Official Comcast CableCard Thread!

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

  1. bicker

    bicker bUU

    Nov 9, 2003


    About that many I know of. So yeah, let's say between 5% and 10% have returned their S3 for reasons like this. Until TiVoPony provides an official number, it is as good of a guess as your guess.

    Regarding my experience, I made a statement of fact, not an accusation. I'm sorry that my experience upsets you. As it is, the mindblowingly high number of major problems with the introduction of the S3, as compared to the introduction of the S2, demonstrates a distinct lack of robustness in the design. Exhibiting a lack of robustness is not the same as "having a design flaw."

    You haven't provided any evidence to the contrary. I, at least, have the vast numbers of people who have posted their dissatisfaction here, some vociforously swearing off TiVo entirely in response (which I think is an over-reaction), followed by the same dozen or so TiVo fans trying to squash the very existence of these customers left high-and-dry by their $799 paperweight.

    We're on message 1795 in this ONE THREAD almost completely dedicated to the problems people have getting the S3 to work, and this is just one of many such threads. I doubt there were 1800 messages in ALL the threads about all the problems that stemmed from the introduction of the S2, and yes, the S2 DID have to work with the Comcast environment. The S2 did a better job because the technical challenges were easier to overcome. Evidently, TiVo was not able to make the S3 as well-suited to the environment they were deploying it into as they did for the S2. Live with it.

    Be a rabid fan of TiVo, if you want, but don't close your eyes and ears to the reality around you.

    SC0TLANDF0REVER I Love my TiVo!

    Dec 9, 2001
    Raleigh, NC
    I agree w/ the issue of 'the Comcast Environment'. This thread is OVER 1800 posts now.

    Comparatively, the FiOS thread *at this moment* is only 239 posts.

    COMCAST SUCKS and it sucks that I am stuck with the incompetency as well as them now charging me $9.95 for each CC, or as *they* call it each 'socket'.
  3. tka

    tka New Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    Like many users, I had a horrible time of getting the cable cards in my S3 installed. Not less than 7 times was i told by Comcast staff that I should use their box instead of cable cards, because cable cards don't work well.

    After 5 appointments of which they kept just one (for all the others they sent contractors, who realized before coming to my house that they were not allowed to install cable cards) not only did I not have a working S3 but my existing cable card was no longer working. After 9 appointments I decided to call their headquarter in Philadelphie (215-665-1700) to ask if they had a working complaints department or if they preferred me to go to the FCC. When I was put through to the complaints department, they actually gave me names, phone numbers and a timeline by which somebody was going to contact me. And having been told at least 10 times that my S3 was defective, it turned out that Comcast had many things wrong with their cable headend and they way they provisioned the service. Despite all this, it took so far 16 visits and while my tivo is working now without any problems, my original cable card was rendered non-functional at the last visit once again.

    I think my experience shows that it is by and large not Tivo at fault, but Comcast being obstructive and ignorant. If they are really forced to use cablecards from july 1st, 2007 for all of their own boxes, they will no doubt clean up their act quickly (or go the way of adelphia...)
  4. keithaxis

    keithaxis New Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    where can a person see a working "conditional access" it shows what is enabled and so forth. My screen has one had that says in caps "MISSING_PROGRAM_REKEY"
    I am guessing this has something to do with me only receiving programming on channels 1-29 and 101 - 116...of course I do get my local HD in that 104, 105 channel area..but really not much else..both cards are identical as far as programming they show..I have now been on phone with Comcast 3 times..they say it takes time..but I have not received a new channel in 3 hours...

  5. Chico

    Chico New Member

    Sep 30, 2001
    Seattle, WA USA


    I've had my S3 up and running for about a week. One Motorola cablecard is a version 4.05 firmware and one is a 4.21. Can that be updated? Should I care? Things seem to be working fine.
  6. fred_e_fender

    fred_e_fender New Member

    Jan 12, 2007
    Lynnwood, WA
    Anyone out there (particularly in the Seattle area) running two S3's on Comcast? I'm trying to determine what they would charge me if I went with two - for a total of four cablecards, and no cable boxes.

    I'm *hoping* it would be just $3 ($1.50 for the second card in each of the two S3 units), with no additional outlet fees, etc...but I'm thinking that may be a pipe dream. (Looking ahead to when my "triple play" promo expires.)

    Thanks to anyone willing to share.
  7. CrispyCritter

    CrispyCritter Purple Ribbon Wearer

    Feb 28, 2001
    I said 5 people, that's nowhere near 5-10%. There have been more than 5 who've returned it because of Comcast incompetence, but I'm trusting you when you say that's not true for you. You've been making the case that it was premature for TiVo to release the S3, but how can delaying possibly help solve the problem of Comcast incompetence that is the very dominating portion of this thread? Very few of the problems in this thread are due to flaky TiVos.

    Your experience doesn't upset me. What upsets me is the fact that you are claiming that because you and a few others got flaky TiVos means that TiVo shouldn't have given all the rest of us the TiVos that we are currently very happy with.

    And why is it that all the polls that unhappy people start invariably end up with considerably more people happy with their TiVo than unhappy? There's hundreds of people who've expressed satisfaction with their S3 in this forum.

    This is one of the more ridiculous arguments I've seen. When the S2 was introduced, it was put into exactly the same environment as the S1. It got exactly the same signals from the same sources. Of course it worked fine (outside of the few flaky TiVos) - TiVo knew by then what all the vagaries of cable systems were on those signals. I agree there were comparatively few complaints.

    Now what happened when they added HMO and internet access? It was working in a new environment with new problems and new connections to people's varying hardware. There were tons of people with problems, upset at TiVo because they either encountered bugs or couldn't get it to work with their equipment. There were lots of complaining threads.

    Now what happened when they added TiVoToGo? Again a new environment, doing new things, having to work with new and different hardware and software. Once again there were TiVo bugs, TiVo workarounds needed, adaptation to make things work on a greater variety of customer hardware. There were many, many more people upset at TiVo for TiVoToGo than are upset at TiVo for S3. The atmosphere was poisonous at times.

    I don't claim there aren't problems with the S3; there obviously are. But any time you release a new system that has to interoperate in new ways with a bunch of other systems that aren't under your control, you're going to have problems. And that's what TiVo's history shows, and that's what the history of any company doing that shows. TiVo could have worked on the S3 in their lab for another 2 years, and they still would not have eliminated all the problems. And as I said, the vast majority of the problems here are with the cable companies and cable cards. There is no way for TiVo to train Comcast employees any more than they did!

    In summary, why should the fact that you and a few others unfortunately had flaky TiVos make you claim that TiVo should not have released the S3 and given the rest of us the pleasure of owning an S3 now, something that many of us have been waiting for (and complaining about :p ) for years?
  8. c3

    c3 TiVoholic

    Sep 8, 2000
    There should be an outlet fee + $1.50 for the second TiVo.
  9. Warlord46

    Warlord46 New Member

    Dec 2, 2006
    Miami, FL
    "That's self-absorbed idiocy." (bicker, post 1743).

    Comcast owns the cable cards and is in total control of whether the cable cards work, not Tivo.

    Excellent advice! You should follow it.
  10. Espo

    Espo New Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Have any of you gotten your S3 to work successfully using Comcast Scientific Atlanta cards? Here in Howard County MD, many of us have gotten the cards paired up, only to consistently have 1 or the other fail after a day or 2. This requires a reboot to fix the failed card, causing many missed recordings. Also, G4TV is missing but the analog G4TV is watchable without the cards. Most of us have given up with Comcast & switched to FIOS. However, I eventually might would like to switch back to use my S3 with a ComcastTivo in the future for VOD. Has this been seen with Motorola cards or just with the SA cards?
  11. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    I've had 4 installed for several weeks that were fine with the unencrypted channels and finally last satuday they got them set up for the encrypted channels. So far everything has been fine. Hopefully they can get my 5th and 6th cards working tomorrow if they actually show up. I called twice confim since they scrwed up last week and din't bring the extra two cable cards. So I call this moring and they tell me i'm not scheduled. So now I'm supposedly scheduled again so I hope the tech knows what hes doing.
  12. zjuggler

    zjuggler New Member

    Dec 30, 2006 took 4 days and 3 tech visits, but Comcast finally got both my cards working right. The problem was entirely on Comcast's end. There is simply not enough CableCard expertise throughout the Comcast support structure. It all came down to one guy at the head end who knew how to send the right signal to reset the cards. If he gets hit by a bus, they won't be able to install CableCards anymore. It's simply ridiculous.

    It works great so far...we'll see what they end up charging me when I get my next bill.

    Bottom line: it should NOT be this difficult a process...but the blame for that is entirely Comcast's. Maybe when they're forced to deploy CCs in their own set top boxes they'll actually learn how to do the installs right.


    to paraphrase Einstein: Two things are infinite: the universe and Comcast's stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.
  13. keithaxis

    keithaxis New Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    what is that guys name that got you fixed up? man, I have had to call and talk to four different people so far...Today, #4 sent out another hit but I think there are more issues than that. I have never received more than a select few channels on both cards and both show exactly the same channels 1-29 working and no others...

    Keith on Comcast pierce county...

    SC0TLANDF0REVER I Love my TiVo!

    Dec 9, 2001
    Raleigh, NC
    So I called Comcast yesterday to see if they could help me figure out what was going on w/ my ability to get some channels on both cards. Turns out that I had to have my extended channels, subscription channels and HiDef channels "authorized on the additional outlets (the CCs).

    I asked Jason what he meant by that. I also added that I was under the impression that the CCs were free. He said that the CCs are Free. But that I was paying for additional outlets. I argued that there is only *one* outlet (Living Room/One TV). He came back with 'each CC is it's own outlet' as well as the fact that the SA8300HD was it's own outlet, which is why it was $9.95 /mth as well.

    So now I'm paying $19.90 above my normal rates to be able to obtain the channels I'm already subscribing to. Isn't that illegal or against the FCC guidelines?

    Anyway... after I authorized the additional charges (figured I'd argue about it later) I had him add the new lineup to my cards. I saw the grey CC screen come up a cpl of times and that enabled my ability to get the extended channels on ONE CC only.

    I'm now stuck with the ability to see 'analog', and Local HiDef on both CCs. And extended channels on one. No HBO/Showtime or HiDef on either.

    So I went to the local office (1 mile away) to pay my bill and to ask for help in person (I found out I had a $3.00 outstanding amount). The lady there scheduled a new appt to have a tech come out w/ 2 new CCs.

    After I arrived back home I called Comcast again to see if I could get them to try again, at which point they said they can't because there's a Tech coming out on Sat to install 2 new CCs (I'll believe that when I see it).

    SC0TLANDF0REVER I Love my TiVo!

    Dec 9, 2001
    Raleigh, NC
    I have the SA cards here in NoVa and have not been able to get them to work.
  16. Strotti

    Strotti New Member

    Jan 9, 2007
    I orderd my 2 CableCards today at Comcast in Florida

    Technichan need to install them
    9.95 each card installation

    6.95 for the first CableCard
    0.00 for the second CableCard

    At the moment is HIGH SEASON in Florida too many SNOWBIRDS need to hook up there TV and Boxes ... I need to WAIT only 3 weeks for the 12 minute installation of 2 CableCards.

    Tsk tsk tsk !
  17. dconner

    dconner Member

    Mar 13, 2004
    Well, with considerable trepidation, I walked in to the Comcast office in Reston, Virginia. As expected, they wouldn't let me take the CableCards myself, but I have an appointment set up for Sunday. Hopefully it won't be a disaster, but I'm not filled with confidence after reading this thread....
  18. ReidWings

    ReidWings Member

    Nov 1, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ok, I have a seemingly unique situation, maybe someone can help (clearly Comcast cannot).

    I had my 2 cablecards installed originally without a hitch. However, I got my s3 replaced by Tivo due to fan issues. Now, I want to move my cablecards to the new unit. I put them into it, and they loaded up. Now, I am at the screen that says "acquiring channel information." However, it does not acquire any information. It just hangs there with the ball spinning on screen.

    Of course, I called Comcast who said the cards responded to their signal when they would send one. Comcast in their infinite wisdom even told me this when I had the cards OUT of the tivo.

    So Comcast again in their infinite wisdom sent a tech out. However, they sent a friggin' contractor who had never seen a cablecard before. He of course left after realizing he has no clue what to do.

    Any advice on things I can do on my end to fix this? Or am I going to have to wait until Comcast gets someone out here who actually has worked with CableCards? (Not easy to do)

  19. patrickthickey

    patrickthickey New Member

    Sep 4, 2002
    Santa Cruz, Ca - working fine, ~30 minutes to install the CCs.

    It took two of "the technician is running late" calls, but once he showed up the process took less then 30 minutes. I was kept in the loop, so I am not editorializing just reporting the events.

    He was indeed a contractor from San Jose, over the hill. He had experience installing the new S3 Tivo units, having done three at a single home a few days earlier. He knew the drill, and in fact assisted the head-end technician as she was being trained.

    He inserted the cards one at a time and waited for the data to pop back, which he copied. He then did the second card, explaining that this works fine with the local head end. Once he had the data from both cards, he called the head end and she input the data, and "hit" one card at a time. He verified one card, using the channel test, before moving to the other card.

    Trivial installation. Experience and having a properly set up head end are indeed the keys.

    Initial impressions:

    I have had DTV and HD from DTV from Day One. I own two HR10-250s, upgraded and hacked. Previously I used RCA DCT100s. I have watched DTV and HD evolve and now, de-evolve.

    I have watched DTV degrade from almost surreal SD quality at the start to what they spew now; seriously compressed, down-rezzed video. It just sickens me since those very early days of Direct looked like DVDs, seriously. ALL channels. Then they whacked their leading edge HD offerings, to what they are now. It just reminds me of the hard selling of VHS versus Beta. The VHS camp sold the notion of having 5 hours of recording time. Yet 5 hour VHS sucked badly if you had ever seen 3 hour Beta. So now we have more Direct"HD" channels, and some garbage about how they tune and tweak the 1280 image to look better than full 1920 resolution. HA HA HA HA HA. Pure spin, pure hype. Joe SixPack is eating it up.

    <rant>You can SEE the variable quality of HD on Direct as they frantically squeeze too many channels into the pipe. 1280 x 1280 and selling it as HD? This is absolutely the most specious thing I have witnessed in many years. </rant>

    Previously my biggest gripe with my local Comcast, other than not having any HD on local cable when I last used them, was the quality of the SD channels. Well, that is no longer an issue. The SD channels are as good as any on DTV. My local HD offerings on Comcast are slim, as our demographic area is small, but they cover the main ones and they are expanding. I can wait. I have less than zero interest in many of the promised DTV HD offerings. CNN in HD? Cartoon network? I'll pass. Give me the networks, and ESPN and DiscoveryHD and I'll be patient for the rest.

    There is not even a date associated with the DTV MPEG 4 roll out in our area.

    The Discovery HD channel on my Comcast is, however, better than what I receive on DTV as I can watch them both to compare. Not dramatically better, but better. I can't tell on ESPN HD at this moment as they are not showing anything in live HD, wide aspect, just the lame 4:3 studio stuff. PBS HD out of SF I can't wait to see, but not until later in the day.

    My viewing device is a generation one Fujitsu 50" plasma via component.

    The channel changing speed of the S3 on Comcast is not blazing fast, but neither is it slow. It works fine. It is all seamless as I receive three HD channels OTA. Sweet.

    I'll work the S3 out for a month and then see about selling my HR10s and having DTV cancelled. Comcast waived the install fees, and whacked my monthly for a year. So I get everything but the additional DTV HD channels - which I rarely watched but initially thought were vitally important - for a whopping $37.43/mo versus $80.00/mo for DTV. Hmmm...

    And, one wire into my house versus the tangle of cables I use now. This will be an interesting test.


  20. cluemeister

    cluemeister New Member

    Dec 23, 2003

    After the canceled appointment, I stopped by the local Comcast office the same day (you're not allowed to call), and was told the cards would arrive in about a week. I asked if it would take two weeks, and I was assured it would not take that long.

    Two days shy of two weeks later, and still no call. I drive to the office again (Wednesday), and I'm told they are on order. I say I know the cards are on order, I want to know when they're coming in. I'm told they should be in within a day or two. They take my number again and promise to contact me when they're in.

    Two days since my drop in visit, no call.

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