TiVo Bolt - Comcast CableCard incompatibility

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by bklinc, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I was under the impression you were between informing them you would send them back and actually sending them back.

    Usually people come on here looking for some help.

    I haven't had a problem with the 30-day satisfaction guarantee. Also if there was a problem that started within the 30 days and I opted to try and work it out with them, I've had no problems asking them to extend the return period until we could determine what the problem was. They had no issues doing that for me, including documenting explicit instructions to allow exception for full refund and free return shipping and giving case # for my records.

    CableCARDs are designed with standard PCMCIA (old generation laptop expansion cards) form factor, so TiVo didn't really need to design anything. The slide rails and offsets which only allow the card to be inserted in the correct direction are part of the PCMCIA standard.
     
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  2. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    If you can't even get the CableCARDs to recognize and give you the CableCARD diagnostics menu, then my vote is for some physical problem with some of the hardware (unclear which).

    It is possible though that 161-1 may be some message you got in the beginning, but later on the CableCARD diagnostic menus were available, but by that time you were too frustrated to notice.

    It would be very surprising if there was some hardware compatibility issue (ie the Bolt is functioning properly, just the hardware is incompatible) to the point that it can't even recognize the CableCARD and get the diagnostic menu. That is a pretty fundamentally basic part of talking to a CableCARD. Now a hardware defect that caused those symptoms, I would think is rare but more likely than such a drastic basic incompatiblity.
     
  3. bklinc

    bklinc Member

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    I admit I don't know if there is any "unconditional" return policy. The only one I saw was the 30-day return "privilege". Having gotten stuck with over $600 worth of non-functioning TiVo equipment some years ago because, they claimed, I was beyond the 30-day period (I wasn't!), I didn't want a repeat of that fiasco! I did "salvage" that incident by setting up a MOCA network via help from this same forum, but it took me several months and the purchase of several TiVo bridges to get it to work.
    I agree with you that I would not claim credit card fraud. Some of the credit card companies will go to bat for you if you have a problem with a vendor. I used it only once, with a defective piece of furniture which the vendor balked at returning (not damaged in transit!). When he realized that I had "cancelled" his charge with the credit card company, he authorized return of the item.
     
  4. bklinc

    bklinc Member

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    I just did some browsing on some of the other threads within the TiVo forums and discovered an interesting trend. There are a lot of people who are having trouble with the newer TiVo boxes, including several of you who have posted on this thread. It appears to me that the newer hardware/software (Hydra?) combination is causing a lot of grief. At least, they appear to be getting a picture, more than I can claim. Many of the complaints indicate pixilation, boxing, etc. Although my issue regards Comcast CableCard's compatibility with the new platform, it appears that if I did finally get a picture, it might not be pristine anyway.
    I also notice that I have been vindicated in regard to TiVo's inflexibility in regard to their 30-day return policy, even though one of the posters on this thread claimed to have gotten an extension for additional troubleshooting. I wouldn't try that now. (I wonder if the Philippine calendar is different from ours here in the mainland?!)
    I'm sorry that I no longer have the hardware to test some of the suggestions some of you have kindly offered, including giving you numbers from the Diagnoistics menu. However, I have gotten some useful information from this thread. The two suggestions regarding contacting the office of the CEO of Comcast or contacting the FCC seem to make the most sense at this time. Unfortunately, I suspect I would have to have hardware in hand before contact to be ready to troubleshoot, if that ends up being their request. Given the fact that I am in my late 70's and my health seems to be good, I still won't buy green bananas anymore! I will not purchase anymore TiVo hardware until I find that the issues have been resolved with the new TiVo platforms. Hopefully, I will learn that by watching some of these forums.
     
  5. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    I had my return period extended in two circumstances.

    One was when they broke the ability to transfer shows between units (when you tried it resulted in an error). As the whole reason for my purchase was to migrate shows off my old unit and retire it, this was quite problematic for me. This was an acknowledged problem by TiVo and they expected to fix it, nevertheless I was uncomfortable they might not and by the time they figured out they wouldn't/couldn't fix it, my return period would be over. They extended my return period by 30 days. They did end up fixing so i didn't need to take them up on their offer.

    2nd time was for a TiVo Mini where the remote would work for a few seconds in RF mode, then lose connection and drop into IR mode. They also felt this was a software problem and it would be fixed in next release. I had my doubts, but they were willing to extend my return period. The next software update came and the problem wasn't fixed. It was after 30 days but I referred them to the case # and they asked if I wanted to return the unit for full refund or get a refurbished unit. I just returned the unit for full refund.

    Most of my problems with Philipines is explaining the logic of how some of their technical suggestions don't make sense. In straight customer service situations, I found Philipines is straightforward and accomodating with exchanges and returns as long as you get everything documented.

    I have returned twice at 28 days just for general annoyances like especially noisy fan or case alignment issues. Didn't have any issues there either. One thing to note is TiVo considers the start of your 30 days at either your shipment date (if you bought from them) or the activation date (if you bought from somebody else and activated service with TiVo)

    I don't want to say how they would treat you, but that is how they treated me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  6. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    I think you are conflating different issues.

    CableCARD incompatiblity is isolated from everything else you mention. There is no relationship between one and the others.

    If you don't like Hydra you can revert to previous Quattro (will lose your shows in the process but doesn't matter on new installs)

    If you aren't noticing pixelation on your existing Bolt with a particular provider you won't notice anything different on a new Bolt with the same provider.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  7. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand why having your hardware in hand would just be a suspicion rather than an obvious point. If you complain to them they will try and resolve the problem, which is your CableCARD didn't work. Without your hardware how can they possibly address your complaint.

    Unless you find that someone else is complaining their Comcast Motorola CableCARD isn't being recognized (rather than just pairing problem) I don't see how you'll ever see posts about the problem being resolved. You are actually the first case I have ever seen where a CableCARD wasn't recognized by a TiVo and the claim was there is a general incompatibility between Comcast Motorola CableCARD and TiVo hardware. All other cases it was found to either be a defect in TiVo hardware or CableCARD (or if pairing problem, usually head-end or signal issue) Not saying it can't be a general incompatibility, but Comcast is a pretty big company with a lot of installs and TiVo sells a lot of DVRs (relatively) to Comcast customers so if new hardware is just incompatible with Comcast Motorola CableCARDs, usually there are a lot of posts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  8. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Eh, maybe I overlooked that bit in one of your posts. At any rate, no worries.

    Looking back at your OP, it appears that you spent over $900 on this new Bolt, so I assume that includes both hardware plus lifetime ("All-In") service from TiVo. That's a lot of money on a DVR. How many years of service do you hope to get out of it?

    At the risk of angering the TiVo loyalists here, I would suggest that -- completely setting aside your current technical difficulties in getting a new TiVo to work with Comcast -- maybe you should consider getting a full refund of that $900+ from TiVo and try something else (such as Comcast's X1 DVR) instead. The main reason I say this is because no one knows how much longer Comcast's TV service will be fully compatible with TiVo. It's already a hybrid of traditional QAM-based TV, which is compatible with CableCARD devices such as TiVo, and newer IPTV (internet protocol TV), which is NOT compatible with any retail TiVos such as the Bolt. The consensus view -- based on everything Comcast has said and done over the past several years -- is that they will eventually drop QAM TV and fully embrace IPTV. (All X1 boxes are compatible with both QAM and IPTV but Comcast's old pre-X1 boxes, like TiVos, only work with QAM.) And when that happens, it almost certainly will mean that all CableCARD TiVos will become useless with Comcast.

    Now, we don't know when that day will come. Maybe in 2020. Maybe in 2022. Maybe not until 2025. (Or maybe it happens gradually, with more and more blocks of channels moved from QAM to IPTV over time.) But the risk of it happening sooner or later is quite high. And when it does happen, due to the size of Comcast as the nation's largest cable TV provider, that means nearly half the market for CableCARD-based TiVos vanishes. Which means that the resale value of a TiVo, even with lifetime service, is going to take a big hit. And it's not just Comcast that is expected to dump QAM for IPTV. Altice Optimum is already moving down that road as they convert their network from cable to fiber, starting now in the NYC/Long Island region.

    Granted, you seem to own three different homes, so maybe risking $900 on a DVR that stops fully working for year in a couple years isn't a financial concern for you. Just something to think about...
     
  9. bklinc

    bklinc Member

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    Thanks for the information. I was not aware of any of this. The $900 is no longer an issue as I have returned the Bolt to TiVo for a refund. I have two Roamio TiVo's and a mini running on an OTA system. I assume they won't be affected by the changes you list. I have one Bolt and a mini running on Comcast cable with a functioning cablecard. I guess I'll have to take my chances with that one. I may not have to worry about that, but my heirs might! It will be interesting to see if/what the FCC has to say if/when your scenario plays out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  10. bklinc

    bklinc Member

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    It appears to me from other TiVo Forum threads that if/when I did get the cablecard to work in the new Bolt, I would then have the "pleasure" of dealing with signal attenuation issues to hit the signal "sweet spot" needed with the new Bolts. The posts I am seeing indicate that this is a problem with the new Bolts, not the older hardware.
    You mention that I can revert to the previous hardware/software. However, when I asked the TiVo Support person if I could "trade in" the new Bolt on the previous version of Bolt or Roamio, she said I would have to go to the "secondary market" (ebay, etc.) as TiVo was no longer selling those.
     
  11. DeltaOne

    DeltaOne Mount Airy, MD

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    Those that have to attenuate their signal are few and far between. My guess...a fraction, less than 0.1% of TiVo owners.

    I've done so, with my Roamio Plus, and I "think" it helped...but I'm still evaluating things. Same household, my adult son that lives here has a Bolt...uses no attenuation...and has no problems with signal strength. And I've been a TiVo owner for almost five years...and just decided to try some attenuation about two months ago.
     
  12. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    Just because you read someone has a problem doesn't mean it is a widespread problem. If you see a post with 30 pages, then it is probably affecting more users. I don't know about the existence of this new Bolt hardware revision you are referring to. If someone posts the motherboard revision or chipsets then folks can look closer, but even the "old" Bolt (if there was such a thing) could be picky about signals. If you need to attenuate your signal, that just means the signal is too strong for the unit. Solution is very simply add a splitter (or a specific inline attenuator)

    I mentioned you could revert the software. I don't even know that there is a newer hardware revision, that is just your conjecture. If there was such a thing, if you got a refurb, it could be older hardware.

    If you'd like to point out the threads you are looking at, then people can comment further on whether it is something widespread or not.
     
  13. bklinc

    bklinc Member

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    (Long past) time for me to terminate following and replying on this thread! Thanks much to those of you who tried assist. I will now go to “plan C” (not even formulated until after comments on this thread and research on other forums and reviews).

    I will attempt to stream some shows to cell phone from currently-functioning Bolt. So far, no success! Bolt has “found” a streaming device, but I could not go forward. Contacted TiVo Support via chat. They confirmed that my Bolt has streaming built in and sent me a TiVo article with instructions for streaming in and out of home. I will “pound” away at this until something works (or not!) as instructions appear to be for older streaming device which TiVo no longer markets, and I shouldn’t need since it is built into my Bolt. However, menu selections mentioned in article aren’t appearing from Bolt. Haven’t given up yet!

    If I can set up streaming to cell phone, will then purchase Chromecast device which supposedly can “cast” stream from phone to connected TV. From reviews and comments, this appears to have about a 50% chance of working. I’m willing to see which part I fall into! Not a big investment in time or money.

    Long term plan for residence 3, acquire satellite service for TV and DSL for internet. Once everything is working, cancel all Comcast services to house. Since residence is not permanently occupied, occasional service interruptions due to weather/air traffic will, hopefully, be few enough to enable recording of desired shows on satellite dvr.

    I won’t consider another TiVo – Comcast connection until it appears that the “dust has settled” from this latest fiasco. If the currently-functioning TiVo – Comcast cablecard unit in primary residence fails, I will make only one attempt at replacing the faulty part (TiVo or cablecard). If that attempt fails, will make next move depending on the success/failure of the satellite – DSL installation mentioned above.

    Kind regards to all!
     
  14. yukit

    yukit Member

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    tl;dr, but I did fix my M-card pairing with a Bolt recently with www.xfinity.com/activatecablecard

    I initially called Comcast to pair the cableCARD unsuccessfully, then tried the xfinity chat option to pair. I got most of channels I cared about working, but never got premium channels and xfinity app to work. I have other Tivos for these programs so I didn't bother to follow up fix the issues.

    I finally wanted to fix the pairing to access xfinity app on-demand to watch Worldcup related programs on the Bolt. I figured I try the www.xfinity.com/activatecablecard link first. I realized the xfinity site didn't have my cableCARD on their record, I managed to add it and got the app working without talking or chatting to support people.

    This may not work for the OP, but might help others.
     
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  15. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    Good info but definitely not the OP's problem. The Xfinity site was very flaky when they first added it, guess it's working better now. I used it last year to re-pair a card to a new Roamio after my old one got killed by lightning.
     
  16. RMSko

    RMSko Active Member

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    I had similar issues as the OP. Went through 3 Bolt + and 10 CCs and ultimately learned it was a Comcast coding issue. It got escalated to Comcast’s highest level of support and they were finally able to fix it, however, I unfortunately never was able to learn exactly what they did. TiVo by the way was completely useless. The reps insisted it was a noise filter problem or that my signal strength was too strong etc. it didn’t matter that my prior Bolt worked fine - they just kept repeating their same message. Although I have never been a Comcast fan, they at least tried to understand the real issue and took ownership of it with continued escalating.
     
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  17. dianebrat

    dianebrat wait.. I did what? TCF Club

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    While I certainly can sympathize with the pain of the OP, the point is that it's rarely a Tivo problem and almost always a Comcast problem.
    2 years in a row I go to open the summer camp, grab a CableCARD from the Xfinity store, head up, install it, activate it, and I'm ready to go, as much as I hate Comcast there's no inherent incompatibility, there is however a lot of Comcast incompetence.
     
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  18. 10_pearljam

    10_pearljam Member

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    It’s a Comcast issue and escalating to the highest level of service is what has to be done. It also helps to have a Comcast Service Rep at the house doing it for you. It takes about an hour or so but they get it working again.
     
  19. sfhub

    sfhub Well-Known Member

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    The past few posts make sense for pairing or authentication problem.

    However the OP says he used a working CableCARD from existing Comcast install and his new Bolt wouldn't recognize the card at all. According to him, he couldn't even get to the CableCARD diagnostic pages where you are given the Host IDs and Data.

    If the Bolt won't recognize a known working card enough to give the diagnostic pages, IMO that is a problem with the interface between the Bolt and the Card.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018

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