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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. nlowhor

    nlowhor New Member

    Jul 11, 2003
    I had my Comcast install today. Everything went much smoother than I anticipated. The installer actually owned a S3 himself and had installed it. He knew what he was doing and all was working as expected in about 45 minutes.

    Later, I called Comcast to downgrade my service. What I really wanted was just basic cable(2-99), HD stations(locals and extended such as ESPNHD and TNT), and the sports pack. I was told by customer service that this would require at least Digital Classic. However, I spoke to them further and we decided to just see what happened w/o any digital package. As it turns out, I'm able to receive all of the above channels with only Basic and Extended on my account.....NO DIGITAL TIER. Apparently the cable cards allow access to the HD versions of any channel you are already subscribed to as well as access to the sports pack.

    Needless to say I was greatly please about this. I really didn't want to have to pay the extra $10.
  2. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Perhaps ESPNHD and TNTHD are not encrypted in your area yet. They may disappear in the future without digital classic.
  3. nlowhor

    nlowhor New Member

    Jul 11, 2003
    Actually they are encrypted, happened fall of 2005. At one point I could pull HD off the moto box from ESPNHD and then was no longer able to when they turned on encryption.

    There was a thread over at avsforum detailing how to see whether the 5C encryption was on with a certain channel. I checked this to verify it was on.

  4. Joe-user21

    Joe-user21 New Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Well, after failed attempt #1, which was a "user error" (I'll post as a cautionary tale later), technician Brian comes back to start from scratch. He brought a Tivo setup cookbook, and a fistful of CC's just in case.
    Install of both was textbook - install, get the pairing, phone it in, hit, immediately test channels and get error 4, wait a couple seconds - bang - all there - Digital Plus - encore, all HD, everything perfect.
    Both CC's went in with zero glitches, probably 10 minutes total..
    Keep the faith - it CAN work! It IS worth it!

    Some observations:
    after failed attempt 1, I did have 2 CC's in there, and tried phoning in myself to get them activated. I spoke with 3 different CSR's, who just weren't up to speed. Basically, to get success, you need to talk to somebody with:
    1) the training on all this
    2) the app (i.e. software with access) to let them send the signals required.

    The frontline CSR's we get just don't even have the software, IMHO.

    Brian was terrific, and knew who to hook up to in the back office. They even had a Tivo S3 in a cube to play along with menus if necessary! If you are have Central Bucks, PA Comcast you can message me and I'll send you Brian's employee #.

    BTW, news in the Philly area is that Comcast is phasing out subcontractors, and hiring I think 1,000+ people to replace them.

    FYI 2: if you're interested in the CC specs:
    (I can't post the url)
    google: "SCTE standards (ANSI/SCTE-28 and ANSI/SCTE-41) still use"
    then go to the hit on "Cable Card Primer" for the page. The specs themselves should be on top of the hit list.
    Go to the CC specs, ANSI 28 and 41. Remember, in their parlance POD = CC, host = Tivo S3.
    The protocol is pretty straightforward, use Diffie-Hellman key exchange to share a secret, then use DES for streaming data. Typical two-phase.
    It helps to understand what's going on, though this won't help you on the phone with Comast, unfortunately..

    Of special note is spec 28, p 213 on - it lists all the 161-nnn error codes, and host expected behavior. You can use this to obviously see what error nnn is, or more valuable, to trace back to determine an error condition that is NOT reported on the E-1.1 page by observing the behavior of the box.

    Cheers -
  5. jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo New Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    I have to echo everything you wrote except mine took 4 tech visits over 5 different appointments spread over two weeks' time. The key in the end was the last tech getting the "woman who really knows cable cards" on his radio phone to set things up properly. There was nothing wrong with either my TiVo or the cable card that had been in the unit for a week but only getting limited basic + HD channels. Once someone in their office who knew what she was doing authorized the card, it started bringing in all of the channels and the Conditional Access screen had the expected values. To think that so much time and money was wasted because Comcast has seriously undertrained and/or incompetent employees! I suggested to the tech that the woman who finally got things right should be training other people in their office and he indicated that she was a relatively new employee. (Guess she got her training/experience somewhere else. :D )

    My only complaint about TiVo is that my call to them when the first tech was at my house took about 45 minutes to be answered and then I was told to simply exchange the box if the cable company tech said it was defective. The TiVo employee made absolutely no attempt to trouble shoot the issue with the cable company tech and didn't offer to transfer the call to anyone else at TiVo who may have been able to do so. If I had followed that advice, I would have not only been even more inconvenienced (and spent money out of pocket to return the TiVo) but TiVo would have had a return of merchandise which was functioning properly.

    I'm just glad at this point to have all of my channels working on both tuners. I hope Comcast doesn't do something screwy down the road to mess up what they fixed today.

  6. jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo New Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    Unless you can get someone on the phone at Comcast who (a) knows what he/she is doing and (b) has the access to properly authorize your cards in your new TiVo, you'll have to have a tech out. You definitely have new Host IDs because of your change of box. I'm not sure, but I believe the data IDs will be different as well. If they haven't taken the new information from you there is no way they can be doing anything to make your new TiVo work. (Do they even know that the cards are not in the same device in which they were originally installed?)

  7. ReidWings

    ReidWings New Member

    Nov 1, 2004
    Yes, I explained that to them very clearly. I talked to around 6 people, known of which knew what to do. All they could find was that the ID from the cablecards were now listed on my account. They kept asking me for those, but those didn't change! Hopefully the right tech will show tomorrow and fix it.
  8. oldskoolboarder

    oldskoolboarder New Member

    Jul 8, 2003
    My install took about 1.5 hours. Half the time was rewiring from the pole to my house because the cable was pretty old. I've been using DirecTV since I moved to my house 4 yrs ago.

    The longest part of the install was the Guided Setup that required going to Tivo for downloads. My installer was pretty familiar w/ the S3, it was his 4th of the day. He also gave some info, though I don't know how true it is. I will say that he seemed pretty familiar w/ Cablecard, Tivo and Comcast.

    1) Comcast is supposedly coming w/ new HD channels in the next month or so. He didn't know which ones.

    2) Cablecard 2.0 cards will be ready for distribution by May timeframe. That would be nice, allowing me to have PPV.

    3) It's been a while since I had cable. I bought a S2 dual tuner for the bedroom but didn't ask for an STB. Then I realized that I can only get up to CH99... Going to Comcast tomorrow to get a box for the 100+ channels.

    4) The coax filters built into surge surpressors attentuate the digital cable signal A LOT. I didn't believe this initially but my guy used a JDS Uniphase signal meter and it when from a -3 to a very positive signal after removing that filter.

    5) RG59 itself can cause enough attenuation to cause digital signal problems. Fortunately, my house is fully wired w/ RG6, which I did in prep for D*.
  9. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    FiOS isn't offered where I live. Comcast is. I bet when FiOS is offered at just as many homes as Comcast, the rate at which such problems will be recorded will be comparable.
  10. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    And I said I think you're wrong. Get over it. Your frustration over my not believing you doesn't make your assertions any more convincing to me, nor makes me wish to express my opinions any less. AFAIC, your information isn't any more reliable than mine. That was my point.

    I haven't and won't exclude the possibility that there was no viable, robust product that could have been developed and offered in this arena.

    Good thing I never said anything of the sort. :rolleyes: Sometimes I think you're just arguing against stuff I didn't say, because it is easier than arguing against what I actually did say.

    Which is why I didn't suggest that 50% of the people were dissatisfied. :rolleyes:

    I'm sorry that you find it so difficult to arguing against what I've been saying on the merits, and find yourself forced to stoop to exhortation.

    And they evidently didn't know those "vagaries" to the same extent with the S3, hence the S3 is less robust. That is what I've been saying. :rolleyes:

    Thank you.

    No where NEAR what we're seeing with the S3. Not even in the same ballpark.
  11. bicker

    bicker Gruff

    Nov 9, 2003
    The most reliable information I've seen indicates that the CableCARDs do work much more reliably with televisions than with the TiVo S3. That's the whole point. :rolleyes:
  12. chrishicks

    chrishicks Tivo Junkie

    Dec 30, 2003
    so my installer just left. he was a very impatiatient person. he wouldn't read the instructions or anything. he installed both cards at the same time. he wouldn't even wait for the tivo to regognize the cards before he'd remove them and try again. then after numorous tries he works on card 2/slot 2 first. he gets that to finally work but not slot 1. is it possible that because he did it ass backwards that I'm screwed?

    the best part was that he was so impatient that he wanted to be out of here so fast that he ended up being here for over 2hrs.

    what do I do now?
  13. ThreeSoFar

    ThreeSoFar FourNow...WaitFive

    May 24, 2002
    Now? Now is too late.

    What you should have done is insist, at that moment, that you handle the cards and follow the directions yourself.

    Good luck.
  14. chrishicks

    chrishicks Tivo Junkie

    Dec 30, 2003
    but what can I do to correct this? or am I now just stuck with a single tuner S3 now?
  15. jjamezz

    jjamezz self-proclaimedIdiot

    Jul 19, 2005
    WOW ... SO very much bickering!! (Com'on peeps... try not to be so @#$!%!!!)


    Step one - visit local Comcast business location & get 4 cable cards
    (exact # needed, I was feeling lucky && each card provided at NO COST!!!)

    Step two - arrive home & install CC in 'SLOT 1'
    (CC setup screen comes up, did nothing other than wait)

    Step three - call COMCAST local service number... request they activate my CCs by serial number
    (they call it 'hit'; shortly after being 'hit' I got screen w/ error 4)

    Step four - Tech knew to continue and ignore error 4... repeated step 2 & 3 on 'SLOT 2'

    Step five - repeat above on 2nd Tivo... All was well per fliping through all channels I subscribe to using Channel Guide (physical card listing packages/channels)


    -- Two Days Later --

    Suddenly some of my channels stop receiving & reveal the 'MMI Screen' that Tivo describes as being provided solely from the cable company...

    The screen lists a message whenever you attempt to tune certain channels that 'Contact your cable provider to activate service' -- this message appears on all tuners / cable cards... confusing..

    on second call to cable company (ugh, is this my horror experience with COMCAST beginning?).... the tech doesn't have a clue & states that there must be a problem with the equipment or CCs (I say... all of them & only on specific & identical channels?) ... she insists and will not discuss further... I hang up and get the same response from a seperate tech... so I allow her to setup a service call...

    contractor arrives (with extra CCs if needed)... it's his VIRGIN TIVO S3 EXPERIENCE (but, he's cute - so, that's ok, right?)

    Luckily he knows someone at the head end that he would not normally be allowed to talk with & calls him... end result... Comcast was using encryption on some channels that CCs are unable to process.... once the encryption was shifted at the 'head-end', all was well on all four cable boxes.

    It's been a few weeks & I've had no further difficulties.... sent back my original cable box / converter & have actually lowered my monthly while getting my 'pay-channels' in both my rooms (vice just in the cable-boxed room)

    I'm happy!!
    :up: :D :D :up:
  16. chrishicks

    chrishicks Tivo Junkie

    Dec 30, 2003

    I have both cards installed in my S3. upon checking the "test channels" section only card 2 shows channels. card 1 shows "no channels available". however, both cards are showing "subscribed" in the CA. I also have both tuners working in that I can successfully record 2 seperate shows on both tuners.

    could one CC be tuning 2 seperate channels while the other is not working correctly?
  17. jjamezz

    jjamezz self-proclaimedIdiot

    Jul 19, 2005
    don't think so....

    You're probably able to tune and record with the 'non-working' CC ONLY those channels that are not scrambled/encrypted...

    The 'working' CC can (I'm presuming) tune / record from any of the channels you're subscribed to wether encrypted / scrambled or not.

    I'd assume two likely causes:
    1>> you need to have the cable provider 'hit' your 'non-working' CC with an authorization / blessing signal (try this, despite probably having done it already... you should just need the serial number printed on the outside of the card)


    2>> you actually have one bad CC, in which case you should swap it.... but before you do that, try ejecting it, reinserting it... wait until a black and white screen pops up that requires you to press the clear button to get out of, then repeat guided setup AGAIN... annnoying for certain...

    good luck!!

  18. Warlord46

    Warlord46 New Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    Here's some even more reliable information: All my TVs have CC slots, as do S3s. Comcast went through 20 or so cable cards to get me 5 that worked. When a cable card didn't work in one of my S3s, it didn't work in any of my 3 HDTVs either, any more than a burned-out light bulb would work in some lamps and not others. Once I got a couple CCs that worked, I had the huge advantage of swapping them around in the presence of Comcast techs (in my area, the CCs are not wedded to the equipment) to disprove Comcast's claims that the problems were due to all my "defective" TVs and S3s. Without that advantage, Comcast might have beaten me down and convinced me to return my "defective" S3s. With that advantage, I beat them down.

    For you to blame Tivo for making S3s that won't work with Comcast's bad cable cards is "self-absorbed idiocy." [bicker, post 1743] You should follow your own advice: "don't close your eyes and ears to the reality around you." [bicker, post 1803] :rolleyes:
  19. Dreamin

    Dreamin New Member

    Sep 13, 2006
    Palo Alto, CA

    Just rec'd my Comcast's updated price list (January 4, 2007)

    There is a line item in the equipment section:
    TIVO Series 3 - 2nd Card: $1.50
  20. mpthompson

    mpthompson New Member

    Dec 30, 2006
    The Comcast installer arrived at my house on Thursday morning to put the two CCs into my new Tivo S3. The first one card installed without a hitch, however, the second card showed the dreaded "No Channels Available". Fortunately, the installer was a very friendly guy and determined to get both cards working. He tried a number of fixes to no avail, but by swapping the cards between slot 1 and 2 he convinced himself that the Tivo S3 was functioning correctly. Finally, he worked with a senior dispatcher at the head end who was able to fix some problem regarding my configuration within the Comcast database. After that both cards would take a 'hit' (not sure what that is) and they have worked well since.

    I was a bit nervous for the two hours he was there that things wouldn't work out, but in the end everything was OK. I'm happy that the installer was a very friendly guy and determined to leave a happy customer behind. I guess I lucked out in that respect.

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