Current state of cablecard on Windows - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 47 Old 06-12-2019, 04:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Current state of cablecard on Windows

All,

What is the current state of Cable Card support on Windows? My last exposure to this was several years ago when Ceton and HDHomeRun had tuners running in various configurations in Windows 7. Has anything changed? I know there is an ongoing effort to get these tuners working on Windows 10, but I don't know if there's been any success.

I currently use two Ceton PCIe tuner cards in my home server in a networked bridge configuration for use on my 32-bit Windows 7 HTPC's. They still work fine, but I'm looking into upgrade paths for these machines. Specifically, I'd like to go to a 64-bit OS with a metro-like interface. Can I go to Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 in this configuration? Can I go to Windows 7 x64 and still maintain the tuners over network bridge? I could install the tuner cards locally into the HTPC's but I'd rather not go that route if I can avoid it.

I have been experimenting with a Windows 10 x64 build on one of my HTPC's. I can get the Windows 8.1 version of Windows Media Center running and I have managed to get the Windows 7 x64 version of Ceton's drivers to install. I've run the Digital Cable Adviser and run the Ceton setup tool in WMC, but I get an error "unable to find tuners" when I go to setup live TV. I'm currently researching this error, but so far I'm coming up empty. I'm wondering if It's worth going any further.

Thanks for your replies

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post #2 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 05:26 AM
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I'm still running Ceton tuners in a Win 7 x64 HTPC, but it's a standalone box. If you're running them across a network then the HDHR Primes are probably a better choice. I use a Prime to provide live TV to several other HTPCs around the house. I use the standalone HTPC with a Ceton InfiniTV6 for all of my recordings. I set up the Media Libraries on the other HTPCs to share the RecordedTV folder on the primary HTPC so I can watch any recordings that are not flagged as copy once on any other HTPC.

I've tried to avoid Windows 8/8.1 at all costs so I can't attest to using WMC with it. I don't believe that WMC is available from the Microsoft store for that platform any longer. I'm also not sure if you need specific drivers for the Ceton tuners in Win 8.1. That could be why your tuners aren't being found. Try using the drivers from here instead. I just saw this note on the Ceton website: Please note: Network Bridging is only supported with InfiniTV 4 PCIe in Windows 7 SP1. Some people have had limited success porting WMC over to Windows 10, but I believe it gets lost anytime you get any new updates installed. I'm not 100% sure about that so don't take it as gospel. I have a standalone Win 10 HTPC that I use mainly for 4k playback. I'm sticking with Win7 and WMC as my DVR using EPG123 and Schedules Direct for my guide data.
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post #3 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 05:42 AM
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I have 3 Ceton Tuners and 8 HTPCs. None of it is hardly used anymore. Everything worked great with W7-WMC and then went to hell after W8.1 hit. Times have changed and I'v long since cut the cord so the Cetons are no longer useful for me. I am now using Fire Sticks for the most part with a 4 Tuner Recast for OTA and it is a trouble-free experience. I have a couple of subscriptions that give me 90% access to mostly anything I want to see. The other 10% is either rented or purchased as I prefer (require) the highest quality Audio and Video that is provided for feature movies/series. I am fine with streaming the rest. So much better than 10 years ago!

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post #4 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 07:58 AM
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I'm using a Verizion cable card with a Silicon Dust Home Run Prime (3 tuner) on windows 10 and it works great.

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post #5 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 11:28 AM
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A lot will depend on how many channels you have that are flagged "copy once". If you don't have any, or very few then you have more options. If you have a lot, then you're more limited as to what solutions will work for you.
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post #6 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ckronengold View Post
I'm using a Verizion cable card with a Silicon Dust Home Run Prime (3 tuner) on windows 10 and it works great.
But with what software?

I also use an HDHR with windows, the software I use is Emby, which handles all my recordings, it can also then stream the recordings or live TV remotely and transcode them to whatever bitrate and resolution I choose.

The big limitation here is DRM'd channels. I don't have any as Spectrum has everything in the open besides premiums. So its a non issue. I am not sure that there is currently an ability to record DRM'd channels on Win 10. I believe you can use the HDHR App to view them. Here is some more issue on the HDHR Prime and DRM channels.
https://forum.silicondust.com/forum/...p?f=92&t=64023
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post #7 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 12:13 PM
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But with what software?

I also use an HDHR with windows, the software I use is Emby, which handles all my recordings, it can also then stream the recordings or live TV remotely and transcode them to whatever bitrate and resolution I choose.

The big limitation here is DRM'd channels. I don't have any as Spectrum has everything in the open besides premiums. So its a non issue. I am not sure that there is currently an ability to record DRM'd channels on Win 10. I believe you can use the HDHR App to view them. Here is some more issue on the HDHR Prime and DRM channels.
https://forum.silicondust.com/forum/...p?f=92&t=64023
Sorry. I use NextPVR for DVR and when I watched live, I used the HomeRun software. The only channels that I am unable to get are the HBO/Cinemax owned channels, and the Fox Cable channels (FoxSports, FX, etc).

Showtime is a "record many" flag and so is Stars.

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post #8 of 47 Old 06-13-2019, 12:19 PM
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Sorry. I use NextPVR for DVR and when I watched live, I used the HomeRun software. The only channels that I am unable to get are the HBO/Cinemax owned channels, and the Fox Cable channels (FoxSports, FX, etc).

Showtime is a "record many" flag and so is Stars.
Are you able to watch those channels live? (HBO/Cinemax) or not at all?
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post #9 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 10:38 AM
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Are you able to watch those channels live? (HBO/Cinemax) or not at all?
Not at all.

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post #10 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 10:41 AM
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Not at all.
I see you have a Shield, you are able to view them on it with the HDHR app correct?
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post #11 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 11:23 AM
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I see you have a Shield, you are able to view them on it with the HDHR app correct?
Not HBO, no.

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post #12 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 11:33 AM
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Not HBO, no.
Hmmm, I think it is supposed to.
https://www.reddit.com/r/ShieldAndro..._drm_channels/
https://forum.silicondust.com/forum/...p?f=92&t=64023

According to those links it should. Have you potentially turned off auto updates and not updated the app in a long time?
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post #13 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 01:42 PM
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With Ceton, you are basically dead (only WMC will work). WIth HDHR Prime, you have the HDHR app on Win10, Xbox One and Android devices to watch live TV with DRM support. For recording, there is only WMC. Now, Verizon is broadcasting FIFA Women's championship daily in 4k. HDHR App on Windows will work in 4K as well.
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post #14 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 03:21 PM
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For recording, there is only WMC.
You can also pay for the DVR from silicon dust right? I assumed that worked for DRM stuff.
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post #15 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 03:50 PM
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You can also pay for the DVR from silicon dust right? I assumed that worked for DRM stuff.
No, not yet.

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post #16 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 04:42 PM
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No, not yet.

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Wow, really, thats crazy. Seems like if these guys can't make it happen its never going to. Wonder why cablelabs is so ridiculously restrictive.
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post #17 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 04:58 PM
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No, not yet.

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Seriously? That’s appalling. I haven’t paid much attention to the HDHR DVR in the last couple of years, and even less so since I switched from Comcast cablecards to streaming with Youtube TV earlier this year to save on the bill.

I did go back and check the date just now, though. I was the guy who started the thread here when they announced the Kickstarter...on April 4, 2015! I’m actually shocked that they haven’t gotten DRM channel support for DVR released yet. Maybe the majority of people who cared about this the most have moved away from cablecards, like we did.

Well, Duncan, he's just this guy, you know?
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post #18 of 47 Old 06-14-2019, 07:20 PM
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Hmmm, I think it is supposed to.
https://www.reddit.com/r/ShieldAndro..._drm_channels/
https://forum.silicondust.com/forum/...p?f=92&t=64023

According to those links it should. Have you potentially turned off auto updates and not updated the app in a long time?
Nope. I'm all current on Win 10 and HDHR. Can't watch HBO on the Win10 or the Shield.
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post #19 of 47 Old 06-15-2019, 05:53 AM
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With Ceton, you are basically dead (only WMC will work). WIth HDHR Prime, you have the HDHR app on Win10, Xbox One and Android devices to watch live TV with DRM support. For recording, there is only WMC. Now, Verizon is broadcasting FIFA Women's championship daily in 4k. HDHR App on Windows will work in 4K as well.
Ceton tuners work just fine as long as you have the hardware that still supports Windows 7 with WMC, so not even remotely dead. There is still info and drivers available on the Ceton website for download so there is still some level of support. There are at least a few current motherboard and CPU models that still support Windows 7, although you have to incorporate additional drivers into the Windows installation image so you can make use of USB3 ports and NVMe SSDs. 1st generation Ryzen CPUs work with Windows 7 as well as newer motherboards from Gigabyte and a few others. They supply an app on the download section of their websites that will embed the necessary drivers into an iso image of the installation media so it will recognize the devices when you install Windows.

I rarely watch live TV, including sporting events. I'll start watching a football game about 45 minutes into the game so I can skip past all of the commercial and halftime breaks. I usually catch up to live TV in the final two minutes of the game unless I get sidetracked and have to pause playback. I never have to worry about program guide outages like the ones that WMC users experienced on several occasions in the past. EPG123 provides me with more detailed information than the crap that Microsoft now provides from Rovi. I've tried several of the live TV apps for various platforms and I find myself coming back to WMC every time. I could never warm up to using the HDHR DVR app. I can't stand the UI and it's not intuitive at all. WMC is much easier to use and has a better UI. Everything I've seen so far has basically been a beta version of some kludged live TV or DVR app that just never quite cuts the mustard for me. The fact that it's the only DVR app available that allows me to both watch and record DRM content is a no-brainer. It leaves everything else in the dust in that regard.

Support for outdated hardware and software may disappear, but as long as it still works it is never truly dead. I had a friend at work that still uses Windows 98 because it was the only platform that supported an app he uses that is no longer available on newer platforms.
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post #20 of 47 Old 06-15-2019, 05:57 AM
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Nope. I'm all current on Win 10 and HDHR. Can't watch HBO on the Win10 or the Shield.
Both should work. Contact SD support to get it fixed.

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Seriously? That’s appalling. I haven’t paid much attention to the HDHR DVR in the last couple of years, and even less so since I switched from Comcast cablecards to streaming with Youtube TV earlier this year to save on the bill.



I did go back and check the date just now, though. I was the guy who started the thread here when they announced the Kickstarter...on April 4, 2015! I’m actually shocked that they haven’t gotten DRM channel support for DVR released yet. Maybe the majority of people who cared about this the most have moved away from cablecards, like we did.


I know it's crazy. It seems like it must be a cablelabs things. SD has been saying "soon" for their six tuner Prime for a long time. I wonder if they are holding it up trying to make progress with cablelabs.

Just speculation but trying to give SD the benefit of the doubt.


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post #22 of 47 Old 06-17-2019, 02:38 PM
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I am considering getting a Prime 3 but was wondering if it’s worth the hassle. I don’t have any premium channels and currently don’t have DVR. I am also using Kodi DSPlayer and like the idea of improving cable TV through madVR as Xfinity’s content is severely compressed. However, I feel like I tinker enough with my HTPC and cannot afford to have live TV not functional for any extended amount of time. So, in my usage, what’s involved? Would it be straight forward?

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I am considering getting a Prime 3 but was wondering if it’s worth the hassle. I don’t have any premium channels and currently don’t have DVR. I am also using Kodi DSPlayer and like the idea of improving cable TV through madVR as Xfinity’s content is severely compressed. However, I feel like I tinker enough with my HTPC and cannot afford to have live TV not functional for any extended amount of time. So, in my usage, what’s involved? Would it be straight forward?


It's pretty straight forward. You need to use some sort of software for DVR with Windows 10. Emby and Plex are popular but you need the premium option from either.

But I am not aware of any way to use madvr with live TV. I don't believe it's possible.

All providers are different, some have all channels behind DRM. If that is the case this method won't work.


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Prime is not just for DRM channels. Some providers encrypt most channels but only DRM a few. In this case, the only way to get TV signal is via Prime.

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I know it's crazy. It seems like it must be a cablelabs things. SD has been saying "soon" for their six tuner Prime for a long time. I wonder if they are holding it up trying to make progress with cablelabs.

Just speculation but trying to give SD the benefit of the doubt.

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SD promises a lot of things and then comes up with stuff that most people don't even care about. They just made a "big" announcement about adding live TV to the Roku, but it's only OTA. Big whoop. If you have a TV with an ATSC tuner then you can already get OTA channels without the need of an add-on box plus an HDHR ATSC tuner plus the HDHR app. I got tired of waiting for their 6-tuner Prime which has been promised for what, about 5 or 6 years now? I picked up a Ceton InfiniTV 6 for my main HTPC and use a 3-tuner Prime for my other TVs. I don't understand what the problem is with developing a 6-tuner Prime since a cablecard can easily decode 6 channels simultaneously. I can only assume that their current design somehow maxes out the resources on a cablecard and makes it impossible to work with six tuners.
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post #26 of 47 Old 06-17-2019, 04:44 PM
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SD promises a lot of things and then comes up with stuff that most people don't even care about. They just made a "big" announcement about adding live TV to the Roku, but it's only OTA. Big whoop. If you have a TV with an ATSC tuner then you can already get OTA channels without the need of an add-on box plus an HDHR ATSC tuner plus the HDHR app. I got tired of waiting for their 6-tuner Prime which has been promised for what, about 5 or 6 years now? I picked up a Ceton InfiniTV 6 for my main HTPC and use a 3-tuner Prime for my other TVs. I don't understand what the problem is with developing a 6-tuner Prime since a cablecard can easily decode 6 channels simultaneously. I can only assume that their current design somehow maxes out the resources on a cablecard and makes it impossible to work with six tuners.


It's true they are hit and miss. But their tuners are excellent. Ceton was not very reliable for me, and now that it's tied strictly to win 7 and wmc it's got a tiny user base. I have one in the garage that's been sitting for years.

I am curious if they are trying to accomplish DRM recording before spending the money to launch a new prime.
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post #27 of 47 Old 06-17-2019, 04:45 PM
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Prime is not just for DRM channels. Some providers encrypt most channels but only DRM a few. In this case, the only way to get TV signal is via Prime.

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True, that is my experience with Spectrum. No DRM. But if all you channels are locked down with DRM the platforms available to the prime are slim.


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post #28 of 47 Old 06-17-2019, 04:49 PM
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It's true they are hit and miss. But their tuners are excellent. Ceton was not very reliable for me, and now that it's tied strictly to win 7 and wmc it's got a tiny user base. I have one in the garage that's been sitting for years.

I am curious if they are trying to accomplish DRM recording before spending the money to launch a new prime.
I've had the exact opposite experience. My Ceton tuners have been rock solid, and I've had three InfiniTV4's and currently use an InfiniTV6. I constantly have issues with the Prime tuners not being available, which drives my wife crazy and makes my life miserable. It's nuts because she's the only one that watches the TVs that use the Prime and it's only two TVs with three tuners available. It's possible that it's a WMC issue but if I reset the Prime by unplugging the power cord and then letting it reboot it usually fixes the problem.

I do like SD products and currently use two Quatros in addition to the Prime. I do appreciate the fact that they're constantly trying to improve their products across more platforms, but it seems like they sometimes just go through the motions to make it appear that they're making progress when they're just trying to divert us away from the real issues.

Last edited by captain_video; 06-17-2019 at 04:52 PM.
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post #29 of 47 Old 06-17-2019, 05:09 PM
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I've had the exact opposite experience. My Ceton tuners have been rock solid, and I've had three InfiniTV4's and currently use an InfiniTV6. I constantly have issues with the Prime tuners not being available, which drives my wife crazy and makes my life miserable. It's nuts because she's the only one that watches the TVs that use the Prime and it's only two TVs with three tuners available. It's possible that it's a WMC issue but if I reset the Prime by unplugging the power cord and then letting it reboot it usually fixes the problem.

I do like SD products and currently use two Quatros in addition to the Prime. I do appreciate the fact that they're constantly trying to improve their products across more platforms, but it seems like they sometimes just go through the motions to make it appear that they're making progress when they're just trying to divert us away from the real issues.


I've used both since their release so its hard to remember at times when the issues were.

But I remember having the same issue with my first prime with wmc. I find a used one about six months ago and went back to cable. Using Emby I have never had the unavailable tuner issue. Not once.

So I think it probably is a wmc thing.


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post #30 of 47 Old 06-17-2019, 06:46 PM
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I am considering getting a Prime 3 but was wondering if it’s worth the hassle. I don’t have any premium channels and currently don’t have DVR. I am also using Kodi DSPlayer and like the idea of improving cable TV through madVR as Xfinity’s content is severely compressed. However, I feel like I tinker enough with my HTPC and cannot afford to have live TV not functional for any extended amount of time. So, in my usage, what’s involved? Would it be straight forward?
The only hassle I ever had was getting the cablecards activated and properly provisioned properly the first time I set them up (2013). After that, the issues with WMC were so rare that I don’t remember what they were. I quit using them a couple months ago, so about 5 1/2 years with minimal (or no) problems.

That said, the HDHomeRun app for the Nvidia shield was unreliable and I constantly got “weak signal” on DRM channels when using it. Never had those problems with WMC. I did eventually have some screen tearing on fast motion (action movies) with WMC the last couple months I used the Primes but I think that was a Comcast signal issue.

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