All going great... UNTIL the cable card...

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by randy1649, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011


    Well, you know where this post is going...
    The cable guy came today. Mediacom.
    Was suppose to bring "2" cable cards. I even called to double
    check mediacom had down that 2 cards were requested.
    But the guy came with only 1 card. (naturally)

    Anyways... he couldn't get it to work.
    Plugged it in, the premiere said "M-Card Installed".
    But he couldn't get it "paired".
    In the cablecard setup screen under installer menus,
    there is a "CON:NO" display. Thats needs to be CON:YES. (anything but :NO)
    No matter how many "hits" they sent, it would not pair.
    The cable guy admitted he did not know much about cablecarcds or TIVO's.
    He could do a "hit" himself from his handheld gadget, and he said the "hit"
    was saying it was successful on his end. That it was finding the card ok.
    But no matter, still a no-go.

    I called tivo cs and as far as they could tell i did everything right, as far as all the updates and everything on my part. CS said make sure no cable splitters were in the way, there was none on the line. So tivo cs could not do much.

    So after 3 hours, the cable guy left, requesting another guy come out next week that might have more experience with cablecards.

    I have 2 new premiere's and we tried both with this card, and no-go results on both. So it is NOT the units. And since the premiere's see the card installed, I really doubt a bad card is the issue. Very unlikely. Very very!

    I know it has to be on mediacom's end. They are not init the card correctly, or its not added to my account properly, or they are not sending the right hits to activate the card. Something???

    But I dread Im in for a looooong fight with mediacom and "THE CARD".
    And I know these cable companies rather you use and pay for their DVR and not tivo.
    So I have to wonder if they just try to discourage the use of cablecards
    by not activating them correctly on purpose? Making it a nightmare hoping the customer will just give up?

    What mediacom doesn't know or realize, if they can not get the card(s) to work, I will just go with basic cable line directly to the tivo. Drop all high end cable channels. Not use any card. Especially since I also now have netflix and amazon thru these premiere boxes. Plenty of stuff to watch just with those options...
    Why do cable companies act like this cablecard install is their first?
    I'm sure they know exactly how to get these cards to work.
    They just refuse to cooperate with the customer.
  2. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
  3. tattube

    tattube Member

    Oct 23, 2010
    I attribute both these issues to incompetance, rather than intent.

    I have a TPXL fed by Comcast and had similar problems with startup.
    A little perseverence (well ok, a lot) - meaning more than a few phone calls to comcast before finding a knowledgeable rep, finally got the tivo running.

    I have his name and number on speed-dial for future reference.
  4. Stuxnet

    Stuxnet Alien Infidel

    Feb 8, 2011
    My Charter tech has 2 contacts he calls when things don't go smoothly. He told me both contacts have multiple TiVos w/cable cards and can pair any installation... works for me :)

    I'm guessing Mediacom outsourced tech support... hopefully they'll have someone who actually owns one of these machines.
  5. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011


    Just wondering since this "pairing" seems to be typical issue for most and most cable companies, what was it they finally did that worked? Was it the "hit", or a TIVO setup setting issue, or a procedural (first do this then do that) issue? What was it that worked?
  6. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

    Sep 19, 2006
    In the ATL
    Sometimes it's both - the card was not setup correctly for a one-way device (Tivo) and the pairing info was wrong in their system. Or the billing was incorrect and the card was not authorized. It can be multiple issues, and 90%+ of them are the cableCo's fault.
  7. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    Yes. the key with cable cards is to get a tech that knows the correct person to get in contact with to enter the information. And also knows the information that the person needs. I know when I had comcast, there was only one person in m area that could enter the correct info from the pairing screen to get a cable card up and running. everyone else did not have access to the same system.
  8. gnocchiman

    gnocchiman New Member

    Apr 25, 2011
    My story is the same as everyone's...maybe a little more.

    I'm trying to install 2 new Premiere units with Comcast Bay Area, and am now several WEEKS, dozens of phone calls, 2 truck rolls, and 2 conference calls with Tivo/Comcast...still nothing.

    I know from past experience with my older Series 3 unit, that if you find the right Comcast support person they can make some changes and get it up and running in a few seconds. But why does it have to be like finding a needle in a haystack?

    If anyone knows the secret password that gets them through to a competent support person, PLEASE post your advice....I beg you!!!
  9. rocko

    rocko Cuckoo for TiVo

    Oct 29, 2002
    Fire off a Tweet to @comcastcares.
  10. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Well the mediacom cable guy came and went. Two new cards. Still a no-go.
    He even rewired new cable thinking that might help.
    Another service call again tomorrow, more cards. This is totally #%$*%^ !!!!
    Two new premieres boxes. I can't believe its the boxes.

    If I ever get this going, Im going to open up a business only installing cablecards into tivo's. Charge $75 an hour. And I will probably be swamped with work...

    If I could I'd buy the motorola cablecard new myself direct and see what happens.
    I think these cable M-cards are all the same? A new cablecard should come with every tivo unit.
  11. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    When talking to mediacom, all they do or say they can do is send a HIT to the card(s).
    No special HIT, just their typical HIT. Mediacom says since the card(s) are on my account, serial # of the card(s), that is all it requires.
    So asking them about needing other info from the card, other numbers, they say no.
    As far as they are concerned, a HIT is a HIT is a HIT. And HIT's are not solving the problem.
    And the card(s) have been added to my account, they say.

    My gut feeling is cable companies just do not want to do this cable card thing. That would make sense since the FCC told them they have to supply cards.
    If the FCC had to get involved, someone was resisting in the first place. That someone being the cable companies.
    So they put people through this nightmare "we can't get it to work". And how do you prove cable companies are not intentionally fighting this issue still?
    No way to prove it. They probably figure eventually we will give up and use their cable company DVR. That is what they want.

    I know computers. I know pretty much about technology. You just don't get recurring bad hardware over and over.
    Thats like ordering 25 hard drives from newegg, and all of them being bad. It just doesn't happen.

    If the TIVO recognizes the M-cable card has been inserted, you know the card is operational. Period.
  12. mae

    mae member

    Dec 10, 2001
    I don't know where you are, but I had a problem with mediacom. The issue seems to be they have many small, diverse legacy systems and have centralized many functions. The one here is surrounded on four sides by Comcast and we keep hoping they will get bought out (something I never thought I would say...I want Comcast).

    Over 5 years ago, I had a tv with a cable card slot, so I called and ordered service. They told me they don't have cards. When the installers came with a box, they asked why I didn't order a card, so I told them. Of course they didn't have one, but seemed to know what they were doing when they came back with one a few days later, but couldn't get it to work. Neither did a second.

    They told me to wait until they got a new shipment, and sure enough that worked the first try.

    My experience with them has not been very good when there have been problems They closed their call center at the local office and all calls go to Iowa or Florida or who knows where, and those folks are responsible for many different systems with different technologies. One rep sent a "special" hit that borked my box, and they didn't have any replacements locally.

    I faxed a letter to their CEO, and received a call from a very nice person locally who has been great at getting long running and seemingly impossible situations fixed. At least here, if a local doesn't give you their direct dial, there are no listed numbers...all calls from listings go to the big call centers.

    I don't have a TiVo at that house (it is a second), but I would suggest escalating to corporate to get the (one of the few) people at you local who know what they're doing and can resolve it. Good luck!
  13. ZeoTiVo

    ZeoTiVo I can't explain

    Jan 2, 2004
    yep, obviously time to move up the chain anyway you can. The techs have no training and are just shooting in the dark. The hit is not doing it and that is because the back end systems are not setup correctly. The only way it would be hardware is if all the cable cards they bring are old and they need a newer revision of the card to be compatible with their headend.
  14. jbcheshire

    jbcheshire Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    I have had the same issues with Charter when they installed cable cards in my Premiere units. The first go-round the tech in the office that was entering the information had keyed the serial number of the card wrong in their system... Something to have them check..
  15. windsurfdog

    windsurfdog Hoof Hearted?

    May 1, 2009
    Everyone who is having a new cablecard installed should read and become very familiar with this:
    Troubleshooting CableCard and Channel Activation Issues
    Especially pay attention to those links that pop up a pdf with screenshots of the cablecard screens on them. I printed them out and referenced them with the Comcast Tech last time I had one installed. The tech hadn't done one before and thanked me for teaching him. He was done in about 30 minutes.
  16. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    I myself verified the serial # after the first fail.
    Another mediacom guy is coming yet again today in a few hours, with more card(s).
    I also just ordered a motorola M card from someone on eBay that claims their cards are in full working condition. Only spent $15, worth a try...
    If mediacom fails again today (which I kinda expect), I should have the ebay M-card by the 4th mediacom visit. And will make them try that card (or I can try it I guess).

    The thing is... all mediacom claims they need is the cards serial # entered and added to my account, which they say it is. And I verified the serial # already. And all mediacom does is sent their typical HIT. They claim they do not have different HIT's to send. Their HIT is an all in one HIT, according to mediacom.
    And another thing, asking to have this issue sent to higher level tech support goes nowhere since mediacom claims they have no higher level of support to send you to.

    It's clear mediacom does not want to mess with cablecards and especially in TIVO's !!!!!

    Im now wondering if they are hitting me for a home service call charge on every visit, even though this issue is from an original unresolved service call...?
    That is where I will turn ballistic.
  17. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    That is good detailed info, HOWEVER... dealing with the cable company, they will claim they have no different HIT's to send. Just their basic all-in-one HIT.

    The troubleshooting guide refers to different HIT's, the hit for "one" way devices (M-cards) and the hit for the "cable box", the two way hit.
    Try telling mediacom they have other HIT's they should try... a big no-go.

    Fact is... these cable companies just do not want to get into debugging "your" tivo issue. All they will commit to is plugging in the card, registering the card with a call to their support activation center, and then support sending the "HIT" to the card. If those steps fail to get your card going, the cable guy just gives up and reschedules another house call for another day to try more cards. Thats about it for their part.
  18. nrc

    nrc Cracker Soul

    Nov 17, 1999
    Living in a...
    I can't emphasize this enough. The cable industry's version of reality as they report it to the FCC is this: There are NO problems with cableCards or tuning adapters thanks to their "professional" installers. When there are problems it's usually attributed a faulty device or outdated firmware. Unless enough consumers start complaining to prove otherwise, the FCC will continue to accept that version of reality.
  19. randy1649

    randy1649 Member

    Apr 18, 2011
    Have to update...
    Still another service call and mediacom tech DID get one of the cards/tivo's working. This guy absolutely knew a lot more about the process. He was into all the tivo cablecard setup menu pages and noting every setting. Then working with his handheld gadget and mediacom cs, he got one of his new cards working within 5 minutes.
    His other new card, when popped into my "second" tivo premiere unit gave an error immediately. Said it failed to be recognized. Would not even show up with the message "M-card installed". Just a failure error.

    So then he thought it was the tivo itself, so he removed the "working" card from unit #1 and plugged into tivo #2. The "good" card was recognized but would not map channels. Then I remembered I had done the setup process again (earlier) on the second unit for just cable-line to unit basic cable (no card). So he waited while I went thru the setup again with the swapped "good" card inserted, and the second tivo unit mapped correctly and worked perfect with that "good" card.
    Soooo.. both tivo premiere units "were" working and totally operational.

    So the guy swapped back the bad card and still got that failure to recognize error.
    So he again called his cs rep he deals with, and she said that card, the bad one, was a new "logic stream" card (she got this info from looking at the history serial # of that card from their warehouse).
    In other words, that card had failed to install before on other non-tivo units.
    Even though it was indeed the motorola M-card, it was in-fact different from the other M-cards. That "logic-stream" notation.

    So we got one tivo working and scheduled still another service call for this saturday, and a new card.

    Im now confident this mediacom rep can get the second tivo going.
    He was as dedicated and hard set to make it work as I was. So at least I have to say he was not trying to play around as the other techs were. Or maybe more so, the other mediacom techs knew nothing and gave up easily.

    And finally... was it worth the nightmare (you may ask)?
    The picture on the "working unit #1 is amazing!!!
    Much much better than what I was getting using the mediacom PACE-HD cable dvr box.
    Now... I don't know if its the tivo unit or what, but the HD picture is by far noticeably better than before, with using the cablecard.

    Now... mediacom DOES supply great quality HD signal. Long ago when mediacom supplied HD OTA signal thru their wire (no box needed), and I went directly cable line to the HD digital tuner on the tv, I noticed back then the picture was outstanding compared to DirecTv.

    So Im thinking... now that I basically have the same setup, with the mediacom line going directly to the tiro unit tuner, and not through a cable-box dvr, and with the cablecard only serving as "the decoder", that I now basically am bypassing any cablebox and going directly cable-line to the tivo input.
    But whatever is going on, the HD picture is amazing using the tivo box!

    So YES... it is worth the fight to get those cable cards working.
    And this failure nightmare with cable cards does seem to be bad cablecard issues, as hard as that might be to believe.

    ps. And as the mediacom tech was leaving, I asked WHY so many cards had to be tried before getting one to work. He blamed TIVO inc. for "NOT" working with motorola directly to resolve compatibility issues with TIVO and these motorola cablecards.
    He claimed TIVO never once worked directly with motorola to ensure card compatibility.
    And THAt was why so many issues arise when using motorola cable cards with the TIVO unit.
    And I now tend to believe this is in fact the whole core issue behind the cablecard nightmare.
  20. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    Ah yes, nothing like putting known bad hardware back in the warehouse.

    I remember many years ago when I went to FAU, the computer tech would scratch his initials on a board he was sending back to be repaired. If he got the same board back again, and it still didn't work after the "repair", it would mysteriously have an accident and be damaged in shipping :).

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