Something I learned about Cable cards

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by neardark, Feb 19, 2009.

Have you had this problem too?

Poll closed May 20, 2009.
  1. yes and we had a different solution

    0 vote(s)
  2. yes

  3. no

  4. I have no idea what you posted

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. neardark

    neardark New Member

    Feb 19, 2009


    This is my 1st post. Hope I'm doing it right. I have 2 Series 3 hd Tivos which are serviced by local cable co called Wavecable. This post is about M type Motorola cards.

    Problems I was having and the solution I discovered, This is posted to help others.

    Problem: The Gray screen of death. We had storms in Dec with various power outages. After that both of my Tivo series 3 HD units started giving us the gray screen with no signal. Sometimes right in the middle of a show, other times it would simply not allow the upper channels (plus package like channels 99 and up) to be watched. Of course if I rebooted all was fine for several hours. We started rebooting before our favorite shows. Then the recordings started to fail our fav shows would fail to record because the channels had Gray screens and the Tivo will not record that.

    Test : To prove it was the cable cards and not the hard drive we pulled the cards and watched tv thru the Tivo without the cable cards. It never gave us that gray screen. we did this for 3 days. Thus it was the cable cards not the Hard drive

    attempted solution : Called cable co fought with them on getting new Cable cards. They sent tech out who had never seen a Tivo before. Uggg Y do that. Tech installed 2 new cards, Did not follow the correct install procedure (strongly urge you to print installing new cable card procedure and hand it to tech) Tech left and of course same stuff was happening.

    Attempt #2 called cable co to complain about problem and begged to have only a Tivo experienced tech come to my house. Tech came this guy knew what a Tivo was but was very unfamiliar with how to install cable cards or any of Tivo processes. I had him read the cable card install procedure. He did it and left. It worked sort of and started failing within hours of him leaving. We started getting the gray screen of death again.

    Attempt#3 I went to cable co office met with head tech. Explained I know alot about my Tivo let me install the new cards and explained how he could save a service call that way. Nope had to have a tech do it. I made it clear that if a non Tivo experienced tech came I would send them away.
    Their best tech came with a handful of cable cards. He had Tivo experience.

    Solution and things discovered.
    Make sure that cable company tech's come with several Cable cards. The cable co does not have any test equipment for them so your Tivo is the test. Don't fall for them telling you it's the Tivo (rest my test above) VERY IMPORTANT when they install the Tivo cards do this:

    Pull both cards that you have a problem with. Reboot Tivo without the cards Before the new cards are installed.
    Reboot means unplug for 15 sec not the 3 thumbs down soft reboot.

    Once 1st card is put in (not sec card slot ) in the 1st card slot this is important. Leave sec card slot empty. the Cable card menu will pop up. Go to config page then to pairing have tech read to his home office the Data and host #'s to office. HAVE THE OFFICE SEND initialization to the card. Mine took 8 mins to arrive.
    Once initialization arrives it will take you to test channels or live tv. Try many channels especially those above 99 .

    Go back in to : Tivo Centeral select message and settings , then select accounts and system information, then, cable card decoders, then config cable card 1 then cable card menu then Conditional access, if the you see a

    Con:yes EBCP:Yes "val:? 0x00" it will not be a successful install it MUST say "val:v 0x00" this is key I wish I knew how to post screen shots to help you.

    After you have a successful 1st card install repeat this for second card. It is not a success until it says val:v 0x00

    another thing I learned if you go to Tivo Centeral select message and settings , then select accounts and system information, then, cable card decoders, then config cable card 1 (or 2)then cable card menu then cable card status look at the firm ware updates.
    My cable cards had different firm ware on each on. They would not work until we got matching cable cards with matching firmware . what a pain this was.

    I hope this helps someone This took about 4 weeks of cable co visits and reading tons of posts like mine to learn. The Cable co’s are not knowledgeable. Tivo is limited so you have to learn on your own.
  2. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

    Oct 17, 2003
    Glad that everything is now working for you as this can be a hassle. However, your solution just follows the basic setup procedure that is explained on TiVo site and in their documentation. Nothing special was done, it's just that it was finally done right.

    You seem to understand the operation, so for anyone with this knowledge really doesn't need an experienced tech to visit. Just need one who knows who to call for the entering the correct info. I have been present for many such installs and I never let the tech touch the tivo, the cards or the remote. I tell him to just watch and call in the numbers properly.

    Enjoy your TiVo, but I think the poll is vague and won't produce many interpretable reuslts.
  3. Resist

    Resist Well-Known Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    Great write up, thanks. Tivo's that use cable cards have been out how long now and yet cable companies still don't know how to install the cable cards correctly. It just amazes me!

    Charter Cable really pissed me off when I had them install the cards for my Series 3. I read all about how to do it and even printed out the instructions yet their so called "Tech" couldn't figure it out and I had to talk him through it. I did the work and Charter charged me for the install.
  4. Dancar

    Dancar Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    We have a TiVo HD with a Motorola M card on Comcast Seattle. Pairing the cards went fairly smoothly with no tech visit. We've never experienced a grey screen of death or even a complete machine lock up.
  5. Joe01880

    Joe01880 I love my TiVo

    Feb 8, 2009


    If you have a Tivo HD you should not need 2 M cards, just one M card in slot 1.
  6. Bierboy

    Bierboy Seasoned gas passer

    Jun 12, 2004
    Fishers, IN
    He said with "a Motorola M card"....singular. When he referred to "pairing the cards", I'm sure he meant pairing the card....the process of authorizing the card with the head end.
  7. CraigK

    CraigK (unspecified)

    Jun 9, 2006
    North of...
    Also with Comcast Seattle here. I've picked up and installed two cablecards in two TiVo HDs. No tech visit, just a call to Comcast to get the cards paired.

    The only time I got grey screens was on the first TiVo HD before installing the cablecard. This was on analog channels. When I installed the cablecard I also changed to digital starter so I had no analog channels anymore and no grey screen anymore.
  8. Dancar

    Dancar Member

    Oct 8, 2001
    Our first TiVo HD died during a weekend vacation after 6 months (all the LED lights on, black screen - no reboot.) TiVo sent us a replacement. It was the same card but we had it paired a second time for the new machine. Sorry for the confusion.

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