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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. sjca35

    sjca35 New Member

    Dec 4, 2003
    Woot. Finally. After 6 truck rolls and 9 different cards, I have two working cablecards. I've had the same tech the last 3 times and he was very patient and never once blamed the Tivo... which was good since he finally figured out the cause of all the problems was someone in the warehouse failing to add the cards in the system (DAC) before handing them out.

    Based on my experience, it's pretty clear to me that all the "bad" cards people are seeing in the San Jose bay area just aren't entered in the system properly. Basically, after sending an initialize, hit and refresh (in that order), you won't get the 161-4 error (obviously talking about Motorola cards). If you don't get the error in a few minutes, ask the tech to call in and see if the cards are in the DAC system. Only after a signal has been sent will they be able to look this information up. In my case, all the cards which didn't work weren't properly entered in the system by the warehouse.

    It sounds like once the card leaves the warehouse, they can't enter it back in the system. :( I'm not sure how true that is, but that's what the tech believed.

    The good news is that the tech has informed his supervisor about this problem so hopefully they will be more careful in the future. I was also able to get Comcast to credit my account 5 days + install fee + $100 because of the 6 attempts during weekends and weekdays.

    Anyways, watching the A's vs Tigers right now on my SXRD and the picture quality is awesome. I'm really happy. :)
  2. redandgray

    redandgray New Member

    Sep 28, 2006
    Same tech dutifully showed up on Tuesday afternoon with two cards (I only needed one more, but he brought a spare). He spent an hour on the phone (either on hold or talking) and we finally got both CableCards up and running.

    They had to initialize each card at least twice, and the person on the other end of the line was less than helpful because she kept dismissing all the CableCard status messages we dutifully relayed to her. Over and over again she would say, "just try it", so we would try it, knowing full well that it said "Auth: none", or "Encryption: none", and that there wasn't a chance in hell it would work.

    It seemed like the CableCards were frequently getting half-way initialized, with half the status info looking good and the other half looking bad.

    On the last time around, it worked even though the status report was not good before we started. BUT, as soon as we went back to the status report, the info had all been updated with good values, so I guess this was just a brief timing issue.

    :up: :up: :up:
  3. timdorr

    timdorr New Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    Same thing here. Called up and asked for a Cold Initialize. Confused the tech lady, so she went on hold for a sec to consult her manager, came back and did the init for me. About 5 minutes later, we're good go to.

    Now, just to get the 2nd CableCard like I asked for...
  4. TiVangelist

    TiVangelist New Member

    Aug 28, 2000
    I was remiss in my previous post (quoted above) for not recognizing the helpful information the "early adopters" gave us in this thread. Without it, I would have been as clueless as the technician from Comcast. So, thank you for all of the great info!
  5. StealthAngel

    StealthAngel Game Enthusiast

    May 23, 2004
    Well after so many horror stories I was ready for a fight to get everything up and working. But that wasn't the case at all. Here's my story

    Service: Extended Basic Cable (No premium content) - Murfreesboro, TN

    Called 1-800-comcast last night about 4 times, until I finally figure out what the "party line" for my service was. The key was to ask for "Two CableCards with ONLY HD Access, NO Digital". Twice I had $5 per card ($10 total per month) quoted to me, with a tvio code they could run at my local office that would drop the total to $5. They also told me I could pick them up at the local offices, no need for service call.

    So this morning I went down to my local office and dropped off my HD Cable Box and Asked for 2 Cables cards. The lady took my box and returned with 2 Cable cards. Scanned them and handed them to me. I asked how much, she replyed free. (kinda stumped but not wanting to temp faith, I said thanks and left).

    Went home inserted the two cards into the tivo one at a time. Called the local office number, was transferred to tech support who sent 2 hit signals to both of my cards. Tivo came up with 161-4 error 4 times, twice for each card, and then everything works. Comcast even called me back to let me know the signals had been sent and asked if everything was working!

    Summery: (for those with ADD)
    Service: Extended Basic Cable (No premium content) - Murfreesboro, TN
    Charge for two cables cards: $0 FREE (was able to pick up at local office)
    I now receive all EB cable and EB-HD channels as per the cable book.

    Hope everything goes as smooth for everyone else.
  6. cmaasfamily

    cmaasfamily New Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    Wow! I had a month of dread built up reading the forum, but the cc install could not have gone smoother. The five web browsers I had open, the printouts, my carefully rehearsed speeches, and my deep breathing exercises all turned out to be unnecessary.

    Tech showed up at 11:30 for an 11 to 2 window. He knew about S3's, but hadn't done one yet. He looked over the Tivo instruction card, we popped #1 in and he called in. It took a looong time to get a "dispatcher" on the line (30 minutes - OK THAT could have gone smoother) but when he did he followed the instructions and all went exactly as it should. Repeated for card two and all channels were available on both cards. From dispatcher connect to starting guided setup was under 20 minutes.

    The dispatcher apprently told him that he could "provision" both cards at the same time if he stuck both cards in. The tech declined, citing the Tivo instructions. (I wanted to hug him!)

    FWIW: The cards were Motorola, rev. 4.0.5. Same as in two other TV's I have. I am 4 for 4 with cable cards!
  7. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    So, I've always wanted to know....

    What's it like to live in the Twilight Zone?
  8. Georgia Guy

    Georgia Guy Early Adapter

    Feb 21, 2003
    I just called both the local Comcast office and the 800 number. Both told me the cc's will cost me $5.99 per month EACH here in Gwinnett county, near Atlanta. They both listened as I said the cc's go into one unit, one outlet, and that I was replacing the comcast dvr. They both told me, sorry, the cc's are $5.99 each.
    They also told me the earliest installation date is Oct. 27th.

  9. Maeglin

    Maeglin New Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Did you try for a different CSR? The Atlanta area website FAQ and the one that I was emailed when I asked about the charges (the website is rather vague) stated that the first card was free (esp. if you were replacing one of their boxes), and what I heard when I called agreed with that. I argued the 2 cards in same device as well when she mentioned the additional outlet charge, but it was only one instance of that... not two.

    Edit: A different local CSR, I mean... policies are so different across different Comcast areas I doubt the 800 number operator would have been right.
  10. Georgia Guy

    Georgia Guy Early Adapter

    Feb 21, 2003
    Appreciate the response. No, I haven't tried a 2nd local csr, YET. I will soon.
    Do you happen to have a link to that local FAQ? I've had no luck trying to find anything at all about local cc issues online. Would love to have *anything* to point to when talking with the csr's. Thanks.
  11. Maeglin

    Maeglin New Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    This is from Comcast's site (I forget if it tailors this based on zip code, though):

    The FAQ I was emailed is more detailed, and had actual dollar amounts. If you want that, PM me your email address and I'll forward it.
  12. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    I have limited basic for $15/month. Just called Comcast for cable card installation tomorrow morning -- sooner than I expected. $1.50/month for two cards. No additional digital service required.
  13. sbenfield

    sbenfield Jonesin for Gadgets

    Jan 21, 2003
    I'm in Atlanta.

    Just switched to Comcast from D*tv. D*tv can't get me local HD channels and my OTA is intermittent--and they want $399 for a DirectTV HD DVR + a monthly fee. Plus I hate losing shows 2x a month when it rains. So time to ditch the dish.

    I called the comcast 800# and said I need 2 cable cards. She immediately said sure and said, without prompting, 'let me see if you can pick those up'...she came back and said that I could not pick them up--that at one time they allowed people to pick them up but now they require an installation.

    I asked about the charge--she said no charge at all. Install 6 days from now.

    I confirmed that I'll be able to get my HD, HBO, etc..she said yep.

    $15.40 for the install. (Hell its worth it to not stand in line at the comcast office)

    So now to buy a s3 tivo. :)

    I've been hanging on to my heavily used and creaky 300 hour Series 1 tivo now for 5 years...lamenting the loss of my lifetime service if I upgrade. $200 isn't too bad to get another "lifetime" I suppose.

    Of course on Jan 1 we'll see those S3 tivo prices drop by $200 or $300...

  14. Big Boy Laroux

    Big Boy Laroux New Member

    Oct 10, 2006

    Wow, so this is good news for me (I have Extended Basic and don't want to go to digital cable). I live in South Nashville, perhaps i can get the same deal? Thanks for the post StealthAngel!
  15. kdmorse

    kdmorse Active Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    Series 3 arrived yesterday (Thursday) - I called comcast today (Friday), and they'll be out in two days (Sunday). Well - can't beat that for an installation date...

    I did do the CSR bounce several times. The first few people I talked to pretty much said "Huh?" when I mentioned I needed two cablecards, and bounced me to someone else. After a few bounces, I was asked if I had two new TV's, and that's why I wanted two cablecards. This made me feel better - as finally I had reached someone who had a concept of what a cablecard was for.

    My response was, "I have a new PVR, which has two cablecard slots, and requires two cablecards, so it can watch two channels at once". I think this is a fairly good response, and highly recommend it. Their own FAQ says that cablecards go in PVR's. And by not actually mentioning Tivo, I avoided any "We don't support tivo" landmines. And it immediately gets the 'why two cards' issue out of the way.

    And after that, she scheduled the appointment, no questions asked. We shall see what happens this Sunday....

  16. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    The technician came, put two cards in at the same time, called in to activate both at the same time, and left in about 10-15 minutes. He told me that I was his 5th TiVo installation today. No problem so far.

    Different topic: Since CableCards are one-way devices, if I want to upgrade service and downgrade later, does that mean Comcast has to give me new cards? Unless they send out authentication signals to all one-way devices periodically, they have no way of knowing if the downgrade signal actually reached my cards.

    SCSIRAID New Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    No. If you change your subscriptions, the cable company will just change your permissions in the system and 'hit' your cablecard turning stuff on or off.

    The cableco sends 'EMM's to the cards to tell them what they are allowed to decode. EMM = Entitlement Management Message.
  18. HomieG

    HomieG Nowhere Man...

    Feb 17, 2003
    Check your first few bills closely. I got a CableCARD in June. Was supposed to be free. I'm in ATL too. Guess what, they started charging me for it in September, and they pre-dated it. Went through several iterations of free/not free. Ended up returning it on Wednesday. It's not free. They will charge you for the 2nd card, and for each additional digital outlet. BTW, I was told no charge at all. Didn't turn out to be the case.
  19. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Sending an "upgrade" message is easy because if I don't get the new channel, I would complain. What if my card does not get the "downgrade" message? I would continue to get channels which I'm not supposed to get, unless the permissions would expire themselves after a period of time.

    SCSIRAID New Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    EMM's get sent periodically....

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