How to record via IEEE 1394 (Firewire) to Windows XP - Page 187 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #5581 of 6050 Old 04-30-2011, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Strange. I don't get any error at all when I close out of CapDVHS on either Windows Vista 32-bit or Windows 7 32-bit.


I think you're confusing the Windows 7 "legacy" FireWire driver with the downgrade to Windows XP w/SP1's FireWire driver. They are two totally different things.

My above instructions which say to download a .zip and follow the "Simple procedure, manual downgrade:" directions is referring only to people who are using Windows XP (w/SP2 or SP3) or Windows Server 2003/Windows Home Server. The FireWire drivers that Microsoft included with Windows XP w/SP2 - Windows Server 2003 are known to cause some problems for certain FireWire activities. Anybody who is using Windows Vista or Windows 7 has no need to pay any attention to those directions.

I read "downgrade" in my mind as "download".
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post #5582 of 6050 Old 05-03-2011, 06:10 PM
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Can you still record through firewire off of Cox's new 500 Gig Cable box that shares with other boxes?
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post #5583 of 6050 Old 05-03-2011, 06:25 PM
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^ No idea. Why don't you try it and report back?

And what company makes that cable box?
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post #5584 of 6050 Old 05-04-2011, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Forget about option 1...it would look awful.

Option 2 isn't great, as DVD is not high-def.

Option 3 is what you want, but only if your Windows 7 is 32-bit. 64-bit Windows can not be used to transfer the shows via firewire.

Option 4 could include buying a Hauppauge HD-PVR, or Colossus, or something similar that could capture high-def.



It sounds like he's referring to recording the file using IEEE1394a firewire, the whole point of this discussion thread.


Well, that stuff is owned by the cable company, so they can dictate that you not open it...I don't have any experience with the Cisco STB's, but the Motorola STB's use a special anti-tamper tab and special security screws (you have to plan ahead and buy the correct screwdriver bit and security tab replacement, otherwise the cable company will know what you did...the fine is reportedly several hundred dollars).


You should:

1. verify that your Windows 7 is 32-bit. if it is 64-bit, you may want to consider reinstalling with the 32-bit release.

2. Buy a firewire IEEE1394a cable. You may also need to buy a firewire card for your laptop (some laptops, like my Sony Vaio, already come with a 4-pin firewire port...but many do not). Your cable box is required by law to have a firewire port on it. It is probably a 6-pin IEEE1394a port. Most laptops use a much smaller 4-pin connector. So you'd need to buy a firewire cable with a 6-pin connector on one end and a 4-pin connector on the other (make sure it is labeled as firewire "a", not "b"...it should say IEEE1394a 6-pin male to 4-pin male)

3. Download and install the firewire cable box drivers package from here

4. Connect the IEEE1394a cable from the back of your cable box to your computer and let Windows plug-and-play detect the drivers.

5. Have the cable box play the DVR recording that you want to capture.

6. On the computer, go to the Start Menu and launch CapDVHS. This utility emulates a DVHS digital high-definition VCR, allowing you to capture the MPEG2 .ts stream output by the cable box firewire port.

7. Click the Rec button in CapDVHS and wait until the show finishes playing.

8. Click the Stop button in CapDVHS to end the capture.

You'll have a .ts file that contains the exact quality of the original show. This can be burned to either a Blu-ray Disc (BD) or a DVD (which is called an AVCHD and only has room for much smaller amounts of HD material than a BD could store). MultiAVCHD, in conjuction with ImgBurn, is a free program that can put it on BD, AVCHD, or a USB thumbdrive that can be played by a PS3 or certain Blu-ray players.

I use a HD Tuning card to Record Directly to Uncompressed AVI them Compress to H.264

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post #5585 of 6050 Old 05-04-2011, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by SkateZilla View Post

I use a HD Tuning card to Record Directly to Uncompressed AVI them Compress to H.264

Right, so that's about the same end result as you'd get from the Hauppauge Colossus. You end up losing some quality in the MPEG4 compression (but perhaps not enough to notice, depending on bit rate).
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post #5586 of 6050 Old 05-05-2011, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post
Right, so that's about the same end result as you'd get from the Hauppauge Colossus. You end up losing some quality in the MPEG4 compression (but perhaps not enough to notice, depending on bit rate).
MPEG-4 HP@HL is comparable to MPEG-2 HP@HL at Half the Birtate.

if i dont want to have to re-encode I can just record the TS file directly through Firewire or through HDMI (yes, my HDV Capture Card has a 5c Enabled HDMI Port)

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post #5587 of 6050 Old 05-05-2011, 02:30 PM
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MPEG-4 HP@HL is comparable to MPEG-2 HP@HL at Half the Birtate.
Okay...I'm not sure what the point is...are you touting the space savings? My only point above is that any type of re-encode, no matter what, is going to reduce the quality. I certainly agree that the space savings of MPEG4 is nice, so if your point is that the trade-off is worth it, then I understand your point.

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if i dont want to have to re-encode I can just record the TS file directly through Firewire or through HDMI (yes, my HDV Capture Card has a 5c Enabled HDMI Port)
Huh? a 5c enabled capture card? Really? What is this?? Please share some details. I have no experience with HDMI capturing.
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post #5588 of 6050 Old 05-05-2011, 04:12 PM
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if i dont want to have to re-encode I can just record the TS file directly through Firewire or through HDMI
Another thought: If you capture from the HDMI, you are still re-encoding the video. The video that comes through the HDMI is huge and would be too much to deal with uncompressed. So all the capture cards that I'm aware of end up applying realtime hardware MPEG2 or MPEG4 compression to it (which is a re-encode).

The only ways to get a lossless copy would be:
1) capture via FireWire
2) deal with the uncompressed gigantic HDMI dump (not gonna happen).
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post #5589 of 6050 Old 05-05-2011, 05:45 PM
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if i dont want to have to re-encode I can just record the TS file directly through Firewire or through HDMI (yes, my HDV Capture Card has a 5c Enabled HDMI Port)

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Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Another thought: If you capture from the HDMI, you are still re-encoding the video. The video that comes through the HDMI is huge and would be too much to deal with uncompressed. So all the capture cards that I'm aware of end up applying realtime hardware MPEG2 or MPEG4 compression to it (which is a re-encode).

The only ways to get a lossless copy would be:
1) capture via FireWire
2) deal with the uncompressed gigantic HDMI dump (not gonna happen).

Also, I thought the data was encoded on the those Satellite Recorders so how can you record a ts file? That's what I do with my Motorola box through firewire, but everything I've read says you can't do that with the Direct TV and Dish DVRs?

Or is it a TS file that will only play on the DVR as opposed to Windows Media Player or some other computer based player?
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post #5590 of 6050 Old 05-05-2011, 07:24 PM
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Also, I thought the data was encoded on the those Satellite Recorders so how can you record a ts file? That's what I do with my Motorola box through firewire, but everything I've read says you can't do that with the Direct TV and Dish DVRs?

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that none of the current sat boxes let you transfer via FireWire. The older MPEG2 DirecTV ones could be modified (by a website, 169time.com) to include FireWire, but they can't do it to the newer MPEG4 sat boxes.

The reason for this is that cable companies are federally mandated by the FCC to support FireWire transfer to certain devices (D-VHS VCR's and FireWire equipped TV's, both of which are no longer manufactured). Starting in 2004, the law was that any cable TV customer who requested a FireWire-equipped cable box MUST be provided one. In 2005 the law was made stricter: All new cable boxes purchased by cable companies were required to have functional FireWire. In November 2010 the law was made a little less strict, and essentially reverts to the old 2004 law: Any cable TV customer who requests it MUST be provided a cable box with functional FireWire. But the cable companies are once again allowed to purchase new cable boxes that don't include FireWire, but ONLY if there is an alternative method for offloading the content. There is a deadline looming later this year for some sort of agreement on an industry standard for device automation (or something) and some standard for transferring content.

The sat companies have never been required by law to support FireWire or any sort of mechanism for off-loading content.


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Or is it a TS file that will only play on the DVR as opposed to Windows Media Player or some other computer based player?

No, the .ts files will play on anything (as long as proper codec support is present). The problem is that most sat boxes don't have FireWire for offloading the content.
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post #5591 of 6050 Old 05-06-2011, 08:14 AM
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Not to confuse anyone with my post below, lets just say I've switched around my methods over the last 5 or 6 years as I upgraded and got access to new hardware and software.


First, When I used Firewire as a Primary method of moving shows from the DVR, I was able to View the .TS Files in VideoLanClient, and I was able to burn them to DVDRs, I can Make my own Blu Rays now with them if I need too,

For a While I was Archiving TS Streams and Just using the TV out on my PC to my LCD TV. But after a while space was an issue as well as format compatibility with other devices and portability.

The Reason I Don't just do the TS Stream copy, is because I Put Everything on a 2TB Portable HDD now and I can Play it on MY PC, Xbox, PS3, HDTV, whatever I hook the HDD to, TS Streams wont play on every device like WMV-VC1 will, or H.264

I tried to Copy the TS and export the Stream to an MPEG-2, then to MPEG-4, but the process too took long, too many steps, Instead I can record it to uncompressed AVI on my Raid Array, and Compress it to MPEG-4 H.264, Save it to the External HDD.

Now after Upgrading to a 6 Core Phenom2 OCd to 3.75GHz, I have the power and can record directly to 720P 5.1-AC3 H.264 MPEG4 from the HDMI Input, Save the File to the HDD.

The only things I usually take from the DVR now is Live Concerts/Performances etc.
I don't take movies off the premium channels, I'll just go out and buy the BluRay and make my DigitalCopy.

As for the 5c Enabled Card, Black Magic Made a Limited Amount of Intensity Pro Cards with a 5c Chip for Testing, Cable/Sat Companies then threatened to sue, so they removed the 5c Ability from the HDMI Inputs on the Retail versions (physically, so firmware/bios adjustments wont bring it back), So you can record from un encrypted HDMI Sources. But not encrypted ones.

My Card however has 5c enabled. I can Record from the Moto Box fine (every channel), Xbox 360 Fine, PS3, etc.

In Fact when I started Moving all my DVDs to Digital Copies to store on my Portable HDDs, I used the Xbox 360's HDMI and HANA Chip Scalar Upsampling to upconvert them to 720P and Record directly to HP@HL MPEG4.

Yes there's Quality differences, but they are minimal, everything looks fine on my 50 Inch. And My collection of a few thousand DVDs now reside in a closet and my collection sits on a 5 2TB HDDs that I can plug into my Xbox 360 to play movies from and put it in my back pack and take with me, and play on any laptop/pc/Xbox360/HD Media Dock, etc.

In Fact, this summer I may Start Re-Doing my Collection Into VC-1 (takes about 2 months). VC1 is supposed to be getting a Lossless Encoder, so

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post #5592 of 6050 Old 05-06-2011, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by TNO821 View Post

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that none of the current sat boxes let you transfer via FireWire. The older MPEG2 DirecTV ones could be modified (by a website, 169time.com) to include FireWire, but they can't do it to the newer MPEG4 sat boxes.

The reason for this is that cable companies are federally mandated by the FCC to support FireWire transfer to certain devices (D-VHS VCR's and FireWire equipped TV's, both of which are no longer manufactured). Starting in 2004, the law was that any cable TV customer who requested a FireWire-equipped cable box MUST be provided one. In 2005 the law was made stricter: All new cable boxes purchased by cable companies were required to have functional FireWire. In November 2010 the law was made a little less strict, and essentially reverts to the old 2004 law: Any cable TV customer who requests it MUST be provided a cable box with functional FireWire. But the cable companies are once again allowed to purchase new cable boxes that don't include FireWire, but ONLY if there is an alternative method for offloading the content. There is a deadline looming later this year for some sort of agreement on an industry standard for device automation (or something) and some standard for transferring content.

The sat companies have never been required by law to support FireWire or any sort of mechanism for off-loading content.



No, the .ts files will play on anything (as long as proper codec support is present). The problem is that most sat boxes don't have FireWire for offloading the content.

So, is this to say that my cable co. has to provide me a unit with firewire 'turned on'. I was getting in to a discussion with my cable tech and found out that they seem to have a decent selection of firewire hd boxes. But when I asked him which ones they had he said "why firewire is disabled on all of them". I didn't comment and thought I should figure out what my options are. Thanks,
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post #5593 of 6050 Old 05-06-2011, 11:59 AM
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So, is this to say that my cable co. has to provide me a unit with firewire 'turned on'.

It is against federal law for the FireWire to be "disabled". However, smaller cable companies are able to petition the FCC for a waiver. They don't want to overly penalize smaller regional cable companies that serve populations that would be ignored by the big companies; there are some smaller rural areas where the big cable companies would be unwilling to invest the money required for building out the cable infrastructure. Therefore the FCC allows cable companies to petition for a waiver if they feel that it is unreasonable for them to invest the money in complying with particular regulations (these really small cableco's wouldn't have the money to hire FireWire firmware developers and software developers required for some of that stuff).

But, in all likelihood your cable tech doesn't know what they're talking about or simply doesn't understand the law. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that the FCC hasn't been good at enforcing this law...so when the FireWire isn't working (due normally to a firmware bug), there is no huge incentive for the cable company and/or cable box manufacturer to quickly address the problem. If the FCC were doing a better job, they would fine the cable companies that are not in compliance and that would get management's attention and they'd chew on Motorola and Cisco to get their sh1t together and fix the FireWire firmware code. That obviously has not happened.

None of that changes the fact that, as of November 2010, the law says that any cable TV customer who requests a cable box with working FireWire MUST be provided with one.

The FCC has a section on their website where you can complain about non-compliance. Go to the following website for detailed instructions on how you can formally lodge a complaint against your cable company for not including functional FireWire:
http://www.1394ta.org/consumers/FCC_complaint.html
I would recommend talking to your cable company first and let them know that you will be filing a formal complaint...this could get them to elevate your issue to a senior tech or manager who may be able to help you out without involving the FCC.

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I was getting in to a discussion with my cable tech and found out that they seem to have a decent selection of firewire hd boxes. But when I asked him which ones they had he said "why firewire is disabled on all of them". I didn't comment and thought I should figure out what my options are. Thanks

Yeah, of course they have a good selection of cable boxes that include FireWire; From mid-2005 until November 2010 it was illegal for cable companies to even purchase cable boxes that didn't include FireWire!
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post #5594 of 6050 Old 05-06-2011, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Based upon some of the answers he gave me I knew he didn't know what he was talking about. As far as the size, they aren't a national co., buckeye cable systems in Toledo, OH. They been around forever though.

Are there better models than others I should look for (or look out for)? They seem to carry Pace and Motorola.

Thanks again.
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post #5595 of 6050 Old 05-06-2011, 12:10 PM
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Not to confuse anyone with my post below, lets just say I've switched around my methods over the last 5 or 6 years as I upgraded and got access to new hardware and software.

Very interesting. I don't have time to comment at the moment, but I wanted you to know I'm not ignoring your post. After work I'll have some questions about this Very cool stuff!
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post #5596 of 6050 Old 05-06-2011, 12:14 PM
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Thanks for the reply. Based upon some of the answers he gave me I knew he didn't know what he was talking about. As far as the size, they aren't a national co., buckeye cable systems in Toledo, OH. They been around forever though.

Are there better models than others I should look for (or look out for)? They seem to carry Pace and Motorola.

Thanks again.

I was born and raised just south of Toledo! I'm well acquainted with Buckey.
They may very well have been granted a waiver. I would call and ask to speak to somebody who has a clue but I would not mention that they may be exempt from that law...let them figure that out. Mention that you intend to file a formal FCC complaint if they can't resolve your issue. That should at least get their attention.

Any of the not-too-recent Motorola cable boxes are what you want. Any DCT6412/DCT6416/DCH6412/DCH6416/DCT3412/DCT3416/DCH3412/DCH3416 should work nicely.
*Also, there is now a way to hack any of those Motorola DVR cable boxes with a 1 TB hard drive; you are no longer limited to the puny 120 GB or 160 GB hard drives that they come with. (Do not mention this to the cable company...they will fine you if they discover that you've opened the cable box). This post gives step-by-step instructions, complete with screenshots, that show how you can image any 1 TB (or larger) hard drive to provide 1 TB of recording space on any Motorola DCH\\DCT (and probably DCX) cable box.

Stay away from the Motorola DCX series. They really broke the FireWire firmware with those most recent Motorola cable boxes.
I have no hands-on experience with Pace.
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post #5597 of 6050 Old 05-11-2011, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
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I was born and raised just south of Toledo! I'm well acquainted with Buckey.
They may very well have been granted a waiver. I would call and ask to speak to somebody who has a clue but I would not mention that they may be exempt from that law...let them figure that out. Mention that you intend to file a formal FCC complaint if they can't resolve your issue. That should at least get their attention.

Any of the not-too-recent Motorola cable boxes are what you want. Any DCT6412/DCT6416/DCH6412/DCH6416/DCT3412/DCT3416/DCH3412/DCH3416 should work nicely.
*Also, there is now a way to hack any of those Motorola DVR cable boxes with a 1 TB hard drive; you are no longer limited to the puny 120 GB or 160 GB hard drives that they come with. (Do not mention this to the cable company...they will fine you if they discover that you've opened the cable box). This post gives step-by-step instructions, complete with screenshots, that show how you can image any 1 TB (or larger) hard drive to provide 1 TB of recording space on any Motorola DCH\\DCT (and probably DCX) cable box.

Stay away from the Motorola DCX series. They really broke the FireWire firmware with those most recent Motorola cable boxes.
I have no hands-on experience with Pace.

there's a quicker way to do that without using a PC and formatting, just need the modded firmware, USB Stick, and USB keyboard.
So you can tell the box to re-format the disk to 1TB specs, Cox limited the software to 160GB to begin with on the DCT Series firmware.

The same method can be used to adjust firmware settings to allow eSATA to work.

Load Modded Firmware onto USB Drive, and boot the DVR to service menu and move the firmware to the dvr, I think this can be done over LAN too using Motorola's tools (note: these firmware tools aren't available to the public on Motorola's site, you have to get them elsewhere, They usually send discs to BetaTesters, which is how I got mine)

Be careful, as they can do alot of legal stuff to you if your caught tampering with their firmware, or the hardware, which belongs to them, your just leasing it.

If you want to get an old DCT and Mod it, then buy your own, let Cox initialize it, then mod it.
Some stores sold them Retail, While I was looking to get one from Ebay, remove the guts and mod the cooling and case.


Im seriously looking into building my own DVR using:

An ITX Case/MainBoard and an AMD Dual Core APU@2.0GHz, 16GB of RAM w/ Twin 2TB SATA Drives in RAID-0,, Have yet to decide on a Tuner.

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post #5598 of 6050 Old 05-11-2011, 10:41 AM
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there's a quicker way to do that without using a PC and formatting, just need the modded firmware, USB Stick, and USB keyboard.
So you can tell the box to re-format the disk to 1TB specs, Cox limited the software to 160GB to begin with on the DCT Series firmware.

That's cool, but sounds a lot riskier than imaging a hard drive and swapping. If one were to brick their cable box there'd be no choice but to take it to the cable company and it'd be pretty obvious what happened. But being able to turn on eSATA sounds very cool! That would allow a total of 2 TB of recording space!

On the other hand, it'd be pretty unpleasant if the next firmware update pushed out by the cableco screwed up the eSATA and caused you to lose all of those recordings.

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An ITX Case/MainBoard and an AMD Dual Core APU@2.0GHz, 16GB of RAM w/ Twin 2TB SATA Drives in RAID-0,, Have yet to decide on a Tuner

I'd do the same, except it would mean giving up OnDemand/PPV. I'd go with the 4-tuner Ceton card. I've read great things about it.
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post #5599 of 6050 Old 05-11-2011, 11:18 AM
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That's cool, but sounds a lot riskier than imaging a hard drive and swapping. If one were to brick their cable box there'd be no choice but to take it to the cable company and it'd be pretty obvious what happened. But being able to turn on eSATA sounds very cool! That would allow a total of 2 TB of recording space!

On the other hand, it'd be pretty unpleasant if the next firmware update pushed out by the cableco screwed up the eSATA and caused you to lose all of those recordings.


I'd do the same, except it would mean giving up OnDemand/PPV. I'd go with the 4-tuner Ceton card. I've read great things about it.

Use the ethernet, and CoxTV, netflix etc.

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post #5600 of 6050 Old 05-11-2011, 11:46 AM
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As for the Formatting,

All you need to know are the Partition Sizes and Names for the 1TB and you can make them yourselves without having to download an image and all that.

We had a post/thread somewhere on here, a guy's 160GB drive died and he want to replace it himself, so I posted a Screenshot of the HDD Model and Partition info and he was able to plug it right in and go.

if the firmware wasnt locked to 160GB, you shoulda been able to just swap drives and have it auto format everything on 1st boot.

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post #5601 of 6050 Old 05-11-2011, 12:44 PM
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As for the Formatting,

All you need to know are the Partition Sizes and Names for the 1TB and you can make them yourselves without having to download an image and all that.

We had a post/thread somewhere on here, a guy's 160GB drive died and he want to replace it himself, so I posted a Screenshot of the HDD Model and Partition info and he was able to plug it right in and go.

if the firmware wasnt locked to 160GB, you shoulda been able to just swap drives and have it auto format everything on 1st boot.
All of that makes perfect sense, but it requires flashing the firmware. If anything were to go off-the-rails (power outage or something), it would brick the cable box. Maybe the person could properly close the cable box, replace the security tab and special screws and simply tell the cable company that it just "stopped working"...but I don't think it would be hard for them to discover that the firmware was messed with.

I like that it sounds like less work than imaging the 1 TB hard drive (and I love the idea of being able to enable eSATA, as long as it won't be disabled by future cable company firmware updates), but there is quite a bit more risk involved with flashing the firmware than with a simple hard drive swap.
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post #5602 of 6050 Old 05-12-2011, 08:34 AM
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If you want to get an old DCT and Mod it, then buy your own, let Cox initialize it, then mod it.
Some stores sold them Retail, While I was looking to get one from Ebay, remove the guts and mod the cooling and case.

Good luck getting a cable company to "initialize" a box you bought on eBay.
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post #5603 of 6050 Old 05-12-2011, 02:59 PM
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Good luck getting a cable company to "initialize" a box you bought on eBay.

Which is why I havent done that, you can still buy one retail from motorola etc.

have Cox Initialize it and upload their software to it, then turn it off, mod the hardware or whatever you want.

my problem with the DCT64xx is the Analog tuner causes temps to stay up even though its supposedly disabled/bypassed now by cox. my 3416 idled about 10^C Cooler.

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post #5604 of 6050 Old 05-12-2011, 05:04 PM
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I think JDLIVE's point is that nearly all US cable companies would refuse to initialize any cable box that they didn't own.

As far as I'm aware, you'll never see Comcast or Time Warner Cable initialize any STB that they didn't purchase (though they're required to provide a cable card upon request that could be used by a Tivo, or Moxi, or Ceton TV tuner, etc).
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post #5605 of 6050 Old 05-13-2011, 10:20 PM
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Howdy, folks! New guy here, driven to madness by trying to record a show off my DVR to my computer and failing miserably over the course of five nights. Was wondering if someone out there would take pity on me and see if they could help.

Here's my operating system:

Windows XP Professional, Version 2002, Service Pack 2

And here's my DVR:

Motorola DCT-6416 III

I used the driver package from ExDeus, installed everything exactly as outlined, and proceeded to record a test by playing back some commercials recorded during an episode of "Storage Wars" using CapDVHS.

CapDVHS recorded the commercials and placed the file in the assigned folder with a .ts designation.

But when I try watching the video in Windows Media Player, it tells me the file is unsupported. When I try watching the video with DIVX Player, it tells me the file is unsupported. When I try to import the file into Adobe Premiere, it tells me the file is unsupported.

Sensing a pattern, I thought I would try using HDTVtoMPEG2 to convert it. It would not let me add the file. Then I tried using HDTVtoDVD. Again, it will not let me add the file.

I've been beating my head against the wall, trying to figure out what the @!#$% I'm doing wrong (I even reinstalled my operating system in case there was something in the computer causing a conflict, but to no avail.)

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance for reading my ramblings!

- Joe
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post #5606 of 6050 Old 05-13-2011, 10:54 PM
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^ Yeah, Windows Media Player on Windows XP does not recognize .ts files unless you do some registry hackery...I think Vista is similar. Windows 7 recognizes it.

I'm thinking that, despite CapDVHS producing a .ts file, your cable company may be encrypting the channel that you're recording. If that's the case, the .ts file is unusable.

I think the easiest way to find out is to download the 14-day trial of VideoReDo and use it to open your .ts file.

If it still won't open, the last resort would be to use VideoReDo's "QuickStream Fix" tool (located in the Tools menu) to scrub the file.

Also, what cable company are you on? If it's Time Warner Cable, there's a real good chance that the channel you were recording from is encrypted. It's not legal for the cable company to encrypt the Over-The-Air channels, so you could run a test recording NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, PBS, etc. and that could at least let you know if CapDVHS is working properly.

You mentioned that your cable box is one of the older Motorola 64xx series, which works well for FireWire capturing.
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post #5607 of 6050 Old 05-14-2011, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MicroJow View Post

CapDVHS recorded the commercials and placed the file in the assigned folder with a .ts designation.

But when I try watching the video in Windows Media Player, it tells me the file is unsupported. When I try watching the video with DIVX Player, it tells me the file is unsupported. When I try to import the file into Adobe Premiere, it tells me the file is unsupported.

As TN0821 explained, .TS files are not natively supported by WinXP. So Windows Media Player is not going to even offer it to you for selection as "all media files".

Furthermore, even if you click "all files" and select it, the underlying data stream in a .TS file that got recorded by CapDVHS from the DVR is in MPEG-2 format. So you would then need the MPEG-2 codec installed on your system (perhaps from some other video-related product) in order for any player program (e.g. Windows Media Player) that utilizes Windows-installed codecs.

Again, MPEG-2 is not a codec that is built into WinXP by default, so no standard player program will be able play a .TS file... even if you try to force it to.

Easiest solution: download and install [free] VideoLAN from here. It is able to both (a) accept .TS streams directly for playback, and (b) decode MPEG-2 data streams.

VideoLAN is a very highly respected and highly regarded almost universal media player program that can play just about anything, and is compatible with both WinXP and Win7, 32-bit and 64-bit.

VideoLAN will play your copy-freely .TS/MPEG-2 files on WinXP. It certainly plays mine.


Second point however, again made by TN0821 and again valid. If your cable company is delivering cable channel programs as "copy-once" then they are encrypted and cannot be played by anything other than your DVR. The .TS stream recorded by CapDVHS is worthless.

Only cable channel programs marked "copy-freely" can be recorded in a "usable" form into .TS files by CapDVHS. All local OTA network channels carried on your cable system are required by the FCC to be "copy-freely", so for sure these should be usable for offload from DVR to PC with CapDVHS. And, if you're lucky, other cable channels will also be "copy-freely" as well.

Unfortunately for me, here on TWC/LA EVERY CABLE CHANNEL IS MARKED "COPY-ONCE" (aside from the local OTA networks carried by the cable system). So recording anything to PC and having it be usable is impossible.


And finally, even if you do use VideoLAN to play .TS files directly, they're EXTREMELY LARGE raw format MPEG-2 streams. They're not really suitable for "end-use". They're identical to the data that got recorded onto the hard drive in the DVR and are meant to be played back by "commercial grade MPEG-2 decoder/players" such as you'd find in a DVR. They're very high original-quality bitrate and require very strong CPU's to play them back (decoding the high bitrate MPEG-2 compression used), not to mention requiring fairly high-end graphics card hardware and drivers as well if you're trying to play HD on your PC.

So if you want to really make use of these .TS files, you're first going to want to be able to EDIT them. For that there is no program better than the aforementioned VideoReDo TVSuite v4.0 which can also be used under Win7 to edit "copy-freely" TV programs recorded in WTV form by Windows Media Center. These WTV files are once again MPEG-2 internally, but unlike .TS files the WTV "wrapper" provides for extreme DRM (digital rights management) control by Win7.

But again, for "copy-freely" content these WTV files (with MPEG-2 content inside) can be read and played and edited perfectly and with no problem by VideoReDo TVSuite v4.0. So This [non-free] third party product is ABSOLUTELY RECOMMENDED FOR PURCHASE. Again, it is very highly regarded and respected.

Of course once you edit your .TS files (saving them into MPG wrapper probably, but still MPEG-2 data internally) you'll probably want to convert them to compressed AVI form for retention on your PC, if saving them for playback on your PC is your end goal. Now, depending on the compression parameters you select (which of course affect the video playback quality of the resulting AVI) you'll need something to do that.

My own recommendation is for a [free] product named VirtualDub along with a few of its "plug-ins" to support (a) MPEG-2 source data stream, (b) smart de-interlace, which will de-interlace your 480i/1080i interlaced streams to progressive, (c) smart sharpen, which improves image quality from low-quality 480i recordings, and (d) resize, to do things like crop-out the "black side-bar wings" on a 4:3 program presented in 1080i, where the actual image you want in your AVI is just the "center-cut" 1440x1080 instead of the complete 1920x1080 with the unnecessary black bars on left and right.

If you use VirtualDub, you'll also need a high-quality compression codec installed, and my own choice is the xVid codec, which produces terrific results even from HD MPEG-2 input. The installation of xVid also installs a XVIDVFW.DLL which enables xVid as a compression encoder within VirtualDub when you are setting things up to produce your AVI.

The VirtualDub step in your AVI production process is probably the most difficult (relatively speaking), only because there is a tremendous amount that this program can do for other purposes aside from this basic one I'm pointing you to... of creating an AVI (with xVid compression) from your raw .TS files that you edited first with VideoRedo to produce the MPG/MPEG-2 clips you then want to turn into compressed AVI clips for permanent saving.

Now, if your goal is not to produce AVI clips, but instead to produce say BluRay versions (in original untouched pristine MPEG-2 quality with no re-compression) then you still would use VideoReDo to do the editing into MPG/MPEG-2 clips. But then you might use a [free] BluRay authoring program like multiAVCHD, which is an excellent product (from a "personal author" in Bulgaria, so it's not a big-deal commercial program). But it does produce wonderfully usable titled and menu'd home-produced BDMV output (in files, actually, that are then burned to BD discs by a [free] program such as IMGBURN).


Anyway, this is just my every-so-often "unload" of advice for new CapDVHS/firewire users wanting to do the same things that I wanted to do, based on my own experience and discoveries.

Hope this is helpful.
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post #5608 of 6050 Old 05-14-2011, 10:13 AM
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Thanks for the info, folks! Sure enough, I'm on Time Warner and in the Los Angeles area. I tried recording two tests: one from A&EHD, and the other from basic NBC. The basic NBC recording played fine, the A&EHD recording wouldn't open in anything, not even the VideoReDo Quickstream Fix program.

So, basically, I'm boned and will not be able to take the shows off of the DVR, eh? There's no program that descrambles Time Warner's encoding?

Thanks again - at least now I can stop thinking it was me doing something wrong!

- Joe
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post #5609 of 6050 Old 05-14-2011, 10:50 AM
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So, basically, I'm boned and will not be able to take the shows off of the DVR, eh? There's no program that descrambles Time Warner's encoding?
None. That is precisely intent of the encryption mechanism... to "protect" content that they and the content-providers deem appropriate to "protect".

Originally, this wasn't done. Certainly in years past when I had Comcast here in LA (before Comcast and TWC met in a bar and divided up the country into two sources of money, one for each of them, by agreeing to essentially monopolize individual entire cities and thus eliminate even the remotest future possibility of competition, even if they'd already pretty much already monopolized individual areas within cities by coopting the local regulatory authorities who grant franchise licenses) this wasn't the case. I know I used to be able to offload lots of content from DVR to PC (through first going to DVHS tape and then DVHS tape to PC) and convert to AVI for my own permanent collection. Essentially nothing but the premium movie channels was "copy-once".

But now... everything.


Your only real alternative now is to find a JVC DVHS VCR for sale somewhere, and use DVHS tape as your "archival medium". Not so bad, really. I have four of these VCRs and hundreds of DVHS tapes holding assorted HDTV content (in its original 720p/1080i MPEG-2 form, on 2.5 or 3.5 hour DVHS tapes).

When I want to do this (as I almost always do for the summer Olympics, many high-profile events of which I love to have available in the very original "as originally aired" form) I will accomplish my own "editing out commercials" simply by pausing the recording VCR while I skip past commercials on the DVR, while I'm actually watching the recorded show from the DVR for the first time. I never watch anything live, nor do I watch commercials, so this approach is a very time-efficient way to both watch the program as well as skip commercials as well as transfer the commercial-free content to DVHS tape... FOR ANY CONTENT, both copy-freely as well as copy-once.

For example, I have the entire original HBO "The Sopranos" on DVHS tape, recorded faithfully throughout all the years it was on the air. Stacked three or four episodes per 3.5 hour DVHS tape, depending on episode length.

I'm afraid DVHS tape and VCRs is your only real solution to preserving copy-once content (unless it's issued on BluRay in the future). Blank DVHS tapes are still available for purchase from online blank-media retailers, last I checked. I have my own supply which should last for all of my future needs.
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post #5610 of 6050 Old 05-14-2011, 11:24 AM
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Just one more thought about this...

Turns out not only is TWC/LA marking EVERY cable channel as "copy-once", but as much as I had originally doubted it they are also re-compressing the local OTA networks that they carry. I'd thought "they would never do that".

But experiments and research using WTV files of these copy-freely programs created by Windows Media Center in Win7 from my Ceton 4-tuner card (fed from TWC cable using M-Card), contrasting them against the same program recorded to a second WTV file by Windows Media Center using my ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI card (fed from OTA/ATSC antenna) showed dramatic differences in both file size and bitrate.

Some local OTA network channels that weren't terribly high bitrate in the first place (because they'd gone to sub-channels, thus dividing up their allotted bandwidth across several channels) were not severely impacted, but wonderful and pristine best-image-quality-in-town KCBS-DT which has ZERO sub-channels and normally broadcasts OTA at about 16Mbps, well KCBS-DT is carried by TWC/LA at around 9.5Mbps, which is an astonishing loss of "image quality" compared to the OTA ATSC version available free from antenna. Noticeable loss of image quality.

I don't believe this is how it used to be, but with TWC/LA now offering over 100 HD channels they apparently had to do something to allow that over the existing infrastructure. Until they get around to converting the entire city to SDV, their apparent workaround is to re-compress content to reduce bandwidth requirements... since after all, "nobody will be able to tell the difference".


Well now that I know that, and given that I've moved off of TWC/LA DVR recording almost entirely and onto Windows Media Center and my HTPC with Ceton and ATI tuner cards in it recording to a 1TB hard drive, I strictly use my ATI ATSC tuner card to record local OTA content (via antenna) using WMC. The Ceton tuner is used strictly to record cable channel programs, and secondary "conflicts" from OTA channels when two or more OTA programs are to be recorded at one time.

Furthermore, since CapDVHS can also WRITE to DVHS as well as READ from DVHS, if I ever in the future really do want to preserve something from OTA network programs which was recorded as copy-freely content to WTV file form, I would probably preserve it to DVHS tape by running Video ReDo TV Suite v4 to edit the commercials out of the raw WTV recording, saving the output not to MPG but rather to TS (which is one of the available output formats from VideoRedo). Then I'd re-boot to WinXP and run CapDVHS, and WRITE that TS file to my JVC DVHS VCR connected via firewire to the PC.

In otherwords, wanting to have the best quality recording on DVHS tape, I'd want to start with the true OTA ATSC recording, not the TWC/LA-provided version which got re-compressed for delivery through the cable system. But my roof antenna is connected to my ATI tuner card controlled by WMC, not to my DCH3416 DVR from TWC/LA. So my obvious methodology for getting optimal DVHS tape recordings is to use WMC (aka "Windows 7 DVR") to record OTA ATSC to WTV, edit with VideoRedo to TS, and then under WinXP use CapDVHS to write TS to DVHS tape.


Haven't done that yet, but I believe that will be my approach come London Olympics in 2012.

The DCH3416 simply doesn't have enough room in its 160GB hard drive to be able to handle all of the hours of coverage I'm sure will be broadcast. And besides, I have no need or desire to upgrade it, since I now have a 1TB drive on my 5-tuner HTPC/DVR running under Win7 WMC and where manipulating the copy-freely WTV files is no problem.

If it's true that CapDVHS and the firewire drivers will actually work on 32-bit Win7, I may actually install a 32-bit Win7 to replace (or maybe supplement, just to be conservative) my 32-bit WinXP, so that I can run both (a) WMC to continue ongoing recording and playback, as well as (b) VideoRedo to do editing, as well as (c) CapDVHS to offload to DVHS without having to re-boot to WinXP to do that.

Well, there's enough time yet to figure out my plan for London 2012.
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