Review of the ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable Tuner - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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OK Here is the deal:

I found this unit to be impossible to set up on my computer and cable system.
SO I really want to see it go to someone who already has one up and running and knows how to set up it up and wants a second tuner.
I in all good conscience cannot suggest anyone who does not already have one to try this new.
So I am offering my review to warn and inform people of this device.
This is what I found and was told:

These were NEVER meant for retail sales.

These were made for HP and DELL SPECIALLY PREPARED Computers.

These are OEM Products for HP and DELL ONLY (which is why they come in brown boxes.)

(I have found that ATI/AMD has now sold them to a bunch of companies…)

They will NOT WORK with many cable systems that use switched channels, as there is no input for the tuner adapter you need for these channels. (Cox in Phoenix AZ for one.) TIVO Boxes allow for a USB input. This has only one output USB.

There is NO SUPPORT from ATI/AMD.

There is NO support from HP. (As I own a HP computer I called and reach a upper level tech)..again no info was in their system.

Getting Media Center to "see" the box is a hard fight. MS Media Center is not easy to work with..trust me on this.

I will NEVER use Media Center (I have grown to hate it) again, if the device does not have its own software to run it I will not buy it.

Getting any real idea of what will work is next to impossible, I did hours of research on the internet and found almost no info.

After a bunch of calls to ATI/AMDI reached a second level tech support and a tech whom was with ATI Before being bought by AMD and he said:" These were NEVER meant for retail sales. These were made for HP and DELL SPECIALLY PREPARED Computers. These are OEM Products for HP and DELL ONLY (which is why they come in brown boxes.) That he felt they were basically incompatible with Windows 7 and most cable systems now in use. That the techs at ATI were NEVER given ANY training on them. That there is NO SUPPORT WHAT SO EVER!!"

I spent hours working and searching for help installing and setting this up, I had to buy a upgraded video card as Win 7"s cable adviser would not pass my video card, only to get media center to finely "see" the box to them be unable to turn on the card and could not hook up to the cable provide tuner adapter due to not having a USB input on the ATI Box.

My last try included a Tech visit from Cox cable and a phone call with their Cable Card help desk.

We all spent hours, a whole afternoon working to try to get this working…final ruling after we all failed, it will not work
.
This unit seems to be working as it should as Media center could get all kinds of data from it including the Card ID and Host ID and we were able to get the card authorized…but not once would it even try to show a picture.

Cox tech support could not even say how to hook up the Tuner adapter to their system or to the device…

So here it is.

Rich

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post #2 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 10:36 AM - Thread Starter
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You're missing the edit button on most web sites like this.

Rich

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post #3 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

Your missing the edit button on most web sites like this.
Rich


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post #4 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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OH that is what that is...

Every other site I am on has it as a bull button with the word EDIT in it.

Thanks.

Rich

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post #5 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 02:57 PM
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Technically I work for a competitor (that said, given that these haven't been made in years, I don't particularly consider it competition) so take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. That said, as you noted, the ATI tuners somewhat suck. They haven't gotten a software update in 3+ years, and will never get one again. There is no support for them - they were OEM-only, and the OEMs did not support them.

On the latest firmware (should be upgraded automatically off Windows Update) they *DO* support SDV - you need to hook the TA to your PC's USB port.

I'm surprised you had video card issues - pretty much any modern video card should pass the DCA without issue, but that's not really ATI's fault. I'm not sure why you seem to have WMC much, but it's pretty much your only option here.

They do work fine with Windows 7 (in fact, I believe they work better on Windows 7 than Windows Vista). I have a box of them around the house somewhere, and have used them on Windows 7.

They are not compatible with Simulcrypt, but I believe Verizon is the only one using that.

They are a bit temperamental, but once they are working, mostly work. Your biggest issue is that the cable techs aren't familiar with them, and there is no tech support/troubleshooting information readily available.

What error message did you get instead of a picture?

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post #6 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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It was Media Center's own HD check out that would not pass me until I upgraded the video card.

I had a had time with Media Center its self and swear NEVER to use it again...

And again I was told and could only find info on using WMC, so believed it was the ONLY one that would work with the copy guard systems used on HBO and so on.

As for the Tuner it would not finish the last page, I can't remember what it said, just it would not update or set up.

I did get all the set up stuff reading out (Host ID card ID and so on...most of the time that part would not clear either.. but it was no go.

AND Cox said if I could not use the tuner adapter, I would only get simple cable..and I wanted the Movies in HD.

They keep saying I needed a USB INPUT on the tuner and without one it was a dead deal.

I did suggest putting the two outputs into the computer by they said it would not work.

So yes a total lack of any tech support or any instructions and no idea what I should look for I was totally in the dark with out even a candle.

Rich

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post #7 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 03:19 PM
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Just so you know, the tuning adapter hooks up to the computer not the DCT... the latest firmware/drivers for the ATI DCT should support it (1.19.12 was released 3 years ago was what was required to support the TA, they were available through ms update... not sure if they still are)... before doing anything you must run the digital cable advisor and pass it... Its been 2 years since I've seen one, and I do know they should run on win7 on cox phoenix with sdv but since it is only 1 tuner, it is very obsolete and I wouldn't recommend anyone getting one. Even if given one for free, it might not be worth the cablecard rental fee.. Also for cox phoenix, you won't get the plus pack channels as the tuner isn't 1GHz.
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post #8 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Signcarver, thanks..

I found a bunch of people that said it worked fine...BUT with NO one that could tell me HOW I was dead in the water..

And you just put another nail in its coften : Also for cox phoenix, you won't get the plus pack channels as the tuner isn't 1GHz.

By the way what cable tuner cards will work with Phoenix Cox?

Rich

PS And is it any better than the new black boxes DVRs??and can I get ALL the HD channels I now get with the new Cisco Box?

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post #9 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 03:29 PM
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Sounds like every one else have covered the basics of CableCard tuner for you. But it is worth to point out that WMC is THE ONLY software solution that got approved/certified by CableLabs to use Cable Card tuners for copy-protected channels. So, if you NEVER gonna use WMC, you SHALL NEVER touch any other CableCard tuners for PC,

And I agree with above poster, even if I got this tuner for free, it is not worth the trouble of renting the cablecard.

Currently there are 3 new CableCard tuner products on the market:
1. Ceton 4-tuner card (either internal or external)
2. HDHomeRun Prime networked 3-tuner box
3. Hauppauge WinTV DCR-2650 TV 2-tuner USB external box.

With Ceton card, SDV adapter plugs into your PC. With the HDHomeRun Prime, SDV adapter plugs into the tuner box. All of them will allow you to receive all the channels you have today with the exception of Pay-Per-View and OnDemaind channels if you use WMC on Windows 7/8.
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post #10 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry got to go and set up for tonight's shows.

Rich

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post #11 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 03:41 PM
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I use the ceton usb... most prefer the pci-e version and Eric is "always" around here for help, either of the cetons are 4 tuners each. The SiliconDust Prime (3 tuners), a network based tuner is a nice one if you want shared tuners with more than 1 computer, though some have had problems losing tuners more often when shared. One nice thing about the SD is that you can walk into Fry's and pick it up.

The only problem is with the h.264 plus pack channels, when they are marked copy once (which they all are), the built in intel video driver (sandy or ivy bridge) doesn't pass the protected path requirement and either gives a display driver error or a black screen, standard channels (other than plus pack) mpeg2 channels work without any problem ... I haven't found any hdcp compatible video card that has failed this, just the i3, i5, or i7s integrated graphics I've tried.

With any of them unless you just want the locals, WMC is a must as they are all marked copy once.
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post #12 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 06:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I guess I am lucky I am running a AMD Board with AMD 780V AND AMD SB700 chip sets??

Will the copy once stop me from coping a program to a second Hard Drive on the same computer??

OR Cloning it?

Still I hate WMC...

Is there any way(s) to get almost all my programing other than the local TV (which I already have in HD on my Computer)

How is HULU and Net filcks?

Rich

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post #13 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 07:43 PM
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You can copy the file anywhere you want, even on to NAS as long as you play it back on the same PC that records it (assume you haven't rebuild the PC or made signigicant upgrade of components like processor etc.). WMC is the only way to get all your channels.
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post #14 of 38 Old 11-10-2012, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Foxbat121 View Post

Sounds like every one else have covered the basics of CableCard tuner for you. But it is worth to point out that WMC is THE ONLY software solution that got approved/certified by CableLabs to use Cable Card tuners for copy-protected channels. So, if you NEVER gonna use WMC, you SHALL NEVER touch any other CableCard tuners for PC,

Technically, CableLabs doesn't approve the DRIR (software like WMC) - the software just needs to implement the DRI interface (spec freely available) to control the tuner, and support one of the copy protections the tuner does (to get Copy Once channels) - the copy protection support is up to the owner of the copy protection, not CableLabs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by signcarver View Post

I use the ceton usb... most prefer the pci-e version and Eric is "always" around here for help, either of the cetons are 4 tuners each. The SiliconDust Prime (3 tuners), a network based tuner is a nice one if you want shared tuners with more than 1 computer, though some have had problems losing tuners more often when shared. One nice thing about the SD is that you can walk into Fry's and pick it up.
The only problem is with the h.264 plus pack channels, when they are marked copy once (which they all are), the built in intel video driver (sandy or ivy bridge) doesn't pass the protected path requirement and either gives a display driver error or a black screen, standard channels (other than plus pack) mpeg2 channels work without any problem ... I haven't found any hdcp compatible video card that has failed this, just the i3, i5, or i7s integrated graphics I've tried.
With any of them unless you just want the locals, WMC is a must as they are all marked copy once.

I'm not sure if Fry's stocks our product, but I know Microcenter does. Re: h.264 channels, that should work on sandy and ivy bridge - my laptop is Ivy Bridge and protected content works on it. Most likely there's something blocking it on your setup (3rd party codec?)

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post #15 of 38 Old 11-11-2012, 09:08 PM
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Is there a deal in here somewhere?

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post #16 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 09:54 AM
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Did you buy it used somewhere?

Is it possible it is dead?

Is the CableCard activated by the provider?

Is it the CableCard paired to the tuner by the provider?

Is the Tuning Adapter activated and paired to the tuner?

If you are not running Windows Media Center, you will need to write the software and drivers your self.

I have used it since the day it was released until 2010 when I switched over to Ceton.

Initially, with WMC Vista, and then with WMC 7, both recognized it and found drivers for it.

The only current limitation with ATI DCT is that it does not work with Verizon FiOS Symulcrypt since no one wrote the updated driver for it. But it should work no problem with Cable TV providers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

OK Here is the deal:
I found this unit to be impossible to set up on my computer and cable system.
SO I really want to see it go to someone who already has one up and running and knows how to set up it up and wants a second tuner.
I in all good conscience cannot suggest anyone who does not already have one to try this new.
So I am offering my review to warn and inform people of this device.
This is what I found and was told:
These were NEVER meant for retail sales.
These were made for HP and DELL SPECIALLY PREPARED Computers.
These are OEM Products for HP and DELL ONLY (which is why they come in brown boxes.)
(I have found that ATI/AMD has now sold them to a bunch of companies…)
They will NOT WORK with many cable systems that use switched channels, as there is no input for the tuner adapter you need for these channels. (Cox in Phoenix AZ for one.) TIVO Boxes allow for a USB input. This has only one output USB.
There is NO SUPPORT from ATI/AMD.
There is NO support from HP. (As I own a HP computer I called and reach a upper level tech)..again no info was in their system.
Getting Media Center to "see" the box is a hard fight. MS Media Center is not easy to work with..trust me on this.
I will NEVER use Media Center (I have grown to hate it) again, if the device does not have its own software to run it I will not buy it.
Getting any real idea of what will work is next to impossible, I did hours of research on the internet and found almost no info.
After a bunch of calls to ATI/AMDI reached a second level tech support and a tech whom was with ATI Before being bought by AMD and he said:" These were NEVER meant for retail sales. These were made for HP and DELL SPECIALLY PREPARED Computers. These are OEM Products for HP and DELL ONLY (which is why they come in brown boxes.) That he felt they were basically incompatible with Windows 7 and most cable systems now in use. That the techs at ATI were NEVER given ANY training on them. That there is NO SUPPORT WHAT SO EVER!!"
I spent hours working and searching for help installing and setting this up, I had to buy a upgraded video card as Win 7"s cable adviser would not pass my video card, only to get media center to finely "see" the box to them be unable to turn on the card and could not hook up to the cable provide tuner adapter due to not having a USB input on the ATI Box.
My last try included a Tech visit from Cox cable and a phone call with their Cable Card help desk.
We all spent hours, a whole afternoon working to try to get this working…final ruling after we all failed, it will not work
.
This unit seems to be working as it should as Media center could get all kinds of data from it including the Card ID and Host ID and we were able to get the card authorized…but not once would it even try to show a picture.
Cox tech support could not even say how to hook up the Tuner adapter to their system or to the device…
So here it is.
Rich

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #17 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Did you buy it used somewhere? A) No it was sold as brand new open box, missing the instructions.

Is it possible it is dead? A) No as it did show diagnostics screens in WMC testing.

Is the CableCard activated by the provider? A) It was tried but would not complete the last set up, at one time it did show it had been actiated..

Is it the CableCard paired to the tuner by the provider? A) They tried but with no USB input to the ATI Box the tuner adapter was not useable.

Is the Tuning Adapter activated and paired to the tuner? A) AS best as possible I think.

If you are not running Windows Media Center, you will need to write the software and drivers your self. A) Understood...

I have used it since the day it was released until 2010 when I switched over to Ceton.

Initially, with WMC Vista, and then with WMC 7, both recognized it and found drivers for it. A) My Win7 did so as well.

The only current limitation with ATI DCT is that it does not work with Verizon FiOS Symulcrypt since no one wrote the updated driver for it. But it should work no problem with Cable TV providers. A) I am on Cox Phoenix and was told without the tuner adapter I would not receive any HD CHannels.

AS you can see I am planing on putting it on eBay with the above text. Both as a warning to others and to sell to someone that all ready has one and wants two...

I had two techs working on it after a lot of searching on the internet..one in my home and one on the phone..neither could get it working...

We spent most of a afternoon on it. We tried three cable cards and the tech had them activated as he was here...we tried every combo, tuner alone, and with the tuner adapter in cable line...nothing would work.

So close and yet so far.

I have put in two old ATI HD Tuner Cards and they were near plug and play, and running Beyond TV software was up and running in less than a hour.

I now record local TV in HD. No Cable.

Rich

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post #18 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 10:39 AM
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I tried to search for where I read it but I remember a knowledgeable poster on either this or TGB writing that many of the ATI DCTs recently being sold new in the box were some oem variant that had some crippling problem. They either required OEM systems (the way Vista MC did) or that their firmware could not be updated. Either way they would not work for mst people

edit: I did find it on TGB:
Quote:
Once you've passed the test, you can install any cableCARD tuner. There are currently some ATI DCT on ebay which apparently were from an evaluation group and cannot be updated with commercial firmware available from MS so watch out (they're even listed as "new in box" and several people have bought them only to find that they can't get them to 1.19 and run them in Win7).

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
Mironto's Panasonic plasma black level restoration guide
Restore the initial MLL on a 2009 Panasonic plasma
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post #19 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
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That could be it.

So can you tell me how to check for that firmware number and how to update it and where to get the update.

OR is there some TELL that lets me know what is this is one of the bad boxes??

Rich

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post #20 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 12:33 PM
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If I remember correctly it is on the ATI tuner's website

go into my computer, network connections, and then right click on the ATI DCT. select view device web page. I think the firmware version is on there.

My HTPC front end set up
Integration for whole home ATSC, CableCARD, FM radio, Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, DVD, VHS control & capture, video games, and archived & streaming media playback
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post #21 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 01:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I take it I will have to hook it up again and get into MC diagnostics screens...

I want to know before I offer it for sale, IF it is one of the non upgradeable boxes I will then sell it for parts.

Rich

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post #22 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
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OK I reconnected it and with out a cable card I got TV channels.....

It is receiving cable system channels...


Rich

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post #23 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

Is it the CableCard paired to the tuner by the provider? A) They tried but with no USB input to the ATI Box the tuner adapter was not useable.
The TA has no involvement in CableCARD pairing, and I as mentioned earlier you connect the TA to your PC.
Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

Is the Tuning Adapter activated and paired to the tuner? A) AS best as possible I think.
TAs have no (static) pairing to the CableCARD or OCUR - as long as it's provisioned, it will work
Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

The only current limitation with ATI DCT is that it does not work with Verizon FiOS Symulcrypt since no one wrote the updated driver for it. But it should work no problem with Cable TV providers. A) I am on Cox Phoenix and was told without the tuner adapter I would not receive any HD CHannels.
There are a few other markets that use Simulcrypt, but outside of FiOS it's relatively rare. Again, the TA works fine with the ATI DCT - you are trying to use it wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

AS you can see I am planing on putting it on eBay with the above text. Both as a warning to others and to sell to someone that all ready has one and wants two...
I had two techs working on it after a lot of searching on the internet..one in my home and one on the phone..neither could get it working...
We spent most of a afternoon on it. We tried three cable cards and the tech had them activated as he was here...we tried every combo, tuner alone, and with the tuner adapter in cable line...nothing would work.
So close and yet so far.
I have put in two old ATI HD Tuner Cards and they were near plug and play, and running Beyond TV software was up and running in less than a hour.
I now record local TV in HD. No Cable.
Rich
I am 100% confident that I could get the ATI tuner working, with TA on your system if I were there. This is merely a configuration/provisioning issue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pittsoccer33 View Post

I tried to search for where I read it but I remember a knowledgeable poster on either this or TGB writing that many of the ATI DCTs recently being sold new in the box were some oem variant that had some crippling problem. They either required OEM systems (the way Vista MC did) or that their firmware could not be updated. Either way they would not work for mst people
edit: I did find it on TGB:

There is no specific limitation to the ATI tuners that makes them only work on pre-built PCs. As long as you pass the DCA, it will work.

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #24 of 38 Old 11-13-2012, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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OK UPDATE.

I just hooked it up to my outside antenna hookup.

It is receiving OTA TV in HD.

So my problem was with the cable card.

Guess I till keep it as a OTA HD Tuner.

Rich

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post #25 of 38 Old 11-14-2012, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I want to thank all that posted on this thread.

I think I will not edit my post so that readers can follow what I when thought with this device and how it was worked out.

Rich

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post #26 of 38 Old 11-14-2012, 09:26 AM
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Not sure if this was asked or answered before, but have you run Digital Cable Advisor, and has the machine passed it?

Without passing DCA test you won't be able to use CableCard.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #27 of 38 Old 11-14-2012, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, after I updated the video card.

And way before I had the tech support, I tried to get it working on my own.

The fact that once I gave up on a cable card I was able to get it up and running so easy says I did it right.

At this point I am more into getting away from all the TV and movie services, so have a tuner that will receive OTA HD from the local FREE TV stations is fine.

Rich

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post #28 of 38 Old 11-21-2012, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Funny but I cannot get Beyond TV to see the USB ATI Tuner now.

I have tried it on two computers both with Beyond TV installed.

The computers both see the ATI USB tuner and both have installed drivers for it.

What is the trick to get it working?

Last time I just plugged it and bingo it was showing.

I even plugged it back into the computer that was once "seeing " it, no go.

Rich

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post #29 of 38 Old 11-21-2012, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racprops View Post

Funny but I cannot get Beyond TV to see the USB ATI Tuner now.
I have tried it on two computers both with Beyond TV installed.
The computers both see the ATI USB tuner and both have installed drivers for it.
What is the trick to get it working?
Last time I just plugged it and bingo it was showing.
I even plugged it back into the computer that was once "seeing " it, no go.
Rich
Per http://www.snapstream.com/products/beyondtv/faq.asp:
Quote:
Does Beyond TV 4 support Cable Card?
Beyond TV does not support cable card at this time.

It really seems to me that you need so spend a bit more time researching your plans/reading documentation - virtually every "roadblock" you have mentioned has been easily solvable, or documented. This thread almost feels to me like you want it to fail, so you are doing everything you can to make your experience unsuccessful

Quality Assurance Manager, Ceton Corporation
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post #30 of 38 Old 11-21-2012, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I am trying to find the answers, BUT I am going cross eyed reading and searching for the info.

At this point I am fairly happy using this box as a OTA TV HD Tuner..and was totally surprised to hook it up again and find it will not show up.

I tried Beyond TV and ATIs own software with the then new ATI TV Wonder HD tuners on a XP machine back in 2007 and gave up as it was not working all well.

NOW with much newer and faster computers and so much trouble with cable and satellite I am back at it again. A lot has changed in the past 5 years.

I have ONLY been at this for the past month or so.

It is a sharp learning curve and I am doing the best I can.

There is a LOT of INFO here and a LOT of threads...

Your link on goes to snap stream's own system listing and I have already found that and it does list the ATI cards and the ATI external box as well.

IF you will kindly really read my posts not scan them you will find:

A) I tried the ATI Tuner with a cable card with Windows Media Center and I could not get it working NOR could Cox's best techs.

B) I did learn that the ATI Box COULD work as a stand alone HD TV OTA tuner and was happy with that function as I want to drop cable and satellite service.

C) the new problem is it worked once and I removed it to put in two internal tuner cards, but when I tryed to hook it back up again it will not read, it will not be shown as a source.

D) So I am trying to find out why it worked once and not a second time.

E) I already learned that Beyond TV 4+ has a unlimited amount of tuners it will use.

Rich

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