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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. eht123

    eht123 New Member

    Jul 17, 2008
    Well, I hate for my first post on a board to be a rant, but here goes anyway...

    Executive summary: Trying to get an M-card working in my new THD, and Comcast is as useless as ever...

    - First visit, guy was three hours late on his three hour window, meaning I had been waiting for him for six hours. Installs cable card, gets some channels working, claims the others will kick in within 8 hours or so. I naively believe him.
    - Next day, still no premium channels. I dig around in the cable card menus and find that the card is not even properly paired. My wife calls Comcast, wastes another hour on the phone, only to be told "we need to send a tech out again". A supervisor is supposed to call her back, but never does.
    - Fast forward a couple days, tech shows up, saying things like "oh, a cable card, you're in for a ride", and "I don't know why they even use these things". And this one "Well, Edie is the only one on the head end who really knows how to make these things work, and she's on vacation for two weeks." He proceeds to spend three hours on the phone with them, manages to get the card paired, but still no copy protected channels are authorized. My wife calls the Tivo cable card hotline, and puts the tech on with them. This quickly degenerates into a useless pissing match about whose fault it is. After three hours, she's had enough and kicks the tech out.
    - Another call to Comcast to try to speak with a manager gets another "we'll have someone call you back..."
    - Although I am quite convinced the problem is solely with Comcast, Tivo's cable card hotline is, unfortunately, borderline useless as well. A second call to them was very short and ended with basically "well, we can't do anything for you". Might be true, but I thought the hotline was there to help work with the cable companies.

    At this point, we're pretty much ready to cancel our cable service outright, box up the THD and take it back, and cancel the one non-lifetime Tivo account that we set up for it. Which really sucks, because we love Tivo (had them since the very first units were available like eight years ago...). But I'm having a hard time justifying paying for services when we're getting treated like this (especially given that other media options like Netflix, bittorrent and others pretty much just work).

    Soooo.... If we decide to give it one last gasp, does anyone in the Potomac Falls, Virginia area have any suggestions as to who to call, what to say, or whatever to try and get this resolved?? Any help would be appreciated.

  2. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Paste your rant on comcastmustdie.com with your account number, and wait for the phone call from Comcast Executive. Get the Philly Comcast Executive Support number and call them. Find your regional VP's phone number and call his office. Search for Comcast at consumerist.com to get some of these.

    Don't take this lying down, it's entirely Comcast's fault. You're paying for the service and they're required to provide properly working Cablecards. End of story.
  3. phluffhead

    phluffhead New Member

    Sep 14, 2004
    Boston, MA
    I actually had a fairly good experience with my Comcast M-card installation today in Chicago.

    My only complaint was that the installer was about an hour late getting to my house. The one hiccup we did have was that the one of the letters in the CableCard serial number was an I, and both he and I thought it was a 1, but as soon as we got that settled everything worked without problems.
  4. Newbie

    Newbie New Member

    Jan 19, 2002
    Comcast is starting to charge for cablecards. I just received my new bill and on top of the regular cable fee they billed the two cablecards for my Tivo HD as two additional outlet fee, or $5.10 x 2 for a total of $10.20 monthly. This seems wrong.

    How much are comcast charging you?

    If I unplug my TV and the set top box, TivoHD will be the only outlet and they should charge me for one additional cablecard = $1.79, right?

    Also, is it possible to buy/own the cable card and pay a one-time fee? I don't see anyone selling cablecards, so I guess the answer is no. I don't have any premium channels, so the only use of the cable cards are to re-map the channel numbers (e.g. from 5.1 into 105 to match the program guide). Is there a way to do this re-mapping without renting a cablecard from comcast?
  5. quick

    quick New Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    What could cause a group of channels to stop working? I`m getting just a black screen, signal strength is good and no uncorrected/corrected errors in diagnostics. Also on the same outlet I have a SA 8300HD that gets these channels with no problems.

    I called comcast and got them to hit the card with no effect. Restarted & power cycled the tivo with no effect either. These channels were working fine for a long time.

    Channels are HD channels 283-285 & 288 (north west houston)
  6. asills

    asills New Member

    Dec 22, 2004
    Same here (NW Houston, near Cypress). Strangely enough 65 also isn't working, which I thought was an analog channel (but it's the SD equivalent to 283).

    Last week some time they moved a bunch of channels from analog to digital. I am assuming they screwed up more than that.
  7. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

    Jul 15, 2000

    See the Comcast FAQ at http://www.comcast.com/Customers/Faq/FaqDetails.ashx?Id=2651
  8. mollman

    mollman New Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Quick report on getting a new Tivo HD set up with a Multi-channel cable card in Seattle.

    Generally the experience has been quite good thus far.

    1) Picked up M card at local cable store (N Seattle, 94th & Aurora). No hassles, CSRs seemed well versed in the drill. I was told they only carry M cards at this point. Motorola card.
    2) Followed guidance on printed in-box literature. Guided setup prior to cable card install, made sure I had software updates before installing card.
    3) Installed card, followed prompts to pairing screen
    4) Called Comcast. Time to first CSR: < 30 seconds. Said I was installing cable card in an HD Tivo, needed to pair it.
    5) Transfer to 2nd (technical support) CSR. Time to answer: < 10 seconds. She seemed very knowledgeable, quite friendly. She asked to the relevant ID info from the screen. Got it paired in a couple of minutes, and stayed on the line while I checked that all the channels I expected were available. She had me check a couple of representative channels first.
    6) Everything Just Worked. Total time of M card install was maybe 5 minutes.

    New bill indicates that they're charging me $1.79/month for "TiVo Series 3-cable Card" which, as it is the only cable card or device of any sort they've provided, seems incorrect per their (disavowed legally, I'm sure) FAQ. Guess I'll follow up on that today.

    Have to say I've been pleasantly surprised with the whole process.

    Not so much pleased with the constant freezing of playback I experienced while watching my first Formula One race in HD last night, but that's a topic for another very long thread . . .

    [update] Called Comcast RE: $1.79 fee for first card. Exceedingly pleasant CSR agreed that I shouldn't be charged for 1 card and removed the charge. Total time of call (including navigating the phone tree): < 5 minutes.
  9. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    And I've been told by Comcast locally (area supervisor) and by Executive Support that you MUST be charged the fee for the M-card, even though there's only one card in the box. I was told by the Exec Support rep (who helped me through my install mess) that he had escalated the question higher up and that the answer was that if they didn't charge for the card, it would not work. I didn't fight it since in the ATL it's only $1.50/mo, but it does show up on the bill as two separate charges - Cablecard $0.00 and 2nd Cablecard $1.50.
    Very strange, but they were adamant that removing the 2nd card charge would disable my access.
  10. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Are you still getting the premium channels after she removed the charge from your account?
  11. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Comcast has several different billing systems, and the billing system is the key to the cablecard authoriztion system. On some of their systems I'm sure that what she told you is true.
  12. mollman

    mollman New Member

    Jul 9, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    We don't subscribe to any premium channels (we have the Digital Starter package), so no.

    We'll see if I have *any* channels when I get home, I guess ;-)
  13. jaybroni

    jaybroni New Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    I believe a charge for an M-card is correct.

    There are two types of cable cards, Multi-stream cards (M-card) and Single-Stream cards (S-card). Since your Tivo is dual-tuner, you need either two S-cards, or one M-card in order for both tuners to work. Comcast's policy is to let you have one S-card for free, and to charge a nominal fee ($1.00-$2.00) for a second S-card. Since the M-card does the same job as two S-cards, you should still be charged the fee, since it is the same as having two S-cards.
  14. heed316

    heed316 New Member

    Jun 17, 2008
    Brooklyn, MI
    Not according to the comcast reps I talked to. Before I got my M-Card, I asked that very question. They said the first card is always free on the account, and the 2nd one is 1.50$ more. So they told me simply that if I use 2 S-Cards, I get a 1.50$ extra charge, but if I get the single M-Card it's free since it's the first and only card.
  15. mymontreal

    mymontreal New Member

    Dec 11, 2001
    San Jose
    So I have had similar frustrations getting my Comcast cablecards to work properly in the HD Tivo.

    Had several long calls with Comcast - after the second call, the single multi-stream card appeared to have been paired and activated & I was receiving channels.

    Unfortunately, I soon found that I could only view channels 1-99.

    Couple of days later I gave Tivo Support a call and they were really responsive - I provided them with data from my diagnostic/status screens & they confirmed that in fact the card still had not been activated by Comcast... the guy from Tivo suggested that we get on a 3 way conference call with Comcast to make sure that the card was activated properly - he initiated the call to Comcast, did all the talking and everything was working fine in about 10 mins.

    This was SO... much better than having another 3 calls and a couple of tech visits from Comcast - if you are having problems getting your card(s) paired/activated properly (and your issue is not an intermittent one) I would highly suggest contacting Tivo and involving them in any subsequent discussions with Comcast.

  16. Newbie

    Newbie New Member

    Jan 19, 2002
    Has anyone else in the Seattle area gotten M cards in their Tivo3? Currently I have two S cards (paying $1.79 monthly for the card) and would like to replace them with one M card if I can be sure it would work and would save me the $1.79 fee. However, I dread the activation process; not all comcast technicians are well trained on new hardware.

    I have the digital basic package which includes many channels above 99.
  17. TromboneKenny

    TromboneKenny Focused, yet blurry

    Mar 28, 2003
    Champaign, IL
    Hi Newbie! As far as I know, the S3 only supports single-stream cards. Even if you get M-cards from ComCast, the S3 will still require 2 of them. Only the TiVoHD supports dual-tuner functionality with a single M-card.
  18. cluelesspa

    cluelesspa New Member

    Jun 19, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Kenny is correct... it operates the M-Cards in Single tuner mode. so the Series 3 HD requires 2 Cards no matter what... also most of Comcast charges the M-Card as one S Card and one FREE S Card.
  19. imasofa777

    imasofa777 S2 Vet, TiVoHD newb

    Aug 23, 2004
    Tinley Park, IL
    Install was scheduled for yesterday 8/23/08 between 4 and 7 pm.
    Normall comcast calls the day before any of my appointments to confirm and they also promise their techs will call before arriving on site. No call previous day and tech arrives at 4:30 without call. Wife calls and lets me know they are there. I rush home, takes about 10 mins.

    By the time I get home, I find the tech on the phone with another tech trying to figure out how to install the cablecard, thankfully he brought an M-card for my TiVoHD, Motorola mcard btw. Tech hangs up phone 5 mins later and finally acknowledges me. First thing he says is why would you by this piece of garbage, our DVR's are so much better, mind you I could barely understand him. He says they've sent a hit 3 times to the card but it's not working, it must be this TiVo box is bad, then he tries to run guided setup over without being able to see any of the channels in the test channel function. I finally got through to him that guided setup was my gig, his was to make sure I could get the channels.

    So he decides to test my signal, he pulls the TiVo out and unscrews the cable connection, and at the same time he yanks the eSATA cable from the back so the TiVo instantly restarts, again he blames the TiVo for being broken. I plug the eSATA back in and reboot it. Signal is perfect he says.

    TiVo finishes restarting about 7 mins later. He calls again and rereads them the info from the pairing screen. They send another "hit" to the card. Then he exits the cablecard menu and starts directly typing in the channel numbers and everything seems to work.

    So, I get rid of this guy as fast as I can before he tries to convince me his DVR is better then mine, even though I told him I went through 4 of his DVR's in 6 months from them failing, yet have never had an issue with a TiVo.

    I go through guided setup and everything seems fine. So I wait a bit and all of a sudden it pops an error message 161-38 and I loose all my cablecard functionality. I go into the cable card menu and can't find anything wrong but I have no channels in the test channels again. I try again and they magically appear. Same thing happens 2 more times last night within about 2 hours. Now so far everything has been fine. Hopefully that error does not come back like others have reported.
  20. Kyven

    Kyven New Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Palm Beach...
    HAs anyone been able to get an M card in the old Adelphia territory like South Florida? I'm tired of paying two digital fees, two HD fees for the same TV. I was told I needed to do it for each card.

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