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Old Dec 14, 2012, 06:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: IL
Using Mac as DVR/PVR/DVHS vs. Cable Company

I recently attempted to use my mac as a digital recorder of a network TV show through the Firewire on my cable box and I came to a sad realization. It's looking like the cable operators and the 'anti-pirating nazis' have won the battle. Years ago, we could program a VCR and watch our preferred show at a later time. Now...I can't find a way to do it without paying extra to the cable company.

Here's what I tried so far:

MacBookPro, FW hard drive, Comcast cable, Motorola RNG110 box, FireRecord (freeware), VLC (freeware), Apple's AVCVideoCap(ture) + related programs (DVHS, etc).

After trying multiple times to capture a network FOX broadcast, I always came up with nothing. I discovered that the Motorola box provided had the 1394 port (Firewire) set to 'Disabled'. Doing more research and finding the FCC's regulation 76.640(i) that states the cable operator shall:

Effective April 1, 2004, upon request of a customer, replace any leased high definition set-top box, which does not include a functional IEEE 1394 interface, with one that includes a functional IEEE 1394 interface or upgrade the customerís set-top box by download or other means to ensure that the IEEE 1394 interface is functional.
I called/visited my cable company (Comcast) to get a Firewire enabled STB (set top box), to which they responded, "That ain't gonna happen."

An FCC complaint has been filed.

What do you think: Am I fighting a losing battle here? Is there anyone that is successfully using their mac as a digital VHS?

I know there's other sticky issues that the cable company is doing that are breaking the law, like network TV that is broadcast in full HD, Comcast is reducing the resolution to 480i despite the FCC regulation 76.1904(a) that states:

(a) Commercial audiovisual content delivered as unencrypted broadcast television shall not be encoded so as to prevent or limit copying thereof by
covered products or, to constrain the resolution of the image when output
from a covered product.
But, of course, Comcast says that I must PAY for the HD package in order to view the network stations that are already TRANSMITTED in HD, which Comcast is reducing to SD, back to the original HD.

It's an aggravating and very confusing issue with all the changes to digital signal. Is there anyone out there that still uses their mac as a DVHS? I'd love to hear your setup, cable company, STB model and any extra info, if possible. I'd like to hear other thoughts and opinions, too.
Don't know what to believe, get the facts: www.factcheck.org
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