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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Mike Malter

    Mike Malter Computer Mutt

    44
    0
    Dec 25, 2000
    San Rafael, CA
    Yes. Do you think I should call them and see if I am paying too much?
     
  2. wilrod

    wilrod New Member

    26
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    Dec 24, 2006
    After reading this thread until my eyes glazed over I decided that I was ready to take the plunge. I picked up by TiVo at a local store and headed directly to the local Comcast full-service store in Redmond, WA with my Motorola STB in hand. The lady behind the counter didn't blink when I told her that I was turning in (aka not "exchanging") my STB and asked for two cable cards for my S3. After punching in some numbers she took the STB, turned around, picked out two CCs, turned around to hand me the CCs, asked me to sign for them, and then told me I had to call Comcast to activate the cards. When I asked if there were any charges involved she said "no" and reminded me that I was entitled to free Digital Plus service for a year.

    I unpacked my S3 at home while having lunch and read over the CC installation instructions. I spent a few minutes online activating the TiVo service and immediately began plugging in the cables in a staging area next to the TV. Guided Setup was uneventful.

    After inserting the first CC and taking down all of the numbers I decided to risk it and plug in the second CC. Once I had the second set of numbers I called Comcast. The first call was dropped by my flakey Cingular service, so I called back. The second CSR saw the note from the first CSR that I was setting up an S3 and she proceeded to ask me for the Host and Data number from both cards.

    She signaled both cards and we got mixed results. CC1 was receiving some channels, but CC2 wasn't.

    She sent out a second set of signals. Both cards starting receiving the lower basic channels (2-29) plus some other random channels, but not the expanded basic channels (20-69). I then asked her to signal the cards individually.

    The third signal to CC1 worked! The S3 was receiving all basic channels, expanded basic channels, simulcast HD channels from local stations, and other freely included HD channels (i.e. ESPN-HD, Discovery HD Theatre). The third signal to CC2 was just as successful.

    Since this is a holiday weekend I very politely and sincerely thanked her for all of her help and for her patience and she was very appreciative.

    After taking a break and having dinner I disconnected the S3 in the staging area and carefully, and properly, added it to my home theater cabinet with the cables now going in or through the AV receiver instead of directly between the TV and S3. After setting up my Season Passes I reprogrammed my Harmony 880 to recognize the S3 as another device and programmed it for TiVo activity.

    Some notes:

    * For those of you thinking of heading out to a local Comcast center to ask for cards: I recommend you use the Comcast web site to find local payment centers and then click on the link that describes the center. Some centers only take payments; other's take payments and equipment, but can't issue equipment. I have three local centers, but only one them was a full-service Comcast store.

    * Even though it took multiple attempts to get the CCs activated I believe that I actually spent less time on the phone with the CSR than I did standing in line at the Comcast store.

    * Each locality seems to have different rates and policies. It looks like in the general Seattle area the two CCs for the S3 are free, but this may not be the case in your area. Based on the posting in this long thread it looks like the second most common rate is to issue the first CC for free and charge $1.50 for the second CC. The HD fee is suspect as I believe that you should get local HD simulcasts for free as part of your digital package. Even with the STB I was getting non-premium HD channels without paying extra beyond the DVR fee.
     
  3. wilrod

    wilrod New Member

    26
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    Dec 24, 2006
    $6.96 plan? How did you swing that? Were you already a TiVo customer before getting the S3? As a new customer my cheapest rate was $8.30 if I prepaid for three years. :cool:
     
  4. keenanSR

    keenanSR Member TCF Club

    913
    2
    Oct 12, 2004
    Santa Rosa CA
    Yes, but I wouldn't call them, I would go to the local office in person. It may be a hassle, but in my experience they are much more flexible and easier to deal with in person.

    Also, you need to be a little clearer on what you have. I'm assuming you have an S3 with 2 CableCARDs and no other Comcast equipment and only one outlet(for the S3). If so, you should be charged as outlined above, the programming package(whatever it is) and $1.50 for the 2nd CC, no other charges(other than locals fees and taxes). Comcast has, or should have if your particular office hasn't had a billing upgrade, a specific dual CC line entry on their billing program for customer supplied equipment, such as the S3.
     
  5. keenanSR

    keenanSR Member TCF Club

    913
    2
    Oct 12, 2004
    Santa Rosa CA
    It shouldn't be that way, and I suspect that they don't know how to bill it properly, although, different markets can bill things differently.
     
  6. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

    123
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    Feb 1, 2005
    I'm surprised they didn't charge you $1.50 for the 3rd card but that's great. You don't have to pay $5 for the HD. That would be for a set top box fee. Your digital channel lineup has the channel cost in it.

    I haven't paid in a while since I had lifetimes on my S2's. I just transferred one S2 to the S3 so if you have one lifetime, you could do that. Tivo told me when I transferred they currently still had the multi discount as $6.95. If you go longer than 1 year, the price drops from the $20. I think they have 3 year at $299 (about $8-$9).
     
  7. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

    123
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    Feb 1, 2005
    I had the same limited in Sammamish and in Redmond they said they don't issue cablecards with limited service. They do at basic, which is about $45 a month but you get more channels also. Depends on what you want. You need the CC's to do Tivo Season Pass recordings (unless there is a way around that). I could program my local HD channels manually and record that way though.
     
  8. bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,382
    43
    Nov 9, 2003
    Georgia
    Here in MA, I was required to have Digital Classic before I could get CableCARDs, which are digital devices. So, the answer to your basic question was $45.
     
  9. wilrod

    wilrod New Member

    26
    0
    Dec 24, 2006
    The above quote is from my previous post. I logged into the Comcast site and clicked on recent activity, and these are the charges/adjustments listed:

    Code:
    [FONT=Courier New]FRANCHISE FEE   	$  -0.71
    STATE SALES TAX  	$  -0.04
    DIGITAL CLASSIC PACKAGE $ -11.99
    DIGITAL PLUS            $  11.99
    DVR SERVICE             $ -11.95
    COMCAST CABLE CARD      $   0.00
    COMCAST CABLE CARD      $   0.00[/FONT]
    So it looks like I won't be getting charged for the CCs and I'll be getting Digital Plus for free ($ 11.99 - $ 11.99 = $ 0.00). :)

    Your mileage will vary.
     
  10. keenanSR

    keenanSR Member TCF Club

    913
    2
    Oct 12, 2004
    Santa Rosa CA
    No, it looks like they removed Digital Classic and added Digital Plus. Comcast just added Digital Plus here in Santa Rosa, it adds stuff like the Military channel and a few Discovery networks spawns.
     
  11. wilrod

    wilrod New Member

    26
    0
    Dec 24, 2006
    OK, you have a point, I wasn't clear. Here we go: Since Comcast took off Digital Classic and added Digital Plus for the same price as Classic, it's like getting the Plus "channels" for free; I'm still paying for digital service. When the free Plus upgrade expires I'll downgrade back down to classic.

    Here are the different digital offerings in my zip code:
    Code:
    Digital Classic (190 Channels)
    Digital Plus (220 Channels)
    Digital Silver (225 Channels, includes 1 premium channel)
    Digital Gold (230 Channels, includes 2 premium channels)
    Digital Platinum (240 channels, includes 5 premium channels)
     
  12. keenanSR

    keenanSR Member TCF Club

    913
    2
    Oct 12, 2004
    Santa Rosa CA
    Odd that they would have the same pricing for Digital Classic and Digital Plus.
     
  13. murryamorris

    murryamorris New Member

    123
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    Feb 1, 2005
    I think they may have a promo going on it.
     
  14. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

    11,331
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    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    Or do you have to buy them cumulatively. I didn't think I could get digtial + unelss I had digital classic.
     
  15. keenanSR

    keenanSR Member TCF Club

    913
    2
    Oct 12, 2004
    Santa Rosa CA
  16. Warlord46

    Warlord46 New Member

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    Dec 2, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Are the "public statements from Comcast" JLIB and other posters have referred to available in written form accessible to members of this forum? Based upon my own experience with numerous Comcast customer service supervisors here in South Florida, I'd love to see those "public statements" in writing. Otherwise, they are just rumors dismissed out of hand by the many reps I've spoken with.

    I have 2 S3s, each with two cable cards, and a stand-alone TV with one cable card. I subscribe to "digital plus" and HBO, and get HD signals for all local TV channels as well as HBO, Discovery, TNT, INHD, and ESPN. I am being charged 5 times for HD service at $5 each (one charge per cable card), and 4 times for additional outlets at $4.99 each (one charge per cable card, after the first one free with my digital package)[now $6.99 each, see comment at end of this post]. Assuming my stand-alone cable-card-equippedTV is the one outlet I get for free with my digital plan, I am paying $19.98 monthly for each S3 (2x$5 plus 2x$4.99), plus $5 for HD signals to the stand-alone TV. Comcast customer service says I could toss the S3s in the trash, and get two of their set-top box dual-tuner DVRs for $9.95 each plus one additional outlet charge (at $6.99 per month each) for a total of $16.94 per Comcast HD DVR box. Therefore, tossing my new S3s, I could save $6.08 per month (2x $3.04 per box), and as part of the deal get two Comcast HD DVRs which they will replace if ever anything goes wrong with them - not a bad warranty. Why, if you are paying $800 per Tivo HD box, thus saving Comcast a bundle in hardware and warranty-service charges, should you pay more than someone renting Comcast HD DVR equipment?

    The $5 HD charge per cable card is coincidentally the same surcharge Comcast applies to each customer using Comcast STB's, when they swap-out their standard STB's for their HD-capable STBs. Neither of these boxes has DVR capability. The DVR boxes come with the HD service for free, for both of the included dual tuners, at a cost of $9.95 per month per box.

    You would think that the $6.99 additional outlet charge is for the cost of the second STB for the typical Comcast Tivo-free customer, and the $5 charge is for each upgraded HD-STB that replaces the standard STB for the typical customer. And that those are hardware rental charges levied to defray the cost of all the additional HD-capable hardware -- but not according to my Comcast Customers Service reps. According to them, the hardware is all free! The charges are not for hardware but for the services, which I as a Tivo user am sucking up from Comcast just as fast as any loyal Comcast hardware user.

    Curiously, I am not being charged $1.50 per cable card as are many posters to this forum, and the $4.99 extra-outlet charge is $2.00 less than a Comcast set-top box additional outlet charge. But I am paying for two of those outlet charges per S3, for total of $9.98 per S3, which is $2.99 higher than the one extra-outlet charge for an equivalent dual-HD tuner Comcast DVR box.

    Comcast is charging me as much as they possibly can, using concepts that do not acknowledge their cost for their own equipment, and doing so in a way that makes me pay more for identical cable service because I use cable cards with Tivo hardware. You would think that sparing Comcast the cost of purchasing and maintaining two Comcast DVRs and one Comcast HD STB that would be required to duplicate the service I have now, should result in my paying less per month than if I were dependent upon them for all that hardware, but you would be wrong. This predatory pricing looks like a considered and planned effort on the part of Comcast to drive Tivo out of business, and they may not have to hit every market in the US uniformly for this scheme to succeed.

    Can or will Tivo do anything to address this? Is Comcast's pricing scheme for cable-card users in violation of FCC regulations? Is Comcast's apparent plan to run Tivo out of business with predatory pricing a violation of US antitrust laws? Will the FCC or Justice Department do anything about it? If not, those of us in South Florida who purchased a Tivo S3 may have made a big mistake.

    NOTE: A few hours after posting the above, I was informed by Comcast that the $4.99 charge for additional outlets on my bill was a mistake, and that the charge should have been $6.99. So now I'm paying $5.00 for the first cable card, and $11.99 ($5.00 plus $6.99) for each one of my other 4 cable cards installed in my two S3s, for a total of $52.96 per month. If I gave back all my cable cards and ditched my S3s and replaced them with 2 Comcast DVRs and an HD STB for the third TV, I'd be paying $38.88 per month total. Those cable cards cost Comcast a lot less than two DVRs and an STB, but they are charging me more, not less, for supplying my own equipment. Both monthly figures were confirmed by Comcast HQ in Philly.
     
  17. wackymann

    wackymann New Member

    384
    0
    Sep 22, 2006
    Boston Area
    You should call up your Comcast office and show them the TCF poll of what others are paying Comcast for cable cards. I would be pretty pissed if I had to pay 10 times as much as somebody else for the same exact thing, from the same exact company.
     
  18. jlib

    jlib Lean Forward

    1,063
    0
    Nov 21, 2002
    Carmel...
    Warlord, let's see if we can dig up some concrete info for you in your duel with Comcast. In any case, for now, with your environment you should be liable for 2 additional outlet and 4 additional cable card charges:
    Code:
    2 x $4.99 = $9.98
    4 x $1.50 = $6.00
               ______
    Total      $15.98
    (plus your tier charges)
    It is also odd that they have two different outlet charge amounts.

    Edit: OK, I was going to suggest the announcements that we got in our bills (here in CA) but now after looking at the list of subsidiaries section of the Comcast 10-K it looks like there are actually hundreds of different "Comcasts" across the country. Maybe there really is no national pricing structure?
     
  19. jeffk

    jeffk New Member

    147
    0
    Oct 15, 2002
    boca raton, FL
    Ugg, what a nightware Cable Install with Comcast has/still is.

    First 2 cards I got never worked, all said Waiting for CP Auth. They couldn't do anything, had to have a tech come out. He did, worked with them for awhile, my account was all screwed uo in relation to cablecards, never worked, so they had him try some more cards, and they figured out that these never were entered into their system, as they've had problems with that. So all they could do was get new cards, the comcast guy was nice enough, and tried his best, I dont fault him. He even went back to the office grabbed 4 more cablecards with an appropriate date that the cableheadend guys told him would work, get here and 2 of them have a technical problem [thats what tivo said]. and the other 2 says my cable company knows nothing of these cards. What a headache, since I have to work all week, the next time they can come and try is Saturday! This is such a headache!

    I sure hope something is fixed on Saturday! Being able to only watch the analog until then sucks [the qam tuner will pick up Discovery HD at least, so I might scan that again, but everythign else but Digital Nick, and Tube is encrypted, unfortunatly].
     
  20. Michael Gwynn

    Michael Gwynn New Member

    53
    0
    Aug 7, 2000
    avon, ohio
    took me three tries...

    the first one hadn't heard of tivo S3 at all

    the second one put me on hold for 12 mins, she 'spoke to a supvr' and told me the cablecards were only to used in TVs

    the third one knew everything about S3, and got me scheduled for a 'steal-me-from D*' install next week.

    she also noted in the dispatch assignment that i requested a cablecard expert for my home visit. i wonder if i made a strategic error, with that little request.

    anyway, just keep trying...
    hey, ask for stephanie! and remember to request to leave a nice message on Plymouth, MI sales supvr kevin's voicemail. she says that he will send a nice email about her to the entire crew. any kudos seen by others will reinforce that little thought 'i need to learn more about S3s' :p
     

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