why fewer subscribers? and the future

stel
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why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by stel » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:30 pm

so why have some people stopped subscribing to schedules direct? the announcement suspects people have moved to their cableco DVRs and alternate sources of guide data. sure the cableco DVRs are much better than they used to be with multi-node functions and multi-channel recording so unless you care about getting your hands on the recordings, those are fine so i do think that's the big reason for the drop. i really doubt too many are seeking alternate sources because we all know what's out there and it's a pain to use in comparison and really $25/year is just plenty cheap for what we're getting. i think there's another big reason and that's online content replacing cable tv, the so-called cord-cutting.

but let's talk about how to be better. i wish i had time to device to coding but i don't so i can't speak with license. still i do own an ISP so perhaps i could contribute some hosting to help drop down costs.

so how does SD get better? the alternate sources thought brought to my mind one frustration i have with mythtv. my kids and wife watch roku now (mainly netflix but roku does have cool channels) MUCH more than mythtv (no live TV for many years). sure we switch to mythtv but just for a very few shows. it's mainly used to play movies on the server, our own video and photos, music, and really as a better dvd player. other than that we awtch hulu desktop (menu item off mythtv) or to get a browser (giant screen facebook for the kids). but mythtv has plugins for streaming content. what's missing is a directory for those. this is something schedules direct can provide! there are others trying to do something like this like mediafly and boxee but SD would be open and standard. it would require user support especially to seed it but imagine tying RSS feeds to XMLTV IDs. that's what i'm talking about.

rmeden
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by rmeden » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:33 pm

I'm not a MythTV user, but I hear things can get very difficult if you want HD content on Digital Cable.... in addition to the things you mention, the Cableco DVR really has a much simpler solution.

That is changing somewhat now with the new HD Homerun and Ceton Cablecard cards... as long as the head-ends set the copy-freely flag (or not set copy-once... I'm not up on the technical details)

Robert

slim
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by slim » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:17 pm

I find MythTV better than ever for HD and I pretty much only record HD. I use Firewire to the Comcast Motorola 6200 box for about 130 channels including local and 2 lines from an antenna to an HDHomerun to triple the amount of local channels I can record.

I then schedule everything even if I am planning to watch it anyway (I'm 57 so my memory isn't so hot anymore).

I schedule up to 12 shows an evening which are all HD now up to 3 shows an hour. I then save about a third for the summer.

I then have a backup in case my Mythtv box goes down.

rmeden
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by rmeden » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:33 pm

How is DRM handled with the Comcast Motorola 6200 box output?

Robert

mcpish
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by mcpish » Thu May 17, 2012 3:38 pm

rmeden wrote:How is DRM handled with the Comcast Motorola 6200 box output?

Robert
I realize it's been awhile since the last post on this thread, but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in (although we don't have pennies in Canada anymore so I don't know where I'd find them :D )

I live in Canada and my Cable company (Shaw) also uses the same Motorola equipment as Comcast. I also use a "Motorola DCT6200" with MythTV connected via Firewire. It works great. Unlike what I've read for most Comcast viewers that use this equipment, Shaw does not copy-protect any of their HD channels. EVERYTHING is set to copy-freely, even premium movie stations like HBO Canada, Movie Central, and SuperChannel (although you still have to legitimately subscribe to these stations). These stations are basically the Canadian eqivalent of HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

I know this situation is highly unusual, since I've read in countless forums that the vast majority of Cable Companies restrict the Firewire port to only Over-The-Air network stations. Shaw however unlocks it all. I subscribe to all 3 premium services: HBO Canada, Movie Central, and SuperChannel and I record tons of movies with my MythTV box using the Schedules Direct data. It's well worth it for me and I will continue to gladly pay my $25/year. The actual video capturing works by pulling in the raw MPEG-2 Transport Stream via the Firewire port without any actual capturing or recompression. It's actually very light on the system resources since it's technically not doing any kind of video capturing at all; it's more like a LAN data transfer from a cable box to the HTPC. It only takes about 2% CPU usage while capturing HD channels on an AMD-FX 4100 HTPC.

The Motorola DCT6200 is my "older" HD Cable box that I now use exclusively as a MythTV recording device. It's video outputs are not connected to any TV, it is only connected to my MythTV HTPC (via Firewire), with the HTPC having exclusive control and use of that cable box. MythTV can both control the channel changing and do the video capturing over the Firewire connection.

For my normal day-to-day TV viewing I have a newer model Motorola DCX3400.

Any movies that I want to keep, I simply use MythWeb to pull the raw MPEG-2 TS file from my Mythbackend and run it through Handbrake. I then have good quality 720pHD mp4 files that usually take about 2GB per film. I then place that on my File-Server so that anyone in my house can watch them via a Jailbroken AppleTV2 in each bedroom. So over the last few years I've built up quite a big library of HD movies on my File Server that I've aquired from the premium movie stations using MythTV, along with the schedules direct data. :)

rmeden
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by rmeden » Thu May 17, 2012 10:31 pm

Glad you have a decent cable company.

I actually use Windows Media Center ( SD & XMLTV are now hobbies to themselves :) ) for most of my recordings. Late last year I bought a Ceton card and set up a test system with Time Warner Cable.

The test was good, but the results a disaster. I decided to buy a PVR250 card adding two more analog tuners to my existing media center PC and return the Ceton.

The Ceton worked great.. picture quality and CPU load were excellent. Unfortunately, Time Warner didn't.

1. They required a usb "tuning adapter" which increased the channel change lag to up to 30 seconds! (Annoying but livable, since I seldom watch live TV)

2. They set the copy-once flag on every non-broadcast station (even CSPAN!). I could only watch a show on the Media Center it was recorded on. Couldn't re-encode for my phone. Should I have a disk failure, my backups would be useless. (I'm a year behind on some shows).

IMHO Time Warner is trying to make cablecard devices unusable. I actually filed a complaint with the FCC and got copied on the BS response TWC sent back. TWC said they negotiate copy-restrictions with the stations.. yea sure... why don't all cable companies lock it down... and CSPAN says they *PERMIT* copies on their web page.

I wish I had a choice in cable companies. Cablecard really depends on your cable company.. you got lucky.

Robert

mcpish
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by mcpish » Thu May 17, 2012 11:46 pm

That Ceton card you mentioned sounds interesting. I'd love to be able to add an extra tuner like that by inserting a simple PCI card. The only way I can add extra tuners would be to buy additional Motorola DCT cable boxes and connect them all via Firewire. Unfortunately, no cable company in Canada supports CableCard. It's not mandated by the CRTC (similar to the FCC but for Canada) so no cable company offers it here. So those kind of cards wouldn't work at all for me. That adapter you mentioned and the associated delay, sounds like your cable company has upgraded to what is called "Switched Digital Video".

You can read about the issue on Tivo's site:
http://support.tivo.com/app/answers/det ... _id/100041
here's some more info about it on wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched_video

Each Motorola box would cost me about $180 a pop, so I only have 1 tuner. But the nice thing is, as you probably know the Premium style stations tend to schedule shows at multiple and diverse times (Game of Thrones in the middle of the night, new premiere movies at both 11PM and 6AM the following day). So generally speaking, MythTV is smart enough to schedule things automatically in such a way that I almost never have conflicts. Even for regular networking stations I have time-shifted versions from both the east coast and west coast so MythTV is also pretty good about resolving any conflicts. I'd say that 95% of the time I really don't think I even need more than 1 tuner.

I thought that Windows Media Center has it's own Schedules service. So you subscribe to Schedules Direct and use the data with Windows Media Center? I didn't know you could do that, I thought it was only for open-source software.

I don't think I could even use "Windows Media Center" even if I wanted to. From the research I've done (which admittedly is not much), Windows Media Center doesn't do the sort of Firewire capturing & channel changing that MythTV does no? Like I said earlier, CableCard tuners are useless in Canada, so the only thing I could use is an Over-The-Air ATSC card for local stations with an antenna. Problem is, there are only about 5 local TV stations here I can get with an antenna (CBC, CTV, City-TV, Global, and CBC-French), so that's not too compelling for me. In comparision I get about 50 HD stations on Cable.

By the way, if there is a 30 second lag for your recordings, I know there is a setting in MythTV where you can set it to start recording a certain number of seconds early for every recording. I myself have it set at 15 seconds, because sometimes with Firewire I've found it takes a few seconds for the PC to "lock-on" to the channel, so giving it an extra 15 seconds ensures that I don't miss the beginning of a show. There might be a similar setting in Windows Media Center.

As you indicated, The whole issue that "5C" copy-protection never seems to be consistent. Again in Canada, I can't find any regulation saying that a cable company has to enable it or not, some cable companies here leave it all open and some close everything down. In your case, in the US I understand that there is at least some sort of regulation that is "supposed" to apply, although like you said, they don't seem to follow it consistently. I think it's just the fact that it's a relatievely small minority of tech-saavy people that do the whole HTPC thing and the Cable techs and Customer Service people simply don't know much about it.

Personally I couldn't live without my MythTV HTPC. I've been in the situation so many times when a friend tells me that a certain movie or special is going to be on TV and they wished they had some way to record a long-term copy to keep. The next day I show up and hand them a DVD-R or USB thumbdrive with a pristine 720pHD recording on it that I've PVR'd and then compressed through Handbrake and they are like, "how do you record HD stuff like that on removable media?". Most people are stuck with their cable company's crappy PVRs that don't let you transfer stuff around or back anything up. That'd be useless for me. I'm a bit of a pack-rat and love to archive video recordings for years and keep stuff. This is the kind of Freedom most people took for granted in the analog days with VCRs. You could back up recordings, make copies, trade them around to friends. Why should we lose those freedoms just because everything is digital now and in HD?

I consider the $25/year I pay to Schedules Direct as a very cheap "annual software licence fee" for MythTV.

rmeden
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by rmeden » Fri May 18, 2012 8:05 am

When I helped start SD years ago I was using a tool I wrote for the XMLTV project (TV_CHECK) to generate a HTML report for weekly shows. Recording was done on multiple ReplayTV boxes which didn't handle conflicts well.

I bought a refurb Gateway Media Center PC with 1 analog and 1 ATSC tuner pretty cheap. It came with Vista Media Center and the plan was to load MythTV on it and see what the other SD founders were doing.

It turned out that MythTV didn't support the tuner card that came with the unit, and I found Vista Media Center perfectly stable and very functional. I added some 3rd party packages for commercial skip, html access, weather and over time stopped using the Replays as MCE worked so well.

Flash forward to today and my ReplayTV is just a test box and SD and XMLTV aren't used daily and "work" for those projects are just hobbies by themselves.

I currently record on 3 analog and 1 ATSC tuner. If shudder to think about the mess of wires and IR blasters should I need a cable box for teach tuner. Our FCC removes the requirement for analog cable next year. I suspect Time Warner will continue to put the screws to customers and drop analog support. I'm not sure what I'm going to do then.

Robert

mcpish
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by mcpish » Fri May 18, 2012 9:55 am

worst comes to worst, you'll need to use one of those Hauppage component video capture boxes (HD PVR 150).

dforsythnet
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Re: why fewer subscribers? and the future

Post by dforsythnet » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:28 am

> why fewer subscribers?

I can give a reason
I live in the Chicago area and use the "Local Broadcast Listings - Antenna (60010)" data.

Today I have the schedule for all 28 channels.
When I look at tomorrows data, I have data for only 4 channels.
When I look two days out, no data.

mythfilldatabase is running, and I see no errors in the log files, just a lack of data.
I have run mythfilldatabase /w "--dd-grab-all" and verified the data 48 hours out is not in the xml file.

Started using the service in 2007. Just can't justify the cost for only 24 hours in the future view.

I'm confused because I see the "Zap2it" logo, their website has the data going out two weeks.

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