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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

    Mar 20, 2001
    Alas, I may have to have Comcast come back out and replace one or both of the single-stream cards in my second TiVo HD.

    Some of the Preferred Plus digital channels, such as BBC America, Oxygen, and Encore, are not showing up, even though I'm able to tune HBO, Showtime and some other premium channels. One tuner is missing only BBC America, while the second tuner won't show a number of Preferred Plus channels. All the digital starter, local HD channels, and premium channels are coming in fine.

    The first TiVo HD, which has a multistream card, is showing all channels on both tuners.

    So I'm thinking Comcast turned something off. Sigh.
  2. bob61

    bob61 Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    After reading the good, bad and ugly about Comcast, Tivo HD and Cablecard install I thought, what the heck, let's take that magical ride. Scheduled appointment a week ago, installer to be here between 8 and 10 AM. Requested an MCard - was told Comcast doesn't carry those - shows how informed the CSR's are....

    So... let the magic begin..... NW Chicago Suburbs

    9:45AM I get a call, installer says GPS can't find my address. Can I help him. I find out he's about 20 min away. Give him directions

    10:10AM I get call from Comcast to confirm if installer had arrived - I confirm negatively

    10:15AM Installer (contractor) arrives (only 15 minutes late!), but get this he's here to do "an upgrade". I say, no, cable card install. I see the look in his eyes and moment later he says, "Ohhhhhh, I don't have any cable cards". I explain to him that was the only purpose I scheduled appointment. He looks at his work order and says (now get this) "Oh, I'm new and I don't understand how to read my work orders real well. I see it says here cablecards. Sorry". He then explains that he has to run back to get cable cards - will take 45 minutes.

    Interestingly - before he left he mentioned that cable card installs usually take a long time because they have lots of problems with cards. He just wants to be sure I have time (as I had mentioned to him I don't have all day to wait around as I have errands to run) or do I want to reschedule. I tell him do what he has to - He's out there making the round trip to get the cable cards.

    It's 11AM, still waiting for him to return. This has all the right combination of being a disaster today - new guy who can't read work orders, his lack of confidence in the cable cards, him setting the scene that install usually takes a long time, well I just know in the pit of my stomach this is going to really suck.

    11:15AM Installer returns - 4 Cablecards in hand (spares - fortunately). First two cards installed return a 161-1 error. Third card has success. However, 30 minute hold time for him to get ahold of person to enter the card information.

    12:00PM Installer on phone to get cable card working - information entered into Comcast's system and we have one card installed - one left to get working. I mentioned to the installer to ensure my existing DVR with cable card is not deactivated. Assures me it won't.

    12:05PM Can't get 2nd card installed - the other cards are all giving the 161-1 error when installed. Call to their dispatch - that's all the cards they had (a huge company like Comcast and only 4 cards in their local dispatch???). I'll have to reschedule once they get more cards in (he'll request and MCard this time - sigh).

    12:10PM Installer wants to leave but has never checked to verify that my HD channels (or anything above 100 comes through). I put him on hold while Tivo does it's thing to update programming information.

    12:20PM I had my hunch and sure enough, when Comcast activate the Cable Card for the Tivo they deactivated the cards for my Comcast DVR - though I said to the installer make sure they don't deactive any exisitng cards. Checked in my basement and no picture. Installer now on hold again with their office to get this problem corrected - planning on another 20-30 minute of hold time.

    12:35PM Not bad, only 15 minute wait time. Comcast has corrected the problem with the Comcast DVR, it now gets signal/picture as they reactive the box. Still waiting for Tivo to finish it's channel/guide update.

    12:40PM Tivo update finished - amazing all channels come through!

    12:45PM Installer contacts office to reschedule, asks me if tomorrow between 8-12 is good time. I'm shocked - he told me they don't have any MCards today but has them for install tomorrow????? He says another local office can get them and have ready for install tomorrow. I said if local office has them why didn't he get them before or get them now - get this, he has other appointments today and can't do that. I explain he has my appointment that he hasn't finished (or even came prepared for). Short of shoving a Tivo someplace it shouldn't be I just say FINE. Looking forward to another COMCASTIC day tomorrow with a new installer, let's see how prepared he comes.... any bets?

    2PM Noticed that channels that were working are not working now. It's hit or miss as to what is or isn't coming in, I think it's related to certain"premium" package, but then I find MTV and VH1 don't come it either. Call to Comcast, they "hit" the box two different methods, nothing works. They open a ticket and will try to resolve remotely for next 4 hous.

    8PM Received call back from Comcast regarding my issue. This guy seems to actually understand the issue. He has be go into the Cable Card Pairing screen, everything checks there - but then he thinks it's probably due to the card not being validated. He "hits" the box again to validate and sure enough the channels are all back. I asked why channels that were working when installed suddenly would stop working. He told me all cards go out "hot" so all channels are received when installed, the channels then get validated over the next couple of hours. So lesson learned, when installer shows you all your channels come through after install it doesn't mean it was set-up correctly.

    12:30PM In classic Comcast style, installer not here though was supposed to be here between 8-12. Called and told he'd be here in 30 minutes, running late as he's stuck with the first call for he day. As always I get the "I apologize for the inconvenience" statement. When will Comcast learn actions speak louder than words? That's cr@ptastic!

    1PM After all this - guess what - the installer was bringing out a NETWORK CARD for a PC. I only found out about this was CSR mentioned she would wave the $30 fee for the card due to the delay today. I said what fee, cable cards are free. She went off and did some research and found the order was for network card.

    1:05PM Dispatch calls to ask me to give directions to their installer (he's already an hour late and has no idea where's he's going). I mention if this is for network card this is a waste of his time - she confirms it is. Egads! She confirms order was written for network card - then tells me there are no MCards in inventory for at least a week.

    1:15 CSR calls back, confirms that she can have technician to my house in 45 minutes. I explain that Dispatch told me there are no MCards in inventory, ask her to confirm that what technician in bringing. She confirms MCard is being brought.

    3PM I have technician contact me, says he's right outside my house. Unfortunately I have given up and had to run out to take care of errands that have been on my "to do" since Noon. He says he'll meet me on my schedule - we agree for 4PM.

    4:25PM Technician arrives, fortunately it's a Comcast employee and not one of fly by the seat of the pants contractors. Has MCard.

    4:45PM Card installed and validated.

    The journey now complete..... oh how I look forward to the day when there is some other choice other than Comcast!

    2 Days Later..... just when I thought the adventure was over, I find now that most of my HBO channels don't come in. Looks like every other channel is fine, just all but 2 HBO channels. Call to Comcast, the usual hits to the box - nothing except we'll have to schedule a technician to come out and determine what the problem is. Well, I made sure to request only a Comcast "in house" technician and not an "out house", er, um, third party contractor.
  3. saz25

    saz25 New Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Nashua, NH
    I live in southern New Hampshire and I have an appt with a Comcast tech for tomorrow (Sat) morning between 8-11am. I just called to request that they tell the technician to bring with him an M-card instead of 2 S-cards. He said its not available in my area. But I told him that I've heard of other local Comcast customers who have the M-card. He was totally confused and thought I was referring to a two-way communication-type card. I was referring to the multi-tuner card. Why aren't these folks trained?

    Then I also requested that the specific tech be trained in the use of Tivo. The CSR rep said they don't do anything with Tivo. All they do is bring the cards, plug them in and "provision" the card with a phone call to the home office or whatever. So I said, then why does he need to come at all? I can certainly plug in a card as good as him and I can also make a phone call to whomever.

    I have the TivoHD sitting on my component rack. I haven't connected to the Tivo service yet. Though I will tonight, before the tech comes out tomorrow.

    I'm wondering how smooth this process will go tomorrow.

  4. owenc

    owenc New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Looks like Comcast in DC turned the 0x01 copy protection bit off on AE HDTV, guess they still couldn't figure out how to pair the cable card with the Tivo, haha. Hopefully it will stay that way for all the other channels!
  5. ji0005

    ji0005 Member

    Sep 28, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    that is the million dollar question.
  6. petteri

    petteri New Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Ugh. Comcast (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) came in day before yesterday. I wasn't home, wife was. I come home after work to see the "acquiring channels" screen on the TV. It has been there for a couple of hours. So I restart the TiVo. Seems to be working OK. Then I check to see if the Center Ice channels are coming in. Nope, it dumps me to the gray screen with the call you cable company info. So I call. They "hit" the box again and say that it should be OK, within an hour. An hour later nothing. Time for bed. Today after work I call again, no dice. So then I call TiVo, they call Comcast for me and set up a conference call. Nothing is fixed yet. They are rolling a truck tomorrow (yea!, the first appointment to get the cards was a five day wait.) to replace one cable card. Too bad the schmoes didn't get it right the first time. I really wish I could just pick ups and install then cards my self.


  7. bob61

    bob61 Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    I don't know if same problem I experienced, but refer to Message 4064 above. , read my note for the 8PM follow-up, seems to be similar issue and may only need the CSR to set a hit to your box to validate the cable card.
  8. saz25

    saz25 New Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Nashua, NH
    Hi all:
    Just a brief followup on my results of the cablecard install by Comcast in Nashua, NH.

    The bottom line is it went well.
    I asked the tech as soon as he walked in whether he's done any Tivos? He said yes, about 4-5. I also asked whether he brought one M-card like I requested? He did !!

    We went through the process outlined in the Tivo documentation. He then called his home office people. He gave them all the proper numbers from the cablecard. The guy on the other end asked for the serial of the second card. I immediately jumped in and said, all you need is ONE M-card, NOT 2. He did have a few spares just in case. But I didn't want him to screw things up by giving the home office multiple M-card serial numbers for my house, when I only need one.

    I went through the various menus and it took maybe 10 mins for the channels to be detected. I then tested many channels (HD and SD) on both tuners.

    I wouldn't let him leave till I was satisified that all was ok.

    So, I'm happy...

  9. fluffie

    fluffie New Member

    Feb 28, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Finally made the switch to HD after the recent offer to transfer lifetime service for $199. The box arrived on tuesday (yay) and Comcast was scheduled for 3pm-5pm on friday. I was told by the scheduler that they do not have MCards, only SCards, so it would be $2.75/card "Is that alright?". Sure.

    Friday at 1:00 the Comcast contractor arrives saying I was his last job is it ok if he is early? Sure.

    I ask him if he has ever done a Tivo install before and he says No it's his first. So I hand him the instructions which he doesn't look at.

    Next he proceeds to pull the tv stand further away from the wall, touching the front of the screen of my plasma knocking over a few remotes onto the floor and making the Tivo box almost fal to the floor as well. He is wearing a completely unecessary macho toolbelt which banged into the side of the tv. Really all he needs is a cell phone but he has all these bulky tools hanging off him.

    I say "Please be more careful! I paid alot of money for this crap!" Now he is annoyed that I would say this and stops talking to me. He removes the Camcast DVR and I go to hand him the remote (so he can take that too) and he says "I don't need that!"

    Now comes the best part. He takes out 2 MCards and proceeds to try to inserrt one of them without taking it out of the plastic case. :eek: I am horrified. I let him know he needs to take the card out of the case. Now he is annoyed and embarrassed as well (or should be). He points the Tivo remote at the TV - I tell him I will do the menus for him and from that point on I keep control of the remote :D He goes back to his truck to call in the numbers (I know he can't wait to get out of my house).

    He comes back and the guy at the Comcast office says he is sending an error message to my TV which neverr shows up. He sends it again. Still nothing. So they go through the whole process again with another MCard. Same result. Now I can hear the Comcast office guy saying the Tivo box must be defective. I say "No I don't think so." To the contractor's credit he agrees with me on that one.

    So the Comcast office guy says "It happens all the time, it doesn't matter if it's brand new out of the box, why I just bought a new computer the other day and it was defective and I had to send it back!" He washes his hands of the whole thing and says I have to return the Tivo. End of call.

    I convince the installer to leave the MCard with me and the Comcast DVR, so he goes back to the truck to get the DVR. I re-read the instructions and discover that all I need to do is re-run the guided setup. So I do that and voila success. I ask the installer to stick around to make sure it will work, and he says "I have to get to my 3:00." I remind him "I am your 3:00." Oh. Right.

    The installer leaves with the Comcast DVR saying "I don't want to do any more Tivos."
  10. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

    Mar 20, 2001
    And we wonder why they outsource customer service overseas. Apparently the only people they can find here are morons. :rolleyes: ;) :D
  11. kgt12

    kgt12 New Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    Technician comes at 10:30 to install CCs in my 2 Tivo HDs. He has never done a CC install and has only been working for his contracting company for 4 weeks.

    He brought 3 M cards. We install the first one, he walkie-talkies his dispatch lady who apparently calls the numbers in to Comcast. She says it's ok. We re-run guided setup and then go upstairs to do the second install.

    We go through the same process upstairs and re-run guided setup. Go downstairs to check on the status.

    Only a few basic channels are coming in. Dispatch is not responding. Go upstairs, only a few basic channels are coming in. Dispatch says the cards are bad. So we put in the 3rd and try all over again. Same result. Dispatch says all 3 cards are bad and there aren't any more in Howard County, MD and we will have to reschedule. The supervisor tells the technician he is not allowed to leave the cards here.

    I tell him I will call Comcast directly and see if we can get anyone on the phone. After a few calls to Comcast, I get ahold of someone who seems knowledgeable. He says CC installs are not supposed to be scheduled on weekends because the 'head' office does not work and the head office is who can fix CC problems remotely. He says he will go ahead and try to do the setup on his end.

    Long story short, we try all 3 CCs and he gets the same error on all of them. He says he can't pair them. He tries to call 2 people from the head office on their cell phones. No answer.

    He says the technician can leave 2 of the cards at my house and they will contact me on Monday to try to resolve.

    3 hours gone, no success, and $17.95 out of my pocket. It wasn't the morning I was hoping for.
  12. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

    Mar 20, 2001
    Wow. It's amazing that Motorola and Scientific Atlanta can stay in business with what appears to be a 95% failure rate on their CableCards. ;)
  13. titsataki

    titsataki Member

    Dec 6, 2002
    New Haven, CT
    Ok it seems that I was incorrect. I am able to use both tuners to record HD theater and ABC college football in HD. FYI it is a Tivo HD and I have one multi stream SA card.

    Sorry about the confusion. Monday I am calling Tivo to transfer my life time subscription.


  14. brothers

    brothers New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    Well, I had my install this morning.

    (Last Saturday, I had gone to the local Comcast office in Hudson, MA. No cards there, but the nice lady scheduled an install for today. I was very specific about _two_ systems, with a multi-stream card in each.)

    Turns out, if these guys can't mess you up by arriving late, they'll mess you up by arriving early :) I had an install scheduled for 11AM to 1PM, so around 9 I went down to the local barber shop for a haircut. After waiting for 20 minutes or so, with my turn about to come up, my cell phone rings. It's my wife: "Comcast is going to be here in 15 minutes". I dash home, arriving right behind the Comcast van.

    We go downstairs to the first THD, the guy pulls out two cards, and starts copying numbers off one of them. I look at it, nowhere does it say "Multi" or "M". He agrees they're singles, says he might have an m-card on the truck. Looks at the paperwork, sees where it's noted that I want m-cards, but points out that the install is listed for _one_ system.

    He goes out to the truck, finds only one m-card. Brings it in, goes around the back of my system looking for the slot (I had earlier flipped open the hatch on the front of the THD and pointed to the slots). I refresh his memory, and he comes back around the front and starts to plug the card into the left slot. I correct him, we get the card in, I bring up the pairing screen. Then ensues about 45 minutes of alternating telephone tag and waiting on hold; he finally gets someone he can read the numbers to, and he says it should be good to go.

    Oddly enough, it is. Card shows validated, and I get all the channels I should (I don't subscribe to any premiums, might be a different story if I did).

    Get on the horn to Comcast later; they're coming back next Saturday with another M-card and waiving the fee for the second truck roll.

    Coulda been better; coulda been worse...

    - Dennis
  15. LoraJ

    LoraJ New Member

    Mar 7, 2002
    We really want an S3 box, but is it true you can't use OnDemand with it if you have the two cable cards?

    Do we have to wait for the TiVo Comcast version to come out?

    I have a TiVo box on a TV we don't use that much anymore and wanted to transfer the Lifetime subscription to an S3 while we could, but not if we can't get OnDemand?
  16. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

    Mar 20, 2001
    You can't access OnDemand with the Series 3 TiVo or the TiVo HD. They will not work with cable boxes.

    CableCards are not interactive. They will give you access to all of the digital channels EXCEPT the OnDemand ones.

    You'll need to wait for the Comcast DVR with TiVo software.
  17. LoraJ

    LoraJ New Member

    Mar 7, 2002

    Bummer! :(
  18. Tony1746

    Tony1746 New Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    Well, looks like everything turned out OK......

    Last night the box was acting so flakey, I decided to yank both cards, wipe the box clean (delete all configuration and program info), and start from scratch.

    The Comcast guy arrived this morning (ahead of schedule). This guy knew what he was doing. He agreed to install two new S-cards, and the operation went flawlessly. He was done in about 30 minutes, before the scheduled appointment time !! Everything's working great now. So, the problem was indeed a card issue.

    He left me with an interesting tip: He was familiar with the first installer who came on Tuesday. It seems Comcast uses a lot of subcontractors, who work on a per-job basis, rather than salaried. Because of that, he was positive the first guy wasn't interested in working through any lengthy issues, which explains why he pretty much threw up his hands, told me I had to reschedule, and was out the door. Unfortunately, it seems the subcontractors tend to do new installations, while they send the employees out mainly for troubleshooting. So, when scheduling your install, ask for a Comcast employee, since they will be much more willing to stay and see the job done to completion.......
  19. snash22

    snash22 New Member

    Oct 27, 2007
    For what it is worth, here is my story - It has a happy ending. I am in the Lexington/Buena Vista Virginia area of Comcast.

    It took 5 calls and 1 letter to the President of Comcast to get the cablecards. They had kept calling the day before the appt and telling me that there were no cablecards. I don't know if the letter to the President worked, but about a week and a half after sending the letter, they called me (!) and we scheduled an appt.

    The Comcast technician showed up, I was was happy to see it was the good techician who is able to resolve issues when I have them. He immediately told me that he was not fully confident in setting up the cablecard since he had only done it once, and I was only the 5th person in the local area to get a cablecard. I told him I had directions on how to do it and he was happy to follow them.

    With only 1 minor error when he was a little impatient, we got it up and running.

    My hat it off to you folks here who posted so much info about the cablecards here. . My hat is of to him as well for being humble enough to know what he didn't know.
  20. theinfamous

    theinfamous New Member

    Oct 21, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    Well the Comcast guy came today. I actually remember this guy as it was the 5th comcast tech tocome out. He was saying has anyone thought the TiVo is bad? I said yes but that it works fine on some channels.

    Anyway he installed the new cards and had then had dispatch do the hard hit. It took a couple of minutes but all of my channels came in. So I was checking it out and I was showing him some of the cool features and then the TiVo freaked out and all the channels went grey again. I was like ohhhh fawk. I went to TiVo central and it was also grey. It just had the text "Now Playing" and so on. So I restarted and it has been fine since then.

    I still haven't done a guided setup because I am getting all of the channels and it hasn't asked me to do one so I'm not going to do it. And again as I have said in the past the techie screens BLOW HARD. Right now my card has the ? mark right by the validated Val. Like I said I can't argue with the fact that all of my channels are working.

    It seems like software glitches they need to fix.

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