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Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    19,683
    116
    Jan 31, 2002
    Northern...
    All six of my Cable cards allowed me to watch the local HD and analog channels within two minutes of installing them in the S3. A couple did ahve a problem with showing the other unencrypted HD channels like ESPN, Discovery HD and CSNHD. That problem was corrected one they entered the proper info at the head end.
     
  2. hiker

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

    1,352
    0
    Nov 29, 2001
    SF Bay Area...
    Yes, I'm getting guide info for those channels and I'm also in Bay Area.
     
  3. dconner

    dconner Member

    106
    0
    Mar 13, 2004
    Northern...
    I've got a 4th attempt scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, operating under the theory of "Maybe they're bad CableCards, let's try installing different ones and see what happens."

    There's so much that can go wrong here. To have even a small chance of success, you need all three elements to converge:
    1. Non-clueless techs
    2. Non-clueless people at the Comcast office who answer their phones. And they have to properly initialize the CableCards from their end. If they don't, there seems to be no way to tell. ("The data looks correct from here.")
    3. Properly functioning CableCards ("No, we don't test them before we send out our techs. Why do you ask?")

    The excellent tech I had the other night (who'd recently started working for Comcast after moving to the area from Alabama, where he worked for some other cable company, which probably explains the competence) was particularly irked, and rightly so, that they had no way to test the CableCards themselves before heading out for a job.

    It's really not even possible to properly diagnose problems this way. (Could the real problem be with the SA cards and/or how TiVo talks to them?)

    I'm kinda hoping for a miracle of some sort where everything will start working once the TiVo 8.1 release is out, but I don't know how likely that is.
     
  4. HORUS

    HORUS New Member

    36
    0
    Jan 14, 2007
    NJ
    I just got off the phone with a Comcast agent from where I live (Central Jersey), she informed me that there has been a two-week out of stock status on the cable cards with no expected replenishment time frame and no chance for a wait list. She informed me to call back periodically. Maybe their thinking is that if they drag their heels long enough that people will just cave in and purchase their DVRs or wait till they launch their TIVO box. Any insight or more information that someone was able to gather from talking to someone?
     
  5. Mike Farrington

    Mike Farrington Active Member

    3,778
    0
    Nov 16, 2000
    You could CC the CSRs supervisor and some regional or national Comcast person on a written and mailed complaint letter to the FCC. I've never done such a thing myself. The FCC probably won't do anything (except add it to the count of people with problems). But some higher-up at Comcast might come down on your NJ office.
     
  6. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    I received a bunch of different answers from the Comcast reps north of Boston. None of it made any sense to me at all until finally I received a new price list. What is confusing is that there are TWO charges for the cable cards. First there is a charge for the card then there is a charge for the A/O (Aditional Outlet.) Boy did I have a hard time getting through to the Comcast rep that their fee schedule says N/C for the cable card. But, I did not know there was an additional A/O charge on top of the card. I thought that was the fee we were discussing all along!

    When I first called to get a price, I was told I would pay $4.45 extra for a HD box, and my first card was free and the second card was 2.50. I got billed $4.45 for the HD box PLUS 2.75 A/O for each card. So, the rep was wrong about the cable card cost, it was free, and did not mention or know about the Additional outlet fee.

    My new pricing schedule goes like this:


    So, that about does it for me with keeping the extra HD box. I'm returning that puppy immediately. That "should" recoup me $10 for the box and $3.51 for one A/O and as of Feb 1, it would have cost me $19 to keep the box with the cable cards. If I do this return "correctly", it should be $5 for the two cable cards. But, I doubt I'm through arguing with these people. :mad:

    One mistake I made in communicating with Comcast was to request HD access as opposed to premium content. The girl kept saying I did not need a box for HD, which is correct, but I meant to say premium access. She said I should just keep the old digital box and there would be no A/O fee. But, reading the price list they included with the bill, it says an A/O charge for every outlet over and above the digital OR HD "box".
     
  7. dconner

    dconner Member

    106
    0
    Mar 13, 2004
    Northern...
    In what version of English does a CableCard constitute an "outlet?" If this word is used as an industry term of art, I strongly suspect it doesn't encompass CableCards....
     
  8. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
    0
    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    An outlet is a device that can receive/decode the signal. Some areas treat a device with two CableCards as one outlet, and some areas treat it as two outlets (wrong, IMO).
     
  9. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    My fault for not explaining it fully. It probably has to do with any additional outlet over and above the first. So, I have an HD Box and the two cable cards are two additional outlets, so $3.51 each for the A/O.

    My current bill says

    1/24 - 2/23 CABLECARD A/O 2.75
    1/24 - 2/23 CABLECARD A/O 2.75



    The pricing menu: "Digital Additional Outlet Service Charge (High Definition or Digital) Charge for reception of premium services or package on additional outlets (per outlet)"

    I quote.
     
  10. dconner

    dconner Member

    106
    0
    Mar 13, 2004
    Northern...
    Ah, that's interesting. I was kind of assuming the whole notion of treating this as an "additional outlet" in the first place was jive, but I guess that fits standard practice (or at least for one additional "box," it does.)

    By the way, consider yourself lucky for only being soaked for that rate. My new rate schedule says "DVR Service (primary *or* additional outlet)" up to $11.95 from $9.95.

    So even if I wasn't still paying for a Comcast digital box (hopefully temporarily until I get full TiVo functionality), I'll still be charged 24 bucks for two CableCards....
     
  11. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Now that is ridiculous. At $24/mo, I think you have to seriously consider alternatives. Seeing that, yes, I guess I do feel somewhat fortunate.
     
  12. kringdahl

    kringdahl New Member

    4
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    I just wanted to close the loop on my Comcast saga. To recap, I had 2 CCs installed, each of them were only able to receive broadcast HD channels and the music channels. After doing some research and some trial and error, it turns out Comcast in my area (Southern NH) does not encrypt the local HDs or music channels. So, essentially the CCs were doing nothing. I proved this by removing the cards and using a straight coax connect. I then reran guided setup with no CCs and then a did a channel scan so it would pick up the stations above 99. It picked up the music channels and local HDs and I was able to view them without CCs inserted. So, I got the tech back today and convinced him that I had bad CCs. We got the card in slot 1 working with the 3rd CC. Slot 2 took a while and ultimately we could only get it to work by taking the card from slot 1 and putting it into slot 2 and then reconfiguring a new card in slot 1 (one that didn't work in slot 2). This makes no sense, but it worked. In the end, it took the guy about 4 hours on his 3rd trip to get things working. But, I'm live with 2 tuners in full HD color. It really shouldn't be this hard, but as long as I don't have a setback, the setup pain would be well worth it IMO.
     
  13. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Same here in Boston. I learned that today from a CSR. You do not need any box to get HD once you have been activated with your cable card. It appears that you can simply connect your coax to your HD TV and get all of the HD channels they offer except the premium ones. I have not specifically tested this, but this CRS insisted that this is the case.

    This brings up an interesting thought. I wonder if we could hook up a split coax cable into the antenna input and do a scan as if it was OTA. Then use the OTA channels for all recordings that we can get without a cable card, possibly bypassing any cable card related problems or issues.

    I might just have to give that a try.
     
  14. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
    0
    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    You can receive all unencrypted channels without CableCard, but you won't have program guide data. ATSC (OTA) decoder does not work with QAM (cable) signal. For all practical purposes, you need CableCards with cable service.
     
  15. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Oh, Ok.
     
  16. Mike Farrington

    Mike Farrington Active Member

    3,778
    0
    Nov 16, 2000
    To pl1: Exactly, you need the CableCARDs to translate the weird QAM channels like 90-101 into "normal" channels like 1 to 999. Cable companies only share the traditional channel numbers with Tribune and are free to change QAM frequencies at any time. The CableCARDs receive instructions from your cable company on how to correctly map these QAM channels onto "normal" stations that we are all familiar with. So even if you're not decrypting any content, you still need the cards for the mapping it provides.
     
  17. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Now that helps me to understand something else I had noticed when I first installed my S3 without any cablecards. I had tons of channels (including unscrambled premium channels) all with weird channel numbers that I was having a hard time keeping track of. I did figure out that one of the channels was HBO 304.

    But, the CSR said that if I plug the coax directly into the TV, I will get HD channels. So, as a test, I'm plugging my coax directly into my Panasonic 42" Plasma and scanning all cable channels. Wrong, as I anticipated. The CSR just does not understand how the cablecard works with the TiVo. She is assuming incorrectly that it is plugged into the TV set. Also, the TiVo with no cablecard gets many more channels than the built-in TV tuner on my Panasonic.

    They REALLY, REALLY need to educate their CSR's on this IMO.
     
  18. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    3,067
    0
    Sep 8, 2000
    Silicon...
    The CSR was not wrong. If your TV has QAM tuner, then it can get all of the unencrypted channels as well, just like the S3 without CableCards.
     
  19. randywalters

    randywalters AVS Old Timer

    268
    11
    Oct 21, 2003
    El Segundo,...
    I think the problem you're having is that the tuner in the Panasonic Plasma is known to be downright crappy, and i can confirm it :D

    My S3 picks up more channels than my Panasonic Plasma does when i scanned for all the cable channels. The tuner in the S3 is simply much better than the Panasonic tuner.

    And you should be able to get your free local "HD" channels straight from your wall, and they should be somewhere in the over-100 range (apparently it varies from division to division). If your HD locals don't come up in a channel scan, try manually inputting the possible channel numbers on your remote until you find the range they're in. Here's where mine are on both my Plasma and my S3 (TWC South Bay California:

    104-84 KTTV-DT
    104-85 KABC-DT
    105-86 KCBS-DT
    105-87 KCET-HD
    105-88 KNBC-DT

    They've been on these channels for at least 2 years, and i inputted them on my S3 and they're the same as on the TV.
     
  20. pl1

    pl1 Active Member

    1,256
    0
    Jan 17, 2007
    MA
    Ok, thanks. I just checked each channel long enough to either hear sound or not. I did not feel like going through each of the 100 or so channel numbers it found. But that makes sense if the tuner is weak.

    OK, I figured it out. I was ASS-U-MEing that it was channel number > 100. It's not. It is like 90-8, 90-10, 90-11.

    So, my apologies for giving the wrong information out thanks for the correction.
     

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