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Unusual WinTV-DCR-2650 Windows Media Center Comcast issue...

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
So I have been using the Hauppauge! WinTV-DCR-2650 to watch my Xfinity programming for a year, and it was rock solid. Now it randomly loses the ability to tune a few channels. Most channels work fine, but the ones that don't come in return a "No Signal" type of message.

I tried a different cablecard, I RMA'd the DCR unit, and I changed my cable package. I even swapped out HTPC's and got a new modem to boot (not all of these measures were strictly related to the problem).

Still experiencing the issue, and to make it more frustrating, it is intermittent.

Comcast has done plenty of due diligence on their end as well, and I am convinced that Hauppauge! is at fault for this issue.

My next step is to attempt to get my money back from Hauppauge!, and use it towards the purchase of a Ceton InfiniTV 4.

Anyways, has anyone else had similar issues with their WinTV-DCR units?

Are there any major issues to know about with Comcast and the InfiniTV 4?

Also, I learned something from this whole ordeal. As a cablecard user, apparently I am a total *******. Most people at the cable company know nothing about them, and DREAD having to deal with issues. If you don't luck out, you get transferred back and forth between the video and internet departments, each denying responsibility.

The tech that dealt with me today has had 5 cablecard calls in his 10 years of service. He talked to 6 different people in the course of his service visit with me today. He started with peers, but was eventually saying things on the phone like "I'm sorry to call you on a sunday, sir, but do you have a moment to help me? Well, how much do you know about cablecards?". It was kind of comical. The end result, after he talked to someone in "addressability", was "Sucks to be you, dude. Get a cable box".

Thanks for listening.
post #2 of 24
Comcast is usually pretty good with cablecards as usually their non-premium content is copy freely so even without proper pairing often you can get your channels. What channels/programs are you having issues with? It may be that they recently enabled copy once which requires a properly paired card (FIOS users are having this problem getting HBO/MAX as those are the "only" copy once channels) it also may be that they are no longer (or never have been) broadcasting CCI info for those channels in which case a cablecard tuner must obey any CGMS copy never programs and not let you record (in theory live tv should work but I have seen this problem extend to live tv) Have you tried another USB port as I have seen them go out on some computers after heavy use and occasionally work for "small" jobs. Most comcast areas are moto and moto cards have the data id that sometimes seem to change at their own will... The initial hit often changes the data id so make sure it s correct. I have heard people have good luck with the online activation providing the card is already on your account.. I've also seen security software mess with some settings as communication should be through ip.
Edited by signcarver - 3/10/13 at 8:27pm
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
The channels that don't tune vary. I can be getting the E! channel for half a day, and then it stops working. I've seen it with Food Network, CNN, FX, BBC America, and the aforementioned E!, as well as HBO, Starz, and other premium channels I'm subscribed to. Like I said, the problem is intermittent, and only started happening after a year of solid service. Everything is fine on Comcast's end, it's seems, in terms of my account, signal strength, and equipment. The main X factor here is the Hauppauge unit. I can see 2 units having the same issue. Heck, they might've sent me back the same unit that I RMA'd back to them.
post #4 of 24
Sounds to me like your tuning adapter is failing or your cable company just started using them and you need to get one.
post #5 of 24
New software was just posted for the DCR-2650 last week. Firmware, driver, and TA service. Works fine with my CISCO TA and Time Warner.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I talked to the rep at Hauppauge! today (after being on hold for 15 minutes) and the best he could tell me was to try the new firmware. I don't have high hopes, but it's something that I haven't tried yet. I'll see if it makes a difference, and post my results tomorrow.
post #7 of 24
It's not clear to me if this is actually relevant to the OP's situation, but it may be.

I have been using Hauppauge HVR-2250 PCI-e cards for about 2 years. My TV source is Comcast in Silicon Valley, and I record only Clear QAM channels, which is a lot simpler situation than that of the OP. I use Hauppauge's WinTV application, which by now is quite stable and reliable, if not at all user friendly.

I find that Comcast rearranges the bandwidth allocation and actual frequency assignments of these clear QAM channels every once in a while - as much as twice a year. This is apparently taken care of automatically by the set-top box, but of course not by the dumb 2250 tuners which are connected to the raw cable feed. What I have to do when channels go missing is rescan and check each and every channel to eliminate the new "No signal" channels that no longer exist. This is a royal pain, but it has always worked. Usually it's only a few channels that I care about that have changed, and the scan usually - but not always - gets the name of channels that have moved.

In all liklihood, Comcast does this more frequently than I have seen, as when I am affected by a change in a channel that I care about, I find via the scan that there are a LOT of changes in channels that I don't use, which makes me wonder how often Comcast does this.

Judging from this experience, I suspect that if I recorded a lot more than the 7 or so channels that I am interested in, that I'd be spending a lot more time rescanning than I do.

Judging from my experience with Comcast, problems like this are as well understood by Comcast people as the results of the last election in Botswana. They just have no reason to understand or care about such things as THEIR system handles changes OK, even if yours doesn't.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
I don't know about rescanning. With Windows Media Player, channel lineups are updated dynamically. Occasionally a new channel will appear in the guide, regardless of if I am subscribed to it or not. I can go enable or disable channels, but there is no scanning for channels. I think the last time I ever had to do that was before the digital transition period.

Unless I am wrong, and there is a channel scan feature, buried in some sub menu, but I've never had to ever scan for channels with WMC, like ever.

I wonder if the channel scan is done in the background during the initial setup wizard. The channels still seem to update dynamically, tho.
Edited by ZxRO - 3/11/13 at 8:45pm
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
So I tried the new firmware. All my regular channels currently tune in, but that might change, as it was an intermittent problem to begin with. The premium channels that I am currently subscribed to still don't come in, however. I get an "Activation required" message.

Well actually, like 1 or 2 of the HBO channels come in, but not the main ones, and nothing in HD. None of the Starz channels are coming in. And Hauppauge! specifically says on their website that this device specifically tunes in premium channels, specifically HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc. Specifically.

Customer service with Hauppauge is a joke. The first time, it took 12 minutes to get through. Today, I waited on hold for 10 minutes, and then was transferred to a voicemail. Seriously, this is the first time I've had to leave a voicemail with tech support. These guys are small time, and if my DCR unit is indeed the cause of my problems, then maybe that is indicative of a bigger problem with the company as a whole. Double my money woulda gotten me 4 tuners on an internal card. Maybe I can convince Hauppauge! to give me a refund. I doubt it.
post #10 of 24
Try unplugging the power cable from the back of the unit for 1 minute, then plug it back in. If you aren't getting the premium stations your paying for after that, I'd go start an online chat at Comcast. They seem to do a better job than the phone techs.

Also curious how you never did a channel scan thru Tasks/Settings/TV/TV Signal/Set up TV Signal...not ever? If not, you may want to try that before starting with the tech support.
post #11 of 24
Generally cablecard tuners get their channel information from the channel map so unlike a clear qam tuner, changes are done automatically rather than manually. Not sure if the latest firmware from hauppauge requires it but the new firmware for the primes (the hauppauge is essentially a 2 tuner prime connected by usb) do a channel scan in an attempt to find the subscribed channels so it isn't as instant as it was.

What do the logs say? If you are getting activation required messages the card usually isn't paired properly (and would affect drm protected channels even if they say subscribed). For comcast (often motorola cards) this is usually the data id changing from the initial setup as the first hit often changes it... if you are getting subscription required messages (every time that channel is tuned) it usually isn't properly staged (subscription required messages can also pop up once in awhile for no apparent reason but a second attempt after tuning another channel usually will bring it in for such cases). Other problems for both can be attributed to playready, hdcp, use of a hub, and security software... if using a cablecard tuner its best to use only the windows firewall and MSE as others can play havoc on the "network" traffic of the tuner (ocur devices are a network connection regardless of how they are physically attached). Since comcast (usually) only has premiums as copy once it is behaving as it isn't paired properly as only those channels would "require" pairing (activation) as the others can tune if just subscribed (authenticated)

How is the OOB signal level? Often this is overlooked when evaluating signal levels and is what essentially controls the cablecard providing the entitlement messages.

People have also had problems with getting HD with comcast when their account isn't right... such as coming from a "DTA" package or having a DTA on the account as the primary device. Often there is also a $10/month HD fee to get the HD channels and I have heard this is usually waived if you have triple play (tv, internet, phone)
post #12 of 24
I had issues like this with FIOS. The card wasn't provisioned correctly, and even the road tech had problems getting through to the right people, but it was fixed. It wasn't a Hauppague issue.

Is there another provider you can switch to?
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
No providers I can switch to, it's Comcast or Frontier, and I refuse to go to Frontier. It's the choice between two terrible choices, oh well.

I suppose it could be a pairing issue. So far we've gone through 3 cards, and multiple pairing attempts. Maybe if I just get someone there to re-pair the card, it might work. I suppose it's worth a shot. Just about every single person I get on the phone at Comcast knows nothing or less than nothing about cablecards. Is there some trick to dealing with them? Should I just tell them I have a Tivo or something?
post #14 of 24
Make sure you are calling the cablecard activation number (I believe its 1-877-405-2298) Or try comcast.com/activate (though I heard the later sometimes has problems with premium channels I would do that first)

Still haven't seen any logs that will indicate what the problem is.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
What do I do to get those logs?
post #16 of 24
Should be on the device's web page... I have read it puts a link to it on the start menu otherwise you might need to determine its ip address (I have seen reviews of the DCR-2650 showing the pages but not the ip address)

It should be very similar to the prime and I am expecting on one of the screens for it to say:
Authentication: success
OOB Lock: success
Activation: none

which means you need to get it paired properly as they should all be successful. You may need to mention paired and/or cold hit when you talk to them as I believe they use the term activation for authorization/authentication which you already got and keep in mind if its a moto card, any hit they may try might reset the data id and some are too impatient to wait and they request the same hit again starting the cycle all over again. so make sure you refresh the page showing any card, host and data id's and make sure they read back the numbers. I would look at the troubles people have been having with fios and SD homerun primes for inspiration to solve your problems as essentially the DCR-2650 is a 2 tuner prime connected by usb.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, I'll check tonite. I'm pretty sure part of the process I've already gone through involved a cold hit or something like it. The gal on the other end sent multiple signals to my box, resetting it and whatnot. At one point she didn't want to continue doing it for fear of "frying" my box. The cable tech guy said she would likely fry the cablecard, but not the actual tuner unit. Either way, I'll see about checking that log tonite.
post #18 of 24
If it's any consolation, it once took me at least 15 phone calls over the course of a few weeks to get one of my cards properly activated. They can send all the hits they want, but until they enter all the numbers and enter them all correctly, it will never work. The only thing that ultimately worked was for me to walk the person through every single step and have them read back every number for me. Most techs don't ask for all the numbers and ignore you if you try to give them all, so you have to be persistent and aggressive. On rare occasions you'll run into someone who's done it before, and it will work right away.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Okay so this is getting weirder.

I have a legit, activated copy of Windows 7. I've run the Digital Cable Advisor, and installed the PlayReady DRM stuff. It wouldn't work at all if I didn't do that stuff, right? I double checked, and ran the DCA again, just to make triple sure. When I run the diagnostic utility, however, it seems to think I haven't done either thing:

Last Updated: 3/13/2013 8:00:27 PM
Windows Activation: Windows may not yet be activated.
You may experience Play Ready DRM installation issues
if the machine has not been activated.
Dig Cable Advisor: Failed. The Digital Cable Advisor has not yet been run or your system is
not able to support CableCard devices. Check the Quick Install guide.
Firmware Version: 20130117
CableCard Inserted: Passed. Your CableCard is inserted and detected correctly.
CableCard Activated: Passed. Your CableCard has been successfully activated by your cable provider.
CableCard OOB Lock: Passed. The OOB Tuner has locked successfully.
Tuning Resolver: No Tuning resolver connected at this time.
CPU Activity: 29% (Normal)
Tuner 0: Idle
Tuner 1: Idle

It's not like I can go "reactivate" Windows, I've already looked. I don't know what I did to get my computer into this state, and I hope I don't have to flatten the thing and start over from scratch. That would be pretty annoying at this point.
post #20 of 24
Definitely try another tech. I have four different boxes in my house. On a couple of occasions when I needed a box reset, it didn't work because the tech didn't send the signal to the correct box, regardless of how many times I would specify which box went bonkers. I want to strangle them sometimes, but my Comcast techs are always pleasant and willing to please. Fewer of them are truly knowledgeable. Finding the cable card gurus can be even harder.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
So now my line of research suggests I take several measures to uninstall PlayReady and WMC, clean my registry, and reinstall, or flash my copy of Windows, at least according to a thread I found. I'll try the steps the first guy suggests and get back to you. This actually seems like it makes sense:

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
So apparently the problem stemmed from upgrading to Windows 7 from Vista. This put the PlayReady DRM in a weird state where WMC thought Windows was not activated. I followed the steps in that forum post I linked. Basically uninstall PlayReady, disable WMC, delete DRM registry keys, re-enable WMC, redownload PlayReady, and go through all the initial WMC setups steps.

Now I can tune all of my premium channels without issue. The weird thing now is the diagnostic utility still says Windows may not be activated, but at least everything works now. Hopefully the ordeal is all behind me now, and I can have a little stability.
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your input. This forum tends to be my one stop shop for all my home theater stuff, and even if I don't get a definitive answer here, I appreciate the brainstorming. You guys rock.
post #24 of 24
The unit has needed constant reinstalls and cold restarts since I bought it. This has been a headache ever since Comcast/Infinity switched to digital with Cablecard required. Comcast has rewired the entire condo. They swapped out the cablecard. I finally (!!!!) got an RMA from Hauppauge. All so I don't have to pay comcast extra for a DVR function and can use my pc as one.
Now Hauppauge has had me check my computer, the signal strength and quality. Whenever I try to watch and/or record 2 stations at the same time I get tuner not found, subscription required, or weak signal messages. I got an email from Rudy today and he told me to send in the tuner and I should receive a new one in 2 to 3 weeks. Very funny. I emailed and asked how he would like to go for this length of time without a TV. I can't wait to receive a response. I will NOT pay for their crap.
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