[mythtv-users] Astound Unencrypted Channels

Joe Borne joe.borne at gmail.com
Tue Nov 20 14:57:55 UTC 2007

> Brad DerManouelian <myth at dermanouelian.com> says:
> > I'm in San Francisco and considering a move from DirecTV to Astound
> > cable.
> Search for my first name and "RCN" or "FireWire" in the list
> archives. As of a few months ago, RCN San Francisco is now Astound.
> > I'm wondering if anyone else uses Astound in the bay area and can
> > tell me what I can expect to get for digital channels on my
> > HDHomeRun or any other information about what I can get out of one
> > of their STBs regarding digital stations and especially HD.
> Over FireWire, everything one is subscibed to. Yes, that includes
> premium channels. This was an RCN policy that Astound has inherited
> (and may also practice elsewhere, as many smaller cable providers
> reportedly do), and is why I originally chose RCN over Comcast.
> Two caveats:
> Analog (<100) channels haven't come in right over FireWire since late
> September. A firmware upgrade on my DCT-6200 apparently caused the
> problem; basically, FireWire feeds for these channels will shut down
> after a minute or six. Before the cutoff, the audio is fine but the
> video is a little fuzzy and the OSD is very fuzzy when, before, the
> video was rock solid considering its analog conveyance. It's not a
> copy-once (CCI/RC flags) issue; I've checked the diagnostics screen. I
> do miss TCM and Cartoon Network but I of course much prefer still
> having access to the digital, including HD, channels to the other way
> around.
> KBWBDT (166) has its RCI/CC flag set to non-zero values, preventing
> any access to it via FireWire. This occurred several months ago. I've
> been in touch with technical support, and I've read the relevant
> mailing list threads on the subject Joe Borne started last
> month. Contrary to his findings, my research indicates that the CCI
> (the infamous "broadcast flag") is set *by the broadcast station*, and
> cable companies are required to pass it through without
> alteration. This is consistent with what Astound technical support
> told me after much befuddlement on their part. I have not yet tried to
> contact KBWB about the issue, mostly becuase I have access to it over
> the air.

Actually, my findings were that the CCI bit can be set by the broadcast
station OR by the cable carrier - or both. In the case of CBS in my area,
some programs are CCI bit on or off depending on how CBS feels about people
being able to record those shows to removable media. (I can record the
evening news via firewire, but not NCIS.) But in many cases where the entire
channel is CCI bit blocked, it is because the media producer (ESPN/TBS/HBO
etc) requires that the cable provider block the channel en-masse.

All this is according to the tech who runs the "head" at insight where the
programming is brought in via satellite and then retransmitted.

I am personally going to pursue QAM scanning once I have some time. I have
set up a sandbox for this purpose so I do not disturb my existing system,
which is quite complex (Custom cable booster, two STB's, four PVR-150's, one
HD-homerun, SPDIF optical surround, 800GB SATA RAID/LVM, wireless net,
HDMI/DVI out to Westinghouse 37" 1080p monitor, Athlon FX60, 2GB RAM,
MythDora/Myth .20x/svn mixed, Apple Trailer Preview plug in, custom
menus/theme, and a lot of custom code for eliminating conflicts etc.)
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