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Old 09-25-2006, 04:14 PM   #451
Gregor
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Finally, I am up and running!

The tech (a comcast employee, not a rent-a-tech) was just outstanding. He spend a good 45 minutes to an hour checking the wiring both inside and out before he started working on the Tivo. He changed out all the old splitters and connectors as well. He said most of the problems he has encountered are due to bad wiring more than anything else.

I told him the first card was bad (161-1 error), and he replaced it and the MMI screen came up just like it's supposed to. He called it in and asked the tech on the other end for a favor as "this is a special case, 2 cablecards in one box", and it initialized. We didn't get the 161-4 error. Tuned to the HD channels and HBO, and repeated for the 2nd card.

Since I could tune to all the extra channels, he left at this point, repeated guided setup with no issues.

I am now officially a happy camper.
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:25 PM   #452
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*crossing fingers*

Hoping to go camping this weekend....
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:54 PM   #453
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeSoFar
I tried to get 1800COMCAST to "initialize" by phone today, but they had no clue. They did not see any of the #'s I gave them from my cable cards. They kept thinking all my "boxes" started with a letter, but none of the CC ID's do.

*sigh*

Anyway, got another tech coming out Saturday. Hoping the magic word, "initialize", works then.....

Until then, I have a mostly useless S3.
I feel your pain, man. I've been going through the same thing since last Wednesday.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:26 PM   #454
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Any Successful Northern Va Installs (Arl/Alexandria?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mchief
Sounds like you are in Arlington. I'm in Alexandria with Comcast and an SA cablecard in my HDTV which works fine. Try talking to someone else or a supervisor. There are no software issues with the SA card.
I live in Alexandria and they were giving me that same story. They have to provide you the cards so long as your equipment is certified by Cablelabs, otherwise they are in violation of the FCC "plug and play" rule. Articulate this fact to your Comcast rep, and tell them you will be going to your local city cable regulator with your complaint along with filing a complaint with the Consumer Affairs Bureau at the FCC, they will bring the cards out. I cannot imagine compliant cards not working across an entire equipment line barring an ignorant tech or bad cards. I have an install set for this Friday. Has anyone in the Alexandria/Arlington VA area had a successful install? Or is this SA Card issue true?
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:44 PM   #455
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I would try talking to your local Comcast office instead of the 1-800 folks, easier to deal with.
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Old 09-25-2006, 05:53 PM   #456
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Up and Running in Denco. Total time 45 mins.

The Tech, "Justin" showed up 30 mins early he called but I missed his call. He had just done 2 CC installs that morning in TVs. He had not seen the S3 before. I gave him the cable installer sheet. He took his time and read it twice.

He checked the levels on a splitter that comcast installed when they installed my cable modem. He told me some taps were also installed. Went to the outside of my house and removed the taps. Came back in. I offered the remote to him but he said your equipment, you drive. Popped one car in... got an error on the pairing screen something like c:\\\POD failed to init... 15 seconds later it cleared and showed the host, data ids, and unit address.

He called a special tech's only number. on hold less than 30 seconds. The person on the other end was apparently new according to Justin so there was some fumbling on the remote side. 10 mins go by and and he is ready to send the init. got the 161-4 error. About 90 seconds later the test channel screen came up. we flipped around to the encrypted SD channels and HD channels.

Installed second card. The tivo screen went dark then. I reset the TV, AV receiver and that didn't do anything. so I unplugged the power from the TIVO, it came back on. Went to the cable screen and there was the second card. He called in and he immediately spoke to someone. 2 mins later, we were flipping around the channels on the second card.

he took my directv bill and had me sign a form. I verified the 0.00 charge for the cable cards. We will see what my first cable bill shows but I am keeping an open mind. Justin said this was relatively painless for cable cards.

Updated: I'm glad that they rolled the install because the box on the side of my house with the taps had a padlock on it and Justin had the magic key to get the taps off. Otherwise the taps would have blocked some of the HD channels.
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:00 PM   #457
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What is a CableCard for?

Pardon the newbie - I have Comcast and (not that I'm going to drop $799 - I think that's rape) although I think I have an idea what this is from context, I'm really not sure. Is this a tuner that can be plugged into the TiVo series 3 and obviate the need for the Motorola box?
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:05 PM   #458
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YES more or less. Right now each tuner in the Tivo needs 1 cable card. When multi-stream cards come out if the TIVO software supports it then only 1 multi-stream cable card is needed. The CC's decrypt encrypted channels. While I was waiting for comcast to show up I was able to see the unencrypted local HD channels (or so I think because they sure looked like high def).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sfagan
Pardon the newbie - I have Comcast and (not that I'm going to drop $799 - I think that's rape) although I think I have an idea what this is from context, I'm really not sure. Is this a tuner that can be plugged into the TiVo series 3 and obviate the need for the Motorola box?

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Old 09-25-2006, 06:06 PM   #459
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sfagan
Is this a tuner that can be plugged into the TiVo series 3 and obviate the need for the Motorola box?
A Cable card is the thing which a cable co can/must supply so that cable card enabled equipment can operate on the cable network without the need for an external cable box. Its not a tuner, the S3 has the tuner it provides channel mappings to the S3 (so you know channel 119-7 is really CNN on channel 56) and it decrypts digital channels which are encrypted.

Yes, its plugged into the S3. If you have a Motorolla box, a cable card in an S3 would obviate the need for the Motorolla box to recevie digital cable channels. (Except for PPV, VOD and SDV.)
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Old 09-25-2006, 06:15 PM   #460
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2nd visit to fix the card that was in the TV (bad card) took nearly 2 hours for them to get the new one up & running, but now I have 3 tuners!

GREAT supervisor who came to my house, even played with the cat for a while. He stayed here to make sure that *everything* was working, that all 3 tuners were decoding properly, and that there were no issues.

Festivus, for the rest of us.

Now to re-set my season passes. Blech!

Hey, TiVo - THERE'S an option I'd like to see! Enable us to upload season passes somewhere and manage them online, change passes around to different boxes, add stuff, whatever - that'd be awesome.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:36 PM   #461
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Big Grin It's Working!!

Holy crap! After 6 days, 3 calls, 2 online chats, and 2 techs visiting my house, just as I was about to give up hope, I come home tonight to find both of my cards authorized and fully functional!! I am so shocked that they are working that I'm speechless. Apparently word of my problems got to someone who knows something and they took care of it. Amazing.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:56 PM   #462
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Thumbs up Another Seattle Success Story

I picked up two CCs at the local Comcast office (94th st. in Seattle) and got a cooperative rep on the phone for activation. After a couple hiccups, both cards are apparently working in my (weaknee'd) S3. Yay for self-install!

The rep did say that they didn't know what "pairing" meant yet, but that they would be getting a memo on it this week. So we just activated my cards without doing any pairing. Perhaps I won't have to pair at all?

As others have noted, the key to the install is to use the "Test Channels" screen after the card has been signalled. This screen is one level up from all the "CableCARD status" screens. My second card only worked after signalling it three or four times.

I found it very useful to be overly friendly with the rep. She had to put me on hold to ask someone a question and I cheerfully said "Sure! Take your time! I'm just glad I have someone who knows what questions to ask!". Later, when my second card didn't take, she was very patient and essentially let me control the debugging process (me: "let's ping it again" her: "ok"). I had convinced her we were working together and that made the whole thing less painful during the hiccups.

It also seemed to help when I mentioned that I had read these forums and thus knew about some of the weirdnesses on the install (e.g. the ignorable 161-4 errors).
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:32 PM   #463
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobeth66
Hey, TiVo - THERE'S an option I'd like to see! Enable us to upload season passes somewhere and manage them online, change passes around to different boxes, add stuff, whatever - that'd be awesome.
I'll second that request!! I've had a Comcast DVR ever since the 6208 was introduced way back when, and I think I have gone through my season pass setup at least 10 times since then (mostly due to bugs in their horrible firmware). It gets to be soooo tedious.

I am scheduled to receive my first ever Tivo this week, and Comcast is scheduled to come install my cable cards next Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to it!! I'm going to keep my Moto3412 for a while, but I will probably turn it back in once I get used to the Tivo. I don't use PPV or OnDemand very much at all, so I can definitely live without them.
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:34 PM   #464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jobeth66
2nd visit to fix the card that was in the TV (bad card) took nearly 2 hours for them to get the new one up & running, but now I have 3 tuners!

GREAT supervisor who came to my house, even played with the cat for a while. He stayed here to make sure that *everything* was working, that all 3 tuners were decoding properly, and that there were no issues.

Festivus, for the rest of us.

Now to re-set my season passes. Blech!

Hey, TiVo - THERE'S an option I'd like to see! Enable us to upload season passes somewhere and manage them online, change passes around to different boxes, add stuff, whatever - that'd be awesome.
Actually if you sign up for KidZone, IIRC, there's some sort of weird SP saving karma....
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:34 PM   #465
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any suggestions

Hi all!
Well, I have tried to comb thru all 16 pages of posts, and I couldn't find an answer. You may not be able to help. I had Comcast install both cards, but they insisted on installing both before calling to set up #1. I get regular channels and most OTA HD channels(except on 2 of them: I only get audio and my tv shows no video signal at all(not just the tivo gray screen like it usually does).) I also get TNTHD. NO premium or HD channels. We uninstalled the cards and reinstalled them. I still am having no luck. The local company knows very little about the Cablecards. Any suggestions for things I should tell them?

Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:39 PM   #466
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HamDoc
Hi all!
Well, I have tried to comb thru all 16 pages of posts, and I couldn't find an answer. You may not be able to help. I had Comcast install both cards, but they insisted on installing both before calling to set up #1. I get regular channels and most OTA HD channels(except on 2 of them: I only get audio and my tv shows no video signal at all(not just the tivo gray screen like it usually does).) I also get TNTHD. NO premium or HD channels. We uninstalled the cards and reinstalled them. I still am having no luck. The local company knows very little about the Cablecards. Any suggestions for things I should tell them?

Thanks!
Yes, follow the instructions on the installer sheet. Have them install the #1 card (bottom slot) and get that working first, then work on #2.

Check all connections to make sure an adequate signal strength is getting to the Tivo.

You can also get a Tivo tech on the phone to talk to the cable tech if needed.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:13 PM   #467
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Got my Tivo in the mail today (finally, ordered on 9/12). Called Comcast and asked about getting cablecards. The guy said sure, and started about a $15.95 charge for the truck. I stopped him and asked if I could pick them up myself. He said sure. I drove over to the Comcast place in Redmond and asked for 2 cablecards. The lady there took a few seconds to record the serial numbers in my account, had me sign for them, and I was on my way. No charges for anything. Couldn't have been any smoother. This should work for anyone in the Seattle area.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:31 PM   #468
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanTivo
I'm being charged $2.75 per month for the second card and $30 for the install.

I pay for cable in 2 houses and I pushed back on being charged for the 2nd card.
Via online chat I asked for a supervisor to explain why it made sense to charge for the 2nd card when it was only one outlet and especially since if they insisted I would consider going with satellite and DSL for my second home.

I got an email back from a supervisor reitterating their pricing and ignoring everything else. I don't need a dvr in the second house so I will be checking out Sat + DSL. Comcast should end up with an extra $32 per year on the cable card but less $1,200 for my second house.

Anyways, the install was last Friday and took about 2 hours.

First installer showed up with a big roll of wire so I knew he had no idea what type of install this was. He was a sub-contractor, not a Comcast employee.

I told him this was a Tivo install and he looked at me like I had 3 heads. I handed him the install instructions and he glanced at it for about 30 seconds, tossed it down and then asked me where the second TV was?

For the first of about a half dozen times I tried to explain to him that both cards were going into the Tivo. I had the box pulled out and he took 1 card and inserted it into a slot. The TV pulled up the info screen for slot 2. I took the directions and pointed out to him that the directions said to do slot 1 first and he ignored me. (Turns out it doesn't matter which slot goes first but I wanted him to follow the directions).

He ignores me and gets on the phone to his supervisor and says he has a Tivo install. The supv mumbles something and says he'll be over in a few minutes.

The installer puts the phone down and then again asks me where the 2nd TV is?

Exasperated, I hand him the directions and ask him why he can't just follow the directions. I'm getting nowhere so I leave the room.

The supervisor (a comcast employee) shows up and things get better. He has a vague understanding of Tivo but the 2 card thing confuses him. At least he reads the instructions I hand him and puts the second card in and tells the installer to call "dispatch". They spend 15 minutes on hold. I comment that I thought this only happened to customers and they both laughed. Once they spoke to someone on the other end they tried to read the card numbers (Motorola cards, BTW) when the guy on the other end said the cards were not "on my account". The supervisor bitched at the installer and asked why he hadn't called "dispatch" to update my account first so they had to hang up and call dispatch.

10 minutes on hold before dispatch answers, updates my account and then it's back to being on hold for tech suppt. Luckily, the supervisor had started a call to tech suppt while we were on hold for dispatch.

Another 10 minutes and we get a tech guy who knows what he's doing. Says he's already done a bunch of Tivo's that day. 5 minutes later, everythings working and the installers are out the door.
I swear, it's stories like these that make me think WE should be charging Comcast for the installations ...
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:38 PM   #469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mweppner
Does that seem right to anyone? Am I missing something? I admittedly have not read all 15+ pages of this thread, but I have read a good deal of it, as well as plenty of others in the S3 forum. Is this "Comcast cards won't work at all" new?
Clueless CSR. Call back and talk to someone else. If that doesn't work, ask to be transfered to your local dispatch or field office.

And if you get someone that spouts the "there's a memo" BS, have them send you a copy of the memo, since that will be helpful with you file a complaint with the FCC or local franchising authority.
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Old 09-25-2006, 10:45 PM   #470
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeSoFar
I tried to get 1800COMCAST to "initialize" by phone today, but they had no clue. They did not see any of the #'s I gave them from my cable cards. They kept thinking all my "boxes" started with a letter, but none of the CC ID's do.

*sigh*
Try calling back and ask for a cable card specialist - on the Motorola cards, the serial numbers start with letters (e.g. NG) - they need these to enter into their system. Then each card needs the host and data id (shown by the Tivo) to complete the pairing / authorization info. They don't "see" the host/data info - they have to enter it into the system.

If they don't have the cablecards attached to your account (e.g. the serial numbers), you can read them host / data info and they can send hits to the card until they are blue in the face and the cards won't work.
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Old 09-25-2006, 11:00 PM   #471
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfh3
Try calling back and ask for a cable card specialist - on the Motorola cards, the serial numbers start with letters (e.g. NG) - they need these to enter into their system. Then each card needs the host and data id (shown by the Tivo) to complete the pairing / authorization info. They don't "see" the host/data info - they have to enter it into the system.

If they don't have the cablecards attached to your account (e.g. the serial numbers), you can read them host / data info and they can send hits to the card until they are blue in the face and the cards won't work.
I suggested that. They insisted on rolling a truck.

Didn't think to yank out the cards--figured anything visible there would be ont he screen as well....
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Old 09-25-2006, 11:25 PM   #472
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThreeSoFar
I suggested that. They insisted on rolling a truck.

Didn't think to yank out the cards--figured anything visible there would be ont he screen as well....
LOL! They insist on rolling a truck because the guy in the back office can't read his computer screen ...

The serial number is on the card itself. If the installer didn't write this down and/or give it to the person on the other end of the phone, you will have to pull the cards to get it.

The host / data info is visible from the CableCARD diag screens.
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Old 09-25-2006, 11:29 PM   #473
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I'm in Montgomery County Maryland...and even though I had a looooong session with Comcast installing the CC's in the S3, I had none of the "sorry we don't work with these Tivo things" issues.

They came immediately after I called and requested install on two cablecards. Never asked "for what."

Tech said he'd never seen one of the S3's before...not surprising since I bought it on Day One and he was here on Day Two.

Normal amount of 'what was that number?' chatter between the tech and the Comcast HQ...took a few hours for both CC's to be 'seen' by the main office. But the tech was great...even ran a new line from the pole to maximize signal strength.

Finally I had to do a system reset on the S3, and immediately, it all worked perfectly.

But...no hassles, no nonsense about unsupported hardware, just a friendly, "let's make it work" attitude.

I am amazed and furious about the other people around the country who have experienced roadblocks in the installation of CableCards in DVR's.

I'm wondering, since here in DC about half the people work for the Federal Government...whether Comcast doesn't DARE throw up roadblocks to something that's legal...

Of course, Comcast here is also VERY motivated to provide quality customer support, since Verizon FIOS and the county have come to terms...basically, if Montgomery County lets in FIOS TV, Verizon will drop its federal lawsuit against the county, charging they're blocking access to the service.

If they're successful, my next project will be re-fitting the S3 for FIOS.

Remember, we are not thieves. We are early adopters. The CableCard law was passed, and we are on the cutting edge of people who are putting that law to use.

Anyone who blocks us? THEY are the criminals...not us.

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Old 09-26-2006, 12:37 AM   #474
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Longtime lurker, new S3 owner... here's the tally so far.

My initial call to 1-800-COMCAST went fairly well, considering that I was placed on hold a few times for over ten minutes while the CSR tracked down the info she needed for setting up a Series 3. Apparently she had recently received an e-mail about how to handle those calls and I was the first one to test her. The appointment was successfully booked for setup with 2 cards without me having to emphasize that.

In the meantime, I had the box all set up with the analog feed and had done the channel scan to find all the QAM channels. Manual recordings on the high-def network channels enabled me to not miss any of the premiering shows in Hi-Def while waiting for a Cablecard. The only real bug I identified during that period was that switching from the menu system to an analog recording or a live TV channel tuned to an analog feed resulted in muted audio until I toggled the inputs on my pre-amplifier (Outlaw 990) and had it reacquire the input. This is an annoyance that I expect I may have to live with on a limited basis since I'm moving all the analog recordings to the Series 1 TiVo.

So today my appointment was schedule for 3 to 5 PM. At around quarter to 5 I get "the call" that there weren't any cards available up here in Boulder and the tech would need to drive back to Denver to get them and would be late - was that OK? Fine by me... I later heard the tech saying to the person on the other end of the phone that he had misread the work order and left without the cards earlier that day. Around 6 or so the tech calls and starts asking for directions to my place. I came to understand that he doesn't usually service Boulder and his map stinks. No problem. These are small things that don't really bother me.

I handed him the instructions from TiVo, and he wasn't hesitant to inform me that he had received zero training in Cablecard installation and this was his first attempt to install one. I had this thread open on my laptop and I was scanning the posts for useful directions just in case things took a bad turn.

We put the first card in. TiVo recognized it as expected and the Host ID and Data ID were collected and reported back to the main office. We went to the Test Channels screen and watched the wheel spin for 10 minutes before it quit and said it couldn't tune any channels. The main office person volunteered their help and it was obvious to me that they were reading from the same instruction sheet from TiVo that I had given the tech. We ejected the Cablecard, rebooted the TiVo, reinserted the card, and tried again. We still got the Blue Screen of Impatient Yearning until it faulted. At this point I asked for him to try the other card.

Everything went the same until the Test Channels stage. We got the 161-4 error which I was very pleased to see. A few minutes later we were cycling through all of the channels and seeing a successful setup for that card. I'm scheduled for another visit on Wednesday to get the second card installed. I don't know what the issue was with the first card and I've only seen one other post with similar unresolved installation problems. Until Wednesday I'm in single tuner mode.

The invoice says both cards are free. He didn't quote me a fee for the install, nor is there anything on the invoice. Time (and my next bill) will tell as to whether this remains true, but with as much as I'm paying them each month I think I've earned a little VIP treatment.

I restarted guided set-up and had it hang twice. There's a point where it's identifying which cable lineup I have and it tunes to a channel and asks me to confirm what is airing there. It tuned to MTV, and then it gave me the neverending "Please Wait" clock after I acknowledged this. For the next 40 minutes I was stuck watching some unbearable tripe called "Next" with an unresponsive box (all remote presses got "bonged"). I finally yanked the plug and tried again. The second time I hit the acknowledge button before it could perform the channel change to MTV. It then sat there for 90 minutes or so on a black screen with the "Please Wait" signal. Once I felt that it wasn't actually doing some background indexing chore I yanked the plug and started over again. This time I made sure to test the channels on the cablecard during the setup and I also told it to quiz me with a channel other than MTV. After confirming the USA network it popped back into the menu system and completed the guided setup in a few minutes. I don't know what went wrong the first two times, but please don't ever make me watch "Next" ever again.

Lessons so far:

1. If at all possible, request that they bring more than 2 cards in case there are problems with any of them. Otherwise somebody is making a second trip.

2. Have patience. It takes a few minutes for the screens to pop up in each step of the instruction sheet. What seems like quiet failure is really just a slow interface.

3. Arm yourself with knowledge from this thread before they show up. You may have to supply more tech support for the install than you would like.

Final note: The young lady on the authorization end of the phone said "I hate these TiVos" when the whole authorization process started. I don't know if she knew that the tech had her on speakerphone, but I may not have been the first person asking her to do her job this week. I don't have any grief to give to the tech for being inexperienced. He was happy to interact with me during the setup and apologetic about the delay and the first card not working. I'll repost on my experience with whoever shows up on Wednesday.

PS. This Series 3 is pretty f'ing awesome. Thanks TiVo.

Brad
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:40 AM   #475
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CableCards can't be purchased separately from the cable company and then called in or brought to them for activation?

It's a big loophole in the law if the cable company is the only source of cards. They can then charge what they want like the $10/month per card examples mentioned in this thread, which would make the cards de facto unavailable to most people.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:26 AM   #476
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Now I am a guy who actually does want PPV in addition to the TiVo S3 ... anybody else here done that? How did that work out? Did you just run a splitter to the separate cable box?

I don't need the PPV in HD, since it would be mainly for fights or other special events where I'm more concerned about the content than the picture quality. But I'd still want it in HD if it came at no additional cost.

Last edited by ac3dd : 09-26-2006 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:27 AM   #477
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It's a big loophole in the law if ...
A loophole so large that it was clearly left in deliberately. While we'd all like to think that these regulations were put in place solely to address our own personal concerns, in reality, they often have little to do with specific personal concerns, and typically represent a compromise between conflicting considerations.
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Old 09-26-2006, 09:17 AM   #478
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Originally Posted by ac3dd
It's a big loophole in the law if the cable company is the only source of cards.
IIRC, a nominal rental fee is part of the CableCARD law. That's why you see folks reporting that they are being charged anywhere from $0-$few for them.
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Old 09-26-2006, 09:34 AM   #479
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Originally Posted by ac3dd
CableCards can't be purchased separately from the cable company and then called in or brought to them for activation?
The CableCARD must come from your cable company. You can't purchase it elsewhere. The reason is the CableCARD is programmed with the cable company's encryption algorithm. In fact, if the cable company uses different encryption algorithms or keys in each market, then you can't just move from market to market without getting new CableCARDs.
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Old 09-26-2006, 10:26 AM   #480
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Originally Posted by ac3dd
Now I am a guy who actually does want PPV in addition to the TiVo S3 ... anybody else here done that? How did that work out? Did you just run a splitter to the separate cable box?

I don't need the PPV in HD, since it would be mainly for fights or other special events where I'm more concerned about the content than the picture quality. But I'd still want it in HD if it came at no additional cost.
I just used a splitter to split the signal to 3 outputs - 1 to the TiVo, one to a set top box, and one to the TV. I then have the set top box into Component 1 on the TV, TiVo into Component 2 and HDMI on the TV, and RF directly into the TV. No problem. I also run the audio out in a similar fashion. I use the TV speakers for TV audio, the Cable-SAT input on my stereo for the set top box audio, and the TV input on my stereo for the TiVo audio.
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