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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Oct 18, 2006 #941 of 9367

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    I wouldn't consider that a disagreement -- no question that in some cases deregulation has resulted in lowered costs to the consumer. Indeed, that's how the concept is sold to the general public, and it is more true than not. The issue here though is dictating how those lower costs are to be charged for. In essence, which customers get to pay a little more versus which customers get to pay a little less. Telling a cable company that they have to charge a certain way, for certain things, isn't going to pass muster.
  2. Oct 18, 2006 #942 of 9367

    sammick New Member

    Mar 1, 2003
    Are the cards unit specific--must I call comcast to install them in a replacement Tivo unit?
  3. Oct 18, 2006 #943 of 9367

    rvt100 New Member

    Sep 20, 2006
    Got my HD3 on Tuesday and called 1-800-COMCAST to schedule an appointment (central NJ) and was told that the don't have CableCards and don't know when they are going to get them. This morning I went to the Comcast office (East Windsor, NJ) and was told the have been out of CableCards for "a couple of weeks" and didn't have any idea when they would receive some. I was also told that when they got the cards I would have to schedule an appointment and couldn't install them myself.
  4. Oct 18, 2006 #944 of 9367

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    In most cases yes... there have been some reports of some systems that dont require pairing. You can plug them in and try but I expect that you will need to have the cableco re-pair them to the new box. They may take the numbers from you over the phone or they may require a service call. I would follow the tivo installation instructions except do both (but one at at time) and then call cableco with the numbers.
  5. Oct 18, 2006 #945 of 9367

    Gregor save the princess save the world

    Feb 18, 2002
    Call Comcast's corporate office in Philadelphia and complain. Folks here have done so and have reported good results.
  6. Oct 18, 2006 #946 of 9367

    SMcCormack New Member

    Oct 9, 2002
    Concord, CA
    My install was last Saturday (10/14) the install went fine. The install didn't exactly follow what was on the installer sheet (THe TiVo didn't quite respond the way the sheet said it would) so it caused some confusion for me and the installer but he'd done a few before (4 that week alone) and after hitting each card once and waiting for them fully initialize they were working. Interestingly although I have 2 cards I only saw one 161-4 error. So after everything was working I took the POS Moto 3412 box (aka st-st-st-stutter central) back to the comcast office and exchanged for a standard box. :) I have 2 moto cards with 4.21 on both

    For those that are interested in the billing situation here's how my bill appears to have come out: (I am using comcast's recent activity feature on the website to see what I am being charged)

    I am being charged $1.50 per card ($3.00)
    The one time install charge ($15.99)
    Then a change of service charge (probably for the return of the DVR $1.99)
    They also credited me for the return of the DVR (DVR+HDTV)

    So it would appear because I have digital service that includes a cable box I get a (standard) digital box for free and that the HDTV fee applies ONLY to the HD cable box NOT HD service itself, which appears to be the case as 4 days later HD is working fine on the TiVo. It would also appear the cablecards do not cause an additional outlet charge either.

    The rep at the cable office said the same thing to me when I returned the DVR. He said that my package includes a standard box and that having the box would not generate additional charges (ie it would not count as an additional outlet) and that not having it wouldn't save me any money so I figured my roommate could enjoy digital cable too :) He also said the HDTV charge was "tied to the box" and since it was bundled on my bill with the DVR (and has been refunded) I wouldn't have to pay that charge regardless of what the TiVo was getting from the cards.

    All told I save about $6 a month on my cable bill and have a TiVo! Not a bad situation IMHO
  7. Oct 18, 2006 #947 of 9367

    tome9999 New Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    Cool! In about 10 years the Tivo will have paid for itself :D

  8. Oct 18, 2006 #948 of 9367

    kcl New Member

    Jul 4, 2000
    Davis, CA
    Ok, got my two S3 boxes last week and had the cable guy come out to install the 4 cable cards last Sat. This was close to the first one in the area, and the service tech said that just a few days prior there had been an internal session on how to install the S3 Tivos. The rev level of all of the cards was 4.05.

    After close to 2 1/2 hours and the support of three other folks 'back at the office', only one of the four cards was fully working. That one was getting all of the extended HD channels, while the other 3 were only getting the 'local' channels in HD. All other channels were ok, but I don't have any premium channels and couldn't check those. The state of the good card was 'Subscribed', while the other 3 were 'CA Disabled'. The tech raised the white flag and a supervisor was scheduled to come out Monday morning to try and finish the install. Note that the 161-4 error was never received.

    Monday morning the supervisor called, got some verifying information, spent some time insuring everything was set up ok back at the office, and then came out to the house (at about 9:30 am, which was nice). Apparently the services were not 'layered' correctly (something about my existing high-speed internet was layered first and should have been last, whatever that means). We pulled all of the cards and reinstalled based on the Tivo 'instruction to installers' sheet. (What a concept; follow the instructions. :D) Got the 161-4 error on the first card, and after a few minutes all of the channels were correct. Did the same with the other three cards with the same results, and in about 1/2 hour everything was running.

    This may have been stated earlier in the thread, but the paperwork showed that there was only 1 host ID per S3 unit, while there is in fact a separate ID for each card. That may have been a problem, too. Also, as indicated elsewhere, the state apparently doesn't go to 'Subscribed' until you actually go to the 'Test Channels' selection and access a channel that is in your subscription.

    All in all, things didn't go too badly for a 'bleeding edge' installation.
  9. Oct 19, 2006 #949 of 9367

    doctorscott New Member

    Apr 22, 2005
    I chatted online with Comcast 3 weeks ago in Baltimore, and was quoted $5 month HD access, $5 charge one-time for Cable card, and a $17 install fee.

    Today I was setting up a new install and was told the CCard cost $66.95 (if I wanted to buy it) or I could pay $4.95 a month, in addition to the installation fee and the monthly HD service fee. I referred to my previous discussion 3 weeks ago, that I had implemented (but the technician of course showed up without a CC, only a STB which I specifically stated I did not want).

    It seems from most the Comcast CC discussions on this board that there is NONE or minmal charge for the Cable Card itself, NO monthly fee, and an installation fee for the CC, and a monthly fee for the HD service.

    Has anyone heard of renting the CC or purchasing it outright like this.
  10. Oct 19, 2006 #950 of 9367

    mdreuben New Member

    Nov 15, 2003
    Bay Village, OH
    I have a total of four Comcast digital devices in my home. Two digital boxes (HD) on other TV's and the two cable cards that are in the S3. I'm in Bay Village Ohio - Comcast, recently sold out to Time Warner (but still getting Comcast labeled invoices)

    My recent invoice after the install showed no charge for the cable card install, and and 3 charges of $5.99 per month for all the additional digital receivers after the first one that is part of the digital services package.

    Does this sound right? I have no way of knowing, as these are the most aggravating people in the world to talk to! Somehow they are always right. I wish I could always be right. :confused:
  11. Oct 19, 2006 #951 of 9367

    nobaboon New Member

    May 13, 2004
    I spent 4.5 hours with two comcast techs (3rd party I think) that were relatively unfamiliar with the proces. They took the card out of my tv, put it in the tivo, and it worked... I insisted that they had to call and update comcast records because it was in a new host, but they took most of the channels working (not premium) as being a sign all was good. Secondary card did not work, after 4 diff cards were tried. Eventually they went home, defeated, and I called comcast tech support.


    Ask to speak to someone that specializes in cable cards. I called after hours, and they told me someone would get back to me. An hour later or so, someone that actually knew what was up called, that had been dealing with S3s for weeks now (he said). He went through and verified all the numbers, made the changes. excellent. I'd recommend just sending the cable guys home if they can't get it working right away, and make the phone call to comcast yourself.
  12. Oct 19, 2006 #952 of 9367
    The TiVo Dude

    The TiVo Dude New Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    That sounds right - other than the free install....shhh... :cool:

    There s/b a monthly charge for each device - it doesn't matter to Comcast whether it's a STB or a cable card, or a analog box. There is an extra charge for a DVR as that's in addition to the digital box.

    You results may vary - and apparently they do from reading the posts here. But that's how it has been explained to me.

    As far as installation - some Comcast offices hand out cards, others will only provide them with a truck roll accompanied with an "installation charge." The "installation" (other than sticking the cards in your S3) basically consists of the installer calling customer service and reading numbers. The installers have no equipment that allows them to test the card or troubleshoot it. If it doesn't work (not always obvious before they leave) the only option is to initiate another truck roll and replace it.
  13. Oct 20, 2006 #953 of 9367

    jcddc New Member

    Sep 20, 2006
    An update on my Washington DC install experience:

    I just received my first bill after the successful TiVo installation earlier this month (everything continues to work fine).

    I was charged $20.95 for the install, $10 for the two cable cards, and $6.95 for an additional digital outlet.

    I called Comcast about the last charge, since I had not been told about it by the customer service agent whom I spoke to when I set up the installation. The new Comcast agent at first had some trouble understanding that I was inserting two cards into one device. He then claimed that, if he removed that charge, I would stop receiving channel information for the digital channels.

    I wasn't willing to dispute the point further. I am disappointed to receive different information from different agents.
  14. Oct 20, 2006 #954 of 9367

    ggraves New Member

    Oct 1, 2006
    Thanks for this thread!

    This is my Comcast experience in Lower Merion, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.

    Sunday - I called 1-800-COMCAST because I had read it, rather than the local office. The person seemed very polite and knowledgable, even about the TiVo 3. She said I could go to the local Comcast office and pick 2 cards up, no problem.

    Tuesday - I walk into the local Comcast office and ask to pick up two cablecards for my new TiVo Series 3. I am politely informed that I can't do that and that 1-800-Comcast is wrong. I stand there and schedule an appointment for Thursday between 9 and Noon. While I am there I ask if many of these boxes have been installed. They say no, but they pull out an info sheet from Comcast, with a TiVo sheet attached and assure me they all about them.

    Thursday - I get everything ready for the Comcast visit. I pull systems, remove the ancient Comcast HDTV converter - which essentially never worked - make space in the rack and hook up the Series 3 beginning at about 8:45. About 9:30 there is a rap at the door and it's the installer. I ask how many Cablecards he brought with him... 3. Uh-oh. Anyway he looks at things a minute and then goes outside to climb the utility pole outside our house. Since we already have Digital Cable and Cable Modem services, I wonder what he could possibly need to climb a pole for. Well he doesn't tell me so I may never know.

    He comes back into the house and has a conversation with somebody on his Nextel phone about Red cards and Green cards. It seems that he had taken "all the green cards on the shelf, 3"... hmm. (Could Comcast actually be testing these things.) Then he screws around with the connections a bit... cuts a couple of my existing pieces of coax into bits and makes a new cable and then we're ready for the Cablecards.

    Cablecard1 is inserted, and recognized very quickly - I was expecting a 3-minute wait, but it seemed much faster than that. He calls his office, gives the number and get the 161-4 error. He has them push it again. Then he inserts the second card and go through the same process, including the 161-4 and the repush. And tada! It all works.

    Before the cable guy leaves, he shows me the paper that he has from Comcast and TiVo. This is his first install of these boxes. He is happy (up to this point he was pretty abrupt in his responses) and so was I.

    And the cableguy goes away. Everything works.

    Now for activation.

    I call the TiVo activation number and (again thanks to the forums here) I ask about my Series 1 lifetime subscription. Because I bought the Lifetime Subscription in December 2000, I am eligible for the one-time upgrade to a new box. I thought about that years ago in the Series 2 days, but there didn't seem to be enough benefit to the Series 2 to use the "once in forever" upgrade. Now with the price of the new plans, there most certainly is. I guess I'll will this one to my kids someday.

    The picture is great, and the format switching is worderful. I have a 4:3 Sony XBR which switches automatically from full screen to wide-screen when it sees a hi-def signal. That never worked before and we always had to swich the aspect ratios manually, which nobody else in the household could do. Now it's truly automatic, so the wife actually watch HD. Now I have to get a new optical audio cable to get 5.1 sound out of the box... a weekend project.

    So, up to this point at least, everything has gone extremely well and I am pleased after reading all the horror stories that it did.

    Thanks for posting all the priors. The problems others encountered helped me immensely.

    George Graves
  15. Oct 22, 2006 #955 of 9367

    MikeMacMan New Member

    Sep 16, 2006
    From everything I have read on this thread, it sounds like everyone is getting the true "Comcastic!" experience. I am not looking forward to getting CableCards from Comcast for my S3. :(
  16. Oct 22, 2006 #956 of 9367

    mdreuben New Member

    Nov 15, 2003
    Bay Village, OH
    I would think that this forum is where most of us go when we have problems - therefore the reports of installs are going to be skewed towards the bad experiences.

    Other than a delay in receiving cable cards, my experience was a 10 minute visit from a Comcast contractor and a perfect ending. I'm loving my (slightly expensive) TiVo experience
  17. Oct 23, 2006 #957 of 9367

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    I received excellent service from Comcast. They went above and beyond, came out several times to try out new CableCards, followed the TiVo directions to the letter, did their own research to try to help. Comcast did everything that I could reasonable expect them to do, yet the S3 still didn't work reliably.
  18. Oct 23, 2006 #958 of 9367

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    Then TiVo should take it back for a refund/exchange, I would think. Especially if some of Comcast's "research" was with TiVo trying to get it to work.

    Frankly, though, I suspect the box is just fine. And if that's the case, this is not so much evidence of Comcast's excellent service but of them sucking horribly. If that's the case, that is.
  19. Oct 23, 2006 #959 of 9367

    yizzung New Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Thought I would add my experience on top of the pile here... I set up my S3 last week with Comcast. They showed up with 2 cable cards (6 hours late, but that's another story) and shoved them both at the same time. The guy had never done an install but had "heard of some issues". Few minutes go by and nothing happens after he has the main office "hit" the cards. The young lady on the phone says that it can take up to 48 hours for the "hit" to register. Not what I wanted to hear and I couldn't find any other reference of this in these boards. (Plus, I'm impatient.)

    After about four hours, one of the tuners/cards started to work. The other card only got basic cable and some HD (no premium). I called back to Comcast to see what they recommended. The girl on the phone hit the cards again. Nothing new. She told me that it was not true that they needed 48 hours and recommended that I set up an appointment to replace the faulty cable card. I had to fly out of town for work so I could not do this yet. I checked again the following morning before my flight and the "bad" card still did not work.

    When I got home last night (five days later) both cable cards worked. After doing absolutle nothing, the other card finally woke up somehow and began working.
  20. Oct 23, 2006 #960 of 9367

    rvt100 New Member

    Sep 20, 2006
    I called Comcast corporate in Philadelphia on the 17th and while getting responsive, courteous and even returned phone calls I still can't get an answer as to when cards will become available.

    Are these the same cards that are used to power-up TVs? Anyone else experiencing the "yes we have no bannas" response?

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