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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. lebowits

    lebowits New Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    I've noticed the same audio drop outs and momentary video "freezes". The Comcast "tech" insists that this is the result of a weak signal caused by my splitting the signal. Of course, the S3 reports 100% signal strength on both cable cards. I'm guessing that the drop outs and freezes are really artifacts of signal decompression/compression at the head end.
  2. bifsiff94

    bifsiff94 Cliff Hanger

    Dec 11, 2006
    it took 4 calls to Comcast to find someone who could schedule my cablecard install.

    One rep said they would not install in anything other than a TV. Antother rep said they would only install one card per outlet. Another said they would only install in their equipment. Finally, the 4th guy had done 3 S3 installs before and scheduled me for a 3 card install Monday (2 for tivo, 1 for tv). I asked about pricing and it is 4.95 per card. He then said that it was $4.95 per outlet, and I quickly pointed out that it was a single outlet with a dual tuner. He said no, it's not our equipment, so you've got to pay for each card.

    At this point, I just want the cards installed, then I'll call customer service back after I get billed to see if I can get a single outlet price.

    One last item the Comcast topic: they pushed a new guide last week to my motorolla box, and I now have advertising on the bottom quarter of the guide screen. The ad changes every time you page up or down, and the ad is selectable so that if you try to scroll up or down off the page you will land on the ad. I called comcast to complain and was told that they couldn't do anything about it. I sent an email to customer service to complain again and they responded by saying that they were sorry that I was disappointed with my high speed internet service!? They really do have the worst customer service in the business.

    In reviewing some other forums, it appears that Comcast is rolling this out nationwide and a lot of customers are ticked off. I was waiting for the S3 prices to drop a little before taking the plunge, but this guide change was the last straw. Maybe I should be thanking Comcast?

    When talking to the reps, I took every opportunity to mention that the guide ads were the reason for the change and they kept saying that they weren't aware of a guide change at all, except for the last guy who said that everyone he talked to loved the ads because they were very informational. Yeah right!
  3. djnewlin

    djnewlin New Member

    Apr 4, 2004
    Chicago suburb


    And now that you mention it, the Comcast CC Tech was entering different commands at his end, so I think you are right about the head-end sending the message to change the data number.

    Now if I wasn't such a chicken, I would do a "hot" pull as you describe, just to satisfy my curiousity. But after all I went through to get my S3/CCs to work properly, I'm afraid to even sneeze near it :rolleyes:

    Suffice it to say, I believe you! Thanks for the clarification...




  4. jaredmwright

    jaredmwright Member

    Sep 5, 2004
    Bay Area
    Wanted to share my experience with my Comcast cable card installation:

    Made multiple calls to Comcast to set up the cable card installation. It took me four different calls until I finally reached someone who knew what a Series 3 TiVo was and could help me. The first three people quoted me their DVR and higher prices than I should have had to pay.

    Reaching the fourth caller, he set me up for an installation with two cable cards. It cost me 15.95 for the truck roll to the house and 1.50 for the second cable card each month. The first cable card each month is free. So, for only 1.50 more than I currently pay (which is 18.00/month for basic cable) I get two cable cards and HD with Guide Data. The only reason that I went the cable card route was because TiVo doesn't populate the guide data for the HD subchannels provided by Comcast over QAM in the clear, ex: 2.1, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, 9.1, 9.2, 11.1, 11.2, etc... I submitted multiple channel corrections and spoke with multiple TiVo representatives and after two weeks figured that it was a lost cause. I don't know why they have to make it so difficult? :mad:

    When Comcast came out for the install, the technician gave me the two cards to install which I did myself per the TiVo instructions (which are very poorly done). After spending about 30 minutes re-doing guide data, I still did not have any channels coming in. The tech said that it takes about an hour for the channels to start showing up. I was very skeptical and took his name and number because he said that he would come back out if it wasn't working within an hour. I said OK and he left. :confused:

    While waiting, I decided to do a little Christmas shopping and came back an hour later. Low and behold, my channels were working, and on both cable cards!!! I wouldn't have believed it reading the horror stories here. There was some initial problems on some channels pixelating and going black. These problems stopped after I started changing channels and excersizing the system for about 5 minutes and I have not had any problems since. (they have been installed about a week, and this includes running on both the b and c software versions) :D

    I wanted to share my positive experience. It is great to have Guide Data finally after suffering with missing Guide Data and being unable to record HD on our new HD TiVo!!!

  5. gt5059b

    gt5059b New Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Just called Comcast here in Atlanta to schedule CableCard install. The rep immediately knew what I was talking about. He said that the first card was free and the second card would be $1.50 per month. Also, he said there would be a one time $15 install charge. Assuming this holds true when I get the bill I'll be happy.

    Interesting side note. Currently, I have the digital silver package which means I should only get one premium channel. Right now, I'm getting both HBO and Starz and it's been like that for at least 5 years. After scheduling the CC install, I asked about switching HBO to SHO. The rep said you can do that but you'll lose your free STARZ. Apparently, when Comcast took over ATL from AT&T/MediaOne many people have been grandfathered into special plans. Making any changes including upgrading to the gold package would lose the free channel.

    So, I guess I'll stick with my current plan for now.

    P.S. I'll post again about how the CC install goes in a couple of days.
  6. HomieG

    HomieG Nowhere Man...

    Feb 17, 2003

    And Encore is part of the basic Digital Silver package. Not too shabby.
  7. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    Nov 21, 2002
    That can be caused by not enough signal (just above the threshhold) or, interestingly, too much signal (using a amp when you don't really need one).
  8. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    Unfortunately, there is no standard, and different equipment need different levels of signal to operate properly -- and most equipment operates poorly with either too little OR too much signal. For example, my signal strength on a certain channel is 29dB, which is almost perfect according to most STBs, including my cable company's. However, I have a portable tuner for my laptop which requires 33dB minimum for QAM256 channels. (And the signal strength necessary for other types of channels is lower -- go figure.) So, it is very possible, even after checking (you did have a tech come out and check your signal strength, right?), that Comcast could say the signal strength is perfect but it would still be too low for what you're trying to do. In that case, you need to make up the difference with a signal amplifier.
  9. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    Comcast added an amp when I added the second TiVo. I had to take it out as it was making things worse.
  10. ewilts

    ewilts Who, me?

    Feb 26, 2002
    Mounds View, MN
    On my last cable bill, Comcast said it was moving to Digital Classic on January 8. I emailed them and asked if it was just the main Encore channel or all of them and was told it was all of them.

  11. jcherins

    jcherins New Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    NJ, USA
    Comcast was here on Friday to install cable cards in my two new S3's. (switched from DTV) Installation went as good as could be expected. Installer shook his at the Tivos "These things are a pain for us to deal with" was his quote. However he followed the instructions and after spending about 90 minutes on the phone with the office he had all four cablecards working.

    The next morning, I went to watch TV and one of the cablecards was no longer receiving any of the premium channels (HBO, SHO, Starz, etc.) I called 1-800-Comcast several times and asked for them to re-init the card. They claimed that they did and to check back in 1/2 hour. Of course this didn't work. They then told me that they had to send a tech out (on Monday afternoon) to fix this.

    Is there anything that I can do in the interim?
    Any way to get to a cablecard knowledgable Comcast tech support area? Or am I stuck waiting for the Tech to arrive?
  12. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    I had been on the Comcast $9.95/mo for 3 months special for digital cable but when that ran out I didn't want to continue paying for the digital package so I called and dropped the digital service and retained only the extended BASIC and HD package. They had been charging me $6.95/mo for the second cablecard but now they're both free and there's no charge for the HD package, either. I'm back to paying the same as I did for just the extended BASIC.

    One funny thing... They didn't have any trouble at all reprogramming the cablecards to remove the digital channels. Within ten minutes of my phone call the digital channels were gone! Too bad that they aren't so efficient when adding channels!
  13. MiamiMan

    MiamiMan New Member

    Dec 9, 2006
    Did you try removing the cards, and reinserting them?

    Also, keep calling Comcast back and ask them to "hit" the cards (and then wait 10 minutes and remove & reinsert the cards). Sometimes it takes several hits before they "take," (at least that was my experience).
  14. cptodd

    cptodd Just Me!

    Jun 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    Well I sort of had the same problem. WHen I (not the tech) got the first card working the TiVo kept nagging me to rerun the guided setup (for the umteenth time). I did that and magically the second card began to work.

    Hey, it couldn't hurt right?
  15. jcherins

    jcherins New Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    NJ, USA
    I hadn't tried pulling the "bad" card, Did that, (re-ran guided set-up, it then installed a service update re-booted) still no change on card #2.

    Guess I'm taking some more time off from work tomorrow to wait for the tech.
  16. jfh3

    jfh3 New Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    The signal strength the tech is referring to has noting to do with the signal strength that the S3 reports. Get the tech to measure the signal coming into the box to be sure.
  17. stevenj68

    stevenj68 New Member

    Jan 4, 2004
    Arlington, VA
    I've been a member for a while but my first post.

    I'm in Alexandria, VA and had my CCs installing in September with a few headaches described in this forum. (The first tech to come out didn't even try to install them, had to call corporate to kick them into gear.)

    Anyway, I turned on the TV Thursday night to discover that Tivo says "CableCard firmware upgrade in progress.... may take 40 minutes" or similar. I navigated to the card configuration and tivo tells me that CC 2 in not in proper operational mode (can't read the card status screens, etc). BTY, I should mention that Tivo has stopped recording anything and won't let me tune to anything with the other card. I checked the Tivo Suggestions and nothing had been recorded since 7pm Tuesday. I'm guessing that the second card started it's "firmware load" sometime after that.

    I called Crapcast to see if they were actually doing an upgrade and the answer was no. They sent a "hit" to the card but got no response. So now they tell me it will be a truck roll to replace the card. In the mean time, I still can't record, tune, etc. so I reboot Tivo just in case that works. It didn't. Both cards come up as Authorized but after a couple of minutes, Tivo says there is a firmware upgrade in progress. I pulled CC2 to see if I could still use CC1 and I could. I put CC2 back it but it is not longer authorized. At least I'm still up on one CC.

    For those that are only interested in the technical problem, you can stop reading. The rest is just my rant on Crapcast service.

    Now the f-ing Crapcast tech was suppose to be here between 9-noon today. At 12:30pm I call 800 CSR number. The are on hold with dispatch and will call back. They actually call me back and tell me tech is hung up on an install but is coming. At 4pm I call 800 CSR number again.

    They tell me that no install was schedule for today. (Any unidentified explosions in Alexandria could be contributed to me... Type A person) The CSR puts me on hold... comes back and says tech called customer and the customer said the problem was fixed, he didn't need to come out. (Second unidentified explosion). I told CSR I was never called by a tech and wanted to speak to a supervisor. He said there wasn't one on the floor. I told him to page one... he hung up. (Thermal nuclear explosion). Called back, got another CSR (this time with a name and CSR #), explained what was going on (rather civil considering). She says that someone canceled the repair and would have a supervisor call me back and gave me his name. The supervisor actually called back. Although, they want to work "at a time convenient" to me, they won't let me specify a specific time, only the smallest 6 - 8pm block of time.

    Too bad Verizon Fios isn't here yet.
  18. jtkohl

    jtkohl New Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    As of this afternoon here, INHD2 still shows up in the guide (882), but I'm getting "channel not available". INHD1 shows up fine. Comcast on the web is still confused about NESN HD on 851 vs. sharing 882 with INHD2.

    Also this morning in my channel listing I found NATGEOHD (821) [National Geographic HD] but the TiVo guide data is missing. I called TiVo about NATGEOHD and they said they'd get the guide data fixed within 5 days.

    Anybody know where the "call signs" come from on the CC channels? Is it the cable cards, or the guide data from TiVo, or both?

    Still annoyed that my listing of channels I receive (deleted stuff I never watch) keeps getting wiped/altered. :confused:
  19. fluke

    fluke New Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    I am in the Chicago area where "Abt Electronics" has a special relationship with ComCast so we ordered the Series 3 and the CableCards via Abt. The charges are $40 for installation of the CableCards (for $100 Abt will also do the guided setup for you, which I'm perfectly fine doing myself) and one time charge of $5 per CableCard.

    Day 1) Abt Electronics came out with the Series 3 and two cable cards. He plugged the ComCast cable into the **antenna** input of the Series 3 and put the two cable cards in. The Series 3 gave an error for slot 1 and show active for slot 2. When the cards where reversed, slot 1 shows active and slot 2 shows an error. So, Abt took the bad CableCard and scheduled ComCast to complete the install.

    Day 2) ComCast guy comes out and wants problems are occuring with the cable. When told he was scheduled to complete a CableCard install, he states that he has no CableCards and schedules with ComCast for another tech to come out.

    Day 2.5) 2nd ComCast guy is *EXACTLY* the same as the previous one where he came not knowing what he was supposed to be doing and had no CableCard available on him.

    Day 3) Went back to Abt Electronics to complain about ComCast sending two tech with no CableCards.

    Day 4) ComCast 3rd guy came with a CableCard but said he was only there to drop off the card. He explained that it is not his job to touch the TiVo. He even required that we insert the card and he took off.

    Current Status:
    Slot 1 shows Active
    Slot 2 shows Active

    No channels show up with the Abt Electronics configuration of the coax plugged into the antenna (probably not a surprise). It just remains for a very long time at "Acquiring channel information" before erroring out.

    No channels show up after moving the coax to the Cable plug and going through the guided setup again. It again remains for a very long time at "Acquiring channel information" and errors out.

    Calling 800-COMCAST provides someone that does not have a clue what a CableCard is. The person recommended "callling tivo and make sure your putting the right type of 'card' in it." Finally, when given to a supervisor we where told that pairing can *NOT* be done over the phone. That CableCard pairing is a "delicate process" and that the ComCast tech *does* need to actually touch the tivo during the process. So at the supervisor's recommendation we are now scheduled for a ***FOURTH*** ComCast tech to stop by. In the mean time, we still do not get anything in return in the way of a picture for paying for ComCast. It might be preferable to just drop ComCast and play with bunny ears for a while. Chicago has almost 30 ATSC subchannels being broadcast for free via antenna.

    I wish anyone dealing ComCast the best of luck. They seem to make it their business to give their customers the run-around.
  20. Mike Malter

    Mike Malter Computer Mutt

    Dec 25, 2000
    San Rafael, CA

    This may be of help to you. It took me a full 12 hours (and many calls to Comcast) to get my cable cards installed correctly. A long story short was many hours and finally winding up with only partial channels. Got a support tech on the phone that knows what he is doing and this is what he did for me that completely solved all problems.

    1. Sent a signal to hit the box and reset cards.
    2. Pull out both cards and recycle TiVo.
    3. After TiVo comes back, put a cable card in slot 1 and tested channels - found them within one minute.
    4. Put a cable card in slot 2 and tested channels - found them within a minute.
    5. Redo guided setup.

    I now realize that the same thing happened to you that happened to me and that is the tech put both cards in and went from there. You have to put a card in slot one and test channels and then put the second card in and test channels. For some reason, you can't put both cards in at once and then test. It will not work.

    This cable card thing is the worst nightmare, but if you get past it your patience will be rewarded.

    Hope this helps.

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