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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. shifty

    shifty RAAWWRR

    Dec 6, 2005
    I want to be clear about something, because I think you might misunderstand.

    S-card is "S" because it can decrypt a single stream (i.e. one service at a time).

    M-card is "M" because it can decrypt multiple streams (i.e. two services at a time, possibly more)

    There are two Cablecard protocol versions currently. 1.0 and 2.0. 1.0 Cablecard is unidirectional communication, i.e. it only reads the incoming signal from the headend, it cannot communicate back. 2.0 is bidirectional, it can both snag incoming data, but also communicate back to the headend.

    So to say, "we don't have M-cards, we only have one-way cards" would suggest someone somewhere is thinking that M-cards are bi-directional, which is not (or might not) be the case.

    Most domestic Cable providers (if not all, it's hard for me to keep track) are only complying with the Cablecard 1.0 standard, IMH, this is for their own selfish, greedy ass reasons (they make more money via STB rentals and cut down on overhead costs with support and service). A few of the partners (operators) overseas that I work with on a regular basis actually do support 2.0, and it's great - you just plug your S-card or M-card into the slot on your TV, no STB needed, and you can decrypt video. great for streamlined installations.

    Anyway, sorry if you already know all of this. Your post seemed as if someone didn't know what they were talking about (either you or the support agent), so I thought it might be a good idea to clarify.
  2. rockymountaind

    rockymountaind New Member

    Sep 10, 2007

    Yeah, my "Sigh" was for the rep. He was the most knowledgable person I'd dealt with at the local office to date, but didn't know the difference between an S-Card and and M-card. In the end, I did speak to a local employee who knew the difference and made sure I got the M-card, so it worked out OK.

    My understanding is that 1.0 = S-card & 2.0 = M-card, but both are (and always have been) bi-directional. It's the host that's either one or two way. More info here.
  3. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Newburyport, MA

    Regarding 1, my only concern would be if there is something I should check, in case I ever upgrade my package. I doubt that I will any time soon. So I guess that part is moot for me.

    Regarding 2b, I thought there was a "record in HD if available" option. Is that only for wishlists?

    I am going to keep my SD channels in the list for now. Until I get the My DVR Expander, I don't want to record everything in HD. LEt me rephrase that...I WANT to record everything in HD, but I may not have enough space if we don't get to things right away. I'll be doing HD SPs right off the bat for things that look great in general, like Lost, and things we watch within a day or two of air, such as Grey's Anatomy.
  4. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    It can only be for wishlists. Season passes and individual recordings are already specific to a single channel and that channel offers the show in either SD or HD - the TiVo doesn't have a choice.
  5. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Newburyport, MA
    The actual selection of "in HD if available", the way I was thinking about it, is in fact a wishlist item.

    I guess you can create "SPs" the way I was thinking about it if you use ARWL's instead of SPs. Granted, if a show broadcasts in HD, it would be rare that they would not broadcast an ep in HD with enough advance notice such that the guide data updates.

    Anyways, I am sooooooooooooooooooo looking forward to having Lost in HD for the first time!!!!!!!!
  6. Marshella

    Marshella New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Ok, follow up yet again to my saga that started Nov. 27th. Remember my post a few days ago, when my lunch was getting cold - I'd rescheduled my day YET AGAIN for another disappointing "tech shows, no calls, no cabelcards" visit - (the third one!) and at the time - Wednesday 2 pm - I was PROMISED heavily PROMISED (due to my doubts) that the CS rep I spoke to was in contact with a supervisor "Adonna" and EITHER ONE would return my call w/in the next 30 minutes (by 2:30 ET). Guess what never happened? Not only did they NOT call back - but when I finally called them back later that afternoon - around 4 pm. I was first given the message that "no one can take your call, goodbye" (as they were too busy) and then the next attempt minutes later resulted in a HOLD TIME OF OVER ONE HOUR! One freakin' hour I set by the phone on speaker waiting for the music to stop and someone to talk to me. WEll, I was just too darn busy/exhausted (I'm 9 months pregnant), and I waited to call them back until today - Friday - just now I got off the phone with "Richard". He told me "I can schedule your install now - just *yesterday* we got the message that the cards are AT the warehouse and we can set up appointments to install them" - HAH - and I was Supposed to be on some sort of "waiting list" and I never heard back from either the Supervsior or CS rep not just Wednesday when they promised the call back, but Thursday NADA either, when they could have had me scheduled then! SO, you may wonder, just when is now the "earliest" appointment? THURSDAY the 17th - nearly a week away! HOWEVER, when I was told earlier in this week - by call from "Andre" the supervisor (the only one so far who's managed to keep his word about returning my calls), that they had the cablecards and could install them - this past Monday - I was able then to get an appointment just TWO DAYS away - on Wednesday! SO why do I now have to wait almost a whole nother week??? I HATE COMCAST!

    Well, before I got of the phone with "Richard" just now, I asked to speak to a supervisor (at the beginning of the call I asked, too, but he said he "didn't see" either Adonna or Andre at the moment). So he puts me on hold - and comes back and says he just found "Andre" and "Andre" said he remembered my situation via my phone number, was working on getting me an earlier appointment and would call me back. SO - here I sit wanting and desperately needing a nap - and awaiting this call from "Andre".

    SO THERE YOU HAVE IT FOLKS IN BALTIMORE COUNTY/MARYLAND - Comcast "swears" they now HAVE CABLECARDS so if I were you waiting on them, call them NOW - otherwise who knows HOW LONG you too will be waiting for them (and hoping they don't run out by the time they get to your scheduled appointment - which has already been done to me despite a promise and a 3 week advance appointment!). :=(
  7. Marshella

    Marshella New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Well, true to his word, Andre called me back just now! Why can't all Comcast peeps be as nice and caring as him?? (of course, my dear friends Jack and Dan are but they are unfortunately off work right now due to the tragedy befallen them, and I would never ask for any favors during such troubling times). Anyway, I just hope also that Comcast treats it's employees well in times of need.

    Ok, aside from that - Andre just told me he'd been in contact with the installation supervisor and management and said that they are all working on getting someone out to me TODAY! (Yeah!) but he didn't have an ETA for me yet - I said that's fine, someone will be here at home all day. So anytime would work. So, hopefully, hopefully, my loong wait will soon be over and my husband can take full enjoyment of his new HD Tivo holiday present.

    Despite my efforts to avoid this aforeseen problem, it still not only happened, but went down in the worst way - (in case you haven't had the whole story) with two service interruptions, due to the first interruption my husband found out about his "surprise" holiday gift extra early, lost DVR programming, numerous empty promises and wasted service call trips, wasted time on my part taking place due to the scheduling of said wasted trips, phone calls, hold times, etc, and complete and utter frustration and added STRESS on my part (thank goodness my baby is OK and I'm not on bedrest!), and all at the same time I've lost a dear close friend and 4 of her children. :-(

  8. jlb

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Newburyport, MA
    I hope my CC appointment goes well tomorrow. I called just to confirm that my appointment was still scheduled in their system and it was.

    Fingers crossed......
  9. David Ortiz

    David Ortiz Yankee Fan

    Jul 8, 2002
    Fresno, CA
    I'm in Fresno, and Comcast is telling me that their system requires two cablecards for my TiVoHD even if the first one is an M-Series Card. The second card will be an S-Series Card.

    I wonder in anyone in Fresno with a TiVoHD is using a single (M-Series) card. I assume the TiVoHD will see the second card as useless.

    Has anyone else heard this about Fresno or Sacramento Comcast with TiVoHD?
  10. dr_lha

    dr_lha New Member

    May 13, 2005
    Central PA
    Suffice to say: They're wrong. A single M-card is all you need for a TivoHD. I wouldn't like to say what the effect of mixing M-cards and S-cards in one box would be, other than being pointless.
  11. BanditWS6

    BanditWS6 New Member

    Jun 10, 2007
    Naples, FL
    TiVo states that if you put an M-card in slot 1, any card inserted into slot 2 will simply be ignored. The only effect would be that any money you're paying Comcast to rent the S-card in slot 2 will be wasted. :)
  12. rader023

    rader023 New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    I would just return that second card as soon as the guy leaves :) Hopefully there is a comcast store nearby.
  13. Marshella

    Marshella New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    More follow-up:
    At about 1:30 pm, Amtec (contractor) called and said ETA of 4 pm. WOW! So in comes tech at 4:30 pm -never did a Tivo install before. But we were ready with instructions. He had only one card in hand - so I asked if it was an "s" or "m" card (preferred), and he said "M" -yeah! So it was a simple plug the card into the slot at the front of the Tivo, then call in the various serial/service numbers to comcast. Then he said it "could take up to 4 hours" for the signal to go through.

    So far its been 2 hours and we got -NOTHING. :-( So, don't know if the card is working, if they input the numbers correctly on our account, or what? We've re-run set-up, rebooted Tivo, etc. Nothing as of yet.

    Anyone got any ideas? Shouldn't it be working by now? I read earlier posts about installs taking minutes to hours to get to work. I followed along with the tech as he read the three numbers off the screen to the operator - they seemed to match (of course that doesn't guarantee they were typed correctly into the computer!).

  14. Marshella

    Marshella New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    Idiot Tech/Comcast confusion-
    Ok, after calling to verify that my CC had been added to my account, I discovered the error - the tech had written down on my order the SERIAL NUMBER of the card - a 12 digit alphanumeric number. When he called in to add it to our account, instead of the "MAC" number (required and also 12 digit alphanumeric) he gave instead our SERIAL NUMBER. The only way we found this out was asking the CS account person to read back our MAC number - and of course on the TiVo screen it just has numbers of the ID, Host, and Data, no "MAC" or "Serial no." of the card - we had to physically remove and inspect the numbers printed on the card to see there were three - at the top was "S/N" (and the number on our account there), followed by another (don't remember) and the bottom one was the 'MAC" number. So clearly, the tech didn't give the MAC number over the phone but the Serial Number. Rignt now as I type this, I'm sitting again on hold to Comcast to let them know of the error and hopefully with any luck, get a signal tonight!

  15. wizzy

    wizzy S1, (2) S2, TivoHD

    Nov 11, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    The Consumerist posted the number for Comcast Executive Care a few days ago. Might help some of you long-suffering folks.

  16. thebanker

    thebanker New Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Well my fellow Tivo members, I got my 2 Tivo HDs a few days ago and forced the upgrade of the software version to 9.2a within a couple of connections back to Tivo Central. Tested the analog channels and all was working.

    Went ahead to get a Comcast Tech out here yesterday to install 2 M-Cards in 2 HDTVs. The lady I put the order through understood what needed to be done. This was a huge switch from the last 5 CSRs I had talked with about getting cablecards and pricing. Each one of the previous CSRs gave me varying install and monthly costs. Some sounded clueless about cablecards. So this one person I spoke to last was knowledgeable and was a good start to the what is turning out to be what everyone is experiencing on this thread.

    Anyway, the tech showed up on time and seemed like a nice enough person but immediately had a disclaimer that he has little knowledge installing M-Cards in Tivos. Installed the 2 Motorola M-Card in 2 HDTVs, and in a couple of minutes, the respective screens showed up and told me that Tivo recognized the cards. The tech then called his fullfillment reps to activate the cards. The lady he was talking to appeared to understand how to activate the cards. I thought to myself - "I must be on a roll here - order CSR who understood what is needed, seemingly good and open-minded tech, and NOW an experienced activation rep". It must be my lucky day. NOT!!!

    On BOTH (I repeat both!!!) occasions/TVs, he messed up as he was telling card numbers back to activation rep. Good thing I was paying attention. After the necessary cablecard data/numbers were provided, I assumed the activated rep pinged the cablecards as my Tivos went in a "Acquiring Channels" mode. The entire process for both TVs took about 30 mins. The tech began to pack up and I insisted the he stay till I verify channels especially the premium ones. He said he was in a hurry to his next job (I was his first for the afternoon). I thought that since everything was going pretty well and it was taking Tivo a while (20+ minutes each) to download the cable guide, I felt confident the rest of the install process was going to be a no brainer.

    Guess what? Not only I was missing most of my analog channels, I could not see anything above channel 100 and above. Called Tivo Support and he went through several cablecard screens and we agreed that the cards are not fully subscribed to Comcast's network. Called Comcast Cust Svc. First one dropped me after he was trying to get help (sure!!). Second one tried her best to hit the cards with no luck. She immediately scheduled a tech to come out here (Saturday) between 8am-10am. I am waiting for the tech as I write this. More to follow after the tech's visit.

    Moral of my story:
    1. Ensure that your Tivo has been tested (seeing analog channels) before getting Comcast out. Software version upgrade is not needed for cablecard install
    2. Double check the cablecard numbers as the tech is reading out to his activation/fullfillment rep
    3. INSIST that the tech remains until you are able to validate the channels including yoru premium channels no matter how nice he is
    4. Check the support pages on Tivo.com as there are good info about the install and post-install verification steps
    5. And of course read (as much as humanly possible) the incredible info on this community forum pages before embarking on this painful journey

    Hoping that this morning Comcast pending visit fixes my channel problems. Next potential issue will be to see whether my billing is correct.

    My planned project will be to replace the built-in hard drives to Hitachi Cinemastar 1Tb drives before I do any real recordings.

    BTW, I am also seeing sudden reboots with my Tivo HD boxes as I was quickly flipping channels during my testing efforts. Another challenge on my to-do list to let Tivo Support know about this.

    I hope this helps the "next guy" planning to do this. Thanks all!
  17. drcos

    drcos HD where available

    Jul 20, 2001
    Venice FL
    Comcast CC install Rule #1: NEVER NEVER NEVER let the tech leave until ALL your channels you are supposed to get are working on BOTH TUNERS. Once they are working, pull the card(s) and re-insert them to make sure they will restart properly. Then you can unchain the tech.

    Rule #2: See rule #1.

    On an interesting side note, the newer software does re-start the CCs if there is a problem, rather than just leaving them sitting there with a 'CP Auth failed' and not working. Although I'm sure that kind of thing doesn't happen to anyone else :rolleyes:
  18. lateknight

    lateknight New Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    By this, do you mean just pull out the card while the TiVo is on and reinsert?
  19. tivoROCKSme

    tivoROCKSme New Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Comcast aquired Insight cable here in Greater Lafayette, Indiana officially on Jan 1 2008.
    I called in late December 2007 (still Insight) to order a cable service package upgrade to include the new HD channels, order cable cards and scheduled the install.

    The CS rep understood that I had a Tivo and made a note on the account. She did not think they had Multi stream cards but checked with a supervisor. She came back to confirm all they offered were S cards, but the pricing was reasonable so I said "bring two cards".

    Installer arrived on time yesterday, Jan 11 and said he knew I had a Tivo and said he had done one. I was cautiously optomistic. He then proceeded to tell me he brought an M card. I was getting a real good feeling.

    We started the install process, and it went very smooth. I careful observed him as he called in the numbers, making sure he didn't transpose anything. The person he spoke with "hit the card" and we saw visual confirmation on the screen.
    We then sat through the 30 minute process while the TivoHD aquired and organized information. The installer said he didn't mind waiting and was very friendly. Once done, we saw that I was getting "most" of the encrypted HD channels, but not a few that were in a special tier like ESPNHD and ESPN2HD.
    This is where it almost went bad. The tech started to tell me he had witnessed this once before and it was with the same type of TV. He said I needed he would have them "hit" the card one more time, but he felt sure I was going to have to get a "firmware upgrade" for my TV.
    I began explaining to him that the TV, which was connected via HDMI from my TivoHD was not tuning the channels, rather it was the TivoHD. He didn't seem to grasp that and thought for sure it was going to be this dreaded firmware upgrade and went on to explain how bad it was for the previous person that had gone through this same thing.
    About that time the rep "hit" the card again and right before our eyes was ESPNHD and the other previously missing channels. Whew--while I knew it wasn't going to be a firmware upgrade, I also knew it if this "hit" didn't work I was going to have to climb the corporate ladder etc etc etc. Glad I didn't have to go down that road.
    So all is well, Comcast does have M cards in Greater Lafayette, and at least one of their installers has now installed 2 Tivo units with cable cards!
  20. thebanker

    thebanker New Member

    Nov 28, 2007
    Follow-up to post #4738 ....

    Service call was for between 8am and 10am. Tech call me at 9:30 to say he was running behind and will be there in another hour. Good sign he was keeping me apprised.

    When he showed up, he called his activation folks to hit both M-cards for the 2 HDTVs. One started to work automatically. I verified the status in the cablecard menu screens (see Tivo.com support pages for detailed info for what to look out for to check whether your cablecard is subscribed on the Comcast network). The second card/TV was acting up after it was hit. We saw the channels including premium but every so often while changing channels, it would flip back to the cablecard screen on its own. He decided to replace it with another M-Card and called back to his home base with the new card info. Within 2 minutes, everything started to work on the new cablecard. There is an option within the cablecard screen to test channels.

    For the newbies (which I still am!!!), the ideal situation should take NO LONGER than 10 minutes to activate a cablecard in a TivoHD. Add another 20minutes (with broadband internet access) to repeat downloading the guided setup. Do not let your tech leave until you have completed this step and see all of your channels. I was (VERY) lucky that Comcast was able to send a knowledge/professional tech out the very next day and everything worked.

    Now on to my harddrive replacement project.

    Thanks everyone for the depth of info on this forum and good luck to those of you still trying to jump start this.


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