Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by amjustice, Sep 14, 2006.

  1. TerpBE

    TerpBE Go Terps!

    Jan 23, 2003
    Philly 'burbs


    I've been having a problem with Comcast for two months, and it seems to be an endless cycle.

    I noticed in January that I was being billed $1.50 for the second cablecard, and $8.90 for an additional outlet, which I don't have. I called Comcast to have the additional outlet charge removed. Once they removed it, my second cablecard stopped receiving some of my channels. (I think the ones that are missing are the difference between the "Plus" and "Platinum" tier).

    Since they're Comcast, they couldn't figure out what was wrong and had to send out a tech. He came out, tested the signal, swapped the cablecards, and did a bunch of other stuff. After about 2 hours, he realized that something was set up wrong on Comcast's end with the signal they were sending. Apparently the signal for cc#2 didn't have the platinum package. He had them fix it and got everything working.

    Then the next bill came, and I saw I was being billed the $8.90 additional outlet charge again. I called to have it removed, and once again, my second cablecard stopped getting some of the channels. Once again, Comcast said the only thing they could do is send out a tech. Once again, he came out, tested the signal, swapped the cablecards, and did a bunch of other stuff. When it still wasn't working, he called his supervisor who said "Oh, it's fine now, it just takes 24 hours for the Tivo to recognize it". Realizing that I wasn't going to accept that as an answer, he talked with the people that send the signal, and noticed that the "sports package" was on one of the cablecards twice, which was confusing things. He apparently had one of them removed and resent the signal, and everything was working fine.

    Now, this month I once again was charged the $8.90 fee. I called Comcast and said I shouldn't have that fee, and that every time they take it away, one of my cablecards stops working. The guy said that he would stay on the phone to make sure that didn't happen. He removed the charge, then the line disconnected, and - surprise, surprise! - the cablecard stopped working immediately. I called back again, was disconnected twice more, talked to two supervisors, and spent 3 hours on the phone. The end result is that they're sending ANOTHER tech out.

    Comcast is screwing up something so that when they remove the "additional outlet" charge, they take away some of the channels from cablecard #2. When they eventually get it working, they start charging me the "additional outlet" charge again.

    According to everyone I've talked to at Comcast, everything is set up correctly on their end, and the signal they're sending should have all the channels. But, that's what they were telling me before, and every time this happened it turned out to be a problem with the signal they're sending. How can I convince Comcast that it is an issue on their end and there's no need to send out a tech? Does anybody who works for Comcast or who knows a lot about cablecards know what SPECIFICALLY I can tell them to check?

    Also, how can I get them to stop billing me the additional outlet charge and ALSO have all of my channels work?

    I don't know if this could have anything to do with it, but they said that my one cablecard is listed on "outlet 1" and the other is listed on "outlet 5". Should they both be on the same outlet (if that's even possible), or on adjacent ones?

    I have spent about 10 hours on the phone talking to about 20 different people over the past 2 months, and I just keep getting stuck in the same cycle. It makes it worse that once you talk to someone you can never get back in touch with the same person again, so I have to re-explain the situation every time I call.

    Can anybody help? Comcast has detroyed my soul.
  2. hiker

    hiker S.o.N.Y.D.a.C.

    Nov 29, 2001
    SF Bay Area...
    See a previous post in this thread here for a phone number to call for the executive assistant line at Comcast Corporate.
  3. bizzy

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    My pet theory is that there is an element of trust here because these 'numbers' are actually authentication credentials. There may be some fraud potential in allowing customers to provide this information. They do seem to be the tokens that the entire conditional access system rely on; and therefore they've probably decided that the expense of a truck roll is less than the potential fraud exposure.
  4. Warlord46

    Warlord46 New Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    Miami, FL
    An article in the Miami Herald yesterday led me to believe Miami-Dade County along with all others in Florida negotiated separate contracts with Comcast. So I gave the County a call, intending to complain about how they've let Comcast overcharge me for my use of S3s instead of their own DVR boxes. They set me straight:

    Two years ago, the FCC, at Comcast's request, stripped the County (over its objections) of its authority to regulate Comcast's rates for Tier 2 cable channels (all channels other than basic cable). Last month, at Comcast's request, the FCC stripped the County (again, over its objections) of its authority to regulate Comcast's rates for Tier 1 cable and all other services. At least in Miami-Dade County, Comcast is free to charge whatever it wants for any service it provides, even though it is a monopoly in this County.

    The County cable staffer I was talking to also informed me that the pending legislation before Florida's legislature which has been approved by the House and about to be approved by the Senate will, among other goodies for the cable monopolies, strip the remaining authority of Counties to regulate cable providers in the areas of response time and for rebates on bills when service is out. Lobbyists are being paid huge amounts of money to see to it this legislation gets passed.

    I know Comcast's response when I complain about their high rates for the cable cards in my S3s is to tell me I should just accept their DVRs instead. There is no way other than Comcast for me to record anything other than broadcast channels OTA, so I'm stuck until S3s can work with satellites. It is costing Comcast a pretty penny to get the support from the FCC and the State of Florida to increase their monopoly charges to its customers. You have to wonder, who is going to pay for that tab?
  5. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003


    I'm very much in favor of stripping municipalities of the ability to regulate cable television. That should solely be a state prerogative. I've seen a lot of corruption in town governments over the years -- some look at cable companies not as businesses seeking to provide services to the town's residents, but rather as nothing more than piggy banks to exact financial considerations from.

    Once regulation is at the state level, it will be much easier to convince other cable companies to come in to compete. The corrupt way things are now, we get what we deserve.
  6. wackymann

    wackymann Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Boston Area
    Wouldn't it be easier to pay the $8.95?

    This is pretty common actually if you search through this thread - many of the Comcast systems around the country have an older set of software running that forces the additional outlet charge to get the second cable card working. I haven't heard of anybody who has gotten the thing to work in those areas without paying the fee. Although it's usually cheaper - like $5.95. You can continue to fight it, but I'm guessing your struggles can't be worth less than the $8.95/month it would cost to just move on... I'm sure they will upgrade their software in the coming months, and then maybe you can complain and get a refund for the overcharged months.
  7. johnzonie

    johnzonie New Member

    May 13, 2002
    I just changed from D* to Comcast here is the Tucson area. According to the work order and first bill, first CC w/HD was free, second one was $1.50/mo and the only other charge was for programming - Digital Classic Plus at $66.94.

    The only thing wrong/missing is OnDemand, which of course does not work with S3. Comcast won't provide STB, despite what their FAQ says.

    BTW, the Tucson area has had a major head end upgrade in anticipation of adding telephone services so things might be different here.

    In any case, the Comcast/TiVo PQ has been flawless thus far and superior to D*.
  8. TerpBE

    TerpBE Go Terps!

    Jan 23, 2003
    Philly 'burbs
    Thanks for the tip. Generally I think of "executive assistant" as a nicer-sounding term for "secretary". Should I assume that it means something different at Comcast? Has anybody else had success through them? Luckily it's a local call for me. :)
  9. KevinG

    KevinG Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    Mt. Laurel, NJ.
    Yes! I ended up getting transfered to my local office's "executive assistant" team, but I now have a person who personally looks after my issues... I called her directly to set up the install of my 2nd series 3. She dispatches a lead comcast employee, and he knows what he's doing, and has a personal assistant in the office that hits the cards/sets up the accounts (none of that waiting on hold forever). I also have his cell phone number so we can chat about anything that comes up with my service (including VOIP issues).

    I recommend calling the number...
  10. Gregor

    Gregor Wear Your Mask! TCF Club

    Feb 18, 2002
    I think folks here have had generally positive experiences calling Comcast corporate. I've read a few articles where Brian Roberts was said to be extremely unhappy when he hears about bad customer service.
  11. JPShinn

    JPShinn New Member

    Aug 24, 2004
    SF Bay Area
    Did anyone else lose all of their service discounts by changing to the S3? I lost my service discounts for both cable and high speed internet. Jacked up my bill by over $52. I'm in the SF Bay Area.

  12. Warlord46

    Warlord46 New Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    Miami, FL
    Bicker, you should follow your own advice and "Don't close your eyes and ears to the reality around you." (bicker, post 1803). In your relentless support for Comcast in this forum, "You're not doing much more than just your standard breast-beating" (bicker, post 1627)

    If you are a Comcast stockholder or employee, there is a lot to like about the changes in Florida law Bicker praises that frees Comcast from County regulations in Counties where it has a cable monopoly, and from any state regulation of its prices as well. That has enabled Comcast to raise its charges for cable cards in Miami so as to make S3s much more expensive than their own DVRs. If you are a customer of this monopoly, Bicker's claim that poor Comcast is only trying to keep local communities from using it as a piggy bank is nothing but "self-absorbed idiocy." (bicker, post 1743).
  13. davedonohue

    davedonohue New Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    Tech #2 just arrived. He reports that he has never been able to install a CableCard in either a TV or an S3 successfully, and doesn't know any of his colleagues who have. He said that he and his colleagues have complained many times now that they have been provided with no training and that it's making them look stupid in front of customers during 3-4 hour visits.

    I really feel for the guy. It must suck.
  14. jeffsinsfo

    jeffsinsfo Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    San Francisco
    My guess is that the problem in your area isn't the lack of training of the field techs; it's a lack of competence and/or training with respect to their office staff responsible for pairing/authorizing the cards.

  15. markp99

    markp99 TakoKichi TCF Club

    Mar 21, 2002
    Nashua, NH

    Did the guy complete the install? Seems like they could follow the install instructions supplied with the unit, just like you would have done if they could have given you the CC's directly.

    These stories worry me; Comcast is due to arrive on Friday to do my CC install.
  16. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    Exactly. There is no training required for inserting CableCards.
  17. davedonohue

    davedonohue New Member

    Oct 20, 2004
    Visit #2 also ended in failure. The tech had all conversations on speakerphone, and whoever he was talking to clearly had no idea what was going on (e.g. "what's a host ID?). The tech was extraordinarily apologetic. He referred me to someone named Becky in the Charlottesville local office who will allegedly be calling me in the A.M.

    If it is going to take 4-5 days between tech visits, I need to seriously think about sending my S3 back to the TiVo Community store within their return window and canceling my TiVo service within the 30 day window.

    I left a message on the executive assistant line linked to a few posts above this one at 1 PM EDT. No return call yet.
  18. dconner

    dconner Member

    Mar 13, 2004
    Dave, it looks like you're having the same experience in Central Virginia that I did in Northern Virginia (look back in the thread for all the gory details.) I think the big underlying problem is that in Comcast's corporate culture, nobody ever talks to anybody else or disseminates information. Their field techs are untrained, and the customer support people have bad or nonexistent information. From what I can tell, your Host ID and... the other number *must* be given to someone in the Comcast office, and they *must* enter them properly in their system, for TiVo to work. But the customer support people don't seem to know this, or to know what to do with the numbers if they're given. Perhaps Northern Virginia Comcast finally figured this out... but of course, lessons learned aren't disseminated to any of the other bits of Comcast, so the same ordeal probably has to happen in every one of them as they waste money on pointless service calls and returned Cablecards.

    With me, I had to go through 5 or 6 visits before I was apparently regarded as enough of a troublemaker to be allowed to talk to the one person in the organization who knew what he was doing.
  19. mowog74

    mowog74 New Member

    Dec 27, 2001
    Dave, I thought you'd like to know that you're apparently becoming well known as "one guy" to local Comcast employees, as in "there's one guy with a Tivo 3 Series [sic] and we've been out there 3 times and still can't get it working". I heard this during a frustrating experience at the Ruckersville local office this afternoon, and saw your posts here after I got back to work. I assume they're talking about you...

    I don't have a TiVo anymore, have switched to Windows MCE instead but would like to get this cablecard thing sorted out so I can at least watch live HDTV on occasion (MCE doesn't support cablecard yet). I had a tech out to the house yesterday who installed the card and was able to get all analog, some digital SD channels, and local and non-premium HD working, but many digital SD and all premium HD channels did not work. He claimed he needed a new card, and when I balked at taking off work again to wait for another tech visit he said I could pick it up at the office today. (As an aside, when I got home yesterday evening I found that one of my digital STBs and my cable modem had both been deactivated, requiring about 70 total minutes on the phone with Comcast support to fix.)

    At the office today, I had a long and frustrating conversation with the rep there, who said that 1) Comcast doesn't offer cablecard in our area, to which I responded by showing her mine, 2) that the tech shouldn't have told me I could pick one up, and 3) that there was no card for me to pick up. Fed up, I dropped off the card I had and just told her to forget about the whole deal.

    Of course I would still love to get a cablecard working. Do you have any tips for dealing with the offices here--names to ask for or direct numbers, maybe? There's got to be someone at the office that would find this unacceptable. Thanks, and good luck getting yours going too!

  20. astronomer

    astronomer New Member

    Mar 28, 2007
    I've had the Series 3 for about 3 weeks and finally found time for the cable card installation. Comcast in Charlottesville, VA now has the HD versions of ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX (of which only NBC is available OTA) and recently added TNTHD and Discovery HD, all unencrypted. I don't subscribe to digital or premium channels. Prior to the cable card installation, I could receive all 6 HD channels by referring to their channel numbers, but there was no guide information, of course.

    The technician arrived right on time and said he had done several Series 3 installations, and thus knew all about the order in which things had to be done. It took about 10 minutes to run through the steps, and then he called in the numbers for the cable cards.

    The HD channels were all there with the proper channel numbers. The Series 3 politely suggested I should go through the whole setup process again, which I began promptly.

    The first problem was that my broadband internet connection no longer worked. I called Comcast and that problem was resolved in about 20 minutes; the operator said this "has been happening a lot lately, and I know what to do"--and she was right.

    Everything is now working on the unencrypted HD channels with one puzzling exception: only one of the tuners will tune the Discovery HD channel--the other one tunes all the other channels perfectly, but not Discovery HD. Has anyone encountered and resolved a similar problem?

    BTW, the Planet Earth series on Discovery HD played through my projector is stunning!

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