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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. chiguy50

    chiguy50 Member

    463
    4
    Nov 9, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    Comcast's CableCARD support gets a lot of (justifiable) flak. It's nice to see that, for once, they were on the ball and not at fault for the TiVo's interoperability issues.

    You could lay this one at TiVo tech support's doorstep; but it's also possible that your problem was an outlier since we still don't know exactly what the cause was.

    At any rate, congratulations on your persistence; hope you will find it was worth the effort in the end. And thanks for posting the details here for posterity's sake.
     
  2. GTrotter4

    GTrotter4 New Member

    2
    0
    May 6, 2007
    I bought a brand new TiVo XL4 off of eBay for $350. I picked up a cable card from Comcast and called the self-install number. The card validated and connected but none of the authorization information appeared on the conditional access screen.

    I called TiVo technical support and told them about the conditional access screen problem. The agent was nice and courteous and was pretty confident it was a Comcast problem (probably a bad card, wrong pairing information or something wrong with the DAC (headend)). So I picked up 3 different cable cards and spent MANY hours with wonderful Comcast tech support agents (1-855-425-9120). 2 different advanced Techs assured me that everything was correct on their end (they even confirmed with my local Atlanta headend)

    I called TiVo back and they agreed to do an RMA and send me a different TiVo. I then put the same cable card in the new unit, called Comcast self-pairing hotline and 1 minute later I have all my channels.
     
  3. MathiasRex

    MathiasRex New Member

    22
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    Jan 23, 2013
    I'm in San Francisco and was able to pick up my multi-stream Cable Card for my Premiere XL4 box from the local office here. Charge is a reasonable $1 and change per month.

    When I first plugged it in, basic cable channels came in only. No extended cable or premium channels.

    Spent several hours with at least 4 reps from Comcast performing various tasks, including getting cut off a couple of times as I was bounced from place to place. Read the specs to them several times as well, Cable Card ID, Host ID, Data, etc.

    At the end of all this we were no further along. No extended channels or premium channels. It was extremely frustrating but I'm sympathetic with customer service reps and won't blame them.

    A tech was sent in a couple of days (was pleased with speed of that) and had it fixed in a few minutes after talking with the internal tech at the office.

    That was two weeks ago. Guess what? Today I've lost many of the basic cable channels! They're coming in fine to a Comcast box in another part of my home, just not through the XL4 with the CableCard. A quick call to Comcast and a reset did not solve it, so another tech is coming in two days (fast again) and I'm sure they'll nail it.

    A mixed bag here, then, overall pleased with the techs that come out and how quickly they're sent. A lot trickier dealing with the phone reps.

    Mathias
     
  4. Davelnlr_

    Davelnlr_ Member

    523
    0
    Jan 12, 2011
    North...
    Apparently there is more to cablecards than the pairing. I had this exact same problem about a year ago. Turned out they had the cablecard info correct, but the billing department had somehow changed the cablecard to a different programming tier than the one I was paying for. Apparently their system can have different packages assigned to different boxes on the same account (no idea why). They had my main Tivo as Digital Preferred, but had changed the second Tivo to digital economy or something like that. So one box worked, and the other appeared to be unpaired.

    Tech got the office to match up all the billing with the cablecard, and it popped right back on, and has been fine since.

    Also, it took a tech visit to figure it out, because it seems the cablecard people did not have access to the billing info on the account, so they never noticed the two cablecards were assigned different programming tiers.
     
  5. boshk

    boshk New Member

    6
    0
    Jun 10, 2007
    hello, i have a series 3 and i just replaced 2 single stream cards that started to act up on me. the audio was cutting out on all channels, and the picture was pixelating and artifacting. so i exchanged it for a multi stream card and everything worked fine. except that apparently the series 3 is so stupid that it has to have 2 cards to use both tuners. so i went back and picked up a second multi stream (thats all comcast has now apparently) card and installed it. now i have the artifacting and sound problem back. each card individually works fine, and i tried the first card in the second slot by itself and vice versa. both worked fine individually. but whenever i have two cards in, i have problems. tried rebooting, and running through the guided setup again, but it didnt work. has this happened to anyone else? anyone have any ideas?
     
  6. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,953
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    It could be the drive. With only 1 card installed only one tuner will buffer to the drive. It's possible the drive is failing and can't handle two streams at once, but works with one. An easy way to test this is to put both cards in and then tune to a non-existent channel on one of the tuners and see if the other one is okay.

    Note that pixelation and sound issues is rarely a problem with the card, especially in the S3 which has 2 cards. The chances of both cards failing at the same time is almost impossible.
     
  7. boshk

    boshk New Member

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    Jun 10, 2007
    i just replaced my stock drive with a 1TB wd caviar green. so its not the drive failing... could it be because i enabled supersize?
     
  8. pdhenry

    pdhenry Safety Pin

    17,243
    89
    Feb 27, 2005
    PA
    Only having multistream cards in stock is an FCC thing. How's your SNR and signal level?
     
  9. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,389
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    The original Series 3 was brought to market before the standards for the M cards were finalized, so it has to use one card per tuner, whether it's a S or an M card. Not really TiVo's fault.

    It's quite possible, since your TiVo is older than a Series 4 and newer than a Series 1, that the power supply is suffering from "capacitor plague" and can't quite provide enough current for both cards and tuners.

    Pop the top and look for bulges.
     
  10. morac

    morac Cat God

    8,953
    22
    Mar 14, 2003
    NJ
    Assuming your SNR levels are good, if the problem started right after replacing the drive, then I would suspect the new drive is faulty. Try putting the original drive back in and see if the problem goes away.
     
  11. boshk

    boshk New Member

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    Jun 10, 2007
    so the multi stream cards require more power to run?
     
  12. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,389
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I do not know if the M cards draw more current than the S cards, but it's basic Ohm's law (with a little Kirchhoff and Thevenin thrown in) that 2 cards, connected across the power supply output in parallel (and in parallel with all the other stuff drawing current) will draw more current than one card.

    If your power supply is starting to go bad due to "capacitor plague" (and with Series 2 and Series 3 TiVos that's actually quite likely), then adding the additional currrent draw of the second card will cause the output voltage to sag and if it sags enough for a particle of a second it'll make the CPU reset and if it doesn't get quite that bad it still means not enough current to go around for everything to work properly.

    There have been reports from other users on this site of a second card crashing their TiVo until they fixed their power supplies.
     
  13. sbourgeo

    sbourgeo Hepcat Daddio

    7,443
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    Nov 10, 2000
    New England
    What, no love for Norton? :p
     
  14. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,389
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Care and Feeding of Electrons 101 was a long time ago, and it was part of a servicing degree program, not a 4 year EE deal, so he didn't immediately come to mind.
     
  15. sbourgeo

    sbourgeo Hepcat Daddio

    7,443
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    Nov 10, 2000
    New England
    IMO Norton was always second banana to Thevenin even with an EE degree (kinda like Fourier to Laplace). I was just voicing my appreciation for the mention of Ohm, Kirchhoff, and Thevenin after all those years I spent dealing with their work in dusty old textbooks and blue books. :up:
     
  16. boshk

    boshk New Member

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    Jun 10, 2007
    i only asked because i had 2 single stream cards in it for probably 4-5 years, and swapped them for multi stream ones.
     
  17. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,389
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I don't know if they have labels that specify current draw or not, having never been near one, but I wouldn't expect the difference to be all that large, especially since the M cards probably use slightly newer, more efficient electronics.

    But I would expect 2 of them to draw twice as much current as 1, and for other people with power supply problems, that's been enough to crash the TiVo.
     
  18. tewill

    tewill New Member

    8
    0
    Jan 30, 2013
    Just wanted to pass along some key information I learned while trying to get a Comcast cable card working with my new TiVo Premiere 4, in case this hasn't been mentioned before.

    After 4-5 calls in to the special Comcast TiVo department, and hours of time lost, I was told it was likely I had a bad card. The problem was that my new TiVo would just hang indefinitely at 75% when trying to acquire channels. After reading some posts in this thread, I was concerned that a new card wouldn't solve the problem. So, when speaking with the CSR in person at my local Comcast office, I asked if there was something I could do to ensure that the second card I got worked. He asked if I had a Premiere, then quickly went back and grabbed another card that, unlike my first card, had a gold strip on the end where it plugs into the TiVo. He said that the cards with this gold strip tend to work better with Premieres, and sure enough, with the new card my TiVo was up and running almost immediately with no issues.

    I can't say for sure that my success wasn't just due to the first card being broken and the second being functional, but you might want to ask your Comcast CSR if they have one of these cable cards with the gold strip, especially if you're experiencing issues.
     
  19. Feb 2, 2013 #8719 of 9367
    slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    3,506
    19
    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Ok so here's something weird with my card billing - I had 3 cards as of last November, then Comcast decided to start charging me an outlet fee for each extra card (2x$9.95) minus the $2.50 credits for each on the end of the month's bill. I wasn't using one of them so I returned it, and as expected they took one off the bill. I have no other boxes with them, just a DTA at $1.99/mo (which used to be free, but that's another rant).

    What I didn't expect was that a couple of weeks later (late Dec.), they took the other one off the bill too (that I'm still using) AND still gave me the credit! So as of my latest bill I now have 2 cards and 2x$2.50 credits and am not charged for either. I have no idea how or why this happened, but I'm wondering if they've reversed course on outlet fees for cards or if it's the usual local Comcast lottery.
     
  20. Feb 2, 2013 #8720 of 9367
    lpwcomp

    lpwcomp Active Member

    8,081
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    May 6, 2002
    John's...
    The latter.
     

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