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cetons quad cablecard tuner for media center available for pre order - Page 17

post #481 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post
If that's the case, then how can I watch a recording that I made on PC#1 of a channel that requires a Cable Card be played on PC#2?
Using what to record, and what to play? Win7? Windows Media Center? WTV files? Ceton card? What cable system and what channel? What program?


Quote:
We all know that that's possible as long as the program is marked copy freely.
Again... there is real ambiguity caused by WMC showing "copy protected" on its display of programs. It's not really clear whether this is specifically talking about the 5C copy flags, or the encrypted nature of the content, or both?

I take "copy protected" to mean that whatever the criteria that triggered that annotation, that it is one of those WTV files that (a) cannot be sent to another Win7 PC for playback by WMC on that second machine, (b) can only be played on the current machine by Windows Media Center or a Media Center Extender, (c) cannot be viewed even on the current identical physical machine if Win7 is reinstalled because of a new decryption key resulting from the new Win7 install, and (d) cannot be played on the current machine with current Win7 by 3rd-party software (like ShowAnalyzer, VideoReDo, etc.) which would want to analyze the WTV recording for commercials or editing.

So, what is this recording you made on PC#1 that you can play on PC#2 and which required a cablecard to record?
post #482 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post
I believe that the program is decrypted in software, most likely in the BDA driver
I would agree, intuitively though not because I really know.

Now I'm still at a loss to explain how the recorded WTV "copy protected" files are not usable except on the current machine with its currently installed Win7, unless it got encrypted "on the fly" at disk-recording time using an encryption key derived from the currently installed Win7.

If the encrypted WTV files are the original encrypted transport streams, why wouldn't they be playable on a reinstalled Win7 or another Win7 or any other device capable of decrypting that also understands the WTV wrapper?

So, were they first decrypted by the BDA driver from the original encrypted transport streams using the decryption key obtain from the cablecard, and then re-encrypted when written out as WTV files using a Win7-derived encryption key? Or are they just recorded "doubly encrypted", and on playback decrypted once by the Win7 key and then a second time through the cablecard provided decryption key?

Or am I just fantasizing about how this all works?

Very very interesting.
post #483 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
If it were non-encrypted on hard drive, what would prevent you from removing the hard drive and just using it in your computer to copy those files?
I think we're talking about a couple of different things here. DirecTV / Dish / Cable Co. DVR's do indeed either maintain encryption or add their own when writing data to their hard drives. That's why you can't just remove the drive, transfer it to your PC and copy the files over.

What I was talking about is what happens with Windows Media Center. With copy freely recordings that are recorded on my PC from my Ceton Cable Card tuner, I can either transfer the recorded content to another PC (copy the file) and watch it on the other PC or I can just watch it via a network share without any problems. I can also use 3rd party tools to edit these recordings, convert them to Blu-ray, chop out commercials, etc. Further, once the recording has been made, I could completely remove the Cable Card and/or Ceton tuner from the system and still watch / copy / edit these recordings. If the content were still encrypted, I don't believe you could do any of this. Copy once content from the Ceton Cable Card tuner can only be watched on the PC it was originally recorded on, though the Ceton card and/or Cable Card are not needed to watch these recordings. The same should apply to the ATI OCUR tuner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
There's probably more to the cablecard's function than you're ascribing to it. It's also inserted into DVR's (though physically hiding behind a shield), not just used for the Ceton card or TV's or Sony DHG recorders, etc.
Yes, I know that the Cable Co. DVR's also have a Cable Card inside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
I feel there are two separate functions performed by the cablecard: (1) what channels are you entitled to receive, and (2) participate in the decryption process when outputting live/recorded transport streams to display (at least by simply providing the decryption key, probably).
Part 2 absolutely is not done during playback as can be proven by playing a recording on a 2nd PC or by removing the Ceton card and/or Cable Card from the original system. The Cable Card is absolutely not needed to play existing recordings on the PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Up to you. However there are many of us who DO use DVHS to record HDTV content to DVHS tape via firewire, and have tape libraries of HDTV-provided HD programs and content that was only available on HDTV.
And that's your choice, it's just something I personally don't see as a practical option especially now that the Ceton card is available and can record to a PC with virtually unlimited storage space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Sure, BluRay is now available, but there are still no BluRay "recorders" that provide VCR-like user-recording capability to BluRay, of protected content. Until that happens, DVHS is still the only game in town... to us DVHS fans.
By using a PC, if I really want to archive a recording on something other than a hard drive, it's easy enough to use a Blu-Ray burner to save the content either as a raw transport stream (.ts, .wtv - whatever the original file is) or convert the content into the Blu-ray format with 3rd party software.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Perhaps that's one thing that can be done with it. That's just how you happen to primarily use it.
Correct, I was just saying what I use mine for. When I got it, I got it for a mix of that and the D-Theater movies that were available as that was the only way to buy HD movies at the time (Blu-ray wasn't available yet). I've still got a few D-Theater tapes around, but Blu-ray (despite it's faults) is a far superior format to work with.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
For me, DVHS is designed to record HD content (either directly from OTA ATSC built-in tuner as with the JVC DT100U, or via firewire from Moto DVR). That was its real purpose. And that's how I use it.
Basically, yeah that was one of the primary reasons for the existence of DVHS, but now that Cable Card tuners are available on the PC, I feel that they are a far superior option - hence why the Ceton card (the topic of this thread) is such a hot product right now. If you have satellite TV and no reasonable cable TV / FIOS option, than you may be stuck with DVHS for a while, but it the Ceton can work for you, I really think you would find that you'd no longer need that DVHS deck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Surely you don't think the DVR actually did its own encryption "on the way out to firewire" from DVR hard drive unencrypted recording to firewire-output? Don't you think it makes more sense just to have the DVR be recording to hard drive the pure original untouched incoming transport stream from the head-end (encrypted or clear-QAM) which of course seems like the least overhead design, and then let the separate output display sub-system worry about whether a live or previously recorded datastream (doesn't matter which) being fed to it for display to the HDTV first needs decrypting, and if so ask the cablecard at that moment for the decryption key?
The last part is the part that I know with certainty does not happen, evidenced by the fact that recordings made on the PC can be played back without the Cable Card being present in the system. The Cable Card is absolutely not needed once the recording has been saved to disk. I can't see that being any different in the cable company DVR. Encrypting the content as it's written to disk actually wouldn't be an expensive process anyway and the purpose of doing that is simply to make it difficult to copy data off of the hard drive and do anything useful with it.

Take another example that doesn't involve a Windows Media Center box. If I make a bunch of recordings on my Tivo HD XL from Cable Card channels and then remove the Cable Card from the TV, I can still watch those recordings. With the Tivo to Go software, I can actually transfer those recordings (as long as they are marked copy freely) to my PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
And, though I don't know for sure, I am of the opinion that the Ceton tuner and Windows Media Center use of the cablecard is exactly the same as how a DVR/HDTV works... namely that TWO functions are provided by the M-Card: (a) what channels are authorized to be received, and (b) provide the decryption key when handling a live or recorded datastream for presentation on the display device.
Again, you're absolutely wrong about the 2nd part as I've explained earlier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
If the WTV recorded files out of Windows Media Center were themselves output from the tuner stage in the logic as you suggest it is in a DVR, and thus non-encrypted on hard drive (as you contend the DVR hard drive recordings are), we should be able to play them back freely and openly using any player program capable of reading WTV. 3rd-party products (like ShowAnalyzer, for reading/analyzing WTV files for commercial removal) should work just fine, if the WTV files were unencrypted.

But we can't do any of that. Because these WTV files of "copy-protected" content are encrypted.

Only "copy-freely" (ambiguous I know, but really "clear-QAM" i.e. non-encrypted, really) WTV files can be played successfully by 3rd-party products reading WTV files. Only Windows Media Center with an M-Card-enabled Ceton tuner card can both record and play back "copy-protected" (ambiguous again, but really "encrypted") WTV recordings.
Again, you're merging copy-freely with Clear-QAM and as has been stated numerous times, it's common to have programming that requires a Cable Card but is marked copy freely. FIOS being the simplest example - with a Clear QAM tuner, I can get a handful of channels (basically the OTA equivalents), but with the Cable Card tuner, I can get everything in my service tier (hundreds of channels) and very few programs from all those channels are marked as anything other than copy freely.

Also, I may have been unclear or perhaps misspoke previously, but I've been talking at least primarily about recordings made on a PC, not a DVR - the focus of this thread is the Ceton card which is used in a PC so I've meant for my comments to stay mostly focused in that domain. Copy freely recordings from a Cable Card tuner made on the PC can indeed be manipulated by those 3rd party tools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
And thus I also contend that DVR hard drive recordings are similarly still encrypted, for protection per the architectural design. The decrypting function does not happen until the datastream (live or previously recorded) goes out to display, at which time the cablecard (in the Ceton or the DVR) provides the decryption key.
See above - I'd prefer not to type it again...

The bottom line is that how the cable company DVR's store their recordings is probably different from how Windows Media Center stores its recordings. It's been a while since I've really dealt with all the details, but when I was working on the accessDTV software I had spent a lot of time looking into such things. And that's perhaps a good example to talk about.

At the point I took over the accessDTV software development (along with a very small group of other volunteers), accessDTV recordings could only be played back in the accessDTV software. The reason was that the accessDTV drives added encryption to the transport stream before it was written to the hard drive. So if you tried to open a recording with other software, it just wouldn't work. In this case, the encryption was very simple, but enough that it would have been a PITA to figure out how to get rid of it so you could use the recordings elsewhere. I don't remember if the recordings were tied to the specific accessDTV card or if they were just scrambled (it's been a looooong time). One of my first orders of business was to ditch the encryption - there was nothing in place from content providers that required the encryption and IMHO there was simply no need for it, so I nuked that section of code and we immediately had a bunch of happy users. If my memory serves me well (and it doesn't always do so - I was wrong at least once before ), the cable company (and Dish and DirecTV) DVR's do something similar to prevent their users from easily transferring their recordings to a PC or other device. I don't believe there's anything that really requires them to do so, though there may be some pressure from some of the content providers. Windows Media Center does not do this, at least for copy freely content (which is why you can watch those recordings on any PC and edit them using 3rd party software). Copy once content is definitely encrypted in some way, but the encryption ties it to the PC it was recorded on NOT to the Cable Card and again, this encryption is (I'm nearly 100% certain) a modification to the original stream.

It's been another long day for me (I spent yesterday and today helping my parents with something), so I'm done for tonight. I'm off to watch my copy freely recording of the Bruins game in a few minutes.
post #484 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post
I believe that the program is decrypted in software, most likely in the BDA driver. I'll know more in a couple of weeks. I just got an ATI DCT connected yesterday so I've only run preliminary tests. As soon as I finish up a work project, I can look into it more.
Definitely not the case since I can play a recording that was made on PC#1 on PC#2. PC#2 doesn't need to have any cable card tuners present to play recordings that were made with a cable card tuner on PC#1.
post #485 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Using what to record, and what to play? Win7? Windows Media Center? WTV files? Ceton card? What cable system and what channel? What program?
DSperber - this is a thread about the Ceton tuner for Windows 7 Media Center, so it ought to be obvious that that's what I'm talking about unless I say otherwise. But to be clear:

ANY program from ANY cable system that's marked copy freely, recording using a Ceton (or ATI OCUR) card with a Cable Card installed can be played back on ANY PC after it has been recorded. This is common knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Again... there is real ambiguity caused by WMC showing "copy protected" on its display of programs. It's not really clear whether this is specifically talking about the 5C copy flags, or the encrypted nature of the content, or both?
For that I'm not sure. I've had a few episodes of one weekly program that Windows Media Center flagged as content that couldn't be recorded and had mixed results with them. Some recorded and played back just fine despite the error message (I didn't try playing these on another PC) and some wouldn't play at all. Other than that, everything else I've tried so far has not displayed anything about being copy protected and will play just fine on my other Windows 7 systems in the house (none of which have Cable Card tuners installed).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
I take "copy protected" to mean that whatever the criteria that triggered that annotation, that it is one of those WTV files that (a) cannot be sent to another Win7 PC for playback by WMC on that second machine, (b) can only be played on the current machine by Windows Media Center or a Media Center Extender, (c) cannot be viewed even on the current identical physical machine if Win7 is reinstalled because of a new decryption key resulting from the new Win7 install, and (d) cannot be played on the current machine with current Win7 by 3rd-party software (like ShowAnalyzer, VideoReDo, etc.) which would want to analyze the WTV recording for commercials or editing.
What you're describing is presumably copy once recordings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
So, what is this recording you made on PC#1 that you can play on PC#2 and which required a cablecard to record?
Basically 99.9999% of the stuff I record. Whether it be Law & Order, CSI, NHL Hockey, MLB Baseball, movies, or anything else from channels that are part of my programming package with FIOS. Anything marked as copy freely regardless of whether it was recorded via an OTA HD tuner, a Clear QAM tuner, or a Cable Card tuner - once it's been recorded by Windows Media Center that is completely irrelevant for copy freely content. In my current system configuration, I have 2 Ceton tuners installed, both with a Cable Card installed. I no longer of any Clear QAM or OTA HD tuners installed as 8 tuners is more than sufficient for my needs.
post #486 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Now I'm still at a loss to explain how the recorded WTV "copy protected" files are not usable except on the current machine with its currently installed Win7, unless it got encrypted "on the fly" at disk-recording time using an encryption key derived from the currently installed Win7.
Well, that's EXACTLY what happens to copy once content that you record. There's no other way to explain how that content gets tied to that installation of the operating system on that PC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
So, were they first decrypted by the BDA driver from the original encrypted transport streams using the decryption key obtain from the cablecard, and then re-encrypted when written out as WTV files using a Win7-derived encryption key? Or are they just recorded "doubly encrypted", and on playback decrypted once by the Win7 key and then a second time through the cablecard provided decryption key?
They get decrypted somewhere in the Cable Card tuner - whether it be literally as the data passes through the cable card itself or by the driver (I'm pretty sure the decryption actually happens in the Cable Card itself). At this point, copy freely content is just streamed to the hard drive. Copy once content gets encrypted and tied to the PC by Windows 7 Media Center and then streamed to the hard drive. For playback, the copy once recordings are decrypted using the "key" from the operating system instance, absolutely nothing to do with the Cable Card. I'm pretty sure that the cable company (and Dish / DirecTV DVR's) basically do this encryption while recording thing with all content, not just copy once content which makes it very difficult to get the content off the drive and do anything useful with it. I say difficult because ways have been found to deal with getting content off in some cases, but it's not easy and can't be discussed in any detail at AVS Forums - that type of discussion is forbidden here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post
Or am I just fantasizing about how this all works?
Your words, not mine .
post #487 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post
Definitely not the case since I can play a recording that was made on PC#1 on PC#2. PC#2 doesn't need to have any cable card tuners present to play recordings that were made with a cable card tuner on PC#1.
But that is once they are recorded to disc. (Even "Live" TV is recorded to disc first.) The tuner (hardware) sends the MPEG stream to the BDA driver (software) in the computer. From that point on, it's all in software: The BDA driver send it to a decryption filter which then sends it to the demultiplexer which splits the audio and video stream. They then get re-encrypted via PlayReady DRM (if copy-once) then get re-muxed into the WTV container and saved to disc.

Edit: I've attached a graph screenshot that shows what the DCT filtergraph chain looks like. I've added a red arrow to show where I beleive the decryption occurs. It definitely does not occur in the tuner unless the tuner also re-encrypts it with PlayReady DRM because the stream between the card and the PC contains encryption.


LL
post #488 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

Well, that's EXACTLY what happens to copy once content that you record. There's no other way to explain how that content gets tied to that installation of the operating system on that PC.

Well, that certainly seems reasonable. I agree. It is very likely that a Win7-provided key is used in the re-encryption of WTV recordings.

However I think we're still dancing around some abiguities here, since the words "copy" and "protection" are pretty generic and we have the notions of (a) 5C copy protection flags, and (b) encryption, which is another form of copy protection, to try to quantify what Microsoft means when they provide only a single "copy protected" moniker for certain recorded programs.

What triggered that "copy protected" annotation? Was it the 5C copy-once vs. copy-freely? Or was it the encrypted nature of the content? Personally, I think it's simply the 5C flags (having nothing to do with whether or not the data is also encrypted).


But I also think that the recorded version of originally encrypted content (which surely must also be marked copy-once, at least they seem to be on TWC/LA) is itself also absolutely encrypted... though it may be from re-encrypting just de-crypted data (per the block diagram above).

Also, I suspect Win7 may also apply its own encryption to the WTV recordings which may have arrived non-encrypted but marked copy-once. I suspect any "copy protected" (i.e. "5C copy-once") program gets Win7-encrypted in its WTV recorded form.

In the case of a DVR's recording, well I don't know. But I again believe it is certainly not unencrypted as recorded on any hard drive in any event... if it started out encrypted arriving at the box or Ceton card. And it's definitely not unencrypted when delivered out into the clear on firewire, from the DVR... if it started out encrypted arriving at the DVR.


Anyway, I just ran my own experiment. I'm currently on one of my two Win7 machines. My Ceton card is installed on my other Win7 machine.

Here is the current list of WTV recordings on the Ceton machine, in the \\Recorded TV folder:



You can tell from the file names what the channels are for those programs. A few are from local networks NBC and CBS, and we both agree they are 5C marked as "copy freely".

I believe they would also be unencrypted arriving at the Ceton machine, as they are freely available OTA and can be tuned and displayed by by my HDTV's ATSC tuner, by my ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI card fed by the OTA antenna, as well as by the Ceton card fed from the TWC cable coax, even with the non-functioning M-Card from last week.

The recordings are NOT marked as "copy protected" when played back by Windows Media Center on the Ceton machine. Furthermore, they can be opened and played by VideoReDo TVSuite v4.0 (which reads "copy-freely" WTV files) running on the Ceton machine.

Furthermore, these few copy-freely WTV files can also be played successfully by Windows Media Player on my second Win7 machine (where I am right now) across the LAN.

No problem with any of these copy-freely WTV recordings, as there should not be. You are free to play these, copy them, play them on another PC, remove the Ceton card and M-Card and still be able to play them, do whatever you want to do with them. They are not "copy protected" either by 5C flags or by encryption.

They are truly "copy freely" WTV, and also non-encrypted. You can even "convert to DVR-MS", which is an unprotected format that can be widely played.


On the other hand, every other WTV recording in that list will (a) fail to open using Windows Media Player, whether on this machine or on the Ceton machine itself, (b) fail to open using VideoReDo on the Ceton machine, and (c) will only open and play properly using Windows Media Center itself on the Ceton machine.



Now... why was that?

Well every one of those "problem" WTV recordings shows as "copy protected" when its info is displayed with WMC. But is that from the 5C flags, or from the encrypted nature of the program (if it is encrypted)? I suspect it's from the 5C copy-once flag, having nothing to do with the encryption.

I honestly have no idea if these are also encrypted inside the WTV file, but I believe it is. And as you (and vladd) have suggested, it seems most reasonable that this is actually a re-encryption of the briefly de-crypted originally encrypted content (or at least I believe it arrived from TWC/LA also encrypted and not just marked with 5C copy-once) using an encryption key obtained from Win7 itself.

I also think that for the first decryption of TWC/LA-provided encrypted content (by the BDA driver?), the cablecard is involved (perhaps providing the decryption key). For the re-encryption when recording to "copy protected" WTV files, the Win7-provided key is used. This is how you can then play back such a "copy protected" WTV file on the same Win7 machine that did the recording even if you remove the Ceton card and M-Card. Once recorded to WTV, only Win7 and WMC are required to play "copy protected" files.

Note that the channels for these "copy protected" WTV recordings are pretty much your basic cable channels (E!HD, MSNBCHD, CMTHD, BBCAMHD) except for one premium channel (HBOHD). We would expect premium channel HBOHD to be marked "5C copy-once", and unfortunately it appears (though I already knew) that virtually all "basic cable" channels are also marked "5C copy-once" by TWC/LA.

And it is this single 5C flag which is obeyed ruthlessly by Win7, in preventing access by any tool other than WMC to these so-marked WTV files. That is clearly a fact not in dispute.


What is not so clearly known is exactly how "encryption" is handled, from start to finish.

Did TWC/LA deliver the content both (a) 5C copy-once, as well as (b) encrypted... to both the Ceton card as well as to my DVR? Personally, I think so. This would prevent someone from tapping into the coax and just decoding channels that it finds. The data must be encrypted to support "you only can see what I tell the cablecard you can have". This has nothing to do with the 5C flags.

If so, is the DVR recording to its hard drive a duplicate of the arriving encrypted data (plus the 5C flag)? Or is it a re-encrypted copy? For sure, what goes out over firewire (from either live or recorded content) is absolutely encrypted, so the only question is whether or not it is original encryption or re-encryption (like Win7 does when recording to hard drive). But encrypted it most certainly is (along with the 5C flag for preventing unwarranted 2nd-generation duplication by DVHS machines), as confirmed by my tests yesterday using my PV-HD1000 which does not have decryption capability, and only non-encrypted tapes played successfully.
post #489 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

Now... why was that?

Well every one of those "problem" WTV recordings shows as "copy protected" when its info is displayed with WMC. But is that from the 5C flags, or from the encrypted nature of the program (if it is encrypted)? I suspect it's from the 5C copy-once flag, having nothing to do with the encryption.

No, those recordings no longer contain the DES encryption used by the cable company nor do they contain the 5C flags any longer. Those protections were removed and a new DRM protection was put in place at the time of recording: PlayReady. Media Center applies the PlayReady DRM to the recording if it was not marked as "copy-freely".
post #490 of 560
Good to see the debate. I'll worry about it when I see an actual card. (Pre-ordered in June, so yes, late, but blah)
post #491 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

Well, that certainly seems reasonable. I agree. It is very likely that a Win7-provided key is used in the re-encryption of WTV recordings.

Finally, we're getting somewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

What triggered that "copy protected" annotation? Was it the 5C copy-once vs. copy-freely? Or was it the encrypted nature of the content? Personally, I think it's simply the 5C flags (having nothing to do with whether or not the data is also encrypted).

I can't say with 100% certainty, but I also suspect it's the 5C flag. The reality though is that it really doesn't matter because content flagged as copy once will also be encrypted by WMC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

But I also think that the recorded version of originally encrypted content (which surely must also be marked copy-once, at least they seem to be on TWC/LA) is itself also absolutely encrypted... though it may be from re-encrypting just de-crypted data (per the block diagram above).

ALL channels except those available to a Clear QAM tuner will be encrypted on the Cable TV / FIOS feed. It doesn't matter 1 bit (pun intended) if that content is flagged as copy freely or copy once. It will be encrypted as this is what prevents you from watching that content with a Clear QAM tuner. As I've said before, most of the channels from FIOS are encrypted and almost all programming on all channels is marked copy freely - even HBO and other premium channels. FIOS might change that in the future, but for now nearly everything you get from FIOS is both encrypted and marked copy freely - they are NOT mutually exclusive nor are they really even related. The encryption is used so that they can control which channels you get with the Cable Card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

Also, I suspect Win7 may also apply its own encryption to the WTV recordings which may have arrived non-encrypted but marked copy-once. I suspect any "copy protected" (i.e. "5C copy-once") program gets Win7-encrypted in its WTV recorded form.

Anything marked copy once regardless of whether it come in encrypted or not will be encrypted by W7 Media Center. Yes, content on your OTA or Clear QAM tuner can actually be marked copy once - it doesn't happen often, but it most definitely is a possibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

In the case of a DVR's recording, well I don't know. But I again believe it is certainly not unencrypted as recorded on any hard drive in any event... if it started out encrypted arriving at the box or Ceton card. And it's definitely not unencrypted when delivered out into the clear on firewire, from the DVR... if it started out encrypted arriving at the DVR.

Just to be clear, W7 Media Center is a DVR as is your cable company DVR - just 2 different products. I'm pretty sure my previous explanation of what the cable company DVR is doing is correct. Further, when you copy that copy once content from your DVR to your DVHS VCR, what probably happens is similar to what W7 Media Center is doing: the DVR decrypts what it wrote to disk and sends it via firewire to the DVHS VCR (with the 5C flags maintained). The DVHS VCR recognizes the flag and then re-encrypts the content with a key that identifies that VCR - this would presumably prevent you from taking the tape and playing it on a different VCR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

You can tell from the file names what the channels are for those programs. A few are from local networks NBC and CBS, and we both agree they are 5C marked as "copy freely".

To be clear, there's nothing actually preventing the program provider from setting any given show to copy once, but yes generally speaking programming on the local networks will be marked copy freely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

I believe they would also be unencrypted arriving at the Ceton machine, as they are freely available OTA and can be tuned and displayed by by my HDTV's ATSC tuner, by my ATI TV Wonder 650 PCI card fed by the OTA antenna, as well as by the Ceton card fed from the TWC cable coax, even with the non-functioning M-Card from last week.

The fact that they can be tuned by your OTA tuner is actually completely irrelevant. What's relevant is that the cable companies are required to send these channels out "in the clear" so that a Clear QAM tuner can get them. Since the Clear QAM tuner can record them, those channels will be unencrypted when the Ceton card tunes them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

The recordings are NOT marked as "copy protected" when played back by Windows Media Center on the Ceton machine. Furthermore, they can be opened and played by VideoReDo TVSuite v4.0 (which reads "copy-freely" WTV files) running on the Ceton machine.

Furthermore, these few copy-freely WTV files can also be played successfully by Windows Media Player on my second Win7 machine (where I am right now) across the LAN.

No problem with any of these copy-freely WTV recordings, as there should not be. You are free to play these, copy them, play them on another PC, remove the Ceton card and M-Card and still be able to play them, do whatever you want to do with them. They are not "copy protected" either by 5C flags or by encryption.

They are truly "copy freely" WTV, and also non-encrypted. You can even "convert to DVR-MS", which is an unprotected format that can be widely played.

I think we're in complete agreement here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

On the other hand, every other WTV recording in that list will (a) fail to open using Windows Media Player, whether on this machine or on the Ceton machine itself, (b) fail to open using VideoReDo on the Ceton machine, and (c) will only open and play properly using Windows Media Center itself on the Ceton machine.



Now... why was that?

Well every one of those "problem" WTV recordings shows as "copy protected" when its info is displayed with WMC. But is that from the 5C flags, or from the encrypted nature of the program (if it is encrypted)? I suspect it's from the 5C copy-once flag, having nothing to do with the encryption.

Those programs are marked as copy once. That's all that really matters in the grand scheme. Whether they come to you encrypted or not from the cable company, if they're flagged copy once, W7 Media Center will encrypt them with a key that's tied to that PC so they can only be played on that PC. So the WTV file will have the 5C flag set to copy once and the file will be encrypted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

I honestly have no idea if these are also encrypted inside the WTV file, but I believe it is.

It absolutely is. Otherwise, there would be nothing preventing the 3rd party tools from working with the file or preventing you from watching the file on another PC. If there's no encryption of any sort, that 5C copy once flag doesn't really accomplish anything because none of the software will know if this is the first copy or the 100th copy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

And as you (and vladd) have suggested, it seems most reasonable that this is actually a re-encryption of the briefly de-crypted originally encrypted content (or at least I believe it arrived from TWC/LA also encrypted and not just marked with 5C copy-once) using an encryption key obtained from Win7 itself.

Correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

I also think that for the first decryption of TWC/LA-provided encrypted content (by the BDA driver?), the cablecard is involved (perhaps providing the decryption key).

Correct, the Cable Card is involved in some way before the content is written to disk by media center.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

For the re-encryption when recording to "copy protected" WTV files, the Win7-provided key is used. This is how you can then play back such a "copy protected" WTV file on the same Win7 machine that did the recording even if you remove the Ceton card and M-Card. Once recorded to WTV, only Win7 and WMC are required to play "copy protected" files.

Correct and obviously playback has to happen on the original PC or an extender (which is really running a session on the original PC).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

Note that the channels for these "copy protected" WTV recordings are pretty much your basic cable channels (E!HD, MSNBCHD, CMTHD, BBCAMHD) except for one premium channel (HBOHD). We would expect premium channel HBOHD to be marked "5C copy-once", and unfortunately it appears (though I already knew) that virtually all "basic cable" channels are also marked "5C copy-once" by TWC/LA.

Yeah, unfortunately a lot of cable companies mark nearly everything with the copy once flag. Viva la FIOS (I think I got that right ).

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

And it is this single 5C flag which is obeyed ruthlessly by Win7, in preventing access by any tool other than WMC to these so-marked WTV files. That is clearly a fact not in dispute.

Basically, yes. Win7 doesn't explicitly prevent access by literally blocking access to the file, it's just that the other software doesn't have access to or know what the key is so the content just appears to be garbage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

Did TWC/LA deliver the content both (a) 5C copy-once, as well as (b) encrypted... to both the Ceton card as well as to my DVR? Personally, I think so. This would prevent someone from tapping into the coax and just decoding channels that it finds. The data must be encrypted to support "you only can see what I tell the cablecard you can have". This has nothing to do with the 5C flags.

EVERYTHING that isn't available to your Clear QAM tuner will be delivered encrypted. Some of that content will also be marked copy once. In my case (FIOS), nearly everything is marked copy freely and an occasional show is marked copy once. In your case (TWC), nearly everything is marked copy once and almost nothing is marked copy freely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

If so, is the DVR recording to its hard drive a duplicate of the arriving encrypted data (plus the 5C flag)? Or is it a re-encrypted copy?

I'm pretty sure the cable company DVR is writing a re-encrypted copy to the hard drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

For sure, what goes out over firewire (from either live or recorded content) is absolutely encrypted, so the only question is whether or not it is original encryption or re-encryption (like Win7 does when recording to hard drive). But encrypted it most certainly is (along with the 5C flag for preventing unwarranted 2nd-generation duplication by DVHS machines), as confirmed by my tests yesterday using my PV-HD1000 which does not have decryption capability, and only non-encrypted tapes played successfully.

I didn't follow your story about what would and wouldn't play on your DVHS decks (sorry, but these loooong posts can be hard to follow), but what might be happening:

You're recording to the JVC DT100U DVHS VCR which plays nice with all the copy protection crap (technical term for encryption and 5C flags). So when you record a copy once program on it, it gets encrypted and the tape will play on VCR's that do the encryption / decryption thing, but not on VCR's that don't. I suspect the tape will probably play on other DT100U's or other VCR's that are fully compliant with all the protection crap. Basically, it's doing the same thing Windows Media Center does. The difference is that the VCR is (oddly enough since the content is already recorded once on your DVR) treated as the first copy while Media Center is treating the original recording to the hard drive as the first copy.

The Panasonic HD1000 DVHS VCR won't play copy once content that was recorded on a VCR that abides by all the rules. But what happens if you try to record from the Moto DCH3416 DVR to this VCR? Do you end up with a recording you can play? I'm guessing you would and that the recording would also play on the JVC. Further, the recording should still have the 5C record once flag intact, so your JVC VCR would probably refuse to make a copy of the tape because the input would be coming from a video tape and hence must already be a copy. The HD1000 should also refuse to make a copy of the tape (if you play it on the JVC) if it obeys the 5C flags. Doing this (if it works) would actually confirm my theory that the DVR is most likely decrypting the content before it goes out over firewire and is expecting that the device on the other end will comply with the 5C flag in the content. If you get a chance to run these additional tests, the results might prove to be interesting, though pretty off topic for this thread.
post #492 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmservo View Post

Good to see the debate. I'll worry about it when I see an actual card. (Pre-ordered in June, so yes, late, but blah)

For those who are content to use a single Window 7 Media Center system and extenders, the debate is pretty much irrelevant even if it's interesting. The one piece that would matter to that group is what happens to any existing copy once recordings if you have to rebuild the PC at some point and we all know that those recordings will no longer be watchable.
post #493 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by vladd View Post

No, those recordings no longer contain the DES encryption used by the cable company nor do they contain the 5C flags any longer. Those protections were removed and a new DRM protection was put in place at the time of recording: PlayReady. Media Center applies the PlayReady DRM to the recording if it was not marked as "copy-freely".

It really doesn't matter once Media Center applies PlayReady DRM to the recording, but I didn't realize it would remove the 5C flags. It sort of makes sense though because at that point it wouldn't matter if the 5C flag said copy freely - the DRM that's now applied ties the recording to that PC.
post #494 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

Further, when you copy that copy once content from your DVR to your DVHS VCR, what probably happens is similar to what W7 Media Center is doing: the DVR decrypts what it wrote to disk and sends it via firewire to the DVHS VCR (with the 5C flags maintained). The DVHS VCR recognizes the flag and then re-encrypts the content with a key that identifies that VCR - this would presumably prevent you from taking the tape and playing it on a different VCR.

This is a very interesting concept, that hadn't occurred to me before.

In light of the above discussions, and the story about Playready DRM encryption applied to the recorded copy-once WTV files (to the decrypted DES stream, probably using a key provided by the cablecard), it could certainly be very plausible that the JVC VCR is re-encrypting while it is recording to DVHS tape, using its own key. Actually I've had no problems playing DVHS tapes of "copy-once" content from TWC (offloaded from DVR, from these "copy-once channels" (meaning just about everything) on my other JVC DVHS machines. I simply could not play the on the Panny HD1000.

A long time ago, I had noticed that and written it off to some kind of electronic recording tape difference in the two VCRs. But the current discussion opens my eyes to what you're describing here and which sounds very reasonable, that the JVC VCR is doing its own encryption... as triggered by the "5C copy-once" flag. And the HD1000 simply has no decryption capability at all, much less the decryption key for the JVC family of machines. I don't know if the JVC-recorded tape could be playable on a Mitsubishi DVHS machine, but it certainly won't play on the HD1000.

Now, I'm still not certain about the decrypted data sent out the DVR to the VCR via firewire, even if it's re-encrypted by the receiving VCR on the recording. That firewire path can be relayed through any number of 2-port firewire devices along the way, with each one simply responsible for passing on the data stream. Any one of them could be a "digital pirate" (and of course this is precisely where an obvious vulnerability exists and would be latched onto, if the data on this out-in-the-open cable were actually non-encrypted). So I honestly cannot believe the data here is not encrypted.

Of course if that were the case, then unless the decryption key were already burned into the JVC VCR, how would that data get decrypted if it arrived at the VCR encrypted? This is an unanswered mystery at the moment, but I still cannot believe they would allow an unencrypted digital data stream of otherwise protected content out over firewire. Hey... you've got all kinds of Apple hackers who know firewire!

Maybe there's an opening handshake of some kind between the source and target device, where this key is somehow passed discretely. Again, the intermediate relay devices shoots down actually sending the key over firewire, but if the data is encrypted then the key must be somehow known by the receiver in order to decrypt the data (unless there was a manufacturer's agreement in which the keys were burned into the compliant devices).


Quote:


I'm pretty sure the cable company DVR is writing a re-encrypted copy to the hard drive.

Ok, I'll buy that. The discussion about what WMC does, and Playready DRM re-encryption has convinced me that this is a reasonable idea.

I just honestly haven't bought in to sending the decrypted version out over firewire, having gone to such great lengths to encrypt it for protection while it was first arriving on the coax from the head-end, and then when storing it on hard drive as a recording. It just doesn't make sense to open it up on the firewire interface. I don't buy it. That data has to be encrypted.


Quote:


So when you record a copy once program on it, it gets encrypted and the tape will play on VCR's that do the encryption / decryption thing, but not on VCR's that don't. I suspect the tape will probably play on other DT100U's or other VCR's that are fully compliant with all the protection crap. Basically, it's doing the same thing Windows Media Center does.

Again, as I agreed above, this now is a new concept to me... but one which I will subscribe to. Perhaps ALL DVHS VCRs use the same key if they subscribe to the 5C-compliant law, so that one of these tapes recorded on a JVC DVHS machine COULD be played on a Mits DVHS machine (both being 5C-compliant), but could not be played on the Panny HD1000 because it is not 5C-compliant and thus cannot decrypt the recording.


Quote:


If you get a chance to run these additional tests, the results might prove to be interesting

Actually, I believe I have previously tried to use the Panny HD1000 as a recorder, connected to the DVR via firewire.

And as I recall it didn't work. But trying to analyze it now, maybe it was more an encryption thing... assuming the DVR is providing encrypted data over firewire as I suspect it is. If it's not caused by that, then maybe the DVR just refused to give data to the HD1000 because it determined the VCR to not be 5C-compliant.

I think that per your suggestion I should just run this test again... this time carefully trying both copy-freely channels as well as known copy-once channels, and see if there are any differences in the results.

There was one very interesting line item in my earlier tests that is very relevant here, and that is that when I had the HD1000 connected to the DT100U via firewire, and played a copy-once recording (made on the DT100U) on the HD1000 as the source device feeding the DT100U, that the video output from the DT100U on my HDTV was perfect. However the very same copy-once tape when played on the HD1000 connected to its "master DST50 receiver" (where the video outputs live) would NOT play successfully. This is most rationally explained by encryption on the tape (by either the DVR which provided the data or the JVC which did the recording).

In other words, as a playback->delivery-over-firewire system, the HD1000 simply read the data (which we feel was encrypted) and passed it out over firewire to the DT100U, disregarding its 5C copy-once flag. The DT100 received it and decrypted it successfully for display, knowing the proper JVC decryption key since it had also been used for the original encryption.

Note that the DT100U would DISPLAY the "5C copy-once" data stream delivered over firewire from the HD1000 just fine, applying the decryption key without complaint. But as soon as I pushed the RECORD button on the DT100U it threw up its hands and refused, obviously obeying the 5C flag... as it should.

But when the HD1000 sent the data over firewire to the DST50 receiver, it was useless and would not display, because the DST50 did not have the requisite JVC (or maybe all-DVHS manufacturer's) decryption key.


My other earlier test, using a copy-freely tape made on the DT100U, played without a problem from the HD1000 through the DST50 and on to the HDTV.

What I really need to do now, is re-try the recording from DVR to HD1000, both for copy-once and copy-freely programs, and see what happens. The earlier tests used tapes that had been recorded on the DT100U. I need to see if recordings from DVR to HD1000 can actually be made at all, and if so what are the (a) direct playback results, as well as (b) playback through the DT100U results.

Very interesting.


But, I think this discussion about WMC functional blocks, and when/where the decryption and re-encryption occurs, etc., I think it's very worthwhile and enlightening. Definitely clarifying to me, anyway, and I hope others following along.

The key to "copy protected" from WMC does seem to most likely be triggered by just the "5C copy-once" flag.

And if that's on, the WTV recording is ALWAYS Playready DRM encrypted (regardless of whether the original datastream was itself clear-QAM or DES encrypted) using the Win7-provided key (after first decrypting the incoming DES encrypted datastream if necessary, using the cablecard-provided key I would guess). Period.

Pretty sure that makes sense now... except for the mystery about data from the DVR to the DVHS machine over firewire, and how it could possibly be allowed to be non-encrypted. The other side of the coin is that if it is in fact encrypted, then where is the key provided to the DVHS machine to decrypt it (unless again, it is part of a manufacturer's agreement).
post #495 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

The key to "copy protected" from WMC does seem to most likely be triggered by just the "5C copy-once" flag.

And if that's on, the WTV recording is ALWAYS Playready DRM encrypted (regardless of whether the original datastream was itself clear-QAM or DES encrypted) using the Win7-provided key (after first decrypting the incoming DES encrypted datastream if necessary, using the cablecard-provided key I would guess). Period.

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.
post #496 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

It really doesn't matter once Media Center applies PlayReady DRM to the recording, but I didn't realize it would remove the 5C flags. It sort of makes sense though because at that point it wouldn't matter if the 5C flag said copy freely - the DRM that's now applied ties the recording to that PC.

I could be wrong on that but AFAIK, the WTV container has it's own "Copy protection present" flag in the metadata and does not use conventional 5C flags. Regardless, the end result is the same as you said.
post #497 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post

If it's not caused by that, then maybe the DVR just refused to give data to the HD1000 because it determined the VCR to not be 5C-compliant.

That might be the case. After you run the tests, we may have a better answer.
post #498 of 560
But the fact remains that as long as you can play the file on any 7MC HTPC, transcode or remux it to another format, etc. it is effectively unencrypted to the end-user.

The only 'protected' files are those with 5C copy protection, period.
post #499 of 560
Very interesting post-script to this whole discussion about encryption...

I had set up recordings from NGCHD tonight, for "Great Migrations". When I wandered up to the HTPC after these should have been recorded, I noticed that there was an error message in the System Tray. It said "recordings canceled".

I couldn't find any more details about which recordings had been canceled, but strangely the earlier two hourlong airings of the first two episodes had terminated early. And, remarkably, WMC seemed to have just re-scheduled the later airings for recording (I guess as part of the error recovery attempt), as one was already recorded completely and the second one was recording in progress.

Now when I went downstairs to my DMA2100 extender, when I got into Windows Media Center I was immediatley presented with two message boxes (probably corresponding to these to problem recordings):

"Recording canceled: "Great Migrations" cannot be recorded. Restrictions set by the broadcaster and/or originator of the content prohibit recording of this program."

This almost sounds like a "copy-never" flag!!! I suspect the recording would also have failed on my real DVR.

Anyway, strangely, the next airings of the identical program were obviously NOT marked "copy-never", as both of them recorded without an issue.

Very interesting. Most interesting, actually, is how the WMC DVR engine self-scheduled the later airings (I had set this up as a "series" with "anytime"), since the earlier recording attempts were unsuccessful.
post #500 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by DSperber View Post


This almost sounds like a "copy-never" flag!!!

Anyway, strangely, the next airings of the identical program were obviously NOT marked "copy-never", as both of them recorded without an issue.

Yes, that's exactly what it was. Sometimes the cable company mistakenly sets the wrong flag. I tried to record something on the Palladia channel once and it was flagged as copy-never. I called them up and complained. They acknowledged the mistake and the next airing of the identical program was marked as copy-freely!

If I am not mistaken, the cable companies are not allowed to use the copy-never flag except for PPV.
post #501 of 560
My Ceton card and TA seem to be working perfectly.. It's really a neat peace of kit. I was worried that one tuning adapter wasn't working but turned out I hit the power switch that I didn't know about ...haha.

My questions are - do tuning adapters really crash alot? I have to add an extra splitter into my line instead of using the pass throughs on my tuning adapters. I have to decide if the loss in signal strength is worth it. Mine haven't crashed at all.

Is the crashing REALLy related to turning your PC off and on? Cause I just leave mine on all the time. Yes it actually does seem to wake up with sleep but my g/f goes nuts if any recordings are missed. So I decided not to mess around with that.

And for the sharing people - what's the convient way to do sharing? Do you set your recorded disk to shareable or something? Or do you use Windows homegroup..

I just ask out of curosity. I'd give in and get an extender if I was serious about multi-room use. I only have a small apartment so it doesn't matter to me (albeit with mutiple PCs)...

Though if Ballmer was smart he would let Macs and PCs extend media center. Much the way any PC can run itunes..
post #502 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyClinch View Post

And for the sharing people - what's the convient way to do sharing? Do you set your recorded disk to shareable or something? Or do you use Windows homegroup..

If all your recordings are marked copy freely then a network share or homegroup sharing will be fine. WMC center on other boxes will play the wtv files just fine.

Any recordings that were flagged copy once will not be playable on other PC's - only on the original PC and extenders.
post #503 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmservo View Post

Good to see the debate. I'll worry about it when I see an actual card. (Pre-ordered in June, so yes, late, but blah)


Still back ordered, eh? I plan on ordering a Ceton in February (going to build the WIN 7 based MC PC in January), I will still have to wait until summer to get it? I was hoping that the back log would (mostly) be caught up by now.
post #504 of 560
I ordered my card in September and still haven't gotten any word on when I will receive it. I would order it now, they don't charge you until it ships so get in line, you can always cancel later.
post #505 of 560
Mine took 5mo to get, I think the wait time is bit shorter now but if you ordered today I doubt you'd get it in Feb. I haven't looked much since I got mine but there's a thread on TGB called Ceton order fulfillment that can give you a good idea what the expected wait time would be if you ordered now.
post #506 of 560
Thx for the good feedback!
post #507 of 560
So there are three companies retailing these. Any difference in the wait time between them?
post #508 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

So there are three companies retailing these. Any difference in the wait time between them?

Aside from a few anomalies, no. Ceton has said all along that orders will be shipped in the order received regardless of vendor. It's not an exact science, so 1 vendor has been a bit ahead of others here and there but they've done a pretty good job keeping the distributions about right.
post #509 of 560
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsr View Post

Aside from a few anomalies, no. Ceton has said all along that orders will be shipped in the order received regardless of vendor. It's not an exact science, so 1 vendor has been a bit ahead of others here and there but they've done a pretty good job keeping the distributions about right.

I received my a couple of weeks ago, having ordered from Fluid Digital in mid-August.

Now if I can just get installation completed with Cox... The problems are Cox related, not Ceton's fault. - Cox uses Switched Digital Video (SDV) here, and since they also use Cisco/SA hardware, they also need to provide TWO Tuning Adapters (TA), not one - which complicates the installation. I hadn't realized that if your cable provider used SDV (and more of them will be migrating in that direction), then you need one or two TAs along with the cableCard. They have to provide the you TAs for free, but these things are each about 12" x 8" by 1.5" and also use a 30w power brick - so just putting them somewhere is a bother. This alone might force me to switch to FIOS.

Ben
post #510 of 560
Yep, I ordered early/mid August.. haven't heard a peep... here's hoping.
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