OCURs Finally Approved for Tuning Adaptor Support

While I still haven’t seen specs updated to confirm how I
believe CableLabs would handle Tuning Adaptor’s with OCURs
, I can confirm
that the next firmware release (in theory 1.19) will support Tuning Adaptors as
CableLabs has officially approved all ATI OCURs as Tuning Adaptor ready (hooray
for me being wrong!).  In addition the
firmware should allow for less
DRM on non-flagged CableCARD recordings
.  Expect more next week at CEDIA.

This is one of the very few predictions
that Ben at Engadget HD
made that I believe will come true.

10 thoughts on “OCURs Finally Approved for Tuning Adaptor Support

  1. Great, finally. BTW the Moxi has already been added to the Tivo list (series 3, hd and hd xl). So the only question is if this will work with Vista or if we’ll have to wait for the RTM of Win7 along with the ATI firmware upgrade. Supposedly MS had put the code for the relaxed DRM in TV Pack and extended that to Vista with a update back in Feb or Mar (?).

    Now the bad news is you’ll still be at the mercy of your service provider who can set the flags for the various channels. In this area with the Tivo, only the OTA channels will be allowed to be copied from the Tivo to the Desktop and TW sets the flag for everything else from DIY to Discovery HD theatre to only stay on the Tivo. I would imagine that the ATI Firmware will read the same flags and these will be different for each cable operator.


  2. It’s about time, it’s been over a year now that SDV has been starting to cause people to lose channels for MC users (not that it effects me).

    It will be nice to be able to share most recorded TV shows with other Media Center PCs in the house tho…

  3. I am in the process of replacing my Xbox, so that I can watch Blu-ray in 1080P. I also want to use this box to watch recorded CableCARD content. I either have to buy a system that supports CableCARDs, so I can record stuff in two places, or if the DRM is loose enough, I can just watch it from the other system.

    The probelm is that I am still unclear on what “less DRM…” means. Examples:
    1. Standard network channels, e.g., NBC
    2. Standard cable channels, e.g., SyFy
    3. Premious cable channels, e.g., HBO

  4. I think a little bit more detail is useful here. The real change related to the DRM side of the rumored ATI firmware update is that the ATI Digital Cable Tuners (DCTs) now honor the Copy Control Information (CCI) designation that comes down from the provider in the Transport Stream for Copy Freely content. The CCI rules dictate if the show can be Copied Freely, Copied No More times, Copied only Once, or Copied Never. These attributes match up to a numeric value of 0x00, 0x01, 0x02, or 0x03 respectfully.

    Currently, ANY recordings made using the ATI DCTs is flagged as protected content. That means that, even if the provider says it can be Copied Freely, the PlayReady side of the DRM equation still prohibits playback on any machine other than the one that recorded it (Extenders work since they are playing it back on that same machine). Note that the CCI attributes in the file currently show that it is Copy Freely, it is the PlayReady scheme that is the issue. The new release of the firmware now honors the CCI information from within the PlayReady platform. This means that Transport Streams with the CCI of 0x00 will be able to be played back on any PC. However, protected premium content with the CCI bits set will remain protected and will not be able to be played on other PCs.

    Of course, all of this is independent of what Chris mentions about the potential ability to support a Reverse Data Channel (RDC). This path back to the provider would be necessary to enable channels that are not available as part of an SDV deployment. My guess is that the tuner software to interact with this new feature is going to be Windows 7 specific (but you should be running Windows 7 anyhow). It is interesting to note, however, that SDV could work without having support for the RDC on a specific PC. SDV channels are enabled as part of a neighborhood hub and not associated with a specific set top box or CableCARD tuner. If a neighbor (or a Set Top Box in your house) selects an SDV channel that normally is not streaming, it will stream to all end points off of the same hub. If you manually tune to that channel while they are watching it, you will be able to watch it. Just an FYI.



    Derek R. Flickinger
    Interactive Homes, Inc.

  5. Derek,
    This is a very good technical description, but it does not give me a clue as to which (in your opinion) sources will set the flag which way, i.e., my question above re network, cable, and premium cable. Other sources I have found seem to indicate that, at best, it would be just the standard network+pbs+local that would not be flagged. Regular cable, e.g., SyFy, TNT, would still be flagged.

    Can you or Chris or somebody comment on this, please.

  6. DNR,
    No one can tell you that because it is different in every market. Some providers lock everything down, others lock nothing down. I recently asked CableLabs about this and they told me that each provider has its own deal with Hollywood and therefor sets the flag according to that agreement. Honestly this sounds like BS to me.

    Bottom line is that it will probably work like TiVo’s MRV. There is plenty of discussion of this at TiVoCommunity if you want to try to access what your provider does in advanced.

  7. Ben,
    Okay, I just read a bunch of the TiVo forums and everyone is right:
    1. Usually network channels are not protected. If they are, it is typically an error with the local provider and if you can get around support to an engineer the problem can be fixed in the data stream.
    2. Cable channels are usually protected, but not always. Some places they are, some places they are not. Its up to the local cable provider. The TiVo people were very unhappy about this and were threatening to “go to Media Centers with Extenders.”
    3. Premium content is always protected. You will have to watch True Blood on your Media Center with the CableCARD or buy the Blu-ray at the end of the season.

  8. @dnr,

    I am not sure that the “always” statement is true. When I look at a cable lineup with FiOS through the MCIA’s DCT Diagnostic Tool, I would say that 75% of the channels (out of 650 something) show up as Copy Freely most of the time. To me, that is a lot of content. Many of the Premium SUBSCRIPTION channels like Showtime, HBO, CineMax, etc. are, but most of the rest are in the open. Then again, specific shows have the ability to be flagged as something other than 0x00, too.

    I will reiterate that the protection is not “controlled” by Microsoft. They are just required to enforce it. As Ben said, it is up to the providers to control that. They are the ones making it difficult. Of course, you still have the Extender model, too (with additional features).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *