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  #1  
Old 08-17-2018, 07:53 AM
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tmiranda tmiranda is offline
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Pairing Cable Card with Comcast

Yesterday I obtained a CableCard (M-Card) from Comcast and successfully had it paired. I figured I'd post my results in case it can help somebody in the future.

Overall the process was quick and painless. I know how much people like to complain about Comcast but I have nothing but good things to say.

I walked into one of their service centers and was immediately helped by one of their reps. I told him I wanted an M-Card for a Tivo-like device. I also told him I needed instructions on how to have it paired. 10 minutes later I walked out with the card and a print out of the pairing instructions.

When I got home I plugged the card into my HDHR Prime and navigated to the Cable Card menu. I called the number Comcast provided (877-405-2298) and was almost immediately connected to a CSR. The CSR rattled off a list of devices (including an HD Homerun) and asked me which device I was using. She asked me for the "usual" info (Host ID, Data, Serial Number, etc) which was all available on the HDHR screen. As soon as I finished I rebooted the HDHR and poof, it was paired.

To my relief, most of the channels were not copy protected.

I am sure that part of my success is attributed to the fact that I called the right support number. Those people specialized on cable cards and knew exactly what to do. I have heard that the agents on the normal support number really do not know much about Cable Cards.

Anyway, I hope this post helps somebody in the future.

Now all I need to do is build a new machine and get Sage installed. I've been living with the crappy Comcast DVR long enough.
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2018, 08:43 AM
waynedunham waynedunham is offline
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I am very happy that you had a good experience getting a CC to work with Comcast/Xfinity. Maybe they've cleaned up their act and actually allow the people that *WE* (i.e. customers) can call for tech support to talk to the people who can actually fix CC issues.

However I had 2 bad experiences (and one good one) getting a CC working with Comcast.

In the first instance I went round and round with them, going through the various levels of customer CC support, going back to the store and swapping out CC's, etc, etc.
Finally I allowed them to send a tech out to my home so he could see that there was nothing wrong inside my house, there wasn't. I had already gone through the route of changing cable inputs, network cables/connections, etc with the one working Prime I had with 0 effect.
Although he'd never installed/troubleshot an HDHomerun Prime before he was very helpful, and took the information I gave him on how to get all the info he needed using the HD Homerun apps on my computer.
Just like the bazillion times I'd read off the Host ID, Serial#, etc to the various phone techs he verified that all was well with that they had entered on their end.
It was only when he called *HIS* tech support # (one we can't get to) that the problem was found. The CC was pointing to the wrong "node" to get activated. His guy said, OK, just wait a sec and I'll change it to the correct link. He started to say it might take a few minutes, but before he could get that out the card had activated and was downloading the channel list.
Almost a month of hair pulling that could have been solved within minutes if we, or even their techs could have talked to this guy. I was told that the phone techs customers can get to aren't allowed to see or alter the information this guy did. Maybe, HOPEFULLY, that has changed in the last year or so.

About a year or so ago I added a 3rd HDHR Prime/CC. Same issue, but this time I didn't waste any time with repeated calls to customer support for CCs (I did give them one try). I requested a tech visit.
This tech had also never worked with a Prime/CC before, but like the first guy was open to my input. So after relating what I experienced the first time he called his tech level support and sure enough, same issue. The CC was pointing to the wrong activation node. Another quick fix by his tech person and it was up and running.

This is only a guess, but the only local Comcast customer stores around here serve several different towns/lineups so I'm thinking that the cards were coming configured for whatever the "home" town/lineup was for the store location.

Anyway, so glad you had a good experience. I wouldn't wish what I went through, especially on that first troubled CC, on my worst enemy.
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Last edited by waynedunham; 08-17-2018 at 08:47 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-17-2018, 09:38 AM
rrhorer rrhorer is offline
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I too have Comcast (Xfinity). Although it was a little more than two years ago and my memory is sketchy at best, I believe that I was able to pair and activate my HDHR Prime/M-Card online, i.e., without having to call a CSR. Try https://www.xfinity.com/support/arti...vate-cablecard. Anyway, I also had a Windows 7 SageTV setup with HD300 extenders at the time. I have since moved to a new unRAID setup with dockers for Sage and OpenDCT (having no Linux experience at all) and couldn't be happier. I highly recommend it if you're looking to build a new machine and install Sage.
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2018, 10:16 AM
will will is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmiranda View Post
To my relief, most of the channels were not copy protected.
Did you know beforehand that most channels were not flagged as copy-once?

I've always wanted to try getting away from cable boxes but am concerned that Spectrum would mark everything as copy-once and I'd be stuck with worthless equipment.
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  #5  
Old 08-17-2018, 10:00 PM
egeller egeller is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will View Post
Did you know beforehand that most channels were not flagged as copy-once?
It's a Comcast thing that all-but-premium channels are not copy protected. It seems to be consistent across the country.

Your cable box must have a way for you to throw it into a service menu which displays the copy protection flags for the channel you are watching. The trick, obviously, is figuring out how to do that.

On Comcast boxes it's a pain, as you need to push the special button sequence for each channel in order to see the flags. I've never been able to browse channels from the menu.

You're looking for zeroes - no copy protection.
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  #6  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:27 AM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will View Post
I've always wanted to try getting away from cable boxes but am concerned that Spectrum would mark everything as copy-once and I'd be stuck with worthless equipment.
In my experience;

1) What used to be old Charter cable, now called Spectrum, is open for business with an HDHR Prime - all but the premiums are wide open and Sage with OpenDCT works great.

2) What used to be Time Warner/Brighthouse, acquired by Charter cable, now also called Spectrum, is still on an unchanged system from the original Time Warner/Brighthouse broadcasts, which means virtually everything but your local affiliate channels are locked down (copy-once) and you will require a different method to get those copy-one channels. This is the system that I'm on. Once in a while, I scan the channels to see if Spectrum has altered any of the copy-once channels to copy-freely, but they are few and far between (like maybe 3 in the last year). I had high hopes when Charter bought Time Warner that we would end up with Charter's system, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Tom, glad to hear everything went smoothly, that's a sweet deal.
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  #7  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:33 AM
KeithAbbott KeithAbbott is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KryptoNyte View Post
2) What used to be Time Warner/Brighthouse, acquired by Charter cable, now also called Spectrum, is still on an unchanged system from the original Time Warner/Brighthouse broadcasts, which means virtually everything but your local affiliate channels are locked down (copy-once) and you will require a different method to get those copy-one channels. This is the system that I'm on. Once in a while, I scan the channels to see if Spectrum has altered any of the copy-once channels to copy-freely, but they are few and far between (like maybe 3 in the last year). I had high hopes when Charter bought Time Warner that we would end up with Charter's system, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.
I originally had Time Warner cable (10+ years ago), which then switched to Brighthouse. Everything was copy-once. At some point after the announcement that Charter was acquiring Brighthouse, the non-premium channels were silently switched to copy-freely. I've been using an HDHR Prime ever since.
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  #8  
Old 08-18-2018, 10:46 AM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeithAbbott View Post
I originally had Time Warner cable (10+ years ago), which then switched to Brighthouse. Everything was copy-once. At some point after the announcement that Charter was acquiring Brighthouse, the non-premium channels were silently switched to copy-freely. I've been using an HDHR Prime ever since.
Well, that's good to hear Keith. There was a part of me that was concerned that Charter/Spectrum might actually adopt the Time Warner way of doing things.
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  #9  
Old 08-28-2018, 09:16 AM
farscapesg1 farscapesg1 is offline
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My first experience with Comcast and configuring a cable card went pretty well from my memory. This last time, not so much, but I don't think that is really the cablecard teams fault.

We moved from Texas to Tennessee and were told to keep our cablecard during the move (the only hardware we still had from Comcast). For anyone else planning on moving.. that isn't the case. The two states are in completely different regions and apparently call center technicians in one region can't do anything in another. I spent over 2 hours on hold and working with a couple engineers trying to get the original card to work until they finally figured out that I can't use a cablecard from another Comcast region. Took it in and got it swapped out.. and another 2 hours spent trying to get the new one activated. Then they had to transfer me to the other division to disconnect my HDHomeRun Prime from the old card (which was already returned so that took them awhile to get the disconnect authorized and processed), then transferred back to my new region support to activate the new card (finally, the 15 minute task that I originally assumed). So about 4.5 hours on the phone over two days to get a new card activated...
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2018, 10:56 AM
nettech_gt nettech_gt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KryptoNyte View Post
In my experience;

1) What used to be old Charter cable, now called Spectrum, is open for business with an HDHR Prime - all but the premiums are wide open and Sage with OpenDCT works great.

2) What used to be Time Warner/Brighthouse, acquired by Charter cable, now also called Spectrum, is still on an unchanged system from the original Time Warner/Brighthouse broadcasts, which means virtually everything but your local affiliate channels are locked down (copy-once) and you will require a different method to get those copy-one channels. This is the system that I'm on. Once in a while, I scan the channels to see if Spectrum has altered any of the copy-once channels to copy-freely, but they are few and far between (like maybe 3 in the last year). I had high hopes when Charter bought Time Warner that we would end up with Charter's system, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Tom, glad to hear everything went smoothly, that's a sweet deal.
Do you know if this is the case across all Cities/States (I'm in San Diego, CA) that once were Time Warner and now Spectrum. I just spent the last 45 mins chatting with three different CSR from Spectrum asking about using an HDHR and are any channels protected. None of them had a clue what I was talking about... One of them asked if using an HDHR was "pirating".
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2018, 11:04 AM
trk2 trk2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nettech_gt View Post
Do you know if this is the case across all Cities/States (I'm in San Diego, CA) that once were Time Warner and now Spectrum. I just spent the last 45 mins chatting with three different CSR from Spectrum asking about using an HDHR and are any channels protected. None of them had a clue what I was talking about... One of them asked if using an HDHR was "pirating".
Comcast has their own CSRs specifically for dealing with cable card. If you haven't all ready, I would try to specifically speak with a CSR who helps people get their cable card up and running. I think that's your best bet to discover which channels are flagged copy freely/once/never.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2018, 12:26 PM
nettech_gt nettech_gt is offline
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Thank you for that suggestion. I did call and talked to Cable card support. I was told I should be able to record "ALL" channels. Which still leaves me a bit skeptical. I doubt I'll be able to record HBO and other premium channels. So unless anyone in San Diego can confirm that it works with Spectrum, if I can get my hands on a HDHR Prime... (has it been discontinued?) I guess I just have to try and see. Thanx!
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2018, 01:21 PM
JustFred JustFred is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nettech_gt View Post
I did call and talked to Cable card support. I was told I should be able to record "ALL" channels.
**Might** be true using Windows Media Center, which is able to record DRM'd content. Less likely using Sage.

Easiest (and cheapest) way to find out if your local Spectrum has channels flagged "Copy Freely" is to use your cable box's maintenance menu. You should have little difficulty locating the STBs Technical Manual online somewhere. Armed with this info, select a channel of interest, get into the maint. screen and locate the CopyFlags field. 0x00 is good news. Any other value means restricted.

Please report back with your experience. Most Spectrum customers who came from TWC have been disappointed. Spectrum (ex-TWC) in the Los Angeles area is a bust.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2018, 02:21 PM
nettech_gt nettech_gt is offline
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I don't have Spectrum TV right now. I'm using DirecTV. I have been using Sage with satellite for 10+ years with not too many problems. I'm looking to not have to maintain so much extra equipment. My HDPVRs are showing there age and I have been loosing more and more recordings etc.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2018, 03:43 PM
JustFred JustFred is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nettech_gt View Post
I don't have Spectrum TV right now.
Maybe a friend or neighbor with Spectrum will allow you a few minutes with their STB.
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Old 09-01-2018, 10:09 AM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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I have done occasional Internet searches over the last year or two for Time Warner customers that are now Spectrum customers regarding the CCI copy-once flag, and I have never seen a single person report anything other than copy-once on the majority of channels (local channels are, however, copy-freely). You will also find a multitude of Tivo customers experiences this headache.

Occasionally I do a run-thru on each of my cable channels to see if they've changed to copy-freely, but as of today, almost all are still copy-once.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:48 PM
thomaszoo thomaszoo is offline
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My story dates back quite a few years. I purchased a Ceton InfiniTV4andat the time Comcast required a Tech to install them. I was expecting the worst but ended up with the best experience. The tech had never done that type of install before. But he was very patient and persistent. The cablecard he had with him wasn't working so he called another tech who was in the area and had a CC with him who then delivered it. after probably a couple of hours it was all working.

More recently I started having problems with glitchy recordings. A little troubleshooting on my part showed a weak signal due to the splits (it was fine without the splitter). I put in a service request and the tech who showed up agreed and put in a signal amplifier. Problem solved!
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  #18  
Old 09-18-2018, 06:47 PM
waynedunham waynedunham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomaszoo View Post
My story dates back quite a few years. I purchased a Ceton InfiniTV4andat the time Comcast required a Tech to install them. I was expecting the worst but ended up with the best experience. The tech had never done that type of install before. But he was very patient and persistent. The cablecard he had with him wasn't working so he called another tech who was in the area and had a CC with him who then delivered it. after probably a couple of hours it was all working.

More recently I started having problems with glitchy recordings. A little troubleshooting on my part showed a weak signal due to the splits (it was fine without the splitter). I put in a service request and the tech who showed up agreed and put in a signal amplifier. Problem solved!
You are luckier than I. I have a whole house distribution system. TV in the living room with 3 cable wall ports (TV{no longer really needed since Comcast killed the clear QAM channels in their feed}, STB, and another old unused connection) Bedroom 2 wall outlets for TV and STB, again TV one not needed any more, and 2 outlets in the "office" one for the desk, and one with splits for the HDHR Primes.
Anyway, I had Comcast here due to channels being bad. This routinely happens with the changing seasons and their amp on my node goes out of whack sending signal strengths low and sometimes high.
I wanted him to just check the incoming line, but he insisted on seeing my stuff inside. He kind of freaked out when he saw my 8 port CATV splitter/amp. High quality unit bought online which has always worked great.
So he insisted on putting 2 of "their" amps on the line. *THEN* he checked the incoming signal and sure enough the bands that my bad channels were on were way out of spec.
After they came and adjusted their line amp later that day I checked and I had LOTS of bad channels. Went downstairs and unhooked their JUNK amps and hooked my 8 port splitter/amp back up and all my channels worked fine. Now that their amp on the line was back in spec the channels I'd been having troubles with were back to being fine.
The amps they put in were Motorola amps, but the specs on them were much worse than my 8 way splitter/amp and it showed.
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  #19  
Old 10-10-2018, 06:04 PM
mlcarson mlcarson is offline
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I just moved from one Comcast address to another. The process was pretty painless. I set this up as two separate processes - disconnection and starting new services -- rather than a transfer. The downside of this is that I had to hand over my existing cable cards to Comcast and then get new ones. I kind of assumed that I could hand them over in one hand and take them back with the other but this is something that couldn't be done. The cards have to be transported back to the "main office" and re-released to them. I was lucky in that they had new cards available.

The activation with Comcast was extremely easy though.
https://cablecardactivation.xsp.comcast.net/
Just follow the prompts and you don't even have to talk to a Comcast rep.
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