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  1. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
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    I'm finally preparing to move on from Comcast Moto STB>firewire>CapDVHS for capture/archive purposes. I really like the idea of an internal dual tuner card Avermedia's AVerTVHD Duet PCTV tuner for simplicity's sake but am assuming the HDHomeRun Prime external CableCARD tuner might prove to be a better option. Whichever of these I might opt for would be paired with WMC. A couple questions I'd like to ask are:

    1. Since Comcast is intent on encrypting more and more channels will the CableCARD equipted HDHR Prime allow me to continue recording for archiving purposes all the channels I currently can via my current CapDVHS solution as long as there's no copy-once protection?

    2. Every hookup diagram I see for the Prime box shows it being networked directly to a router. Since I don't require networking (and have no extenders) can I expect a direct connection to my current capture computer is acceptable? Might that make it an HTPC? Note - I'm currently using on-board video but do have a dedicated card available for install to use as video-out to TV.

    I do have additional questions but they may differ based on replies to the above.
    Any insight much appreciated.
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  2. Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    1. Since Comcast is intent on encrypting more and more channels will the CableCARD equipted HDHR Prime allow me to continue recording for archiving purposes all the channels I currently can via my current CapDVHS solution as long as there's no copy-once protection?
    You can archive clear QAM channels and view them with anything (you may have to remux from WTV to some other container). You can record encrypted QAM programs with WMC but they can only be viewed on the computer that recorded them. To view encrypted QAM channels you'll need a monitor/TV that supports HDCP.

    Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    2. Every hookup diagram I see for the Prime box shows it being networked directly to a router. Since I don't require networking (and have no extenders) can I expect a direct connection to my current capture computer is acceptable?
    That should work. You might need a crossover cable or adapter. For example:
    http://www.amazon.com/Cables-Unlimited-Cat6-Crossover-Adapter/dp/B00030BYJI/

    Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    Might that make it an HTPC?
    Yes. We have several networked computers in the house that can all watch TV via an HDHomerun Prime and WMC. One is dedicated to the big HDTV in the living room and works as a PVR, in lieu of the cable company's PVR.

    Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    Note - I'm currently using on-board video but do have a dedicated card available for install to use as video-out to TV.
    Onboard video will work if it's powerful enough. Our dedicated PVR in the living room is currently running an Intel i3 4130T CPU and it's integrated GPU. But previously it was running an old dual core AMD Athlon x2 255 and a GeForce 430 (64 bit) graphics card.
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    I'm finally preparing to move on from Comcast Moto STB>firewire>CapDVHS for capture/archive purposes. I really like the idea of an internal dual tuner card Avermedia's AVerTVHD Duet PCTV tuner for simplicity's sake but am assuming the HDHomeRun Prime external CableCARD tuner might prove to be a better option. Whichever of these I might opt for would be paired with WMC. A couple questions I'd like to ask are:

    1. Since Comcast is intent on encrypting more and more channels will the CableCARD equipted HDHR Prime allow me to continue recording for archiving purposes all the channels I currently can via my current CapDVHS solution as long as there's no copy-once protection?

    2. Every hookup diagram I see for the Prime box shows it being networked directly to a router. Since I don't require networking (and have no extenders) can I expect a direct connection to my current capture computer is acceptable? Might that make it an HTPC? Note - I'm currently using on-board video but do have a dedicated card available for install to use as video-out to TV.

    I do have additional questions but they may differ based on replies to the above.
    Any insight much appreciated.
    Don't bother with the Avermedia Duet for Comcast cable. Comcast has officially stated that they plan to encrypt all of the channels in every area they serve. The Avermedia Duet is an excellent tuner for OTA, but didn't last long for me. Two of them died on me within a year. The first one only lasted about three months, and the replacement I received under warranty only lasted about 9 months.
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  4. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    Really appreciate the replies!

    @usually_quiet
    That info is really helpful especially considering that card looks to be discontinued. I could be left out to dry if requiring warranty.

    @jagabo
    Thanks for the line-item reply. Now to place a monkey-wrench in it -- I just ran across another thread familiar to you which opened my eyes to the viability of HDCP stripping via a capable HDMI splitter. I've been simply skating along for years with CapDVHS that I failed to see this option has come to fruition. I was almost prepared to pull the trigger on the Prime unit but if going the splitter route would stave of obsolescence even longer that may be the way to go.

    Although I've read the majority of that thread it's definitely going to take a bit more research. Some of the questions I'll have to answer are:

    1. I expect those splitters would only be capable of one strip at a time negating the use of a product like HDHR Prime to be used even if the proper HDMI connections were available. Or, maybe DHCP is one-for-all and can be wiped from multiple streams at once?

    2. If the above "possibility" were the case would it even be feasible to still integrate WMC and cap multiple channels at once?

    3. In hoping that my initial thought in #1 above is incorrect might there be anything comparable to Ceton InfiniTV 4/6 with HDMI(in) allowing for use of the "special" splitter and multi-recording or is it at this time limited to single stream gaming capture cards? Also, not sure how important the SDV option such as that on InfiniTV would be.

    Looks like research continues just when I thought it was over.
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  5. Yes, the HDCP splitter/strippers only have one input so they can only handle one video at a time. And they only work with HDMI connections.

    The HDHomerun Prime is an ethernet device so you can't use an HDCP stripper with it directly. Basically, the cable company sends an encrypted QAM stream to the HDHomerun Prime The HDHomerun Prime sends that encrypted stream (possible re-encrypted) to your computer via IP over the network. WMC decrypts the stream for display (and decompresses and reencrypts it with HDCP for HDMI transmission) and saves the compressed A/V stream as an encrypted file if recording. The only way to use an HDCP stripper in this setup is to record the computer's HDMI output. When I want to keep something (not very often) I play the recorded video on the computer and record the HDMI output via the stripper.

    I wish there was a program that could simply decrypt the saved WTV file. Or a hack that would force the computer to save it un-encrypted. But no luck so far...
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  6. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    More great info there jagabo!

    I currently don't (and don't expect to in the foreseeable future) subscribe to premium channels so in reality at the moment an HDCP stripper isn't of great use to me. Aside from all the Discover Network programs I archive I do enjoy capping the occasional classic from the gratis EncoreHD and MGM-HD which I expect will be the first to get HDCP. That said, and based on the insight you just provided, I might just convince myself that HDHR Prime is the way to go and, if in the future I do need the occasional HDCP stripping, I can simply buy a splitter and capture card to loop the capture through. Heck, by then HDCP may even be obsolete and a whole other can of worms will exist.

    I'm also surprised now twice. Once to find that the HDCP key was compromised allowing for stripping and two, like you, that with this someone hasn't programmed a software based decrypter. Happily though, looks like I'm one step closer to giving Comcast back their box.
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  7. Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    I currently don't (and don't expect to in the foreseeable future) subscribe to premium channels so in reality at the moment an HDCP stripper isn't of great use to me.
    You're lucky. Almost everything except the local broadcast channels are encrypted on our cable system. The cable company does still send about 70 analog channels so one of our TVs uses its built in analog tuner.

    If you have a TV with a QAM tuner plug the cable feed directly into it. See how many channels you can get.
    Last edited by jagabo; 9th Jan 2014 at 23:00.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    I currently don't (and don't expect to in the foreseeable future) subscribe to premium channels so in reality at the moment an HDCP stripper isn't of great use to me.
    You're lucky. Almost everything except the local broadcast channels are encrypted on our cable system. If you have a TV with a QAM tuner plug the cable feed directly into it. See how many channels you can get.
    Until Comcast encrypts everything where he is, probably later this year, the OP will get the channels in the Limited Basic package (locals, shopping channels, The Weather Channel, and some others) in clear QAM. Everything else has been encrypted since 2010. Comcast is pretty consistent in that respect. Copy protection flags are another story. I believe there is some variation in what local franchises do with them, although I believe in most places the majority of channels are still "copy freely".
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  9. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    If you have a TV with a QAM tuner plug the cable feed directly into it. See how many channels you can get.
    You spurred me to give it a test. As far as I can ascertain my Toshiba 23L 1350U does have QAM capability but a coax-in channel scan only provide reception of local channels (incl all subs so the number is substantial at 60+) although it registered a whopping 523 tunable. To me this seems to denote only the locals are clear QAM while the remainder are encrypted. What is confusing is that my current capture regimen of Comcast Moto STB>firewire>CapDVHS allows me to capture all the channels I receive and view anywhere with any media player. Now I'm really confused and fearing I understand this less than I thought.

    *EDIT* -- I must have been composing while usually_quiet was posting. So I assume the difference is, as stated, the "copy flags" and not whether it is Clear or Encrypted QAM. Since I'm feeding my current capture device from the STB it sees all channels and all these channels must be flagged "copy freely". If this changes in the future I could face non-portability of the captured files at best and no ability to capture at worst.

    Thanks again for the replies!
    Last edited by Golem; 10th Jan 2014 at 01:12.
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  10. When we had a cable box with firewire output all the encrypted QAM channels were available at the port (we didn't have any premium channels like HBO so I don't know about those). I never used it because the HD channels (clear or encrypted) had corruptions every 10 seconds or so. SD channels came out fine. When we switched to the HDHomerun Prime and WMC only recordings made from clear QAM channels are unencrypted.
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
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    Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    *EDIT* -- I must have been composing while usually_quiet was posting. So I assume the difference is, as stated, the "copy flags" and not whether it is Clear or Encrypted QAM. Since I'm feeding my current capture device from the STB it sees all channels and all these channels must be flagged "copy freely". If this changes in the future I could face non-portability of the captured files at best and no ability to capture at worst.

    Thanks again for the replies!
    Local channels must be marked "copy freely". Recordings from "copy freely" channels are unencrypted and portable .

    Regular cable-only channels are eligible for "copy once" protection, but the cable provider can choose to mark them "copy freely" instead if desired. Recordings from "copy once" channels are encrypted and non-portable .

    Only premium channels like HBO and Showtime, plus paid on-demand offerings are eligible for "copy never" protection, but might be marked "copy once" instead. Channels marked "copy never" can't be recorded. CableCARD tuners don't allow interactive functions like on-demand to work, so they won't be available to you regardless, and if you don't subscribe to any premium channels, you shouldn't have to worry about "copy never" being a problem.
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  12. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    When we switched to the HDHomerun Prime and WMC only recordings made from clear QAM channels are unencrypted.
    Thanks for the reply!

    Unfortunately all I can say to that is "CRAP" (for me that is)! If that's the case I might as well stick with CapDVHS for cable and get a simple tuner (hopefully multi-tuner) card compatible with WMC to cap my ATSC content. I can ride that train as long as it keeps chugging.

    If you're familiar with my thread from not too long ago I do also use an MDP-100 to cap ATSC. Unfortunately though since upgrading to Windows 7 and doing all the finagling required for compatibility I have to keep the MDP-100 proprietary software open all the time for it to capture scheduled recording or UAC will give it fits.


    *EDIT* -- Oops, did I jump the gun again and confuse "encryption" with "copy flag"?
    Last edited by Golem; 10th Jan 2014 at 08:12.
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  13. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Local channels must be marked "copy freely". Recordings from "copy freely" channels are unencrypted and portable .

    Regular cable-only channels are eligible for "copy once" protection, but the cable provider can choose to mark them "copy freely" instead if desired. Recordings from "copy once" channels are encrypted and non-portable .

    Only premium channels like HBO and Showtime, plus paid on-demand offerings are eligible for "copy never" protection. Channels marked "copy never" can't be recorded. CableCARD tuners don't allow interactive functions like on-demand to work, so they won't be available to you regardless, and if you don't subscribe to any premium channels, you shouldn't have to worry about "copy never" being a problem.
    Much appreciate the info.

    Yea, I don't subscribe to premiums, just Digital Preferred with HD being the only add-on. The big killer is if, like jagabo states, HDHR Prime doesn't off the capability that the STB's firewire out provides. I'll miss the opportunity to multi-cap but at least one channel is better than none. Portability is important to me so I hope Comcast staves off the "copy-once" for a while longer.
    Last edited by Golem; 10th Jan 2014 at 08:06.
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  14. Originally Posted by Golem View Post
    The big killer is if, like jagabo states, HDHR Prime doesn't off the capability that the STB's firewire out provides. I'll miss the opportunity to multi-cap
    You can still record/watch 3 channels at a time. The problem is that all encrypted channels on our system result in encrypted files. With our setup encrypted channel = copy once flag. I don't know if this is because our cable provider marks all encrypted channels with a copy-once flag, or if it's because WMC assumes copy-once for all encrypted channels.
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  15. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2006
    Location: United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    The problem is that all encrypted channels on our system result in encrypted files. With our setup encrypted channel = copy once flag. I don't know if this is because our cable provider marks all encrypted channels with a copy-once flag, or if it's because WMC assumes copy-once for all encrypted channels.
    Everything I have read on the subject of WMC encryption indicates that WMC only "protects" recordings permanently when the "copy once" flag was used. I have seen reports that all WMC recordings, not just those from encrypted channels, are temporarily "protected". Assuming the "copy once" flag wasn't used at any time while the recording was being made, the "protection" is removed after the recording has been completed.
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  16. Member
    Join Date: May 2001
    Location: USA
    Search Comp PM
    So if I currently can capture via CapDVHS and use portable then in theory it should be possible using Prime and WMC as long as Prime and WMC are not adding any protection status that isn't already attached to the capture stream. I hate to think this may ultimately turn into a required buy-n-try scenario.

    @jagabo
    I should have ended my "I'll miss the opportunity to multi-cap" with "and remain portable". It's looking like there is a possibility the lack of copy protection continuity between markets may be a factor in who can and who can't, what will and what won't work. Grrrrr!
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