View Full Version : Astound and cable card installation stories
02-06-2008, 12:12 AM
I did not find an "official" thread listed in the sticky for Astound.
I live in San Mateo where Astound and Comcast compete for business. In my condo association alone Comcast lost approximately 850 customers as of February. I placed an order on Jan 25th to be installed on Feb fifth between five and seven at night. In early Janurary the rep I spoke with said they used single stream cards but during my order on the 25th the tech said they had just started to use the M-cards and I was the first customer he had ordered them for!
I arrived at home at 5:02 and saw a tag hanging on my door! It said "sorry we missed you" with a phone number written on it. I immediately called the person and he was still in the building doing an install for another person. He said that the tag was hung at 3pm so I could call him if I came early. I'm suspicious but Ill let it slide
I originally had Comcast with cable modem so when he switched the cable line in the MPOE over I lost my internet connection. I have no home phone so my Tivo was now stuck in guided setup unable to download data. He came to door with a brand new cable modem which I connected. He then noticed the cable card portion of the order for the first time and asked if I wanted a cable box. He assured me it was free so I said yes and he left for approximately 30 minutes!
Come to find out he was walking around to ask the other cable installers if they had any extra cable cards. During that time I tried to get the internet working but it would not "authenticate" according to its built in logs. I was upset that not only did he not bring a cable card with him but now my internet connection was down which also renders my Tivo useless even for analog cable. A quick call where he provided the MAC address sorted the cable modem issue out.
He said he could come back in the morning but I can't miss work without prior notice. Luckily there were many other installs scheduled in the building so I got him to promise to return at 6:30pm.
I've left a lot of details out of the story but so far I see no difference between Astound and Comcast technicians. I'll keep everyone posted.
02-06-2008, 09:43 AM
I didn't have much problem with Astound, I don't remember if I posted it here (click on my username), but there is a lot of information in the Walnut Creek thread in the local HDTV board at Avsforum. The card installation was hassle-free but they did have problems matching the programming to our package. I did have a card burn out but they were able to replace it. I don't know if the info applies to the former RCN customers, though.
02-16-2008, 09:17 PM
Here goes a long update. I'm somewhat upset as I type this so Ill leave many of the details out.
I waited one week for the original installer. I never got a channel map, a cable card, a cable box or even a call. Later I find out from an Astound employee that many of the installers in my area were contractors from LA?! Since it was a sudden addition of about 900 customers they couldn't handle the load and brought in outsiders.
I called support and told them the story. The person was very apologetic and scheduled a tech for 1pm-5pm on Thursday the 14th.
The installer arrives at 5 :rolleyes: Not exactly late but I feel like I left work early for nothing. He brought two M cards in case I had an S3. We install the card and he says to continue. According to him and his supervisor the cards should be already set up? How can it be paired if they dont have my Tivo id? It doesnt work and cant get any channels. He calls someone... who isnt at the office so we have to wait for this guy to drive in from home to "hit" the card. It takes quite a while and finally I am able to at least see some channels. I assume all is good and let him leave.
Unfortunately later that night I realize I am not receiving channels 2-94 digitally. I can see Discovery HD theater (part of an HD pack I pay for) so I assume the card is at least partially working properly. I call support and they hit my card... then I lose all the extra HD channels. Now I only have 2-94 analog and the HD versions of my locals. A tech visit is scheduled for Saturday from 1-5.
The next day I have and idea that adding a few premium channels to my account would make them go through the setup again and possibly fix my issue. I call the tech support line and by chance the manager is filling in. She is very nice and confirms that in fact I should recieve 2-94 digital and supposedly adds my bronze pack. She says I should call her back on Saturday if I have any trouble.
Important Side Note: She asks me if I would pay extra for the Tivo interface. Im confused so I get her to clarify. Long story short Astound had a meeting Saturday Feb 16 where the managers would decide if they would pay for the Tivo interface on the Motorola boxes! I tell her "Sure I'd try it out if I had not already payed 600+ for my tivo" . I then tell her that the Tivo Community Forum has a special section for the "Comcast" Motorola Tivo. She is excited to see what real users say about the box and promises to use that information (good or bad) to influence the decision!
I wait and yet again the tech arrives at 5 :rolleyes: I tell him that I lost the channels and that I have the direct number for Tivo Cable Card support if he needs. He tells me its not a Tivo problem and that it got messed up by someone when I call in.
A "vigorous" discussion ensues between myself, the installer, his supervisor, someone at the main office and someone from the Astound tech support line. It's basically me and the Astound tech support guy vs the other three. The story of the supervisor is basically that you need a cable box to get digital channels 2-94?! The tech says "all our new cable boxes use the same cable cards and they get digital signals so is should be working"
The supervisor also says "Since I am a new customer I cannot get any deals added to my account" !!! WHAT?! For one my service has never worked properly so I should still be a new customer and for two the bronze pack I am trying to add is supposedly available to everyone. grr
It ends with the tech support guy getting hung up on and I tell the installer its okay if he leaves since there is nothing on my end he can do. I feel bad for the installer because he is trying his best to do the right thing and most likely will get in trouble for not finishing the job :(
I wait for him to leave and call tech support again. I tell a short version of the story and ask him about 2-94 digital. He seems unsure but says it should work. He then finds the original tech that was part of the "vigorous" discussion i mentioned earlier. Both guys are very nice and try to help me out. They "hit" my card again which doesn't help. I reboot the Tivo and it doesn't help either.
They plan to take notes of the situation, pass it on to a "lead" and by Monday I should receive a call. They also say they will make sure the local people get further training on cable cards.
I plan to call the manager back again on Monday and tell her what happened. Ill keep everyone posted...
Astound touts itself as being better than Comcast. Specifically they even make the comparison that "unlike other customers all of our installers are full time employees" heh
02-18-2008, 01:59 AM
Small update -
Sunday Feb 17 I receive a call from an unkown number. I normally do not answer but the area code seemed local so I picked it up. The voice on the other end says
"This is Astound cable and the technician will be at your house in a few minutes"
My first reply was a shocked "excuse me?" to which she said essentially the same thing with a few more words.
Somehow I was automatically scheduled for another service call today. Normally I would have been surprised but let them come anyways but I was 40 miles from home at the time!
Sigh... from what I can tell I may just be the first Tivo HD cable card user in my city to ask for the digital version of the standard cable channels :(
02-18-2008, 05:50 AM
I have been through a similar situation with a cable card install. I think the best thing you can do at this point is to call TIVO support, and have them initiate a call with the Astound people. My cable company resolved the issue in one call with my TIVO cable cards, and the TIVO support person was key in helping the cable company understand what the real issues were.
Just my 2c.
02-20-2008, 10:21 PM
On Sunday night I called support and told them the story (again). I scheduled another tech to come to my house on Wed Feb 20 between 5-7 (iirc). At around 5:30 I was running a little late so I called my GF at home to ask if they arrived. They had not. I decided to check my voice mail and come to find out at 3:30 they had called to say "the technician is on his way and should arrive in a few minutes" WHAT? I call and wait on hold for around 30 minutes before finally reaching someone. He happens to be the day supervisor and says "it looks like you were scheduled for an appointment from 1-5 today" !? I may not remember the exact window that was originally quoted but I am damn sure it was NOT while I was at work.
I go thought the entire story and he reads my case notes. Come to find out the director of the call center whom I had worked with before was sitting near him. He said he would contact the local people and would call me back.
In the meantime I say "fark it" and connect my slingbox to the THD. I change the password and have the IP ready to give to the guy when he calls back. Ill let him drive the damn thing and see whats on the screen. Come to find out they actually use Slingboxes internally for support! He has the client installed and is connected to my Tivo in about 45 seconds. Around this time he also informs me that an installer is on his way to my house and a tech is on his way to the head end. Talk about service :)
I let the guy at the call center go and the installer and I wait for the tech to reach the head end. I say "I am not receiving the digital versions of the extended basic cable package" which sparks a discussion where he eventually says "We have not implemented digital simulcast yet" WTF. Realize 2 support people, the supervisor and even the director of support center for Astound all told me that it is already functioning. The installer calls someone more powerful which confirms that simulcast will most likely be implemented next month. I immediately call the day supervisor back and tell him this news and let them speak to installer.
I did add an extra "HD Tier" to my package because I already had a cable card. If I had known there was no digital simulcast I would have never added this tier or rented a card. I am now essentially paying 13$ extra per month for channels that were not necessary.
In the end I am surprisingly happy with Astound support since the question was eventually answered. The channel lineup and features are lacking but I can be patient if digital simulcast is only a month away.
03-15-2008, 12:58 AM
At the risk of sounding rude, how can you be happy with their support? I can understand being happy about finally getting an answer, but missing work, making 4 or 5 appts, countless hours of lost time just to find out the features not available yet, and no one including the managers knew this? I would NOT be happy with that support.
03-15-2008, 03:13 AM
I'm happy to finally know what's going on. If they give me Digital copies of channels 2-99 by the end of this month Ill be content.
I know you'll like this, they are outright lying on the website http://www.astound.net/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=14&Itemid=34
Notice how the word EVERY is in all caps.
03-15-2008, 01:08 PM
LOL nice. I do not miss the days of cable. ;)
04-04-2008, 01:41 AM
Last friday (3/28) my Tivo had a lineup change message. Apparently 10 or so new HD stations were added. "Sweet" I though until I tried to tune them and received an error. I checked the cable card diagnostic screen and it says "Not tuned: wrong card state"
I decided to ignore it and wait a day or two to see if it would work itself out. I then notice my digital music stations also no longer show up. The diagnostic screen looks normal but there is no picture or audio.
I worked with tech support over the phone and the person wasn't sure if he could send a hit to my device since it wasn't a cable box. Eventually it came down to them scheduling a tech to come to my house.
Today the tech came and looked at the TV while calling someone to ask them to send a hit. He then installed a new card and after calling someone to configure it then calling them again to hit it the result was no different. I have to give the guy some credit because he knew to bring either one M-card for "the Tivos with slots in the front" (THD) or two S-cards for "the Tivos with slots in the back" (S3).
He eventually left and was supposed to either return to my place or give me a call. Neither happened and I am still without the new HD stations or digital music :(
04-11-2008, 07:11 PM
Two days ago I called Astound and asked to file a complaint. The person on the phone didn't even know how since "We've never been asked that before." I gave the details of my complaints which included
-Channels 2-99 not digital (despite the website claiming they are)
-Loss of music stations
-Not receiving any new HD stations
-Tech who disappeared
The lady scheduled yet another technician to come to my house. I knew it had nothing to do with my Tivo but I agreed none the less. As usual the tech arrives right at the very end of the window. After TWO HOURS of ****ing around, replacing cables, removing splitters, replacing cable cards, sending hits and etc he finally calls some master tech at the head end.
WOW! I'm honestly surprised. It took the guy no more than 2 minutes to fix the issue. Now I have channels 140, 154-176, 179, 182, 183, 186, 189, 190, 191, 193, 194, 196, 197, 198 plus the mistake of including the following premium HD 331, 357, 373
I just wish they would hurry the freak up and give me digital basic channels.
I tried to get more information on what exactly was fixed but the guy hung up too fast. Whatever he did fixed my "Not Tuned: Wrong Card State" message.
12-23-2008, 06:09 PM
My adventure starts with astound:
Jeremiah arrived - this was his first tivo install. I had the instructions ready for him and reminded him that he had to install one card at a time (as recommended by this site). He left before the final step since doing the guided setup takes 30minutes. I did the final guided setup.
The tivo came up blank - aargh!
I called for help they set various hits and got basic channels up. The phone line was awful so it was really hard to follow instructions. The guy said I should restart and he will call back.
He never called back
Okay I will try again tomorrow.
12-26-2008, 09:41 PM
FishEggMoon : I recently lost a couple of my channels (FoodHD and another) and dreaded having to call support. In the end it required a Tech to come on site. It only took 10 minutes to fix but what took place during the tech visit makes me frustrated.
There was me, the two techs at my place and the "head end guy" on the phone. Unfortunately the head end guy was on lunch so I had to let the techs come back in 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the techs came back and called the head end guy. Head end guy would tell tech1 to try something then tech1 would tell me what the head end guy just said. It was literally the telephone game. Everyone was very nice and it was also extremely obvious to everyone that the truck roll was completely unneeded.
02-15-2009, 01:36 PM
I had CableCard installed last week for my new Tivo HD. The whole process was smooth and went without a hitch from ordering through installation.
Installation still requires a tech visit, but it took less than 10 minutes. I had done the Guided Setup prior to the visit, so my channel lineup was in place.
The order also went well. No hassles about CableCard. There will be a monthly charge of ~ $4 for the card. That with the monthly Tivo charge is about the same as the existing crap DVR that Astound provides. :up: :)
02-16-2009, 01:18 AM
Do me a favor, see if channels 2-99 are digital or not. I bet they aren't!
03-09-2009, 03:53 PM
Well, after DTV finally started killing HD channels on my HR10-250 I decided it was time to get a Tivo HD and switch to cable. I already had RCN/Astound for phone and Internet so by adding cable I actually saved $30/month over DTV.
Tech arrived this morning in the middle of his window. Was very nice and had an M-card with him. I had booted the TiVo and been through Guided setup but only for antenna (cable wasn't run from the box to where my TV/Tivo sits). Tech runs a piece of coax to the box and installs a splitter for my Internet link. Internet comes back up just fine.
He then called someone to read off some numbers from the back of the cablecard. We installed it, the cablecard screen came up, and the guy on the other end of the phone said it was good. I then clicked on Test Channels. The TiVo then displayed "Acquiring Channel Lineup". After 5 minutes the tech was getting a little antsy as I guess they get paid by the job. I didn't know how long this was supposed to take so I let him go. I went back to work (I had arranged to work from home today) and after awhile went back to check and it said that it was unable to read channels from the cablecard.
Just to make sure the cable was hooked up I ran through Guided Setup without the Cablecard installed and Basic cable did appear so the cabling should be ok.
I called Astound (only waited about 2 mins) and the guy was really cool. He messed around a bit and said he would have the tech come back out. I asked if it could be a TiVo problem and he said that it was likely a problem with the cablecard.
So now I'm sitting here waiting for the tech to return.
Can anyone tell me how long that "Test Channels" sequence should take when everything is working? It takes forever to time out so I'd like to be able to tell the tech "If it doesn't work in x minutes then something is wrong".
09-01-2009, 12:09 PM
I have been using Comcast but after getting sick of their crappy DVR I decided to go back to a TiVo and move to Astound. With Astound I could get all the same channels + TiVo for less then I was paying for Comcast.
I setup an appointment for 3 - 5. Tech doesn't show up till 5 and never called to let me know he was going to be late. He runs the new cables and internet/phone are fine. He tries to plug in a M-card but the TiVo isn't picking it up. He asks me to reboot the TiVo. While it reboots he calls the head office and gives them the info off the card. The reboot didn't help. I take a look at the card and re-seat it and it comes right up, the guy just didn't push hard enough I guess. So its 6 now and the guy is getting eager to leave but the TiVo is taking a while to perform the channel scan. I mistakenly let him leave thinking if a problem does come up I can call customer service and have them hit the card and fix it.
After the channel scan fails I called customer service and have them hit the card. Now I can get the unencrypted channels but everything else is a no go.
Checking out the CableCard menus the card isn't paired (VAL:?) and the Auth is MP. Called customer service 3 times hoping someone could figure out what was wrong with the config and reactivate the card but it was a no go. They are going to have to send out another tech to troubleshoot it. Hopefully this guy will know something about cablecards.
09-04-2009, 04:24 PM
Astound tech came out today. Was suppose to arrive between 10 and 12 but he showed up at 1. The dispatch office called me at 12 to let me know he was running late.
Cable guy took a look at the TiVo and messed around with the channels for a while. Finally he called the dispatch office to verify the channel line up. They said it was fine and had him call the head-end. Someone in the head office finally knew about cablecards and said that the card wasn't registered properly. The way the tech described it, it sounds like it wasn't in their inventory.
He gave me a new card and had to give the S/N to the head-end and dispatch. All channels came right up. I think the original tech would of figured this out if he had stuck around. Got to remember to never let the tech leave until everything is working.
09-04-2009, 09:48 PM
just to add, if the channels are there, simulcast or not. you should get them. Sounds like incorrect packaging on the headend side
10-01-2009, 12:45 PM
last time i checked in march, Astound only offered single-stream cards at $3.95/month. it's good to see that you have an M-card. how much is that per month?
01-17-2010, 09:33 PM
I am being charged $3.95 per cable card (2x for S3 TiVo) and I am being charged for two Digital Access ($2.15 and $4.95). Their support people told me: "Digital Access is the digital receiver."
I asked "However, I am paying for both Digital Access and for Cable Cards. If they are equivalent, then I am overpaying?". They said "No, there is an additional charge for a cable card. They cost more than a cable receiver, thus there is an additional fee for the cable card."
I asked if I am paying for digital receivers, can I get them?
Reply "You do have a digital receiver. It's an upgraded and much smaller
version that is contained on the cable card. The cable card is a more
expensive technology, so we charge an additional fee for that cable
It all sounds very suspicious to me.
08-19-2010, 07:22 PM
I have had a Series3 for about two years. We have been happy with the device up to last Tuesday when we lost all premium channels on both of the Cable Cards at the same time. There is a premium signal because our cable box provides excellent HD signals.
A repairman came out with five "new" cable cards and was unable to get any of them working after spending over an hour on the phone with whomever activates these things. He left very frustrated and replied that someone else would probably come back in a few days to try again.
He also suggested that Astound would be willing to give us their DVR instead of supporting TiVo. I find that idea unacceptable.
Anyway, has anyone experienced both cable cards failing at the same time? I suspect that something changed in Astound's authorization model, or that TiVo modified the cable card OS.
Is it possible that my Series 3 has failed somewhere and is causing the cable card problem?
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