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Huntsville, AL

Cisco CableCard activation issue - hoping WOW_Dan might be able to help

Have had two CableCards since last Tuesday and have not been able to get either activated after multiple (>8) calls to WOW technicians over the last five days. Both cards authenticate successfully and achieve OOB lock but neither one will activate. I'm not sure at this point whether there's a problem with the cards or with the sequence of events on the other end.

I'm trying to activate the two cards in HDHomerun Prime devices that are brand new out-of-the-box. The cards were obtained at the WOW Huntsville office. The person at the office just handed me the two cards and recorded serial number information. I'm not familiar enough with these cards to know whether something else needed to be done to the cards before they were turned over to me. I'm hoping WOW_Dan can offer some insight or possibly help me get these two cards activated.


Westlake, OH
I am going to my local office tomorrow to pick one up for a Ceton InfiniTV 6 that is supposed to get here tomorrow. I've been reviewing the posts on here and saved a few that I thought might help me out if I ran into trouble. Maybe this will help you:


Key parts from the one above:

said by Someone said :
She had to:
1. Add the card to my account
2. Activate/authorize it. (At this step the card was active and I could see Basic cable and local HD channels.)
3. Rebalance my account. (Not sure what this actually does – but Walla – all the channels I pay for are now accessible)

And another (while it's about a Tivo, there was good information about getting the card to work:


Key parts from the link above:

said by Someone said :
CableCARD note - except on some FIOS systems, you CANNOT simply take a card out of another working TiVo and just put in the Elite, expecting it will work. You may find you have a working channel map and get some channels, but until your card is re-paired /re-validated (or has the proper EMMs sent), you will not receive all your channels. This is not unique to the Elite. On Motorola systems, you will have to provide the new Host and Data ID values; on SA systems you will need the new Host ID only. After these are updated, the cable rep will need to send additional signals to your box.

We have an SA system as well, and they are correct in saying you will need to call in and change the host ID on the cable card to the new device's host ID. If you have any issues getting all your channels, ask the rep to call to the NOC and get the EMM's refreshed for the card, as sometimes they need to be refreshed when installed in a new unit.
Hope this helps. Post back how you get on, as I will probably be trying to do the same thing tomorrow evening and am interested in how things go.

Good luck,



Westlake, OH
reply to BigGrumpy
FYI. I went to my local office to pick my cable card up today. Walked in, asked for one, the lady said no problem, and I was out in about 5 minutes (4 of them were her going on back to get the actual card). She pulled up my account, scanned the card, said it would be $3.50/month. I said thanks and was on my way. We will see how smoothly things go when I try to activate it tonight in my InfiniTV tuner.

She DID provide me with a typed sheet of instructions. Not sure if you got this or not. It covers set up for a Tivo or a card-ready TV. Obviously neither of those is what we have here. Basically, both sets of instructions say write down the serial number, insert the card, get the Host ID and then call them to activate it (it just lists the regular customer service number). I'm guessing you've done all that and it's not working.

Hopefully the links in my previous email helped with some of the things you might need to ask them to do when you're on the phone with them. I'll let you know how I get on tonight.

Good luck,



If WOW_Dan is still out there: is it possible for someone in the NOC to contact me directly? Both techs I encountered on the phone had never set up a cablecard in their WOW careers. They tried hard, but both were unsuccessful. Both seemed to be searching Google to figure out how to get this done.

Full story:
I added another TiVo to my collection, the first addition since WOW! took over for Knology in Lawrence, KS. We use Motorola cards in this area/
After 2 phone calls (50 min each), the WOW! techs still have not correctly paired my card to the TiVo box. This was never a problem when dealing with the Knology folks.
The Validation string on the Conditional Access screen should show "Val: V" but it reads "Val: ? 0x09"
I am getting all of my channels including premiums, but I get random glitches that I suspect is from the improper pairing of the box with the headend. The V53 error, "There is a problem with the signal on this channel" usually clears quickly, but I miss recordings if I'm not there to hit Chan up/down to retune the channel.


Naperville, IL
said by iceblue :

If WOW_Dan is still out there: is it possible for someone in the NOC to contact me directly? Both techs I encountered on the phone had never set up a cablecard in their WOW careers. They tried hard, but both were unsuccessful. Both seemed to be searching Google to figure out how to get this done.

The NOC does not directly contact customers. If you would like to address something you can send me the information in a private message and I can handle things. I used to work in the NOC, so I have access to all the same systems and tools as they do.
Dan Della Terza
WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone
CMTS Operations Engineer


Huntsville, AL
reply to gatownsend

Happy to say that after a week I finally got two CableCards validated and working last night. My odyssey with CableCard validation started a week ago. I spent the first two days trying to get the cable package correctly set up to make use of the CableCards. I was originally in an old "analog" cable package and had to be moved to a "digital" cable package. The account transition apparently triggered a 24-hour hold on the account, which prevents any changes from being made.

Once the 24-hour hold expired, the CableCards were added to the account. Mine were added but the first few technicians I spoke to forgot to ensure that the cards were paired with their respective host ids. This meant the the CableCards were in the CableCard database but weren't paired with host-ids. They were also in the billing system but weren't paired there either. All attempts to validate the cards the first several times I called in failed because the database and billing system weren't correct.

I didn't know that the above was an issue until Dan from this forum got involved. He was able to quickly go in and update the CableCard database with information that I provided to him via IM. He couldn't access the billing system for my area so he told me to call and have the cards and host-ids paired in the billing system to match his entries in the database. I called and had that done on the way home from work three days after picking up the cards. The rep told me she would send the commands to validate the cards and that they would be validated when I got home.

Well, I checked the cards and found that nothing had changed in regard to validation status for either card. I called in again to have the cards validated and asked the technician to ensure that the cards and host-ids were paired correctly in both systems. He reported back that they were paired correctly in the CableCard database (Dan is the man) but were not paired correctly in the billing system even though I had called in and provided the information a few hours earlier.

The technician went into the system and swapped the host-ids and then he started the process of validating the cards. One of the cards eventually validated, but the other would not validate despite repeated attempts. We left things there as it was past midnight locally. I called in the next morning and this technician again attempted to validate the un-validated card. It again would not validate after repeated attempts so she suggested that we swap the cards and see if the same card would fail again in the other device. Things went south after doing the card swap and the end result was that we were never could get either card to validate.

I decided at this point to effectively start over and acquired two new CableCards from the local cable office. I called and had these two cards added to my account and then inserted them into both devices. The two cards immediately went into a firmware upgrade mode and began downloading the firmware before installing it. Once the cards were ready, I called in and started the validation process over using the experience of the previous five days to guide me.

I spoke to two technicians initially that had no real knowledge of CableCards and both of these calls ended in failure. I finally got an experienced tech on the third call and we were able to walk through the process. The first thing he did was deactivate the original two CableCards. We then verified the host-id and CableCard pairing in both the billing system and CableCard database. He then sent commands to provision/stage the cards with information regarding my cable subscription. This was followed by commands to register the host-id to the MAC address of each card. Nothing happened initially, so he sent a reset command to each card and then followed that with deregistration and re-registration commands for the host-id to both cards. They each validated within seconds of that command being sent. The only remaining thing to be done was to add HD subscriptions to both cards to match my cable subscription.

I said all of that to say this about the CableCard validation process. You will run into technicians who either don't have the knowledge/experience of dealing with CableCards, don't have the equipment/capability to program the cards, or who simply don't want to spend the time going through the process on the phone with you. I probably spoke to 15+ technicians throughout this process and only found 2 or 3 who met all of the above criteria. The key is finding one. Here are the steps for getting this to work as best I can remember:

1) Get the cards and load them into your devices.
2) Let the cards do a firmware upgrade if necessary.
3) Gather the appropriate information from the cards and device (host-id and MAC address (of the CableCard not the device)).
4) Find a tech who meets the criteria above.
5) Have the tech verify that the cards are added to your account and active.
6) Provide the tech with the host-id for each device and have him verify that the MAC address and host-id are paired correctly in both the CableCard database and billing system.
7) Have the tech send the command to provision the card. You can go to the card diagnostics (CableCard CA screen) and verify that the EMMs Processed count is increasing.
8) Have the tech send the command to register the host-id with the card.
9) Have the tech send the command to reset the card (you can check the device status and should see a headend reset in the system log)
10) If the card fails to validate, have the tech send a command to deregister the host-id and then a command to re-register it.
11) Verify that the card validated and then attempt to tune a channel in your cable package.
12) If it's an HD channel and it doesn't tune, you may have to have the tech send a command to add an HD subscription to the card.
13) Celebrate.

Hope your journey is shorter and easier than mine.



Westlake, OH
Glad to hear you got it working. I am also installed and validated thanks to WOW_Dan (thanks again, Dan!). The interesting part about my experience was no one ever asked me for the Host ID. I mentioned to the first tech I had it, but he said they had already picked it up from the card or something like that. I'm guessing what he was seeing was the Host ID from the previous device the card was in (it was a previously-used card, and it was not showing the Host ID from my Ceton).

I got someone that sounded like they knew what they were doing, but again, my Host ID wasn't correct and he never asked what it was. I was receiving TV, so I hung up only to realize later I wasn't getting my premium channels (Starz & Encore). It was late so I went to bed and figured I'd call the next day.

I called last night and the technician said they were sending a hit to the card again, and all of a sudden Encore came on, so I hung up. I went to change the channel and I now had no channels at all (couldn't even get Encore back - doh!). I power-cycled everything, but no joy. I called back, and the tech I got this time didn't seem to know what a cable card was, so I mentioned it worked like activating the card in a Tivo. He seemed to be following some written instructions on his end. He tried a lot of stuff, and at one point I read the card serial number, Card ID and Host ID to him. He commented that the Host ID was different, but he seemed like he didn't want to change it.

He was going to schedule a tech visit, and I told him I'd try getting new cards at the local office first. I emailed Dan last night. This morning I fired it up and could see TV, so I let Dan know it was working. He sent me a note saying he hadn't done anything yet, but that he then went in and corrected the Host ID and sent a few hits to the card. I ran home at lunch and the Ceton diagnostic showed all green checks now (previously it had shown errors every time because the card wasn't authorized).

So I'm up and running and now shopping around for HTPC hardware. I am currently testing using my regular desktop, but intend to acquire a dedicated HTPC and start experimenting more using my home theater in my man cave.




Huntsville, AL
said by gatownsend:

So I'm up and running and now shopping around for HTPC hardware. I am currently testing using my regular desktop, but intend to acquire a dedicated HTPC and start experimenting more using my home theater in my man cave.

I've built three HTPCs (1 server and 2 clients) for myself over the past couple of years. If you run into any issues or have questions about components feel free to IM me. I found most of my items on sale at either newegg, amazon, or ewiz and don't think I paid full price for much of anything in my three systems. It may take a little longer to get your build together, but you can probably save well over $100 by buying smartly and watching for sales. The biggest key to building a HTPC is probably picking your components wisely and not overbuilding/overspending for your needs/usage. I believe the mini-itx client that's in my master bedroom came in around $300 and does everything I need including playing Blu-ray discs.



1 recommendation

If the two of you are using cablecard with WMC7, check out thegreenbutton.tv if you haven't already. Best resource for any problems you may run into.

This site for any problems with your ISP/Cable and that site for problems with the software and you'll be good to go.