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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Tarek

    Tarek New Member

    Nov 6, 2006
    Has anyone else experienced issues with HBO (or similar premium channel) being the only channel they can't get? I've been having problems which I've been discussing with jpdst22, who was having a similar problem (below).

    I've recently been in touch with a Comcast CSR Supervisor, but so far have not had the issue resolved. It just occurred to me today to check the firmware versions of my CableCards, and I see that they're both Motorolas running v4.05. I wonder if perhaps there are problems with this version of the firmware, which might explain why others aren't having the same problem. Just a thought.. I just sent jpdst22 a PM asking what versions of firmware his CableCards are using for comparison.

    Anyone ever run into a similar situation? Isn't the CableCard firmware supposed to get automatically updated? I'm almost positive that v4.05 is what I started out with when the CableCards were installed a couple weeks ago.


  2. jcherins

    jcherins New Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    NJ, USA
    I'm a long time DTV customer who needs to switch to Comcast (want to move to HD and can't get a clear shot to the proper satellite due to trees) I'm going to buy two S3's and transfer the lifetime svc (from the first S1s that are still in my basement)

    I called 1-800- COMCAST and was not feeling the love from the CSR.
    "Our system doesn't work with TIVO"
    "What are CableCards?"
    "Why would you need 4?"
    Why I know that all of the above is typical CSR noise, I decided to hang up and re-group.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to best make this transition? I was under the impression that Comcast would cut a pretty good deal for the first year if I moved from sat, but the prices that were quoted were straight off of the website.

    Any assistance that you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
  3. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    Not here. Working fine.
  4. Gerhard

    Gerhard New Member

    Sep 29, 2002
    I haven't had that issue, but ComCast (CrapCast as I call them) are using Motorola v4.21 Cable Cards here (Montgomery County, MD).

    As long as your Cable Card menus report that they are AUTHORIZED, and EnableCP: YES, and SUBSCRIBED... then there is no reason the Tivo would be causing the problem. It's GOT to be ComCasts programing of the head node and your billing information.
  5. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    While that's possible, there are also cases where random channels are lost, not just a single tier of channels. For me, at one point, I had HBOHD, Discovery HD, and some of the local HD channels, but lost, on one tuner, SHOHD, UHD, and the PBS HD channel. That was surely not related to cable tiers.
  6. wackymann

    wackymann New Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Boston Area

    Very good debugging there Dennis. I'm guessing other people may be having similar problems and not know it.

    As for the billing, I am being charged $2.75 per cable card (and nothing else). The first one would be free if I didn't also have a Comcast cable box in the house. I found that their online billing is nice to have. It allows you to check your bill at any time. You may want to sign up for it at comcast.com.
  7. eddyj

    eddyj SeƱor Member TCF Club

    Jun 20, 2002
    South Florida
    So I went to the Comcast office, since they told me to just go and pick the cards up. When I got there, they did not have any. :mad: They claim they will have them Monday. Took me a while to convince them that the "TV" cable cards were the same as the ones I needed for the TiVo. :rolleyes:
  8. houndb

    houndb New Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    New Hudson,MI
    Well Here's my experience with an install in New Hudson,MI. Not real happy right now.

    A contractor showed up the first time. He said cool a TIVO Series 3 I've worked with a couple of them. He read the instructions that came with the TIVO and after about 2 and a half hours of being on the phone he got the 2 cards working. Well he left and I was going through the channels and realized one card was only getting the basic channels.

    So I called Comcast and asked if the could hit the card again. She stated no that all they could do was schedule another service call. We scheduled the call and they arrived about a half hour before I was home for work and my wife was dealing with them. She called me on my cell phone and stated that they don't work on Tivo's and that the Tivo was broken. At the time the power was out and she got the generator running but forgot to switch the breaker over for the TV and Tivo.

    So it was no biggie was not at home to talk to the tech and plus we had no power. So I arrived at home to see 2 Comcast vans sitting in my driveway. So I walk in and the two techs are behind my tv pulling out wires. I asked what are you doing and they come out for behind and say yep were not getting any signal the cable must be down. So I say hey how are you doing and I tried to explain the problem to him. He cuts me off and got a hostile attitude and went on a tangent about how the comcast box is so much better and why did we buy old school tech and how the cable cards couldn't work with Tivo.

    I said well the one is working fine and the other gets the basic channels. Then he cuts me off and says Tivo is junk and I wasted my money on buying junk. I said really well I've never had a problem with Tivo in the six plus years I've had em.
    Then he goes on about how tivo was bought out by Comcast, Time Warner and some other cable company about a year and a half ago and they were trying to figure out what they were going to do with Tivo. I looked at him and said really then i realized it wasn't worth arguing with this guy. He goes on about how Tivo is out of business. I asked well how come they are still selling them at the stores if they were out of business. He said they were just getting rid of old stock and he felt sorry for people that was buying em right now.

    I finally just wanted these guys out of my house and told em thanks but since you cant help me have a nice day. They left and i switched the breaker over to the TV and Tivo's and gee I hade cable even though the tech said that the station was down.

    So now I'm without a fully working Series 3 and I really don't want to call Comcast again . I really think if I could getem to hit the card again it would prob fix the problem but I've talked to 3 people at Comcast and all they will do is schedule a service call.

    This is only the short rant the conversation went on about how crappy my TV and all my equipment was junk also. I've never heard so much bull crap come out of a guy in my life.
  9. cptodd

    cptodd Just Me!

    Jun 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    Well, Comcast's inconsistent mess has struck again. I was charged for two installations when I was told I would be charged for one. I was also told that the second card will cost almost $6.00 per month when I was told that it would cost nothing. I don't mind the charges but I have been told all sorts of things. It seems no one knows what is going on. And to top it off, when I called today the comcast person on the phone kept saying "I am sorry that YOU FEEL (emphasis my own) you were misled." I kept having to interrupt her and tell her that I don't feel that I was misled. I WAS misled. I feel as if I should not be charged (or it should be reduced) given the fact that it was MY intervention that got my TiVo up and working. I had to call to ask that they re-zap (or whatever it is they do) the card. Each time they simply wanted to schedule another tech to come out. AARRGH!!!!!!!!
  10. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    My first S3 install was free. When scheduling the second one, they said it would have an install fee. I said "really? The other one I had done did not and I've been a good customer for quite a while now. Can we just waive that fee?"

    And they did.
  11. Thos19

    Thos19 Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Rockland, MA
    Well, the same contractor from last time came out again today, but had the cards with him along with an actual Comcast tech.

    The install was smooth. The only hang-up was trying to get Comcast on the line. All in all, the process took about 30 minutes. Spent the downtime discussing my DVD collection with the tech. Bid goodbye to my 8300 DVR. Won't be missed.

    Had borrowed my brother's wireless TiVo adapter to do the setup. Ethernet still doesn't work even with the "b" software. Waiting for a USB/ethernet adapter to come via mail order to try.

    Other than that, so far, so good. :rolleyes:

  12. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    What do you mean "ethernet still doesn't work"? The built-in jack is not working?

    My two S3's are fine there.
  13. Thos19

    Thos19 Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    Rockland, MA
    My router sees the TiVo and the IP address assigined. I am able to ping the TiVo (using my laptop which is part of my home network) incoming and outgoing no problem. Yet everytime I try to do a test connection or update with the ethernet cable, I keep getting the error message "gateway not found".

    So it seems that the jack works...to an extent....as to why I can't use it to link to my home network and the internet from the TiVo....I have no idea. :(

    Any advice?

  14. Brainiac 5

    Brainiac 5 New Member

    Aug 24, 2003
    I had a problem getting networking to work on my S3 as well. It's been a while since I set it up, so I don't remember if the error message was the same. I do remember, though, that even though the TiVo couldn't connect, I could see that my router actually was assigning the TiVo an address.

    I found two solutions that worked for me. One was to tell the TiVo to use a static IP address. That worked fine, but I really wanted to use DHCP, so I did some more experimenting and found that it also worked if I set a DHCP client ID on the TiVo (the TiVo asks you if you want to do this when you set up the networking to use DHCP).
  15. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    Ah...I always use static, so maybe never saw this problem.
  16. jfb2002

    jfb2002 New Member

    Nov 26, 2006
    Longtime DirecTV customer, switching to Comcast + S3. I haven't received my new TV yet, so I haven't even bothered unpacking the S3 or calling Comcast, but reading this thread makes me want to be as pedantic and explicit as possible with those hateful dullards at Comcast when I do call them.

    I do not have or want any premium channels; all I care about are the HD channels, and MLB Extra Innings next April (I gotta have my Twins!). It looks like I could ask for basic digital cable, plus two CableCards, and that would be good enough? Is there anything I need to mention to the CSR? Any particular number to call or secret handshake I need to exchange?

    DirecTV has never been anything but outstanding for me, and it makes me sick to me stomach to switch away, but, as everybody who posts here knows, without TiVO, there's no chance I'd upgrade to DirecTV HD.

    Thanks in advance!
  17. iMan3001

    iMan3001 ...

    Nov 29, 2006
    I have not yet had my cablecards installed by Comcast (the appointment is set for this Tuesday). I am currently having issues with the TiVo recording from one of my tuners... has anybody seen installation of the cablecards solve this problem?
  18. Gregor

    Gregor Active Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    I would check to see that the cable is providing an adequate signal strength. The cable card is a conditional access device that provides decryption services, it doesn't really improve/reduce quality of signal.

    When Comcast did my install the tech (employee) did a total overhaul of my cable wiring, saying bad connections/wiring were the leading cause of problems. Too many splits in your wiring can cause issues.
  19. gbrail

    gbrail New Member

    Oct 18, 2006
    It's funny. After four Comcast visits, and a returned TiVO, everything is working now and for some reason I'm actually fairly happy with by TiVO and Comcast.

    My first Series 3 rebooted as soon as CableCards were inserted. Two different Comcast people had the same problem, so returned the box to Tivo and got a new one.

    The third Comcast tech didn't like the signal that he was getting in the TV room, so he replaced the old outside wiring to the pole, and in the process he replaced the wiring on our neighbor's house too, saying that a bad connection there could screw up my signal too. He got the CableCards working right away, but I neglected to check that all the channels were working, and it turns out that indeed I was missing most of the "Digtal Plus" channels that I pay for.

    As others have reported, when I told the people on the phone about this, they tried to "reset" my CableCards, and when that didn't work, they scheduled a service call.

    My fourth Comcast guy was here for over three hours. However, he didn't once blame the TiVO or tell me I did something wrong. He basically had to spend the whole time on the phone with various people, who appeared to be giving him the run-around and telling him to try various things that weren't going to work anyway, like replacing the CableCards with other cards, testing the signal strength, and so forth. Finally, "someone in Plainfield had to do something" for each CableCard, which meant the poor guy had to get the CSR he was talking to to conference with the local headend (Verona, NJ), who had to go up the line to Plainfield, where someone did something.

    Obviously, Comcast has some big problems with CableCards, but I think they're either with the technology, or with the way they have rolled it out, not with the local people doing the work. Paying people to drive to my house so they can read numbers over the phone to various Comcast people who type them into computers can't be cost-effective for them.

    Lots of people in my area have new Series 3 boxes (all the Comcast guys are now familiar with them), and they must be spending many thousands of dollars getting the CableCard stuff to work on their network.

    I've noticed that in the seven years I've had Comcast Internet service (and I have to say that it's been down far less in that time than my Verizon home phone or my company's VPN on the other end) they've gone from a truck-roll installation model to one in which the consumer plugs in a modem and follows menu prompts to set it up themselves. The more people who get CableCards rather than Comcast's lousy DVR, the more they'll HAVE to improve the customer experience. I mean, it's not the electronics industry who asked for these things to require people to drive to my house and read 24-digit numbers over the phone, right?
  20. Gerhard

    Gerhard New Member

    Sep 29, 2002
    What I've noticed about ComCast and Cable Cards is the following:

    1) Comcast DOES NOT train it's people about Cable Cards. Many of the people I've spoken with barely know what they are and how they work.

    2) Comcast folks tend to have either the "I don't know anything about cable cards" or "Those DAMN cable cards..." attitude.

    We recently had a SYSTEM WIDE cable card outage in Montgomery County, MD. Most folks cable cards were zapped so that they'd no longer receive digital plus channels. The response was to roll a truck for the problem, until ComCast finally realized that it was going to be a nightmare... but it took the whole week to get it solved.

    I've also called in the night time to speak with someone about the consistant issues with getting the cable cards to work in the Tivo 3 initally. Out of probably 6 calls I got two people who loathed cable cards. So much so that I had to wonder what the problem was. These two people also went so far as to basically tell me that the wanted nothing to do with cable cards, and that I could call back the following day.

    This has lead me to believe that ComCast really doesn't want to support Cable Card systems, and that they really want to make it as painful as possible so that people, especially the technically inept, to take their cable boxes and shut up.

    Part of me suspects that the system wide outage in MC, MD, was simply so they could drum up proof that cable cards are "bad."

    However, it's just as likely that someone at the head node screwed up because they have almost no company wide knowledge about the cable cards... and that appears to be by design.

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