Relocated & Verizon CableCard Activation Never Works

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DJConan

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Relocated & Verizon CableCard Activation Never Works

#1

Post by DJConan » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:00 pm

I suppose this is a long shot. I've been searching through here and other places to find the magic bullet that gets the CSR at Verizon to correctly activate the cableCARD for WMC to no avail.

I recently moved and took the FiOS service with me. So I have to go through activating the card again. The same problems I had the first time with Verizon is happening again as I expected. The CSR takes the card information and "activates" it, but it does not work. When I had this issue years ago, after a few weeks, many cards, tech visits and phone calls, Verizon insisted the problem was on my end and they couldn't help me. I had contacted support at Ceton and after taking my Verizon account information and then calling Verizon, my service was working later that day. I have no idea what Ceton said to get things working.

So I am at the same place again. The CSR is telling me I should contact Microsoft or there is a problem with my hardware. I am using the same hardware that has worked for years. I am using the same card as well. I do have another card on hand that I am considering calling and activating to see if that gets me anywhere, but since my current card has been working, I thought I should stick with that.

Ceton diagnostics tool reports 2 failures. The CCV signal and that the CableCARD needs a HIT or refresh. I mentioned these 2 things to the CSR and she said there is no such thing as "CCV."

My call last night was escalated to Verizon "Premium Support" and as soon as they asked me my name and phone number, the call disconnected (this happened twice). After calling in again and waiting on hold for over 30 minutes to speak to someone, I gave up for the night.

I've considered going in another direction away from WMC, but it has been pretty stable for me and my wife has had no issues using it. From what I read online, it doesn't seem like there is anything that will get me the DRM channels other than TiVo and I don't particularly want to go through that expense when I have everything in place for WMC. I feel like if I can't get Verizon to activate the card, I may have to eat the cost of cancelling the new 2-year contract I'm in and go with OTA and Plex Live TV. This won't give me a lot of the channels we watch, but it seems like Plex Live TV and a cableCARD won't get many channels either.

Obviously, I'd prefer to get my WMC cableCARD working again, but if that doesn't happen, I'm open to read about everyone else's setup for me to consider.

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#2

Post by unclebun » Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:48 am

I have no experience with Verizon, only Charter (which is now Spectrum). But as I recall there was almost nothing that needed to be done to get the cablecard activated and paired. As far as sending a "hit" to the cablecard, on Spectrum I can go to any web browser, log on to my account and send the hit myself.

When I have had problems, since the cablecard is rented, I don't have to pay to have a technician come to the house to get it working. Typically it's something wrong with the cabling from the box to the house that they have to fix. Does Verizon offer a technician service call?

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#3

Post by Space » Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:32 am

You can communicate directly with a Verizon technician to resolve your problem by posting a new thread in this forum.

Be sure to click on the "Rules" button (upper right) before posting.

Note that even though you can see the subject of other's who have created threads in this forum, no one but you and the Verizon technicians can read the thread you create.

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DJConan

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#4

Post by DJConan » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:53 pm

unclebun wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:48 am
I have no experience with Verizon, only Charter (which is now Spectrum). But as I recall there was almost nothing that needed to be done to get the cablecard activated and paired. As far as sending a "hit" to the cablecard, on Spectrum I can go to any web browser, log on to my account and send the hit myself.

When I have had problems, since the cablecard is rented, I don't have to pay to have a technician come to the house to get it working. Typically it's something wrong with the cabling from the box to the house that they have to fix. Does Verizon offer a technician service call?
Last time when I went through this, Verizon sent a tech out and for some reason, it cost me $50. The tech just did the same thing I had already done, which was call CSR and have them reactivate the card again. In the end, he said it must be my hardware.

Unfortunately, I can't do any type of activation online that I am aware of. They do have an option for activation of something, but when I tried that, it appeared to only try to activate a digital converter box that is already activated and that would just fail when I tried to go through it.
Space wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:32 am
You can communicate directly with a Verizon technician to resolve your problem by posting a new thread in this forum.

Be sure to click on the "Rules" button (upper right) before posting.

Note that even though you can see the subject of other's who have created threads in this forum, no one but you and the Verizon technicians can read the thread you create.
Thanks Space. I'll give that a shot.

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#5

Post by adam1991 » Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:09 pm

Question: when you moved, was it within the same Verizon service area? Where you could have simply kept the card and moved it to the new address?

The card pairs to the tuner. If you had been able to leave the card in the tuner and move with them together, all would be well.

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#6

Post by DJConan » Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:42 pm

adam1991 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:09 pm
Question: when you moved, was it within the same Verizon service area? Where you could have simply kept the card and moved it to the new address?

The card pairs to the tuner. If you had been able to leave the card in the tuner and move with them together, all would be well.
No, I moved about an hour away and it's a different lineup. I was thinking the same thing initially and hoping I could just move with nothing changed, but when I applied for the move online, it showed that I had to get a new cable card, although, I kept it (for now) and I'm trying to get this same one validated again. Verizon deactivated the card on the day of my move.

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#7

Post by Paw Paw » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:35 pm

DJConan wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 11:42 pm
adam1991 wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:09 pm
Question: when you moved, was it within the same Verizon service area? Where you could have simply kept the card and moved it to the new address?

The card pairs to the tuner. If you had been able to leave the card in the tuner and move with them together, all would be well.
No, I moved about an hour away and it's a different lineup. I was thinking the same thing initially and hoping I could just move with nothing changed, but when I applied for the move online, it showed that I had to get a new cable card, although, I kept it (for now) and I'm trying to get this same one validated again. Verizon deactivated the card on the day of my move.
I am thinking that the CableCard has to be in a database on the head end. (I can not remember if this is just for Moto or Cisco or both). From what you just said are you trying to activate a card from one head end on a different head end? That may never work.

Just a thought. I know how frustrating activation can be although Comcast has actually improved over the years. I moved a CableCard to a new TiVo last year had they had is working in less that 30 minutes with only one call (a record for Comcast)

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#8

Post by DSperber » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:11 pm

I wish I could remember the exact words and sentences of the Spectrum (Time Warner Cable, at the time) tech support rep used on the phone when I last went through this same thing myself when I had to replace both the tuning adapter and cablecard for my account.

Same story you're clearly going through with FIOS due to your move. For me the first-line support person tried doing what he believed he had to do in order to take the "host ID" and "data" values I gave him (as reported by the Ceton-controlled WMC or Ceton Diagnostics interface) but for some reason it wasn't working. Vaguely I have a faint recollection he kept complaining that the number of digits he needed to enter was one off from what I was giving him. And he kept reading back what I had provided but in different "groups", as if the host id field(s) on his screen didn't match the formatting put out by Ceton.

Eventually he got a smarter second-level tech or supervisor involved, who double-checked everything. I think I recall that he "needed to re-provision my account", or "add the right codes to my account", or something like that, maybe even adding an extra 0 to complete all the required digits, in order to finally get the host ID accepted so that my tuning adapter and cablecard and Ceton tuner all now finally were paired properly. It might have been that the new cablecard I'd been given at the store and which actually had been added correctly to my account also needed to be added to their database in order to be pairable, as suggested. I wish I could remember exactly.

I wouldn't give up if I were you. I've actually gone through this (or expected to go through this) every one of the several times I've had to either replace or add a tuning adapter and/or cablecard, and had to re-pair everything through a phone call to the TWC/Spectrum head end techs.

Wish I had a tape of that last phone call so I could tell you exactly what the 2nd-level supervisor did to make it work.

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#9

Post by DJConan » Thu Jan 30, 2020 6:23 pm

I cannot believe it, but they got it working! As suggested by Space, I reached out to Verizon support at DSL Reports.

Someone named Carlton from Verizon understood what I was trying to do and got things setup correctly pretty quickly. However, it still was not working on my end. He told me he was sure it was setup correctly and that I needed to go through chat again to have them send me a new card. I went through the chat link provided and explained what was going on, but let that person know I still had a new card that I hadn't tried yet. So we went through the activation process with the new card. Side note, when I removed the first card, the TV channel started working until I inserted the new card. lol I don't understand anything about that.

So the new card was activated and the Ceton diagnostics was reported all green check marks. For 2-3 seconds, I did have a picture and then back to the service unavailable screen again. At this point, the CSR wanted to confirm my address to send me another card. It makes me wonder how many cards really go bad or do they just keep swapping until something changes?

The new card arrived yesterday, but before starting a new chat session with the CSR, I was thinking about how I did get a picture for a few seconds the previous day. I remembered that when I connected the digital converter box that Verizon gave me, every few seconds the picture would pixelate at random. I started to wonder if the main incoming line I was using was the problem. I have no tools to check the signal or verify anything. I just assumed it basically worked because I could watch TV with the digital box Verizon gave me.

I broke out a 50' coaxial cable I had been holding onto for years and connected that to a wall outlet in a different room. Ran that across the house over to the PC and connected. Bingo! TV signal came right up.

I was getting red X's in the Ceton diagnostics until Carlton from DSL Reports did something. So I'm confident it was not set up correctly from the original phone CSR person. In fact, the original person did not even know what Windows Media Center was and asked a co-worker for an explanation. :)

I did reply back just a few minutes ago, hoping my message reached Carlton to thank him. I also asked him if he could tell me what was missing originally to fix the problem. If I learn anything, I'll post an update.

Also, thanks to everyone here for your suggestions. WMC is becoming a lonely island and troubleshooting is becoming more difficult. Hopefully this will continue to work without any major issues for many more years.

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#10

Post by Space » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:09 am

Congrats! CableCard has always been a bit mysterious to me. Let us know if you get any further details on what was done to clear the X's.

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#11

Post by unclebun » Fri Jan 31, 2020 12:24 am

Although something may have been set up incorrectly, it sounds like the primary problem was bad signal. You corrected that by connecting to a different outlet.

It really doesn't matter what the CableCard is inserted into or what device is being used to watch TV with the CableCard. From the cable company's end it's just a matter of paring the device to the CableCard, which is all done with ID numbers. Unless the people who work for Verizon are just incompetent, they should be able to see all the devices and such from their end. That is my experience with Charter/Spectrum. The main thing I ever have to have a technician come to the house for is because of poor signal level, which happens every few years even though nothing at my house changes. They run a new cable drop from the post and everything is fine again. There is never any explanation they can give why it stops working.

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#12

Post by Space » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:03 am

CableCard devices are OCUR (Open Cable Uni-directional Receiver) devices, and that means they are one-way (from the cable provider to the device). So unless there is some other mechanism for the cable company to "see" the devices, they have no way of knowing if the device is set up correctly. The cable company's own set top boxes have a way of communicating back, but generic devices such as the Ceton and SiliconDust ones do not. So the cable company is pretty much blind with regard to these devices. They can send the proper signals (or at least what they think are the proper signals) to the device but have no way to know if it worked other than asking someone who has access to the device if it looks OK.

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#13

Post by unclebun » Fri Jan 31, 2020 5:01 am

All I know is what they tell me and what I see. When I first set it up years ago, I read them the numbers, they paired it, and it has worked. The Ceton diagnostic says to have them send a CCV signal, but they said it was unnecessary--and it was. They say they can see the CableCard from their end, just as they can see the set-top box, and I can log onto their website and see my devices, send refresh signals, and so on.

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#14

Post by DJConan » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:15 pm

It appears I may not be getting an answer to my question about what the magic bullet was to get the card activated. I had a different person respond to me and just told me to reach out to them first should I have to go through this again.

As for them seeing the card status, I personally don't know, but I have read multiple times that the tuner is one-way and they cannot see what the results are. With each person I was working with, after they made changes, they all asked me what was happening on my screen. What Space described seems to fit the experience I had.

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#15

Post by tardyturtle » Tue Feb 11, 2020 1:33 am

Perhaps unrelated to OP's issue, but I once had issues re-activating a cable card after moving and switching to a different account on Charter. The problem in that case was that the card was still "attached" to the old subscription. Once they dissociated it from the old account, it was able to work on the new account.

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