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Old 05-01-2014, 10:02 PM   #1
mae
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Exclamation Mediacom CableCard Nightmare

Anyone considering a Romio (or other TiVo) with Mediacom service (particularly on the Maryland/Delaware system served out of Dagsboro, DE) should beware.

I called to verify they had cablecards for pickup, and was told by the first CSR that they had to be tech installed. When I cited the FCC rule on self-installs if they permit box self-installs he disconnected me. Second call led to a CSR who knew about it, and she confirmed they were in stock for pick up.

So I picked one up yesterday. I called the number they gave me for activation, and the agent insisted a tech had to install it, and I was again disconnected. I called the number on the TiVo site, which appears to be for their techs, and an agent acted as a middle woman, taking the numbers, relaying them to someone else. The card did not pair. It is operating, the clear QAM channels come in, but no encrypted channels. The Conditional Access screen shows Con=No and V=?. The TiVo shows an OOB lock and reasonable SNR. Data rate is 2k, and EMMs are being received. Obviously a problem either on the head or back end with the account. A second person got on the phone insisted it was paired and said they needed to roll a truck IN A WEEK. I told them it was unacceptable and he said he would check with the local office and get back to me. Of course, no called back.

So I called TiVo and they set up a 3-way call. The card would not activate and the (more knowledgeable) agent and TiVo agreed it was bad card. So this morning I drove the 60 mile roundtrip to Dagsboro and (as suggested) got 3 cards. I called in and the card wouldn’t activate. The agent said something about my plan not being right, put me on hold and after about 20 minutes, I was disconnected (third time).

So I had spent three hours on the phone, made two 60 mile trips and had no working cable card. I called the CEO’s office, explained the situation to his assistant and that I didn’t think a tech could do anything I couldn’t (with my 3 cards, since I seem to know more than anyone I’ve spoken to) and that I needed it to be done before noon on Saturday. I received no call back, but an email scheduling a truck roll for Saturday 3-5. Another call to the CEO’s assistant got it moved to 1-5 tomorrow (despite their web site touting 30 minute service windows).

The amazing part is Mediacom advertises TiVo service, including a four color insert in our local paper. You would think they could get it to work

Rant over, be warned. I’ll post any updates.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:49 PM   #2
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I have no luck with Mediacom's phone support with cable cards, I usually go to their online forum to get help, they are much more knowledgeable and can do the activations by just providing the data numbers, etc. The forum employees are there 24x7 and have full access to all aspects of card activations.

There are some Motorola cards that won't pair and have to be exchanged. I have tried to figure more but even the knowledgeable people at Mediacom aren't sure why, so far I have had two cards that I have had to exchange in order to get them to pair correctly.

http://mediacomcable.com/CustomerSup....php?board=2.0

If you have a retail Tivo and cable card with Mediacom, it's really worth the time to establish an account on their forum (I enjoy my time there when I'm bored reminding those who rent Tivo services for twice the standard monthly Tivo retail cost, that they aren't getting the full Tivo service.

You missed the great card unpairing event last January when the majority of Mediacom cable cards became unpaired, apparently due to changes they made when they began rolling out their own Tivo service. Unknown to most up to then, Mediacom didn't truly pair cable cards completely which meant a card could be active on your account but wasn't tied to any particular hardware device, they also at the same time started setting the copy once flag for premium channels which really upset a lot of customers such as myself who up to then you could copy any recording down to your PC.

At least you don't have their TiVo solution, they don't allow it connected to home network, ethernet is disabled, no MRV other than streaming with Mini's and they don't allow their TiVo's to be combined with personally owned TiVo's.
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:18 PM   #3
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Mediacom and TiVo

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Originally Posted by eboydog View Post

At least you don't have their TiVo solution, they don't allow it connected to home network, ethernet is disabled, no MRV other than streaming with Mini's and they don't allow their TiVo's to be combined with personally owned TiVo's.

Thanks. Interestingly enough this all started when their ad said TiVo was available and I called them. After three transfers, they finally said it wasn't available on this system. No explanation of why they would advertise (in a very local weekly) something that wasn't available. Since I've had a TiVo since 2001, I decided to dump their 180gig, slow Motorola DVR and get one. This is a second house on the Maryland shore and at my other house I've self installed cards from both Comcast and Verizon FIOS and never had these problems. On FIOS, you can do it on the web or an automated telephone system.

If it truly is a systemic bad card issue, it covers the two I've tried and I would bet the two I haven't tried are from the same batch. But the tech can deal with it tomorrow. I still believe it is a provisioning issue.
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Old 05-02-2014, 07:48 AM   #4
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Their techs that come don't know any more about Tivo and provisioning cards than you do, they call the same people and read the same numbers back. If if doesn't work then the tech, might have more cards to try, that's the only use for having a "tech" come out.

If it's their own Tivo then the tech will also swap out the Tivo box but all their techs are, are rolling inventory vehicles.
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Old 05-02-2014, 08:16 AM   #5
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Mediacom techs

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Originally Posted by eboydog View Post
Their techs that come don't know any more about Tivo and provisioning cards than you do, they call the same people and read the same numbers back. If if doesn't work then the tech, might have more cards to try, that's the only use for having a "tech" come out.

If it's their own Tivo then the tech will also swap out the Tivo box but all their techs are, are rolling inventory vehicles.
Actually, the few techs I've had here over the last nine years have been pretty good, but of course that was on their infrastructure. When I started service in 2005, I got a CableCard for my Panasonic TV. It took three visits and two techs to get it working but they were very persistent with their office folks. It was the first CC any of them had dealt with.

In this case, I am convinced it is a provisioning problem, but since they won't believe me, maybe they will believe their techs.

BTW, I tried their forum as you suggested. Still no luck, but they are knowledgeable and are trying, not like the phone folks I got. Thanks for the idea.
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Old 05-02-2014, 10:26 AM   #6
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Don't misunderstand me, the Mediacom field techs may well know their physical cable infrastructure but they know nothing about most cable boxes and cable cards other than how to replace them when told.
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Old 05-02-2014, 11:07 AM   #7
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I would STRONGLY recommend working with MediacomChad on DSLReports.com. On site techs have only VERY rarely been able to correctly "install/activate/pair" CableCARDS. When I had persistent issues, Chad was the one who ultimately fixed them....
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:22 PM   #8
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All fixed!

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Originally Posted by Bierboy View Post
I would STRONGLY recommend working with MediacomChad on DSLReports.com. On site techs have only VERY rarely been able to correctly "install/activate/pair" CableCARDS. When I had persistent issues, Chad was the one who ultimately fixed them....
Based on eboydog's suggestion, I opened a thread on the Mediacom support web site. Drew there fixed the problem. I knew a field tech would know less than I do, but that's all they could suggest. It is a shame the first tier folks don't know (or aren't permitted) to escalate problems to the few who know what to do,
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by mae View Post
Based on eboydog's suggestion, I opened a thread on the Mediacom support web site. Drew there fixed the problem. I knew a field tech would know less than I do, but that's all they could suggest. It is a shame the first tier folks don't know (or aren't permitted) to escalate problems to the few who know what to do,
Use the Mediacom support forum. It is always the best way to start when a technical issue arises. I have had good luck with self-installs of cards in my owned devices, but experiences can certainly vary by region.
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