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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

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    Feb 1, 2005
    I know people had been asking about this a while back. The other day I contacted Comcast Live Chat to downgrade to Limited Basic from the standard Digital ($13 vs. $53 here). I have an S3 and an HD Tivo one with Mcard and the other with 2 single cards. At first the rep told me she couldn't even find limited basic in their lineup. I finally told her it was $13 and I had it a few years ago and was still available. Then I told her I needed to keep my equipment in order to receive the local HD channels (NBC, CBS, Fox, etc). She said they couldn't do that since Limited was analog but I told her they were required by federal law to provide access to local HD channels which meant I had to have the CC's in order to get them. She finally said I was correct and I was charged $1.99 for the change to $13 a month. There was no need for anyone to come out and they dropped all buy my limited channels and the 100+ local HD's within 5 minutes of the online session.

    I think the $6 digital additional charge may still show up since I have a second outlet with this charge but not sure about that. I think Comcast might charge a rental fee for the cards on a limited account. Either way, it's still much less.

    I had tried a month ago but didn't get as forceful about them following the law and got nowhere. So, if anyone wants to do this, it can be done.
     
  2. jfbabiak

    jfbabiak New Member

    3
    0
    Nov 25, 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    Hello Everyone. I'm a new member here, and I just wanted to tell everyone about my recent Comcastic experience. Hopefully someone might have some advice.
    I just got a Tivo-HD on Friday, and was looking forward to getting rid of my cable boxes. After picking it up at UPS (long story) I drove over to Comcast to get my cablecard. Long story short, they 100% denied me from picking it up. They said that a tech HAD to come out. I explained that all a tech is going to do is insert the card and call a number to activate it. They told me that I was wrong and that the cards don't receive programming, they have to be hardcoded by a tech at my house. No amount of discussion would help, so I scheduled an appointment for today.
    Technician arrived on-time at 2PM (I know, crazy huh?) and the first thing I asked her (yes, her!) was why I needed a tech to do this. She said she didn't know, as all she was going to do was.......insert the card and call to activate it. Since I was paying $40 for this visit, I wasn't too pleased. But I just wanted it done, so she proceeded to get it working. She said that they used to have S-Cards and they had a lot of problems. Took 6-7 different cards to get one Tivo online. She said they just got the M-Cards in (which she had three of) and they are supposed to be more reliable.
    First card didn't work at all. The 'dispatcher' who was the only person at Comcast who could activate it, said it was giving off errors. So we tried another card.
    This one seemed to work. Downloaded new firmware, got flashed, got to the 'waiting for activation' screen. They sent the activation signal, and it said it was activated. However, I was unable to get any channels except for basic cable (analog) and the Digital non-encrypted ones. The same ones that I could get with my TV's digital QAM tuner without any box. They tried sending out the authorization signal over and over. Nothing. Tried to rebuild my account in the system. Nothing. Card says it's authorized, but it doesn't seem to work. We tried updating the Tivo Guide info twice, just in case. It goes to the different channels, but I get no audio/video. It seems to be picking up some information, like how many audio channels are present, but it doesn't decode them.
    So we try card #3. Same thing as #2. I went through the CableCard menu, and looked at diagnostics. Apparently, anytime I switch a channel, it shows under Decryption Errors the tuner number and time (of when I switched channels last on that tuner). So apparently it is unable to decrypt the channels, which is what I assumed. The tech doesn't really have much cable card knowledge, but says this is her first M-Card, and never had any problems like this with the S-Cards. She said they either didn't work at all, or worked fine. She was there from 2PM-5:45PM. She scheduled an appointment for tomorrow morning at 8:30AM with a more 'knowledgable' tech, and told him to bring 'A LOT OF CARDS'. I imagine they are going to try to force 2 S-Cards on me (more $$ for them). I don't really want this, especially after she told me about all the problems they have post-installation. Any ideas on what the problem might be?
    She left the #3 card in, thinking it might be able to fix itself tonight. However, about an hour after she left, someone @ Comcast removed it from my account. I know this because it lost authentication, and when I called up to find out why, they told me it was no longer on my account. I said, then let's re-add it.
    "Sorry, you need a technician to come out to do that. Only they have the tools necessary"
    At this point I went off at them. Got a supervisor. After already paying $40, I have less channels then I did before the tech came out. I explained all the tech did was plug it in and call a number. But the supervisor said he called the 'Head Cable Card Guy' who said that an on-site tech was needed to reinstall the card (even the same one).
    This is ridiculous. Does anyone at Comcast know the slightest bit about CableCards?
    In any case, sorry about the long rant. But I would be eternally grateful if anyone could shed some light as to what my problem could be. Thanks!
     
  3. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

    1,061
    1
    Aug 29, 2002
    Sacramento...
    This should be first warning that you are going to have a problem getting the cards installed properly. Current TiVo models don't have the transmitter hardware to send ANYTHING back to the head end. That's the whole reason that someone has to read numbers off the TiVo so their database can be "paired" with the card. If the TiVo had the hardware to allow the cablecard to chat with the head end, you wouldn't need this manual step. Any responses the "dispatcher" was seeing was from something in their network, like a configuration error in one of their databases, not from the cablecards. Apparently, on some systems, the person doing the configuration has to specifically tell it that the host device (TiVo, in this case) can only receive information, so I could see why it would be upset if the card didn't respond if it was expecting a 2-way device.
     
  4. jfbabiak

    jfbabiak New Member

    3
    0
    Nov 25, 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    So, the same tech who came yesterday came back this morning (once again on-time!@!@). She brought with her 4 M-Cards and about 12 S-Cards. She said the guy who was going to come (cablecard expert....) was busy, but if she couldn't get it in a couple hours, he would stop by. She also said she had a good dispatcher on today that knew a lot about CableCards. So she plugs in the new one, it downloads firmware, flashes itself, then goes to the activation screen. She calls up the guy, gives him the information, and then he told her to give it 8 minutes and then turn off the Tivo and then back on. But before he even finished saying this, the TV starts showing video!!!!! And audio!!!!!!! All my channels were working: analog, digital, HD and premiums. She did nothing differently on my end, and I can only assume that either all 3 cards yesterday were bad, or the dispatcher yesterday wasn't doing it correctly. In either case, come on Comcast. But at least it's working now. Or should I say, for now......
     
  5. Zimm

    Zimm New Member

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    Apr 7, 2008
    So this is not correct.

    The above proves that so long as the card is activated it will tune basic cable and the clear QAM channels. This is all I am trying to do. Right now I have basic cablewithout cablecards and I get TBA on all my QAM channels. All I want is for the guide data to be mapped for these channels and it seems that if I get an activated M-card I would be able to do this.

    The above also answers my question though. The cards are not activated when they are picked up, they are omly activated when you call them in.
     
  6. mindchaotica

    mindchaotica TiVo User

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    Oct 8, 2008
    Salt Lake City
    you know it might just be me, but it seems to me that the Cable Companies try to make it as hard as they can for people to get the cable cards. granted the cost is low, but still this is something that people can do themselves without having to roll a truck for it. just seems silly to me.
     
  7. jfbabiak

    jfbabiak New Member

    3
    0
    Nov 25, 2008
    Sarasota, FL
    Actually, after they removed the first day's card from my account, and DE-authorized it, I was still able to receive analog and unencrypted QAM digital channels. So apparently, at least in my area, you just need a cablecard plugged in. It doesn't have to be authorized.
     
  8. Zimm

    Zimm New Member

    33
    0
    Apr 7, 2008
    So all the channels mapped to their proper locations after the card was de-authorized? That is what I am trying to do. I want all the clear QAM channels to be mapped to their proper locations and get guide data.
     
  9. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

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    Feb 1, 2005
     
  10. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

    123
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    Feb 1, 2005
    If your cards are activated and paired, you will get all channels mapped correctly. My M and S cards in both Tivo's do this on limited basic with the cards and I get all guide data for the HD stations. As another person listed on the tech issues, you don't need a tech, that's a load of bull. My first install I picked up the cards and did a week of calling into Comcast until I got someone who knew how to pair and activate the cards correctly. When I found someone on the phone who actually knew what they were doing, all the channels came in and mapped correctly in a couple of minutes.

    On the second Tivo a tech came out for free and did the M card. Had the same problem as the other poster about not getting the full lineup (had digital package then) and it was an account setting that was incorrect for me. Once they updated my channel lineup in their system, I got all the digital channels.
     
  11. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

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    Feb 1, 2005
    You can receive these channels even without a cablecard if they aren't encrypted. You won't have dual tuner though and you won't get all the channels mapped for guide data.
     
  12. dlmart2

    dlmart2 New Member

    27
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    Mar 26, 2006
    update:

    The M-card only worked as such for a few minutes, then they stopped working and are now only working as S-card? sigh.

     
  13. Noddy

    Noddy New Member

    53
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    May 3, 2002
    Danville, CA
    I just waiting for an exchange of my 2 week old HD Tivo which has had a problem where it keeps restarting. The new one should arrive on Monday, I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on what to do to make the repairing of the cablecard as easy as possible when I call Comcast.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  14. humphja1

    humphja1 Jeff

    1
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    Nov 30, 2008
    I'm also in Howard Co, MD. I don't have a TIVO yet, and I'm trying to decide how this will work with Comcast. I'm not really up on the cable card, so my question is will it replace the comcast box and if so, will I still be able to get on demand, and the movie channels to which I've subscribed? Also, does Comcast charge a monthly fee for the card? WIth only 1 card, can you still record/watch 2 channels at once? Sorry for the many questions, but I want to make sure this will work before I give up my Comcast DVRs.
     
  15. smedley12

    smedley12 New Member

    3
    0
    Nov 22, 2008
    Hoping someone can help me - just found this Comcast specific forum and am having issues with my CableCard. (I'm in Chicago)

    I just upgraded to TiVo HD and my multi-stream cable card doesn't appear to be properly linked with my account. (The cable guy left as the screen that was supposedly linking up all of the cable channels was up... I was stupid and believed him when he said once it cycled through everything would be cool, and let him leave.) Now I've been on the phone with Comcast at least four different times and they can't figure out what's wrong. They have another tech coming next weekend but thought I'd try posting here.

    My cable is coming in properly - I can see all the channels I'm supposed to get through the HD cable box (which I got bc I still want to be able to get on demand).

    My TiVo box is working - if I remove the splitter, I can get basic cable channels but not any of the other HD channels or the HBO, etc. I should be getting.

    What do I need to do to get my cable card talking to my account properly? AND, is there any way to do it online without calling Comcast again? I am going to tear my hair out if I have to talk to a clueless phone tech again.
     
  16. Langree

    Langree The Gimp

    17,255
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    Apr 29, 2004
    Freezinmyass...
    Bad news for you, you might want to consider wearing hats to cover the odd bald spots.

    Ya gotta call em and have them check everything in the system to make sure your card is set up right.
     
  17. mae

    mae member

    245
    1
    Dec 10, 2001
    USA
    Comcast in Howard County uses Scientific Atlanta equipment. They have M cards (be sure to specify) so you will only need one that will work with both tuners. Last year, they did not permit a self install (plug the card in and call in the numbers), but that may have changed. If you use your TiVo to replace the Comcast box, you will get all your premium channels, but not onDemand. If you add the CableCard in the TiVo and keep your box you will be charged about $5.00 per month for an "additional outlet". There should not be and additional charge for the card, since the outlet fee includes one device, either box or card. If you turn in your box, there will be no additional charge, and since it is a DVR, your bill will actually go down. You might consider what I'm doing, which is get a regular HD box instead of the DVR so you can watch onDemand. Your bill will change to remove the DVR charge, and add back in the additional outlet and the HD box.

    Now the tricky part, getting it working. I asked for a Comcast employee and got a contractor. He had never seen a cablecard or TiVo, but was willing to listen. I handed him the sheet that came with the TiVo, and the instructions from this forum and walked him through it. He called his dispatcher, she called the numbers to Comcast, and on the second try it all worked. It has been stable for about 14 months.

    BUT, you can find several posts in this thread of people in Howard County who have had 5 or 10 visits and I think one who could never get it working. If the first try doesn't work, I'd give them a second chance and then call the executive care people in Philly, who seem to be able to get things working.

    Good luck.
     
  18. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
    0
    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    Dual tuner works fine without CableCards on analog and unencrypted digital channels. You just don't get the guide data for the digital channels.
     
  19. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
    0
    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    Pairing is required for encrypted channels only. If we live in the same area, I can take your CableCards and put them in my TiVo. The unencrypted channels would be mapped correctly.
     
  20. Dec 1, 2008 #5860 of 9367
    dmikec1975

    dmikec1975 New Member

    2
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    Dec 1, 2008
    I greatly apologized if this has been covered already...I did a fairly thorough search and have only been able to find bits and pieces to my question.

    Essentially, I will be getting HD Tivo this week...while my wife is excited, she will miss the On Demand programming once we get rid of the cable box.

    Can someone please give me some simple instructions on how to set up my HD TiVo while keeping our Comcast cable box?

    Also...has anyone in Chicago been able to pick up the cable cards themselves and install them? Specifically, my Comcast cable office in on North Avenue in Lincoln Park.

    Thanks in advance!
     

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