Originally Posted by broadwayblue
A friend just mentioned the HDHomerun Prime to me and it sounds great. I'm curious, once the programs are recorded to WTV files (not exactly sure what those are) can you then copy them to a NAS or other device?
This doesn't have a simple answer.
It all depends on whether or not your cable system delivers content on the channels that carry your beloved hockey games as copy-once or copy-freely. This is key to answering your question.
If the games are carried by off-air local network channels that are also carried on your cable system, they would by definition (of the FCC) have to be "copy-freely". If on the other hand they are carried by basic or premium cable channels, there's a good chance they would be marked as "copy-once". For sure, TWC seems to have that policy of marking everything "copy-once", whereas FIOS doesn't. I don't know about Comcast or other cable systems.
Anyway, the point is that copy-freely content has NO RESTRICTIONS AT ALL. Yes, it's recorded by Windows Media Center (using the network based tuners in the HD Homerun Prime to deliver TV content over your home network to the HTPC in which WMC is running) in a file format named WTV. This is a new "potentially DRM secure" format wrapper (to avoid piracy and unauthorized use), but conceptually the internal content is still standard MPEG-2 and standard HDTV.
Windows Media Player can play copy-freely WTV files from any location, as can some other non-free 3rd-party programs. And of course Windows Media Center can also play these files. And you have no limitations preventing you from copying those WTV files to any other disk storage (e.g. your 3TB drives) that are readable by WMP or WMC for playback. The WTV files are unencrypted, unlocked, unprotected, and can be played by WMP/WMC on any Win7 system... even a different one than did the original recording.
Now... on the other hand...
If your cable company delivers your hockey games marked with copy-once, now you're F'd.
Copy-once content can ONLY be played by the very same installed Win7 system that did the original recording. And this is because the WTV recordings are encrypted, and the decryption key is a time-based derivative of the actual installed Win7 that did the recording. This is therefore the ONLY Win7 which will ever be able to play back these recordings.
So if you have to reinstall Win7, you will NEVER be able to play these WTV files again. That's the nature of the DRM lockdown on these copy-once WTV files.
Furthermore, if you have to restore a "system image" (say from last week), and you've recorded additional hockey games in the current week (i.e. more recently than the date of the "system image" you're restoring), well you will NOT be able to play any of these copy-once WTV recordings made in that week. And that's because the decryption key has a time-based component, which is tied to the date on which the recording was made, of the Win7 system on which the recording was made. Go back to an older "system image", and the decryption key from WMC trying to run on that restored Win7 will be unusable to play back copy-once WTV files recorded after the date of that system image.
Now you can move the original copy-once WTV from the original disk location to a network location without a problem. And you can of course add these network locations to WMC's "recorded TV" library definition, so multiple folders can be considered part of WMC's "recorded TV" list, if you want to play anything back using WMC.
But you will NOT be able use Windows Media Player to play any of these copy-once WTV files... even WMP on the same machine as where WMC did the recording. Only WMC, on that same recording PC, can play back copy-once WTV files.
And of course you cannot use 3rd-party programs (e.g. VideoReDo) to read, edit, or otherwise access these copy-once WTV files. Only WMC on the Win7 system that did the recording is allowed to read, decrypt, and play, these files.
But VideoRedo CAN be used unrestricted to work on copy-freely WTV files.
Which is why I said this wasn't a simple question with a simple answer.
Otherwise, cablecard-enabled HD Homerun Prime works fine. As does HD Homerun (for OTA ATSC roof antenna use). As does the cablecard-enabled Ceton internal 4-tuner solution, or its external USB-attached 4-tuner solution. WMC is an excellent program... although your cable company and copy protection are significant factors.