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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Oct 16, 2006 #901 of 9367

    goony New Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Must have been a poor dish install - my neighbors' cable is out more often and with a longer duration that my DBS has ever been. Only the very heaviest rains kill my signal and then it's only for 1-2 minutes, tops.
  2. Oct 16, 2006 #902 of 9367

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    That's really the biggest problem I see. If it was just a struggle to get things working and then they stayed working, that would be fine. But the fact that things we lose random channels (not whole tiers, just random channels) at random times, that's unacceptable. I cannot know that these problems are happening while I'm on vacation, for example, and I cannot continually bring the cable company out to my home, just for them to charge me for the privilege of saying that the CableCards are okay and the signal is okay, etc.
  3. Oct 16, 2006 #903 of 9367

    astb533 New Member

    Oct 15, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    I picked up my Series 3 last Saturday at the Escape store on Halsted here in Chicago last Saturday. I wasn’t planning on spending the money for a Series 3 till Christmas (little gift to myself) but when they had 1 left in stock, I decided that Christmas would come a little early this year… :p

    Anyway, called Comcast and scheduled a Cablecard install for Friday, 8am-12pm window. Spent most of the week reading over the Comcast Cablecard horror stories on the boards and prepared myself for the worst. I was not disappointed…

    Took the day off on Friday and waited for the Cable tech to show up. He finally showed up at 11:59am (of course) and, shocker, didn’t have any Cablecards with him and a blank work order. Apparently the tech who was supposed to come called him and asked if he could sub on the job. He had no idea why he was here, what a cable card was, or what a Tivo Series 3 was. I also think he was a contractor, not a Comcast employee, but I didn’t ask… Anyway, after letting him know exactly how unimpressed I was with the situation, he finally called in dispatch and his supervisor agreed to bring 2 cards from dispatch, but that took about an hour.

    Anyway, his supervisor came in with the cards (Motorola, 4.21 firmware) and said he had done a few installs and said it shouldn’t be a problem. I started to feel better, until the supervisor said he had to leave to take care of other scheduled appointments, but gave verbal instructions to the tech on what to do. Basically told him to take down the serial numbers, host & data ID’s and then call the #’s in to dispatch. Supervisor also said it could take up to 5 hours for the channels to come in after they were activated (I realized this sounded contrary to every Cablecard success story I had read about). Anyway, the tech called in the numbers but I never got the 161-4 errors. I decided to just sign the work order and let the tech leave (as he was pretty much useless) figuring as long as I had the cards and the #’s, I could deal with customer support myself if the cards didn’t activate after a few hours. Long story short, they didn’t activate, I didn’t get ANY channels, and any of the correct information I read about on the ‘Conditional Access’ screen. Multiple calls to Comcast customer support accomplished nothing except scheduling a truck roll for Saturday afternoon. One rep took my info and told me I would get a call from the escalation group that handled Cablecard problems Saturday morning (that call never came).

    Anyway, part II, the Comcast tech came out on Saturday in the middle of the appointment window. He was an actual Comcast employee, very nice and helpful. Said he hadn’t done a Tivo Cablecard install, but had done several in regular TV’s. He was excited to see the box and said his brother was interested in getting one. He even asked for copies of the install instructions to take with him when he left (I was feeling pretty good at this point). Anyway, he came out with 2 new cards (both Motorola 4.21s), wrote down the serials, handed them to me and let me drive. He even called dispatch and handed me the phone and let me read the #’s over the phone. It took a while but I was talking to the tech on the phone, read the serials, host & data IDs and saw the 161-4 errors on both cards. A few minutes later, the channels appeared (except HBO, Encore, etc). At this point, I felt great and figured it might just take a little longer for the premiums to appear. I decided to let the tech go (he had been here for an hour and had 3 more apts that afternoon). I was concerned about HBO, etc so I managed to convince him to give me the # that he had called to read in the info in case there were any problems.

    After a few hours of no HBO and not seeing the proper messages on the ‘Conditional Access’ screen, I decided to call the # he had given me. A tech answered and asked for the Job number which I had on the work order. She said “Tech # xxx?” and I said ‘yes’. I never claimed to be the tech, just verified the # was correct.. ;-) Anyway, I said the cards weren’t picking up HBO and she tried a few things (got a couple more 161-4’s) but nothing worked (still no HBO), then transferred me to another guy who was supposed to be more knowledgeable about Cablecards. He tried to remove HBO and re-add to the account to see if that would work. That cause my high-def box (in bedroom) to restart & re-download information. The high-def box never worked after that… great… Anyway… no dice on Sat evening. Called again Sunday morning and finally talked to someone who clearly knew what they were doing. First I asked to verify the Cablecard numbers and found out that one of the Data ID’s was entered improperly. He then said the account wasn’t set up properly (something about ‘wrong place settings’). He fixed both of those errors, sent 2 cold hits to the cards and voila.. they finally worked. The HD cable box, however, still would not work but no big deal, I called regular customer support, told them my box had somehow lost all of its channels, and was told I could trade in the non-working box at the local equipment office for a new one (which I am planning to do this AM).

    Long story short, countless hours wasted with Comcast this weekend, but finally a working Tivo Series 3.. The HD picture from the Tivo is amazing… Somehow, through all of this, I am now getting Showtime and Starz which I have not subscribed too. I guess I’ll wait and see if I get charged for them on the next bill.. If they don’t disappear and I don’t get charged, I’ll just consider it a little gift from Comcast for all of my pain and suffering.

    My advice to new S3 owners awaiting CC installs, read all the posts on this board and get yourself as familiar with the process as you can. Most likely, you will be more knowledgeable than the tech who comes to your house. Write down the serial #’s of the cards yourself before they get put in the Tivo and then also write down the pairing information (host & data #’s) from the screen and listen to the tech read them over the phone. If he screws them up, let him know and ask him to have the tech on the other end read back the #’s to verify. It is still possible for the person on the other end of the line to mis-type but try and limit all the points of error that you can control. Also, don’t let the tech leave until you are getting all of your channels. If they try and tell you it will take up to “5 hours” for the channels to show up then make them give you a number to call if it doesn’t work.

    Hope this story helps someone.
  4. Oct 16, 2006 #904 of 9367

    nove531 New Member

    Sep 17, 2006
    I had 2 cable cards installed on Friday, 10/6. After several reboots and re-hits from Comcast, they both seemed to be working perfectly on the evening of Monday, 10/9. I set up my season passes and everything seemed to be working. I noticed on Saturday that for Thursday, 10/12 two of my shows only partially recorded. I thought that was bizarre, but shrugged it off (I had a back up on an S2, just in case, so no worries about missed shows). Then, when I went to watch something that recorded correctly, in the middle of playback the "To Activate This CableCard, please Call Comcast at...." popped up. It was very strange. When I hit Clear to exit that screen, it brought me to my "To Do" list. Why would it bring me there, of all places? I had to go back to my "Now Playing" list and select my show again. After a few more minutes of watching my show, the "To Activate...." screen popped up again? Now, I got angry. I called Comcast and had them re-hit my cards again, and so far so good. After I thought about it for a while, I remembered that when I started watching my recorded show, I had to reset my 30 second skip. I then realized that I received an update on Thursday morning. Could this be why my shows didn't record correctly and why I had to re-hit my cards again to make that screen stop popping up? Will this happen EVERY time we get an update? Has anyone had this happen to them?
  5. Oct 16, 2006 #905 of 9367

    debbie6754 Member

    Nov 1, 2002
    New Jersey
    If I install 2 cablecards but don't have a cable box, will I get HD when watching live TV?
  6. Oct 16, 2006 #906 of 9367

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.

    The Series 3 can't work with a cable box.

    That's what the cards are. Miniature cable boxes that let the Series 3 (or any other CableCard device) tune digital cable channels.

    If your Series 3 has cable cards, you'll be getting digital cable channels. That's what they do.

    You'll have to subscribe to your company's digital package, tho'.

    Everything the Series 3 gets after that will be what's in the digital cable package, whether you're recording, or just watching live.

    To watch those channels in High Def (those that ARE in High Def), you'd need an HD television. Otherwise, you're just watching a downconverted version of those channels.
  7. Oct 16, 2006 #907 of 9367

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    not for braodcast HD channels
  8. Oct 16, 2006 #908 of 9367

    gastrof Hubcaps r in fashion

    Oct 31, 2003
    Potato and pen.

    True enough.

    Even WITHOUT the cable cards, the Series 3's digital tuner should be able to tune in local "OverTheAir" digital channels that are carried by the cable system.

    Again, whether you'd get high def out of those depends on whether or not the channel is broadcasting in HD. Otherwise, you're just getting Standard Def, in digital format.
  9. Oct 16, 2006 #909 of 9367

    kdmorse Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD
    Obvious if you think about it - but worth noting.

    There is a *world* of difference between the quality of folks you talk to when you call early afternoon on a weekday, and when you call at 11:45pm sunday night.

    Sunday Evening: - after a long description of the problem.

    "I'm sorry, cablecards are impossible to manage remotely, we have to send a tech out for any changes"
    "No, we cannot hit them remotely, or initialize them remotely, it's just not technically possible"
    "And how could we, using what, Microwaves? Wireless? The cablecards aren't even connected to the system!"
    "Cablecards are truly inferior technology, as we can't see them, touch them, or in any way alter them from the office"

    I could not convince that man otherwise, and he claimed there wasn't anyone else there.

    Monday Afternoon: After mentioning my lineup wasn't quite right.

    "I just refreshed the programming on all your devices, by sending a hit to your digital cable box, and your two cablecards"

    "A hard init? I don't know, lemme look... (all of 5 seconds). Yes, I can send a hard init to both cards from this menu"

    Of course I'm at work - and can't tell if anything helped, but at least I talked to someone with a clue.

  10. Oct 16, 2006 #910 of 9367

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    Someone here noted that the new price of $1.50 for the second cable card was printed on their bill, so I went and looked at the online version of the bill. (This is the second bill I've got, and I haven't even had cable for a month.) It was printed on there as well, so I just rang them up and asked them about it. ("I'm being charged $6.95, when your bill says I should be being charged $1.50.")

    After being a bit non-plussed by this, the rep looked it up, and found the new rate, asked if I had a TiVo (by name) and then applied it to my bill back dated to whenever they introduced the new billing code. $1.50/month for the card I can be happy with, it seems fair.

    I also asked him about some missing credits. There was the (pitiful) $20 credit for them turning up late. It seems that had only been "approved" after they'd sent out the second bill. Approval for credits seems to be a bit of a hazard at Comcast. I'd spoken to someone previously about an install charge, she'd happily removed it, then it didn't show on my bill. The rep said it had been dissaproved, which I think is really ****** customer service.

    I was still arguing that I'd been told the install would be free and no one had ever said anything different, and also he looked up the code and found it was for an advanced box installation, which I don't have. So he submitted the credit again, and said he made sure to make notes as to why. So it seems not only should you get you rep to agree to a credit, you have to make sure they make sufficient notes that its not taken back later.
  11. Oct 16, 2006 #911 of 9367

    shady Previously European

    May 31, 2002
    I've just got off the phone with Comcast about my bill. I'm really nervous now. I actually got through to someone straight away, however the whole process took 40 minutes!!!!!

    I was querying the $1.50 charge for "TiVo Digital Access".
    This, apparantly was the charge for the second cablecard. Apparantly, the Comcast's definition of free (as per FAQ) is different to everyone elses.

    The second query was the additional "Digital Addl Outlet" at $6.95.
    At first he told me that if he disabled it, then my 2nd cablecard would not work. I wasn't satisfied with this, and questioned him why I should pay for a 2nd outlet when I only have 1 TV .... you know the rest.

    Anyway, after what seemed like an age on hold while he talked to "an expert" he came back and said he'd removed the charge, and the warning he got was an error in the system and that everything would be okay.

    I asked specifically "Are you 100% sure you haven't disabled the service to either of my cablecards?" and of course he told me that my cablecards would not be affected.

    I really really really hope I'm not posting again in this thread when I get home from work :|
  12. Oct 16, 2006 #912 of 9367

    kdmorse Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    Germantown, MD

    Talked to a nice couple of folks at comcast, who noted some non-descript things might be wrong. After a random sequence of re-init, re-hit, and removing/reinstalling both cards to get their serial number - both cards are subscribed again.

    Will keep an eye on them...

  13. Oct 16, 2006 #913 of 9367

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    Third visit today, in three weeks. This is getting ridiculous, as it's still not right.

    * He brought NO cards, despite my stating the record indicate they bring them.

    * Got one working, but he was NOT following the directions. Pushing things when they said to wait.

    * Second failed miserably. Took the one out of the TV, which failed even worse.

    * He took a brand new one from the truck (that was for a later install that day), and it got CLOSE to working. Saw the 164-1 error (first time ever), then "rekey", then "subscribed", but still not working on a bunch of channels.

    * This was over three hours in, and he wound it up. Took out the second, said he'd come back later with another guy.

    * Came back after 6 with the other guy, but had just finished an install where the NOC COULD NOT BE reached at that hour and so he couldn't do anything.

    * Scheduled for first thing tomorrow with a different guy that is supposed to know cable cards better.

    * I don't believe it for a second.

    Comcast Baltimore ABSOLUTELY SUCKS.

    Do we have the Comcast CEO's email?
  14. Oct 16, 2006 #914 of 9367

    pjpereira74 New Member

    Sep 23, 2006
    Lowell, MA
    I had my cc install today. It was pretty painless, but I got scared when the tech showed up.
    Well, he got here and asked me if I needed 1 or 2 cc. I knew I was in trouble at that point. I asked him how many tivo cc installs he has done and he said he had never even seen a tivo 3. He only had 1 cc so he had to go back to got 1 more, the benefits of living 5 blocks from the central office. After he got back he put both cards in at the same time. I told him to activate 1 card at a time, but he put both cc in and said his buddy at the office told him to do both at the same time. It took about 3 minutes before the gray cc 1 mmi screen appeared with all the information. He called up the office gave all the information for cc 1 and in about 30 seconds got the 161-4 error. The screen immediately went to the mmi screen for cc2. After he sent the second set of numbers and got got the 161-4 error for the second cc, I cleared out of that screen and tested some of the premium channels on both tuners, all was good.
    Well, the tech left and I ran the guided setup again. I think that took longer then the entire install time. A side note, The tech on the phone the installer was giving the information to, told him to next time to do 1 cc at a time. I guess she had done quite a few tivo installs and installing both cc at the same time causes allot of errors. I guess I just got lucky.
    I feel for all does people that can't get there tivo's to work for a week. That's what I was expecting, but it actually went painless. This is my first tivo and absolutely love it. I wasn't going to buy a series 3 until the price went down, but I just couldn't take the constant lockups on the 3412 dvr from comcast anymore.
  15. Oct 17, 2006 #915 of 9367

    KenS3 New Member

    Oct 16, 2006
    My cablecard install went quite smoothly, more smoothly than I'd expected after reading this site (although I had lots of helpful info from here printed out as reference, and that helped). I'd installed the S3 on Friday with analog basic cable (moved the wire from my old SONY TiVO), and it picked up the 8.0.1b update over the weekend. Maybe that helped too.

    Installer (a contractor, I think) showed up. Not only did he have both cablecards, he had spares in the truck. He'd not done an S3 before, but he was familiar with cablecards. He took the "instructions for installer" sheet, and read it carefully. He asked about doing both cards at once, and when I said it could be done, but doing them separately seemed to cause fewer problems, he decided he didn't want to avoid the second call to Comcast badly enough to risk that.

    Call waiting times (at about 5 PM) were only a couple of minutes on his three calls.

    Card #1 worked the first time (Motorolla card w/ comcast label and 4.05 firmware).

    Card #2 didn't (generic motorolla label with 4.21 firmware). Never got the 161-4 error. Test channels showed no channels to test. This was after an "init" (which the guy on the phone did without prompting, rather than doing a simple "hit"; I provided a speakerphone for the tech, so I got to listen to both sides of the conversation).

    He suggested getting a new card from the truck. I said "let's wait a bit first". While he stepped out for a cigarette, I played with the TiVO and found that the cablecard status screen showed no authorization for card #2, but did show #1 as authorized.

    When he came back in, I showed him the screens. He immediately called Comcast, and after a bit of verifying numbers on the card, which were all correct, the guy on the phone realized that card #2 was somehow associated with a different town's system than card #1 (despite both being associated with my account and on the same work order). I'm on the Milford system, card #2 was having its "init" sent to Taunton (about 20 miles away). Once he corrected card #2 and initialized it again, we saw the 161-4 and test channels worked.

    Maybe not all those "bad" cards are really bad; they might just have data-entry problems in some database.

    After checking a few non-basic channels (I have Digital Classic now) and HD channels, he left. Total time: 45 minutes.

    I then re-ran Guided Setup, and stepped through the whole channel lineup to verify that they all worked (and tested a number with both tuners, though not all). All looks good, hopefully it will stay that way (fingers crossed).

    And then I watched one program in HD that I'd seen last week on the old TiVo in SD, and I count every penny I spent worthwhile. Not that that's a surprise. :)

    BTW, my bill shows a 2.75/mo charge for the second card (none for the first) and no "second outlet" fee. I plan to watch the monthly bill closely for a few months...
  16. Oct 17, 2006 #916 of 9367

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Today I called Comcast to add digital classic ($10/month) to my limited basic service. I probably won't keep it long term, but I just want to see if my CableCards really work with service changes, and they definitely are!
  17. Oct 17, 2006 #917 of 9367

    winpitt New Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    I'm in the Pgh PA comcast area - formerly Adelphia.

    I'd like to get a TiVo S3 in spite of the ridiculously high price, however....

    Comcast today said (in addition to the install charges) that I would pay $5.50 per cablecard per month - a total of $11 per month.

    Add that to the TiVo monthly charges and the TiVo purchase price, and it's ridiculous. $799 for the unit, $299 special for 3 yrs service, $11 per month for Comcast cablecard fees adds up to $41.53 per month for the first 36 months. That's on top of the programming costs.

    Though I'd REALLY love to get an S3 and could easily afford it, I can't stomach the idea of overpaying to such a huge extent. I guess I'm going to go with DirecTV. I've had 3 SA8300HD DVRs from Adelphia/Comcast for the last 18 months. The unit has just finally overwhelmed my patience and I was really hoping TiVo would be at least marginally reasonable.
  18. Oct 17, 2006 #918 of 9367

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    You might want to look for a lifetime you can transfer. Buy a lifetime for $300, $199 to transfer it to a new S3, then NO monthly TiVo fees ever. (Lifetime transfer offer good through December 2006.)

    I sold one of my lifetime's to a guy that did that for $300. (Just the sub--not the hardware--he didn't want that.)
  19. Oct 17, 2006 #919 of 9367

    worachj Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2006
    Eagan, MN
    I called 1-800-COMCAST to schedule a service call to install two cable cards in my Tivo. I told them the installation was for a Series 3 Tivo. I was quoted $15.49 for the truck roll and 1st cable card installation, and another $13.95 for the second cable card installation. I’ve made three different calls and have been quoted three different prices for cable service, but the installation charges are the same. So…

    Are other people getting charged $29.44 for the installation of two cable cards?
  20. Oct 17, 2006 #920 of 9367

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    In TWC Raleigh its $43 PER Cablecard.....

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