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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. yukit

    yukit Member

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    Jul 23, 2005
    I suspected that might be the case. Good to get a confirmation from people in the know.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Twylo

    Twylo New Member

    1
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    Jun 16, 2010
    I've just had my first ever experience with CableCARD, and it strikes me as pretty weird. Can anyone chime in and say whether this is common?

    I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. After years of having only basic analog cable, I recently moved and upgraded to the standard digital package. I picked up an M-Card at the Comcast service center for self install. It was quick and easy, and cheap. No problems there.

    I went through the normal CableCARD setup on my TiVo Series 3, called Comcast and gave them the information they asked for from the grey CableCARD Pairing screen. They tried several times to activate the card remotely, even said that they'd escalated it to the second tier team, but it wouldn't work. So they scheduled to have a tech come out.

    This morning, the tech came out. He seemed very knowledgeable about CableCARDs. He ran some diagnostics to confirm the connection was OK (it was), then tried swapping out the card with a new one. That card also could not be activated. Then he swapped it out with a third. That card, too, could not be activated.

    Now here's what gets me: He said this was totally normal. He basically said (paraphrasing here), "yeah, this happens all the time. We just have to keep swapping out cards and calling back until we find one that works." So, having run out of CableCARDs to try, he made a follow-up appointment for tomorrow morning.

    So, I have to take another three hours off work to wait around and hope that one card in the next batch will work.

    This seems less than ideal to me! Is this actually common? Is this how a normal install goes?

    I'm not angry, really, just frustrated that it takes so much time out of my schedule to wait for technicians.
     
  3. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

    431
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    Jul 15, 2000
    Crawfordsvil...
    Twylo, that is not my experience.

    I have had 4 S-cards installed on two different S3 Tivos and 1 M-card installed on a Tivo HD.

    There were always minor glitches in the installation process, but we were always able to get things up and running in about an hour.
     
  4. Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin New Member

    1,555
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    Jun 20, 2002
    Tualatin,...
    Fortunately, in my experience, I had no dud CableCARDs from either Comcast or Verizon.

    You said the tech tried a "new" card, but I wonder if it was "factory new" or just new to your install. The big problem with "hanger queen" electronics is it most likely gets put back into inventory, simply to cause problems the next time. So the odds are that Comcast has wound up with a pile of broken CableCARDs that nobody has the authority to scrap or to return for replacement.
     
  5. bareyb

    bareyb Under Maintenance TCF Club

    25,946
    8
    Dec 1, 2000
    Silicon Valley
    Twylo. It's possible some of those cards were actually "good" and they just didn't know how to pair them properly. Is this guy a sub contractor or does he work for Comcast? I found (I live in the Bay Area too) I did much better when I asked for a "Field Supervisor" who has had experience in installing Cable Cards on TiVos. They sent one of those guys out and he got the same (bad) card to work. He said they were doing it wrong on the other end.
     
  6. MJGunn

    MJGunn New Member

    51
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    May 10, 2002
    So I was planning to pick up a tivo hd and get a cable card installed since my s2 tivo will be going offline pretty soon, but then I read the posts by jetlaw about having problems getting it set up in palm beach, fl, which is where I am.

    Jet, did they ever resolve your issue? Were they unable to provide any cable card, even an S?
     
  7. Bort13

    Bort13 TiVo Junkie

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    May 28, 2002
    Chicago, IL USA
    I am yet another person bailed out by We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com when the call center was unable to help me. I was going to have to wait until Wednesday for a service call, but they got me fixed early this morning (48 hours ahead of time)
     
  8. dpawl31

    dpawl31 New Member

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    Jun 22, 2010
    Hey guys, new here.

    I have a TIVO HD, and a series 2.

    Recently I had comcast change a few things on my account, new channels etc.

    Right after the switch - I had issues.

    I called comcast, they forwarded me to tivo support. I know it's not the tivo, due to it happening immediately after the switch.

    Basically, when not recording anything - both cable cards have all channels.

    When one card starts recording, I lose high channels, like everything above 37 or so, on the OTHER card.

    We set things to record, a tivo suggestion is recording while we arent home and then are show records BLACK, because the channel is not there.

    Any ideas? Think I should call tech support have them refresh or something? I sent a refresh signal via the phone support system and got nothing different.
     
  9. Bort13

    Bort13 TiVo Junkie

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    May 28, 2002
    Chicago, IL USA
    quoting yourself is gauche, reposting from here.

    Tivo troubleshooting document:
    http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/137#Troubleshootingactivationandmissingchannelissues

    This should help you isolate the problem. Some quick info: there are three values in Conditional Access that matter a lot: Con: should be yes (card is configured), Auth: should be S or possibly FWK (card is authorized by the cable company), and Val: should be V and not ? (the card is paired with your unit). You may have to badger Comcast phone support, who will keep throwing you into a "let's compare pairing values" script that culminates in a tech to be sent out. You have to get them to send the proper "hit" to authorize your card.
    ** both send the hit and have the information correct in the right system ("Inventory").

    I recommend you call support and try to get help for a reasonable amount of time. Then, if you're still having trouble, email We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com
     
  10. benjosevilla

    benjosevilla New Member

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    Jun 12, 2010
    I have a Tivo HD I had for a few weeks now. It has an M card connected to my Comcast service which includes HD channels. Every so often, the grey screen showing the information provided by your cable provider pops up. You have to press the clear button to get out of it an continue watching TV.
    Other than that, it work OK.

    does anyone who why this is and if there is a fix.
     
  11. Bort13

    Bort13 TiVo Junkie

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    May 28, 2002
    Chicago, IL USA
    That happened to me when I wasn't paired properly. Check Messages & Settings, Account & System Information, Cable Card Decoders, <your card>, Cable Card Menu, Conditional Access.

    If the Val: is ? and not V (*) , you're not paired and you need help from Comcast to do it. If you call Comcast support and tell them about the gray screen, they should have a script to fix it (see Cablecard Pairing, if you need the info from the gray screen). If that doesn't help after a reasonable amount of time, email We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com and explain your situation in a short and polite manner.

    * also: Con: should be Yes and Auth: should be S.

    second edit: use that email address if the phone support people say you have to have a tech visit.

    link from Tivo support: http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/137#Step6CheckingCableCARDpairingbinding
     
  12. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    Oct 17, 2003
    Pittsburgh
    Over the past five years I have helped with about 20 cablecard installs from Comcast for myself, family and friends. Today I had to get a cablecard for my bedroom THD finally since they started encrypting the clear-QAM channels that I was using.

    I called on Tuesday, scheduled it for Thursday. He showed up with the card and we were completely setup and finished in five minutes. The surprising thing to me was that he put the card in TiVo (well, I did) called his office and then hung up saying that it was done. They have a system now that will read the serial number, host and data-id from the card and put it in the pairing system. Send an Authorization hit and all is done.

    I know that it's not the same everywhere, but here in Pittsburgh it's so easy even a Comcast Tech can do it.
     
  13. benjosevilla

    benjosevilla New Member

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    Jun 12, 2010
    Mine was not properly paired when I first brought it home and called them to register it. Although my THD was working properly, I occassionally got the grey screen I reported earlier. So I called Comcast again. He had me read off the number in the back of the Mcard, the host and data-id and that was it. Of course I had to redo the guided setup. They do not require a truckroll in our area for cablecard install
     
  14. Luis214

    Luis214 New Member

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    Apr 11, 2004
    Quick question. I have a Tivo HD series 3 with 2 cablecards installed from Comcast. Can I remove the cablecards and put them in a different Tivo HD series 3 and have it work properly? Or does Comcast need to come out and reset the cards? This is assuming I transfer service from one tivo to the other as well. Thanks!
     
  15. cjv2

    cjv2 New Member

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    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Comcast will need to re-pair the cable cards with the new Tivo. Whether that requires a visit to the site or this is something you can handle over the phone depends completely upon how they handle things in your area (here in Atlanta, it would mean a tech visit, even though all they would do is read the new Tivo info to some guy on the other end of the phone that you can't call yourself).
     
  16. Gene Plantz

    Gene Plantz tivo Premier XL

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    Dec 31, 1999
    Hoffman...
    I did it here in Chicago. Hoping to not have to call them.

    What I found is I get all the "non-special" channels but none of the movie channels my paid plan covers. So, I get the locals (HD), A&E, BRAVO, DSC, HISTORY (even in HD if they have that flavor), all that kind of stuff. I guess I need to call them to get the cablecard re-paired so it (the Tivo) is known on my account and will allow the movie channels.
     
  17. cjv2

    cjv2 New Member

    290
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    Dec 15, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Bingo, you got it. Any encrypted channels are going to require proper pairing. The others, not so much.
     
  18. benjosevilla

    benjosevilla New Member

    4
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    Jun 12, 2010
    Although you may get channels, if it is not paired properly, you may get the intermittent grey screen. Very annoying. You may not get all the channels you are entitled too as well. So have it paired properly.
     
  19. Luis214

    Luis214 New Member

    18
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    Apr 11, 2004
    Thanks all for your help. I have an appointment scheduled on Sunday, so if it doesn't work when I make the switch on Saturday, I should be covered. I appreciate all the quick responses!

    On a side note, can I still watch shows on the HD DVR that doesn't have cable cards in it? Not record any, just watch what's already on there.
     
  20. jasonrene

    jasonrene New Member

    2
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    Jul 15, 2010
    Man, am I glad this forum exists. I'm going to share my rather long story in the hopes that others may benefit from learning about what I experienced.

    I signed up for Comcast Triple Play here in Chicago, but I wanted to return to my beloved Tivo experience (since the software on Comcast DVR boxes is so sluggish and un-fun.) I purchased a new Premiere Tivo Series 4, and in anticipation of what was to come, I researched similar customer experiences, including this forum.

    I obtained my M-Card from North Avenue and attempted to perform a self-install. Not surprisingly, the Tivo Guided Setup failed when trying to obtain channels from Comcast. Upon browsing the cableCARD settings, it was easy to see that the cableCARD was not properly paired. I contacted Tivo support, and after 2 calls they confirmed that the "Val" setting on the "Conditional Access" screen having a "?" value indicated that the cableCARD was not paired properly on Comcast's side.

    I spoke to 3 different Comcast tech support reps, once even while having a Tivo support rep on 3-way. Even with the Tivo rep being able to provide detailed, technical guidance to the rep as to what values to confirm, the Comcast reps were completely clueless. Every tech support rep there suggested that only field technicians can do cableCARD installs; some even suggested that it was impossible for someone to pick up a cableCARD in person to do a self-install (of course, it is not.) The tech support people gave up and scheduled a field tech to come out 2 days later.

    Late that night, after about 7 hours of dealing with this with no luck, I decided to email we_can_help @ cable.comcast.com, since some forum members here mysteriously suggested that they have had success by sending an email there. At 1 AM I received an email from a Comcast employee's Blackberry, apologizing for my experience and ensuring me he would look into it the following day. It seems that email address goes to high-level support group in Comcast Corporate in Philadelphia. The following day, that employee obtained the Host ID, Data, and Unit Address values from me so that he could configure it properly on Comcast's side.

    Here's where it gets really interesting. It didn't work, even after he sent the proper signals to the card. When I got home from work that night, I had no choice but to keep the appointment with the field tech the following day.

    Before the field tech arrived, the employee from Philadelphia called me and suggested I repeat Guided Setup and re-seat the M-Card in order to save some time with the field tech. When the field tech arrived, we had about 20 minutes left to go. The field tech was nice enough, joked about how no tech support has ever been able to get a cableCARD working in his experience, and he noted how he sometimes has to go through a half-dozen cards before even he can get one working. Yet - and this is the part that I still can't believe - HE DIDN'T EVEN HAVE ANY SPARE CARDS WITH HIM! (Yes, he even showed me his work order, which said in big bold letters "CABLECARD PAIRING ISSUE".) If the card I had was a dud, he would have to have his supervisor come out and bring him a card, and his supervisor was 2 hours away. He suggested he could leave and come back before 4pm, but I had to go to work until 5pm. The repeat of Guided Setup didn't work, and so the only thing the field tech did was schedule another appointment for me on the first available appointment that fit my work schedule - 4 days later.

    I called the employee in Philadelphia and told him the story. He was livid that the tech showed up without any spare cards to troubleshoot the issue. He assured me he would get the problem fixed today for me, no matter what. I explained I wouldn't be home til about 5:30, and he said no problem.

    On my way home, I got a phone call from another Comcast representative, who told me that they had found the configuration problem on their end. When I got home, sure enough, everything was working beautifully.

    Interestingly, while their system indicated that my card was now properly paired with my Tivo, they actually had the wrong "head end" information in their system for my card. Essentially, the card provided to me was set to receive data from an area of Chicago in which I did not live.

    I'm very thankful for this forum for having pointed me to that email address that put me in touch with someone who took ownership of the issue and ultimately got me up and running. Comcast clearly needs to improve training for their tech support staff, and they need to ensure that field techs arrive prepared to truly troubleshoot the calls to which they're deployed. However, Comcast still clearly has some dedicated employees who care about their customers and will see to it that they get the service they have purchased.

    I hope that by sharing this story with the forum, others may benefit from the knowledge and not have to go through what I did.
     

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