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Old 05-02-2012, 05:55 PM   #1
spenb
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Big Grin (RESOLVED) Comcast: digital cable channels not authorized, some are black, tried INIT

UPDATE: Issue resolved, scroll down...

Hi everyone. Sorry if this is lengthy, I just want to post as much information as possible about my problem. My market is the Harrisburg, PA Area. Important details in bold.

I just purchased a TiVo Premiere XL4 a few days ago. The first CableCard that Comcast gave me had apparently been removed from one of their cable boxes, because customer support said that it was paired with a DCT box they owned, and there was no way of unpairing it.

So I got a new CableCard, and this time the CSR had no issue pairing and activating it. All of the local/basic/extended cable channels (2-78) and HD local channels worked. HD cable channels and digital cable channels did not work. A "channel not authorized" message was displayed. I assumed it would just take some time to authorize properly; not so.

I set up some Season Pass recordings on the HD cable channels. The only thing that was successfully recorded, and this is weird, was 20 seconds of a Science Channel show, which contained video of an EAS alert on QVC. (?)

I called support again, and they said that the CableCard wasn't authorized to receive HD channels. They added that service, but it didn't make a difference.

I called later, and asked them to do an INIT hit (I've been looking through lots of forums). They did, but no luck.

I went on chat to talk to a technician. He tried sending the pairing and activation signals separately, but this didn't work. He also said that sending too many signals to the card could cause it to burn out (is this true?).

Any HD channel in the 800's that is not local (i.e., the channels with encryption) just shows a "channel not authorized" message. The same goes for all digital cable channels in the 100's, except for the select few that work on the little converter boxes for older TVs. Any HD channel in the 200's or 500's is either completely black, or has a message saying "channel not available". When I view the conditional access screen, the value for "Con" is yes, the value for "Val" is V 0x0E, and the value for Auth is MP. On some of the digital cable channels, the value for Auth depends on the ActivePrg value (it's sometimes FWK).

I've tried re-seating the CableCard, rebooting the machine, and going through Guided Setup again. Nothing.

Here are my current theories:
- Comcast is doing something wrong on their end, not authorizing the digital cable channels correctly.
- This may have something to do with the switch to Switched Digital Video in some Comcast markets. This would explain the 200's and 500's, but not the 100's and 800's.
- This is because of something configured in a unique way at the headend.

Last edited by spenb : 05-03-2012 at 04:58 PM. Reason: Issue resolved, changing title
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:03 PM   #2
GoEagles
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Call back to the Comcast Cablecard Activation Line (1-877-405-2291) sometimes, you get the right person who knows what they are doing, and then other time you don't. When I call I remind them to set whatever flag is needed for premium channels as well, if not, have your issue rolled up to a tech support person.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #3
spenb
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Wait, so it sounds like they might have to do something when activating and pairing the card that's necessary for the digital channels to work...
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
gt5059b
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I just went through this fiasco 2 days ago with my new Premiere XL4 and Comcast. I got up and running in about 1.5 hours.

First, I tried the automated line that was printed on the receipt (888-270-6445) and it didn't recognize the serial #.

I then tried the "cable card activation line" (877-405-2298); got someone overseas and he did something but all I could get was HD locals; guy said to wait an hour.

Next, I tried the "state side tech support" (800-934-6489), this guy knew what he was doing and had me up and running in under 10 minutes. BTW, he thought I was transferred to their line by normal Comcast support; I didn't let on I dialed directly..
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:40 PM   #5
minimeh
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I have had similar problems 3 times when dealing with returning equipment or adding equipment (such as a CableCard). Every time, when I have lost authorized channels, it was because somehow in the process of futzing with my account to show the returned or added equipment, my account had been munged to remove channel authorization. Seems unlikely, until it happens the second and third time!

The remedy is a matter of calling their regular help desk and telling them that you have lost authorized channels. They look it up, fix your account, and away you go. Fairly painless, if inexplicable!

If it turns out the first-line CSR can't figure it out, request to speak to a second-line. You are getting a pretty high hit-rate on BS (too many hits burn out a CableCard? A CableCard can not be un-paired from another device??)

Good luck!
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:29 PM   #6
bobster954
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spenb View Post
Wait, so it sounds like they might have to do something when activating and pairing the card that's necessary for the digital channels to work...
my issue was solved when the person at comcast cleared out the card information and manually entered the numbers..

until then it was just worthless and did not work.

that one event made it all work.

most of the people you talk to at comcast are, unfortunately, untrained and have zero knowledge regarding comcast cables cards (and usually programming too).

don't get me started on the 'you should not be receiving HD since you do not have our HD dvr'
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:57 AM   #7
sar840t2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spenb View Post
...This may have something to do with the switch to Switched Digital Video in some Comcast markets...
Say it ain't so, please. I've heard so many horror stories about SDV (most of them here), that there's no way I'd want to use a system that required them.

Mike (no SDV on Comcast here)
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:32 AM   #8
slowbiscuit
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Comcast does not use SDV and this problem is entirely on their end - most likely the card was not provisioned correctly for a one-way device and/or all the numbers don't match. Call the Cablecard number and have them escalate to tier 2 if they can't fix it - don't let them tell you it takes '45 mins. to an hour' to make it work (and get you off the phone), because it doesn't. Once the card is provisioned and paired correctly it works right away for all channels.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:44 PM   #9
GoEagles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobster954 View Post
my issue was solved when the person at comcast cleared out the card information and manually entered the numbers..

until then it was just worthless and did not work.

that one event made it all work.

most of the people you talk to at comcast are, unfortunately, untrained and have zero knowledge regarding comcast cables cards (and usually programming too).

don't get me started on the 'you should not be receiving HD since you do not have our HD dvr'
One representative told me that if I returned the HD box, I would no longer receive HD content on my Tivo boxes...
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Old 05-03-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
spenb
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Smile Issue resolved!

First of all, thank you all so much for your help.

After getting nowhere with customer support, I finally agreed to have a technician come out. He didn't have very much experience with TiVos, and asked another technician to come out and help. He also said that they (thankfully!) don't use Switched Digital Video in my market.

They tested the signal quality (which was fine, as I had figured), then relayed the CableCard ID, Host ID, and Data ID back to HQ. About 10 minutes later, my digital channels and HD cable channels came in without a problem.

They said that the issue was related to the rate codes that were entered (those darn things). Those were then apparently cleared and re-entered, and a maintenance hit was sent to the CableCard. The tech said that, for whatever reason, CSRs are no longer allowed to send maintenance hits to boxes, only technicians are.

So I guess the next step would be sending a letter to Comcast explaining that, had customer support been able to send a maintenance hit, it would have saved a lot of my time and lot of their time (and money).

Anyway, I'm a very happy TiVo user now!
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:03 PM   #11
Phantom Gremlin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spenb View Post
Auth is MP.
Yes, MP is a bad value. I found a link to TiVo's CableCARD web pages (maybe from the Series 3 forum) and TiVo mentions MP as a problem. I had the same MP problem a few days ago trying to get CableCARDs activated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gt5059b View Post
Next, I tried the "state side tech support" (800-934-6489), this guy knew what he was doing and had me up and running in under 10 minutes. BTW, he thought I was transferred to their line by normal Comcast support; I didn't let on I dialed directly..
I was given that same number by Comcast 1st tier support. They told me it's active 24/7. I didn't need to use it, because I hung up to reboot my TiVos (like they asked), and then they started working. Reboot early, reboot often! Seems like TiVos are just like PCs in that regard.
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