Author Topic: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)  (Read 2611 times)

extragewy

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Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« on: October 24, 2007, 06:57:36 pm »
First of all, I am relatively new to LinuxMCE, and my experience has been very good.  I have been using it successfully for a few weeks now, and have come up with a feature request...

I have done a great deal of research about recording premium HD signals, and without going into details, I'll just say that it is not possible.  LinuxMCE has a very nice workaround for live TV that allows you to switch to the direct source and watch in HD with no latency.

I think that LinuxMCE has the potential to have another really nice workaround that involves recording premium HD content.  This is not even that original of an idea, it is just an expansion of something already in production.  Currently, if you want to watch something like ESPN in HD, you can use MythTV's guide to tune to that channel, and then use LinuxMCE to switch to the direct source.  That is very nice, and user friendly, so I think we should come up with a way for recording to work the same way IF you have a cable/satellite provided HD DVR.  The way it would work, is you would look through the MythTV guide, and find a show on ESPN in HD, and you would simply hit the record button on your remote control.  LinuxMCE would then send the necessary commands to your HD DVR to record that show on to the HD DVR.  The program would show up in your recorded shows in MythTV, and LinuxMCE, and you would be able to watch it in standard def that way, and then you would select direct from source much similar to the way that you would with live TV.

One obstacle would be communicating with the cable/satellite provided HD DVR at the level that would be required for this operation.  One possible work around for this, would be for LinuxMCE to simply tune the provided HD DVR to the appropriate channel just before the show is scheduled to begin, and then send the record command.  There are several more obvious obstacles to overcome, but does anyone think that something like this would even be possible?

Thanks in advance for any responses (positive or negative).

PeteK

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2007, 07:18:10 pm »
This sounds like a workable idea in theory, though you do lose streaming capability, obviously.  I'm worried about putting it into practice with the myriad of HD DVR devices (and the various crappy software interfaces they all have), typically having only unidirectional IR as the interface.  I do think that for LMCE/Pluto to succeed, especially commercially, the issue of DRM'd digital cable is going to have to be addressed somehow.  This may be the way to do it.

dgeist

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2007, 04:17:05 pm »
This sounds like a workable idea in theory, though you do lose streaming capability, obviously.  I'm worried about putting it into practice with the myriad of HD DVR devices (and the various crappy software interfaces they all have), typically having only unidirectional IR as the interface.  I do think that for LMCE/Pluto to succeed, especially commercially, the issue of DRM'd digital cable is going to have to be addressed somehow.  This may be the way to do it.

The big obvious problem is that no content providers deliver the full bitrate version of premium content to their external ports (to my knowledge). What you get is a down-converted image. If you capture the high-def signal destined for the display, you get the graphical overlays of your Cable/Sat box as part of your video signal.

I'd like to see MCE be able to browse and playback UPnP sources in its media catalog. That way, you can use things like tivo2go and what not to get the content onto a PC (or a box running galeon or similar) and use it as a repository for non-broadcast HD.

Dan

dadwkids

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2007, 02:10:35 pm »
I have a few questions/comments about this thread:

1) Is linuxmce being positioned as a replacement for cable boxes (I personally would like to eliminate those rental charges from my bill).  I think that is a viable long term strategy for a number of reasons but wanted to confirm that is part of the official linuxmce strategy.

If it is, I imagine you are you familiar with the open cable initiative: newbielink:http://www.opencable.com/ [nonactive]

2) I personally think DRM is dying.  Another approach to satisfy the concerns of content providers is to limit the ability of end users to remove content from the device.  So if a linuxmce device was configured for readonly usbs,  no dvd burners, etc., then the argument could be made that content is secure once it is on the device.  this achieves the same goals as drm.

3) I'd like to learn more about the reasons linuxmce can't record premium channels.  Is there a link somewhere?

PeteK

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2007, 11:08:38 am »
I don't have a link, but the basic gist of it (as I understand it) is that the premium channels are encrypted by the cable companies.  In order to maintain control of the signal, encryption must be maintained from the cable line to the display device (i.e. monitor).  Cable cards (basically decryption processors are the only means of decoding the signal.  The hardware to support cable cards is only distributed as part of Cable Labs certified systems that have things like special BIOS configurations, compatible OS (Vista) and compatible video cards (HDCP).  The cable companies (at the behest of media providers) will not let non-certified systems use cable cards, and they will never certify an open-source system (such as LMCE) to have access to decryption hardware.

tschak909

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2007, 06:14:47 pm »
in short, unless somebody comes up with a capture card that can work off the YbPbPr (component) outputs, we're fucked.

-Thom

PeteK

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2007, 07:02:16 pm »
I think there are capture cards that can work with that, but they're not aimed or priced for the consumer market.  I think the best option is to develop a closed box to handle HD recording.  Tivo has done this.  The next step is to then get Tivo to open up an API for recording of programs and notification of recorded programs, etc.  In that case, we could support HD capture/replay/stream while maintaining as transparent an interface as possible.  Again, not an ideal solution, but right now, with cablecard-equipped windows PCs hitting the market, I'm guessing a lot of custom installers are going to abandon Tivo to go for an integrated windows solution.  This would be a way for Tivo to maintain market share in the DVR business.

tschak909

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2007, 08:10:02 pm »
have you _SEEN_ the prices of these systems? much less tried to use one? They're bug ridden as hell! and there's no WAY there could possibly be market penetration. The Cable industry DOES NOT WANT CABLECARD TO WORK. period.

-Thom

tschak909

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2007, 08:16:17 pm »
Also anyone with some signal processing experience, and some experience with FPGA's could put together a capture solution that dumps out to, say, usb or firewire, for $200 or so, (that includes the dev board)

Why hasn't someone done this?

-Thom

PeteK

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2007, 08:26:59 pm »
Legal ramifications.  The hardware cost will be higher than that.  The signal speeds are high.  There is a large amount of data being sent.

I agree that cablecard systems right now are a real pain.  But they're also the only option for completely integrated systems that people want.  So I expect they will be around for a while.  Until the video content makers figure out what the audio content makers are figuring out now, that DRM isn't worth it in the long run.

tschak909

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Re: Recording Premium HD (for example ESPN)
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2007, 08:42:19 pm »
I am aware of this.. however, in the end, it's just an analogue video signal.

-Thom