Let me tell you how inept comcast is...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Flot, Aug 2, 2007.

  1. Aug 2, 2007 #1 of 23

    Flot New Member

    Aug 2, 2007


    I'll try to give the short version.

    Called and was told I could pick up cablecards. Go to the office - they tell me no way they haven't let customers pick them up in months. Schedule an appointment for the next day, fine.

    Tech shows up (on time even) and pulls two cablecards out of his pocket. One looks new one looks like it was run over by a truck, then lost a fight with an angry ferret, and then was run over by a truck again. I ask "what's up with that?" and he says "oh we don't have any new cards, only used ones."

    Tech proceeds to say "I've never seen one of these work before."

    Puts in cards with only moderate disregard for instructions or my attempts to prod him in the right direction.

    While he's still on the phone trying to get card 1 activated, he shoves in card 2. I cringe but he is flipping back and forth between the guide and the tuners and live TV and is getting picture.

    Tech declares "wow I can't believe it is working" and I ask him to verify both tuners - he has the remote (and doesn't like giving it up) and declares that both tuners are working.

    Tech is in and out in .. 15 mins and I am so happy that I tip him $10.

    I reboot to get the guide data right (or something, it's unclear about exactly why I am rebooting but manual says to) and lo and behold I am getting grey channels here and there. I realize the tech was using the "1-2" button on the remote to "change tuners" during his diagnostics. I scream in frustration.

    Go into the ccard diagnostics and discover that card #1 is not tuning any channels above 25. Card #2 is working BUT..

    Continue into the diagnostics and find that on the "Conditional Access" screen BOTH cards show "Host Validation: Unknown 00" which from threads I believe means it is not "paired" correctly? The working Card #2 showed "Subscribed" for its state - the non working one showed "Disconnected."

    I called Comcast 3 times with various levels of success - once got both cards deactivated somehow - then once had someone very patrionizing explaining to me that I could not under any circumstances fit two cable cards into a tivo and before I broke them to please put just one in the TV where it belonged. I really let that guy have it. They keep me on the phone for an hour as I keep insisting they send the tech (remember the guy I tipped $10) back over - finally get the answer that the tech is "too far away now so they will have to send someone tomorrow."

    My most important question - NO ONE I spoke to at Comcast knew what to do with, or had any interest in, the "Host" (tivo) ID on the Pairing page. Can anyone confirm for me that they actually need this? The tech read out exactly one number to his counterpart on the phone, the alphanumeric one on the back of the card(s).

    NOT happy with Comcast south florida. (as usual)
  2. Aug 2, 2007 #2 of 23

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Yes, the need both the host and data id or it will never work correctly.
  3. Aug 2, 2007 #3 of 23

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    Jul 6, 2002
    There's not enough bandwidth or disk space at TCF for a thread with that title...
    Heck I think it needs a domain for itself :cool:
  4. Aug 3, 2007 #4 of 23

    drcos HD where available

    Jul 20, 2001
    Venice FL
    I like how they can break things, i.e. kill your modem while they're trying to fix your cards, but then it takes them ten minutes to fix it.
    Hey, you killed it with one keystroke, you should be able to fix it just that fast.

    But the best one is when they finally get your cards to work after fumbling around for several hours, you ask "What did they do? How did they do that?" and no one seems to know....
  5. Aug 3, 2007 #5 of 23

    Flot New Member

    Aug 2, 2007


    If this is true - then this is an impossible quest, because I have YET to speak to a comcast rep who is interested in the host ID. Does it show up as something different on their end?? Is there SOMEONE at comcast I can call to get that resolved??
  6. Aug 3, 2007 #6 of 23

    WeBoat Member

    Nov 6, 2002
    Not to buck the trend, as my TivoHD is still not working totally after two truck rolls and about 20 calls; BUT during the first truck roll, comcast recogonized they did not know what was going on, gave me the cell phone number of the supervisor, schedules the top tech for the next day. He spent 4 hours and got MOST everything working. He is now working at the head end trying to figure out why the last 4 HD channels are not working.

    They have been very friendly and hard working. The big thing is the WANT to figure out why these are taking so long and are hard to do. They are trying to figure out the process. I'm just the first Tivo CC they have done in this area, but the know there will be many more.

    No I'm not working 100%, but I've been very impressed with the honest effort being put in here to get me working.

    BTW I'm in SWFL.
  7. Aug 3, 2007 #7 of 23

    Flot New Member

    Aug 2, 2007
    Sorry, but this is just absurd. After 20 minutes of fooling around with the Tivo, I understand everything that can possibly be done at the user end with a cable card. Clearly they have some big issue with either their infrastructure, defective cards (although I am skeptical about this), or MOST likely it is 100% operator error at their end. This doesn't appear to have anything to do with the Tivo, but rather cable cards in general.

    Now maybe the cable card standard is complete garbage - but the cards themselves are NOT "new" technology. Some department at comcast should be able to handle them by now.
  8. Aug 3, 2007 #8 of 23

    andyf Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2000
    You should move to Houston. Comcast here has a special number purely for cablecard activation and they are very knowledable about TiVo. While they don't guarantee a hit anytime within 24 hours (the numbers go to a 9-5 data entry person) they have always got it right and card activation has never failed for me. You also pick up the cards at the local office with no problems.
  9. Aug 3, 2007 #9 of 23

    bmgoodman Member

    Dec 20, 2000
    Why should Comcast have any interest in "handling" CableCards? Doesn't their ineptitude lead MOST people to think that CableCards are the problem? Doesn't this mean it's just easier to go with the Comcast DVR? How can a monopoly be expected to do something against its self-interest, if there's no real consequence to largely disregarding it?

    People should really be complaining to their towns' franchising authority, or whatever local body regulates the cable company.

    I'm also considering purchasing 10 shares of Comcast so that I can submit a shareholder proposal. I do believe Comcast has more to gain from making CableCards work than they have to lose. Believe me, it's Tivo that keeps me from going to satellite! If we ever get to a point where my Tivos no longer work with Comcast for ANY reason, I'd switch to FiOS or DirecTV. They'd be losing over $1200 per year, possibly over two crappy little cable cards!

    Such is the life of a monopolist....
  10. fergiej

    fergiej More hair, less 30lb

    Oct 9, 2002
    My experience with Comcast was a mirror to yours. I bought mine within a week of release. Had to wait a month for the cards, but when the tech came, he was (I am not kidding) excited to get to activate a new TiVo. He brought an apprentice with him to train her at the same time. First card was done in 5 minutes. They could not get the 2nd card to activate. He had a spare and it was done in about 10 more minutes. I have only had one instance since then that I have had problems with the cards. The very first tech I talked to worked for a few minutes, couldn't get it to work, but then had an idea and everything came back up inside of 5 minutes. I could not be happier, based on the reports here, with North Atlanta's head office in this regard.

    And, no, I DO NOT work for Comcast...;) Gawd no...
  11. vstone

    vstone Active Member

    May 11, 2002
    Please make sure that you don't shotgun blast all cable folk (no, I work for a cable company). While cable folk have varying personalities just like the rest of it, many times they don't know what they're doing because a) they haven't been trained at all, have been poorly trained, or, worst of all, trained wrong. As a result they are put in uncomfortable positions, from which they are just trying to get out without losing their job.

    The Tivo S3 is an excellent case where many frequenting this forum had an oppurtunity to help upgrade the knowledge of cable techs and CSRs. Some of these cable folk absorbed the knowledge and some resisted.

    On the other hand, sometimes you gotta vent your spleen somewhere.
  12. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

    Jul 6, 2002
    Fair disclosure post

    I'm the first to say that my personal cableCARD experience went smoothly and the technician was competent, cordial, and professional, however that is the exception, 90% of my previous Comcast customer and technical service calls have been handled about as poorly as they get.

    I know there are some very solid and talented people at Comcast, however it's almost impossible to find them in the morass of folks that can be described as "they may be slow, but they do poor work"

    Comcast's rep is well deserved, I do however want to defend the good folks stuck in there.

  13. tivoABE

    tivoABE New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Miami, FL

    I am in SE Florida with Comcast. North-Dade Comcast to be exact. I have had an S3 for a little over a month now. First visit, the tech came with two cards and could not get them working. He went back to the office and got two more. These two eventually worked. (I say eventually because Card # 2 took a few hours to kick-in). I was with him the whole time during installation and listened to him talk to the office when he activated the cards. Never did he give the host id nor did he even look at the pairing screen when it came up.

    During those hours that Card # 2 was not working, I experimented by swapping the two cards. If they had to be paired with the host, I would assume I would lose all of my channels by doing this. However, Card #1 which was now in Tuner #2 still worked. I swapped them back, and like I said eventually, Card # 2 started working.

    The reason the tech told me the first two cards did not work was because my residence was on the North-Dade Comcast system and the first two cards he brought were for the Comcast Hialeah-system. (Hialeah is the town just south of me).

    If I remember correctly, the first cards he brought, we got zero channels working. Just a black screen. However, the second time around, both cards started working with basic channels and local HD channels. Within minutes Card # 1 was working with all of my subscribed channels. For about 6 hours, Card # 2 only received basic and local HD channels, then the rest of the channels kicked-in.

    To answer your question, it is my belief that here in S. Florida Comcast doesn't pair their cards with the host. I even remember offering the host ID to the CSR while waiting for Card # 2 to start working, and he told me he didn't need it. All he needed was the S/N on the card.

    Hope my experience helped answer a few of your questions. :)
  14. Langree

    Langree The Gimp

    Apr 29, 2004
    So glad to hear this.
  15. secondclaw

    secondclaw Member

    Oct 3, 2004
    I think I live close by (South-East Broward, serviced by Comcast Hallandale). In my case pairing was not necessary because the channels had their conditional access set to 0x00 - so I could swap the cards or do whatever I want with them and everything worked fine. There were two channels though (A&E HD and National Geographic HD) that had their conditional access flag set to 0x02, which means that these channels won't decrypt without being paired to the host. It took two very knowledgeable Comcast engineers to come in to see what the problem was. They wrote down host id, etc - then called me back next day saying that they found a problem at the headend and fixed it. So from now on, everything works fine. I haven't tried to mess with the cards since though.

  16. gweempose

    gweempose Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Mar 23, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    When the Comcast guy came out to install the cards in my S3, he brought about eight or nine cards with him. He told me that a good percentage of them simply don't work, so he likes to bring a bunch just in case. Fortunately, he was able to get my Tivo up and running pretty quickly. He had to try several cards and talk to the head end a few times, but the whole process was completed in less than 30 minutes.

    Several days later, I had another tech come out to install a card in my Pioneer plasma. After trying for about 45 minutes, he told me that my set was broken and left. I refused to believe this, so I had Comcast send another guy out. He was having some trouble as well, but then he said, "I think I'm going to have to call Jose on this one". Apparently, Jose is the cablecard guru in my area. It took him a while, but Jose did indeed get it to work. He said something about having to rebuild the account because someone else had screwed it all up.

    The bottom line is that it seems like there are only a handful of people at Comcast that are properly trained when it comes to cablecards installs. Some jobs are easy, but if the tech happens runs into a snag, you need someone who really knows their stuff at the head end.
  17. LCD1080

    LCD1080 Member

    Dec 13, 2006
    So there's no truck roll for the cablecard activation? You just call the special number and they provide the hit signals? Why can't all cable systems do this?; it would solve so many S3 frustrations.
  18. andyf

    andyf Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2000
    They don't actually do the hits, they enter the numbers into the computer which is entered into a queue for activation. Then some other person does the hits from the queue. While the first line folks are available 24 hours the person who does the hits is a 9-5 person, so if you call in at 4:55pm you probably won't get the hit until the next day.

    But it's all good and if you don't expect instant gratification the system works well.
  19. Neenahboy

    Neenahboy Statistical outlier

    Apr 7, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for this...now I know who to ask for when I schedule an install later this month. :up: :)
  20. DocNo

    DocNo Member

    Oct 10, 2001
    Bristow, VA
    Absolutely! I never once got upset with the tech or CSR's that were trying to help me. It's hard not to, but it's absolutely not their faults.

    It managements total lack of commitment to Cable card - and it shows :mad:

    Myself, I will be filing a complaint with my local public utilities commission and cable franchise board. It's absolutely inexcusable that they are allowed to run around unchallenged doing this crap with people.

    Heck, it's in the cable co's best interest to train their people so they don't have to jam up their resources - you think they would be all over making sure everyone is trained and on the same page....

Share This Page

spam firewall