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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Mar 3, 2010 #7201 of 9367

    PatEllis15 New Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    I currently have a Series 2 but I'm looking to upgrade to the new Premier. So, I'm trying to quickly get up to speed on CableCards.

    I stopped by our Comcast office, and was told that A: A Tech Rep "HAD" to come out to install the card. Is this true? (and if so, why?!)

    B: That Multi-stream cards aren't always available. I thought that M Cards were 2.0 cards, and the 2.0 was as the current standard, and that they HAD to support cards of the current standard. Can they really get away with telling me tough luck, we only have a single stream card for your Tivo with only 1 slot?!

    C: That a Multi-Stream card counted as 2 cards, and that I would be charged more for one (If I was lucky enough that the tech who comes out has one...). It's crazy enough that they want to charge these bizarre "additional outlet fee's", is this what you have had to do (pay more for an M Card?)?!

    Why the hell don't we just have "Cable Ready" devices any more. Gah!

    Pat E
  2. Mar 3, 2010 #7202 of 9367

    cjv2 New Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    A: If your locality works like mine (and others), the folks over the phone do not have the systems access required to input the data from your Tivo that pairs it to the card (and authorizes the card to receive your channels). The tech will have to call someone, but it's not someone YOU can call, so there you go. Silly? Yes. Routine? Also yes.

    B: I don't know whether they "can get away with it," but they may try. Tell them (when the time comes) that your unit does not take S-Cards (ok, maybe fudging here, but tell them that anyway), and that if the guy doesn't have an M-Card the install is going nowhere. Cross that bridge when you come to it. Talk about it with the tech when he gets there. Be ready to send him away to fetch the right stuff, if he arrives without an M-Card.

    C: Paying twice for an M-Card on the grounds that it handles multiple streams is a bunch of hooey. Handle this issue after you have confirmed that they're double-dinging you. It may turn out fine, and there is almost no way to guide the process proactively with folks who don't know what they're talking about. Don't worry, there are ways to deal with it later (We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com - write that email addy down).

  3. Mar 4, 2010 #7203 of 9367

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    Because consumers didn't buy them when they were available in 2005-2006.
  4. Mar 4, 2010 #7204 of 9367

    schwinn Member

    Sep 18, 2004
    Actually, PatEllis15 DID say he was planning on a Premier, in which case he cannot use an S-card, and must have an M-card (only one slot). So he's not fudging there.

    Still, PatEllis15, keep in mind the operators who setup your visit likely don't even know what the difference is... and their system apparently isn't setup to differentiate. So, you will just have to trust that they will come in with the M-card... but as cjv said, be prepared to turn them away if it's not an M-card.
  5. Mar 4, 2010 #7205 of 9367

    cjv2 New Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I know it has only one slot. What I do not know is whether the slot will accept an S-Card and run with just 1 tuner. Hence my comment.

    Now, putting an S-Card into a Premier would be a really stupid thing to do, but I wouldn't put it past Comcast to tell a customer something on the order of "well you picked that weirdo third-party equipment so that's not our problem."
  6. Mar 5, 2010 #7206 of 9367

    balwx New Member

    Jul 30, 2005

    Thanks so much...
  7. Mar 6, 2010 #7207 of 9367

    TrAvELAr New Member

    Sep 25, 2004
    I had an install on the 2/26 and I've been missing a good number of channels. So I emailed the we_can_help address last weekend and within a couple of hours an area supervisor called me. I had to wait until this morning for a truck roll because of my schedule. The tech arrives, calls in, gives the card info, and bam, I'm working.

    I don't know why this is so difficult for some techs or why it consistently seems to require multiple truck rolls.

    I haven't found anything missing yet (aside from the recording the tech deleted when he was trying to get back to live tv), so I guess I'm happy for the moment.
  8. Mar 8, 2010 #7208 of 9367

    okayillgetu New Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    Thanks for this info. I just got off the phone with local Comcast where I had to do all it took within me not to cuss her out (and I know it's not her fault) but my TiVo died and I got a replacement that I can't fully use because Comcast claims I need to pay a technician to come out (in 2 days) to make a phone call just to make this work. $15 for 5 minutes work...must be a nice gig. I emailed the address you gave. Hopefully, someone will get back to me before the scheduled appointment. I've also tried to reach out to 2 people that I know that know technicians for Comcast (contractors, really) in hopes that they'll just do me the favor of calling it in.
  9. Mar 9, 2010 #7209 of 9367

    psammead New Member

    Mar 7, 2010
    Well, we are in the midst of comcast cablecard hell at the moment.

    Tivo HD XL has been working fine with the analog cable signal, but of course we are coming up on the digital switchover in our area, so we called to get a cablecard. Fine, they schedule someone to come out. He arrives and... 3 hours later, leaves again, with the cablecard still not working. Office swears they have entered the right info, but the channel map still won't download.

    When the promised call from the supervisor didn't come on Monday, emailed we_can_help and got a reply very fast. Emailed back and forth with this guy all day, sending him host id and data numbers. Finally he says he needs to send a tech. I send him good times and no reply until suddenly around 8pm he calls us and tells us he just noticed we have expanded basic and 'that won't work with a cablecard'.

    Of course that is complete bs as comcast's own faq on their webpage clearly states it will...

    we go back and forth on the issue for a bit until he asks if he can call back 'in a minute'. 90 minutes later we get an email that says they're upgrading their phones and someone will call us tomorrow.


    I wonder if anyone here has seen the same issue we seem to be having. In the tivo, even after the card has supposedly been paired, the Conditional Access screen says this:

    Conditional Access
    Unit Address: 000-00039-62450-005
    Encryption: DES
    Con:Yes EBCP:Yes Val:V 0x23

    And nothing else.

    But... all the screenshots of this screen from tivo have a lot more information on them. And it's clear from discussion in this thread that most people have no problem getting the info to come through (even if it shows you're still unauthorized) If you've seen this, what fixed it? Any time we have the cablecard in the slot no channels will show up at all (it just says acquiring until it times out again) so we keep having to pop it in and out whenever comcast calls to talk to us.
  10. cjv2

    cjv2 New Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Only 4 lines on the Conditional Access screen? No proof here, but I'd be suspecting a bad card. I think that "Val:V" indicates that your pairing is fine, as such.

    They should send someone out with another card, methinks... but to be fair, I'm guessing here.

    If you still have contact info for the guy at the Comcast email addy, I would keep him in the loop. As you have already seen, they tend to be a bit more responsive and thorough than the locals.
  11. billyjoebob99

    billyjoebob99 Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    Our recent install in our Series 3 went well. The tech didn't realize he needed two cards(I had specifeid that when I made the call) but he had a spare. He knew what he was doing and we got lucky with the rep at the office who knew what she was doing.

    We did get hit with a $6.95 charge for an “SD Set Top Box”. The CSR was unable to help and I never got the promised call the the supervisor. I e-mailed We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com and got a very quick response. It turns out the billing system thought the second CableCARD was in a second device hence the $6.95 for a digital outlet fee. They confirmed both cards were in one device and removed the charges.

    Given some of the stories I've read here I consider this a relatively painless install.
  12. CraigK

    CraigK (unspecified)

    Jun 9, 2006
    North of...
    My lastest bill includes this under News From Comcast section:

    Effective 4/1/10 and with April billing, Comcast will no longer charge a monthly High Definition (HD) equipment rental fee of $6.50. Those receiving HD video services will instead be charged a $6.50 HD Technology Fee (inclusive of equipment).

    From reading this I have no clue what it means or if it will affect TiVos with CableCARDs. I see nothing now in their current rate card that costs $6.50 in our area.

    Since Comcast seems to roll this stuff out gradually I thought someone here might have run into this already. I'm assuming the rate is different from area to area.

    I expect like the Cablecard fees that different parts of Comcast will interpret this fee in their own way and charge according to their own whim.
  13. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    It reads like a name change more than anything. They will just tack the charge onto each cable card instead.

    Typical Comcast highway robbery BS.
  14. cjv2

    cjv2 New Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Someone in a Comcast billing thread referenced seeing something similar on a statement, a month ago, maybe two, pointing towards May if I recall.

    Here in the Atlanta area I haven't seen this sort of notification yet.

    The real question I have is this - say you have an HDTV that can see HD channels on the Comcast line. No CableCARD. What are they going to do, bill *everybody* this "technology fee?"
  15. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I agree, it's pretty ridiculous that they are charging for this when HD service is more or less standard.

    If they want to add some bologna surcharge on their own boxes then fine, but charging this PER OUTLET for every converter box and cablecard in the home is ludicrous and nothing but an obvious money grab.

    News flash Comcast, if you want to save money then bump some of the garbage you are shoveling into the "crapo" tier and make people pay an extra $6.95 for access to that garbage.
  16. cjv2

    cjv2 New Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    You know, I just thought of something else. Every "digital package" I see on my Comcast rate card has HD channels. So, what, you pay for the package, and then pay again for the privilege of being able to watch the HD half of the package you paid for?

    This sounds nuts to me. I'll bet dollars to donuts that there are localities where they won't be able to pull this off due to regulatory issues.
  17. jmpage2

    jmpage2 Active Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Yes, it is nuts but Comcast has been getting away from it since they introduced HD.

    You only pay the HD surcharge if you have any kind of premium HD channels. This even means channels you wouldn't consider premium such as Discovery HD.
  18. flaminiom

    flaminiom New Member

    Dec 27, 2008
    Holt, MI
    Premium = encrypted channels. About 2/3 - 1/2 of my HD channels are encrypted and require that HD billing code to work.

    I guess if you hacked your cable card and didn't have a filter on your line you could get unencrypted HD channels.
  19. cjv2

    cjv2 New Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Most of the HD channels in my locality are not encrypted. I subscribe to none of the "traditional" premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, various sports channels), still leaving me with a pile of HD, but have only found encryption on the Encore channel set.

    I'm sure that'll change at some point, though. It would seem that ATL is "behind the curve" when it comes to introduction of Comcastic newness, good and bad.
  20. Atomic Taco

    Atomic Taco Member

    Jan 27, 2005
    Thanks to everyone that has replied to this thread, it's been very useful. Here's my story:

    I'm in Seattle (U-District). Like everyone else in this thread, I have the (edit) newest non-Premier model whatever it's called--the "two in the front" one--and found out the hard way that I can't get guide data for the rebroadcast channels (5-1, etc).

    I visited the office in Auburn (because I don't like the area that the Seattle office is in). I asked for a CableCARD, and the rep looked up my account. After a minute of clicking and typing she informed me that I could not get a CableCARD with the Limited Cable package (it's $12.55/month here). She said the only way to get HD channels was to pay $7 (I think) for the HD package and get a STB. I pulled out a printout from their site of my channel lineup and tried explaining to her that the channels I wanted were already included in my package and that I just needed a CableCARD to receive them. She was very rude and cut me off multiple times explaining that this package only included channels 2-28 (because page 1 of the printout ended on channel 28, and then continued on the back) and not HD channels. Realizing this argument would be pointless, I said the magic four words: "I want digital cable." As she got up to grab the card, she told me it'd be $29.99/month for the first 6 months and $57.99 (I think) after that. Grand total to walk out of the door with the card was $0.

    I have a truck roll scheduled for the 23rd to remove the filter on my line, but I'll be calling in before that to cancel the upgrade, so hopefully they won't roll a truck at all. The rep told me that I did not have to be home for this--and though I didn't mention it since a tech won't be coming out--I would need to be home since I live in a controlled access apartment building and the cable drop is inside the building.

    The card is the (apparently) newer red Comcast logoed one. It's not marked whether it's M or S, but TiVo says it's S. I wanted a M, but I'll survive. It's not worth the trip back to one of the offices.

    I just popped the card in my TiVo and went through the setup process. Went through without problems, and then brought up a screen with a bunch of numbers to give to "my cable provider" to have them activate the card. The number published was 877-824-2288 which is different from a number I got in a chat session yesterday when asking about the availability of cable cards at local offices (that one ended in 4021 but I neglected to write it down). The 2288 number sounds the same as calling 1-800-COMCAST. When I first signed up for internet, I got some other number that connected straight to a rep without going through any menus. Anyway, I went through to the "add service" option and told the rep I wanted to activate a cableCARD. She confirmed my information and sent a signal to my card. More than half of the call was her trying to get me to sign up for their phone service, and she would not take no for an answer.

    Apparently sending a signal isn't the only thing that needs to be done. I'm on the phone now with another rep and I've given him information for pairing. He seems very knowledgeable and we were just discussing the differences between TiVo Series 2 and 3. He got an error that he wasn't familiar with, so I'm on hold for the moment. After some back and forths with his help desk--and I was happy to hold (thank you to Skype for making toll free calls free)--he determined that the card needs to be swapped out. It has something to do their computer thinking that my numbers are/were in use or something like that. I bought this TiVo used, so this afternoon should be interesting. I have an installer scheduled to come out and swap the card for me some time in the next 3.5 hours, will update later.

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