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Old 01-16-2007, 03:36 PM   #1891
Mike Farrington
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Just had CableCARD install visit #3 - Same crap, different day...

I am in Carrol County, MD - an area that uses Scientific Atlanta cards (sounds familiar? MD/DC/VA region with S.A. cards that never get working?).

Anyway, the installer just spent about 2 hours here trying to get everything to work, but had to give up and eventually leave. He only brought two CableCARDs with him. I get the problem of never getting "CP Auth", and thus never get any encrypted content (digitals, premiums).

Here's part of the problem in my region. The tech says they have no way of testing the CableCARDs. They keep asking for equipment to test them with, but they keep getting shot down. I said "All you need, at a minimum, is an HDTV with a CableCARD slot". He said "I KNOW!! They won't buy us one!!".

Also, they don't keep track of the serial numbers of troublesome cards. They all just go back into someone's drawer and get handed out to the next person. It doesn't take a genius to see that eventually all you have left in the drawer is bad cards. According to the senior tech that visited today, the have a big box of the S.A. cards that for some reason they haven't been allowed to open.

Even the tech knows that the S.A. cards are crap compared to the Motorola ones. However, whatever backend system is in use in my area only accepts S.A. cards.

Anyway, he said they are going to create a ticket for the N.O.C. in Phili (but they were having trouble even figuring out how to create the ticket to escalate something that high).

This is exasperating. Of course, I don't take it out on the techs that show up. And I don't take it out on the CSRs. This is the only place I have to at least vent. So who at Comcast do I get angry with? I don't know. I guess I see where this N.O.C. ticket gets me (assuming it actually gets created).
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:14 PM   #1892
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I had the cable cards installed in my Series 3 last month... I knew they were over charging me as they had 1 cable card for free, and the second listed as an "outlet fee" for $4.95, but after 10 minutes of trying to explain it to the rep, I decided to forget about it, and just get the install done. Which went easily enough - I asked the installer when he arrived how long they had him allocated for the job - "2 hours", he tells me. To which I responded... "wanna get out of here early? Than do exactly what I say, and I promise you'll be out in under 30 minutes". He listened, did, and was out in 15 minutes.

So... back to my bill. The first bill came today, and what was included in the bill - a 2007 Comcast fee schedule for Philadelphia. So, I read the small print in the schedule and find this:

Quote:
CableCARD (dual CableCards for non-Comcast HD PVRs requiring two cards) $1.50
So, I decide to place the call... on principle alone. So, 30 minutes with the first rep--> then to supervisor 1 ----> and finally supervisor 2 - lots of hold time, and them telling me I was wrong, that "they know they're fees better than the customer" (yes, supervisor 1 told me that). I finally convinced supervisor 2 to make a few calls to someone in accounting on the details around this fee. Sure enough, she comes back and humbly apologizes for they're reps not knowing anything about this. I told her she could repay me by communicating to every rep under her and to her peers what she learned today. I have little confidence, but it's a nice thought.

Moral - Check your fee schedule that comes in your bill... and hammer them on it. Use their fee schedule to make your argument.

You should NOT be paying ANY outlet fees for the Series 3. If you are, they have you in their system as having one cablecard in one TV and the second in another TV. In Philadelphia, there is a fee schedule for our exact situation with the series 3... and it's $1.50. So, I pay programming fees + $1.50.

cjett

Last edited by cjett : 01-16-2007 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:39 PM   #1893
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo
My D.C. friend even had similar failings using the cards in his TV (& Yes, he did try many replacement cards to see if they were bad cards).
This seems to indicate that the S3 is NOT the problem.
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Old 01-16-2007, 04:48 PM   #1894
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Farrington
This is exasperating. Of course, I don't take it out on the techs that show up. And I don't take it out on the CSRs. This is the only place I have to at least vent. So who at Comcast do I get angry with? I don't know. I guess I see where this N.O.C. ticket gets me (assuming it actually gets created).
I wonder, does Comcast handle this sort of engineering problem company-wide, or is each local office a little fiefdom unto itself, and none of them talk to each other?
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Old 01-16-2007, 05:20 PM   #1895
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dconner
Does Comcast in the DC area only have S.A. cards? Can they get the kind that works? Otherwise, it's simply impossible at this time to get anything more than the most basic of basic cable channels from Comcast on a Series3? Is it only the specific combination of Comcast and S.A. cards, or do they fail on every system?
I have 5 out of 6 SA cards working on my S3 boxes right now with Comcast. I'm waiting for them to swap out the sixth card this evening. The other cards didn't have any problems. Just getting the proper info to the correct person so they could input the correct info was the problem for the 5 cards that are working. Once the proper info was input, the cards worked with all the encrypted channels I'm supposed to receive.
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:42 PM   #1896
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Ok they got my 6th card working. From other peoples posts I sounded like it was just a matter of sending the info again at the head end, and that did solve the problem of not getting the encrypted channels. The tech was happy since he didn't even need to come out here and was able to relay the info I gave him over the phone to the person that handles the head end info. So now all six of my SA cable cards are working in my S3 boxes.
Now if Comcast would hurry up and upgrade their system in my area so I can get the extra HD channels and their phone service. Hopefully they'll be finished by Spring. And if they could just add HDNet(probably wishful thinking) I could drop DirecTV.
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Old 01-16-2007, 06:59 PM   #1897
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaronwt
Ok they got my 6th card working. From other peoples posts I sounded like it was just a matter of sending the info again at the head end, and that did solve the problem of not getting the encrypted channels. The tech was happy since he didn't even need to come out here and was able to relay the info I gave him over the phone to the person that handles the head end info. So now all six of my SA cable cards are working in my S3 boxes.
Now if Comcast would hurry up and upgrade their system in my area so I can get the extra HD channels and their phone service. Hopefully they'll be finished by Spring. And if they could just add HDNet(probably wishful thinking) I could drop DirecTV.
Since you're relatively close to me, let me ask you a few questions...

What info did you give them? I give them the S.A. card's serial number, the CableCARD ID, and the Host #. Did they need your "data" number? They never ask for mine, and I never get a MMI screen with it.

Did you get a sense of some of the settings they were using on their end?
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Old 01-16-2007, 08:15 PM   #1898
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They wanted the number off the card which was actually a series of letters. Then from the TiVo Cable card/Host ID screen they needed the Host ID # and the CableCard #.
To get my 6th card working they already had all the info and just wanted to verify the Host ID # before putting the info in again at the head end.
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Old 01-16-2007, 09:46 PM   #1899
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klray1
I hope, if either Tivo or Comcast is reading these messages, that they will make an effort to let their customers know when they get their systems coordinated. I would love to have the Series 3, but right now, it's not to be. My friend had to send her Series 3 back as well. The Comcast guy was at her house for 3 hours, with several cards, and none would work.
Tivo S3s are a major threat to Comcast's monopoly. Comcast boys are high-fiving your decision - it validates their "play dumb" strategy with the cable cards the S3s need to work. You made the right decision, of course. It does no good to keep a box Comcast succeeds in making inoperative. The only reason I was able to beat them out of five good cable cards and keep my S3s and not go nuts was because I had so many devices using cable cards, that as soon as I got a couple of good ones it only took a few minutes to swap them from one device to another to prove beyond doubt the other 15 to 20 cards Comcast tried to foist on me were crippled. And I am confident that statistic is no accident.
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Old 01-16-2007, 09:49 PM   #1900
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Originally Posted by c3
This seems to indicate that the S3 is NOT the problem.
Yes, I agree, but the cards ARE causing the S3 to fail. The difference is it's a bigger deal when your missing recordings compared to when they fail in a TV. Also, with the TV, a user could just decide to switch to a Comcast box, but this makes our S3 useless.

Last edited by Espo : 01-16-2007 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 01-17-2007, 12:31 AM   #1901
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Originally Posted by dconner
What happened at your latest appointment? Are you able to get all your channels yet? I'm in the same position you were - just the "basic analog" lineup plus the local HD channels.
opps forgot to update...

My 4th appt w/ a 'Comcast tech' was as useless as another hole in the head.
Two guys come out to try to fix this. I don't even know if they had CCs. They grabbed the TiVo remote, went directly to the CC screens to check the status. They said that there was a case like mine right before they visited me.

They wrote the info down on the work order and said they would call in the info to make sure it was entered correctly. After a cpl of hrs my channels should just work.

Needless to say they didn't and still don't. At this point I'm looking to move out of the condos I'm currently in to get to an area where FiOS is available.

It's everywhere around me here in Reston/Herndon/Leesburg - just not in the 'stacked housing' where I reside. Every time I check the FiOS page I get the 'we'll email you when it's ready' spiel. I'm tired of giving Comcast my $.
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Old 01-17-2007, 02:13 AM   #1902
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Originally Posted by Warlord46
Tivo S3s are a major threat to Comcast's monopoly. Comcast boys are high-fiving your decision - it validates their "play dumb" strategy with the cable cards the S3s need to work.
In my case I'm going to turn things upside-down on those bastards if they try that. I'm going to take the Comcast DVR back to the local office, and tell them to drop the HD service and all digital channels ... unless they give me working CableCards (or set up an appointment with a technician with them) at a reasonable price. That would reduce my bill by $30/month (and thus drop their revenue by $360/year), which I'll use towards renting movie DVDs and buying DVDs of TV series.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:14 AM   #1903
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispyCritter
And what precisely do you call your claims that the S3 shouldn't have been released?
I call it my perspective on the relative value of putting out a product versus not putting out a product, when you know that the foundation of the product isn't robust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispyCritter
You believe that we shouldn't have our S3's ; I see no way for us to get our TiVos unless TiVo releases the S3
Clearly that's not true. Comcast customers will be getting their TiVos over the course of the year, and I bet they'll work much more reliably.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispyCritter
And I completely agree with you, and have never claimed otherwise. The S2 was much more robust than the S3.
And this has been the foundation of my arguments, all through this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispyCritter
But that's because it didn't interoperate with any new hardware or software or signals controlled by anyone else.
So folks should know that that lack of control on TiVo's part results in far more problems. Why is this so difficult?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrispyCritter
When TiVo released both HMO and TiVoToGo there was much more complaining about TiVo than there was for the S2 or there is now.
I absolutely disagree with you. I believe customers are experiencing far more severe issues NOW than THEN. We'll just have to agree to disagree about that.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:17 AM   #1904
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Originally Posted by OzDave
He says they just try different cards till something works.
If you read the thread over, you'll see that installation problems are typically comparatively easy to address, just by, as you suggest, trying other CCs and also following directions. The worst problems aren't installation problems but rather operational problems: missing channels, partial recordings, etc.
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:20 AM   #1905
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Originally Posted by Espo
Tivo has stated they are working to fix this problem & the missing channel problem in 8.1, but we'll have to see.
This is good news, not just that they're acknowleding that the problems are their own problems, but also that they are promising to fix them. It sure would have been nice to have that happen a lot earlier than it did, like perhaps when I called my missing channel problem into TiVo Tech Support, MONTHS ago.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:08 AM   #1906
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjett
I had the cable cards installed in my Series 3 last month... I knew they were over charging me as they had 1 cable card for free, and the second listed as an "outlet fee" for $4.95, but after 10 minutes of trying to explain it to the rep, I decided to forget about it, and just get the install done. Which went easily enough - I asked the installer when he arrived how long they had him allocated for the job - "2 hours", he tells me. To which I responded... "wanna get out of here early? Than do exactly what I say, and I promise you'll be out in under 30 minutes". He listened, did, and was out in 15 minutes.

So... back to my bill. The first bill came today, and what was included in the bill - a 2007 Comcast fee schedule for Philadelphia. So, I read the small print in the schedule and find this:

So, I decide to place the call... on principle alone. So, 30 minutes with the first rep--> then to supervisor 1 ----> and finally supervisor 2 - lots of hold time, and them telling me I was wrong, that "they know they're fees better than the customer" (yes, supervisor 1 told me that). I finally convinced supervisor 2 to make a few calls to someone in accounting on the details around this fee. Sure enough, she comes back and humbly apologizes for they're reps not knowing anything about this. I told her she could repay me by communicating to every rep under her and to her peers what she learned today. I have little confidence, but it's a nice thought.

Moral - Check your fee schedule that comes in your bill... and hammer them on it. Use their fee schedule to make your argument.

You should NOT be paying ANY outlet fees for the Series 3. If you are, they have you in their system as having one cablecard in one TV and the second in another TV. In Philadelphia, there is a fee schedule for our exact situation with the series 3... and it's $1.50. So, I pay programming fees + $1.50.

cjett
Just wanted to let you know that it wasn't communicated. And to thank you. Just got my bill and made the call. John the rep knew nothing about it and is currently researching as I type. Because I also have a Comcast DVR you have saved me $17.90 per month. I was just getting ready to return the box and cable cards and go OTA totally. Maybe I won't have to now.
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:10 AM   #1907
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WOW! I thought I was having problems but apparently not. All six of my cards worked. No swapping out of any cards and the actual Comcast employees(not contractors) were very helpful. They were going to swap out the sixth card but got it working by re-enetering the info at the head end. I was pissed at Comcast for making me have so many appointments to get things straightened out but that was mainly the fault of every CSR I dealt with. After hearing about some of these other problems, especially around the DC area, I'm rather pleased with Comcst in my area now. So now it comes down to programing. If Comcast doesn't get the HDNet channels by the time FIOS is available in my area, I will jump from Comcast even if I have to pay a penalty for leaving before my first year is up. Although I have no idea when FIOS will be available so all I have to look forward to is Comcast upgrading their system shortly to offer phone service and more HD channels.
How will the cable companies react to DIRECTV this fall when they are able to offer every HD channel available?
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Old 01-17-2007, 07:41 AM   #1908
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My saga continues...

This morning I discovered the STB on our other television (a normal standard-def S.A. digital cable box) lost its authorization last night (at 9:01pm according to a recording).

I called a CSR this morning, and she says that she doesn't see any STBs on my account. Sigh. I can only guess that someone was working on my N.O.C. ticket last night and accidentally deleted my STB. I gave the CSR the box number, but she was having trouble getting it added to my account. So, this evening between 3-5pm, I've got my 4th appointment for CableCARD installation (and also to get the STB working again).

I'm just glad they didn't accidentally remove my cable modem from the account, since I work from home. My wife isn't too happy though. Not only is she unable to watch the Today show this morning, but she also cannot watch Conan from last night. Her favorite comedian was on (Jim Gaffigan).
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Old 01-17-2007, 08:51 AM   #1909
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You've given me reason to keep hope alive, aaronwt!

I've got my third scheduled appointment this evening, and maybe I'll get lucky. I do love the TiVo Series3 system itself, and it's pretty awesome seeing *24* in high-def TiVo! If only they can get my HBO doing the same for *Rome* pretty soon....
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:07 AM   #1910
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjett
I had the cable cards installed in my Series 3 last month... I knew they were over charging me as they had 1 cable card for free, and the second listed as an "outlet fee" for $4.95, but after 10 minutes of trying to explain it to the rep, I decided to forget about it, and just get the install done. Which went easily enough - I asked the installer when he arrived how long they had him allocated for the job - "2 hours", he tells me. To which I responded... "wanna get out of here early? Than do exactly what I say, and I promise you'll be out in under 30 minutes". He listened, did, and was out in 15 minutes.

So I have my Comcast installer coming tomorrow morning, and based on past experience, I have no confidence that he will know what to do. What did you tell your guy to do? Is there a walk through somewhere I can print out for him?

Thanks,

MIKE
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:20 AM   #1911
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So I have my Comcast installer coming tomorrow morning, and based on past experience, I have no confidence that he will know what to do. What did you tell your guy to do? Is there a walk through somewhere I can print out for him?

Thanks,

MIKE
There's an instruction sheet for the installer that came with the S3.
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Old 01-17-2007, 10:59 AM   #1912
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Not receiving analog channels (and some others) with Comcast CCs

This seems to be the opposite of what most people have CC problems with, but Comcast installed 2 CCs in my new S3 and the only stations I can get are broadcast HD (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, etc.) and some of the music stations. Anything in the analog range (0-99) and some other stations as well as the non-broadcast HD stations (ESPN, TNT, etc.) are not coming in through the CCs. Before the CCs were installed I was able to get all analog stations just fine. The tech on the phone that authorized the cards said that the analog stations should just pass through the CC and that they are only there to decode protected/encrypted content. I tried looking through the CC threads to see if anyone had a similar problem and how it may have been resolved, but came up empty. I called TiVo and of course they are pointing their finger (probably correctly) at Comcast. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Similar experience? Advice? Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:32 AM   #1913
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Originally Posted by kringdahl
This seems to be the opposite of what most people have CC problems with, but Comcast installed 2 CCs in my new S3 and the only stations I can get are broadcast HD (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, etc.) and some of the music stations. Anything in the analog range (0-99) and some other stations as well as the non-broadcast HD stations (ESPN, TNT, etc.) are not coming in through the CCs. Before the CCs were installed I was able to get all analog stations just fine. The tech on the phone that authorized the cards said that the analog stations should just pass through the CC and that they are only there to decode protected/encrypted content. I tried looking through the CC threads to see if anyone had a similar problem and how it may have been resolved, but came up empty. I called TiVo and of course they are pointing their finger (probably correctly) at Comcast. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Similar experience? Advice? Thanks in advance.
If you pop the CableCARDs, do the analogs come back? If you splice the coax (or just plug it into) the TV, can you tune the analogs? Is it possible that the tech accidentally put an analog filter onto your line? They sometimes to this for cable-modem customers who do not also pay for basic cable.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:38 AM   #1914
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Originally Posted by Mike Farrington
If you pop the CableCARDs, do the analogs come back? If you splice the coax (or just plug it into) the TV, can you tune the analogs? Is it possible that the tech accidentally put an analog filter onto your line? They sometimes to this for cable-modem customers who do not also pay for basic cable.
I have other TVs in the house plugged into the analog so I assume that would still work fine on the TiVo if I pulled the cards since they're spliced off the same line. I was a CM customer for a long time and was always using the analog TV so there's no filter involved.
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Old 01-17-2007, 11:46 AM   #1915
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kringdahl
I have other TVs in the house plugged into the analog so I assume that would still work fine on the TiVo if I pulled the cards since they're spliced off the same line. I was a CM customer for a long time and was always using the analog TV so there's no filter involved.
Who knows, maybe the tech was putting a filter on the line to this TV, and put on the wrong kind. Sometimes they use high-pass filters to prevent cable-modems from affecting the tv. I think the best thing to do would be, working with this connection, to either plug the COAX into your TV or to pop the CableCARDs.

But before you do anything, maybe a simple reboot of your S3 would be in order (there have been problems where all analogs go to black & white, and a reboot fixes it).
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:25 PM   #1916
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeb33
So I have my Comcast installer coming tomorrow morning, and based on past experience, I have no confidence that he will know what to do. What did you tell your guy to do? Is there a walk through somewhere I can print out for him?

Thanks,

MIKE
As mentioned... I used the enclosed sheet. This may be a little vague below... but the flow is what is important.

I had to insist that he not try to install both at the same time. So, what we did - first, we wrote down all the numbers on the first card, installed it, made sure it had the right messages (that it was "seen" in the box), we then pulled the numbers off of the screen that are needed. He then called Comcast to activate... got the "error message"... I told him that was normal. Once activated, I tested to make sure everything was functioning with the first tuner. He kept the operator on the phone... kept telling her to "wait just a minute" - this was the tough part, he didn't want to do it, and the operator wanted to hang up. but 45 seconds later we were on to the second card.

Then... rinse and repeat on card #2.

One other item.... don't let the installer work the remote... they do not know the TiVo software and are lost. When he reached for it... I just told him no... I knew exactly where the menus are, and could get there much faster. So... get familar with the right menus before the installer shows up.

cjett

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Old 01-17-2007, 03:44 PM   #1917
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Originally Posted by Mike Farrington
Who knows, maybe the tech was putting a filter on the line to this TV, and put on the wrong kind. Sometimes they use high-pass filters to prevent cable-modems from affecting the tv. I think the best thing to do would be, working with this connection, to either plug the COAX into your TV or to pop the CableCARDs.

But before you do anything, maybe a simple reboot of your S3 would be in order (there have been problems where all analogs go to black & white, and a reboot fixes it).
I guess I'm destined to be a prisoner to Comcast until they can figure this out. I popped the CCs and reran setup and all the analog stations are back. I put the CCs back in and rerun setup (with a reboot) and I'm seeing the broadcast HD music stations. They must have something provisioned incorrectly or maybe the CCs are bad, but they seem to be doing their job.
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:52 PM   #1918
dconner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeb33
So I have my Comcast installer coming tomorrow morning, and based on past experience, I have no confidence that he will know what to do. What did you tell your guy to do? Is there a walk through somewhere I can print out for him?
While the TiVo-provided instruction sheet is pretty good, what would be really cool is a "Comcast User's Guide" checklist - i.e., a walkthrough of how to deal with Comcast in a manner most likely to lead to success.

Edit: Actually, cjett's post is a good one for this!
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Old 01-17-2007, 03:54 PM   #1919
c3
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Most likely those "analog" channels are mapped to their digital equivalent channels incorrectly, or correctly but disabled.
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Old 01-17-2007, 04:01 PM   #1920
Brainiac 5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kringdahl
The tech on the phone that authorized the cards said that the analog stations should just pass through the CC and that they are only there to decode protected/encrypted content.
This is true, but in many areas (including where I live) Comcast is simulcasting digital SD versions of all the analog channels. When you use a digital set top box or CableCARD, it will use the digital version instead of the analog one (or at least, it's supposed to). In my area, these channels are encrypted.

My guess would be that with the CableCARDs in, the TiVo is trying to use the digital versions of these channels and is unable to decrypt them for one of the usual reasons (bad CableCARDs, something isn't set up right in the account, etc.).
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