Magnavox mdr 513h recording issue - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 43 Old 04-19-2012, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I just purchased the MDR513H to replace my current Comcast DVR. I thought I will be able to record all my Comcast channels (expanded service). When I run the auto channel set I was very surprised it only went up to channel 135. Is there a way (special connection) to record all the channels? I want to ahead and schedule recordings to the higher Comcast channels. I do not want to have the TV on the channel to record it. Please can someone explain to me how to do it in easy to understand way? According to my understanding I think the higher Comcast channels are scrambled but there must be a way to do it.
Thank you very much.
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post #2 of 43 Old 04-19-2012, 07:28 AM
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Your 513's tuner is diff. than the one in your TV... it remaps all unscrambled cable channels to either the same main ch. number or different main ch. numbers, depending on the content of the cable signal

It will NOT tune scrambled channels.

You'll have to correlate your TV's ch. numbers to the 513's, such as TV 132-200 is on 513 ch. 72.2. You do that by content of the channels... same network, same show at same time.

Some cable ch. appear on the same main number but on diff. subchannels numbers, such as TV 132-200 on 513 132.3, so look for those matching main ch. numbers first.

This is explained in more detail here.
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post #3 of 43 Old 04-19-2012, 07:30 AM
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You probably should have done a bit more reading about these recorders in the sticky thread at the top before your purchase. When connected directly to a cable they will only tune in the unscrambled analog and unscrambled digital (clear QAM) channels. Depending on your cable system that may restrict you to only the local channels you could receive with an antenna. In order to receive and record all the channels you subscribe to and with the channel numbers above 135 that you are used to seeing, you need a cable-card equipped device such as a TiVo or one of several PC tuners. DVD recorders do not have cable-card capability and in general cause fits for a lot of cable users. They are NOT a substitute for a cable company STB or DVR.

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post #4 of 43 Old 04-19-2012, 08:44 AM
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JL63 and others:

As I said above, the Mags can't tune scrambled channels. However, no one but YOU can know in advance what unscrambled channels you will get with one of these recorders in YOUR cable system in YOUR locale.

The only way YOU will know is by what a modern HDTV with digital tuner can receive w/o the cable box. Whatever your HDTV can tune, the Mag HDD recorders can tune.

The only remaining question is what channel NUMBERS the Mag will map the cableco's unscrambled higher-numbered channels to.

For instance, in MY locale, I get 61 analog channels and 36 digital channels... the major network HD channels and lots more, of which 20-25 are channels their box tunes in the ch. #'s above 135. My re-mapped high-numbered channels run from 143-862 with their box.

My Philips/Mag recorders map those 20-25 higher digital channels to #s like 20.x, 21.x, 56.x, 71.x, 75.x, etc.

Of course, any HD channels will be in SD since that's required by the DVD spec... still a very good pic, but not true HD. So, if you must have true HD, the Mags are not for you.

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post #5 of 43 Old 04-19-2012, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wajo View Post

The only way YOU will know is by what a modern HDTV with digital tuner can receive w/o the cable box. Whatever your HDTV can tune, the Mag HDD recorders can tune.

Or not. It has been reported by multiple posters here, time and again, that the Magnavox (and other DVD recorders) use half-assed tuners that are nowhere near as sophisticated at handling no-box-cable signals as the tuners built into current televisions.

Before anyone new to AVS swallows the monumental hype and runs to WalMart under the delusion they're going to stick it to ComCast or TWC, and get around box fees and PVR fees by buying a Magnavox: think again. Think three times. Then drop the idea totally and rent the PVR from the cableco. The Magnavox is a lovely machine, I own two of them, but they are no substitute for a cable PVR unless you are completely satisfied with the bare minimum handful of basic channels. They work fantastic with off-air signals from an antenna, and they work well if hooked up to a full-service cable box or satellite box. But if you currently have no-box cable, you run a 50/50 chance you'll want to take a giant hammer to any DVD recorder you buy.

The cable service of today is not the cable service of 5 years ago, when the Magnavox and most other DVD recorders were last redesigned. Cable has found many loopholes to get around Clear-QAM and other "boxless" service tiers. ComCast is the worst offender, they started the mess, and other cablecos have seen their success and copied the idea: give "free" crappy mini decoder boxes (DTAs) to boxless cable subscribers, defeating the use of cable tuners in DVD recorders and televisions. If you are on ComCast, don't waste your time with a DVD recorder unless you are prepared to tune all channels thru a decoder box (not the recorder itself).

If you are on some other cable franchise, and have NO box involved at all (cable goes directly into your TV), you can make a DVD recorder work for you with difficulty until the inevitable day they ape ComCast and issue you a "free" decoder box. I say "with difficulty" because the cable tuners built into most DVD recorders (like the Magnavox) tune the signal differently from the way a television tunes it. Most TVs self-adjust the frequencies and other parameters, but DVD recorders go completely wonky as wajo briefly described above. The degree of wonkiness varies, but more often than not is constant and requires some technical awareness. You must be willing to understand the concept of channel mapping, channel duplication, analog vs QAM conflicts, quirks of the recorder channel scan process, quirks of the recorder forgetting channels at random, and so on. There are workarounds involving complex wiring hookups (looping thru the decoder box for some channels and using the recorder tuner for others) that may or may not help you, depends on your system and comfort with complicated setups.

It is not a case of reading a few paragraphs in a forum thread, picking up a couple pointers, setting up the recorder once, and having it work perfectly ever after. This is annoying enough in households of one person, if you are married and your wife is not a fellow geek she will have absolutely no patience with this nonsense. This forum is populated by a great many geeks who think everyone has their technical inclinations and patience, and write as if these issues with cable are trivial. They are not trivial, they're a huge PITA on some cable systems. Think it over very carefully, and if you decide to try a DVD recorder be sure you buy it from a dealer with a no-questions-asked return policy. There's a reason DVD recorders have nearly been wiped from the market: recent cable trends have rendered them impractical.
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post #6 of 43 Old 04-19-2012, 11:51 AM
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I'm just a little concerned by the comment by the OP that they don't "want to have the TV on the channel to record it."

That's never been the way TV recorders work. There are very few TVs that can be used as a source for a recorder to get picture and sound from. (The number that can are so few you could pretty much say there are none.)

Traditionally, TV recorders (going back to the VCR) have their own TV tuners built in. They also have the ability to take a feed off a cable box.

You could throw your TV out the window and the recorder (maybe with a cable box) would be able to do its job.

You just wouldn't be able to see what it's doing, the TV being outside and all.

The same is true of these Magnavox recorders today.

The TV doesn't need to be left on if the recorder is getting a direct connection to the cable, or a feed from the cable box.

The recorder's own tuner will give it the picture and sound it needs if you're recording an unscrambled channel its tuner can get, or you could use the cable box and audio/video cables to feed the picture and sound from the box to the recorder, and set the recorder to use those inputs.

Side point-
The tuner only scanned up to channel 135 because that's all the channels there are on digital cable. The cable company renumbers them and tells the cable boxes to make them seem to have higher numbers, but usually there are several channels sharing the same channel number, each of them being a "sub-channel", with a single channel carrying four or even more different channel feeds.
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post #7 of 43 Old 04-20-2012, 07:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your advice. I should read this forum before buying it. I guess I will stick with it as a DVD player and record shows while they are playing and watch TV on another TV... I am not that tech savvy and do not how to access the rest of the channels the procedure is kind of complicated. When I called Magnavox they told me to try a splitter from the cable that comes from the wall. Does anybody think this will work???
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post #8 of 43 Old 04-20-2012, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

Thank you all for your advice. I should read this forum before buying it. I guess I will stick with it as a DVD player and record shows while they are playing and watch TV on another TV... I am not that tech savvy and do not how to access the rest of the channels the procedure is kind of complicated. When I called Magnavox they told me to try a splitter from the cable that comes from the wall. Does anybody think this will work???

Not sure what procedure was complicated.

Did you read my first link and was that complicated? It explains how some of the cable company's uncrambled higher channels might be on different channels numbers in the Mag after an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital), and you might have to compare the CONTENT of channels between your HDTV and the Mag. That would let you know where those higher channels reside in the Mag's tuner.

If it's a question of connections and setup, have you been to this help file, Sketch 2 for cable without a box. Is that the complicated part? In that Connections link, there's a step-by-step procedure and lots more text explaining the setup.
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post #9 of 43 Old 04-20-2012, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

Thank you all for your advice. I should read this forum before buying it. I guess I will stick with it as a DVD player and record shows while they are playing and watch TV on another TV... I am not that tech savvy and do not how to access the rest of the channels the procedure is kind of complicated. When I called Magnavox they told me to try a splitter from the cable that comes from the wall. Does anybody think this will work???


JL63-

I currently have both of my 515s set up to record off their own tuner and off a cable box.

I get everything I want to record.

Splitter, yes.

Feed one cable directly to the Magnavox recorder, and the other cable to the cable box.

From the cable box, connect either the S-Video output or the Composite (yellow plug) output to the corresponding input on the front or back of the Magnavox, using the appropriate cable.

Do the same with the cable box's red and white (right and left) audio output jacks and the Magnavox's red and white audio input jacks.

This setup will allow you to both get the channels only available thru the cable box, as well as use the recorder's own tuner to tune and record what channels aren't scrambled.

That should get you started.

If you have trouble with setting up the tuner, let us know.

NONE of this is complicated.
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post #10 of 43 Old 04-20-2012, 01:12 PM
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OH
The day's of my Mitsubishi U-69......
Where did they go LOL !!
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post #11 of 43 Old 04-20-2012, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks gastrof and wajo I will try your advise gastrof and let u know. Once again TYVM to all of you :-)
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post #12 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I did the connection as explained by gastrof also did multiple scans with the same results I only get up to ch 135 (DTV). Cannot access the 400's channels. Thank you all for your help.
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post #13 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

I did the connection as explained by gastrof also did multiple scans with the same results I only get up to ch 135 (DTV). Cannot access the 400's channels. Thank you all for your help.

Please re-read Post 2 and 4 above... some of your 400 channels *could* be within the 135... LOOK FOR NETWORK AND CONTENT, not the same ch. #s.

More details on tuning here.

Are you seeing ANY of the cableco's higher-numbered channels (based on network and content, not ch. #)?

It is possible that ALL their 400-numbered channels are scrambled. If your HDTV gets them (based on network and content), then they're not scrambled. Your HDTV has to re-map the cableco's higher-numbered channels, so you'll have to look for those channels in your TV based on network and content, just like with the Mag 513. Your TV can sometimes provide a clue as to where higher-numbered channels reside in its tuner... often the TV's MAIN ch. # (87.x) will be the same in the 513, just a diff. subchannel #, like 87-400 in the TV but 87.1 in the 513.

Also, make sure you did an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital).
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post #14 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Wajo. I am not seeing any 400's channels. I did all the procedures even trying to add them manually with no success with the 400's and the 600's channels. BTW I am with Comcast expanded and muti-latino Spanish channels (for my wife) in the Miami area if that would help…..
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post #15 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 11:04 AM
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I hope you're not saying you don't see any channels in the Mag with #400-something in their numbering... you won't see any of those.

Only thing you can do is determine network and content of a high-numbered cable channel, like NBC News or a Latino program, on a different channel number in the Mag... like 400-733 in a diff. channel slot like 87.4.

Then again, as I said above, your cableco might be scrambing ALL of their 400 and 600 channels?

It would really help to list what channels and network your 513 tunes as of now.
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post #16 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks wajo how can I see that list on my 513?
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post #17 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

I did the connection as explained by gastrof also did multiple scans with the same results I only get up to ch 135 (DTV). Cannot access the 400's channels. Thank you all for your help.



JL-

I have a feeling you're pulling our leg.

I plainly told you above that there only are 135 digital cable channels.

Naturally that's all the channels the Magnavox will be able to tune. That's all there are.

You were also told that those channels can each carry several separate channels.

Sub channels would be like
102.1
102.2
102.3
102.4

and so on.

Those "sub-channels" are renumbered by the cable box, making it look like there are a lot more than 135 channels.

You should NOT be expecting to get all of the cable channels on the Magnavox tuner, because you were told there are scrambled channels and you can only get those on the cable box.

You were told you'd need the cable box to get the scrambled channels.

Why you're still trying to get everything on the Magnavox tuner, I don't understand.

The scrambled channels you can only get on the cable box won't show up on the Magnavox tuner's scan.

The cable box isn't coming in thru the tuner. It's coming in thru the audio/video inputs.

That was all explained to you.

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post #18 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 04:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

JL-

I have a feeling you're pulling our leg.

I don't think so. I think he is simply one of the common masses who simply doesn't understand that this box is not a replacement for his cable co STB or DVR and doesn't have the expertise to make it work in the limited capacity it is capable of -- even with all the hand-holding.

I sense another funai recorder on its way to J&R.

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post #19 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

Thanks wajo how can I see that list on my 513?

It's supposed to display on your TV screen naturally as you "surf" the channels with CH+/- button... I don't even think there's a setting to turn that off.

Not seeing the channel numbers on the TV screen suggests something wrong in your setup, I believe. The channels do show in the 513's front panel, but you shouldn't have to rely on that small display to see channels numbers.

Do you still have Comcast's set top box (STB)?

How is your 513 connected to your cable (STB if you have one)? If it's on coax AFTER a STB, that's why it won't tune any channels by itself and why you can't see the #400 channels thru the 513.

How is your 513 connected to your TV?
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post #20 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelson View Post

I don't think so. I think he is simply one of the common masses who simply doesn't understand...

He's had it explained to him repeatedly.

How can he not understand?

I'm not the only one on these forums who's seen people have things repeatedly explained to them, only to have them stay on the same track, still coming up with the same problem and not paying attention to what they've being told...and then commented "I've got the feeling you're pulling our leg".

Sure, he might just not be paying attention, but if so, WHY?

How many times can we explain the same thing and have it not understood?
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post #21 of 43 Old 04-22-2012, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gastrof View Post

He's had it explained to him repeatedly.

How can he not understand?

One needs a certain level of expertise to understand that which is being communicated. In the same way, one needs a certain level of expertise in order to simply ask the proper question. Have you never help a very young child with homework?

All I'm suggesting is that the level of the explanations is somewhat above the level of the OP's expertise. If you want to continue you may have to restart the conversation at ground-level -- patiently.

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post #22 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
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My connection is as follows. Wall cable to splitter, coax to cable box model RNG 110 (Comcast), Coax to MDR Antenna in, Audio out from cable box to Audio in to MDR513H via 3 cables: red, white, yellow. HDMI from cable box to TV and from MDR to TV.
I am NOT PULLING nobody’s leg as I told you at the beginning I am not a tech savvy. I am not as lucky as gastrof. Now I guess the only thing left for me to do is to sell the MDR on e-Bay and go back and paying Comcast a DVR rental.
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post #23 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 06:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

My connection is as follows. Wall cable to splitter, coax to cable box model RNG 110 (Comcast), Coax to MDR Antenna in, Audio out from cable box to Audio in to MDR513H via 3 cables: red, white, yellow. HDMI from cable box to TV and from MDR to TV.
I am NOT PULLING nobody's leg as I told you at the beginning I am not a tech savvy. I am not as lucky as gastrof. Now I guess the only thing left for me to do is to sell the MDR on e-Bay and go back and paying Comcast a DVR rental.

JL63, don't get discouraged. People want to help you, but they need a little more input from you to be able to assist.

If you are not willing to deal with the idiosyncrasies of this machine, consider returning it to the place you bought it. If it was W*lmart, they will take it back no problem.
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post #24 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks morc258. I'll keep trying. I don’t want people to think that I am trying to “pull a leg” or wasting their time, simply I do not understand some of the terminology and I am doing everything I was told to do.
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post #25 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 07:27 AM
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The one thing you haven't answered is whether you did an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital) in the Mag.

If it picks up NO channels whatsoever, then you're stuck with the Mag only able to record stuff from the box and maybe not worth it to you.
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post #26 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 08:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

I did the connection as explained by gastrof also did multiple scans with the same results I only get up to ch 135 (DTV). Cannot access the 400's channels. Thank you all for your help.

It looks like you were successful on doing the scan. Now that you have that, please tell us if you can use channel up & down and tune channels with the Magnavox. If you can tune channels that way, please tell us if you see any channels with a decimal in them. Like 2.1 or 2.2 and the like. Manually channel up through all the channels and report back.
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post #27 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Once again thank you all for your help.
Wajo: I did an Auto Channel Preset > Cable (Analog/Digital) in the Mag.
morch528: I will trying doing the channel up & down and tune channels when I get back home and let you guys now.
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post #28 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by JL63 View Post

Now I guess the only thing left for me to do is to sell the MDR on e-Bay and go back and paying Comcast a DVR rental.

I feel that will be the best answer... in the other hand, JL63 is only another victim of Gredywood. (Or maybe he can ask for a cablecard and a TiVo)
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post #29 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by profhat View Post

I feel that will be the best answer... in the other hand, JL63 is only another victim of Gredywood. (Or maybe he can ask for a cablecard and a TiVo)

profhat, I meant to ask the other day. Is Gredywood a Portmanteau for Greedy Hollywood?
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post #30 of 43 Old 04-23-2012, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by morc258 View Post

profhat, I meant to ask the other day. Is Gredywood a Portmanteau for Greedy Hollywood?

What a terrific SAT word -- and obviously I don't mean gredywood.

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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