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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. arangok

    arangok New Member

    11
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    Dec 10, 2006
    The Comcast tech left, and we have HD!!!

    It turns out that when I unplugged the cable from the S3 to show the Comcast tech that we got HD channels on our HDTV and then plugged it back into the S3, I plugged it into the antenna input instead of the cable input. That was what was causing the testing of the cableCards to take forever... it was never getting a signal.

    The tech figured that out, and once the cable was switched to the correct input, it all worked out.

    We got exactly what we expected to get:

    We have Comcast Limited Basic ($14/month) with 2 cableCards (no charge or monthly fee) and the following HD channels: NBC-HD, CBS-HD, ABC-HD, PBS-HD, CW-HD, FOX-HD.

    We then asked the Comcast tech what the cheapest way was to get other HD channels, and she said that if we pay $5 more, they unlock the other HD channels.... so, we are going to try it out. She is going to call us back tomorrow to see what we can see once the HD channels are unlocked.

    I will keep you posted.

    Thanks to everyone who helped out.... and I hope this info helps others.

    Cheers,

    Karen
     
  2. Roderigo

    Roderigo New Member

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    Mar 11, 2002
    Brookdale, CA
    This is not true. The data number changes when you move cards around. The card remembers what slot it was most recently in, and the slot remembers which card it most recently had. As soon as one of those things change, the card will generate a new data number. Thus, if you remove a card, and then insert it into the same slot (w/o inserting a different card), things will continue to work fine.

    Pulling a card out then reinserting it into the same slot is the same as rebooting the box (from the Card's point of view).
     
  3. MiamiMan

    MiamiMan New Member

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    Dec 9, 2006
    Unfortunately, I can't pick up any encrypted channels on the bad card. I can pick up in-the-clear digital channels, however, but AUTH still gives the bad message even when I'm tuned into a working channel.

    But I will call Comcast again tomorrow (for the 5th time).
     
  4. sixseven

    sixseven New Member

    98
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    Jan 6, 2005
    Ok, I called Comcast today. The gal on the other end was a little more agressive than I would have thought she should be.

    Not sure if they are helpful, but here are some things to note:

    - I live in Denver
    - I do not have an HD set yet
    - I currently have the limited basic package

    She told me that I can only have cablecards installed if I have a digital package. I don't want the extra channels or expense associated with a different package. I asked her to doublecheck. She came back would not help me. She said she could only move forward with a digital package.

    There are numerous people in this thread that say they have limited basic.

    arangok
    c3
    keenanSR

    What am I doing wrong? What are the magic words that I need to say to get them to cooporate?

    Please help!
     
  5. njplasticman

    njplasticman New Member

    29
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    Dec 9, 2006
    I was also told by Comcast that to get HD content and cable cards that I needed to go from my basic service to digital cable and that i couldn't keep my basic service.

    Don't know if this was covered in the previous 40+ pages of this thread.
     
  6. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    1,063
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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Could you order a digital package and then cancel it the day after the CCs are installed?
     
  7. sixseven

    sixseven New Member

    98
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    Jan 6, 2005
    I don't know. Would the cablecards still work?
     
  8. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    1,063
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    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    When I first got my S3 I was able to get 3 local HD channels without a Digital Package or Cable Cards. I had just the barebones Basic. So it is not a technical problem just a marketing one. Also, without the Cable Cards you don't get the channel mapping and can't get any encrypted channels.
     
  9. kido

    kido New Member

    135
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    Aug 17, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    try this. ask the CSR if you can rent a HD set top box to receive local HD channels on your current basic cable package. tell them you are not interested in DVRs or any extras like PPV or VOD. if they say you can, ask them for a quote for just the locals and then for any extra HD channels you may be interested in, like ESPNHD, DiscoveryHD, HBOHD, etc.. then ask them if you have a HDTV that supports cablecards, could you rent one of those instead of the STB and what would that cost. verify that the quotes for the STB remain the same for a cablecard. if they confirm the above, then ask about getting 2 cablecards for your S3.
     
  10. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    1,063
    0
    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Well, they could turn off access to the encrypted channels in the digital package but you only want the locals anyway, right?
     
  11. sixseven

    sixseven New Member

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    Jan 6, 2005
    THIS IS THE TRICK! Woo Hoo! Thanks kido. I have an install scheduled for Friday. Wish me luck! FYI, in case you were wondering, $13.69 for limited basic, $6.95 for HD, $1.50 for 2nd cablecard. HD is apparently limited to ABC, CBS, & NBC. I'll report back after its up.

    Now all I need to do is buy the TV! :p

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  12. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
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    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    Different Comcast areas have different policies, but if these charges are for my area, then the $6.95 fee is bogus. That looks more like an additional outlet charge.
     
  13. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Seemless. You won't know the difference between tuning a OTA channel or a cable one.

    That's exactly what it means. I'm sure you won't miss the Comcast guide. It's amazing how many reps think that's a "feature".

    Yup.
     
  14. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    4,469
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    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Be prepared for your first bill to show up with an incorrect charge - the Denver Comcast marketing guys still apparently haven't fixed the billing software to account properly for the $1.50 charge for the second card.

    I had to have them fix it manually last month and will probably have to do it again this month when the new bill comes out in a few days.
     
  15. djnewlin

    djnewlin New Member

    46
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    Apr 4, 2004
    Chicago suburb
    Allow me to be more specific...

    I have the Motorola CC, v4.21. This results in 4 numbers: CableCard #, Host #, Data # and Unit #. When I pulled out the CC and re-inserted it in the same slot (while the TiVo was running), it *does* generate a new Data #. This was something I witnessed when on the phone with Comcast's CC Tech Support. On the other hand, if you pull the CC and re-insert it in the same slot while the TiVo is powered down, the Data # will stay the same.

    This has got to be the goofiest protocol I have ever seen! :rolleyes: DirecTV does not seem to need so many numbers, but I digress...

    Regards,

    Doug

    =========================================

     
  16. stitch626

    stitch626 New Member

    227
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    Jun 26, 2002
    Stinky...
    It's amazing the lack of knowledge or consistency with Comcast regarding Cablecards-

    I originally scheduled a service call with Comcast for the installation of 2 cable cards a week ago, but there was a delay in shipping for my S3 box so I had to cancel and postpone the installation until tomorrow.

    When I spoke with the first rep, they were adamant about a $30.99 installation charge for the service call to come out and perform the cable card installation.

    When I called to reschedule the cable card install for tomorrow, the new rep was going through their spiel about how Comcast will not support cable cards with Tivo (I just rolled my eyes) and said I still want the cable cards but this time the install price was quoted at $17.

    Of course, who knows if the reps are quoting me the correct monthly pricing on the cable cards themselves or how many times you have to try and get through to them that they're not going into separate outlets and both cards are going into one device. It doesn't help that it seems that there are wide variations in cable card pricing in the different regions that Comcast supports.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the actual installation goes smoothly tomorrow morning and I get lucky with a tech who has a clue about how cable cards work.
     
  17. curlygurl

    curlygurl Tivo Fan

    1
    0
    Dec 14, 2006
    Massachusetts
    I'm giving my husband the Series3 to my husband for Christmas. Called in my CableCard installation order today - for the day after Christmas. Was familiar with Tivo and didn't give me a hard time about getting two cards. But the costs will be as follows:

    Service Call (cards not available for pickup): $14.40
    Monthly Charge for each Card: $2.75

    I guess it could be worst, but not what they state on the website. I might try to get them to remove the card charges after I get the first bill.

    Now let's hope the installation goes smoothly.
     
  18. MiamiMan

    MiamiMan New Member

    44
    0
    Dec 9, 2006
    After 4 days, over a dozen phone calls to Comcast, and a second cableguy visit to replace one of the CableCards, my S3 is finally working as advertised.
    I don't ever want to have to go through this again, but I did learn a few things that may be helpful for some people.

    Interestingly, if you're only getting Comcast Classic (no premium encrypted channels), the CableCards pick up the SD channels and HD network channels without the CableCards needing a signal "hit" at all from Comcast. Nor do you need to pull out the cards (or reboot the Tivo) to reset the cards. So if you never expect to get premium channels then the installation of the cards should prove easy. If you're getting premium channels, however, then the installation is more involved and could be VERY frustrating.

    The S3 has several diagnostic windows that tell valuable information about the status of the CableCards. For example, the Conditional Access window has three pieces of information that provided me with clues about whether the cards functioned properly:

    In the Conditional Access window, when the information shows as follows, I received only non-premium channels (or none at all if the card is bad):

    Connected: yes, EnabledByCP: no
    Auth: unknown (or MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY after a signal hit)
    CA enable: unknown (or "not possible" after a signal hit)

    After a successful signal "hit" and I'm able to receive encrypted channels, I got the following information:

    Connected: yes, EnabledByCP: yes
    Auth: SUBSCRIBED
    CA enable: possible

    [Note both of my cards are Motorola, version 04.21]

    It's also important to pull out the CableCards for about 30 seconds, to reset them (or you can restart the Tivo) after you get a signal "hit."

    Some people have reported that they get an Error 161-4 message after the card initialization and before the signal "hit," (which is normal) or an Error 161-2 if the card is bad, but I never got any message, much less an error message.

    One of my cards took about 6 signal "hits" before it "took." I suspect that many of the problems are simply related to unsuccessful hits rather than bad cards. Others have also reported that it took several hits before the cards began to work. Unfortunately the Comcast operators gave me only one "hit" per phone call so I had to keep calling, waiting for the next available operator (always a different operator), provide my user information, and then wait 15 minutes for the hit to take effect. Also, I always asked for a technician who KNOWS ABOUT CABLECARDS, but at no time was I ever able to reach a person who knew anything about CableCards, other than how to send a signal.

    Fortunately Comcast says there's no charge for the cards or for the installation (but I'll believe it when I see my next bill).

    Time for a cup of coffee and a good long nap.
     
  19. jimstark

    jimstark webguru

    6
    0
    Mar 10, 2001
    Hamden CT USA
    Just to add to the Comcast stories...

    I was quoted $17 as an install fee, card 1 is free and $2.50 a month for card #2. Two techs showed up, on experienced, one training. They installed smoothly, the only issue was one of the cards was listed as in use with another customer, but that was cleared up in about 5 minutes.

    Now, I LOVE my S3, but feeding it with Comcast is driving me batty. Both my Comcast DVR and the S3 have these teeny little audio dropouts at random times, with a split second video corruption to match. It's SO frustrating.
     
  20. Roderigo

    Roderigo New Member

    531
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    Mar 11, 2002
    Brookdale, CA
    Well, this isn't always the case. I've pulled my cards out many times, and the data number hasn't changed. It's also possible for the headend to send a message to change the data number. So, maybe that's what you saw.

    Again, from the card's point of view, power cycling the S3 looks the same as removing the card and reinserting it. The card's powered, then it's not powered, then it's powered again. So, there's no way the card could know that it was inserted into a powered down S3, vs reinserted while the S3 is powered up.
     

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