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  #1  
Old 04-10-2013, 07:48 AM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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Clear QAM Gone

Woke up this morning to lots of serious system warnings. Nothing would tune. Called RCN and found out they started encrypting ALL channels, including stations available OTA. These local stations used to be available on their cable as clear QAM signals, and Sage TV could tune them. No longer.

After a few Google searches, I found they were well within their rights thanks to the FCC, or as I like to call them, the Fxxxing Communications Commission.

Read it and weep, clear QAM aficionados:

http://www.fcc.gov/document/commissi...on-prohibition

Two questions. Is there a way for Sage TV to work with a cable box? My memory is a faint yes, and I should show more initiative by researching it myself, but maybe reposting it here will help others in addition to me.

There is something in the FCC order on page 16, paragraphs 93 and 94 about a DLNA-enabled Ethernet connector. Is this something that would help with my problem? Or is there another device like a Boxee that might offer an alternative? Ok, that was three questions. Sorry.

The relevant FCC paragraphs are copied below.


93 NCTA’s commitment states: “Cable Operators shall be permitted to encrypt their Basic Service Tiers in Encrypted Systems at such time as they offer to basic tier subscribers with retail IP-enabled Clear QAM devices in such systems an Operator-supplied set-top box, digital transport adapter (‘DTA’) or other Operator-supplied equipment with standard home networking capability (e.g., equipment with a DLNA-enabled Ethernet connector or Wi-Fi capability). Such Operator-supplied equipment will be offered pursuant to the terms of the Transitional Equipment Measures regarding notice to consumers and availability of equipment at no charge for a limited period of time. In Encrypted Systems that utilize DTA security, Cable Operators will support the delivery of the Basic Service Tier to an IP-enabled Clear QAM Device with embedded DTA security (‘Retail DTA’) without the need for Operator-supplied equipment. Such Cable Operators will have no duty to offer Operator-supplied equipment to a customer with a Retail DTA in such Encrypted Systems.” NCTA Commitment Letter at 2.

94 NCTA’s commitment states: “Subject to the procedure described in this paragraph, Cable Operators shall be permitted to encrypt their Basic Service Tiers in Encrypted Systems in which they enable IP-enabled Clear QAM Devices to access the Basic Service Tier without the need for an Operator-supplied set-top box, DTA, or CableCARD. In enabling such access, such Cable Operators shall use commercially available security technology that is licensable on a non-discriminatory basis to manufacturers of such retail devices. Any Cable Operator that pursues this option agrees to make publicly available the requirements necessary (including any authentication processes) for such a device to access the Basic Service Tier and submit a copy of such requirements to the Commission. Cable Operators who elect this option shall be permitted to encrypt their Basic Service Tiers three months after submitting such requirements to the Commission.” NCTA Commitment Letter at 2.
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  #2  
Old 04-10-2013, 08:16 AM
Mitch G Mitch G is offline
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Three words: HDHR Prime + CableCard + SageDCT

This set up works great - search the forums for threads with "SageDCT" in the title and you'll find lots of useful information.
If you insist on using a cablebox then I think "HDPVR" or "HD-PVR" (?) is the thing to search for.


Mitch
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  #3  
Old 04-10-2013, 08:26 AM
JerryB JerryB is offline
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I can think of two options:

1) Analog output from STB to Hauppauge HDPVR or Hauppauge Colossus to SageTV. Advantages: you can record all channels that you subscript to. Disadvantage: You need a separate STB and Hauppauge device for each channel that you want to simultaneously record.

2) Cable card device, eg HDHR Prime connected to SageTV through SageDCT service. Advantage: ability to record multiple channels simultaneously (exact number depends on the specific cable card device). Disadvantage: Can only record channels marked copy freely and this can vary greatly depending upon the cable provider.

Several people, myself included, combine these two approaches. I use an HDHR Prime for copy freely channels plus a single STB/HDPVR combo for the premium channels that my cable provider flags as copy once that I cannot record with the HDHR Prime.
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  #4  
Old 04-10-2013, 09:03 AM
Taddeusz Taddeusz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G View Post
Three words: HDHR Prime + CableCard + SageDCT
That's also assuming they didn't do something stupid like mark the channels copy once or copy never. Then you're still screwed.
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2013, 02:26 PM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitch G View Post
Three words: HDHR Prime + CableCard + SageDCT

This set up works great - search the forums for threads with "SageDCT" in the title and you'll find lots of useful information.
If you insist on using a cablebox then I think "HDPVR" or "HD-PVR" (?) is the thing to search for.


Mitch
Thanks, Mitch. I will do some research on that option.

In the meantime, I ordered a 4 tuner TiVo from RCN for a net cost of $26 a month after returning the mandatory and unused SD cable box they insisted I pay $3.95 a month for. With the TiVo package, I also get one extender box for multi-room viewing.

The TiVo is being installed tomorrow, so we have one day of no recording. Survivor and its commercials will be watched tonight at its broadcast time. How nostalgic. At least I'm getting some use out of the cable box for once.
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  #6  
Old 04-10-2013, 02:29 PM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taddeusz View Post
That's also assuming they didn't do something stupid like mark the channels copy once or copy never. Then you're still screwed.
Thanks for the warning. Do cable customer service reps typically know the answer to this question?

UPDATE: The answer is no.
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Last edited by EdwardATeller; 04-12-2013 at 07:16 AM. Reason: RCN are idiots
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  #7  
Old 04-10-2013, 09:48 PM
tmar89 tmar89 is offline
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I just noticed this too in the Lehigh Valley today. RCN confirmed it on Twitter also. This really does blow chunks.
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  #8  
Old 04-11-2013, 04:19 AM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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I just ordered the HDHR Prime from Tiger Direct through Amazon. About $165, thank you very much RCN for this added expense.

This thread has very clear instructions about setting it up:

http://forums.sagetv.com/forums/show...hlight=SageDCT

Crossing my fingers RCN flags recordings as copy freely, but I guess I could use Media Center to record to directories scanned by SageTV if that is the case. Would be a little klugey, but it would get the job done, while sticking it to RCN.
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  #9  
Old 04-11-2013, 05:58 AM
BobPhoenix BobPhoenix is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdwardATeller View Post
...I could use Media Center to record to directories scanned by SageTV if that is the case. Would be a little klugey, but it would get the job done, while sticking it to RCN.
If you have to record it in MediaCenter because of DRM flags you will have to watch it in MediaCenter - SageTV will not be able to playback the encrypted file.
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2013, 07:15 AM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobPhoenix View Post
If you have to record it in MediaCenter because of DRM flags you will have to watch it in MediaCenter - SageTV will not be able to playback the encrypted file.
Thanks. I'll have to figure this out within the 30 day return policy on the HDHR Prime. My guess is the local yokels at RCN don't restrict copying, but one thing for sure, they have no idea WHAT they do when I call in. It's like I'm speaking Chinese.

BTW, the TiVo was installed yesterday, and I have to say, it's a lot of functionality for less than a $1 a day with no worries about buying hardware that becomes obsolete.
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  #11  
Old 04-12-2013, 11:06 AM
egeller egeller is offline
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I saw an article today, I think it was on Gizmodo or Engadget, talking about how RCN has implemented this. They are the first ones.

They said it's coming to those of us with Comcast.
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  #12  
Old 04-12-2013, 06:33 PM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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My tuning cards are worth about nothing now.
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2013, 02:33 PM
MattHelm MattHelm is offline
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They still work fine for OTA. I plan on either changing them to that(I'm about 20 miles from the transmitters), or giving them to my dad, as he still has a big honking tower.
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  #14  
Old 04-13-2013, 09:05 PM
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tvmaster2 tvmaster2 is offline
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so old style tuners like Hauppuage 150's are now useless, or can they work via additional cable company supplied (rented) equipment?
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Old 04-13-2013, 09:31 PM
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Tiki Tiki is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvmaster2 View Post
so old style tuners like Hauppuage 150's are now useless, or can they work via additional cable company supplied (rented) equipment?
They still work with a rented set top box. However, they were designed for Standard Definition, so you can't take advantage of HD on newer boxes. Also, they were designed for older 32-bit Windows - they will work with 64-bit versions of Win7 and Vista (and presumably Win8, though I haven't tried), but only if you have less than 4MB of RAM installed in your PC.
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:30 AM
-=Jeff=- -=Jeff=- is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egeller View Post
I saw an article today, I think it was on Gizmodo or Engadget, talking about how RCN has implemented this. They are the first ones.

They said it's coming to those of us with Comcast.
I guess my timing was good to switch everything to OTA.

I don't miss not having all those channels as I tend to watch local networks mostly anyway.

the picture honestly looks better OTA then when I was using cable and I don't have to worry about the Cable Co remapping channels on me.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:46 AM
EdwardATeller EdwardATeller is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Jeff=- View Post
I guess my timing was good to switch everything to OTA.

I don't miss not having all those channels as I tend to watch local networks mostly anyway.

the picture honestly looks better OTA then when I was using cable and I don't have to worry about the Cable Co remapping channels on me.
When we move, the availability of OTA channels will be a big factor. Verizon FiOS would also be nice as a competitor to the local cable company.

BTW, I cancelled my HDHR Prime order and instead using the free (for 12 months) cable box I got from RCN for my 4 year old's viewing pleasure on Sage TV. Set the channel to the local PBS affiliate and disabled all the other channels, so no tuning necessary. For us, the RCN 4 tuner HD TiVo is a fun new toy, and I'll see how painful the next monthly bill is before making a final decision.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:47 AM
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Fuzzy Fuzzy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -=Jeff=- View Post
I guess my timing was good to switch everything to OTA.

I don't miss not having all those channels as I tend to watch local networks mostly anyway.

the picture honestly looks better OTA then when I was using cable and I don't have to worry about the Cable Co remapping channels on me.
Yeah, OTA broadcasts are almost always better quality than what gets re-transmitted via cable or satellite. Even though I don't have DRM issues (R-5000HD via dish network is the best) - I still have always had at least 2 OTA tuners and a roof-top antenna running for the locals.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:45 AM
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tvmaster2 tvmaster2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
They still work with a rented set top box. However, they were designed for Standard Definition, so you can't take advantage of HD on newer boxes. Also, they were designed for older 32-bit Windows - they will work with 64-bit versions of Win7 and Vista (and presumably Win8, though I haven't tried), but only if you have less than 4MB of RAM installed in your PC.
I used to be able to just plug the coax into the tuning card directly for SD channels - if my cable company encrypted the SD, could I still do that by inserting the cable co's tuning adapter/decrypter?
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:51 AM
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darcilicious darcilicious is offline
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Quote:
if my cable company encrypted the SD,
I don't think cable companies are looking to encrypt SD channels, are they?

(Clear QAM channels are digital, I suspect you're referring to old analog SD channels?)
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