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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    Just a note that this is one of those rare instances where the excuse of the cable rep is probably correct. The cablecards have to be entered in the local administrative system, and known to the local head-end.
  2. MrChad

    MrChad New Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    I'm the guy from Loudoun County who got an M-card installed. :)

    Just to recap my experience:

    Saturday: I called Comcast customer service in anticipation of my TiVo HD unit arriving within a couple of days. I was told that no CableCards were available in my area, but that I would be called back when they arrived.

    Tuesday: My TiVo HD arrived. I called Comcast back and asked again about the CableCards. The first rep told me that their CableCards do not work with "front-loading TiVo units" (i.e. TiVo HDs). I called back and the second rep told me that CableCards were available and she scheduled an appointment for Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, I set up the TiVo HD, got the program info downloaded and the latest software installed.

    Wednesday: My tech showed up Wednesday morning on time. He had two cards with him and said that he was familiar with CableCard installs. First card was DOA as soon as it was inserted. Second card (S-card) fared better, but after he called in to activate the card we could not get it to pull down channels. His dispatcher said that she would work on getting things working on her end. He left to finish his other morning jobs, gave me his manager's direct line and said that he would call back to follow up.

    I tried calling Comcast a few times to re-send the activation signal to my card, but clearly it was not activated. Finally, frustrated, I called the tech's manager. He said that he was on his way to the local Comcast office and knew a woman who was familiar with CableCard installs. He promised to pick up an M-card for me and schedule an appointment for one of his guys to come back out the next morning and fix the install. The original tech called me back later and said that he personally would be back out the next morning.

    Thursday: True, to his word, the tech showed up on time again, apologizing repeatedly and thanking me for my patience. He had done some prep work ahead of time, because the M-card he had was already assigned to my account and set up correctly. All he had to do was pop it in and the channels started appearing. So far all of my HD and premiums are coming in and working great.

    Overall, my experience was a lot better than the horror stories I've read online. I guess persistence and a competent contractor are keys to success.
  3. rader023

    rader023 New Member

    Dec 28, 2007
    I am amazed at the difference in Comcast from one area to the next. I hear these horror stories and I feel terrible for you guys. It seems that either my comcast in Seattle has more volume of cable cards, because they told me they have done thousands of CC installs after the holidays, or the are just more friendly to the idea? Or maybe their cable system is setup to make it easier?

    Anybody know why the disparity in CC installs?
  4. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    I AGREE - Same Here in New England or at least the
    part of New England - I live in - NH.

    I have 5 CableCards Installed and the Installers have
    ALWAYS been 100% Competent. And I never faced
    any shortage problems even upgrading from 5 "S"
    cards to 5 "M" cards. Although my Comcast Techs
    have told me the "S" cards are getting harder to
    come by because they are OBSOLETED by the "M"
    Cards. Comcast does not order any more "S" cards.
  5. funseeker22

    funseeker22 New Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Just wanted to post my nightmare experience, and affirm that :thumbsdown:Comcast:thumbsdown: incompetency is alive & well in the Boston area.

    Our household took the big leap & bought two TivoHD's and two lifetime packages (a $199 transfer, and another $399 limited-offer deal). We're dumping our two comcast HD DVR's (3416's).

    The first wave of battle of course was at the local (Salem, MA) payment office trying to get the cablecards. No go there - she (the rep) wouldn't give us any. This wasn't a total shock, since I checked the comcast site beforehand and saw that only a few towns on the South Shore of Boston have payment centers that stock 'cablecard self-install kits'. Being on the North Shore, I was screwed. Thought it was worth the shot though. She did make an appointment for us (had to spoonfeed the order to her, no knowledge of M-card vs. S-card, Tivo installs, etc).

    2nd wave of battle was on the phone - the point here was to a) confirm the appointment and b) try to affirm that 2 M-cards could be sent along with a Tivo-competent tech. This took a few attempts - a couple disconnects, a couple transfers to nowhere, a couple 'we don't have M-cards', etc. Finally got a CSR to confirm the order and our requirements, although we were told repeatedly that 'once a work order is placed, you cannot change it without cancelling/rescheduling'. So all we got to do was post 'notes' on the order.

    3rd wave: D-Day. TivoHD's installed, networked, loaded with latest software: check. Competent on-time Comcast installer: negative.:mad: The tech arrives at the end of his window. English wasn't great, and he didn't seem to know what job he was coming to do - so explaining that I needed cablecards installed into two TivoHD units was laborious. I knew I was screwed...

    He looked over one unit, saying strange things like "let me see what the modem is on this" and other weird things. He was very unsure of the situation. He went to the truck and came back - with two M-cards. I thought we might get through this, when he drops the bomb: "I am sorry sir, but I cannot do the Tivo install". He goes on to say that he is a contractor, and it was decided a few days ago that contractors cannot do cablecard installs into Tivo's, only 'in-house' Comcast techs can. He went on to explain that the installs can take hours (yeah, I mean I know that's a possibility) and that he only gets paid $13.95.

    He won't do the install, and I plead with him to just leave me the 2 M-cards, and that I know how to do the install, pairing, etc. He is sorry, but insists "this is something I cannot do", since the cards are his responsibility. I keep him there and get on the phone with Comcast, really pissed - the CSR says 'I don't know why they would send a contractor out there', thus backing-up this tech's excuse for why he can't do the install. I am "guaranteed" that a Comcast tech will be sent same day to do the installs. I get the CSR's contact info and the contractor tech leaves - M-cards in hand - and the 4th wave of battle commences.

    Wave 4: The wait. The original window was 1pm - 3pm. Stayed home from work and all. Was told proper tech would be by b/w 4-7pm. By 5:30, nothing so I called back. Got different CSR at national ctr - you need to be persistent to get the call center in your local market. Couple more calls, and I get the Boston/North Shore call ctr in Malden. Couldn't get my main CSR, got another one who reaffirmed the tech would be there. 6:15pm - I see a Comcast van ride around my block - I run out to see if he's parking, but nothing. Call back latest CSR contact - she says he's on another job, should be there at 7pm or just after. 7:30pm - nothing. Call back, finally get back to original CSR who 'guaranteed' that the right tech would be there same day to do the installs. She feels awful, she investigates (lots of hold-time). Ultimately, I get a call back from a college-educated manager to mitigate.

    5th wave: The manager indicates that they cannot reach the tech or the tech's supervisor - they are not sure what happened to him. Apologizes, etc, etc. She wants to reschedule - before we go there, I get her to give me a $20 account credit and re-credit my last bill's charges for my two DVR's (worth $35). I wanted more but I guess $55 will have to do. I kept her on the phone for a good 10mins, hemming and hawing about what day to reschedule for with my wife. Finally settle on Saturday.

    Here's the kicker - she says that the problem with the contractor tech is that he had 'misunderstood' the job, thinking that he was installing 'Comcast Tivo's'. THAT job she says, is what contractors can't do. She said that contractors can & regularly do cablecard installs into non-Comcast Tivo units. I indicate how perplexed I am with what she is saying, which is insane on so many levels: a) my TivoHD boxes were clearly proprietary units, having nothing to do with Comcast b) 'Comcast Tivo' is a software upgrade, not a piece of hardware, c) how would I have even gotten the boxes if they were indeed 'Comcast Tivo's', since tech installation is req'd, etc, etc. We came to the conclusion that the contractor tech was a moron, however I am not sold on the Comcast manager's explanation either.

    So, we'll see how Saturday goes. I hate to say it, but with this level of difficulty involved in getting two TivoHD units up and running, the days of Tivo self-branded DVR's & service are numbered. People won't deal with this - if the Comcast Tivo software gets refined 'good enough', the masses will go with it and we'll all become very niche. There's no way I could 'sell' my neighbor on TivoHD without a HUGE disclaimer on how bad Comcast is in supporting the units, and the high probability of them having a nightmare situation in activating the units.

    For the $1000 I just shelled out to Tivo in equipment & lifetime fees, they should be working the logistics with Comcast for me, and ensuring that the job gets done right. I'd gladly pay them $10-15 or whatever for this service. This way, when things go wrong, they can capture, quantify, & document all these horror stories and present them in testimony to the FCC. This is the only way Comcast will get the message. It's nice that Tivo puts a flyer in the box for the installer - but when you're dealing with incompetency on the level that we're dealing with here -the flyer isn't enough.
  6. nugga22

    nugga22 New Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    I called today to setup my tech visit for my new THD. I was told that Mechanicsburg, PA didn't have m-cards and that I would have to pay for two cards. I asked if I was still charged the $5 HDTV fee, and he told me that I was. Does anyone have any information about this fee or the availability of m-cards in this area? I've read some places that it wasn't supposed to be charged, but I'm not sure about this. Any help would be appreciated.
  7. mostman

    mostman Member

    Jul 16, 2000
    Just picked up my HD TiVo last night. I moved my SCARD from my TV into the TiVo. Called Comcast, told them to re-pair the card, they told me "That can not be done over the phone. But we can ping the card and see what happens."

    Well they did that and the card started to receive basic channels - but no premium channels.

    So now I have someone coming out next week to bring me a new card so that I can still use my current one in my TV. First rep I spoke to insisted that I needed two cards. Next rep I spoke to said that she had heard about MCARDs but didn't think Comcast had those yet.

    Then I figured I would take a different route. I called tech support. THAT rep knew RIGHT away what an MCARD was, said they had them, said she would make a note on my service appointment that I need one.

    Shouldn't Comcast hold a company meeting or something and make sure people are on the same friggen page?
  8. hybucket

    hybucket Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    Hope you got the TiVO at South Bay Best Buy and got the 50$ gift card.
    I am setting up mine now (but without Comcast yet)...when I first called them, I got someone who had no idea either...I said thank you, hung up, dialed again, and got someone who knew exactly what I was talking about. Just a matter of perserverance.
  9. TroyGoode

    TroyGoode New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Arlington, VA
    I'm in Arlington VA and have been waiting for my cards since Christmas. I was scheduled for my 3rd appointment today and have now been told yet again that they have no CableCARDS in the warehouse. I'm now schedule for the 23rd, but at this point I have absolutely zero faith in Comcast's ability to deliver on their promise.

    Luckily for me Fios should be available in my building in about 2 weeks...
  10. funseeker22

    funseeker22 New Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Actually, I did get one of the HD units from BB (at the Cambridgeside Galleria) and got the $50 GC...what's up with that? Totally unadvertised deal. : )

    The other one I got from CC for $269 in NH, no tax and used a coupon.
  11. TroyGoode

    TroyGoode New Member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Arlington, VA
    An update for the Arlington, VA people:

    I just got off the phone with David (#0407), a floor supervisor at the call center. The Arlington VA warehouse has been completely out of CableCARDS for a week and a half and are currently also out of HD boxes. Shipments reach the warehouse every Tuesday, but the previous shipment did not contain any CableCARDs. Also, there is no way to know if next week's shipment will contain any.

    I have scheduled an appointment for Wednesday morning; hopefully they get some in on Tuesday...
  12. TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Columbia, MD
    Yes, having them wait for guided setup is a complete waste of time as the cablecards can be tested without guided setup.

    The best test I can think of....start a recording on the highest category you have (like a premium HD channel) then start another one on another channel (next highest channel you can pick). That will prove that both cards are working as they will both be needed for that test.

    Guided setup just gets the guide information for you.
  13. mrlogical

    mrlogical New Member

    Jan 2, 2008

    My process has been long and tedious, you can go back in this thread if you want the details. I had my 5th installation appointment in Arlington, VA scheduled for this morning. I was supposed to get a call on Thursday night so I could confirm whether they'd actually have a cablecard for me. The CSR forgot, however, and by the time I called her to get her to confirm, the warehouse was closed for the night. She wasn't going to be in Friday night, so she had another woman call me for Friday night to do the same. I actually did get a call on Friday night, but the CSR could only tell me that she'd called the warehouse several times and no one answered. Great. So between that and very recent posts in this thread from others in Arlington VA being told there were no cablecards, I figured Saturday morning would be another canceled appointment.

    Imagine my surprise, then, when around 10AM my girlfriend nudges me and tells me she thinks the doorbell rang. So I climbed out of bed and did indeed find a Comcast technician (not a contractor) standing in my doorway. What's more, when I put him in front of my Tivo HD--he actually had a cablecard for me! An M Card, no less! He popped it in and it took a while for him to get ahold of the Comcast people on the phone for him to enter in the various card numbers, but once he did, everything worked immediately. Basic channels, premium channels, HD channels, everything. I thanked him, he left, I started guided setup...and then I realized I'd never checked the other tuner. So as soon as guided setup completed, I checked both tuners out and still no problems. FINALLY! Everything works! Hooray!

    To those who are being told that there are no cablecards in Arlington VA, I wonder if perhaps I didn't end up getting mine because I called and complained to a Comcast supervisor. Perhaps of the limited numbers they have laying around they made a note to help the pissed off customer they just had to credit $100-150 for their mistakes? Or perhaps the people saying they have no cards just don't know what they're talking about, or perhaps I just got lucky and someone turned theirs in last night and it was ready for me to use this morning. Good luck everyone.
  14. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    Just remember their OWN Comcast DVRs use the same "M"

    Now if you were Comcast - where would you want your "M"
    Cards going :cool:
  15. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    Has anyone even seen a Comcast STB with cableCARDs yet? There is no reason for them to use them. They only have to produce NEW units with cableCARDs. All of their old stuff is still useable and you can be sure that they stocked up.
  16. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    I have a new Motorola DVR with the Cable Card hidden
    in a rear Compartment.
  17. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    :eek: OK, You got me! I figured it would be a very long time since we'd be seeing those. Looks like I figured wrong. :eek:
  18. Lemmywinks

    Lemmywinks New Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    I live in Richmond, VA and ordered my TivoHD last Sunday and scheduled Comcast for last Friday. Tivo showed up Thursday and Comcast called at 8am Friday saying they couldn't install that day due to and I quote "A glitch in ALL the CableCards". This sounded fishy so I called again and was able to set up an install for 8-11 the next day, today (Saturday). 11:15 rolls around and no call, no show (shocking) so I call CC and asked the Rep if anyone was actually going to come out. See told me that she would email the dispatch people about my problem and then they would email her back and she would call me back. She said it would take about 10 or 15 minutes, 45 minutes later no one had called me back (shocking) so I called back and spoke to the same rep who informed me that they someone was supposed to have called me but they are out of CableCards. Awesome. So I asked to speak to her manager, for I was quite pissed for being lied to, the no call/no show, ect. I was then informed the Manager was on the other line and would have to call me back (shocking). I asked for the Managers extension because Comcast has F'ed me at every given opportunity and the Manager NEVER calls back. Rep says the Manager doesn't have an extension (shocking) and that he would just tell me the same thing as her. I asked her if she had the authority to credit my account then, and her response was why did they need to credit my account.

    So at this point I have no idea when, if ever I am going to get my CableCards from Comcast. Is anyone else in the Central VA area having this problem or does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do to speed up, or get any results, period?

    The year or so I have been dealing with Comcast has made me realize one thing, Comcast could play a huge part in helping us win the war on terror. Instead of having to waterboard or "torture" captured terrorists for information, the CIA should just make them sign up for Comcast's triple play and then give them TivoHD's. I guarantee even the most hardend of terrorist will sing like a bird after dealing with Comcast for a couple of months and was told everything would work perfectly find if he would just tell us where Bin Laden was hiding. Comcast could also help prepare our troops for battle. CC reps/techs have the ability to harness and intensify a killing instinct and to bring out a want and need to hurt and destroy that I never knew I had in me. For the first time in my life I can understand how someone could have enough hatred inside of them that they would strap bombs to themselves. Comcast has shown me how the enemy thinks and I think exposing our troops to this (though I would not wish such horrors on anyone, but sacrifices must be made in war) would help them in battle.

    Update: While I was writing this thread Comcast called my girlfriend and told her our cable/internet would be free until the CableCards come in. That does make me feel better, but I will reserve giving them credit for actually doing a good deed until i see the bill.
  19. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    I've seen them. At my neighbors, actually.

    But for all it matters they may as well not be CableCARD compatible. The CableCARD is inserted in a slot and a metal plate is screwed down over it. All association of the CableCARD ID #'s is done at the warehouse and all Comcast does in the field is use the same box serial number that they used before. All other authorization info is pre-stored with the box serial number in their system.

    For all it really matters they could've hidden the CableCARD inside. I really don't consider it following the spirit of the FCC mandate.
  20. bizzy

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Lemmy in '08!!!!

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