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Old 07-18-2014, 11:50 PM   #1
u1drwhy
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Xfinity On Demand: GSM-11 and CL-14 Service Errors

This thread is specific to GSM-11 and CL-14 service errors on Roamio series DVRs, Note: the troubleshooting steps below may or may not apply to other Xfinity On Demand low level communication failures and may or may not apply to other Tivo series DVRs.

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION
When launching Xfinity On Demand the user experiences a GSM-11 service error on startup...AND/OR...a CL-14 service error when selecting Watch Now. Typically ALL but at least ONE or more of the behaviors below occurs:
  • A GSM-11 service error may or may not appear upon initial launch. It will disappear within a few seconds and may or may not reappear if the application is closed and re-launched
  • ALL selections of ALL titles FAIL with a CL-14 service error including paid content, Streampix, etc. when selecting Watch Now
  • ALL other services PASS including Xfinity internet, live TV, Netflix, etc.
  • Service errors are intermittent: Xfinity On Demand works sometimes, meaning you can actually launch and watch a movie, but other times not.

ROOT CAUSE
Comcast describes the CL-14 error as a "low level communication" failure. This is almost always the result of a Comcast network failure of some sort (server, network, performance issue, etc). Chances are you are not the only one impacted and a larger local area is also experiencing issues.
Important!!!
Read these forums and you will see this issue has persisted for years now, with no accountability from Comcast. Surprise!
However, Tivo also shares the blame for not working with Comcast to effectively root cause the issue(s) involved and provide a solution...or at least provide more coherent troubleshooting steps. Here's why Tivo's participation is so important:
  • Tivo restricts Roamio functionality(except for the HD antenna option) to Comcast(plus a handful of other cable providers) and Verizon. They therefore assume some responsibility for working with and influencing these providers to resolve issues like this on behalf of their customers.
  • There's a handshake happening here between the Tivo network and the Comcast network. Tivo would have you believe it's just their box...and everything else is Comcast.
  • Tivo actively advertizes support of Xfinity On Demand and provides a link from their website where a potential customer can determine availability per market. If Tivo said, "We don't support Xfinity On Demand.", then case closed. In the meantime, Tivo shouldn't be promoting a solution that hasn't worked well for so many of their customers for so long.

TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS
All righty, so here's my attempt to fill the void. These are painfully obvious steps, but you may not have heard them before or perhaps not prioritized like this. Instead you've likely been told by Comcast and Tivo to try everything else first. If this is the case, the steps below should save you much pain and will hopefully serve to bring the issue(s) involved to a close:

STEP 1
When Xfinity On Demand is the ONLY service impacted (see criteria under Problem Description above), call Xfinity On Demand Support at: 1-877-530-6950.

STEP 2
Tell the Xfinity On Demand support rep at this number to check if there are any network issues in your local area that could be impacting Xfinity On Demand service.

If the rep says they cannot do this...OR...even if they say they checked and there are no issues, make them escalate the case and make sure you get a ticket#(will begin with "CR") to refer back to. Tell the support rep you want this case escalated to the cable headend supervisor/manager and you want confirmation back - to be documented in the ticket - on the status of Xfinity On Demand service in your area.

STEP 3
Open a ticket with Tivo support and provide the escalated case CR# you opened with Xfinity On Demand support in Step 2. Add a note in the case telling Tivo you want this case left open until a true root cause(s) with logical, comprehensive troubleshooting steps is provided in the short term and these GSM-11 and CL-14 service errors are finally resolved in the long term.

LESS THAN HELPFUL TROUBLESHOOTING STEPS

Host Id and Data ID
Xfinity On Demand support will ask for the Host and Data ID's, so navigate to Settings & Messages > Settings > Remote CableCARD, & Devices > CableCARD Decoder > CableCARD options(for Installers) > CableCARD Menu > CableCARD Pairing....and knock yourself out. This isn't your problem unless you already tried replacing the cable card.

Remove and/or replace the Cablecard
No, Tivo...no! Removing and replacing the cable card changes the Data ID. Replacing the card is a nightmare of mammoth proportions causing customers to have to go back to Comcast, stand inline, get another card, and then re-initialize Tivo and Comcast service. That's just mean!

Instead, tell them to check the firmware version (FW*) by navigating to: Settings & Messages > Settings > Remote CableCARD, & Devices > CableCARD Decoder > CableCARD options(for Installers) > CableCARD Menu > CableCARD Status. If they have a Motorola card and it's FW* rev. 6.25 or later, they are good. However, remember: the symptom is typically that Xfinity On Demand works sometimes, other times not. The Cablecard is not the issue here.

Billing and rate codes aka. Auth codes
Tivo forums are rife with changing billing codes as a magic bullet. If Xfinity On Demand never worked for you ever...ok, let them screw around with changing the codes as much as they want. They'll pretend to change the code, cryptically adding something like:"Tivo Premier". Btw this is a tier code, NOT a code that stands for the Premier box specifically. They'll send a CCV (Cable Card Activation) signal to pair the card, and they'll send an INIT to burn in the new rate codes...blah de blah. Useless steps for the most part.

Again, the behavior that most of us experience is intermittent: sometimes Xfinity On Demand works, other times not. They changed my billing codes several times over the course of one week. Changing billing codes never worked for me, and it doesn't work for most people. If changing the billing codes worked for anyone reading this, then I call upon Tivo to pin Comcast down: Could this actually be a billing code issue and, if so, what's up with the freakin' billing codes, Comcast?

Physical Issues
I'm assuming everyone reading this has rebooted the Tivo box a bunch of times already by physically unplugging it. Did you count to :60? Betcha felt stupid. You removed splitters, checked for loose connections from the wall to the back of your Tivo, replaced cables where possible, checked for loose connections on the main line to the pole. I'm assuming you all have a clue and did basic stuff like this already, but this did not resolve the issue.

Then comes the sacred mantra of Comcast and Tivo will typically chime in: "Roll the truck! Check for signal leakage and S/N issues!" All I can tell you is: they rolled the truck three - count 'em three - separate times to my house all for an issue where ONLY Xfinity On Demand wasn't working. All this after a speed test confirmed I was getting a blazing fast rate on my internet, live TV was perfect, no issues with any other internet subscription services like Netflix and so on.

On the third truck roll, even though Xfinity on Demand just happened to be working before they got here, even though the S/N ratio was perfect, they replaced a cable connection that was only six months old, a splitter that showed absolutely no signal leakage, and they performed other "make work" tasks for no reason. The odds a truck roll will work for the Problem Description above are minimal.


CONCLUSION
I did my best to drag answers out of the various Comcast reps on the calls I made to the Xfinity On Demand support number provided above. Every time I called, a different support rep would give me a different explanation, usually in absolute terms like, "Errors like this are always due to the wrong billing codes." The next day it was: "Errors like this are always physical." The folks at this number give imperfect answers, but they're the best we've got until this gets escalated further.

The day before the third truck roll, I noticed that Xfinfity On Demand was working consistently. Over the weekend, it continued to work, never failing once. I called back Xfinfity On Demand support on Monday and probed for an explanation. They told me there was an "issue in my area impacting Xfinfity On Demand and other services". They were unwilling or unable to be more specific. Totally unacceptable after all these years and with so many people experiencing these same issues.

I strongly suspect the escalation to the cable headend made someone check my card on a server, for example, and realize there was an issue not only with my service but with the service in my area in general. So, try my Troubleshooting Steps when the behavior you are experiencing meets the criteria specified in the Problem Description above. Also, advise Comcast and Tivo to avoid troubleshooting steps that are ineffective and don't apply to the intermittent errors you are experiencing. You will most likely find this is a Comcast network failure of some sort and you are not the only one experiencing it.

This does not release Tivo of their responsibility for reasons I've already explained. I've got a case open with Tivo and it's going to stay open until there's a solution. I encourage everyone experiencing this issue to open cases with Comcast and Tivo as described in Step 2 and 3 above.

Last edited by u1drwhy : 07-27-2014 at 05:23 AM. Reason: Made some edits to resolve three issues discovered by CrispyCritter
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Old 07-19-2014, 08:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by u1drwhy View Post
[*]Tivo restricts Roamio functionality(except for the HD antenna option) to two providers: Comcast and Verizon. They therefore assume some responsibility for working with and influencing these providers to resolve issues like this on behalf of their customers.
...

Host Id and Data ID
If the Host and Data Ids were wrong the card could not pair...period. You wouldn't be getting live TV in this event. This fact won't stop Xfinity On Demand support from asking for the Host and Data ID's anyway, so navigate to Settings & Messages > Settings > Remote CableCARD, & Devices > CableCARD Decoder > CableCARD options(for Installers) > CableCARD Menu > CableCARD Pairing....and knock yourself out. This isn't your problem.

...

Remove and/or replace the Cablecard
No, Tivo...no! If Live TV and every other service works, why would you tell customers to do this? Removing the card can change the Host and/or Data IDs. Replacing the card is a nightmare of mammoth proportions causing customers to have to go back to Comcast, stand inline, get another card, and then re-initialize Tivo and Comcast service. That's just mean!

...

Billing and rate codes aka. Auth codes
Tivo forums are rife with changing billing codes as a magic bullet. If Xfinity On Demand never worked for you ever...ok, let them screw around with changing the codes as much as they want. They'll pretend to change the code, cryptically adding something like:"Tivo Premier". Btw this is a tier code, NOT a code that stands for the Premier box specifically. They'll send a CCV (Cable Card Activation) signal to pair the card, and they'll send an INIT to burn in the new rate codes...blah de blah. Useless steps for the most part.

Again, the behavior that most of us experience is intermittent: sometimes Xfinity On Demand works, other times not. They changed my billing codes several times over the course of one week. Changing billing codes never worked for me, and it doesn't work for most people. If changing the billing codes worked for anyone reading this, then I call upon Tivo to pin Comcast down: Could this actually be a billing code issue and, if so, what's up with the freakin' billing codes, Comcast?
I'm sorry you're having problems, but there are many things wrong with your statement. Basically all the info I left in my quote above is incorrect.

Roamio functionality is not restricted to Verizon/Comcast and never has been. It works for any cable system that is required to have cablecards (Uverse, Dish, Directv are not; pretty much everybody else is).

Having an unpaired cablecard does NOT mean you do not get live-tv. It only means that you do not get copy-protected shows like HBO (and On-Demand), Lots of folks run unpaired cable cards, sometimes knowingly, most times not. I've run for years unpaired, and am running a TV unpaired now (and not able to access On-Demand on that TV.)

Removing the card will never change the HostId, and won't change the DataId unless you take some other action (like trying a different cablecard).

It's a fact of life that Comcast has problems pairing cablecards - that many of their cablecards are set up in their system incorrectly and can't be paired until their setup is corrected. Very few Comcast reps know enough to do this. If you can't get a cablecard paired because of that, replacing it is much easier than finding the knowledgeable Comcast rep.

The billing code absolutely is required in most franchises. Note it is attached to the account, not a cablecard, and so is very often difficult to change (some Comcast reps do not have the authority to change things in the billing system but don't realize it.) It has been the only problem for numerous folks here, who were already running with paired cablecards. So it was a magic bullet for them. But it's only one thing of several that need to be working, so it won't solve the problem for everybody, and obviously not for you. I don't understand why you think it should.

Comcast in your area is having problems getting their on-demand software setup to work. Not too much TiVo can do to help - it works for most franchises.
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:43 AM   #3
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Some corrections

Crispy said: "I'm sorry you're having problems, but there are many things wrong with your statement. Basically all the info I left in my quote above is incorrect."

There are not "many" problems with my post. There are exactly three and three = a few, not many. They were minor in my opinion, but deserving of fixes nonetheless. Please read below and I'll tell you where I agree and where you are either wrong or missing the point.

Crispy said: "Roamio functionality is not restricted to Verizon/Comcast and never has been. It works for any cable system that is required to have cablecards (Uverse, Dish, Directv are not; pretty much everybody else is)."

You are right. It was unintentional, but I will correct the statement in question to make it clear that Tivo obviously supports other cable systems. However, don't miss the main point: I am talking about Xfinity on Demand issues here and this post is meant to be specific to Comcast in that regard.

Crispy said:
"Having an unpaired cablecard does NOT mean you do not get live-tv."
AND
"Removing the card will never change the HostId, and won't change the DataId unless you take some other action (like trying a different cablecard)."

I did not know this about Live TV! The statement I made above was exactly what I was told by Xfinity VOD Support. I should have considered the source I will correct the misstatement about pairing being required to get live TV ...AND...even though it was a typo when I said: Removing the card can change the Host and/or Data IDs...when what I meant to say was: Removing and replacing the card can change the Data ID...it was sloppy on my part and I will correct this.

Crispy said: "If you can't get a cablecard paired because of that, replacing it is much easier than finding the knowledgeable Comcast rep."

Nope. Disagree. Replacing the cable card is a nightmare and people shouldn't be doing this AT ALL when their issue is ONLY with Xfinity on Demand not working.

"The billing code absolutely is required in most franchises.....It has been the only problem for numerous folks here, who were already running with paired cablecards. So it was a magic bullet for them. But it's only one thing of several that need to be working, so it won't solve the problem for everybody, and obviously not for you. I don't understand why you think it should."

Nope...you're misstating what I said. I never said billing codes were not required and I never said that changing billing codes should work, especially when it's ONLY a problem with Xfinfity on Demand. I did however spend hours being told by both Comcast and Tivo that incorrect billing codes were the cause when ONLY Xfinity On Demand wasn't working, even after they changed the codes once, twice, three times, four times...I lost count. This was typically followed by an INIT and an instruction to "wait a few hours". So again, I want to save people with ONLY Xfinity On Demand issues from going through the same ordeal.

I'm also saying that if changing billing codes works to resolve ANY issue then Tivo and Comcast (and the other cable services, but especially Comcast) should work together to stop this from occurring going forward. This is preventable. It's not hard, it's just lame.

Crispy said: "Comcast in your area is having problems getting their on-demand software setup to work. Not too much TiVo can do to help - it works for most franchises."

Uh, yeah...that's the whole point of my post. But you're wrong: the Xfinity on Demand solution is still broken for many and this is happening years after it was first introduced. Tivo advertizes this solution and whether it's a Comcast issue or not they should work with Comcast to fix it. While they're doing this they should at least provide a troubleshooting document similar to the one I'm providing here...OR...stop advertizing and supporting it at all.

Last edited by u1drwhy : 07-27-2014 at 05:45 AM.
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:47 AM   #4
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Cable card pairing is and will always be a problem due to fact that the commands sent to the card is a one way communication process. This applies to all cable companies regardless of vod or ppv implementation.

When a cable co csr sends the pairing command, unfortunately many things can go wrong, partial authorization were some channels work while others don't to simply not working at all, imagine it as a cashier at the grocery store asking over the PA for a price check on a item that won't scan at the register, most of the time another grocery store employee will check the item and return with the price but someone's no one responds and clerk is stuck. Similer happens with a cable card pairing, except that once the request to pair goes out, there is no process for that pairing command to know if it was successful as the card communicates in one direction only, it can receive commandss but it does not transmit anything (such as a simple reply back to the cable operator that the command is successful). Unlike the grocery store example, it's worse for cable cards as generally the only common manner to confirm the pairing is if a channel is tunable.

As much as cable cards reflect the channels authorized, the xfinity on demand while it uses the cable card identification as part if the identity process, the actual process for it to work is website type code referenced by the TiVo which communicates to servers on that cable providers internet network. The general communication issues generally have nothing to do with the cable card other than that us what the cable company blames as they hate cable cards and only support them because the fcc says they have to.

The majority of cable card and VOD problems are all most always the fault of the cable provider, either due to lack of training for csr's, to technical issues that they really don't care about due to the small percentage of customers with retail TiVos. This is made worse by TiVo as they try to support all cable providers not just one or two.

Now that cable companies don't have to use cable cards in their own converter boxes, these problems are only going to get worse unfortunately.
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Old 07-27-2014, 04:18 PM   #5
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Very good points here

Quote:
Originally Posted by eboydog View Post
The majority of cable card and VOD problems are all most always the fault of the cable provider, either due to lack of training for csr's, to technical issues that they really don't care about due to the small percentage of customers with retail TiVos. This is made worse by TiVo as they try to support all cable providers not just one or two.

Now that cable companies don't have to use cable cards in their own converter boxes, these problems are only going to get worse unfortunately.
Thx eboydog. I think you've basically hit the nail on the head: Cable cards in Tivo boxes aren't being supported properly by Comcast and will always be an issue.

Makes me wonder about the viability of the Tivo/Comcast business model and I'm sorry I bought Tivo in the first place. The Roamio is much better than other DVR alternatives as we speak, but that's changing rapidly. Home entertainment, cord cutting do-it-your-selfers, etc. already have many hw/sw alternatives and new services are coming out that will disrupt the current cable TV model. I'm looking forward to it!

In the meantime though, let me re-emphasize my key points:
1. The behavior I'm describing here where you encounter these specific errors with ONLY Xfinity On Demand is probably a Comcast network hw/sw issue.

2. eboydog's point about Comcast's lack of incentive are well taken. Tivo is still not off the hook because they advise incorrect troubleshooting methods for this specific problem. I'm serious when I say that Tivo should announce they are dropping support for Xfinity on Demand...that's the kind of language Comcast understands.

3. You can save yourselves lots of grief by following the steps I've outlined above, and getting your escalation mojo on.

Last edited by u1drwhy : 07-27-2014 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 07-29-2014, 11:26 AM   #6
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I used to get GSM-11 errors regularly when starting Comcast XOD. They went away by itself when the 1201 Cable Card (Motorola) software update came down the line.
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