Love my tivo roamio, but comcast is a nightmare

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Alabama_Enigma, May 23, 2015.

  1. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004


    After 17 years, I finally decided to pull the plug on my old cable company and switch back to Comcast for tv and internet. Almost immediately, I’ve come to regret that decision.

    I also decided to purchase a shiny new Tivo Roamio Plus to replace my trusty old Series3 that I’ve had for the last 8 years. Based on what I read online, I was expecting to have a bit of a headache with Comcast in getting their service working with a Tivo and a cablecard. I had no idea just how much of a problem it would actually be.

    My service install appointment was scheduled for 1:00PM on Thursday. The technician calls me in the morning and says he’s running ahead of schedule and asks if it’s ok for him to come around 11:30. Kudos to him for showing up early! However, he didn’t bring the cablecard that I ordered. He admitted that he hadn’t really looked at my order before heading over. He also mentioned that they “didn’t really support cablecards anymore” and offered me one of their HD boxes. I reminded him that the FCC requires them to support cablecards and I asked him to check and see if one was available. He made a few calls and said they were out of them at the warehouse and the card would have to be shipped in from another state. I called the toll-free Comcast number and explained the situation. They told me they had 6 cablecards available at the local office. She spoke to the technician, who then called his supervisor. He told his supervisor that “he was too busy to deal with this today” and told me that I would have to go to the local office and pick one up myself and do a self-install. He then proceeded to string an orange cable across my yard and installed a new interface box on the side of my house. I asked him about the cable in the yard, and he told me “that another team would be by in a week or so to bury it”. Now, I live in an older neighborhood with overhead wires, but I figured this was just their new way of doing things.

    As soon as he got the internet up and running, I went to the main office and picked up a cable card. I installed it as directed by the instructions and called the “cablecard hotline” to have it activated. Two hours later, I was still on the phone with them and unable to get the card set up properly. The agent on the phone told me the cablecard was provisioned as a cable box instead of a cablecard on my account. According to him, the only way to get this corrected was to drive back to the local office and have them change it in their system, as there is no working number for my local comcast office. I drove across town to the office and spoke with a desk agent. They changed the provisioning in two seconds with a “sorry” and a smile. I drove home and called Comcast again. They still couldn’t get the card activated and scheduled a truck-roll. The earliest appointment was for Saturday morning.

    Saturday morning, a very nice technician shows up. I explain the situation to him and the first thing he does is examine the wiring on the outside of the house. He ripped out everything the installer put in and ran new cables (overhead) and new cables to the cable modem and living room. He apologized for the poor job the installer did and was generally very helpful. He called the Comcast back office and tried to get my cablecard activated, but ran into the same problems I did. They determined that it was a defective card and would need to be replaced, but the earliest they could bring me a new card would be Tuesday (4 days later).

    When the technician left, I returned to the local office and swapped the cablecard for a new one, thinking I’d do the self-install again. I explained what had happened the first time I picked up a cable card (that it was provisioned as a cablebox) and asked him to make sure that it was provisioned in their system as a cablecard. He assured me it was correct and I was off to try again.

    I called the “cablecard activation hotline” again and ran through the same thing again. Once again, the cablecard was entered into the system as a box and not a card and they said that it was not something they could change, only the local office could change it. After being transferred approximately 12 times over 4 hours, they finally changed it in their system but was still unable to get the card activated properly. Now they are telling me the card had already been paired with a cable box, so it’s impossible to pair it with my Tivo.

    Since it’s the holiday weekend, I now get to wait until Tuesday for another truck-roll. Most likely, they will neglect to bring a cable card with them.

    I’m curious WHY Comcast has such poor support for cablecard devices and why nobody (even in their cablecard hotline) seems to know anything about cablecards or tivo.

    I’m over it. I’m DEEPLY regretting switching back to comcast.

    On a side-note, the Roamio does a great job with Netflix, Amazon and Youtube. Since I can't watch TV, it's keeping me entertained.
  2. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

    Sep 29, 2013
    I don't know anything about the cablecard being entered as a box problem, so I can't help you there. I only wanted to say it doesn't have to be this bad. We switched from Comcast set top boxes to TiVo boxes about 18 months ago. I knew from reading here that many of the cablecards the local offices give out are bad, so I was prepared for that. I asked for four even though I only needed two. And guess what -- two of the four were bad. But at least I had the two working ones that I needed.

    What does surprise me is your bad luck calling the cablecard hotline. While one does see the occasional post here where they got a cablecard tech that didn't do the activation right, mostly it does go right. Are you sure you're calling the cablecard hotline? I've recorded a few cablecard numbers from this forum. They are: 877-761-5015, 877-405-2298, 877-530-6950, 888-824-8988. Maybe give one of these a try?

    The good news? Once the cablecard is properly activated the TiVo hardware works quite well. So don't give up yet!
  3. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Thanks for the info, but I just got off the phone with yet another agent from the cablecard line. They were unable to help. The number I have used is 877-405-2298.

    I'm still unable to view anything other than internet related content. I did manage to get transferred to a very nice tech that was stateside. He did his best to help, including setting up a three-way call with Tivo. The problem is still either another defective card or someone that doesn't know how to configure the card in their system.

    He was very pleasant to work with, but unable to solve my problem. He did say he would try to make sure the technician that comes next week brings a cablecard with him. Fingers crossed.
  4. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2001
    File a complaint with FCC here:

    That should get them step'n & fetch'n...
    I filed on time warner a few months ago for copy protecting local channels. Though the problem self resolved in about a week; the FCC complaint did not go unnoticed and both FCC and time warner contacted me 2 times each asking if I was happy...
  5. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2001


    If you get an agent you suspect is not located in the U.S.A.; ask them where they are located, then insist on speaking to a manager.
  6. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    I did that. I was transferred to a "supervisor", but he spoke with the same accent. I have nothing against off-shore support. I just wish this particular department was able to actually help.
  7. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Well, just got off the phone with a very nice guy named Jonathan. He was stateside and did everything he possibly could do to help me. Unfortunately, he gave the same answer. He said the cablecard was provisioned in their system as a cablebox and therefore it could not be activated. I would have to go back to the local office to have them fix it. Of course, the local office closed at 1PM today and won't reopen until Tuesday morning. No TV for me this weekend. :(
  8. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2001
    Well, I've felt your pain with regard to cabl co.
    File a FCC complaint, it should make you feel a little better... it did me.
    Keep grinding on comcast, tell them you missed Formula 1 racing because of them and you demand satisfaction!
  9. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    Is their another local office you can go to for the cable card. I don't buy the it's provisioned for a box stuff. Make sure they know it's for a Tivo right away. Double check all your numbers from the cable card and Tivo serial#, make sure they read back what you told them.

    This seems more like an account provisioning problem than a pairing problem.

    Maybe get a cable box also. Activate the cable box so your account is up and running, then in a few days call to activate and pair the cable card. Return the box after everything is working. I think your problem is it's a new account and they can't set it up right using only a cable card.
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
  10. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    That's apparently a real thing with Comcast (I don't know why, mind you). I know when I got my original Premiere setup the installer had to go back to the office and bring a whole handful of cards with him and keep trying them till he got one that was willing to be used in a TiVo.
  11. UCLABB

    UCLABB Well-Known Member

    May 29, 2012
    Riverside, CA

    Maybe the box cable card has different software on it?
  12. gwn21

    gwn21 New Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Portland, OR
    I just purchased a Roamio to replace the (2) TiVoHDs that I have. I was worried about the CableCard situation and when I ordered the Roamio I call up Frontier FiOS and asked them to send out a new Cable Card. They tried to get me to use one of their DVRs, but I'm going to use my TiVo.

    The only trouble that I had was that the first Customer Service rep. didn't send out the Cable Card. So I called up again and asked what was the status of the Cable Card, and they saw it requested but not sent out. Once I got it sent out and a tracking number, I did receive a Cable Card that was ready to go.

    The setup was surprisingly quick. I called up Frontier FiOS Support, gave them my Serial Number, ID Number and Device number and in no more than 5 minutes. My TiVo Roamio was up and running. No setup issue or problems.

    Now I'm getting ready to send the Two Cables Cards from my (2) TiVoHDs back and will hopefully notice them removed from my monthly rental fees.

    I'm going to hope that's going to be easy too. (Knock on wood).
  13. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

    Nov 25, 2003
    Not to dance on your grave or anything but I've had zero problems activating 3 different CableCards with Comcast this year -- 1 for a Roamio Pro and 2 others for HDHomeRun Prime tuners. I'm feeling fortunate. (And I was 3-for-3, as well; though I did have to wait an extra day, IIRC, for the local office to get a fresh shipment of CableCards.)
  14. chiguy50

    chiguy50 U.S. Army (ret.)

    Nov 9, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    While your situation is certainly not unique, it does sound like your local office is particularly inept. And that first "installer" (probably a contract employee) was entirely unprofessional.

    It doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) this hard. Keep at it and, once the problem is resolved, complain to the customer retention folks about the hassles you've been put through. They should be more than willing to compensate you with some discounts and/or freebies (such as free HBO/SHO for six months).

    If your problems persist, try sending an e-mail describing your saga to Tom Karinshak, Comcast Senior Vice President of Customer Experience. You can find the on-line contact form here.
  15. dobbie1

    dobbie1 Member

    Apr 15, 2002
    Memphis, TN
    I agree with this post. If you contact him you will probably then be contacted by someone from the corporate escalation team. They can help get everything up and running.

    Good luck.
  16. WorldBandRadio

    WorldBandRadio Active Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    Sorry to hear about your problems with a cable card and Comcast. I had similar problems when I tried to move from a TiVo Series3/HD to a Roamio Pro.

    The cable card hotline was worse than useless for me, as they left me at the end of the call with no service and a scheduled tech visit in two days to fix the problem they caused (the TiVo was receiving all the channels most of the time before they "fixed" it and made it stop receiving anything all the time.)

    There's a ComcastTeds over on the Comcast support forum. He is very helpful with cable card problems. All it took was one private message to him about my problem, and he had it resolved.
  17. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Thanks for all the advice. I just sent a PM to ComcastTeds over at the Comcast forums. I'll also be sending a strongly worded email to the Comcast brass listed above. I'll let y'all know if anything comes of it.
  18. grey ghost

    grey ghost Member

    Feb 1, 2010
    The pairing hotlines are in the Philippines. I accidentally found that out when I called to get a card paired with my Tivo and something was said about a typhoon hitting close to them.

    So sorry you are having the problem. I got a spare card when I self-installed and that was a blessing because one was bad, but I had no trouble getting the card paired to my machine. My only problem was the age of the Comcast software on the cards which limited the number of tuners I could use. Since that was updated, it's been no problems at all.
  19. JBDragon

    JBDragon Member

    Jan 3, 2004
    Fairfield, CA
    My Comcast call was nice. I wanted Internet service ONLY. I had planned on the 50Mbps service at a set price for 12 months and then offered me 105Mbps for $5 more. So I went for it. I'm getting around 125Mbps download and a little over 12Mbps upload speeds. So I'm happy andit's far, far, far faster then U-Verse I had before that wouldn't lower their price back down to what I was paying and was still more for 12 months at 1/3 the speed then what Comcast was offering for 12 months. it make no sense to stick with them. I ran a new wire from outside to in my closet where a lot of my networked stuff is located and got a new Comcast Modem at Costco and it all hooked up, say that I had a LIVE signal and was ready to go when I called.

    I did have some major speed issues at first and thought it was them, but then figured it out, it was a ASUS router and the Traffic Manager - QoS and the download and upload speed settings set way, way to low. So if you have QoS turned on, look and make sure you have yours set high enough to not be slowing you down.

    As for paying for TV service, I said screw it 3+ years ago and haven't looked back. I have my Antenna which I can get quite a big of FREE content LEGALLY. I've been using Media Center, but am working on switching over to TIVO. Which Netflix service and Amazon Prime. I have a TON of stuff to watch and not enough time to watch as it is.

    A few programs I watch that I can't get, I just buy a season Pass. Like "The Walking Dead" on AMC. I get the SD version which looks just fine on my 50" plasma's from Amazon. The new episode airs on Sunday and I can watch it on Monday, commercial free and I own it and can watch it again and again. All the money I'm saving, a few season passes is a drop in the bucket.

    Really the only BIG reason to hold onto paying for TV is if you're a big sports person and then ESPN and all the rest you would want. Even then, there's now SlingTV for $20 a month and you get ESPN. I could care less about ESPN and $20 a month for that service is even to much to pay. Netflix and Amazon I've had before I cut the cord, and I don't really consider them a extra cost now. HULU+ I can't stand. All the commercials drive me batty. You can't skip them, You can't channel surf. It's just not worth it.

    RIP your movies and use PLEX, now you have your own private Netflix type service giving you a lot more content at your finger tips. best of all, no FBI warnings or Movie Previews you can't skip past. It's so nice.

    100+ channels of crap on the TV you're paying for and still nothing to watch. Even Yahoo has programs and it's FREE. I'm starting to watch the final season of Community from them on my Tivo Roamio right now. That costs you ZERO. There's ways to get free HULU onto your TV. It's called PlayON. There's tons of Content on Youtube that doesn't cost a dime to kill time with. The things TIVO is just recording on it's own form the Antenna is, well, a lot of crap and some interesting things to watch. As I thumb up/down that should get better. One Pass looking at a number of sources for content you're looking for is nice.

    I thought it would be hard cutting the cord back when I did it. It really wasn't. I had my Dad move into my house. He offered to pay for DirectTV or one of them Satellite company's he had at his house. I didn't want it. I was perfectly happy with my Antenna. You know what? He's perfectly happy when all the TV he has access to now. From the Antenna, to Netflix and all the rest. In fact maybe to happy. I wish he watched less TV and did a few things around the house since he doesn't have a job these days. Like clean up all his crap in the garage so I can use it. Just a little a day and it would have been done long ago. He's into sports more then I am so that's a tiny bit of a issue. It can be overcome a number of ways.

    The end point being, screw ComcastTV and Cable Cards and free yourself a little from TV!!! I look around where I live and not a antenna in site but my own and I think SUCKERS!!!! So many are hooked on paying for TV service they don't know how to flee from it or think they even can. I might miss that one show on that one channel, oh no, can't have that.

    I grew up with a Antenna for TV and one of them Antenna rotating Boxes. Turn it here to get most of these channels, but for this one, you had to turn it there. it's Analog TV, so not the best. Everyone I knew had cable. I used to go next door all the time to watch MTV, back when it was actually MusicTV and HBO was the ONLY premium service which they also had the HBO Box. When I moved out a few years later I got Comcast TV service and I had it for like 18 years. The bill kept going up faster then my pay check, I canceled Showtime. Still Up, Up, Up. Still $170 a month for HD TV service with a duel tuner cable box and a mid speed Internet service. This was over 3 years ago. It was just 1 TV and only I living there at my old place and I just couldn't justify the cost anymore. I could never watch enough TV or use the Internet enough to pay that much. When I got my house I went with U-Verse for Internet only. Not very fast, but at $35 a month for Internet only, good enough to stream Netflix in HD.

    My Price for U-Verse jumped up to $62 for 18Mbps service which was really only around 12 and they wouldn't drop the price back down enough that Comcast that was 2/3's faster and cheaper for the same 12 months, and another $5 and Icould go up to 105Mbps service. I just dumped U-Verse and am back to Comcast for Internet ONLY!!!
    To me, there's ZERO need to pay for TV service these days when you have access to the Internet. There was really no Internet service back then when I was a Kid. In my late teen years, there was BBS systems, and CompuServe and and some others, Not cheap, but it was a look at things to come.

    Comcast and others are trying their best to not become dumb pipes!!!
  20. patrickthickey

    patrickthickey New Member

    Sep 4, 2002

    My experience was similar, and took literally weeks to resolve. I am in Berkeley (Northern Cal).

    New Roamio, would not get any channels. It paired fine, got internet fine (I do not use Comcast for Internet which in retrospect I sensed put me into a lower queue of them giving a hoot). I spent a total of twenty plus hours on the phone getting nowhere.

    Ultimately, despite being told ten or fifteen times that the Tivo was the issue - I requested my service location be verified. In my case, my drop was pointed to the wrong Comcast head end. The lady with whom I spoke was very opposed to checking this out, as she had been assured it was all OK.

    But, to her credit, she did. And then she called back and very sheepishly revealed the person who had ASSURED her I was pointing at Comcast Berkeley Digital (on the account paperwork) revealed I was pointing at Comcast Pinole.

    As soon as they fixed this I have been solid ever since.

    Over the span of decades of interacting with Comcast, my experience has been the issues are almost always rooted in personnel or human error. Their core technology generally provides what they claim, ONCE it is properly configured,


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