TV Tuners

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Comcast has now encrypted all channels on the cable so my ATSC tuner
will not work. I can get only two channels on the dinky antenna that
came with the tuner. I am tied to Comcast and and entitled to a box,
but how do I connect it?
I run Win7 and dual monitors, one to HDMI and the the other to DVI.

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Re: TV Tuners

Jim T. wrote:
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I don't know what kind of "service" would put you in
this mess, but a way out is tuning devices with room
for a "Cable Card". The Cable Card has a decryption key
of some sort.

The back of the unit, for some reason, prominently says "M-Card Only".

These are the T & C for a "Comcast CableCard". It does not
mention the card type.

Some info from the Card perspective. The article claims the Card
has a MAC address. Which would presumably be the means of locking
the card to a particular customer and their equipment.


A Cable Company, on going digital, would normally have some
means to ensure the user has the means to decode an authorized
signal. Maybe it's a Set Top Box with baseband output or YIVO or something.
Or output in some other standard form for connection to a television
set. It would be pretty pointless to present a digital signal with
no means to decode it. The Cable Card boxes solve the problem
of supporting (providing a slot for) a Cable Card. But you still
have to get a Cable Card for the job.

The SiliconDust units are networked, so the idea is, any computer
with an Ethernet connection, can communicate with it. It eliminates
the need to stuff an electronics device inside your PC.


Re: TV Tuners

Maybe I wasn't clear - I have three STBs including a DVR, one HDMI,
and one SD. My community's contract with Comcast allows me another
free STB, but I need to know just how to use it with my computer so I
can watch TV whenever I want.
AFIK Comcast wanted to stop pirating from their cable.

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Re: TV Tuners

Jim T. wrote:
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There is a FAQ of sorts about Comcast here.

A Set Top Box has some sort of output. It if it HDMI, there
are capture cards, but they don't run at full HD rates. The
cards I've seen, they do 1080i60 or 1080p30, and not the
more desirably full-HD 1080p60. This is on-purpose, to prevent
making copies of movies from things like BluRay players. In
addition, the cheap capture cards don't support HDCP and don't
have HDCP encryption keys. Analog Devices makes three front end
chips, each with different bandwidths (for analog capture), and
the top two devices are key-capable but not for sale for
this purpose (can't be put in a video capture card). Only
the low-end chip can be put in a capture card, and it can't
do HDCP. If you record content with HDCP encryption, it
shows as "snow" if captured.

To me, a STB is suitable for real-time viewing, but without
some sort of DVR, you can't record for later. The SiliconDust
box with the hole for a CableCard, you'd use that with Windows
Media Center. Media Center is bundled with a few versions
of Windows 7, but is an optional extra with Windows 8. If
you bought Windows 8 early on ($39.95 purchase), a license
key for Media Center was free for that. My current computer
has Media Center installed, but no tuner card (yet).

If you insist on using the STB, then the STB has to be
suited to decrypting and needs to have the CableCard info
built into it. That means Comcast should program it, before
sending the box to you.

At one time, things like STBs would have composite or
component output, and connecting a capture device is a
bit easier. Component is the ideal output, giving YPbPr
analog signals, and you get a decent looking picture that
way. To change the channels on the STB, it's likely the
Media Center equipped computer would need an "IR blaster"
to send channel change commands to the STB. That is,
unless the STB has some other sort of control interface


I can find this installation manual. This is for an SD DTA.

It sends NTSC on channel 3. Quaint. I could use my existing
WinTV card with this, but MEdia Center doesn't talk to
the WinTVB Card. I'd need a hybrid card perhaps with this.
So this one is "RF out", 75 ohm coax to TV/VCR, and suited
for usage with old TV sets. SD doesn't have the resolution
that HD does, but the old TV sets don't have the resolution
either. So this solution throws away a bit of information
in a sense. This is what my mom would end up with, as
she's not a "big screen TV" "must have newest" kind of person.
I fall into this category as well, except when pulling
content into the computer domain. Then I can be tempted.

"Digital Transport Adapter Easy Setup Guide"

On this page, Comcast is still jamming that stupid SD signal
into the back of an HDTV set (with hybrid analog/digital tuner
inside). I'm having trouble finding an HD version of Comcast STB.
The A/B switch in the picture, switches between ATSV over the
antenna (unencrypted OTA digital antenna signals)), with the other position
of the A/B box selecting the STB on analog channel 3. Kooky.

I can see mention of "Comcast HD-DTA100u" as a HD capable
set top box. But no setup page on the Comcast site for it.
And some warnings about programming it for unlocking the
volume control. Apparently some part of this HD-DTA100u thing,
lacks a "return-to-factory" capability, if you're not happy
with your attempts to customize it for your setup.

As of this thread in 2013...

    So has anyone seen one of these beasts? Model numbers? Descriptions?

    The Arris model is HD-DTA100u, the Cisco model is DTA HD170, the
    Pace model is the DC60Xu. I suspect they are all using the same
    Broadcom chip (the BCM 7572?).

 From an archeology perspective, this story keeps changing. This article
has pictures of boxes, and what I/O is on the back.

The ones with the coax output, appear to be RF NTSC analog on channel 3.
There is a channel 3 versus channel 4 switch, just like you might
have on a Nintendo 2600 RF modulator. Such a connection is SD, and
could be picked up by an computer analog capture card. For example,
my WinTV right now, gets Channel 3 from my converter, and does that
sort of thing. I use DScaler to watch TV on the PC. I change channels
with the remote that drives my converter.

So the boxes that have *only* the RF coax output, those are SD
and your computer connection to them will be "old school". If you
used to pick up rabbit ears TV on the computer years ago, the
Comcast SD DTA will work for you. Not conveniently, but, you
get a signal you can use.

The other box on that page, has an HDMI connector. That would
be the HD output on that box. That box also has the NTSC coax output.
If you connect to the coax, you're getting SD (lower resolution).
If you connect to the HDMI, that's the higher resolution picture.
The TV station can also alternate its output in real time, so
when the local TV news comes on, that'll be in HD. My converter
box supports three received aspect ratios, and adjusts the picture
a bit to fill the screen for each, as their info is received.
(TV station declares format, converter adjusts the output to
fill the screen a bit better).

So then the $64 dollar question would be, what can I connect to that ?

An HDTV with an HDMI input could connect, because it'll accept
1080p60 full HD.

But on the computer, we have limitations. This is an example of
a card to capture HDMI (for recording perhaps). I'm guessing
it runs 1080i60, and if it sends EDID to the DTA, let's hope
the DTA sends out an i60 signal as its top rate. The reviewers
here say they get better results with 720p60, smoother output.

Now this card, is the first of its type at the time. It has HDMI
passthru, so you can connect an HDTV set with HDMI to one of the
porta. And run the HDMI signal from the HD DTA into the input
HDMI. The specs for this one spell out exactly what it captures.

    Video Format: ... 1080i60 ... 1080p30 ...720p60

So as expected, it doesn't do 1080p60.

This is a USB3 version of the previous device. Still no 1080p60.

This one does 1080p60, but the single user review claims
they could only convince it to do 1080p30. In 1080p60 mode,
I expect this could capture from an HD camcorder with HDMI
output (which would not have any copy protection flag set
and would not output with HDCP encryption). Your Set Top Box
is likely to be "jazzed up with crap" to defeat this. So
you'd still end up at 720p60. Even when content does not need
to be protected (local news broadcast), they still leave the
copy prevention bits set.


Now you can see how the free STB is nothing but a PITA.
It gives easy access to SD over channel 3. Everything else
is virtually impossible.

And that's why you want the SiliconDust approach and a CableCard.
That eliminates HDMI as an intermediary. It doesn't solve all
problems, but it does get the content into Windows Media Center.

Tuner products are either Windows Media Center or they aren't.
My WinTV card is not WMC ready, so I can't capture anything
while I'm running the optional Windows 8 WMC. So I use DScaler
as my capture software (the Hauppauge software works, but
I don't drag it from one build to the next).

See how much fun this is ? I love this crap. Now,
say "Thank you Comcast"... :-)


Re: TV Tuners

On 8/11/2014 10:32 AM, Jim T. wrote:
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Do you merely want to watch TV or do you want to use the computer to do  
something with it like recording? What sorts of TV output does this Comcast  
box support? If your monitor has multiple inputs then you should probably  
be able to work out a way to cable the box to the secondary input to a  
monitor -- this would allow you to watch TV anyway.

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