Can I use the new Comcast DTA with my Panasonic EH50 dvd-recorder? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-28-2009, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Comcast is providing digital adaptors for accessing expanded basic channels after they are converted to digiital. Currently I just have my cable go directly to the RF input on the EH50. So when this change to digital takes place, I assume I won't be able to access these channels? If I connect the DTA, it says I have to tune the tv to channel 3; this piece of garbage only has RF in & out terminals, no RCA composite or s-video. So will I even be able to do recordings on the EH50 with the tv guide? I have the IR emitter, but will it change the channel on the DTA when a program is scheduled to record?

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post #2 of 18 Old 08-29-2009, 05:43 AM
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If your new DTA uses a older IR code you should be OK but Comcast would need to be converting the analog TVGOS to digital. I also wonder if they'll be leaving a few analog channels active for maybe TVGOS? Probably not, but it would be nice. A problem with my last idea though is, because your DTA box is RF only you won't be able to have both a direct RF connection as well as a modulated RF connection to your EH50 at the same time(one for TVGOS, one for recording).
To me, another more troubling thing with a RF only DTA box is you'll not be able to record full screen 16:9, only letter boxed 16:9 which will suffer in picture quality on a larger screen TV.
Personally I'd check with Comcast and see if they have a proper STB that has S-video or at the least composite outputs along with wide screen SD outputs, oh and a event timer would be nice too. It sounds like the free DTA boxes are basically junk, which is what I'll guess your picture quality will look like recording through them, unless you have a small cheaper TV.
My EH50 that's hooked to analog Comcast cable has been working fine AFA TVGOS but I'm sure it's only a matter of time Oh and by fine I mean as good as analog cable ever looked, which really isn't that good compared to OTA HD or even DVD quality downscaled OTA HD.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-29-2009, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

If your new DTA uses a older IR code you should be OK but Comcast would need to be converting the analog TVGOS to digital. I also wonder if they'll be leaving a few analog channels active for maybe TVGOS? Probably not, but it would be nice. A problem with my last idea though is, because your DTA box is RF only you won't be able to have both a direct RF connection as well as a modulated RF connection to your EH50 at the same time(one for TVGOS, one for recording).
To me, another more troubling thing with a RF only DTA box is you'll not be able to record full screen 16:9, only letter boxed 16:9 which will suffer in picture quality on a larger screen TV.
Personally I'd check with Comcast and see if they have a proper STB that has S-video or at the least composite outputs along with wide screen SD outputs, oh and a event timer would be nice too. It sounds like the free DTA boxes are basically junk, which is what I'll guess your picture quality will look like recording through them, unless you have a small cheaper TV.
My EH50 that's hooked to analog Comcast cable has been working fine AFA TVGOS but I'm sure it's only a matter of time Oh and by fine I mean as good as analog cable ever looked, which really isn't that good compared to OTA HD or even DVD quality downscaled OTA HD.

The first photo shows the Comcast Pace DC50X Digital Transport Adapter (DTA) Self-Installation Kit. The IR is used if the DTA is installed where it is inaccessible to the remote control's signal.

I have my DTA connected directly to a 13" RCA CRT TV in my bedroom, see the second, third and fourth photos.

I could have connected the DTA to a Magnavox 2160 HDD/DVD recorder set up nearby but since that recorder currently receives around 115 clear QAM "channels" directly from the raw Comcast coax cable feed there was no need to use the DTA's analog RF output feed as the 2160's signal source. The 2160 composite output, along with that of a Sony DVD player, is fed through a Philips SWV2030/17 3-Input Video Switcher to the RCA TV, as seen in the second photo. (Since the RCA TV is mono the right audio output connections are not utilized.)

As far as I may determine the Comcast DTA remote has no way to alter the DTA's "native" aspect ratio. Of course, the (circa 2003) RCA CRT TV does not provide for any aspect ratio modifications. The DTA's native aspect ratio is letterbox when watching NCIS on USA (mapped to "channel" 58), see the third photo. The DTA's native aspect ratio is full screen when watching a Perry Mason episode on KPTV (mapped to "channel" 12), see the fourth photo.

When watching Perry Mason episodes on KPTV (channel 12.1) through clear QAM or ATSC tuners the picture is a "postage stamp" (with bars all around) i.e., a 16x9 feed. At the moment I'm viewing KPTV through this DTA and TV. A locally-produced program is letterbox, some of the commercials are letterbox and some commercials are 4x3.

I would assume that our local Comcast operation automatically switches the DTA signal to full screen when the original image source is a "postage stamp" and letterbox when the original image is 16x9. This is probably a concession to those wanting a "bigger" screen-filling picture over against those that want to see the "entire" original image.

Before the Pace DTA was set up I had some concerns that the Comcast DTA remote might have a conflict with the standard "Comcast" remotes supplied with with their converter boxes and DVRs. Once the DTA was set up, at first right next to the Comcast Motorola DCT700 converter box, I found that there was no conflict between these Comcast remotes. Since the DTA is a newly introduced product and the family of Comcast converter box and DVR remotes are of a much older design (and they may be interchanged with each other) I conclude that the Comcast DTA and its remote use an operating code unique to DTA's.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-29-2009, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

It sounds like the free DTA boxes are basically junk...

"Junk" is right. "Useless" might be a good word too. It's like, "Yeah - we'll give you a free box - but you can't really do anything with it (and hell - we made damned good sure of that, too)".
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-29-2009, 12:54 PM
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What this amounts to is the first wave of forced migration to decoder boxes, as I've been predicting since last year. If you're an oldster with no particular interest in hardware or recording, who simply views on a 27" CRT television, these crummy DTA boxes will be transparent in use and you won't really care. This is what Comcast is banking on: that they'll get away with observing the bare minimum requirements to meet regulations (i.e., as long as Ma and Pa Kettle can still watch basic cable without officially being asked to pay extra for a decoder, Comcast skates by the FCC.)

Where it gets nasty is if you actually give a damn about video and audio quality, have a new large flat screen, and/or want to use a recorder. For all intents and purposes, if you need/want to maintain decent cable service you will be booted off the "no box rental required" tier and forced to rent the standard STB (and probably onto a more expensive tier which includes the STB). There is no recourse for consumers to protest this, because its a hairsplitting technicality and subjective opinion: the free DTA boxes may suck, but they do work and you can watch TV thru them and even record thru them. Their performance and versatility is beyond contempt, but that is insignificant to the feds: Comcast will simply say they are not charging you extra for the DTA, so they are within regulations, in fact the DTA is an added expense to Comcast- so please shut up and go home. End of story.

There will be dozens more threads on this topic in the coming weeks and months: I advise everyone affected by it to avoid much aggravation and handwringing by just giving up now. You can't win, the service you prefer is dead. Call your cable provider, sign up for the standard STB decoder, and get on with your life. Do it now, before there's a run on STBs and they tell you you have to sign up for a more expensive PVR instead.

(BTW the newspapers announced today that Comcast has convinced the feds to drop ownership regulations, so they can buy up more small cable franchises and perhaps a few big ones: the shadow of Comcast is only going to grow larger.)
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-29-2009, 01:36 PM
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post #7 of 18 Old 08-29-2009, 02:07 PM
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Well, I'm not gonna argue with that one. I can't. I must be to want to put up with what I do around here.

Better hurry up and get those "10,000 posts" yourself, so you can officially call yourself "sick", too.
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post #8 of 18 Old 09-04-2009, 05:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Tomaskovic View Post

Comcast is providing digital adaptors for accessing expanded basic channels after they are converted to digiital...

...I have the IR emitter, but will it change the channel on the DTA when a program is scheduled to record?

I'm a NEW DVDR (with and without HDD, but *WITH* ATSC/QAM Tuner! ) User, but an *OLD* TiVo/ReplayTV User so, with than in mind, here's MY answer.
  1. The Panasonic EH50 needs the ability to control a STB via an "IR Blaster". I'll 'assume' it does.
    .
  2. The Panasonic EH50 needs to have a 'built-in' code for the Pace DC-50X DTA. I'll 'assume it doesn't.
    .
  3. Someone needs to have HACKED a routine to modify the firmware on the Panasonic EH50 to accept NEW "IR Blaster" codes. I'll 'assume' no one has, yet...
    .
  4. *WHEN* someone does, you can:
    • Visit the JP-1 Forum
    • Download the Pace DC-50X codes
    • Update the firmware in the Panasonic EH50 to use those codes
Examples of this 'exercise' for ReplayTV 5xxx Owners:
Best of luck to you!

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post #9 of 18 Old 09-05-2009, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

My EH50 that's hooked to analog Comcast cable has been working fine AFA TVGOS but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

We will be going through this in Feb, 2010. Grrr...my two Panny's are going all the time on the expanded basis channels. As to the TVGOS, I found this on Comcast's site at: http://www.comcast.com/digitalnow/FA...aq_map&fss=dta

FAQ 34. My TV has an embedded electronic program guide. Will I be able to continue to use this guide after I install the Digital Adapter?
Yes. The Digital Adapter will pass through the guide data necessary for your TVs programming guide.

I interpret this to mean that my DVD recorders will continue to get the TV listings. Am I wrong?

What a pain this is going to be...
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post #10 of 18 Old 09-05-2009, 11:19 AM
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But they did use the term "TV" and not "Replay TV" so maybe it will do what the DTVPal CECB does, of course the PACE DTA would need to have a older IR code that something like the EH-50 would have in it's firmware. If not I see no way for it to work.
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post #11 of 18 Old 09-05-2009, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mjw1948 View Post

FAQ 34. My TV has an embedded electronic program guide. Will I be able to continue to use this guide after I install the Digital Adapter?
Yes. The Digital Adapter will pass through the guide data necessary for your TVs programming guide.

I interpret this to mean that my DVD recorders will continue to get the TV listings. Am I wrong?

Yes, they are wrong, as far as what you're needing. They most likely misunderstand you.

The only thing you could possibly "get" through the box that they may be referring to is their guide channel with the TV Guide logo on it. But that won't give you the TVGOS signal (unless they are assuming you have a digital TV with the newer, digital version of TVGOS - OR, maybe they're assuming the Pal or Artec CECB will convert it. Even if it did, you might not be able to get the info for all the cable channels).

The DTA only gives you digital channels, so there's no way for it to pass the analog guide data to your old analog TVGOS recorder. They can only send the analog data over an analog channel.

What you may be able to do, though, is rent a tuner which will allow you to hook it up to the recorder over s-video or composite (to a line input) by splitting the coax signal. Then, run the other lead into the RF input on the recorder, and if they're sending the analog data over a (most likely, local) analog channel, you will get the guide. The tuner might either be able to be controlled by an IR blaster, or it may have a timer or reminder feature built-in, so that it can change channels (so even if you don't get guide data, at least you can set timers on the recorder manually).

Since both coax leads would have to go into the RF input on the recorder, you couldn't do the same thing with the DTA - unless you can find some kind of "RF-to-composite-or-s-video-adaptor" for the box's input into the recorder (a "reverse" RF modulator, maybe?). Then you can just split the signal first and add that. Only thing is, you won't be able to change channels on the box - you'll just have to settle for the guide info, assuming you can even get that. So it can only be one or the other. If you rent the better tuner and try that instead, and it doesn't work out, you could always return it (plus, all you'll need for that is a standard splitter).
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post #12 of 18 Old 09-05-2009, 03:19 PM
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Wouldn't the DTA converter contain a analog RF modulator? If so and if the EH-50 had a IR code to control the DTA, I see no reason the EH-50 couldn't blast the DTA but pick up the signal over CH 3 or 4.

Actually thinking this through more I wonder if you set the EH-50 up for STB use maybe it only looks for TVGOS from the line 3 input and not channel 3 or 4? I think I see what you mean. AFA a reverse RF modulator I guess I haven't really seen one but I suppose a very hokey alternative would be a VCR tuned to channel 3 and then I suppose it's line output would be channel 3. This sounds way too complicated(who knows if the VCR would even pass the TVGOS signal), I agree a STB with a line output is a better alternative(if even that will work).
The future of TVGOS for our analog DVDRs is looking bleaker everyday
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post #13 of 18 Old 09-06-2009, 02:02 PM
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Found on the AVS ReplayTV Forum: Panasonic EH75 with Motorola DCH70 (Comcast) - IR codes work

How similar is the EH-50 to the EH-75?

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post #14 of 18 Old 09-06-2009, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearToLand View Post

Found on the AVS ReplayTV Forum: Panasonic EH75 with Motorola DCH70 (Comcast) - IR codes work

How similar is the EH-50 to the EH-75?

I think the issue is this DTA is a Pace DC50X which the Panasonics don't know about.

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post #15 of 18 Old 09-06-2009, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Wouldn't the DTA converter contain a analog RF modulator?

For a time Comcast advised customers that the transition to "digital" meant that Comcast customers "don't have to do anything." Then that message was replaced with one where the customer was "required" to have a "digital device" supplied by Comcast. At the minimum that device is a new product, the Pace DC50X "Digital Transport Adapter." The DTA is a product of 2009 that has unique remote signals. The Panasonics being discussed here are 2005 and 2006 models from the "analog era."

I don't plan to open my DTA as it has tamper resistant-tape, see the attached photo. I won't tell you that this tape is easily lifted without damaging it by gently using the end of an unfolded standard-sized paperclip. Nor will I tell you that there is a single T10 case screw that appears to hold the top to the rest of the case. So, what's inside? I don't know because I haven't opened my DTA. Like Sergeant Schultz, "I know nothing, nothing."
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post #16 of 18 Old 09-06-2009, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Tomaskovic View Post

I think the issue is this DTA is a Pace DC50X which the Panasonics don't know about.

Which I addressed 2 days ago in Post #8.

What I'm adding today is Panasonic EH-75 User Zaphod221, who has more interest in this topic than me, finally gave up on using the Pace DTA and switched to the Motorola STB.

I interpreted his post as saying "If you want to continue using your Panasonic EH-75 with Comcast, give up on the Pace DC-50X (2 FREE) and use a Motorola DCH70 (1 FREE)".

For us ReplayTV users, NONE of this would be possible without the groundwork (ability to modify the ReplayTV firmware) of FlipFlop. Thus, since, AFAICT, you Panasonic DVDR folks DON'T have this ability, your only option, at this time, is to forget the Pace and go with the Motorola.

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post #17 of 18 Old 09-06-2009, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigaDo View Post

...At the minimum that device is a new product, the Pace DC50X "Digital Transport Adapter." The DTA is a product of 2009 that has unique remote signals. The Panasonics being discussed here are 2005 and 2006 models from the "analog era."...

At the beginning of this Comcast / Pace DC-50X debacle, when the existing "Pace 0237" code didn't work for the ReplayTV, posts appeared on multiple forums that the DC-50X utilized a NEW IR PROTOCOL that the ReplayTV could not transmit (since it was developed 'so long ago'). IIRC, someone identifying himself as a "Pace Employee" *CONFIRMED* this statement.

Then, a few weeks ago, a ReplayTV user / programmer / hacker got his 5xxx working with the DC-50X. And, shortly afterwards, another ReplayTV user got his even older Showstopper (2xxx/3xxx) working (built late 1990s, early 2000s).

So, IMHO, the problem with the Panasonic DVDRs is NOT the age of the hardware, but simply the missing commands. *IF* you folks had your own FlipFlop, then you might have a chance.

BTW, AFAICT, adding "IR Blaster" codes to the Showstopper/ReplayTV began back in ~2003 when the first HDTV Receivers (NOT Converters) became available.

Re: '2005/2006 vs Unique/2009', please read what I posted regarding ReplayTV back in 2008: [How-Do-I] Control My NEW OTA Digital STB With My OLD ReplayTV?

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post #18 of 18 Old 09-06-2009, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ClearToLand View Post


How similar is the EH-50 to the EH-75?

The '05 EH-50 and '06 EH-75 should be very similar in regards to IR blaster operation. Although it is possible since the EH-75 is a year newer it may have a few more IR codes, that I wouldn't know.
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