MOCUR

Sep 08 2011

Guide - CableCARD Tuner Essentials

Technology of CableCARD; How long it’s been around? Why’s it important?
For the full nitty gritty details of CableCARD check out the Wikipedia entry which is fairly thorough. At a higher level, the technology was developed to protect consumers from being forced into having to rent set top boxes (STB) at increasing fees from cable companies (or MSOs) without an alternative. From a home theater PC (HTPC) perspective, it meant the ability to natively tune high definition programming from a cable provider (previously the options were only analog cable, or digital over the air broadcasts).

Originally, the exposure for HTPCs was minimal as there was a single tuner from ATI which required special Windows Vista activation from only a few OEM PC manufacturers; so if you wanted to have CableCARD it required purchasing an entire PC, leaving DIYers out. When Windows 7 was introduced, this requirement was removed and any customers were allowed to purchase ATI tuners and activate them.  Until recently, CableCARD recordings were subject to fairly restrictive DRM, so even after the OEM requirements were relaxed, the technology was not viable for enthusiasts who wanted to placeshift the recordings.

Feb 23 2011

Guide - Override Digital Cable Advisor in Windows Media Center 7

* * * Disclaimer * * *

I do NOT recommend using the DCA override other than the circumstances listed below.

The following files and instructions are provided to you at your OWN RISK!! Understand that it is circumventing a quality assurance test. That being said, if you do have a problem, we have a fantastic community here to help you

Before we begin, this guide assumes you know what the Digital Cable Advisor (DCA) is and have it installed already. If you do not, please refer to MCE: Digital Cable Advisor Tool Available Now before continuing.

OverrideDigitalCableAdvisor does not remove the need to have DCA installed. What it does is tell DCA to skip the tests and consider it a PASS. I do NOT recommend using OverrideDigitalCableAdvisor to get around under powered hardware. I am providing OverrideDigitalCableAdvisor for two basic scenarios (though there may be more) that I believe the DCA fails to take into account.

  1. Virtual Media Center

    I've had a virtual Windows Media Center running under Hyper-V for several years (since Vista SP1) that has acted as my primary recording HTPC.  I did this for several reasons: 1- To reduce energy consumption.  At the time my primary HTPC was left on 24\7 to ensure it was always available for Media Center Extenders.  Virtualizing it allowed me to change my power policy on the HTPC to be in standby most of the time; 2- I setup two virtual HTPCs. One dedicated to recording and another for my Media Center Extenders (MCX) to allow me to test various MCX work-arounds without potentially lowering the stability of my recordings.

    This worked great for years with my Silicon Dust HDHomeRun (x3)...until Comcast made ClearQAM next to worthless in Houston.

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