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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Dec 1, 2008 #5861 of 9367
    DVDerek

    DVDerek <WittySaying />

    6,450
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    Sep 30, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Split the Coax cable as it comes out of the wall. Route one connection to your cable box and one to the TiVo. Then connect the cable box to your TV and the TiVo to your TV. (Preferably you have enough HDMI ports for this).

    Your cable box would be on one input, while your TV will be on the other.
     
  2. Dec 1, 2008 #5862 of 9367
    dmikec1975

    dmikec1975 New Member

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    Dec 1, 2008
    Thanks, DVDerek. I thought that is what I might have to do...while I am fairly tech savvy, I have never actually split a cable signal before...I am assuming that is as simple as getting a splitter and getting two additional shorter cables, one for the Tivo box and one for the cable box. Correct? Also, by keeping the Comcast box, I am assuming that I will still need to get the Cable Card, is that right?

    Also, I have Slingbox hooked up to the Comcast box, which I suppose that I will just leave that connection as is.
     
  3. Dec 1, 2008 #5863 of 9367
    DVDerek

    DVDerek <WittySaying />

    6,450
    0
    Sep 30, 2002
    Boston, MA
    Yes, it's as simple as buying a splitter and two more coax cables. Opt for the RG-6 variety of coax (even though it's a short run). You will still need the cable card(s) for the tivo. It's basically as if they are on 2 separate TV's.

    Actually - I imagine the cable installer (if one is required for the cable cards) could provide you with all of this - and cut to the proper lengths too.
     
  4. Dec 1, 2008 #5864 of 9367
    aojdawg

    aojdawg New Member

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    Jan 9, 2008
    Just a quick question - I relied on this site to keep my sanity several months back, so I figured I'd ask the cablecard veterans this: I'm moving in a few days, and transferring my cable service to the new address (10 miles away). Am I going to have to go through the whole activation/pairing nightmare again? The tivo will be the same, same account, etc. Any help will be appreciated.
     
  5. Dec 5, 2008 #5865 of 9367
    vectorcatch

    vectorcatch New Member

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    Nov 20, 2008
    So a few weeks before I got my CableCard for my TiVo HD I started visiting this forum and instantly realized I was screwed, due to the fact I live in Howard County Maryland.

    Just to continue the legend the first 2 Techs forgot to bring cards, the 3rd Tech came with 2 M-cards. 3rd Tech informed me they did not know how to install CableCards. Tech broke one when she ejected it during a firmware upgrade. Then the Second card updated everything seemed fine, but they couldn't pair it. The 4th tech also informed me they knew nothing about CableCards and was effectively sent away by me before he broke something. The 5th and 6th Techs came out and swapped the card and both informed me that the problem was on the Head End. This conclusion came after they were on the phone with the local office for 20 minutes. So 6 techs in total so far.

    Problem #1: Apparently someone at the Local Comcast office screwed up and never correctly depaired the original (dead) swapped out card. So somehow the database got corrupted and they had to get their IT department to fix it. Well this took 2 weeks to happen. Mind you the only way I knew this was that I could finally call them and get them to recite the correct CableCard info to me. Prior to this, my account showed a blank CableCard to the CSRs.

    Problem #2: They continuously tell me that my box isn't responding to the Init signal. Well I thought about this one for a while and wondered how my box could respond if it was "one-way" as indicated by the CableCard screen. Well I called Comcast and got them to read me every single detail off of thier screen and low and behold it is set to "two-way". (Although the CSR's don't entirely seem to understand the difference between two-way communication and Multiple Streams)

    Now here is the kicker, no one at Comcast currently knows how to change this. I have called 3 times and been told by 3 people that they were emailing the Head end and that they would fix it and call me back. I have given them a couple of days between each call and have not received a single call-back.

    The last tech that came out tested my signal and did the loopback tests. He even told me I shouldn't allow them to send another tech out because the problem is not on my end.

    Currently my one-way, two-way thing is only a hunch, but I ask the people who have dealt with this awful county, how did you get your issues resolved and who did you talk to? (I have just recently filed both an FCC and a BBB complaint).
     
  6. Dec 5, 2008 #5866 of 9367
    mae

    mae member

    245
    1
    Dec 10, 2001
    USA
    As I've posted, my install last year was fine, and it has been stable. I have been able to get other issues resolved by contacting the executive care folks in Philadelphia (215-665-1700).

    The county cable administrator has an online complaint form on their web page. I used it once, and received a call from a manager at Comcast, but not the county.:(

    Good luck.
     
  7. Dec 6, 2008 #5867 of 9367
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,507
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Yep, it's way past time to escalate this to corporate, vectorcatch.
     
  8. Dec 6, 2008 #5868 of 9367
    demaximis

    demaximis New Member

    7
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    Dec 1, 2008
    I have to say that I am a little suprised that cablecard issues still exist after their roll-out a few years ago. I assumed all the kinks would be worked out. Little did I know...

    After years of great use out of four networked Replaytv4504's, I decided it was time to move up to HD. I am now the proud owner of four Tivo HDs (two HD's (red box) and two Series 3 (black box)). Of course, the differing needs of the two boxes confused Comcast as to how many cablecards to bring (2 multi's for the HD's (one each) and two sets, either multi or single, for the Series 3's -- a total of six cards) and of course, they brought two few. I wound up with 2 multi's and 2 singles. So I decided to have the tech install each of the multi's in the HD's and the two singles in one of the Series 3's (leaving the last Tivo for the next tech visit).

    Tech (contractor) comes in, and immediately gets confused over the array of Tivos. We start the process. He calls in the numbers, and we test a few channels. I run through Guided Setup and he tunes in a few analog channels and network HD. He tells me he is late for his next job, and begins to head for the door. I try to tune to HBO (I have digital package plus HBO) and get a gray screen. He tells me that it will take a little while for the "higher" channels to download, and leaves. I wait a bit, and discover that not only do I not receive HBO, but none of the cable channel beyond basic - no CNN, TWC, Disney, Nik, etc. Only the locals in analog and in HD. Plus CSPAN -hooray.

    I called 404-Comcast, and the tech told me that everything looked activated on their end, and they blamed Tivo. Said to wait 24 hours until the channels "came in", even though the Comcast boxes I still have tune everything in fine. Not quite sure what to do now. The same problem exists with all the cablecables in all three Tivos.

    I tried the concern line # I found in this thread, but the office was closed. I guess I'll have to wait until Monday, unless someone can suggest what I need to tell to the clueless CSR techs.

    Many thanks in advance for any help/suggestions!
     
  9. Dec 6, 2008 #5869 of 9367
    crazi4tv

    crazi4tv New Member

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    Oct 31, 2008
    Demaximis, sounds like the problem you are having is caused by incorrect cablecard pairing. When there are multiple cablecards on one account, the person who receives the call from the technician can pair the Host & Data to the wrong cablecard. Cablecards are designed to scramble encrypted channels until they are paired properly and authorized by the cable company. What you need to do is access the MMI/Pairing screen. Write down the Host, Data and Unit Address for each cablecard installed. Call your cable provider and ask to speak to someone who knows how to verify cablecard information on your account. Give the person you speak to the Host & Data #'s and the Unit Address-Motorola cards have both a serial nbr & Unit Address that identifies the card, I'm not sure if Scientific Atlantic cards do. If the Host & Data numbers are paired to the wrong cards, your provider will need to correct it on their system, and then "initialize" the cards.

    Are your cards single-stream or multi-stream? Motorola or Scientific Atlantic? The Conditional Access screen will display what the problem is. Depending on what type of card is installed, this screen will display the information differently.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2008 #5870 of 9367
    CO_Dan

    CO_Dan New Member

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    Dec 7, 2008
    Just received a new Tivo HD as a gift today :D (planned on buying one, but another's generosity has now put a crunch on my reserach time to meet wifey's expectations for set-up)....

    I live in Boulder County, CO

    1) Have a Tivo HD, thus I will require only one M-Card. Anyone with experience in Boulder County able to provide guidance on willingness of local Comcast to allow a pick-up/self install rather than scheduling an installation?

    2) Regarding HD - am I correct in my understanding that my M-card plugged into my Tivo HD will allow me to access HD channels w/o paying the extra $7 fee for HDtv to Comcast? Will I have access to all corresponding channels offered in HD that I have access to via my cable package?

    3) Looking at the different packages, it looks like so long as it will not impact my accessability to HD, etc, the Starter Cable Package ($53.39) has all of the channels that we watch on a regular basis- is there any benefit I'm overlooking in regards to my new Tivo set up (going back to question #2) of getting the next level up (Digital Preffered) other than access to the additional specialized channels?

    If someone can confirm my questions above- my understanding is that now (Going from Digital Preferred w/ no HD Receiver) to Digital Starter w/ a Tivo HD, I will have access to HD channels, pay [to Comcast] no additional equipment rental fees (turning in box for a CC), & save money on my programming (downgrading)?

    Thank you,
     
  11. Dec 7, 2008 #5871 of 9367
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,507
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Did you try the
    COMCAST CABLECARD SUPPORT CENTER
    1.866.761.0211
    number?

    Sure sounds like the cards are not paired properly, and may not have been setup for use in one-way devices like the Tivo.
     
  12. Dec 7, 2008 #5872 of 9367
    jmpage2

    jmpage2 New Member

    1,951
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    Jan 20, 2004
    I recently needed an M-Card for a 2nd Tivo HD we bought for our bedroom. I called Comcast and was told that no officed in Colorado are allowed to deliver you an M-card for self installation.
     
  13. Dec 7, 2008 #5873 of 9367
    Bicho

    Bicho New Member

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    May 15, 2004
    I called Comcast 3 times today to try and get someone who knows about M-Cards. No luck, the person had no clue what I was talking about even after she spoke with her supervisor. I have the appointment this wednesday at 8am. I will let you guys know how it goes.

    If I could be so bold as to make a suggestion about this thread. This thread is about 196 page deep and I didn't find anything that suggests how to handle card installations. Ideally we should gather all the information from all that has been posted and edit the first post with a list of instructions or "best practices" on how to handle comcast and setting up an appointment. Without that this thread is just and E/N thread that doesn't really offer much other than moral support.
     
  14. Dec 7, 2008 #5874 of 9367
    crazi4tv

    crazi4tv New Member

    119
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    Oct 31, 2008
    Bicho, when you call your cable provider, most phone reps won't know what you mean when you ask for a "M-Card". Explain that there are two types of cablecards, a Single-Stream card which can only decrypt 1 channel at a time, and a Multi-Stream card which can decrypt 2 or more channels at the same time (or operate both TiVo tuners). When you schedule an appt., let the person know that you need the Multi-Stream card installed in a TiVo and ask him/her to notate it on the work order. If the technician knows what he will be doing before he arrives at your home, things should go smoother.

    I have put together an easy to follow installation guide with some common installation issues. Keep in mind this was made for Motorola cards.

    IMPORTANT –To receive encrypted channels, there must be Host & Data numbers on the account and paired to the correct card!

    TiVo HD DVRs require either 1 M-Card (insert in slot 1) or 2 S-Cards. If an M-Card is installed in slot 1, the DVR will ignore any CableCARD installed in slot 2.

    Series3 HD DVR run all CableCARDs in single stream mode, so this model DVR always requires 2 CableCARDS which can be M-Cards, S-Cards, or a combination of the two. I recommend two S-Cards.

    How to install CableCARDs in a TiVo Series3 (slots in back panel, one on top of the other) & HD DVR (side-by-side slots in front panel):
    1.Insert a CableCARD into slot 1 (the right slot on the HD, bottom slot on Series 3) on the TiVo DVR. Make note of the serial number of the card placed in this slot.

    Within a few minutes, the gray CableCARD MMI/Pairing screen should appear. If the pairing screen does not display after a few minutes, on the CableCARD™ Decoders screen highlight Configure CableCARD 1→CableCARD Menu→CableCARD Pairing. The CableCARD may take a minute or two to be recognized. Look for the Unit address on the Pairing screen & verify it matches the CableCARDs Unit address on CSG. Obtain the Host & Data. The cable provider will need to enter them into inventory and pair the Host to the correct card.

    2.On the pairing screen, look for the Host & Data. The cable provider will need to enter them into inventory and pair to the Cablecard. If two CableCARDs are being installed, pair the Host & Data to the correct card by matching the Unit Address on the Pairing screen to the cards’ Unit Address.

    3.The card will need to be activated by the cable provider.

    4.Press CLEAR on the TiVo remote to exit the pairing screen, then highlight GO BACK until you reach the CableCARD™ Decoders screen. Highlight Configure CableCARD1 and press SELECT.

    5.Highlight Test Channels and press the SELECT button. If you see a warning message, select OK, access this setting.

    You should see the message “No channels available” (channel map is downloading) or “Please Wait…Acquiring Channels”, and then the channel test screen should appear within a couple of minutes. BE PATIENT.

    6.Press the CHAN ▲/▼button to make sure the card is receiving channels. Then, using the number buttons on the remote, enter the numbers of various encrypted channels to make sure the card is decrypting properly.

    7.When you finish your test, on the remote press CLEAR to return to the menu, then highlight GO BACK on the CableCARD 1 screen and then press SELECT to return to the CableCARD™ Decoders screen.

    8.To install the second card, repeat steps 1 through 5, except choose Configure CableCARD2.

    If an error code is displayed that begins with “161-“, it is being generated by the CableCARD. These errors indicate failures at different steps in the low-level communications protocols between the CableCARD and the DVR. If error 161-4 is displayed, this is normal and can be ignored, press Go Back on the remote. Essentially it's means that the CableCARD is resetting. If you see 161-4 more than once, or if you see any other 161-x signal, try a new card. If this continues, refer to manufacturer.

    While a CableCARD is searching for or downloading a channel map, the message “No channels available” will display. If "Please Wait...Acquiring Channels" is displayed instead and does not change after 10 minutes, or the operation times out with a message such as "Access Unavailable", it means that*the CableCARD is unable to acquire a channel map, either because the CableCARD was never activated, not paired correctly, or because it is not receiving a signal.

    1. Access the TiVo Diagnostics screen. From TiVo CENTRAL, select Messages & Settings→Account & System Information→Diagnostics. Look for Channel List Received: YES. If No is displayed, the channel map has not downloaded. The technician will need to troubleshoot with his dispatch to determine why the channel map has not downloaded.
     
  15. Dec 7, 2008 #5875 of 9367
    Bicho

    Bicho New Member

    8
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    May 15, 2004
    crazi4tv

    Great!!! thanks so much for you help, that is exactly what I was looking for.

    Mods, that post should be copied and applied to the beginning of the post, IMHO
     
  16. Dec 7, 2008 #5876 of 9367
    micahmn

    micahmn New Member

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    Nov 12, 2008
    FYI: When I called this number tonight, I got a message asking me if I was in one of 3 areas of the Southeast United States (Savannah, GA, somewhere in South Carolina and somewhere in Florida). If you press the button for any other issue, it tells you to call 1-800-COMCAST and then hangs up...
     
  17. Dec 8, 2008 #5877 of 9367
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,507
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Yep, I'm in the ATL and so is demaximis, which is why I posted it. Option 3 on their menu when you call. Not sure why support isn't offered nationwide.
     
  18. Dec 8, 2008 #5878 of 9367
    demaximis

    demaximis New Member

    7
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    Dec 1, 2008
    While the tech at the end of the line was a good bit more in the know than the "normal" techs at 1-800-comcast, she still could not get my two m-cards to work. The two S cards in the Series 3 are now working fine, but neither of us could figure out why the other two Tivo HD's with the M cards can't receive any unencrypted signals. I checked the Conditional Access screen, and sure enough, both say "MP", not subscribed. However, the tech said her systems shows that the cards are paired, and we confirmed the host/data numbers twice. She said that maybe it was a signal strength problem, but I'm not buying that, as there are no issues with the signal for any other video product in the house - certainly not the comcast box that one of the HD's is replacing. She still has a tech coming over on Thursday, and I may try to call again tomorrow to see if someone else can try to help me. Still looking for any suggestions to offer the tech to try (the people on this forum seem to know more about this process than the actual comcast techs - sad).

    Thanks for the suggestions thus far, and as stated above, more are welcome!
     
  19. Dec 9, 2008 #5879 of 9367
    crazi4tv

    crazi4tv New Member

    119
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    Oct 31, 2008

    Are your cablecards Motorola or Scientific Atlantic?
     
  20. Dec 9, 2008 #5880 of 9367
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,507
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    If it says MP, the cards are not properly initialized for a one-way device (Tivo). It's not a pairing issue. Same problem I had back in the summer. Did you call the cablecard support number???
     

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