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Hurray!

Success! I too can confirm that the firewire ports are enabled on the SA8300HD with the new SARA firmware on Vidéotron.

I did a few tests last night and everything works great using "VLC Media Player" (I had no luck with "CapDVHS". It just crashed after a few seconds of capture).

In case anyone wonders, I followed part of the instructions mentioned in Jake's post. I first installed the "FireSTB" drivers, then the "XP patch" for firewire (Not sure if necessary) and "VLC Media Player". After rebooting XP, I plugged in the PVR and used the VLC Wizard (under the File menu) to make my first capture.

Like others mentioned, I was not able to capture a live feed, only programs already saved on the disk. But I was able to capture the live feed and watch it on the laptop's monitor. So I guess there must be a way to capture it to disk. I just didn't play long enough with VLC. ;)

Thanks to all who contributed information on this topic.
 

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Same here, got a 8300HD, can record regular and HD shows. Play them, transfert them to hdd. Convert from mpeg ts to dvd and then burn it. I just hope they come with new software for recording. I'm doing tests with two right now and their not very stable.
 

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The more i'm playing with it the more i think i'll get a dvd recorder (now less than 150$) and do the recording directly thru dvd instead of passing in computer and then converting to dvd. The 998 pvr channel is not encrypted so you can record it at your ease, the difference is that the computer can record HD compare to dvd quality that the dvd recorder will do. If any of you is beginning into this then check if you want dvd or hd quality as computer recording is not difficult but it does takes some time to do the recording and conversion.
 

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It is working great with VLC 0.8.5. You can record both HD and SD programs that you playback on the STB. I have experimented a bit with the Live signal and you can get some frames for at most a second or two and then it breaks up and freeze when you stream direct to screen. It will not create a file if you stream the live signal to file. It will require much more investigation to understand the issues involved (e.g. "5C" code) with Live.

CapDVHS fails everytime.

The quality with VLC is much better than going via a tuner card and a HTPC application like BeyondTV so it is much more useful for video editing and saving. The problem with VLC is that there is no timer to tell it when to stop recording so you need to setup some DOS batch files to set that up. I saw some comment in the SageTV forums (sorry no link) on how to automate with the guide data. I will try to setup something simpler so I can tell it to stream to file (i.e. record) for 90 or 120 minutes.
 

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For Videotron clients, the SA8300HD has software 1.88.19.1 and page 17 of 35 shows:

firebus = 1.9.12.1
fbdtcp = 1.3.4.1

which enables Firewire including the DTCP protocol.

As for copying recordings to a computer...

a Computer HDD has a set limit. Fail to see the interest of packing recordings to your computer when the SA8300HD can accept an external drive.

If the idea is store programs or movies permanently, my guess is that D-VHS and ultimately HD DVD or BD recording would be best. Unless it is possible to edit (such as removing commercials) before transferring to a permanent media.
 

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I can also confirm that the Firewire port is active on the PACE 551HD receivers... Using some modified drivers from Tim Moore, I was able to install the PACE Tuner and PACE Panel, then I was able to change channels through Firewire... Of course the copy protection seems to be enabled on all channels so there isn't anything to actually record. CapDVHS did report the right resolutions on the channels, so something would definatly be recording without the 5C flags...

Which brings up the question, are there any reasons (besides lazyness/ignorance) preventing the canadian providers from enabling the "copy freely" flag on at least some of the channels (SRC/CTV and more), similar to the OTA channels in the US? I know that some of the canadian cable providers using Motorolla receivers (Cogeco and such) don't have 5C enabled on all channels and they haven't been sued or anything...
 

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You may wish to contact Videotron to see if they can change the 5C flags to zero instead of 1. It may simply have been an oversight, or a default position. At least have it changed for the non-premium channels, which should not be set to 1, as you say.
 

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Lots of dropped frames

I've had a bit more time to do some tests using VLC Media Player and the result is not as good as I expected.

After capturing an HD show to a .TS file, I noticed a lot of artifacts when playing it back with VLC. I thought it was a glitch with the VLC playback and used PVAStrumento to analyse and demux the file. To my surprise, PVAStrumento reported a lot of anomalies in the stream (Dropped frames, temporal errors, etc.) and dropped several GOPs (Group of pictures). No need to say that the resulting mpeg2 file didn't play well at all.

I did numerous tests with different shows, different resolutions (480p, 720p and 1080i) and different equipment. All captured .TS had the same problem. Anybody experienced this? Any suggestions? I wasn't able to find another capture software to do more tests and CapDVHS just won't work. :confused:
 

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I'm always surprise when somebody say that firewire HD recording is working with the 8300HD. I have been trying this for months and it never worked 100%. With the 3250HD, I can capture the stream without any corruption, so I'm sure the computer speed, drivers, firewire port are OK. With the 8300HD, I can capture stream when the bitrate is below 4 Mbps. Higher than this (like for HD channel), there is a lot of corruption. All the time...

When CapDVHS is crashing, it's because there is too much corruption. With my 3250HD, it never crashed, even with the 17 - 17.5 Mbps stream (like for SRCHD). On the 8300HD, using the direct capture with vlc player, we can easily see that there is some corruption. I analysed the stream and there was just too much data packet missing from the stream. I presumed that the 8300HD was just not fast enough to send the stream correctly.

So, if somebody is able to capture a HD stream on the 8300HD, without any kind of corruption (not just viewable), can you confirm it and tell us what kind of computer/TV/Firewire port you are using ?

Thanks.

Kaphyr
http://illico2.tripod.com/
 

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To my surprise, PVAStrumento reported a lot of anomalies in the stream (Dropped frames, temporal errors, etc.) and dropped several GOPs (Group of pictures). No need to say that the resulting mpeg2 file didn't play well at all.
Could you try to edit the file with VideoReDo and see if it manages to fix enough of those problems to make the file playable?
 

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...With the 8300HD, I can capture stream when the bitrate is below 4 Mbps. Higher than this (like for HD channel), there is a lot of corruption. All the time...
Well, interesting. Not very encouraging but, interesting... That would explain why I got less corruption on SD shows. Thanks for the info.

Could you try to edit the file with VideoReDo and see if it manages to fix enough of those problems to make the file playable?
I sure will try it. But I don't expect much from it. The streams are in pretty bad shape. I'll try to post my results tomorrow.
 

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So in Sherbrooke, Videotron has set the Firewire streams to copy freely and you can play them back through VLC or such?
Most channels are coded that way, whatever you are in Sherbrooke or Montreal. Only a few of them are coded "Copy Once" using the protocol 5C, and those channels can't be capture. Maybe the software of the Pace 551HD is different but with the 3250HD and, for what I know, only Score, Prise2, MuchMoreRetro, TVTA (?) and ShoppingTVA (??) are coded that way. I presume that all new channels will also be coded "copy once".

By the way, when I'm trying to capture an 5C protected channel, I can't see the resolution because it's coded inside the mpeg2 stream. So if you are able to see it with the 551HD, the problem with your capture is not related to a 5C problem. Also, if you go to the 1394 Information page on the terminal, you can see if it's coded "copy once" or "copy freely".

Kaphyr
http://illico2.tripod.com/
 

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Only a few of them are coded "Copy Once" using the protocol 5C, and those channels can't be capture.
Good to know!

Maybe the software of the Pace 551HD is different
Could be related to using the same software on both, while the PACE 551HD has some particularities...

By the way, when I'm trying to capture an 5C protected channel, I can't see the resolution because it's coded inside the mpeg2 stream. So if you are able to see it with the 551HD, the problem with your capture is not related to a 5C problem.
Well it's CapDVHS that is reporting the resolution on those captures that I can't actually playback.

Also, if you go to the 1394 Information page on the terminal, you can see if it's coded "copy once" or "copy freely".
That's the other problem, as for the SA8x00 series, the software reports the Firewire port as disabled, which it obviously isn't since I can change channels through it. Maybe there are different levels of enabled/disabled... I guess I need to find more tools to investigate some more... ;)
 

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Could you try to edit the file with VideoReDo and see if it manages to fix enough of those problems to make the file playable?
I just did some tests with VideoReDo and... well... no joy. :(

I must admit that VideoReDo did a pretty good job at fixing minor glitches in the stream. After using the "QuickStream Fix", no more MPEG artifacts (random colored blocks) were visible but they were replace by duplicated frames. It was OK on minor errors but very apparent where there was more corruption in the stream.

So, for now, I'll just wait and see if anybody reports a successful capture using the 8300HD. If the problem is not related to software and/or PC, I'm sure you can imagine what I think of Scientific Atlanta right now...:mad:
 

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That's the other problem, as for the SA8x00 series, the software reports the Firewire port as disabled, which it obviously isn't since I can change channels through it. Maybe there are different levels of enabled/disabled... I guess I need to find more tools to investigate some more... ;)
Yes, there are always marked as "unavailable" on the 3250HD also but they do work flawlessly. There are marked as "disabled" only if the firewire is unplug or if the drivers are not well install. By the way, if you look at the "CCI Events" section in the same page, you can see if the channel is "Copy Once" or "Freely", just by looking under the "Copy" column.

Kaphyr
http://illico2.tripod.com/
 

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There are marked as "disabled" only if the firewire is unplug or if the drivers are not well install.
I guess I will wait for Tim Moore to make an official release and try again, since it stays "disabled" regardless.

By the way, if you look at the "CCI Events" section in the same page, you can see if the channel is "Copy Once" or "Freely", just by looking under the "Copy" column.
Well, there are 3 outputs (would help if they were clearly labelled) marked as freely, once and freely... Assuming the components and s-video are the freely, that leaves the copy once for the Firewire output that I'm trying to use... ;) Or would that be the unconnected HDMI port and the 1394 is just ignored?
 

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hmm must be the machine as me with the 8300hd i can't copy any channel. I have to record and then on the record channel capture it. I didn't tried with my pace hd yet.
 

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I got too excited when I got it working the first time!!!

I played some more with VLC and as Kaphyr mentioned the quality of the stream in HD is poor. You can load the resulting file in VideoReDo but there is too much missing data to improve the image. You just get the same thing out after removing the ads.

I agree that the whole idea of firewire was to retain the image quality and avoid the analog conversion but too much data is lost... This is not working at the present time. I guess I will have to try my 3250 and compare if the issue is on the STB side or the PC/Firewire.
 

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And Rogers' response to my mail about it for us in Ontario?:

Please note that none of the network ports (including SATA [sic], ethernet,
USB, firewire, etc.) are active on any of the Rogers Digital
Terminals/PVRs.

At this time, we have no plans to activate them, due to copy-right
issues. We apologize for the inconvenience.
(sigh)

I envy you all. Enjoy!

Gary
 
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