not true. The TiVoHD can use one multistream card (M-card), but also works fine with two single stream cards (S-cards). So there's no "wrong" CableCARD one might try to use (well, except for a broken one).
     
  5. Oct 7, 2007 #3845 of 9367
    dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    50,979
    32
    Dec 3, 2000
    Long...
    The instructions are written that way to simplify the collection of data that has to be given to the cable company... i.e., to ensure the installer provides the right serial number and CableCARD/Host ID info for each card. There's nothing inherently bad about doing both cards at once as long as you ensure you know which serial number goes with which slot/CableCARD ID/Host ID, etc.

    I've done it both way without problems.

    There's been a couple things worth noting that've occurred to me...

    A firmware update may take place but you may not see notification that it's happening unless you go back out to the main screen and come back into the CableCARD settings screens. Until that firmware update completes, things behave strangely. There's no progress information about the update. You want to just leave the cards alone until it finishes. When I've gone through this, it's taken as long as half an hour to finish. As I have heard from others, it can take longer on some cable systems; and, of course, it may never complete (which is bad).

    With the TiVoHD I've also had cases where both CableCARDs were full authorized and all indications from the onscreen diagnostic info were that the cards were properly authorized and were decoding the channels, but every channel was black. What ultimately helped here was simply rebooting the unit; when it came back up everything was authorized and decrypting properly.

    Now you said the host ID info was all zeroes; that's definitely a problem, and since the host ID info is from the CableCARD host device, not from the CableCARD, I might actually be inclined to consider the problem may be the TiVoHD... though it could still be a bad CableCARD. How'd that turn out when you got a new TiVoHD unit to try? Did the cards they left now show a host ID number with the new receiver?
     
  6. Oct 7, 2007 #3846 of 9367
    smartleydunn

    smartleydunn New Member

    6
    0
    Oct 6, 2007
    Thank you for your reply and insight.

    One of the problems was the installers lack of patience.. he just kept putting cards in, pulling them out. When i was on the phone with TIVO and telling them of the 161-1 error code, the installer said he hadn't seen any codes. While the TIVO tech support was asking me to restart the unit, the Comcast guy elected to disconnect the coax from the back of the unit to plug into the old cable box to take some line readings and kept swapping cards.

    I did go and exchange the TIVO, and when I inserted the cable card(s) (the 2 that are listed on my account) and one of them made it to the pairing screen but is still showing all zeroes and the other one throw errors saying "CableCard not in normal operation"

    Also, I called Comcast again this morning and spoke to a supervisor and she also said that there was a specific type of Cable Card for the Tivo HD, which I don't buy either... I also informed her that if someone from Comcast wasn't reading these forums, they should be.

    I did just get a technician at TIVO who confirmed that there is no such things as a special CableCard and she has just told me she's going to use the "Bat Phone" to try and get this resolved and call me back. She said she knows exactly what the problem is, but, needs to explain it to Comcast so they'll understand, I'm assuming she means one syllable at a time.


    5 days and counting.
     
  7. Oct 7, 2007 #3847 of 9367
    abaraff

    abaraff New Member

    8
    0
    Jul 29, 2003
    Portland, OR
    After reading so many horror stories on this thread, I thought I would report on my positive Tivo HD CableCard installation yesterday morning in Portland, Oregon. Some notes...

    If I hadn't already activated Tivo service, he said we'd have been rescheduling the appointment.

    I asked if he does a lot of Tivo installs. He said he does because he's the only installer that seems to be able to get them to work. Same goes for HTPC's with CableCards. I asked if he needed to see the CableCard installation sheet that came with Tivo and he declined.

    I asked the installer if he brought M cards or S cards. He said they only give him S cards. He brought at least 4 of them that I saw.

    He installed the first CableCard, then called to pair them. He verified that it was working by going to channel 127 - "Weatherscan Local".

    He installed the 2nd CableCard, then called to pair them. This one was not working when he went to channel 127. He called in and told the office that the 2nd card was cooked. When I asked what percentage of the cards are bad, he said that if the office sends 2 "cold hits" it "cooks" the CableCards. Not sure what that means, but that was the terminology he used. He installed a 3rd card in the 2nd slot, called in and it worked fine.

    When I originally scheduled the appointment, it had been for the Comcast DVR, which they said required the Digital Preferred Plus package. A day or two later, I'd called back to change it to a CableCard install and the Digital Classic package. The workorder that the installer had still showed Preferred Plus. The installer had me make the call to change this after he left, which was fine with me.

    Total time was less than 45 minutes and this was new cable TV service. This installer definitely knew what he was doing.
     
  8. Oct 7, 2007 #3848 of 9367
    ji0005

    ji0005 New Member

    29
    0
    Sep 28, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    It is nice to hear a positive account of things now and then :) There is clearly a training problem within comcast, and im sure the techs that know what they are doing are equally frustrated by the mess that often needs to be waded through. The tech that finally got mine going kept asking for a specific person when he called in because he knew that most of the people didn't have a clue.
     
  9. Oct 7, 2007 #3849 of 9367
    smartleydunn

    smartleydunn New Member

    6
    0
    Oct 6, 2007
    Well after five days of calling Comcast, and finally calling in with a TIVO support person on the call, the Comcast person informed us there is a CableCard team and she could not transfer me, but, would have to have them call me, and promised a call back within two hours. Interesting thing being I have probably talked to 10-12 people from Comcast in the past 3-4 days and this was the first I've heard of a "CableCard team". Unbelievably, I got a call back within an hour from a guy named Phineas, who was incredibly helpful, knowledgeable and even optimistic that he would be able to get me sorted by the end of the call.

    Ultimately, he determined that both CableCards are bad, and with a little bit of research tracking the serial #'s discovered they both had previously been on another account with a customer who had given up and gone back to a Comcast box because of the problems he was having with CableCards. He had no idea why these cards were sent out to another account, and told me he has authorized an exchange of cards for me at the North Ave. Comcast office, then gave me his team's phone number and told me he starts at noon tomorrow and if I don't hear from him by 1 p.m. to call and leave a message for him.

    Oh, and he confirmed that there is no such thing as a "special CableCard" for the TIVO HD and apologized for the troubles... and it seemed a little more sincere then the recorded voice that apologizes every 20 seconds while you're on hold with Comcast.

    More tomorrow... *fingers crossed*
     
  10. Oct 7, 2007 #3850 of 9367
    ji0005

    ji0005 New Member

    29
    0
    Sep 28, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    I worked with that same guy for like 5 hours last Saturday (i thought it was Thineas.. but anyway). He was very confident that we would get my issue resolved within 20 minutes, but ultimately decided my card was bad. He said there is one guy there that is better than him, but was pretty confident in his skills... and I think he knew what he was doing but my card somehow was hosed.

    Ultimatley I had a tech come out with new cards (long story) but he made sure I knew not to let them feed me some "the channels will come in soon" line as they walked out my door.

    You are correct that you can't get transfered to them and instead need to be put in the 4 hour call back queue for the Tinley Park group, as has been noted earlier in the thread. For chicago area folks at least...
     
  11. Oct 7, 2007 #3851 of 9367
    gnetwerker

    gnetwerker ex ReplayTVer

    12
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    Sep 29, 2007
    Just had a pretty positive install, here in 97212 (Portland, OR). Installs are scheduling about 7-10 days out -- I called the day my TiVo came, about 10 days ago. I had it hooked up and once thru guided setup. I had recorded a few SD shows on it, etc.

    Installer (contractor) "Kevin" came a little after the appointment window, but had kept me up-to-date with ETA all afternoon. He said he had done 6 or 7 cablecard installs over the last month, and most of them had gone well. He said the first guy he worked with knew more than he or anyone at Comcast, had been through all the docs, and basically taught him how to do it -- he was very grateful (prob. someone from here!)

    He slipped the first card in, and then called his dispatch. They put him on hold for 20+ mins, then told him that he had to call Comcast. He said that they had been able to do CC pairing before, but that apparently Comcast had tightened things up with CCs lately. After another 20 mins on hold at Comcast, we had a CC screen, but no channels. This situation persisted for about an hour, through several (many) calls back and forth.

    During this time we got Ch 1-99 up and running, but not Ch 127 (or anything over 100), which is their apparent test case. Nothing they did seemed to help.

    After about 1.5 hours, he got someone ("Kim") who knew what she was doing. He pulled the first card, re-installed it, and they went through the setup from scratch. Apparently the first CSA had done something (don't know what) boneheaded and screwed the setup. He opined that many of the "bad" cable cards were probably this.

    After another 20 mins everything was set up and working hunky-dorey. I am now 95% done with my program info load (97% now) and by the time this sentence is done I'll have the final test. We did look at some HD channels under the test screen and they looked great -- no blockiness/de-rez or anything.

    OK, so Comcast in general wasted a couple hours of my time (and their installer's), but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared reading this forum. The installer wasn't a rocket scientist but was very customer-oriented, polite, and patient. His challenge was mostly finding a competent Customer Service Agent back at Comcast (a pain we can all feel, I guess).

    Looking at Discovery Channel HD now on my (somewhat crappy, but ...) InFocus 61md10, and I'm a happy guy (more importantly, I have a happy wife).
     
  12. Oct 7, 2007 #3852 of 9367
    johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    77
    0
    Feb 2, 2005
    One has to wonder why the CSRs that the installers call are having to put them on hold. Can there be THAT many premise techs calling in at the same time?

    My installer didn't have any delay getting ahold of his people. He was using a cell and a handheld radio to talk to two different people. He read the work order #, which gave them my account screen, and then he read off the 3 numbers that the TiVo gives for each card.
     
  13. Oct 8, 2007 #3853 of 9367
    smartleydunn

    smartleydunn New Member

    6
    0
    Oct 6, 2007
    So, went to Comcast on North Ave. this morning and lo and behold they had a whole tray of brand new shiny M-Cards, got them to give me two just in case; brought them home, popped one in and immediately got pairing information with digits other than zeros.

    Then of course called Comcast and the CSR I got on the phone had no idea how to take the information from me, so I tried to walk her through the set-up process. (Think I may charge Comcast for training their technicians).

    Asked to speak to a Supervisor just so i could vent, inform them of what a debacle this experience has been thus far, and demand service and a credit on my account. She offered to have one call me back, I told her I have three different requests in for a Supervisor to call me back dating back to last Thursday and no one has ever called me back.

    The Supervisor was extremely apologetic and gave me credit for one month's service which is $175 + a promo rate on my internet service.

    Now standing by waiting for a call back from their specialist to help me pair the card...and we'll see where it goes from there...

    Still no TIVO, but, getting closer...
     
  14. Oct 8, 2007 #3854 of 9367
    Todd H

    Todd H New Member

    3
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    Oct 8, 2007
    What are you guys paying for CableCard rates? I just picked up an S3 yesterday, and my local Comcast is telling me $11.95/card!!! "It's not for the card, but the service you get with the card." This was confirmed over the phone to 1-800-COMCAST, and a trip to the local office in Manassas.

    Prince William County, northern VA, BTW.

    There's no way I'm paying that. If that's the cost, cable is getting cancelled altogether. Utter BS!

    Think about this- if I had two Tivos and another cablecard ready set in the house, I'd pay $60/mo extra for the privilege of watching these.
     
  15. Oct 8, 2007 #3855 of 9367
    johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    77
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    Feb 2, 2005
    The first card is free, and the second one is $1.95 a month.

    The $11.95 is for something else, most likely upgrade to digital or upgrade to HD channels. And it isn't per card.

    Whomever you spoke to is incorrect.
     
  16. Oct 8, 2007 #3856 of 9367
    Todd H

    Todd H New Member

    3
    0
    Oct 8, 2007
    I'll have to keep digging, then. I confirmed with two separate people. And, I already have, and paying for, the Digital and HD service.

    This is frustrating. I'm *this* close to returning the S3, cancelling cable, and moving to Directv.
     
  17. Oct 8, 2007 #3857 of 9367
    PooperScooper

    PooperScooper New Member

    44
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    Aug 22, 2007
    Leominster, MA
    Well, after the TivoHD dropped to $250 and eSata is working I decided to buy one. Comcast is coming Monday (15th) morning, hopefully. The price I was quoted was $2.75 per card with $23.95 and $11.95 installation. I mentioned that the first cable card should be free and she said not until they get back my DVR. I just hope I get a tech that will follow the directions from the Tivo box. Maybe he'll let me do it and just call the office to get the card data into the system. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    larry
     
  18. Oct 8, 2007 #3858 of 9367
    PHeadland

    PHeadland New Member

    38
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    Mar 29, 2005
    San Mateo, CA
    Update on my experience in sunny San Mateo (SF Bay Area): my bill hasn't changed at all as a result for switching out my old digital cable box for a single M CableCard in my new TiVo HD. ANd I have all the HD channels I expected to have. So, it is definitely possible to switch to TiVo + CableCard, have an easy + painless installation first time, and not get screwed for extra charges.
     
  19. Oct 8, 2007 #3859 of 9367
    ThatBozGuy

    ThatBozGuy New Member

    33
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    Oct 13, 2006
    Scheduled through comcast.com chat last tuesday for a monday appointment between 12 and 4. Chat helper knew what I needed for the tivo asked if I wanted an M card or 2 s cards and said the truck roll was going to be 18.95.

    3:30 no show call comcast, automated system triggers appointment confirmation menu, choose 2 to talk to person to confirm my appointment, never answers, system eventually says were sorry please call back, 4 calls later still havent talked to anyone.

    Land line phone, not the one listed on the account, shows one odd call at 10 am, I call the number and ask if they are a cable contractor, yes yes they are. I was scheduled today, yes between 10 and 2, um no. Hmm must be a time zone mistake maybe. But I was here all day, "well the installer says he was there, knocked no one answered and made a note that we did not have our dog put away so he could not get to the door to ring the bell"

    Um no dog, no one came even onto our street, (live on a culdesac) I was working in the drive on a project inches away from all of my doors and the big numbers marking my address and saw all traffic all day.

    "I will have a supervisor call back to reschedule"

    And so it begins.


    PS. To add salt to the wound, I got a message from tivo last week asking if I wanted to come in and do a new product study and had to put no to these times because of my install. Got passed over because I wasnt available when they needed me. GRRR this doesnt bode well.
     
  20. Oct 8, 2007 #3860 of 9367
    diskus

    diskus Member

    51
    1
    Sep 22, 2004
    As a follow up to my successful install, I just got back from returning my DVR to the local office. I lost my DVR fee, my additional outlet fee ( I had 2 for a while) and my HD fee. One cable card ( M-card) now included in the price of my package no other charges. Feels good, and the TIVO is a breath of fresh air to add the most important fact.

    LOS gatos CA
     

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