I recently purchased a Tivo HD unit for my home as I am a long time Tivo addict. Upon receiving the new Tivo, I connected it to my cable system and was able to get all the basic channels without the multi-stream card install. The Comacast technician came to my home the next day and installed the multi-stream card so I could also see the HD channels. He was not able to get the Tivo to view any channels with the card installed. He left to go to another appointment and said he would come back tomorrow. The next day he arrived with another card and installed it. Same issue, the Tivo could not get any channels with the multi-card installed. He was on the phone with various people at his main office and could not get the Tivo to work. Of course they blamed the problem on my Tivo and all the signals looked good on their end.
Later I call Tivo tech support and they walked me through a series of steps, one of the steps was viewing the Conditional Access report by talking directly to the multi-stream card through the Tivo software.
The card is reporting that it has a connection and is receving signal, however that Comcast is not send the Auth signal from the "head end". The Tivo guy figured out in 2 minutes why this isn't working and told me that my Tivo is fine, Comcast's multi-stream card is fine and is connecting, however the card is not programmed/provisioned properly at the head end.
I called Comcast back that evening and of course the support rep tells me everything looks good at their end. They sent out the signals and it's all good, obviously which it isn't. My Tivo was blamed again for the problem and there was nothing they could do. After doing some online research on Tivo support forums, and even on Comcast's own support forum, I discovered that endless amounts of people have and are still having this issue when getting a Tivo HD unit to work with a multi-stream card. Every case I read it always ends up being a provisioning issue with Comcast. Countless people have stated that the reason the cards didn't work is because they are setup wrong on the system (they enter the actual serial number printed on the multi-stream card instead of the Card ID field that is displayed in the Tivo). I asked the support rep if they could delete the card and re-provision it with the numbers the Tivo reports on the screen. The rep was not remotely interested in hearing what I had to say. They wanted to send another tech out to my house which I declined.
No one at Comcast apparantly has any serious technical knowledge about multi-stream card configuration nor the desire to think outside the box in regards to my issue. I just get the generic response that they can see the card in the system. I know the Tivo is functioning properly, I know Comcast's multi-stream card is working properly, how can I get someone at Comcast to resolve this issue? At this point I am just about ready to return the Tivo, cancel my Comcast services and get another provider. I just don't have the time to keep making endless phone calls, waiting for technicians to come to my home.
Finally got the issue resolved. As I suspected the card was provisioned incorrectly. They had the card serial number assigned to the wrong town or something of that nature. A simple programming change and now I get all the channels.
Sorry to jump on the band wagon but the problems with Comcast and the M cards (or S for that matter) is not being addresssed by Comcast. I am on my third service call just to activate the card. No one has a clue as to how to fix the problem. The Tivo shows that the card is addressed properly but the channel list cannot be updated by the "head end". I receive some of the channels but not all of them. Seeing that I have two other TIVO's with S cards that work fine just adds more to the fact that the problem is on Comcast side. Nice problem to have during March madness with a Tivo that cannot tune ESPN!!!!
The reason for an M card vs 2 S cards? Well in Chattanooga, TN Comcast charges $6.95 for each card regardless of the type. One M card in an HD Tivo allows dual recording or recording one channel while watching another, as opposed to paying twice the price for the same capability with S cards. Adding to the pain, they insist on charging an outlet charge of $4.95 for each card. Do the math - with tax it is just over $25 a month to hook up one Tivo with 2 S cards. The verdict - Comcast does not want to hook up Tivos. They want you to use their equipment. They simply do not care. I would not advise anyone to buy a Tivo to hook it up to Comcast. Find another option and save yourself some pain.
I tried getting Comcast to send 2 m-cards to me or have them available at the local service center store. I am an electrical engineer and have reviewed the m-card install procedure which looks "very easy".
How did you get them to send the m-card to you? The reps I spoke to on the phone seem to be reading a script for their answers and are very unco-operative to be polite.
How di you get comcast to "allow" you to install your own? Please make that information available to all if possible.
It seems comcast wants to make money on a process that should be costless and left up to the customer who has his own equipment.