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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Aug 8, 2010 #7481 of 9367

    msu2k New Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Holt, MI
    I am replacing a Tivo Series 3 with a Tivo HD XL. I would like to use the two cablecards installed in the Series 3 and put them in the HD XL. Is this possible without having Comcast come out? Is there a phone number for Comcast reps that specialize in Tivo?
  2. Aug 8, 2010 #7482 of 9367

    cheerdude Reed & Juliet's CPA TCF Club

    Feb 27, 2001
    Las Vegas, NV
    Tried to do the same... and it kinda worked except for the encrypted channels (like HBO). Called & they wouldn't do it except for a tech call.
  3. Aug 8, 2010 #7483 of 9367

    morac Cat God

    Mar 14, 2003
    1. Are the cards S or M cards? If they are M cards, you would only need to use one in the HD XL, otherwise you'll need to use both of them.

    2. Getting Comcast to pair cards over the phone is like winning a giant stuffed bear at a carnival. It's not impossible, but the odds of success are very low. Your odds greatly increase if you email We_Can_Help@comcast.com with your account info and pairing numbers, but even that's not guaranteed to succeed.

    Note that in most Comcast areas you can receive most channels without pairing the cards. The exceptions to this are any premium channels (HBO, Starz, etc) and Encore. If you don't get any of those stations, you can likely go without pairing.
  4. Aug 8, 2010 #7484 of 9367

    jeffden HDTIVO finally!

    Dec 31, 1999
    Denver, CO USA
    My experience mirrors those of most here on the forum. First two cards were dead in the water. I had a young, really professional guy who wanted to get it figured out. When he couldn't after 4 hours, he promised he would be back tomorrow after I got off work and he would bring his supervisor with him who knows about the Tivo cable card installations.

    Long story short, they were still having problems with it. Ended up taking my service off the head end I actally live in and transferred me to the next town over ( about 6 blocks from me and bingo! Everything popped up instantly. They didn't understand exactly why and by this time I didn't care. it was working and after 5 installation visits ( 3 from contractors ), my system was finally complete.
  5. Aug 8, 2010 #7485 of 9367

    danix New Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    CC'd to we can help at comcast.

    OK, ongoing saga, this will be a long one.

    Around April, moved into new place. Had to give up Dish Network because we're only month to month here, and figured I'd save some coin. So, scheduled an install.
    Comcast tech came out, couldn't find the box in the street.
    2nd tech came out, found the box, but says there's no line to the house, and we'd need a construction crew, 2-3 weeks wait time, then install. He did point out that Astound already had their box on the side of the house, so I cancelled the Comcast install and went that way.
    A couple of weeks in, we decide we can't live with the horrible Astound DVR, so I bought a Tivo.

    A few weeks ago, met a Comcast rep in Frys who pitched me a great 12 month deal on their triple play. I pointed out our earlier problems and she's confident they can get it right this time so I signed up for it.

    Comcast tech comes out, says there's no line to the house. I ask if there are no notes on this, he says no. He allegedely schedule an install date with construction, who are supposed to call me.
    I then hear back from the sales rep, who apologizes, and says she's got it all lined up.
    Tuesday - coming to survey the site.
    Wed - coming to install new tap
    Thurs - coming to run new line to the house
    Fri - installation

    Tues- saw no one.
    Wed - guy actually came, ran new tap but it doesn't fit in the street box so it's sticking up, he says they will come to install a new box around it. It's in a bush so I don't care.
    Thurs - no crew comes.
    Fri - tech arrives, looking for the line. I explain all this so far. He says he'll run a temporary line, which he does. It takes all of 15 mins to get everything working but the Tivo is taking forever to boot, so he leaves and gives me his phone #. It comes up OK so I don't call.

    About 4 hours later, I realize I have channels missing - part of the sports package, one international channel. I call Comcast. They say the channels are not on my acccount, and I'd have to talk to the rep, otherwise they will charge me for these. I email the rep.

    Hear back from the rep later that day, she says it's all taken care of, my box should reset and the channels will appear.

    A day later, nothing, so I call Comcast. They can't help, say they will have to schedule a tech for today.

    I call Tivo, who take me through some diagnostics. They tell me the "NS" status on the channels in question is a clear sign that Comcast hasn't authorized the card for those channels. They also point out that my signal strength of 100 is too high and suggest that I buy a 3db attenuator otherwise my Tivo HD will be dead in a month or two.

    Today, Comcast tech arrives. I explain all this. He confirms channels are missing.
    Apparently he didn't think to bring an M-card (!) but has two S-cards on the truck.
    He installs the cards, calls customer service, but Tivo is taking too long to come back up, so he says he'll return with an Mcard tomorrow. In the meantime, I can call 800-COMCAST if I want to have them pair the S-cards, but I should have at least basic channels.

    Tivo comes up, I call Comcast. The S-cards won't go into the pairing menu at all. Comcast says "yeah, the S cards won't work for you, you have to wait for the tech tomorrow."

    I am confident that the tech will resolve this tomorrow. Because if not, I'm unplugging the Comcast line and going back to Astound. I am dumbfounded at how a company as large as Comcast can have such screwed up communication, at all levels.

    PHLJJS New Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    Hello folks,

    I purchased a Tivo HD XL a few weeks ago online and finally got around to getting it hooked up a couple days ago. I found this forum last week and have been reading and learning from everyone's experiences with Comcast and getting their cards activated and set up correctly.

    After a few phone calls and an email to the "We can help" email address, I was able to get them to let me pick up an M-card at the Comcast office in N.E. Philly. I tried to activate and pair it today and that's when the fun started. The first CSR had trouble and got a supervisor. She too had an issue and insisted on a truck roll. I was only getting basic cable channels and a few HD channels, no HBO, no ESPN, etc. I said no and called the lady at "we can help." I mis-dialed and got a guy from the tech support training department. He was awesome. Took my name and info and promised he'd get someone to help me and call me back in a few minutes. After 15 minutes, he called back to acquire some more info and let me know that he had a tech send a signal to the card and try resetting everything. Just before he called, I had forced the Tivo to call home and update, so we had a few minutes to kill. He stayed on the line with me and used the time pick my brain about my experience with the CSRs and why I disliked the Comcast DVR, why I chose Tivo and what could they do to make the Comcast DVR better. The reboot and resending the signal didn't help so he said he would have a tech call me in a few.

    About a half hour later, a very nice rep named Rich called and went over the issue with me. After checking over the card and account info, he discovered that the card wasn't set up to receive HD service, nor HBO. Also, the card ID and host ID numbers were reversed. Rich fixed those issues and tried to send the signal again. This time, the cards were able to "vaidate," but "Auth:" showed "MP" or "CA." We agreed to give it some time and see if the channels show in a little while and Rich said he'd call back in 1 hour. I called Tivo and asked for some advice.

    Tivo support told me that "MP" means that I'm not subscribed or authorized to view a channel and "CA" means the channel is copyright protected and I can't record and most likely view those channels and if everything was done right, it'd say "S." They suggested that I have Comcast remove the card from my account, add it again, make sure it was setup for all my channels, then pair it. I explained all that to Rich when he called back. He said no problem. Then he encountered a problem. After he removed the card from the account, the computer wouldn't let him add it back on. He kept getting an error message that said the card was already assigned to an account (mine). He apologized profusely for all the trouble and said he'd have to have a tech come out and bring a new card because he can't do anything with the one I have. He set up a service call for 11AM, gave me his direct phone number and promised to call me tomorrow and check on things.

    So here I am almost 9 hours after activating my Tivo, I still don't have the channels that I should and I'm stuck with having to deal with the one thing that I was trying to avoid... Waiting around and having a tech come to my home and do something that's so easy, it's making my head hurt just thinking about how difficult it's become. The first Tivo tech support guy called me a "Patriot" and said he wished more people stood their ground like I did when I told him how I got the M-card without a truck roll.

    I felt pretty good about the way I fought the evil cable conglomerate and won, but thanks to the incompetence of the first couple of CSRs and supervisor I dealt with, I get a truck roll and inconvenienced. In the end, it looks like a loss. God help the tech if he doesn't get this thing working tomorrow!
  7. taylor2646

    taylor2646 New Member

    Aug 11, 2010
    "The Mothership of Retardation". That is the PERFECT name for Comcast. I love it. :)

    So, just wondering from other people's opinions:
    From all the hubub that Comcast gives with cablecards, is it even worth getting a Tivo? Does the annoyance of knowledgeless/unwilling customer servicers permit enjoyment of this amazing TV experience?? lol...

    I work at Best Buy and at my store we've had 3 Tivo Premieres sit on the shelf for like 3 months. They're dusty. No one is buying them. I really want one though. I'm just wondering if our Comcast market is really jank like some of the others... I'm not exactly sure if there are over 100k people in the market area... doesn't that have to be the case for them to have to offer you a cablecard? Per FCC regulations?

    I haven't even called Comcast yet to see what random price they might quote me but, just wondering before the "mothership of retardation" teleports me into the black hole that IS comcast...
  8. morac

    morac Cat God

    Mar 14, 2003
    The good thing is that normally once a cableCard is set up correctly, it will work indefinitely. There are exceptions like a card going bad or a mixup with your account, but those things are very rare.

    PHLJJS New Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    Everything is working great! The tech showed up at my house a few minutes earlier than scheduled and got right to work. He told me that it had been a couple of years since he did an Tivo install, but he took a quick glance at the Tivo provided instructions and was good to go. After 2 tries and 15 minutes, my Tivo was picking up all my channels and working perfectly. Comcast definitely came through this time. Unfortunately, it just took far too long to get folks who knew what they were doing.
  10. drhankz

    drhankz Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    Just remember - you created the 7 hours of do-it-yourself project.

    This would have been the result from the beginning :up:
  11. PHLJJS

    PHLJJS New Member

    Aug 10, 2010
    Nah, that would be the retard CSRs who couldn't key in a few numbers correctly into a computer. Co-workers of yours?:rolleyes:
  12. hmm52

    hmm52 Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    I had cablecards with Comcast from '05 through '07 - 2 Sony DVRs, 2 TVs, suburban Philadelphia. A few techs weren't at all familiar with them; most of them did fine. Setting up an STB is quite different than setting up a cablecard. They all tried their best and called supervisers when needed. The policy with Comcast that bothered me then was that of first trying recycled cards, generally ones removed because they were not working properly elsewhere. This was a waste of everybody's time.
  13. klgood1

    klgood1 Member

    Oct 21, 2002
    Frankfort, IL
    What is Comcast charging for cablecards in Chicago? I just added two Series 3 TiVos to my account, and I've been told that instead of the usual Digital Outlet Fee ($7.95) + extra cablecard ($1.50), that they are now charging $7.95 x 2 = $15.90 for EACH TiVo! Anybody else getting this kind of pricing?

    I got a VERY helpful rep on the phone, who went and argued several times with the sales/managers/etc., and he totally agreed with me. I mean, the Comcast web site even says that they can't charge more than $2.05 for the additional cablecard, but he was told that the "website is subject to change" etc, etc. This pricing seems ridiculous, and of course, I'm finding this out after I've just paid for lifetime service on THREE S3's.
  14. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    Just skip calling direct. Contact the folks at ComcastCares; it's simply easier. :)
  15. Kunzorama

    Kunzorama New Member

    Apr 5, 2005
    Despite the fact that the first responders are often contractors, I believe that:
    - Tivo is definitely worth it
    - Most installs go smoothly (as long as you note the need for card(s) on the service order)
    - This forum is a great resource for those who need help
    - People with good experiences don't find this forum and don't post favorable experiences
    - Comcast has rolled out hand-held bar code scanners in some markets, allowing the field reps to scan ID numbers and upload them to update your card ID and pairing info
    - When problems do arise, they're generally due to problems with account setup at the central office, that the field techs can't address. That's when second-level support from the central office or third-level support from ComcastCares is invaluable.

    I've had several Tivos over the years, under both Comcast and Charter service, and the quality of the Tivo user interface, functionality of the Tivo service, and quality of the Comcast (or Charter) HD signal all make it worth it, IMHO.
  16. danix

    danix New Member

    Aug 8, 2010
    Update on my issue. I was at work so I wrote my wife an email with really clear instructions on what was wrong and what I wanted done. Item #2 was "I do not want S cards, I want a working M card".

    Called home that evening, she said it was all fixed. The guy who came out was not the same tech, it was a region manager. This might have been due to my email to comcast, not sure. When I got home, I verified that everything worked, however, the same mismatched S cards were in the system, no M card.

    Since we'll probably move again in a couple of months, I will just leave it as is, unless they decide to charge me for the 2nd card.
  17. drhankz

    drhankz Member

    Jan 14, 2008
    Salem NH
    As long as you have (2) S-Cards there is no difference other than Comcast
    might charge you for TWO instead of ONE.
  18. shiffrin

    shiffrin Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    Lancaster, PA
    Just thought I'd add my Comcast experience sinceit might help someone else.

    I just got a new Premiere and called Comcast to install an M cablecard. I told them to bring multiple cards.

    The technician arrived with only 1 card. He put it in and it didn't work at all. He went back to his office and got another card. This one only got the non encrypted channels. His contact at the office said it would take a while to get the encrypted channels and he would call later to make sure they worked. I told him this was incorrect, but he had to go by what he was told by the office.

    He did call later and the next morning and still no encrypted channels. He was going to get some more cablecards and contact me later.

    I got tired of waiting on the second day and called the Comcast number and had them read me the numbers that they had for my card. They were wrong. The technician had read them the right numbers because I was listening carefully when he read them. They did another hit to my card and it didn't change anything. They scheduled a service call for the next day.

    I called the Tivo cablecard hotline and read them the cablecard screens which had an Auth of "MP" which means the card is not properly paired.

    On day 3 the new technician came and contacted the person he said knew the most about cablecards in the office. This person (Alex in Lancaster,PA) took a look at my account and said the "outlets" were in the wrong order. He put the cablecard in the right order and did a maintenance hit to my card and it worked immediately. The technician was in my house for less than a half hour and most of that time was waiting for Alex to be available.

    He explained that each cablebox, cablecard, internet, etc. is a separate "outlet" and must be in the right order for everything to work. I would have been done on the first day if everyone knew that.

    So, this is one more thing to check.
  19. Corran Horn

    Corran Horn Member

    Feb 12, 2002
    Wood Dale, IL
    It's unreal to me that years and years later there are still issues like these.
  20. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    WHAT !! What is outlet order on cable TV, I have a two way amp than a 10 outlet splitter in the cellar that feed the rooms in my home, not every room has a TV, the splitter is not labeled outlet 1 ,2 ,etc. I have moved paired TiVo Series 3s to different rooms without having to call Comcast. I think you were told some BS.
    I even brought a TiVo Series 3 over to a friends home to try and all ch came in (He was on the same Comcast service as i was on), what order was that.

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