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Hardware Support Discussions related to using various hardware setups with SageTV products. Anything relating to capture cards, remotes, infrared receivers/transmitters, system compatibility or other hardware related problems or suggestions should be posted here.

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:28 PM
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Rhinoplasty Rhinoplasty is offline
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Cool Ceton with Comcast - a Success Story

Gather around the fire folks and let me tell you a story with a happy ending (so far).

Well my HDPVR died. Windows says it is not a valid device. Sigh.

Comcast is on the verge of digitizing all my analog channels. I am faced with few options:

o Buying a Colossus - which is apparently not much more stable than the original HD PVR - not a very appealing prospect and would only handle one tuner for me in any case
o Installing enough digital to analog converters for all my analog tuners and concocting a rats nest of non-overlaping IR Blasters to change my channels
o Buying a Ceton card at hefty price
o Or running up the white flag and getting a Comcast provided PVR (shudder)

I decided to go for it and spend the big bucks. And the saga begins...

I ordered a Ceton card that was just beginning to be offered through Amazon. I placed the order on 5/3. Almost immediately after "shipment" my tracking inquire returned a message from the shipper stating that they never received the package, in spite of an Amazon status that the package was on its way. That can't be good.

A couple of days after the estimated delivery date I filed an inquiry with Amazon. They said that is was not uncommon for the shippers records to be inaccurate due to high volume and to hold on. They said I had to wait until 5/15 before I could request a reship or a refund - odd since that was a Sunday. So I waited. When the 15th arrived with no package, I requested a refund.

I received a nice note from Amazon. "Sorry that..." this is a good start "---someone mistakenly told you that you only had to wait until the 15th. You actually have to wait until the 18th to do anything". Of course the shipper still reports no package.

Wow! Frustrating. By the 16th, when the shipper status had not changed, I gambled and reordered from Canon PC. I eventually got a refund from Amazon, but I had the card in hand by then.

The card finally arrives
The card arrived, and I promptly installed it in my SageTV system Franken box with 4 GB of RAM and a Quad 4 Duo. I had ported my SageTV to Win7 Prof x64 in anticipation of this day. I will skip over the hassels with my Hauppauge PVR150 card which was not too happy with my 4GB of RAM and 64 bit Win7. I ran Media Center setup and the Ceton installer up to the point where the CableCard would be required. And waited.

The Cable Guy Cometh - eventually
Comcast in my area requires a "Professional Install" of CableCards. What a crock. They wanted $40 for the pleasure of handing me the CableCard to install by myself and phoning in a few numbers to get it activated. He was scheduled to arrive Monday morning between 7-10. Of course he arrived at 11:30. The installer handed me the CableCard, I inserted it and ran Ceton diagnostics which enumerats 10 steps or so involved in initializing and activating a CableCard. It failed on step 3, labeled OOB Locked, whatever that is.

Skipping ahead two hours, the $40 cable guy left with no improvement in my situation. I had already missed enough work so I let it set until 7 PM.

Comcast on the Phone
By then somewhere on that 10 step screen was a message that the CableCard was receiving a firmware upgrade (or else my system was hung). Update from where, I wonder. After an hour with the same status, I rebooted, and got back to the OOB Locked failure from before.

In case you are skimming my long narritive, don't miss this useful bit
I called Comcast and after several minutes on the phone the support person said, transferred me to second level support - the CableCard specialists. That sounded promising.

Did I fail to mention that at every step along the way I have been telling anyone that would listen that I was installing a Ceton card in my PC. No one, up to this point, had a clue what that was! They had not heard of a CableCard in a PC.

I am transferred to the CableCard specialist. I was explaining the problem to him and asked if he was familiar with Ceton cards. As he was saying yes - about 15 seconds into the conversation - the green checkmarks started to appear from OOB Locked through CableCard activated and beyond! Obviously, there was some bit of magic that had to be done on that end that only the guy in the Ivory Tower seemed to know!

Well it didn't end there
I was not able to tune any premium channels (I have way too many of them) or any HD channels except clear QAM. After an hour more on the phone, the premium channels were working with Media Center, but not the HDs. They said a cable guy would need to come out and diagnose the problem. Crap. At least they gave me credit for my $40 since the first guy was so late.

Condensing now (finally?) another half day with the cable guy checking my setup - from box to attic amplifier to TV - he concluded that everything at this end was fine - something I has suspected before he arrived.

Then he "phones home" and is told that I am not subscribed to HD channels on my CableCard! Wow! Why didn't they say that many hours before? And what do they mean subscribed to HD channels on my CableCard. I was obviously getting them on my STB. After I agreed to pay again for HD channels almost everything was working - with Media Center, no SageTV yet.

I say almost, because some channels were breaking up pretty badly. The cable guy insisted that signal strength was not the problem. In spite of that, I convinced him to bypass my Comcast provided 4 way spltter and run the cable directly into the Ceton card. That solved the breakup problem.

Useful tidbit #2
It appears that the Ceton card requires a stronger signal than any of my other tuners. He put a 2 way splitter in front of my 4 way, hanged the Ceton off of that and finally success!

The easy part - SageTV
After all of that, installing SageDCT was a piece of cake. The premium channels apparenty have Copy Once set which prevented them from working with SageDCT, but everything else works great.

The Experiment
I am experimenting with letting Media Center record things from premium channels and SageTV to have the rest. I have disabled (sort of) on of the Ceton tuners in SageTV and set up only that tuner in MC. Does anyone have experience with this or perhaps a better alternative?

Ok, I do have an analog tunner controlling my cable box, though after seeing how great the Ceton does it is painful to see what the cable box does with HBO HD.

And thus ends the telling of this epic tale. A happy ending at last.

(Except, of course, Ceton has just announced a $100 rebate on this card. Oh well. I guess that is what bleeding edge is all about.)

Last edited by Rhinoplasty; 06-07-2011 at 08:29 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2011, 03:21 PM
Sparhawk6 Sparhawk6 is offline
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Great to hear! Thanks for posting! I am about to launch into this myself with Comcast. I am deciding if I am going to wait and see if Babygant can support the SilconDust HD Prime. It's a bit cheaper and doesn't take up a PCI slot. Plus, I don't think I'll ever be recording 4 shows simultaneously. Three is enough for me.
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Last edited by Sparhawk6; 06-07-2011 at 03:26 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:00 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinoplasty View Post
After all of that, installing SageDCT was a piece of cake. The premium channels apparenty have Copy Once set which prevented them from working with SageDCT...
Copy Once is seemingly commonplace in cable systems. Could Sage work?
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Old 06-07-2011, 06:45 PM
GbrNole GbrNole is offline
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can you expand on what is a "premium channel"? are we talking all channels are available to sage except hbo, showtime movie channels etc. or do premiums include other HD lineup like espn hd, nfl net etc?

thanks!
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:54 PM
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Rhinoplasty Rhinoplasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevech View Post
Copy Once is seemingly commonplace in cable systems. Could Sage work?
Sage works for all of the non-copy once content. If I attempt to select a copy once channel, after a few minutes i get No Signal.

Only the premium channels and a couple that I am not cetain if they are premium have this problem on my cable system. Apparently others are not so lucky.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:07 PM
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Rhinoplasty Rhinoplasty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GbrNole View Post
can you expand on what is a "premium channel"? are we talking all channels are available to sage except hbo, showtime movie channels etc. or do premiums include other HD lineup like espn hd, nfl net etc?

thanks!
When I speak of premium channels I refer to channels that you have to pay an extra fee for. Mostly I have investigated HBO, Showtime, and the like. I know that Versus HD works and ESPN HD works as well.

Some channels such as MoviePlex and Flix seem to be copy once. I can't say if they are premium or part of the HD package. Since they are movie channels Comcast may block them anyway.

They copy once channels work in W7MC, however, the resulting files are encrypted and can only be viewed within W7MC.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:38 PM
GbrNole GbrNole is offline
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great thanks for the update! i picked up a ceton card earlier this week and hope my local comcast is a forgiving as yours.
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  #8  
Old 06-07-2011, 09:19 PM
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korben_dallas korben_dallas is offline
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SageTV not getting premium/add-on channels is a no-go for me, but good luck with your new setup.
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Old 06-07-2011, 09:41 PM
stevech stevech is offline
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Here, every channel except those from local broadcasters is marked copy once meaning to use Sage one must use the analog hole (set top box with component out and a HD-PVR or equiv.). Since Sage doesn't do DRM.

From what I've read, this is commonplace in the US cable/satellite companies now.

I guess it's moot for me if some locales are not as strict with DRM.

So I recently elected to pay for a Sage-specific set top box and an HD-PVR. And an HD300.
The break-even is 4 years from now! But I have my disk drives and their content, versus the cable DVR which will likely break as it has too many miles on it before it came to me.

Last edited by stevech; 06-07-2011 at 09:43 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-09-2011, 10:48 AM
egeller egeller is offline
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Also on Comcast near Phila PA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhinoplasty View Post
Some channels such as MoviePlex and Flix seem to be copy once. I can't say if they are premium or part of the HD package. Since they are movie channels Comcast may block them anyway.
I am also on Comcast. After I figured out how to get the information from the cable box itself I checked a bunch of the channels. I thought it strange that Movieplex and Flix are copy-once, but Indie (or maybe it was Sundance) is not.

Copy once, for me, also includes HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz, the Encore channels. Strangely enough, it did not include a channel with a rabbit-headed logo when I checked it (YMMV).

To check the flags using your cable box, Google your cable box model. It's how you turn it on and off and back on again with the correct sequence of buttons. It took me a few tries to figure out. Once you access it, you can check the flags for each channel.

It's good to know that Comcast is consistent in their policy across markets.
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Old 06-09-2011, 11:00 AM
GbrNole GbrNole is offline
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little disappointed to hear that encore, movieplex and flix are included - keeping my fingers crossed that won't apply on my comcast lineup but i'm sure it will and worse! lol
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  #12  
Old 06-09-2011, 02:27 PM
NetworkGuy NetworkGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egeller View Post
To check the flags using your cable box, Google your cable box model. It's how you turn it on and off and back on again with the correct sequence of buttons. It took me a few tries to figure out. Once you access it, you can check the flags for each channel.
I have the RNG110 and could not finad anything about this. Where did you find the info?

Thanks,
John
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  #13  
Old 06-10-2011, 10:55 AM
egeller egeller is offline
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Service mode on Comcast cable box

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetworkGuy View Post
I have the RNG110 and could not finad anything about this. Where did you find the info?

Thanks,
John
You need to get into the cable boxes "secret" service menu. Once there, one of the options (D04 on mine) has the flags at the bottom of the panel.

I Googled "comcast cable box service mode" and found it. I think the steps typically, are

1. turn TV on
2. Turn cable box on
3. Tune to the channel you want to check
4. Power down cable box (only), then (within 1 second - there's a time limit)
5. press Select twice.

That should bring up the service menu with about a dozen or so options. It's display only, so you can't change anything (that I've discovered). The annoying thing is that you cannot change channels - or I have not figured out how to do that from the service menu - so I go thru the above steps for each channel individually.

Hope this helps someone.
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