or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Recorders › FEEDBACK TO THE FCC: FireWire Problems with Cable STB's
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

FEEDBACK TO THE FCC: FireWire Problems with Cable STB's - Page 5

post #121 of 192
Hello all. My experience with the 1394 ports on the Motorola cable box is that they work, sort of. If looking at the box from the back the port on the right won't allow HD recording on my Mitsu HSHD2000U. After about a minute of recording movies from HBO, my VCR will flash 'Error CP' or copy protected. However, switching to the left port I can record fine. Can't record HBO, Cinemax or Discovery HD with my LG DVR. I have an older non-DVR Motorola box with DVI. The 3412 I think (will have to verify). Apparently the USB 1.1 ports are inactive. What use are those anyway?
post #122 of 192
Firewire ports are only supported for AV monitors. MSO's are NOT required to make them work for recording or transfer of Digital Media.

USB ports are for Mem Sticks w/ Photos or MP3's, Keyboards, Mice & other types of pointing or control-joystick type devices.

eSATA ports are for external HDD

It is up to the MSO if they want to enable the ports and make them active. MSO's control the adding / subtracting of drivers for these ports in the STB firmware.
post #123 of 192
What regulation do you get that from? With regard to firewire, cable operators are required to support it, period. It does not matter what you want to connect it.

Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 76.1904, explicitly requires them to allow free copying of broadcast channels and first-generation copying of other channels except pay-per-view and video on demand (you can find the regulations here).

As for the other interfaces you mention, as far as I know there are no regulations concerning them at all so everything about them is completely up to the cable operators.
post #124 of 192
braniac,

nice link....can you narrow down where in the regs it says that permitting first-generation copying of channels (with a few exceptions) is required? if that is the case, it seems they should not be allowed to put 5C on channels except for ppv and vod, right? very interesting.
post #125 of 192
Sure, no problem - the text version of the regulation is here. It says (the boldface is mine to indicate where it allows first-generation copies):

Quote:


(1) Commercial audiovisual content shall not be encoded so as to prevent or limit copying thereof except as follows:

(i) To prevent or limit copying of video-on-demand or pay-per-view transmissions, subject to the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section; and

(ii) To prevent or limit copying,

other than first generation of copies, of pay television transmissions, non-premium subscription television, and free conditional access delivery transmissions; and (2) With respect to any commercial audiovisual content delivered or transmitted in form of a video-on-demand or pay-per-view transmission, a covered entity shall not encode such content so as to prevent a covered product, without further authorization, from pausing such content up to 90 minutes from initial transmission by the covered entity (e.g., frame-by-frame, minute-by-minute, megabyte by megabyte).

(i) allows them to protect video-on-demand and pay-per-view. (ii) allows them to also protect other pay channels, but only to a limited extent (only "other than first generation copies"); that is, they can prevent copies after the first generation, but must allow first-generation copies.

So, they actually are allowed to put 5C on other channels (as long as they are pay channels, not things like over-the-air channels they carry), but they can only mark them copy-once; they are not allowed to mark them copy-never.
post #126 of 192
I can't wait for when everything is "On Demand".
post #127 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill View Post

I can't wait for when everything is "On Demand".

I think you will have a long wait. Cable companies are having a hard time getting license agreements from the copy right holders of the programs. TWC started a project like this called Mystro, but they dropped it.
post #128 of 192
So it is illegal for Comacast in my area to use 5C encryption on CBS HD? I have been unable to view this free-to-air channel via firewire connections since this weekend. My other HD channels still come in fine. Comcast denies that they are encrypting them and refuse to support firewire.
post #129 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by stewart710 View Post

So it is illegal for Comacast in my area to use 5C encryption on CBS HD?

Yes, it is illegal.

Quote:


I have been unable to view this free-to-air channel via firewire connections since this weekend. My other HD channels still come in fine. Comcast denies that they are encrypting them and refuse to support firewire.

Assuming the station in question hasn't messed something up, Comcast must be doing something wrong.

As for firewire, what's your firewire source? If it's their cable box, they have to make it work. FCC regulations state that they must supply a box with a working firewire interface upon request.

Do you know of a way to check whether the channel is encrypted and what the 5C flags are? Depending on what your firewire source is, it may have a way to do that. Let us know what you're using and someone may know.
post #130 of 192
Thanks for responding, I'm pretty sure it is a Motorola dct6200. I'll doublecheck when I get home.
post #131 of 192
I checked in the diagnostics menu and CCI is set to 0x02 and DRM is set to 0x00. I assume that means they have set the flag because the channels that work have 0x00 for these values. Other encrypted channels have values of CCI = 0x02 and DRM = 0x01. What can I do?
post #132 of 192
For a broadcast channel like CBS, they are not allowed to set CCI=0x02 (copy once), they must use CCI=0x00 (copy freely). I don't know much about the DRM value, maybe someone else can chime in on that. But in any case, I would tell them that you can see in the diagnostic screen that they are copy protecting the channel. This sounds like it may be an error and they don't realize that they're doing this.

If they don't agree to fix it, I'd remind them of the FCC regulation mentioned earlier in this thread. If they still won't fix it, I'd send a letter to them and your franchise authority (which should be listed on your bill) - I've heard of other people getting results from doing that.
post #133 of 192
thanks for the input, I also should add that the RC= 0x01 for that channel. My problem is that I don't know what CCI and RC are, just that they are different than the channels I do get. Thanks.
post #134 of 192
I'm not sure about RC, but CCI stands for "Copy Control Information." It determines the level of copy protection for the channel, and can have the values:

0x00: copy freely
0x01: no more copies
0x02: copy once
0x03: copy never

Copy freely and copy never are self-explanatory. Copy once means you can make a first-generation copy, but that copy will then be marked as "no more copies" (0x01) and you won't be allowed to make further copies from it.

Broadcast channels should be marked "copy freely" (0x00). Marking them "copy once" (0x02) is against FCC regulations.

One thing I'm wondering about is the DRM bit; does anyone know how that gets set? I seem to remember reading that the broadcast station can set that. I'm not completely certain what it does, but I'm wondering if it's part of the problem.
post #135 of 192
I'm not sure the DRM bit matters as it is set 0x00 like the rest of my locals that do work. The premiums seem to have DRM=0x01
post #136 of 192
I see - so it sounds like the problem is definitely the cable company setting CCI=0x02.
post #137 of 192
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.
post #138 of 192
[quote=Brainiac 5;11647104]Yes, it is illegal.


As for firewire, what's your firewire source? If it's their cable box, they have to make it work. FCC regulations state that they must supply a box with a working firewire interface upon request.

That is not entirely accurate, they have to supply A box with a working firewire interface upon request, not necessarily your box. I went through this with Comcast and they said that if you want firewire capability you can order a Sci Atl 3250HD (non-dvr). What about the 8300HDDVR are you going to activiate the firewire port and they said no only for the 3250.

thats their way around that regulation...
post #139 of 192
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.
post #140 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by DVDO+WESTY=1080p View Post

That is not entirely accurate, they have to supply A box with a working firewire interface upon request, not necessarily your box. I went through this with Comcast and they said that if you want firewire capability you can order a Sci Atl 3250HD (non-dvr). What about the 8300HDDVR are you going to activiate the firewire port and they said no only for the 3250.

thats their way around that regulation...

The wording of the regulation is somewhat unclear to me. It basically states that the cable operator shall replace the box with another one or upgrade the box, upon request of the customer. So what happens if the customer requests an upgrade but not a replacement? Is the cable operator required to upgrade the existing box (such as the 8300HD DVR), since the customer did not request a replacement?
post #141 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik Garci View Post

It basically states that the cable operator shall replace the box with another one or upgrade the box, upon request of the customer. So what happens if the customer requests an upgrade but not a replacement? Is the cable operator required to upgrade the existing box (such as the 8300HD DVR), since the customer did not request a replacement?

The cable company decides if it's an upgrade or a replacement, not the customer... So replacing a 8300HD by a 3250 does work as far as the legislation is concerned...
post #142 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fonceur View Post

The cable company decides if it's an upgrade or a replacement, not the customer... So replacing a 8300HD by a 3250 does work as far as the legislation is concerned...

Even so, it depends on when the cable company acquired the 8300HD from the supplier. If the cable company acquired it after 6/30/2005, and it does not have Firewire functionality, then the cable company is still violating the second part of the rule.

"(4) Cable operators shall: ... (ii) Effective July 1, 2005, include both a DVI or HDMI interface and an IEEE 1394 interface on all high definition set-top boxes acquired by a cable operator for distribution to customers."
post #143 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by toadtaste View Post

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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stewart710 View Post

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.

Ron
post #144 of 192
I think it is very clearly Comcast problem. Comcast is the company selling me cable television signals and renting me the Motorola Cable box. Comcast is knowingly selling the end-user a faulty product. The rest is just semantics.
post #145 of 192
Well they closed my BBB complaint. This is what the Comcast rep wrote:

Date: 10/17/2007
Details: Ultimately the complaint is against WBZ (CBS Local Affiliate). Comcast has provided customer with contact information at Local Affiliate. I was informed that If you were watching WBZ via an over the air antenna, you would have the exact same problem.

I guess Comcast uses a new fangled OTA antenna that connects via firewire and is subject to 5C Protection... I can't believe I thought this guy knew what he was talking about for the past few weeks. This is Comcast's problem. They do not understand the technical issues and refuse to let you speak with the engineers who do understand them.

So on this clown's warped concept of a firewire connection, the BBB has opened a case in MY NAME against the local CBS affiliate. The same local affiliate that has been quite helpful and is sending me daily updates on the progress. I never had a complaint against WBZ, because they answered my emails intelligently from the beginning, unlike the Comcast Reps. I'm a little confused how a BBB complaint could be launched in my name, without my knowledge, against a company I never had a business transaction with. I imagine the engineers at WBZ will now be told to stop talking to me and I will be forced to go through a Customer Service Rep because of this. I'm about to give up on Cable TV and just buy some books. Arrg.
post #146 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by stewart710 View Post

This is Comcast's problem.

Well, as dr1394 described, it is CBS' fault for adding the rc_descriptor when they should not. Comcast is just passing along the signal they receive... Sure, they could go the extra mile and strip that rc_descriptor, but it's probably more costly for them to do it than for CBS to fix their signal at the source...
post #147 of 192
thanks for the insight, I know what you guys are saying. I'm just not so quick to let Comcast off the hook. They are the service provider. I don't pay any money to WBZ.

Here is the rest of that email from the WBZ engineers that I quoted above:

"Here is an explanation from one of the CBS network HDTV honchos regarding the Broadcast Flag and the CCI data (drink a cup of coffee before reading; your eyes may drift shut otherwise):

When Broadcast Flag (aka. ATSC redistribution control descriptor, rc_descriptor) is present, the cable set top box, referred to as the “source device,” is to check with HDTV monitor / set/ recorder, the “sink device,” in order to determine if it is valid 5C copy protected device. If the sink device or recorder is a valid licensed 5C device, then the set top box SHOULD encrypt the audio/video and mark it as “unlimited copy,” since WBZ is a broadcast signal.

5C copy protection on Firewire (IEEE-1394) allows for 4 levels of copy protection:

unlimited copy
copy once
copy twice
never copy

Based on the viewer reports, it sounds like Comcast is encoding WBZ as “never copy” in the presence of Broadcast Flag, which is the incorrect protection level.

Even though the copy protection level is set to “unlimited copy,” the 5C link is still encrypted, which prevents the signal from being placed on the Internet, because the “time to live” on the Internet exceeds the 5C limits. This is exactly what we want. We do not want people to see your NFL game outside of the Boston market (unless they have paid for it on Sunday ticket), but we have no problem with the home recording the game via the Firewire port, provided it has been 5C encoded as “unlimited copy.”

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.

But we’re trying. I’ll get back to you with a progress report as soon as I have one.

Thanks for the information…"


That is way more coherent than any of the BS I've received from Comcast. Throughout the whole process with Comcast I never got the feeling they really understood the issue, They were just 'handling' my BBB complaint.
post #148 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by stewart710 View Post

thanks for the insight, I know what you guys are saying. I'm just not so quick to let Comcast off the hook.

With that extra bit of information, indeed it is not so black and white...

From the explanation, it seems that if you used a 5C device (d-vhs or tv), that would indeed set the copy protection level to "unlimited copy", but since PC's are not valid device, you end up with a "never copy". OTOH, since CBS should not be using the Broadcast flag in the first place, you would be fine if CBS took it out on their end...
post #149 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by stewart710 View Post

Even though the copy protection level is set to “unlimited copy,” the 5C link is still encrypted ... This is exactly what we want.

Apparently WBZ wants the Firewire signal to be encrypted. So WBZ will most likely continue to send the rc_descriptor.
post #150 of 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fonceur View Post

but since PC's are not valid device, you end up with a "never copy".

You effectively end up with "never use." You cannot even view it on a PC, much less copy it.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: HDTV Recorders
AVS › AVS Forum › HDTV › HDTV Recorders › FEEDBACK TO THE FCC: FireWire Problems with Cable STB's