Love my tivo roamio, but comcast is a nightmare

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

  1. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...


    I had the same problem with my R7500 Netgear router. Cured by turning off the QoS service.
  2. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

    Jan 5, 2002
    Berkeley CA
    Also in Berkeley, so I'm in the same area as patrickthickey. When I set up my TiVoHD, my first card was bad and wouldn't acquire the cable map. Once I finally convinced them I had a bad card, I swapped the cards at the office, and my self-install, though time-consuming, went just like it was supposed to.

    I learned along the way that the cards provisioned for the Comcast cable boxes are 2-way devices, because they talk back to the head-end. The instructions that came with my TiVoHD said to ask for a card provisioned for a 1-way device. I don't know if this is still the case with the Roamio, but maybe if you talk to the people at TiVo who help with cablecard issues, they could tell you if the newer models take a 2-way or 1-way card.

    You used to be able to log into and see what equipment was listed on your account, but they've rearranged everything on the website again, and I can't find that feature. Since I'm in a Motorola area, my card used to show up as "Motorola Motorhost" (or something like that) with a graphic that looked like a box, but was apparently the name of the card. In an area with a Cisco head-end, that probably said Cisco <something>.

    As annoying as the cablecard setup is, the worst thing they've done was to cut off our service when one of the other people in the building moved out. :rolleyes: Try explaining to customer service that no, no matter what their system says, you did NOT request your service being cut off. To multiple people, because you get stuck in the "I can't do that, you need to talk to someone else" loop. After that, dealing with a bum cablecard seems straightfoward.
  3. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    Here is what you are talking about. I can still see it under services, tv, manage. This is what it states. Their was a graphic with ? mark and the card serial #'s.

    "Cable Box Make & Model: MOTOROLA TIVOHOST"
  4. avmike

    avmike Member

    Jun 11, 2007
    Do you happen to live in a former Adelphia market? I do, and experience the same "card was entered as a cable box" fiasco every time I have to deal with cableards. Unfortunately, you cannon resolve this with a phone call. You have to get them to send someone, and have him call the local office to pair the card. Don't schedule this on a weekend!
  5. Dusty Roads

    Dusty Roads New Member

    Dec 24, 2003


    File a complaint with the FCC. Within 48 hours supervisors from Comcast will be calling to ask what they can do to help. Problem is they won't really know what to do so it's up to you to know what to do. Here is a list of things that need to be done.
    1. Get a cable card with the latest firmware updates. Comcast probably can't tell you what the firmware is on a device. Plug it into your Tivo. If it recognizes the device you can go into the Tivo menu to see what the firmware version is. You'll need to do a little research to find out what the latest firmware is in your area.
    2. Make sure the Tivo recognizes the card. Look through the various menus to see if you are getting any error messages.
    Now, time to call tech support and review the following info (Don't do this until steps 1 and 2 are done otherwise you're wasting your time).
    3. Make sure your account is set up as a cable card
    4. Make sure Cable Card S/N is correct
    5. Make sure the Cable Card ID is correct (may not ask for this)
    6. Make sure Host ID is correct
    7. Make sure Data ID is correct
    Have them read back all the info you gave them. Willing to bet they get at least one thing wrong.
    8. Have them send out the pairing signals.

    I have charter and live in St.Louis. We use Motorola with tuning adapters so I don't know how much of this applies.
  6. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

    Sep 29, 2013
    The office won't have a clue what firmware is on the card they give out. But a note to ComcastTeds on the Xfinity forum can have the latest firmware pushed out to you -- sometimes within a few hours, at most a day.
  7. tomhorsley

    tomhorsley Well-Known Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    Unless, of course, the model number of the card is one they don't have new firmware for (which happened to me), they had a tech come out with an assortment and eventually I got one working with updated firmware.
  8. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Well, some progress to report. A technician showed up this morning with a box of cablecards. The first one he tried worked, but would only get the most basic non-HD channels. A nice lady from Comcast's "Tivo department" called and she was able to get almost everything up and running. I still don't have any of the premium channels, but the rest of the HD channels are now working. She worked all day and was quite nice. (I suspect it may have something to do with dropping a nastygram to the VP of "customer experience". Anyhow, she says there is still a problem and she believes it to be a line issue. She says she's unable to get the card to accept the update for the premium channels. A tech will be out on Friday to check the line (again).

    I'm not convinced it's a line issue. The signal strength is 100% and SNR is 40dB. Do TiVo's still have the issue where the signal can be too "hot"?
  9. randian

    randian Active Member

    Jan 15, 2014
    The "cablecard is a box" problem is epidemic in Comcast Palm Beach County. Both of the cablecards I got had that problem. I finally found a CSR that fixed it by creating a whole new entry on the account for the cablecard. Unfortunately I now have an intermittent "can't record CBS" problem. Note that viewing CBS live works fine, but recording from sleep often gets no signal errors. Naturally Comcast can't diagnose it.
  10. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

    Sep 29, 2013
    While I haven't experienced the too hot signal myself, there are lots of posts about it here on these forums. Some think the Roamio line may have internal amplifiers to support six tuners. I'll also wager a guess that the hot signal is not the cause of your missing premium channels, but it's something you may want to investigate further.

    From what I understand, 100% signal strength might mean 110%, 120% or more. I seem to recall advice to get the SNR in the mid 30's.

    There's lots of debate about using attenuators or splitters to reduce the signal, so you'll want to do some research or watch for more replies here.

    Glad you're making progress!
  11. schatham

    schatham Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2007
    I also initially received all channels but premium and on demand. Called back to find out they did not have the data # entered in their system. I am sure that is what's going on. Make them read you the data # back to you. Call the Comcast cable line today, it took me 2 minutes to get the data # entered and premuims working.

    As soon as they had that # my premiums all worked.
  12. swak

    swak New Member

    Apr 7, 2014
    My experience with Comcast has been similar. They need to better train their techs.

    When on-demand became available on TiVo, I was told by several techs that it wasn't possible. It took me a couple weeks to find someone who could help.
  13. Old Hickory

    Old Hickory Active Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    I feel your pain... sort of.

    I went through a similar situation with cable cards being coded for cable boxes or "not in inventory". After two failures at self-install, I sent a message to this email: '' with my prior issues and requested a higher level of technical service. I got a reply email within 24 hours with a direct line to one of Comcast's Executive Level Support people (a guy out of Nashville). He took control of the situation and we did the pairing a few days later (and he gave me a credit for my troubles).

    Also, if you haven't already, research the Comcast support forums for cable cards, Tivo, etc. It's good to have information.

    Here is the email again:

  14. solarium_rider

    solarium_rider New Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    I appreciated reading about everyones experiences. I'm about to make the plunge into Comcast cablecard land again. I swore off Comcast about 4 years ago and I remember it being a bit of a struggle to get the m-card working in my tivo series 3. I'm dreading going through this again, but I find this solution to be better than going with their DVR. I'm currently a comcast subscriber for Internet, but it also came with TV. I have a standard SD comcast box, but it has been disconnected other than the first day to make sure it worked. I will get rid of this unit when I move to the Tivo. I shouldn't need a technician to roll by since everything is already wired. A few questions about changing service over to a cablecard:
    1. There are two "upgrade" package options that make sense for me, one comes with an X1 receiver free for 12 months then $20/mo for the next 12 months (24 month agreement). Does anyone know if I can get this package, but exclude the X1, and still keep the promotional price?
    2. If not, I can go for the second package which just has slower internet and a 12 month term, and no receiver. Will they charge me an HD fee if I go this route?
    3. Since there is no way to sign up for cablecards online, is it best to call them, or just go to an office? I'm in West San Jose, CA. There is a xfinity store nearby, but the service center is farther away. I wouldn't want to have to go the service center.
    4. Should I wait to contact comcast until after I have the Tivo box, or should I get the ball started early? My Roamio Plus is not expected to arrive until Monday.
  15. Alabama_Enigma

    Alabama_Enigma New Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    Well, things changed a bit today. I got a call from a tech who said he had made some "billing changes" on my cablecard. On the upside, ALL of my channels are now working and the on-demand content is now functional.

    On the downside, my bill suddenly jumped by $55. Every time they do anything with my cablecard, I get an email with a "Comcast service change order" that details my service and billing. Each time, there has been a slight change, but it's always been $0 to $-2.50. This time, my base package jumped by $50 (although the description remained the same) and they added an extra $5 for HBO. Of course, the line item description for the base package says it INCLUDES HBO for the first 12 months.

    Sigh.. Now that everything is functional, it looks like I'm going to have to go a few rounds with their billing department. Fingers crossed that getting the package back to the agreed upon price doesn't break my cablecard again.

    Solarium_Rider - All I can say is good luck, bud. I know a few folks say they have never had problems with Comcast, but this last week has been an ordeal for me. I sincerely hope your experience goes better. If you are going to do a self-install, you should be able to go ahead and call them and get a card shipped out to you before your Tivo arrives. I had to have a full install (wiring, etc) so I scheduled my install on the day after my Tivo was scheduled to arrive.

    By the way, thanks to all the community members on here. I truly appreciate the feedback. I haven't hit this forum in several years, but I think I'll be more or a regular reader from now on.
  16. murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

    Jan 5, 2002
    Berkeley CA
    I can answer a couple of those questions. It's probably quicker to go to the office and pick up a cablecard, rather than waiting for one to be shipped to you. Tell them you need a card provisioned for a one-way device -- if they ask you, tell them it's for a TV.

    You may get a charge for the HD equipment charge no matter what you do. In my area, if you have a cablecard, you get dinged with the HD charge. In other areas of the country, apparently not.

    Don't worry too much about it not working until it doesn't work. My first card was no good and I spent hours trying to figure out why not. Once I actually convinced Comcast the card was bad, the second install went without a hitch.

    If you still have the instructions that came with your S3, make sure you follow ALL the steps on the sheet. Part of the reason I shot myself in the foot was that I didn't understand part of the sequence because it was my first ever install. Now that I know how the install is supposed to work, it's easier for me to recognize if a card is just plain not working.

    TiVo Customer Service was very helpful at the time, but that was years ago. Don't hesitate to call their cablecard line. Also, for Comcast, make SURE you are talking to people who can do a cablecard install, and not some random person on the customer service line.
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  17. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

    Sep 29, 2013
    My advice is to get two or three CableCards since it's likely they'll give you a defective card. Return the others later when you return your Comcast set top boxes.

    They may give you a card with old firmware. A note to ComcastTeds on the Xfinity forum will get the latest firmware pushed to your CableCard. Go here:

    Follow the startup instructions the TiVo will give you. It'll tell you when to insert the CableCard. And that's when you call the Comcast cable card activation department at 877-405-2298. Do not call the regular Comcast tech support line, they don't know how to deal with a CableCard.
  18. WorldBandRadio

    WorldBandRadio Active Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    When I went to my local office to swap a cable card with a new one, the person at the office suggested that I take more than one cable card "in case the one doesn't work".

    So I took a second card.

    On my next bill I was charged for the second cable card (even though I returned it the same day a couple of hours later), for a second "digital outlet," and for two "account changes".

    In the end, the problem that I had all along was an old version of the firmware on the cable card. The Comcast cable card people at the 800 cable card number did not even know about the old firmware problem. They wanted me to just keep swapping cable cards (and racking up fees) until I happened to get one that worked.

    Sometimes I think the "defective cable card" problem is not due to a bad cable card, but outdated firmware.

    Fortunately, ComcastTeds was able to push new firmware to my cable card and he even cleaned up my bill, removing all those extraneous charges that the local office had added.

    Now, I'm trying to summon the courage to call Comcast again to activate the Video on Demand for my TiVo...
  19. solarium_rider

    solarium_rider New Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    I don't actually have the S3 anymore, I sold it to a friend and will be using a Roamio Plus (also have 3TB drive coming in for upgrade beforehand.) As I understand it, the Roamio can do two-way communication for on demand type stuff right? Therefore, I would not want a one-way device?
  20. skid71

    skid71 Member

    Mar 20, 2013
    You've readied yourself for a bumpy ride?
    Good plan.

    It took close to a month to get Comcast VOD working on our Pro/Mini's.
    Once it was done right (by a person who actually knew exactly what they were doing....good luck getting THAT person) it has been rock solid since.

    I wish I could tell you who to talk to, what exactly to say to them, etc. It's simply the luck of the draw and I wish you the best of luck!

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