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Television Media Hardware

Digital Cable HDTV Tuner Card Reviewed 193

Jack Kolesar of AMDPower writes "We have posted a review of a PC HDTV Tuner card that can receive QAM (Digital Cable) signals along with traditional 8VSB signals. This appears to be the first PC Card which can accomplish this task. Further, the software also comes with a utility to downsample HDTV content to DVD and DivX. "
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Digital Cable HDTV Tuner Card Reviewed

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  • by ralf1 ( 718128 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:35AM (#10001275)
    Prior to the instant server death? Or know the product name since its not referenced in the summary, so I can look for something on it?
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:46AM (#10001411) Journal
    Why can't this happen, linux "adopts" or "implements" Windows driver model, so that Windows drivers for devices like this can be installed and used?

    I know some of this exists for the wireless networking stuff, and nVidia and ATi's linux efforts are pretty much recompiles of the windows drivers..

    Hell, even forget Windows driver model.. Come up with a new, universal model. Hardware companies only need to write and test one driver which you go ahead and use under Windows, Linux, BSD, OS/X, whatever..

    Thats my idea anyways. Something to take the world one step closer to my dream where the OS installed on your machine doesn't mean shit, since they all implement the same API's, run the same binaries, and use the same drivers. Less glory for the kernel hackers, perhaps.

    This is what bothers me about linux' monolithic approach. It's like NIH syndrome to the extreme. Every driver for every piece of hardware has to be rewritten by scratch and approved by Linus to make it into the kernel. It's a longer process than submitting your drivers to MSFT to be "digitally signed" and stuck on Windows Update.

    As for this card, there's likely proprietary trade secrets and bullshit in there and the specs will never be released. They're probably under contract to enforce the "no copy" bit and macrovision output and all that BS. That stuff could be changed in an OSS driver, so that driver can't exist. That's why no TV out from ATi for linux - legally they have to ensure that anytime a DVD is played, macrovision on the TV out is enabled..
  • by stratjakt ( 596332 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @10:53AM (#10001519) Journal
    What about decrypting it in software?

    I know there were tons of software descramblers for Nargavision, or whatever that was called.

    Can a digital cable signal be decrypted? How strong is the encryption? As old as it is, I'd imagine the first digital set top boxes couldn't have had too much horsepower, so the scheme must be relatively simple to decode that much data on-the-fly..

    Could "decoders" (password hashes?) be bought and downloaded from the cable company?
  • by NoMoreNicksLeft ( 516230 ) <`john.oyler' `at' `comcast.net'> on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:01AM (#10001630) Journal
    Actually, I've been thinking about modifying a few cable modems to intercept the QPSK OOB signal on digital cable, and spoof it. Have 2 cable modems, with some splitters and filters in between them, so that we can get QAM to the set top box, but the first cable modem could listen/talk to the headend, and the second cable modem could listen/talk to the cablebox.

    For instance [], docsis cable modems would seem to be able to ahndle this, assuming they have a frequency agile tuner (most do, I believe), and aren't one chip solutions (RCA ones come to mind).

    Anyone care to comment?
  • by Dachannien ( 617929 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:25AM (#10001978)
    I don't have a problem paying for my cable, so a card that will accept a cable company provided solution to encryption and access control (e.g., CableCard) is fine with me.

    However, I want to make sure when everything goes mandatory digital, that I have a solution in place that allows me to timeshift without loss of quality and without being encumbered by DRM that would prevent me from skipping commercials and such. Not copy, not redistribute, not share - just timeshift. (I already have the MythTV-based PVR, just waiting for a digital cable solution.)

  • by enrico_suave ( 179651 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @11:30AM (#10002055) Homepage
    What is really needed in this space is a decoder card that also has a CableCARD slot. I don't care whether the CableCARD is inside the case or has an external slot, it doesn't really matter to me.
    broadcast flag not withstanding in June 05)...

    I'm pretty sure they have something like that in europe where you can slide your card into a Nexus-S and get your legitimate paid for Satellite signals... no such love in the US.

    The only other way to go, for PC based HDTV digital signal chain that's NOT OTA DTV, is some sort of shennanigans using firewire port on the back of a HDTV reciever... but I haven't seen alot of that software out there (either legitimately or "underground")...

    *shrug* some day they will build it...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @12:21PM (#10002698)
    Actually, cable companies are now required to carry HDTV broadcasts in an unscrambled format, per their license. Just as all the ATSC channels are. My cable company (Cox) reluctantly began transmitting all local HD channels unscrambled beginning August 1st.
  • by heroine ( 1220 ) on Wednesday August 18, 2004 @02:14PM (#10004090) Homepage
    Obviously they're not going to say in a weblog, but does the card record the original transport stream or downsample it to a DVD resolution and record a program stream? With all the legal problems, you probably won't see any retail card recording HDTV transport streams.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford