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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Oct 1, 2006 #661 of 9367
    bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,419
    47
    Nov 9, 2003
    Georgia
    The issue was with regard to getting serviced by the one CableCard expert, not getting serviced in general.
     
  2. Oct 1, 2006 #662 of 9367
    BTV Engineer

    BTV Engineer New Member

    6
    0
    Sep 22, 2006
    Sonoma...
    Here's my install story:

    My appointment was supposed to be Tuesday, 26 Sept 1-5 PM. The TiVo had arrived the day before and I had the unit all setup. I waited until 6 PM and the cable guy was a no show. I called Comcast and they told me my appointment was actually Wed 8 Am to 12 noon! They claimed that it wasn't rescheduled, that was the original date and time. Well I couldn't make that so it was rescheduled for Saturday 8-12.

    The cable guy showed up at about 11:30 AM. He said he had done a few cablecards in TVs but never a TiVo. He then went on to tell me that it could either be easy or a nightmare. I had the TV on and showed him the installer guide. He totally ignored the guide. He then shut the TV off, unplugged the TiVo and put in a CableCard. I stood there shaking my head. We then waited for the TiVo to startup. We weren't presented with an MMI screen and he futzed around with the TiVo for a little while before calling someone. They kept hitting the card but we just kept getting an error that the card was not working properly. Eventually he tried the 2nd card in the 2nd slot which worked but didn't show any channels. He called in and I think they hit this card which got it working.

    He decided the 1st card was bad and left to get another one. In the meantime I swapped the card in the 2nd slot to the 1st slot, reran guided setup and confirmed that everything was working. He came back about 1 hour later with another card, installed it and called it in. That one worked fine right way. I ran guided setup again and everything is working fine now. Except for one minor thing, I have a few channels on one tuner that are missing on the other. I guess I'd have to have the cable company reauthorize the cards so that they are the same.

    We never got the MMI screen automatically, we had to always go through the menus and find it ourselves. I'm not sure what those screens should say but since it is working I'm guessing it's all correct.
     
  3. Oct 1, 2006 #663 of 9367
    Maeglin

    Maeglin New Member

    366
    0
    Sep 27, 2006
    Norcross, GA
    Just a guess here, but that could have something to do about his not leaving the bloody thing on as the instructions state. In that respect, I guess PCMCIA isn't just a form factor... the cards are at least semi-hotpluggable, just like computer PCMCIA cards, and no doubt the TiVo software expects things to be done that way for them to be automatically recognized.
     
  4. Oct 1, 2006 #664 of 9367
    jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
    0
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    It's pretty sad that all these installers that have never seen a Series 3 think they know better than the Tivo folks that put the instruction sheet together and programmed the box. :(
     
  5. Oct 2, 2006 #665 of 9367
    hiker

    hiker S.o.N.Y.D.a.C.

    1,352
    0
    Nov 29, 2001
    SF Bay Area...
    When my installer arrived, I asked him if he had ever done an S3 and he said no. But I was shocked when he asked for the TiVo manual. :eek: I gave him the instruction sheet and he read it carefully. The only problems were communicating back to the headend and a brief system wide outage.
     
  6. Oct 2, 2006 #666 of 9367
    timdorr

    timdorr New Member

    29
    0
    Sep 16, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    My guy just left. Well, I assume he left, as he said he was coming back, but it's been 30 minutes now...

    He claimed they were giving special CableCards for DVRs, which I worked out to being CableCard 2.0's. He had a CableCard 1.0 on him (just 1, which is odd because I ordered 2), but insisted that they were a different size and didn't work. Clearly, he's got no clue.

    So, he should be back here tomorrow with a 2.0 card. I *really* hope he brings two or that I get lucky with the first one. I've got unencrypted QAM support for now, but I *really* want that guide data and encrypted channel support. Dexter is turning out to be an AWESOME show :)
     
  7. Oct 2, 2006 #667 of 9367
    hiker

    hiker S.o.N.Y.D.a.C.

    1,352
    0
    Nov 29, 2001
    SF Bay Area...
    Bad news for you... there is no cablecard 2.0 yet, it's still on the drawing board and when available won't work in the S3. Another type of cablecard 1.0 is due out soon called multistream which might allow for only 1 cablecard instead of 2 for dual tuners.
     
  8. Oct 2, 2006 #668 of 9367
    sjca35

    sjca35 New Member

    31
    0
    Dec 4, 2003
    California
    So I've had Comcast out both Sat & Sun for my cable card install. Once by contractors who only could insert the cards knew and less then I did and once by a Comcast tech. The tech seemed like he just wanted to find an excuse so he could leave (it was 5:30pm on Sunday, so I can't completely blame him).

    Anyways the short of it is that I have Motorola 4.1 cards and they won't authenticate. I don't get the 161-4 error either when they "hit" the cards. There are no errors in the MMI screens, just that they haven't been activated/authenticated/no key/etc. The reason the tech is giving me for this is that our cable signal is "too strong" (the GI digital cable box works fine though).

    Apparently is measures an "18" when max is 21. Now I didn't do that great in math in school, but that sounds OK to me. When I asked, "So that means Comcast will fix the signal issue right?" he just sorta looked at me with a dumb expression on his face.

    Also, I haven't been able to get them to re-initalize the cards... the CSR's say they're not allowed to do that because it might burn out the card. The tech seemed to just want to replace the cards (which he didn't have with him of course).

    Anyways, they're coming out again on Wednesday and I can't take any time off from work, so my wife is going to be home when they bring the new cards. If anyone has any suggestions what to do/say/ask for to get this to finally work, I'd love to hear it.

    Thanks,
    Aaron
     
  9. Oct 2, 2006 #669 of 9367
    jchapman

    jchapman New Member

    66
    0
    Mar 29, 2005
    I'm in Arlington, VA and I had my cablecard install this past Saturday. All in all a good experience, although I'll need to check my bill before I state that unequivocally. Per my phone conversation with the agent, both cablecards free, no monthly service, but I had to upgrade from analog to digital cable, obviously. Note that I specifically declined the $5 monthly charge for "HD" and yet the HD channels come in fine.

    The installer arrived on time, and had two cards with him. They were blue, but I didn't look at the manufacturer or version number. It was his first Series 3 install, but he'd brought his own documentation (yay) and seemed confident. I'd already completed guided setup the day before, and I explained the complexities of the wiring before we got started (it's a rat's nest). The process was painless if not quick; inserted the first card, waited to get the ID information, and called into the service center. It took a several minutes to get through, but the service center stayed on the line for the rest of the install, so I think that end went as fast as it could. Once the numbers were read to the service center, they sent a "hit" to the card. After several seconds the Series 3 started switching between two information screens for about 5 minutes. There was no apparent change to the screens each time they loaded, but the switching eventually stopped and we navigated to "Test Channels", which worked just fine. The second card took a little longer but wasn't any different: inserted the second card, read the numbers to the CSR, got the hit, waited another 7 minutes for the screens to stop loading, tested the channels successfully, thanked the CSR and hung up. The whole thing took about 30 minutes, and the installer was helpful.

    [Edit: My signal strength on the channels I tested varies between 90 and 99. I'm in a relatively new apartment building in Ballston, so the cable infrastructure should be pretty good]
     
  10. Oct 2, 2006 #670 of 9367
    jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
    0
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    If this is true, then the cable company needs to fix it. I don't know why the installer gave you a blank look - he should have a meter to measure it.

    I had some problems I thought might be signal related and had a tech out this morning. He indicated that the signal levels on the cable (with the Tivo disconnected) ideally should be at 0 dBmv. Mine were very hot.

    RF levels +17 dBmv (high channels) / +20 dBmv low channels
    (Channel 135 over Channel 2)

    Creative use of splitters dropped it to +1/+4 as a temporary fix. The tech found that there was a problem outside where the signal was drifting up and another tech is coming to look at the cable equipment (amp?) this afternoon.

    Tech indicated that too high a signal (or too low) could cause breakup / pixilation problems like I had seen on both the Motorola boxes and the Tivo Series 3 and that they had been a source of CableCARD issues in the past.

    Don't get confused with the digital signal meter on the Tivo - before the change this morning I was seeing signal strengths on that meter from 89 - 97, and I still see those levels.

    I don't know if the dBmv levels were causing the cable card state change issues I was seeing (or even if that's a problem), but still doing more research on that (with both cable company and Tivo).
     
  11. Oct 2, 2006 #671 of 9367
    btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
    0
    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    If it really is a "too strong" signal, they should fix it, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them to do it.

    You can "fix" it yourself using an attenuator. Rat Shack make a quite reasonable variable attenuator.
     
  12. Oct 2, 2006 #672 of 9367
    rshrieve

    rshrieve New Member

    21
    0
    Aug 17, 2003
    San Francisco
    Today we got our first Comcast bill since the installation of the 2 cable cards on 9/22. I had expected a DROP in cost since the installer walked out of my house with our two Comcast boxes (HD and digital).

    Well, the bill is exactly the same as always (except for the $15.99 install charge).

    Comcast's CSR explained that the FIRST cable card is free but the second one is $6.95 a month --the same as they were charging me for the HD converter box.

    I thought the cable cards were supposed to be free. Is everyone else getting charged for the second card?

    Rich

    PS I'm thinking of cancelling our Comcast "Digital Classic Package" which costs $9.95 a month. We tend to only use channels 2 to 80 and the HD channels 702-709.
     
  13. Oct 2, 2006 #673 of 9367
    JohnTTivo

    JohnTTivo New Member

    2
    0
    Feb 11, 2005
    Nashua, NH installation
    I went to the local Comcast office on Thursday, Sept. 28, and asked for two CableCards to be added to my account. The service person asked me if it was for the new Tivo box and I said yes. He said that he would have to have a technician come by to install the cards but he can schedule it for me. I asked if they had done other Tivo installations, and he said that they had a few. The first time slot that was available was for today, from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM. The cost would be free for the first card, and $2.50 for the second card. I didn't ask about the installation cost.

    The contractor came by around 2:45 PM. I asked him, Mark, if he had done any Tivo installations. He said no, but Comcast had given him worksheets to use when installing CableCards in Tivos. He installed the first card in slot 1. Tivo recognized it and he wrote down the host/data info from the screen. His worksheet had a copy of the Tivo screen so that he knew where to get the info. Then he put in the second card and wrote down the info for it. He called Comcast and, of course, was on hold for about 10 minutes before he could have them add the cards to my account. Then he asked them to transfer him to the CableCard activation group, and that took another 10 minutes before he reached someone. Once there, he had them activate the card in slot 1, and I got the 161-4 error. I explained to him that that error is expected. I tested the SD and HD channels and they looked fine. He then had the card in slot 2 activated, same 161-4 error, and same success when testing those channels.

    All in all, a very easy installation.
     
  14. Oct 2, 2006 #674 of 9367
    jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
    0
    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Remind the CSR that it's no different than their own DVR, which has two tuners and one outlet.

    If you have a digital package (sounds like you do), there should be no cable card charge on your bill (assuming you only have the two cards in the Tivo).
     
  15. Oct 2, 2006 #675 of 9367
    wackymann

    wackymann Member

    385
    0
    Sep 22, 2006
    Boston Area
    My installation is scheduled for tomorrow morning!! I think I have all of the pertinent info printed out so I can help the installer if he needs it. Hopefully it won't be his first S3 install and it will go quickly/smoothly. I'm looking forward to playing with this puppy!
     
  16. Oct 2, 2006 #676 of 9367
    pcp_ip

    pcp_ip New Member

    32
    0
    Jan 11, 2002
    After waiting 2 weeks for my install appointment the Comcast tech (not a contractor) arrived today (2 hours outside of the appointment window). The tech had no idea what to do, and three way conferenced in his dispatch and a comcast engineer over his cellphone speakerphone. None of them had even heard of a Series 3. This is in Center City Philadelphia-- home of Comcast corporate.

    I kid you not-- they tried to get it to get my cablecards to work from 12:24pm until 3:52pm. Three comcast employees tied up on an install conference call for almost 3 hours. Every 30 minutes or so one of them would say, "You sure the cards go in the TiVo and not into the TV?"

    Both cards were tried in the bottom slot. We never got far enough in 3 hours to use the top slot. My cards would pair, but I'd get stuck with a blue screen saying "Please wait...Acquiring Channel Information" (cellphone pic). After 20 or so minutes the screen would switch to the 161-4 error. They finally gave up and left.

    I'm not sure what to do now. Columbus Avenue Comcast Dispatch for Center City thinks the problem is either signal level or the TiVo, but they appear to be happier assigning the blame to TiVo.
     
  17. Oct 2, 2006 #677 of 9367
    shady

    shady Previously European

    4,376
    50
    May 31, 2002
    Morgan...
    I took my comcast pvr back today, after having the cablecards installed for a week.

    They wouldn't give me a free digital box, like it says I'm entitled to on the FAQ on their web site. They told me I'd have to pay for it. :( They are also charging me for the 2nd cablecard, even though it says they are free on their website :(
     
  18. Oct 2, 2006 #678 of 9367
    ah30k

    ah30k Active Member

    2,224
    9
    Jan 8, 2006
    I'm on the phone with them too! My bill is a $189 frickin dollars!!!

    This is flippin ridiculous.

    I was under the impression there would be no $8.95 outlet fee and they snuck the truck-roll fee in as well which I was told they would not do.

    They're not budging yet on the fees but I'm still working on them.
     
  19. Oct 2, 2006 #679 of 9367
    btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
    0
    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    You could try calling back and playing CSR roulette. My first rep didn't budge on the install charge, I said I'd been told it was going to be free (I was). The second one seemed to accept if I'd been told it'd be free, it should be free. The second rep just seemed more pleasant and "customer focussed", the first one just sounded crabby.

    I don't know if the second one was more ameanable as I'd told her if I didn't get it sorted out I'd be contacting the franchising authority.
     
  20. Oct 2, 2006 #680 of 9367
    shady

    shady Previously European

    4,376
    50
    May 31, 2002
    Morgan...
    I just went to the "Recent Activities" section on my online bill, and I have this line item.

    TIVO DIGITAL ACCESS 09/30 TO 10/16 $ 0.84


    This is in addition to these items
    HDTV ADDITIONAL SERVICE 09/26 TO 10/16 $ 3.50
    HDTV ADDITIONAL SERVICE 09/26 TO 10/16 $ 3.50
    DIGITAL ADDL OUTLET 09/26 TO 10/16 $ 4.86
    DIGITAL ADDL OUTLET 09/26 TO 10/16 $ 4.86


    Plus there were these two items
    DVR SERVICE WITH HDTV 09/26 TO 10/16 $ 6.96
    DVR SERVICE 09/26 TO 10/16 $ -6.96


    but they seem to cancel each other out.

    So not only am I being charged for the cablecards, but I'm also being charged for HD on each card.

    BTW: I only returned my crapcast PVR today, so I should see at least one of the cablecard charges reduced to 0
     

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