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Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by amjustice, Sep 14, 2006.
Thanks. That makes more sense.
Can an EMM "fix" anything?
I'm specifically thinking of the missing channels problem. Could the problem have been caused by reception of only a partial EMM when the CableCard was installed, perhaps because the installer pushed the process through too quickly, not willing to wait the five minutes after insertion of each CableCard? ... and then "periodically" another EMM comes down the line and fills in the missing data?
The problem seems to have resolved itself after about 3 days. All is good in the world of high def.
Actually, my SD channels seem a lot better now that they are running through the S3. They seem somewhat sharper, with better snap and depth to the deeper tones.
Is this possible?
For those with multiple S3's (four or more cable cards)using Comcast. What is the monthly fee Comcast is charging for cable cards?
I just wanted to let everyone know that it's not all bad. Tuesday was my Comcast appointment.
I got a Comcast employee, not a contractor. He said that he had done one other S3, so he wasn't freaked out. As a matter of fact, he said it was a waste of his time to be doing this. I agreed and told him they wouldn't let me pick them up.
One interesting note, and the only reason the whole process wasn't 15 minutes, was he said I should have done a channel scan before he got there. I'm not sure that is true, but he did it anyway. He said that he wouldn't be able to test channels if it hadn't been done.
Anyway, after that, he plugged them in, call and activated them. It took a few minutes for all the "magic" to happen on the Cablecards and all of the channels were there.
All in all, it was easy and painless.
An EMM is what tells the cablecard what channels its 'entitled' to decode. If channels come and go, it could be because the cableco is sending screwed up EMM's due to some problem in their 'systems'. Since EMM's get sent periodically, any missing content due to missed EMM's could clear up after the next EMM. The cableco sending a 'HIT' causes the head end to send an EMM immedietly instead of the next scheduled time.
Note that EMM's only pertain to encrypted content. Anything unencoded or analog wont care about EMMs. Channel mapping could also effect missing channels. Im currently not sure about whether that is carried in messages or part of the initialization of the card at the cableco or with fw updates.
I would assume that if some channels are missing, the cable company would send a 'HIT' to the CableCards, and from what you're saying that will sent an EMM immediately, with the cards in a state where they most surely would receive and process the entire message. However, the techs I had would always note that I had some channels in each tier, so perhaps they didn't have a 'HIT' sent, since from what they could see there wasn't a problem with authorization for any specific tier of service. I assume the EMM contains data for each specific frequency, rather than tier information, so that would be pretty sloppy logic on the parts of the techs, if that was indeed what they were thinking.
Many of my missing channels were in the analog range (22 of the 32 missing channels), but it's all digital service here, so I wonder if all digital, including basic cable, is encrypted content here.
Channel mapping is an interesting issue. I didn't get new CableCards, so I assume that if that was the problem, I'd still have the problem, which I don't.
Is there a way to have been able to tell the difference between an unauthorized channel and a bad mapping? I saw just a black screen -- no "no signal found" warning and no "not authorized" warning. Does that indicate one of either of the two failure conditions?
If I attempt to tune a channel that I am not 'entitled' to... say HBOHD (which I dont subscribe to)... I get a black screen. The signal meter shows excellent signal strength though (94). I would imagine that a bad mapping would possibly result in zero signal strength while a good mapping with no authorization would be black screen and good signal strength.
The digital SD channels including the basic 2-98 are all encrypted here which means if the cablecard isnt working.. they wont work.
Okay, so if I understand correctly, that indicates my problems were specific frequency authorization issues. Whether the problems were that Comcast simply didn't resend the EMM that was needed (until days later) or that the S3 was mishandling the EMMs when spawned by Comcast HITting the CableCards is a mystery.
I dont believe the S3 is involved at all with the EMM's.... totally managed within the cablecard as cablelabs doesnt want any external party to be able to spoof authorization. The S3 tunes the channel as indicated in the mappings and then 'displays' the output of the cablecard if the mapping says its encrypted. If the cablecard doesnt recognize it as entitled... then it outputs a black screen. Thats my assumption.
Here's my experience about a Comcast installation in the Atlanta metro area.
Called Comcast customer support and requested two cablecards. I was told there would be a $14.95 fee to roll a truck, but no monthly fee for the cards, so that was good news.
Installer #1 arrives at the very end of the installation window, doesn't have but 1 cablecard (even though his work order clearly shows 2). So he has to drive back to the warehouse and get another. He returns an hour later, so we're now one hour beyond the promised time, and he hasn't even started working on the Tivo yet.
He gets the first card to work, but on the second card the MMI screen never appears (that's the screen with the data on it that Comcast needs to activate the cards). He assumes the card must be bad and tells me I'll have to set up a second appointment. Then he leaves and, despite my protests, takes BOTH cablecards with him, even the one that was working!
I call and set up appointment #2 for the next day. After waiting six hours and making numerous calls to Comcast to find out where he is, he is a no-show. We schedule another appointment for the next day. I get two $20 "inconvenience" credits from Comcast for the two botched appointments.
Installer #2 arrives. Can't get the MMI screen to come up for EITHER card. Manages to erase the cablecard on my plasma TV in the process. I try to get Tivo customer support on the line, but hold time is 35 minutes, and the cable guy won't wait. He leaves, and I have to set up a FOURTH appointment. I get another $20 "inconvenience" credit from Comcast.
Meanwhile, I finally get through to Tivo customer support, who suggests I call them the next time a cable installer comes. Uh, yeah, I just did that, but I had to hold for THIRTY-FIVE stinkin' minutes, and he left! Any other suggestions? They had me reset the Tivo in preparation for the next day's service call.
Installer #3 arrives yesterday. He says, "Oh, yeah, I did one of these yesterday." I'm encouraged. He plugs in the first cablecard, the MMI screen pops up, and he calls in the info. Minutes later the card is working. He plugs in the second card, and the second MMI screen pops up. Another call, and the second card is working. He is in and out in under 30 minutes. I now have a fully functional Series 3!
So, was it resetting the Tivo that did it? Did the third installer finally arrive with good cards? Did the third installer just know what he was doing? Who knows. All I can say is that if I wasn't a big Tivo fan, that box would have been back at Circuit City days ago. Regardless of whether it's Tivo's fault or Comcast's, it's just too much of a hassle for the average person to miss three or four days of work to try to get a PVR activated.
WooT! My previous comcast experience has been expunged! You can indeed have a working TiVo S3 in Montgomery County, MD.
Comcast sent a capable fellow over yesterday - he was an employee and not a contractor - and said he'd done a TiVo S3 already. He indicated that the cable cards are failing more often than not - indeed he brought three cards, all new, all fresh firmware - and only one of them ascertained the required information - the rest coughed up rows of zeroes.
It was enough to get going though, and he promised to return Monday evening (!) with a 'big stack.' While we waited for things to happen, he said only about 3 in 10 cards are working - 4 of five failed outright for me. So much for Six Sigma making Motorola the premier electronics manufacturer, eh?
I've learned a couple of things:
1. Call TiVo for help, they seem to be really sharp - and can call corporate numbers in Philly and not local service when theres a problem - Corporate will dispatch someone with more specific instructions - like 'bring 2 cards'
2. Comcast Employees seem a bit more capable and affable and friendly than the contractors. (this is from a sample of six contractors and two employees in the last six months)
I've had much the same experience...Comcast employees are much more capable than the contractors who seemingly get paid by the call (whether successful or not).
Talking directly to the local office is a LOT better than the 1-800 drones.
For people getting conflicting information about billing, I recommend reading over the bill carefully. I had an extra $5 HD charge and an extra $6.95 digital additional outlet charge on my latest cable bill. However, I looked over the full bill and there is some text (on the printed bill, it was close to the customer address information) that says additional cablecards are $1.50 for situations like a customer owned dual tuner PVR. I tried calling the local comcast # and got a lot of runarounds, but after calling 1800COMCAST, I was able to get someone to take off all the extra charges. In the end, I'm paying $1.50 extra per month more than I was paying before, but it could be worse.
The other day I noticed a $6.95 additional outlet fee on my bill, in addition to the $1.50 for the 2nd cablecard. This was completely different than what I had been told twice previously. So I decided to call to get it resolved.
At first the CS rep told me that the $6.95 was because I had a "3rd device" (the Comcast DVR), in addition to the 2 cablecards. So I told her that resulted in me being charged an additional $6.95 on top of the $9.95 I already paid for the DVR. And she said yes that's how the system is set up.
I asked to speak to a supervisor, who when I told her the same thing that I'm basically being charged now approx $17 for the DVR, said that no, the extra $6.95 is for the TiVo. WHAT? So even if I return the Comcast DVR I will be charged $6.95 additional per month because th cablecards are installed in a TiVo. It just sounds like they are grasping at ways to justify the $6.95 charge. I also told the supervisor that this was the first time anyone had told me about the $6.95 charge, after I had already called three times previously.
After she put me on hold for about 15 minutes, she came back and said that the $6.95 was for the DVR box and that $9.95 was for the DVR service. So if I return the DVR then it will just be the $1.50 for cablecards. Or if I just get a HD box it will be $5.00 plus the $1.50. I guess I'll be going to my local Comcast office tomorrow to return a DVR.
Are other Comcast customers being told the same thing? Seems pretty bogus to charge $6.95 for the box and then an additional $9.95 for the service.
That sounds about right. I got one box free with HD service, but the DVR cost $9.95 extra
I called Comcast to setup a time to do the cable card install. They said the only additional cost would be $1.50/month for the second cable card.
The nice lady I spoke with knew what it was for as she has done 5 or 6 TIVO/Cable Card requests in the past couple of weeks. (SF Bay Area)
Looking forward to getting my new TIVO up and running.
Comcast is correct. Each additional digital device has the monthly $6.95 charge, whether it's a Comcast box or a S3 TiVo. If you add another S3 to your account, it would be additional $6.95 + $1.50 per month.
TWC here does the same thing... you pay 8.95 for a digital box and then a 6.95 DVR upgrade for a total of 15.90 per month per DVR.
You can indeed have a working TiVo S3 in Montgomery County, MD.
Why yes, yes you can (And on the first appointment today no less).
Or at least, it was working... I was getting exactly the channels I expected, including digital simulcast of channels 0-99 when he left today at 5:30pm. Both cards showed as subscribed. All was well. I don't know if it was rerunning guided setup, or what, but now things are odd.
I have more channels that I should. (ok, no complaints there).
0-99 are now Analog again (as they were before the cablecard install)
Both cablecards show as unsubscribed.
so close... so close... Will have to try a reboot or a reguided setup...