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Trouble with Charter and Cisco CableCARD provisioning

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I'm fairly new here but been lurking for a few months. We have custom built home theater PCs utilizing the Ceton InfiniTV 4 PCIe tuner cards that we implement in our customers homes.

I have an interesting issue that I can't seem to resolve with Charter.

We are constantly seeing data in the Cisco CableCARDs Decrypt Fail Time status screen.

This is what it currently looks like:

Cisco CableCARD(tm)
Decryption Fail Time
[Stream - Status - Time]
0-2-Aug 21 2013, 9:41:05 PM GMT
1-2-Aug 21 2013, 9:41:05 PM GMT
2-2-Aug 21 2013, 9:41:05 PM GMT
3-2-Aug 21 2013, 9:41:05 PM GMT

And this is what it should look like:

Cisco CableCARD(tm)
Decryption Fail Time
[Stream - Status - Time]

All the signal levels and SNR are in the acceptable range and the CableCARDs are properly paired.

Every time I have contacted Charter they have indicated they don't have any other signals or hits to send to the CableCARDs other than to pair them. My question is, has anyone else seen this, and what have you done to resolve this issue?

post #2 of 12
I was wondering what your issue is as it appears "normal" and have never seen a STB not have errors on its one stream. You get 4 for the 4 tuners. What is surprising is 4 at the exact same time down to the second... which to me suggests power glitch or possibly some reset sent to the card... The 2 would appear to indicate the card does not have your subscriptions on it so to me the card is not "properly" paired or at least was not at the time of the error (I forget if you power cycle if it resets these or not and may be another reason why they all came at once).

I have 4 that I can remote into and check
First shows:
0-3-Aug 22 2013, 2:03:59 PM GMT
1-3-Aug 22 2013, 3:04:00 AM GMT
2-3-Aug 21 2013, 6:05:56 AM GMT
3-3-Aug 22 2013, 1:37:21 PM GMT

and all 3 others show similar "3" status + various times

2—decryption failure due to lack of
3—decryption failure due to time
outs while waiting to receive ECMs.
Edited by signcarver - 8/22/13 at 2:53pm
post #3 of 12
Your CableCARD is not provisioned properly - ask Charter to re-provision it. If that fails, open a ticket with us and we will reach out to them.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
We have asked Charter to re-provision the CableCARD and they have indicated to us there are no other "signals" to send to the CableCARD. Is there anything we can tell them specifically to make this easier?

We have even requested a higher level of support and they have assured us that they are the only "tier" of support.

post #5 of 12
Without seeing any logs or statuses other than the obvious that it currently isn't set up for that channel the only thing I can tell you is to file a complaint with the FCC.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
We think that maybe a little more effort than it is worth. We are are just trying to get an idea if there is something we specifically need to tell Charter to resolve this issue.

post #7 of 12
File a ticket with Ceton, they'll contact Charter to provision your CableCARD correctly.
post #8 of 12
Cablecards are only one way devices... and as a result, you must provide the information to charter, they cannot tell if the card is paired or not without someone physically present and looking at the statuses and the log. The only thing you provided is something that normally occurs in that last decryption fail time status as it is normal to have failures... the only thing I find abnormal about it was all at the exact same time and that the channel was not authorized. The TA is 2 way but I have heard of some recently not getting the TA set up correctly with them (most recently it was it not liking to talk back through an amp, even though the signal levels on the TA looked good. They finally established correct communication when hooked to the passive port of the amp. One problem I read recently with charter is that they put every channel in the cablecard map and set those on SDV to 999MHz and when connected to the TA it actually pulls in the correct location for the channel, so its possible that it is the TA that isn't set up correctly and is getting that 999MHz channel which isn't correct. Note: use of TAs and whether or not SDV channels show up in a normal cable card map may vary by market.

If you want any help here, we need some information. You might as well first start with ceton's diagnostics... At the top select the device you wish to check (if you have more than one) Click the cablecard tab, enter a channel number and press enter and it will go automatically through 10 steps (you may need to select another channel if the selected one is not encrypted)... The important thing is OOB lock to get messages... (currently step 5 is stating on mine that it currently cannot provide pairing information but it still works great)... the usual problem step I have is step 7 for CP Auth... on about 6 installs I have had to shutdown and reboot to get the check mark. (I first check that it received EMMs from the hit prior to doing this)

I would open a ticket and more than likely they will ask you to go to that Diagnose Tab to collect the information but I would rather them tell you to do it then me.

Since you have the diagnostics tool open, you might as well click the Devices Tab, select the device if more than one, and click Go to InfiniTV Device Web Page near the top (personally I just use my browser to get there) and click the cablecard tab and the authorization section should say:
Validated, validation message is received,
authenticated, and the IDs match those in the current binding

If not you need to get on them.

Since you are there, you might as well check the CableCARD Diag Screen and get the OS version as someone might take notice that there is a problem with that particular firmware (they are the ones that must push out firmware). Also at the bottom of the Ceton Cablecard page (the diag screens usually open in their own tab) check again that OOB is locked and report back to us the OOB MER values... the section right above the OOB info has to deal with channel maps, the words "Number of Channels:" at the top of that section is a hyperlink that will show you the channels in the map. I usually click on ALL near the top of the screen, then select from the word Channel to the bottom of the page and copy it and paste it into excel, convert it to a table (making sure you state your table has headers... remember I said to start from "Channel") and this will allow me to quickly sort by Frequency. Usually any channel that is not in this map requires a tuning adapter. My understanding is that with Charter anything that says 999000 (or higher as it might be 999999 as I was just given 999MHz) would also require a tuning adapter.

To really check things out, you also need to go to the log page... Mine gets really long... so you might want to do this shortly after turning it on (The apartment I am in now only has a USB version and I can't remember if the log stays on the pcie version on just a reboot) and try tuning a channel or two (including a problematic one... I would just click on one of the "numbers" such as Two at the top of the page and then click Tuner right below that... click in the Channel field and enter a channel number and click "Set Channel" you may wish to report your results here such as signal, noise, temp, and last resolve). If you are planning on sharing that information with us at this time I don't think it necessary but all the info should be in there..

I would still file a complaint with the FCC as I am tired of a few companies that are making the industry look bad in that they never train anyone properly about how to provision cablecards.

By the way, you have never stated that you are actually having a problem and what it was, just that you noticed the fail errors which is "normal" so doing all this might be moot.
Edited by signcarver - 8/27/13 at 12:04am
post #9 of 12
FWIW, this is usually a case of Charter's incompetence. There are only a few people at Charter that know how to properly provision a cable card. The key is finding the right person. At times it has taken me at least 10 phone calls to Charter to get a cable card working. If a tech comes to your house, he will get tier 2 support and your card will work right away. If you can get through to tier 2 yourself, you'll be in business. However, there could be other things going on. There may still be a filter at the pole, a weak signal (too many splitters), bad cabling, a missing tuning adapter, etc. So if you can't get it working over the phone after a few more tries, you need a truck roll.

In my experience, on the first few phone calls, Charter never asks for or accepts all the data that they need, like Data ID and Host ID, so it never works. (Cisco may not use both of those numbers, so YMMV). Once I get a support person that will listen to me, I can usually walk them through the process by telling them to look for the appropriate fields on their screen and having them read back the numbers I give them. Then they send a hit and everything works within a minute or two.

A few months ago Charter had an online support team which could get a cable card working after a single email. Unfortunately those days are gone and the competent people have been reassigned to other things. So you have to play CSR roulette.
post #10 of 12
mdavej, I agree with your post about charter's incompetence and is why I suggest the FCC complaint... the worst part is the umatter2charter group was the best in the industry before they got rid of it and all charter customers should complain about getting rid of such a great service. Moto cards have the data id problem as it may change during the pairing process and they also have a "staging" process of loading the packages onto the card. Cisco cards (which was stated in the OP) don't have a data ID but its "staging" process is different and a card waiting in a drawer for 30 days will become unstaged, and usually only engineering can stage the card and quite often I have found companies wanting physical access to the card for this process. There was also one company, and I thought it was charter (I believe I remember it starting with a C and not comcast... might have been cablevision), that required supervisor approval to make the changes permanent and if they did not do this in 5 minutes (sometimes overnight) their audit system would kick out the pairing (there used to be a post over on the prime forums about asking for a supervisor to be available at the start of the call).

I am still not convinced there actually is a problem as what was posted was not a real problem as it was just an error and you move on... if the OP were to tell me they are not receiving all the channels, or there is heavy pixilating, tuner not found messages, etc I'd have something to work with but the only issue reported was a decrypt time fail status and that happens... nothing one can do about it and the reason for the fail was for lack of authorization and I can get that by tuning to HBO which I don't subscribe to. The other strange issue about it was the exact same time which I have been unable to reproduce, but given that there are no logs or other items to look at, I have a feeling that the reason the exact same times are there is that the data itself is "fictitious" and they are concerned about privacy and identifiable information and don't know what they can and cannot post.

LucidSystems: what exactly is the issue and problems you are having as what you posted is not a problem in itself.
post #11 of 12
I have actually had pretty good luck getting my CableCARD re-provisioned in the time since the UMatter2Charter social network team was disbanded. Nevertheless, here's the instructions that I got from CharterAbby when I asked for the procedure she used with success:
Originally Posted by CharterAbby 
I'll do my best to provide the steps. The first part is making sure that equipment is in the proper order. It must go like this: CableCARD in outlet A, Tuning Adapter in outlet B. If the customer has additional CableCARDs, then the next CableCARD goes in outlet C, followed by Tuning Adapter in outlet D. Repeat these steps until all CableCARDs are accounted for. Then it goes DVRs, HD Boxes, Standard Boxes, Cable Modems, and lastly MTAs.

If we are activating a Scientific Atlanta card for the first time we need to get the Host ID. Once that is added, the following hits must be sent: CCV Hit, RHT Hit, and a Standard Hit to the card. Wait 60 seconds in-between each hit. Then a Standard Hit to the Tuning Adapter. After this point, sometimes it is necessary to powercycle by unplugging for 60 seconds. Lastly, if the card isn't locking on, then it's time to roll a tech.

If a customer removes their CableCARD and inserts it into another device, the Host ID must be updated. This can be a real pain because not a lot of people have access. The advisor will probably have to contact their supervisor to find someone who can delete the old Host ID and update it with the Host ID from the new device. After that's done, send the same round of hits as stated above.

If a CableCARD just randomly stops working, I like to verify the Host ID just to be safe. Then I try the hits one at a time. If that fails, it's time to roll a tech.

Did you have any other questions?


Edited by Sammy2 - 8/27/13 at 1:22pm
post #12 of 12
I've always heard 15-30 seconds between the hits... and I agree that the power cycling has helped me get the check mark for CP Auth on many installs. I also find it strange that the cablecard is the first device as a number of providers have even had to go to the extreme of putting in a fake box to load the packages onto in billing before they can attempt to activate the cablecard... if they have a STB, this isn't necessary... It does kind of make sense though as I would suspect more people needing cablecard help than STB help and I've seen too often they send the hits and take readings from the first device and say they can "see" your card is paired and possibly by doing this they don't make that mistake.

Like I said, I am still not convinced there is an actual problem, as the posted problem occurs normally in day to day operations of any cablecard device, even on STBs, and can be replicated by tuning a channel you are not subscribed to (the times would not be identical though as the request would be for 1 tuner... though wmc may eventually try the others for a recording) I am hoping that we are not jumping to conclusions that there actually is a problem of missing channels or channels that are not authorized that should be... and when I recently read that Charter actually puts the SDV channels in the cablecard map with the wrong info, I also think this error could be caused by not having a TA as it was not authorized for channel 158.xxxx.
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