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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Sep 9, 2008 #5681 of 9367

    jlb Go Pats!

    Dec 13, 2001
    Newburyport, MA
    Well, that depends.

    I have a 720p TV and I set to 720p fixed rather than outputting native. At least on my TV, when you do that, you sometimes get a noticable moment of blank screen when switching between channels with different resolutions.

    1080i broadcast scaled down to 720p on my TV does not seem to detract at all. Easy tradeoff to avoid the lag.
  2. dbeatydbeaty

    dbeatydbeaty New Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    I had my Tivo HD replaced and the new box will not recognize the old MCARD. So I had Comcast come over this morning with a new MCARD.

    The tech had never installed one before with the THD. After getting the Host ID screen and sending this to dispatch, the card never recieved any EMM's.

    On the host ID screen it shows "authorization revceived" at the bottom and also on the CA screen it shows "Waiting for Update" on one of the status lines

    But no channels. Has anyone run into this before, I suspect this is the MCARD firmware being updated or a failure, as the last installer told me he had updated the card himself at the office the day before to save us the grief. Anyway, this current installer had zero knowledge about that. Anything I can check in the setup screens to see what the prob might be? He left the MCARD.

    I have another installer coming Friday with more MCARDS.


  3. nrupaw

    nrupaw New Member

    Sep 9, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Had a tech come over and install a cablecard for my TiVo HD. Called into the 1-800 number and the lady knew exactly what I was talking about when I mentioned cable cards. the tech who came was a nice guy and carried a multi-stream card. he did admit that he's only installed the card half a dozen in the past couple of years.

    hooked it up to the tivo and he called in for comcast to ping it/activate it and the card got a firmware update first and then got the host ID. the tech did mention that its a lot better now than it was in the past. earlier it would take a tech almost upto an hour now to install a card and he'd have to pop it out and pop it in a couple of time before it got activates and some of the cards that he would be given wouldn't even work so he'd have to carry 3-4 cards in the hope that 1 would work.

    the customer support lady told me that having the tech come over and install the card would be $15.99 an no charge for the card(s). I asked the tech if I owed him any money and he mentioned that he doesn't think comcast would charge for a tech to come over jsut to install a card. he wasn't instructed to collet any money on my work order but he asked to me to keep an eye out on my next months bill incase comcast adds it later.

    Once the card pinged fine, and could pick up some of the HD channels, I started to re-run guided setup. it was slow though and the tech wanted to leave but he did say that he still had a couple more job orders around the area and gave me his cell number and told me that incase if there are any problems i can call him and he'd come over again.

    all in all, decent expereince. currently signed to the digital starter package for comcast and with the M-Card i get the local and a couple of non local channels in HD. good enough for me.
  4. dwit

    dwit Active Member

    May 4, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    You may want to check in to that. With my digital starter package with Comcast Atlanta, I get about 30 or so HD channel. Basically, I get all HD channels, except premium channels. Actually, for any channel in my lineup, if the channel has a hd equivalent, I get it. So, with Digital Starter, I get Animal Planet. Animal Planet has HD, so I get it. Same with Discovery, AE, TNT, etc.
  5. bobfff

    bobfff New Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    I picked up an M card for my refurbished HD from El Cerrito Comcast. Installed it in the HD box, but when I called Comcast to activate the card, the tech was unable to get it to work. After trying for about 20 minutes or so, he agreed it was probably a bad card. So I hurried back to the office and asked for two more cards (it was late Friday afternoon and the office is closed on Saturday), only to find that they had no more cards. But the Berkeley office did, so I drove to Berkeley, returned the bad card, picked up two new ones, and returned home.

    After returning from a late dinner, I finally was able to try activating. By now, it was 1:00am. I got the card inserted, found the Data and Host Ids, and called Comcast, only to be told that all their computers do down each morning at 1am. After a brief episode of despair, I went to bed. Next morning I called again. Tech hit the box, and within a minute or two the channels appeared. Tested the encrypted channels, all good. The first card was obviously bad.

    All in all, not a bad experience, although I cannot (well, could not at the time) imagine Comcast taking all its computers down at the same time.

  6. nrupaw

    nrupaw New Member

    Sep 9, 2007
    RE: dwit

    yup. you are right. I get all the HD channels out there except the premium ones. one question though, I was really hoping to get the Nat Geo channel. it went off the regular signal here in Minneapolis and i was supposed to be only in HD but I can't seem to get it. is National Geographic regarded as a premium channel in comcast's lineup?
  7. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

    Jul 15, 2000
    In my area (Indiana) NatGeo is not incuded with Digital Starter but is included with Digital Classic. Digital Classic is an extra $13 per month (above Digital Starter) and includes ~45 additional SD digital channels.

    I was offered a one year package of Digital Starter, Classic, and Preferred for only $10 per month.

  8. dbeatydbeaty

    dbeatydbeaty New Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    Third times a charm?

    I have a window today from 7AM to 12PM...

    Last time the installer's one MCARD would not activate. On the CA page, it lists status "Not Staged". I called Tivo cablecard support and I was told that could mean "several things, not sure". Like the card's not activated. Shouldn't they know?

    OK. Well, the installer finally gave up. He had only ever installed a card in a Tivo with the slot in the front. (They all try to put it in the lefthand slot too)

    Hopefully the installer today will know something about activating these cards. And have more than one. It is absolutely positively ridiculous how difficult this whole thing it. You know, the third time I am missing time at work waiting, the frustration, the failures. It's just not worth it.

    Crossed fingers.
  9. muerte33

    muerte33 New Member

    Jul 4, 2008
    Yes, I feel your pain. I have been working on getting my Tivo HD's working correctly for months now. CableCard Hell is what it is.
    They would save themselves a LOT of trouble by getting M-cards.
    They have never seen M-cards around here, even though I tell them they are in their newer Moto boxes.

    Comcast, if you are listening, Tivo has done their part.
    Give us a website where I put in my account#, S/N of the card, data/host id provided by Tivo, and press ACTIVATE. Is it that hard in this day and age?

    This $20 install fee is for the birds. They rarely ever get everything working during the initial visit. If you pay for premium channels get ready for even more "George Romero"-type experiences.

    Also, if you want to keep us from buying 3rd party devices, BUY more DCH 6416 Motorola DVR boxes, and make them available in our region.
    I was on a waiting list for months, and never got one, gave up and went Tivo HD.

    I pay almost $200/month for Comcast services!
    You would expect when you approach the cost of a power bill you would get better service.

    They keep trying to get me to get their VOIP service for $30/month, but until they can prove to me they are worthy, I will keep the cheaper/better Packet8 service (only $27/month). I think Comcast goes to $40 after 12 months anyway.
    How does this help me?

    Rant ends.
  10. Dennisis

    Dennisis New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    I'm having trouble with getting my Comcast M cards set up properly. When I originally had Comcast install them it took a while but then everything seemed to work properly. I had their "digital preferred plus" package which included HBO. I received all the channels fine and life was good. :) Then, I decided to change my premium channels. :( I dropped HBO and signed up for Showtime and the sports package. I didn't check out to see if the changes "took" for a couple of days but when I did I discovered nothing changed - I still have HBO, no Showtime and no sports package - just gray screens where the new channels should be. When I called Comcast they confirmed they made the changes and tried resending signals - different types and several times. They had me remove and reinstall the cable cards (yes they're in the original locations), reboot my Tivo, etc... After an hour on the phone they gave up and have scheduled a tech to come to my house tomorrow (Sunday a.m.) Any thoughts? I have a big game to watch today but I need that sports package to work - any way I can resolve this myself?????:confused:
  11. dbeatydbeaty

    dbeatydbeaty New Member

    Aug 17, 2008
    I finally got the comcast MCARD installed today. The tech arrived with 2 or 3 cards (thanks, as I requested that) It wasn't as easy as the first time, but it seems to be working. Here's what happened: Installed card. At first it lists SCARD but soon switches to MCARD. Firmware update begins. Tech complains that I didn't update the firmware on my Tivo first. I say, it's the Cablecard updating....from my education here. But I think he thinks I'm clueless. Took about 10 minutes.

    Then host ID and serials are phoned into operator. Soon, EMMs are comming in and stop at 255 and status ready appears on the CA screen.

    Next he tries the test channels function. Some HD channels are working some are not. When he tries ESPNHD it jumps back to the Host ID screen. A few other channels do the the same, jump back to host ID in Cablecard setup.

    So, over the next hour we try this: Run Guided setup. No Change. When I select one of these "off"" digital channels, it jumps to the card Host ID screen.

    We Reboot Tivo HD. No change. Test Channels now results in black screen with something like "No Programs" at the top. selecting Guide produces a screen with a large rotating icon in the center and "Aquiring Program Info" in large block text. I've never seen that screen before.

    Remove and reinsert card. Test Channels again, they come on. ESPNHD comes on, so it's working. This is about 20-30 minutes after pairing. Not sure which thing we did corrected the problem or if we just needed to wait. Perhaps reinserting card is the key?

    So, I'm operational again.

    Now I have my fingers crossed. Last time I got this far, the Tivo box completely failed during the next night, and was DOA when I got up. This is the replacement box. Going through this again is probably not worth it.

  12. JaySK

    JaySK New Member

    Sep 13, 2008
    In Chicago--Comast 2&3, multi-strea CC was about $15 for install, $1.50/month. Horrible problems with pairing on my Series 3 HD. None of the phone support people know what's going on. The technician does nothing more than I could do by calling into "dispatch" with the S/N and host #--resulting in absolutely nothing. Will have my 3rd technician come out in a couple of days to resolve my "unable to acquire channels" error message. Very frustrating. Anyone else with this problem?
  13. lexsar

    lexsar Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    OK, here's the update. Comcast was scheduled to show up at my home within a 7am to 10am window. Received a call from Comcast @ 8:30am stating that they would be there between 7am and 10am. 10am came and went... no Comcast tech. Called Comcast and was on hold for over 20 minutes before I was able to speak to someone. They assured me that the tech would be there, he was running behind but would be here. They offered to reschedule but I didn't want to risk that. The tech finally showed up @ 11:15am. He was not a Comcast employee as I had requested, but a subcontractor. I figured, since he was here, I'll give it a shot. He went through 3 multistream cable cards without success. This included about 40-45 minutes for each card to do a firmware upgrade. I can't determine if the problem was with this tech or his dispatch or both. The person on dispatch finally said Comcast would have to deal with it. The tech did leave the last cablecard installed. I mistakenly let him leave without working cablecards.

    Called Comcast back and after about 40 minutes finally got to speak with someone. He checked things on his end (CableCARD ID & Host ID) and I reran guided setup with the Comcast CSR still on the line. All of the program loaded in correctly but still not many of my premium digital cable nor any of my HBO, Showtime, Encore, Sundance, or HD cable channels (except for the local affiliates SD and HD channels) were showing up. He offered to send out a supervisor today (same day) but I've already been tied up with this since 7am and it was now going on 4pm. I had other things planned. They have scheduled to come back out on Tuesday afternoon but could not guarantee a Comcast employee.

    I'm getting frustrated...
  14. moolman

    moolman New Member

    Dec 22, 2005

    I just installed 2 M-Cards for my Tivo S3 in NorCal. The tech had to make a second trip because he forgot the cards the first time. He brought over 4 cards for me to choose from since he wasn't sure which ones worked. I chose the two M labeled motorola cards. I have the S3 so I can't take advantage of the M cards but they were the newest cards they had available. I don't know how true this is but I was told that if you get 2 S cards on the same outlet, they are both free, if you get M cards, the 2nd card is $2 a month or so. Supposedly, I didn't get charged for the 2nd M card since I wanted S cards and all they had was M.

    Install was fairly easy. The tech said he only installed it once, so I did all the installing and just had him call in the cable card numbers. It took a minute or two but the card installs went quick and easy.
  15. Auror

    Auror New Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    For those living in the Philadelphia region, when you call a comcast rep on the phone they claim to only have single stream cards and do not offer M-cards. This is completely false however, as when the comcast tech came out to install a cable card in my TiVoHD, which he had never installed a cable card before, all he had were m-cards. Also for reference i am being charged $2.00 a month for the one m-card.
  16. lexsar

    lexsar Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    More bad news. I had a 4pm to 7pm window this evening. I was called by a Comcast tech @ 6:30pm to say my call was just added to my schedule mid-day and he has no cable cards on him. He also said he still has one call before he would get to me. He suggested that we reschedule. I've already taken off of work early to meet them today and now I'm expected to take even more time off? This is unacceptable.

    I live less than 1/2 mile from the Comcast office so I suggested 7am tomorrow and bring plenty of cablecards.

    Wish me luck. Do you think I can discount my hourly pay rate off of my next bill?!?!?

    This tech claims he's a Comcast Lead tech. We'll see tomorrow morning if this gets fixed or not. I'll keep you posted.
  17. lexsar

    lexsar Member

    Dec 15, 2003
    This lead Comcast tech said that the information about the cablecard needed to be removed from the servers then re-entered. He was having the inside people who handle that. He claimed that after this takes place, I'll get everything that I'm subscribed to. I specifically asked him if they need to send another set of signals to the TivoHD and he said no, that as soon as the information was populated in the servers about this cablecard, I would start seeing channels appear a few at a time. He gave me his Technical Supervisor's phone number if I had any further issues. It's been almost 48 hours since he left and still none of the encrypted channels are coming through. I've called and left 2 messages so far with this Technical Supervisor but have yet to hear back from him.
  18. fronesis

    fronesis New Member

    Oct 12, 2002
    In doing LOTS of reading here, and then going through my own seemingly endless cablecard problems with comcast, I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. While lots of techs or csr people say this, it is simply FALSE to claim that you will need to WAIT for channels to start showing up. They either get the pairing, initialization, and authorization correct, or they do not. If and when they get it correct, ALL of your channels show up within just a few minutes. So if a tech is at your house and you do not have all your channels, do NOT let them leave. Once they are gone, you are back into the endless loop of calling comcast, and ultimately having them send another tech out (see below).

    2. It seems VERY unlikely that anyone you can call yourself will be able to get the pairing right. My experience (echoed by others here), is that, for whatever reason, it usually takes a tech talking to their 'dispatch' to get things right.

    3. Once the cablecards are paired correctly, you may well need to re-run guided setup so that Tivo gets the right information now that your cablecard has the right channel map. However, if you can't see your channels through the 'test channels' option on your tivo - i.e. you are still trying to get it to work in the first place - then rerunning guided setup does not FIX anything.

    So my unsolicited advice would be this: try to get someone on the phone, one last time, schedule one last tech visit, and then DO NOT LET THEM LEAVE UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR CHANNELS. Any other approach is just a (further!!!) waste of time.
  19. janry

    janry New Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    Well, with my Series 1's free year of service about to expire since I bought a HD a last October, I've finally decided to get cable card(s) for the HD and retire the Series 1. I've been through this thread and see where a number of people in Nashville have been able to pick up the cards and self-install. I also see on the website for my local Comcast office they have self installation kis available for a number of things including "Digital CableCard". So tomorrow morning I'm heading to that office and will attempt to get my cable card(s).

    So, anyone want to place any bets on how successful I'll be on (A) getting a cablecard and (B) getting it installed properly if I'm successful in (A)?
  20. johnearp

    johnearp New Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Columbia MD

    I live in Howard County and have just purchased the 20 hr HD DVR (refurbished). I'm going to dump the Comcast DVR and get a dual Cablecard or 2 singles. Is this something I can do or do I have to get a tech to show up and do it? I'm fairly proficient at this kind of stuff. I was going to get the cablecards when I turned in my Comcast DVR.

    Your thought are much apprieciated.


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