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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. kupe

    kupe Viva 'la Tivolution!

    Apr 9, 2003
    Hmmm- hadn't heard about that. Can you elaborate? Is this a Comcast-branded Tivo DVR?

  2. bareyb

    bareyb Under Maintenance TCF Club

    Dec 1, 2000
    Silicon Valley
    Yes. Apparently they have already deployed some of the new TiVo powered Comcrap boxes. I can't wait to see how well they work. I can only assume they have two-way communication and will solve all the SDV and PPV woes we have with our current TiVo boxes.

    I'd love to read more about these if anyone had a link. I expect we will be seeing a sub-forum for these pretty soon.
  3. wdwms

    wdwms Member

    Jan 10, 2003

    I'm suspect that this is a Tivo interface/GUI slapped onto the same underlying crap code; crap recording quality, etc that the Moto's and SA 8300s have. I doubt that Tivo would re-write all the encoding, afterall it is the interface that is the most important thing that Comcast is selling..

    Just my 2 cents...
  4. ThatBozGuy

    ThatBozGuy New Member

    Oct 13, 2006
    First try, the installer was a no show as in the previous post.
    Reschedule, installer comes out today, has M card.

    45 minutes later reboot and I have everything no hiccups.

    Christian was the installer and he said he wasnt a tivo specialist, all video installers do them. But that he had done 5 TivoHDs ( was wondering why all of a sudden people were getting them) in the last few days and knock on wood they all went without a hitch. He also said he didnt know why it was a truck roll, because its just a call in the numbers kinda of thing.

    But all in all a no brainer. On an aside I have alot of splitting on my line(modem, second tivo, original comcast box for first series2dt) and he said my signal is fine at level 6, he said on their meter the Tivo HD is fine as long as its not a negative so a 0 is just a strong enough signal to drive it 6 was plenty and I have no pixel freezing or weak signals channels.

    So in San Jose, M cards a plenty and good installer/front end operator and TivoHD makes me very happy indeed.
  5. wdwms

    wdwms Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Let me preface this by saying the first install of my CC's went great... Comcast gets an F for this install

    [NOTE: this was taken from the letter I'm writing to Comcast, so there are references to "your tech" etc.]

    October 13th - I purchase a new Tivo HD box. This Tivo will be for my living room. I call Comcast later this day to have a CC installed and told the CSR to note that for this device I’d like them to bring 1 M-Card. They set up an appointment for October 14th between 1pm-3pm; and noted the M-Card requirement. Excellent!
    Time Spent: less than 5 minutes.

    October 14th – 12pm the Comcast installer calls to cancel the appointment because he doesn’t have any cable cards with him. Isn’t that what the note was for? I call the Comcast support line and speak with Mary; while at this time I was a bit peeved at them not having the correct equipment, Mary states that it is normally a 4 day window for an install. She says she will do what they can to get it scheduled the next day. About 2 hours later she calls me back and says they are guaranteeing an install on October 15th. Good news! She gives me her extension and name and says to contact her if anything goes wrong, she also re-notes that I need an M-Card..

    October 16th – Tech shows up about 19 minutes late at 1pm or so, no issue there. However he shows up with five S-cards! Not what I asked for. If I had wanted S-cards I would have asked for those, but seeing that each S-card would cause me to pay another CC fee, don’t you think I’d rather have 1 M-Card than 2 S cards? I explained this to him, and he says “I don’t see notes where it says M-Cards, this is what dispatch gave me”. Down at the bottom under tech notes on his work order it says “M CARD PLEASE!!!”; the tech responds and says “We don’t read that”. So much for an area on the work order for the tech to read.

    Despite this I explain to the tech: “Look, my Tivo downstairs has 2 M-Cards, instead of this failing, why don’t we take an M-card from the Tivo S3 and put in one of these new S-Cards. Then the M-card that we took out can go into the new Tivo”. He agrees and thus begins the saga. With out going into the gory details of the next 8 hours, yes you read that correctly, 8…shall I repeat? EIGHT HOURS; I will summarize the events.
    • Tech calls dispatch regarding s-cards being bought instead of M-cards – to no avail, he is the only tech in this area all day
    • 1:15 pm -Tech calls some Comcast help line, who says we can’t do anything and promptly tells him to call ATS.
    • 1:30 pm - Tech calls ATS waits on phone for 20 minutes – Reaches someone in tech support who tells him the cards are bad and he can’t help him. The ATS tech HANGS UP on your tech!
    • 2pm - Tech calls ATS and finally gets someone who is somewhat competent; understands the situation and begins working on the cards
    • 4pm – I serve snacks and a drink to the tech.
    • 6pm – Tivo S3 is not working with ANY cable cards, Tivo HD is functioning as advertised (finally!!) – So the box they came to get working is working, but the original box that was working is now not.
    • 6:pm – ATS Ends the call with the tech saying that they don’t know what to do anymore. The recommend for him to “Get a box of cable cards, and come back tomorrow. Good luck”. Litterally, this is what they told him. The tech then tells me they had the gall to write “Tech having problems with cablecards” in the case notes; indicating this job was the Techs fault. By this point the Tivo S3 has had about 5-6 cable cards in it. Each one that ATS can’t get working is deemed “dead” or “bad”. Amazing that a cable card that was working before this all started is somehow deemed “dead” once ATS can’t get their ducks in a row to re-authorize the card.
    • 6:30pm – Tech is reaching out what to do, calls numerous other numbers and has me call 877 Comcast line to get help from that side. I reach a Comcast supervisor who says “All I can do from here is tell the tech to call his dispatch”.
    • 7pm – Tech speaks with dispatch and other people at Comcast – 2 things going on here. First the tech feels bad for me and second he’s trying to clear his name from the job becoming “failed”. It wasn’t his fault ATS couldn’t get the cards working. And the cards surely aren’t “bad”; as we will see in a moment.
    • 7:15pm – Tech calls ATS again and begins working on the Tivo S3. Soon he has 1 of the cards working. ATS says Ok lets send a hit to the other card to refresh it Turns out ATS sends a hit to all cards and now the TivoHD AND the Tivo S3 are not working. Back to square one, time to re-pair all 3 cards. Tech looses connection with ATS.
    • 7:30pm – Dinner arrives, I had a sub sandwich delivered for the tech.
    • 7:45pm – Tech calls back ATS and now gets someone who knows there stuff – Jeff in ATS
    • 8pm – Tivo HD back online and working.
    • 8:45pm – 1 Cable card in Tivo S3 up and working (with one of the cards deemed “bad” by ATS).
    • 9:00pm – 2nd cable card in Tivo S3 ½ functioning. At this time the Tech calls it quits and states he will come back tomorrow with other cards and get the final S3 card working
    • 9:15pm – Tech leaves
    Total Time spent: Approx 8 hours

    October 16th – approx 2pm the Tech arrives with a back of cable cards. Great! Wait no, he was given a bag of Motorola Cable cards!! My area is Scientific Atlanta!! They will not work. Tech calls dispatch regarding what to do, they say they will call him back, which they don’t do while he’s here. He then calls ATS and gives the info for the second Tivo S3 card. This tech says “ok try it now, gotta go we are busy”. End of call. Of course the card is not working. Tech calls ATS again, wait who is the tech he gets? Why its Jeff from last night!! 5 minutes later the card is working!
    Time spent: 15-20 minutes

    Tech = A++ hanging in there for 8+ hours in one day is unheard of
    ATS = ComCraptic!!!
    Comcast CSR Mary = A She called me back numerous times to check in and is scheduled to call me back tomorrow. Also gave me a credit.
  6. stoic

    stoic New Member

    Apr 13, 2003
    Picked up my Tivo HD at Costco yesterday. I returned it today because it was a resealed box and did a swap for a new, unopened box. My appt. with Comcast to install two cablecards is set for tomorrow afternoon. Can someone point me to a thread that explains s-card vs. m-card cablecards. I did a search but there is so much discussion it's hard to tell the wheat from the chaff. Plus is there anything I should look out for or ask for during the install? Thanks in advance.
  7. Langree

    Langree The Gimp

    Apr 29, 2004
    You only need a single M-Card in the first slot to get dual tuners in a TiVoHD, you need 2 S-Cards, one in each slot to get both tuners.
  8. stoic

    stoic New Member

    Apr 13, 2003
    Ahhhh, excellent. Is there an advantage to having only one M-Card over two S-Cards?

    I was told by the rep when I requested the setup that it would only increase my bill by $1.50 a month. BTW, I asked if I could just visit the local service center and was told that, no, a service installer HAD to come out to do it for $17.95 charge.
  9. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    With just one M-Card, you shouldn't even have to pay that $1.50.
  10. johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    To add, during the install: the most common mistake we see here that the installers make is not following the directions. There is a sheet in the TiVo HD box that tells him what to do.

    You should plug it in and go through Guided Setup before the installer gets there. Just ignore the parts about the CableCARDs.

    When he gets there, here are the important things:

    1. The first card goes in Slot 1, which is the slot on the RIGHT as you face the TiVo, not the left. If it is only an M-Card, that is where it goes - slot 1 on the RIGHT.

    2. It takes a minute or two for the card to register and display stuff on the screen. He should be patient and for God's sake don't start yanking the card back out, ESPECIALLY if the screen says that it is resetting the card's firmware - that will destroy the card if he yanks it out.

    3. He should call and give the card's three numbers to his CSR BEFORE proceeding to the second card if there is one.

    4. The TiVo will at some point display "error 161-4." THIS IS NORMAL. Don't let the tech start calling the card "Bad" and putting in another one.

    5. After the cards are sequentially authorized, there is a test channels menu item on the CableCARDs screen. Use that to test each card. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO DO A CHANNEL SCAN. You should test some lower numbered channels, some HD channels, and one or two Premium if you get them. Test each card, as the screens will guide you.

    6. If you are missing channels, repeat Guided Setup. Repeat Guided Setup anyway even if everything appears to be there.

    7. If you are seeing any macroblocking or pixelation, have the tech check the signal level to your TiVo before leaving. Remove any splitters except the one that goes to the cable modem. You can also check the signal levels yourself by going to TiVo Central -> Messages and Settings -> Settings -> Channels -> Signal Strength. They should ideally be above 95% to satisfy the TiVo. If they are not, remove splitters, replace cables, or call your cable guy to check signal levels.
  11. owenc

    owenc New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Also in DC and have had the same experience as you two guys have had. No AEHDTV, but everything else is Ok as of now. Have either of you made any progress? How do I get in touch with this Mike to get my M-Card paired?
  12. gilbreen

    gilbreen Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    Well, finally decided to start the migration from ReplayTV to Tivo HD. I called 800-Comcast (I am in Northern Colorado) and asked what I needed to do to add cablecards to my account. The CSR said I could go into my local office and pick them up. I had stopped by my local office 2 weeks ago to return their HD box and was told that a tech visit would be necessary to install the cards. Not a good sign for the CSR.

    I questioned if picking them up was an option based on what the local office had told me. She put me on hold and then came back and said that a tech visit would be required. I then asked how much my monthly charge would be for the cards. She again put me on hold and then came back and said the charge would be $6.50 per card - $5 additional outlet and $1.50 for each card. Hmmm.

    So I decided to stop by the local office at lunch and get the scoop. The CSR confirmed that I would have to have a tech come and install the cards. By chance, a person came out from the back office and was listening in. When I asked for either 1 M card or 2 S cards and if the tech could bring extra cards, the person from the back if these were being installed in a Tivo. I replied yes and then she helped the CSR select the right account addition (the one specifically for Tivo). She then added that the techs are good to bring extra cards . She then also confirmed that the charge would be $1.50. Much better.

    On top of that, she was able to schedule a tech to come out tomorrow. It was now time to stop by Costco to pick up the Tivo HD. Stopped by on the way home from work. Well, tonight, I opened the box to get it plugged in and ready for the installer. Uh oh - the only thing in the box is the Tivo - no cables, no manual, no setup page. Just the Tivo in the styrofoam holders wrapped in plastic. Must have come that way from teh factory as it was clear that it had not been opened before.

    Now will have to run to Costco to exchange it and run back home, plug it in and hopefully do it all before the tech arrives.

    Hoping for a good CC install experience and looking forward to using the Tivo HD.
  13. tj722

    tj722 Gagdet Geek

    Feb 15, 2003
    Washington, DC
    As of 10/18/07 7:30AM, the CCI Byte for A&E HD is still 0x02... Neither dipdewdog or I can get DC Comcast to pair our cards properly, so we are unable to view that channel. (If ANYONE out there has, let us know.) Right now, dipdewdog is working with one of the managers there, so for the moment I'm waiting to see how that works out. Our current strategy is to get them to simply change the CCI byte since they obviously don't know how to pair CableCARDs.

    If nothing happens on that end, we DC customers probably need to band together and escalate this problem higher. These guys have got to figure out how to properly install these things!

    This is not a huge issue at the moment as the majority of A&E HD is stretch-o-vision HD, but a) we are paying for the channel and b) this CCI byte could be set more in the future! :mad:
  14. dipdewdog

    dipdewdog New Member

    May 9, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Yep, A&E HD is still at CCI 0x02 on Comcast DC. I haven't heard any more from the district manager other than he's "speaking to the headend personnel." ::grumble::
  15. captainstabbins

    captainstabbins New Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Just had Comcast come out and install a M cable card into a TivoHD. It literally took 10 minutes. Put the card in called the HQ and walla had all my channels. I was impressed. Aftrer reading these threads I thought it was going to be a long and tedious process.
  16. david4788

    david4788 New Member

    May 19, 2007
    Live in Howard County Maryland and was under the impression I could go to the local office and pick up at least a s-card if not a m-card. NOPE...no cards at all are issued through the office I was told. I must call and have a tech come and screw around for hours...if they show. This Sticks!!!!!
  17. tj722

    tj722 Gagdet Geek

    Feb 15, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Don't know if you are the same headend as DC and PG, but make sure you check A&E HD to see if you have the same problem we do... And don't let them close the ticket until they figure it out. ;) (But let them keep your mostly working M-Card)
  18. saz25

    saz25 New Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Nashua, NH
    Functionally, is one M-card the same as two S-cards? No difference? Why would I want two S-cards if I can get one M-card? If I have a choice, should I request an M-card?
  19. dswallow

    dswallow Save the Moderatоr TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    Functionally they're identical. You want one M-card if you can get it; alternately 2 S-cards works.
  20. saz25

    saz25 New Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Nashua, NH
    I, just this minute, called Comcast. They said they don't have M-cards for my area (Nashua, NH). Only S-cards. Oh well. I set up the install date for next Sat Oct 27. My TivoHD should arrive next Monday from Tivo. I ordered the lifetime service transfer from my old S2 unit. I also ordered a disk upgrade (750GB), which should arrive Tues or Wed of next week.

    This is what I plan to do. Please tell me if its ok:

    1) When the TivoHD arrives, do nothing till the new disk arrives.
    2) Install new disk when it arrives.
    3) Configure TivoHD without Cablecards and download the latest software/firmware, etc.
    4) When the Comcast guy comes, install and set up the cablecards.

    Your thoughts?
    Thanks in advance,

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