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Testing the ATI 1.19 Firmware with Cox Cable

Note:  This is a guest post by James from the Media Center Blog.

Now this is how the CableCARD tuners should have been working from the start! After having my CableCARD ready PC for over a year and a half I can finally archive most digital and HD content that I record with the tuners. In a joint testing effort with Andres from My Network Project we wanted to test the firmware update with my Cox Communications cable here in Kansas.  I set out to give it a really good test over night. I installed the firmware on both of my tuners and proceeded to record a large variety of programs on various channels to properly test to see if the protection actually was removed.

Pay Channel Content

I was fully expecting pay channel content (HBO, Showtime, etc) to still be protected and I wasn’t wrong about that. While I would love to be able to burn some of my large recorded HD movie collection to a Blu-Ray disk, I can see why they would not allow me to do so. I recorded Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay first and noticed it was protected so I went ahead and recorded a non-movie and as you can see below, it’s still protected.

hbostillprotected

Analog Channel Content

I recorded a couple of programs in the analog channel range (1-70ish) and as expected, they were not protected. This didn’t surprise but as with most people with CableCARD PCs, I rarely record anything on these channels if I also have the HD channel (which I do for most of the channels I watch). Furthermore, I have an analog tuner in my PC in addition to my CableCARD tuners so I hadn’t really had a problem with it in the past.

Digital and HD Content

I was expecting these channels to NOT be protected and lucky for me they are not. Apparently Cox only protects the programming they are required to. I was able to record a number of programs on my upper digital and HD channels and none of them were protected. I decided to go ahead and test some of these files with some other programs that I use frequently.

First, I decided to see if I could easily convert one of the .wtv files to .dvrms so that I could use DVRMSEditor to easily edit commercials and such. Sure enough, it worked flawlessly and I was able to convert a recording of Golf Central to .dvrms and subsequently open it in DVRMSEditor.

golfhddvrms

Next I decided to see if I could open a file in Windows DVD Maker and burn one of the shows to DVD. I was able to open the recording and see menu previews (which I was not able to previously do with digital content) and it started encoding just fine and prior to that the program would crash. So it appears that Windows DVD Maker will finally work with most programs recorded on the CableCARD tuners…FINALLY!

I was also interested to see if I could put any of these recorded programs on my Zune HD and had no luck with either digital content or HD content. I knew HD content would show up but I was hoping at least the upper digital channel recordings would but the only ones showing up were the programs that were recorded on the analog channels.

In conclusion, the new firmware is working as I had hoped and expected. I had a feeling the pay channels would be copy protected since they always had before and I was hoping all the other digital and HD channels would be unprotected and they were. I was also expecting to have issues transferring videos over to my Zune but that’s a problem that needs to be fixed with the Zune. Hopefully that will get taken care of soon. As it stands now, I’m pretty pleased with the firmware upgrade.

clubhouse,how-to, media center, media center-windows 7, dvr

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6 Responses

  1. Nice. So SDV is not an issue anymore.. tested and verified.

  2. Gosh dude I wish I had your talent, I'm always at awe of people with such intense intelegence

  3. @Vick – This test was done on Cox in Missouri. This was to contrast against my results with Time Warner in North Carolina.

    This test by James did not include SDV. As far as my SDV results check back later today.

  4. Thanks Billy. Everyone has their passion and hobbies. This one happens to be mine.

    I am in awe of what others do everyday myself. I would love to be able to play the guitar or build something from scratch.

  5. Absolutely wonderful article, but I have one question (and I know it is not publicly available) but I really would like the 1.19 Firmware (not to mention most of us reading your article) I have been fighting with TW for 4 months after my 2 DCT setup worked flawlessly on Comcast, I have been without HD using TW. Finally received my tuning adapters and just need the firmware.
    Thanks

  6. Justin,

    The firmware should be available soon via Windows Update.

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