Houston Texas Comcast Cable Card Experience

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by wpattison, Jul 22, 2007.

  1. Jul 22, 2007 #1 of 169
    wpattison

    wpattison New Member

    2
    0
    Jul 22, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I'm actually being proactive with this thread and posting before they come to install.

    I just got off the phone with Comcast Customer Service. Ordered two cable cards. The CSR was very nice, and added that to my order with no problem. No quote on the charge, and I didn't ask.

    Due to "rolling blackouts" while internet service is upgraded, I have to wait until July 30th for the internet and cable service installation. I was quoted $143.55 at the time of installation for this to be done.

    I will report back here on my experience.
     
  2. Jul 22, 2007 #2 of 169
    caddyroger

    caddyroger New Member

    1,730
    1
    Mar 14, 2005
    Some where...
    Is that the new monthly price or just install price. If just install
    I would be calling back and ask them again about the price. That is way to high to install 2 cable cards by comcast. I think
    should be closer to $30.00 then $143.55.
     
  3. Jul 22, 2007 #3 of 169
    cowboys2002

    cowboys2002 Well-Known Member

    7,496
    139
    Jun 15, 2001
    Cypress, TX
    Maybe that is the OP's monthy charge?? :)

    And yes, I agree that is way too expensive.

    I'm thinking about getting the digital phone and HSI. My home is already pre-wired and I already know which outlets in my home have the Comcast Signal hardwired.

    I could easily do a self-install if a free install isn't available!

    As far as the Cable Cards, if you have a local office, can't you swing by and pickup the cards, do the guided setup and have them activate the cards without a technician?
     
  4. Jul 22, 2007 #4 of 169
    lethcoeb

    lethcoeb Not a new member

    80
    1
    Apr 19, 2002
    Looks to me like the OP is doing an initial installation, with cable, internet, and cable cards for the TiVo (?).

    If it were only a cable card install, then anything above $0 would be too much (other than the gas to the pickup 6+ cards at the local office - you know, at least 6 cards to get two working ones...)
     
  5. Jul 23, 2007 #5 of 169
    20TIL6

    20TIL6 BaDoop BaDoop BaDoop

    861
    0
    Sep 7, 2006
    Cypress, TX
    Don't be surprised if they show up without the cards, and just give you that cableguy blank stare. It was policy with TWC that cablecards were self install. In two instances of new cable hook-ups (both less than a few months before the official Comcast takeover), the installers arrived with no cards. Even though the order taker was told of their requirement. I had to go to one of their service centers, pick up the cards, and do the activation myself. Not a big deal. But be prepared.

    Also, and this might have changed, but as recently as a couple of weeks ago I was told to AVOID Motorola cards WITH "3711" in their serial number. I was told that these cannot be activated and that they are a problem, but I was also told that these were simply not entered into their system yet for activation. What you are told depends upon who you talk with. But I have "3704"s and "3705"s, and they work fine.

    And the check you have to give to the installer does include your first month's services, so depending upon what you've ordered, that could be accurate. They charged me nothing for cablecard installation, because like I mentioned, they did not do that. Cablecards are/were self install.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy your S3, and put up an OTA antenna for free local HD. It's a great back-up in case of an outage. I actually record primarily from antenna anyway.
     
  6. Jul 23, 2007 #6 of 169
    andyf

    andyf Well-Known Member

    1,207
    32
    Feb 23, 2000
    Houston,...
    My experience has been nothing but positive. I already had cable service though. I picked up the cards at the local office, installed them into the TiVo, called the special cablecard number they gave me. The techs on the line are extremely knowledgable about cablecards. I gave them the numbers and hung up.

    The way it works is your numbers are sent to the number entering person and depending where you are in the queue depends on how long you have to wait for the cards to get hit. It seems they work 9-5 so call in the morning to get hit that day.

    With Comcast now there seems to be no charge for the cablecards.

    Since you have a tech coming out he may be able to get the cards hit right away, on the phone they only promise within 24 hours.
     
  7. Jul 23, 2007 #7 of 169
    taba469

    taba469 New Member

    53
    0
    Dec 8, 2002
    Texas
    wpattison,

    This past weekend, I picked up my 2nd set of CC (for my 2nd S3) at the local Comcast store. Besides the cards being free (a word TimeWarner never had in their vocablulary), the installation is very simple and will save you the $100+ install fee. The employees at the store will give you a specific number to call for activation. The phone support folks are very friendly and are familiar with Tivo setups.

    My experience with both my current and previous CC "do it myself" installs have been good and without any problems.

    Mike
     
  8. Jul 23, 2007 #8 of 169
    zackangelo

    zackangelo New Member

    28
    0
    Sep 14, 2006
    Is Comcast anti-TiVo? Should I imply that the CableCards are going to go into two televisions instead?
     
  9. Jul 23, 2007 #9 of 169
    b3ar

    b3ar New Member

    67
    0
    Dec 1, 2005
    To repeat something I was told by Comcast Level 3 support (posted over at AVS), apparently "something good" is coming in mid-August on the CableCard front. The hints sounded like M-stream cards, but it could just be the 8300HDC, which they should be offering anyway. Of course, m-stream cards don't necessarily buy us anything until TiVo comes out with a DVR with either DOCSIS or OCAP functionality for 2-way communication.

    Bill
     
  10. Jul 23, 2007 #10 of 169
    b3ar

    b3ar New Member

    67
    0
    Dec 1, 2005
    Not really. Just a bit clueless on the frontline. You need to go slowly and ask to get up the support chain quickly. Once you get to Level 3, they begin to be sympathetic. Occasionally curious. :)
    Probably helps. I'd just ask for two and not mention the TiVo. See how far that gets you...

    Bill
     
  11. Aug 2, 2007 #11 of 169
    wpattison

    wpattison New Member

    2
    0
    Jul 22, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Followup:

    Comcast contractor showed up on Monday (7/30) WITHOUT cable cards. He said I needed to go to the store to pick them up. On the ticket order, it states "Customer wants two cable cards, bring them with you." Oh well. He brought a set-top box so I wasn't without tv.

    The TV was working when the cable guy left. An hour later - no channels. After spending 36 minutes on hold with Comcast, I was told the ticket was still open because of the cable cards, and they needed to close the ticket to get the channels working again. They removed the cable cards off my work order, and the cable channels began working within 15 minutes. The only problem: I had already paid for the cards ($1.50).

    On Tuesday (7/31) - I spent an HOUR waiting in line at the Comcast store. Two employees working, but after 15 minutes, one of them left "on break". This is in spite of a line of people out the door. Nice. I finally get to the counter to request the cable cards - they were out! I was told Wednesdays are hardware delivery days - to come back tomorrow. I felt like I was in Russia. Ridiculous.

    I skipped Wednesday, but went to the store today (8/2). Spent 15 minutes waiting, but got two cable cards - M-Cards! No charge, too. But here's the funny part - I still don't have my series-3 Tivo. I'll report back here once I get it in and setup.
     
  12. Aug 2, 2007 #12 of 169
    rhizopod

    rhizopod New Member

    13
    0
    Aug 2, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I also live in Houston and just bought a Tivo HD. I had been using an 8300HD, and I am already a Road Runner customer. I picked up my two CableCARDs at the local (midtown) Comcast office with no issues. They are both apparently free. Without CableCARD activation, I was able to see all the unencrypted digital channels (Tivo is connected via Ethernet, and service was activated online). I called the special CableCARD activation line and immediately got a knowledgeable human, even after hours. My CableCARDs have been activated, and at times I've been able to receive all my subscriber content (HD Plus, Sports & Entertainment, HBO, MLB XI). I've had some issues with the CableCARDs losing access to my pay content, but it's been intermittent. Hopefully this will clear up before too long. Overall I prefer the features, aesthetics, and performance of the Tivo HD over the 8300HD. I just hope my CableCARD issues will stabilize soon.
     
  13. Aug 2, 2007 #13 of 169
    astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

    14,015
    3,478
    Jan 6, 2003
    Houston/Bren...
    rhizo...let me ask you, since you may be near me (I also use the midtown location). I have fairly severe pixelation problems on ABC HD (313). I've been told it's because they pack too many channels onto certain frequencies.

    Can you see if, after a day or so, you have any problems with this channel (also 312, NBC HD)? I am in the Rice U area.

    I'm trying to figure out if this is an unsolvable problem, or whether switching cable cards might solve it.

    Thanks!
     
  14. Aug 3, 2007 #14 of 169
    rhizopod

    rhizopod New Member

    13
    0
    Aug 2, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Sure, I will check. I haven't watched the network channels much so far, but I will let you know what I find. On a side note, did you get Motorola CableCARDs? I did.

    You're not far from me at all. I actually live in midtown, and I went to Rice for undergrad.
     
  15. Aug 3, 2007 #15 of 169
    TradeViceroy

    TradeViceroy New Member

    4
    0
    Jun 13, 2007
    Afternoon:

    I picked up a Tivo HD on Tuesday along with one M-card from Comcast. Apparently, they started to get them in stock in Houston this week. I've gone through 2 M-cards already and they simply do not function well (yes I was using the correct slot). I could only tune in about half the analog channels, three or so of the HD channels, and one HBO channel. The rest would get "channel unavailable" or would almost flicker like the Tivo couldn't keep a lock on the signal. I checked the signal strength using the Tivo and all channels had a 93 percent or better lock.

    I returned the M-card the next day to Comcast. I picked up another M-card and also two single stream cards so I wouldn't have to drive back if the M-card was having issues (hey why not they are free). Well, the M-card again did the same thing. Instead this time, it worked for about 15 minutes and started to act up. I immediately removed the card, put in the two S-cards, and everything started to work after I activated them.

    The kicker to all of this is that under the Test Channels option, all the channels would come in great with no issues. When trying to actually watch them, I would run into all the problems I listed above. I want to say the cablecards are to blame, but I'm really thinking the Tivo has issues with them. For everyone out there, Comcast is using the Motorola MediaCipher M-Cards in our area. Perhaps this is a wider issue?
     
  16. Aug 3, 2007 #16 of 169
    rhizopod

    rhizopod New Member

    13
    0
    Aug 2, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I can confirm my setup is now working as expected. I'm receiving all of my content on both CableCARDs without any kind of video artifact except the regular compression artifacts I also got on my 8300HD. I checked channels 113, 312, 313, 290, 291, 292, 460, and 709 and am receiving all just fine on both CableCARDs. I watched a playback of 30 Rock from 312 last night and I can describe the playback quality as "excellent". I also watched the Astros game last night on 302 without problems. Signal strength for most channels is around 100, low 90s for some. I have Motorola CableCARDs.
     
  17. Aug 3, 2007 #17 of 169
    astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

    14,015
    3,478
    Jan 6, 2003
    Houston/Bren...
    Thanks, I think it's time to try a cc swap.
     
  18. Aug 4, 2007 #18 of 169
    bluetex

    bluetex Wha?

    449
    0
    Apr 23, 2005
    Houston, TX
    My moto cards have been working fine for the better part of a year here in NW Houston. I only have one oddity since Comcast took over. The HD MTV channel is toxic -- no not the content, the signal will lock the Tivo up regularly. I had to take it out of my list.
     
  19. Aug 5, 2007 #19 of 169
    b3ar

    b3ar New Member

    67
    0
    Dec 1, 2005
    I grabbed an M-card from the Bellaire location today and called customer service. A quick request to get to level 2 support got me someone who put the order into the system to activate the card. We'll see how long it takes before the Tivo is active. One thing I found is that with the M-card in the slot, the TivoHD will not tune any channels at all. Very unfortunate.

    Bill
     
  20. Aug 5, 2007 #20 of 169
    jakslh

    jakslh John King

    2
    0
    Jun 26, 2007
    Houston
    After fighting since July 9th, my two Series 3 Tivo's are finally working with all four Cablecards. It took almost a month.

    Here are some observations:
    1) My first and worst problem was that the sales department had somehow not gotten my correct package of premium channels entered into their database. My advice: if you're having problems getting premium channels that are scrambled, verify that they have the correct lineup in their system before launching into troubleshooting of hardware. I got three of four cablecards working after this problem was identified (but it took 9 or 10 days to finally figure this out). The fourth cable card was strictly a hardware issue and the Motorola cards are very hit or miss. I finally requested that they give me four additional cards in hopes of finding one good one without repeated trips back to the store. They gave me all they had in the cabinet (three cards) and the second one worked.
    2) Level 3 technicians were pretty polite. Although problem 1 made things get pretty testy. Initially they were trying to convince me that I had four bad cablecards or that my Tivo's were both bad. Luckily I was confident enough to stand my ground since I had been successfully using both Tivo's in another region for the past 8 months.
    3) Because of a switchover from Time Warner to Comcast due to the acquisition, anyone who tried to do something complicated like troubleshoot a tivo/cablecard had to put up with the additional frustration of very long hold times.
    4) Comcast in Houston requires that you pickup the cards at their local office and self install. This was fine with me, I just wish their office wasn't 15 minutes away and that they had Saturday/Sunday hours. Also, because of Item 3) above, lines were very bad in early to mid July. It's been better.
    5) The process that is used here for activating cards makes troubleshooting very slow because you have to wait for 24 hours for their system to "hit" the card to activate the premiums you are supposed to be able to see.
    6) When you pick up your cable cards, they give you their level 3 technical support phone number. These people deal only with cable cards and, while you will still encounter hold times, once you get a technician they are pretty savvy (although issues like described in 1) can take far to long to resolve). Write this number down, don't lose it. I have it on speed dial. They will answer calls on weekends and before 8 am in the morning (hold times seem to be less at these times) but I think they are restricted to following through on troubleshooting during these times rather than initiating new installs.

    I came very, very close to giving up and switching from Comcast to OTA or telephone wire based digital TV. When I first installed cablecards it was with a copmany that required technicians to handle it. It was very annoying to have to wait at home for technicians to come in and pay for a truck roll for something so simple as sliding a card into a slot and reading numbers off the screen. This time with the self-install was also frustrating, especially because of Comcast's process of waiting a day to hit the cards with authorization codes.

    In summary, the cablecard issue is going to be a real problem for Tivo. I'm a reasonably tech savvy person who is comfortable enough with opening computers up and moving jumpers on cards etc. So this should have been very simple. The problems I see are:
    1) About 1 out of 3 or 4 cards are bad. Technicians mumbled that the Tivo seems to be pickier about cards than the televisions, but I suspect the real story is that Tivo owners are more insistent upon getting the functionality right whereas TV owners give up much more readily on cablecards.
    2) It is ridiculous to have to verbally communicate four strings of numbers per cable card. Add it up, it comes to 53 numbers that have to be recited and recorded in precise order for each cable card. (Not including the serial number adds another 12 numbers.) This is way overkill and will frustrate and intimidate customers. Not to mention the small potential of error introduced. Not as big an issue as the hardware reliability of cablecards themselves.
     

Share This Page