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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So... how exactly do you get a CableCARD? I currently have my digital cable box connected to my TV Tuner via S-Video... but TBH, I'd prefer better integration.


I heard you can get CableCARDs which act like the cable box internally. Is this something you can find? Is it something the cable company provides? If so, what do I ask for?


Thanks for the help!
 

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Well, it's not as simple as that. You are supposed to buy a cable card ready PC from an OEM (a place like Dell, you can't built it yourself because it requires a special bios and a special version of Vista). The cable company provides the actual cable cards (about the size of a credit card) for a nominal fee (usually around $3 per month per card).


Recently a hack was discovered that would allow you to add cable card tuners to you own computer but I don't know how well it works or how easy it is. The cable card tuners are not exactly cheap either, about $200 a piece.


If you are really interested do a search on OCUR bios.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I read that you need to get a CableCARD tuner. So I'd need to get this myself and have the cable company provide the actual CableCARD?


Would it be worth going through all this to be able to record HD cable and get full integration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Zagor ninja'd me.


I found an article on Engadget that showed you how to install a CableCARD tuner into a custom PC. You needed a BIOS update and firmware updates... but in the end it was possible to have the Cable company install one on a hand-built HTPC.


Are there real benefits to using a CableCARD vs. a capture card?
 

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Oops, we replied at the same time..



As i said, the proper (and legal way) is to buy a cablecard ready PC from Dell. It will have the tuner(s) already built-in (of course they are not cheap). You would then get the actual cable cards from your cable provider. They would have to come over to your house and install them (good luck with that). While integration is nice, it also comes with some drawbacks (like DRM, not been able to move your recordings around etc..). Not really worth it in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Zagor:


I contacted the Cable company and they said they could come out same-day and install it. The CableCARD would only run $2/month which is actually cheaper than the cable box.


What kind of DRM is there? I don't actually need to move my recorded TV anywhere. I'd actually prefer being able to record HD channels, unless the DRM restricts what channels I can record.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbiglou /forum/post/16919685


Zagor:


I contacted the Cable company and they said they could come out same-day and install it. The CableCARD would only run $2/month which is actually cheaper than the cable box.


What kind of DRM is there? I don't actually need to move my recorded TV anywhere. I'd actually prefer being able to record HD channels, unless the DRM restricts what channels I can record.

I hope you have a better experience than I did. I went through so many cable cards from my provider (TWC), and so many service calls, that I just gave up. It definitely was not worth, but as a result, my smaller HDTV in the kitchen has to rely on OTA HD, and with a LOT less channels than I get with my box on the main TV downstairs unfortunately.


Still, I refuse to get a box just for the TV in the kitchen, as they are HUGE, and ugly to boot.
 

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You also have to pay the cable company monthly for the digital subscriptions that you will be receiving each month for other then for the local TV channels that are also available using an OTA digital tuner and an antenna. And with a digital tuner card that can also receive clear QAM cable channels you can the free subset of the OTA digital channels that you would get with the cable card tuner and not additional digital subscription services.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbiglou /forum/post/16919685


Zagor:


I contacted the Cable company and they said they could come out same-day and install it. The CableCARD would only run $2/month which is actually cheaper than the cable box.


What kind of DRM is there? I don't actually need to move my recorded TV anywhere. I'd actually prefer being able to record HD channels, unless the DRM restricts what channels I can record.

Scheduling is not the problem. Hopefully the tech you get will know what to do but a lot of people have had less then good support with installations failing miserably because the techs just are not that familiar with how to activate these cards.


As far as DRM here is a quote from a story:


"...The video will be decrypted from cable and then re-encrypted in the tuner with Microsoft DRM. The video will then travel through a USB port to the media center, even if the Tuner is an internal PCI card.


All files stored on the hard drive will be encrypted and don't expect much copying or placeshifting to happen. No copying is permitted and while streaming media to Vista Media Extenders is allowed through a home network, copying media to a Zune or other portable media device is not permitted."


As long as you don't plan on making copies you should be ok...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackworth /forum/post/16919818


I don't know a ton about this, but aren't there issues with SDV and stuff with cable card tuners with the PC?

I think so. I know Time Warner uses SDV on a lot of channels here. The whole cablecard thing is a mess IMO. My opinion is either bite the bullet and get the cable company box or just stick with free OTA and Media Center.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I think with the risks and costs, I am going to try another option. I've noticed the Hauppauge HD1212 captures 1080i content. That would be perfect for me! Really, my biggest concern is keeping my HD cable channels and being able to capture them.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by StinDaWg /forum/post/16920246


I think so. I know Time Warner uses SDV on a lot of channels here. The whole cablecard thing is a mess IMO. My opinion is either bite the bullet and get the cable company box or just stick with free OTA and Media Center.


Agreed. The whole thing is definately a big mess. Another option is the HDPVR. I am now in the process of setting it up in 7MC. So far it looks promessing with the DVBLink plugin. Once setup it should be seemless and it will bring all channels from your STB to the media center.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbiglou /forum/post/16920283


Well, I think with the risks and costs, I am going to try another option. I've noticed the Hauppauge HD1212 captures 1080i content. That would be perfect for me! Really, my biggest concern is keeping my HD cable channels and being able to capture them.

You might want to research their DVRHD product or whatever it is. Its going for 150 at dell business right now.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by therealbiglou /forum/post/16920283


Well, I think with the risks and costs, I am going to try another option. I've noticed the Hauppauge HD1212 captures 1080i content. That would be perfect for me! Really, my biggest concern is keeping my HD cable channels and being able to capture them.

Good choice, works great and you can record from other sources.
 

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Well, I for one have done the "hack" that allows you to install a CableCARD tuner on any Vista/Win7 PC.


Well, first of all...I wouldn't call it illegal as it doesn't circument any DRM. Really, the BIOS lock and Product key (which doesn't have to be unique...they all work mulitple times...it is not there for DRM or anything...it merely identifies the original vendor) are only there for support reasons at the behest of CableLabs. It doesn't break DRM, so this whole thing seems to be fine with MS (it was announced on one of their own sites...TheGreenButton...and is still there months later!). Neither MS or CableLabs has done or said anything. It is unlikely that they could even do anything, as the whole hack loads before the OS anyway (it is a DOS bootshell basically). I'm actually thinking that the Bios/Key issue will just stop becoming a requirement soon in the future, anyway. That combo is the single biggest thing holding PC's back and I'm sure MS would prefer not to have it as Win7MC is a much stronger product with CableCARD support.


Was it hard to set up? No, not really. I'd use Win7RC, though. Do I get all the channels? No, but I get the ones I want. Is it worth it? To me, yes it is.


Supposedly, when Win7 comes out the "SDV adapter" (similar to a device used on Tivos via USB) will support the PC DCT as well. This is just a rumor, but it is believeable to me. Also, the DRM will be relaxed somewhat in the next DCT firmware (1.18 I guess)...namely ClearQAM channels won't be copy protected.


As for the DRM, here's what you can and cannot do. You CAN move it to another drive. You CAN back it up. You CANNOT play the shows except on the PC that recorded it. That's it, really.


I also have 2 ClearQAM tuners...and those do NOT get copy protected. I couldn't get the QAM and the CableCARD working in Vista...it was one or the other...but it was seamless in Win7. My only issue is that my cable company de-authorized all the HD channels days after I got it. After a couple hours of the Cable guy doing signal tests in vain...I called them myself and found that was the issue (they made a mistake).


Also, both versions of the CableCARD tuner are USB. Yes, even the internal ones...they are NOT PCI or PCI-E. The slot is there ONLY to physically support the card...it plugs into an internal USB header or a standard USB-B connector.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by karos /forum/post/17111416


is a special version of windows needed to run an ocur card? or is it just the bios of the mobo?

Any version of Vista (and presumably win7) with Media Center will do it. I don't know if XP will, but with win7 right around the corner, you should probably rule it out anyway.
 
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