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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. MisterWho

    MisterWho New Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    I just simply told the rep that I didnt want to go for the HD channels just yet, only the additional digital channels. I believe (and will confirm on first new bill) that you simply get the HD versions of those channels included in your level of service. I honestly dont know what the $7 is meant to give you extra.

    I have heard that Comcast is nearly all MCard in all areas so I bet that's what they will bring anyway. I found the online ordering system more accomodating than calling the 800# to order. Just make selections from those that are given (I just clicked through as not all options are given such as existing installs and cablecards) and end with the automatic chat function where I clarified that I was an existing customer and should not be charged the $30 install fee as shown in the ordering process (although an $18 upgrade fee was unavoidable) and that I would need a cablecard instead of the equipment offered in the order screens. I also requested that a note be made on the work order to bring MCards - more than one in case the first was faulty.

    Like I said in my previous post, it all worked out pretty well.
  2. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    You will continue to see all of the clear QAM channels. Most likely you will NOT be able to see the analog channels at the edges of the extended basic trap (channel 35 or so) because those are usually mapped to digital channels which are encrypted.
  3. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Since you're keeping a Comcast box, the TiVo would become another digital outlet, which would cost ~$7 in my area. One CableCard is included "free" in that $7 outlet fee. Second card for the same outlet would cost $1.79 in my area.
  4. chris1088c

    chris1088c New Member

    Jan 5, 2009

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to update my case for those who are interested or need help in my area.

    I spoke on the phone with another Customer Service Rep today who was very helpful. He told me that they do in fact have M-Cards and there is no charge for the cards themselves. There is a one-time $18 install fee which I am okay with. He also told me that Comcast does not charge for additional outlets anymore (atleast not in my area). This is by far the most helpful Rep I have dealt with at Comcast over the last 2 years. I will update again to let everyone know how the install goes.
  5. Terial-DeVo

    Terial-DeVo New Member

    Nov 1, 2004

    I got the same letter and went to the store and got 4 new cards and have been in hell ever since!

    I have:
    S3 Tivo
    Tivo HD

    Old setup and worked pefectly:
    S3 Tivo had 1MultiStream card, 1SingleSteam card
    TiVoHD had 1 MS card
    TV had 1 SS card

    New Setup
    S3 Tivo has: 2 MS cards (both not working, i get about 45 channels, no premiums, and no random lower channels, like scifi, food network, spike, usa, etc...)
    Tivo HD has: 1 MS card 1/2 working, i do not understand this one lol, 1 stream is working perfectly, i get ALL channels, if i hit livetv to swap between singnals, it is the same as the S3 cards, partial channels
    TV has: 1 MS card, not working at all, can not even pull the HostID number off the card.

    When i installed all these new cards, i put them all in at the same time, not one at a time, Comcast has been totally useless for me, i have called them consistently every day since the 31st and have gotten no where with them.

    I am considering trying to have a tech come out, but there is no reason for it, they have all the information from the 4 cards that i have given them numerous times, but they are just not activating them or pairing them... i am getting really pissed as the new season of shows starts very soon!
  6. cuyahoga

    cuyahoga New Member

    Nov 15, 2002
    I have Comcast in suburban Philadelphia coming by to install cable cards into my TiVo HD this weekend. I have (2) single stream cards already in my Series 3 and am hoping they bring just (1) multistream card on their visit. As for pricing, the only way I expect to get a straight answer is when I get my next bill.
  7. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

    Jul 15, 2000
    I thiink you are mistaken. My Comcast rate card includes fine print that says the local HD stations are included in basic. And that is in fact what I receive. I received the local HD stations before I upgraded my service to full digital. My other Tivo without cablecards also receives the clear QAM local HD stations (without Tivo guide service).

    What clear QAM stations are you worried about losing? If they are local HD stations, you shouldn't lose them. If they are other cable networks like ESPN, Discovery, CNN, etc., there is a chance they would be blocked by not being included in the channel map downloaded to the card. However, if they are in the channel map, you should continue to receive them.

    On my system, all channels appear to be in the channel map I recieve. However, my cards are not authorized to decrypt all channels. I would be very surprised if you lose any clear QAM channels with the addition of cablecards.

  8. frankspin

    frankspin New Member

    Jan 6, 2009
    I'm thinking of purchasing a Tivo HD to replace the DVR I'm getting through Comcast and had some questions. I'm sure the following questions were addressed but I had a hard time finding them through all the pages:

    1. I know that by using the CC it eliminates the need for the STB. How is the signal then handled by the TV? Does the CC decrypt the signal and pass it through to the TV, thus you control all channels through the TV or do you control them through the TiVO? And do the channels still correspond as they did on the STB ie. with my current STB 202 is ESPN HD, would ESPN HD still be 202 with a CC?

    2. With the CC do I have to start paying the HD service fee? Right now it's free through their Triple Play program.
  9. steveliv

    steveliv New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    I ordered a multi-stream cable card from Comcast yesterday, and it went well. I asked that the tech bring multiple cards, and the rep said that they usually do that, and he also noted it in the install as well. It will cost $1.75 a month + $19 install, which isn't bad. The tech is coming on Saturday morning, and i hope to get everything running smoothly.
  10. steveliv

    steveliv New Member

    Mar 9, 2006

    1. The Tivo will handle the channel control via the installed CC. The TV is pretty much a display device, you just plug the Tivo into the TV. Channel numbers remain the same. The Tivo with installed CC replaces the Comcast DVR.

    2. I believe whatever channels you currently receive you will continue to receive those when using the CC.
  11. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    Your TiVo will tune all analog and digital channels provided by your cable system through the CableCARD(s) installed. It will output video and audio to your television display via one or more of the outputs on the TiVo, just like your cable box or cable DVR did. Channel numbers will be the same, too.

    The only differences will be that you won't be able to tune any OnDemand or PPV content. And if your cable system uses SDV (Switched Digital Video) to deliver any channels, those channels will only be accessible when you also have a Tuning Adapter connected to your TiVo (Comcast provides these for free in markets where SDV is in use).

    With Comcast you get a cable box or a CableCARD free with each outlet fee you pay (that includes the first outlet that's part of each digital package monthly price). Any HD fee is actually an HD equipment fee; if you have no HD cable box from Comcast, there'd be no HD equipment fee (the CableCARD itself is not considered "HD equipment" for ppurposes of that fee). If your TiVo requires a second CableCARD, there's usually a modest additional charge of about $1.50 for it.
  12. crazi4tv

    crazi4tv New Member

    Oct 31, 2008
    If I understand your post correctly, you picked up 4 Multi-Stream cards and put them in your TiVo's and have had not luck getting this resolved. To try to make things easier for you, try this: start with the HD DVR, press the eject button to remove the card, but leave it seated in the slot. write down the serial number of the card, then insert it back into slot 1. When the card is first inserted, the cable system receives the tuners unique Host ID, which must be validated before the pairing will display Host & Data. If after 10 minutes or so and you still see a message that the information is not available, try another card. If the pairing information does display the Host & Data (Scientific Atlantic cards will not display a Data ID) then write down the pairing information that is associated with that card. Then call your provider, give them the serial number first, then tell them to pair the Host & Data to that card. They will need to authorize the card by "Initializing" it. What people refer to as a Hit will not do the same thing as an initialize. Once the phone rep states the card is paired and has been activated, then exit the pairing screen, go back to the Decoders screen and highlight "configure Cablecard 1". The next screen will have an option to "test channels". This is where you confirm if your channels are coming in. If you see a message "No channels available", it means that the channel map is downloading, be patient. it should take a few minutes. If you should see Error 161-4, it simply means that the card received the proper signal and is resetting...just press go back & then continue to where you were at. Once channels come up, browse through different channels in different levels of service. Some channels do take longer than other to download. Once you have confirmed all channels are coming in, switch to the second tuner by pressing Live TV. In my experience, the channels in the second tuner do not always download at the same rate as tuner 1, be patient. Ideally, once all channels in the first tuner are coming in, the channels on the second tuner will come in as well, just may take a few minutes longer.

    I strongly recommend that you work on 1 cablecard at a time with your provider. Read them the serial number of the card and then give them the pairing information. Make sure that they Initialize the card. 161-4 usually appears when the card received the signal and resetting, but not always. It is verify common to get Host & Data paired to the wrong card because of confusion when the numbers were called in. If you feel that you can't get anywhere over the phone, then have a technician come by. At the very least he can call in the numbers to his dispatch who are in my opinion better trained at dealing with these issues. I do have a post dated 12/7 which has a step by step guide on how to install cablecards, believe me it helps.

    I am also attaching a link which can walk you through the cablecard menus and actually see what the problem is


    Let me know how it turns out. By the way, what brand of HDTV is you 3rd card installed in? I can probably help you with that as well.
  13. DocNo

    DocNo New Member

    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Good news from this thread:

    A positive sign from Comcast? I hope so!
  14. changk

    changk Member

    Feb 20, 2002
    Corvallis, OR
    This thread has helped me tremendously in preparing for and successfully completing the install of a CableCARD in to my TiVo HD. I thought I'd try to return the favor for future customers by detailing my experiences.

    I bought a TiVo HD in early December, after receiving confirmation that Comcast will be phasing out Extended Basic analog cable here in February '09. Up to then I've been content in using my Series 2 dual tuner w/ analog cable.

    Comcast Sign-up: I live in an apartment where my rent pays the Extended Basic portion of my cable bill. I was told that the lowest digital tier I could get would be Digital Starter w/ Starz, for ~$5 more/mo than what I'm paying now (which is just Internet access).

    I was a little surprised that the installation appointment was scheduled nearly a week-and-a-half out. This is the first time I've needed a Comcast installer out to do anything for me, so I'm not sure if it's the norm around here. At no point during the signup process did the CSR indicate that I could pick up a CableCARD myself, although I did not explicitly ask if I could do so. In reading the experiences in this thread, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be able to do so.

    Installation: The tech showed up around 10:30 Tuesday morning, missing the 8-10 am window I was quoted. I was a bit perturbed that he didn't call to let me know he's running late, but he eventually showed up nonetheless. I didn't receive any sort of robo-call prior to the visit to remind me of the appointment either. Again, that may be a regional thing.

    I'm not sure if my technician was a contractor or Comcast employee, but am thinking the latter. He brought two Motorola M-Cards with him. He pops one in, and a few moments later the CableCARD screen comes up, properly identifying the card as an M-Card. He navigates to one of the CC screens and begins phoning in to dispatch. First attempt is busy, and the second goes to voicemail. Third time's the charm and he connects with a dispatcher. To my surprise, the dispatcher says that she doesn't need him to read the Host or Data IDs to her. Um, OK.. (NOT!) I don't say anything, yet..

    The dispatcher soon says that she's sent a signal to the card. The tech navigates to the Test Channels menu, where the spinning wheel and 'Acquiring Channel Information' screen appears. While we wait, I notice him taking one of the serial number barcodes off the CableCARD container and affixing it to his copy of the work order. It's handwritten on the sheet as well.

    After 2-3 minutes, the channel maps are downloaded and we're able to start testing channels. We're able to see analog channels OK, but we weren't getting any digital channels. At that time he was testing only one digital channel (#127, WeatherScan Local).

    After looking at the menus some more and waiting a little bit, the tech calls dispatch again. The same woman from before answers. Now she says that because the TiVo HD has the SERIES3 logo on it (bottom right, on the flap that opens to insert the CableCARDs), the M-Stream card won't work in it. She doesn't seem to recognize that the TiVo HD and Series3 are separate albeit related models. Thanks to the posts in this thread, I know what she's telling the tech is not correct. (And, even if I did have a Series3, I know that the M-Card would be able to operate in S-Card mode and give me one tuner per card). That call is going nowhere, and the tech soon ends it.

    The tech then radios his supervisor, who says to give it a little bit of time and see what happens. At this point I decide to reboot the TiVo to see if that makes any difference. During the reboot I start to drop hints to the tech that he should really, really relay the Host and Data IDs back to dispatch, regardless of what the dispatcher is saying.

    As expected, the reboot didn't change anything. The tech ejects and reinserts the same M-Card with no change as well. After a few more minutes, he decides to call the dispatcher back. She doesn't complain about compatibility issues this time, and he is able to relay the Host and Data IDs to her. After entering them, she says that another signal has been sent to the card.

    While we wait now, the tech says it may be a good idea to swap out the coax cable from the wall outlet to the TiVo. I wonder if I'm gonna be charged for that <g> He comes back from the van with a copy of the channel lineup, and discovers that the digital channel we were trying to test earlier &#8211; 127 &#8211; isn't available in my tier. Therefore we start checking out other channels. Now that the Host and Data IDs were sent, all channels I'm supposed to get (analog, clear QAM, music channels and Starz) are showing up properly on both tuners. Goodie!

    The tech swaps the coax cable, paperwork is signed, and he leaves.

    Lessons learned:
    - Comcast's back office staff needs more training on CableCARDs in general, and correct information about the Series3 vs. HD and HD XL models.
    - Don't believe anything the dispatchers say.
    - As has been said in this thread numerous times, the Host and Data IDs (along with the serial number of the card, if that isn't in their records already) do need to be relayed back to someone at Comcast.

    I'm quite happy at this point that my CableCARD installation required only one visit by a tech. Now it's just a matter of seeing what my next bill looks like..
  15. frankspin

    frankspin New Member

    Jan 6, 2009
    thanks steveliv and dswallow.

    I'm usually a tech guy and can figure things out, ive just never used a tivo before. The first question was mostly due to me having a harmony remote, so i didn't know if i would have to reprogram all the channels in it.

    I'm really considering doing this as it could save me $20 a month
  16. Terial-DeVo

    Terial-DeVo New Member

    Nov 1, 2004

    Thanks for the reply, as of last night, Comcast activated and paired the 2 cards that were in the S3 TiVo, so that TiVo is working perfectly now.

    The HDTiVo was not working last night, i tried the 8080 number this morning and a tech called me back 30 minutes later (while i was still home!) and told me to go check that tv and bammo, everything on the HDTivo was working!

    now the TV, it's a mitshubishi, and the tech on the phone said that it may not recognize MStream cards, so i am going to get a firmware update from Mitsubishi and see if that fixes it.

    But the bottom line is that the 8080 phone number is the fastest result i have ever gotten!
    The tech also said that since that letter went out they have been so slammed that activation does actually take up to 72 hours in some cases, he said normally it's a 4 to 6 hour process and it will get back to that once this whole swap out of cards settles down.
  17. gdprof27

    gdprof27 New Member

    Nov 21, 2008
    Hello there... newbie here with my story and a question:

    I purchased a TiVo HD unit yesterday (1/6/09) and then stopped by my local Comcast office where they provided me with an Motorola M-Card. The whole process at the office was a pleasure and I am very pleased with the level of customer service displayed by the people there at the Gude Drive office in Rockville, MD... but I digress.

    After returning home with the M-Card and following the instructions provided by TiVo (guided setup first, then cableCARD install, call Comcast to get signal, then guided setup again) I was not able to receive 99&#37; of my channels. The only ones I was able to receive were my local HD channels, NOT my local standard definition channels, no subscribed channels were coming in either, including my NHL Center Ice package.

    I was resigned to call TiVo's cableCARD hotline to see if they could help resolve the issue. It was during this process that I was taken to a cableCARD Pairing screen and received the "Authorization Error 1200" message. This was the first error message I received and was told by the TiVo rep that it could indicate that there is a problem with the M-Card itself and that I should return it to the Comcast office and see if I could get another card and try again.

    Would you concur with this diagnosis and suggested course of action or is there something I can still try with the M-Card that I have now? Any help/ideas would be appreciated!
  18. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    The Tivo Tech Support should know what a 1200 error means way
    better than I. However, what I can relate - FYI - some of my own

    I have (5) DVRs which started out with S-Cards. It took Comcast
    (8) S-Cards to yield (5) goods ones.

    Then I upgraded the (5) S-Cards to M-Cards. They were much
    better - it only took 6 to get 5 goods ones.

    90+% of the Cablecard problems are NOT having them paired
    properly on the Network Operations Center [NOC].
  19. PaulM-D

    PaulM-D New Member

    Jan 7, 2009
    I just became a new Tivo user and wonder if this is everyone's typical Cablecard experience.

    I had a Cablecard already installed in my TV - and it just happened to be an M-Card for some reason.

    After installing the Tivo HD last night and running through the setup without a card installed in the Tivo, I inserted the card. I did not have any HD reception.

    This morning I turned on the TV and my HD channels had returned courtesy of the Tivo. I did not have to call Comcast to do any pairing.

    I thought pairing involved not only the card, but also the slot. Is this not true with Comcast? (Apparently!)
  20. drhankz

    drhankz New Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    Give it another 24 hours.

    I don't know at what interval Comcast sends out KEYING info.

    But the Next time they send out Keying info - your card with
    STOP working - I predict - unless TiVo is doing something

    In my Non-TiVo DVR's - Even a removal and insertion of a
    CableCard into the exact same BOX changes the PAIRING info.

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