CableCards from FiOS going in today

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by ilh, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. Jan 9, 2008 #1 of 14
    ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    Any gotchas need to be aware of other than following the CC install guide with the installer?

    Are there groups of channels I should check (rather than every single one)? I don't have any premiums.

    Should I make the installer stay while I re-run guided setup after both S cards are installed (one at a time)?

    I have the smarthome set of attenuators. Should I pay attention to SNR while the installer is here or just keep those in reserve should I notice problems later? That is to say, if there are any pixelating problems at all, should I insist he knock the SNR down to 31ish from the 38+ I now I have?

    Thanks.

    --Lee
     
  2. Jan 9, 2008 #2 of 14
    wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    I would just save them... he'll already be making sure that the signal is in spec by Verizon's standards, though that may or may not match what the Tivo wants. But what I've found, in a year with the service, is that the signal strength will vary over time, from channel to channel, especially for the HD channels. (I suspect Verizon's not monitoring them as closely; I dunno.)

    I finally got hold of the Smarthome attenuator kit a few months ago, but I didn't need to use it until the other week, when ESPN and ESPN2 were overloading. I put a 10DB attenuator on, and it cleared right up. But this week, I was getting bad dropouts on the local HD channels, and losing Cinemax altogether. Looking at the diagnostics persuaded me that the signal was now too low, so I throttled back to 6DB... then 3DB... then finally nothing, before it stabilized. (ESPN and ESPN2 were also fine by then.)

    So, I'm glad I have the attenuators, but it seems to me that using them will be a sometime thing. I kinda wish they were adjustable, so I wouldn't have to unscrew them and reattach them.
     
  3. Jan 9, 2008 #3 of 14
    bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

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    DC Metro Area
    Set each tuner to a different digital channel, such as 825 and 826. I'm assuming you know how to switch tuners, i.e. press the right arrow to bring up info display, then down press down arrow to select the other tuner.

    If you get a picture on each tuner, then you're good to go. If you don't get a picture on either tuner, then then go to the System Information -> CableCard X.. -> Conditional Access screen. A correctly activated FiOS CableCard will appears as follows:

    [​IMG]

    For each CableCard, it should say Connected: yes, EnabledByCP: yes and Auth: Subscribed on an encrypted digital cable channel.

    Repeat for both CableCard 1 and CableCard 2.
     
  4. Jan 9, 2008 #4 of 14
    ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    Thanks. It really helps to see what a properly authorized card should look like on FiOS.

    --Lee
     
  5. Jan 9, 2008 #5 of 14
    David Platt

    David Platt Mouse Master TCF Club

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    Portland, OR
    My installer had me check a channel from each of the major groups. Take a look at the FiOS line-up and check one each of the following:

    -local SD channel
    -local HD channel
    -national SD channel
    -national HD channel (like the Discovery Channel)
    -pay SD channel
    -pay HD channel
     
  6. Jan 9, 2008 #6 of 14
    Eudmin

    Eudmin New Member

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    Dec 30, 2007
    Montgomery...
    It took a little while after seeing the 161-4 errors (the good errors) that result from FIOS "hitting" the card for me to see the data that bkdtv posted above.

    When I thought back to when I used to have cable boxes they always told me something like "leave it turned on for about 10 minutes or so" after making a change to my account, so I should not have been surprised.

    It's hard to be patient and wait for something to happen while the installer is ready to be done with the job, but hang in there for a little while at least and tell jokes or something to relieve the tension. As long as the OOB count in the Network screen of the cable card setup is going up, then it's still getting data. I don't remember what the count needs to be after the hit resets it before it's "set up," but it's a few thousand.

    If you see that data that bkdtv posted above you will still have to do guided setup and possibly reboot before you can actually change channels around and stuff. Those things take for freaking ever, so you can decide if you want the installer to stay to see success. On mine it took about 45 min to do them which also seemed like forever with the installer sitting on my couch, but he insisted that he wasn't leaving until he saw me tuning with both tuners. He wasn't very experienced in the issues with cable cards, but was very conscientious.
     
  7. Jan 9, 2008 #7 of 14
    ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    bkdtv, your screen shot shows "Host Validation: Unknown 00", which according to the CableCard FAQ in this forum, means the card may be paired but is not "validated." Is this a concern?

    --Lee
     
  8. Jan 9, 2008 #8 of 14
    ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    Verizon is not pairing just yet. Later this year they will update their DACs to require pairing. I'm not looking forward to the headaches that this will bring.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2008 #9 of 14
    lrntowrench

    lrntowrench New Member

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    I was under the impression that they are in fact now pairing - at least in my region (a new region/market which is already completely digital/no analog)
     
  10. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

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    Jan 8, 2006
    Not 100% sure but last I heard they had still not updated their equipment yet. I believe they activate cards not pair them. The upgrade that required pairing was recently done in a SF, CA Comcast area and Comcast had to call every customer and inquire about pairing data so it could be entered into the system.
     
  11. lrntowrench

    lrntowrench New Member

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    Dec 20, 2007
    My market is a brand new, completely digital (no analog market) that just went live about 45 days ago. The tech (here twice for two different THD installs) claimed that they were pairing them.
     
  12. ilh

    ilh New Member

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    Dec 21, 2007
    All finished successfully. It took about 1.5 hours, mostly because the FiOS tech was clueless. I first asked if he had ever installed CableCards in a TiVo, and he said once, but I'm not sure he did it without extensive help. I've been relatively impressed with past FiOS techs; this guy just didn't seem to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. However, he did persist.

    I walked him through TiVo's instructions. We did card 1 first, he got the numbers off the proper screen and typed them into his Verizon laptop and we got the 161-4 hit pretty quickly. He kept watching the Conditional Access page to see something other than Auth: unknown. I told him I doubt we were going to see more than that tuned to an analog channel, and after maybe ten minutes we tried to test channels. The acquiring channels step timed out after maybe five minutes saying it couldn't load the channel list or somesuch. We ended up repeating this cycle a few times. We would see "connected: yes" on Conditional Access but no authorization.

    Eventually, he called up another friend tech, who said he was headed to a job. It turned out he was headed to my house too independently. Apparently, dispatch sent two techs to my house for some unknown reason. He also had two S-cards for me, so I thought that was rather fortunate in case the two the first tech brought were defective, which was looking like a possibility. The second guy seemed a bit more knowledgeable on CableCard installation.

    (Meanwhile, a friend of mine in Arlington, MA spent all last Friday waiting for a FiOS install that ended up a complete no show. The were unable to reschedule him for 3 weeks. And here I get two techs the same afternoon. Go figure.)

    The second guy asked the first if he has "activated" the card yet? No. (!) The first guy had only "initialized" the card, which as far as I can tell basically reboots the card but does not authorize it in any way. This time they click some button on their Verizon web app that apparently does the initialize and the activate in one operation. In less than 10 minutes we can test channels successfully. We then move onto card 2 and it works within 10 minutes.

    So, we wasted at least an hour for the first guy to see some authorization status change on the TiVo screens that was never going to come because he didn't send the authorization to the card. I didn't realize there was a difference between "initializing" and "activating" a card in FiOS terms. The TiVo provides little feedback, and the CC installation guide doesn't really cover the whole initialize vs. activate issue. In his defense, the tech said activating their STBs is pretty similar, except the STBs provide some status updates during the 5-ish minute initialization and activation steps. If the tech was provided with a FiOS-specific guide for installing CCs in a TiVo, he would have been in and out in under 20 minutes.

    We never did get through the Acquiring Channels screen successfully. We probably failed on it twice, resulting in it timing out. Eventually, once the cards were activated for some magical amount of time (again, no real feedback), by the time we went to Test Channels apparently the channels had already been acquired in the background and the Acquiring Channels screen was bypassed.

    Overall, it was kind of confusing as the TiVo-supplied guide didn't really match what happened all that well. But I can't complain, I got all my channels working fine on both tuners! Both of the first two S-cards worked fine.

    I've got the attenuators in reserve should I notice pixelation. My SNR is typically 37-38dB across all the channels I've checked so far, and that is with a 3dB attenuator that was installed previously with the Moto HD DVR box, along with a 2-way and 3-way splitter between the TiVo and the ONT. I have seen a few RS corrected errors, but not uncorrected yet.

    Thanks for all the help in this forum!

    --Lee
     
  13. Eudmin

    Eudmin New Member

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    Dec 30, 2007
    Montgomery...
    Nice that it worked. 1.5 hours from a tech that hadn't really done it before seems well below the norm so you should be really pleased with that result.
     
  14. Makmcm

    Makmcm New Member

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    Sep 24, 2001
    Thank you to all who posted directions in this thread. The FiOS Tech who came today to install my 2 CCs had never seen a TiVo before. I showed him the sheet that came with the HD TiVo, and also pulled up this forum just in case. I emphasized how we needed to install one card at a time, regardless of whether he has installed 2 CCs at a time in other devices. He seemed skeptical, but went along with me. :D

    As we tried to activate the first card, his laptop came up with a "DAC" error, so he called it in. The phone rep said she had done TiVo's before, and knew that some of the errors or messages that would come up would go away after a few minutes. It turns out the Tech had transposed some of the digits on the host ID when he typed them into his laptop, so once he fixed that with the phone rep, we were good to go. (The phone rep told him to leave the "POD ID" field blank. He said he had never even seen that field before. We had no problem after leaving it blank.)

    The second card installed/activated without a problem. We tested to see that I was receiving the HD channels, and had no issue on either card. (The Tech said he sometimes sees customers have a problem getting a clear picture on channel 802, the first HD channel, but mine was fine.)

    All total, he was here for 45 minutes. He said his boss will wonder how he finished so quickly. He thanked me for doing my homework and finding this site, because he was able to compare the screens to this site to make sure we were on the right track, and also to learn that the 161-4 error just required waiting a few more minutes to clear up. He said he was glad to learn something new today.

    I'm running the guided setup right now, so hopefully I will now (finally!) be able to watch all of the FiOS channels, instead of just the 10 or so channels I've been able to receive without the cards.
     

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