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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks. I assume this is what it should be too and per my previous post I'm a little more reassured now after my 2nd call with Comcast billing support that they won't try to pull some HD service fee. They're really all over the board on this question though. Check out this Q&A from Comcast's Customer Support Forum:

    http://forums.comcast.com/t5/XfinityTV-and-Equipment/Tivo-and-HD-Technology-Fee/m-p/1479375#M59559

    That was less than 2 months ago so if they really have put out guidance to their CSRs since then that the only HD charges should be for Comcast equipment and not any HD service fee (the impression I got from call to them this morning), it must be a very recent development.

    Anyway, I'll post back later to wrap up how it actually went once I get my next bill.
     
  2. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Which is true except that the HD fee is charged to Tivos in some areas and not others even if you don't have one of their HD STBs. Luckily I live in an area with no fee and I get all the HD channels.
     
  3. pdhenry

    pdhenry Safety Pin

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    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    There should be no fee for the the first CableCard, again assuming you don't have other Comcast equipment (STB) and there's only one TV. The first one is all rolled into the programming fee (as is the STB, which is why you get a discount with a TiVo).
     
  4. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Well if only I had HD fees and Comcast billing to be worried about. At this point I'm just still hoping to get the cable card paired. Picked one up at the local Comcast store yesterday and breezed through the guided setup. Thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones, but no. "Acquiring Channel Information.. loading, 75%" it says, and continues to say that for the next 2 hours. Call Tivo tech support to get on a 3 way with Comcast. Turns out I've got a bad card. Turn it back in, wait in line 30 minutes and pick up 3 more cards, just in case 1 or 2 of them is bad. None of them work. All day on the phone with Comcast and Tivo. Con = yes but Val = ?, every time. Really? 4 cards and none of them work? Seems incredible to me, even for Comcast. But I talked to 3 different Comcast tech support reps + a supervisor, w/Tivo tech support on the line for 3 of those calls so it doesn't seem any more likely that every single Comcast rep screwed up the process somehow either. So now Comcast is sending a tech out Mon afternoon.

    Anyone experience the same thing (Con = yes, Val = ?)? Seemed like something Comcast hadn't dealt with much before because every time they tried to tell me it was paired on their end and get me off the phone before I'd check that Val field like the Tivo reps had coached me to do and say no it isn't paired. Could it be something w/how my Tivo is connected or some error I might have done during Guided Setup? Like I said, it seems incredible to me to get the same bad outcome w/4 different cards and multiple reps, so I can't help thinking there's something else going on that no one is catching. If anyone has any clues please let me know. Thanks!
     
  5. morac

    morac Cat God

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    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    It's highly doubtful you had 4 bad cards. If the cards won't pull the channels there is either a signal problem or the card wasn't activated correctly.

    Did you go through the troubleshooting steps at http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/137?
    That should tell you where the problem lies.
     
  6. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
  7. morac

    morac Cat God

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    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    Stupid message board parser parsed my "?" as part of the URL, which normally wouldn't be a problem, but TiVo's web site is weird. Anyway I fixed it, thanks.

    On a side note, I found that sometimes the links to the PDF files on that page don't work, because TiVo adds a bunch of junk at the end of the URL. If that happens, you need to remove everything after ".pdf" to get it to show up.
     
  8. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

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    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    Con = yes, Val = ? is the sign of an un-paired card. In all likelihood, they have entered the wrong number for Host ID or Data ( I don't remember which one is used) and typically, they don't recognize it and/or have no idea how to fix it.
     
  9. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks for the link. After some research here and a couple more calls to Comcast today it's apparent that there is no OOB connection to the cable headend and that the channel map they have for me is incorrect (VCTID has a # assigned - 81 - but VCT Recv'd = 0). Unfortunately though, no one I talk to at Comcast knows how to fix that or can put me through to anyone who can. The cable card activation line says they can't see any headend information or channel mapping and twice today when I've asked them to escalate it to someone who does they've told they were transferring me to local support but both times I wound up going to Billing instead who had even less info than activation. I already had a ticket with local support for a tech to come out tomorrow afternoon and tried telling them if the headend info and channel mapping is wrong that's not something they need to come out to my house to fix so why not just put me on the phone now with the correct person to fix that on the backend instead of wasting the tech's trip out here? Nope, can't do it. Local support doesn't have a number you can call from the outside and if you insist on being transferred to them you get Billing instead who can only make notes on your account that hopefully the local support tech will review before he comes out to you. So now I'm just waiting for the tech tomorrow since there's nothing else they'll let me do until then. Which would have been a lot less aggravating if they could have just told me that from my first call today instead of letting me spend the next hour+ on the phone with them thinking that the problem was being escalated to the right people only to be run around in circles.
     
  10. morac

    morac Cat God

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    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    Welcome to the world of "awesome". The most annoying thing about Comcast that I've found is that it is impossible to talk to techs at the local office. The only way to get in touch with them is by having a service guy come out and hope he'll pass the message along to the office.

    I played that game in the past where it took weeks to find and fix an intermittent problem because there was no way to get in touch with the people that matter when the problem was occurring. I finally ended up getting the phone number of the lead tech and that's how I got the problem fixed. I still have that number, but don't use it for a few reasons (they screen calls anyway).

    If the tech doesn't get the ball rolling, I recommend contacting @ComcastCares on Twitter or emailing We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com with the details. That goes to the executive corporate team who can usually apply pressure of your local fiefdom. Though I think they've been reigned in a bit lately as they don't seem all as all powerful as they used to be.
     
  11. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks for the tip. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that the tech I get today knows who at Comcast can validate and fix the headend info and channel map and if he can't help I'll try that We Can Help email.
     
  12. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    So the tech came out. Completely useless. Tried 3 more cards and still got Val: ?, no OOB lock and 0 channels with all of them. By the last card he tried we weren't even getting Con: yes and a VCTID# (probably because he mumbled through the card s/n, host and data IDs with dispatch who must have keyed them in wrong) so I had him put back in the first one he installed since at least that one seemed to have activated, like the 4 previous cards I had tried on my own, though none of them would pair. And BTW, when I told him that's why I wanted the first card reinstalled he looked at me like he had no idea that activation and pairing were different things. Anyway, here's the sum total of what I got out of the 2.5 hrs he took from my busy workday to bless me with his incompetence:

    1) On one of his early calls with dispatch they did go through my account info first and assured him there was nothing there that should be preventing the card from pairing, although dispatch did tell him that some code associated with my account wouldn't allow me to get HD channels and that there'd be a $10/mo charge for that which apparently I could deal with later after they got the card paired at all (see my previous posts about earlier Comcast reps swearing up and down I'd have no additional charge to pay for HD)

    2) The tech told me that my cable headend was 80S and that even though the card he left me with and all the ones I had tried previously on my own showed VCTID = 81 that that didn't mean anything and that he was assured by dispatch that there was no problem with the cablecard trying to connect me to the wrong headend and channel map.

    3) On his last call with his supervisor, the guy told him that the problem was with my Tivo: that I must not have had the latest firmware installed (I had downloaded all updates through guided setup just this weekend ) or that it was Tivo that didn't have the right channel information for me (which of course sounds like buck passing to me, however I did notice that a message I got on the Tivo yesterday that includes what's supposed to be my channel lineup according to however Tivo gets that info does not match exactly what Comcast shows as my channel lineup when I plug in my address to look it up on Comcast's site, so I'll call Tivo tech support when they open this morning to double check that w/them.) I also did get the supervisor's name and number and if Tivo reassures me again that there's not any problem on their end I'll be calling him today.

    4) As a souvenir of his visit, the tech installed on the exterior of my house some ugly meter box. He didn't ask my permission to do this or even tell me. He just said he had to work on something outside, which I assumed meant getting something out of the van or making a private call from there, when all the sudden I heard drilling and by the time I recognized what it was and got out there the job had already been done. And that's when I finally got angry. The tech's only response was that he was required to install them on every call now, like that actually answers how the guy has the nerve to drill holes in the side of my house to mount some ugly box without my permission. Great, huh?

    So bottom line, my Tivo is still useless to me and if by some miracle I can eventually get the cablecard actually paired I'm now on notice from Comcast that they will actually be charging me extra to get HD channels after all. So now as much as I HATE Comcast and hate giving them any more of my money than I have to, I'm beginning to wonder if all this is even worth it. If only I wasn't a huge baseball fan and didn't have any other options to watch the Giants live except for DirecTV (which from my experience is just as bad as Comcast) I would just cut the cord. But as it is I'm stuck and may have to reward Comcast's horrible behavior by returning my Tivo and keeping my DVR service with them after all. Help?
     
  13. lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

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    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    ElJimador,

    When you did guided setup, were there multiple Comcast options? If so, maybe you should try a different one.

    Have you tried removing the CableCARD and seeing if a channel scan can find anything?

    The fact that you are not getting any channels at all says it is more than a pairing problem. Send the e-mail to we_can_help documenting all of your problems including the addition of the meter to the outside of your house and asking for an explanation.
     
  14. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Thanks for the tips. I've got a call into the tech's supervisor and I want to see how that goes before I try the we_can_help email, so I can document everything together. As for the guided setup though, this is where I'm still not sure I'm getting a straight answer from Tivo tech support either. Because when I did the setup I only had 1 option to choose for Comcast and of course I keyed in my zip too, but then it asked me what I got on certain channels to confirm what cable headend I'm actually receiving from. Both times I did the setup (because I did a complete delete and reboot on Sunday after I couldn't get any of the cards I got from my local Comcast store to pair the day before) the first channel it asked me about was 28, and both times none of the choices it gave me was the channel I actually got (BTV Access, some local public access channel here in Berkeley). So the first time I entered none of the above and the 2nd guided setup after reboot I entered "not sure, ask me about another channel" and then both times from there it asked me about the same 2 other channels where the choices available did match my lineup. Then yesterday before the tech arrived I got a message on my Tivo which told me a particular channel had been deleted from my lineup and showed me all other channels I'm supposed to be getting. No channel 28 in that lineup, and a couple other channels listed aren't on Comcast's lineup when I look up my address w/them either. So I told this to Tivo's cablecard support group this morning and the guy tells me that based on my answers to those channel questions that Tivo assumed that I'm actually mapped to a headend in the zip code just north of me. But then he also tells me that this shouldn't prevent the cablecard from pairing and that my channel list will be corrected automatically once I start getting a signal. He insists that the real problem is that Comcast has only given me cablecards preconfigured for a different service area (VCTID 81 when it should be 80S). So like I say, I'm waiting for a call back from the supervisor of the Comcast tech who came back yesterday, but at this point I don't really know who to believe. And BTW, after the tech's visit yesterday I got an order confirmation from Comcast that shows $16.95 HD/DVR Service fee readded to my account (fair enough I guess, for the STB I asked them to leave for me until I can finally get the Tivo working) and also a mysterious new $8.75/mo charge for "Digital Additional" (which I'm sure is the additional fee for HD channels on the Tivo even though I still don't have a working cablecard to get ANY channels on the Tivo).

    Anyway, I do appreciate the tips and tonight when I get home I'll try removing the card and doing the channel scan. Thanks.
     
  15. magicspell

    magicspell Member

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    Jan 10, 2013
    First off, thanks to everyone that responded with advice. Although I'm a bit late in responding I do appreciate the tips.

    Here's what I ended up with. I went to my local Comcast office (after finally finding it) and asked to remove the HD DVR and pick up a cable card. No problem. Then I asked to reduce my service to the tier below digital preferred. The CSR looked for a minute and told me she could put me on the double play offer with digital prefereed and internet for $79/mo for a year (sounds similar to what slowbiscuit described). I agreed. I'll have to remind myself to circle back next year and not let the promotion expire, lol. I also need to review the next couple of bills to insure they get it right.

    Next I went and picked up the Tivo premiere (went with the XL/4). Got everything home and set up the Tivo through the guided install. Let it update everything WITHOUT the cablecard installed. Next day I installed the cablecard and called the Comcast cablecard hotline (with fingers crossed). Read off the info from the Tivo screens and the Comcast rep said everything looked "fine" except my account didn't reflect the proper coding for the cablecard. He automatically transferred me to the regular Comcast support who I then had to explain everything to. I was beginning to think I was doomed. However, within a few minutes the TV came on and I could tune all my channels! I consider my cablecard install/pairing a success compared to many I've read about.

    Since installing the TiVo last weekend I've been able to set up pyTivo, kmttg, and Playon. I've pushed a couple of files to the TiVo with pyTivo which played beautifully. Last night I pulled a few recorded broadcast shows from the TiVo and recoded them with VideoReDo. All seems to be working as designed so far.

    Thanks again for the info, background, and wealth of guidance in these forums. Without it I'm sure I wouldn't have come this far (especially so quickly)!
     
  16. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    So I talked to the supervisor of the Comcast tech who came to my house and that didn't help either. Nice guy, seemed to mean well and all that but his only guidance was to call 800 Comcast to have them run through all my account info to make sure there wasn't anything there that might be preventing pairing, and then call their cablecard activation line again and if it still didn't pair to have them try the signal from different cable headends nearby. Seemed like reasonable advise and I was encouraged when the rep through 800 Comcast (after putting me on hold for a long time to talk to her supervisor) said that they did find 1 change to make on my account that might help (something about a header key that orders how their signal is sent to different equipment). But then I called cable card activation and found out that didn't change anything and that they have no ability to send you a signal from a different headend that you're assigned. Her advice was that I try going to a different local Comcast store in my area and pick up a card from them. Which brings me to my question to all of the knowledgeable folks here: are cable cards supposed to be pre-configured for your particular service area (cable headend, channel map or whatever)? I can't seem to get a straight answer on this from Comcast or Tivo. The local tech supervisor for Comcast says no, that they deliver the same refurbished Motorola cards throughout the Bay Area. But I'm still stuck on the fact that the VCTID on all the cards they've provided me so far reads as 81 when they're telling me my actual VCT is 80S. Seems unlikely to me that that's something pre-configured on the card itself since the VCTID when you first put a new card in shows as 0 and doesn't appear until Comcast sends the activation signal. But then why would they advise me to try a card from a different local Comcast store instead?

    I've emailed all this to the We_Can_Help address and left another message back for the local tech supervisor to what he can do to escalate on his end. I'm also buying another Premiere today, basically just to test everything on that too and rule out to Comcast that my Tivo itself is the problem when they inevitably try to discard me over to Tivo support instead. In the meantime, anything more that anyone here can tell my about my VCTID disconnect would be much appreciated. Thanks.
     
  17. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Got a call from the Comcast Executive Office re: the email I sent to We_Can_Help. She seemed knowledgeable about cable card pairing and said she'd reach out to my local field office to get this resolved. She also cleared up a couple mysteries for me. 1) No one at Comcast was telling my that VCTID should be "80S", they were saying "ADS", as in my cable headend is Berkeley ADS. Apparently VCT means nothing to them and they have no other designation for what your channel map is supposed to be so they just answered my questions on that by repeating the headend location. So disregard my earlier question on that. Also she confirmed that there is no additional fee to get HD channels, so what local dispatch told the tech in my home earlier on that was BS.

    Anyway, seems like the issue is finally in the right hands so I hope to have happy news to report back on this in the next day or 2. Thanks to everyone on the tips so far, especially on contacting the We_Can_Help email.
     
  18. a68oliver

    a68oliver Member

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    Jul 15, 2000
    Crawfordsvil...
    although I am no expert on this, it is my understanding from reading these threads for some time, that the cablecard is provisioned (before handing it to you) for your particular headend. If it is not provisioned correctly, then the activation signals won't reach it.

    This could explalin some of your problems. Also, I am not paying an HD fee. It is also my understanding that that is only for Comcast provided HD equipment, ie., DVR or cablebox.

    If you get charged it, ask to cancel the service and you willl probably continue to receive the HD channels.

    Good luck. We_can_help cleaned up my billing issue a few years ago.
     
  19. ElJimador

    ElJimador New Member

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Well whadda ya know. Took the new Premiere out of the box yesterday, plugged in cable card I already had and it paired on the first try. Turns out it was a Tivo issue all along. For the benefit of others who experience pairing problems similar to my own, there was a difference in the setup this time that I suspect was key. Even though both units were brand new Premiere's right out of the box from local Best Buy's (the first the original 320 gb model and the new one the 500 gb) and even though I went through the same process on both of completing the entire guided setup before attempting to activate the card, this time I was never asked what I got on particular channels (28, 34, etc.). I could swear I didn't answer the questions that led up to it any differently this time than I had twice before in doing and redoing the guided setup on the first (same zip code and provider info etc.) but whereas last time it asked me those questions and determined from my answers to them that I must actually be associated with a channel map in the zip code just north of me instead of the zip I entered, this time it just took my zip code and provider answers, gave me the channel list to confirm, and loaded the data. After completing the guided setup and putting the card in its slot I then noted the following differences prior to calling Comcast for pairing:

    *On the Cable Card Menu / Network Status page, OOB Msgs received became a non-zero # and continued to refresh upward from the moment I inserted the card
    *Hitting the Guide button immediately showed me an actual channel guide instead "Acquiring Channel Information, Loading..." forever.

    From these indicators my assumption now is that contra everything I had been told in multiple calls with Tivo tech support, the local tech supervisor for Comcast was right: the fact that Tivo assigned the wrong channel list to me on initial setup was the reason the card wouldn't pair. In the end it worked out to my advantage because of the price drop on the 500 gb model which I would have bought in the first place if it was at its current $50 off sale price then. But I have to say I'm very disappointed with Tivo support in all this. Twice I had them on 3 way calls with Comcast cable card activation pointing out all the info I could after each failed attempt (including the 0 OOB msgs received and the "Acquiring Channel Info" via the Guide button), and when I went back to them after what the Comcast local tech supervisor told me they insisted repeatedly that there was no way that Tivo assigning me to the wrong channel list in the initial setup would prevent a card from pairing. In hindsight I should have been more skeptical of that answer and more firm in insisting that they fix my setup instead of letting them turn me around and send me back to Comcast each time. But with a lot of previous bad experiences with Comcast vs. Tivo's much better reputation I just couldn't get my mind around the idea that it really could be a Tivo issue all along, and then the more my calls turned to frustration and complaints about Comcast the more the Tivo reps just kept me pointed in that direction. Friendly, but not very helpful.

    Anyway, problem solved at last and I'm looking forward to playing with my new toy.
     
  20. Davelnlr_

    Davelnlr_ Member

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    Jan 12, 2011
    North...
    Glad its working for you. Im not sure, after reading your last post, just what the problem was, however. Unlike you, when I just activated my new box, it did ask me the question about what channel I received on channel 2 during guided setup, and the card paird up ok. I really dont see what having the wrong channel map on the cablecard would have to do with the pairing. I would think it would pair up, and just provide the wrong channels...

    In any case, glad its working for you now.
     

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