09-24-2015 11:36 AM
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  1. IcarusPony's Avatar
    Hello, everyone. I work for a major cable company and I work in the CableCARD support department. I also use a CableCARD with Windows Media Center on Windows 8.1 with a HD Homerun Prime. I have also used the ATI TV Wonder.

    First, someone mentioned that there could not be a licensed CableCARD software for Linux/Android because it is open source. That is incorrect. Just because the operating system is open source doesn't mean that all software written for that operating system are open source, too. Anyone can write Linux/Android software and not release the source code and even sell it. That is what Google Store is all about.

    Secondly, Microsoft's Windows Media Center is the only software that you can use that works with CableCARD's copy-protected channels. This is because Microsoft has licensed PlayReady, a software that enforces DRM to make Windows Media Center compliant with CableLabs' CableCARD specifications. Any other software will not be able to play channels that are "copy once" or "copy never". They would only play "copy freely" channels.

    I am concerned about Microsoft pulling everyone into Windows 10, even offering it free to people who pirated Windows 7 and 8. It's like someone in a van offering free candy to children. I've heard people here saying that they are going to hold onto Windows 7 or Windows 8 Pro. The real concern is about the Guide. Zap2It was the company that Microsoft contracted to provide guide information. Recently, Microsoft has stopped using them and is "providing guide update via Windows updates". If Microsoft decides to stop update our guides, that will disable the DVR functionality, such as scheduling recordings. If that happens, all Windows 7 and 8 Pro users will be disabled and Windows Media Center will no longer work for CableCARDS for anyone's Windows Media Center.

    CableCARDs are not going to be phased out "soon". By the time it is abandoned, it will have been because a majority of CableCARD users, themselves, abandoned CableCARD in favor of something else (such as online streaming).

    The FCC did mandate that CableCARDs be offered by cable companies back in 2003. However, in 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit vacated that order, so there is no more official necessity for cable companies to provide CableCARDs.

    However, there is a good reason why we won't stop supporting CableCARDs.

    When you rent a cable company's Set Top Box (STB) or Digital Video Recorder (DVR) you gain the ability to watch copy-protected channels. You also get features such as your cable company's guide, starting over a program, caller ID on TV, Impulse Pay Per View (IPPV), ordering new services with your remote control, and On Demand. All of these cable company boxes use CableCARDs inside of them. If we stopped supporting CableCARD, all of our STBs and DVRs in the field would stop working.

    The CableCARDs in the cable company's boxes are the same hardware and firmware as the CableCARDs leased to customers.

    So why is it that your CableCARD device doesn't provide you with your cable company's guide, starting over a program, caller ID on TV, Impulse Pay Per View (IPPV), ordering new services with your remote control, or On Demand? It is because they are working in one-way (receive only) mode and all of those features require two way communication.

    All CableCARDs are two-way compatible. The reason your Tivo, Moxi, Samsung Smart Media Player, CableCARD TVs, HD Homerun Primes, InfinTVs, ATI TV Wonders, and Hauppauge DCRs are all "OCUR" (Open Cable Unidirectional Receiver) devices.

    What determines if a CableCARD operates in one-way versus two-way mode is the host device (the device you place the CableCARD into). The cable company's special boxes (only legitimately sold to Cable Companies) have a "DSG" (DOCSIS Settop Gateway) in them. Basically, it is a built-in cablemodem for return signals sending information upstream back to the cable company. These devices are called "Tru2Way" devices.

    No consumer-purchasable retail products include the hardware necessary for two-way communication.

    Someone is probably going to mention Switched Digital Video (SDV) which is a two way technology that does work with OCUR devices. With the addition of a 2-way box called a "tuning adapter" (not to be confused with a Digital Transport Adapter or "DTA") the OCUR device has partial two-way communication. I say partial because the only function of the Tuning Adapter is to request SDV channels. It doesn't give you any other features such as the cable company's guide, On Demand, etc.

    So why don't companies make retail boxes that are Tru2Way? One answer is obvious. If Tivo did it, you would be able to use the cable companies guide for free and you wouldn't need to pay them a monthly, annual, or lifetime subscription. Other companies that make products that provide a guide for free (all of the other non-Tivo retail devices) are handling this burden on their own. Therefore, they have the risk of the company shutting down its guide updates. Such as if Microsoft stops providing guide updates to Windows Media Center.

    CableCARD TVs haven't been made for over 5 years. All the TV manufacturers abandoned CableCARD slot TVs. Their software is so out of date, that they cannot utilize or recognize tuning adapters. Therefore, if you place a CableCARD directly into a TV and you live in an area that has SDV channels, you cannot get all your channels. The TV manufacturers are not writing new firmware for these TVs to add that functionality.

    Several people mentioned that the cable companies plot to make it difficult to get CableCARDs because we don't want you to have one. The truth of the matter is, since the order was overturned, we are still supporting them even though we technically don't have to. Also, CableCARD users receive the best support, far better than STB and DVR owners.

    People who call in for support often mention having obtained our number from an agent who "let it slip" as if they have a number they are not supposed to. Actually, they should all be giving you our number. I always ask customers if they called me directly or if they were transferred to me. If they were transferred, I give them our direct number and tell them to come directly to us for CableCARD or tuning adapter issues.

    I heard someone say they had to talk to a lot of people who didn't know what they are doing with CableCARDs before finally getting transferred to the CableCARD support line where they finally got help. First, realize that CableCARD support is an elite support group. We are referred to a "mentors" and handle FCC complaints and even issues received by Corporate Offices of the President. The reason we do CableCARD support is because it was once a tightly FCC regulated product, and needed to be handled very delicately. So the elite "mentors" in the company were assigned to handle anything CableCARD related. This is why when you talk to us, you are amazed at how great we are at helping. We can walk you through every screen on your Tivo or Windows Media Center and we know what every error (both ours and not ours) means as well. We can tell from asking you a few questions what the problem is based on the symptoms of the problem. We are highly specialized.

    Our phone number for support is separate from the main "all in one" number that lets you talk to normal video support, internet support, phone support, or billing. We have our own separate number that comes directly to our department without menus. This is why people get lost. People are so used to calling that one number for everything, but that number is not for CableCARD support. This is why you get transferred around until you find someone who has our number. The truth of the matter is, all you have to do is open our public website, click the search, and type "CableCARD support number" and it is the first result. But instead of doing this, people call the regular number and end up speaking to someone who has never heard of a CableCARD. Eventually, you get someone who can get you to us. And guess what... odds are he found our department by going to our public website and typing "CableCARD support number".

    The reason that the other agents and even field techs do not know much about CableCARDs is because of how rare they actually are compared to cable company boxes. That tech that comes out has probably only seen a CableCARD once every 1 or 2 years... or maybe never at all. We have field techs call us all the time saying this is their first CableCARD call. We walk the techs through troubleshooting and they become our eyes and hands at the scene, just like when you call us, you become our eyes and hands.

    Our department is always praised and shocks customers by how much we know. A customer feels relieved to hear me say, "Scroll down to Tasks and Settings... click on TV... click on TV signal... click on Set Up TV signal" and then we walk them through each screen as they are seeing it (Yes, I do this from memory, I don't read a paper or list). I ask the person, "Are you using this with a Tivo or another device?" because most CableCARD users have a Tivo. The ones that don't use Tivo often say, "Another device...." and dont elaborate, feeling that no one will know what an InfiniTV or HD Homerun Prime is. So I ask what kind of device, and they say, "Its for a computer... It's called a Ceton." And I can't help but be amused at how bashful you guys are at mentioning it to me. I then say, "Is it the internal or external version of the InfiniTV?" and the customer is floored by the fact that I know exactly what he's talking about. Also, as I take customers through the Tivo menus, they are always amazed that I know whats on each screen they click to.

    Odds are I've paired at least one of your CableCARDs, namely because our department supports then entire United States for our cable company's footprint.
    04-13-2015 07:23 PM
  2. poit57's Avatar
    I got an email from Silicon Dust yesterday for a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new software DVR solution. From my understanding, they are still working on getting certification to support protected content for their cablecard tuners. They mention a $30 per year subscription fee, but this sounds like it will be a good solution if Windows Media Center is not included in Windows 10.

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...vr-re-imagined

    Edit: I took this for granted as a current HDHomeRun user, but it looks like this probably wouldn't support non-HDHomeRun tuners, which I have 3 of on my current WMC setup.
    Kevin Rush likes this.
    04-21-2015 11:16 AM
  3. Daniel514bama's Avatar
    I created an account here just to say thanks to IcarusPony for all the great info! I've talked to you or someone in your group a couple of times when I first started with cable cards.

    You confirmed my biggest concern with the future of WMC/CableCard being the guide data. Once MS decides to stop providing that the game is over and I'll be looking for another solution. I do not like Tivo's subscription model nor cable box rentals, so I'll be looking for something else or just cut the cord on cable TV. Hopefully by then there will be some better options with live sports from ESPN without a cable subscription.
    04-23-2015 10:33 AM
  4. oldpueblo's Avatar
    Welp. Frequently Asked Questions: Windows 10 - Microsoft Community

    "Is Media Center supported in Windows 10?

    No. Persons who need to use Media Center should consider carefully before upgrading from their previous version of Windows. The Windows 10 upgrade will automatically remove any installations of Media Center."
    04-26-2015 09:09 PM
  5. poit57's Avatar
    Welp. Frequently Asked Questions: Windows 10 - Microsoft Community

    "Is Media Center supported in Windows 10?

    No. Persons who need to use Media Center should consider carefully before upgrading from their previous version of Windows. The Windows 10 upgrade will automatically remove any installations of Media Center."
    To be fair, that still doesn't definitively answer the question about WMC. The first line of the wiki article says that this applies to Windows Insider Program and Windows 10 Technical Preview.

    Support of WMC in Windows 8 wasn't announced and made available in previews until one of the later builds. If Microsoft truly wants universal adaptation of the new operating system, I think it's silly that they would just write off a group of loyal customer like this and force them to either abandon a very useful feature or remain locked into an older OS to keep the feature intact.
    04-27-2015 01:53 PM
  6. Plantje's Avatar
    I live in the Netherlands and I think WMC still has a lot of features that "alternatives" don't have.

    Simple stuff as just playing a random slide show of your pictures while displaying some basic picture information....haven't found that anywhere!

    But also the way of handling DVD's: just copy and paste the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders and it will look like you have a huge DVD jukebox!

    And last but not least: playing and recording live TV. The whole DVR functionality. I have a box from our cable provider...if I record a series it just records on the same time every day! It doesn't even read the EPG! And that is a box that I got last year! It is not even old!
    Only replacement that is being worked on that is coming near this is the following: DVBLinkMCE app for Windows in the Windows Store
    djohnson1149 and Kevin Rush like this.
    04-30-2015 02:58 PM
  7. djohnson1149's Avatar
    First, thanks to IcarusPony for all the info that you provided.I too hope it returns to Windows 10 as it is with 8/8.1. I just upgraded to the latest Build 10074. I utilize a Ceton InfiniTV 6 Ethernet Cable Tuner with cable card connected to Comcast Cable. I've been using Ceton since the came out with their InfiniTV 4 PCi about 10 years ago. I have 4 HTPCs/Monitors/Surface Pro/ASUS laptop all able to connect to cable via their Ethernet sharing of 6 tuners. Obviously if WMC is not supported, I would have to keep the necessary units at 8.1 but I'd still retrieve my free copies of Windows 10 and Dual-Boot or just save them. Hopefully Ceton is working hard to maintain the configuration or an alternate solution. They were unable to provide any status pertaining to Windows 10 as that info is not theirs to share regarding Microsoft's non-released software.
    04-30-2015 11:35 PM
  8. Kevin Rush's Avatar
    Thank you IcarusPony, for great information and insight, and all the optimistic posters. Great information and good to know there are others to count as supporters/promoters.

    Keep a good thought.
    Best Wishes
    05-01-2015 12:13 AM
  9. DavidinCT's Avatar
    To be fair, that still doesn't definitively answer the question about WMC. The first line of the wiki article says that this applies to Windows Insider Program and Windows 10 Technical Preview.

    Support of WMC in Windows 8 wasn't announced and made available in previews until one of the later builds. If Microsoft truly wants universal adaptation of the new operating system, I think it's silly that they would just write off a group of loyal customer like this and force them to either abandon a very useful feature or remain locked into an older OS to keep the feature intact.
    Also the fact that was FAQ written by a MVP. I was or still am a Windows Media Center MVP from Microsoft (last was 2010 and 2011 but, still follow it).

    MVPs do not work for Microsoft, they have limited information and they DO NOT KNOW the plans that Microsoft has. They do get a tidbit more info than most of us get but, when it comes to plans like this, no they don't.

    That page was a FAQ based on the most common questions on the Preview Program and have not been updated to what the RTM product will be.

    And I 100% agree with you, they should not abandon their loyal customers, they should make WMC an option on Windows 10 and even put a plugin on the Xbox one, to make their customers happy.

    Love or hate or don't use Windows Media Center, it IS one of the best programs Microsoft has ever created and it IS the reference standard that every other home theater PC piece of software is compared to.


    I created an account here just to say thanks to IcarusPony for all the great info! I've talked to you or someone in your group a couple of times when I first started with cable cards.

    You confirmed my biggest concern with the future of WMC/CableCard being the guide data. Once MS decides to stop providing that the game is over and I'll be looking for another solution. I do not like Tivo's subscription model nor cable box rentals, so I'll be looking for something else or just cut the cord on cable TV. Hopefully by then there will be some better options with live sports from ESPN without a cable subscription.
    Welcome to the fourms. Spend some time at thegreenbutton.tv. There is 3rd party options to "hack" in guide data from other sources. Some people found that the guide data that WMC gets is not always accurate, so they went around hacking it to get it work.

    WMC will have support for at least another 5 years on this aspect, so I honestly hope someone creates a better option or continues where WMC left off (by MS selling WMC to a 3rd party)...
    Last edited by DavidinCT; 05-02-2015 at 02:41 PM.
    Laura Knotek and dgr_874 like this.
    05-02-2015 02:25 PM
  10. SymoClod's Avatar
    According to ZDNET, MS have now confirmed that Media Centre is dead and will not be available at all on Windows 10.

    R.I.P., Windows Media Center | ZDNet


    Sad news - I use an old laptop connected to a TV tuner just to record live TV on to a NAS with MC. Will probably not upgrade that device if it means losing MC. Have recently experimented with Media Portal in anticipation of this news and it is not too bad - bit of a nightmare to set up but once you figure it out it does the basics of recording and timeshifting quite well.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    05-03-2015 11:29 AM
  11. Greywolf1967's Avatar
    This was also talked about on the last Windows Weekly...the after build show. Windows Media Center is no longer being worked on.
    Xbox One is where Windows TV software went. As you may have noticed when first released the Xbox One only worked with Cable TV and now an Over the air TV Tuner is available as an add on.
    Europe has an Official Xbox TV tuner, where as here in North America most use Homeworx HW-150PVR

    05-03-2015 12:18 PM
  12. DavidinCT's Avatar
    Maybe Ceton should buy windows media center... ?

    https://twitter.com/TheCoolDave/stat...85851643019264

    Or maybe a 3rd party could jump in buy the license rights to WMC and continue it's support. With Playready 3.0 coming to support 4K, Media Center's cablecard support is based off Playready, I hope they will at least make it work with it...

    Hope...
    05-03-2015 02:52 PM
  13. Plantje's Avatar
    So I was thinking...
    The Xbox One has an option to connect one or more tuners to it, right?
    The Xbox One has an app to watch live tv, right?
    The Xbox One will move to Windows 10, right?
    That would entail the app for watching live tv will be a universal app in due time, right?
    Then, wouldn't it be possible to use that app or the objects used in that app to watch live tv on any Windows 10 device with a tv tuner connected?

    Just my two eurocents...
    dgr_874 and fpostrow like this.
    05-03-2015 03:01 PM
  14. Razzle0's Avatar
    I've used WMC to DVR or even just watch live OTA & satellite TV shows on WinXP for years, and now am using it on Win7, and love it. So for those of us who don't have access to super-high-speed Internet (which means no ability to live-stream anything from online sources), what other options will be available for watching & recording TV from cable or satellite on the computer (without having to pay extra subscription fees, etc.)?

    Thanks,

    -Razzle0
    05-07-2015 11:56 AM
  15. DavidinCT's Avatar
    Now that Microsoft has officially abandoned their loyal #WIndowsMediaCenter users for Windows 10 (WMC users are about 6% of Windows users, so if they did the same to WP users, we'd be screwed), a few of us want to see if there is a way to hack Media Center INTO Windows 10... This was one of the best applications Microsoft has ever made and it should be continued on Windows 10, if Microsoft supports it OR not.

    If you didn't know, the current build 10074, has the eHome /Media Center files in the WIndows\Winsxs folder (go in there and do a search for "ehome" and you'll see them.) and they are also on the ISO as well.

    If you modify the disc you can get Windows Media Center to load, here is a image of it running on build 10074, and I tested this in a VM and it does work with a few issues...

    wujohub.jpg

    So, if your a media center fan and would like to help this project visit over at the TGB and post up some ideas, maybe you can help ! And if you want to try it, the information is there as well.

    Any thoughts would be helpful !
    View topic - Possible to port WMC from Win10 Preview builds to Final?
    05-08-2015 10:24 AM
  16. net voyager's Avatar
    windows media center NO they dropped it out of 10 a few weeks back
    05-17-2015 05:58 AM
  17. Plantje's Avatar
    windows media center NO they dropped it out of 10 a few weeks back
    I'm having quite a hard time understanding your response...
    Kevin Rush likes this.
    05-17-2015 06:02 AM
  18. DavidinCT's Avatar
    Come on Microsoft, Don't abandon your loyal Windows Media Center fans, Please make it an option in Windows 10. You want everyone to move to Windows 10 but, it might be 5-6% of Windows users that use WMC but, that is still a lot.

    Give us what we want, not what you THINK we all want.
    05-17-2015 09:35 PM
  19. Plantje's Avatar
    I'm not sure if no WMC is what Microsoft thinks we want. I really cannot understand the reasoning behind it. I would really say it is just a Win32 app. Should be a matter of running an executable or an .msi right?
    05-18-2015 12:04 AM
  20. BIG BAMBOO's Avatar
    I really hope MS rethinks and includes windows media center in windows 10. I personally won't be baited into taking the free upgrade to my windows 8.1 machine (which is properly licensed by the way). I have come to really love windows media center's ability to integrate with my xbox 360 as an extender for viewing free over the air television (OTA), using it to DVR those shows, and also use the integrated guide information. The alternative is really going to a non-microsoft solution such as one of the following: 1. Silicon Dust's HD Home Run viewer and (soon) DVR which is in development. 2. Using my plex server to stream the TV programming to a cheap $35 google chromecast device (I lose DVR functionality with this solution, though). 3. Plex app for xbox 360 which works (kind of) but there seems to be a loss of image quality because it requires Plex to transcode. 4. Go back to running coaxial cable to each TV and using each TV's built in tuner. I hate running Coax. There's so much that can go wrong. A simple HD Home Run network attached tuner sitting right next to my TV antenna is a way better solution than running coax everywhere.
    05-21-2015 02:54 PM
  21. DavidinCT's Avatar
    I'm not sure if no WMC is what Microsoft thinks we want. I really cannot understand the reasoning behind it. I would really say it is just a Win32 app. Should be a matter of running an executable or an .msi right?
    I wish it was that easy, It's a imbedded program that does checks against the kernel to see if it can run. It's a lot more complex than just installing a MSI file. I wish it was that easy, trust me...
    05-22-2015 12:55 PM
  22. Save_WMC_and_our_freedom's Avatar
    I wonder?
    What if we could use Microsoft_Visual_Studio(newest verion) (*or other coding software) to create a true multi platform(xbox win10 win10phone), open souce (or even close source subscription service) plugin/program that functions just like WMC In that it would handle all the necessary CableCard tunner device driver setup, guide setup, DVR functionality, and PlayReady DRM content protection and be able to get the appropriate FCC approvals needed?

    That Could endup being a very lucrative project with the right marketing strategies. Assuming the patents did cost an astronomical amount and we some how avoided an copyright infringement Lawsuits.

    If I was a millionaire scratch that a BILLIONAIRE ; Or if I knew the right company or bank to finance that kind of endeavor I would take on the challenge of R&D and make that a reality.

    We could even sell an android / iphone app that allows WakeOnWan and remote access to the guide, & lets you configure DVR recordings when your away from your home systems via any 4G Mobile Celullar network.

    The app would probably just need to be synced over WiFI with the users Mac_Address and external IP_Address one time prior to remote use, Kinda similar to utorrent remote or the way that chrome sync or firefox sync codes work.

    (Nothing like giving away billion dollar industry ideas for breakfast!) Just saying MICROSOFT.

    (Grow a pair Microsoft. Nobody's going to get upset if you actually give people what they want. You don't have to make it harder to get there just so you can charge a fee.........!)

    I understand that you want back in the mobile device game; so think of a way to combine devices we want with services we want; then mass produce the damb things so that they get cheaper, that way I'll be able to afford to buy my son one someday.

    Seriously, Better yet ; just have it made here in the US.

    Or
    (Go Obama style... with cheap illegal immigrant labor. That way everyone wins. I'll get to use your device to watch the news about the plight of Microsoft. That greedy company that bankrupted the US & everyone eles they did business with. [Stinking 2016 bailouts] lol)

    {Enough, stop reading this rambling post and start R&D on a better future}
    DavidinCT likes this.
    05-24-2015 01:57 AM
  23. zlandar's Avatar
    1. If you don't watch DRM-protected cable programming with a cablecard you have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to WMC.

    2. Cablecard is the cable industry's method of pushing people toward cable boxes for the revenue IMO. HD Prime took forever to be released because of Cablecard foot dragging to approve the box. Few companies have the money or time to jump through all the hoops that the cable companies require to support cablecard.

    3, If MS doesn't support WMC in Win 10 I won't upgrade from Win 7. Period.
    05-25-2015 10:23 AM
  24. poit57's Avatar
    @Save_WMC_and_our_freedom,

    It sounds like your ideas are very similar to the HDHomeRun DVR project. The biggest issue I have with the Silicon Dust project is that in addition to the 3 tuners inside the HDHomeRun Prime, I also have 2 ATSC and 2 ClearQAM tuners inside my HTPC, but their DVR is only going to support their specific product lines in the HDHomeRun family.

    Silicon Dust has also responded to requests for a universal Windows app by stating that the current API's for the universal apps don't support a way to play the MPEG-2 format that most TV is broadcast in. Unless I misunderstood their statement or Silicon Dust itself is misinformed, it doesn't sound like a universal app for TV is going to be possible until/unless something changes.
    05-26-2015 12:58 PM
  25. some 1's Avatar
    Media center was an awful, unworkable mess. I hope it gets buried forever.

    How would it be remotely more convenient than DLNA?
    There is NO OTHER alternative to WMC if you use cable cards and want to record HBO/Cinimax and the like. I have been using WMC since the XP days and have never had any issues with it. SImple to use, runs smoothly, hell even my grandparents were able to use it when the visited.
    06-01-2015 04:16 PM
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