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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. johnnylundy

    johnnylundy New Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Yes. I just got off chat with Comcast and they removed the last 4 months of the "A/O" fee and promised that it was removed from future billings.

    I was not being charged for 2 HD fees - that also is an error.

    Try the online chat and if that does not succeed then contact your regional VP by email. I have always had success with the regional VP - I just say is there anything that can be done about this and I get results.
  2. bizzy

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    You will likely lose authorization for the devices where they removed the AO fees. Good luck.
  3. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    That's what happened when they tried it on my account. Lately, they've been charging the A/O fee and then refunding it. That works.
  4. bizzy

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    When I had the "free" STB, I dreaded the monthly $18 phone call. Eventually I gave up and returned the STB. Their loss; I can live without their OnDemand stuff.
  5. RareSanity

    RareSanity New Member

    May 20, 2006
    I actually picked up two S cards (Motorola, Red Label) from the local Comcast office. Brought them home and plugged them into my new THD. When I plugged the first one in it worked almost immediately, I called Comcast and asked the CS to send a "cold init", next thing you know, BAM! NFL Network starts working.

    The second one did not work, there was an error shown when I tried to display the pairing information. So I took it back to Comcast and they said that they were out of cards. But, the wonderful young lady CSR asked one of the other employees when they might be getting more in, he said that day later in the afternoon. She had me write down my number, and that I wanted either an S or M card if they came it. Now, I fully expect not to get a call because of all of the horror customer service stories.

    But, lo and behold, she called me back at about 6:00 pm that night and said that they received the cards and asked if I still wanted one. I asked if she had S or M cards, she responded "S, only." I then I said "Can I get two in case one doesn't work?" She said sure, and I told her I would be in first thing the next morning.

    Arrived the next morning, she had two S cards taped together with my name on them...Holy Cow! She was great! Took the cards home, and the first one I put in worked, after the "cold init" encrypted channels showed up. No restarts, no muss, no fuss.

    Anyway, just wanted to pass on a success story in dealing with Comcast. I mean it's only fair, right?

    I would recommend, if at all possible, to pick up CCs because they are "activated" once the CSR enters the serial number into the computer. Then you just need the "init" after you install it to get the encrypted channels to come through. I know every office won't let you pick them up, guess I'm just a little lucky.

    BTW, this is in the Atlanta area.
  6. Devx

    Devx New Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    Thanks for replying with the Tech # Robert. Luckily I won't need it this time around.

    The 3rd tech roll worked for me last Friday (12/28). My appointment was for 2-4p but the guy called me at 8 in the morning to let me know he could come early if I was going to be there. Being that I was on the way to work I told him I could do 12 (I was taking a half day) and I'd give him a call then to confirm. I called him at 12 like I said, he was already in the area and said he'd be there in 5 min. The guy showed up with 2 Motorola M cards, told me that we'd give them a try since Comcast told him they "didn't do M cards." I had the Tivo CableCard install guide waiting for him but he said he didn't need it since he had already done a few of the Tivo HD installs. I followed along using the guide anyway to make sure he didn't miss any steps.

    He was literate w/ at least decent eyesight, and was able to read the numbers and letters off the card correctly. The dispatch apparently was also able to read and type and knew which fields to put the data in. (sorry, I had to put that jab in there since there are way too much errors on this part ;) ). But all joking aside, the installer and dispatch were very competent and professional. The entire process was very smooth and once dispatch sent the hit, the Tivo was able to acquire the channel about 5-10 minutes after that. The first card worked, there was no need to try the second card. The installer tested all my key channels that he could but one step he missed was testing both tuners. I caught him on that and he waited while I tested the other tuner. From the time he arrived, it took all of 40 minutes to do the entire thing and that includes him walking back to the truck to get me an updated channel guide. On a normal workday, I could have done it on my lunchbreak.

    I didn't rerun guided setup with him there. Tivo asked but he declined before I could comment. :) I reran it immediately after he left though and all is well. It wasn't even necessary to restart Tivo and I never got any error codes, good or bad.

    He gave me his card and #. I told him I would be giving him a call early next year when I get my next HD set and Tivo. He even told me once I made the appointment and got the work order assigned he could bump it up. :eek: I couldn't believe my ears coming from Comcast.

    Just a little light at the end of the tunnel for you guys having trouble. I know how hard it can seem when it's not working but when done right, it's unbelievably easy.
  7. Marshella

    Marshella New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Harumpf - sounds like I need to move to Atlanta! Nice weather must mean nicer people, too? Anyway, so glad *someone* is getting good results and great customer service!

  8. adm1rab

    adm1rab New Member

    Nov 24, 2007
    Already had one CC in the TV and just got Series 3. I moved the CC from the TV to the Series 3 unit before powering up and went through the setup with no issues and everything is working fine.

    Called 1-800 Comcast this morning and was told no charge for both CC's (although I have one HD DVR and one regular digital box from them). I called back but this time I called the Atlanta number (404-comcast) and talked to Gary (props) which informed me I can turn in the HD DVR and have them remove the HD package (~$5.95) from the bill. Appt is setup to "install" the 2nd card.

    I will get the 2nd card working in the Series 3 before making any changes to the account.
  9. oldradio99

    oldradio99 Member

    Nov 22, 2005
    Decided to go purchase my HD but decided to stop by Comcast office first (Romeoville IL).

    Was told will not allow self install. Period. No pick up of cards.

    Called 800 # was this time was told no self install, that it is up to local office. Asked by Carpenterville, etc allowed pick up and got no answer.

    I hate Comcast
  10. RareSanity

    RareSanity New Member

    May 20, 2006

    Maybe it's the abundant, readily available supply of sweetened iced tea? :D
  11. oldradio99

    oldradio99 Member

    Nov 22, 2005
  12. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    Well, I figured out why CableCard 1 stopped working. When the trigger-happy CSR deleted it from my account accidentally, and then added it back, it caused the card to generate a new card ID. So the old card ID / host ID pair that was in the system was no longer correct.

    Today I got a hold of the magic person at Comcast who is responsible for CableCard setup and initialization. Unfortunately, even after I gave her all of the pertinent info, she said that the system was not allowing her to update any of the information. It looks like since the card ID has changed, the card is going to have to be replaced with a new, unactivated one, because Comcast won't let the techs update that data. Seems like I read something to that effect here on this site recently. Either that or she wasn't doing it right. She did ask me for the Data ID, which I don't have because these are Scientific Atlanta cards.

    So I have a tech coming on Wednesday who is bringing two new S-cards and is basically going to repeat the whole installation from scratch.

    Is there anything I should do before he comes in and replaces both cards, like Clear & Delete Everything or some such thing? Or can we just pop out the old ones, then immediately install the new ones (one at a time, of course) and proceed to set them up?
  13. conky_0

    conky_0 New Member

    Feb 18, 2005
    MA north of Boston
    :confused: Just got my Tivo HD, called and set-up appointment for tech 3 day wait not too bad. Call sched between 1 and 3, tech shows up at 11:30, has no idea why he's here:confused: I explain I have thd and need either one m card or 2 s cards, which he doesn't have.
    He makes a call, and says he'll be back. Half hour later he shows up explaining that this won't work because my TV doesn't have a card slot and you need 1 card for the THD and one for the TV so that they can communicate, at this point I realize this guy has no clue what he's doing. I explain that there is no need for a card in the TV, and it will work with the Tivo. Again he tells me he'll be back and off he goes. My phone rings about 15 min later, it's the tech telling me that because I bought the Tivo on my own Comcast will not support it. I ask to speak to his supervisor and he instructs me to call Comcast. I call and after being on hold and dealing with 2 different reps I am told that another Tech will be out shortly. :mad:
    15 min later I have the original tech, along with 2 other techs in my living room.
    They install the first s card and don't know that they have to call ACS to activate the card so we are all waiting for the card to acquire Channels.
    After 2 tries and about 45 min with ACS on the phone 1 restart of Tivo and a new splitter in the basement, we finally got the first card to work, so it's on to the second card which is DOA. None of the 3 techs have any more cards. So I have half my Tivo HD up and running with a promise that the tech will be out on Saturday with another card.

    Compared to some of the horror stories I've read on this board I guess I'm doing ok
  14. hybucket

    hybucket Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    It would really be helpful on these posts if the poster would indicate what area of the country he/she is dealing with.
  15. torner

    torner New Member

    Mar 25, 2002
    The Story: I purchased my HD direct so I could transfer my S2 lifetime. Comcast was right on time with the late afternoon Christmas Eve appointment. Tech brought M-Cards and S-Cards. He started with two S-Cards because that's what he was told he would need for a TiVo. I asked him to try an M-Card since the HD is documented to working with one M-Card. He tried multiple M-Cards for over an hour. At one point, he went on a search for filters/traps. He found two on the line. He tried the M-Card one last time with no luck. As he was ready to give up, I asked him to try an S-Card just for yucks. The S-Card worked great! The tech only had one working S-Card with him so he scheduled another visit to install the second card for the afternoon of 12/26. That appointment, with a different tech, was also right on time and took only a few minutes.

    The Solution: The Gettysburg system was part of the Adelphia break-up. The system is, by technology standards, quite old, receiving few upgrades during the Adelphia years. I would have preferred to have a single M-Card to avoid the extra $2.00 per month. However, the second S-Card is an acceptable cost to have two tuners working on such a dilapidated cable system. The system is so behind, we won't likely see On Demand until some time in 2009.

    Comcast: I cannot say enough good things about the first tech. He was nice and funny and patient. A real pro! We had some time to chat while waiting for the reboots and hits. Considering the day he had up to that point and the visit he still had to make that evening (Christmas Eve), I wouldn't have blamed him if he had given-up after a few minutes. He was ready and willing to learn more about TiVo and the differences between the S3 and HD. The second tech was a great guy, too. However, he was only on-site long enough to pop the second S-Card into the HD. Hopefully Comcast and Besy Buy will be in sync so I can get the $100 BB gift card for upgrading to HD at BB.
  16. Gregor

    Gregor save the princess save the world

    Feb 18, 2002
    You can just pop out the old ones and install new cards. The Tivo will probably then prompt you to rerun guided setup. No need to clear and delete everything.
  17. sgibbs33

    sgibbs33 New Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Aurora, IL
    Yes, but it seems their corporate website info and policies don't always trickle down to the local franchise authorities. I don't know if that's because there are local regulations which supersede the national policies, or if it's because Comcast is a disorganized mess where its left hand doesn't know what the right hand is saying or doing.

    Here's a handy list of links of what is (currently) posted on the Comcast.com website regarding TiVo Series 3 HD.

    Comcast.com sez....
    Does Comcast support the TiVo Series 3 HD set-top box?
    Will Comcast provide me with CableCARDs for my TiVo Series 3 HD set-top box?
    Can I install the CableCARD into my TiVo Series 3 HD by myself?
    Can a Comcast technician assist in setting up my TiVo Series 3 HD set-top box?
    If I didn't have to pay for my current CableCARD, why will I be charged for CableCARDs for my TiVo set-top box?
    Can I access digital cable with CableCARDs on my TiVo Series 3 HD set-top box?
    Do I need to have a CableCARD in order for TiVo Series 3 HD to work?
    Why does my on-screen guide look different with my TiVo Series 3 HD than with a digital cable set-top box?

    In summary, it says
    • You cannot do self-installs of Cablecards (although this forum has numerous people who've been allowed to do them)
    • A Tivo HD needs two Cablecards (this is not true if you can get a M-Card from Comcast. The Comcast.com website makes no mention of Singlestream vs. Multistream Cablecards. Some local markets have M-Cards, others don't).
    • Your first Cablecard is no additional charge since it is included in your existing 'primary outlet fee'. Getting a second card for the same outlet will cost an additional regulated fee of up to $1.91 per month. (this seems to confuse the local franchises the most. This forum has examples of people being charged all sorts of varying amounts. Again, if you can get your local franchise to give you an M-Card, then that should count as one CableCard in one Outlet. That's what I call 'no additional charge'.)
    • Comcast doesn't want their technicians standing around while you unpack your Tivo and set it up for the first time. (Best practice is to get your Tivo hooked up and running for several days before the Comcast technician shows up with the CableCards.)
    • Your TiVo will do everything and more than the Comcast provided DVR except for PayPerView. (TiVo's answer to PayPerView is the Amazon Unboxed service. It's not quite an apples-to-apples replacement. Some people say Amazon Unboxed is better.)
  18. Jan 1, 2008 #4618 of 9367

    swilcox New Member

    Apr 16, 2006
    Since the only other report from Albuquerque Comcast I can see on this thread was pretty dismal, I thought I'd report my experience.

    I got a new Sony Bravia 40" HD, and a new Tivo HD (had a Series 2, and before that a Series 1). So I made my call to Albuquerque Comcast (via India, it seems) to schedule the Cablecard installation. The phone folks had no idea what a multistream vs. single stream card was, and insisted that two cards would be installed. Whatever...

    Installer arrived on time today (1/1/2008), and I asked if he'd ever done a Tivo install before. He said he had, and that he brought me a multistream card because he found that they worked better. Yay!

    He proceeded to install it, called the center to activate it, and that seemed to go well. But we couldn't get any digital channels, and only rebroadcast HD channels. He fiddled for a while, stayed online with the center, had them hit the card a couple more times. I was online with the tech support documents at Tivo and ready to help guide him through some diagnostics. The guy was good, didn't panic, and was clearly willing to take some assistance if it came to that.

    After lots of attempts, several reboots of the Tivo, he decided to try a different card (he'd thought ahead and brought several). He did that, had them hit it again, and ... it worked!

    I did the Guided Setup again, and all is well. The Tivo HD is a great little piece of equipment. I notice that it's slower to respond than my Series 2 (although the Series 2 went through a period after one software update where it was slow too, and a later update fixed that, so I'm holding out hope that a future update will resolve the interface slowness on the HD box too).

    I'd watched HD for a week off of a Comcast (Scientific Atlantic) STB while I waited for the installer to come. So I was a bit nervous to see how the image would compare when piped through the Tivo. I see no difference. I'm watching the Rose Bowl right now, and the picture is simply stunning.

    Bottom line: I'll give it up to the Albuquerque Comcast installer. He faced some problems, but he didn't give up, he approached it methodically, and ultimately he got me up and running (took about an hour and 15 minutes).
  19. Jan 1, 2008 #4619 of 9367

    BanditWS6 New Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    swilcox, thanks for your post -- it's always good to see the positive reports too, helps give the rest of us hope and something to strive for. :) I think it really just comes down to the individual skill and persistence of the tech on site, and the person s/he communicates with on the phone at the head-end.

    So you are using a Scientific Atlanta M-card and it's working fine?
  20. Jan 2, 2008 #4620 of 9367

    morrowc New Member

    Dec 27, 2007
    So, at the least there is some commentary on the possible legal requirements for cablecards here:


    with information direct from the FCC about this:


    and the FCC dtv site:


    It seems that there is a requirement to keep the encryption/decryption separate from the basic decoding functions. That the decryption happens (on the tivo/non-set-top-box) in the CabelCard, and that while cablecard availability is 'required' there doesn't seem to be a timeline associated with their compliance (they could just wait you out saying they have none in stock or cancel installs... this is reminiscient of the telco/ilec/clec wars really).

    I do hope that I have a better experience in Northern VA, but I'm not holding out hope based on my initial comcast customer service experiences... The phone rep stated that the only difference between analog and digital cable was the on-screen-guide, which doesn't seem right to me.


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