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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After my SA3250HD looked different I decided to plug it into my PC. My PC sounded the familiar "da-dum" sound and displayed the "Found New Hardware Wizard". It said that it found AV/C Tuner. I haven't tried installing any drivers yet but it looks like the 3250HD as well as the 8300HD now have active firewire.

Edit by 57, Wayne has graciously provided the following summary information:

(Note – These experiences are for Windows – some Mac and Linux users have reported more success)

Here are my experiences - I have tested the following on two PCs, one running XP Home (SA3250HD) and another running MCE (with SA8300HD). Mac users may get different results although reports so far show similar issues. Your mileage may vary!

What seems to work:
With SA8300HD - only capturing recorded material seems to work - it does not appear that you can capture live TV.
With SA3250HD - you can watch non-encrypted HD channels on your PC but there is heavy pixellation on all channels except for Discovery -HD, CTV-HD and Global-HD. You should also be able to capture all SD channels but I haven't spent too much time on this. The following channels appear to be encrypted, at least some of the time - 502, 506, 507,5 12, 513, 514, 523, 525(which is also 530), 532, 533, 534, 535, 540, 541. This pixellation has also been reported by Videotron customers in Quebec who also use SA equipment.
With both boxes you should be able to change channels on your STB with channel.exe - an app that comes with firestb.

Where to get software:
Download Firestb here and VLC from here
You can also try capdvhs here it is an alternative way to record from firewire.

Instructions:
1. Download firestb - see the links above. For detailed info read the readme file.
2. Install firestb by typing "MSIEXEC /i firestb.msi IDENT=0" at a command prompt in the folder where you saved firestb. (if you are running MCE just type firestb or click on the file - not sure what to do for Vista).
3. Reboot
4. Plug in your STB to your PC via firewire. You will need a cable with a male 6 pin connector on either end.
5. As New Hardware is found click cancel for Unknown (probably twice) and click Install for AV/C Panel and AV/C Tuner.
6. Disable Unknown devices in device manager (optional - prevents annoying messages in the future).
7. Reboot.
8. Download and install vlc - this is a good piece of software to have on your PC anyhow as it plays almost every type of sound and video file that exists.
9. Start playing back recorded content on STB (or switch to channel 515 on SA3250HD).
10. Go into vlc and select Open Capture Device - Click the Refresh button under video, select AV/C tuner and click OK.

PVR software to use to record shows if you get this working or want to record SD shows on the SA3250HD - Windows Media Center (which will come with Vista Home Premium), Beyond TV with BTV Negociator and Sage. There are likely others that may work as well including Myth on Linux.

You will need a 6-pin male to 6-pin male firewire cable. If you have an older iPod then you may have one of these cables as they came with earlier versions of the iPod but don't for the last two generations or so. You can also get these fairly cheaply at your PC shop - such as Canada Computers. A 6-pin to 4-pin for laptops may be necessary.

Updated - Jan 2009
The most common HD box from Rogers is now the SA4250HD. I have had trouble getting this box to work with the original drivers or with newer drivers (see below)– your mileage may vary. I continue to find firewire very unreliable when it comes to streaming video from your box. But the channel change is a different story – this is very reliable and I use it on a daily basis to tune channels for my HTPC using SageTV as my PVR software and an HD-PVR as my capture device.

There is a new site here (http://home.comcast.net/~exdeus/stbfirewire/) that has updated windows drivers that are supposed to work with the SA4250HD. This web site also has a lot more info on installing the drivers.
Next step - try to use firestb to use one of these boxes with MCE.



To discuss 5C issues, please use the following thread

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=57740
 

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The channels are encyrpted, the question to ask is if 5C=1 or 0. See the thread regarding 5C in the Shaw forum sticky, and check out the Digital Home FAQ (under help) "Recording HD"
 

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Thanks 57, that's what I meant. I was experimenting with my folk's STB (they're with Shaw), and was surprised that so many channel had 5C=1. I guess we can always hope that Rogers will be different.
 

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I've always been a little worried about Rogers because they are a content provider (RSN). Granted, archiving sports isn't on the top of my (and I imagine other's) todo list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My Detroit feeds that I get through my cable company come from the same source as Rogers cable and they are 5C=0 BUT the Canadian channels like CTV, Citytv, Global and CBC are 5C=1 as are all the specialty channels. I would expect Rogers to be much the same.
Is there any way of checking this out on the Info screens of the SA boxes? I looked at the boxes and it still seems to say that firewire is disabled, so that isn't good. At the bottom there are three lines that change from freely to once but I didn't see never at all, which hopefully is good.
 

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As per the Recording HD FAQ:

Freely = 0
Once = 1
Never = 2.

Never may be on PPV channels, or special events, but not necessarily at this time.
 

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This may be a dumb question...assuming a channel is 5C=0 or even 5C=1 will the firewire port on the front of my dvd recorder allow me to record digitally from the PVR to the DVD recorder??
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No luck yet trying to get anything from firewire on my 8300HD to my MCE PC. I installed the firestb application and I can use the firewire port to change my channels but so far I am unable to get any signal.

There could be several reasons for this, bad config on my PC, 5C issues, or even the firewire ports not actually being activated to send video, but one person has reported using firewire to get a signal to his Sony TV which had a firewire input so it seemed to be working for him.

I will try again over the next few days from both my 8300HD and 3250HD with both MCE and BeyondTV.
 

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....firewire port on the front of my dvd recorder...
I believe if you read the operating manual for the unit it will specify that this only works for camcorders.

Anyway, DVD recorders are limited to 480i, so you may as well use S-video.
 

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Anyway, DVD recorders are limited to 480i, so you may as well use S-video.
Unless HD can be downconverted over firewire to 480i anamorphic, since the S-video output is letterboxed.
 

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Agreed, but anamorphic would require a component video input on the DVD player (rare and usually somewhat pricy) and still limited to 480i, although anamorphic. Let's not discuss that subject further in this thread.

With firewire, you're getting bit for bit .ts files (on a compatible device), so there is no "anamorphic".
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
kyle747 said:
any luck recording signal from the PVR ?
I haven't had any luck yet as I posted above but it is not a very straightforward process. I was able to install drivers and change channels but I haven't got a signal yet.
 

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I think the quickest way to see if channels have 5C=1/0 is to open up the capture device in VLC media player, and start flipping channels. If nothing appears, that usually means that 5C=1, if a clear picture appears, then obviously 5C=0.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I haven't had too much luck with VLC - I installed it last night after installing the drivers for the 8300HD, but it seemed to crash on me whenever I tried to use the 8300 video capture device. That was on my HTPC that is running MCE 2005. I was hoping to use an app called firestb that let's you record with MCE.

When I get a chance I will try on another PC that I can hook up to a 3250HD that is running XP Home SP2 and has Beyond TV installed.

The info screens still show 1394 as Disabled (in bright pink) - I wonder if that is wrong or if they have actually somehow disabled output of the video via 1394?
 

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Do the Videotron users see 1394 as disabled in their diagnostic screens?

My suspicion is that the old 1.87 firmware didn't even support the 1394 ports and now the 1.89 does support the ports but they are disabled from a software point of view as far as reading/writing to them.

That is, when you plug in the firewire cable into the port you are seeing the "layer 1/2" (tcp/ip terminology) signaling from the hardware but then you cannot see the "layer 3+" network-> application layers.


I think the key is determining if the Videotron users which have been somewhat successful at capturing the signals see the port as enabled or not in their diagnostics.
 

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1394 definitely didn't function in the older firmware in any way.

If I can find my Firewire cables, I'll try playing around with it this weekend. Too bad I sold my D-VHS recorder as that had a 5C Firewire port on it and would give us some answers pretty quickly.
 
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