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HD Cable

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:49 pm
by JohnrC
I'm looking for a way to back up (to DVD) the TV programs recorded with my HD cable box: Scientific Atlanta 8300HD. My cable service here in Toronto, Ontario is from Rogers Cable.

I can remove the IDE hard drive from the cable box and connect to my desktop computer, but can't access or do anything with the files as they're encrypted. Can this or any other software help?

TIA for any help.

Re: HD Cable

Posted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:40 pm
by rhester
This has nothing to do with HandBrake.

Moving to the Tiki Bar.

Rodney

Re: HD Cable

Posted: Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:40 am
by siromega
No, the videos on the drive are encrypted (last I had heard, a few years ago).

If you want to get video off your cable box, you'll need a TiVo HD and the TiVo Desktop software to transfer the video to your PC, then edit it to remove commercials (I recommend VideoReDo, buts its $50), and then run it through HB. Works like a charm, I've been doing it for a while.

Re: HD Cable

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:09 am
by belloq
All cable boxes in the US are required to have active firewire ports. If you don't have one, you're supposed to be able to request one and receive it from your cable provider. Using that port, you can use Apple's FireWire SDK application AVCVidCap and capture the MPEG-2 or H264 (depending on your provider) stream directly to your computer HD. This works both with programs on your DVR and live TV. This is also only possible if the copy protection flag is set to "Copy Freely." If it is set to "Copy Once" or "Copy Never" then you will not be able to receive a de-encrypted stream over the FireWire port. There is no known way around this at this time, and would likely be illegal anyway, so I'm not talking about that. Only for programs for which the content owner is allowing full copying.

Handbrake can deal with the stream file that comes directly from your cable box/DVR. Other programs can help you slice/dice out the commercials, and then feed that resulting output to Handbrake to encode for a variety of devices and purposes.

Re: HD Cable

Posted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:51 pm
by jbrjake
belloq wrote:All cable boxes in the US are required to have active firewire ports. If you don't have one, you're supposed to be able to request one and receive it from your cable provider.
Theoretically, yes. Practically, they tend to make this very, very difficult by forcing you to jump through hoops to obtain one, "accidentally" encrypting channels they shouldn't be, capriciously changing to incompatible firmware versions, and limiting enabled FireWire ports to low-end box.

Like....sure, the FCC mandates it, but there's a good chance thatt:
- They'll make you drive across the county to get it
- You won't be able to get all the channels you should
- You never know if you're going to wake up one morning and discover that your box was "upgraded" overnight and now they only offer 1394 with some other box that isn't in stock yet
- The FCC doesn't specify that the FireWire box has to be equivalent of the current box -- so they're within rights to not offer enabled ports on DVR boxes

Re: HD Cable

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:32 am
by belloq
All true, Jake. I'm counting myself lucky to have relatively few problems so far, outside of having to do the 1) play DVR'd program, 2) pause program, 3) plug in firewire cable, 4) start recording with avcvidcap, 5) play program (which actually shows paused on the screen and output is disabled to the TV). Live programs are capturable without any hoops, and my understanding is that is how it is supposed to stay.

The last firmware upgrade pushed in my area caused steps 1-5 to be required, whereas before it was easy peasy.