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Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by amjustice, Sep 14, 2006.
+1 (make that +1000) ....
it seems like some call centers know about them and and other don't.
Apologies if this has been addressed (my search came up short), but I went to sign up for new Comcast service today (internet & cable), and the agent told me my Tivo unit and cable cards are incompatible with anything less than one of the higher level digital cable packages. (I just ordered a TivoHD.) I asked about getting the "digital starter" package or the "digital double play" (internet+cable), but the (local) agent said those were "basic cable" that required a digital box. He said that one needs either the digital box or "digital cable", but only the latter works with cable cards.
My understanding is that the cable cards serve as the digital box, but are there certain services that Comcast offers that are not compatible with a cable card system? I've noticed that others on the forum have cable service through Comcast with a Tivo box and are paying something close to $30, the promotional rate for digital starter.
I sense I was being fed a line, but I figure I should double check. If the rep's info was incorrect I'll certainly call back and switch, since $66 for the bundle is a lot better than the $100+ the agent said I needed.
They are either pulling a fast one on you or the rep is clueless. You don't need digital anything to use the TivoHD. In fact, you could order the bare cable without a box and without cable cards and still pick up the analog signals through Tivo and use the QAM tuner to get HD locals (but that's a little more complicated). Besides, what' to stop you from ordering their higher level service and then downgrading if they are forcing you to pay for something like that up-front. But my understanding is that they must offer (per the FCC) the same service to you with CableCards that offer using a their own digital box. The only thing you will miss out on is OnDemand content and their crappy channel guide. I don't miss OnDemand and I like the Tivo guide much better, so there was no loss for me.
Whats the advised method to ordering cable for my TivoHD (not s3) via Comcast in the San Jose, California area?
Should I order online? Do I need to call sales, then ask to transfer to tech support/installs to ask for an M card?
Should I ask for an M card, or Two S's?
Should I expect to pay nothing for an M/S cards?
Should I expect this to even work? It seems like this thread has hundreds of pages of posts of people complaining that in the end, you get channels that dont work, or gray screens etc.
I want the smoothest setup possible, and for some reason I think using the order via comcast.com method won't work, i'm gunna have to place some phone calls, right?
The cable is running from the telephone pole to my house, but not connected to my house. This from a few years ago when I had analog comcast service.
Yeah, I don't believe it either, but that's what he claimed...
You're implying that they're competent by saying they'd purposefully doing something like that; to purposefully do that, they'd have to actually know how to do it right.
As an early adopter of an S3 I experienced the typical Comcast nightmare (in my case a 3 week one). After a recent disk failure I had to return to the saved virgin unbooted original disk. Essentially, I was installing a new TiVo. I knew I was gong to loose my cable card pairing since I had upgraded the drive before I knew you should upgrade a drive only after fully configuring it and installing cable cards.
With great trepidation I prepared to call in to Comcast fully expecting to be told that a tech has to be dispatched but thought I'd give it a try anyway. I had already prepared by writing down the cable card serial numbers. I then inserted them in the proper order one at a time allowing about 30 seconds for first one to settle in (it is a myth that they need to be activated individually before inserting the next one). I check channels and sure enough I lost all my premium channels but, oddly, not HBO. I make note of the newly generated host ID numbers and I associate them with the appropriate serial nember.
So, anyway, I call in and end up with Kamil in the San Leandro center a good 100 miles from me. Not only did he immediately know what I needed before I even finished explaining myself but he did not have to transfer me to tier 2 or a cable card specialist. He asked me only for the serial numbers and the host ID numbers. I heard some typing and in about a minute he said he had sent an activation signal to both cards. I toggled back and forth between the 2 cable card conditional access screens until both were activated. Card 2 was quicker to activate and for a moment I thought uh oh, I have a problem but card 1 activated 30 seconds later. I asked him to hang on while I quickly ran through the premium channels on both tuners from the cable card screen and all was well. Total time elapsed: ~10 minutes!
The professionalism and knowledge of the CSR was superb. I was particularly impressed that he was able to directly correct the pairing error in the system. This doesn't help those with chronic and lingering issues with Comcast but maybe it indicates that some changes are occurring behind the scenes.
What does it mean if I'm getting error codes 161-38 and 161-52 on an HD Tivo with the M-Card (Comcast service)? Comcast initially told me that the card had gone bad, so I swapped it for a new one at the local comcast office. The new card is giving me the same errors.
I've called Comcast several times to have the card authorized/initialized. Now comcast is saying the tivo is defective, but when I call Tivo, they say that Comcast hasn't properly initialized the card.
Ordered via phone Double-Play (internet/tv) in San Jose, CA.
Tuesday - Placed order at 1pm
Wed - 2:45pm Install Tech shows up
Has to call dispatch because the M cards ID's wont enter into his system, this because they were never entered in at Comcast. Gets resolved in about 10 minutes.
Cards pair up, takes a few minutes. All channels come in.
Got Error 131-86 (I think it was) a few times. Went away after an hour.
No more errors. Both TivoHD's work with each their own M card.
So far so good, no problems at all other than the 131-86 thing for a bit.
Ok guys i went through the threads on this site and most were very helpfull and every bit of info was much appericated. When i finally found something that got my cablecards to work i wanted to share it with you guys, however your on results may vary! I have a Tivo Hd with two single stream Motorola cable cards. My Comcast service is in middle Tennessee. To make along story short after about 12hrs on the phone with Comcast and TiVo i had a system that would work on what looked like random channels both regular and subscriber channels. To give a example i could get local channels and HBO in regular and HD, but could not get ESPN and Discovery to name a couple. I arrived at this point during the first 30 minutes of the quest. Everybody who has had issues with cablecards knows how the rest of the 11 hrs went.
On to what worked for me.
I went to the 'Conditional Access' screen on the cable card and notice that on the channels that worked the AUTH line had SUBSCRIBED. The ones that didn't work had unsubscribed or not auth I can't remember which. I know some of you are saying well there is your problem, but for me this was a big step.
When i noticed this a light bulb went off that maybe my subscriber package was not set up correctly. All of the people I talked to were trying to repair the cards and hit them but no one had checked to see if the subscriber info was input correctly by comcast.
I called Comcast and told them the story and they wanted to do their usual trouble shooting stuff. I asked them to wait and just check to see if my subcriber info was correct and guess what it had been input incorrectly. The rep fixed it and everything started working almost instantly!!!
I never thought that something as simple as a typo could cause the symptoms that i had. If anybody is stuck at this point it probably wouldn't hurt to have comcast check you subscriber info to make sure it is correct. I guess the moral of this story is always check the simplest thing first!!
Thanks for everyones hard work and help!!
Right now, I hate Comcast too. I've been trying to get service since June 28... It's taken over 20 phone calls (virtually all with someone nice, but clueless and helpless) and so far 6 installation appointments (I've had to be home all day for every one). The first five installation appointments resulted in a line being run from a pole without a tap to the house and then left dead and coiled up at each end. The last installation appointment resulted in a line run across the ground from a pole with a tap to the pole with my line, a working cable modem, and a basic cable box running coax to my TV (I originally ordered a M-card for my Tivo HD and have reminded them to bring an M-card for the install repeatedly.).
I took back the cable box and now have the cable plugged directly into the Tivo HD (the installer didn't know how to do this). It looks like I have at least two more installation appointments (an aerial install for the tap and an inside guy for the cable card) before I'll finally have service with a cable card, and that's IF they can get the cable cards to work. I'm absolutely astounded that a company with such poor customer service is still in business. I've been so frustrated that I even called to cancel once, but they talked me out of it. If I had another option, I would have taken it a month ago.
There is one person from Comcast who has actually done what she said she would do and impressed me by being competent. Deborah put in an ER ticket so that I would get my cable card 1.5 months after my order instead of 2 months after the order. She was able to get an earlier install and called me back like she promised. Four or five other Comcast reps have promised call backs and have never called back.
I'll update everyone when i finally have the service I ordered. Some day, I'll have to write up a thread about just how bad this whole experience was...
Good news- the Tivo is still awesome.
You're way past the point where you should escalate this to comcastmustdie.com, and by calling your regional VP's or national exec support office (search for Comcast at consumerist.com for phone numbers). Don't bother with the local help, they don't care or are clueless about Cablecards until someone upstairs makes them care.
I put up my comment on comcastmustdie.com
After my horrible horrible time getting the darn CC to work properly way back in Feb and March I have never received all the channels I have been paying for! I dont' watch every channel on a consistant basis but I finally started noticing channels just disappearing. Now it's mostly in the upper 300's.
I called tonight and after an hour and a half on hold ( i swear they have one person on the night shift in the CC dept and it was the one of the same guys I delt with back in Feb. There must only be a handful of people in the whole department. I spend a majority of my time on hold just getting through.
The first time I called tonight the regular help guy had no clue, said he would send a refresh signal but I know he was sending it to my cable box in the bedroom NOT the cable card. My cable card went blank for a while, error message and when i asked him to transfer me to the CC dept, he said there wasn't one!!!! I hung up on him and called back and got someone who transfered me.
The guy is very nice and he said they've got some new policies since Feb/March so he tries sending a refresh to my card and nope, it doesn't work. I just don't get how certain channels just disappear but the way the guy described it made a little bit of sense.
So he sets up a truck roll tomorrow to install a new M card. I'm worried that once they take this one out and put a new one in I will end up not having any channels and going through the process all over again!!
I purchased a new TiVoHD directly from TiVo online, with a lifetime subscription. I have had a Series 2 lifetime TiVo for some time, and it would be hard to imagine going back to watching television without the TiVo service. I decided to move the Series 2 to the basement and treat myself to the HD experience.
Since I am new to CableCards, I read everything I could on this and other related threads. After reading some of the horror stories, it was with no little trepidation that I called Comcast to arrange for new CableCard service.
As suggested, I had already connected my TiVoHD up to the cable and to my broadband Internet, allowing it to download the latest software, run Guided Setup, and burn in for a week or two. I called Comcast on a Sunday evening and asked to have a CableCard installed. I was asked if this could be done on a self service basis, but they said no, it required a tech visit. I asked the CSR to note on the order that I preferred an M-Card, and she said she would so note. She did not ask what type of device I planned to use it with. I was offered a Tuesday appointment, but I chose the next Friday because that was more convenient for me.
The tech arrived a bit outside the promised window, but did call before to advise he was running late. He showed me the single M-Card he had brought with him, and I felt a bit uneasy because it was somewhat battered and obviously not new. Bracing for trouble, I wrote down the numbers on the card myself.
He seemed very familiar with installing CableCards in TiVos. I asked if he had done a lot of them; he told me there was quite a rush about a year ago, and again around Christmas, but that there had not been too many requests as of late. He asked if I wanted to insert the card into the TiVo myself, and I said "sure".
The card was recognized as an M-Card within seconds, and the pairing data screen came up. The tech and I both copied down the numbers, and he entered them in his portable service communications device. We chatted for about ten minutes while he waited for an acknowledgement of his activation request. I don't think he ever got one, but about that time I started dialing around the channel menu. Sweet success! Every channel was there, normal, digital, and premium. I checked on both tuners, and everything was fine! Uncorrected RS errors: 0.
I thanked him and he was on his way. Total time working on TiVo activation: about 20 minutes, most of it copying numbers and waiting for activation.
It's been working perfectly for about three weeks now. I wanted to see if any problems developed after startup before posting this, but none have. I cannot believe how good even the regular digital channels look compared to the analog cable I had been used to, and the HD channels are terrific.
While I have had somewhat unpleasant repair issues with Comcast in the past (clueless telephone support, missed appointments, etc.), I must admit to being genuinely surprised and very happy with their service this time. No problems scheduling, no CableCard shortages, and an easy activation from a knowledgeable tech. At least in our near-northwest Philadelphia suburb, fear not the CableCard installation appointment: Comcast has it together.
Called Comcast to get cablecards for the upstairs TivoHD, was waiting for the you need to "have us install this" when the guy said you can pick these up at the service center. I walked into the service center in Redmond WA & asked for two cable cards for a TivoHD and handed me 2 new cards. I noticed they were MCards and said I needed only 1. He said, yeah I'm giving you 2 in case one does't work. I asked how much it would be for a second outlet (downstairs TivoHD) and he said $1.54 month. So I asked him to add the second outlet and left with 2 MCards. At home, pluged in the first MCard and Tivo displayed the card info screen, called Comcast (same number provided by the Comcast guy and on screen), read them numbers of the TV screen and they activated the card. Went downstairs and repeated the process. The Comcast tech on the phone insisted on staying on with me until everything was up and running. Everything worked, first time, on both Tivos. I had waited as long as I did, 'cause of the horror stories with Tivo, cable cards, Comcast, no MCards, needing to pay for an install, etc., etc. Turned out to be easier than programming the Tivo remote for my Vizio.
I went through the dreaded failed cablecard install today, with a pissed-off tech who kept getting into fights with his call center and telling them to take the job and shove it. Not terribly surprised they couldn't get together to get my TiVo working...
As it turns out, I called Comcast afterwards to reschedule, and the CSR told me that I can just go to the local Comcast center (I'm in Arlington, VA), pick up an M-Card, and do the install myself. I'm big on doing tech stuff myself and comments like bobscola's lead me to believe it's the right choice. Any hitches or failures I should watch out for when I try to do this tomorrow night?
it is not the process of doing the PHYSICAL install of the Cable Cards. It is the COMCAST side of the equation. The set up and pairing of the CCards in their system that is the issue. some call centers have no problems. MOST comcast call centers have no idea how to handle. and if you are in an ADELPHIA gone Comcast area. Good Luck as it is a different system for their CC activation and pairing.
looks like there are one or 2 comcast call centers that know what they are doing with CC activation and pairing. Good luck!
Yes, exactly. There is no problem (other than old firmware) with the cards themselves, it's all in how Comcast provisions them. If they did their job right by setting up the cards for the Tivo correctly in all areas, anyone should be able to pick up a card and install it themselves. But as we see in this thread, YMMV.
I ALSO Echo what two other posters have said.
I'm in NH - aka Boston Comcast Area - the Network
Operation Centers here get the provisioning right the
first time in a matter of minutes.
Other parts of the Country have nightmares. I believe
you are in one of those Comcast Nightmare regions.
180-hr TiVo HD (says Series 3 for platform) with version 9.4-01-2-652
I recently moved from Charleston, SC to Arlington, VA and having trouble with this new install.
I haven't been as lucky this time around. I took out the old S cards and re ran the guided setup with my new cable zip code and info before having the techs install the cablecards. Basic cable is working properly and can even record two programs at once.
I have had 3 techs come on three different days trying to setup the new m card but for some reason cant get the cable card to get a host id. also after inserting the m card i no longer get my basic cable. We have tried 7 different M cards and none of them are working all it says is "your cable provider has not supplied any information for this card."
Any help is greatly appreciated because I have no clue what the problem could be.
Edit: The supervisor just called and claimed that Scientific Atlantic CableCards are NOT compatible with TiVo. I informed him that I just returned 2 S cards that were scientific atlantic back to comcast in charleston, sc and those worked fine. He said he would see if they have S-cards at the warehouse but if not I would be out of luck since its not compatible in the area.