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Pulling my hair out over Tivo HD and cablecards

1512 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  mtw2
I'm hoping that someone else around here has had similar issues so that maybe I can get this worked out. I'm a serious TiVo devotee and express my love for Tivo to more or less anyone that will listen. The reason I love Tivo is because it's EASY, or at least was until now.

I recently got a new LCD tv after about a year of saving and couldn't see myself watching tv without Tivo so I got a Tivo HD box as well. When I got the Tivo I was a few weeks out from my FIOS install so I decided I could suffer for a few weeks rather than have Comcast come out for cable cards to return them 2 weeks later. The FIOS tech came to install and everything went smoothly until the cablecard install. I gave the little sheet to the tech but of course he didn't read it and just slapped both cablecards in the box despite the fact that it specifically says do one and then the other. The card in slot one wouldn't get off of the "Card not in normal operation message" and the one in 2 is the only one that would give the host ID and Data ID. Eventually he just tried to activate the card in slot 2 with no success. We called Tivo and eventually the Tivo CSR who was of little help just told me to return the Tivo HD to Best Buy. This meant that the tech left and I have to wait for another appointment (in 2 freakin weeks) until the other card can be activated.

Once I got back with my new Tivo HD box I figured that at least the card that was activated would work so I had them deactivate it so that I could give them the new host id and data id. But still, even with the new box, slot one still won't get past the "Card not in normal operation" screen on the cable card menu. Anyone who can offer any advice it is GREATLY appreciated, I don't want to wait another 2 weeks to watch my TV. HELP!!!!!!

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Maybe you should try another box, but also when cable tech is there, make sure you have a good strong signal to the TiVo HD. Also press them to send the tech with extra cards because really alot of them don't work.
I almost fell off my chair when I finally found your message. I'm experiencing the same issues here.
Verizon Fios, Tivo HD, and card won't work in slot 1, but works fine in slot 2.
I got mine from tivo.com, and they already shipped me a replacement unit... only to have the exact same problem. I've got a VZ tech coming any minute now (yes, the second $25 roll for the same cablecard install - yet I still don't have any confidence that tivo fixed the problem).

TiVo puts the problem on the cable cards (or they sent me two bad units in a row), but I don't see how the Verizon tech (who doesn't have a clue about cablecards) can even start to activate or troubleshoot when tivo doesn't display the host ID screen.
The fact that we both have Fios is a red flag though...

Please, update me with any new information you have. I'll post as soon as today's install happens. Wish me luck...
mtw2 said:
TiVo puts the problem on the cable cards (or they sent me two bad units in a row), but I don't see how the Verizon tech (who doesn't have a clue about cablecards) can even start to activate or troubleshoot when tivo doesn't display the host ID screen
Put one card in at a time.

After you insert each card, wait two minutes. Some 90-120 seconds after inserting each card, the Tivo will display the CableCard setup screen shown below (CableCardSetup.gif). The Verizon installer should enter the serial number on the card and then the information from that screen. The card will not work unless it was previously entered on the cable company's list of approved CableCards.

Another member recently had the same problem with their FiOS installer and they got it fixed:


Issues with CableCard authorization are the fault of (1) the installer 90% of the time, either because they entered the wrong information or more commonly because they forgot to register the card when they picked it up, (2) a defective CableCard 9.9% of the time, (3) a faulty Tivo 0.1% of the time. You will almost never have a Tivo with a defective CableCard slot.

If all information from your Tivo is entered correctly, and that doesn't fix the problem, the installer should call to verify that the CableCard is in FiOS' listing of approved cards for install. This cannot be done with a computer; it can only be done over the phone. If the installer or their regional office didn't register the CableCard when they picked it up, then it is not going to work.

The second screenshot below shows what a correctly authorized CableCard on Verizon FiOS should look like.


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I will also note that it took almost two days for the cards to report that they were fully authorized. Both units showed SUBSCRIBED on CC1, but for CC2 on one reported NEED_AUTH_RESKEY or something like that, and the other still said "unknown", but everything worked. Next day, both on the first unit said SUBSCRIBED and the other said NEED_AUTH_RESKEY, and then by next morning everything was SUBSCRIBED.

FIOS also seems to have two steps - one is to activate the card (when you get the 161-4 error), and the second is to authorize it for channels. We did the first step with each card one at a time, then did the second step one card at a time.

I also had problems with the TiVo after using the "Test Channels" function, and had to reboot to restore the TiVo to a fully functioning state - the backgrounds had disappeared, and it stopped showing the channels even after it tested good.
I had the same problem with one of my cable cards in my TiVo HD unit.

What SOLVED the problem was:

Call the Cable Card company & UNPAIR the card. REMOVE it from your account. Just as though you returned the card.

THEN Have them Add the Cable Card BACK to your account & Pair the card back to your TiVo.

Just a thought.

I also had a difficult fios install. We finally figured out, after doing it again and again, that the proper thing was:

1. install one card individually and authorize.
2. When TIVO asks you to rerun guided setup, do it. This was the sticking point. If I didn't let it run, it would never work. It would be connected, but not authed (CC not Authorized nor subscribed). After running guided setup (all 20 minutes of it), it was both authorized and subscribed. Flipping channels showed it authed and flipping to an encrypted channel (Like ESPNHD) showed it had the Encryption keys.
3. Then we did the 2nd card, which took about 5 minutes to work.

We spent over 4 hours trying it every which way until I read here on the forum that you HAD to run guided setup after the first card was installed (even though it said it wasn't authorized and we couldn't see the channels) to get anything going. I had already run guided setup before the installation took place, but it didn't help.

Hope that helps.

PS. the Fios techs know nothing about CC and tivos. At least all the ones that my tech called.
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First, I did do them one at a time - in fact, at the first install, I only got a single SCard.

Successful install here the second time around.
The original card would work in slot2, but not slot1.
I removed all cards.
The installer plugged the new card in. It was instantly different - instead of "Card not operating normally", we saw the CableCard Menu. After a few min, the ID screen came up, and activation went without a hitch.
Plugged the already working card back into slot2, both are working.

I guess I have to blame the card. I still think that if I swapped the cards (with my service it seems they don't care about hostid - it's already running in a different tivo from the one it was activated in) -- I'd bet that the "bad" card (currently slot2) still wouldn't work in slot1, but the new/good card (currently slot1) would work in slot2. Seems to be a specific combination of card and port.

In retrospect, I wish the TSR hadn't been so quick to replace the first unit - there was nothing wrong with it. They hardly asked me any questions or made any attempts to troubleshoot, but then again, I only had a single card at the time, so there's not much I could have done.

I'll certainly keep a wary eye on it if I encounter any other problems, in which case I'll try the deactivate / reactivate approach.

All's well that ends well, I guess. I hope the OP has resolved their issue...


PS - To respond to other comments, guided setup was run between cards - but only because they happened on separate dates. I doubt I would have been patient enough to go through Guided Setup between two cards installed and activated one right after the other (It takes 20+ min to complete!). That's useful advice.

For the rest, I'll explain the "Card not in normal operation" error.
TiVo says "Scard inserted", but I immediately got 161-4 errors (which I tried to ignore) about every 3 seconds. "CableCard Menu" simply says "Card not in normal operation", and no other menus are there (Pairing, Conditional Access, Status, etc.) NO card, host, data ID screen EVER appeared (so how could the tech do anything related to pair / auth?)
After letting the card "cook / soak" for 24 hours at the advice of a TSR, the 161-4 errors no longer came up, but the menus never appeared.
The same card came right up in slot 2.

Lastly - technically, the "problem" persists - that card doesn't work in slot 1. But since it's fine in slot 2, and I got another card for slot 1, it doesn't much matter anymore. Still, I hope this info might help someone else.
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