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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. moon_tower

    moon_tower New Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    Thank you forum members! First time poster; long time reader. I decided that I had had enough with Directv not adding to the Tivo functionality. I bought a Tivo HD last week from Amazon. I did the lifetime $399 service since I still have an a SVR-2000 from Oct. 2000 that I still use. I also have Directv boxes T-60 and HR10-250, but I might turn those off if Comcast continues to be great.

    One note on my install. Comcast installer brought one M-card (Motorola). When ordering I had told the CSR to put, needs an M-card on the work order. I had little hope, but it worked out. The tech had a hard time getting the rep on the phone to activate the card because the rep was new. The card would never come out of the "searching for channels" message. Based on a previous posters comments, I downloaded the Installing a Cable Card instructions from tivo.com since the instructions in the Tivo box were no help. I determined that the card was communicating from the cable card menu. The tech left frustrated saying I probably had a bad card, but it was late. I said I would try a few more things after he was gone. I did a restart, then it prompted me to do a guided setup. Since that time, everything has been perfect. Unfortunately the Tivo directions in the box say that you should confirm that you get the encrypted channels before you perform the guided setup. In retrospect, I suggest that everyone put the card in and do a guided setup while the tech is on the phone.

    Couldn't be happier right now. Have not seen a bill yet though!
  2. lateknight

    lateknight New Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    So I went down to the Customer Service center today and 15 minutes later walked out with an M Card in hand. The staff were really helpful and knew exactly what I needed. It appeared that they only had M Cards, since I didn't even have to asked for one specifically. They told me that a technician would be out at my house today to un-trap the line. By the time I got home there was a Comcast van in front of my apartment complex! I hurried upstairs and installed the CableCARD. When I called to activate the card, all they needed was the name and last four of the SSN on the account and the card was activated! I had seen the CSR at the center scan the serial number, so I assume that took the mis-typing of serial numbers out of the equation. I re-ran Guided Setup only to find that I can't see anything other than local channels (both in SD and HD). I went downstairs to talk to the tech, when I ran into my neighbor who said that she had a cable appointment today...so I guess that tech wasn't there for me. Oh well, I'll try those channels again in a few hours and see what happens. Thanks to everyone on the board for all their advice. Now I just have to see how screwed up my bill is this next month!
  3. lateknight

    lateknight New Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    Well I can still only watch channels 2-34 and 702-710 (local HD)...they have 50 minutes left :) Anyone know how late I can call customer service?
  4. pjbrownva

    pjbrownva New Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Arlington, VA
    You're quite welcome for my help (I believe you were referencing some of my posts in the "I read on the forum" part.

    The forum was very helpful to me... so I thought it was only fair that I post to share what I had learned and to (hopefully) help others.

    We'll, that's really not necessary. In fact, on the tivo site itself, they say that YOU DON'T NEED TO DO A GUIDED SETUP to get the cable card working and verify that it works. The guided setup takes a long time to complete, and is really just waisting the installer's or CSR's time to have them wait for it to complete.

    With that said... here are two things that ARE (or can be) a good idea.

    1) Perform a guided setup before the tech arrives. The support section of tivo.com states that performing a guided setup will cause your tivo to be scheduled for a software update, if there are any. That is a good thing to do.

    2) Restart the tivo (while the rep is there) if you are having trouble getting the channels that you are supposed to. I don't recall what Tivo.com has to say on this one, but *several* people on the forum did state that their tivo (finally) started to work after a restart... yes, a restart takes a while too, but it appears that sometimes it actually helps in getting the cable cards to work.

    Reminder: Tivo.com has some helpful install and troubleshooting guides.
    I shared my experience with the guide from Tivo.com titled "Troubleshooting CableCARD Activation and Channel Issues" in my (admittedly long) post to this forum at http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=316310&page=170.
  5. lateknight

    lateknight New Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    So apparently the tech came out. Still no luck. I called CS and they had me eject and reinsert the CableCARD (it re-paired properly) and power cycle (and re-paired properly) still with no luck. I called back and they CSR sent a hit, which unpaired the card. He had his supervisor repair the card manually and then initialized it. Success! Local channels, digital channels and local HD all work. To be honest it didn't work quite as easily as I would have hoped, but overall pretty painless. I need to get rid of some of my splitters inline, but what should I be getting for signal strength? Just out of curiousity :) Thanks again to everyone for all their help!!
  6. ninjadvr

    ninjadvr New Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    Well, I managed to get a couple of scarce cablecards for my Series3 installed this morning. This only came after several canceled appointments due to lack of stock and only after a comcast supervisor specifically held two cards for me and gave them directly to the installer (otherwise they disappear into thin air).

    It went fairly straightforward. They are M-type cablecards, but due to it being a Series3, they operate in single stream mode in each slot. It took a couple of "hits" to get the premium channels working, but they are now, on both tuners. It took about 20-30 minutes or so. I did a guided setup after he left to get the guide working with the new channels, but that wasn't required to get the cards working.

    So, advice to those still waiting for cards, get the comcast tech supervisor to hold cards for you specifically until the installation. :up:
  7. moon_tower

    moon_tower New Member

    Feb 2, 2008
    Yeah, I did a restart and a guided set up back to back. Actually, when I did a restart it prompted me to do a guided set up, which is not normal. At any rate, it was probably the restart that fixed the problem. The Tivo instructions did not mention that at all.
  8. Pictor Guy

    Pictor Guy New Member

    Apr 6, 2003
    Seattle WA
    From my experience it seems that some techs don't want to deal with the installs and say they don't have cards. Each time I escalate the cards show up although the supervisor may be getting the cards from a personal stash. Also, it seems that S-Cards are more common and available at my local office.

    However, despite trying 15 M-Cards and a couple of S-Cards I still can't get my TiVo's properly paired despite numerous escalations and many, many visits over three weeks. The one TiVo HD that was paired seems to lost its validation since the last visit yesterday when they tried to pair the second TiVo. Both now show Val:? 0x00 but one seems to be working okay while the other isn't pulling in any premium channels. :mad:
  9. eapking

    eapking New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    Been a long time since your post, but I'd like to get the number of that cablecard person at Comcast-Memphis. Yes, they are horrible to deal with. I'd like to get the 299 HD model, but BestBuy was clueless as to what a cablecard even was. So what did you end up with in terms of pricing here? I'd really hate to incur a monthly fee on a second card. One time fees I can handle, for the most part. Thanks. :)
  10. WaltInBoston

    WaltInBoston New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    I decided to upgrade my Series 2 and tube to a TiVO HD + HDTV last month, and the process was relatively painless here in "metrowest Boston".

    First, got the HD home, went through guided setup and activated to get the latest firmware, etc. as recommended by the TiVO docs. TiVO is connected to Onkyo 804 HDMI input, and HDTV is connected to Onkyo HDMI output.

    Second, called Comcast to get cablecard - not allowed to pick up at local service center, they require a truck roll and technician on-site. Next appointment available is 14 days out. *sigh* Ask them to put in the call notes that I want either 2 S-cards or 1 M-card - CSR doesn't know what it means, but types it into "a comments section" for the call. I move cable back to STB and wait for appointment day.

    Appointment day comes around, and before technician arrives I move cable from STB to the TiVO HD, confirm I can see channels, etc. Technician arrives with 3 Motorola M-cards ("In case one is bad"), and acknowledges he's never done a TiVO cablecard install. Hand him the "for the installer" sheet, write down the serial number of one of the cards, and insert into slot 1. TiVO responds just like it's supposed to respond, he gets all of the info and calls in to his contact center. They exchange the pairing numbers, and he gets transferred to a call queue for activation. Card starts downloading new firmware (visible from the screen accessed from "CableCard menu -> Cablecard Status"), and after it's finished the firmware upgrade the card resets or reboots with new firmware.

    After about a 25 minute wait in the call queue for activation, he finally gets through, and starts reading off the numbers for pairing. I'm poking at the CableCard Menu, and in the "pairing" screen notice that the value for the "data" field on screen has changed from what he (and I) wrote down before the firmware upgrade. I point it out to him while he's reading off the numbers for activation, and he notifies the person on the phone that the host value changed (last component went from "-4" to "-24"), and after a minute he asks me to check the channels. I go into the "test channels" screen, and see nothing (not even the "acquiring channel information" display).

    He relays this status to the person on the phone (who appears to have some knowledge of TiVO HD) and relays instructions from them to go through the menu screens to reboot the TiVO. I do so, and after reboot completes I go back to the "test channels" item for card 1 and channels pop up. I ask him to wait until I check a couple of premium / encrypted channels, and they're there.

    He ends the call, and I ask him to stay until I've completed guided setup and checked that both tuners can access the premium channels. He agrees to do so, saying he'll check outside the house for any questionable components (splitters, traps, etc). He also climbs the pole and puts a tag on the drop to my house. (Never found out what was on the tag.)

    Guided setup completes, asks me a few more questions about premium channels received, etc -- and everything checks out fine with both tuners. I thank him, he leaves, I'm satisfied.

    Total visit time was around an hour -- most of the time was time he spent in the call queue for the activitation.

    NOTE: I don't remember reading anywhere else about the change in the value for the "data" field in the pairing information, and I also don't know if the pairing would have worked if we had used the old value rather than the new value. I stumbled on it by luck (I can't resist "exploring" menus and seeing what's in each one), so maybe this will help someone else.

    That's it -- I'm off to manually transfer my Wishlist and Season's Passes from the Series2 to the HD.

  11. Patranus

    Patranus New Member

    Sep 15, 2007
    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have an S3, 2 cable cards, and Comcast cable service.

    Last October, took 8+ visits by various technicians and countless hours on the phone with customer service to finally get my S3 working correctly. Due to work considerations, I have not been able to watch TV, one reason for purchasing the TiVo.

    Recently during some down time, I went to go watch several shows recorded recently and months back. The screen was black. I tuned the channel that was set to record and it stated "not authorized". I then hit channel up and the channel originally requested appeared but that channel that was listed was nowhere to be found.

    Specifically, the following occurs:

    When I tune to USA HD (738) I receive a black screen with a message reading something like "Not Authorized"

    When I tune to UHD (739) I receive USA HD.

    This makes it impossible to record shows on either channel.

    I have been in contact with Comcast and every person I talk to give me a different answer.

    Is this a Comcast problem or a TiVo problem?

    From what I can tell, this has been happening for months now. Is it that Comcast is sending the wrong channel mappings to my cablecards or is it that TiVo's lineup is incorrect?

  12. Frank Cole

    Frank Cole KnoxvilleAngus

    Feb 13, 2008
    East Tennessee
    Just wanted to share a tip that if you're planning on getting a Series 3 box, and you have to deal with Comcast, to get an early start. I suggest you start trying to deal with them at least two weeks to a month before you intend to start using your Series 3. I am in Day 3 of what looks to be a never-ending journey into madness.

    We finally took the plunge and went all-out and bought a 52-inch Sony Bravia LCD and a Series 3 box. This was on a Saturday. The system's being installed on the following Saturday. So Monday, I start calling Comcast to get the two cable cards.

    Monday: First customer service rep had no idea what cable cards were. So he transfers me and the second guy on the phone said "Oh, ok, uhhh, you just go pick those up at the Comcast office".

    Tuesday: Before making a trip way out to the Comcast office, I called to make sure they had the cards in stock. Well they didn't. The local rep was very helpful, but she had no idea when they'd get more in. Said to call her back Wednesday.

    Wednesday: Called again and this time a different rep told me that there was absolutely no way I could just pick the cards up and install them myself. They had to set up a service visit and the installer had to program the cards on site. Fine I says. When can you send someone out? They say Monday. So no high-def TV for me on Saturday. I'm really bummed. So I ask, "If when I called TWO DAYS ago to ask about cable cards, if that person had told me I needed a service visit, I could have had one set up before Saturday, right?" And he agreed. So I say fine, send a guy out on Monday.

    Then I stew for about half an hour and decide I want to try to find someone a little higher up the food chain at Comcast to annoy. So I call back, talk to yet another rep, and say I need to talk to a supervisor. She wants to help, though, so I tell her the deal. She puts me on hold for awhile, then comes back and tells me…can you guess?...that I can just come down and pick up the cards and install them myself. I'm like "Are you sure? Because the dude I talked to about a half-hour ago said that was impossible." Oh yeah, I can pick them up and install them myself, she assures me. But….BUT…they don't have any cards at the Knoxville office right now. She took my number and promised to call me back.

    Thursday: Called Comcast this morning and talked to another rep. She said they have the cards and I can come pick them up and install them myself. "Are you sure?" I asked. "Yes, we have a cable card," she replied. "I need two," says I. "TWO. It's a dual-tuner TiVo (not that anyone at Comcast probably knows such a technical term), and I need TWO cable cards. You're sure you have two?"

    She said yes, so I'm not taking any chances. I am leaving work now before they change their minds.

    Friday: I got to Comcast Thursday and after standing in line for about 15 minutes got to a rep. I explained I wanted cable cards. He said "I'll check and see if we have some." Fortunately he did have two cards. I asked "so these will get everything, my HBO, Showtime, right" and he assured me they would. I got home, installed the cards, the configure screen told me to call Comcast and I did. The CSR of course acted like she'd never heard of cable cards, but she said she sent a signal and the cards should work. And they did. Sort of. Not only do I not have HBO and Showtime, I don't have anything other than basic analog channels. I was tired, so gave up until this morning. I'll try to deal with Comcast again after work today. But good news is I love the Series 3! This will be so awesome, if I can ever get my HD and premium channels. Does Comcast just hate TiVo users or something?
  13. ksalno

    ksalno New Member

    Jul 31, 2005
    McLean, VA
    Had a long but eventually successful install of a Series 3 with twin CC in early January. At that time, I only subscribed to the basic digital service, so I was only able to get the local stations in HD plus 1-100.

    I called last night to expand my service to get the other HD stations in the 200's, especially ESPN and Versus. I don't want any premium movie channels. After a long, confusing discussion with the rep, I ended up with the Digital Preferred package plus the Sport package.

    Then we started the long activation process. After many, many attempts to activate the new channels, I can get some of the SD channels between 101 - 200 but not all. Specifically, I get the gray screen when trying to access most of the music channels (MTV, VH-1) and most of the movie stations (ENCORE, etc).

    I also don't get all of the HD channels in the 200 - 215 range. I get some of them but not all. I can get ESPN HD but not ESPN2 HD. I get TNT HD but not MOJO. I get Versus HD but not MTV HD. I don't see any pattern other than these are all channels that are 3 apart (don't get 203, 206, 209, 212, 215).

    After all of this, the rep finally told me the signals are being sent to my CC so the problem must be in my Tivo, so I need to contact Tivo. I found this forum and the FAQ and will attempt to troubleshoot this tonight. However, if anyone has any helpful hints or tips to try, they will all be most welcome.


    Update ####

    Went home last night and using the Troubleshooting FAQ determined that CC1 was not paired and therefore not receiving any encrypted channels. However, CC2 was receiving all of the channels just fine. So armed with the knowledge that everything was ok in terms of the account setup and I was getting all the right signals, I figured it was a simple matter to call tech support and have them pair CC1.

    What a horrible idea. After an hour of nonsensical discussion which indicated that she had no idea of how to deal with a CC and many, many attempts to pair, I finally gave up and settled for a truck roll which is scheduled for tomorrow. So in addition to having to take time off from work, the really bad news is that whatever the rep did has now completely disabled CC2, it doesn't receive anything!

    I guess I should have left well enough alone and just used CC2 as my main tuner. Oh well, live and learn. At least I am well armed now for when the tech shows up tomorrow. I'm sure he will have to be fully educated on cablecards like all of the others but I'm hoping he has a direct line to a CC support desk that actually knows what they are doing. If not, I'm really hosed.
  14. DiNozzo

    DiNozzo New Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    It looks similar to a problem I encountered after installation of the cable cards. I ended up troubleshooting myself, as Comcast had no idea what was wrong, and tried to blame my TIVO box.

    It turned out that one CableCard was defective. It would somehow lose information over time. I had to isolate the defective cable card, by testing the channels from each card from the CableCard menu in TIVO. The defective card would show some channels, but not others.

    A tech eventually came out and replaced that CableCard. I have not had any problems since!

    Give it a try and let us know.
  15. jcoltrane

    jcoltrane Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    So I've begun my own personal journey through the hell that is getting a cablecard installed by Comcast.

    Bought a TivoHD and had Comcast come to do the card install, but I wasn't around for it and the wife didn't know what to look for, so when I arrive home, the box is only showing the analog channels (1-99), the community channel (206) and four unencrypted local HD channels. From everything I've read, this means that the card is probably not paired correctly, but numerous calls to Comcast have resulted in their saying that everything is entered fine in their system. A second visit by the installer revealed to me that he knew quite literally nothing about cablecards. He kept calling their "most senior" tech, who really seemed to know almost nothing about the cards, who seemed that the solution had to lay in upgrading the "firmware" on the TiVo (I explained that it already had the most current service update installed.) After shouting at the Comcast CSR (a tactic suggested by the installer), she escalated my matter (or so she said. Just got off the phone with them and it looks like she just scheduled another regular tech visit for Friday. I told her to have the installer bring multiple M-cards.)

    I am assuming, from what I've read, that the card isn't pairing properly, because either a) the information isn't being entered properly into their system, or b) I have a bad M-card (SA Model). Since I have had them check the info on their end about 3 or more times by now, I think it's probably a bum card, and I'm leaning towards asking them to come by with 5 or 6 cards and just try installing them until I get one that works. Is this the right way to go? Am I missing anything?

    I hate to bother everyone here with my troubles, but Comcast clearly has no idea what's going on, and my wife's beginning to say we never should have upgraded to the TivoHD, so I've got to nip this in the bud.
  16. MAFletch

    MAFletch New Member

    Feb 14, 2008
    Are there any of you out there in SE Florida (Palm Beach County) using Comcast with cablecards? With what I'm about to relate, I'm guessing not too many!

    I'm trying to help my parents who live there to get HD service setup with an S3 Tivo (the original, not the newer HD). They are currently grandfathered in an old Adelphia plan, but any change in service (i.e. addiing HD) requires them convert to current Comcast price structures. I understand how the new pricing works, but I am appalled at the cost for cable cards. I have now spoken to a rep, her supervisor, and finally a representative in the Comcast office of the president, SE division, and they all basically said the same thing: $13.45 (or $13.95)/month for a 1st cable card and $15.95/month (or $15.45) for a second card. Each card's pricing essentially includes $6.95 for HD service and $6.50 for additional outlet fee. :mad:

    I figured that once they paid $6.95 for the HD service ONCE, which supposedly includes the HD cable box (for their VOD, PPV, etc.), and since the Tivo (needing the 2 cards) would be connected to the same TV, that the 2 cards would be Free and $1.50 (or at most $1.50 for each). Compared to what I'm used to paying in MA (with RCN) I think they're paying too much already, but this cable card pricing takes the cake. I guess this is what monopolies are all about. :mad:
  17. jcoltrane

    jcoltrane Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    When talking to them, point out this page on the Comcast website, which details pricing for cablecards. The people you are talking to are wrong.

    The same thing happened to me when I first called Comcast to ask about cablecards. They swore up and down that cablecards cost $15 per month. Once I calmly pointed out this web page to them and asked them to reconcile it with what they were telling me, they hemmed and hawed, then put me on hold numerous times to speak with their supervisors. Finally, they came to understand that the $15 is actually the primary outlet fee, which I am already paying, so the card is free. Additional cards should cost $1.50/mo or be free. You may have to pay to have them come out for the install, but that's about it.

    I don't think it's anything malicious on Comcast's part, I just think that cablecards are a new product that they are really unfamiliar with, and there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding them throughout the company, both on pricing and installation. Just show them the pricing page, be firm, and make them explain why they are telling you something different from their website. If they look into it, they will realize that they are wrong.
  18. hmeister

    hmeister New Member

    Feb 9, 2008
    A newbie question(s). I hope you can clear up some confusion... I am new to Tivo...

    My Tivo 2 came last night and in the instructions it says I need a cablecard.
    I looked at the device and don't even see a slot for the cablecard device? Out of curiosity, I called CC last night and they quoted me $2.00 per card which is charged per month and $17.00 truck roll install. I have a new Tivo 2 dual tuner and looking at the device, I don't think this is a 2 card system?? I am not sure why they show this in the quick setup guide that came with the device and what appears to be a slot in the device on the picture in the instuctions to place the cable card.

    Also, judging from this link you provided, it would seem that I can get the one card for free? Or am I missing something here? Is the Tivo 2 dual tuner a cablecard system or a zero card system? Can someone shed some light on this? I am thinking the quick setup instuctions are in error as there is another 8x11 instruction sheet that says I am already setup and just plug in the device and your set to go...

    Thx in advance.

    Judging from the other posts here it would seem that I had would be better going HD and Tivo3 but we have a great analog Sony 32 inch TV that will not give up. We are still in the stone age of TV here.:)
  19. Krandor

    Krandor Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    A series 2 does not need a cablecard. Only TivoHD and Series3. Sounds like the wrong instructions may have gotten in your box.
  20. tamon77

    tamon77 New Member

    Feb 3, 2008
    This week:

    1. Monday

    - Bought 46" Sony Bravia, TivoHD, and My DVR Expander.
    - Had to order TV in store because it was out of stock :(

    2. Tuesday

    - Went to Comcast office in Redmond and asked for an M-card. They handed one over free of charge!! :)
    - Activated TivoHD using old TV in master bedroom ... smooth and easy

    3. Thursday

    - Picked up TV and set up at home with home network, surround sound.
    - Called comcast to activate M-Card. They were really nice and knew all of the necessary steps. I messed up with one of the menus so it took a little longer that unusual. If it wasn't for my mistakes I would have been up and running in about 10 minutes. Instead it took about 60 minutes.

    ADVICE - If you can ... go and pick up an M-Card yourself and save the installation fee!!!!!!!!!!!!

    TivoHD is stunning ... with the extra HDD space I am good to go.

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