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post #1 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
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MSTV Foundation Edition 1.7 Questions (FEQ)

Information provided in this document is provided as-is with no warranties, and confers no rights. Information is subject to change.

Last update 11/14/2004

General info:

Exec Q&A: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/f...omcastMSTV.asp

Press Release: http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/p...ploymentPR.asp

Official MSTV Foundation Edition web site: http://www.microsoft.com/tv/content/...tion_Main.mspx

Motorola 6412 site: http://broadband.motorola.com/dvr/dct6412.asp

Hardware:

I see 1394 and USB ports on the back, are external hard disks supported?
No, these are not currently supported and support for them is beyond MSTV control.
I see an Ethernet port on the back, can I connect my PC to the cable box?
No, the Ethernet port is not currently active.
Can I record HD on both tuners while watching another recorded HD program?
Yes, this is supported.
Does the box support Picture-in-Picture (PIP)?
No, the current generation of DCT6412 hardware does not support PIP. It does support a scaled down TV window and Guide and DVR UI screens utilize this.
Do the connectors on the front panel of the box, or the video inputs on the rear of the box do anything?
These connectors are not currently supported and support for them is beyond MSTV control.
Does the DVI port work?
Yes, DVI works without limitation for displays that support DVI-HDCP. For displays that do not support DVI-HDCP, DVI functionality is limited to the options configured by the cable operator (MSO) and the broadcaster.
Do the component video ports work? What about the broadcast flag or copy protection?
At present, the component video ports work and HD signals are not constrained.
What about the remote?
The remote varies from area to area and is determined by the cable operator.

Pricing:
All pricing is determined by the cable operator.

DVR:

Can I record VOD?
No, recording of VOD programs is not allowed by the MSO.
Can I record PPV?
Yes, once you've purchased a PPV program, you can record it.
Can I record music channels?
No.
Is this just the cable version of UltimateTV?
No, however a number of the same people who worked on UTV are on the MSTV team and Microsoft applied many of the lessons learned in the UTV product with MSTV.
Can I pause or rewind/fast forward music channels?
No.
What kinds of recording are supported?
You can setup EPG data-based series or one time recordings, manual (VCR timer) recordings, impulse recordings (from full screen TV) and pause buffer recordings (start recording from the beginning of the show if it has been tuned and buffering for a while).
Can I transfer recordings to DVD or my PC?
No, this is not supported. However, you can capture recordings from the analog video outputs to a VCR or other recording device.
Can I share recordings with other cable boxes in my house?
No, this is not currently supported.
How many hours of content can I record?
From http://broadband.motorola.com/dvr/dct6412.asp , 90 hours of SD and 12-20 hours of HD - but this all depends on the bit rate of the content and there's a wide range of bit rates in use. Real world use tends to be more around 60 hours of SD and 15-20 hours for HD.
How long is the pause buffer?
Again, it depends on the content bit rate, as well as the way that your MSO configured the FE software. You can usually count on 1-2 hours for standard def content by default.
Can I set reminders/timers that don't record?
DVR boxes running FE 1.7 do not support reminder/timer functionality. However, non-DVR boxes running FE 1.7 do support reminders.
Can I record on all channels?
With the exception of music channels, unsubscribed channels and Video on Demand, you can record any channel you receive.
What trick modes are enabled?
o Pause
o Play
o FF - (3,15,60,300x default speeds)
o Rew - (3,15,60,300x default speeds)
o Slow motion forward and reverse (Pause-FF/REW)
o Frame advance (Pause-Pause)
o Instant replay (skip back a few seconds)
o Jump to live
o 30 second skip is supported by the core FE platform but most MSOs do not enable it and there is no hidden code to enable it.
Does the DVR record the digital signal directly to disk?
Yes, for digital channels (HD or SD) the programming stream is recorded directly to disk without re-encoding. For analog channels, they are MPEG encoded first (so they become digital).

Electronic Program Guide:

Can I remove certain channels that I do not receive so they do not clutter my tv listings and channel surfing?
Yes, provided that the MSO has not disabled this feature. Go to Settings-> Channel list and Favorites
What can I search for?
You can search by day and time, program title, actor or topic (keyword), or category (kids, sports, movies, etc.).
Can I view listings by channel instead of the program grid by time?
Yes, from the program grid, arrow left and select the channel.
How many days of program listings are supported?
This depends on a number of factors. In general 12-14 days should be available at all times. Guide data and UI files are cached to disk as well so if you have to unplug the box or experience a power outage, your scheduled recordings, recorded shows and guide data are saved. All settings are also saved.

HDTV:

How do I know what programs are truly HD programs?
Some programs on HDTV channels are actually not broadcast in HDTV (16:9, high resolution). Shows that are true HDTV shows have an HD icon in the program information region. You can also find HDTV shows from the main menu or the search menu. If you schedule shows on an HD channel, they won't accidentally record on the non-HD channel.
How do I configure the HDTV video outputs?
While the box is turned off, but still plugged in, press the menu key on the remote or front panel to select your TV Type, YPbPr/DVI output mode and scaling (4:3 override). Most HDTV users with HDTV capable 16:9 TV sets will want to set their box for 16:9 TV type, 1080i output and 4:3 override off (to avoid re-syncing between HD and SD channels)
Are the composite video outputs enabled when the box is connected to an HDTV display?
Yes, the composite outputs (line out and s-video out) will display down-converted HDTV programming. Some video output settings will result in no on screen display (UI) showing on the composite outputs when setup for HDTV. You can use this to record programming to a VCR or to have a box connected to an HDTV display and a secondary SDTV display.
Can I connect a 1394 display or DVHS VCR?
Yes, however displays connected over 1394 will not display the user interface.

Video on Demand (VOD / On Demand):

What is VOD?
VOD enables users to watch programs and movies on demand. One can pause, fast forward or re-wind while watching a VOD program.
Are DVR-like trick controls enabled for VOD content?
Yes, the same trick controls you use for DVR work in VOD except for frame advance, slow motion, or multiple FF / Rew speeds.
Can I search VOD titles?
You can navigate VOD content by browsing through the categories listed on the main VOD page. However, general purpose search is not supported.

Managed Content Services (iChannels):

Can I browse web sites or check my email?
While the platform does support scenarios like this, there is not currently an application for web or email use at this time.
Why can't I record two shows while browsing content?
The box uses a tuner to receive information for managed content and therefore you cannot record two shows while browsing this content.

.NET Platform:

What version of the .NET platform is used for applications on MSTV Foundation Edition?
MSTV FE supports Microsoft .NET Compact Framework TV Edition which is based on .NET Compact Framework Profile 0.
Can I write my own applications and put them on the box?
All applications are delivered through the MSO and individual users cannot upload applications to the box.

-Shan [MSFT]

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post #2 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Folks, please use the iGuide version of this thread for discussion of the iGuide 6412 on Comcast. This thread is (will be) focused on Microsoft TV Foundation Edition 1.7 deployments. The east coast and midwest are not part of that at present.

-Shan [MSFT]

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post #3 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 03:03 PM
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As soon as I figure out how to move these off-topic posts to the correct thread, I will do so.

Thanks for starting this thread and maintaining the FAQ's, Shannon.

Edit: Done. Posts by DSperber and butvinik merged into 6412/iGuide thread, here: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...31#post4622231
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post #4 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 03:31 PM
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I can't wait to get my hands on one of these boxes and I will post my thoughts whenever I do. As a loyal Directv Tivo user I have high expectations and am hoping MSTV FE can live up to them.
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post #5 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by shannonv
You can search by day and time, program title, actor or topic (keyword), or category.

Will the search function allow you to search On Demand programming in the same way as when searching for regular programming? It would be fantastic if the search function searched across both regualr programming as well as On Demand programming at the same time from the same interface. For example, if I searched for 'Robert DeNiro', it would come back with all the programs he was in and allow me to see and select from the list of all available selections regardless of whether they were regular programming, In Demand or On Demand.

Also, will the new program guide have the timer function that the old guide had? That way, those of us who don't want to get the DVR service for every TV in our house can have the box automatically change stations for recording programs on a VCR.

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post #6 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 04:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Timers/reminders - not on the DVR boxes, but it is supported on non-dvr boxes running FE

Search VOD - not supported on this version due to a number of factors outside our control.

Before folks start complaining about this, trust me, we know.

-Shan [MSFT]

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post #7 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by shannonv
Timers/reminders - not on the DVR boxes, but it is supported on non-dvr boxes running FE

Search VOD - not supported on this version due to a number of factors outside our control.

Before folks start complaining about this, trust me, we know.

I know this is probably a long long way off and controlled by Comcast but what about the sharing of shows between two DVR's within a house? Is this something you can see being added anytime in the near future? Does the current software have the support for it if Comcast ever decide to implement this? Thanks for all of your insight.
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post #8 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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See the FAQ above.

Not supported now. Support is dependent on moto hardware and firmware availability, a FE software update and MSOs who see a workable cost structure.

-Shan [MSFT]

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post #9 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 06:03 PM
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I am making this a stickie. If there is a widespread outcry against stickiness, I will unstick it.
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post #10 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 07:28 PM
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Sonoma, do you know for a fact the current batch of 6412s don't support PIP? Comcast is saying they'll offer this somewhere down the road with a firmware upgrade.

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post #11 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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The current hardware phase of the 6412 does not support PIP and no software will change that. That's not to say that all future versions of the 64xx boxes won't support PIP.

-Shan [MSFT]

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post #12 of 1587 Old 11-08-2004, 10:22 PM
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The press release didn't mention anything about the potential for future markets. As Sonoma pointed out (in a different thread), Comcast signed an agreement for 5 million customers and the Seattle area only has ~1 million. Is there any word about where the other 4 million subscribers will come from and when?
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post #13 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 08:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by SonomaSearcher
I am making this a stickie. If there is a widespread outcry against stickiness, I will unstick it.

What is a stickie??? I must know before joining or abetting an outcry.
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post #14 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by nodrog2
What is a stickie??? I must know before joining or abetting an outcry.

No conspiracy.

A stickie is a thread that remains at the top of the forum's first page. It usually contains pertinent information regarded as important enough to be viewed by everyone.

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post #15 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 10:39 AM
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This is a quote from the KING story on yesterday's press conference:

Quote:
If the Seattle test goes well, Comcast plans to roll out the same software to other markets across the country by early next year.

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post #16 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 10:44 AM
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Wow...that's pretty aggressive. Especially since Comcast seems devoted to rolling out iGuide to all of its other customers. Is there any market (besides Washington) that doesn't plan on rolling out iGude? If so then that may be an indicator as to who would get it.
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post #17 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 10:58 AM
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Great thread Shannon, thanks for doing this. One question:

- Will the DVR degrade my HDTV picture or sound quality at all? I assume that the signal is being compressed and decompressed on the fly - is this correct, and if so does it cause any noticeable artifacts?

Thanks!
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post #18 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 11:10 AM
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has anyone else on the msft guide noticed that tuning to HDTV channels seems to be a lot slower now? I don't know if it's coincidence or not but since I got the new guide everything about the interface is better but when tuning to an HDTV channel (I think it depends on the bit rate too - seems to be related to content) the picture comes up pretty slow and the sound even slower.

I also wish that when you push "info" or go into an event on the search page that you could get out of the event without having to start the search back over every time... exp- looking at the sports section at 9am for college football, you have to go into the individual events to see what teams are playing, then when you exit from the individual event it kicks you back to everything in progress at 9am instead of wherever you were in the grid when you selected the event. does this make sense?
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post #19 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 12:35 PM
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Quote:


Why can't I record two shows while browsing content?
The box uses a tuner to receive information for managed content and therefore you cannot record two shows while browsing this content.

Does this mean that if you are recording two shows you cannot view the list of other shows you have recorded? If so, how (in such a case) could you ever choose a show to view? If not, what exactly does it mean by "managed content"?

thanks...

Also Hard drive is way too small. I'd say that looks to be the number one problem with this gadget.
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post #20 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 03:19 PM
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To Jeff28 - what new guide are you talking about? If its the new MS guide, how did you get it?
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post #21 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 04:14 PM
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This entire thread is limited to the MSTV guide and that is what jeff is talking about (he refers to it as the msft guide).

Some avsforum members are Comcast employees.
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post #22 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 05:22 PM
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I understand he referred to the msft guide - in the Seattle area we've been told it is not available till next week, and then only on the 6412. If your bit about Comcast employees holds true then I assume Jeff is one and they have some possibly in test mode among employees
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post #23 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 11:09 PM
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Quote:


Will the DVR degrade my HDTV picture or sound quality at all? I assume that the signal is being compressed and decompressed on the fly - is this correct, and if so does it cause any noticeable artifacts?

I assume that digital cable channels (including all HDTV channels) are recorded directly to disk byte-for-byte without being recompressed. Analog cable channels would have to be digitized and compressed on the fly. Can anyone confirm this?
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post #24 of 1587 Old 11-09-2004, 11:48 PM
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Fun Stuff.. I also can't wait to get my hands on this thing ..

Thanks OP for adding a FAQ at the first post of the thread..!

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post #25 of 1587 Old 11-10-2004, 12:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Last key from search results - yup, we know about it. An unfortunate side effect of decisions made LONG ago.

HDTV quality and channel change perf - the HD stream (and any digital channel) goes right to disk. When we tune, we grab it from live so we change channels faster than waiting for it to play off disk. I suspect that one reason this might be a little slower than on a non-DVR box is that there's some perf hit in starting and stopping recordings (buffers) on channel changes, even if we aren't playing from them. The video and audio being slow, however, sounds like it might be more of a signal strength issue since audio and video are usually right at the same time -- all of that stuff is between the firmware and the cable network, we don't do much of anything to affect this.

Managed content - No, this means that if you're "surfing" the news/info site that Comcast manages, that tuner is being used to receive the data and thus cannot be used for recording. You can be recording two shows while navigating the UI.

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post #26 of 1587 Old 11-10-2004, 03:03 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by RScottyL
I just wanted to say that I am here in Irving, Texas, and I went to my local Comcast facility this morning and upgraded my box. I currently have an analog tv, but my old digital cable box did not have SVHS out. I just was unhappy with the picture quality, knowing that there was at least one step up I could use.
Anyway, I called Comcast yesterday to see if it would be possible to upgrade, and they said yes...just bring in the old box. So, I went in this morning and walked out with a 6412,

You are in the wrong thread. Please repost in the 6412 with iGuide thread (also a stickie). I will delete your post tonight so you have some time to copy it and put it in a post in the other thread.
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post #27 of 1587 Old 11-11-2004, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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re: your comment about search

Actually, I need to modify my response. The program info in the top part of the screen updates to show you the descriptions of the shows you are rolling over in search results so you can see the info on the teams playing without going to the info screen. From info, hitting the last key does take you back to the top of the search results (that's the part I replied about) instead of the position you had selected.

From the grid, hit info on something, then hit "last" to go back to where you were in the grid. You can also hit the info key again and retain your position in the grid. You get to see the program description when you roll over items in the grid.

Thus, your described scenario is addressed in 1.7 today, with the minor exception I noted above.

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post #28 of 1587 Old 11-11-2004, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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fyi - I just updated the "FEQ"

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post #29 of 1587 Old 11-12-2004, 09:54 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by shannonv
re: your comment about search

The program info in the top part of the screen updates to show you the descriptions of the shows you are rolling over in search results

OK, I just hadn't noticed that somehow... I guess I was just not looking for that. Thank you for letting me know. You guys did a fabulous job on this guide and I can't wait for it to be rolled out market-wide so everyone can enjoy it.
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post #30 of 1587 Old 11-12-2004, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by shannonv
fyi - I just updated the "FEQ"

From the 'FEQ': Yes, for digital channels (HD or SD) the programming stream is recorded directly to disk with re-encoding.

Shouldn't this be without re-encoding? That's what it seems to indicate in your post (#25) above.

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