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Old 08-13-2010, 10:37 AM   #7501
msu2k
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Originally Posted by msu2k View Post
I am replacing a Tivo Series 3 with a Tivo HD XL. I would like to use the two cablecards installed in the Series 3 and put them in the HD XL. Is this possible without having Comcast come out? Is there a phone number for Comcast reps that specialize in Tivo?
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Originally Posted by cheerdude View Post
Tried to do the same... and it kinda worked except for the encrypted channels (like HBO). Called & they wouldn't do it except for a tech call.
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Originally Posted by morac View Post
1. Are the cards S or M cards? If they are M cards, you would only need to use one in the HD XL, otherwise you'll need to use both of them.

2. Getting Comcast to pair cards over the phone is like winning a giant stuffed bear at a carnival. It's not impossible, but the odds of success are very low. Your odds greatly increase if you email We_Can_Help@comcast.com with your account info and pairing numbers, but even that's not guaranteed to succeed.


Note that in most Comcast areas you can receive most channels without pairing the cards. The exceptions to this are any premium channels (HBO, Starz, etc) and Encore. If you don't get any of those stations, you can likely go without pairing.
I just wanted to post an update on this. I sent a nice letter to We_Can_Help@comcast.com explaining that I didn't want to have a tech come out and that the two cards have been working perfectly fine for years. They tried to reach me by phone yesterday morning but I was at a conference, so they left an email instead saying that I should just call 1-800-COMCAST. So I figured I was destined for a tech visit.

I called and was eventually transferred to the Activations call center. I explained the situation to the phone rep in Activations, and he assured me that they couldn't help me. He looked around for several minutes and said they had no way of changing the cable card numbers in their system, and that they could only send a signal to them. He put me on hold one last time, and lo and behold he somehow found the screens for the cable card numbers. I read off the first cable card, he sent a signal...and there was no visible notification on the Tivo that it "took" but he said that he didn't receive any errors back. So I proceeded to cable card 2. I put in the card, and had to wait 5 or so minutes for the CC Pairing screen to give me the card information. I thought I was done for at that point, but they suddenly just popped up. Gave him the numbers, he sent a signal, and he got an error back that time. He verified the numbers were correct, they were...and sent a second signal. No errors reported this time. Again, no feedback from the Tivo itself that it had gone through ok. There was nothing else that he could do so we hung up and I continued through Guided Setup. After it was through, sure enough both cards worked perfectly fine and I was able to view my premium channels just fine on both tuners as well.

So it IS possible to avoid a tech visit when setting up CCs, you just have to find the right phone tech. I probably just got lucky.

I'm curious about whether the guys at We_Can_Help@comcast.com would have made the process even smoother if I'd actually been able to talk with them.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:57 AM   #7502
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WHAT !! What is outlet order on cable TV, I have a two way amp than a 10 outlet splitter in the cellar that feed the rooms in my home, not every room has a TV, the splitter is not labeled outlet 1 ,2 ,etc. I have moved paired TiVo Series 3s to different rooms without having to call Comcast. I think you were told some BS.
I even brought a TiVo Series 3 over to a friends home to try and all ch came in (He was on the same Comcast service as i was on), what order was that.
He's not talking about what you're talking about.

He's talking about the order of the outlets in your account at Comcast. Your TiVo worked at your friend's house because it was still registering to your Comcast account. Has nothing to do with the physical wiring.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #7503
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I read off the first cable card, he sent a signal...and there was no visible notification on the Tivo that it "took" but he said that he didn't receive any errors back. So I proceeded to cable card 2. I put in the card, and had to wait 5 or so minutes for the CC Pairing screen to give me the card information. I thought I was done for at that point, but they suddenly just popped up. Gave him the numbers, he sent a signal, and he got an error back that time. He verified the numbers were correct, they were...and sent a second signal. No errors reported this time.
I'd be curious as to exactly HOW they could get status from the cablecards, since the TiVo has no upstream hardware. They could get status messages from inside their network (like database issues), but there is no physical way for the cablecards in a TiVo to send data to anywhere. That is the whole reason for the manual activation process; if the cards could communicate upstream, the whole activity could be handled over the wire.
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Old 08-13-2010, 12:37 PM   #7504
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I'd be curious as to exactly HOW they could get status from the cablecards, since the TiVo has no upstream hardware. They could get status messages from inside their network (like database issues), but there is no physical way for the cablecards in a TiVo to send data to anywhere. That is the whole reason for the manual activation process; if the cards could communicate upstream, the whole activity could be handled over the wire.
ALL CableCards are 2-way
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Old 08-13-2010, 01:20 PM   #7505
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Originally Posted by CharlesH
I'd be curious as to exactly HOW they could get status from the cablecards, since the TiVo has no upstream hardware. They could get status messages from inside their network (like database issues), but there is no physical way for the cablecards in a TiVo to send data to anywhere. That is the whole reason for the manual activation process; if the cards could communicate upstream, the whole activity could be handled over the wire.
The tech could have been talking about their system. When they make changes on your account (adding/removing) they push out the changes to the system that actually delivers the messages to the boxes. From what I've been told that system has problems frequently, so the tech could have been saying that the messages were sent successfully.
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Old 08-13-2010, 02:14 PM   #7506
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ALL CableCards are 2-way
Cablecards depend on the host for transmitting data upstream. And the host in this case (TiVo) does not have the hardware for this.
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:36 PM   #7507
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He's not talking about what you're talking about.

He's talking about the order of the outlets in your account at Comcast. Your TiVo worked at your friend's house because it was still registering to your Comcast account. Has nothing to do with the physical wiring.
Oh !! That makes sense sorry
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Old 08-13-2010, 09:10 PM   #7508
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Cablecards depend on the host for transmitting data upstream. And the host in this case (TiVo) does not have the hardware for this.
I didn't think my older devices with cablecards had an ability to reveal anything upstream. I recently found I was wrong. Of 5 cards in house, 4 are used in 2 S3s; the one that tends to fall asleep resides in one of 2 cc TVs or in a drawer. For many months it had been drawer bound. I decided to use it in primary TV for occasions when both TiVo tuners are recording tennis. Of course it was in coma again. Given its SN to identify for a hit, the phone tech remarked, "Wow! This one's been out of service for a long time." They're not completely mute in any device, apparently.
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Old 08-14-2010, 07:33 AM   #7509
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Oh !! That makes sense sorry
It confused me too. That was why I put quotes around "outlet". Most Comcast people are only guessing and make up responses as they go. It really helps to have the tech that comes to the house know someone in the office that can really help.
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Old 08-15-2010, 09:07 AM   #7510
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I'm suprised I haven't seen this in here but after countless hours I've figured out the new Tivo Premiers will not work with 2009-2010 Scientific Atlanta multistream cable cards in my area. No matter what we did it would not activate with newer card, but a 2007 card finally worked fine. What the issue is I don't know, anyone know what the problem could be with newer cards?
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Old 08-15-2010, 11:06 AM   #7511
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I'm suprised I haven't seen this in here but after countless hours I've figured out the new Tivo Premiers will not work with 2009-2010 Scientific Atlanta multistream cable cards in my area. No matter what we did it would not activate with newer card, but a 2007 card finally worked fine. What the issue is I don't know, anyone know what the problem could be with newer cards?
It's almost always a problem with the cable company understanding how to enter values in various fields in their own authorization system and nothing to do with the card itself.
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:22 PM   #7512
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I just wanted to post an update on this. I sent a nice letter to We_Can_Help@comcast.com explaining that I didn't want to have a tech come out and that the two cards have been working perfectly fine for years. They tried to reach me by phone yesterday morning but I was at a conference, so they left an email instead saying that I should just call 1-800-COMCAST. So I figured I was destined for a tech visit.
Well, this is really weird, because reading your message I realized I had almost the exact same experience and on the same day. Good Grief! After this many years they STILL can not get it right.

After a week of talking to various people at Comcast who don't understand that "send initialization" is not the same process as "pair the cable card to the device" I gave up and as well e-mailed we_can_help@comcast.

They sent a tech out almost immediately, which wasn't necessary because before the tech even got there I had called customer support back and finally (on try 6!) got someone who understood pairing. She paired my card in the system, didn't send any additional signals, and it worked right away.

But I can say that after emailing Comcast, my issue was resolved within 24 hours. How about that?
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:14 AM   #7513
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As a follow-up to my previous billing issues (being charged for CC in my primary digital outlet, and still being charged for my HD box when I no longer had it) - I emailed the we_can_help address, and got a phone call from someone later in the day saying that I was correct that I shouldn't be charged either of those fees, and they removed them from my bill. This was after a call in to customer service that went nowhere. So now my Comcast bill is $8/month cheaper, and my Premiere is working perfectly. It's like a fairy tale ending!
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:55 PM   #7514
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What is Comcast charging for cablecards in Chicago? I just added two Series 3 TiVos to my account, and I've been told that instead of the usual Digital Outlet Fee ($7.95) + extra cablecard ($1.50), that they are now charging $7.95 x 2 = $15.90 for EACH TiVo! Anybody else getting this kind of pricing?

I got a VERY helpful rep on the phone, who went and argued several times with the sales/managers/etc., and he totally agreed with me. I mean, the Comcast web site even says that they can't charge more than $2.05 for the additional cablecard, but he was told that the "website is subject to change" etc, etc. This pricing seems ridiculous, and of course, I'm finding this out after I've just paid for lifetime service on THREE S3's.
I agree - $8 per cable card is insane. this is totally aggravated if you have an old S3 which doesn't support M cards, so you need to have 2 if you want dual tuner. I just moved from TWC whom I wasn't a huge fan of but their pricing was far more reasonable: the cable cards were $2-3 per month so for me it was under $10/month for 3 cards. Now (assuming it doesn't get fixed) it is $17.50! Insane!
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:02 AM   #7515
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Posting this more for therapeutic reasons than anything else... this is enough to drive someone INSANE.

Bought a Premiere XL yesterday (moved my Series 3 to another room). Picked up an M card form the Comcast (Nashville) office so I wouldn't have to wait for a truck roll.

Have since spent HOURS on the phone for the past two days trying to get the M card to work. Have been given such a comical variety of explanations from the different CSR's, I wish I had written them all down. Most recently, tonight I was told that someone at the "help desk" (a mysterious entity that the masses are not allowed to speak to directly) would be sending a reinitialization hit shortly, and to call back in one hour if it didn't work.
I called back in one hour, and was told the help desk had all gone home. Literally. But this CSR said she'd try to re-pair and hit it again. Didn't work, of course. Then I was told they are doing "system maintenance" and "we can't try anymore tonight". I am 100% certain she was lying and just didn't feel like listening to me anymore.

Have now e-mailed ComcastCares based on advice from posts on here, but not sure how long this lasts.

Oh-- at one point today I did the 3-way call with the TiVo CSR from their CableCard hotline. He was completely useless. It was basically just like having the instruction manual in a human form. Said nothing that I didn't already know, and seemed to know much LESS than is on these posts. Then he gave up after a bit and said "Alright, I'll leave you with [Comcast CSR] to figure this out". Thanks for nothing.

My current plan (unless ComcastCares saves the day) is to go in the morning and get a giant stack of M cards from the office (as many as they will give me), try them one at a time with initialization hits on each one until one works, then take all the others back.

Better suggestions??
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:11 AM   #7516
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Better suggestions??
Just slap yourself around for waiting so long to contact ComcastCares.
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:14 PM   #7517
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Well, where to begin.. I'm not even sure why I'm posting this other than to share my experience (again) with Comcast and CableCards.

I've had Comcast and it's affiliates for over 26 years... Yep, twenty six years.

roughly three years ago I purchased a TiVo HD and was using Single Stream cards. The initial install took over 3 weeks.. I posted about that install when it happened.. it's somewhere in this thread.

Anywho... In an effort to save $ and to get the old S-cards swapped for an M-card I wrote to the "We Care" address at Comcast. The email showed our concern with 1.billing which they fixed and 2. cable card install since the first time was a disaster.

A women immediately replied to my email and said that someone would call me later that day. I was very pleased with the speed of reply. Later that day a rep called and scheduled a truck roll out (sigh) for today (friday).

A rep shows up two days early! Sadly, we had a prior commitment and couldn't accept his service call and he stated that he would return on the day it was scheduled (today). While he was here we spoke about OWNING YOUR OWN CABLECARD and he said it was NO PROBLEM and he'd do it for me on Friday as the card was to arrive Thursday. This wasn't the first person from Comcast stating we could own our own card.

It's friday, the Tech didn't show. After 6 emails out to comcast "we care" to update the situation and 9 phone calls FROM comcast to get it working.. complete failure.

After calling and asking where the tech was- they stated there was no appointment... You have got to be kidding me.. I took the day off of work for this and it's a no show. Furthermore, they stated it was even in the system. And said they schedule it out for monday. No dice, I'm not waiting any longer.


I wrote one last email to "we care"... a high corporate official from Philadelphia (I'm from Pittsburgh) called very upset about the situation and said she was going to make things right.

They rescheduled the appointment for later today.. hopefully they'll be here before 4pm she said...




Here's why I'm writing. You CAN and SHOULD be able to own your own card with Comcast.. Getting them to do it is another story. I had a tech , in my living room willing to activate and process my own card but sadly I didn't have it in my possession yet. I've also had two CSR's tell me you could own, and several others say you cannot.

Clearly, Comcast has NO IDEA what is going on with cable cards even 3 years after my first lousy experience.

At this point, I don't care if I use my card or theirs.. I'm just sick of the crap service!!

My emails with Comcast for anyone bored enough to read it. It describes several times where I was told I could use my own card.

Quote:

Hello,

I wanted to follow up with our previous email-

I spoke with Angie. She has been very helpful in taking care of our billing needs. A tech came out Wednesday un-announced (we had an appointment for today, 8a-12p) and the tech and I conversed for 20 minutes before he left. He felt confident that I could call and have the new M-card (the one I purchased) activated over the phone. And that he would stop back on Friday to make sure it was taken care of properly. He was very professional and friendly like most techs Comcast sends out.

Regarding the cablecards-

The first CSR had no idea what to do. Told me she didn't have access and she wasn't allowed to activate a cablecard.. She also told me I wasn't able to purchase my own cablecard... So I called back-

The second CSR was getting someone from activations to simply remove the 2 existing cards from my account and add the new M-card. He seemed like he knew what to do and placed me on hold for a 3 way call with activations. He also stated that there is no reason I couldn't use my own purchased card. The second tech has disappeared while on hold and now I have a 3rd tech..

The third tech, confident that this can be done, has removed the old single stream (SA) cards and I gave him my new M-card Serial Number to put into the system... He also stated I should be able to use my own card as long as the tech enters it into my account.


This is just horrible .. I can see why people don't want to deal with this. It's not that difficult. This is truly disappointing that in this day and age your local CSR's still have no idea on how to activate cablecards. They were designed to work as and end user option.. ie: the customer makes the call to activate them. There is absolutely no need for a truck to roll out.


UPDATE-

After waiting on hold for over 35 minutes(!!) I was asked if it was okay for them to call me back.. Why is it so hard to put numbers into a computer system? Answer- because they aren't trained to do so.

I have effectively wasted three CSR's time this morning (AND MINE) over something as trivial as data entry. This has an extreme weight over us staying with Comcast as a happy customer..

I have now wasted 2 hours and 5 minutes on the phone trying to get a competent CSR.


UPDATE #2-

I received several calls back from the last CSR (#3)... He said he was unable to put the card on my account because activations doesn't have in on my account. Also, noted that he didn't see an appointment for today. Even though he read the notes stating that there was one schedule for 8am-noon. He put another email into dispatch to call me ASAP.

Here I am, 3 hours into trying to get Comcast to authorized the cablecard. The likely hood of us remaining a customer at this point is low. The ENTIRE reason I contacted WE CARE at Comcast was so that this situation would be avoided.




UPDATE #3-

I received an automated phone call from Comcast asking if the activation was successful. After pushing 2 for NO, a 4th tech began helping me pair the card. She was unable to although understood what had to be done. I was transferred to another tech-

Tech #5 - This CSR tech was understanding of my needs and quickly entered the new card into my account. I was told to wait a few minutes and if it still didn't work to call back again...

Guess what, it's not working.

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Old 08-20-2010, 01:09 PM   #7518
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At this time, federal law does not require MSOs to allow subscribers to use their own CableCARDs.
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Old 08-20-2010, 01:43 PM   #7519
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At this time, federal law does not require MSOs to allow subscribers to use their own CableCARDs.

That's great. But, when several Comcast reps say that I can; they better keep their word AFTER I purchase one. Even the Tech/Installer said I could use my own. My issue here is one rep saying yes and one rep saying no. They have no idea what's going on and that's a fact.

It's also not a requirement that I lease one from the cable company. Why should I pay $72 a year ($3.00/card/month x 2) instead of buying and using my own? They are readily available and I also know first hand of other providers that let you buy a card directly from them.

The whole reason I bought a TiVo was so that I didn't have lease their crappy boxes and then I'm stuck paying a monthly charge for a card? No, sorry. I'm not riding that train any longer.
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Old 08-20-2010, 02:07 PM   #7520
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I never trust the verbal word of any representative of any company. I always insist on getting everything in writing, if I'm going to rely on it for my own expectations. If I can't get it in writing, I think of it as if the promise simply doesn't exist.
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Old 08-20-2010, 10:30 PM   #7521
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And of all the reps in all the world, you should trust Comcast reps the LEAST.

you need to escalate, escalate, escalate. Supervisor, help desk, comcastcares, whatever. Anything but the front line reps.
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Old 08-21-2010, 04:36 AM   #7522
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Issue resolved - and you do NOT need a truck roll.

Wow... At the end of a 3 day saga, I finally have full functionality of my M Card with my Premiere. The trick was FINALLY speaking with an engineer at the "head-end" who was instantly able to initialize the card and everything worked perfectly. It LITERALLY took him 30 seconds on the phone.

So in summary: Conversation with engineer at the head-end to successfully and easily activate M card: 30 seconds. Time to navigate the INCREDIBLY incompetent, often rude, frequently lying CSRs: 3 days.

Three points:

1) ComcastCares tried to help (Via Twitter and e-mail), but they weren't able to activate some of my premium channels, and they got the channel map wrong. The key was talking to a local help desk staffer who knows about cable cards. That is the gold standard. The problem is, it's probably easier to get in touch with Obama directly than to directly talk to the help desk people. They are guarded by a fleet of horrible CSRs.

2) There is NOOOO reason someone needs to come to your house. REFUSE a truck roll. As I said to them over and over, "I am very physically capable of inserting a cablecard into a cablecard slot. And that is the ONLY action that takes place at the house. No one needs to come to my house to make sure I plugged in my cable card right". Completely ridiculous. The default for the 9 CSRs I got was to schedule a call (a week away, I might add). do NOT accept this. They other thing they kept telling me to do was go get more cards and "keep trying cards until one works". None will work if you keep doing the same incorrect thing to activate them. I never got a new card, just (finally) a competent person to talk to.

3) The key is to demand a supervisor... and not just any supervisor, but one that knows someone that knows about cable cards. IF you happen to be in Nashville, Faye or Janet both have contacts who can instantly fix the problem.

Wow. I guess maybe this built character. In any case, it seemed like from my S3 that once you finally get the cards to work, they tend to stay working... I hope that remains the case.

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Old 08-21-2010, 10:03 AM   #7523
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I never trust the verbal word of any representative of any company. I always insist on getting everything in writing, if I'm going to rely on it for my own expectations. If I can't get it in writing, I think of it as if the promise simply doesn't exist.
I agree with you. I don't know why I trusted them.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:28 PM   #7524
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Ugh. I had my challenges with Comcast too. I can say (reiterate) that once the cards were working, I haven't had a single problem with them in over 3 years. There have been other problems, but the cards once paired seem to be okay.
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Old 08-21-2010, 11:15 PM   #7525
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Billing

I added digital service to my bedroom Tivo last March. I already was receiving digital service on my living room Tivo. Installation of the cablecard went relatively smoothly.

The problem ever since March has been the billing.

After speaking to a phone CSR, we were able to agree on the correct billing and she issued credits and assured me that the next bill would be correct. It has been a while and I don't remember the specifics, but next month's bill was still incorrect.

After numerous calls that didn't fix the problem, I finally decided to drive 15 miles to my local office with copies of their rate sheets and the online FAQ about cablecard charges in my hand. After considerable discussion (and a long line of pissed off customers behind me), we again agreed on the proper charges and what the next bill should look like. The next month, the bill was correct.

I thought everything was ok and then the following month, changes were posted to my account on a date when I didn't speak to anyone. The bill was again incorrect. Another call to a CSR apparently fixed things again.

However, the next bill showed the proper credits on the date we spoke and then 3 days later the charges were added back on.

After another trip to the local office, I think I finally understand what is going on. The CSRs are making the changes which match the rate sheets. However, the audit system in the billing computer kicks it out as a problem. Then a human in a nearby office looks it over and blindly adjusts the account again so that it is incorrect. The sad thing is that there is no notation on the bill that the changes were made as a result of an audit and not at my request.

Apparently, the computer system doesn't really understand the concept of two cablecards in the same device. It wants to charge me for an additional digital outlet and extra cablecards. The last CSR was going to try to leave notes all over the place so the human auditors would not blindly follow the computer's suggestions next month.

We shall see.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:03 AM   #7526
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Are there any service providers left, other than Comcast, that do something special for "two CableCARDs in the same device"?
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:11 AM   #7527
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bicker
Are there any service providers left, other than Comcast, that do something special for "two CableCARDs in the same device"?
I have Comcast and for me they simply charge $1.50 per card except for the first one which is free. I'm not charged an outlet fee. So it must be a regional thing.

I'm actually getting a $8.40 credit for using the cards in my S3 instead of a cable box.

Last edited by morac : 08-22-2010 at 12:18 PM. Reason: ms -> me
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Old 08-22-2010, 11:07 AM   #7528
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Quote:
Originally Posted by morac View Post
I have Comcast and for ms they simply charge $1.50 per card except for the first one which is free. I'm not charged an outlet fee. So it must be a regional thing.
When I first ordered the cablecard for my 2nd Tivo, the CSR quoted me only $1.99 for the card instead of an additional outlet fee. This was contrary to their FAQ and rate sheet.

However, when the bill arrived, and subsequent phone calls to Comcast revealed the first CSR was in error. I am now charged an additional outlet fee with no charge for the cablecard.

That is when the billing is correct :-)
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Old 08-23-2010, 11:33 AM   #7529
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So I picked up a TiVo HD at my local Blockbuster and called Comcast the same day. Everything was pretty much on par with what I saw in this thread. Except one thing. The customer service rep asked me if I wanted to self install. I got all excited and said absolutely but then after a few key strokes she said that "it's not available in my area" . Which didn't make much sense to me but then again, Comcast has never made sense to me. They are going to charge me $12.95 for everything, install is $9.95 and I'm guessing the card is $3.00.

Luckily the install date is Thursday so I can get my HD fix with Netflix until then.

I got the little install sheet to give to the cable guy that came with the TiVo. Is there anything else I should do to make the process go as smooth as possible? The TiVo is set up and I have my account hooked up to it and everything is running as it should.

Edit: I'm in the Atlanta/Kennesaw area.
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:53 AM   #7530
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Hi Folks, I'm cable provider shopping again and I thought you guys might be decent sources of information on this particular question... possibly more accurate than Comcast CS, anyway.

My wife and I are ready to drop cable television all together, but it appears to get the cheapest cable internet price via comcast, I'll have to add "Basic Cable" (just the locals) to my package. I'll then get Cable Internet and Basic Cable for a total of $39/month + taxes/fees.

Will the Basic TV lineup also carry local HD's? Will it require a cable card rental for my TiVo?

This is the Boston area market, if that matters.
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