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Old 10-26-2008, 10:48 PM   #5791
rdlm
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With all the horror stories, I thought I'd post my [mostly] good experience...

I have Comcast and live in the San Francisco bay area (city of Los Altos). I have the "Standard" (basic+extended) Cable package, and have been Analog until now, and am now high def for part of my house.

I called up the Comcast support number, and they clearly had no idea what a CC is. All I could get from them was "You need a box, sir". So I hung up and fearfully went down to the local office. There they knew all about CCs for Tivos, explained that my account would need to be upgraded to a digital "starter" package that was the same exact cost as the analog package (but includes digital and HD, as well as a few other channels), and that the CC would be free since I don't have a cable box. They also told me that CCs were now self-installable! They handed me an M-Card and a sheet with pre-printed instructions for installing it in a Tivo (really!), upgraded my account, and sent me on my way with no charges.

I installed the card and called the 800 number on their install sheet to pair/activate it. Turns out the standard service rep can't do CCs (and they don't seem to know this), so they escalated to a supervisor. He activated the card, but it (and he) was very confused. The channel mappings were completely wrong. Turns out that my city is split in half with different infrastructure, and my card was set up for the wrong one. He'd never dealt with this before, so put me on hold for 10 minutes, came back on the line, updated some settings on their side, and it started working beautifully.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:07 AM   #5792
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Now correct me if i'm wrong but does one actually need to be upgraded to a digital package to use a CableCARD? I have been under the impression that you do not need to have a digital package to use a CC. This would basically get you all the mappings for the clear QAM channels you get now at no additional cost.
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Old 10-27-2008, 11:32 AM   #5793
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You should be able to get limited basic (if that's what you want) with a CC. If you're already on expanded basic, converting to digital (with a CC included) is usually no extra charge.
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Old 10-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #5794
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Western Massachusetts: Taking the Plunge

Ok, taking the plunge. I'm picking up my new TV and TiVo HD in a couple of hours. Just got off the phone with Comcast, and was very pleasantly surprised to get an appointment for the truck to come out tomorrow afternoon.

Not only that, but for reasons I'll never know, when I asked what the cost of the install would be, she said, "I'm going to go ahead and waive that for you right now."

I specifically asked for an M card, and she said she'd never heard of that, but made notes of the request. Then later, she said "oh, here's the card you asked for..."

I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 10-30-2008, 10:47 PM   #5795
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All right! My new HD is all ready! It arrived on Tuesday and I stopped by the Comcast office on the way home from work to pick up my M-Card. No wait and they had one handy. No hassle at all. $0 per month for the CC, but they are charging $5 per month for a second digital outlet but only until I return my DVR. Then I'll have no extra fees at all, a savings of $15.95 per month.

Only tonight did I finally have a chance to install the card. My refurb Tivo didn't come with the info for installing and configuring the CC, but I found the page on the Tivo support site and followed along. Installed it and it came up correctly on the set. When I called Comcast (the regular 877 support number), they had my account info already and could see that the CC had already phoned home. Once I got to the right screen and gave them the Host and Data IDs, they entered it into the system, pinged my card and we were all done. Took me longer to search for the instructions than it did to do the whole thing. I'm re-running the Guided Setup now and should be able to start really using my Tivo tomorrow!

Rob
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Old 10-30-2008, 11:24 PM   #5796
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Mine is suddenly having weak signal issues on some channels. How is this possible?

The meat pie "Good Eats" had pixelation and severe dropouts. I had some on Bravo the other night.

Think I should call Comcast and waste my breath?
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Old 10-31-2008, 06:52 AM   #5797
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Mine is suddenly having weak signal issues on some channels. How is this possible?

The meat pie "Good Eats" had pixelation and severe dropouts. I had some on Bravo the other night. I dont' get it when watching live.

Think I should call Comcast and waste my breath?
Yes, call them. I dealt with that for years at my last house and the reason for the problem turned out to be a piercing in the insulation of the cable outside my house which had caused some corrosion. The corrosion was causing signal degradation in a frequency range right in the middle of one of the blocks of channels which impacted 4 or so of the HBO channels and half a dozen of the random digital stations that nobody watches.

Signal loss in a narrow frequency range is pretty common with damaged wiring.
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Old 10-31-2008, 10:56 AM   #5798
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I'm running into a problem with an M Card from Comcast in Baltimore County, Maryland. It went into Slot 1 of my new TiVo HD two days ago but is not yet receiving any digital channels other than the local digital broadcast channels in the low 200's. Those are HD and come in fine. Other than those, the scrambled digital cable channels in the 100's are not coming in at all, nor are the scrambled HD digital cable channels in the 200's, nor HBO/SHOWTIME/STARZ in the 200's and 300's.

I have an existing TiVo Series 3 with two single-stream cable cards in it on another TV. When I had Comcast install those cards, one of them kept losing the digital channels in the 100's. Over the course of several days I had to call Comcast several times before I got a customer service rep who managed to do something at his end to fix the problem. He told me the card "had not been set up to receive digital service." He changed that and "hit" the card with an enabling signal, and the missing channels came in. I've been getting them ever since.

This time, I have yet to hook up with a rep who could solve my problem. All they know to do is check the Host ID, Data ID, etc., and those are all seemingly fine. The phone reps have been unable to confirm that my card is actually set up to receive the missing channels, other than to say it looks to be "coded" properly. When I ask for more specific information, they go into a huddle with themselves, start muttering things as if they aren't sure how to look that up, check with a supervisor (after putting me on hold) who says do X or Y or Z and try it again (no joy), then bail out and schedule another service call the next day. Yesterday's service call never happened. When I called a phone rep after the arrival window expired, she told me the service had been marked "completed," though I never saw the guy, never got a phone call, yada yada yada. Right now I am waiting patiently for another service tech (a "lead" tech this time) to call (or just arrive unannounced, I'm not proud).

Meanwhile, some questions for others that have been down this road before:

When Comcast "hits" or "pings" your card (or whatever) do you have to go all the way through TiVo Guided Setup again before you can hope to start receiving the missing channels? Do you have to specifically use the CableCard Test Channels function in the TiVo to pick them up? Should they come in just by changing channels the usual way? Or, if you are tuned to a missing channel, ought it to abruptly come in as soon as the "hit" or "ping" comes through?

In my dealings with the Comcast phone reps, both on this occasion and on the earlier one, I have sometimes been told that my case would have to be transferred to a different department, which could then solve the setup issue. This mysterious other department was supposedly in charge of "coding" my CableCard, or whatever. Never has this hand-off to another department borne fruit for me. Moreover, when I've asked to have this department call me on the phone, it's never happened. Anyone had any similar experiences?
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Old 10-31-2008, 09:48 PM   #5799
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epstewart, I can't answer all your questions, but I can comment on the signal coming in when they hit the card. One of my two cablecards on my S3 had quit displaying digital encrypted channels. I tuned to one of the missing channels on the Test Channels screen and phoned Comcast. I gave the rep the SN of the bad cablecard and she hit the card again and I received the missing channel "instantly". It was so instant that I thought the screen had actually timed out and gone back to another live channel just as it does when you sit on a menu too long.

So, yes, it can be instant if all the computers are talking to each other with no delays.
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:58 AM   #5800
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epstewart, I can't answer all your questions, but I can comment on the signal coming in when they hit the card. One of my two cablecards on my S3 had quit displaying digital encrypted channels. I tuned to one of the missing channels on the Test Channels screen and phoned Comcast. I gave the rep the SN of the bad cablecard and she hit the card again and I received the missing channel "instantly". It was so instant that I thought the screen had actually timed out and gone back to another live channel just as it does when you sit on a menu too long.

So, yes, it can be instant if all the computers are talking to each other with no delays.
Thanks, that's good to know.

But my M Card is now working!

After three days of runarounds, two Comcast techs just came to my house (finally!) and got things working. They put a meter on my cable where it goes into the TiVo and decided they needed to replace the splitter where the line splits off to my TV, and the short piece of cable between the splitter and the TiVo. Then they called someone at Comcast Baltimore County HQ who arranged for the people at the "head end" in White Marsh, Maryland, to enable the card once again. Arranging for that to happen took five minutes or so, after which all my channels were present and accounted for!

Now, I suppose I'll never know whether it was the hardware replacement in my house or getting the right person to do the right thing at the head end that actually did the trick. Maybe both were necessary. Who knows?

If it was just a bad or wrong splitter, the installer should have checked that, I'd think. Also, there's no excuse for two totally missed service appointments on two straight days leading up to today. Today I was told to expect a "lead" technician to come between 7 and 9 AM, but when I called to verify just after 7, I was told no technician would be available. I asked to be called by a supervisor, after making noises about not paying my bill. The supervisor called after about 1 1/2 hours and promised not a lead tech but a tech experienced with cablecards by 10:00. When that didn't happen, I called the supervisor back, twice in two hours, but got only his voice mail. Then, at 12 noon, the tech (actually, a two-tech team) that the supervisor had promised arrived (without calling me beforehand). They got things working pretty fast after they arrived, making me a much happier camper.

Persistence pays off ... but when my current three-year contract with Comcast expires after another year and a half, I may switch to Verizon FIOS.
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Old 11-01-2008, 09:18 PM   #5801
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Ok, taking the plunge. I'm picking up my new TV and TiVo HD in a couple of hours. Just got off the phone with Comcast, and was very pleasantly surprised to get an appointment for the truck to come out tomorrow afternoon.

Not only that, but for reasons I'll never know, when I asked what the cost of the install would be, she said, "I'm going to go ahead and waive that for you right now."

I specifically asked for an M card, and she said she'd never heard of that, but made notes of the request. Then later, she said "oh, here's the card you asked for..."

I'll let you know how it goes.
It went VERY smoothly. The guy showed up right in the middle of the two hour window they gave me, and he got the M-card installed and working quickly. Everything seems to be working well. Very satisfied.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:46 AM   #5802
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Lucky bastid.
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:25 AM   #5803
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Here's a wacky problem:

Tonight I discovered that, while I am subscribed to Center Ice, and while it comes in just fine on the standard-issue Comcast digital box in my bedroom, I am unable to pull in Channels 467-470 (that's GAME11 through GAME13) via the CableCard in my TivoHD in my living room. Black screen.

Has anyone else had this problem? I'm in Seattle...anyone in Seattle with the Center Ice / CableCard combination receiving all of the channels?
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:21 AM   #5804
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Here's a wacky problem:

Tonight I discovered that, while I am subscribed to Center Ice, and while it comes in just fine on the standard-issue Comcast digital box in my bedroom, I am unable to pull in Channels 467-470 (that's GAME11 through GAME13) via the CableCard in my TivoHD in my living room. Black screen.

Has anyone else had this problem? I'm in Seattle...anyone in Seattle with the Center Ice / CableCard combination receiving all of the channels?
Try this: tune to any channel 467-470, then press Record on your remote. Go to the Conditional Access screen and look for "Auth: SUBSCRIBED" (S-Card) or "Auth: S" (M-Card) which means the Cablecard recognizes that channel is authorized for viewing. Also check for "Host Validation: Valid" (S-card) or "Val:V" (M-Card) which means the card is paired correctly. If this screen shows the channel is authorized & the card is paired, then do a "DVR Restart". If this still does not display your missing channels, then call your cable provider and ask them to initialize the card(s)
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:14 PM   #5805
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Try this: tune to any channel 467-470, then press Record on your remote. Go to the Conditional Access screen and look for "Auth: SUBSCRIBED" (S-Card) or "Auth: S" (M-Card) which means the Cablecard recognizes that channel is authorized for viewing. Also check for "Host Validation: Valid" (S-card) or "Val:V" (M-Card) which means the card is paired correctly. If this screen shows the channel is authorized & the card is paired, then do a "DVR Restart". If this still does not display your missing channels, then call your cable provider and ask them to initialize the card(s)
Okay, so: Earlier today, I look, thinking maybe the problem's fixed itself. Lo and behold, I can see 467-470 again! Great! So I go out, do errands, come home, and the game starts at 7:00P, and everything is fine.

Partway through the second intermission, at 8:40P, the channels disappear. "Searching for signal." And here I am in the bedroom watching the rest of the game.

Checked the CableCard as directed above, got an Auth:S and a Val:V.

Rebooted: nope. Called cable people, they initialized the card, that didn't fix the problem.

Still have an appointment for a guy to come out on Monday (that I was hoping I wasn't going to have to deal with what with the successes I had prior to 8:40P tonight). I suspect he will replace the card, try to get it paired and initialized, and if the problem persists (or if it's even happening when he shows up in the first place) will throw his hands up, blame the Tivo, and leave.

I am seriously not encouraged about this. I don't need this.

Can a CableCard die in this fashion; that it will simply lose several isolated channels? The thing that bugs me most is that it's only those four channels, 467-470. EVERYTHING else is FINE.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:45 PM   #5806
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Some more information, from DVR Diagnostics:

First, the problem is consistent on both Tuner 0 and Tuner 1. (Both operate from the same M-card.)

Looking at the Diagnostics, the Modulation is bouncing between "QAM 256" and "QAM 64", where on one of the channels that works it stays on QAM 256. No signal strength, no signal or program lock.

Also bouncing: Tune Status, between "In progress" and "Ending", and Pending Tune Status, between "Tune pending" and "No tune pending." Makes sense, I suppose, since it's clearly not tuning in that channel right right now.

I'm curious about the Modulation not locking to QAM 256, though.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:00 AM   #5807
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Okay, so: Earlier today, I look, thinking maybe the problem's fixed itself. Lo and behold, I can see 467-470 again! Great! So I go out, do errands, come home, and the game starts at 7:00P, and everything is fine.

Partway through the second intermission, at 8:40P, the channels disappear. "Searching for signal." And here I am in the bedroom watching the rest of the game.

Checked the CableCard as directed above, got an Auth:S and a Val:V.

Rebooted: nope. Called cable people, they initialized the card, that didn't fix the problem.

Still have an appointment for a guy to come out on Monday (that I was hoping I wasn't going to have to deal with what with the successes I had prior to 8:40P tonight). I suspect he will replace the card, try to get it paired and initialized, and if the problem persists (or if it's even happening when he shows up in the first place) will throw his hands up, blame the Tivo, and leave.

I am seriously not encouraged about this. I don't need this.

Can a CableCard die in this fashion; that it will simply lose several isolated channels? The thing that bugs me most is that it's only those four channels, 467-470. EVERYTHING else is FINE.

It sounds like your cards are paired and subscribed to the missing channels. "Searching For Signal" is an indication of a signal problem, which can be caused by multiple issues: an incoming signal which is "weak" or "too hot", a loose connection, a bad splitter or a damaged coax. A signal problem can cause a loss of just a few channels. Without getting too technical, "In digital television systems, several variable bit-rate data streams are multiplexed (aka mux) together to a fixed bitrate transport stream by means of statistical multiplexing. This makes it possible to transfer several video channels simultaneously over the same frequency channel, together with various services". The channels you are missing are probably transmitted in the same data stream, channels which you are receiving are transmitted in different data streams.

If you can get the missing channels on other TV's, the issue is probably isolated to either the cable jack or your connections. Ask the technician to check for a signal problem at the cable jack. If you have a splitter hooked up to your TiVo try replacing it. Also double check connections; unhook the coax from the back of your TiVo and plug it back in.

Let us know if your problem gets resolved
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:15 AM   #5808
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That makes sense. And actually I tried that, because I do have the single split at the jack: I basically removed the splitter (which killed my cable modem and the signal going directly to the TV) and ran just the single cable connecting the Tivo and the wall jack. Same problem. So I suppose I should entertain that it could be that length of cable, the one coming from the Tivo. I dunno if I have another length of coax I can get to easily to check this...

EDIT: Found one. Tried it. Still broken.

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Old 11-09-2008, 12:28 AM   #5809
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I forgot to include that a signal problem can affect only one "mux". The mux for those missing channels is transmitted over a particular channel which the technician needs to check by using his signal meter. There may be a problem with the wiring inside the cable jack.
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Old 11-09-2008, 03:18 AM   #5810
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I forgot to include that a signal problem can affect only one "mux". The mux for those missing channels is transmitted over a particular channel which the technician needs to check by using his signal meter. There may be a problem with the wiring inside the cable jack.
That would be interesting, since I live in an apartment building. I guess we'll see come Monday morning. My fear, of course, is that it's going to "fix itself" again and the dude isn't going to be able to do anything, and life will go on until the next time it decides to screw me...
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:54 PM   #5811
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Signal problems are not that uncommon in apartment buildings. Wiring can be old/damaged inside the walls. Also, for every cable outlet in an apartment building, the signal is split~one outlet will receive a stronger signal vs 24. It all depends on how your building is wired. Another possibility is that the wiring in the cable box attached to your building is bad.
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:41 AM   #5812
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2 S-Cards in Tivo HD Question- Philly Area Comcast

After seeing what a headache it was going to be to get the new DirecTV dish secured so wind wouldn't be an issue and deal with their DVR vs. my HR10-250 along with some other issues with my upgrade I decided to stick with Tivo by purchasing a Tivo HD and going back to Comcast (at least until FIOS TV is available). The tech just got done here and everything seems good, but I had a couple of questions about the way my cable cards are showing.

The first one is paired and validated OK by all things I can see. It shows subscribed, has a validation value and I get all my channels including HBO.

The second one (yes, they gave me two S-cards) seems OK, but it's status doesn't show as subscribed, it's "unknown". It does have a validation value and I do get all my channels over it when tested, but should I be concerned about that "unknown"? Also, in the main cable card screen it reports the slot 2 card as inserted, but doesn't report it as an S-Card as it does with slot 1.

Would any of you experts think I'll have any trouble down the road based on this? Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-10-2008, 10:44 AM   #5813
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It seems like many (most?) have had an installer come out, but others were able to go by a local Comcast center and pick up the card. I'd prefer to do the latter. Would I need to call ahead to a) confirm that they're willing to do this, and b) pre-configured the card for me, or can I just show up? A Google Maps search reveals that the local shops don't seem to publicize their phone numbers.
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Old 11-10-2008, 11:37 AM   #5814
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It seems like many (most?) have had an installer come out, but others were able to go by a local Comcast center and pick up the card. I'd prefer to do the latter. Would I need to call ahead to a) confirm that they're willing to do this, and b) pre-configured the card for me, or can I just show up? A Google Maps search reveals that the local shops don't seem to publicize their phone numbers.
I would say most require a truck roll. What have you got to lose in trying to pick it up? Maybe a little time and gasoline. I'd try. When you go, just tell them you want a type M cable card. Don't tell them what it's for unless they ask.
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Old 11-10-2008, 01:52 PM   #5815
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It seems like many (most?) have had an installer come out, but others were able to go by a local Comcast center and pick up the card. I'd prefer to do the latter. Would I need to call ahead to a) confirm that they're willing to do this, and b) pre-configured the card for me, or can I just show up? A Google Maps search reveals that the local shops don't seem to publicize their phone numbers.
a)The local offices don't have listed phone numbers, so depending on the location you may be able to pick a card up. If you are willing to take a chance just drive over and ask. b) cablecards are not pre-configured. If you local office does allow you to pick up a card, verify with the person at the front counter exactly which channels your accounts show you're subscribed to, and also make sure they add the billing/service code for a cablecard. When you insert the card, after a couple of minutes the gray pairing screen should automatically pop up, displaying the Host, Data and Unit address. This is the information that you will need to give to the rep on the phone. Once your card has been properly paired, then the card will need to be initialized and you can check your channels. If you have cablecard installation instructions that came with your TiVo, I highly recommend you follow it
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:06 PM   #5816
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After seeing what a headache it was going to be to get the new DirecTV dish secured so wind wouldn't be an issue and deal with their DVR vs. my HR10-250 along with some other issues with my upgrade I decided to stick with Tivo by purchasing a Tivo HD and going back to Comcast (at least until FIOS TV is available). The tech just got done here and everything seems good, but I had a couple of questions about the way my cable cards are showing.

The first one is paired and validated OK by all things I can see. It shows subscribed, has a validation value and I get all my channels including HBO.

The second one (yes, they gave me two S-cards) seems OK, but it's status doesn't show as subscribed, it's "unknown". It does have a validation value and I do get all my channels over it when tested, but should I be concerned about that "unknown"? Also, in the main cable card screen it reports the slot 2 card as inserted, but doesn't report it as an S-Card as it does with slot 1.

Would any of you experts think I'll have any trouble down the road based on this? Thanks in advance!
When you say that the status shows "unknown", which screen did you see that on and what is on the left of "unknown"? The Network Setup and Conditional Access screens display information on whichever channel the tuner is locked onto.

Test all your channels on both tuners. If you are not missing any, I wouldn't worry about it. If down the road you start missing channels, check the conditional access screen which will tell you where the problem is.
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:17 PM   #5817
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Originally Posted by crazi4tv View Post
When you say that the status shows "unknown", which screen did you see that on and what is on the left of "unknown"? The Network Setup and Conditional Access screens display information on whichever channel the tuner is locked onto.

Test all your channels on both tuners. If you are not missing any, I wouldn't worry about it. If down the road you start missing channels, check the conditional access screen which will tell you where the problem is.
Thanks for the reply. I'm inclined to ignore it unless something crops up.

I'm seeing it on the Conditional Access screen:
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:48 AM   #5818
Ladd Morse
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Comcast Frederick, MD and CableCards

A quick note for future readers searching for information about Comcast in Frederick, MD and CableCards.

I just had a Multi-Stream CableCard (Mcard) installed in my new TiVoHD and the entire process took less than 10 minutes.

Note that my visit two days earlier to the local Comcast office to inquire about a possible card pickup and self-install ("no - we don't do that because there are too many problems) elicited the comment "We don't have Multi-Stream cards -- we only have one-way cards".

I mentioned that one-way and two way protocols are different than single stream cards and multi-stream cards, but no matter. I asked the counter person to type into the Info field of the work order "Customer requests Multi-Stream CableCard for installation into TiVo HD" and hoped the install people would know more than the customer service folks.

Lucky for me, I was right. The installer arrived with a single, new Motorola M-Card and said he was familiar with TiVo HD installations (albeit confident to the point of dismissing my request to read the CableCard installation instructions provided by TiVo).

I've flipped through all the HD channels I'm supposed to get (33 although many are listed as HD but they don't actually show any HD programming) and they are all there. I know that some folks lose one or more channels after a while so I'll have to wait and see if that happens to me.

FWIW: I don't subscribe to any premium channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.) nor do I pay extra for NFL and other sports programming. Perhaps not subscribing to extra-cost programming reduced the chances of screwups.
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:54 AM   #5819
micahmn
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I'm in Washington D.C. and it has been a nightmare getting Comcast to get the card to work.

First, I called Comcast as soon as I ordered my refurbished HD TiVo to find out about the CableCARD. Two reps I talked to told me it was impossible for me to pick up the CC from the Comcast office and I *must* have a rep come out for a $30 fee. I complained to the Office of Cable Television and I heard back fast from Comcast. They told me I could go to the Michigan Ave office and pick up a CC, which I did.

Basically, only basic cable stations worked, after a few more calls, I got all of my standard cable and premium channels working, but no HD stations. Then I talked to a rep who told me that I need an "HD CableCARD" in order to get HD channels. Needless to say, when I went back to the Comcast office, the woman there laughed in disbelief and informed me that there is only one type of CC, and it handles HD programming.

Another call to their support department ended up with them comping a tech to come out here because "CableCARDs are unreliable and you need to try 3 or 4 different ones to get them to work." A tech was supposed to come Sunday afternoon, but I got a call in the middle of my window asking if they could reschedule for this morning because none of the techs had a CC so they couldn't help me.

So now I'm waiting now for the tech to come, and I'll have to wait at least a year for Verizon to come to D.C.
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:43 PM   #5820
Ladd Morse
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COMCAST CABLECARD SUPPORT CENTER
1.866.761.0211
Operational hours are Monday-Friday 9:00am-8:00pm EST., and Saturday 11:30AM-8:00PM EST.
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