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Old 03-03-2010, 10:16 PM   #7201
PatEllis15
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I currently have a Series 2 but I'm looking to upgrade to the new Premier. So, I'm trying to quickly get up to speed on CableCards.

I stopped by our Comcast office, and was told that A: A Tech Rep "HAD" to come out to install the card. Is this true? (and if so, why?!)

B: That Multi-stream cards aren't always available. I thought that M Cards were 2.0 cards, and the 2.0 was as the current standard, and that they HAD to support cards of the current standard. Can they really get away with telling me tough luck, we only have a single stream card for your Tivo with only 1 slot?!

C: That a Multi-Stream card counted as 2 cards, and that I would be charged more for one (If I was lucky enough that the tech who comes out has one...). It's crazy enough that they want to charge these bizarre "additional outlet fee's", is this what you have had to do (pay more for an M Card?)?!


Why the hell don't we just have "Cable Ready" devices any more. Gah!


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Old 03-03-2010, 10:22 PM   #7202
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Originally Posted by PatEllis15 View Post
A: A Tech Rep "HAD" to come out to install the card. Is this true? (and if so, why?!)

B: That Multi-stream cards aren't always available. I thought that M Cards were 2.0 cards, and the 2.0 was as the current standard, and that they HAD to support cards of the current standard. Can they really get away with telling me tough luck, we only have a single stream card for your Tivo with only 1 slot?!

C: That a Multi-Stream card counted as 2 cards, and that I would be charged more for one (If I was lucky enough that the tech who comes out has one...). It's crazy enough that they want to charge these bizarre "additional outlet fee's", is this what you have had to do (pay more for an M Card?)?!
A: If your locality works like mine (and others), the folks over the phone do not have the systems access required to input the data from your Tivo that pairs it to the card (and authorizes the card to receive your channels). The tech will have to call someone, but it's not someone YOU can call, so there you go. Silly? Yes. Routine? Also yes.

B: I don't know whether they "can get away with it," but they may try. Tell them (when the time comes) that your unit does not take S-Cards (ok, maybe fudging here, but tell them that anyway), and that if the guy doesn't have an M-Card the install is going nowhere. Cross that bridge when you come to it. Talk about it with the tech when he gets there. Be ready to send him away to fetch the right stuff, if he arrives without an M-Card.

C: Paying twice for an M-Card on the grounds that it handles multiple streams is a bunch of hooey. Handle this issue after you have confirmed that they're double-dinging you. It may turn out fine, and there is almost no way to guide the process proactively with folks who don't know what they're talking about. Don't worry, there are ways to deal with it later (We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com - write that email addy down).


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Old 03-04-2010, 05:42 AM   #7203
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Why the hell don't we just have "Cable Ready" devices any more. Gah!
Because consumers didn't buy them when they were available in 2005-2006.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:06 AM   #7204
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B: I don't know whether they "can get away with it," but they may try. Tell them (when the time comes) that your unit does not take S-Cards (ok, maybe fudging here, but tell them that anyway), and that if the guy doesn't have an M-Card the install is going nowhere. Cross that bridge when you come to it. Talk about it with the tech when he gets there. Be ready to send him away to fetch the right stuff, if he arrives without an M-Card.
Actually, PatEllis15 DID say he was planning on a Premier, in which case he cannot use an S-card, and must have an M-card (only one slot). So he's not fudging there.

Still, PatEllis15, keep in mind the operators who setup your visit likely don't even know what the difference is... and their system apparently isn't setup to differentiate. So, you will just have to trust that they will come in with the M-card... but as cjv said, be prepared to turn them away if it's not an M-card.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:11 AM   #7205
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Actually, PatEllis15 DID say he was planning on a Premier, in which case he cannot use an S-card, and must have an M-card (only one slot). So he's not fudging there.
I know it has only one slot. What I do not know is whether the slot will accept an S-Card and run with just 1 tuner. Hence my comment.

Now, putting an S-Card into a Premier would be a really stupid thing to do, but I wouldn't put it past Comcast to tell a customer something on the order of "well you picked that weirdo third-party equipment so that's not our problem."
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Old 03-05-2010, 05:50 PM   #7206
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Sounds about right, in all respects, to me. Yes to HBO, or any other premium channels including sports packages.


Thanks so much...
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:51 AM   #7207
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I had an install on the 2/26 and I've been missing a good number of channels. So I emailed the we_can_help address last weekend and within a couple of hours an area supervisor called me. I had to wait until this morning for a truck roll because of my schedule. The tech arrives, calls in, gives the card info, and bam, I'm working.

I don't know why this is so difficult for some techs or why it consistently seems to require multiple truck rolls.

I haven't found anything missing yet (aside from the recording the tech deleted when he was trying to get back to live tv), so I guess I'm happy for the moment.
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:49 PM   #7208
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Eureka! Emailed the tech the serial number and half an hour later I had ALL MY CHANNELS!! He even called me to confirm all was well, told me they had mistakenly setup my account to bill me for a second outlet which he was removing, and credited my account $30 for my troubles! All by his own initiative, I didn't have to complain or ask for anything. What service! If you have problems, I HEARTILY recommend We_Can_Help. Verizon and DirectTV can't compete with this!
Thanks for this info. I just got off the phone with local Comcast where I had to do all it took within me not to cuss her out (and I know it's not her fault) but my TiVo died and I got a replacement that I can't fully use because Comcast claims I need to pay a technician to come out (in 2 days) to make a phone call just to make this work. $15 for 5 minutes work...must be a nice gig. I emailed the address you gave. Hopefully, someone will get back to me before the scheduled appointment. I've also tried to reach out to 2 people that I know that know technicians for Comcast (contractors, really) in hopes that they'll just do me the favor of calling it in.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:50 PM   #7209
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Well, we are in the midst of comcast cablecard hell at the moment.

Tivo HD XL has been working fine with the analog cable signal, but of course we are coming up on the digital switchover in our area, so we called to get a cablecard. Fine, they schedule someone to come out. He arrives and... 3 hours later, leaves again, with the cablecard still not working. Office swears they have entered the right info, but the channel map still won't download.

When the promised call from the supervisor didn't come on Monday, emailed we_can_help and got a reply very fast. Emailed back and forth with this guy all day, sending him host id and data numbers. Finally he says he needs to send a tech. I send him good times and no reply until suddenly around 8pm he calls us and tells us he just noticed we have expanded basic and 'that won't work with a cablecard'.

Of course that is complete bs as comcast's own faq on their webpage clearly states it will...

we go back and forth on the issue for a bit until he asks if he can call back 'in a minute'. 90 minutes later we get an email that says they're upgrading their phones and someone will call us tomorrow.

Gah.

I wonder if anyone here has seen the same issue we seem to be having. In the tivo, even after the card has supposedly been paired, the Conditional Access screen says this:

Conditional Access
Unit Address: 000-00039-62450-005
Encryption: DES
Con:Yes EBCP:Yes Val:V 0x23

And nothing else.

But... all the screenshots of this screen from tivo have a lot more information on them. And it's clear from discussion in this thread that most people have no problem getting the info to come through (even if it shows you're still unauthorized) If you've seen this, what fixed it? Any time we have the cablecard in the slot no channels will show up at all (it just says acquiring until it times out again) so we keep having to pop it in and out whenever comcast calls to talk to us.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:03 PM   #7210
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Only 4 lines on the Conditional Access screen? No proof here, but I'd be suspecting a bad card. I think that "Val:V" indicates that your pairing is fine, as such.

They should send someone out with another card, methinks... but to be fair, I'm guessing here.

If you still have contact info for the guy at the Comcast email addy, I would keep him in the loop. As you have already seen, they tend to be a bit more responsive and thorough than the locals.
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Old 03-13-2010, 07:06 AM   #7211
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Recent CableCARD Install

Our recent install in our Series 3 went well. The tech didn't realize he needed two cards(I had specifeid that when I made the call) but he had a spare. He knew what he was doing and we got lucky with the rep at the office who knew what she was doing.

We did get hit with a $6.95 charge for an “SD Set Top Box”. The CSR was unable to help and I never got the promised call the the supervisor. I e-mailed We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com and got a very quick response. It turns out the billing system thought the second CableCARD was in a second device hence the $6.95 for a digital outlet fee. They confirmed both cards were in one device and removed the charges.

Given some of the stories I've read here I consider this a relatively painless install.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:03 PM   #7212
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My lastest bill includes this under News From Comcast section:

Effective 4/1/10 and with April billing, Comcast will no longer charge a monthly High Definition (HD) equipment rental fee of $6.50. Those receiving HD video services will instead be charged a $6.50 HD Technology Fee (inclusive of equipment).

From reading this I have no clue what it means or if it will affect TiVos with CableCARDs. I see nothing now in their current rate card that costs $6.50 in our area.

Since Comcast seems to roll this stuff out gradually I thought someone here might have run into this already. I'm assuming the rate is different from area to area.

I expect like the Cablecard fees that different parts of Comcast will interpret this fee in their own way and charge according to their own whim.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:07 PM   #7213
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It reads like a name change more than anything. They will just tack the charge onto each cable card instead.

Typical Comcast highway robbery BS.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:26 PM   #7214
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My lastest bill includes this under News From Comcast section:

Effective 4/1/10 and with April billing, Comcast will no longer charge a monthly High Definition (HD) equipment rental fee of $6.50. Those receiving HD video services will instead be charged a $6.50 HD Technology Fee (inclusive of equipment).

From reading this I have no clue what it means or if it will affect TiVos with CableCARDs. I see nothing now in their current rate card that costs $6.50 in our area.

Since Comcast seems to roll this stuff out gradually I thought someone here might have run into this already. I'm assuming the rate is different from area to area.

I expect like the Cablecard fees that different parts of Comcast will interpret this fee in their own way and charge according to their own whim.
Someone in a Comcast billing thread referenced seeing something similar on a statement, a month ago, maybe two, pointing towards May if I recall.

Here in the Atlanta area I haven't seen this sort of notification yet.

The real question I have is this - say you have an HDTV that can see HD channels on the Comcast line. No CableCARD. What are they going to do, bill *everybody* this "technology fee?"
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:36 PM   #7215
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Someone in a Comcast billing thread referenced seeing something similar on a statement, a month ago, maybe two, pointing towards May if I recall.

Here in the Atlanta area I haven't seen this sort of notification yet.

The real question I have is this - say you have an HDTV that can see HD channels on the Comcast line. No CableCARD. What are they going to do, bill *everybody* this "technology fee?"
I agree, it's pretty ridiculous that they are charging for this when HD service is more or less standard.

If they want to add some bologna surcharge on their own boxes then fine, but charging this PER OUTLET for every converter box and cablecard in the home is ludicrous and nothing but an obvious money grab.

News flash Comcast, if you want to save money then bump some of the garbage you are shoveling into the "crapo" tier and make people pay an extra $6.95 for access to that garbage.
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Old 03-16-2010, 09:48 PM   #7216
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I agree, it's pretty ridiculous that they are charging for this when HD service is more or less standard.

If they want to add some bologna surcharge on their own boxes then fine, but charging this PER OUTLET for every converter box and cablecard in the home is ludicrous and nothing but an obvious money grab.

News flash Comcast, if you want to save money then bump some of the garbage you are shoveling into the "crapo" tier and make people pay an extra $6.95 for access to that garbage.
You know, I just thought of something else. Every "digital package" I see on my Comcast rate card has HD channels. So, what, you pay for the package, and then pay again for the privilege of being able to watch the HD half of the package you paid for?

This sounds nuts to me. I'll bet dollars to donuts that there are localities where they won't be able to pull this off due to regulatory issues.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:05 PM   #7217
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You know, I just thought of something else. Every "digital package" I see on my Comcast rate card has HD channels. So, what, you pay for the package, and then pay again for the privilege of being able to watch the HD half of the package you paid for?

This sounds nuts to me. I'll bet dollars to donuts that there are localities where they won't be able to pull this off due to regulatory issues.
Yes, it is nuts but Comcast has been getting away from it since they introduced HD.

You only pay the HD surcharge if you have any kind of premium HD channels. This even means channels you wouldn't consider premium such as Discovery HD.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:04 AM   #7218
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Yes, it is nuts but Comcast has been getting away from it since they introduced HD.

You only pay the HD surcharge if you have any kind of premium HD channels. This even means channels you wouldn't consider premium such as Discovery HD.
Premium = encrypted channels. About 2/3 - 1/2 of my HD channels are encrypted and require that HD billing code to work.

I guess if you hacked your cable card and didn't have a filter on your line you could get unencrypted HD channels.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:10 AM   #7219
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Premium = encrypted channels. About 2/3 - 1/2 of my HD channels are encrypted and require that HD billing code to work.

I guess if you hacked your cable card and didn't have a filter on your line you could get unencrypted HD channels.
Most of the HD channels in my locality are not encrypted. I subscribe to none of the "traditional" premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, various sports channels), still leaving me with a pile of HD, but have only found encryption on the Encore channel set.

I'm sure that'll change at some point, though. It would seem that ATL is "behind the curve" when it comes to introduction of Comcastic newness, good and bad.
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Old 03-17-2010, 03:31 PM   #7220
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Thanks to everyone that has replied to this thread, it's been very useful. Here's my story:

I'm in Seattle (U-District). Like everyone else in this thread, I have the (edit) newest non-Premier model whatever it's called--the "two in the front" one--and found out the hard way that I can't get guide data for the rebroadcast channels (5-1, etc).

I visited the office in Auburn (because I don't like the area that the Seattle office is in). I asked for a CableCARD, and the rep looked up my account. After a minute of clicking and typing she informed me that I could not get a CableCARD with the Limited Cable package (it's $12.55/month here). She said the only way to get HD channels was to pay $7 (I think) for the HD package and get a STB. I pulled out a printout from their site of my channel lineup and tried explaining to her that the channels I wanted were already included in my package and that I just needed a CableCARD to receive them. She was very rude and cut me off multiple times explaining that this package only included channels 2-28 (because page 1 of the printout ended on channel 28, and then continued on the back) and not HD channels. Realizing this argument would be pointless, I said the magic four words: "I want digital cable." As she got up to grab the card, she told me it'd be $29.99/month for the first 6 months and $57.99 (I think) after that. Grand total to walk out of the door with the card was $0.

I have a truck roll scheduled for the 23rd to remove the filter on my line, but I'll be calling in before that to cancel the upgrade, so hopefully they won't roll a truck at all. The rep told me that I did not have to be home for this--and though I didn't mention it since a tech won't be coming out--I would need to be home since I live in a controlled access apartment building and the cable drop is inside the building.

The card is the (apparently) newer red Comcast logoed one. It's not marked whether it's M or S, but TiVo says it's S. I wanted a M, but I'll survive. It's not worth the trip back to one of the offices.

I just popped the card in my TiVo and went through the setup process. Went through without problems, and then brought up a screen with a bunch of numbers to give to "my cable provider" to have them activate the card. The number published was 877-824-2288 which is different from a number I got in a chat session yesterday when asking about the availability of cable cards at local offices (that one ended in 4021 but I neglected to write it down). The 2288 number sounds the same as calling 1-800-COMCAST. When I first signed up for internet, I got some other number that connected straight to a rep without going through any menus. Anyway, I went through to the "add service" option and told the rep I wanted to activate a cableCARD. She confirmed my information and sent a signal to my card. More than half of the call was her trying to get me to sign up for their phone service, and she would not take no for an answer.

Apparently sending a signal isn't the only thing that needs to be done. I'm on the phone now with another rep and I've given him information for pairing. He seems very knowledgeable and we were just discussing the differences between TiVo Series 2 and 3. He got an error that he wasn't familiar with, so I'm on hold for the moment. After some back and forths with his help desk--and I was happy to hold (thank you to Skype for making toll free calls free)--he determined that the card needs to be swapped out. It has something to do their computer thinking that my numbers are/were in use or something like that. I bought this TiVo used, so this afternoon should be interesting. I have an installer scheduled to come out and swap the card for me some time in the next 3.5 hours, will update later.

Last edited by Atomic Taco : 03-17-2010 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:03 PM   #7221
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fyi Taco, in the future, or if you haven't gotten the truck yet, just put the card in slot 2, let it pair, then take it out and put it back in slot 1. It will get a new unique ID and should work. That's what I had to do - it calculates a new one every time a card is inserted.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:06 PM   #7222
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fyi Taco, in the future, or if you haven't gotten the truck yet, just put the card in slot 2, let it pair, then take it out and put it back in slot 1. It will get a new unique ID and should work. That's what I had to do - it calculates a new one every time a card is inserted.
Just did that, and now it says "Information not available" regardless of which slot it's in.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:08 PM   #7223
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they might need to hit your box while you're doing it, on the phone. It also may take a few minutes.
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Old 03-17-2010, 05:09 PM   #7224
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they might need to hit your box while you're doing it, on the phone. It also may take a few minutes.
Should have someone here within 2 hours, but if issues persist I'll have the tech try that. I actually want the tech to come out: hopefully he can give me a M card.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:04 PM   #7225
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just put the card in slot 2, let it pair, then take it out and put it back in slot 1. It will get a new unique ID and should work.
By unique ID, are you talking about the Host ID? Turns out the problem I'm having is that the card can't be activated because the Host ID is on someone else's account or is somehow duplicate. I tried that, although it never paired in slot 2, and I'm back in 1 right now with the same Host ID. The tech is outside waiting for the addressability office to call him back.
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:16 PM   #7226
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I've browsed this thread a bit but haven't taken the time to read all 240+ pages. So if I am asking a question that has already been answered, please point me toward the light.

I have a tech coming out tomorrow to install a (hopefully) M card in my TiVoHD. I've never used cablecards before. I was hoping for a little insight as to how things should go. I assume that I'll know if things are going bad. No channels, error messages, the tech standing there scratching his head...

What should I expect to see if everything goes right? ie, what messages should the tivo display if everything went as it should?

The lady at the local Comcast office also told me that there will be a charge for the card regardless of having one or two cards because it will be used for the HD service. Does anyone else know about such a charge? Is that what they are calling the High Definition (HD) equipment rental fee or HD Technology Fee?
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Old 03-17-2010, 07:22 PM   #7227
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What should I expect to see if everything goes right? ie, what messages should the tivo display if everything went as it should?
Basically you should be able to access all channels that you pay for. This doc does an excellent job at showing what the various status messages should look like.

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The lady at the local Comcast office also told me that there will be a charge for the card regardless of having one or two cards because it will be used for the HD service. Does anyone else know about such a charge? Is that what they are calling the High Definition (HD) equipment rental fee or HD Technology Fee?
There shouldn't be a charge for the first card. If the tech has one, ask for a M-Card. If they try to charge you for a HD equipment rental fee then you should straighten that out with them, because that refers to a set top box and not a CableCARD. HD Technology fee should be the same thing, because:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comcast on my bill
Effective 4/1/10 and with April billing, Comcast will no longer charge a monthly High Definition (HD) equipment rental fee of $6.50. Those receiving HD video services will instead be charged a $6.50 HD Technology Fee (inclusive of equipment).
But I can't speak to this as I'm trying to get my CableCARD working right now.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:19 PM   #7228
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OK, my situation is 75% resolved. The problem was that the Host ID (for newbies reading this: the Host ID is a unique ID to each device (TiVo, regular TV, anything that takes a CableCARD) not an ID of the card) was listed on someone else's account. This was probably because I bought the TiVo used (Craigslist), so if you're buying a used TiVo, ask the previous owner if they used CableCARDs. It might save quite a bit of hassle later, though I'm not sure if anyone but a tech could/would solve this.

Anyway, neither the 1-800-COMCAST reps that I talked to nor the tech's dispatchers were able to activate my cable card, so the tech that came to my house had to call the "addressability office". They were out in the field or helping another tech when my tech called, so he left a message and stood outside making a personal phone call until they called him back. This was totally OK with me, because I knew he wasn't going to leave like the contractors do. And he gets paid by the hour, so w00t for him.
Anyway, Addressability did some poking around for a while and eventually got the card paired and I have my local channels coming in digital (and HD!) which is exactly what I wanted. The tech also swapped my S-card that I got from the local office for a M-card he had with him.

All's that's left is for me to cancel my "upgrade" to Digital Cable that I never wanted. I've had a pretty Comcastic day, so I'll do that later this week.

Last edited by Atomic Taco : 03-17-2010 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 03-17-2010, 08:25 PM   #7229
EvilMidniteBombr
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Thanks Atomic Taco (love that name!). I did specifically request a M card and the lady in the office called the warehouse and confirmed that they had some. So hopefully one will make it onto the tech's truck.

I am hoping there is no charge for using a M card to decode the HD signal. Actually I'll be pretty pissed if there is. But I'll deal with that after I see my bill.
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Old 03-18-2010, 11:14 AM   #7230
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
It reads like a name change more than anything. They will just tack the charge onto each cable card instead.
No. FWIR, in many cases, people will see a reduction in what they pay. They are moving things around, but in the end, for some people, it results in less cost. No one pays more.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
Typical Comcast highway robbery BS.
Typical consumer refrain.

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Originally Posted by jmpage2 View Post
I agree, it's pretty ridiculous that they are charging for this when HD service is more or less standard.
No, it is not ridiculous. We went from a world that looked like this:
- standard service (SD)
- premium service (HD)
... to a world that looks like this:
- economy service (SD)
- standard service (HD)
There is still no reason for SD to cost as much as HD. You get more with HD. As long as there is more money to be made charging people who just want SD less, then service providers should offer those people a lower price. It is not fair to force them (and generally, that's the group of customers that includes some of the least affluent members of our society) to pay "full price" when their top priority is affordability.
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