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Old 01-10-2013, 03:49 AM   #8671
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Originally Posted by magicspell View Post
... I just don't know how Comcast can keep increasing their rates for the same service...
From how many different cable TV companies do you have to choose at your address?

If the answer is the same as it is here, i.e, only 1, there's your answer.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:18 AM   #8672
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Any other options I could consider?
The cheapest option for me was to drop to limited basic plus Hulu+/Netflix/Amazon streaming. Like you I found that Digital Preferred + HBO wasn't worth the $75 or $85 or whatever I was paying above limited basic. I still get all the TV I need.

The cost of internet goes up if you don't have TV in your package. It ends up costing about the same whether or not you have limited basic with your Internet.
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Old 01-10-2013, 06:15 AM   #8673
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Call them and select the option to cancel or downgrade service, then get the retention rep to put on you the preferred double play package (all channels + Blast internet). Should be good for a year and costs $80/mo., I've been on it for over 2 years now because I can press the right buttons. No need to get a Tivo if all you want to do is reduce the cost of service. Your new bill with DVR should be around $100/mo, or maybe less if they throw the DVR in for free as part of the pkg.

If you replace their DVR with a Tivo - Cablecard installs are generally painless now, it will cost a little less, and you'll be a lot happier if you can live without OnDemand.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:48 AM   #8674
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I'll mention that Comcast is starting to charge for DTAs now. I returned mine, for which Comcast charged me a $2 "service change fee".
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:33 AM   #8675
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OK, I just spent the last several hours reading the last 15 - 20 pages from this topic. I'm trying to decide how to choose my best option with Tivo/Comcast.

Background: Current Comcast customer that is unhappy with how much monthly cable is running. Looking at my total Comcast bills over the past 1.5 years my rate has doubled without ANY change in service. I'm currently being charged the following:
1 HD DVR at $16.95 / mo
Digital Preferred at $86.49 / mo
2 DTA boxes at $0 / mo
Xfinity Internet (CHSI 2-3) plus Blast at $58.95 / mo
Total with taxes and fees is > $170 / mo !!! I can't believe it's costing me over $2,000 per year just to watch TV (well, and have internet).

The Xfinity TV service provides HD to ONE TV in the house while two other TVs receive the DTA conversion (crappy). My other TV is currently not connected to Comcast and only gets online content (Hulu, Netflix, etc).

I considered Tivo a few years back but was not enticed by the fiascos I had read regarding CableCards. I was hoping times have changed. I'm trying to compare a couple of scenarios to see what my options would be.

Scenario 1. Return Comcast's HD DVR and replace it with a Tivo Premiere. No other change to service. From what I can tell this would net a $16.95 / mo savings from Comcast but remove On Demand (until that feature is rolled out in my area). However, I would replace the $16.95 / mo charge to Comcast with a $15 / mo sub to Tivo.
Net savings $1.95 / mo with only a loss of On Demand plus the upfront cost of the Tivo unit.

Scenario 2. Return Comcast's HD DVR and replace it with a Tivo Premiere and add HD STB (no DVR) to additional TV. From what I can tell, this would reduce my Comcast bill by only $8.20 / mo (additional digital outlet in my area is quoted at $8.75 / mo). Add $15 / mo sub to Tivo.
Net increase of $6.8 / mo but now have HD on additional TV and no loss of On Demand (on one TV).

Does this sound about right? Any other options I could consider? I just don't know how Comcast can keep increasing their rates for the same service...
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Call them and select the option to cancel or downgrade service, then get the retention rep to put on you the preferred double play package (all channels + Blast internet). Should be good for a year and costs $80/mo., I've been on it for over 2 years now because I can press the right buttons. No need to get a Tivo if all you want to do is reduce the cost of service. Your new bill with DVR should be around $100/mo, or maybe less if they throw the DVR in for free as part of the pkg.

If you replace their DVR with a Tivo - Cablecard installs are generally painless now, it will cost a little less, and you'll be a lot happier if you can live without OnDemand.
Back in November, I too noticed my bill was $170-$185 (I forgot which).

I had only one HD DVR (but also phone and internet, and was on Digital Preferred).

I called the retention rep, and got on a 2 year contract with Comcast. First year will be $140 after taxes, next year will be $155 I think.

Then, last week, I got a Tivo Premiere, and chose the lifetime subscription ($500), as I think it will pay off in 4 years.

However, unlike you, magicspell, I was only paying $10 for the HD DVR from Comcast. So it would take me 50 months before I realize the savings from having the Tivo vs. Comcast's DVR.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:24 PM   #8676
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This paragraph is a load of bull.
That paragraph makes me nervous. I live in the same service area as rob_gendreau (the poster who got that email from Comcast) and tomorrow I'm going into their local office to return their STB and get an M-Card to start up service on my new Tivo Premiere I just bought yesterday. All along I'd been assuming that I'll be saving $16.95/mo off my current Comcast bill (what I'm currently paying for HD/DVR service) but the more I've read this week not just here but on other forums gives me a queasy feeling that they are just going to try to replace that HD/DVR Service fee with an HD service fee instead and I'm going to wind up saving a lot less than that.

FYI, I've got the Digital Starter package which on my bill says that the $68.49 for that includes "Standard Cable" and "Digital Converter and Remote, if applicable", and then the $16.95 says it's for "HD/DVR Service (Includes Hd Technology Fee)". So which one of these lines does the box actually fall under? I had assumed the latter and that returning the box simply removes that line item. But if they can say that the HD part of the bill refers to a service and not equipment... oh heck, I don't know what to think. It's ridiculous. What's the service? I have Standard Cable. If I didn't have an HDTV tuner it would still be all the same channels coming through including the HD ones only I just wouldn't be able to watch them because I didn't have the necessary equipment, right? If it's not an actual service that costs them anything extra to turn on and offer to me and if they are not providing me with any HD equipment either, then what exactly is it for?

I know, I know. I should wait to see how it goes before I get worked up about it. Maybe I'll be pleasantly suprised. Like a lot of people though, I've had too many run ins with Comcast not to have a bad feeling how this is going to work out. I guess I'll just put on my happy hat and hope for the best for now and then I'll post back to report how it goes. Wish me luck.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:07 AM   #8677
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That paragraph makes me nervous. I live in the same service area as rob_gendreau (the poster who got that email from Comcast) and tomorrow I'm going into their local office to return their STB and get an M-Card to start up service on my new Tivo Premiere I just bought yesterday. All along I'd been assuming that I'll be saving $16.95/mo off my current Comcast bill (what I'm currently paying for HD/DVR service) but the more I've read this week not just here but on other forums gives me a queasy feeling that they are just going to try to replace that HD/DVR Service fee with an HD service fee instead and I'm going to wind up saving a lot less than that.
Well, since you're not currently paying that fee, adding it would be tantamount to charging you a fee for using your own equipment. Doesn't mean they won't try and they might even get away with it since the FCC doesn't seem to be interested in enforcing the relevant regulations. In addition, you should begin receiving a monthly "User Owned Equipment" credit.

Comcast has no consistent policy, even within a locale, much less in different locales.
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Old 01-11-2013, 07:29 AM   #8678
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Comcast has no consistent policy, even within a locale, much less in different locales.
I agree with you to a great extent, but I also believe I see signs that Comcast is *trying* to move toward consistent policies across the company: witness a few recent posts about subscribers in some areas that weren't paying additional outlet fees are now seeing them show up on their bills. But since we're discussing Comcast here - the home of the ill-informed CSR - it's likely it will be a *long* time before any system-wide standardization is achieved.
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Old 01-11-2013, 09:51 AM   #8679
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Lots of differing positions in this thread but I think with your own TiVo you pay the $68.95 fee for basic cable, less a couple of dollars discount for having your own converter/remote in place of Comcast's STB and no HD fee. IMO the HD fee is an incremental fee to differentiate between renting an SD STB and renting an HD STB/DVR.

All this assuming that your TiVo is connected to the only TV in your account with no other receiving equipment.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:29 AM   #8680
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Well, since you're not currently paying that fee, adding it would be tantamount to charging you a fee for using your own equipment. Doesn't mean they won't try and they might even get away with it since the FCC doesn't seem to be interested in enforcing the relevant regulations. In addition, you should begin receiving a monthly "User Owned Equipment" credit.

Comcast has no consistent policy, even within a locale, much less in different locales.
Thanks for the reply. Playing a little CSR roulette I just called Comcast again to talk to one of their billing reps and for the 2nd time they assured me that the $16.95 HD/DVR service fee would be removed from my bill and not replaced with any HD service fee or any other new service charge, only this time they told me it will be $1.10/mo for the cable card (the previous rep had told me it would be $1.50). Anyway, that part I don't mind fighting later. To me the bigger thing is making sure there won't be some $8 or 9 HD service fee added that completely alters the math of switching over to Tivo, and now that I have 2 of their reps on record that their won't be I'm a little more reassured on the topic.

FYI for anyone interested, the most encouraging thing about the call was that the rep I was talking to was clearly reading off some internal memo Comcast must have issued out to their reps when she told me there'd be no HD service fee. At the start she didn't seem to know what a Tivo even was but when I explained it to her and then drilled down on the HD service fee question in particular she put me on hold for a few seconds and must have found some written guidance pertaining to "Tivo DVR customers" specifically that told her there'd be no HD fee. She didn't seem to be just winging it to wrap up the call and went from confused to confident in what she was telling me once she came back on the line, as if she'd just located the answer that was directly on point to my question.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:40 AM   #8681
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Lots of differing positions in this thread but I think with your own TiVo you pay the $68.95 fee for basic cable, less a couple of dollars discount for having your own converter/remote in place of Comcast's STB and no HD fee. IMO the HD fee is an incremental fee to differentiate between renting an SD STB and renting an HD STB/DVR.

All this assuming that your TiVo is connected to the only TV in your account with no other receiving equipment.
Thanks. I assume this is what it should be too and per my previous post I'm a little more reassured now after my 2nd call with Comcast billing support that they won't try to pull some HD service fee. They're really all over the board on this question though. Check out this Q&A from Comcast's Customer Support Forum:

http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Xfinity...1479375#M59559

That was less than 2 months ago so if they really have put out guidance to their CSRs since then that the only HD charges should be for Comcast equipment and not any HD service fee (the impression I got from call to them this morning), it must be a very recent development.

Anyway, I'll post back later to wrap up how it actually went once I get my next bill.
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:41 PM   #8682
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Lots of differing positions in this thread but I think with your own TiVo you pay the $68.95 fee for basic cable, less a couple of dollars discount for having your own converter/remote in place of Comcast's STB and no HD fee. IMO the HD fee is an incremental fee to differentiate between renting an SD STB and renting an HD STB/DVR.

All this assuming that your TiVo is connected to the only TV in your account with no other receiving equipment.
Which is true except that the HD fee is charged to Tivos in some areas and not others even if you don't have one of their HD STBs. Luckily I live in an area with no fee and I get all the HD channels.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:40 PM   #8683
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this time they told me it will be $1.10/mo for the cable card (the previous rep had told me it would be $1.50). Anyway, that part I don't mind fighting later.
There should be no fee for the the first CableCard, again assuming you don't have other Comcast equipment (STB) and there's only one TV. The first one is all rolled into the programming fee (as is the STB, which is why you get a discount with a TiVo).
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:04 AM   #8684
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Well if only I had HD fees and Comcast billing to be worried about. At this point I'm just still hoping to get the cable card paired. Picked one up at the local Comcast store yesterday and breezed through the guided setup. Thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones, but no. "Acquiring Channel Information.. loading, 75%" it says, and continues to say that for the next 2 hours. Call Tivo tech support to get on a 3 way with Comcast. Turns out I've got a bad card. Turn it back in, wait in line 30 minutes and pick up 3 more cards, just in case 1 or 2 of them is bad. None of them work. All day on the phone with Comcast and Tivo. Con = yes but Val = ?, every time. Really? 4 cards and none of them work? Seems incredible to me, even for Comcast. But I talked to 3 different Comcast tech support reps + a supervisor, w/Tivo tech support on the line for 3 of those calls so it doesn't seem any more likely that every single Comcast rep screwed up the process somehow either. So now Comcast is sending a tech out Mon afternoon.

Anyone experience the same thing (Con = yes, Val = ?)? Seemed like something Comcast hadn't dealt with much before because every time they tried to tell me it was paired on their end and get me off the phone before I'd check that Val field like the Tivo reps had coached me to do and say no it isn't paired. Could it be something w/how my Tivo is connected or some error I might have done during Guided Setup? Like I said, it seems incredible to me to get the same bad outcome w/4 different cards and multiple reps, so I can't help thinking there's something else going on that no one is catching. If anyone has any clues please let me know. Thanks!
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Old 01-13-2013, 08:56 AM   #8685
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It's highly doubtful you had 4 bad cards. If the cards won't pull the channels there is either a signal problem or the card wasn't activated correctly.

Did you go through the troubleshooting steps at http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/137?
That should tell you where the problem lies.

Last edited by morac : 01-13-2013 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:37 AM   #8686
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You've got a bad link there, here is the correct one:

http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/137

This is a great resource to find out what's going on.
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Old 01-13-2013, 09:56 AM   #8687
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Stupid message board parser parsed my "?" as part of the URL, which normally wouldn't be a problem, but TiVo's web site is weird. Anyway I fixed it, thanks.

On a side note, I found that sometimes the links to the PDF files on that page don't work, because TiVo adds a bunch of junk at the end of the URL. If that happens, you need to remove everything after ".pdf" to get it to show up.
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Old 01-13-2013, 10:28 AM   #8688
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Con = yes, Val = ? is the sign of an un-paired card. In all likelihood, they have entered the wrong number for Host ID or Data ( I don't remember which one is used) and typically, they don't recognize it and/or have no idea how to fix it.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:24 PM   #8689
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You've got a bad link there, here is the correct one:

http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/137

This is a great resource to find out what's going on.
Thanks for the link. After some research here and a couple more calls to Comcast today it's apparent that there is no OOB connection to the cable headend and that the channel map they have for me is incorrect (VCTID has a # assigned - 81 - but VCT Recv'd = 0). Unfortunately though, no one I talk to at Comcast knows how to fix that or can put me through to anyone who can. The cable card activation line says they can't see any headend information or channel mapping and twice today when I've asked them to escalate it to someone who does they've told they were transferring me to local support but both times I wound up going to Billing instead who had even less info than activation. I already had a ticket with local support for a tech to come out tomorrow afternoon and tried telling them if the headend info and channel mapping is wrong that's not something they need to come out to my house to fix so why not just put me on the phone now with the correct person to fix that on the backend instead of wasting the tech's trip out here? Nope, can't do it. Local support doesn't have a number you can call from the outside and if you insist on being transferred to them you get Billing instead who can only make notes on your account that hopefully the local support tech will review before he comes out to you. So now I'm just waiting for the tech tomorrow since there's nothing else they'll let me do until then. Which would have been a lot less aggravating if they could have just told me that from my first call today instead of letting me spend the next hour+ on the phone with them thinking that the problem was being escalated to the right people only to be run around in circles.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:43 PM   #8690
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Local support doesn't have a number you can call from the outside and if you insist on being transferred to them you get Billing instead who can only make notes on your account that hopefully the local support tech will review before he comes out to you. So now I'm just waiting for the tech tomorrow since there's nothing else they'll let me do until then.
Welcome to the world of "awesome". The most annoying thing about Comcast that I've found is that it is impossible to talk to techs at the local office. The only way to get in touch with them is by having a service guy come out and hope he'll pass the message along to the office.

I played that game in the past where it took weeks to find and fix an intermittent problem because there was no way to get in touch with the people that matter when the problem was occurring. I finally ended up getting the phone number of the lead tech and that's how I got the problem fixed. I still have that number, but don't use it for a few reasons (they screen calls anyway).

If the tech doesn't get the ball rolling, I recommend contacting @ComcastCares on Twitter or emailing We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com with the details. That goes to the executive corporate team who can usually apply pressure of your local fiefdom. Though I think they've been reigned in a bit lately as they don't seem all as all powerful as they used to be.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:23 AM   #8691
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Welcome to the world of "awesome". The most annoying thing about Comcast that I've found is that it is impossible to talk to techs at the local office. The only way to get in touch with them is by having a service guy come out and hope he'll pass the message along to the office.

I played that game in the past where it took weeks to find and fix an intermittent problem because there was no way to get in touch with the people that matter when the problem was occurring. I finally ended up getting the phone number of the lead tech and that's how I got the problem fixed. I still have that number, but don't use it for a few reasons (they screen calls anyway).

If the tech doesn't get the ball rolling, I recommend contacting @ComcastCares on Twitter or emailing We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com with the details. That goes to the executive corporate team who can usually apply pressure of your local fiefdom. Though I think they've been reigned in a bit lately as they don't seem all as all powerful as they used to be.
Thanks for the tip. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that the tech I get today knows who at Comcast can validate and fix the headend info and channel map and if he can't help I'll try that We Can Help email.
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Old 01-15-2013, 08:50 AM   #8692
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So the tech came out. Completely useless. Tried 3 more cards and still got Val: ?, no OOB lock and 0 channels with all of them. By the last card he tried we weren't even getting Con: yes and a VCTID# (probably because he mumbled through the card s/n, host and data IDs with dispatch who must have keyed them in wrong) so I had him put back in the first one he installed since at least that one seemed to have activated, like the 4 previous cards I had tried on my own, though none of them would pair. And BTW, when I told him that's why I wanted the first card reinstalled he looked at me like he had no idea that activation and pairing were different things. Anyway, here's the sum total of what I got out of the 2.5 hrs he took from my busy workday to bless me with his incompetence:

1) On one of his early calls with dispatch they did go through my account info first and assured him there was nothing there that should be preventing the card from pairing, although dispatch did tell him that some code associated with my account wouldn't allow me to get HD channels and that there'd be a $10/mo charge for that which apparently I could deal with later after they got the card paired at all (see my previous posts about earlier Comcast reps swearing up and down I'd have no additional charge to pay for HD)

2) The tech told me that my cable headend was 80S and that even though the card he left me with and all the ones I had tried previously on my own showed VCTID = 81 that that didn't mean anything and that he was assured by dispatch that there was no problem with the cablecard trying to connect me to the wrong headend and channel map.

3) On his last call with his supervisor, the guy told him that the problem was with my Tivo: that I must not have had the latest firmware installed (I had downloaded all updates through guided setup just this weekend ) or that it was Tivo that didn't have the right channel information for me (which of course sounds like buck passing to me, however I did notice that a message I got on the Tivo yesterday that includes what's supposed to be my channel lineup according to however Tivo gets that info does not match exactly what Comcast shows as my channel lineup when I plug in my address to look it up on Comcast's site, so I'll call Tivo tech support when they open this morning to double check that w/them.) I also did get the supervisor's name and number and if Tivo reassures me again that there's not any problem on their end I'll be calling him today.

4) As a souvenir of his visit, the tech installed on the exterior of my house some ugly meter box. He didn't ask my permission to do this or even tell me. He just said he had to work on something outside, which I assumed meant getting something out of the van or making a private call from there, when all the sudden I heard drilling and by the time I recognized what it was and got out there the job had already been done. And that's when I finally got angry. The tech's only response was that he was required to install them on every call now, like that actually answers how the guy has the nerve to drill holes in the side of my house to mount some ugly box without my permission. Great, huh?

So bottom line, my Tivo is still useless to me and if by some miracle I can eventually get the cablecard actually paired I'm now on notice from Comcast that they will actually be charging me extra to get HD channels after all. So now as much as I HATE Comcast and hate giving them any more of my money than I have to, I'm beginning to wonder if all this is even worth it. If only I wasn't a huge baseball fan and didn't have any other options to watch the Giants live except for DirecTV (which from my experience is just as bad as Comcast) I would just cut the cord. But as it is I'm stuck and may have to reward Comcast's horrible behavior by returning my Tivo and keeping my DVR service with them after all. Help?
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:41 PM   #8693
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ElJimador,

When you did guided setup, were there multiple Comcast options? If so, maybe you should try a different one.

Have you tried removing the CableCARD and seeing if a channel scan can find anything?

The fact that you are not getting any channels at all says it is more than a pairing problem. Send the e-mail to we_can_help documenting all of your problems including the addition of the meter to the outside of your house and asking for an explanation.
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:07 PM   #8694
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ElJimador,

When you did guided setup, were there multiple Comcast options? If so, maybe you should try a different one.

Have you tried removing the CableCARD and seeing if a channel scan can find anything?

The fact that you are not getting any channels at all says it is more than a pairing problem. Send the e-mail to we_can_help documenting all of your problems including the addition of the meter to the outside of your house and asking for an explanation.
Thanks for the tips. I've got a call into the tech's supervisor and I want to see how that goes before I try the we_can_help email, so I can document everything together. As for the guided setup though, this is where I'm still not sure I'm getting a straight answer from Tivo tech support either. Because when I did the setup I only had 1 option to choose for Comcast and of course I keyed in my zip too, but then it asked me what I got on certain channels to confirm what cable headend I'm actually receiving from. Both times I did the setup (because I did a complete delete and reboot on Sunday after I couldn't get any of the cards I got from my local Comcast store to pair the day before) the first channel it asked me about was 28, and both times none of the choices it gave me was the channel I actually got (BTV Access, some local public access channel here in Berkeley). So the first time I entered none of the above and the 2nd guided setup after reboot I entered "not sure, ask me about another channel" and then both times from there it asked me about the same 2 other channels where the choices available did match my lineup. Then yesterday before the tech arrived I got a message on my Tivo which told me a particular channel had been deleted from my lineup and showed me all other channels I'm supposed to be getting. No channel 28 in that lineup, and a couple other channels listed aren't on Comcast's lineup when I look up my address w/them either. So I told this to Tivo's cablecard support group this morning and the guy tells me that based on my answers to those channel questions that Tivo assumed that I'm actually mapped to a headend in the zip code just north of me. But then he also tells me that this shouldn't prevent the cablecard from pairing and that my channel list will be corrected automatically once I start getting a signal. He insists that the real problem is that Comcast has only given me cablecards preconfigured for a different service area (VCTID 81 when it should be 80S). So like I say, I'm waiting for a call back from the supervisor of the Comcast tech who came back yesterday, but at this point I don't really know who to believe. And BTW, after the tech's visit yesterday I got an order confirmation from Comcast that shows $16.95 HD/DVR Service fee readded to my account (fair enough I guess, for the STB I asked them to leave for me until I can finally get the Tivo working) and also a mysterious new $8.75/mo charge for "Digital Additional" (which I'm sure is the additional fee for HD channels on the Tivo even though I still don't have a working cablecard to get ANY channels on the Tivo).

Anyway, I do appreciate the tips and tonight when I get home I'll try removing the card and doing the channel scan. Thanks.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:42 PM   #8695
magicspell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowbiscuit View Post
Call them and select the option to cancel or downgrade service, then get the retention rep to put on you the preferred double play package (all channels + Blast internet). Should be good for a year and costs $80/mo., I've been on it for over 2 years now because I can press the right buttons. No need to get a Tivo if all you want to do is reduce the cost of service. Your new bill with DVR should be around $100/mo, or maybe less if they throw the DVR in for free as part of the pkg.

If you replace their DVR with a Tivo - Cablecard installs are generally painless now, it will cost a little less, and you'll be a lot happier if you can live without OnDemand.
First off, thanks to everyone that responded with advice. Although I'm a bit late in responding I do appreciate the tips.

Here's what I ended up with. I went to my local Comcast office (after finally finding it) and asked to remove the HD DVR and pick up a cable card. No problem. Then I asked to reduce my service to the tier below digital preferred. The CSR looked for a minute and told me she could put me on the double play offer with digital prefereed and internet for $79/mo for a year (sounds similar to what slowbiscuit described). I agreed. I'll have to remind myself to circle back next year and not let the promotion expire, lol. I also need to review the next couple of bills to insure they get it right.

Next I went and picked up the Tivo premiere (went with the XL/4). Got everything home and set up the Tivo through the guided install. Let it update everything WITHOUT the cablecard installed. Next day I installed the cablecard and called the Comcast cablecard hotline (with fingers crossed). Read off the info from the Tivo screens and the Comcast rep said everything looked "fine" except my account didn't reflect the proper coding for the cablecard. He automatically transferred me to the regular Comcast support who I then had to explain everything to. I was beginning to think I was doomed. However, within a few minutes the TV came on and I could tune all my channels! I consider my cablecard install/pairing a success compared to many I've read about.

Since installing the TiVo last weekend I've been able to set up pyTivo, kmttg, and Playon. I've pushed a couple of files to the TiVo with pyTivo which played beautifully. Last night I pulled a few recorded broadcast shows from the TiVo and recoded them with VideoReDo. All seems to be working as designed so far.

Thanks again for the info, background, and wealth of guidance in these forums. Without it I'm sure I wouldn't have come this far (especially so quickly)!
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:35 AM   #8696
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So I talked to the supervisor of the Comcast tech who came to my house and that didn't help either. Nice guy, seemed to mean well and all that but his only guidance was to call 800 Comcast to have them run through all my account info to make sure there wasn't anything there that might be preventing pairing, and then call their cablecard activation line again and if it still didn't pair to have them try the signal from different cable headends nearby. Seemed like reasonable advise and I was encouraged when the rep through 800 Comcast (after putting me on hold for a long time to talk to her supervisor) said that they did find 1 change to make on my account that might help (something about a header key that orders how their signal is sent to different equipment). But then I called cable card activation and found out that didn't change anything and that they have no ability to send you a signal from a different headend that you're assigned. Her advice was that I try going to a different local Comcast store in my area and pick up a card from them. Which brings me to my question to all of the knowledgeable folks here: are cable cards supposed to be pre-configured for your particular service area (cable headend, channel map or whatever)? I can't seem to get a straight answer on this from Comcast or Tivo. The local tech supervisor for Comcast says no, that they deliver the same refurbished Motorola cards throughout the Bay Area. But I'm still stuck on the fact that the VCTID on all the cards they've provided me so far reads as 81 when they're telling me my actual VCT is 80S. Seems unlikely to me that that's something pre-configured on the card itself since the VCTID when you first put a new card in shows as 0 and doesn't appear until Comcast sends the activation signal. But then why would they advise me to try a card from a different local Comcast store instead?

I've emailed all this to the We_Can_Help address and left another message back for the local tech supervisor to what he can do to escalate on his end. I'm also buying another Premiere today, basically just to test everything on that too and rule out to Comcast that my Tivo itself is the problem when they inevitably try to discard me over to Tivo support instead. In the meantime, anything more that anyone here can tell my about my VCTID disconnect would be much appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:36 PM   #8697
ElJimador
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Got a call from the Comcast Executive Office re: the email I sent to We_Can_Help. She seemed knowledgeable about cable card pairing and said she'd reach out to my local field office to get this resolved. She also cleared up a couple mysteries for me. 1) No one at Comcast was telling my that VCTID should be "80S", they were saying "ADS", as in my cable headend is Berkeley ADS. Apparently VCT means nothing to them and they have no other designation for what your channel map is supposed to be so they just answered my questions on that by repeating the headend location. So disregard my earlier question on that. Also she confirmed that there is no additional fee to get HD channels, so what local dispatch told the tech in my home earlier on that was BS.

Anyway, seems like the issue is finally in the right hands so I hope to have happy news to report back on this in the next day or 2. Thanks to everyone on the tips so far, especially on contacting the We_Can_Help email.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:13 AM   #8698
a68oliver
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although I am no expert on this, it is my understanding from reading these threads for some time, that the cablecard is provisioned (before handing it to you) for your particular headend. If it is not provisioned correctly, then the activation signals won't reach it.

This could explalin some of your problems. Also, I am not paying an HD fee. It is also my understanding that that is only for Comcast provided HD equipment, ie., DVR or cablebox.

If you get charged it, ask to cancel the service and you willl probably continue to receive the HD channels.

Good luck. We_can_help cleaned up my billing issue a few years ago.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:14 AM   #8699
ElJimador
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Well whadda ya know. Took the new Premiere out of the box yesterday, plugged in cable card I already had and it paired on the first try. Turns out it was a Tivo issue all along. For the benefit of others who experience pairing problems similar to my own, there was a difference in the setup this time that I suspect was key. Even though both units were brand new Premiere's right out of the box from local Best Buy's (the first the original 320 gb model and the new one the 500 gb) and even though I went through the same process on both of completing the entire guided setup before attempting to activate the card, this time I was never asked what I got on particular channels (28, 34, etc.). I could swear I didn't answer the questions that led up to it any differently this time than I had twice before in doing and redoing the guided setup on the first (same zip code and provider info etc.) but whereas last time it asked me those questions and determined from my answers to them that I must actually be associated with a channel map in the zip code just north of me instead of the zip I entered, this time it just took my zip code and provider answers, gave me the channel list to confirm, and loaded the data. After completing the guided setup and putting the card in its slot I then noted the following differences prior to calling Comcast for pairing:

*On the Cable Card Menu / Network Status page, OOB Msgs received became a non-zero # and continued to refresh upward from the moment I inserted the card
*Hitting the Guide button immediately showed me an actual channel guide instead "Acquiring Channel Information, Loading..." forever.

From these indicators my assumption now is that contra everything I had been told in multiple calls with Tivo tech support, the local tech supervisor for Comcast was right: the fact that Tivo assigned the wrong channel list to me on initial setup was the reason the card wouldn't pair. In the end it worked out to my advantage because of the price drop on the 500 gb model which I would have bought in the first place if it was at its current $50 off sale price then. But I have to say I'm very disappointed with Tivo support in all this. Twice I had them on 3 way calls with Comcast cable card activation pointing out all the info I could after each failed attempt (including the 0 OOB msgs received and the "Acquiring Channel Info" via the Guide button), and when I went back to them after what the Comcast local tech supervisor told me they insisted repeatedly that there was no way that Tivo assigning me to the wrong channel list in the initial setup would prevent a card from pairing. In hindsight I should have been more skeptical of that answer and more firm in insisting that they fix my setup instead of letting them turn me around and send me back to Comcast each time. But with a lot of previous bad experiences with Comcast vs. Tivo's much better reputation I just couldn't get my mind around the idea that it really could be a Tivo issue all along, and then the more my calls turned to frustration and complaints about Comcast the more the Tivo reps just kept me pointed in that direction. Friendly, but not very helpful.

Anyway, problem solved at last and I'm looking forward to playing with my new toy.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:23 PM   #8700
Davelnlr_
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Glad its working for you. Im not sure, after reading your last post, just what the problem was, however. Unlike you, when I just activated my new box, it did ask me the question about what channel I received on channel 2 during guided setup, and the card paird up ok. I really dont see what having the wrong channel map on the cablecard would have to do with the pairing. I would think it would pair up, and just provide the wrong channels...

In any case, glad its working for you now.
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