[mythtv-users] Building a database of cablecard encryption (CCI) details

Tom Bongiorno two.bits.11 at gmail.com
Mon Aug 1 03:56:40 UTC 2011

On Sun, Jul 31, 2011 at 11:44 PM, Ronald Frazier <ron at ronfrazier.net> wrote:

> On Sun, Jul 31, 2011 at 11:14 PM, Erik Jensen <eriksjunk at laurelwoodart.com
> > wrote:
>> I tried this out, and had a couple of oddities in my results.
>> First, almost all unencrypted channels (tunable via ClearQAM) were
>> reported as "Unknown / None". The one exception was reported as
>> Unknown / Copy Generation Management System - Analog: "One Copy"
>> (0x02). This channel is viewable over ClearQAM and FireWire, but not
>> the Ceton.
>> Second, all channel's to which I don't subscribe were reported as Copy
>> Control Information: "Copy Free" (00)
>> The fact that the Ceton falls back to CGMS-A for unencrypted channel's
>> in my case means that the statement "if you can record it over
>> FireWire, you can record it with CableCard" is not entirely true....
> That's odd. I've only seen a copy protection other than CCI one time, and
> it was only when I didn't have my cablecard install (running in QAM mode).
> One of the channels that comes up as Copy Control Information: "Copy Free"
> (00) with a cablecard comes up as Redistribution Control: "One Copy" (0x02)
> in QAM mode. But I'm fairly certain that doesn't stop you from recording it.
> I think it's just reporting what protection is present, but I believe the
> Ceton will only enforce the CCI protections. Have you attempted to record
> something on it?
> Edit: hmmm, maybe that's not true. Here's some info from their support
> site:
> http://www.cetoncorp.com/support/index.php?/Knowledgebase/Article/View/2/8/copy-protection-flags
> It sounds like you will only see those other flags on unencrypted content.
> However it sounds like the card will still enforce the other protections
> even though the content is unencrypted. Strange.
> The Unknown / None value comes up when the channel didn't seem to tune
> right. Using the web interface for tuning, you've sometimes got to give it a
> few shots just to make sure it goes through right (I'd hope the DRI
> interface is a little more reliable than that, but I haven't got around to
> working with that yet). I made a small tweak to the script that retries the
> channel change later when it gets that error, but I haven't uploaded it yet.
> As a side note, at the moment I'm particularly annoyed (more than usual) by
> the whole DRM concept here. Suddenly today, whenever I try tuning any HD
> stations, the Ceton tells me I'm not authorized for that station. It only
> wants to work on the stations that are unencrypted. The last time I had this
> sort of error, the authorization flags on my account weren't set properly
> and a tech in the NOC had to fix it for me. I called support today and they
> couldn't see anything wrong. I'll have to wait until tomorrow when I can
> reach the tech in the support forum and have him investigate my account. So
> for the moment, I'm stuck recording only SD content, which sort of annoys
> me.
> --
> Ron Frazier
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> mythtv-users at mythtv.org
> http://www.mythtv.org/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-users
Sorry for the cross post.  After re-reading it, it looks like whatever the
CCI says is what goes.  The CCI is always present on encrypted channels but
never on clear-QAM channels.  Worst case, I would just use a clear-QAM tuner
for those channels.

   - Copy Control Information (CCI)
   - Macrovision
   - Analog Protection System (APS)
   - Copy Generation Management System - Analog (CGMS-A)
   - Redistribution Control (RC)

"If multiple flags are present on the channel at the same time one overrides
the other, with precedence in the order listed. For example, if CGMS-A flags
the content as Copy Never, but CCI is also there and it says Copy Free, then
the content will be Copy Free.

The CCI flags come from the CableCARD. Anything encrypted on the wire (i.e.
non-ClearQAM) has to be decrypted by the CableCARD and therefore CCI is
used, overwriting anything else that might be there.

For channels that are ClearQAM, the CableCARD doesn't decrypt them so the
InfiniTV does not receive any CCI value, therefore any of the other flags
which are present on the channel are respected."

So the saying "If you can record it over FireWire, you can record it with
CableCard" is always true for encrypted channels, but not for unencrypted
channels.  I actually feel a little better now.

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