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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. JoJetSki

    JoJetSki New Member

    Jul 24, 2006
    Dreading calling comcast today, I tried to get the number to the local office (in Pittsburg, CA). No go so I called the 1-800 number on my bill which I hoped would go to a local regional center at least.

    The good news is:

    I am upgrading from analogue to digital so I didn't even try the "can I come in and pick up the cards" bit.

    They are charging me $15.99 for the install of my digital cable and giving me two cable cards.

    Price for two cable cards zero dollars
    Price for cable cards on a monthly basis zero dollars
    Having my HD Tivo...priceless.

    Now we shall see how the install goes.
  2. GoHokies!

    GoHokies! O2->CO2 Converter

    Sep 21, 2005
    Not to burst your bubble, but the "install" of digital cable is no different - all you need to get is the cablecards in your Tivo and CC has to make changes in their computer...
  3. cschamp

    cschamp New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Comcast has been at my house more than 2 hours today. First technician, a Comcast subcontractor, here 2 hours. Nice enough guy. Never installed cablecards before. After asking the office to "hit" the cards three times and still nothing, he called a supervisor, who will be here 2 days from now to try setting up cablecards again.

    Then after this tech left, I called the 1-800-Comcast number, and tried to get some help on my own. No luck. All Comcast can do is to "hit" the card. Tried that again, still no luck. The cards both say, as they have all day, that they are not Enabled (looking at the conditional access page of each card).

    After calling 1-800 number, Comcast sent out a Comcast employee to try to help, but didn't tell him it was a cablecard issue. He arrives without any new cards, and says that the problem is not with comcast, since they have done everything they can. (Right. What else would he say?) The problem is either (a) the cards are bad, (b) the TiVo can't talk to the cards, or (c) the TiVo hasn't been registered for TiVo service. He obviously is either full of BS or doesn't know what he's talking about.

    So now I'm waiting another couple of days for some supervisor to arrive, someone who is rumored to know how to solve this problem.

    Maybe I should have stuck with DirecTV. I had 2 tuners on DirecTiVos for years, and it was nicely integrated with the DTV service. Not sure now that $799 for the S3 was worth it.
  4. HomieG

    HomieG Nowhere Man...

    Feb 17, 2003

    It's usually both.
  5. dlstrick

    dlstrick New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Glad to here that. Did the tech tell you what your original hang up was, and what did they charge you?
  6. yunlin12

    yunlin12 Tivonation Citizen

    Mar 14, 2003
    I'm in San Jose near 85 and 87.

    My first install didn't go right, both cards said:

    Connected: yes, EnabledbyCP: no
    Auth:MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY in the conditional access screen

    I called back, the CSR "hit" them, nothing changed.

    I called back again, another CSR wanted to "hit" them, I told him they were already hit. He said there's only one type of signal they can send, so he couldn't do anything else besides schedule another tech visit.

    A second tech came, never seen a S3 before. I told him to ask the office if they can "initialize" it. He didn't know exactly what it meant, but he just asked the people on the other end of the walkie talkie "if they need to initialize it or something", and he was also patient enough to do one card at a time. Within 1-2 minutes of plugging each card, I got the 161-4 error, and then can see all the channels within 5 minutes.

    I don't know if the CSR's know of the initialization signal, or if they need someone else to send the signal.

    Good luck with your CC install.
  7. gregkeene

    gregkeene New Member

    Aug 14, 2002
    Same here.
  8. cschamp

    cschamp New Member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Interesting. Thanks.

    I'm on phone with CSR at 1-800-Comcast, and she says she can't send an initialize. Can only do that to a set-top-box. So now I'm getting sent from CSR to CSR while they try to pass me off to someone who knows about CableCards. This latest CSR did just do an initialize, "a little stronger" than a "hit," she said. waiting now....
  9. edbern

    edbern New Member

    Sep 13, 2006
  10. MScottC

    MScottC New Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    I recievd our TiVo the Monday after the Shipping fiasco week, so I really can't complain. After a several days of using it with analog cable and OTA for HD Network feeds, I decided to call Comcast here in Jersey City. I queried about installing two CCs in a DVR (I did not mention a brand). The Rep was quite nice about it, however she wanted to charge me a second outlet fee. When I commented that it was still feeding a single TV, and just allowing dual recording just like their DVR, she checked with a supervisor and came back with "no additional fee." I also queried about the possibility of other fees, such as digital, "even tho I want to stay on my same 'Basic Preferred' tier." She again doublechecked and said, "Your rates will stay the same." The install was setup for two days later, on Friday.

    On Friday the installer came. I left very detailed instructions as found on the FAQ's here and the TiVo.com support forums, along with the sheet that came in the box, and some other posted answers from other problem posts here, with my wife to show to the installer. Tho he was a bit standoffish, he did seem grateful for the extra material I had taken the time to prepare, and followed the more explicit instructions and apparently had no problems making it all work. The Truckroll fee on the invoice was only $9.95

    As of right now, I'm paying for just Basic Preferred, which gives me HD on all the OTA channels, and digital simulcast on everything that is also available without a cablebox (about 70 channels). When I see how this is all reflected on my cablebill, I'll decide where I go regarding the digital tiers.

    My only issue is that on both cards I've got the "re-key authorization" message. Yet I'm getting the channels I believe I'm paying for. Perhaps when I upgrade to the digital tiers, this will become an issue.
  11. sjcbulldog

    sjcbulldog New Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    The comcast installer at my house called the CSR four times, twice for each card. Before the first call on each card, there was no information about the card in the conditional access screen. All fields were zero, authorization was unknown, etc. After the first call was placed and the first "init" sent down the line the card was then initialized and the Tivo could tune in unencrypted stations using the test channels. After the cards were in this state, he called the CSR a second time and gave them the host id associated with the card. After a few minutes I could go back to the test channels and watch HBOHD. This was repeated for each of the cable cards.

    After both calls we had to wait (up to five minutes) for the command that was sent to the card to be received.

  12. yunlin12

    yunlin12 Tivonation Citizen

    Mar 14, 2003
    Hmm, I guess they have different systems in San Jose alone (I assume you are in SJ from the SJC). My install disn't require host pairing. The techs never had to phone in the host ID. In one of the screens where it says host status or something, it says unknown. But I'm getting all my channels so not complaining.
  13. sjcbulldog

    sjcbulldog New Member

    Jul 13, 2004
    No, I am in Portland. I was in San Jose (actually Santa Clara) when I picked up that login for most of these types of account.

  14. domino82

    domino82 New Member

    Sep 27, 2006

    My experience with Comcast has been similarly crappy.

    1) Called 1-800-Comcast to ask about ordering a card. Was told to go to my local office.

    2) Drove 20 miles to local office, lady would not allow me to self-install but gladly scheduled a home-visit for 2 days later. She couldn't care less where the cards were going.

    3) First tech visit was this morning. This was his first install on an S3 (had never seen one), and was concerned. Called dispatch on his 2-way and was reassurred that it was okay and I overheard that "someone else did one the other day."

    We insert card number one. Techie is confused because he can't find the info needed to phone in to dispatch. We discover the network info menu, query the card, and he seems to see what he needs.

    He reads in the three numbers to dispatch, who "pings" the cards. We test them, and nothing. Channels 0-99 come in fine, as do the "local digital" channels in the 200s, but none of the other digital channels or premium channels (all are just grey screens). I try redoing system setup. I try restarting the system. The tech guy has them do a "cold restart" of the cards. At this point my TiVo spontaneously rebooted for some reason, but it didn't accomplish anything. Same issue.

    4) Tech guy throws his hands up in the air and leaves. Says I should call TiVo because dispatch says my cards are registered and should be active. I later find out that in the conditional access tab both cards appear to have never been activated.

    5) I speak to probably 10 different reps from both TiVo and Comcast during the course of the day and nobody can seem to accomplish much of anything. Comcast can't seem to verify any of the numerical data on the cards without sending out a techie (i.e. they won't connect me to dispatch or whoever has access to that information).

    6) I have another scheduled visit for tomorrow, and I can't even begin to tell you how peeved I will be if they can't get it working. For the amount of money I've shelled out for this S3, it makes me nauseated that I've had to go through this amount of trouble just to set it up.

    7) If you are planning to purchase an S3, I suggest you get your ducks in a row and learn how to install CableCARDS, because you will most likely have to walk your "tech installer" through the process. They are clueless, impatient, and generally frustrated that they have to work on anything 3rd party.
  15. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    How well you know cableCARDs is immaterial. If you cable company doesn't, you're screwed. But if they suck that much (or if they're a cable company), then they're already screwing you.
  16. Maeglin

    Maeglin New Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    I live in the Atlanta area, and just got off the phone with the local office. I called to get my STB replaced with 2 CableCards, but the guy thought I was wanting to get an additional outlet installed and would push back the installation appt. by a week compared to what it would be with one. Once I got the point across that they were for the same TiVo device, he checked with his super (he wasn't convinced that it needed 2 cards) and relayed to me that 1 of their cards would still allow for recording 2 channels at once.

    From an estimate stated earlier in this thread, I wasn't aware that multistream cards were out just yet, but if what he said is true then they're very much here.
  17. JoJetSki

    JoJetSki New Member

    Jul 24, 2006
    I disagree but don't worry my bubble is in tact.
  18. domino82

    domino82 New Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Questions for anyone with Comcast who is successfully using the S3 with 2 Motorola CableCARDs:

    1) I have already run, re-run, and re-re-run the initial setup. I'm happy to do it again when things are peachy, but frankly it takes quite a bit of time, and I want to maximize the amount of time my tech visitor tomorrow spends actually *resolving* the problem.

    Question: At what point is it appropriate or absolutely necessary to re-run system setup or perform a TiVo system restart?

    2) There seems to be some confusion between my tech guy, dispatch, and the 800-number people about what numbers are needed for them to call in. According to the link that someone posted, the critical numbers are a) UnitAddress, b) Host, and c) Data with the Data value most often causing a screw-up.

    Question: The 800-number numbnuts seemed to think that the "card #" should start with an "NG." I realize that this is the serial # located on the card itself. Is it necessary for my tech guy to pull the card and call in this serial (the NG one) to dispatch? Or is all the necessary info found on the CableCard(tm) Pairing screen?

    3) At this point, my two bum cards are still sitting in my S3.

    Question: Should I take them out before the techie arrives tomorrow for a fresh start on all this B.S.?

    4) This is my understanding of the installation process (the way I'm envisioning it happening tomorrow, hoping, praying, etc). Please correct me if it's wrong:

    - I remove the cards and have them sitting on the table waiting for the tech guy when he gets there.

    - I have written down the serial numbers (NG prefix on my Motorola cards) on a notecard for easy reference.

    - We go into Settings -> CableCARD -> and techie inserts card #1.

    - We go to the "Network" screen and click the "hunt" button to fetch data on Card #1. We are then looking at the CableCard(tm) pairing screen. Tech man calls dispatch and gives them the serial (NG one, if necessary), UnitAddress, Host, and Data values.

    - We go to the CableCard(tm) Status Menu and watch as they either perform a cable card validation (CCV) or a "cold initiate" where we should be able to watch the card downloading segments as we refresh the screen.

    - We look in the Conditional Access Menu for Card #1 and should see something like Connect: yes, Auth: subscribed, CA enable: possible, Host Validation: VALID, Copy Protection Key: Enabled, etc.

    - We test channels for card #1 and everything shows up perfectly.

    - We repeat the process for card #2

    - After all this (?) I repeat guided setup for giggles, even though my TiVo seems to already know my lineup, knows all the channels I receive, has their program info and can even tell me what's *supposed* to be on, even though the screen is grey right now (oh, and these non-existant digital channels even have a signal strength in the 90s, go figure..)

    Are there any bases I'm not covering? I will seriously not allow this technician to leave my house until my S3 is operating properly. It's already ridiculous that I've had to go through this much trouble.

    Thank you for any help or insight you guys can provide. It's at least nice to know that I'm not the only one having to go through this garbage.
  19. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    That'd be me.
    You don't need to restart. Rerun gudied setup once the cards are confirmed working. Let the installer leave.
    Its a good idea to note the number printed on the card, though the number on the info screen should be the same, and is probably the important one.
    I'd think taking out bum cards is a good idea, but for no particular reason.
    I can't think of anything.
  20. Brad Porter

    Brad Porter New Member

    Sep 25, 2006
    Follow-up to post #474...

    Tech arrived early today. The install of the second card went smooth with only the expected 161-4 glitch. Guided setup went smooth. Everything is working perfectly.

    Then I abused my TiVo by making it show me DOOM. I'm so mean. :)

    One annoying thing did happen after the second tuner was added. Given the newly available second tuner, TiVo grabbed the opportunity to record Inside the NFL and Real Time with Bill Maher that it had been deferring until later in the week. Since I was watching the movie live on the second tuner I had to kill both of those recordings before it could switch channels on me. I didn't give it a long term period in which to reschedule, but I was concerned that it wasn't going to reschedule the recordings that it had already dropped. So I manually added them back in. Long term this won't be an issue because I won't be needing to watch many things live, but I am curious about whether it would remember that it didn't get a particular episode and grab the next available one even if it had already dropped that one from its plan.

    One other thing: I'm upgrading from two Series 1 boxes, so I keep accidentally giving Thumbs Up to things when I'm trying to change the channel. I don't know why they switched those button locations on the remote, but I'm glad that I've turned off suggestions because TiVo is getting some weird feedback on my likes/dislikes. :)


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