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Old 10-12-2006, 04:54 PM   #871
Maeglin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia Guy
Appreciate the response. No, I haven't tried a 2nd local csr, YET. I will soon. Do you happen to have a link to that local FAQ? I've had no luck trying to find anything at all about local cc issues online. Would love to have *anything* to point to when talking with the csr's. Thanks.
This is from Comcast's site (I forget if it tailors this based on zip code, though):
http://www.comcast.com/customers/faq...s.ashx?Id=2651

The FAQ I was emailed is more detailed, and had actual dollar amounts. If you want that, PM me your email address and I'll forward it.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:50 PM   #872
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I have limited basic for $15/month. Just called Comcast for cable card installation tomorrow morning -- sooner than I expected. $1.50/month for two cards. No additional digital service required.
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Old 10-13-2006, 01:04 AM   #873
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Just ordered my CCs for Atlanta from 800 #

I'm in Atlanta.

Just switched to Comcast from D*tv. D*tv can't get me local HD channels and my OTA is intermittent--and they want $399 for a DirectTV HD DVR + a monthly fee. Plus I hate losing shows 2x a month when it rains. So time to ditch the dish.

I called the comcast 800# and said I need 2 cable cards. She immediately said sure and said, without prompting, 'let me see if you can pick those up'...she came back and said that I could not pick them up--that at one time they allowed people to pick them up but now they require an installation.

I asked about the charge--she said no charge at all. Install 6 days from now.

I confirmed that I'll be able to get my HD, HBO, etc..she said yep.

$15.40 for the install. (Hell its worth it to not stand in line at the comcast office)

So now to buy a s3 tivo.

I've been hanging on to my heavily used and creaky 300 hour Series 1 tivo now for 5 years...lamenting the loss of my lifetime service if I upgrade. $200 isn't too bad to get another "lifetime" I suppose.

Of course on Jan 1 we'll see those S3 tivo prices drop by $200 or $300...

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Old 10-13-2006, 01:10 PM   #874
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Originally Posted by StealthAngel
Well after so many horror stories I was ready for a fight to get everything up and working. But that wasn't the case at all. Here's my story

Service: Extended Basic Cable (No premium content) - Murfreesboro, TN

Called 1-800-comcast last night about 4 times, until I finally figure out what the "party line" for my service was. The key was to ask for "Two CableCards with ONLY HD Access, NO Digital". Twice I had $5 per card ($10 total per month) quoted to me, with a tvio code they could run at my local office that would drop the total to $5. They also told me I could pick them up at the local offices, no need for service call.

So this morning I went down to my local office and dropped off my HD Cable Box and Asked for 2 Cables cards. The lady took my box and returned with 2 Cable cards. Scanned them and handed them to me. I asked how much, she replyed free. (kinda stumped but not wanting to temp faith, I said thanks and left).

Went home inserted the two cards into the tivo one at a time. Called the local office number, was transferred to tech support who sent 2 hit signals to both of my cards. Tivo came up with 161-4 error 4 times, twice for each card, and then everything works. Comcast even called me back to let me know the signals had been sent and asked if everything was working!

Summery: (for those with ADD)
Service: Extended Basic Cable (No premium content) - Murfreesboro, TN
Charge for two cables cards: $0 FREE (was able to pick up at local office)
I now receive all EB cable and EB-HD channels as per the cable book.


Hope everything goes as smooth for everyone else.

Wow, so this is good news for me (I have Extended Basic and don't want to go to digital cable). I live in South Nashville, perhaps i can get the same deal? Thanks for the post StealthAngel!
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Old 10-13-2006, 06:22 PM   #875
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Series 3 arrived yesterday (Thursday) - I called comcast today (Friday), and they'll be out in two days (Sunday). Well - can't beat that for an installation date...

I did do the CSR bounce several times. The first few people I talked to pretty much said "Huh?" when I mentioned I needed two cablecards, and bounced me to someone else. After a few bounces, I was asked if I had two new TV's, and that's why I wanted two cablecards. This made me feel better - as finally I had reached someone who had a concept of what a cablecard was for.

My response was, "I have a new PVR, which has two cablecard slots, and requires two cablecards, so it can watch two channels at once". I think this is a fairly good response, and highly recommend it. Their own FAQ says that cablecards go in PVR's. And by not actually mentioning Tivo, I avoided any "We don't support tivo" landmines. And it immediately gets the 'why two cards' issue out of the way.

And after that, she scheduled the appointment, no questions asked. We shall see what happens this Sunday....

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Old 10-13-2006, 08:10 PM   #876
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I have limited basic for $15/month. Just called Comcast for cable card installation tomorrow morning -- sooner than I expected. $1.50/month for two cards. No additional digital service required.
The technician came, put two cards in at the same time, called in to activate both at the same time, and left in about 10-15 minutes. He told me that I was his 5th TiVo installation today. No problem so far.

Different topic: Since CableCards are one-way devices, if I want to upgrade service and downgrade later, does that mean Comcast has to give me new cards? Unless they send out authentication signals to all one-way devices periodically, they have no way of knowing if the downgrade signal actually reached my cards.
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:16 PM   #877
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c3
The technician came, put two cards in at the same time, called in to activate both at the same time, and left in about 10-15 minutes. He told me that I was his 5th TiVo installation today. No problem so far.

Different topic: Since CableCards are one-way devices, if I want to upgrade service and downgrade later, does that mean Comcast has to give me new cards? Unless they send out authentication signals to all one-way devices periodically, they have no way of knowing if the downgrade signal actually reached my cards.
No. If you change your subscriptions, the cable company will just change your permissions in the system and 'hit' your cablecard turning stuff on or off.

The cableco sends 'EMM's to the cards to tell them what they are allowed to decode. EMM = Entitlement Management Message.
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:29 PM   #878
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbenfield
I'm in Atlanta.

I asked about the charge--she said no charge at all. Install 6 days from now.

I confirmed that I'll be able to get my HD, HBO, etc..she said yep.

$15.40 for the install. (Hell its worth it to not stand in line at the comcast office)
Check your first few bills closely. I got a CableCARD in June. Was supposed to be free. I'm in ATL too. Guess what, they started charging me for it in September, and they pre-dated it. Went through several iterations of free/not free. Ended up returning it on Wednesday. It's not free. They will charge you for the 2nd card, and for each additional digital outlet. BTW, I was told no charge at all. Didn't turn out to be the case.
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:38 PM   #879
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Originally Posted by SCSIRAID
No. If you change your subscriptions, the cable company will just change your permissions in the system and 'hit' your cablecard turning stuff on or off.

The cableco sends 'EMM's to the cards to tell them what they are allowed to decode. EMM = Entitlement Management Message.
Sending an "upgrade" message is easy because if I don't get the new channel, I would complain. What if my card does not get the "downgrade" message? I would continue to get channels which I'm not supposed to get, unless the permissions would expire themselves after a period of time.
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Old 10-13-2006, 08:59 PM   #880
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Sending an "upgrade" message is easy because if I don't get the new channel, I would complain. What if my card does not get the "downgrade" message? I would continue to get channels which I'm not supposed to get, unless the permissions would expire themselves after a period of time.
EMM's get sent periodically....
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Old 10-13-2006, 09:31 PM   #881
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Originally Posted by SCSIRAID
EMM's get sent periodically....
Thanks. That makes more sense.
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Old 10-14-2006, 07:30 AM   #882
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Can an EMM "fix" anything?

I'm specifically thinking of the missing channels problem. Could the problem have been caused by reception of only a partial EMM when the CableCard was installed, perhaps because the installer pushed the process through too quickly, not willing to wait the five minutes after insertion of each CableCard? ... and then "periodically" another EMM comes down the line and fills in the missing data?
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Old 10-14-2006, 08:29 AM   #883
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The problem seems to have resolved itself after about 3 days. All is good in the world of high def.

Actually, my SD channels seem a lot better now that they are running through the S3. They seem somewhat sharper, with better snap and depth to the deeper tones.

Is this possible?
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Old 10-14-2006, 08:55 AM   #884
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For those with multiple S3's (four or more cable cards)using Comcast. What is the monthly fee Comcast is charging for cable cards?
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:11 AM   #885
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Thumbs up Everything goes smooth in Atlanta

I just wanted to let everyone know that it's not all bad. Tuesday was my Comcast appointment.

I got a Comcast employee, not a contractor. He said that he had done one other S3, so he wasn't freaked out. As a matter of fact, he said it was a waste of his time to be doing this. I agreed and told him they wouldn't let me pick them up.

One interesting note, and the only reason the whole process wasn't 15 minutes, was he said I should have done a channel scan before he got there. I'm not sure that is true, but he did it anyway. He said that he wouldn't be able to test channels if it hadn't been done.

Anyway, after that, he plugged them in, call and activated them. It took a few minutes for all the "magic" to happen on the Cablecards and all of the channels were there.

All in all, it was easy and painless.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:29 AM   #886
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker
Can an EMM "fix" anything?

I'm specifically thinking of the missing channels problem. Could the problem have been caused by reception of only a partial EMM when the CableCard was installed, perhaps because the installer pushed the process through too quickly, not willing to wait the five minutes after insertion of each CableCard? ... and then "periodically" another EMM comes down the line and fills in the missing data?
An EMM is what tells the cablecard what channels its 'entitled' to decode. If channels come and go, it could be because the cableco is sending screwed up EMM's due to some problem in their 'systems'. Since EMM's get sent periodically, any missing content due to missed EMM's could clear up after the next EMM. The cableco sending a 'HIT' causes the head end to send an EMM immedietly instead of the next scheduled time.

Note that EMM's only pertain to encrypted content. Anything unencoded or analog wont care about EMMs. Channel mapping could also effect missing channels. Im currently not sure about whether that is carried in messages or part of the initialization of the card at the cableco or with fw updates.
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Old 10-14-2006, 09:52 AM   #887
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I would assume that if some channels are missing, the cable company would send a 'HIT' to the CableCards, and from what you're saying that will sent an EMM immediately, with the cards in a state where they most surely would receive and process the entire message. However, the techs I had would always note that I had some channels in each tier, so perhaps they didn't have a 'HIT' sent, since from what they could see there wasn't a problem with authorization for any specific tier of service. I assume the EMM contains data for each specific frequency, rather than tier information, so that would be pretty sloppy logic on the parts of the techs, if that was indeed what they were thinking.

Many of my missing channels were in the analog range (22 of the 32 missing channels), but it's all digital service here, so I wonder if all digital, including basic cable, is encrypted content here.

Channel mapping is an interesting issue. I didn't get new CableCards, so I assume that if that was the problem, I'd still have the problem, which I don't.

Is there a way to have been able to tell the difference between an unauthorized channel and a bad mapping? I saw just a black screen -- no "no signal found" warning and no "not authorized" warning. Does that indicate one of either of the two failure conditions?
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Old 10-14-2006, 10:03 AM   #888
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Originally Posted by bicker
I would assume that if some channels are missing, the cable company would send a 'HIT' to the CableCards, and from what you're saying that will sent an EMM immediately, with the cards in a state where they most surely would receive and process the entire message. However, the techs I had would always note that I had some channels in each tier, so perhaps they didn't have a 'HIT' sent, since from what they could see there wasn't a problem with authorization for any specific tier of service. I assume the EMM contains data for each specific frequency, rather than tier information, so that would be pretty sloppy logic on the parts of the techs, if that was indeed what they were thinking.

Many of my missing channels were in the analog range (22 of the 32 missing channels), but it's all digital service here, so I wonder if all digital, including basic cable, is encrypted content here.

Channel mapping is an interesting issue. I didn't get new CableCards, so I assume that if that was the problem, I'd still have the problem, which I don't.

Is there a way to have been able to tell the difference between an unauthorized channel and a bad mapping? I saw just a black screen -- no "no signal found" warning and no "not authorized" warning. Does that indicate one of either of the two failure conditions?
If I attempt to tune a channel that I am not 'entitled' to... say HBOHD (which I dont subscribe to)... I get a black screen. The signal meter shows excellent signal strength though (94). I would imagine that a bad mapping would possibly result in zero signal strength while a good mapping with no authorization would be black screen and good signal strength.

The digital SD channels including the basic 2-98 are all encrypted here which means if the cablecard isnt working.. they wont work.
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Old 10-14-2006, 11:07 AM   #889
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Okay, so if I understand correctly, that indicates my problems were specific frequency authorization issues. Whether the problems were that Comcast simply didn't resend the EMM that was needed (until days later) or that the S3 was mishandling the EMMs when spawned by Comcast HITting the CableCards is a mystery.
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Old 10-14-2006, 11:40 AM   #890
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Okay, so if I understand correctly, that indicates my problems were specific frequency authorization issues. Whether the problems were that Comcast simply didn't resend the EMM that was needed (until days later) or that the S3 was mishandling the EMMs when spawned by Comcast HITting the CableCards is a mystery.
I dont believe the S3 is involved at all with the EMM's.... totally managed within the cablecard as cablelabs doesnt want any external party to be able to spoof authorization. The S3 tunes the channel as indicated in the mappings and then 'displays' the output of the cablecard if the mapping says its encrypted. If the cablecard doesnt recognize it as entitled... then it outputs a black screen. Thats my assumption.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:46 AM   #891
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My Comcast Experience

Here's my experience about a Comcast installation in the Atlanta metro area.

Called Comcast customer support and requested two cablecards. I was told there would be a $14.95 fee to roll a truck, but no monthly fee for the cards, so that was good news.

Installer #1 arrives at the very end of the installation window, doesn't have but 1 cablecard (even though his work order clearly shows 2). So he has to drive back to the warehouse and get another. He returns an hour later, so we're now one hour beyond the promised time, and he hasn't even started working on the Tivo yet.

He gets the first card to work, but on the second card the MMI screen never appears (that's the screen with the data on it that Comcast needs to activate the cards). He assumes the card must be bad and tells me I'll have to set up a second appointment. Then he leaves and, despite my protests, takes BOTH cablecards with him, even the one that was working!

I call and set up appointment #2 for the next day. After waiting six hours and making numerous calls to Comcast to find out where he is, he is a no-show. We schedule another appointment for the next day. I get two $20 "inconvenience" credits from Comcast for the two botched appointments.

Installer #2 arrives. Can't get the MMI screen to come up for EITHER card. Manages to erase the cablecard on my plasma TV in the process. I try to get Tivo customer support on the line, but hold time is 35 minutes, and the cable guy won't wait. He leaves, and I have to set up a FOURTH appointment. I get another $20 "inconvenience" credit from Comcast.

Meanwhile, I finally get through to Tivo customer support, who suggests I call them the next time a cable installer comes. Uh, yeah, I just did that, but I had to hold for THIRTY-FIVE stinkin' minutes, and he left! Any other suggestions? They had me reset the Tivo in preparation for the next day's service call.

Installer #3 arrives yesterday. He says, "Oh, yeah, I did one of these yesterday." I'm encouraged. He plugs in the first cablecard, the MMI screen pops up, and he calls in the info. Minutes later the card is working. He plugs in the second card, and the second MMI screen pops up. Another call, and the second card is working. He is in and out in under 30 minutes. I now have a fully functional Series 3!

So, was it resetting the Tivo that did it? Did the third installer finally arrive with good cards? Did the third installer just know what he was doing? Who knows. All I can say is that if I wasn't a big Tivo fan, that box would have been back at Circuit City days ago. Regardless of whether it's Tivo's fault or Comcast's, it's just too much of a hassle for the average person to miss three or four days of work to try to get a PVR activated.
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Old 10-15-2006, 03:45 PM   #892
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WooT! My previous comcast experience has been expunged! You can indeed have a working TiVo S3 in Montgomery County, MD.

Comcast sent a capable fellow over yesterday - he was an employee and not a contractor - and said he'd done a TiVo S3 already. He indicated that the cable cards are failing more often than not - indeed he brought three cards, all new, all fresh firmware - and only one of them ascertained the required information - the rest coughed up rows of zeroes.

It was enough to get going though, and he promised to return Monday evening (!) with a 'big stack.' While we waited for things to happen, he said only about 3 in 10 cards are working - 4 of five failed outright for me. So much for Six Sigma making Motorola the premier electronics manufacturer, eh?

I've learned a couple of things:

1. Call TiVo for help, they seem to be really sharp - and can call corporate numbers in Philly and not local service when theres a problem - Corporate will dispatch someone with more specific instructions - like 'bring 2 cards'
2. Comcast Employees seem a bit more capable and affable and friendly than the contractors. (this is from a sample of six contractors and two employees in the last six months)
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Old 10-15-2006, 03:53 PM   #893
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WooT! My previous comcast experience has been expunged! You can indeed have a working TiVo S3 in Montgomery County, MD.

Comcast sent a capable fellow over yesterday - he was an employee and not a contractor - and said he'd done a TiVo S3 already. He indicated that the cable cards are failing more often than not - indeed he brought three cards, all new, all fresh firmware - and only one of them ascertained the required information - the rest coughed up rows of zeroes.

It was enough to get going though, and he promised to return Monday evening (!) with a 'big stack.' While we waited for things to happen, he said only about 3 in 10 cards are working - 4 of five failed outright for me. So much for Six Sigma making Motorola the premier electronics manufacturer, eh?

I've learned a couple of things:

1. Call TiVo for help, they seem to be really sharp - and can call corporate numbers in Philly and not local service when theres a problem - Corporate will dispatch someone with more specific instructions - like 'bring 2 cards'
2. Comcast Employees seem a bit more capable and affable and friendly than the contractors. (this is from a sample of six contractors and two employees in the last six months)
I've had much the same experience...Comcast employees are much more capable than the contractors who seemingly get paid by the call (whether successful or not).

Talking directly to the local office is a LOT better than the 1-800 drones.
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Old 10-15-2006, 05:02 PM   #894
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For people getting conflicting information about billing, I recommend reading over the bill carefully. I had an extra $5 HD charge and an extra $6.95 digital additional outlet charge on my latest cable bill. However, I looked over the full bill and there is some text (on the printed bill, it was close to the customer address information) that says additional cablecards are $1.50 for situations like a customer owned dual tuner PVR. I tried calling the local comcast # and got a lot of runarounds, but after calling 1800COMCAST, I was able to get someone to take off all the extra charges. In the end, I'm paying $1.50 extra per month more than I was paying before, but it could be worse.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:07 PM   #895
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$6.95/month charge

The other day I noticed a $6.95 additional outlet fee on my bill, in addition to the $1.50 for the 2nd cablecard. This was completely different than what I had been told twice previously. So I decided to call to get it resolved.

At first the CS rep told me that the $6.95 was because I had a "3rd device" (the Comcast DVR), in addition to the 2 cablecards. So I told her that resulted in me being charged an additional $6.95 on top of the $9.95 I already paid for the DVR. And she said yes that's how the system is set up.

I asked to speak to a supervisor, who when I told her the same thing that I'm basically being charged now approx $17 for the DVR, said that no, the extra $6.95 is for the TiVo. WHAT? So even if I return the Comcast DVR I will be charged $6.95 additional per month because th cablecards are installed in a TiVo. It just sounds like they are grasping at ways to justify the $6.95 charge. I also told the supervisor that this was the first time anyone had told me about the $6.95 charge, after I had already called three times previously.

After she put me on hold for about 15 minutes, she came back and said that the $6.95 was for the DVR box and that $9.95 was for the DVR service. So if I return the DVR then it will just be the $1.50 for cablecards. Or if I just get a HD box it will be $5.00 plus the $1.50. I guess I'll be going to my local Comcast office tomorrow to return a DVR.

Are other Comcast customers being told the same thing? Seems pretty bogus to charge $6.95 for the box and then an additional $9.95 for the service.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:26 PM   #896
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That sounds about right. I got one box free with HD service, but the DVR cost $9.95 extra
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:36 PM   #897
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I called Comcast to setup a time to do the cable card install. They said the only additional cost would be $1.50/month for the second cable card.

The nice lady I spoke with knew what it was for as she has done 5 or 6 TIVO/Cable Card requests in the past couple of weeks. (SF Bay Area)

Looking forward to getting my new TIVO up and running.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:49 PM   #898
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The other day I noticed a $6.95 additional outlet fee on my bill, in addition to the $1.50 for the 2nd cablecard.
Comcast is correct. Each additional digital device has the monthly $6.95 charge, whether it's a Comcast box or a S3 TiVo. If you add another S3 to your account, it would be additional $6.95 + $1.50 per month.
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Old 10-15-2006, 08:50 PM   #899
SCSIRAID
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason
The other day I noticed a $6.95 additional outlet fee on my bill, in addition to the $1.50 for the 2nd cablecard. This was completely different than what I had been told twice previously. So I decided to call to get it resolved.

At first the CS rep told me that the $6.95 was because I had a "3rd device" (the Comcast DVR), in addition to the 2 cablecards. So I told her that resulted in me being charged an additional $6.95 on top of the $9.95 I already paid for the DVR. And she said yes that's how the system is set up.

I asked to speak to a supervisor, who when I told her the same thing that I'm basically being charged now approx $17 for the DVR, said that no, the extra $6.95 is for the TiVo. WHAT? So even if I return the Comcast DVR I will be charged $6.95 additional per month because th cablecards are installed in a TiVo. It just sounds like they are grasping at ways to justify the $6.95 charge. I also told the supervisor that this was the first time anyone had told me about the $6.95 charge, after I had already called three times previously.

After she put me on hold for about 15 minutes, she came back and said that the $6.95 was for the DVR box and that $9.95 was for the DVR service. So if I return the DVR then it will just be the $1.50 for cablecards. Or if I just get a HD box it will be $5.00 plus the $1.50. I guess I'll be going to my local Comcast office tomorrow to return a DVR.

Are other Comcast customers being told the same thing? Seems pretty bogus to charge $6.95 for the box and then an additional $9.95 for the service.
TWC here does the same thing... you pay 8.95 for a digital box and then a 6.95 DVR upgrade for a total of 15.90 per month per DVR.
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:45 PM   #900
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You can indeed have a working TiVo S3 in Montgomery County, MD.

Why yes, yes you can (And on the first appointment today no less).

Or at least, it was working... I was getting exactly the channels I expected, including digital simulcast of channels 0-99 when he left today at 5:30pm. Both cards showed as subscribed. All was well. I don't know if it was rerunning guided setup, or what, but now things are odd.

I have more channels that I should. (ok, no complaints there).
0-99 are now Analog again (as they were before the cablecard install)
Both cablecards show as unsubscribed.

so close... so close... Will have to try a reboot or a reguided setup...

-Ken
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