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HD5500 and high channels (Comcast Digital)
PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 3:41 pm Reply with quote
Uberman
 
Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 4




Up front, my apologies for the noob questions, but I just can't seem to get the hang of this. I did many Googles, and searches in these forums first, but couldn't quite find the answer to my problem.

I have an HD5500 installed in a Core 2 Duo system w/ 2GB RAM. I built the machine about a week ago to run MythTV. It is currently operating FC8 2.6.24.5-85.fc8. I have MythTV 0.21-187.fc8 installed and completely functional. I am a Sr. Software Engineer, and know my way around Linux, however, configuring the HD5500 is making feel like a child. Smile

First off, my HD5500 is working. I have configured the card within MythTV as an "Analog V4L capture card", using the default input of "Television", and I have the "Input Connections" configured to use "Schedules Direct" (which is also set up for my cable system, Comcast Digital). With this configuration, I can lock all the channels I would expect to be able to view from 2-99.

The problem is that's only about half the channels I can access on my cable box. I have channels that go into the 900's, with several in the 600's that are HD. I can't seem to get the HD5500 to access those channels. I've set up a "DVB" input, tried switching the "Frequency Table" through "Cable" to "Cable High" to "Cable HRC High" etc. I've switched the "Modulation" to QAM-256. Although it says it's finding channels, those that it finds are "Encrypted", and I know that there are channels up there that are not (and by that, I mean those that I can view via my service, and those that are pay-to-view).

What am I doing wrong here? Did I simply misunderstand about the HD5500, and it can only get these low-tier cable channels through coax, or am I just fumbling around and not getting the settings right? Any help -- or links to previous posts that address my dilema -- would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 9:07 am Reply with quote
jason52
 
Joined: 06 Oct 2007
Posts: 17




Basically, I have the same thing, but my guess is that the cable company does encrypt those digital channels. I believe that you should be able to get any HD channel from a local station that broadcasts HD. It'll just be on some wierd channel...with my Cox service the cable box has NBC-HD on 704, but the HD5500 picked it up on something like 111-2.

I'm really not much help though. After I had started figuring out which channels went where, Cox changed them up. My guess is that any time they push new software to the box, they change the channel lineup (the box had magically reset itself when I lost track of the channel mapping). So I gave up on that and hooked up an antenna.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 1:15 pm Reply with quote
Uberman
 
Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 4




jason52 wrote:
I'm really not much help though. After I had started figuring out which channels went where, Cox changed them up. My guess is that any time they push new software to the box, they change the channel lineup (the box had magically reset itself when I lost track of the channel mapping). So I gave up on that and hooked up an antenna.


Thank you for taking the time to respond, Jason.

So, the HD5500 can only really do HD over the air? (It would be nice if a pcHDTV tech would step in here and at least answer that particular question. I'm sure others wonder about that as well.)

Well, how about Plan B: If I hook up and configure a PC-based IR Blaster so MythTV can control the channels on my cable box, will the HD5500 record the signal from the box in whatever format the channel produces? It would be nice to know if this type of configuration would work. Is anybody else doing something like this?
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 2:55 pm Reply with quote
Uberman
 
Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 4




Found what appears to be an answer to my last question:

http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Using_an_IR_Blaster_with_MythTV

I'll explore this approach, although I'd still like a definitive answer to the question of the HD5500 being able to access high-tier cable channels (> 99) directly, if somebody has an answer.
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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2008 4:15 pm Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 298




The short version of the answer to your question is this:

There is no capture card that can record encrypted channels in Linux.

You can record the unencrypted output from your cable box. This would be true of the digital/HD channels too, except that the cable box outputs an analog signal. This would not be the same as recording HDTV. Some cable boxes have a firewire output that can be used to record true HDTV.

Any rebroadcast of free OTA channels must not be encrypted, but I hear that cable companies routinely violate that law, without repercussion. You are better off with an antenna, as the OTA digital picture quality is usually superior to the compressed signal that the cable company puts out.

Now, there is one device that can do this in Windows. ATI makes a HD cable tuner, but it can only be used with Vista. Vista is embedded with DRM (digital rights management) aka anti piracy. The maker of CableCARDs, Cable Labs would not certify Windows to be able to use a CableCARD type tuner unless there was embedded DRM.

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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 6:16 pm Reply with quote
Uberman
 
Joined: 04 May 2008
Posts: 4




Thanks for the response, waterhead. Very Happy

An antenna would not be practical for me, because I'm using this HD5500 on a machine that is in the basement (where my office is). I doubt I'd get any kind of decent reception. I might give it a try, though, just to see.

My cable box has two fireware connectors on the back, but I don't know if they are "live", nor, from what I can tell, does the HD5500 have a means of getting, or doing anything useful with, a signal from that. Would you have any references or links that document interfacing fireware to the HD5500?

My short venture into the realm of having the MythTV control the STB confirmed that I can get all the channels the box is capable of displaying. Unfortunately, I also confirmed that the HD channels will not come through as HD via the coax-out (probably no surprise there). The HD channels are treated like SD by the HD5500, which makes it behave at least the same as my ReplayTV does when it controls the STB.

So, the bottom line seems to be: The HD5500 will only receive/record high-definition if it is over-the-air broadcasts using an antenna. I've got the device installed and functioning with MythTV, so I'll keep it and use it. However, I think this fact about the limited scope of the high-definition capabilities of the device could be made clearer to potential customers.

Perhaps some of them will read this thread. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 9:35 pm Reply with quote
waterhead
 
Joined: 24 Apr 2005
Posts: 298




Actually the card is capable of receiving cable HD. It is just that most cable providers encrypt their signals. You should have been able to get some digital stations. Not all digital channels are HD, maybe that is what you are getting.

There is a How-To in the MythTV wiki on adding digital cable chanels:
http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/Adding_Digital_Cable_Channels_%28For_ATSC/QAM_Tuner_Cards_--_USA/Canada%29

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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 8:40 am Reply with quote
jason52
 
Joined: 06 Oct 2007
Posts: 17




MythTV has options to capture from firewire on most cable boxes, but that would be bypassing the HD5500. Once again, you'll only be able to capture un-encrypted channels, so the only channels that could be recorded would be the ones that the HD5500 will tune anyway. I had originally tried firewire capture, but tuning the box to an encrypted channel tended to lock my PC.

This has been a constant source of frustration for me. I love that I get Discovery in HD, but I'm never around when the shows I want to watch are on. So I'm stuck watching them in SD, or shelling out an extra $10 a month for a DVR from Cox.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 2:03 pm Reply with quote
johnsidle
 
Joined: 09 Jun 2010
Posts: 7




I believe that FCC regs require cable to carry all "local" over the air channels to be included unencrypted in the same format as OTA, that would now be digital, standard or hi def. The situation with repeaters appears somewhat muddled (I live in a suburban area; our locals are 90 miles away and require a good antenna). When I scan my Bresnan cable, I come up with one local channel in hi-def, all others are seen by the pchd-5500 as encrypted.

Check Wikipedia search for "Firewire" or "IEEE 1394 and you will find that upon request of the customer with digital service, the Firewire interface must be enabled. This should provide a digital feed to the computer via a firewire input. I bought a separate card and requested the firewire port be opened; they looked at me as though I was from Mars! I anticipate a lot back and forth here. I also assume that even with the port open, premium channels will still be disabled. Don't know why there should be a problem as time shifting via mythTv is the same as Tivo. I'm certainly not going to be digital copying for profit, only for my enjoyment. The only problem is that the cable guys won't get my extra $$.

Has anyone else had success with getting the firewire port opened?
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 6:49 pm Reply with quote
johnsidle
 
Joined: 09 Jun 2010
Posts: 7




Laughing I finally got signal through Firewire! Motorola DCH-6200. Backend card settings: Card Type DCH-3200 , Point to point (broadcast does NOT work), 800 mbps. I had to remove the pchd5500 card from card types so I only have the Firewire card for a source; removed the card from computer for good measure.

The big problem is that I only can tune basic channels (2 through 66) and my "local channels" in the 700 range (ones that I could get with an antenna). I assume that all the others are "5c" encrypted. Does anyone know just which channels are mandated to be accessible from the Firewire port?
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