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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. nedeveritt

    nedeveritt New Member

    5
    0
    Nov 19, 2006
    Bel Air, MD
    I live in Harford County, MD, and have been suffering with the SA8300 HD DVR for the past several months. Even more so because I had previously used a Series 2 TiVo for SD cable.

    Well, the TiVo HD I ordered from Amazon yesterday was delivered today. I've been through the first GS, and am up to the latest version of TiVo S/W.

    Here is where I start to get nervous.....Comcast is coming out tomorrow to install the cableCARDs. I was told they only had S-cards, but I'll ask again for an M-card tomorrow.

    I have talked to 4 different CSRs, and have received 4 different versions of how my bill will be impacted. I only have TV service from Comcast, and my current bill runs about 72 dollars for basic HD and the DVR, no premium channels or packages. The rate I'm being quoted now, which was provided by the CSR who set up the visit for tomorrow, is 75 dollars.

    Somehow, the math doesn't seem to add up. I was told the first card is free, and that the second card is 6 dollars. He also said something about my current service only being expanded basic, and that I would need to upgrade to full digital. Whatever that means. The DVR runs 12 per month, so I would have expected my bill to become (72 -12 (DVR) + 6 (2nd CC) = 66 Dollars.

    At this point, I'm hoping the install goes smoothly, and I'll sort out the billing once it arrives.

    I'll keep you all posted on how things go tomorrow.

    Thanks,
    Ned
     
  2. Brad Bishop

    Brad Bishop Member

    285
    0
    Sep 11, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    I've gone over the cableCARD installation FAQ.

    I'll try the three-way-call with Comcast tomorrow.

    This feels like: In order to watch cable TV on your Tivo you have to be able to engineer a rocket that'll go to the moon.

    Really, I'm willing to go through these steps but your average joe would have (should have) given up long ago. This whole process is messed up. For that I blame Comcast.

    Not lashing out at you, here. This is just tremendously frustrating. I appreciate the help.

    Oh, and the people I deal with at Comcast range from, "I'll send a hit to it.." (no matter what you say) to vaguely knowing what I'm talking about. You can hear their confusion in their voice as they try to figure out how to make it work.

    I'm blaming Comcast for that, too (not the employees). The whole trend of, "Script the CSRs," is dumb. Better to pay them a little more, train them on your product, let them think, make decisions and, yes, even a mistake, than just having people who are told, "read the script," on the other end of the phone. It would seem like the bean counters could get it through their heads that they're paying more, overall, to have their employees waste time on the phone than the would be to properly train them and allow them to think/make decisions/mistakes. An odd mistake every so often would be better than this.
     
  3. Lensman

    Lensman Member

    156
    0
    Dec 22, 2001
    Hoboken, NJ...
    Well, my first bad experience with a Comcast installer...

    I call for my appointment a week ago. Make special pains to make sure they mark it down as a two cablecard Tivo installation. Ask for a special request to bring extra cards.

    Installer shows up with one cablecard and says it's not marked down as a Tivo install. Tells me the order was placed for one cablecard and there's nothing he can do and I have to call for another appointment. There's an uncomfortable silence as I consider if there's anything I can legally do to make his life miserable. Then he says that he can go to the warehouse to pick up another card and I can call customer service to get them to quickly change the work order. He bolts as I'm calling customer service.

    I get through to customer service and they say that the work order was for a two cablecard Tivo installation and the the installer is an idiot. They also tell me that I should make sure he doesn't leave and to make him install the one card he does have. I give them the bad news that he's already bolted. The agent says to hang on and that she's going to call the dispatcher and get him to come back. He can install the one card and I can either pick up the second card at the walk-in center or have another truck roll for the second card.

    After a long hold she says that the dispatcher claims that the tech is already at his other job but will be back right after. I should call back in an hour to check to make sure that everything is still ok.

    I call in a few more times until 10pm when they say that I should give up and reschedule an appointment - the soonest they have for a cablecard install is a week from today. Sigh. Then they drop the bomb that I can just go down to the walk-in center and pick up two cablecards and do the install myself if they have them. I'm going to head down tomorrow morning but I'm not optimistic about their having any cards.

    The phone agents were all very nice but I've just got to somehow figure out a way to stop doing business with these people. I don't understand why they make it so difficult to buy over $2000 worth of services per year. It's crazy.
     
  4. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    I totally 100% agree with you. I had to call OVER & OVER again in order to get someone who knew what I was talking about. I had to keep repeating myself as well. And like you said, they kept hitting the cards. FINALLY, when I spoke with a TECH SUPERVISOR, he told me one of the cards was not in the DAC system. The CSR's don't know about it. All they know is that the hit does not respond. (Although, being a one-way device, I'm confused as to how they would even know that.) Anyway, just BUST THEIR BALLS.
     
  5. Merciful Fayte

    Merciful Fayte Tivo N00b

    2
    0
    Nov 21, 2007
    Olympia, WA
    So, I am brand new around here and I just wanted to say hello and let you know about my experience with my new S3.

    I actually ordered two TIvo boxes from Costco, one S3 and one TivoHD for the bedroom, but the S3 is the only one I have setup so far. I went to my local Comcast facility to drop off one of my HD STBs and to pick up two M Cards to support my new Tivos. I first did the guided setup for the Tivo and activated the Tivo service, then I did the cableCARD thing, just to make sure the core services were working fine, which they were. I then plugged in my first M-Card, and it brought up the pairing screen and told me to call Comcast, which I did. I have to say that the person that helped me seemed to know what she was doing and she asked for the information on the screen for the card. After telling her the info, and a brief 2 minute pause, the Tivo informed me that I needed to repeat the guided setup to configure all of the channels. I hung up with Comcast and performed the setup as requested. After the CARD finally was finished downloading all the necessary info, I was able to view and record all the channels that I was paying for. Everything was going well until I realized that I was only able to record and watch one channel at a time, even though I had a MULTI stream card inserted. The diagnostics screen on the Tivo said that the card was an S card. After reading these forums, I see that the S3 does not support the M-cards in MULTI stream mode, only SINGLE stream mode. Whats up with that?? Apparently the older Tivo HD supports M cards, why not the newer version? Seems strange to me. Well, luckily had another M card on hand (the one I was going to activate in my Tivo HD) so I plugged it in to the S3, called Comcast back and they were able to activate that one without a hitch also. Maybe they are getting good at these things?

    Now, I just need to get one more M card and activate my Tivo HD and I should be one happy camper. Other than the fact that I seemingly needlessly have to rent 3 cable cards instead of just 2.

    Any word on when or if the S3 will support the M card in Multi mode?
     
  6. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    You should get them all free. They will charge you an A/O (Additional Outlet) for every cableCARD over the first one "if" you have premium services. That's how it is supposed to work, but they might just charge everyone for A/O charges no matter what. It "should" be around $2.75/mo for each A/O.
    Those in the know (TIVOJERRY or TIVOPONY, I can't remember which) did not paint a very pretty picture on that. They had a frown face when talking about ever having multiple tuner support with the M-Card in the Series 3. One can always hope, but don't hold your breathe.
     
  7. gilbreen

    gilbreen Member

    68
    0
    Sep 5, 2007
    The S3 is the older Tivo model and the Tivo HD is the newer model. Can't say whether the S3 will pick up M Card support in Multi mode - I only have Tivo HDs each with one M Card.
     
  8. Brad Bishop

    Brad Bishop Member

    285
    0
    Sep 11, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    Except for your realization that you needed two cards for your S3, your install went exactly how it was supposed to go.

    For me, I can't pick up cableCards from my local office. They have to send a 'specialist' out. I think, ultimately, that's probably the thing that grates against me the most. Everytime you get get a card, or even a cable box, for that matter, my local (Atlanta) Comcast insists on sending a specialist out. Seems to me that most of us can plug in a cablebox now and, if we can't, that's when we should be given the option of having someone to come out and do it. It'd be like having to have a 'specialist' telephone installation guy come out with your phone (this is how it used to be - you'd have to call the phone company so you could rent a phone from them and they'd come out and the specialist would plug it in for you).

    So, back to the cable company, you end up having to take 3-hour blocks out of your life to wait around for someone to plug something in for you and, when it doesn't work the 'specialist' resolution is to hit the box over and over again and to send another specialist back out.

    Somehow, DirecTV was able to get his all working and even have homeowners install their own satellite dishes 15 years ago.

    As you can probably tell, I'm still lacking service and am very aggravated with this whole process. I've said it before, I don't blame the guy coming out or even the person on the phone. They're just doing what they've been told to do. I blame the higher-ups in the companies for making this so stupidly painful in the name of squeezing extra money out of me. It's not like I'm getting better service by paying for that service call, I'm just having my pocket picked for something that they can't seem to accomplish.

    Dare I use the angry smiley? I dare: :mad:
     
  9. nedeveritt

    nedeveritt New Member

    5
    0
    Nov 19, 2006
    Bel Air, MD
    Short Version: My TiVo HD is up and running with the 2 S-cards.

    Long Version: Comcast tech arrived at 8am with a multistream card. He told me this was his first cable card install, so I knew right then it was going to be a long day. He was unable to get the M-card paired and "hit". So about 9am he left to go back to the warehouse to get some s-cards. He returned about 10am with a handful of s-cards. He spent the next 2 hours on the phone with the head-end trying to them going. They had all the necessary information, but could not get it right. They assured him they could "finish it up" on their end, and directed him to take my old SA8300 and head on to his next appointment. An hour passed, and nothing improved. So I called back to discover they were still having issues. At first, I was told the tech could not return today, but after some complaining, I was promised he would return in the next hour. He did, armed with more S-cards. This time, I called the TiVo hotline while the tech dealt with the head-end. The TiVo rep was extremely helpful, suggesting we reboot the TiVo after the first card was not pairing correctly. After doing this, we got card 1 going, encrypted channels and all. We had to re-boot again to get card 2 paired correctly. It finally worked as well. I was his first appointment, and he ended up leaving for good around 3pm.

    I guess this is par for the course. I can't imagine how this would have played out had I not read up on the issues to expect and the persistence required to achieve success.

    At the end of the day, I'm glad it all worked out. The next battle will be to get the billing straightened out, still not sure what to expect there.

    Thanks,
    Ned
     
  10. Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    46,745
    14
    Feb 18, 2002
    I feel your pain. I have had some awful experiences with Comcast and with getting my last S3, if I didn't know the process of pairing up the cards, I would have sent the box back.

    FWIW, I understand that the cable cards are extremely touchy about signal levels, and in many areas the cable infrastructure just isn't up to par for the cards.

    I think the cable cards are overengineered and unnecessarily complex. It could have been much more streamlined than it is, and a web interface for customers into the conditional access systems would save both time and frustration.

    One of my neighbors just got FIOS and added a Tivo HD and had no problems installing it. I'm seriously considering changing over after the holidays.
     
  11. Merciful Fayte

    Merciful Fayte Tivo N00b

    2
    0
    Nov 21, 2007
    Olympia, WA
    LOL geez, I told you I was a noob! :up:
     
  12. Turtleboy

    Turtleboy Well-Known Member TCF Club

    53,005
    170
    Mar 24, 2001
    Ft. Lauderdale
    I'm thinking of buying a TivoHD tomorow (Black Friday).

    I wonder if I can stroll into my local comcast and pick up cablecards, or if they will still make someone come out.
     
  13. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    50,975
    31
    Dec 3, 2000
    Long...
    Highly, highly unlikely.

    However there's a reasonable chance you could call Comcast today and schedule an appointment for tomorrow or Saturday. I've been surprised how often they've responded next day when I've had to call for an appointment.
     
  14. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    They made someone come out just to FIX the cableCARDS after they made someone come out who failed to install them correctly the first time. Multiple calls were futile. YMMV.
     
  15. Qwertinsky

    Qwertinsky New Member

    80
    0
    Oct 24, 2006
    It depends on what market you are in.
    Some Comcast markets, like mine, allow you to pick them up and self install.
    Some markets require a truck roll and a Comcast guy to install them.

    Call the 800# and ask.
     
  16. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    50,975
    31
    Dec 3, 2000
    Long...
    Even that is no guarantee; so many people have related stories of being told they can pick them up only to try to do so and be told they can't, wasting the trip and their time. You need a first-hand report from someone who has done so to be sure.
     
  17. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

    123
    0
    Feb 1, 2005
    Easiest way is to call the local Comcast store and they will know. I didn't call the 800 but the local Comcast and they said no problem and it wasn't.
     
  18. Brad Bishop

    Brad Bishop Member

    285
    0
    Sep 11, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    My TiVo HD is now working w/ Comcast and two S-Cards. The guy who came Friday was knowledgeable and helpful.

    He said that there would be no charge for the extra S-Card since it was just replacing 1 M-Card that they couldn't get working. My guess is that I'll have the $2 charge for the extra S-Card on my next bill.

    Anyway, it works now.

    I have TiVo-happiness with Comcast (well, for now, until SDV rears it's head). It's so exceptionally nice to be able to see just the channels I receive and not endless "Buy A Car OnDemand" crap between the real channels.
     
  19. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    HEY! Glad you finally got somewhere! I thought we were going to lose you, by returning your TiVo and all. Comcast sure doesn't make it easy.

    Now that I have both of my TiVo's all set up, Thursday I made a backup of each unit JUST SO I don't have to call Comcast out again if I ever do have to replace my hard drive. That's how scared I am of having to deal with them. :p
     
  20. kinsekd

    kinsekd New Member

    8
    0
    Sep 15, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    Since I did the install myself, there was no charge for that. First cablecard was free. Second was $1.50. While HD costs $6.95 per month on top of basic cable, there is no additional monthly fee for the cablecards. Very reasonable I thought.

    The only installation issue I had was because the original installation tech ran the coax into my surge suppressor instead of the Tivo Series 3. (In all fairness, I have a very complex system and one component is stacked on top of another.) Once I did a little troubleshooting and figured it all out, they were very courteous.

    Did I mention that the picture is drop dead gorgeous? Virtually identical to what I can get OTA? Only problem is that I can only get a couple of the local HD channels with an antenna because I am on the wrong end of a small mountain.
     

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