[mythtv-users] Comcast CableCard Info

Justin Johnson justin.johnson3 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 15 03:47:31 UTC 2011

On Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 3:15 PM, Robert McNamara
<robert.mcnamara at gmail.com> wrote:
> This is the e-mail I sent, anonymized.  Comcast e-mailed back in 18
> minutes, and it was a non-form response.  Obviously we don't want to
> abuse the ability to get corporate attention, for fear of losing it,
> so definitely try the steps above first.
> Dear Sir or Madam,
> I am writing regarding a CableCard setup in CITY, California.  I
> contacted the national CableCard activation number and was helped
> quickly and courteously.  Thank you!  Unfortunately I have discovered
> that all but the first 30 channels in my lineup are marked with the
> "copy-once" copy protection, making it impossible for me to record
> them with any DVR software besides Windows Media Center!  As I
> understand it, only Windows Media Center is capable of recording
> broadcasts with the "copy-once" or "copy-never" flags.  Further, it is
> my understanding that it is Comcast's corporate policy to mark
> non-premium channels as "copy-free" for use with the "whole home DVR"
> functionality of Tivo and Tivo-like appliances.  A similar DVR setup
> just a few miles to the south in OTHERCITY has the channels marked
> correctly, and functions perfectly.  I am frustrated but hopeful that
> you can help!
> I am told that others have had some success in getting this incorrect
> marking of channels fixed by contacting this e-mail address.  The
> service address is as follows (I am the AV installer for this
> location, and have been asked by my customer to help resolve this
> issue):
> Customer
> Address
> Account # Accountnum
> CableCard Serial # Serialnum
> Thank you so much in advance for any assistance you might be able to
> offer.  You can contact me at (xxx) 123-4567 or contact the customer
> at (yyy) 123-4566.  Based on the experience of others who have
> contacted you, I trust that we can fix the incorrect flagging of these
> channels quickly.
> Thanks again,
> Robert McNamara

I don't know if anyone's posted it here or not, but this is the
response that I've gotten from Comcast on their CCI policy:

> -   Over-the-air broadcast services must be set for copy-freely, and must not be encrypted (this is an FCC regulatory requirement).
> -   Locally generated (PEG, etc) services should be set for copy-freely.
> -   Traditional PPV (not pay VOD) subscription sports packages and all adult PPV content should
>  be set for copy-freely.
> -   Other traditional PPV services including theatrical movies offered as PPV, and all PPV "special events" should be set to copy-never unless notified otherwise on a case-by-case basis.
> -   VOD services should be set for copy-never.
> -   Premium movie services supplied by HBO, Showtime and Starz must be set for copy-once (includes Cinemax, The Movie Channel, etc).
> -   Movie services such as Encore and Flix and the MGMHD service must also be set to copy-once.
> -   All other scrambled digital services should be set for copy-freely.

I'm still in the process of trying to get the local engineers to
change the flags for some incorrectly marked channels (a battle that I
suspect many users will face here in the US). I've been in touch with
a couple people from we_can_help who have been polite and seemingly
helpful, though I have yet to get any response from anyone on the
engineering team.
In response to Eric Sharkey:
I highly doubt that having a technician visit will really accomplish
anything that you couldn't do on your own, except to guarantee that it
is during business hours so the technician can contact someone with
some real power and knowledge at the local office.
It took me two weeks of on and off trying to get through to tier 2
support and then he had my activation problems sorted out in a matter
of minutes. Being persistent and patient will eventually yield
results. In my experience, the best thing to do is to call the
cablecard activation line and immediately ask to speak with Tier 2.
They'll put you through and they can get a lot more done, even working
with the local office to correct problems that can only be fixed
Please note that the process for every market is a little different,
especially since Comcast basically seems to be made up of a bunch of
smaller companies that got bought up somewhere along the way, so their
systems are implemented totally differently from one another. It adds
to the confusion for everybody, especially the people who are working
the national call lines.
-- Justin

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