TiVo Series3: Some CableCARD Issues

21Sep06

I guess I was a bit naive to think that my CableCARD setup would be trouble free. I suppose I should be glad it’s not as bad as other peoples’ experiences.

The Comcast tech came to install the cards yesterday, and it seemed to work except I was not receiving some digital channels like NFLNet, HBO, Encore, etc. I was able to receive all the local HD channels, and ESPNHD along with ESPN2HD. I checked my regular cable box and it was still able to get the missing channels, so I figured it wasn’t the cable signal. The tech insisted I should give it sometime, and if it still did not work, then I should call Comcast. Fine, I waited, but those channels were still not coming in. I called Comcast, they tried to send different signals to the CableCARDs with no luck. The customer service rep then scheduled another appointment for a tech to visit and try new CableCARDs.

It didn’t seem like the tech knew of anything else he could do, so this could turn ugly if the new cards don’t do the trick.

On a positive note I was able to record all of last night’s primetime shows in glorious HD on the new Series3, and there will be a lot more HD goodness on my TiVo with tonight’s huge lineup of premieres. Thanks goodness I also have my Beyond TV machine since two tuners won’t cut it tonight.

UPDATE (10/2/2006):
After several frustrating phone calls and support chat sessions with Comcast I was finally able to get ahold of someone who finally understood my problem. She sent the proper signal to both cards, and they were finally able to receive all the channels I subscribe to. No thanks to the 4 separate appointments I scheduled (2 of which no one even showed up!). On the last visit the tech guy said his supervisor would call me, but no one called. I’m definitely going to get the installation fee cancelled since no one who came to my home actually got them working.

Unforetunately, I have a separate issue with one of the tuners. I’m not able to receive analog channels 35-53 with tuner 1. All channels work perfectly fine with tuner 2. To ensure it is not a CableCARD issue I tried swapping the cards, and still saw the problem with tuner 1. I also tried each card one at at time, using one card in slot 1, then the same card in slot 2. Both cards only tune all channels when in slot 2. I spent an entire morning on the phone with TiVo support who were stumped. TiVo support ended up asking me to have a cable technician come out to ensure the CableCARDs are working fine. Based on the level of “expertise” these cable techs have I’m sure they’re going to end up saying it’s a TiVo issue, and that “we do not support TiVo”. I know I’m not alone in this, so hopefully all this info I’m providing TiVo will force them to take a closer look and eventually provide a solution.

UPDATE (10/10/2006):
TiVo support finally gave up, and asked me to exchange the unit from where I got it. I went to Fry’s last week, did the exchange, and the new Series3 unit is working fine. No surprise there as all my troubleshooting pointed to a hardware problem. I’m finally enjoying HD bliss with a TiVo Series3.

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