Analog Hole Musings

Component video cable with 3 RCA connectors.

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When Comcast decided to convert its services to digital, there were several channels that I could no longer view. This problem was due to the fact that I did not have a cable set-top box. Most of the HD digital content is encrypted and can only be viewed via cable box. The move eventually forced me into trying out the AT&T U-Verse program. The U-Verse price seemed to be very good for the value, thus I participated in the trial promotion. I grabbed the U-200 pkg. Immediately I realized that you get a far better picture with IPTV. Besides having a really great picture, I also noticed that my local PEG channels had disappeared. Eventually, the anger wore off and I didn't think much about it.

Once I finally discovered the Neuros OSD, I began to record baseball games from FOX. I simply used the component video connections on the TV to captured standard definition and OTH HD (Fox, ESPN, etc). After doing this for roughly 3 - 5 months, one day component video data capturing stopped working. Very weird. I then resorted to using S-Video connection on the U-Verse DVB, but that was less than optimal. The audio was clipped and the quality of the video was horrible. Lastly, I'd horror stories of folks attempting to use MythTV with U-Verse service. Somehow you had to get two U-Verse gateways and essentially sniff the DSLAM packets and spoof an IP address. Though it sounded quite intriguing, I love a challenge. My wife would likely have a fit. Too much work for me these days. So I quickly got rid of U-Verse.

So it really is the lesser of two evils. Fool with AT&T U-Verse or Comcast. I don't believe Comcast spends too much time encrypting the data leaving it's set top boxes. I would imagine they probably use QAM, but never try to discourage folks for manipulating the analog hole.

To date, I've upgraded the Comcast set top box from the DCT-5100 to the DCX-3400 DVR QAM. I noticed the older DCT-5100 had a disabled IEEE-1394 (Firewire) port and that would be illegal.

So, once I finally get MythTV setup appropriately, I'll have commercial flagging goodness and total control over recording and channel line-up.

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on January 14, 2010 7:26 AM.

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