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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's here!


Will summarize my experiences here. Pictures attached.


Unit came without instructions, but setup looks like it will be very easy. Instructions are available on their site for installation under Windows Media Center:

http://www.silicondust.com/support/h...uctions/prime/


The first thing I did was open the unit to install a 40x40x20mm exhaust fan. SiliconDust says a fan is not needed unless installed in a rack with the top and bottom vents blocked. I won't be blocking the vents (rack not full enough yet), but since this is being installed on a rack in my basement, with lots of other noisier equipment, noise isn't an issue so I thought it better to install one.


Power connector for the fan is on top of the cable card boards, so you will need to open the case (12 screws!), then remove the cable card board (4 more screws I think) to attach the power for your fan.


NOTE: Please do so at your own risk. Not sure how this will affect your warranty from SiliconDust.


Won't be able to install until tonight when the kiddy's are asleep, so post more later!


UPDATED 08/02/2011 (COPY OF POST ON SILICONDUST SITE SO FEEL FREE TO IGNORE QUESTIONS):


Setup the HDHomeRun on my network and installed software version 20010801. Detected my tuners right away, and per the Windows Media Center instructions I setup the tuners and attempted to scan for channels. However, nothing happened when I hit the scan button. I tried several times, and decided to move on to the activation.


I went to the Verizon FIOS site to try self activation. Opened up both Prime URLs and activated per the Verizon instructions. After a few minutes Verizon reported activation successful, but the Prime URLs still showed Activation: NONE. I waited 30 minutes but nothing changed. Rebooted the HDHomeRun and still no change.


I decided to run the setup utility again and try a scan and sure enough the channels populated. I then downloaded/installed TunerSalad so I could have access to all 6 tuners, then ran the Windows Media Center setup and all my channels were working, including premium content like HBO, Showtime, etc...


Is it normal to have to activate before being able to scan for channels?


Also, while bouncing between the setup utility, Windows Media Center, and Prime URLs at one point I refreshed the Prime URL and it timed out. I ran the setup utility and it only detected 3 tuners. Checked the LEDs and both power/link LEDs showed green. I rebooted the Prime and both tuners came back up. So, one of the units did seem to lock up and/or disappear off my LAN until rebooted.


So, I called Verizon support and they said both units showed activated on their end, but they went ahead and "sent a signal" to both cards. After a couple of minutes both showed activated on the Prime URLs, and my channels continue to work.


I've been playing with it for a couple of hours now on a single PC and so far, other than the initial activation issue (probably a Verizon problem) and that tuner lockup everything has been great. As a test I had all 6 tuners recording at once (impossible according to the Verizon rep I spoke with since their m cards "only support 2 tuners each") and all recordings looked good.


I have not experienced any further tuner lockups so hopefully that was a fluke.


I'm going to install the software on a couple more of my HTPCs and test for a few days before I disconnect my cable boxes.


One more question - when running the initial channel scan from the Prime setup utility, how does it determine which channels to enable and which channels to NOT enable? Should I go through the list and manually enable channels, or should I trust the setup utility to enable everything I'd want?


UPDATED 08/03/2011


Another update -


I installed the software on 2 other HTPCs late last night (kitchen and master bedroom).


I did experience one other instance where a unit seemed to drop off, but I think it may have been software related - I did not have to reboot the HDHomeRun at all to get it working again. This happened during setup, not while actually using the tuner. Will be paying more attention to this and gather details if it happens again.


In detail:

- During the Windows Media Center setup it only detected 3 tuners.

- I exited and did a scan through he HDHomeRun setup and it popped up a "Communications Error" message quickly but seemed to see all 6 tuners.

- I then exited and opened the setup utility again and it scanned and only found 3 tunerrs.

- I wrote down the tuner # that showed as disabled, then rebooted the PC and from that point forward everything was detected fine.


Otherwise everything is working great! I did have to switch my kitchen HTPC to a VGA cable because Media Center reported an HDCP issue with the Dell W1700 LCD I have in the kitchen which I had hooked via DVI. No issues so far once switching to VGA.


My master bedroom is also VGA to an older Panasonic commercial plasma (which I still love BTW) and no issues there either.


Need to install on 2 more HTPCs this evening and will report back after some use.


UPDATED 08/05/2011


Just a quick update - I am experiencing some issues with my unit and spent some time with SiliconDust support Thursday. We concluded that I am having 2 issues, which we believe are separate:


- An issue with tuner pooling, that they are aware of and are working on a firmware update to fix. I believe they expected the update to be release today, but I don't see it posted yet.


- An issue where my tuners will drop off the network for a short amount of time (can't browse to the URL, can't ping, etc.). We thought this might have been a hardware failure with one of my tuners, but it has also occured with the other tuner since our troubleshooting so now I am not so sure what it could be.


Awesome product when it works, but still some quirks. Hoping to see a firmware update to fix the tuner pooling issue soon because as of right now when something is not working it's difficult to know if it's a pooling issue or a network dropoff issue.



UPDATED 08/09/2011


Just a quick update. Been running a beta firmware for the past couple of days. During installation & update of my PCs I did notice some network dropouts again. However, since then things seem to be running smoothly under light use (3 PCs accessing the Prime, only 1 scheduled recording).


Not sure if the network dropouts are not occuring, or if I'm just not noticing them at this point, but this beta update is definitely a big improvment.


 

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I am considering switching to Charter with this and cancelling u-Verse but I just got off the phone with Charter and was informed that on-demand isn't supported using an m-card.


Is this correct? How has Charter in their area and is using a cable card tuner that can confirm this?


Is this legal under Federal Law? (If you have a receiver box for $10 more per month you can get on-demand but no on-demand is available with just a cable card)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, that's correct. Current cable cards are not 2-way, so things like On-Demand do not work.


This is not an issue in our home - we really don't use On-Demand since we have a media server with plenty of movies and shows to watch, along with Netflix for streaming and rentals.
 

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Cablecard has nothing to do w/ not being able to get on-demand and M-cards are 2-way, many of the providers rental boxes use cablecards and can get on-demand(I've had Cox, TWC and FiOS boxes that use cablecards). The problem is your cablecard tuner is likely not 2-way and even if it was you don't have to proper software/firmware to do 2-way w/ your providers network. Though it's possible for use to get on-demand on PCs if we hard hardware that would support the cable companies aren't going to allow it, that's one of the ways the force you rental their over priced boxes w/ their custom firmware that allows you to get it(you can even buy the exact same or similar model Motorola STB that many providers use but it won't be able to get on-demand w/ it's stock Moto firmware).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Cablecard has nothing to do w/ not being able to get on-demand and M-cards are 2-way, many of the providers rental boxes use cablecards and can get on-demand(I've had Cox, TWC and FiOS boxes that use cablecards). The problem is your cablecard tuner is likely not 2-way and even if it was you don't have to proper software/firmware to do 2-way w/ your providers network. Though it's possible for use to get on-demand on PCs if we hard hardware that would support the cable companies aren't going to allow it, that's one of the ways the force you rental their over priced boxes w/ their custom firmware that allows you to get it(you can even buy the exact same or similar model Motorola STB that many providers use but it won't be able to get on-demand w/ it's stock Moto firmware).

I'm sorry, you're right - from what I understand the problem is that the OCUR specification, which is what all these PC cable card devices are based on, does not cover two-way communications.
 

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The lack of two way communication has nothing to do with the cableCARD spec (either the original S-card or the current M-card). The problem is that cable companies will not allow third party equipment to use a cable modem for upstream communication to the SDV server. That's why we have those lovely Tuning Adapters which are nothing more than the missing guts for two way communications. They send channel requests for Switched Digital and then tell the tuner via USB where the channel will show up. If the channel is already on the node, the tuning adapter knows that and just puts in a reservation (so the channel doesn't go away) and gives the tuner the frequency. The cable card still decrypts as usual.


Without a UI you can't do on-demand which would require JAVA and the cable companies are guarding that carefully although RCN has allowed on demand on some Tivo units in at least one test market. (Those may be RCN owned Tivos however).


John
 

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Mike_Boulanger, you should need to worry about channel scanning for 7MC when using cablecard, it will pull the channel line up from the cablecard w/ what your provider has set for you to receive, since you're also on FiOS you'll like have guide data for premium channel you don't sub to as I still get it for the ones I don't(it was the same for my FiOS STBs when I had them). Also your rep doesn't know what he/she is talking about w/ the M-cards only supporting 2 streams, they support 6(1 reason why I've held off on getting one of these, the 3 tuner model or a second InfiniTV 4 and may just wait for the InfiniTV 6). I think if the channel change is that slow I'll stick w/ Ceton which is quite a bit quicker than my HDhomerun but not as quick as my ATI DCT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Also your rep doesn't know what he/she is talking about w/ the M-cards only supporting 2 streams, they support 6(1 reason why I've held off on getting one of these, the 3 tuner model or a second InfiniTV 4 and may just wait for the InfiniTV 6).

I know, was being sarcastic. Argued with him for a minute before deciding it wasn't worth it.


Quote:
I think if the channel change is that slow I'll stick w/ Ceton which is quite a bit quicker than my HDhomerun but not as quick as my ATI DCT.

Yeah I guess if you're sensitive to things like that it might bother you, but we use the guide anyway so it's not like the old days where we're plus-ing and minus-ing trough all the channels so it's really a non-issue for us. It seems about as I'd expect (maybe quicker) give the fact that it's a network-based tuner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Another update -


I installed the software on 2 other HTPCs late last night (kitchen and master bedroom).


I did experience one other instance where a unit seemed to drop off, but I think it may have been software related - I did not have to reboot the HDHomeRun at all to get it working again. This happened during setup, not while actually using the tuner. Will be paying more attention to this and gather details if it happens again.


In detail:

- During the Windows Media Center setup it only detected 3 tuners.

- I exited and did a scan through he HDHomeRun setup and it popped up a "Communications Error" message quickly but seemed to see all 6 tuners.

- I then exited and opened the setup utility again and it scanned and only found 3 tunerrs.

- I wrote down the tuner # that showed as disabled, then rebooted the PC and from that point forward everything was detected fine.


Otherwise everything is working great! I did have to switch my kitchen HTPC to a VGA cable because Media Center reported an HDCP issue with the Dell W1700 LCD I have in the kitchen which I had hooked via DVI. No issues so far once switching to VGA.


My master bedroom is also VGA to an older Panasonic commercial plasma (which I still love BTW) and no issues there either.


Need to install on 2 more HTPCs this evening and will report back after some use.
 

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FYI, if you're connecting through VGA, you're content is getting downsampled to 520p. You might want to look into a HDMI plug-in card for that commercial plasma.
 
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