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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    NBC-HD is encrypted??? That's unusual.
  2. murryamorris

    murryamorris Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    I'll just put in my experience in the past 2 days. I live near Seattle and went to the Redmond Comcast store and had a very good experience (as others did here). Both cablecards are free and the woman at the counter told me they keep 5-10 in stock per day but run out quickly. No hassles and we even talked about the Tivo S3 since her husband was thinking of it. She said the Comcast DVR's are pretty bad (no surprise).

    She said a 3rd cablecard or more would cost $1.50 each/month.

    Contrast that to the chat rep I had a fight with online about this issue. I was just trying to get the address of the local store and he kept telling me it was $5 per card and there was no way I could get them for no fee. Finally I just told him to forget it and he gave me the address. I guess some reps just like to annoy people.

    If you don't get it for free, I would try another avenue (phone, local store, etc). Some areas probably aren't as good as the one I dealt with though.
  3. arangok

    arangok New Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    We called Tivo Customer Service..... found out that the Tivo tuners do not tune in the "Over the Air" Network channels... so, if Comcast is just feeding the HD signal from the satellite into the cable in the "Over the Air" format, then Tivo can not handle it.

    The customer service rep said that it is a known issue and the engineers are working on it.... so, it makes me believe that we will need to get the cableCard in order to see the network HD channels.....

    But, I can see all of my neighbors' OnDemand all I want.... what a funny world we live in.

  4. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Huh? ATSC uses 8VSB, and cable uses QAM. CableCard has nothing to do with it. Is the CSR confused, or am I confused?
  5. arangok

    arangok New Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    Wow.... called Comcast.... and somehow got 2 cableCards to be installed tomorrow..... with NO additional charge....

    We have limited basic... no digital service..... and hope that this allows us to see the network HD channels.

    Is it possible that Comcast is sending 8VSB in addition to QAM signals? If so, then is it possible that Tivo is not decoding the 8VSB signals as part of the cable input?
  6. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    Jan 16, 2003
    It won't on the cable input, you'd have to split it and send it to the OTA input as well to receive those.
  7. debbie6754

    debbie6754 Member

    Nov 1, 2002
    New Jersey
    Turns out the signal problem was out on the pole. Comcast came and fixed the problem in one day.
  8. Tivaxion

    Tivaxion New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    :confused: I am a devoted Tivo user that is ready to go HD, and so am of course very curoius about the Series 3. But I would like to hear more overall impressions about how well it works with Comcast before making the financial commitment. If there are already threads and posts about highs and lows of the Tivo 3 user experience with Comcast, can someone please point me to them? If not, or additionally, I would love to hear general impressions from folks already using the arrangement.

    I also have some specific questions:

    First, right now, my Series 2 changes the channels on my Comcast (motorola) set top box, and it is a very slow and clunky arrangement. So much so that I cannot "flip" through the channels using the channel up and channel down buttons (a guilty pleasure of mine), unless I am willing to wait many many seconds between channels. Does having the two Comcast cards in the Series 3 Tivo make this any better? How seamless is it?

    Second, I understand that with the cablecards, I will not be able to use pay-per-view, on-demand. I'm fine with that -- I've never used them before. But I also hear that the cards prohibit using a program guide. Does this just mean that I will not get the COMCAST program guide? I presume I'll still get the same user-friendly Tivo program guide that I enjoy on my Series 2 and that can be used for scheduling recordings, etc.?

    Thanks in advance for your help.
  9. geodon005

    geodon005 Member

    Mar 10, 2004
    Well, it took 3 hours, but my tech finally got the TiVo working. He had to swap out one card, and call for multiple hits, but everything is up and running wonderfully.

    I have a question, though: the firmware version on one card is 04.21, while the other card's firmware version is 04.05. Both are working perfectly. Should I worry about getting the newer firmware version, and if so, how do I go about getting it?

  10. MiamiMan

    MiamiMan New Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Well, I've inherited the dreaded CableCard install problems.

    A Comcast cableguy comes with 2 CableCards. He's never heard of Tivo and doesn't know anything about CableCards other than what they look like and how to call in the serial numbers. He claims he's never had a successful install (just great). He's nice, however, and willing to work with me. I show him the Tivo install instructions and tell him where to put the cards, and to put a card in slot 1 first, etc. He calls the serial numbers in and they authorize the cards and send the signals. Funny, no information on the screen whatsoever. No Error 161-4, no pairing, nothing. Nevertheless, after about 10 minutes, the cards begin to work. I get all my channels including HBO-HD. The cableguy is amazed. I'm as happy as a bug-in-a-rug. I thank the cableguy and he leaves.

    About 1 hour later and I lose my premium channels on both CableCards. I get a blank screen on HBO-HD and several other HD channels, including a few Standard Definition channels, but all the rest of the channels come in fine. I call Comcast and ask what to do. The operator doesn't know about Tivo or about CableCards. I ask her to send a "hit" to the cards. She doesn't know what that means. She goes to speak to someone offline. She comes back and says the signals were sent and that after about 15 minutes I should remove the cards and put them back in to reset them. I do this. The same channels are missing (damn).

    Note, both CableCards have the same channels missing so I figure it's probably not a problem with the CableCards and, besides, they were both working before.

    So I figure maybe I have to wait a few hours and so I decide to wait until tomorrow morning. The next day I check the CableCards, and the same problem exists. I look at the information on Conditional Access window and note that Cablecard 1 says, "Auth: MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY" CableCard 2 says, "Auth: unknown" (I have no idea what this means.) Both cards are Motorola version 04.21.

    I call Comcast again and ask to speak to someone who knows about CableCards. She connects me to the technical department. However, the person I speak to doesn't know about CableCards either. So I give instructions that I found on this site (thanks calitivo). For CableCard 1, I give her the SN and tell her to send an "initialize" signal. She does this, and I wait a few minutes but I don't get any messages on the screen. I tell her to send a "hit" signal and she claims she does this. Still nothing. After about 15 minutes, I pull the cards out again but, again, nothing.

    Later that day, I called Comcast for the third time and ask for help. The operator tells me that she sees order instructions for my CableCards and explains to me that it takes an hour or so for them to take affect. So now it's been over 4 hours, and I still have the missing channels.

    I check the Conditional Access window to see if anything has changed. Card 1 still says, "Auth: MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY", but Card 2 now says, "Auth: SUBSCRIBED" There's been a change! However, both cards are still missing the same channels.

    I have no idea what to do. I can't anyone from Comcast who knows anything about CableCards or about pairing, or error messages, or how to troubleshoot. It appears they only know four things: 1) The name "CableCard", 2) How to send a signal to the Cards, 3) That I should remove them and put them back in to "reset" them. 4) wait awhile until they work.

    I am running out of ideas, can anyone help me out?
  11. wackymann

    wackymann Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Boston Area
    Ask for a Comcast technician who knows how to install cable cards (and has done so successfully). Your guy is obviously doing something wrong if he has NEVER gotten one to work.

    You should get the 161-4 error when the cable people send the hit. If you don't, then something is probably messed up somewhere.
  12. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    The problem is that there are dozens of them, in this one forum. The issue is that you're not going to get "general" impressions, which is what you asked for -- you're going to get specific, individual impressions, many many of them, and they'll be all over the place, from very positive to very negative.
  13. MiamiMan

    MiamiMan New Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Since I have a Series 2 and a Series 3 I can answer some of your questions. I timed the channel switching time with a second hand on my watch. The Series 2 takes about 3 seconds to switch channels. My Series 3 is a little faster, about 2 seconds (still too slow IMO, but it is faster). You can, however, switch from a channel from CableCard 1 to another channel on CableCard 2 in about 1 second. Note my Comcast Motorola STB remote changes channels at around 1 second.

    You won't get the Comcast guide but you will, or course, get the Tivo guide which will include the Comcast channels, just like the Series 2. Of course you can configure the Tivo (S2 & S3) to give you a grid guide format like Comcast's.

    Overall, I like the Series 3, if I can just get the damn CableCards to work properly.
    It's basically the same as the Series 2 but with HD, dual tuners, and a littler faster switching.
  14. arangok

    arangok New Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    OK, the Comcast truck is here with two cable cards.

    The tech says she's done ten of these. She is not calling back to have the cards "hit" or programmed in any way. She says the cards come "with channels on them already" and that the engineers will update it later to reflect account status.

    So the tivo is stuck on a Waiting for Channels screen. I looked at the cablecard configuration screen and it says "waiting for CP Auth".

    Sounds like she should call someone, but she doesn't want to....

    The amount of frustration we are all experiencing is absolutely astounding.
  15. djnewlin

    djnewlin New Member

    Apr 4, 2004
    Chicago suburb
    I had this very same problem with Comcast and my S3... it is VERY frustrating...

    It did get solved though! It required a call back from Comcast's "CableCard Support Group" (sounds like another form of AA :rolleyes: ) When he called, he asked for *all* of the pairing info/#s (not just the S/N), and voila it worked!

    Taking your card out and re-inserting it will cause the Data # to change, since it is dynamic in nature. I would recommend against pulling out CCs unless the "CableCard Support Group" tech tells you to.

    I think the problem lies in the authentication for premium channels may be different than for the rest of the digital package. It seemed pretty clear to me that the problem was at the Comast Head-End / Provisioning center, since I did not have to do anything at my end to get it to work...

    Good luck!



  16. arangok

    arangok New Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    We left the tech alone for a bit. She might have used the time to look at the instructions in private. She seems a bit ... proud.
    So now she's reading numbers over the phone.
    Stand by!!
  17. Adam1115

    Adam1115 20,000!!! TCF Club

    Dec 15, 2003
    Denver ish
    Wow.. .truly amazing... :rolleyes:

    Haven't these guys been supporting cablecards for years now? (TV's?) They act as if they just started supporting them a few months ago...
  18. Gregor

    Gregor save the princess save the world

    Feb 18, 2002
    Good advice on the 1st, but the 2nd is not necessarily true. I did not get any error when we put the CC's in, and mine worked fine.
  19. doctord

    doctord Member

    Dec 17, 2004

    I believe the cards will give different "messages" under the "AUTH:" heading dependant upon which channel you are on. For instance if you are on a channel you receive, it should show "Subscribed". Tune both tuners to digital encrypted channels you receive. Check the conditional access screen for each card. If both cards show as "subscribed", then the problem is in how they have keyed your package into your account. Call back tech support and have them check.

    Good Luck.
  20. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    First things first--is your S2 lifetimed?

    If so, you hvae to act fast if you want to transfer lifetime from it to the S3.

    The offer from TiVo to transfer is only good through December.
    Costco.com is the best price (if you're a member already), at $650.

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