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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. theinfamous

    theinfamous New Member

    Oct 21, 2007
    Metro Detroit
    Just one more reason I think Comcast sucks. The main reason I got TiVo HD was to get the Center Ice NHL package and see a lot of the games in HD. However tonight being the first night I'm watching even though a lot of the games say they are being broadcast in HD I am getting the non HD version. Bummer. Thanks Comcast
  2. silypuddy

    silypuddy New Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Looks like you got the GSOD/BSOD. See:

  3. bob61

    bob61 Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    I was talking with Comcast technician who said that the sub-contractors if they run into a problem just make your signal real hot just to get the job over so they can move on to the next job. He then has to come in and clean up the problem later when your system starts having problems with the TV due to excessive back feed.

    Like all big corporations Comcast thinks they save money by outsourcing to the low cost provider (sub-contractors), the truth is the quality of the job is cr@p usually (based on my experience), requiring 1) me to spend time on a call with phone CSR, 2) more time for Comcast to spent resolving and escalating the problem, 3) substantial doubt in the mind of their customers when services is so sub-par and 4) repeat calls to get the job done which should have been done right the first time.

    I work in company with similar approach - they just look at the initial cost (how cheap the contractor is to do the job) and not what it costs all in with re-work and what price do you put on losing a customer?
  4. tj722

    tj722 Gagdet Geek

    Feb 15, 2003
    Washington, DC
    I think between all of us calling and me contacting Comcast Executive, we managed to get all of the channels we are paying for!!!

    That being said, we all shouldn't have to go through so much hell to use our TiVo boxes. I am personally going to make sure that someone with some authority at the FCC hears about all of this.
  5. The Weissman

    The Weissman New Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    My cable service is provided by Comcast in Eatontown, NJ.

    A subcontractor technician came yesterday equipped with only one single-stream CableCARD, and the first thing he told me was that "90% of the time, these things don't install successfully. I've done five, and none of them worked." That remark, and this forum thread, didn't fill me with hope.

    On inserting the CableCARD into my TivoHD, we got a message about downloading firmware that might take an hour, so the tech went on to his next call while I pressed buttons. I got to the whirlygig screen ("Acquiring Channel Information"), which abended with an error, "This DVR is unable to acquire channel information from the CableCARD." Repeated attempts yielded the same error. We were getting nowhere. No video on any channel as long as the CableCARD was inserted. I heard the dispatcher say to the tech, "Why did they send you on this call if you don't know how to do this?"

    The tech escalated the call for a return visit by a real Comcast technician, and left the card with me. Throughout the evening, the TivoHD, on its own, was constantly retrying the whirlygig screen. This morning, I found the screen had gone all gray, so I restarted the TiVo, and when it came back, it was a different world!

    The CableCARD configuration screens were populated with new menu selections, and video signal up through channel 24. The gray-bordered screens, which display information crucial to the activation of the CableCARD (Host ID and CableCARD number) were accessible, as they were not before. CableCARD: A new hope?

    The Comcast technician came right at 1:00 in a 1:00-3:00 window, carrying an S-card and an M-card. She called in the info displayed about the S-card that had come to life overnight, and voila! the rest of the channels, including the premium channels and HD channels, were there!

    We then powered down the TiVo, swapped out the S-card for the M-card, and after starting up, the TiVo immediately displayed the gray-bordered CableCARD info screen, with the HostID and all. The tech fed that information to her dispatcher, and a minute later, I had all my channels again!

    On the way out, the technician told me that this was the smoothest CableCARD install she had ever done. It was far smoother than I was expecting, that's for sure.


    Edit: I should also mention that the Comcast tech said something about a recently negotiated agreement between Comcast, TiVo, and Scientific Atlanta that should result in more recently-manufactured CableCARDs being easier to install.
  6. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    You are quite right. I my area Comcast pays contractors $4 per Cable Card installation above and beyond whatever they make for the service call itself. They will not stick around for the slightest bit of trouble shooting even if they knew what to do (which they usually don't).
  7. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    Just a reminder to all that guided setup should not be part of the Cable Card installation precess and is a waste of time for all involved. Channels can be tested directly from the Cable Card screen. Run the tedious guided setup after the Cable Cards are actually working and the tech has gone. If they are not working guided setup is not going to make them work. The time is better spent troubleshooting any Cable Card problems.
  8. owenc

    owenc New Member

    Oct 18, 2007
    Yeah its been pretty ridiculous considering this is an FCC mandate. I mean its just incredible how dysfunctional comcast is, how do they manage to stay in business? oh right that monopoly thing...
  9. dhoward

    dhoward Member

    Mar 15, 2002
    I live just north of Boston. I have been delaying getting a HD Tivo because of my dislike of Comcast Techs. I have found them to be poorly trained both technically and PR wise. I really would like to replace my S2DT with the HDTivo but worry about encountering the problems so many others have indicated on this thread. I know it is a crap shoot depending on who comes out. Is there anyone in the Melrose, Wakefield, Stonham area who has had Comcast do the cablecard install and with what success?
  10. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

    Mar 20, 2001
    Got my bill today. Only $284. :eek:

    To be fair, it does include the upgraded service for October, which wasn't billed last month. But I think they charged me full freight for the digital TV and phone services, rather than the $96 promised in the Triple Play package, plus $30 to activate the phone service, plus $14.45 for a second truck roll.

    They charged $5 for HDTV and $7.95 for Digital Preferred per outlet on three outlets (two TiVos and a DVR or three CableCards) and $11.95 for the DVR, but gave me $4.20 credit per outlet on four outlets (three CableCards and the DVR?) for not using a cablebox and remote. The DVR and remote went back to Comcast last week, so those charges should drop.

    Once I get next month's bill, which shouldn't have any charges for the DVR mixed in, I'll have a chat with them about those extraneous additional outlet charges.
  11. jtonra

    jtonra Member

    Oct 19, 2001
    I'm in Wilmington and I just had the card installed last week. The tech who came out knew exactly what he was doing and was out of there in less than an hour. The only wrinkle at all was that they had sent him out with M cards without even telling him they had started using M cards. So when he tried to put the second card it, he was confused when the TiVo said it was unnecessary and would not be used. That wrinkle only took a couple minutes to sort out and the rest of the install was fine. The fact that they gave me an M card was a pleasant surprise since the first card is free and subsequent cards are 2.75 a month. Since he took my old box out, my cable bill is actually going to go down.
  12. bob61

    bob61 Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    I disagree. First, without the cable card my unit didn't recognize the additional channels above 100 until I re-ran the guided set-up. It then new to pull in the additional channel information. Second, the installer originally installed only a single SCard in my box (long story - see my earlier message). When they came back with an MCard I had to re-run the guided set-up to get my Tivo to recognize it had dual tuners (without running the guided set-up again it didn't recognize the second tuner even though I had the MCard now in the box.
  13. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Operation of the CableCard(s) is not related to the guide data. You can test all of the channels within the CableCard menu.
  14. petteri

    petteri New Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Just to follow up on my install. Comcast came back, again I wasn't home. My wife called up TiVo when the install got here. Comcast and TiVo chatted for a bit and the install went well this time. Although tonight it seems that one of my CableCards hasn't been authorized for the Center Ice package. I'm just to beat to deal with Comcast again tonight so that's going to have to wait just one more day. Such a shame that I just couldn't pick up the cards myself. Oh, well. As they say, COMCASTIC!! ;)
  15. Jon65

    Jon65 New Member

    Aug 25, 2005
    I just spent 45 minutes of my remaining time on this planet waiting for my C* CSR to query the internet with my questions. No answers to be found, and he wanted to do a truck roll for the "bad CC".

    Here's my problem: When FoodHD and TBSHD went live here in the Baltimore area (Carroll County), cablecard #1 of my TivoHD receive them fine, but cablecard #2 is gray screen. All other channels, both SD and HD, are fine. I was hoping sending a hit to the card would solve the problem. I'm not convinced my CSR on chat even knew what that was. Like I said, at least it he didn't make anything worse.

    One possibility I can think of was that I tried to get my "2nd outlet charge" removed and that resulted in CC#2 going dead. When the 2'nd outlet was put back on my account, CC#2 was restored. This was before FoodHD and TBSHD were live, so not certain if it plays a role or not. I'm wondering if CC#2 isn't entered correctly in the system, but I have no ideas.

    I did run Guided Setup several times.

    Any suggestions?

    I will call C* when I get time, which may be a while.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  16. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    If you look closely through the CableCARD menus you'll see a "Test Channels" option. That's where you would test channels on each tuner to see if the CableCARD is functional. Guided setup never needs to be run while the installer is there; everything necessary can be verified within those CableCARD menu options. Once you can tune digital/subscribed channels on both tuners from the Test Channels menu, the installer can leave and you can then run guided setup so that guide data will get properly loaded and the receiver will use the correct number of tuners for recording.
  17. GaryD9

    GaryD9 New Member

    Mar 1, 2002
    Why is comcast completely unable to update their online channel lineup? I live in Montgomory County, MD... and for at least the last 2 weeks I've been trying to access a "current" channel linup online. Each and every time I've tried, I only get a message saying that its currently unavailable.

    The service techs have lineup cards, but they are woefully out of date. I seem to get several channels that simply don't exist on that card. Does comcast itself know what channels are available?

    I see several people here talking about getting AEHD (and a couple of other HD channels) on comcast in DC, and I'm really curious to see if I might also be getting these channels... but I have no idea where to look. If the tivo guide data doesn't know about the channels, I'll never know that they exist...

    Speaking of this.... when comcast does update their lineup, how will the S3 units deal with it? With my old HR10 DirectTivo, anytime D* made any change to their lineup, I'd know it because my "channels I recieve" would get reset. With comcast+tivo, there are two seperate entities involved - one for guide data and one for the cable headend...
  18. kgt12

    kgt12 New Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    I updated this thread on 10/27 regarding Comcast's inability to get my CCs running.

    Essentially, they couldn't get them paired and claimed the 'head end' office had to do it but wasn't working on the weekends.

    I got an update today saying that the problem is that the CCs that were installed were the 'old' type of 'RMA' and that the 'new' type of 'DNCS' was supposed to have been installed.

    Apparently they're looking into how to activate these old RMA CCs and should be able to as previous CC customers still have working RMA Cards in use.

    Does this mean anything to anyone? Am I just getting the run around?

  19. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    Sounds a little odd. A search comes up with - Digital Network Control System (DNCS), but I don't see anything for RMA except Return Merch Auth.

    I am having major problems with my cableCARDs as well. I won't rehash it all here, but once I got one of my TiVos up and running I lost pairing on one of the other machine's cards. I posted about it in the cableCARD FAQ thread.


    Maybe something I wrote there will help or is similar.
  20. will0527

    will0527 New Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    So I felt I would be remiss to not post this after the ordeal I went through with Comcast.

    *Note: Skip to the bottom if you just want to read my recommendation

    Fortunately for me, in the Seattle Area, Comcast allows customers to pick up cable cards and call in for activation. Cool. I pick up 2 S-Cards from the Comcast store on Friday. I call and give him the Host ID and Data ID from the Pairing Screen, and Comcast sends an activation signal and I immediately get error 161-1. I can't do anything else. The CSR asks be to reboot the system, which I don't do cause it takes FOREVER. No go. We pop that card out, and try the 2nd one. This one looks better 161-4 error, which is actually A GOOD THING. After about 2-3 min we check the conditional access screen and it shows:

    Host Validation: Verified 00

    This is good. We check the Test Channels screen and there's the programming, HD and SD. So we try the other card one last time... 161-1 Error. Its a bad card. I thank the guy for his help and plan to go back to the Comcast store on Monday to exchange this card. Meantime I run Guided Setup and get the S3 running on one Tuner. Later that day I find that I'm missing the majority of my channels. I get 2 - 29 and 74 - 115 but nothing inbetween. No big deal I still have analog. I'll fix it when I call.

    Monday comes and I go to the store to get a new S-Card. I call and tell him about the missing programming first. It takes about 2 seconds and then I've got it. I guess he sent an activation signal (which later I would find out is one of only 3 signals they can send) and that took care of it. OK, lets activate the 2nd card. I pop it in, give him the Host and Data ID. He sends the activation signal... no go. He sends the validation signal... no go. He wants me to swap the cards to see if the card is the problem. I REALLY don't want to do this cause I know whats going to happen... I'm going to lose both cards, but I do it anyway. Sure enough, now I can't get either card to validate. After putting the 1st card back in the slot, it gets back to normal - kinda. I'm missing channels 30 - 70 again. And it never shows verified under Host Validation.

    At this point Comcast wants to send a technician. I argue with this because there is nothing... NOTHING for me to configure on my side other than sticking the card in the slot and giving comcast a series of numbers. Finally I get someone to agree to work with me again, but she wants me to go back to the Comcast store and exchange my 2 S-Cards for 2 M-Cards and 2 S-Cards. According to her the following scenarios are most likely to work:

    1. An S-Card in slot 1 and an M-Card in slot 2
    2. A single M-Card (Tivo has already said this will work, but will only work on 1 tuner - basically in S-Card mode)
    3. an M-Card in each slot

    So I go back to the Comcast store for a 3rd time, and after explaining to them what I'm trying to do they give me 2 M-Cards and 2 S-Cards. I call Comcast and get my 4th CSR... Fortunately, it looks like they took good notes. Unfortunately, she had a different idea about what would work. I finally ended up trying one of the M-Cards first, in the first slot (ALWAYS CONFIGURE AND GET THE 1ST SLOT WORKING BEFORE GOING ON TO THE 2ND). The M-Card screen is different from the S-Card Screen. The Host and Data ID are still in the pairing screen, but I couldn't find the Host Validation listing... turns out - not that important. Great....
    After a couple of minutes its working - missing channels and all. Cool. Now, I decide to use the other M-Card in the 2nd slot since the S-Cards are giving me grief. This one takes a little bit longer, but eventually its working too. No sweat, no fuss.

    MY RECOMMENDATIONS: Get 2 M-Cards to start with. They will revert to single tuner mode, but they seem to work better, or at least they did for me. There is (at least in my area) no price difference between S-Cards and M-Cards.

    NEVER TAKE A CARD OUT AFTER ITS BEEN INITIALIZED. Taking a card out changes the DATA ID. Comcast needs this Data ID on file in order to talk to the card.

    If you don't want to go to the Comcast store several times, pay the fee to have a technician come out. I didn't really need them to do anything, but they show up with several different cards, in case one is bad, so it might be worth it.

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