PC + Digital Cable = Not Ready for Prime Time

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Talk to me Goose

Although a complete hassle to install. This might get the cable cards working.

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beef_wellington

I've got a Motorola DCT6416 and there are drivers available so you can utilize the Firewire port. Your PC will pick it up as a TVtuner device and it's $14 a month from your cable provider. Check this link http://thegreenbutton.com/forums/post/154082.aspx It's little bit complicated but it seems to work.

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docsharp01

Excellent article and comments.
I think cable television is becoming extinct and will eventually be replaced by satellite TV which is becoming the norm, especially in locales outside the United States.

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Black Falcon

Couldn't you just order the cheapest HTPC with an OCUR card and swap it into the next PC you build yourself? Then again what's the point if the card isn't worth the space it takes up?

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WScottCross

I actually have a working Cablecard system from Velocity Micro. It wasn't completely without pain (one failed DCT and DCT shortage at VM) but it is working fine now and once I realized that my problem with XBOX360 extender failing was due to wireless card drivers it is even better. The cablecard install actually went pretty well once they found someone at Comcast who was able to authorize my cablecards.

Folding in memory of Sharon Sharp (9/21/47-5/16/05)

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NuttyNut

For those who loves to bash Comcast, I bet you have never work with cable card, know what OCUR is, or have a clue what's involve in getting everything involved (media PC hardware, OS, drivers, and cable card.) working properly with each other; so pipe up and go crawl back under the rock you came from.

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bountycode

The web link in the Maximum PC mag is incorrectly stated as
www.maximumpc.com/articles/ocur

it should be

http://www.maximumpc.com/article/ocur

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cmacnaug

Hi Michael,

I had exactly the same problem! I even had the same comcast technician as you.

When I first received my system one of the internal DCTs wasn't showing up in the Network screen, I had to do some rewiring to get it to be recognized by the OS at all. It turned out later that it had older firmware (VM got this taken care of pretty quickly when the logged into my machine). After this hiccups I was in the same situation as you.

Velocity Micro S85 dual internal cablecards, Media Center simply wouldn't recognize them. I was really impressesd with the effort that comcast made to get this thing running ... they stayed at my apartment for 5 hours, and I had expected this treatment to be reserverd for the press. Velocity Micro's been pretty responsive as well, but between M$, AMD/ATI and Velocity Micro it is pretty hard to figure out where the problem lies. One problem is that until Media Center recognizes the cable cards, you can't get at the DCT diagnostic screens.

So here I am 7 weeks after ordering my system from VM with a $2800 box that doesn't work. I like these guys at VM, though, so I'll ride it out. Unfortunatley they are out of DCTs again so it looks like another (2+ week) round of waiting for cable card shipments for me. Then if that doesn't work I'll be waiting for VM to ship me an entirely new system.

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MceUser

The command you mentioned is incorrect (apart from the slashes). If you look close enough, you will notice there is no such file as ehribjob.exe in the location. You are probably looking for ehprivjob.exe. And the parameter is incorrect as well.

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dharkfiber

I think I may get a subscription again instead of "shelf-browsing" the issues.

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Dersimli

Here’s a little background if you’re not familiar with OCUR. Following an FCC mandate, cable companies must now allow their customers to access their oyun services using third-party equipment, as opposed to forcing them to rent a set-top box from the service provider.

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bosunj

dedgar stated:

"Lately it seems that no matter what they try to do, it just isn't quite right."

Duh, YEAH!!!

But then again, what aspect of the American experience isn't thus infected??? Be honest with yourself.....

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pcfxer

Why can't we blame Microsoft? Microsoft wants Vista to corner the market with media and digital entertainment-think Apple. Anyhow, it is quite possible to shut Hollywood up. Open source OS's scratch for Linux have been shutting up folks who don't play nice with them.

No blob? No support, BAM! No GPL-released code? See ya! Not secure? PEACE OUT!

The same can be done with Hollywood? You expect Grandpa to shell out $1000+ for something that he can maybe use. It's just silly. I have been trying, on the cheap, to get a PC into the living room and it is "do-able" but with issues like this MS should just say, "Hey, this doesn't work, it isn't reliable and will DETRACT from the Vista experience. You are the weakest link! Goodbye."

It's as simple as that. Why is it any different if we record HD on a PVR? I can take my drive from a PVR and load the files onto my PC which is networked. PVRs are also bundling USB/Firewire/CAT5 connections as well. So the difference between an HTPC and a PVR is what? The OS? The PC can game/e-mail? Yet they both can provide access to unsolicited material in HD.

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cliftong

Every new tech has it stumbling period but lately anything with DRM attached to it seems to have more than its fair share of mess-ups. I truly believe that the cable card concept was a good one until Hollywood got involved.
It seems like their mission in life is to punish people who actually pay for their products. Like for example the Tivo Series 3; why cant I use tivo-to-go like the Series 2. Why should I be penalized for purchasing a HDTV and paying extra for the HDTV package and pay extra for a HDTV PVR system but have less functionality than I do for using the standard def setup which is cheaper.
I don't know if these industries have a think tank somewhere that came up with the notion that if we abuse our paying customer so much they will take to the street like vigilantes and hunt down pirates. In the hopes that we will reward them some functionality of the content they already payed for.

Not to promote piracy but it's a little sad and restarted that the "pirates" come out looking like the good guys in this.

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B5Freak

This is pretty much 'preaching to the choir', don't you think? Anyone who's been a regular reader of MaxPC must know by now that DRM is a miserable failure. It causes more problems and doesn't solve any. Legitimate users lose functionality of the product they've legally acquired, and the pirates laugh in the face of the RIAA, MPAA and their like, break whatever DRM 'flavor of the week' is being used and keep pirating. To paraphrase SpazzAttack, the sooner DRM dies a sudden, horrific and nasty death, the better for all electronic entertainment content consumers.

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SpazzAttack

I must concur with cliftong: This sounds to me like the cable cards are so locked-up with DRM crap that they won't function reliably, if at all. The sooner DRM collapses under its own porcine weight, the better.

Even though I would love to have a digital cable card in my PC, I will simply have to muddle through life as best I can without one. Forcing me to purchase a pre-built, over-priced, OEM system with crappy tech support just to grant me the blessing from the movie biz executives of watching digital cable TV on my own computer is a complete joke.

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malebolgia

Best article I've read in a long time, I had really hoped setting up OCUR wouldn't be such a nightmare. I hope for Microsoft's sake this gets cleared up ASAP (WMC is such a nice product).

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sc123

I commend you on controlling the urge to push the tech out of the way and work on the problem yourself.

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statewd

Will this feature (in its entirety) be in the August issue of MaxPC? Or in a shorter version?

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MrMick

The feature story (a roundup of three HTPCs with a head-to-head section pitting the concept of the OCUR-outfitted HTPC against a TiVo Series 3) will appear in the August print issue. The online story will appear only on the website, but it will be referenced in the print story.
--mb

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wawa9ball

The cable tech said that he had tested the occur cards before coming over. I had read another article from somewhere else when they were testing the external digital cable wonder and the tech also tried to use a card that was working earlier. They failed also. The reason is that once a card has been used or tested or tried, it becomes married to whatever device it was first attempted with. Therefore it will not work on your system if the tech fired up the cablecard prior to installing at your location.

Most cable companies are money hungry beasts, so be sure to get your money back on the service call because more than likely, it was their fault that their cards would not work on your system because they were used (albeit for only a brief test).

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bholstege

That series of phone conversations was one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time.

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big_montana

No wonder you had problems, with Comcrap as your cable provider. Can't blame all the problems on Microsoft, AMD and PC vendors.

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MrMick

I didn't mean to imply that Comcast is free from fault in this fiasco; only that the Comcast technician struck me as being both competent and PC savvy.

--mb

Michael Brown
Executive Editor

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big_montana

Then that is a first for a Comcast technician. I never met or spoken to anyone from Comcast that I could apply the term "competent" to. The best thing that could happed for Comcast customers, is for Comcast to go belly up.

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bland

I think a big problem with new technologies is they make everything idiot proof and plug and play. Im not saying it's a bad thing, in fact it's very good, but the problem is when it does go wrong it's getting next to impossible to fix becuase they hide whats really going on in the background making it harder to dig out.

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soggybomb

Its frustrating that things don't just work when you plug them in. Why can't people care enough to deliver a product that works as advertised?

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dedgar

Ya shudda known it weren't gonna work. MS was involved. (snicker)
Lately it seems that no matter what they try to do, it just isn't quite right. I don't know if it's just 'too many fingers in the pie', left hand not talking to the right, or what.

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