8300 Hard Drive? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-05-2009, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I found in the trash a fairly late model Scientific Atlanta Explorer
8300HD with a 160GB Western Digital hard drive inside. I called the
cable company to return thinking I might get some kind of finders fee
but they were not interested in my benevolence so screw 'em. Before I
cannibalize this thing and remove the hard drive I thought I would ask
around and see if there was anyway to use this box as a regular DVR
not hooked up to cable ( I do get basic cable but when hooking up the
box I get an unauthorized use message). I know the architecture is
proprietary and after looking on Google I was unable to find any hacks
to make this thing workable. Anyone know of any links? TIA.
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-05-2009, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phaedruspress View Post

Before I cannibalize this thing and remove the hard drive I thought I would ask around and see if there was anyway to use this box as a regular DVR not hooked up to cable ( I do get basic cable but when hooking up the box I get an unauthorized use message). I know the architecture is proprietary and after looking on Google I was unable to find any hacks to make this thing workable. Anyone know of any links? TIA.

Unless there's an electronics whiz on here to say otherwise, I don't think you can use it for anything without the authorization? I used to get PO'd whenever our cable went out, thinking that I could at least watch the DVR until the cable came back on, NOPE!
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-05-2009, 05:41 PM
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You cannot use these boxes for OTA recording. They are only set up to receive from cable, either cable-based analog, or QAM digital (not the same as 8VSB, which is the modulation used for ATSC). Also, they require cableco head-end infrastructure to be present so they can netboot themselves into the software the cable provider actually runs. So no, you won't be able to use the box for recording.

Your first instinct was the right one. Strip for parts. That's really all you can do with it.
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-06-2009, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
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You cannot use these boxes for OTA recording. They are only set up to receive from cable, either cable-based analog, or QAM digital (not the same as 8VSB, which is the modulation used for ATSC). Also, they require cableco head-end infrastructure to be present so they can netboot themselves into the software the cable provider actually runs. So no, you won't be able to use the box for recording.

Thanks for the info however being a novice most of what you said went over me. It seems however that part of the problem is the proprietary software. If somehow that could be deleted that may be a step in the right direction. I found this info while digging around. Is this what you mean by "cableco head-end"

Still another model, the 8300HDC, has the same functionality as the 8300HD. However, it includes a multi-stream cableCARD. The box is a host for the card, which authorizes the box for use. Security protocols are contained within the card instead of within the set-top box itself (known as "separable security"), as it had been in the past. This was done to be in compliance with the FCC mandate that all new set-top boxes employ separable security.

TIA.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-06-2009, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phaedruspress View Post

It seems however that part of the problem is the proprietary software. If somehow that could be deleted that may be a step in the right direction.

I don't think you understand.

The box itself doesn't have "the software". The software that these boxes run resides on systems at the cable company's head-end (where they colocate all their equipment for managing their infrastructure, injecting programming for transmission out on their network, etc.). The cable boxes netboot. When they're turned on, they attempt to find boot servers on the network, and load the software over the network from them. All that resides on the box itself is firmware - boot code which it uses to POST itself and fetch the software which it will then run. Thus you can't "delete" anything from it. It's just a dumb box without the cable company's infrastructure. The disk it contains (in the case of the DVR units) is strictly for storing recorded video streams, nothing else

Also, the tuner hardware in it only handles specific formats - NTSC analog over cable, and QAM digital over cable, on cable frequency schedules. It doesn't have the necessary componentry to pull in programming over the air.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phaedruspress View Post

I found this info while digging around. Is this what you mean by "cableco head-end"

Still another model, the 8300HDC, has the same functionality as the 8300HD. However, it includes a multi-stream cableCARD. The box is a host for the card, which authorizes the box for use. Security protocols are contained within the card instead of within the set-top box itself (known as "separable security"), as it had been in the past. This was done to be in compliance with the FCC mandate that all new set-top boxes employ separable security.

That's just referring to the CableCARDs, which (as mentioned) separate the security/authorization function from the box functions (tuning, running software, guide functionality, and so on). Even if you had an 8300HDC box, it's still subject to the same limitations - also, while it has a CableCARD slot, and is generally shipped with a CableCARD in the unit (affixed in place and behind a bolted/locked panel, typically), you still wouldn't be able to use it, since the box is not licensed under CableLabs' licensing rules - they're pretty much universally the property of the cable provider, and because it's theirs, they can put whatever they want on *their* network, but they can limit what *you* can put on their network to specifically authorized equipment. It doesn't change the fact that the box's functionality still fundamentally depends on the cable company's support infrastructure to work - it loads software from the cable company's equipment, it loads guide data from there, etc. Without it, it's a stupid useless box.
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-07-2009, 06:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

I don't think you understand.

snip

Thanks for that info. You're Right. I did not understand. Too bad about that "dumb" box since it certainly appears to be a nice set of electronics. I guess a 160GB hard drive is not a bad consolation prize.
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