CableCARD "removed"

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Joram

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CableCARD "removed"

#1

Post by Joram » Sun Sep 06, 2020 5:40 pm

Not sure if this is the right sub-forum for this question, but here goes...

My wife (who does most of the TV watching in our home) reported this morning that she could not tune to any channels on live TV. After verifying this (WMC claims a "viewing conflict") , I opened the Ceton Diagnostics utility and saw in the "CableCARD Setup Steps" tab that every item had a blue circle instead of a green check mark. Then I went to the InfiniTV Device Webpage and noticed, under Status, that it said "Removed" for the CableCARD.

The CableCARD has definitely not been removed, so something's going on here. I pulled the CableCARD out and slid it back in, but that didn't help. Wondering if the CableCARD died overnight (a couple of shows got recorded late last night without a problem).

Assuming that the CableCARD needs replacing, what are the implications we can expect from changing it out? Is it a simple matter of activating/pairing the new card and then we're back to normal, or will we (and this is the main concern) lose our copy-protected recordings?

Joram

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#2

Post by Joram » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:33 pm

UPDATE: There has been some progress, but not enough.

I tried a variety of things: dusting the inside of the computer; running a CCleaner cleanup; rebooting; sliding the CableCARD out and then rebooting and sliding the CableCARD back in.

The last one seems to have made a difference, as now the Ceton Diagnostics says that the CableCARD is "Inserted." Then when I launched Windows Media Center and tried to tune to a channel, WMC asked if I wanted to set up my CableCARD. (This had not happened before, at least not in years.) A positive sign, in the sense that at least now it knows there's a CableCARD in there.

However, neither of the two options that Setup offered made any sense to me: Insert a second CableCARD, or remove the existing one until I get a new one. I selected the first option, which after some seconds brought up the following message:

CableCARD selection 2.png

Not sure how to proceed here. Does this confirm that the CableCARD is toast and I should get a new one?

We have a secondary WMC computer in my office, with its own PCIe Ceton InfiniTV 4 and CableCARD. Can I simply slide that CableCARD out of the second PC and slide it into the first PC? I assume that I'll need to pair it? And this change wouldn't affect our ability to watch programs recorded off protected channels, right?

Joram

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#3

Post by Joram » Mon Sep 07, 2020 3:09 am

NEW UPDATE: Some more progress. Started the TV Setup process in WMC and this time reached the following screen:

TV Setup 3 tuners detected.png

The InfiniTV 4 has, of course, 4 tuners and not 3. Clicking on "Show Details" yielded the following:

TV Setup undetected tuner.png

Not sure if I should go ahead with a 3-tuner setup, but I do know we can't watch any live TV (or record it) at all on that system right now.

Thoughts?

Joram

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#4

Post by Joram » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:52 pm

Still hoping for advice or insights into whether one can switch a CableCARD from one device to another, and what's involved in doing that. The instructions on Verizon's site have to do with setting up a new CableCARD which includes typing in the activation code that Verizon sent with it, but I'm dubious as to whether I can use the same activation code for the same CableCARD on a new (different) computer.

Meanwhile, there is a further update. Overnight, a couple of scheduled recordings failed but then recorded. Wondering if one of the Ceton tuners has gone bad, or if this could be due to the CableCARD.

However, we can't watch live TV, WMC keeps claiming it's unable to view the channel.

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#5

Post by Joram » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:54 pm

New update: WMC now detects all four tuners. However, we still can't watch live TV and when I try to record something it fails on Tuner 1 with an error, then records on Tuner 2.

I've looked at the WMC tuner diagnostics as well as the Ceton Diagnostics utility, and I can't tell what or if anything is actually wrong with Tuner 1. I can't see any difference in the Tuner 1 readings from these diagnostics relative to what they give for Tuners 2, 3, and 4.

Joram

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#6

Post by Joram » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:33 pm

Further update: Now live TV is working again. But two concurrent shows still failed to record on tuners 1 and 3 (they did record on tuners 2 and 4).

What a bizarre series of events.

Thoughts, please?

adam1991

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#7

Post by adam1991 » Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:52 am

Joram wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:52 pm
Still hoping for advice or insights into whether one can switch a CableCARD from one device to another
The cableCARD is bound to the tuner, not the computer.

From the perspective of the cable company, they don't care where the tuner is installed. Their system recognizes the card as valid as long as it's installed in that same tuner.

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#8

Post by Joram » Tue Sep 08, 2020 4:11 pm

adam1991 wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 10:52 am
Joram wrote:
Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:52 pm
Still hoping for advice or insights into whether one can switch a CableCARD from one device to another
The cableCARD is bound to the tuner, not the computer.

From the perspective of the cable company, they don't care where the tuner is installed. Their system recognizes the card as valid as long as it's installed in that same tuner.
Thank you!
So if I understand what you're saying, I should swap out the Ceton+CableCARD together as a unit between the two computers, rather than just the CableCARD, is that right?

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#9

Post by Joram » Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:31 pm

CURRENT STATUS: We spoke with Verizon tech support, who guided us through the process of switching the CableCARD (only) from the newer WMC PC to the older WMC PC, and then got it to work. We now have live TV and all tuners operational. So it looks like the whole problem lay with the old CableCARD.

Oh, and for future reference for anybody reading this who's facing a similar situation, I'm happy to report that we did not lose the ability to watch protected recordings after changing the CableCARD.

The tech guy said he would have a new CableCARD sent to us for the second PC. We can activate that one in the usual way, either online or over the phone, and then return the defective CableCARD.

adam1991

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#10

Post by adam1991 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:21 am

Joram wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 8:31 pm
CURRENT STATUS: We spoke with Verizon tech support, who guided us through the process of switching the CableCARD (only) from the newer WMC PC to the older WMC PC, and then got it to work. We now have live TV and all tuners operational. So it looks like the whole problem lay with the old CableCARD.
ummm....did you SWITCHthe cableCARD--MOVE the cableCARD--from one PC to another and then it worked? Or did you REPLACE the cableCARD and put a new one into a different PC?

From what you said, it looks like the problem does NOT lay with the card, but with the tuner? Verizon helped you move the card from a tuner in one PC to a tuner in the other PC?

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#11

Post by Joram » Wed Sep 09, 2020 5:14 am

Here's the details. We have two WMC computers, one that was first set up in 2012 and the other one in 2019. A few days ago, all of a sudden we started having trouble with the older PC, where we could not tune to live TV. The situation developed as described in the first several posts even as I tried to investigate and troubleshoot. All sorts of bewildering results as I reported.

Finally, I concluded that the problem must lie either with the Ceton tuner or with the CableCARD. One way to test this was to move the CableCARD from the newer PC, which was working well, into the older PC. If things still didn't work right, then the main suspect would be the tuner, but if this move fixed the problem, then it was likely the CableCARD. I considered moving the tuner and CableCARD together, but figured this wouldn't tell me which of the two was the problem.

At this point the issue became whether and how to move the CableCARD from the newer, working PC to the older PC. One of the concerns was whether this might cause the copy-protected programs on the older PC to not run because it had a new (different) CableCARD plugged in. But wife agreed that it was OK for that to happen since we weren't getting new recordings reliably... and the new season of "Jeopardy" is starting up next week. Dozens of stored premium-channel movies were worth sacrificing for this. :D

The next issue was how to carry out the CableCARD switch. Verizon's instructions on the Web all talk about having to type in an activation code, but of course here we had an existing CableCARD and no (new) activation code, so did we need that?

This afternoon we called Verizon tech support and the guy was highly knowledgeable, helpful, and patient -- the whole package. He told us we simply needed to slide the CableCARD out of the newer PC and into the older PC, then he would ask us for the required data, no new activation code needed. He sent a validation signal, and everything was hunky-dory.

So you might say there were both a "switch" and a "replace." The CableCARD from the newer PC got switched to the older PC, and later this week we'll be getting a new CableCARD for the newer PC to replace the one we took out today.

Hope it's come out clearly there. :)

adam1991

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#12

Post by adam1991 » Wed Sep 09, 2020 8:17 pm

ah, makes sense.

And for the lurkers: the cableCARD is not part of any WMC DRM. The CARD simply validates letting the signal through the tuner to WMC.

Changing out cableCARD does not affect any DRM on the recorded show.

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#13

Post by Joram » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:02 pm

EPILOGUE: The new CableCARD for the second PC arrived yesterday (Wednesday) and we installed and activated it today. Everything's working great.

Also, just as @adam1991 said, we did not lose any copy-protected recordings.

Couldn't ask for a better outcome!

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#14

Post by bernie_xg » Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:13 pm

I will share my experience, if you end up running into similar problems.

- Tuner ends up not working (I have a 6 tuner) I traced this back to times where WMC will try to tune to a non-channel or a channel I dont sub too. (e.g. I have it look for shows in the guide, it tries to tune to that channel, and doesnt recover, and is stuck in some unusable state) What I did here is go through and disable any channel that it wont tune (guide tool)
- I read somewhere here, heat can play a part, so I use a high air flow case.

Doing both of those things have stopped a lot of the issues I have had with unable to tune, or card appearing invalid.

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#15

Post by Joram » Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:26 pm

Thanks, this is good to know. :thumbup:

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#16

Post by DSperber » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:38 am

bernie_xg wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:13 pm
I traced this back to times where WMC will try to tune to a non-channel or a channel I dont sub too. (e.g. I have it look for shows in the guide, it tries to tune to that channel, and doesnt recover, and is stuck in some unusable state) What I did here is go through and disable any channel that it wont tune (guide tool)
One simple way to avoid this possibility and also to make EPG123 processing quicker, and WMC Guide more compact, is to un-check everything in EPG123 configuration (for your SD channel lineups) that you don't have any interest in. Or, conversely, you can "clear" all channels to start (i.e. push "none") and then CHECK only those channels you DO have interest in. Now only those checked channels will be downloaded and thus get "named" in WMC "edit channels" list. The WMC database is also dramatically reduced in size. So you can then also "check" only those channels in WMC channels list setup, dramatically reducing the number of channels appearing in your WMC Guide when using "ALL". Of course you can further reduce this all-possible-channels list using one or more FAVORITES.

For example, I have both Ceton (for Spectrum cable channels) and Hauppauge (for OTA/ATSC channels) tuners in my HTPC. I therefore use two SD channel lineups, which provide a total of 1534 channels (including music) theoretically available to EPG123. Obviously most of that is of no interest to me (e.g. of the 125 or so OTA digital channels and sub-channels available in the LA area, I only have interest in the 6 main "x.1" broadcast channels).

So in EPG123 I've only checked a total of 83 out of 1534 total possible checkboxes, with 6 being in the OTA channel lineup and the other 77 being in the cable channel lineup.

So with my WMC channel list configured to match these 83 "channels of any interest to me", that's all I ever have to look at (or search) in the Guide even if I'm looking through ALL. That's the only Guide data present in the WMC database as updated by EPG123 each night, so that's all that worst case might ever be "search'ed". Can't possibly discover anything on a channel I'm not subscribed to or have no interest in.

Nightly (or on-demand) EPG123 updates run just a few minutes. With WMC Guide set to "9 rows per page" it only takes 10 page-downs to look through worst-case 83 channels shown by WMC Guide in "ALL", and much less if I've selected one of my Guide FAVORITES subsets.

Well worth the minor one-time setup time involved with reconfiguring EPG123 (and resulting WMC Guide) to show only those channels I truly might ever watch something on or have any interest in). And it would automatically prevent mysteriously locking up a Ceton tuner trying to tune to a non-subscribed channel.

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#17

Post by adam1991 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:31 am

when I did what you describe, years ago, I came to the realization that I paid ANY attention only to 11 channels--and that I regularly watched no more than 6 of those.

That's when I just dumped pay TV altogether.

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