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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. hybucket

    hybucket Member

    558
    6
    Nov 26, 2004
    I am in the South End of Boston and will be switching from D* to Comcast with at TiVO HD shortly.
    What did you have to do with the TiVO (as far as setting it up is concerned) before Comcast arrived? There must be a thread here somewhere for that.
    Glad to hear that Boston techs have a clue. Well, at least that yours did.
     
  2. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    80
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    As a follow-up, here's my CableCard installation experience from today: Naples Florida, Comcast (Collier County). We're in a Scientific Atlanta area, Using two single-stream SA CableCards (Scards) on a TiVo HD with 9.2a software.

    First of all, Comcast sent a real in-house tech, not a contractor, and he kept great communication with me by phone during the course of the day to let me know when he was coming. This was the best tech I've ever worked with at the company, from a professional standpoint.

    The Installation itself actually went fairly well, but not perfect. As I stand now, things aren't working 100%, but we're close. CableCard 1 is working 100% -- getting all digital and HD channels that I am entitled to. CableCard 2 is only getting the analog tier, not sure why. We had the same problem on CableCard 1 at first, then the tech swapped it out with a spare card and everything worked. He only brought three cards, so we couldn't try that on card 2.

    The tech himself was actually a really nice guy. He wasn't too experienced with CableCards -- had only tried to install them once before, on a TV, without success -- but the girl at Comcast whom he was working with on the phone was a CableCard expert, so that went a long way toward helping things.

    Now I have to figure out how to get CableCard 2 working properly. When we first plugged it in, it did a firmware update. That worked fine. It's paired properly, but has not received any EMMs. The tech was here a pretty long time and had other appointments to get to, plus he mentioned he was trying to get things wrapped up so he could be with his girlfriend and her family tonight so I did not mind letting him take off. Especially since I have one fully-functioning tuner at least.

    Comcast has hit the second CableCard a few times to no avail, but I'm going to give it some time and see what happens. Sometimes the SA cards take a while to get all the EMMs, I hear. TiVo is doing a full program data update right now and I'll try a reboot afterwards to see if that helps. Failing that, I'll try pulling out card 2 and re-inserting. If nothing else works, I might have to have a tech come out and swap out card 2. The tech said they do a lot of CableCard installs in this area, so they have tons of cards sitting around. The cards he brought today were all brand new. If someone wants to see any data off my CC config screens, let me know.

    The costs on the work order were even cheaper than I was quoted by phone. The installation was $9.95. CableCard 1 is free, and CableCard 2 is $1.50. The tech even said that the girl on the phone was going to take off that $1.50 charge, not sure why, but I'm not complaining.

    Overall I'm pretty happy with how things went, especially given how low my expectations were. I still need to get card 2 sorted out, but I'm confident that I can do that -- the techs seem pretty "with it" in this area.

    After the way things go in some Comcast areas, I feel like I did pretty well.

    I'll post more about getting CableCard 2 working as I get it.
     
  3. BobB

    BobB Devout Tivonian

    707
    0
    Aug 26, 2002
    Brookline, MA
    As did mine, installation was a snap. Just run Guided Setup before the cable guy arrives, then all he has to do is install the card (tell them when you schedule the appt that you want one M card, not two S's) and call in the pairing info. Took about 20 minutes.
     
  4. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    80
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    Seems that my saga is not even close to being over. Things didn't go as well as I thought.

    CableCard 2 -- the one that never worked right -- still won't work. I've been on the phone with Comcast and done about everything I can think of, but it looks like the card is just not receiving anything. No ECMs, no EMMs, nothing. I get the analog tier on it and that's it. They want to send out a tech to swap the card (either that or have me take it to a local office to swap it out). I suspect that it's not paired properly, but nobody I can reach by phone at Comcast knows anything about pairing.

    Meanwhile, CableCard 1 -- the one that was working originally -- has now lost authorization. While it's downloaded a complete channel map, and most of my channels work including all of the encrypted digital tier, when I try to tune to some of the HD channels on the HD Platinum tier, the CableCard Host ID screen appears. When I clear out of it, I get only a grey screen -- like I'm not authorized to see the channel.

    Looks like this stuff is just screwed up all kinds of badly.

    The CSR on the phone advised me to go down to the local office tomorrow and swap out the supposedly bad CableCard 2 for another one. I had no idea the local office was even open tomorrow. Guess I'll see how far I can get down that road.
     
  5. Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    46,758
    15
    Feb 18, 2002
    Is it possible you have a signal level issue? One of my S3s had a nagging problem where channels 234 and 235 were constantly badly pixellated. I swapped around the cabling (eliminating splits) and raised the signal level a few points, then installed an amplifier that raised the signal just a few more points that eliminated the pixellation.

    You can check the cable card pairing by these instructions:

    http://tivosupport2.instancy.com/La...8cd0d5c0824&anchor=undefined&anchor=undefined
     
  6. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    80
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    If anything, my signal is probably on the hot side. I have an amp installed in the attic because when I had digital cable installed last year, the signal level was too low to bring in the digital tier. In TiVo's diagnostics screen, I think I recall it showing my signal levels at 26 or 27 dB on both tuners. Not sure whether that's good or bad. The tech didn't seem like he knew either. :rolleyes:

    As for the card pairing, Card #1 is definitely unpaired. It's a SA S-card, and it shows "Waiting for CP Auth." I have the complete channel map, but can't get to some of the encrypted channels so it must be due to pairing. I talked to three CSRs on the phone last night but none of them knew anything about pairing, nor would they help me. One dude suggested I take my TiVo box back to the Comcast office and swap it for another one, LOL. I don't think he quite "got" it.

    CableCard 1 was originally working, but a CSR screwed it up last night when I called in to see if someone could try re-initializing my second card. She somehow deleted CC1 from my account completely! I got another guy to add it back on, but it needs to be re-paired I guess.

    The second card shows "Authorization Received," but will never get beyond that. It's like it's authorized to someone else's account, because none of the signals Comcast sends are ever picked up by it. Again, if I could get someone on the phone who knows about pairing, I could try re-pairing the second card -- verifying the Host ID and Card ID numbers for accuracy -- and see if that helps. It could be a bad card, like all the CSRs have suggested, but I just have trouble believing it.

    I'm going to try getting some more tech-oriented Comcast folks on the phone today. Being Saturday, I'm not sure how much luck I'll have -- might have to wait until Monday to try for any real results.

    Sigh!
     
  7. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    80
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    Update: Gonna have to wait for another tech to show up on Wednesday night. I've been unsuccessful in replacing the card myself, and I've talked to six people on the phone at Comcast...either they didn't know what activating / pairing a CableCard is, or they refused to help me and insisted a tech had to come out.

    At least I have the basic digital and HD tier on one of my cards; that's something.
     
  8. Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    46,758
    15
    Feb 18, 2002
    That's a typical response. They don't seem to want to deal with the cable card pairing, as only a Comcast tech is capable of reading numbers off a screen, and even most of that time they get it wrong.
     
  9. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    80
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    Yep, that's it exactly. From all my reading on these boards, I know I'm just wasting my time...so I'm gonna just wait for Wednesday's scheduled appointment. Hopefully the guy who shows up will have a couple of cards and we can get everything going. At least I know the TiVo itself works okay.

    It's frustrating, though, because I know I could probably get everything working myself if I could just figure out the magic words to say (or magic number to call) to reach the one person somewhere at Comcast who knows how to handle card pairing. Gah!
     
  10. tanasay

    tanasay New Member

    1
    0
    Dec 29, 2007
    The magic word is initialize. There are four levels of signals. I forget what the most basic level is, but after that there are "soft hit," "hit," and "initialize," which supposedly covers the same as the other three plus some secret power ingredient.

    But what I want to know is, has ANYONE been able to get Comcast cable cards to work with their TiVo? I bought Series 2 and finally gave up and had Comcast bring back an HD box and take their mCard away. Of course it doesn't work with the TiVo, which is going back, I guess.
     
  11. grendell

    grendell New Member

    12
    0
    Nov 25, 2002
    Here's my experience.

    I am in Puyallup, WA. I called on 12/27 and got an appointment for 12/28. The installer showed up and I showed him what I needed. I wanted an Mcard installed in the HD TiVo and an S card in the TV. I could tell that it could be a long day since the installer admitted that he hadn't done many of these and the ones that he had installed weren't successful. They actually ended up sending 2 techs to my house but neither of them had much experience with CC installs.

    The card for the TV went in fine and was authorized quickly. Then the supervisor that the tech was talking to indicated that they had another customer getting CC installed as well and they were having problems with the MCard in the TiVo. So, she suggested to my tech that they use 2 SCards instead. She also said that if they did that then I wouldn't need the one in the TV. ??? I knew that wasn't right, but I had to let them go through the motions. They got 2 Scards working in the TiVo but then I couldn't get encrypted channels on my TV without watching them through the TiVo. Surprise! They couldn't understand why I wanted another card in the TV. I finally convinced them why it was needed and the tech talked to another person on the phone that seemed to be a little more knowledgeable. He had the tech put the Scard back into the TV and then put the Mcard (Motorola) in the TiVo like I had hoped would work in the first place. Everything came up and authorized the first time without any issues.

    I was prepared ahead of time from all of the wealth of information on this forum. Thank you very much for sharing your experiences.

    Eric
     
  12. Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    46,758
    15
    Feb 18, 2002
    There are lots of success stories. I have 2 S3s, one running with S-cards and the other with M-cards. They're Motorola. Neither install went smoothly, but with enough persistence (aka not letting the guy go until things worked), they've been up and trouble-free for the most part.

    You really have to stand your ground and know what the diagnostic screens mean, because the Comcast guy probably won't have a clue. The last guy I had was pretty mad I wouldn't let him leave until he got the 2nd card working, he flipped through the channels and saw that the premium channels worked and thought he was done. Using the "test channels" function for card #2, I showed him he wasn't finished. He spent a lot of time swapping cards in and out almost at random, and that really screwed things up because the Data number changes when that is done with the Tivo powered up.

    It finally took me pointing out that the numbers he had written down at the start were not the numbers on the screen. Once he re-read all the numbers to the agent on the phone, things worked like a charm. The installer didn't want to listen to what I wanted to tell him, so it took quite a while.

    As bad as this experience was, it was worse for the 1st one, a year ago...
     
  13. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    80
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    Gregor, I appreciate your input. I've never even seen a CableCard until this past week, during my first install. That experience, combined with the wealth of information on this forum and playing around with the CC diagnostic screens, makes me feel a lot more confident about what I expect to see when the next tech arrives to (hopefully) finish this all up.

    And I'm sure not letting this guy out of my sight until everything works as it should...
     
  14. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Two Series 3 TiVos, one with two S-Cards and one with two M-Cards. All four tuners work fine. Although, Comcast initially screwed up and crossed up the pairing on the two units.
     
  15. dathing

    dathing New Member

    3
    0
    Sep 19, 2007
    Update: They won't allow me to schedule an appointment or get on a waiting list for CableCard. The best they can offer: I should call back every few days / weeks / months and go through the 15-20 minute process it takes for them to determine that they don't have any cablecards.

    I asked the TIVO folks about any known legal requirements for Comcast to provide a cablecard, and the answer is essentially so long as they don't refuse, there is nothing to prevent them from dragging their feet for weeks, months or even years in delivering one.

     
  16. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    50,978
    32
    Dec 3, 2000
    Long...
    Yes it's a pain. But it works. Write a letter to Comcast's corporate offices in Philadelphia complaining about this and asking them to help you resolve it. They'll get CableCARDs to the local office (or explain to them where they actually already can be found) and get someone with more than a pea-pod sized brain to install them, too.
     
  17. Marshella

    Marshella New Member

    12
    0
    Dec 28, 2007
    I can see that - there being no legal requirement to provide them - its a simple matter of getting the service you need the card - or thier cable box.
    I'm surprised that they've now seemed to abandon the "waiting list". What I'm now waiting to see is if, since I had requested the service changes back in late November (and the resulting screw-up of my comcast supplied DVR service through an obvious ill-managed account), IF my next bill will show/charge me for things I don't yet have - i.e. the cablecards.

    Marshella

     
  18. iamwhoiam

    iamwhoiam New Member

    4
    0
    Dec 20, 2007
    So Tech visit number 6 is here and he has a few cable cards, but now the problem seems to be the cable cards wont stay on my account so that i can be active. We sat through the whole download of all the segments for the card to deactivate its self. They keep saying that the card is ilogical so they come back and say the card is on the account it finishes downloading then it stops working. He calls dispatch and no card. So i don't know what to do with these people this is just horrible. The tech keeps saying that whenever a cable card install comes around the techs call off. and he is like i should have called off as well. I mean come on if this is the way this company is run it needs to go down. Now i am afraid that it will not be working and that i am going to have to go through this again. Does anyone have some kind of corporate number for comcast? i just cant take this anymore. Tech is still here i will update you in a moment.
     
  19. RadMac

    RadMac New Member

    2
    0
    Nov 23, 2007
    Old Adelphia is sure looking good now that I have to deal with Comcast.

    As reported for Miami, if you have a single S3 Tivo with two cablecards, they charge you two HD fees and an additional outlet fee even though it is one device and their published policy says otherwise. I have asked for their pricing documents regarding this and they will not provide anything. Has anyone had any success mitigating these excess fees?

    Second Issue - Since I activated HD service a couple months ago, every show is broadcast as protected, even the non-HD local channels. In a chat with one of the pleasant Comcast staff, I was told that all material is copyrighted and I am not allowed to try and copy any of it. Does anyone in Miami or specifically the Comcast Redlands area have this issue as well or is it just the way the programmed me?

    Doesn't seem that anyone has jurisdiction over them anymore.
     
  20. iamwhoiam

    iamwhoiam New Member

    4
    0
    Dec 20, 2007
    ok so the card is in and active but i still cant get my damn premium channels to show up. i looked at the tivo website and it says something like your card is not paired with the port. How the hell do i tell comcast this. I get everything but them damn premium channels.

    We have verfied everything with the tech as far as host data and cable card id and still its not working. I dont know what else to do. I really dont feel like getting another tech here this is just crazy

    UPDATE: They where putting in the wrong data value information... This is why it would not pair. now i have a V next to Val which means all channels are working now w00t!!!!
    Now lets hope that when my other 2 tivos come in this will not happen again.
     

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