I am looking for some advice. For the past 4 years I have used the Hewlett Packard Z560 Media Center to record my favorite shows. It has a dual analog tuner (which is connected to my cable company) and one HD tuner that captures OTA. The Z560 is now running Windows 7 (32 bit) and has a Pentium D 925 3.0 Ghz CPU and 4 GB (but only using 3 due to OS). This VCR-shaped unit has served me very well and I would like to continue to use it but I have a big issue with my cable company - Charter - who has told me they will go all digital by the end of this year. Once this happens, the dual analog tuner will be pretty much useless (I could hook up a digital box to it but it would be a hassle at best and take me down to just 2 tuners).
So, I am very interested in the USB Ceton line (as there is no room inside the Z560 for a card) but after reading through all 255 posts, I have some questions.
1) There was an early reference to Charter and some sort of issue with cable boxes and a national CC number which I did not understand. Right now I have 3 Motorola DCX3200 on my TVs. Of course I will not be using them if I can get the Ceton to work and I buy several Echos. Has anyone with Charter been successful in getting either the 4 or 6 tuner USB unit to work with a Charter cablecard? Why would it matter if you have a Motorola or Cisco box?
2) What exactly does one gain with the 6 channel USB unit versus the 4, other than 2 additional tuners? Given what I have now, 4 tuners would seem to be fine but does the 6 tuner give me some future-proofing feature that could make the former not work in a few years? I do have a gigabit ethernet network and a 16 port unmanaged/dumb switch and do not like to do stuff wirelessly.
3) Will the Z560 still be able to keep up with either the 4 or 6 tuner USB unit? It does have a 7200 RPM terabyte HD. And will the Ceton work if the unit goes into sleep mode (I know that WMC is responsible for getting the computer into and out of sleep mode but will that allow the external Ceton to work correctly)?
4) Right now, I have never run into any 'sharing' issue with my setup - I can watch programs recorded on the Z560 on my laptop (by copying to local HD). on my other computers (linked network), and on one TV that is using a old DLink DSM-750 media extender. I have also taken these .WTV files, converted them to MP4 and watched them on my Android phone and tablet. Is going to a cablecard recording system going to leave me SOL to move stuff to other computers to watch?
5) Lastly, will the Ceton work with the HD card if I left it in the Z560? Or am I going to have to remove both tuner cards? My preference would be to disable the analog tuner but keep the HD tuner working since I have the antenna, cabling, etc, and since I do lose cable occasionally. It wouldn't cost me anything and give me the option of recording at least one channel should the cable signal die (assuming WMC and Win7 can do this).
Thanks for any input!