Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. scoobydooby

    scoobydooby New Member

    Mar 16, 2006


    I just got my setup and went to the office to ask for a printout of what my new bill will be.

    The first CC is indeed free, the second is listed as "T3DDVRCARDS" and is $1.50

    It looks like they made a special product code for S3 cards, which may mean I won't be hit with odd charges.
  2. msu2k

    msu2k New Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Holt, MI
    Sigh...on the phone with Comcast to switch from DTV and she's telling me I can't get HBO or Showtime for my S3 if I use CableCards. Wow. :p :eek: :( :mad: :rolleyes:

    :) Not a great start but I'll get her straightened out. I feel like this is going to be a painful process and I'm not even to an installer yet.
  3. Kevad

    Kevad New Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    I have a TiVo Series 3 (not yet installed), and I have a TiVo Series one currently being used. I have Comcast basic service. Do I need cable cards to receive HDTV (if it is being broadcast) on the local channels. I've tried Googling this question, and there appears to be a lot of confusion regarding the S3 and cable cards. Some say that without cable cards the S3 will received HDTV, but not record it. Others say without cable cards the S3 will receive and record HDTV on one channel only, while others say cable cards are not required to receive and record HDTV on two channels, as long as I'm not interested in premium channels.

    Any clarification here would be most appeciated -- I want to uninstall the S1 and install the S3 asap, without problems, if possible...!
  4. ah30k

    ah30k Well-Known Member

    Jan 8, 2006
    You will need to install CableCARDs to watch cable HDTV in the traditional TiVo sense. There are ways to workaround CableCARDS and watch cable HDTV through the S3 without cards, but you will not get guide data or be able to record with season passes etc.

    You CAN watch Over-the-air HDTV without CableCARDs very easily with an antenna (remember those things?). This will tell you what antenna you need based upon your address.

    edit - 999 posts, I think it is time to stop now
  5. ccoulson

    ccoulson Member

    May 24, 2003


    Comcast cable card issues continue. I had Comcast come out to set up my new S3 yesterday - the guy went through 6 cards and couldn't get any of them to be recognized in Slot 1. One did get recognized in Slot 2, but since Slot 1 couldn't be configured it was still of no use. We went back to the shop and came back with a stack of 10 - the first one worked immediately in Slot 1.

    Obviously, I haven't received a bill yet, so I'll have to see how that goes. Also, I am receiving more than I had requested (additional premium channels) - both through the cards and though the new HD box I picked up.
  6. tase2

    tase2 Shy Guy

    Sep 26, 2004
    Wallingford, CT
    Is it unusual that I was only able to find one channel (TNTHD) that would not come in, prior to the card being paired by Comcast?

    I obviously did not put in 2nd card yet, but I hope they don't screw anything up when they come out this afternoon.
  7. ooryl2

    ooryl2 New Member

    May 14, 2007
    My local Comcast office (Lansing, MI) told me that it would be $1.50/mo for the second card plus $6.95/mo since they considered the second card to be an additional outlet, even though they were going in the same box, which according to Comcast's website is wrong. The tech's that came to install the cards had no idea what to do, they had never seen an S3 box, but the handy little sheet that came with the S3 said what to do at least.

    I called customer service, and they also told me that it would be the 1.50+6.50. I sent off an email to the c.s. and in their reply they told me that it would be only the $1.50/mo. I'm hanging on to that email until I get my next bill.


    As a side note, anyone here from western area of Lansing (Grand Ledge to be specific)? After the storm that went through last night I'm not getting the Speed Channel. I called Comcast last night and apparently East Lansing is missing CW, but they hadn't had any reports of Speed missing in my area. They sent signals to my cablecards but no help. They said they'd get someone working on it to restore the channel. Any chance there could be something wrong with my CC's? I was recording something on Speed when the storm went through before the channel went out. I don't want to miss the All-Star Race this weekend, so if I might need the CC's replaced I'd need to get someone out by Friday!
  8. jknapp7

    jknapp7 New Member

    May 15, 2007
    Hey everyone -- I am looking for someone in the DC area that may have had a successful experience getting their cablecards working after having problems. At this point, I feel like I have read everything I can to understand and have done everything else that I can.

    My story:

    I am in DC proper and was able to go to my local office to pick up the cablecards. I read all of the awful experiences on here, but somehow hoped my experience would go smoothly.

    I installed one card and called to have it activated. I tested the channels and it seemed to be working but, my mistake, I didn't test them all. I was only getting some channels -- some of them were basic, but some were digital including network HD channels.
    I called back and after speaking to 3 different CSRs I was told I was being transferred one more time (and was assured it was the last time) to a "specialist." After being on hold for 2.5 hours, I reluctantly hung up and went to bed.
    I am a staffer in the Senate and I work on telecommunications issues and I have called contacts in Comcast's government affairs office before to cut through red tape. So the next day (Wednesday) I made a call and soon after a Comcast tech guy based in Comcast's Maryland admin office called me at work and gave me his direct line. When I got home that night I called him and we worked on it withotu success for about 30 minutes and then he suggested I get two new cards.

    So Thursday after work I went to Comcast again and got two new cards and we tried it again last night to no avail. I even sent him some of the threads on here and info from TiVo to help him, but it didn't. He said he would ask around his office to see if anyone else has dealt with this. I am not optimistic. At this point he is almost as frustrated as I am.

    As near as I can tell, the cards are activated but not initializing or pairing. I sent him instructions that the cards need to be "cold initialized" or "hard initialized" and he claims he did that. He also says that because the cards are from Comcast that he does not need the host numbers or anything else like that, but I have urged him to at least double-check the numbers and emailed him the numbers today, so hopefully he will do that.

    When checking the Conditional Access screen on the cards, it shows "Connected:yes" which I understand means they have been activated, but the Host Validation is "Unknown 00", and the Auth is either "unknown" or "MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY" so it is not authorized to display copy-protected channels. I understand this means the cards haven't been paired. The second new card I picked up is giving the 1-614 Error and won't even display the MMI screen or configuration screens

    So, even though I have the direct line and attention of a "specialist" I still haven't managed to make my way to that "one guy" in the office that knows what to do.

    Hopefully someone out there in the DC area has been in touch with the "one guy" and can help me reach him. In the meantime, I am going to try and reach Comcast's lobbyists again.

    And, to make things worse, each time the tech guy works on this it knocks out my Comcast Internet.
  9. azitnay

    azitnay Active Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    DC proper success story, chiming in... I know of at least one other, and I'm sure there are plenty more than that, so don't lose hope just yet.

    First of all, I'm surprised they let you pick the cards up yourself (from the office on Michigan Avenue, I assume?)... When I called, they made it very clear that they require appointments for all CableCARD installs. Perhaps they've since realized the waste in manpower it generates.

    Our story with Comcast was frustrating to say the least, but it ended up getting fully resolved rather quickly. We ended up moving right around the time I wanted the CableCARDs installed, so I figured I'd be able to combine the initial appointment Comcast required to do the initial cable set up in the condo with the CableCARD install. Unfortunately, they ended up sending out a contractor (quite a bit late no less) who wasn't authorized to do CableCARD installs, even though I made it clear that I wanted two CableCARDs installed.

    We ended up getting in touch with someone in the Comcast president's office in Philadelphia, and he set us up with an appointment with a guy who he knew from experience was good at dealing with CableCARDs. The guy came out on time and installed the CableCARDs, no problem. Unfortunately, I made the same mistake as you, and didn't test all the channels on both tuners before he left. Once I did so, I noticed that the first tuner was getting all the channels it was supposed to get, but that the second tuner was only able to tune analog channels, and a select few digital channels. I don't remember exactly which digital channels it could get, but I do remember that I was getting all the HD locals just fine, so it sounds remarkably similar to your problem.

    I tried to no avail to get the problem worked out over the phone, and ended up scheduling another appointment (on Super Bowl Sunday, no less). The guy showed up around 4PM (late of course), when our Super Bowl party was already underway. However, to his credit, he was able to fix the problem. I remember him saying that the second CableCARD hadn't been authorized for "Digital Plus" service. So, it might be worth throwing that term out there and seeing if you have any luck.

    I didn't have time to test all the channels at that point, but I noticed later that on the second tuner, Discovery HD and MTVHD were coming in very pixelated (the first tuner was fine). I didn't much care at the time (this was pre-Planet Earth), and the problem ended up resolving itself somehow.

    Hope some of this info helps you out... If all else fails, I'd recommend scheduling an appointment. At least that way, you'll have a person there feeling your pain :).

  10. Digibean

    Digibean New Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    Manassas, VA
    I'm in the Northern VA area. When the tech came out, I gave him the directions for TiVo, but he ignored them. Well he got CC#1 working but CC#2 was only show analog channels. He ended up leaving. I was just happy one card was working with all of the digital and premium channels. However, later I took the cards out and put CC#1 in slot 2 and CC#2 in slot 1. Both cards would show only analog channels and some digital channels, but no premium channels. I put CC#1 back in slot 1 and CC#2 in slot 2 and was able to get analog channels, some digital channels, some local HD channels, and Starz, but no HBO, Showtime, TNTHD, nor NAGEOHD. It's been like that for the last few weeks. I've had numerous calls with Tier1 and the local office, hits being sent to the cards. I even got the number to the headend office and had them send a maintenance hit to both cards, but no luck.

    Since then I've had a customer service rep call me about my wanting to cancel some of my package. He's met with some of the techs on the headend side and has set up an truck roll tomorrow from 8-11am, with a specific tech. We'll see what happens.

    Oh, I forgot to mention the 2 appointments where no one showed up and when I called the local office, they just said they would reschedule. So, hopefully someone shows up tomorrow and has a good contact number at the headend of someone who can authorize/pair the cards correctly. My cards currently say, "Waiting for CP Auth". I'll let you guys know if anything comes out of this.
  11. msu2k

    msu2k New Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Holt, MI
    Heh, I'm having my CableCards installed here in the Lansing area tomorrow morning (Holt) and hoping this doesn't go too roughly. Was just checking this thread to see what I have in store.
  12. Digibean

    Digibean New Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    Manassas, VA
    UPDATE: The tech showed up during the scheduled time, however he could not get in touch with the headend guy that was on-call. He did try to have him contacted by the local office, but he still didn't reply. He also brought extra cards but since he couldn't contact the headend, he couldn't get them provisioned.

    So, the tech said he was going to take two cards and have them put into a TV at the office and have them provisioned and then tested over a 24 hour period. Once he has two cards he knows that work thru the testing, he's going to call me and set up a time for him to come install the cards. I can't say I'm happy, but I do realize that his hands were tied and there was nothing he could do. He even gave me his moble # in case I hadn't heard from him by Tuesday. So, we'll see what happens this week.

    Also, more clarification on my cards. The cards are SA cards and like I said, some of the digital and all but the Starz premium channels don't come in. However, when I do tune to one of these channels, they come in for 1 or 2 seconds and then the diagnostic screen shows up for that particular card. So I then have to hit the Clear button and then the screen is just black. It does this for both cards. The tech said he had never seen that before and he called 2 other techs, who also said that they had never seen that.

    More to come later this week...
  13. wdwms

    wdwms Member

    Jan 10, 2003
    Had my 2nd card installed yesterday.. tech had a bit of trouble getting the 2nd one going (we had the first one already since it was in our tv previously). They reinitialized both and all was well..

    Granted we have a few "extra" channels we didn't have before.. :)
  14. msu2k

    msu2k New Member

    Jan 4, 2001
    Holt, MI
    I had my Comcast install this morning in the Lansing, MI area and it went pretty well with a few catches. I'd been using my S3 with only OTA HD since the week it was released.

    When the installer got here he was a really nice guy but had a look of fear in his eyes about the CableCards. He said he'd installed them before in TVs and that they were a pain. He thought he was installing CCs into two different Tivos. He had never heard of the S3 before and asked why I didn't get a Comcast DVR instead. It seemed like a nice way of saying, "why put me through all this trouble?" but he wasn't rude or pushy about it. After a brief explanation he said that I'd chosen the worst day to try this because we'd probably be on hold forever. So he called up the office and before he'd even handed me the first CableCard he got a CC specialist in Grand Rapids on the other end of the line. Seemed like a good omen.

    So we started with slot 1 and right after I put it in the home office guy said that the card was showing up in slot #2. He then explained that there appeared to be a modem in slot 1. I wasn't sure what was going on so we proceeded. He then told us that it looked like that CC had a different customer's information on it just as the grey info screen came up. So we tried a different card. The grey info screen came up after a few more minutes followed by an error 161-4 a few minutes after that. A look of fear came over the installer again but I told him that I thought it was a good sign. So we went to test the channels. I couldn't get anything over channel 23 including my two premiums HBO and Showtime. The installer said he had to go remove something from my line outside. A few minutes later, HBO and Showtime and the rest of my channels showed up. Cool.

    Then the guy at the office said that they were all set and was getting ready to close the install and hang up. My installer told him my Tivo had two CC slots and that we needed to install another card. The guy on the phone said he'd never heard of that and either had his boss. He said he had no idea how to do that and that they simply couldn't. Eventually he said that it looked like there was an empty "slot #3" so we agreed to try that. That CC installed perfectly and my CC 2 tested perfectly with all my channels and premiums. :up:

    Both of my cards are Motorolas. No idea what kind exactly.

    The installer left and gave me my credit for their "ditch the dish" promotion. He said he didn't need to take my old DirecTV receiver with him even though the phone tech I originally talked to said that he would.

    After he left I started Guided Setup and realized that my cable modem wasn't working. I connected to a neighbor's wireless network and completed setup.

    I then spent 10 minutes on the phone with Comcast and got my internet access working again.

    So far so long as no channels disappear later. :)
  15. DanInMd

    DanInMd New Member

    Apr 30, 2007
    Frederick, MD
    I wrote a message several weeks ago when Comcast came to my house, installed cards, then took them back because they had not been inventoried. It was a Saturday so he could not go to the warehouse to fix the problem. Here's the rest of the story.

    Comcast guy returns on Monday morning and puts in two cards. (Series 3 TIVO). After two hours, most of it on the phone, all I was getting was basic cable and the demo station (Ch 776). The guy finally says that he has to take care of another problem nearby and will return in about an hour. An hour later he returned and we turned on the TIVO. Amazingly, Cable Card 2 was active and showing all channels! Cable Card 1 was as before. After another hour, the guy said it may be a matter of time to get the download from the central office. He suggested I wait and if it didn't work call for service.

    Tuesday and no service on CC !. By this time I know every screen and where the numbers are to give to the service center. I also reviewed this site and was aware of the MISSING_KEY issue. I called service and told the CSR that I needed an authorization on CC !. She told me there was no record of a second card on my TIVO and would send a tech out on Wednesday.

    Wednesday: Tech arrives, calls in to the service center and talks to someone. He asked for some numbers related to CC 1, which I gave him since I'm nw an expert on locating these numbers. The service guy on the phone then asks us to pop out CC 1 and then put it back in. TWO MINUTES later everything is work! I asked the tech about what happened and he said the guy at the service center knew what he was doing! I asked why the other techs don't ask for this guy when they install these cards and he said it is frowned upon to ask for certain service reps. They have to use whoever takes the call. I got lucky on the third visit and got the expert.

    My take, it is not the cards. It is not TIVO. It is inexperienced service reps on the headend! Get the right guy and the install is a 10 minute job. I suggest that anyone having similar problems force the tech to find someone on the headend that knows how to install the cards before they leave your house.

    PS Great picture and I love the TIVO, much much much better than the old Mot box I had!
  16. Kevad

    Kevad New Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Thank you very much for clarifying this for me. I just hope the CC installation doesn't run into the many problems others have experienced...!

  17. tase2

    tase2 Shy Guy

    Sep 26, 2004
    Wallingford, CT
    Just be patient.

    Try to get a good grasp of what the techs will need to do when they get to your house, and guide them through the process. :)

    You never know, you may get lucky and get a tech with many S3 installs under his belt.
  18. magentaville

    magentaville New Member

    May 21, 2007
    I have had the exact same thing happen to me this weekend. I get every channel expect about 5 Starz channels. HD Starz works okay. I wonder if Comcast changed something.

    The Comcast rep tried to send a signal to the box, but I suspect he didn't do it right.
  19. TBoyd

    TBoyd Less Cable, More Cloud

    Apr 9, 2000
    SF Bay...
    This is VERY likely related to the fact that the UNIT ADDRESS is not correct in your account. You'll see many posts that say all you need are the Host and Data fields and the pairing can be completed. Actually, this is not all that's needed in every case.

    In my case, in the S.F. South Bay, after 11 phone calls and a useless truck roll, I got connected to the local STAR and he determined that we needed to check the 'Unit Address' because it might not have been correctly input at the warehouse. He found it was incorrect on ONE of my two cards and only THEN could the card(s) be paired properly, and the 'Host Validation' line changed to read VALID. Yes, you read it right, an error in the dB field of ONE card can affect both cards.

    CALL back, have them check the Unit Address on both cards and I'll bet you'll be 'dancin' in the fields'!

  20. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

    Jan 6, 2007
    To expand on what you are saying...

    The 4 IDs on your MMI (man-machine interface) screen for Motorola cards are:

    * CableCARD ID
    * Host ID
    * Data

    UnitAddress is not necessary for pairing. A portion of the UnitAddress is embedded in the CableCARD ID.

    Comcast often records the CableCARD ID at the warehouse and associates with the NGCxxx serial # so when their installers call in, they give NGCxxx, Host, and Data.

    Places where this stuff can go wrong:
    1) installer calls in the wrong NGC, Host, or Data info
    2) back-end person records the wrong NGC, Host, or Data info
    3) warehouse recorded the wrong CableCARD ID to associate with NGCxxx serial # so you are screwed before you start

    The channels that will be affected by the pairing before broken are the channels with non-zero CCI. You can check the CCI status of a particular channel by tuning to that channel and viewing the CCI status in the TiVo S3 Message&Settings->Account&SystemInformation->Diagnostics page.

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