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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Dec 6, 2007 #4401 of 9367
    fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

    16
    0
    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    Bought a TiVo series 3 for use with my Comcast digital cable. We've been using a Series 2 DT for a while, but the IR blaster occasionally drops channel changes and we wanted to try HD. So I set up the box and requested CableCARDs.

    A tech came out yesterday, tried to set things up for a couple of hours. No luck. The back up on authorization "hits" was at 30 minutes when we started, and soared to over an hour, so the tech requested the authorization and headed out (I had places to be).

    Turns out the folks on the other end had a number in a wrong field so nothing was going through. This morning on the phone they fixed their end and tried again. I got a couple of 161-4 messages, which are apparently considered a good sign (the cable system and the card are speaking to each other), though apparently seeing more than one isn't a good sign. No luck seeing any channels, and the cable card status screens don't indicate authorization.

    This afternoon they (two this time) came out again for a couple of hours, tried a different card. No luck. They tried to get through to the "addressability" department, but I gather things get jammed up in the afternoon and they couldn't get through. They did verify that the signal level was fine. (It was actually a little high, so they put me back on the splitter that I had removed earlier in the morning.)

    So they're coming back out tomorrow, with a stack of M cards and hopefully better luck getting through to the head-end folks.

    I had no idea it was this hard to get a CableCARD working. One of the techs said sometimes they'll go through half a dozen before getting a working setup.
     
  2. Dec 7, 2007 #4402 of 9367
    ji0005

    ji0005 Member

    30
    0
    Sep 28, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    SInce you are in chicago and have given a fair try and it already, I would suggest going the executive care route (800-630-2140). They finally got me going.
     
  3. Dec 7, 2007 #4403 of 9367
    beerkensp

    beerkensp New Member

    68
    0
    Dec 29, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks,

    The last visit of Comcast improved things. Apparantly they are sill out of cable cards but they have been able to get me going with a temporary telephone number and some internet connectivity. I am getting about 1 Mb/sec of the 8Mb/sec (with 12Mb/s burst).

    I am hoping that over the next few days they will be able to get me the correct telephone number and sort out my internet and maybe if I am really lucky they might even get a cable card.
     
  4. Dec 7, 2007 #4404 of 9367
    oldradio99

    oldradio99 Member

    128
    1
    Nov 22, 2005

    I strongly suspect that is the route that Comcast is going. Over the last few months they have been moving channels from the under the 99 number up to the 100's so you have to rent a box.

    Just for giggles, I spent an hour with Comcast today to ask if I can purchase a cable box. The on-line rep said yes. Even gave me a number to the local office to buy a box (the number was disconnected).

    Next I called and was told can't buy a box,only cable cards but only can be put in Tivo's for now.

    I have been trying to get away from Comcast but I cannot get a decent DSL so I am stuck
     
  5. Dec 7, 2007 #4405 of 9367
    fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

    16
    0
    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    The Comcast / TiVo fun continues. Today a Comcast tech spent 2.5 hours trying everything under the sun. No luck.

    Only change was on the CA screen, where yesterday's "Con:Yes EBCP:Yes Val:V 0x01" changed to show "0x03" instead. Still no channel info. We can see message counters incrementing and other vague signs of activity, but an hour later "test channels" was still sitting on the spinning "acquiring info" screen.

    The tech spent an hour interacting with TiVo customer support. We were walked through a long series of "are you sure it's plugged in" items. At one point the TiVo support rep had us move the card from slot 1 to slot 2 and perform the usual set of tests. There are so many reasons why this wasn't going to work it hurts to think about, and at the end of it we had to "hit" the card again because the "data" field updated itself. The exercise was rather pointless.

    Conclusion: I'm stuffing the Series 3 back into the box and returning it to Best Buy. Going to try a TiVo HD instead. It sounds like the hardware/firmware is newer, e.g. the TiVo HD can use M cards in multi-stream mode (so I don't have to go through this card configuration nightmare with *two* cards).

    After three days I have a low opinion of TiVo tech support, a modest opinion of Comcast dispatch (that first day of anguish when they put the numbers in the wrong fields irks me, but once you get a hold of the right person things start moving), and a very high opinion of the Comcast field techs. They've been very patient and done everything possible, and have demonstrated a "whatever it takes to get it to work" attitude throughout the many long hours of strife.
     
  6. Dec 8, 2007 #4406 of 9367
    rlawson4

    rlawson4 New Member

    25
    0
    Nov 27, 2007
    Atlanta,...
    I had Comcast out today and my signal was too strong. I was get +14 - + 19 on some stations. He put a splitter on the outlet and brought it down to +4. The new S-Card he brought out paired and is working. Unfortunately, he only brought one. So, I have one working tuner. Progress but not success until I get another card. He work order clearly stated to bring 2 S-Card or 1 M. He brought 1 S-Card. In fairness, at least he knew how to decrease signal level without messing everything else up. I will say that getting the Tivo HD to work has been like throwing more money away at a casino in order to win back what was lost. What I mean is that had I known the amount of time necessary to get this to work (countless calls to Comcast, 4 truck roles, 4 trips to their office, numerous conversations with so called supervisors, I would have never bought the Tivo. It is sad to say that I persisted because I had already wasted so much time and energy, and it is still not over.
     
  7. Dec 8, 2007 #4407 of 9367
    GumboChief

    GumboChief New Member

    131
    0
    Aug 27, 2004
    Had a pretty good Comcast experience in the city of Chicago.
    On Monday at 11am, I walked into our local payment center, and requested 2M cards. Lady walked to the back, came back 90 seconds later, and read the UPC with her scanner. Asked me to sign for them, and I walked out.

    Put one in the Tivo, and 5 minutes later, I had all of my basic and extended cable channels. As expected, my premiums did not work (HBO, Showtime, Encore)

    I called in to have my card paired, and the lady said she "sent the signal".

    When nothing happened she said to wait 10 minutes, and call back if it was not working.

    I called in 2 hours later, as it was still not working. The next rep "sent the signal" too, to no effect. She said that I would be called by a cable card specialist within 4 hours.

    About 7 hours later, at 9pm, I get a call from the cablecard guy, who knew exactly what he was doing. I was up in 5 minutes, with all my channels working.

    Yesterday, I returned the second card to the payment center, and am a very happy camper.

    After all the extended horror storied shared here, I am glad I did not have to add another.
     
  8. Dec 8, 2007 #4408 of 9367
    bobat

    bobat New Member

    20
    0
    Dec 4, 2007
    Just thought I'd add a success story, since most posts are (understandably) of the horror story variety.

    I called Comcast in Tacoma and asked about what I'd need to get my brand new TiVo HD up and running. First guy thought I'd need to upgrade to a digital package from my expanded basic, but had heard about cablecards and confirmed that I wouldn't need a set-top box. I called again for fun, and a more knowledgeable CSR said I didn't have to change my lineup at all, since the expanded basic (which I've been on for a long time) included the first-tier HD channels (ABC, NBC, etc) and that, yes, all I needed to do was stop by a Comcast store and pick up a (free) m-card .

    I went to the local Comcast store and asked for a cablecard - "Oh, please make it an m-card," says I. "Huh?" says the rep behind the bullet-proof glass. He finds one right away, and admits he knows nothing about it. "Here's your, uh, m-card ... no charge or monthly fee."

    I followed the very simple instructions on the in-box flyer - pop the card in the slot and follow the prompts. I called Comcast tech support and asked to activate a cable card. She asks me right away, "Do you have some ID and Data for me?" "Yep," says I. I read her the numbers right off the screen. She says "I'm sending you some signals right now - don't do anything." The screen sat on an "acquiring channels" for a couple of minutes before I just switched to the card setup page on my own. A couple of minutes later I was testing a sample of the HD channels (I don't have any premium channels) - my first look at HD! Awesome!

    Total time on the forums reading about problems: 1 hour. Time studying TiVo instructions: 10 minutes. Time on the phone activating with Comcast: 5 minutes.

    Whew!!!!

    Hope your experience is as easy and problem free as mine! :)
     
  9. Dec 8, 2007 #4409 of 9367
    Allez

    Allez Padawan Learner

    42
    0
    Dec 8, 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    Newbie here, suffered through first attempt at cablecard installation on my TivoHD by Comcast. Person who came professed not to know a whole lot about these things, and had 4 S-cards with him. Three cards were dead; the fourth he was able to actually get numbers to call in for pairing. After having him leave (I figured he was not very helpful and I would need another service call anyway for a second card), I found that only a few scattered channels would work - several HD network channels and 3-4 analog channels. All of the other channels were black, showing the channel banner. In the Conditional Access Menu it says Auth: Missing Program Rekey. Tried rebooting, unplugging power, unplugging/replugging in cable card with no change. I called Comcast, and they tried re-pairing with no change. Any ideas? When giving the unit number are you supposed to leave the first three 0's off? I had them try re-pairing that way without any success.
     
  10. Dec 9, 2007 #4410 of 9367
    Shatian

    Shatian New Member

    5
    0
    Nov 5, 2007
    Good luck. I'm not sure what's the deal but getting these to work over the phone is a nightmare...at least is has been from me. I decided to switch over to using Comcast for TV a few weeks ago and to go with a Tivo HD. I got one for my wife first cause she's been using a DirecTiVo for a couple of years. I asked if I could pick one up and they said sure, so I went by the local office

    I asked for a M-Card and they handed me 2 S-Cards. I followed the instructions with the tivo and then gave them a call. They got the first call right off the bat. The second card wouldn't work no matter how many times they "hit" it. It gave me the "Missing Program Rekey" message. First response was " well, you have two choices, send a tech and send a tech." I told them I'd go swap the card out and try another one. This was a Friday.

    I went by the office on monday and swapped out for another card. Once again, after hitting the card, I still got "Missing Program Rekey". After several phone reps, I finally had to call Tivo and he did a conference call with Comcast. I'm not sure what he told them, but someone who knew what they were doing, and was willing to listen, got the card re-configured and it's been working all week.

    I got another Tivo for myself yesterday and picked up an M-Card so I wouldn't go through the two card nightmare again...called them...and take a guess who's coming tomorrow? :mad: Yet again, the persons on the other end of the phone can't get it to work.

    I have a feeling a lot of the bad cards are because the CSRs in general still don't know how to configure/troubleshoot the problems. I don't know why they insist on sending a tech. What's the difference between me telling them "So, you need the Host and data number, yes?" "Oh, no I don't need that". "Ok I sent it a hit, any change?" and a tech telling them the same thing.

    argh
     
  11. Dec 9, 2007 #4411 of 9367
    fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

    16
    0
    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I returned my star-crossed TiVo Series 3 to Best Buy and exchanged it for a TiVo HD. I took the Motorola M-series card (serial starts MA07 -- batch from March or May 2007?) and stuffed it into slot 1 after letting the TiVo HD upgrade itself to 9.2.

    The card was recognized right away. Five minutes on the phone with Comcast and I've got all my channels, both tuners working.

    Naturally, it can't be that easy.

    Came back tonight and discovered that a program had failed to record. The channel is just showing grey. Play with channel up/down for a bit, have the CableCARD screen flashed at me a few times, and then things settle down and start working.

    Play around a little more and lose ALL video output. Even the "stage light" background animation on the TiVo menus is gone. Nothing but a grey background. I restarted the box and all is well again, but this makes me very nervous -- if I wanted to lose the occasional program I'd stick with the digital cable box and the IR blaster.

    The only dodgy thing I can see on the CableCARD diagnostic screens is "Val:?" instead of "Val:V". However, I've had no problems seeing any of the encrypted channels.

    One odd thing about the Comcast call was that he verified the serial number, took the HostID, and didn't ask for the Data number. I offered it and he said he didn't need it. The channels have all been working fine, so perhaps he didn't, but I'm not quite sure what this all means. Looking around a little it seems I'm not the only one with the problem.

    I'm seriously considering packing it in and waiting for the "Comcast TiVo". I'm not sure why I expect that to be any more reliable, but maybe they'll centralize the customer service.
     
  12. Dec 9, 2007 #4412 of 9367
    Allez

    Allez Padawan Learner

    42
    0
    Dec 8, 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    None of the Comcast reps I've talked to even know what an M-card is. Maybe I'll try again with Tivo support and see what they have to say about this 'Missing Program Rekey' message. I would think it's probably not an uncommon problem - there must be some standard fix somebody knows about, right? :confused:
     
  13. Dec 9, 2007 #4413 of 9367
    CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    3,653
    2
    Feb 28, 2001
    North...
    "Missing Program Rekey" seems to be fixed with a "hard init" or a "cold init" (alternative name), which is not normally done when sending hits.
     
  14. Dec 9, 2007 #4414 of 9367
    jk5598224

    jk5598224 New Member

    312
    0
    Jan 28, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    I had my CableCard installs yesterday. Not so bad experience so far. 1 M Card in the Tivo HD and another in my Panny TV in the bedroom for watching Live (HD) TV instead of using the SD Series 2 Tivo.

    Comcast was here 45 minutes for both. Went like a breeze so far...
     
  15. Dec 9, 2007 #4415 of 9367
    fadden0

    fadden0 New Member

    16
    0
    Dec 6, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I lost Showtime and some other premium channels last night, but not HBO. Something slipped in their configuration, and the new HostID got lost. For some reason not all of the premium channels actually cared. :) Whatever the case, I called up and got the numbers re-entered this morning, and my CA status has finally changed to "Val:V".

    Now I'm just working through the "grey screen of doom", but that's a different thread (http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?p=5770732).
     
  16. Dec 9, 2007 #4416 of 9367
    Allez

    Allez Padawan Learner

    42
    0
    Dec 8, 2007
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks - tried that which did help some (now I get all of my stations under 100, my broadcast HD channels, but not much else). I had them do it 3 times. I still have the 'Missing Program Rekey' though. . . Also tried unplugging x several minutes.
     
  17. Dec 9, 2007 #4417 of 9367
    paully65

    paully65 Member

    32
    0
    Feb 20, 2002
    DC
    I just had my S3 installed and the Comcast tech said he brought 2 M cards with him in case one went bad. Great. We put the first one in and it said card inserted, but it did not say multi stream card. I thought that was weird. I told him to put in the second card and it also said card inserted which is what it usually says when it is an s card. After all the downloads and pairing and hits, everything was working fine and the diagnostics said I had two s cards installed. The tech said sometimes the cards are mislabeled and at least mine are working. I do not care what they are as long as they work. In case you run in to this - FYI.
     
  18. Dec 9, 2007 #4418 of 9367
    pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    M-Cards show up as S-Cards to a Series 3. That's the normal response you should get. Series 3 units do not support multiple tuners with one M-Card.
     
  19. Dec 9, 2007 #4419 of 9367
    Gregor

    Gregor save the princess save the world

    47,578
    169
    Feb 18, 2002
    The only difference seen is the format of the diagnostic screens. Personally, I think the S-card screens are a bit clearer for diagnostics.
     
  20. Dec 9, 2007 #4420 of 9367
    Shatian

    Shatian New Member

    5
    0
    Nov 5, 2007
    Here's an update to my previous post

    The tech showed up the afternoon and called before he arrived. I told him I was having a cablecard problem in an HD Tivo. Of course, they only put that it was a cablecard problem, no mention of Tivo. He sounded a little worried since it was a tivo, but he said he'd see what he could do.

    He pulled into my driveway and sat there for a bit, so after about 10 minutes I waled out to see what was up. He was on his cell and apparently was checking to make sure that high level tech support was available. :D

    He came in, the guy on the other end of the phone had him reboot the tivo, pop the card back in and about 20 minutes time total, it was up and working. He admitted that he wasn't very familiar with Tivo, so he decided to call way up the food chain from the start to avoid the wait. He also mentioned that this was one of the quickest cable card installs he's done.

    Now I just need to talk to them about billing. Based off of what's on his work order, I'm going to be charged 30.85 for 3 cable cards on my next bill. :eek:
     

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