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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. Jan 9, 2007 #1741 of 9367

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003
    That's self-absorbed idiocy. People aren't Comcast employees or stockholders just because they disagree with you. :rolleyes:

    The reality is that, based on my personal experience, Comcast turned over Heaven and Earth to try to get my S3 to work. They couldn't. It was unquestionably TiVo's fault, because TiVo "should" have provided a product that "just works" with the cable environment that exists today, or not provide a product at all.
  2. Jan 9, 2007 #1742 of 9367

    zjuggler New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    Well, my install in Arlington, VA is proceeding according to Murphy's Law. When I called, I informed them that I would need 2 CableCards for a Tivo S3. They asked "the high definition Tivo?" - "yes". No problem - install was scheduled for Sunday afternoon. I thought - so far, so good. At least they didn't try to say "we don't support those" or any other such nonsense.

    Sunday rolls along and the tech shows up with 2 cards - again, so far so good. After 10-15 monutes, card 2 is working fine, but card 1 only gets basic cable. The tech waits for 30 minutes or so and then leaves, saying it should work after a little while, but if not - call back. A few hours later, I'm still not getting premium channels on card 1. It's listed as "waiting for CP auth" in the CP screen. I call back, they schedule another tech for Monday afternoon. The good news is that at least I have one tuner working, so I can watch my premium and high def channels...

    Monday comes and the installer arrives to replace card one. Time passes, but he still can't get the card pulling premium channels. He says the head-end is having some computer problem and they can't add the card to my account right now. He leaves, but says he'll be in the area for a few more hours and someone should call me back shortly. (yeah...right... :rolleyes: )

    A few hours pass...nobody calls, so I call and inquire. The person says that there's nothing they can do remotely, so they'll have to schedule another tech to come or I can go to the local payment center to pick up a replacement card. It's nearby, so I think "what the hell." I swing by the payment center only to be told "Oh, we don't have cable cards...only the techs have those..." Perfect. :mad:

    So...back home and install the same card, and I call back to try again. This time the person thinks they know what's wrong...great - progress! "Hold on a minute, let me try something." fingers crossed...waiting patiently...

    No luck on card 1...but now card 2 (which had been working fine up until now) is no longer working. "Waiting for CP auth" and no premium channels. Just peachy...now we're moving in the wrong direction. So the person on the phone says "sorry - but there's nothing more we can do from here...you'll need another tech to come out." (Which is getting really old...considering the only things the techs have ever done is write down the serial numbers, stick it in the box, and call up the network center...) But fine...maybe they can come with some spare cards to try. So waiting until Wednesday evening for them to come back and fix this freaking mess...

    It's so dissappointing, since I can see how nice the box is when it's working...I just can't stand to be held hostage to the incompetence of Comcast...

  3. Jan 9, 2007 #1743 of 9367

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    But you'll have to admit that TiVo made a product that works with 99.9% of all Comcast systems/hardware out there, don't you? Otherwise, where are all the Comcast customers who have your problem?

    Face it. Comcast in your area is doing something very unusual, in either hardware or software (assuming you're right in that it is an S3 design flaw). It may or may not be within the official standards; I've been around enough standard wars to know there are often very legitimate different interpretations of standards. But it is undeniably not the normal Comcast setup if you're claiming any S3 would have the problem in your area. And if you're not, then what distinguishes your problem from any other person here who had to return their TiVo because of flaky hardware? Yours was just flaky in a different way.
  4. Jan 9, 2007 #1744 of 9367

    cptodd Just Me!

    Jun 30, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    That is the part that burns my you know what! All the tech person does is come out and read off the numbers. I can do that. The problem is at the other end. I guess they deal with so many things that the average tech person needs to get up to speed on the cable card stuff. Oh well.
  5. Jan 9, 2007 #1745 of 9367

    Warlord46 New Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Personal attacks are always uncalled for, and do not help your dogged support of Comcast on this forum or anywhere else.
  6. Jan 9, 2007 #1746 of 9367

    OzDave New Member

    Dec 10, 2006
    This certainly has not been my experience with Comcast. I have met with uncooperative phone support, and I pasted my online chat which I had with them.
    CCs are a product that Comcast provide, and it is only them who can pair a CC to enable me to receive the content I am paying them for. It seems that when I mentioned the word TiVo, they gave me the stock answer - not their problem. I know the next time that I speak with them I will tell them that I have a TV with the CCs rather than TiVo. As many others in this thread have experienced, they seem more cooperative if its TV.
    IMHO there is nothing wrong with my TiVo unit.
  7. Jan 9, 2007 #1747 of 9367

    jeffsinsfo Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    San Francisco
    Just thought I'd add my (continuing) saga with Comcast here:

    Called Comcast. Phone rep says I can bring in HD cable box and pick up cable cards. I take taxi to my local office. Woman at counter shakes her head when she reads the notes on my account and says that I cannot pick up cards for self install. She schedules appointment for two days later.

    First appointment: 2 techs, one who says he has done "lots" of Tivos. Refused to follow directions. Slapped in both cards and once and had them activated at the same time. Card in slot one worked on all channels but card two wouldn't work on any. They tried swapping the cards and reinitialized. Slot one worked with card that had been in slot two but slot two still didn't work, so they wrote up the work order as "defective TiVo" and left. (It didn't help that I waited on hold for TiVo customer service for about 40 minutes while they were there, finally getting someone who quickly agreed with the Comcast contractors and just told me to exchange the box.) As soon as techs left, I realized my cable internet service was not working. A call later that day revealed that someone accidentally "removed" my cable modem from my account.

    Second appointment, two days later: Guy shows up and immediately says that the work order was written up incorrectly as a service problem, not an installation, so he doesn't have any cable cards. He says that even if he did have cable cards he wouldn't be able to use them because "all of the equipment checked out to every tech this morning is still in warehouse status so we can't use it." Makes no sense to me, but what am I going to do but accept the next appointment that's convenient for me, five days later.

    Third appointment. Installer doesn't show up during 8-12 window. A call to Comcast says he's running late, will be there next (around 1:30). 1:30 comes and goes and he isn't there. I call them at 3:00 pm and they say that they called me but he didn't actually come to my door because I didn't answer the phone! They say he will return in 20 minutes. 40 minutes later, tech still not there, I call Comcast again and ask for a supervisor. The supe says my appointment has "turned into an all day appointment" because I wasn't there when the installer came by. I reminded him that (a) no one came by and (b) he was actually supposed to be there 20 minutes prior to this conversation because he had just skipped my residence due to me not answering the phone. (I actually did answer the phone but said "hello" several times and no one responded.) Supe doesn't budge. Because I don't want to wait another 4-5 hours and risk the guy still not showing up, I just ask for a reschedule to the next appointment, two days later.

    Fourth appointment: Very nice guy shows up, says he won't leave until he gets the box working. I plead with him to follow the directions because, from what I could gather on line, the initial problem was due to the installer not following proper procedure, not a TiVo malfunction. He reviews directions, says they are consistent with his training, and proceeds to install first card. Puts in first card, calls in numbers, blue screen searching for signal starts. He doesn't wait at this point but instead jumps back to cable card decoder menu and puts in second card. Uh, oh, I think, but I keep my fingers crossed. He calls in second card's numbers and it quickly recognizes all channels. Card in slot one is only receiving limited basic and clear HD channels (no expanded basic or digital tier channels). Conditional access screen says "disconnected." He calls in for several hits but it still doesn't work. He says he believes card is bad and doesn't have another one, so he'll have to schedule another appointment. I explain that it seems like the card just isn't authorized correctly since it's working partially, but he says there's nothing else he can do but have me wait until the next appointment that's convenient for me, five days later. He radios a buddy of his who's a "TiVo expert" but that guy has no further suggestions.

    I call in later that night to see if I can verify the numbers that Comcast has in their system for the card in slot one. The phone rep says that the problem is that there is no record of me having two cards, only one!!! So I give her the serial number and host ID but she says she doesn't need data number. I ask her several times if she's sure because the installers seem to need to call it in when they install cards. She says she has nowhere to put it so she doesn't need it. I'm on hold for a while and she keeps coming back on the line, apologizing for the wait but explaining that she and her supervisor "can't figure out how to add another cable card to my account." She's very nice about it all, but I start doubting that she's going to be able to help me. Lo and behold, despite her allegedly initializing and hitting the card a few times, nothing changes. I resign myself to waiting until the appointment on 1/12/07. I contemplate removing both cards myself, restarting TiVo without them, and then trying the installation on my own, but I'm concerned that Comcast's phone reps will be uncooperative and then I won't have either tuner working with my digital channels until the next tech arrives.

    What I take from this: Cable card installation is made much more difficult than it is because various people at Comcast are not careful about what they are doing, either refusing to follow simple, step-by-step instructions or by making strange errors. (How did my cable modem get removed? I certainly didn't hear the first tech tell anyone to remove my cable modem. How did the last tech leave with Comcast thinking I only had one cable card when he clearly called both of them in to the same phone rep?) It's clear that my box isn't defective (and I'm glad I didn't follow the knee-jerk response to return it since it would have involved taking it to UPS to return it to Amazon and then waiting for an exchange) since both slots have worked, just not at the same time. The bottom line is that I think I have yet to encounter a Comcast employee who understands cable card installation and authorization procedures. I don't work for Comcast so I have no idea how their computer system functions, but they either have a lot of clueless people who cannot use reasonably designed software (removing things and neglecting to add things) or their system is so buggy that getting it to work correctly is a herculean task. Regardless it's very frustrating to me to have to take yet another day out to wait for a tech who, as I far as I am concerned, has no greater chance at getting things right than those who came before him. Even if the tech follows instructions, if the people in the office don't do their job correctly then my TiVo still isn't going to function properly.
  8. Jan 9, 2007 #1748 of 9367

    jeffsinsfo Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    San Francisco
    For what it's worth, the last Comcast tech out to my place says he has an even harder time getting cable cards to work in TVs. I think it's cable card installation, in general, that's problematic. Apparently too many details for all but the most attentive of techs and phone reps, and all it takes is one mistake and things don't work properly.

  9. Jan 9, 2007 #1749 of 9367

    jonman21 New Member

    Dec 18, 2006
    So here's a question that I'm hoping some of you are familiar with (especially those of you in the Bay Area, Calif. who should have similar pricing schemes)...

    I just received my Comcast bill, and it includes this extra monthly charge that I was never quoted on the phone when I scheduled my CableCard install appointment...

    I was only quoted the $1.50/month 2nd CableCard fee, and the $15.99 one-time install fee.

    However, on my bill, I see a $6.99/month "Digital Add'l Outlet - includes digital converter & remote, if applicable" fee right below my $1.50/month "TiVo Digital Access" fee.

    What does this additional Digital outlet even mean? And how would I argue myself out of this charge (other than the fact that I can say that I was never quoted that fee)?

    Thanks for your help everyone!
  10. Jan 9, 2007 #1750 of 9367

    subat0mic New Member

    Jan 7, 2007
    very true. however good things do come to those who are patient. I had 3 service calls to my place, and I was without TV for 3 days (the bad part about this, apart from missing shows, was that this caused major marital strain - my wife was livid and blamed me for making things complex).

    but now it works, and we're all completely happy. the system is exactly like our DirecTivo (no learning curve is a good thing), and we get beautiful HD and the Tivo handles proper aspect correction nicely...

    we love the Tivo S3, and it was totally worth the hassle and the wait (though I think I grew a new vein in my forehead during the install process). I can't imagine going with Comcast's HD "equipment" or anything other than Tivo. And we were so sick of dealing with fuzzy pictures and 4:3 w/ letterbox bars on our beautiful HDtv with the DirectTivo... all I can say is, directv really screwed up dropping their deal with Tivo...
  11. Jan 9, 2007 #1751 of 9367
    Mike Farrington

    Mike Farrington Active Member

    Nov 16, 2000
    My CC install didn't go so well. The guy shows up and before I can say boo, he's goth both CCs in the TiVo. Not ideal, but from what I've seen here it's okay. It sounds like he's done a few of them already -- all without incident. They are SA cards.

    Anyway, we never got the CP Auth. He was on the phone with the backroom people, but none of them really knew how to deal with the CableCARD stuff. He tells me he usually deals with a certain person, a supervisor, and never has had any problems getting the hit. However, his guy was out for a few hours and the other guy just couldn't get it to work.

    Basically, my installer left without my cards getting CP Auth. He told me that this supervisor guy would be giving me a call later. Let's hope so.

  12. Jan 9, 2007 #1752 of 9367

    PaulS Member

    Sep 16, 2002
    Southern NH
    I had an appointment today for Adelphia/Comcast to install two CableCards in my Series3.

    Installer showed up early. Same guy that had been out to my house to hook up my 8300 POS. Good guy. However, he didn't have any CC's. He told me that they had a huge recall on the CC's, for a software update. (???) They're geting more in stock in 2 weeks, and they'd put me at the top of the list. (Yeah, right). Asked if I was putting 'em in two TVs, and I told him it was a TiVo. He knew exactly what I was talking about, so that's a good sign at least. Not going to have to fight him over installing them in a non-TV.

    Frustrating, to be sure, but it could have been worse...
  13. Jan 9, 2007 #1753 of 9367

    Roderigo New Member

    Mar 11, 2002
    Brookdale, CA
    While Comcast manages to be able to screw up cablecard installs in a multitude of manners, I can give them a break on this one. There's no technical reason why they can't do both at once. The S3 is really two cablecard hosts in one physical box (hence the two host ids). Tivo's instructions are written the way they are because it's conceptually easier to do one card at a time - pretend your installing one TV; get everything working on that TV; then move on to the next tv.

    The cards/hosts do a fair bit of processing when first inserted - but the same thing happens on a power cycle - and no one says to remove one card when you power cycle. The S3 doesn't much get involved in the authorization process. As soon as the S3 tunes each OOB tuner to the correct frequency (as directed by the cards), the authorization process is exclusively between the card and the headend.
  14. Jan 9, 2007 #1754 of 9367

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    This assumes both a reasonable program for the back-end techs (some swear they can't do two cablecards without opening up a line for an additional outlet in their system) and competence on the part of the back-end techs. Otherwise the various hits for the two cards might end up interspersed going to the same single card with the result that neither card works and it gets to be impossible to debug since random hits meant for the second card may trickle into the first card for quite some time.

    I agree that a tech who knows for certain their system and back end people can handle the two cards at once can skip steps, but most of the techs described in these threads are not competent enough to make that decision.
  15. Jan 9, 2007 #1755 of 9367

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Do you have another Comcast box? If so, the additional outlet charge is correct. If the TiVo is your only digital device, then call Comcast to remove that charge. The 1st card is free. The 2nd card is covered by that $1.50 fee.
  16. Jan 9, 2007 #1756 of 9367

    CharlesH Member TCF Club

    Aug 29, 2002
    At least in my area, digital packages include one digital (but not HD) set-top box. So if you have a Series3, you can use the included SD set-top box with another (Series2) TiVo. There is no discount if you decline the set-top box.
  17. Jan 9, 2007 #1757 of 9367

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Usually one digital device is included, which means either STB or CableCard, but not both. That's why the 1st CableCard is "free". When I had digital classic and added another STB, I was charged the additional outlet fee.
  18. Jan 9, 2007 #1758 of 9367

    hiker S.o.N.Y.D.a.C.

    Nov 29, 2001
    SF Bay Area...
    You should not be charged for the STB or an additional outlet fee if it is on your primary outlet along with your S3. I have that setup and the STB is free. The reason it's free is that cablecards don't do OnDemand. See the 2nd to last answer in this FAQ at Comcast here.
  19. Jan 9, 2007 #1759 of 9367

    jdebord New Member

    Jan 15, 2002
    I just had my Comcast installed performed today. I have just one television, so only needed the two cable cards to go with my Series 3.

    The Comcast technician was on-time, knowledgable, and nice.

    He put the cards in, the TiVo eventually found them, and he called it in.

    I am currently able to get analog channels, but no digital ones. He thinks it's because they thought I needed a digital box as well, and changed my order as he was doing it - he thought maybe the cards still need to "receive" this info. I did get error code 161-4 on both of them. The TiVo is currently (very slowly) "Loading Info" on the Connecting screen, so at least it is doing something. I figure I'll give it a few hours and see if things just start working correctly?

    I asked him about Video On Demand, and he said that they are currently working to make this service work on TiVo Series 3 boxes - I don't know if that's widely known, but I don't recall reading that yet (still trying to make my way through this long thread!). He thought it could happen as soon as within the next couple of months.

    Anyway, so far, so good. Hopefully everything will be working properly by tonight.

    I also did my transfer of my old Series 1 Lifetime Subscription to the new Series 3 with no hitch...

  20. Jan 9, 2007 #1760 of 9367

    Hokie4Life New Member

    Apr 14, 2003
    Ashburn, VA
    Our area is currently transitioning from Adelphia to Comcast.

    The install did not go very well. We followed the instructions on the TiVO CC insert with no success. The Conditional Access screen for both cards state the following:

    Encryption: DES
    Connected:yes, EnabledByCP: yes
    CA enable: unknown

    The tech said that he believes that it may be a problem with the "rate codes" or something similar.

    I've tried online chat and I've tried speaking with a representative on the phone but everyone said that my account is fine. They've sent signals to both of the cards but nothing changes. I've also asked the reps if they're able to confirm the serial number, host, data and unit address for the cards. They've both said that they are only able to confirm the card serial number and they do not have access to the other CC data.

    I'm at a loss. I don't know what I need to do to get someone who has a clue.

    Any suggestions? I'm in the Ashburn area in Northern Virginia (near Leesburg).

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