Cable Boxes = The Devil.

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Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:58 pm

You know what I mean. I have a fancy new Samsung model now, and it's just as slow and glitchy as the POS it replaced. Which was just as slow and glitchy as our first cable box. The only thing they ever seem to update is the connection options. >.<
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:39 pm

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:You know what I mean. I have a fancy new Samsung model now, and it's just as slow and glitchy as the POS it replaced. Which was just as slow and glitchy as our first cable box. The only thing they ever seem to update is the connection options. >.<


I don't have any problems with mine. It does everything I expect a cable box to do.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:00 pm

But you are in the US so you can demand a cable box that does firewire out (FCC rules) and then just build your own.

I'm in Canada, stuck with Robbers and so I'm still on an analogue cable feed in to my MythTV server.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:22 pm

I just built a Windows Media Center server with a Ceton InfiniTV4 tuner. No monthly fees for a box, the CableCard is free. I then use XBox 360's as cable boxes and RemotePotato (free add on) that lets me view recorded stuff in a web browser anywhere with an internet connection.

I can't believe how **** the Comcast and other cable DVR's are and that people just ACCEPT IT. Why is the interface the same as it was 15 years ago? I'm not talking about revolutionizing and completely making it OPERATE different, but christ, we have 1080P TV's and 320x240 resolution menu systems that are somehow still slow as molasses.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:23 pm

One word:
TiVo
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:27 pm

notfred wrote:But you are in the US so you can demand a cable box that does firewire out (FCC rules) and then just build your own.

I'm in Canada, stuck with Robbers and so I'm still on an analogue cable feed in to my MythTV server.


Actually, I believe that requirement is past, and now they don't need to provide firewire anymore.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:30 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:One word:
TiVo



Not a fan of having to pay full retail and THEN pay a monthly fee on top of that. If my MCE server doesn't need a subscription to figure out what the channel listings are, why does a TiVo? If they said its $15 a month, but the price up front is only $50, thats one thing, but when I'm spending $300+ and THEN have to pay a monthly fee? No thanks.
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a lesser devil won't really save you

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:34 pm

Tivos have their own circle of hell, its not quite as bad as typical rental dvrs but no bed of roses either. Monthly and lifetime pricing both suck almost as much as dvrs.

Cablecard htpc is only a bitch to install (provider mental failures/intentional neglect + getting the pc set up properly) but afterwards it has no equal.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:37 pm

I had no issues setting up my CableCARD with comcast. I went to the office, got my CableCARD, came home, plugged it in, called Comcast and they took the numbers down for me. It worked immediately then.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:42 pm

Corrado wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:One word:
TiVo


Not a fan of having to pay full retail and THEN pay a monthly fee on top of that. If my MCE server doesn't need a subscription to figure out what the channel listings are, why does a TiVo? If they said its $15 a month, but the price up front is only $50, thats one thing, but when I'm spending $300+ and THEN have to pay a monthly fee? No thanks.


You have to pay for their tracking of viewing habits and slow creep of inserted advertising...I mean "updates and new features" :roll:

The only monthly is $20 (bad idea, no resale value and costs more before you know it) or the less terrible choice of $400-500 until the box dies.

The "elite" is $1000, a ceton 4x is $300 and $700 makes a damn fine htpc...
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:45 pm

Corrado wrote:I had no issues setting up my CableCARD with comcast. I went to the office, got my CableCARD, came home, plugged it in, called Comcast and they took the numbers down for me. It worked immediately then.


Mine only took one extra phonecall (fios) but there are many legitimate nightmare stories (a la pray to FCC regulatory gods) particularly with smaller providers.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:55 pm

Corrado wrote:I had no issues setting up my CableCARD with comcast. I went to the office, got my CableCARD, came home, plugged it in, called Comcast and they took the numbers down for me. It worked immediately then.
This. I did the same thing with the CableCARD for my TiVo. Comcast's customer service has come a long way in the past 15 years.

Windows Media Center does great for playing back recordings (I particularly like that audio still works in the first fast-foward mode). However, TiVo still does a better job of finding things that I might like. Windows Media Center can find the series that I have set it to record regardless of the air time and channel, but it cannot grab related or similar shows that I might also like.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:00 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:
Corrado wrote:I had no issues setting up my CableCARD with comcast. I went to the office, got my CableCARD, came home, plugged it in, called Comcast and they took the numbers down for me. It worked immediately then.
This. I did the same thing with the CableCARD for my TiVo.


Comcast has gotten smacked on the wrist a LOT by the FCC for playing dumb with CableCARDs. I used to work for Comcast Corporate in CC Philly, and my buddy is a comcast cable guy. I've heard from others in Corporate that they had to really get tough on training and educating the CableCARD support people, and my buddy has said people have gotten fired for being incompetent with CableCARDs.

IE, they have a few CableCARD specific provisioners on staff at any given time. CableCARDS have their own 800 number as well. They've been told if they receive any more complains in volume, they're going to get hit with the fine stick pretty hard.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:01 pm

Two or three years ago, it took 4 truck rolls from Comcast to get a simple cablecard activation done correctly. My recent self-install experience was hassle-free.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:13 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Windows Media Center does great for playing back recordings (I particularly like that audio still works in the first fast-foward mode). However, TiVo still does a better job of finding things that I might like. Windows Media Center can find the series that I have set it to record regardless of the air time and channel, but it cannot grab related or similar shows that I might also like.


I never saw the use in that feature really. Granted, I rarely, if ever, click on the 'If you liked X, you might also like Y and Z' in Pandora, or on Amazon, etc. I kinda generally 'know' what I want. Some people like to venture out of their comfort zone when it comes to entertainment. I don't, generally.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:48 pm

I ditched TV services ages ago. The internet has everything you need.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:39 am

Philldoe wrote:I ditched TV services ages ago. The internet has everything you need.


Incorrect. Live sports for home teams are not available on the internet until after the games. I don't like knowing the outcome of a game before watching it, so that rules that out.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:05 am

Bauxite wrote:Mine only took one extra phonecall (fios) but there are many legitimate nightmare stories (a la pray to FCC regulatory gods) particularly with smaller providers.


Did you follow a guide or figure it out on your own? The last time I did any research on the subject I didn't really get anywhere. I'm on FIOS and would love to replace the standard HD-DVR.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:16 am

Lonewolf08 wrote:Did you follow a guide or figure it out on your own? The last time I did any research on the subject I didn't really get anywhere. I'm on FIOS and would love to replace the standard HD-DVR.


When you use MCE, at least, theres a wizard. It tells you exactly who to call, what numbers to give them, etc. Its pretty painless.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:11 am

Cable boxes are truly terrible. The local cable company used to have a decent software stack on their boxes, but they "upgraded" everyone to a GUI that looked like something between DOS and Win 3.1. Several co-workers switched to a dish; I went back to a MCE setup. I have 4 tuners with ability to view TV anywhere there is an xbox 360. This setup is far far better than any DVR from your dish or cable company.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:37 am

The worst part about cable company DVR boxes is the Fast Forward function. I swear they make it as unusable as possible in an effort to get you to not skip commercials. My favorite part about TiVo is that the FF function is perfect. Hit >> 3 times and when you see your show on the screen you hit Play. It backs up 10 seconds and almost always starts playing with just a couple seconds of the commercial left.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:40 am

The "next track" on the XBox remote forwards by 20 seconds. ANd is essentially instant. It is win.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:51 am

Corrado wrote:
JustAnEngineer wrote:One word:
TiVo



Not a fan of having to pay full retail and THEN pay a monthly fee on top of that. If my MCE server doesn't need a subscription to figure out what the channel listings are, why does a TiVo? If they said its $15 a month, but the price up front is only $50, thats one thing, but when I'm spending $300+ and THEN have to pay a monthly fee? No thanks.


I agree. While I know people that have them and love them, Tivo seems like a major rip off to me. I am actually surprised the company is still around.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:24 am

What frustrates me is that there really isn't a good open source solution for HD content. There are great Linux distros for unencrypted content but for anything encrypted you either need a STB /w Firewire workaround or a CableCard. Apparently the CableCards only work with Windows too.

Corrado, how much freedom do you get with your setup? I've never used Windows Media Center. Does the browser based solution work from any browser (iPad)? Can other Windows computers access recorded content like a media center extender or watch live TV?
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:07 am

Lonewolf08 wrote:What frustrates me is that there really isn't a good open source solution for HD content. There are great Linux distros for unencrypted content but for anything encrypted you either need a STB /w Firewire workaround or a CableCard. Apparently the CableCards only work with Windows too.

Corrado, how much freedom do you get with your setup? I've never used Windows Media Center. Does the browser based solution work from any browser (iPad)? Can other Windows computers access recorded content like a media center extender or watch live TV?


The pci-e ceton and prime hardware operate like network cards and work on linux (for mythTV support I believe prime is done, ceton is nearly out of beta) but if the copy flag is set you are screwed, by design. So YMMV but fios here only sets it on premium channels (hbo/showtime/ppv) and a few rare sporadic show-specific cases I don't care about.

Network/portable usability besides playing from 360s (which always works) is directly related to these flags.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:28 am

ALiLPinkMonster wrote:You know what I mean. I have a fancy new Samsung model now, and it's just as slow and glitchy as the POS it replaced. Which was just as slow and glitchy as our first cable box. The only thing they ever seem to update is the connection options. >.<



It isn't the box, it is the software. I am guessing you have Brighthouse. Their software is horrible compared to others.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:37 am

Gotcha, thanks for the information. I might be in for one of these then. Especially if I can convince my wife and ditch the DVR, damn thing ends up costing around 17$ a month.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:45 pm

Lonewolf08 wrote:What frustrates me is that there really isn't a good open source solution for HD content. There are great Linux distros for unencrypted content but for anything encrypted you either need a STB /w Firewire workaround or a CableCard. Apparently the CableCards only work with Windows too.

Corrado, how much freedom do you get with your setup? I've never used Windows Media Center. Does the browser based solution work from any browser (iPad)? Can other Windows computers access recorded content like a media center extender or watch live TV?


Using RemotePotato, the browser does not work on the iPad, but there is an iPad app (although it is $5.99) for it and it is made by the people that make remotepotato so that it works. If you want to see how the webpage works, PM me, and I'll give you the details for mine so you can check it out.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 5:54 pm

JJCDAD wrote:The worst part about cable company DVR boxes is the Fast Forward function. I swear they make it as unusable as possible in an effort to get you to not skip commercials. My favorite part about TiVo is that the FF function is perfect. Hit >> 3 times and when you see your show on the screen you hit Play. It backs up 10 seconds and almost always starts playing with just a couple seconds of the commercial left.
My Windows Media Center remote has a 30-second skip button. The basic TiVo remote hides that functionality, but it's included on the lighted remote that comes with the XL model. You can change the button assignments on the basic model's remote to add it.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cable Boxes = The Devil.

Postposted on Tue Oct 25, 2011 6:21 pm

notfred wrote:I'm in Canada, stuck with Robbers and so I'm still on an analogue cable feed in to my MythTV server.


I was in the same boat. Rogers sucks with their stupid HD encryption and **** cable box interface. It's like they set out to build the most input laggy device in history. Then to clinch first place for worst device ever they decided to run the UI at 320x200.

Get a http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hdpvr.html. It will record the component output from your rogers box and spit it out as h.264 on the fly. It even handles HD without any trouble. Use a firewire cable to change the channels and you're all set. Best $200 ever spent.
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