LEGAL digital cable boxes for analog ReplayTV units - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I have Comcast cable and I have three ReplayTV units. Since the beginning of this year, Comcast has been taking most of their analog signals and are now transmitting them in digital now. This is a problem with my analog Replays now. I can now only record roughly about a 6th or less of my channels that I had. I fear the remaining channels will be converted to digital and I will not be able to record at all.

EXCEPT for the premium channels, none of the digital channels are scrambled or filtered on my digital TVs, so I am able to pick them up perfectly fine without any problem on any of my digital TV. I also use a LEGAL Comcast cable box for one of my Replay units so that I can record premium channels like HBO.

My question is: is there a LEGAL digital cable type box that I can get for my other Replay units, so that I can LEGALLY pick up the digital channels that are not premium and send it to my analog Replay units?

I know that I could rent two boxes from the cable company, but before I am forced into doing that, I want to find out where I might purchase a LEGAL cable box to pick up LEGAL digital signals that my digital TVs can already pick up. I've looked on eBay, but I'm concerned those Scientific Atlantic boxes could be hot or illegal, and if I did get any, they could be turned off electronically by the cable company, and then made useless.

Thanks, and did I mention LEGAL digital boxes for analog ReplayTV units?
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 10:41 AM
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First of all, did you know that ComCast will give you two simple DTA's (in addition to your existing cable box(es)) for free due to their digital migration? That was enough to take care of my daughter's situation (after upgrading the IR Blaster files to control the ComCast DTA)...

If you're saying that you digital TV also picks up the ComCast non-premium channles just fine, the I would wager to guess that using a normal DTV converter would work just as well. The few channels that Time Warner has moved to requiring the cable box don't work on my digital TVs, so maybe ComCast is different. Anyway, if they work with a digital TV, then you'd think they'd also work with a DTV converter. There is a thread if you search this forum on DTV converts compatible with the ReplayTV's existing IR Blaster codes. Or, you may have to upgrade the IR Blaster code in your ReplayTV(s)...

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post #3 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdonzis View Post

First of all, did you know that ComCast will give you two simple DTA's (in addition to your existing cable box(es)) for free due to their digital migration? That was enough to take care of my daughter's situation (after upgrading the IR Blaster files to control the ComCast DTA)...

If you're saying that you digital TV also picks up the ComCast non-premium channles just fine, the I would wager to guess that using a normal DTV converter would work just as well. The few channels that Time Warner has moved to requiring the cable box don't work on my digital TVs, so maybe ComCast is different. Anyway, if they work with a digital TV, then you'd think they'd also work with a DTV converter. There is a thread if you search this forum on DTV converts compatible with the ReplayTV's existing IR Blaster codes. Or, you may have to upgrade the IR Blaster code in your ReplayTV(s)...

Henry

Can you explain the DTA boxes a bit. I currently have 2 replays, one connected to the Comcast digital cable box, another to a Comcast HD box, but in one room I just have the cable connected directly to an SD tv. However a free box to pick up other stations would be welcome. I have a spare 20 inch LCD HDtv that would benefit from more channels, than what it picks up scanning channels directly from the cable.
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Sonyad View Post

Can you explain the DTA boxes a bit. I currently have 2 replays, one connected to the Comcast digital cable box, another to a Comcast HD box, but in one room I just have the cable connected directly to an SD tv. However a free box to pick up other stations would be welcome. I have a spare 20 inch LCD HDtv that would benefit from more channels, than what it picks up scanning channels directly from the cable.

Call ComCast! I depends what they're giving out at the time, but I believe they have a policy of providing two free DTA's in addition to the cable boxes that you're already paying for. The ones that my daughter got, which is what there are several posts in here that other people have gotten as well, are the DCI105, and they are very simple in having just coax in and out, power, a remote control and a remote receiver that plugs in the back. If you read in this forum, you can pick up a Grey's cable (I got her some and they work GREAT) to plug into the back of the DTA directly from your ReplayTV instead of the remote receiver. That's if you only want to have the ReplayTV control the DTA. If you want to use the remote and use the ReplayTV, then you'd use the remote receiver and hook up the IR Blaster on the front of the remote receiver...

I was disappointed that it doesn't have composite video out, so you can't use it to run both the TV and ReplayTV (well, I guess you could use a splitter), if you want to use it with the ReplayTV, then you have to watch TV through the ReplayTV (and you should use Grey's cable to control it). I also don't know if it produces stereo audio or not. I don't know if some of the earlier DTAs had composite video out or not, but it seems like that would be better. Obviously you know how that works out with your regular cable box an your HD cable box. So, if you just want to run an analog TV, then using the DTA should work just fine. Also, if you want to have one of your ReplayTVs be able to record separately from what you want to watch with the set top box, then you could also use on of the free DTAs to run just the ReplayTV...

Henry
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post #5 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 11:43 AM
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Actually I did call them and I'll pick up the dta's at my local office today. I also managed to "upgrade" my service at a savings. I'll have to check my next bill for any shenanigans.
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post #6 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 01:45 PM
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Well I went to my local office and said to the lady at the counter that I wanted to pick up a couple of dta boxes. She said that my suburban area doesn't have dta boxes and was told the wrong thing. I was confused and asked her where I could get them and she repeated that our "city" doesn't have them. She then asked for my phone number to pull up my account, said I had 3 outlets (I have more, but I wasn't going to argue) and then asked how many I wanted. I said two of whatever she was trying to give me that she said was not available. She mentioned a $4.25/ month cost, mumbled something else (I'm very hard of hearing) and I said I'll take only one. She went to her equipment cabinet, pulled out one of many Cisco RNG-100 boxes, scanned it, and I signed for it. Again I'll have to check my next bill to determine what's up. Is this the dta you are mentioning?

What was kind of funny was the receptionist resembled the Marilyn Whirlwind character of Northern Exposure, although younger. Although I never watched the show her demeanor was the same and we seemed to be communicating at crossed purposes. Anyway she gave me a piece of equipment that apparently doesn't exist for my area, so I'll see tonight how it works.
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonyad View Post
Well I went to my local office and said to the lady at the counter that I wanted to pick up a couple of dta boxes. She said that my suburban area doesn't have dta boxes and was told the wrong thing. I was confused and asked her where I could get them and she repeated that our "city" doesn't have them. She then asked for my phone number to pull up my account, said I had 3 outlets (I have more, but I wasn't going to argue) and then asked how many I wanted. I said two of whatever she was trying to give me that she said was not available. She mentioned a $4.25/ month cost, mumbled something else (I'm very hard of hearing) and I said I'll take only one. She went to her equipment cabinet, pulled out one of many Cisco RNG-100 boxes, scanned it, and I signed for it. Again I'll have to check my next bill to determine what's up. Is this the dta you are mentioning?
I think you can search for that box in this forum, I believe there have been some posts about it. It's not like a "DTA" is anything special, that's just what they call the cut down versions that don't have two way communications, like that you can't watch pay-per-view and such. In the end, it's still a Set Top Box (STB), but that's what everything is...

However, you really might want to check at a higher level with ComCast. I believe their two free STBs due to the digital migration is across the board, so it doesn't really matter what they give you, whether it's an HD cable box, or a cheap-o DTA, as long as they give you up to two free STBs, what do you care?

Henry
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post #8 of 27 Old 02-14-2011, 07:26 PM
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Well thanks everyone. Hooked up the box and of course it wasn't activated. Called Comcast and even left a call back number and they actually called back under the time frame given to activate the box. At first it wasn't showing much for channels, but the agent refreshed the box a second time and all the lower tier channels showed up. I am very pleased with Comcast today.

My only headache now is to speak to Little Miss Whirlwind and exchange out my remaining Standard Digital boxes for HD ones. I was surprised to see that the upgrade I ordered, did in fact yield a credit to my account.

But now a question about hd boxes. Although the one HD Comcast box I have can connect to Replay, it won't do it with the hdmi output to the tv (its a Scientific Atlantic 4250). If I have an option for boxes, are there others that are less restricting?
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post #9 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks hdonzis for the reply, and insights on the two free boxes from comcast. I may very well take them up on that, but I was actually hoping to find and purchase my own boxes to use with my replay units. I figured that since several of my digital TVs can pick up all of the digital signals with no issues, there could be legal digital-to-analog boxes out there that didn't have to be activated by the cable company.

Thinking further out, if I can find some legal boxes like I'm wanting, then I could use them with a few my my older television sets and hopefully save a few dollars by possibly not having to purchase brand new TV sets (if the boxes are cheap enough).
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post #10 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 09:28 AM
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As I said, there are several DTV converters out there for use to view digital TV on analog TV sets. If your digital TVs are working with the ComCast cable feed directly, then I would assume that analog TVs would also work just as well using a DTV converter box...

Henry
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post #11 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply Henry.

I found several digital converter boxes on eBay, but many of them appear to be very similar to boxes that I have, and they appear to only work with over the air transmissions instead of being able to be used with cable. I thought my government coupon converter boxes that I purchased at wal-mart would work at first until I hooked one of them up this weekend. There isn't any type selection for cable (instead of antenna) and it can't pick up any cable signals through it for some reason.

I guess that I was hoping someone would provide some brand names and models that would work with cable signals without worrying about having to call comcast for activation, since my digital TVs can get the signals without problem. Once I could get something like some reliable names and models, I might be able to locate and purchase one to try with a replay unit.
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post #12 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 12:15 PM
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I think I understand what you are saying now, you want something that does both DTV and cable channels? I guess what you're saying is that you need a digital tuner that operates in the cable band instead of the VHF band? Seeing as that's apparently what's inside digital TVs, you'd think that someone would make the same thing for putting on an analog TV. Yes, the coupon boxes are specific to over-the-air transmissions. However, there are certainly more expensive, non-coupon boxes out there, so you'd think that there's got to be a really nice DTV converter with nice outputs and such, and can tune the cable band as well as anything else. Although, maybe that concept would be silly because they'd assume that you'd simply get a cable box...

Henry
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post #13 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Henry. Yep, that's what I'm looking for.

If you (or anyone else) hear of any, let me know. I don't know how long it will be before comcast takes the remaining few analog channels that are left and convert those to digital.

Besides my three analog replay units, I have ump-teen analog TVs around the house, porch, and garage that I really hate to have to replace. One of those analog TVs is used by my little grandkids to watch Sponge Bob and such, and the channel for that is now transmitted in digital.

In the mean time, I guess that I'll have call comcast tomorrow and check into those two free converter units.
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post #14 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 01:05 PM
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There's probably an AVSForum forum just on DTV converters, so you might want to search for that...

Henry
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post #15 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the idea. I had thought about that but I figured that I would try here first since the primary reason was due to my units. I just figured that some replay owners might have already found something to use. I was also worried about double posting, but I might wait another day or so before looking into another area of the forum. I'm getting the strange feeling that I might strike out though with this issue unless there is some sort of digital tuner that can be signaled through another device and into the replay.
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post #16 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 02:34 PM
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I have found the ChannelMaster cm-7000 reliable as a Digital to Analog converter that can be controlled using IR from the replay.
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post #17 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 03:03 PM
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Okay my brain is going to seep out from the technical hellhole I have created for myself, but firstly, are there any reliable codes to control HD boxes? Comcast supplied me with a couple of RNG 150's. If someone wants to suggest some work around, please be informed that the only programming I ever took was one semester of Fortran back in the day. Please mention ALL steps from A to B and don't assume I know what various acronyms mean. Thanks in advance.
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post #18 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 03:37 PM
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Searching for ATSC QAM boxes, it's hard finding ones that have either RF output or composite output. However, there does seem to be a few, like the DCT210, but they appear to be over $100. There's some cheaper tuners out there, but they won't run an old TV or the ReplayTV...

Henry
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post #19 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonyad View Post

Okay my brain is going to seep out from the technical hellhole I have created for myself, but firstly, are there any reliable codes to control HD boxes? Comcast supplied me with a couple of RNG 150's. If someone wants to suggest some work around, please be informed that the only programming I ever took was one semester of Fortran back in the day. Please mention ALL steps from A to B and don't assume I know what various acronyms mean. Thanks in advance.

You need to read this thread...

Henry
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post #20 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by hdonzis View Post

You need to read this thread...

Henry

I scanned through it earlier and was lost. I tried in earnest again and I am still lost. Here are my questions. Nobody seems to have the Cisco/Scientific Atlanta RNG 150 boxes, thus no code has been suggested, so what would be the benefit of all the hacking? It seems the code updates only apply to Pace & Motorola boxes. Secondly,what does the Grey's cable do in the midst of all this missing code?
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post #21 of 27 Old 02-15-2011, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonyad View Post

I scanned through it earlier and was lost. I tried in earnest again and I am still lost. Here are my questions. Nobody seems to have the Cisco/Scientific Atlanta RNG 150 boxes, thus no code has been suggested, so what would be the benefit of all the hacking? It seems the code updates only apply to Pace & Motorola boxes. Secondly,what does the Grey's cable do in the midst of all this missing code?

Yes, I also noticed no mention of the RNG 150, but I saw RNG 100 and RNG 200, so I might assume that RNG 150 is in the same family...

If you read that post, you'll see that many people have found that adding the IR Blaster update posted works with many different ComCast models, so it just seems reasonable that it might work with your box as well...

The Grey's cable replaces using the IR Blaster itself by plugging directly from the ReplayTV to the ComCast cable box with a wired cable, making a much more reliable control mechanism...

Henry
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post #22 of 27 Old 02-16-2011, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Regarding the Grey's cable, I've seen several references on here about it, so I tried to google it and found nothing. Would you happen to know where I could find one, or how I can make my own? I suspect that it's a just simple double-ended male 1/8th headphone jack, but one can't be too sure sometimes?

Also, I'm going to post my question about the digital to analog question in one of the other areas today. Many thanks for the help, and I'll keep checking here for any possible posts that might help.
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post #23 of 27 Old 02-16-2011, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbarrington View Post

Regarding the Grey's cable, I've seen several references on here about it, so I tried to google it and found nothing. Would you happen to know where I could find one, or how I can make my own? I suspect that it's a just simple double-ended male 1/8th headphone jack, but one can't be too sure sometimes?

Also, I'm going to post my question about the digital to analog question in one of the other areas today. Many thanks for the help, and I'll keep checking here for any possible posts that might help.

Here's the link http://grayeng.net/TiVotoComcast.htm
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post #24 of 27 Old 02-16-2011, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdonzis View Post
Yes, I also noticed no mention of the RNG 150, but I saw RNG 100 and RNG 200, so I might assume that RNG 150 is in the same family...

If you read that post, you'll see that many people have found that adding the IR Blaster update posted works with many different ComCast models, so it just seems reasonable that it might work with your box as well...

The Grey's cable replaces using the IR Blaster itself by plugging directly from the ReplayTV to the ComCast cable box with a wired cable, making a much more reliable control mechanism...

Henry
Although I have used DVarchive, I've never used Wirns and I'm not looking forward to it. And with all these brand names and codes floating around I don't think anyone has specified the brand name/code they specifically used for the Scientific Atlanta RNG 150. It looks to be a drawn out process with a lot of trial and error. Anyway at least I have things connected, running and recording but without RPTV remote control, I have make sure the box is already on the recording channel. I also get a nag screen about the hdmi and component connections and copy protection, but I hit exit on the cable remote and no more nagging. My older hd box won't bypass the nag screen and I have to disconnect the hdmi.
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post #25 of 27 Old 02-16-2011, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link Sonyad. I'm guessing here that this should still work with Replay 4000 units. Now, I have to decide to either buy one for $12 or build it myself. Between taking the time and gas of going to Radio Shack to purchase the parts and building it, I'm guessing it might be just about as cheap to buy it.
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post #26 of 27 Old 02-16-2011, 07:51 AM
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I just went ahead and ordered it. I've got enough headaches.
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post #27 of 27 Old 02-16-2011, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I just went ahead and ordered it. I've got enough headaches.
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