Author Topic: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?  (Read 1639 times)

thatcrazyperson123

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Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« on: October 12, 2008, 04:05:04 am »
I have a couple of set top boxes that I want to hook up to the core via Firewire to view, control, and record programs.  I know there was a way to do this in MythTV, I just never knew how.  Is this possible using the MythTV bundled with LinuxMCE? how? because that would save me aaaaaa lot in tuner cards.  Also it would support HD streams :)
thanks,


tschak909

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 05:38:30 am »
Firewire streaming under MythTV is buggy for a variety of reasons, the big one is that firewire transmission is discretionally encrypted. If your cable company chooses to encrypt its channels, MythTV will not be able to view them, in fact, encrypted streams cause mythTV to either crash, or lock the firewire buss (which means that the firewire buss has to be primed again with firewire_tester, etc.). I ran this form of control under MythTV for most of 2006, and found that I had to do a number of nasty hacks to make it possible (two separate line-ups for the same cable box, and even then, had to make sure manually that standard def and high def recordings never overlapped.), and even then, the firewire buss would accidentally land on an encrypted channel, often causing me to have to prime the firewire once again...

in short, it's just not worth it. Thank your wonderful cable company.

With that, channel changing with firewire can be possible. A Device template would need to be made for your cable box, and it would either need to be implemented in the web admin as a Ruby (GSD) based device, or it could be implemented as a C++ DCE device. Either way, the tools are available to do this for anyone with the patience and determination.

-Thom

skeptic

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 07:03:20 am »
Thom pretty much summed up my experience as well.  Fortunately with Comcast, both in what their tech support claimed and my experience, channels 2-99 are unencrypted and 100+ are encrypted.  At least I know the safe channels.  In the end I decided to go with s-video instead so I could get all my channels.  Trying to do firewire and s-video on the same box causes lots of issues including hosing firewire if/when MythTV tries to tune a channel above 99 for the s-video recording or if you just pick up the remote and change channels while recording (easily avoided). 

On the other hand, the picture quality is great.  Full HD if that is what is being broadcast, and even typical SD stuff is a bit better.  Even though I gave up on firewire on my core/md hybrid, I will eventually get around to setting up firewire on one of my MDs.  I have a cable box with firewire, a laptop with firewire, and a firewire cable so it's basically a freebie.  If I had a supported USB card with s-video input I'd probably use that instead, but I don't record enough stuff to actually buy a USB/s-video card.

thatcrazyperson123

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 05:57:30 pm »
But, apparently my cable provider doesn't encrypt its channels :)
is it worth it in that case?


tschak909

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2008, 06:00:56 pm »
okay. a device template still needs to be made to control the cable box. Some programming will need to be done.

-Thom

skeptic

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2008, 07:17:54 pm »
If your cable company really doesn't encrypt channels then I'm jealous.  Firewire can be a bit of a hassle to setup, but it may be worth it in your case if your cable box is supported.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MythTV_Edgy_Firewire

thatcrazyperson123

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2008, 08:25:07 pm »
Do I just follow the directions for setting it up with MythTV or not?
I'm kinda confused :P

skeptic

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Re: Firewire to control and feed cable box video?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2008, 09:23:55 pm »
Do I just follow the directions for setting it up with MythTV or not?
I'm kinda confused :P
That's all I did.  As far as I know there is no direct support for firewire in LinuxMCE, which is what I think Thom is suggesting, and is likely the right way to do it.  I'm not sure what will happen if you re-run the setup wizard, or when you upgrade the system but I do know if you just set it up within MythTV you will be able to watch tv and record via firewire.  I suspect you will not be able to use it with the "live TV" option in LMCE (different from watching live tv in Myth), but for a limited MythTV only tuner it works.

Before Thom scolds me for not doing it the LinuxMCE supported way let me say this probably isn't a LinuxMCE supported way to do it.  However, there are a lot of non-programmers using LinuxMCE, including myself, and sometimes we need to step outside the rules a bit to get the functionality we want.  Assume the usual disclaimers about this possibly messing up lmce, your house burning down, etc.