Originally Posted by toadtaste
I work for a Cable Company and we have noticed recently that some local broadcasters are inserting CCI data. Whether this is intentional or not we are trying to determine. Any Channel that is unencrypted should have no CCI value other than 0x00.
Originally Posted by stewart710
I just wanted to update my current situation. After contacting Comcast twice and receiving the same canned answer, "we don't support firewire ports, just hook it up with the coaxial cable," I filed complaints with the BBB and the FCC. I immediately received a phone call from someone at Comcast that has been helpful. I also emailed tech support at my local CBS affiliate and I received a response from them as well. The short story is that Comcast and CBS agree that the flag should be set to "copy freely." The snag is that each company is blaming the other and they tell me they are working on it. They don't know how it got set. Comcast yesterday informed me that they want to close the BBB complaint because it has been decided that the problem is with CBS, not Comcast. CBS emailed me this:
"The copy protection level needs to be changed at the cable head end.
That last sentence is the point of contention. Comcast and I are working together to find the real source of your problem. They have been very cooperative, but quite a bit of this stuff is new to us all, and can have a way of hiding deep within the firmware of software of our systems, so it can take a bit of sleuthing to dig out."
The CBS guy seems helpful as well, so maybe this will be worked out before the end of the NFL season... I would urge anyone else experiencing unfair 5C protection to do what I did. Give Comcast a chance and call them, but don't expect much. The BBB complaint was the only reason that I was allowed to deal with someone who would admit that they knew what a firewire port was.
Thanks for your help.
I've quoted both posts, since they are the same issue. It has to do with remnants of the "Broadcast Flag" (Redistribution Control or RC flag) being implemented in DTV station encoders and the Motorola STB's.
When it looked like the Broadcast Flag was going to be required back in 2005, vendors started implementing it in their software. For DTV stations, the Broadcast Flag (or more precisely, the rc_descriptor) needs to be placed in both the PMT (Program Map Table) and in the PSIP EIT (Event Information Table) of the ATSC bitstream.
The PMT is usually generated by the MPEG-2 encoder, and many many DTV stations (especially CBS
) use the Harris Flexicoder MPEG-2 encoder. Harris provided an update to all of their DTV customers to include the rc_descriptor in the generated PMT. If you capture a Flexicoder bitstream anywhere in the US, it's very likely that an rc_descriptor will be present.
PSIP vendors were pretty slow to react, and I've never seen an rc_descriptor in an EIT.
Of course, the rc_descriptor is just some bits contained in the bitstream. To make them effective, a receiving device (in this case, the Motorola STB) has to look for the rc_descriptor and take some action to prevent redistribution. Since 1394 is the only way to redistribute content, the STB will encrypt the 1394 output to prevent copying and subsequent redistribution of content by PC's (connected to the internet).
However, as we all know, the Broadcast Flag was repealed. You can still buy a QAM capture card and record the local DTV signals (which are in the clear in the QAM bitstream) no problemo.
So who's to blame? Certainly not Comcast (or any cable company). They are just passing on the bits they receive from DTV stations (as they should). The QAM bitstream is in the clear, so they are following the FCC rules.
DTV stations are partly to blame, since they're still sending the rc_descriptor in their bitstream. However, since no receiving device should act on the rc_descriptor, then it shouldn't matter if it's sent or not.
The blame is squarely on Motorola for implementing (and enabling) this in their STB's. I can see that the software was probably developed back in 2005, but to enable the functionality seems to be unnecessary. It's either a mistake, or an experiment (to see if it works if and when the Broadcast Flag might be resurrected).
So what's the solution? There are three possible avenues.
1) Get the DTV stations (and FOX network feed) to delete the rc_descriptor from their bitstream.
2) Get Motorola to disable the rc_descriptor functionality in their STB's.
3) Get Comcast to strip the rc_descriptor out of the ATSC bitstream before it's re-modulated in the QAM bitstream.
Good luck trying to accomplish any of the above. My only suggestion is to alert the EFF (http://www.eff.org
) that the Motorola STB's are actively honoring the Broadcast Flag and see if they can make a big stink about it.