This is an offshoot of another thread I already have going entitled Changes Coming to My Comcast Service. I thought it made more sense to start a new thread since the subject is slightly different but feel free to merge the 2 threads if that's more appropriate.
Comcast is in the process of encrypting the QAM channels on my digital cable service (Maryland). Some of them which I used be able to receive via the QAM tuner on my DVD recorders can now only be received via Comcast's digital cable box (in my case it is a DCT 2224/1662). That means my recorder can no longer program those channels and after Comcast completes the conversion this fall, Comcast says all cable channels in my area (except for a few local and government type channels) will be affected.
The only way I will be able to use programmable recording for the affected channels after that date will be to *rent* Comcast's proprietary DVR's (at $16.00 per month, non-purchaseable) or use TIVO service.
It occurred to me that another way to solve the problem would be to use an IR Blaster with the cable box and some internet research seems to indicate that is possible but I can't find out how. Also, when I go to configuration on the Comcast box, there is a field that says IR Blaster but I have no idea what that is indicating or how to make use of it.
First of all, is there such a thing as a standalone IR blaster? If there isn't, that would seem to render my Panasonic DMR-ES45VS and my newly acquired Magnavox H2160MW9A mostly useless (other than for those previously noted local and government channels) and I will have to purchase yet another DVR, this time one equipped with an IR Blaster.
If anyone knows how to solve this problem using an IR Blaster with the Comcast box, I'm sure many people will be interested in knowing since there seems to be quite a few people experiencing the same problem.