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

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Apr 8, 2001
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ugh these guys need to get working faster. just got a notice that the cable company is turning off the analog signal so every tv will now need some for a cable box, which was the primary reason I never switched to fios.
 
May 7, 2002
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Again, though, I am pretty sure some protections for CableCARD are going out the window. CableCARD adoption is no longer mandated, which means operators do not have to bundle CableCARDs into the devices as a way to separate the security package from the device.
I believe that with that mandate gone, they also do not have to provide a CableCARD rental option, though I may be wrong about that. If so, I haven't heard yet about any operator refusing to rent out new CableCARDs.
This is a prime reason that people pirate content--even if they paid for it in the first place!

The very fact that the cable industry said we must ditch analog and go digital, it will be better for us all, they said it will result in less truck runs, saving people $$$! Only to find out that it actually results in more truck runs, since they STILL must tap the lines.

Idiots.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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ugh these guys need to get working faster. just got a notice that the cable company is turning off the analog signal so every tv will now need some for a cable box, which was the primary reason I never switched to fios.
They should hand out DTAs (Digital Tuning Adapters), or at least only require a rental fee equivalent to a CableCARD in pricing.

If you get a cable box, you get your entire subscription.

If you get a DTA, you may get the entire Basic Cable package plus a healthy selection of HD channels. So, likely around 100 channels.

Yeah it requires another device, but for free or a modest fee, does offer an upgrade for those TVs you previously only provided a limited channel selection.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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This is a prime reason that people pirate content--even if they paid for it in the first place!

The very fact that the cable industry said we must ditch analog and go digital, it will be better for us all, they said it will result in less truck runs, saving people $$$! Only to find out that it actually results in more truck runs, since they STILL must tap the lines.

Idiots.
I'm not sure about this "truck runs" thing, but all I've ever known about killing of analog is that it frees up an enormous amount of bandwidth within the fiber and cable runs. No analog bandwidth = more room for increased broadband bandwidth, AND increased room to offer more HD channels without requiring disgusting amounts of compression, especially when they also through in Switched Digital Video into the mix.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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They should hand out DTAs (Digital Tuning Adapters), or at least only require a rental fee equivalent to a CableCARD in pricing.

If you get a cable box, you get your entire subscription.

If you get a DTA, you may get the entire Basic Cable package plus a healthy selection of HD channels. So, likely around 100 channels.

Yeah it requires another device, but for free or a modest fee, does offer an upgrade for those TVs you previously only provided a limited channel selection.
Any fee would be higher than what i'm paying now, and as I said a prime reason why I hadn't switched to Fios.

Also I am running 2 homerun units, one with card one without. As most of my recordings are of the main network shows, didn't need a card to get those in HD clearqam.

So now i'll need to get a card for the second unit, and either install an extender at the TVs without or get those adapters.
 
May 7, 2002
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I was really hoping they would have most of the work done by now, but, they still have major hurtles.
Someone on the SD forums made this spreadsheet of available features: http://1drv.ms/1QO8NBA

That is highly disappointing.
 

Dulanic

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Oct 27, 2000
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I was really hoping they would have most of the work done by now, but, they still have major hurtles.
Someone on the SD forums made this spreadsheet of available features: http://1drv.ms/1QO8NBA

That is highly disappointing.
After seeing that I'm glad I grabbed a Roamio /w lifetime for 300 a month ago. Couldn't be happier.

I had concern when they announced this originally and glad I didn't wait.
 

Slug

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Oct 12, 1999
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I supported the Kickstarter, but I lost faith early. I also picked up 2 TiVo roamios with lifetime back in October. Took the cable cards from my HD homeruns. Couldn't be happier. I think SD is gonna have a problem with DRM, which is all my Time Warner channels. Also not optimistic about a proper EPG.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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was thinking about tivo given SD lack of ability to produce anything of substance the last two years, but the newest model still doesn't use all the tuner channels, and for it's cost I'd at least like that capability.
 

bradly1101

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May 5, 2013
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I supported the Kickstarter, but I lost faith early. I also picked up 2 TiVo roamios with lifetime back in October. Took the cable cards from my HD homeruns. Couldn't be happier. I think SD is gonna have a problem with DRM, which is all my Time Warner channels. Also not optimistic about a proper EPG.
From my research there is a patent on the grid-based guide :eek: and SD is trying to get around that with something no one likes.

There is really only one way to do it...
 

Raincity

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Feb 17, 2000
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I have pretty much given up on SD and run Jriver MC in windows 10 for pvr functionality.
 
Nov 27, 2001
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I supported the Kickstarter, but I lost faith early. I also picked up 2 TiVo roamios with lifetime back in October. Took the cable cards from my HD homeruns. Couldn't be happier. I think SD is gonna have a problem with DRM, which is all my Time Warner channels. Also not optimistic about a proper EPG.
I don't blame you, and I don't think TiVo is a bad option. I got one for my mom awhile ago, and she seems to like it. One nice aspect compared to using Cable boxes is that no matter what company you switch to, it will always be the same interface. The only downside is that it doesn't work with satellite.

It is a bit disappointing to see how ineffective the computer-based services will be, but honestly, I rarely ever watch Cable. I might just drop it completely.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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Still something between jack and squat for updates.


And it looks like my cable company is about to kill off the clear Qam stuff by going full SDV. Currently use 2 primes, one with and one without a card. Looks like i'll need to upgrade the second to use a CC and plan on keeping the win8.1 WMC running for some time.
 
Nov 27, 2001
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Still something between jack and squat for updates.
I decided to just go with TiVo and be done with it. I got in on TiVo's $600 Roamio HD Pro (the 3TB one, so no need to upgrade) + Lifetime deal, and purchased a TiVo Mini to go along with it. The biggest thing to get me to switch was seeing the spreadsheet of features that wouldn't be supported, and I just didn't feel like dealing with a poor setup. The only downside to TiVo is that I have to switch inputs to watch TV so it isn't as integrated, but that's fine.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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I decided to just go with TiVo and be done with it. I got in on TiVo's $600 Roamio HD Pro (the 3TB one, so no need to upgrade) + Lifetime deal, and purchased a TiVo Mini to go along with it. The biggest thing to get me to switch was seeing the spreadsheet of features that wouldn't be supported, and I just didn't feel like dealing with a poor setup. The only downside to TiVo is that I have to switch inputs to watch TV so it isn't as integrated, but that's fine.
A spreadsheet of features that will not be supported?

For HDHomeRun DVR? Where is this spreadsheet? The only thing I had seen previously was a list of features that were planned but not yet implemented, or in an experimental and buggy state on select platforms.

They have been exceptionally slow to roll out, absolutely certain, but I haven't seen anything stating they are pulling back from previous plans. Timetable to reach their original goals? Stretched and stretched, but I haven't seen outright cuts.

I may have missed something recently? I hope not. :\

edit:
Are you referencing this spreadsheet?

That is a user compiled spreadsheet (source)of all the original planned features and their current level of support/development. It is not saying that, for instance, that they will not support Protected Content recorded/viewed in Windows. No, that is the original goal, to support it, but they haven't achieved that yet.

They woefully underestimated their developers' abilities, did not increase development team size (or if they did, it is not evident), and in general have tackled this about as well as I had expected, but of course far shy of what I had hoped and they had promised. And their minimal updates have been disappointing to say the least, but it does appear they are ramping up either development, or at least the appearance of it through updates. This is promising that, perhaps, the roughest stuff they severely underestimated is, perhaps, just about out of the way, and now they are getting to the meat of the effort? Or, it's just a realization that they were doing no one a favor by keeping progress updates in the dark.

Hopefully others, like JRiver, with a little more money in the pool, end up creating a well-regarded product sooner than SiliconDust. That said, I don't see anyone offering the breadth of what SD had planned (likely for good reason), and I am still planning on a custom FreeNAS build to, among a few other duties, handle the DVR recording engine and serve up protected content for all devices to enjoy. Windows made it a pain in the ass, only the original device could playback protected content, and the only other option were Extenders which became few and far between, and for all intents and purposes extinct on Windows 8 (save for the 360, which maybe was too difficult to remove support for it on the console so they left it alone. Surely they would have preferred to nuke that capability, who are we kidding, MS does not want to be in that market anymore. Which is a shame, but I digress.)
 
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Jul 9, 2000
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I went with the last Roamio w/lifetime deal for $300. Added a 4TB drive for $99.
 
Apr 8, 2001
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Once they get around to releasing the 6 tuner one i'll likely hop over also.


Have any of you with a tivo now tried transferring the recordings to external storage for non-tivo playback.
 
Nov 27, 2001
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Have any of you with a tivo now tried transferring the recordings to external storage for non-tivo playback.
It looks like TiVo used to have a program that could read recordings right off the hard drive. There appear to be some third party programs, but it looks like the best one is only on Mac. I haven't tried too much because I'm still doing some wiring work, and I haven't hooked up the coax to the runs yet. So, it's still sitting in another room.

Are you referencing this spreadsheet?

That is a user compiled spreadsheet (source)of all the original planned features and their current level of support/development. It is not saying that, for instance, that they will not support Protected Content recorded/viewed in Windows. No, that is the original goal, to support it, but they haven't achieved that yet.
I can't see it at the moment, but I believe that's the one that I'm talking about. The thing is... a feature that doesn't exist is one that may never exist. Also, the guide isn't really all that effective. Another reason is that I was hoping for a lot more integration into what I have, but it seems like the only front-end that would see decent support is Kodi. Sure, I could swap between the two fairly easily -- I did that with WMC as it is -- but I'd rather not. Sure, I have to swap with the TiVo, but I'll let the Harmony remote handle that!
 
Nov 20, 2005
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Windows made it a pain in the ass, only the original device could playback protected content, and the only other option were Extenders which became few and far between, and for all intents and purposes extinct on Windows 8
That isn't really Window's fault. That is the fault of the DRM working as it was designed to work.

IMHO what we really need is not another licensed protected solution like WMC that might be another dead end. We need someone to crack cablecard DRM and find a way around it (and preferably implement that in an open source manner so any software could record those programs and strip out the DRM as you go).

The problem is the motivation to do that is low because quite frankly there are other sources for broadcast TV content. Blu Ray DRM keeps getting defeated because that is the only place to get pristine 1080p copies of content, which means there is money to be made cracking them. The same motivation doesn't exist for TV recorded content.

DRM always works the opposite as it's intended and makes legitimate customers (aka those paying for TV service who just want to record it) have a worse experience than the pirates (aka those who just download the already recorded episodes off the internet automatically). It looks like content companies plan to double down on DRM for 4K content so this isn't the last time we will watch this play out.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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That isn't really Window's fault. That is the fault of the DRM working as it was designed to work.

IMHO what we really need is not another licensed protected solution like WMC that might be another dead end. We need someone to crack cablecard DRM and find a way around it (and preferably implement that in an open source manner so any software could record those programs and strip out the DRM as you go).

The problem is the motivation to do that is low because quite frankly there are other sources for broadcast TV content. Blu Ray DRM keeps getting defeated because that is the only place to get pristine 1080p copies of content, which means there is money to be made cracking them. The same motivation doesn't exist for TV recorded content.

DRM always works the opposite as it's intended and makes legitimate customers (aka those paying for TV service who just want to record it) have a worse experience than the pirates (aka those who just download the already recorded episodes off the internet automatically). It looks like content companies plan to double down on DRM for 4K content so this isn't the last time we will watch this play out.
The thing is, the DRM isn't from the cable companies, it is from the consumer-end software or device that is making a recording. On the cable, the only real difference between some channels is a metadata tag that says Copy-Once vs Copy-Freely. (or, for some PPV content, Copy-Never... which, as a side note, I don't really get, because you can time-shift, but I guess the buffer is different in the software compared to a complete recorded file).

All of that is encrypted/encoded just the same from the cable provider, but that is as a "live-steam" on the cable line, encoded with something likely more complex than QAM. The DRM comes into play at the consumer level, where hardware/software compliance requires a qualified DRM scheme is applied to content which has the Copy-Once. In short, the developer has to provide proof to CableLabs that their package can meet the requirements set forth by the industry, and then I think they get some keys or something that help allow it to happen. But in short, a computer is just capturing the raw MPEG2 stream with metadata, as the CableCARD device, such as the HDHR Prime, decodes the stream encryption. With certification from CableLabs, Microsoft implemented their PlayReady DRM scheme.

I think SiliconDust is also using PlayReady, which of course adds a fair bit of licensing cost to the mix thanks to Microsoft.

But as to your first point, the DRM itself does not technically limit content to playback on only the original device on which it was recorded. Rather, the keys to the DRM can be pushed to allow playback elsewhere. Microsoft chose to limit it either out of spite or to strongly push the Extender system, either way that sucked. I had WMC on both my HTPC and also my desktop so I could watch TV on one of my monitors while at my computer, but I could not watch any recorded copy-once media. If WMC was going to live on, I was contemplating buying a cheap Xbox 360 to serve as an extender, which could browse and play any recorded content on the network.

SD is planning to provide the HDHR DVR suite with the ability to watch all recorded content, DRM or not, on any device you setup. Whether they succeed or not is another story, but that is not a limitation of the DRM scheme. Remember, PlayReady was/is involved with Microsoft's music services. I know it was for sure in Zune, and you could download and even transfer music onto a handful of devices, and if you made it an allowed device and let Zune grab the keys, you could listen to DRM content on up to 5 devices. That was simply an arbitrary limit imposed by Microsoft, but the point is that DRM playback can be extended to possibly an unlimited number of devices, provided you have a means to provide keys that explicitly allow that device.


All that aside, I wholeheartedly agree, DRM is loathsome and should die. It does nothing to limit piracy, only encourages it. But the cable industry is essentially a lost cause. They'll never cater to consumer rights. Only with government mandates from the FCC or the like will Cable ever cater to us. If they had their way it would be a total lock-in. Consumer-rental CableCARD is something that was begrudgingly provided in the first place in order to meet FCC mandates, not something they saw as an opportunity. But their lobbying power is excessive and disgusting, so everything happens at a snails pace.
 
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Apr 8, 2001
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They can't be totally true or every cable company would have the same copy settings for each channel.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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They can't be totally true or every cable company would have the same copy settings for each channel.
Why?

It's up to the cable company to decide what they want to do.

My local cable co flags some channels all the time, and on other channels, flags certain programs.

I have heard Comcast runs with zero flags on all channels (possibly not including HBO and the like, but I don't know).

Honestly, it doesn't benefit the cable company one way or the other. If anything, it is something that is there to appease the networks, and perhaps the smaller companies have less room to tell them to go away, whereas perhaps Comcast and their juggernaut might, may be able to forgo the flags without the networks throwing a fit.

Cable companies are just middle-men in the DRM chain. They are the ones to set the flags, but it's only there to please the networks, who are the ones who most feel they benefit from the copy-once flags, and it's nothing for the cable operators to set and they get no benefit (perhaps kickbacks or lower rates? Who knows how the networks throw their weight around on this matter...).
 
Apr 8, 2001
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You say DRM isn't from the cable company, but the. DRM settings. Vary from cable company to cable company. So at some point, the cable companies are making the DRM decisions.
 
Nov 18, 2005
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You say DRM isn't from the cable company, but the. DRM settings. Vary from cable company to cable company. So at some point, the cable companies are making the DRM decisions.
They don't apply DRM. They set a metadata tag that informs the recording hardware/software that DRM needs to be applied.

Yes, they are making the decision to set that flag, but not arbitrarily. And maybe not, they might not even set it unless they decide to set all flags to copy-freely, like Comcast. I don't know the real how and why behind the flags, and who truly makes that decision, but there must be some difference, because AMC on my cable is usually copy-once, whereas AMC on Comcast might very well be copy-freely.

Does AMC prefer it to be set to copy-once for their hit shows, at the minimum? Almost certainly. But perhaps some cable companies can basically say, yeah, screw you, we'll set it to copy-freely.

Like I said, I don't know who and why the decision is made between setting the copy-freely and copy-once flags, but there is a distinction between cable operators.
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Like I said, I don't know who and why the decision is made between setting the copy-freely and copy-once flags, but there is a distinction between cable operators.
I think the answer is both. Cable companies can set the default states, and the broadcasters can also set the flag. The same cable company in different regions will have different restrictions for the same content. And different cable companies will have different flags for the same content. And every so often you will hear of a show having a a DRM issue like HBO and John Adams, where HBO acknowledged they set the flag. I think AMC also fools around with the DRM as well.
 

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