[mythtv-users] Digital Cable.

Jay R. Ashworth jra at baylink.com
Fri Aug 27 18:03:26 EDT 2004

On Fri, Aug 27, 2004 at 01:14:21PM -0400, Joseph A. Caputo wrote:
> > As I understand it, Digital cable is MPEG2 streams over DOCSIS.  It
> > seems kind of silly to decode them, convert them to analog tv, and
> > then re-encode them in a capture card.  Is it possible to skip the
> > decode/analog/reencode step and suck these in directly?
> Well, it's not quite so simple...
> Theres a new card out (Dvico Fusion HD3000, IIRC) that is capable of 
> decoding QAM (that's the transport (??) that digital cable uses).  The 
> first problem is that there are no Linux drivers for it (yet).  
> However, the bigger problem is that any over-the-counter hardware 
> capable of decoding regular digital cable (QAM) is only going to be 
> able to deal with unencrypted content.  A lot of the content from the 
> major cable providers is encrypted (not just the premium channels, 
> either), requiring vendor-provided hardware (set-top box) to decrypt.
> IIRC, the cable industry has been mandated to provide "keys" (CF cards 
> or some similar technology) that would plug in to future devices 
> (digital cable-ready TVs, etc) to enable the decryption of encrypted 
> QAM programming without a set-top box.  Nothing has come to market yet, 
> though, and when it does it will be crippled because it will be after 
> 7/2005 and must therefore honor the Broadcast Flag.

Nope, it's called a CableCARD, and *it's* availability date is 7.1.2004.

But I am reasonably certain that while someone *could* have
manufactured a SCTE40/CableCARD compatible digital cable tuner card
between 7/1/2004 and 7/1/2005, no one will, since, y'know, why bother.

> The bottom line is that the industry does not want you to have access to 
> the high-quality digital stream, because (a) you must be a thief, and 
> (b) if you're not a thief, then they want to be able to make money by 
> selling you locked-in, closed, proprietary solutions.

You got it, Joe.

> Now, in the satellite arena, there's at least a choice, since the FCC 
> has mandated satellite providers to provide an enabled FireWire port on 
> their set-top boxes.  So, even though everything coming out of that 
> port will be on-the-fly transcoded down to 480p (to comply with the 
> Broadcast Flag), at least it will be pure digital.

I didn't realize that.  That will sell satellite service, now, won't it?

> That's my high-level understanding of things; perhaps someone else can 
> explain it better.

Sounded pretty good to me.  ;-)

-- jra
Jay R. Ashworth                                                jra at baylink.com
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	"You know: I'm a fan of photosynthesis as much as the next guy,
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