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Old 08-08-2013, 01:50 AM   #1
ralphw
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Comcast hell (Boston) - ALL broadcast TV marked as copy protected

All Boston local broadcast stations are all marked as "copy protected" on my TiVo series 2. This prevents you from saving programs for more than a week.

My Tivo Series two controls the Comcast Set Tob Box using an IR blaster, of course this already means my Second tuner is useless.
And now this "new" problem comes up, I can't save a program for > 24 hours after I start watching, and this most restrictive "copy control" setting
deletes the programs after 7 days.

This has been going on since 8/6/2013, (or possibly after midnight on 8/6) roughly. And it violates the FCC "Plug and Play" agreement - Google it - EFF has a copy

How can I get through to the right person at comcast to get their engineers in Boston to fix this? They keep giving me the number for Tivo, and of course it's outside their support hours.

You have to wonder if a MythTV box would be easier.

Last edited by ralphw : 08-08-2013 at 09:19 AM. Reason: date change
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:26 AM   #2
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That's a bug in their new cable box. It outputs Macrovision copy protection on all channels, which is the opposite of what it should be doing.

See if they have any old Motorola boxes laying around.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:59 AM   #3
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It *may* also be a side effect - intended or unintended - of Comcast encrypting all channels, even the local broadcast channels. The start date of "encrypt everything" was 8/6 for us in Nashua (I think we're technically considered part of the Boston area).
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:18 AM   #4
ralphw
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Comcast (boston) 8/6 "encryption" doesn't mean "NTSC copy protect"

I can believe they screwed this up - the dates matching isn't a coincidence.

I'm forced to have their "digital cable" box - even though I only cared about broadcast channels and C-SPAN anyway, and they said "we don't send NTSC signals any more" (a year ago).

This will be a good test to see if comcast really WANTS that 1000/year from me, when I can deploy a MythTV box + antenna and get a better HD picture for all of the relevant stations in Boston.

(update: 3rd call to comcast@ 10:20 - they still haven't earned it, tivo is helping as much as they can, and I'm sure they will enjoy listening to the ineptitude of the comcast rep - call lasted until 11:45 with no resolution - other than comcast trying to blame Tivo after the Tivo rep left the call)

Last edited by ralphw : 08-08-2013 at 10:48 AM. Reason: because comcast sucks
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:20 AM   #5
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If you can get your locals via an antenna then that's probably your best bet. I get all of my locals via FIOS for two different markets, yet I choose to get them via OTA antenna because it's the best possible picture available. FIOS is great, but the locals they provide are a rebroadcast of what I can get directly via antenna. I also don't have to deal with any copy issues when getting them this way. I doubt that Verizon will ever flag the locals, but it's a non-issue for me.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jadziedzic View Post
It *may* also be a side effect - intended or unintended - of Comcast encrypting all channels, even the local broadcast channels. The start date of "encrypt everything" was 8/6 for us in Nashua (I think we're technically considered part of the Boston area).
Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphw View Post
I can believe they screwed this up - the dates matching isn't a coincidence.

I'm forced to have their "digital cable" box - even though I only cared about broadcast channels and C-SPAN anyway, and they said "we don't send NTSC signals any more" (a year ago).

This will be a good test to see if comcast really WANTS that 1000/year from me, when I can deploy a MythTV box + antenna and get a better HD picture for all of Boston.
That's possible, but I have seen at least 6 different posts like this over as many months. I don't remember the make/model of the cable box, but they all have Comcast and Series 2s in common.

Either way it's illegal to copy-protect OTA channels. Call Comcast and raise a (polite) stink.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:26 AM   #7
ralphw
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Comcat (boston) all channels copy-protected

The 90 minute call didn't resolve anything with comcast, except that we are sure this isn't a Tivo problem.

Is there anyone else there with a Comcast Set-top-box connected to a Series 2 Tivo? (in the Boston market?) I'd like to collect some more data before I start making this a "constituent work" project.

I'd Boston Series 2 users are still out there, please PM me - I'd like to do some experiments.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:59 AM   #8
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While you fight with Comcast and wait for them to fix it, you might try a Macrovision stripper. These devices were common back in the VCR age, might be a little harder to find now. They went by names like "video clarifier".
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Old 08-09-2013, 01:19 PM   #9
ralphw
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Macrovision "stripping"

Are we talking about the old-style macrovision that would mess with the AGC (automatic gain control) circuit and make a show unable to be recorded by a VCR?

This seems to be a different system of copy protection - the Tivo records the program just fine, it's just that it's improperly tagged as "copy protected", something that is not allowed for boston local channels.

After 6 calls over 3 days, I'm decided to get rid of the Xfinity box (a PACE RNG-110) and get a Tivo model that can also record over-the-air programs, and a free multistream cablecard from Comcast.
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #10
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The Macrovision signal causes the Tivo to mark programs as copy protected.
The Tivo is able to record the programs just fine because it meets the copy protection security requirements as a legitimate recording device.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:24 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphw View Post
they said "we don't send NTSC signals any more.
This is mostly true. NTSC is the older analog signals. ATSC is the newer digital signals that can be sent as high-def or multicast. The bandwidth is much lower to carry more signals, reduce noise and improve clarity.
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Old 08-09-2013, 11:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphw View Post
get a Tivo model that can also record over-the-air programs, and a free multistream cablecard from Comcast.
You can get a series 3 and replace your old Tivo's service number and keep the current monthly subscription. Models TCD648 must use 2 cable cards of any type. TCD652 and TCD658 can use 2 single or 1multistream cards.

If you are looking into Premieres, they only can use a multistream card (only 1card slot), the 4 tuner models of premieres, 4 and 4XL are digital cable only, NO OTA.

2 tuner models still work on OTA, analog and digital cable.

You may run into the same copy protection issue with the cable cards.
OTA is never protected.
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:14 AM   #13
ralphw
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Comcast box (RNG-110) replaced - no more problems (except Comcast denials)

Thanks.

I did end up replacing the Comcast STB (Pace RNG-110 labeled Xfinity), and I got a new TiVo Premiere (two RF inputs).
I did this even though nothing was wrong with the old Series 2 I had. It was all working acceptably until the week of 8/6/2013, when Comcast made a change on their side. Comcast kept trying to blame TiVo.

ALL content that Comcast was passing on from the local network affiliates WAS being marked as "copy protected" because of something the Comcast RNG-110 box was doing in response to a change Comcast made last week. This is not permitted, according to the FCC rulemaking documents I've been reading.

Quote:
You may run into the same copy protection issue with the cable cards.
OTA is never protected.
My Tivo would fail to record programs from the outputs of the digital cable STB, or if it did record it, it would be deleted within either 24 hours or 7 days. That's unacceptable. The new Tivo box connects directly to the Cable coming in the apartment, and can descrypt the broadcast networks (WBZ, WCVB), with no copy protection set - in other words, it's working according to the rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThAbtO View Post
[edited for brevity] You can get a series 4 and replace your old Tivo's service number and keep the current monthly subscription. ...

(certain) 2 tuner models still work on OTA, analog and digital cable.

You may run into the same copy protection issue with the cable cards.
OTA is never protected.
There's a thread showing people have the same problems with the RNG-110 in their area. I'll post the URL in response to this message:
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:24 AM   #14
ralphw
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Comcast box (RNG-110) marking OTA content as "

Here are some related threads.

This is a problem where the Comcast-provided RNG-110 is marking OTA content as "Copy Never" (code 0x07), when it should be "Copy Free" code 0x00.

This thread below meanders quite a bit, but what's galling is seeing people claim that Comcast (in 2012) can legally do this.
Comcast actually can't assert copy protection for Broadcast channels they carry.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb....php?p=9348190

Here's the Wikipedia article on Copy Control Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copy_Control_Information

I'll keep pursuing this, and post updates as I get them.
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Old 08-11-2013, 12:57 PM   #15
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Damn. I thought the problem was only with one specific new box, not the relaible old RNG-110.

Series 2 users still exist, and we don't deserve this.
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Old 08-11-2013, 08:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ralphw View Post
Thanks.

I did end up replacing the Comcast STB (Pace RNG-110 labeled Xfinity), and I got a new TiVo Premiere (two RF inputs).
I did this even though nothing was wrong with the old Series 2 I had. It was all working acceptably until the week of 8/6/2013, when Comcast made a change on their side. Comcast kept trying to blame TiVo.

ALL content that Comcast was passing on from the local network affiliates WAS being marked as "copy protected" because of something the Comcast RNG-110 box was doing in response to a change Comcast made last week. This is not permitted, according to the FCC rulemaking documents I've been reading.



My Tivo would fail to record programs from the outputs of the digital cable STB, or if it did record it, it would be deleted within either 24 hours or 7 days. That's unacceptable. The new Tivo box connects directly to the Cable coming in the apartment, and can descrypt the broadcast networks (WBZ, WCVB), with no copy protection set - in other words, it's working according to the rules.



There's a thread showing people have the same problems with the RNG-110 in their area. I'll post the URL in response to this message:

Is your S2 DT lifetimed?

If not, see if you can leverage your new Premiere purchase to get the $99 lifetime deal on the S2 the way S3 owners have been able to when they bought an S4.
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Old 12-09-2013, 10:23 PM   #17
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Comcast Hell comes to Detroit

Looks like Detroit is getting the same type of problem - Comcast announced that they would begin encrypting all channels on Limited Basic (this includes local OTA channels) as of December 3rd, and now the TiVo Series 2 I have on an Xfinity box (PACE RNG-110) is flagging both Fox and CBS programs with 7-day/24-hour deletion rules!

Of course, when I call Comcast, they have no idea what I'm talking about; not they say they'll have a higher level tech call me within 24 hours.

Not sure if this makes a difference, but has anyone tried one of the Dimax Grex modules to see if THAT resolves the problem??
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:43 AM   #18
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...Not sure if this makes a difference, but has anyone tried one of the Dimax Grex modules to see if THAT resolves the problem??
It should. I've used similar devices for quite a while now with a non-TiVo storebought DVR, and it records everything just fine. I have a "not Comcast" source, tho. Still, I know some channels likely shouldn't be recordable and yet are.
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