Silicon Dust attempt at a DVR capable of recording protected content?

Apr 8, 2001
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#2
Was very interested as I started reading, particularly as microsoft hasn't been very forthcoming on WMC and the future, then saw that they want to charge a $30 yearly fee. Interest took a nose dive. Add on the fact that they released details about the larger tuner models a couple years ago and they still haven't appeared (meaning you need even more cable card monthly $ to make up for tuner space)....
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#3
$30 a year isn't that bad. If I had to guess, it most likely relates to the EPG and possibly the fees for Copy Once support. Now that I finished reading the Kickstarter, it looks like I was right. Under their FAQ, it says, "The subscription gets you everything related to the DVR service. This includes online services, EPG, expanding client support, and protected content management."

It looks like they'll end up fixing a lot of things that are wrong with Windows Media Center, which Microsoft just doesn't care to fix. One example that they bring up in their Kickstarter is: "Padding of start and end times work. For back-to-back recordings on the same channel the recording engine shares the same tuner for both recordings." I don't know how many of you have this problem, but WMC is pretty bad at recording two programs in a row. It usually ends up putting the beginning of the next show at the end of the previous show's recording, and the only way to fix it is to use absolute 10 minute buffers.

However, I do have one problem... WMC also serves as a 10-foot UI. Plex added a launcher to WMC that works really well, and I added a custom launcher that brings up Steam in Big Picture Mode. It seems this is only useful to people wanting a HTPC setup if they get Kodi integration, and as mentioned, I use Plex. So... there's that. :p

Also, there doesn't seem to be much information on protected content. One huge issue with WMC is that Copy Once content is restricted to the unit that recorded it or with any attached extender, which at this point, is pretty much just the Xbox 360. Will this allow for me to record all content on my server (including things like HBO) and watch it on any of my PCs? I'm not trying to pull anything illegal here... I just want to be free to watch my content where I want to watch it. :(

They do talk about it a bit in their risks section:

Silicondust is required to comply with industry-required protection rules when recording and playing back protected content. It may not be possible to support protected content on all platforms. In the extreme case playing back of protected content may be have to be disabled or discontinued on a specific platform if found not to be secure.
EDIT:

I backed it right now. I haven't fully bought in just yet, but I'll keep my eye on it and raise my pledge accordingly.
 
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Jan 20, 2010
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#4
I'm a fan of this idea. Of course, I have a Ceton network tuner instead of the SD one, and I have a feeling they aren't developing this to work with any tuners but their own.
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
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#5
$30 a year isn't that bad.
$30/yr isn't bad except for:

- EPG is free if you get it from the right sources.
- Microsoft's solution is a one time fee upfront (yes it's essentially discontinued for now, but it is the benchmark).
- The subscription fee goes contrary to the exact reasons why I bought a HDHomeRun in the first place.
- And my biggest pet peeve about crowdfunded campaigns like this: Asking for a backing project then tying a subscription fee to it is, imho, a major turn-off.
 

Mushkins

Golden Member
Feb 11, 2013
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#6
Odds are they're getting around it by playing the content and simultaneously re-recording the video and audio data into a brand new file sans copy protection, which is part of why it requires a standalone device instead of just being a media player app that goes along with a standard issue tv tuner card.

Kind of like watching netflix and recording your desktop as a video feed with FRAPS or something, then overlaying the recorded audio on the video. It's more of a hassle than anything else, something like this just intercepts the streams and does all the work for you.
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
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#7
Odds are they're getting around it by playing the content and simultaneously re-recording the video and audio data into a brand new file sans copy protection, which is part of why it requires a standalone device instead of just being a media player app that goes along with a standard issue tv tuner card.

Kind of like watching netflix and recording your desktop as a video feed with FRAPS or something, then overlaying the recorded audio on the video. It's more of a hassle than anything else, something like this just intercepts the streams and does all the work for you.
They would lose their CableLabs certification if they did that, and thus lose their ability to (legally and possibly technically) use M-Cards.

They are doing the kickstarter to pony up the funds to license PlayReady from Microsoft.
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#8
Odds are they're getting around it by playing the content and simultaneously re-recording the video and audio data into a brand new file sans copy protection, which is part of why it requires a standalone device instead of just being a media player app that goes along with a standard issue tv tuner card.
It doesn't require a stand-alone device as per their campaign page:

The recording engine has been verified on Windows, Mac, Linux-x86, Linux-ARM, and Linux-PowerPC
They are doing the kickstarter to pony up the funds to license PlayReady from Microsoft.
Does PlayReady work outside of Windows? It is just a DLL, but it does work off of aspects of the computer's hardware description to determine content locking.
 
May 7, 2002
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#9
I didn't notice the $30 fee per year, they need to be more open on what the charge is for.
What happens if you don't pay after the initial charge, do you lose access to everything or what?
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#10
I didn't notice the $30 fee per year, they need to be more open on what the charge is for.
What happens if you don't pay after the initial charge, do you lose access to everything or what?
They did say this in their FAQ:

Q: What is the $30/year subscription for?
A: The goal is to cover the ongoing costs of maintaining and expanding the DVR service.
The subscription gets you everything related to the DVR service. This includes online services, EPG, expanding client support, and protected content management.
If you're looking for more information, I could relay it as a comment on the Kickstarter page.
 
May 7, 2002
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#11
If you're looking for more information, I could relay it as a comment on the Kickstarter page.
Hey, that would be great! :)

Mainly, I just want to know what happens if you stop paying it.
Do you lose all your copy-once protected vids, or can you still view your old stuff, but can't get any new stuff?
I also wonder if there is a way to manually setup a time instead of using EPG data.
 

Jeraden

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
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#12
I don't have a huge amount of faith in them creating such a complex product when their Live TV app is total garbage. Both the PC version and Android version has a pretty bad UI design, and it's choppy and laggy as hell.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#13
I don't have a huge amount of faith in them creating such a complex product when their Live TV app is total garbage. Both the PC version and Android version has a pretty bad UI design, and it's choppy and laggy as hell.
Yeah, SI has always been more about great hardware rather than great software.

Still there is a huge hole in the market here now that MS is exiting and its good SOMEONE is stepping up. Too bad SageTV got bought by Google, they were the best bet.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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#14
As I said, I would rather them have spent their time producing the new hardware items than this or the stream to tablet software crap.

And I have the same comments regarding the fee as sunny.
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
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#15
Does PlayReady work outside of Windows? It is just a DLL, but it does work off of aspects of the computer's hardware description to determine content locking.
PlayReady is an API. It just happens to be implemented as a DLL in Windows.

Just for the sake of talking about it, PlayReady is the only existing DRM implementation that is certified and widely used for flagged copy-protected broadcast content.
 

SunnyD

Belgian Waffler
Jan 2, 2001
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#16
Yeah, SI has always been more about great hardware rather than great software.

Still there is a huge hole in the market here now that MS is exiting and its good SOMEONE is stepping up. Too bad SageTV got bought by Google, they were the best bet.
Have to also point out their now 2-years late HDHomeRun 4 or whatever product that was announced how long ago and still has yet to come to market that everybody has been waiting for.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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#17
Did see while looking through some of the threads on this that ms has an ota tuner coming for one and 10 looks to have wmc included now, so hopefully that system continues and this will be meaningless to me.
 

nickbits

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2008
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#18
I pay $25/yr for my EPG from schedules direct (which is pretty much their cost), that I use with my home server. $30 doesn't seem too unreasonable but I'm not interested since I have a working system.
 
May 7, 2002
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#19
Still there is a huge hole in the market here now that MS is exiting and its good SOMEONE is stepping up.
I have seen no official word that MS is exiting.
For all we know, they might be waiting for win 10 to update media center.
 

bradly1101

Diamond Member
May 5, 2013
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#20
If you're looking for more information, I could relay it as a comment on the Kickstarter page.
I'd like to know the file format it uses. Right now I can take my copy freely (all but movie channels) .wtv files into an MPEG editor and remove commercials or save an historic clip, etc. I also like the ability to do screen captures (even on protected content). I'm building quite a library of favorite clips and stills so I hope this would be as versatile.

BUT I have a strong feeling that WMC isn't going away.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#21
I have seen no official word that MS is exiting.
For all we know, they might be waiting for win 10 to update media center.
So far we have seen NO evidence that was you hope for is going to happen on the Windows 10 previews we have. Just the opposite in fact, WMC has been going downhill since Windows 7.
 
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Sep 12, 2004
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#22
They would lose their CableLabs certification if they did that, and thus lose their ability to (legally and possibly technically) use M-Cards.
Definitely.

They are doing the kickstarter to pony up the funds to license PlayReady from Microsoft.
Doubtful. Silicon Labs isn't big on using MS products. They do, however, love DLNA. I would hazard a guess that they are employing the DLNA Premium Video content protection scheme.
 
Nov 27, 2001
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#23
Definitely.


Doubtful. Silicon Labs isn't big on using MS products. They do, however, love DLNA. I would hazard a guess that they are employing the DLNA Premium Video content protection scheme.
Hm, I had never heard of this CVP-2 thing before now, but it seems rather interesting. My only question is... how do they validate devices? Is it just an honor system? If we look at people asking for "HBO GO passwords", we see where that got us. :p
 
Apr 8, 2001
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#24
So far we have seen NO evidence that was you hope for is going to happen on the Windows 10 previews we have. Just the opposite in fact, WMC has been going downhill since Windows 7.
Did see a discussion yesterday talking about some indication by recent changes implying WMC inclusion in 10.
 
Sep 12, 2004
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#25
Hm, I had never heard of this CVP-2 thing before now, but it seems rather interesting. My only question is... how do they validate devices? Is it just an honor system? If we look at people asking for "HBO GO passwords", we see where that got us. :p
The details are pretty sparse. From what I gather it's a sever/client solution that only functions over the local network. Maybe the client portion prevents the capture of any data? Not sure. I wish they would release more specifics.
 

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