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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Jan 7, 2008 #4681 of 9367

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    Swapping the card from the Comcast DVR will only work if your local Comcast is not encrypting anything. As soon as they enforce pairing then it will fail. Better to have their records be accurate as far as Host ID info goes.
  2. Jan 7, 2008 #4682 of 9367

    BobB Devout Tivonian

    Aug 26, 2002
    Brookline, MA
    Yes indeed, that why I recommended getting the M card.
  3. Jan 7, 2008 #4683 of 9367

    erab New Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    Hello everyone.. I figured I'd drop in with my own Comcast story, as it involves my new Tivo HD and Scientific Atlanta CableCard installs in Southern New Jersey.

    I had a Comcast employee visit my house on the 19th of December with two single-stream cablecards. He was very knowledgeable about cablecards and tivos and had performed installs before. The first one popped in, performed a quick "update" operation and then worked fine after the tech called in the numbers and had it paired. The CP status screen showed that it was "Ready" and that Auth was "Received".

    We then tried the second card and had nothing but problems. It kept knocking the authorization of the first card "offline" and after a few hours we determined that it was bad. The tech told me he'd call me back with infomartion on getting other cards as he'd only brought two. After a few phone calls with the tech (where he informed me he was having trouble getting working cards from the warehouse), I had to leave town for a week over the holidays. When I returned, I scheduled a new appointment with Comcast.

    In the meantime, I had noticed that I was missing a few channels.. I got most, but I noticed that I was missing a few digital and encrypted channels -- Discovery HD, NHL Network, and The Military Channel for example. The CP Status screen for CableCard 1 was no longer showing that it was authorized, althought I still received about 98% of encrypted channels.

    Another tech came out just yesterday, the morning of January 6th, with two more single-stream cards. He very quickly figured out the problem with the first card and re-authorized it to receive all channels. Everything for that card worked as it should. I did notice that he started initializing one of the new cards he brought first to see if that would clear up the problem (I have no idea why he would think that). It did not, so he popped out the working card 1 and had the CSR re-hit and re-authorize it. He then proceeded to read off the appropriate numbers for the second card to the CSR.

    The second card got the "hit" and was properly authorized.. However, I can only receive analog channels from it. When I "Test Channels" in the CableCard menu, I only receive the basics -- CBS, ABC, PBS, etc. I don't even get the free, basic channels like ESPN or TBS. I re-ran guided setup and the tivo now runs in dual tuner mode, but it hasn't solved the problem with the second CableCard. The status screen shows that it's "Ready" and the the Auth was "received". However, unlike the first card, it never shows an EMM count. After checking the rates associated with the card (twice), re-authorizing it (twice), the tech deduced that the card must be bad and scheduled another visit on the 11th.

    Due to the success rate of these cards, I believe him when he says that it's probably a bad card. I was just hoping any of you guys might have some ideas for me while I wait for him to return with more cards at the end of the week.
  4. Jan 7, 2008 #4684 of 9367

    snsumner New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    I live in Denver, CO and I'm being charged $9.95/mo for using my Tivo Series 3 and this just doesn't seem right.

    I talk to few CSR at Comcast and refer them to their own website which states the first cable card should be free the second $1.91:


    Now they are telling me the price should have been $8.86. They charge me $6.95 for the secondary outlet, plus $1.91 for the second cable card. I also have a Comcast HDTV receiver I pay $7.00/mo for. So they stated since I already have a primary outlet used by the Comcast HDTV they can charge me $6.95 for the second outlet, plus $1.91 for the second cablecard.

    I think its crazy that I pay $9.95 or 8.86 to use my Tivo Series 3 which I own. Yet, they charge me only $7.00 to rent and use their Comcast receiver.

    Has anyone had better success then me with Comcast in Denver area? If so how did you get them to stop ripping you off?

  5. Jan 7, 2008 #4685 of 9367

    BanditWS6 New Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL

    This sounds like the exact situation I'm in. I am also in a Scientific Atlanta area (southwest Florida). My first card worked initially (but I am now missing a few encrypted channels, just like you were, due to improper authorization). Additionally, my second card has had the same problems as yours from day one -- it says "CP Auth Received," but the ECM and EMM counts are zero and I get only analog channels on that tuner.

    I talked to several Comcast CSRs, all of whom tried to re-pair and re-initialize my second card, I was told by all of them that the second card must be bad. I'm inclined to agree, as I have tried everything else I can possibly think of to get it to work, to no avail.

    My first card still isn't getting all of its channels. The CSRs told me it needs to be replaced as well; I think that is BS, but I am not in a position to argue -- after all, if they can't or won't re-authorize it, and I can't watch all of my channels, I have no choice but to let them replace it as they suggest.

    My problem, though, has been getting a tech to come out here with some new cards. I've had two appointments scheduled in the last 10 days and the tech has missed both of them. I called them up yesterday and complained to the point where they put a note on my account to have a supervisor do the install if the tech fails to show up for my third appointment as well -- that's this Wednesday, the 9th.

    Keep us posted on your install.
  6. Jan 7, 2008 #4686 of 9367

    Marshella New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Bear with me, I'm just getting used to my new keyboard. My old one had too many sticky keys (oops) and left out some letters, slowing me down - but now this one is more ergonomic and smaller so its a learning curve.

    Well, apparently their customer service isn't so bad after all. I did get not one but 4 call backs today from "Andre" in the customer service call center management. I missed the first 3 calls due to not being home, and unfortunately my fax machine was on so he couldn't leave a message. So I called them back, and spoke to someone else after hearing on their automated system that I had a call scheduled? Weird - when I talked to the CS rep, he said oh that message was because I had an oustanding call - service not completed on 12/28 (I told him due to them not having Cablecards). He put me on hold and checked to verify that the cablecards were now in - and they WERE! And so he set up to reschedule my appointment to install them. Here I was expecting a date now three weeks out at least, BUT he was able to get me a Wednesday afternoon appointment. Yahoo! So anyway, I go out to dinner after having turned my fax machine off - and when we get back - there is a very very nice voice message from Andre. He told me that the cablecards were here and that he saw that we had already scheduled an appointment for Wednesday. That he wouldn't be here that's his off day, but left his direct number anyway just incase there are any problems, though there shouldn't be.

    Now, lets just hope for a skillled, knowledgeable techncian to show up on time and with the needed equipment!

    Marshella in Baltimore County, MD
  7. Jan 7, 2008 #4687 of 9367

    erab New Member

    Dec 19, 2007
    I wish I could tell you exactly what my tech did to fix it. Ultimately, he ended up popping the card out (reluctantly), looked at it, then looked at his sheet, and then mumbled something about "yeah, he's got it mismatched in here". The Host ID and Card ID were obviously correct, since we could get them from the Tivo, but there was something on the card itself (that, perhaps, got entered into some computer, causing me to lose a few channels after he left my house originally) that he "wrote down wrong". Maybe you can pop your card out, look for some sort of ID number on the card itself, and hope that a CSR can verify if that's your problem.

    I could be over-analyzing the situation though and all the card needed was a second attempt at authorization before it "took".. Have they tried to re-hit or re-authorized your first card for you?

    As for the second card, it definitely sounds like my exact problem. Hopefully someone else has had the same issue and can post about what worked for them. Until then, though, we'll have to just hope that it's a bad card and that a new tech visit will bring a working one!

    Good luck..
  8. Jan 7, 2008 #4688 of 9367
    Dan Murphy

    Dan Murphy New Member

    Aug 7, 2004
    I had my followup install today. Time for appt was between 1-3 PM. Tech showed up at 1:30. He had 2 cable cards. I asked him if he had installed on Tivo's in the past, he replied, yes. He installed, checked the connections outside the house, was finished in 35 minutes. He was excellent. :up:
  9. Jan 7, 2008 #4689 of 9367

    BanditWS6 New Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    It's ironic...because in my case, I know exactly what the problem is -- but no one I can reach by phone at Comcast seems able to get it fixed. As you suggest, it's a mismatched ID number. What happened was, my first card was working fine -- but then, when I called up to have someone re-hit my second card, they deleted the first card from my account. This caused the card to generate a new ID value, so the pairing was broken.

    Probably, all that needs to happen is for me to read that new ID number to someone at the head-end, and for them to update the system and reestablish pairing. However, I have talked to half a dozen people on the phone at Comcast and no one seems to know what I'm talking about -- or if they do, they try to enter the number I read them, and then explain that their system "won't let them save the changes." For all I know, Comcast's system really won't let them update the ID of a card in the field; maybe it needs to be brought back to the warehouse and re-flashed, zeroed out, or who knows what else -- for security reasons, most likely. Frustrating!

    Good luck to you as well, hopefully things will go fruitfully this week on both of our sides. Unfortunately, I just got scheduled for a 2-hour long meeting at work during the exact window that the cable guy is supposed to be here, so this just got a lot more fun to tapdance around...
  10. Jan 8, 2008 #4690 of 9367

    dwit Active Member

    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I am in SW Atlanta, proper, and I also get the cable card pairing screen on channel 916. I stepped through all other music channels and 916 was the only one where I got the odd cc screen.

    I have the lowet digital tier, Digital Starter.

    The rest of my cable card installation started with me picking up a Motorola Mcard from the office. It was supposedly already tied to my account and all I allegedly needed to do was plug it in. Of course, even after a couple of calls to try to get it activated, still no channels with the card.

    After almost another couple of weeks, I called and asked for a technician to visit and install. One came the very nexy day and it was only his 2nd cc install of any kind. The first was a simple tv install.

    After trying with the card I already had and getting my same results, he tried a card(MCard) which he brought. He read off the info to the phone rep and we fiddled around but got the same results, no channels. Decided to run guided setup again and still got no channels.

    This time he called his buddy with cc experience who offered a few suggestions, but still nothing. He called in again and got a different phone rep who asked him some more questions and they told him to try waitng about 10 or 15 minutes to see if the card worked. Well, of course nothing, so he called his buddy again who suggested a cold restart(unplugging Tivo).

    This apparently(or coincidentally) worked and the Tivo was up and running with the cable card. This all took about an hour and a half before he wrapped up his paperwork, which was maybe another 15 minutes.

    Very pleased now with digital cable and can hardly stand watching my 3 other S2 units.
  11. Jan 8, 2008 #4691 of 9367

    shifty RAAWWRR

    Dec 6, 2005
    Something else similar - but possibly unrelated - which I've noticed is that, with certain 720 or 1080 programming (like Paula Deen on Food Network HD channel), the picture will "stutter" a little bit, and, then if I change channels, i will only decode audio for 5-6 seconds and video for 1-2 seconds, then i get a freeze (or mpeg still), and complete silence. this happens with any number of channels which i go to, analog, digital, encrypted, unencrypted, HD or SD.

    the interesting part about this is, i've found that bouncing in and out of the tivo menu will sometimes make audio and video decode properly again - oh and stranger still, if it has happened on live TV, it will carry over to recordings (pausing and starting the recording rapidly will usually clear it up).

    it always seems to wind up happening if i leave the TV tuned to an HD channel for the day, and it normally requires a reboot to "fully correct" (e.g. stop) the problem.

    has anyone else seen this behavior? i don't think it's cablecard related, nor comcast related, but i still thought i'd ask. i'm almost scared to watch HD content because of this - and i can't determine (as of yet, thankfully) if it occurs during a recording, if it just records the mpeg still only, or if it records normally.
  12. Jan 8, 2008 #4692 of 9367

    shifty RAAWWRR

    Dec 6, 2005
    OK, so i'm not the only one. this makes me feel better. two questions:

    1) if you still have your pink carbon copy sheet the installer had you sign for the cablecards installation, what headend are you listed as using on the sheet?

    2) also, if you don't mind my asking, what zip code are you in? i'm in 30312, i'm a rifle shot away from Grant Park, the Braves stadium, the zoo, the capitol building, etc.

    just curious to figure out if we're both using the same headend and this is headend configuration related - which is very possible, i work with headends at the office all day long, they're almost all GUI-based and something like this can be caused by a single mis-click - or if there's something else going on...

    would you mind answering the two questions i asked dwit, if it's not too invasive for ya? also, you using an M-card or S-card (sorry if you mentioned prior)

    i hear you.

    i tell you what, after moving from our S2 with analog outs up to the S3 with component and HD outputs, even analog cable looks hellaciously better. my wife doesn't pester me about poor TV quality anymore...and i'm tempted (with proximity to OTA HD towers) to kill our HD package and just get the local stations OTA. anyone near downtown Atlanta is within 5-6 miles of every local HD station, and i can get most of them clearly with a simple wire antenna, nothing fancy. i'll miss Discover HD and Food HD, and maybe the music channels but ... hell, saving $60/month....:D
  13. Jan 8, 2008 #4693 of 9367

    dwit Active Member

    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Shifty said:
    My zip is 30311 and I am just off MLK & Hamilton Holmes, a half mile from the Hamilton Holmes Marta station.

    The pink sheet says:

    "Headend: SCentral FultonSCentral FultonSCentral Fulton"
  14. Jan 8, 2008 #4694 of 9367

    shifty RAAWWRR

    Dec 6, 2005
    Ok, so we're definitely on the same headend. Curious to hear what HE that Devx is using. If this can be pinpointed to our HE, I can possibly call them up and try to escalate, or get them to let me talk to someone in support that has contact with one of the HE techs to have them diagnose. Surely, this can't just be a problem with people using CC's w/Tivo? I'd surely hope that the STBs (set top boxes) are having the same problems, but ... given the demographic for us over here on the SE side of ATL (people in their 20's, 30's and 40's) I can't imagine nobody else is seeing this....

    Very weird.
  15. Jan 8, 2008 #4695 of 9367

    Devx New Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    Atlanta, GA
    It appears to be your HE guys.

    Zip is 30339, headend is Central Cobb. From the addresses around me I'm sure I'm riding the line and just barely have my Atlanta address being in Cobb county.

    S2 is used only for news, Internet shows/clips downloaded via Tivo now. THD all the way. :up:
  16. Jan 8, 2008 #4696 of 9367

    Roderigo New Member

    Mar 11, 2002
    Brookdale, CA
    WRONG.. Pairing and Encryption are two different things. If your cable company is using copy protection, you MUST have your card/host paired. However, if they're just encrypting stuff (which on my system is most digital channels) w/o applying copy protection (i.e. Copy Freely), then you can move the cards around w/o any problems (well, w/o any problems until they start copy protecting something, and assume your card is still paired to the device it was installed in).
  17. Jan 8, 2008 #4697 of 9367

    gu014 New Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Here is my experience with Comcast Cable Cards in Dublin, PA 18917.

    Two techs arrived at about 4:50pm January 8th with a MCard. They both had experience with Cablecards as well as Series 3 Tivos. They also, seemed interested and enthusiastic about what they were doing.

    So, they inserted the MCard into the proper slot, wrote down the serial numbers and called their dispatch center. They read off the numbers to dispatch and "received a hit." Sounds good to me.

    Now, initially i was only getting this grey backround. So, i proceded to complete the guided setup now that the cable cards were installed (I had run through the initial setup prior to their arrival). After this was complete, the tech recommended we shut down the Tivo, remove the cable card, insert the cable card and finally boot the Tivo. Fine with me.

    Tivo booted up and all channels are received.

    They were out the door at 5:30 pm.
  18. Jan 8, 2008 #4698 of 9367

    mrlogical New Member

    Jan 2, 2008
    My latest experience with Arlington, VA has been less than stellar to say the least. I had an appointment for 12/28 from 9-12.

    12/28: Comcast called just after 9 and told me they were canceling the appointment because they didn't have any cablecards. I rescheduled for the next Saturday morning.

    1/5: I again got a call just after 9 canceling, but at least rescheduling for the following morning between 9-12.

    1/6: I woke up just before 9, expecting a call canceling, but didn't get one. I called Comcast around 11:30 to see if perhaps they just had stopped bothering to let me know they'd canceled, but they told me the guy was on his way. Technician calls me at noon telling me he's running late and will be there at 1. At 1:15, I call the technician back and he tells me he'll be there around 2 (no apologies at any point, of course, because how could it inconvenience me to be forced to spend all morning and into the afternoon waiting for this guy). Technician finally shows up at about 2:45. Goes to work on the Tivo HD. After about 20-30 minutes, he tells me that while Comcast is telling him the cards have been activated, they're not working. According to him, the cards are probably broken, because apparently Comcast has many broken cablecards and they don't bother to label them as such after a failed install, they just go back into the pile. Is there any way I can make another attempt at having cards installed but avoid waiting around for appointments where at best the technician will be 3 hours late, and more likely will just be canceled? Technician tells me I can call my local office and pick them up and install them myself. Much better. I hop on the Comcast online chat deal to confirm this; Comcast guy (Richard.25375) tells me I can't do that, then after 10 minutes or so he says no, actually, I can. Great.

    1/7: I call local Comcast office and confirm that I can pick the cablecards up, and see if I need to do anything special to reserve them. No, the local Comcast person says, just show up, provide some ID, and they'll give it to you and you can install it yourself. Great.

    1/8: Opting to arrive a bit late to work (rather than leave early to get there by the 6PM closing), I show up at the local Comcast office at 9AM and announce that I'm here to pick up my cablecard. Woman at the desk tells me "Oh, we don't do that, you have to have a technician bring it to you and install it." I tell her that I specifically asked like 8 other people if they were sure I could come pick up the cablecards so I didn't waste my morning and they told me I could. She says "Yeah, they do that a lot. We don't have them." So I make an appointment for Saturday afternoon, and if the technician arrives late or cancels the appointment, I will bring my ****** Comcast DVR box into their offices and smash it into a hundred million pieces. All I want to do is take one to two (M or S) little cards, put them in my box, and have them work. What the hell is wrong with these people? I can't wait until I can switch to Verizon Fios.
  19. Jan 8, 2008 #4699 of 9367
    Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Active Member

    May 10, 1999
    Unfortunately what they have quoted you is correct, their standard policy. What's killing you is the outlet fee. It's not really only $7.00 for their HD STB, it's $7.00 + the portion of the digital cable tier fee that is considered to be paying for your "primary outlet". Only the first cablecard per "outlet" is free, and your Comcast STB is one outlet, so they are charging a 2nd outlet fee for the Tivo, & the first cablecard is "free" on this 2nd outlet.

    The solution is to return the the HD STB, then both the $7.00 + the additional outlet fee go away, then it's only the $1.91 for the 2nd card, saving you close to $14/month. So the real comparison is $7.00 to use their box vs. $1.91 to use a Tivo + just their 2 cablecards. + part of the digital cable fee for either method.

    What are you using HD STB for, is it a 2nd HDTV? There may be some reasonable workarounds to avoid paying this much, particularly if you are content with just HD locals + analog stations on a 2nd set. If you want all the channels on both sets there's not much you can do about the cost.
  20. Jan 8, 2008 #4700 of 9367

    sgibbs33 New Member

    Feb 2, 2005
    Aurora, IL
    Followup on my install experience...

    It's been over three weeks since I made my CableCard install appt. My appt was for the 8am - 12noon timeslot, so I got the automated Comcast reminder call at 11:35am saying the tech would be at my house sometime between 11:30am and 12:30pm.

    She arrived at 11:50am. I was worried at first because she said she hadn't done a TiVo install before (and her broken English made it difficult to understand). However, on the bright side, she *had* done CableCards in TVs before. And she had a Motorola Multistream MCard with her.

    It took two separate calls to two different techs at the head-end, but I finally got all my channels (on both tuners) up and running. Total time the tech was on site: 35 mins.

    I had them take the Comcast DVR away. Good Riddance.

    Now for the last phase: will I get correct billing? We'll have to wait for the next statement to see if they got it right.

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