[mythtv-users] Hijacked - PVR-500

ryan patterson ryan.goat at gmail.com
Fri Apr 6 21:24:54 UTC 2007

On 4/6/07, Brett Kosinski <fancypantalons at gmail.com> wrote:
> Yes that is how cablecard was designed to be used.  But TimeWarnerCable
> > (and other cable companies) have decided to lock the cablecard to one device
> > (based on the device serial number?).
> >
> Umm, no, that's not at all how it was designed to be used.  It has always
> been in the CableCard spec that the card and design are authenticated as a
> pair.  That way, they can ensure the card isn't used in "undesirable"
> hardware... like, say, a Linux box with hacked drivers.  This is just
> another part of their attempt to control the content path.
> See the Arstechnica article on CableCard, here, where they discuss these
> issues:
> http://arstechnica.com/guides/other/cablecard.ars
> To quote:
> 'Both the CableCARD and the "host" device (TV, TiVo, PC, STB, etc.) have
> their own unique keys that are recorded by the technician, who then calls
> this information back to the main office, where it is entered into the
> computers at the "headend" of the cable line. These unique keys provide more
> security for the cable company but less freedom for the consumer, since
> encrypted channels can only be decoded by a registered CableCARD/host
> combination.'
> Brett.
I don't want to get in a fight over this, but my original reply is 100%
correct.  Cablecard was designed so that you can simply pick up the card and
plug it into any cablecard device and will work.  It was designed to work
without ever calling up the cable company and registering the host device.
The cable company simply charges you a monthly fee for each cablecard you
are renting from them and you choose what you want to plug them into.  That
is how cablecard was designed to be implemented.

However many cable companies have chosen to only use cablecards in a much
more restrictive way then they were designed to be used.  Cable companies
usually require a tech to install the card for you.  They also register the
host device the card is plugged into.  If the cablecard attempts to register
with the cable company while connected to another host device they lock it
out.  The cost for the installation is usually  extraordinary high
considering the tech just plugs in a PCMCIA card and makes a phone call.

That Arstechnica article is discussing how cablecards are used in practice,
not how they were designed to be used.

Ryan Patterson
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