I was very excited to get it for various reasons, but let me tell you - it was a nightmare.
I had a tech from Cablevision scheduled to come to my house on September 26th. I was told the tech would be there from 8am to 11am. Fine, I took a partial day off from work to meet them.
At 10:55am I get a phone call. The tech didn't have enough cablecards and had to order some from the factory. Of course I was extremely angry - I took a partial day off from work and they decided to inform me the same day they couldn't make my appointment.
I asked for a supervisor and they got one on the phone. I told him that I took a partial day from work, and this was unacceptable. They told me the next time they would visit they could do it at 5pm and I would be a first priority. He would call me by Thursday to inform me when they get the new cablecards.
The next day, Wednesday, the supervisor calls me with good news. They have the cablecards and are ready to install. I had them come on Thursday afternoon, my roommate Matt was home, and I would be at work. I figured that it would be easy to install, since Tivo provided an easy step-by-step guide for technicians. I left it on top of the Tivo and went to work.
I get home and the Tivo is working! Horray! Both cablecards are displaying my video. Except there is an odd problem. Channels #23-100 are showing video & audio, but don't display the information. Normally with Tivo when you tune in any channel, it provides the channel #, the show playing, and other relevant information (like recording options). Channels #2-22 and 101-700 were all fine (except channel #736, which was ESPNHD). I put in a ticket with Tivo because I thought it was an issue they were having.
The weekend progresses and Sunday morning i'm watching ESPNHD. I start hitting the channel up botton and get to HBOHD when my screen goes black. I wait. I wait some more. Nothing. Oh well, I think, the channel must have konked out. I change the channel back to ESPNHD and its still black. I try Cablecard 2 and it is on channel 2, and that's showing fine. I switch back to Cablecard 1, still black.
A message pops up: "You are not authorized to receive this channel. Please contact your retailer."
I start looking at the Tivo settings, under the cable cards and see that "The Cablecard is not authorized".
Then begins a series of phone calls with Cablevision. Unfortunately, many of the people answering the phone didn't understand my problem, due to unfamiliarity with the Series 3 and that they couldn't understand if I had video and sound what the problem was. I finally convinced them to dispatch on a weekend, so I could show a tech what the problem was all about. I wasn't happy with most of the customer service people. They weren't very helpful except for one person who I spoke to on Sunday named Shirley. She was outstanding. But I talked to about 5 different people and the other 4 were fairly terrible.
They sent a senior tech to my apartment to look it over. I must say that I was very impressed with the technician's attention to detail while I was there, and another tech showed up to assist. They went over the signal from the pole to my apartment and found out that the higher-end channels signal were off. So they were very methodical as to where the problem could be coming from. First they tested from the pole to the apartment, then inside the apartment, and then up to the Tivo.
It wasn't my Tivo causing the problem. The signal at the pole to the apartment was split once for the first floor TV & first floor bedroom to the second floor bedrooms. Then it was split again, between the two bedrooms. Then split a third time between my TV and my router (for internet). They proceeded to recrimp all the connections, and replacing the connections outside with everything new. Again, I was seriously impressed with how thorough these guys were at Cablevision.
They re-tested the signals and everything was then clean up to my Tivo. Awesome.
We then re-ran the set up for Tivo, following the step-by-step instructions. We inserted the first cablecard, and the tech worked with his service agent to authorize the first card. That took a few minutes. Then we inserted the second card and did the same. I followed the set-up, and downloaded the guide and everything worked great.
I won't say this was easy. Certainly any new technology, especially a first release, is going to have a lot of growing pains. I think the two most important lessons learned in the install are twofold:
1. When the tech comes to your site make sure he tests the levels from inside your house to the pole. If they are off, the Cable Cards won't be able to download the authorization properly.
2. Make sure you follow the Tivo instructions exactly. Do not install both cable cards at the same time. Put the first one in, authorize, and then put the second card in and authorize.
Here's an interesting side benefit to this whole fiasco. Before the install my internet router kept losing connection to the internet. It would happen about 3-4 times a week, and I would have to reset the router in order to get the internet working again. Ever since they re-did the wiring my internet connection has been perfect.