Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Help and support for HDHomeRun DVR and HDHomeRun software for Windows 10, Mac, Android, XBox, etc.
signcarver
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by signcarver »

The tuner must obey DRM rules whenever they occur... WMC communicates with the tuner a different way than the modern apps do and as a result when it encounters DRM handles such appropriately.

Personally I would remove the USB cable between the prime and TA, run the scan, and see how it behaves and what channels you are "missing" and some could live with that. Without the TA with many areas of spectrum one can view the lineup.json with the ?show=all&tuning parameter

Code: Select all

http://<ip-of-prime>/lineup.json?show=all&tuning
and see what channels are SDV indicated by 999MHz (not all systems do this, and some may point to a barker channel meant to inform one they need a TA) as well as see what frequencies are actually specified in the cablecard map. When the TA is connected the tuning parameter doesn't do anything as the tuning adapter controls which frequency to tune and can vary. Then reconnect the TA and see what frequency is being tuned when you try to view the channel and see if it is different from when it wasn't using the TA.

Rather than disable the DVR, you should probably disable the lower numbered version of the channel that way nothing that uses the modern method tries to use them. Disabling only affects the modern method of tuning not the old WMC way which is dependent on the guide data download (note with some of the "hacks" used to get guide data into WMC, it may check the channels listed by the prime to map)

You are correct that it isn't a spectrum problem (though they possibly could configure the TA to use different frequencies if those SD versions aren't DRM or throw DRM onto the ones specified in the cablecard map). It is a problem that SD has decided to use a device provided lineup and a scan to provide such info (with no manual control) and that cablecards were NEVER MEANT TO BE SCANNED in that way (especially with a TA... years ago I tried a BAN the SCAN initiative but got nowhere) so they are always prone to such errors. I believe I mentioned earlier that I couldn't believe it with how the TA controls things, but there was evidence that to speed up the scan (and a person from SD actually confirmed this back then) that with a TA, they used the cablecard map to more quickly determine drm and subscription status prior to using the TA to actually tune the channels to determine "actual" DRM state when used as intended. The key is the scan must pick up such as being DRM protected and when channels are DRM protected, they can only work with WMC (for recording/live) and things that support DTCP-IP (such as the hdhomerun app on win 10, iOS, and (real) android (note that there are restrictions)).

As it looks, everything is behaving EXACTLY how it should with the exception of the scan and as a result anything that uses that modern method also "breaks". But am surprised that NedS stated "
NedS wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:06 am It doesn't seem to be a DRM issue. Those channels given as an example are all unrestricted in the scans and every time they're accessed in the diagnostic logs.
as when the lower number was tuned by the HDHomeRun app, that should have been seen (though possible he was looking by frequency rather than virtual channel number). So though I am hopeful its something else, I have my doubts since WMC does report such as being protected.

jim_a
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by jim_a »

I ran some tests with the TA unplugged (from the wall)
Only 150 channels were found (534 are found with the TA but at least one third are duplicates).
Only channel 66 (MTVHD) was found.
It was not marked as DRM and still could not be viewed with either Windows 10 or the Shield TV. :(
It is possible the 66 MTVHD is also SDV and was only found because someone else on my SDV server was watching it at the time of the scan.
I was surprised that most of local stations were also missing.

I really want to replace media center with the Hdhomerun DVR and use Android boxes for viewing both live and recordings.
Disabling the lowered number channels does look like a partial work around.

I suspect the issues with scanning for channels with a TA is more a problem with the SDV server.
Each time you select a channel that is SDV and not in use the server must assign a real frequency from its pool.
I have 4 primes (total of 12 tuners) and a 6 tuner DVR from Spectrum.
In theory, I could set up simultaneous recordings on 18 different SDV channels which be an interesting test of the SDV servers frequency pool size.
Of course, anyone with 3 Spectrum 6 tuner DVRs could do the same thing.

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nickk
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by nickk »

Can you please enable "send diagnostic information" on the System Menu webpage of the HDHomeRun, then run the scan again.

Nick

jim_a
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by jim_a »

Device ID 131B7B1D
6:59 EDT (9/20/2021) started channel scan with TA
534 channels found 62,63 and 66 don’t show DRM
8:20 tried channel 62
8:21 channel 63
8:22 channel 66
8;26 TA disconnected – restarted the Prime
8:28 started channel scan without TA
Total of 147 channels found – none of the problem channels found
Appears all three (six) are SDV.
9:05 connected Prime directly to a splitter and powered up TA.
Prime had been connected through the Cisco TA
9:14 AM started channel scan TA on – prime connected to splitter – not through TA
10:25 534 channels found 61,63 and 66 not marked DRM
1225.1301 and 1306 marked DRM
10:29 channel 66 MTVHD bad
10:31 channel 63 TWCHD bad
1031 channel 62 VH1HD bad
10:33 channel 1306 VH1HD OK

NOTE: the scan also fails to see HD on some channels that are HD

NedS
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by NedS »

Nothing obvious jumps out at me in the logs, but everything about this smells like an issue with the tuning adapter. Try asking Spectrum for a different tuning adapter.

jim_a
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by jim_a »

I ran additional tests with a different TA/cable card/prime.

Note: prior test without TA wasn’t valid because TA was off and prime was connected through the TA :(

Prime ID: 1319A5BA
9/27/2021 (MONDAY)
Times approximate EDT.
Using Shield TV to view

2:29 PM EDT scan without TA (USB disconnected) 239 channels found
2:38 62 NOT-DRM SD OK VH1 1306 DRM HD OK VH1HD
2:39 63 NOT-DRM SD OK TWC 1225 DRM HD OK TWCHD The weather channel
2:40 66 NOT-DRM SD OK MTV 1301 DRM HD OK MTVHD

2:47 PM EDT to 4:00 scan with TA 534 channels found
4:14 62 NOT-DRM SD FAIL VH1HD 1306 DRM HD OK VH1HD
4:15 63 NOT-DRM SD FAIL TWCHD 1225 DRM HD OK TWCHD The weather channel
4:17 66 NOT-DRM SD FAIL MTVHD 1301 DRM HD OK MTVHD

It appears that these channels are not SDV.
The lower numbered channels are SD not DRM
The higher numbered channels are HD and DRM
It appears that the database in the SDV/TA server remaps the lower numbered channels to the HD DRM version when using the TA and Shield TV.

I don’t know why the SD channels exist. My educated guess is for the analog output of the set top boxes.

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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by kyl416 »

jim_a wrote: Tue Sep 28, 2021 7:21 amI don’t know why the SD channels exist. My educated guess is for the analog output of the set top boxes.
HD boxes can downconvert the HD feeds for the SD outputs. However, until the cable company replaces every cable box they've deployed since the early days of digital cable, and upgrades specialized installations for things like hotels and college dorms, they still need the SD duplicates as the SD only boxes cannot decode HD channels.


So in the interim many cable companies now run two seperate maps, one that still has the SD and HD feeds listed seperately for SD only boxes, and another that replaces the SD feeds with the HD feeds for HD capable setups. i.e. if channel 2 is CBS, turning to channel 2 will get HD viewers the HD CBS feed instead of having to go to a random 3 or 4 digit number for the HD feed.

signcarver
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by signcarver »

As I mentioned before based on what someone reported about a year ago that, supposedly to improve efficiency of the scan, the prime uses the cablecard map for those channels available by that map to quickly add them to the scan results, and in this case that map is the "old" map that includes both SD and HD channels, while your TA gets the "new" map that maps the "regular" numbers to their HD counterparts. As a result, the scan picks up that non drm channel but when you have the TA attached, all tuning requests (though supposedly not the tuning request by SD's scan) go through the TA and the TA tells it to tune the HD version of the channel. However, I do have a hard time believing such given the nature on how the TA should control all aspects of tuning when connected but the evidence is apparently there that is what is happening (but to a very limited number of people).

There are a couple of fixes your provider can do... first would be to configure the TA to allow the SD channels... In my opinion this would be the best option as you will get all the channels both SD and HD. Second would be to change the map your cablecard uses to not have those SD channels in many markets there are a few different channel maps that your cablecard can be configured to use. SD may consider another fix that would require a firmware update to change the nature of the scan, and/or allow a more manual configuration of the channel lineup (most likely they may choose the first, but that will inconvenience 99% who have a TA in slowing down the scan). The other fix SD "could" make is better failover to try tuning it with the "DTCP-IP" parameters on such DRM failure, however they don't have a recording solution for that yet.

Cablecards, especially with a TA, were never meant to be scanned in that manner, what is supposed to happen is you request to tune a channel, and everything is determined (including subscription status, drm status, etc.) live on the fly. But SD decided to be 100% dependent on the scan which may have "outdated" information and though that works for 99% of people with cablecards, it is often prone to errors many of which would go unnoticed.

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nickk
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by nickk »

The HDHomeRun does a channel scan to detect which channels are subscribed - same as WMC did.

The cable company may have 1000+ channels and you may be subscribed to 250 of them. When you have a basic STB it doesn't matter but a DVR needs to know which channels can be used for recording.

The scan also detects DRM requirements and if the channel is HD.

The scan is not used for tuning information - the HDHomeRun always uses the current tuning information from the cable system.

Nick

signcarver
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by signcarver »

Though WMC did a scan, that was really for analog channels the old ATI tuners might be able to use and served no real purpose with a prime or infinitv. WMC goes entirely by the guide data downloaded to get its channel list when it comes to cablecard. The scan in WMC has never removed unsubscribed channels from cablecard lineups nor added channels that weren't already in the guide. Personally I prefer the full guide and my providers did too as one of the points in seeing the full guide is to entice viewers to subscribe to those premium channels, it also helps when there are free previews. It's only been the last couple of years that they have caved in to showing subscribed or "free to me" channels in their guide.

What seems to be required in this case is tuning to determine DRM status of the scan and/or some type of fall back in app when tuning actually tunes a DRM protected channel that isn't already marked as such, as it appears that it isn't utilizing the TA for at least some of the scan (which would have tuned the DRM protected channel in this case). Or allow one to edit the scan to mark such as DRM or not (there have been a few false positives, but the user needs to be aware that marking something as not being DRM protected does not actually change such protection as such protections are always performed/enforced live from the tuner, while marking something as DRM protected will most likely force DRM protection measures).

Though I know I am in a very small minority here, and admit possibly even the only one, there is a part of me that would like to see DRM recording come out and then have the app "always" tune using the DTCP-IP parameters and have "ALL" recordings always be DRM protected... However I would concede that such wouldn't be expected with regular OTA content but all 4 providers I have actually paid for content from have always had DRM on ALL cable channels so I am more used to that than most. Of course in my world such a concession on SD's part would also bring DRM recording much sooner by showing that they "will protect the content" but most likely there will still be content owners that won't want and fight allowing such so it will continue to be moot.

jasonl
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Re: Can’t view some cable channels Windows 10 and Android TV

Post by jasonl »

WMC has one scan you can run that will disable inaccessible channels from a CableCARD tuner, but it took like 2 hours to run times the number of tuners so it was faster to just disable them by hand in WMC or using whatever that third-party tool was that could directly modify the database.

The mismatch in DRM status between channels that exist on the CableCARD and channels that require the TA will break the scan logic on those channels. The scan takes the channel list from the TA and tries to tune each of those channels using the data from the CableCARD since it's much faster to tune without using the TA. If tuning fails, it will retry that channel with the TA. If the channel works on the card but doesn't have the same results, then incorrect data gets recorded. This split method only applies on the channel scan, since actual tuning of channels is required by the TA spec to use the TA if it is present and operational. I don't think this scan cheat has ever been a problem before because cable providers don't typically have a mismatch in the DRM status between SD and HD versions of the same channel. It's either DRM everywhere or DRM on channels run by specific companies and resolution doesn't matter.

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