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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    I haven't done it myself yet - but I ordered a Brand New
    TiVo HD box which should arrive Friday. I already have
    a 1TB drive in-hand. I will do the upgrade myself before
    I ever record a single program.
  2. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    I don't think so. CableCard is a digital device.
  3. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I'm not sure where you live, but if it is COMCAST/NE, the going rate has been $2.75/mo for an A/O, and no charge for the cableCARD. Now, that said, your description IS in fact different from mine. Notice there is no mention of the Series 3. Back to the point, I have not seen anyone in the comcast/NE area mention a different rate from $2.75/mo.

    1/21 2/20 Cablecard A/O 2.75
    /21 2/20 Cablecard A/O 2.75
    /21 2/20 Cablecard A/O 2.75

    Also, I agree, it appears that you are getting charged only $1.50 for the cableCARD. No other A/O charges?
  4. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    If I were you, I would first get my cableCARD(s) installed and paired. That way, you can take an image, and when you copy the image to your new hdd, it will not require the cableCARD(s) to be re-paired. Same with future hdd upgrades. Otherwise, if you ever change the drive, Comcast will have to come out again.
  5. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    I forgot to answer this. Hmm, based on the price guide I have, it should be free. But, if you *****, you might incur other charges. So, I'm inclined to suggest that you wait for your first bill. Every area is different, so they may charge you for the cableCARD and not the A/O charge. I'm sure they will want something.
  6. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    I agree I can do it that way.

    Or I can do the UPGRADE - and then Have Comcast
    do the CableCard Install.

    I do agree doing it that way - I would have to make
    a BU image of the 1 TB in case I had to upgrade or
    replace a dead drive to avoid the paring.


    I have a personal Comcast Supervisor that will
    get me to the right NOC to update the paring
    myself if needed!
  7. TI-82

    TI-82 New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Hey all,

    This seem to be where irritating Comcast stories go, let me know if anyone can help or direct me. I assume this thread has some good information in it, but 160 pages is a lot to pour over.

    Anyway, I had a Comcast tech over earlier today to install a couple of single stream cards. I was originally irritated because he needed to be here at all; I had already dropped off my old digital box a week ago assuming I could just pick up some cards and follow the simple instructions (one of which, of course, is turning the TV on). I was sure the girl behind the inch-thick bulletproof glass at the local Comcast office lied to me as well about not knowing where they kept the cards and I could do nothing but stare at the the door behind her and imagine it held back an avalanche of cards I was not "qualified" to insert into a slot. Fine, $10 tech fee, just get it done.

    What a joke when the guy arrives. Right off the bat he's setting me up for disappointment because another tech he works with was having problems when the second card goes in, firmware, etc. Appears to have no knowledge of a TiVo, doesn't know where the buttons are, etc.. Calls two other guys to make sure he's got the "procedure" down. Activate 1st card, then insert and activate second. Yeah, the instructions say that too.

    Anyway, I don't know what happened, but the second card goes into a firmware update like he had alluded to originally, he gives up, and basically tells me I'm **** out of luck. Call Comcast and *****, and no, I can't keep the cards to keep trying.

    Comcast CSR is nice but is trying to explain to me that no one is trained on TiVo. I explain to her it appeared to be an activation problem and maybe if I could get the cards back we could walk through the process. After a half hour of her going through dispatch to get the tech's story (I assume), she tells me that all of their CableCards are busted and I'll be the first one they call when they get it figured out. What BS.

    So this is what I've learned so far:

    1. I am not qualified to install a CableCard.
    2. Only the untrained technicians are qualified.
    3. Every CableCard they have is busted.
    4. I see why they need the bullet-proof shield at the office now.

    I'm only irritated because they're a monopoly for me here, but TV isn't that important and I'll gladly cancel cable for a few months if I don't get some satisfaction by the end of the week. Does this sound like a common problem with CableCard install?

    Toms River, NJ
  8. ericr74

    ericr74 Member

    Apr 16, 2001
    I'm not sure what Comcast/NE is. If that's Nebraska, hell NO I don't live in Nebraska. :) I'm in the Denver metro area, Colorado. They told me over the phone that A/O charges do not apply to me since I have only one digital outlet, and the first one incurs no A/O charge.
  9. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    #2 is the critical one. It has to do with he is
    the only person who is allowed to talk to the
    Comcast Advanced Network Operations Center
    to read them the pairing information.

    #3 is a fact of life with these CableCards. To get 5
    good ones for me too 8 Cable Cards.
  10. pientka

    pientka New Member

    Jan 11, 2008
    I received my TivoHD last week but a couple days before I called to make an appointment for cable card install. I could have gotten an appointment the next day but since I did not have the Tivo I decided to schedule it a week later. The cost for the install was quoted at $17.99 and the monthly cost $7.50.

    I received my Tivo a few days before my appointment so I set it up without CCs and it worked great. The day of my appointment (which was between 10am-noon) I got a call (automated) around 10:30am that my installer would be there between 10:45 and 11:30. He arrived at 10:40am. He stayed about 1 hour and he installed a single M-card. I heard him call in the activation but did not pay close attention. Before he left he called me in and told me to complete guided setup and if something did not work I should call Comcast and they could help me remotely. He left.

    After guided setup I did not get any of my subscriber channels (HBO, Starz, etc). I called in and the guy I talked to tried to restart the card with a signal but that had no effect. He tried again but it still did not clear the problem. He said maybe we should wait a bit so he would call me back in a half hour to check. He did call back around the half hour mark but the channels still had not come in (he really did not think we had to wait but it was worth a try). He forwarded me to another person and I asked that my installer return. She said she would set it up. About 15 mins later I got a call from my installer and he said the most likely cause was signal strength. He asked me to remove any splitters and go directly into the Tivo. Before I did so I checked the signal strength using the meter build into the Tivo (Settings->Channels->Signal Strength-Cable). It was in the 80s (I assume %) for one of the channels not comming in. I removed the splitters (I had 2 in the line) and the signal strength went up to the high 90s and sometimes 100 but the channels would still not come in. I called my installer back and told him what happened and he said he would stop by after he finshed his next 2 calls.

    While waiting I checked this forum and noticed that some talked about the activation process and how activation numbers could be incorrectly relayed from the installer to Comcast. So I decided to call in to see if I could confirm the activation numbers. I explained the situation to the woman on the phone but before I could ask her about confirming the activation she put me on hold. She came back after a minute and said she sent a signal to my card. I told her that the guy I talked to earlier did the same thing but it had no affect. I asked her about confirming the activation and she said she would walk me through it but first she asked me to check one of the channels I was not receiving. I did and IT WAS NOW WORKING. I checked several others and they were all OK. I asked what happened and she said that the other guy did not send the correct signal and that the one she sent actually activated the card. She said she would cancel the installer.

    A half hour later the installer called and said he was on his way. I told him not to come and explained the situation. He did not seem surprised, he also said he was not surprised that the did not call him to cancel because "they never call".

    Lesson learned: as an earlier poster recommended DO NOT let the installer leave until you do guided setup and confirm your receive all your channels.

    BTW I put the splitters back in the line (I need them to service my modem and other TVs) and I have no issues so I guess they had nothing to do with the problems.

    Overall not a terrible experience but not as easy as it should be.
  11. rhl

    rhl New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    First, to briefly add a vote on getting an HD TiVo set up with Comcast: I didn't have any problems at all. The tech who came out knew what he was doing, had done it lots before, and I was running in a few minutes (plus the TiVo Directed Setup time, of course).

    Two months later I now have a problem (same on both tuners):
    All HD channels are fine.
    Digital channels between about 15 and 80 are missing (maybe others; I don't watch in the range above that)
    Digital channels 2-14 are present but with considerable pixellation, ranging from modest to totally unwatchable (the severity varies in time with no particular pattern).
    Analog channels (via a splitter to another non-digital device) are all fine.

    Comcast sent a tech out two nights ago to fix. He checked signal strength at the TiVo (fine). He replaced the cablecard (multi-stream) and the problem is the same.

    During the process he talked to some central office and was told two important facts: (1) someone knows they have a problem "addressing the cable cards" (but if I call Comcast the phone reps don't know what I'm talking about), and (2) at least one other person in the Denver area was having the exact same problem at the same time I was.

    My conclusion is that this is either a problem in the Comcast network or in the TiVo box (TiVo HD). But the fact that someone else was having the same problem makes the TiVo unlikely as the source of the problem.

    I'm posting here to (A) ask if others have heard of the same problem, and (B) get advice on how to get Comcast to take this seriously. The tech left the other night with instructions to tell me it would be fixed in a couple of hours. It's almost 48 hours later and the problem is still the same. And when I call Comcast all they want to do is send someone else out to check my installation again.
  12. wizzy

    wizzy S1, (2) S2, TivoHD

    Nov 11, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    If you're in the city, $7.50 is too much. I pay nothing for the single M-card for my TivoHD.
  13. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    Oh sorry about that, N.E., North East. So, that fits then. I think your area is handling it correctly. Our area seems to be treating the A/O as the cableCARD charge.

    Also, around here, they think that since it is a dual tuner, there are two outlets. So, first free, second has an A/O.
  14. junonion

    junonion New Member

    Jan 9, 2008
    Well the Comcast tech showed up on tuesday morning to install two S Cablecards into my Tivo HD. When I asked about using a M card he said the warehouse had them but would not give one to him. He had 4 cards but two were for me and two for another customer. He handed me the card because he didn't want to touch a customer's equipment for fear of breaking it, and the card went through a LONG process of upgrading firmware (around 12-15 min). Guy was really patient and the card finally started to talk to Tivo and he called the numbers in. The lady on the other end instantly said that the card was bad. So we do the same with card #2 which all happens exactly the same (including the LONG wait for the upgrade) and he calls it in and they were able to send the signal. At this point he was at my house for close to an hour betwen both the firmware upgrades and waiting on hold to call in the numbers. When I checked channels I had most of them but not all and they kept going on and off (black screen to working channel). I told the tech to leave and I decided to restart the tivo box. After it came back all of my channels except premium were working. Quick call to tech support and they activated the premium back on the new card. While talking to tech I decided to make an appointment to try and at least get the second S card if not an M card and she made it for the next day.

    Weds comes and the tech was scheduled to come between 4pm-7pm. He calls right after 4pm and tells us there are no more cablecards. He talked to my wife who doesn't know anything about this so she just said ok. I called Comcast and they said they definitly have cablecards left but even though it was only 5pm at this time (went through 2 other customer support people first), he could not send anyone out till tomorrow (friday).

    So now hopeing I can get this figured out so I can record more than one show at a time.
  15. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    I would ASK for the "M" cards.

    I had 5 "S" cards that worked fine for the last two
    years. Starting around Labor Day - 2007 - Cable
    Labs started to send out software updates that a
    lot of "S" CableCards COULD NOT HANDLE. They
    are new Encryption Algorithms.

    Totally by accident - one of my "S" cards just up
    and died. I called Comcast for a replacement. The
    tech brought an "M" card because they had no more
    "S" cards at that time. When he saw it was going
    into a DVR - he first said he can't put an "M" card
    in a DVR.

    But he called his supervisor and got approval for it.
    It came up and worked fine. For the next 30 days or
    so I noticed my 4 remaining "S" cards would hang
    up every few days and the "M" Card never hung up.

    I asked a Comcast Supervisor to run a test - Replace
    one of my Other "S" cards with an "M" card to see if
    that DVR got stable. They Agreed. I waited another
    30 days and sure enough the remaining (3) "S" cards
    would fail at least once a week. In December I asked
    the Supervisor for three more "M" cards. I got them
    and Everything has been STABLE since then.

    My EXPERIENCE suggests you should continue to ask
    for the "M" Card.
  16. silypuddy

    silypuddy New Member

    Jun 4, 2007
    Well I had my tech visit to swap out my second cable card which was in firmware upgrade hell.

    The tech knew what he was doing and it took a whole 5 minutes to swap the cards. We then talked about the Tivo and CableCards.

    For those of you in the Twin Cities, the tech told me that M-cards are now available, but hard to find. Next time the card blows up, I'll see if that is true and try to cut back on my bill.
  17. erivera

    erivera New Member

    Dec 4, 2007
    Hey TI-82,

    I'm also from Toms River and going through a very similar situation. I guess I'm asking for double trouble because I have 2 S3 boxes that I need hooked up. One of my cards was going throuhg the firmware update as well. I tried to get him to leave the card but no luck either. He probably went you after my leaving my house.

    I would suggest that you don't even deal with Comcast's CSR. I've called a few times and I know more than they do. Contact Comcast's Executive Office at 215-640-8960. I just called them yesterday and the person I spoke with was very polite. He told me that I would get a call the following day from the local office. Two hours later I get a call but it is someone else from the Executive Office who said that she will follow my incident until it has been resolved. She assured me that someone from the local office will call me today and even gave me her direct number so that I can call her for any updates. It's worth making the call. They need to hear complaints. Especially similar complaints from the same area. Good luck. I'll post an update when I have more info.
  18. Pinster56

    Pinster56 New Member

    Dec 16, 2007
    I have Comcast coming out on Saturday to install cablecards in my new TiVo HD box. I read that I should set the new TiVo up two days ahead to download the software. Since I have a wireless connection, I assume the downloads will be instantaneous, hence no need to set up days ahead. Is this correct? I want to keep watching the recorded shows on my old connected DVR up until the morning of the install.
  19. SrValasco

    SrValasco New Member

    Dec 31, 2007
    I live in Howard County, MD. This county is SA equipment while all others use Motorola.

    Got my first ever Tivo for Xmas - an S3 HD. Took them a while to get some more cards in stock but i finally had my appointment for this morning. I've had a cable card in my plasma TV for over a year so I know how much the Comcast folks detest CableCards - it almost seems like a company script that they are reading whenever they come over.

    Anyway, things didn't start well when the guys shows up and says "The work order says you needed a new cable CORD?" Huh? No man, a cable CARD. Someone had literally wrote on the work order that i needed a cable CORD. Good lord. So he left back to HQ to get some cable cards. As he was leaving, i suggested he bring a stack of them since it can take a few tries to get a good one.

    He shows up 45 mins later with just two S-cards. He said they were the last two in stock. So I was expecting trouble. But much to my surprise, they both worked right away! I actual did the driving so he didn't have to touch anything. Popped in the first card - the info screen came up a minute later, he called it in and within a minute, i was getting the right channels. So then we just rinsed and repeated with the 2nd card and had the same excellent results.

    I think these were a new batch of cards because when i called 2 weeks ago - they didn't have any in stock and I had a wait a week for them to get more.

    Anyway, just wanted to share a positive story. (And pass along the "cable CORD" story as well).

  20. Jeremy Stock

    Jeremy Stock New Member

    Dec 21, 2001
    South Saint...
    I just had my CableCard install this morning in South Saint Paul. I also received 2 S-Cards, although the network people had heard of M-Cards, apparently in this area they've given out "very few" (The tech had the provisioning folks on speaker). The tech that came out had never heard of them.

    My install was anything but smooth with the 2 cards, but luckily the tech was persistent and talked to three different people until the last actually knew what she was doing and got them both provisioned correctly.

    At this point, I wouldn't even think of trying to get an M-Card. Comcast doesn't have their stuff together right now and it was clear that trying that could potentially screw things up in their system.

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