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  #1  
Old 04-02-2022, 06:43 AM
TigerNightmare TigerNightmare is offline
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Exclamation I have cable for the first time in ages, can anyone tell me if I still have options?

I had a pretty decent setup several years ago. I have a Hauppauge internal tuner and two HD Homeruns, allowing me to capture 5 things at once. I also got one of those big grey powered 8 way splitters from ebay. After a catastrophic hard drive failure, I didn't reinstall Sage. Some channels on my antenna were spotty, and all the space these files took up made me worry about wear and tear with hard drives, I just found it more convenient to watch my shows through other means, while also giving up a lot of shows I watched out of habit more than anything else. I also left my HD Homeruns plugged in for years without using them, and at some point, both AC adapters failed and I'll need to replace them if I want to use them again. If I can use them again.

Now, I have Spectrum. I did an autoprogram scan with my TV, and after about 20 minutes, it tells me it added one channel, 7-911, which is just a black screen, presumably some sort of disaster emergency channel. This makes me concerned that Spectrum uses a proprietary system that none of my 2013 era equipment will be able to recognize, or if there's anything on the market at all besides the DVRs that Spectrum rents out for a monthly fee.

Now, I can watch TV without the Spectrum STB since there's a Spectrum app on my TV that just works like I remember cable working, plus that terrible Nutflex interface that no one is even trying to replace. I looked through a few topics, it's a bit intimidating, but I've gleaned a few things, such as cable providers no longer being required to offer cablecards, providers using something called IPTV which isn't supported by anything, SiliconDust hardware not supporting things now but maybe later, all of it is telling me that home systems are being made obsolete by cable companies and there's no hardware or software solutions to open all the new locks they've placed on content.

Is there any hope, or did they really find a way to monopolize the very idea of the VCR?
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  #2  
Old 04-02-2022, 07:37 AM
KeithAbbott KeithAbbott is online now
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Location: Southeastern Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TigerNightmare View Post
I had a pretty decent setup several years ago. I have a Hauppauge internal tuner and two HD Homeruns, allowing me to capture 5 things at once. I also got one of those big grey powered 8 way splitters from ebay. After a catastrophic hard drive failure, I didn't reinstall Sage. Some channels on my antenna were spotty, and all the space these files took up made me worry about wear and tear with hard drives, I just found it more convenient to watch my shows through other means, while also giving up a lot of shows I watched out of habit more than anything else. I also left my HD Homeruns plugged in for years without using them, and at some point, both AC adapters failed and I'll need to replace them if I want to use them again. If I can use them again.

Now, I have Spectrum. I did an autoprogram scan with my TV, and after about 20 minutes, it tells me it added one channel, 7-911, which is just a black screen, presumably some sort of disaster emergency channel. This makes me concerned that Spectrum uses a proprietary system that none of my 2013 era equipment will be able to recognize, or if there's anything on the market at all besides the DVRs that Spectrum rents out for a monthly fee.

Now, I can watch TV without the Spectrum STB since there's a Spectrum app on my TV that just works like I remember cable working, plus that terrible Nutflex interface that no one is even trying to replace. I looked through a few topics, it's a bit intimidating, but I've gleaned a few things, such as cable providers no longer being required to offer cablecards, providers using something called IPTV which isn't supported by anything, SiliconDust hardware not supporting things now but maybe later, all of it is telling me that home systems are being made obsolete by cable companies and there's no hardware or software solutions to open all the new locks they've placed on content.

Is there any hope, or did they really find a way to monopolize the very idea of the VCR?
My cable provider is also Spectrum, my initial thought is good luck. At least in my area, Spectrum has encrypted all of the channels, including the broadcast channels (Fox, NBC, ABC, etc.). Which leaves you with two choices: either get a cable card and a HDHomeRun Prime, or connect up one or more set-top boxes from Spectrum and feed them into an encoder. One such encoder would be an HDPVR, but there are a few other choices out there. As far as the first option, cable providers are no longer obligated to provide/support for cablecards, and the HDHomeRun Prime is no longer being manufactured, you may have a hard time getting your hands on one. As far as the second option, you end up with a lot of equipment to record even a single channel; if you want to record several channels simultaneously the amount of equipment required increases correspondingly (and you have to pay Spectrum a monthly fee to rent their STBs).

There is one other option that I can think of. Some of the SageTV users have been able to utilize a combination of SageTV, OpenDCT, and Channels DVR to access a subset of the Spectrum channels via TV Everywhere (TVE). Channels DVR, since it is a supported application, is a subscription model and has a monthly/yearly fee. Also, unless things have changed recently, the audio portion is restricted to stereo, no 5.1 surround available.

Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. I currently have two HDHomeRun Primes, each with a cablecard that I am renting from Spectrum. My current plan is to use them until Spectrum completely pulls the plug on them. However, I am also starting to notice that some of the best content is not being made available on any of the cable channels, and instead is being made available on the relevant streaming service (e.g. Disney+, Netflix, Apple TV+, etc.). Of course, for a monthly subscription fee.

Best of luck to you in your endeavor.
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  #3  
Old 04-02-2022, 10:42 AM
KryptoNyte's Avatar
KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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You are a prime candidate for Channels DVR. You could have it up and running in about 30 minutes. It does have a monthly or yearly fee, but well worth it.

If you can get your local channels with antenna + HDHR, then even better.

There are no premium channels available with Channels DVR (HBO, Showtime, Etc.) and a couple other channels are blocked, but most other stuff is supported in their "TVE tuner"

Last edited by KryptoNyte; 04-02-2022 at 10:44 AM.
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  #4  
Old 04-02-2022, 11:05 AM
emveepee emveepee is offline
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I don't use SageTV but it should be the same as NextPVR. Here in Canada we have no cable card and no Channels DVR but I use 3 STB's devices, 2 I got on Kijiji for $25 each, and use LIRC and Firewire tuning on Linux and the total investment has already paid for itself so I have free premium.

I also have several OTA ATSC tuners so I would say things for me are better than ever from the DVR experience. I do now use the TabloTV tuner for ATSC input since it has a better tuner than my HDHRs.

The real issue now is most users are happy just to pay to steal IPTV and EPG data now via Emby and Plex so there isn't much interest in old school DVR.

Martin
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2022, 03:01 PM
sic0048 sic0048 is offline
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I have Spectrum cable as well. SageTV works great with it..... as long as you have a rented cable card from Spectrum and cable card tuner, EDIT - AND LIVE IN A AREA THAT WAS "CHARTER" prior to Spectrum. Other areas may have locked their broadcasts down to the point where they won't work easily with SageTV.

There is really only one cable card tuner being sold new today - the SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime. https://www.silicondust.com/product/hdhomerun-prime/ It can record up to three shows at once with a single cable card. Previously there were other offerings (like the Ceton InfiniTV ETH - a 6 tuner cable card tuner) but they have all been discontinued and haven't been actively supported in years. They should still work with Sage if you can find one used however. If you feel the need to record more than 3 shows at once and only have the HDHR Prime tuner, you can get more than one cable card and cable card tuner and Sage will see them all as separate tuners so they work together and not conflict with each other.

You will also need to get a cable card from Spectrum. They do not have them in the local stores, so you will have to call and hope you get a sales person that knows something about the cards. Good luck because hardly anyone uses cable cards anymore. They will mail a card to you and you will insert it into your cable card tuner and then you will need to call Spectrum support and give them some numbers off the system in order for them to activate it. The cable card rental is only a few dollars a month. Certainly much less than even a single cable box rental.

You can also get a OTA tuner card to record your local channels independently of Spectrum. Not only are you likely to get more local channels this way vs what Spectrum offers, you don't tie up one of your three available cable channels when you record your local network shows. This is really helpful because most network dramas are only shown once vs cable were even new releases are shown multiple times a week, so it is easy for Sage to schedule recordings to minimize conflicts or missed shows. Personally I got a SiliconDust Flex 4k recently - it has 4 ATSC 1.0 tuners (two of which are also ATSC 3.0 tuners as well so I can record those broadcasts when my area finally gets ATSC 3.0 broadcasts).

You will also need to use OpenDTC software (https://forums.sagetv.com/forums/showthread.php?t=62774). It sits between SageTV and the cable card tuner and ensures they work together. The good news is that it is pretty turn key right now and doesn't take a lot of effort to get it to work. Once it is set up initially and works, it will work reliably forever it seems like.
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i7-6700 server with about 10tb of space currently
SageTV v9 (64bit)
Ceton InfiniTV ETH 6 cable card tuner (Spectrum cable)
OpenDCT
HD-300 HD Extenders (hooked to my whole-house A/V system for synched playback on multiple TVs - great during a Superbowl party)
Amazon Firestick 4k and Nvidia Shield using the MiniClient
Using CQC to control it all

Last edited by sic0048; 04-06-2022 at 06:51 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2022, 09:46 AM
TGsell TGsell is offline
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sic0048 eta l -
-- I have a similar setup which has been stable and great for 6months now - (4) OTA tuners (HDHR Quad), and (3) cable card tuners (HD PRime) . Since almost all my cable channels are encrypted I needed to use WindowMedia Center and a host of excellent SageTV add-ons. I have

(3) MiniPCS (Amazon) Running Win10 (build1511 or earlier) and WMC for W10.
These output to
(3) URay encoders (Amazon) really great devices which do not require HDC_ stripping

SageTV tuning via EXEMultiTuner plugin and OPEN DCT - one of the most important aspects of this tuning is the 'stop' instruction which returns the WMCs to the Guide screen. Performance is off the charts good - and using the Andriod MiniClient I have FireStick4ks in every room. 3$/month for cable card but the equipment investment was substantial. The help from members of this forum was essential to problem-solve.... but now it works.
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  #7  
Old 04-05-2022, 02:51 PM
sic0048 sic0048 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TGsell View Post
sic0048 eta l -
-- I have a similar setup which has been stable and great for 6months now - (4) OTA tuners (HDHR Quad), and (3) cable card tuners (HD PRime) . Since almost all my cable channels are encrypted I needed to use WindowMedia Center and a host of excellent SageTV add-ons. I have

(3) MiniPCS (Amazon) Running Win10 (build1511 or earlier) and WMC for W10.
These output to
(3) URay encoders (Amazon) really great devices which do not require HDC_ stripping

SageTV tuning via EXEMultiTuner plugin and OPEN DCT - one of the most important aspects of this tuning is the 'stop' instruction which returns the WMCs to the Guide screen. Performance is off the charts good - and using the Andriod MiniClient I have FireStick4ks in every room. 3$/month for cable card but the equipment investment was substantial. The help from members of this forum was essential to problem-solve.... but now it works.
EDIT - My post doesn't consider the fact that some people are located in areas where the CCI flag is set (incorrectly) to " Copy Once" or "Copy Never" which is the situation that TGSell finds himself in. I'm lucky that I live in an area where the regular cable channels are code (properly) as "Copy Freely" and therefore I don't experience the same issues as he does.

ORIGINAL POST - If your system works, then don't change it. But you shouldn't have to use Windows Media Center to make SageTV work with a cable card tuner (at least not in the USA). This is where OpenDTC comes into play I think and acts as the software between the cable tuner and SageTV. All of my channels are encrypted too (as pretty much every cable channel is now) and it's probably been almost 10 years since I've even had Windows Media Center on any of my computers! I think it was on my WHS (Windows Home Server) server, but that has been gone for quite a long time.
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i7-6700 server with about 10tb of space currently
SageTV v9 (64bit)
Ceton InfiniTV ETH 6 cable card tuner (Spectrum cable)
OpenDCT
HD-300 HD Extenders (hooked to my whole-house A/V system for synched playback on multiple TVs - great during a Superbowl party)
Amazon Firestick 4k and Nvidia Shield using the MiniClient
Using CQC to control it all

Last edited by sic0048; 04-06-2022 at 06:54 AM.
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2022, 05:37 PM
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KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post
... but you shouldn't have to use Windows Media Center to make SageTV work with a cable card tuner (at least not in the USA).
Actually, some of us do have to use a workaround like this, even with a cablecard tuner. The media comes in encrypted, which the cablecard decrypts, but unfortunately there is a second tier of control, CCI:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copy_Control_Information

Most of us on Spectrum that used to be with Brighthouse and Time Warner cable (acquired by Spectrum) are still under the old CCI rules that locks down everything but the local channels (CCI flag = copy once). My experiences with another residence where Spectrum was originally Charter Cable did not have this problem with CCI (CCI flag = copy freely for almost everything) - on the other hand, even that residence experienced the CCI flag = copy once with HBO, Showtime, and all the other premium channels.

TGsell is using one of the workaround method that allows us to continue using SageTV with Spectrum cablecard in our scenario, where most channels are marked as 'copy once.'
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  #9  
Old 04-05-2022, 08:54 PM
TGsell TGsell is offline
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Yes KryptoNyte, unfortunately (or fortunately) that is true for me as well.

Here's an example of my tuner status:

Virtual Channel 820 SHOHD
Frequency 63.000 MHz
Program Number 820
Authorization subscribed
CCI Protection protected-copyonce
Modulation Lock qam256
PCR Lock locked
Signal Strength 99% (-1.1 dBmV)
Signal Quality 77% (31.9 dB)
Symbol Quality 100%
Streaming Rate 5.306 Mbps
Resource Lock 192.168.1.48

That would have saved me close to a thousand $! but thankfully it now works and the overall functionality is unreal.
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2022, 06:49 AM
sic0048 sic0048 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KryptoNyte View Post
Actually, some of us do have to use a workaround like this, even with a cablecard tuner. The media comes in encrypted, which the cablecard decrypts, but unfortunately there is a second tier of control, CCI:
Ah yes...... CCI. I'm guess I'm lucky because I am in an old Charter geographical location. As you noted, they always had their regular channels coded as Copy Freely. As such, I obviously forget that others are not as lucky and have channels coded as Copy Once or Copy Never (either will work with SageTV).

I'm going to amend my original post because I don't want to cause any confusion in the future.
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i7-6700 server with about 10tb of space currently
SageTV v9 (64bit)
Ceton InfiniTV ETH 6 cable card tuner (Spectrum cable)
OpenDCT
HD-300 HD Extenders (hooked to my whole-house A/V system for synched playback on multiple TVs - great during a Superbowl party)
Amazon Firestick 4k and Nvidia Shield using the MiniClient
Using CQC to control it all
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  #11  
Old 04-06-2022, 08:33 PM
KryptoNyte's Avatar
KryptoNyte KryptoNyte is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post
... I'm lucky because I am in an old Charter geographical location ...
I had the one system in that old Charter region for about 6 years, and Sage really shines in that scenario. It's great that some folks still have it that way!
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