Samsung GX-SM530CF - CableCard tuner and media streamer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 275 Old 11-10-2013, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
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This IS the device I have been looking for - a CableCard box that I don't have to rent, small and it does Netflix, Amazon etc.

It is the perfect device for that TV in the kitchen or guest room where I don't want (or want to pay for) a large, clunky cable box or full DVR. It is small, about an inch thick and its footprint is smaller than an iPad.

Even though I have not yet been able to try this with a CableCard, I am impressed. It scanned and recognized all the Clear QAM channels and eliminated all the encrypted ones. Tuning is fast. Although it offers a setup option for 'Antenna' or 'Digital Cable System', it does not tune ATSC OTA signals (although I am suspicious that it might in the future).

I am not familiar with the Samsung SmartTV platform, but it seems to have the same functionality as their Blu-ray players.

You can see the manual and setup guide here:

http://www.samsung.com/us/support/owners/product/GX-SM530CF/XAA
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post #2 of 275 Old 11-10-2013, 04:13 PM
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Thanks for the info... I just picked up one to play with.

Bob

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post #3 of 275 Old 11-10-2013, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bdfox18doe View Post

Thanks for the info... I just picked up one to play with.


Where did you find it for sale? Amazon lists it for $148 but Temporarily out of stock, something they do before they actually get it in stock. This thing seems to be very new? Very unique that it has a CC, which is basically a prerequisite for cable folks now days as clear QAM is going the way of the dodo bird.

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-GX-SM530CF-Streaming-Player-Built-In/dp/B00EYO241Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1384127671&sr=8-1&keywords=Samsung+GX-SM530CF

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post #4 of 275 Old 11-10-2013, 05:01 PM
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FleaBay..smile.gif

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post #5 of 275 Old 11-10-2013, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I picked up mine at Walmart - $138

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post #6 of 275 Old 11-11-2013, 07:57 AM
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Does this box have an ATSC tuner for OTA antenna? The OP indicates there is a choice in the set up menu, but it does not work. Would be nice if it did.
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post #7 of 275 Old 11-11-2013, 08:00 AM
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Also, will this box work with Charter cable cards? And can you connect the tuning adapter for switched digital video or is it built in?
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post #8 of 275 Old 11-11-2013, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post

Does this box have an ATSC tuner for OTA antenna? The OP indicates there is a choice in the set up menu, but it does not work. Would be nice if it did.
The "Auto Program" setup page shows drop downs for "Antenna" and "Digital CAble". Oddly, the "Antenna" choice only lists "Cable" as an option. One could speculate that a firmware update could add an ATSC option in the future...

The manual at the link I posted ahows how to connect a Tuning Adaptor.

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post #9 of 275 Old 11-11-2013, 09:53 AM
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Samsung makes standard CableCARD (aka M-CARD) Cable Boxes running the OCAP Operating System.....this (appears) to be one that is FINALLY available via retail sales, as the FCC has required for many years now. So it SHOULD operate just like any other cable box...however, CNET Review sez that Samsung is working with TWC to get the OnDemand feature working...sounds like early "cutting teeth" issues remain to be ironed out...but since it can automatically download new software via the Internet connection, updates should be fairly easy in the future...

Charter likes to do their own thing and not all systems are the same:
http://stopthecap.com/2013/04/18/charter-cable-to-fcc-lets-deal-new-tv-encryption-in-return-for-100mbps-broadband/
If I'm reading this right, they proposed to DROP the ability to support CableCARD devices....impact on Samsung device is UNKNOWN....and so far it appears to only be a PROPOSAL....not approved....and the cut-off of CableCARD support may NEVER be approved because the whole idea was to be able to BUY an STB (e.g. Samsung), DVR (e.g. TiVo, HDHomeRun), i-PC (CETON, ATI TV Wonder, Hauppauge WinTV-DCR, et.al.) or CableCARD HDTV and be able to MOVE it to ANY other cable system in the country...but if TiVo & Samsung already have the internal encryption prerequisites (e.g. AES128 and/or AES256) on their internal chips so that they can ALSO implement downloadable Encryption, the CableCARD may finally go away (please....)....

Check with your local cable company on whether they will accept it as a CERTIFIED, VERIFIED, KNOWN BUG-FREE device that is approved by their Engineering Team as being fully ready to be attached to THEIR system....and their Techs have be TRAINED to recognize it and install/activate THEIR CableCARD in the device...if they know that there are unresolved "issues", they may wait for them to be resolved.....cuz THEY are in no hurry.....

There are a few systems that use their own encryption system....but if their webpage says that they ALSO work with a TiVo equipped with a CableCARD, then it's likely that they can also provision the Samsung....eventually....when customers pester them enough to pay attention to getting it approved by Engineering:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CableCARD

Samsung website info & User Manual D/L....NO DVR Capability, but maybe a later version will have it.....or in the "Cloud":
http://www.samsung.com/us/video/blu-ray-dvd/GX-SM530CF/XAA

Page 23 described the need to use a CableCARD and a Tuning Adapter for SDV....which tells me that they are NOT using the standard OCAP OpSys....so there are bound to be some bugs that will have to be worked out.....
[TiVo demanded the external Tuning Adapter so that they could use their own internal OpSys and wouldn't have to host the OCAP OpSys.]

Specs only list QAM for Cable and NOT ATSC for OTA. Their terminology is a bit misleading: "Broadcasting" in the menu leads to what is clearly labeled as a CABLE set-up page...and they use "DTV" as a very generic term.

Some early Reviews:
http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-media-receivers/samsung-gx-sm530cf/4505-6739_7-35830635.html
http://avproductreviews.com/samsung-smart-media-player-gx-sm530cf/
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post #10 of 275 Old 11-12-2013, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Just picked up and installed a CableCard - painless. A few minutes on the phone with Frontier FiOS tech support and the card is working perfectly.

I unplugged power to the unit (had already scanned for Clear QAM), inserted the CableCard and powered it back up. A "Call your provider screen was displayed.

After FiOS support added the card to my account that screen cleared. I went into setup and went through again. It seemed to recognize that I had a card inserted since it only asked about a Tuning Adaptor (no for me), prompted for a ZIP code and asked me to pick from a list of providers. Once that was done, the guide data loaded very quickly.

The guide is pretty standard looking, speedy enough and does support an 'Info' button for more details. You can scroll line by line with up/down arrows or a page at a time with Channel up/down.

Netflix and Amazon work fine. I don't have a media server so I have not tried any local streaming, I'll leave that for someone else here to try.

So far, this is a keeper!

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post #11 of 275 Old 11-13-2013, 04:01 AM
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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

After reading about the availability of the Samsung at Walmart, picked one up on Monday, November 11, 2013.

Later that day, picked up a CableCARD at our local Comcast office.

Did not get around to hooking it up until Tuesday morning.

Could not get through on the Comcast CableCARD activation line for over an hour. Very frustrating.

Had a chat session with Comcast while away from home and they were going to activate it in my absence.

When I finally got back home later on Tuesday it was working flawlessly.

Other than dealing with the activation part, there were no problems.

Going out to Walmart shortly to pick up another Samsung GX-SM530CF.

I would prefer the TV to have the CableCARD slot, but this is currently the next best thing.

BDR
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post #12 of 275 Old 11-13-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a photo to show the size of the box.

F0iDHTF.jpg

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post #13 of 275 Old 11-13-2013, 05:30 PM
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Am I the only one that sees the irony of your using a $2 bill for comparison here ? smile.gif
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post #14 of 275 Old 11-13-2013, 11:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDRanger View Post

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

After reading about the availability of the Samsung at Walmart, picked one up on Monday, November 11, 2013.

Later that day, picked up a CableCARD at our local Comcast office.

Did not get around to hooking it up until Tuesday morning.

Could not get through on the Comcast CableCARD activation line for over an hour. Very frustrating.

Had a chat session with Comcast while away from home and they were going to activate it in my absence.

When I finally got back home later on Tuesday it was working flawlessly.

Other than dealing with the activation part, there were no problems.

Going out to Walmart shortly to pick up another Samsung GX-SM530CF.

I would prefer the TV to have the CableCARD slot, but this is currently the next best thing.

BDR
Wynnedale, IN

Not seeing specifications anywhere, I'm assuming this "box" is HD, and is 1GHz/MPEG4 (H.264) capable. Correct?
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post #15 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 01:34 AM
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Yes it is definitely HD (1920 x 1080) and

according to page 07 of the User Manual

the video decoder supports up to H.264 Level 4.1. (Does not support FMO/ASO/RS)

according to page 08 of the User Manual

the following video codecs

MPEG4 SP/ASP

H.264 BP/MP/HP

Microsoft MPEG-4 v3

Could not find anything regarding 1GHz/MPEG4 (H.264) capable.

Let me know if there is anything else you want.
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post #16 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 08:13 AM
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Well if you use this box in place of your cable box, I don't really think it will save you any money. Because they will just turn around and charge you for the cable card instead, and if you need a tuning adapter. So it depends if the menu and user interface is nicer than your cable box I suppose. And it would have been nice if they had included an ATSC tuner so you could connect your OTA antenna as well.
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post #17 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post

Well if you use this box in place of your cable box, I don't really think it will save you any money. Because they will just turn around and charge you for the cable card instead, and if you need a tuning adapter. So it depends if the menu and user interface is nicer than your cable box I suppose. And it would have been nice if they had included an ATSC tuner so you could connect your OTA antenna as well.
This will depend on your cable system. I am saving the difference between a cable card ($3) and a box ($10). No other charges but I hear that Comcast will sometimes charge an additional "Digital Outlet" fee.

Since this eliminates the need for a Roku 3/AppleTV for only $40 more, it pays for itself in six months - but the real feature for me is the compact size allows it to be used where I don't want a full size cable box.

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post #18 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post

Well if you use this box in place of your cable box, I don't really think it will save you any money. Because they will just turn around and charge you for the cable card instead,
It may save some money. Compare:
~$12 for STB from provider
~$2 for cablecard (some providers may offer the 1st cablecard for free)
Quote:
So it depends if the menu and user interface is nicer than your cable box I suppose.
To save $10 per month, menu/interface may not be a dealbreaker.
Quote:
And it would have been nice if they had included an ATSC tuner so you could connect your OTA antenna as well.
Not a big issue since:
1) most TV's have a built in ATSC tuner.
2) most tuners select either ATSC or QAM. They typically cannot seamlessly integrate both formats and require a rescan/channel search every time you switch.
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post #19 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post

Well if you use this box in place of your cable box, I don't really think it will save you any money. Because they will just turn around and charge you for the cable card instead, and if you need a tuning adapter. So it depends if the menu and user interface is nicer than your cable box I suppose. And it would have been nice if they had included an ATSC tuner so you could connect your OTA antenna as well.

HD cable box - $8.50 per month
CableCARD - $2.00 per month
SDV tuning adaptor - no charge.

So, a $6.50 per month savings. That's $78 per year. In two years, the GX-SM530CF is paid for.
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post #20 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by domino92024 View Post

HD cable box - $8.50 per month
CableCARD - $2.00 per month
SDV tuning adaptor - no charge.

So, a $6.50 per month savings. That's $78 per year. In two years, the GX-SM530CF is paid for.
...and the Mfrs warranty is 36 months parts and labor - 39 if you register it online.

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post #21 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post

Well if you use this box in place of your cable box, I don't really think it will save you any money. Because they will just turn around and charge you for the cable card instead.

We've always needed decryption for many digital cable channels, that's nothing new. Choice is good, and a cableCARD fee is better than a box fee if people want that choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

To save $10 per month, menu/interface may not be a dealbreaker.

Seriously. I've seen tons of people gripe for years that they couldn't buy a cable box (non-DVR) and save that $10, and now it's here. So I expect those will definitely gravitate towards it.

Granted, some are going to gripe about the cableCARD rental, but such is life. tongue.gif

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post #22 of 275 Old 11-14-2013, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

Samsung makes standard CableCARD (aka M-CARD) Cable Boxes running the OCAP Operating System.....this (appears) to be one that is FINALLY available via retail sales, as the FCC has required for many years now. So it SHOULD operate just like any other cable box...however, CNET Review sez that Samsung is working with TWC to get the OnDemand feature working...sounds like early "cutting teeth" issues remain to be ironed out...but since it can automatically download new software via the Internet connection, updates should be fairly easy in the future...

Charter likes to do their own thing and not all systems are the same:
http://stopthecap.com/2013/04/18/charter-cable-to-fcc-lets-deal-new-tv-encryption-in-return-for-100mbps-broadband/
If I'm reading this right, they proposed to DROP the ability to support CableCARD devices....impact on Samsung device is UNKNOWN....and so far it appears to only be a PROPOSAL....not approved....and the cut-off of CableCARD support may NEVER be approved because the whole idea was to be able to BUY an STB (e.g. Samsung), DVR (e.g. TiVo, HDHomeRun), i-PC (CETON, ATI TV Wonder, Hauppauge WinTV-DCR, et.al.) or CableCARD HDTV and be able to MOVE it to ANY other cable system in the country...but if TiVo & Samsung already have the internal encryption prerequisites (e.g. AES128 and/or AES256) on their internal chips so that they can ALSO implement downloadable Encryption, the CableCARD may finally go away (please....)....

Check with your local cable company on whether they will accept it as a CERTIFIED, VERIFIED, KNOWN BUG-FREE device that is approved by their Engineering Team as being fully ready to be attached to THEIR system....and their Techs have be TRAINED to recognize it and install/activate THEIR CableCARD in the device...if they know that there are unresolved "issues", they may wait for them to be resolved.....cuz THEY are in no hurry.....

There are a few systems that use their own encryption system....but if their webpage says that they ALSO work with a TiVo equipped with a CableCARD, then it's likely that they can also provision the Samsung....eventually....when customers pester them enough to pay attention to getting it approved by Engineering:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CableCARD

Samsung website info & User Manual D/L....NO DVR Capability, but maybe a later version will have it.....or in the "Cloud":
http://www.samsung.com/us/video/blu-ray-dvd/GX-SM530CF/XAA

Page 23 described the need to use a CableCARD and a Tuning Adapter for SDV....which tells me that they are NOT using the standard OCAP OpSys....so there are bound to be some bugs that will have to be worked out.....
[TiVo demanded the external Tuning Adapter so that they could use their own internal OpSys and wouldn't have to host the OCAP OpSys.]

Specs only list QAM for Cable and NOT ATSC for OTA. Their terminology is a bit misleading: "Broadcasting" in the menu leads to what is clearly labeled as a CABLE set-up page...and they use "DTV" as a very generic term.

Some early Reviews:
http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-media-receivers/samsung-gx-sm530cf/4505-6739_7-35830635.html
http://avproductreviews.com/samsung-smart-media-player-gx-sm530cf/

This is incorrect. This box does NOT support OCAP. It is a UDCP. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it's effectively the same class of device as a TiVo (the InfiniTV is technically an OCUR)

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #23 of 275 Old 11-15-2013, 08:35 PM
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YUP.....just as I said: "Page 23 described the need to use a CableCARD and a Tuning Adapter for SDV....which tells me that they are NOT using the standard OCAP OpSys.".
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post #24 of 275 Old 11-16-2013, 12:49 PM
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I am thinking about getting one (or 2...3) for my parents for christmas... they won't be interested in any of the the online content/apps (possibly the browser in guest room for guest use) but will be interested in me lowering their cable bill by $10-$15/month... I may also get one for my sister who may use the apps more... I was hoping that this would be the year I get them ceton echos for each TV but I don't see that happening any longer since they dropped android I think the device is priced too high for just an extender and walmart has these for $138 which I think is a better deal and not being reliant on a PC is also a + for my parents situation.


1) How is the interface on this thing for navigating a guide for cable and keying in a number directly to change channels? (I assume with cablecard channel numbers are the usual virtual numbers... the setup screens I saw seemed to only use qam frequencies/programs not the virtual numbers... I will be there to perform initial setup so it is mainly the front end user experience compared to WMC I am interested in as well as accuracy and length of guides)

2) How well does the CC button work for closed captions (will it also toggle CC for things like youtube)?

3) Can the device boot to watching TV? (I see a live TV on the remote so this might be moot)

4) How well does the device work if the TV switches off while keeping the unit on? (Mainly concerned in case it can't boot to TV as I don't think they want to go through too many menus to watch TV... just don't want them to have hdcp handshake issues resulting in blank screen)

5) This may seem like an odd request but has anyone used it with a prime via DLNA... (thinking of not using cablecard in the device but putting it in a seldom used guest room instead of an echo but leave cablecard as an option... I guess DTCP-IP would also be too much to ask for)

6) I thought I read it had a full web browser, how well does that work?... If used by guests how secure is it to forget cookies and passwords... are there multiple users for different settings

7) Other general opinions on user interface, guide, ease of use and other issues
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post #25 of 275 Old 11-16-2013, 01:07 PM
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<<< Could not get through on the Comcast CableCARD activation line for over an hour. Very frustrating. >>>

Took me a total of two hours to get my CableCard Silicon Dust HD HomeRun Prime tuner (three built in tuners with three streams to home network) working properly.
Comcast drives me NUTS with their HORRIBLE customer service.
Rant over smile.gif
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post #26 of 275 Old 11-16-2013, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nathill View Post

<<< Could not get through on the Comcast CableCARD activation line for over an hour. Very frustrating. >>>

Took me a total of two hours to get my CableCard Silicon Dust HD HomeRun Prime tuner (three built in tuners with three streams to home network) working properly.
Comcast drives me NUTS with their HORRIBLE customer service.
Rant over smile.gif
Well Charter took 2 days to get my cablecard activated and working. So consider yourself lucky. But quite aggravating indeed.
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post #27 of 275 Old 11-16-2013, 04:26 PM
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Am I the only one who thinks it's shortsighted for Samsung to at least not include one lowly composite output? I mean what would it have hurt, could it really have added that much to the price? I was just about to suggest this box to someone who had a old analog TV in their basement and was looking for a inexpensive way to a get signal to it. They were fine with paying the $1.99 CC fee) but now I see it has no analog output?? Wow, guess Samsung figures EVERYONE has a TV with a HDMI input,  just like I guess EVERYONE has cable :rolleyes:.....must have cost them a bit to find a tuner chip that didn't also do ATSC......apparently they must not want this box to appeal to as many people as it could!

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post #28 of 275 Old 11-16-2013, 09:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Am I the only one who thinks it's shortsighted for Samsung to at least not include one lowly composite output? I mean what would it have hurt, could it really have added that much to the price? I was just about to suggest this box to someone who had a old analog TV in their basement and was looking for a inexpensive way to a get signal to it. They were fine with paying the $1.99 CC fee) but now I see it has no analog output?? Wow, guess Samsung figures EVERYONE has a TV with a HDMI input,  just like I guess EVERYONE has cable rolleyes.gif .....must have cost them a bit to find a tuner chip that didn't also do ATSC......apparently they must not want this box to appeal to as many people as it could!
Wouldn't a DTA from the cable company be cheaper than a CableCard? That is the stock solution for now obsolete analog TVs.

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post #29 of 275 Old 11-16-2013, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by holl_ands View Post

YUP.....just as I said: "Page 23 described the need to use a CableCARD and a Tuning Adapter for SDV....which tells me that they are NOT using the standard OCAP OpSys.".
After a little poking around on the Samsung developer site it appears to run Linux. I was under the impression that OCAP is a complete failure in the CE markets and is only used by CableCo devices.

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post #30 of 275 Old 11-17-2013, 08:16 AM
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So far..I really like this box..for what little time I have had with it so far. Popped in my Time-Warner S/A Multistream CC that used in my Ceton, it does not seem to see this card for some reason. Of course the Cisco tuning adapter here is 3 times the size of this box....Wish I could disable the Samsung screen saver.

Bob

The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily represent those of ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, MeTv, or AntennaTv; my employer; or its parent company.
Nor my wife for that matter!
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