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Old 12-12-2006, 03:36 PM   #1471
wackymann
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Ask for a Comcast technician who knows how to install cable cards (and has done so successfully). Your guy is obviously doing something wrong if he has NEVER gotten one to work.

You should get the 161-4 error when the cable people send the hit. If you don't, then something is probably messed up somewhere.
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Old 12-12-2006, 04:23 PM   #1472
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tivaxion
If there are already threads and posts about highs and lows of the Tivo 3 user experience with Comcast, can someone please point me to them?
The problem is that there are dozens of them, in this one forum. The issue is that you're not going to get "general" impressions, which is what you asked for -- you're going to get specific, individual impressions, many many of them, and they'll be all over the place, from very positive to very negative.
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Old 12-12-2006, 05:03 PM   #1473
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tivaxion
: I would like to hear more overall impressions about how well it works with Comcast before making the financial commitment.

First, right now, my Series 2 changes the channels on my Comcast (motorola) set top box, and it is a very slow and clunky arrangement. So much so that I cannot "flip" through the channels using the channel up and channel down buttons (a guilty pleasure of mine), unless I am willing to wait many many seconds between channels. Does having the two Comcast cards in the Series 3 Tivo make this any better? How seamless is it?

Second, ... I also hear that the cards prohibit using a program guide. Does this just mean that I will not get the COMCAST program guide? I presume I'll still get the same user-friendly Tivo program guide that I enjoy on my Series 2 and that can be used for scheduling recordings, etc.? .
Since I have a Series 2 and a Series 3 I can answer some of your questions. I timed the channel switching time with a second hand on my watch. The Series 2 takes about 3 seconds to switch channels. My Series 3 is a little faster, about 2 seconds (still too slow IMO, but it is faster). You can, however, switch from a channel from CableCard 1 to another channel on CableCard 2 in about 1 second. Note my Comcast Motorola STB remote changes channels at around 1 second.

You won't get the Comcast guide but you will, or course, get the Tivo guide which will include the Comcast channels, just like the Series 2. Of course you can configure the Tivo (S2 & S3) to give you a grid guide format like Comcast's.

Overall, I like the Series 3, if I can just get the damn CableCards to work properly.
It's basically the same as the Series 2 but with HD, dual tuners, and a littler faster switching.
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Old 12-12-2006, 06:10 PM   #1474
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OK, the Comcast truck is here with two cable cards.

The tech says she's done ten of these. She is not calling back to have the cards "hit" or programmed in any way. She says the cards come "with channels on them already" and that the engineers will update it later to reflect account status.

So the tivo is stuck on a Waiting for Channels screen. I looked at the cablecard configuration screen and it says "waiting for CP Auth".

Sounds like she should call someone, but she doesn't want to....

The amount of frustration we are all experiencing is absolutely astounding.
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Old 12-12-2006, 06:16 PM   #1475
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The "secret" Comcast CableCard support group...

I had this very same problem with Comcast and my S3... it is VERY frustrating...

It did get solved though! It required a call back from Comcast's "CableCard Support Group" (sounds like another form of AA ) When he called, he asked for *all* of the pairing info/#s (not just the S/N), and voila it worked!

Taking your card out and re-inserting it will cause the Data # to change, since it is dynamic in nature. I would recommend against pulling out CCs unless the "CableCard Support Group" tech tells you to.

I think the problem lies in the authentication for premium channels may be different than for the rest of the digital package. It seemed pretty clear to me that the problem was at the Comast Head-End / Provisioning center, since I did not have to do anything at my end to get it to work...

Good luck!

Regards,

Doug

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiMan
Well, I've inherited the dreaded CableCard install problems.

{... snip ...}

I have no idea what to do. I can't anyone from Comcast who knows anything about CableCards or about pairing, or error messages, or how to troubleshoot. It appears they only know four things: 1) The name "CableCard", 2) How to send a signal to the Cards, 3) That I should remove them and put them back in to "reset" them. 4) wait awhile until they work.

I am running out of ideas, can anyone help me out?

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Old 12-12-2006, 06:24 PM   #1476
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We left the tech alone for a bit. She might have used the time to look at the instructions in private. She seems a bit ... proud.
So now she's reading numbers over the phone.
Stand by!!
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:08 PM   #1477
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Wow.. .truly amazing...

Haven't these guys been supporting cablecards for years now? (TV's?) They act as if they just started supporting them a few months ago...
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:12 PM   #1478
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wackymann
Ask for a Comcast technician who knows how to install cable cards (and has done so successfully). Your guy is obviously doing something wrong if he has NEVER gotten one to work.

You should get the 161-4 error when the cable people send the hit. If you don't, then something is probably messed up somewhere.
Good advice on the 1st, but the 2nd is not necessarily true. I did not get any error when we put the CC's in, and mine worked fine.
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:47 PM   #1479
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiamiMan
Well, I've inherited the dreaded CableCard install problems.

I look at the information on Conditional Access window and note that Cablecard 1 says, "Auth: MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY" CableCard 2 says, "Auth: unknown" (I have no idea what this means.) Both cards are Motorola version 04.21.

I check the Conditional Access window to see if anything has changed. Card 1 still says, "Auth: MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY", but Card 2 now says, "Auth: SUBSCRIBED" There's been a change! However, both cards are still missing the same channels.

I am running out of ideas, can anyone help me out?
MiamiMan,

I believe the cards will give different "messages" under the "AUTH:" heading dependant upon which channel you are on. For instance if you are on a channel you receive, it should show "Subscribed". Tune both tuners to digital encrypted channels you receive. Check the conditional access screen for each card. If both cards show as "subscribed", then the problem is in how they have keyed your package into your account. Call back tech support and have them check.

Good Luck.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:16 PM   #1480
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tivaxion
I am a devoted Tivo user that is ready to go HD, and so am of course very curoius about the Series 3. But I would like to hear more overall impressions about how well it works with Comcast before making the financial commitment. If there are already threads and posts about highs and lows of the Tivo 3 user experience with Comcast, can someone please point me to them? If not, or additionally, I would love to hear general impressions from folks already using the arrangement.

I also have some specific questions:

First, right now, my Series 2 changes the channels on my Comcast (motorola) set top box, and it is a very slow and clunky arrangement. So much so that I cannot "flip" through the channels using the channel up and channel down buttons (a guilty pleasure of mine), unless I am willing to wait many many seconds between channels. Does having the two Comcast cards in the Series 3 Tivo make this any better? How seamless is it?

Second, I understand that with the cablecards, I will not be able to use pay-per-view, on-demand. I'm fine with that -- I've never used them before. But I also hear that the cards prohibit using a program guide. Does this just mean that I will not get the COMCAST program guide? I presume I'll still get the same user-friendly Tivo program guide that I enjoy on my Series 2 and that can be used for scheduling recordings, etc.?

Thanks in advance for your help.
First things first--is your S2 lifetimed?

If so, you hvae to act fast if you want to transfer lifetime from it to the S3.

The offer from TiVo to transfer is only good through December.
Costco.com is the best price (if you're a member already), at $650.
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:59 PM   #1481
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The Comcast tech left, and we have HD!!!

It turns out that when I unplugged the cable from the S3 to show the Comcast tech that we got HD channels on our HDTV and then plugged it back into the S3, I plugged it into the antenna input instead of the cable input. That was what was causing the testing of the cableCards to take forever... it was never getting a signal.

The tech figured that out, and once the cable was switched to the correct input, it all worked out.

We got exactly what we expected to get:

We have Comcast Limited Basic ($14/month) with 2 cableCards (no charge or monthly fee) and the following HD channels: NBC-HD, CBS-HD, ABC-HD, PBS-HD, CW-HD, FOX-HD.

We then asked the Comcast tech what the cheapest way was to get other HD channels, and she said that if we pay $5 more, they unlock the other HD channels.... so, we are going to try it out. She is going to call us back tomorrow to see what we can see once the HD channels are unlocked.

I will keep you posted.

Thanks to everyone who helped out.... and I hope this info helps others.

Cheers,

Karen
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Old 12-12-2006, 09:13 PM   #1482
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djnewlin
Taking your card out and re-inserting it will cause the Data # to change, since it is dynamic in nature. I would recommend against pulling out CCs unless the "CableCard Support Group" tech tells you to.
This is not true. The data number changes when you move cards around. The card remembers what slot it was most recently in, and the slot remembers which card it most recently had. As soon as one of those things change, the card will generate a new data number. Thus, if you remove a card, and then insert it into the same slot (w/o inserting a different card), things will continue to work fine.

Pulling a card out then reinserting it into the same slot is the same as rebooting the box (from the Card's point of view).
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Old 12-12-2006, 10:31 PM   #1483
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doctord
MiamiMan,

I believe the cards will give different "messages" under the "AUTH:" heading dependant upon which channel you are on. For instance if you are on a channel you receive, it should show "Subscribed". Tune both tuners to digital encrypted channels you receive. Check the conditional access screen for each card. If both cards show as "subscribed", then the problem is in how they have keyed your package into your account. Call back tech support and have them check.

Good Luck.
Unfortunately, I can't pick up any encrypted channels on the bad card. I can pick up in-the-clear digital channels, however, but AUTH still gives the bad message even when I'm tuned into a working channel.

But I will call Comcast again tomorrow (for the 5th time).
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:39 PM   #1484
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Arrow Cablecards with limited basic?

Ok, I called Comcast today. The gal on the other end was a little more agressive than I would have thought she should be.

Not sure if they are helpful, but here are some things to note:

- I live in Denver
- I do not have an HD set yet
- I currently have the limited basic package

She told me that I can only have cablecards installed if I have a digital package. I don't want the extra channels or expense associated with a different package. I asked her to doublecheck. She came back would not help me. She said she could only move forward with a digital package.

There are numerous people in this thread that say they have limited basic.

arangok
c3
keenanSR

What am I doing wrong? What are the magic words that I need to say to get them to cooporate?

Please help!
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:44 PM   #1485
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I was also told by Comcast that to get HD content and cable cards that I needed to go from my basic service to digital cable and that i couldn't keep my basic service.

Don't know if this was covered in the previous 40+ pages of this thread.
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:52 PM   #1486
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixseven
What am I doing wrong? What are the magic words that I need to say to get them to cooporate?
Could you order a digital package and then cancel it the day after the CCs are installed?
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:52 PM   #1487
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlib
Could you order a digital package and then cancel it the day after the CCs are installed?
I don't know. Would the cablecards still work?
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:03 PM   #1488
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Quote:
Originally Posted by njplasticman
I was also told by Comcast that to get HD content and cable cards that I needed to go from my basic service to digital cable and that i couldn't keep my basic service.

Don't know if this was covered in the previous 40+ pages of this thread.
When I first got my S3 I was able to get 3 local HD channels without a Digital Package or Cable Cards. I had just the barebones Basic. So it is not a technical problem just a marketing one. Also, without the Cable Cards you don't get the channel mapping and can't get any encrypted channels.
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:08 PM   #1489
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try this. ask the CSR if you can rent a HD set top box to receive local HD channels on your current basic cable package. tell them you are not interested in DVRs or any extras like PPV or VOD. if they say you can, ask them for a quote for just the locals and then for any extra HD channels you may be interested in, like ESPNHD, DiscoveryHD, HBOHD, etc.. then ask them if you have a HDTV that supports cablecards, could you rent one of those instead of the STB and what would that cost. verify that the quotes for the STB remain the same for a cablecard. if they confirm the above, then ask about getting 2 cablecards for your S3.

Last edited by kido : 12-13-2006 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:10 PM   #1490
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixseven
I don't know. Would the cablecards still work?
Well, they could turn off access to the encrypted channels in the digital package but you only want the locals anyway, right?
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:49 PM   #1491
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kido
try this. ask the CSR if you can rent a HD set top box to receive local HD channels on your current basic cable package. tell them you are not interested in DVRs or any extras like PPV or VOD. if they say you can, ask them for a quote for just the locals and then for any extra HD channels you may be interested in, like ESPNHD, DiscoveryHD, HBOHD, etc.. then ask them if you have a HDTV that supports cablecards, could you rent one of those instead of the STB and what would that cost. verify that the quotes for the STB remain the same for a cablecard. if they confirm the above, then ask about getting 2 cablecards for your S3.
THIS IS THE TRICK! Woo Hoo! Thanks kido. I have an install scheduled for Friday. Wish me luck! FYI, in case you were wondering, $13.69 for limited basic, $6.95 for HD, $1.50 for 2nd cablecard. HD is apparently limited to ABC, CBS, & NBC. I'll report back after its up.

Now all I need to do is buy the TV! :P

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 12-13-2006, 03:57 PM   #1492
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixseven
FYI, in case you were wondering, $13.69 for limited basic, $6.95 for HD, $1.50 for 2nd cablecard. HD is apparently limited to ABC, CBS, & NBC.
Different Comcast areas have different policies, but if these charges are for my area, then the $6.95 fee is bogus. That looks more like an additional outlet charge.
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:30 PM   #1493
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tivaxion
First, right now, my Series 2 changes the channels on my Comcast (motorola) set top box, and it is a very slow and clunky arrangement. So much so that I cannot "flip" through the channels using the channel up and channel down buttons (a guilty pleasure of mine), unless I am willing to wait many many seconds between channels. Does having the two Comcast cards in the Series 3 Tivo make this any better? How seamless is it?
Seemless. You won't know the difference between tuning a OTA channel or a cable one.

Quote:
But I also hear that the cards prohibit using a program guide. Does this just mean that I will not get the COMCAST program guide?
That's exactly what it means. I'm sure you won't miss the Comcast guide. It's amazing how many reps think that's a "feature".

Quote:
I presume I'll still get the same user-friendly Tivo program guide that I enjoy on my Series 2 and that can be used for scheduling recordings, etc.?
Yup.
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Old 12-13-2006, 05:36 PM   #1494
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixseven
THIS IS THE TRICK! Woo Hoo! Thanks kido. I have an install scheduled for Friday. Wish me luck! FYI, in case you were wondering, $13.69 for limited basic, $6.95 for HD, $1.50 for 2nd cablecard. HD is apparently limited to ABC, CBS, & NBC. I'll report back after its up.

Now all I need to do is buy the TV! :P

Thanks,

Mike
Be prepared for your first bill to show up with an incorrect charge - the Denver Comcast marketing guys still apparently haven't fixed the billing software to account properly for the $1.50 charge for the second card.

I had to have them fix it manually last month and will probably have to do it again this month when the new bill comes out in a few days.
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Old 12-14-2006, 12:56 PM   #1495
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Numbers, numbers, and more numbers...

Allow me to be more specific...

I have the Motorola CC, v4.21. This results in 4 numbers: CableCard #, Host #, Data # and Unit #. When I pulled out the CC and re-inserted it in the same slot (while the TiVo was running), it *does* generate a new Data #. This was something I witnessed when on the phone with Comcast's CC Tech Support. On the other hand, if you pull the CC and re-insert it in the same slot while the TiVo is powered down, the Data # will stay the same.

This has got to be the goofiest protocol I have ever seen! DirecTV does not seem to need so many numbers, but I digress...

Regards,

Doug

=========================================

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roderigo
This is not true. The data number changes when you move cards around. The card remembers what slot it was most recently in, and the slot remembers which card it most recently had. As soon as one of those things change, the card will generate a new data number. Thus, if you remove a card, and then insert it into the same slot (w/o inserting a different card), things will continue to work fine.

Pulling a card out then reinserting it into the same slot is the same as rebooting the box (from the Card's point of view).

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Old 12-14-2006, 01:00 PM   #1496
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It's amazing the lack of knowledge or consistency with Comcast regarding Cablecards-

I originally scheduled a service call with Comcast for the installation of 2 cable cards a week ago, but there was a delay in shipping for my S3 box so I had to cancel and postpone the installation until tomorrow.

When I spoke with the first rep, they were adamant about a $30.99 installation charge for the service call to come out and perform the cable card installation.

When I called to reschedule the cable card install for tomorrow, the new rep was going through their spiel about how Comcast will not support cable cards with Tivo (I just rolled my eyes) and said I still want the cable cards but this time the install price was quoted at $17.

Of course, who knows if the reps are quoting me the correct monthly pricing on the cable cards themselves or how many times you have to try and get through to them that they're not going into separate outlets and both cards are going into one device. It doesn't help that it seems that there are wide variations in cable card pricing in the different regions that Comcast supports.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the actual installation goes smoothly tomorrow morning and I get lucky with a tech who has a clue about how cable cards work.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:32 PM   #1497
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I'm giving my husband the Series3 to my husband for Christmas. Called in my CableCard installation order today - for the day after Christmas. Was familiar with Tivo and didn't give me a hard time about getting two cards. But the costs will be as follows:

Service Call (cards not available for pickup): $14.40
Monthly Charge for each Card: $2.75

I guess it could be worst, but not what they state on the website. I might try to get them to remove the card charges after I get the first bill.

Now let's hope the installation goes smoothly.
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Old 12-14-2006, 02:49 PM   #1498
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After 4 days, over a dozen phone calls to Comcast, and a second cableguy visit to replace one of the CableCards, my S3 is finally working as advertised.
I don't ever want to have to go through this again, but I did learn a few things that may be helpful for some people.

Interestingly, if you're only getting Comcast Classic (no premium encrypted channels), the CableCards pick up the SD channels and HD network channels without the CableCards needing a signal "hit" at all from Comcast. Nor do you need to pull out the cards (or reboot the Tivo) to reset the cards. So if you never expect to get premium channels then the installation of the cards should prove easy. If you're getting premium channels, however, then the installation is more involved and could be VERY frustrating.

The S3 has several diagnostic windows that tell valuable information about the status of the CableCards. For example, the Conditional Access window has three pieces of information that provided me with clues about whether the cards functioned properly:

In the Conditional Access window, when the information shows as follows, I received only non-premium channels (or none at all if the card is bad):

Connected: yes, EnabledByCP: no
Auth: unknown (or MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY after a signal hit)
CA enable: unknown (or "not possible" after a signal hit)

After a successful signal "hit" and I'm able to receive encrypted channels, I got the following information:

Connected: yes, EnabledByCP: yes
Auth: SUBSCRIBED
CA enable: possible

[Note both of my cards are Motorola, version 04.21]

It's also important to pull out the CableCards for about 30 seconds, to reset them (or you can restart the Tivo) after you get a signal "hit."

Some people have reported that they get an Error 161-4 message after the card initialization and before the signal "hit," (which is normal) or an Error 161-2 if the card is bad, but I never got any message, much less an error message.

One of my cards took about 6 signal "hits" before it "took." I suspect that many of the problems are simply related to unsuccessful hits rather than bad cards. Others have also reported that it took several hits before the cards began to work. Unfortunately the Comcast operators gave me only one "hit" per phone call so I had to keep calling, waiting for the next available operator (always a different operator), provide my user information, and then wait 15 minutes for the hit to take effect. Also, I always asked for a technician who KNOWS ABOUT CABLECARDS, but at no time was I ever able to reach a person who knew anything about CableCards, other than how to send a signal.

Fortunately Comcast says there's no charge for the cards or for the installation (but I'll believe it when I see my next bill).

Time for a cup of coffee and a good long nap.
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Old 12-15-2006, 01:32 AM   #1499
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Just to add to the Comcast stories...

I was quoted $17 as an install fee, card 1 is free and $2.50 a month for card #2. Two techs showed up, on experienced, one training. They installed smoothly, the only issue was one of the cards was listed as in use with another customer, but that was cleared up in about 5 minutes.

Now, I LOVE my S3, but feeding it with Comcast is driving me batty. Both my Comcast DVR and the S3 have these teeny little audio dropouts at random times, with a split second video corruption to match. It's SO frustrating.
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Old 12-15-2006, 02:33 AM   #1500
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djnewlin
When I pulled out the CC and re-inserted it in the same slot (while the TiVo was running), it *does* generate a new Data #. This was something I witnessed when on the phone with Comcast's CC Tech Support. On the other hand, if you pull the CC and re-insert it in the same slot while the TiVo is powered down, the Data # will stay the same.
Well, this isn't always the case. I've pulled my cards out many times, and the data number hasn't changed. It's also possible for the headend to send a message to change the data number. So, maybe that's what you saw.

Again, from the card's point of view, power cycling the S3 looks the same as removing the card and reinserting it. The card's powered, then it's not powered, then it's powered again. So, there's no way the card could know that it was inserted into a powered down S3, vs reinserted while the S3 is powered up.
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