Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. metalm

    metalm New Member

    Jan 24, 2008


    Hello all. Like the previous poster, I've been lurking a bit around here. Bought my first Tivo this week and was very excited about getting it up and going. I was converting from a Comcast DVR that I've been using for a couple of years. However, with all of the horror stories in this thread about issues with installing the Cablecards, I had quite a bit of trepidation going in to this.

    I ordered the TiVo on Tuesday and called Comcast the same day to schedule an appointment, figuring it would take them a few days to come out. Fortunately, they were able to schedule an appointment for as soon as Thursday, if I wanted. However, I asked them for Friday so I could get away with "working from home" to wait on them to show. The lady with Comcast that I spoke to was pleasant enough, though clearly not completely knowledgable about Cablecards. She couldn't tell me if it was multi-stream or single-stream cards, so I asked her to make sure to note that I was requesting two cards, just in case. Installation charge was going to be $17.95, and the first card is free, while the second card would be $1.50/mo.

    TiVo arrived on Wednesday, so I went ahead and set it up and activated service. After a few hours, software was updated and I was watching analog cable on it with no problem.

    Friday arrives. My appointment was for between 8am and 11am. 11am comes and they hadn't shown. Comcast actually called me at 11:03am to let me know the tech was on his way. That suprised the heck out of me. About 10 minutes later, the tech called me and said he couldn't find my apartment complex. Uh oh. This guy isn't sounding like he's operating on all cylinders.

    Tech arrived around 11:30 and he started to work right away. He popped the card in and called in to get it activated. This is where things started going a little sour. He was visibly concerned about whoever he was talking to on the other end. Sounded to me like the provisioning system wasn't up, which seems to be a somewhat common issue here. So we waited. The TiVo kept saying "Aquiring Channel Information". After about 45 minutes, during which he kept calling back in, he was pretty irritated, not really at the TiVo, but with trying to get the card activated.

    Turns out, it wasn't the provisioning system at all. He ended up walking the person through the activation process. Sounded to me like they had miskeyed something. 10 minutes later, everything came up. Woo Hoo!

    We checked out all of the premium channels I have (HBO, MAX, and SHO), as well as the HD channels. All was working beautifully.

    As it turns out, the tech was very intelligent and knew exactly what he was doing. Unfortunately, in the course of my excitement, I neglected to get his name or clock number. However, all things considered, despite the tech getting there late, I'm very happy with how the installation went and that we didn't run in to the major issues everyone on here seems to have had. As it ended up, the card was an m-card. However, the tech specifically stated that it was a really good idea that I requested them to bring two cards anyway, so I would recommend that to anyone in the future.

    So here it is around 20 hours after activation, and the card is still working wonderfully. Both HD and SD channels are coming in great, and for the most part, I am loving all of the features of the TiVo.
  2. Gregor

    Gregor Wear Your Mask! TCF Club

    Feb 18, 2002
    Glad to hear it worked for you!
  3. mostman

    mostman Member

    Jul 16, 2000
    Tech just left my house - he was here for a grand total of 15 minutes.

    Only problem I have now is that I was using another cable card in single tuner mode and have now switched to this new multi-stream card - the tivo only seems to recognize one tuner right now.

    I am rerunning guided setup and then I am going to perform a reboot. See if that gets me going with dual tuners.

    Edit: No reboot needed. Ran guided setup - 2 tuners active. Nice.

  4. n1teowl

    n1teowl New Member

    Aug 25, 2007
    I had heard from a friend that he picked up his cablecards at the local Comcast store and was able to install them himself. I thought I'd give it a shot. I went to the local Lynnwood branch and brought my old HD receiver box and remote with me. I told the rep that I'd like to trade in my reciever for cablecards, an M-card if possible. She told me that all they had were M-cards and that it would be no problem. 5 minutes later I walked out with my M-card. When I got home, I ran through guided setup on my Tivo HD and got to the screen that had me call Comcast. The rep answered the phone in 30 seconds and asked what I needed. I told him that I needed to get my cablecard initialized. He asked if this was for a TV or a Tivo. I told him Tivo and he told me how to navigate to the screen I needed and asked for the required numbers. He then said to give it a few minutes and everything should be ready to go. 5 minutes later I was up and running. I got the service update and have had no problems since. That's how it should work!
  5. pl1

    pl1 Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007


    Come on! That was some sort of a dream you had last night, right?:p J/K
  6. cheesehead00

    cheesehead00 New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    ok my setup with comcast and cable cards went fine im just upset about the prices i am being charged and was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to get my rates cheaper.

    before i switched to tivohd i had a dvr through comcast and my bill was like $83 a month. now that i switched to tivo with cable cards my bill is $95 without any box rental from them.

    i pay .....
    $2.95 serv protection
    $14.95 cable card
    $1.50 Digital service
    $33.00 for Digiatl Cable

    i have 2 S cards and live in Charleston SC.

    Does this seem right to anyone else? am i getting ripped off? any help is greatly appreciated!
  7. bizzy

    bizzy New Member

    Jan 20, 2004
    you're paying $14.95 for a cablecard!?
  8. cheesehead00

    cheesehead00 New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    yes they said my first one was free and the second is $14.95. i have read through this thread a lot and find this ridiculous! when i called comcast customer service and they werent very helpful.
  9. hybucket

    hybucket Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    Glad to hear it. What part of Boston are you in? I'm getting mine in a couple of weeks.
  10. cheesehead00

    cheesehead00 New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    yup just got off an hour long phone call with comcast customer service and they kept telling me different things about the charges. basically they are saying the bill is correct. they claim the $14.95 charge for the cable card is actually for the digital service so that i get channels 100 and up and that digital starter of $33 is for channels 1-99. they couldnt explain why the descriptions were messed up on my bills.

    does this make sense to any of you guys and do you think they are over charging me?
  11. dswallow

    dswallow Save the ModeratŠ¾r TCF Club

    Dec 3, 2000
    The simple thing to do is compare it to the published price list for your local cable operation. That might be better to ask for if you haven't got it handy. It's usually included with your bill when a new one is issued, or sometimes mailed separately. But it should also be available on request.
  12. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    This is from web page concerning tivo. It says that the charge for the second card will be nominal. In my area that is $1.50. In most areas it is less than $2.00.
  13. cheesehead00

    cheesehead00 New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    well i tried a different approach and used the online chat through and was able to get help from them. simply told them that i was being charged $14.95 for my cable card and that it was wrong. he suggested i call comcast customer support for further help because he could only credit my account $25 and remove any future charges for the second cable card. i decided to go with that since phone customer service wasnt going anywhere and only been charged that amount for 3 months.

    hopefully this doesnt mess up anything else with the cards and receiving hd channels.

    thanks for the suggestions/help!
  14. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Hopefully it all works out well for you. However, I have heard of many cases when a helpful CSR did this the customer lost Authorzation in the second card. The Comcast system can Authorize a $1 cablecard, but not a second free card. Hopefully this isn't your case.
  15. Jon65

    Jon65 New Member

    Aug 25, 2005
    Well the comcast guy has come and gone. Mostly it was really good. He
    was really late, but called several times during the 7-9 window. He was
    hung up at the job he was on. Guy was polite, spoke English, and wanted
    to make things work. When he got here, he listened, didn't hate tivo,
    and knew all about cablecards. He knew just what needed to be done and
    got them authorized and added back to my account. Most all the HD
    channels were coming in.

    Now the not so good part. Two channels, National Geographic and Mojo,
    refused to play. No idea why. At that point he jumped in and replaced
    my outside splitter and connectors, also verifying strong signal along
    the way. Good plan but no luck. He then has the head end initialize
    the cards again. Still no luck. Now he's out of ideas and options. He
    can't do anything else, but gives me his supervisor's number, along with
    the name of the person who knows how to solve this problem. I'm happy.

    Now the really not so good part. After he leaves, I'm flipping channels
    and discover that I can't get channels 100-199. I didn't even check, so
    I don't fault the guy. It is clearly an account issue. I'm hopeful
    that the people I talk to Monday can fix me up from their end without me
    being home.

  16. sparkyr

    sparkyr New Member

    Jan 22, 2008
    HoCo, MD
    Long time lurker, first time poster...

    Skipping the gory details of multiple truck rolls and numerous failed cards, my series 3 currently has one working SA S-card in slot 1 (can view all channels, including premium) and a half-working SA S-card in slot 2 (can view non-premium channels, but diagnostic screen says "Waiting for CP Auth"). Comcast lead technician got me to this point and didn't have any more fresh cards with him. The head-end people authorizing the cards for him said they kept getting an "Invalid error" when trying to authorize the card in slot 2 and none of them knew what that meant. lead tech said all he could do is refer it to a more senior head-end tech who will call me. This all happened Friday and I'm not expecting any call until Monday.

    Called Tivo and they suggested trying "half-working" card currently in slot 2 in slot 1. If it works in slot 1, then try current slot1-card in slot2 and see if it works. Reasonable debug approach and I'm kicking myself for not having the lead tech do that when he was here. It's possible that tivo box has a hardware problem with slot2 (hard to believe since the tivo recognizes the card and it can tune non-premium digital channels, but they're the experts, right?).

    FWIW - the "half-working" card has obviously been very used, if not abused. The printing on the label is very worn and the case has multiple big dents. Not very reassuring to me, plus one of the anti-static baggies that the lead tech left behind has "Defective Card" handwritten on it but it could have been from one of the 5 other cards that they tried. I'd love to know the failure rate of these cards (including the DOA rates) and whether Comcast somehow writes off the cost of failed cards or gets SA to take them back.

    So, that's the short version of how I got here, but my post is really about Comcast reporting an "Invalid error" that they don't understand. Tivo guy said he has some records of "Invalid error" messages with some other cable providers but didn't know the resolution. Has anybody with Comcast, or better yet, Comcast in Howard County MD heard about this before? I'd appreciate any info that somebody might have so I can help guide the Comcast technicians.

  17. KraziJoe

    KraziJoe What? Me Worry?

    Nov 30, 2007
    Try restarting the TIVO and see if they show up.
  18. Gregor

    Gregor Wear Your Mask! TCF Club

    Feb 18, 2002
    Have the tech check the signal level. It sounds like the signal is marginal, and when it's split internally in the Tivo, it's not high enough for the card to work. Cable cards are apparently very fussy about signal levels.

    Also, copy the numbers down from the cable card screens and make sure that the tech is reading the numbers down correctly to the back-end tech.
  19. Jon65

    Jon65 New Member

    Aug 25, 2005
    Did a reboot and also a guided setup right away. No Joy.

    No improvement overnight. I'm still hopeful for tomorrow.

  20. rvsj

    rvsj Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    TiVos do not talk back to the head end so if they get an error when trying to authorize it means that the data has been entered incorrectly. Either fat-fingered by the person entering it or read back incorrectly by the field person.
    It could also be a bad card generating bad data but I'm of the opinion that most of the "bad" cards are good cards that had their data read back incorrectly.

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