Comcast MPEG-4 in Bay Area

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by KingsFan6, Mar 29, 2016.

  1. Mar 29, 2016 #1 of 256
    KingsFan6

    KingsFan6 Member

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    A while back, I received a notice that Comcast would switch to MPEG-4 on 2/23 in the S.F. Bay Area. To this day, the size of recordings are still as if broadcasts are still in MPEG-3. Can other Bay Area folks verify what they're seeing?
     
  2. Mar 29, 2016 #2 of 256
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    If you check Settings, Account & System Info, TiVo box Diagnostics there is an entry for each tuner marker Video PID. It will say (MPEG-2) or (MPEG-4).
     
  3. Mar 29, 2016 #3 of 256
    steff3

    steff3 Member

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    I'm between Sacramento and San Francisco and still mpeg2
     
  4. Mar 29, 2016 #4 of 256
    rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

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    I don't think they are switching ABC/CBS/FOX/NBC. So if you are referring to those recordings, you will not see a change in file size.
     
  5. Mar 30, 2016 #5 of 256
    Chevelleman

    Chevelleman Member

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    In the Portland area it was about a month after our deadline when we finally switched over.

    You'll notice to when you have it that skip mode missing from all new cable recodings.
     
  6. Mar 31, 2016 #6 of 256
    KingsFan6

    KingsFan6 Member

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    Yep, confirmed that I'm still MPEG-2 as well . . . in the East Bay. I guess they're just late in completing the switch.
     
  7. Jul 5, 2016 #7 of 256
    KingsFan6

    KingsFan6 Member

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    FWIW, I received a letter in the mail from Comcast last week giving notice that the switch to MPEG-4 is coming up. It asks customers to contact contact Comcast by 8/2 for equipment replacement if necessary. I suppose that means 8/2 or very soon thereafter, the switch will occur.
     
  8. Jul 5, 2016 #8 of 256
    NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Just curious, if a Comcast customer must switch out set-top box equipment in order to receive service after the MPEG-4 switchover, is he/she forced to adopt an X1 box or does Comcast offer some lower-level MPEG-4-capable box?
     
  9. Jul 5, 2016 #9 of 256
    mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I got some letter too, haven't opened it.. Tivos do MPEG 4 nowadays too.. so it's not a big deal.
     
  10. Jul 6, 2016 #10 of 256
    KingsFan6

    KingsFan6 Member

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    I assume you have a Roamio, so it shouldn't matter for you unless you also happen to have a Comcast box in another room :) I think the answer to your question is no, you do NOT have to adopt an X1 box. Some Motorola boxes such as the DCX3400 that I had prior to the Roamio supports MPEG-4.
     
  11. Jul 7, 2016 #11 of 256
    cgould

    cgould Member

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    New Tivos, yes. My beloved OLED HD S3 doesn't handle MPG4...
    and strangely Comcast Bay Area suddenly charged me $11.45 EACH for my two cablecards (while the first one in my Roamio is still $1.50), so what the heck..
    so my S3 will be going away soon. Not supported and more expensive? bye... snif

    However my Roamio is also still having channel tuning V52/V53 problems on many channels, but my S3 is fine, so I'm scared...
     
  12. Jul 7, 2016 #12 of 256
    murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    Call them up and give them hell. If they won't budge, ask to be transferred to customer retention.
     
  13. Jul 8, 2016 #13 of 256
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Your S3 will still work for OTA - if it is lifetimed you might want to set it up for OTA as a backup for the major broadcast networks.
     
  14. Jul 8, 2016 #14 of 256
    cgould

    cgould Member

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    Yes, it's lifetimed.. though actually broadcast channels I believe aren't going to switch to MPG4? so it could still be backup for them on cablecard..
    My OTA reception stank, too many stations in different locations for bay area.
    I do still have antenna mast rotting somewhere.
    More likely I'd sell it, as it is 1TB expanded, lifetimed.. as noted, still valuable for OTA and/or cable non-MPG4 use.
     
  15. Jul 8, 2016 #15 of 256
    mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I've had FF work strangely on a couple of recordings lately, and I thought it was MPEG 4 (due to previous discussion).. But a message above says 8/2 is when the switchover happens. IIRC, the FF was way too fast and looked different, sort of flickery.

    plus, one of the recordings was off one of the rebroadcasts of a network station, IIRC..

    Can I tell from a recording sitting on the Tivo if it's MPEG 2 or MPEG 4?
     
  16. Jul 9, 2016 #16 of 256
    HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    Size of the recording on the TiVo could be a good indication as the MPEG4 recordings have been reported to be a lot smaller.

    Scott
     
  17. Jul 9, 2016 #17 of 256
    tivoyahoo

    tivoyahoo New Member

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    I've only seen channels 677 (beIN-HD) & 820 (OWN) as the only h.264 channels thus far. if you tune to those channels and go into diagnostics and scroll down to the tuners with those channels it should show H.264 (or MPEG2 if not transitioned) on the Video PID line for an S4 tivo or higher model. Even if you don't subscribe to the channel and get a "channel not authorized (v58)" the diags should still show mpeg2 or h.264.

    Enter that screen here:

    -->Settings & Messages
    -->Account & System Info
    -->Tivo Box Diagnostics

    and then on the Video PID line H.264 or MPEG2 will show up for each tuner.

    Also, there is channel 1995 which is some sort of mpeg4 test channel I believe, and may only be compatible with comcast boxes, but it shows as a mpeg2 in Diags in my case. And on screen it shows 3 scrolling dots perpetually whereas I believe an mpeg4 compatible comcast box would show some sort of compatibility confirmation screen, although I don't know, but would like to. and would like to know if any tivo users see anything different on that test channel.

    But more importantly am wondering if anyone is able to record .h264 channel 820 - OWN Oprah Winfrey Network shows ? It's part of Digital Starter and above and I can tune into it fine to view on both a roamio pro and roamio base model, and the video quality looks very good. However neither roamio will record programs on that channel. and it won't even buffer properly - can't pause live tv / rewind - shows a false buffer. And recording attempts just fail even though initially they appear to start recording.

    I don't believe it's a card pairing issue as that's the only channel that is an issue, unless the transition requires re-pairing. And I don't subscribe to channel 677 beIN-HD which is part of the latino tier, so I can't test that channel other than to see it's .h264 in the diags screen when I tune to it, just like 820.

    so I don't know if the inability to record / buffer channel 820 OWN is a comcast issue, hardware issue on 2 roamios, tivo software issue, cable card issue, or?? but if others users can replicate my findings that should shed more light. and as the poster reported, I too have seen the letter indicating August 2 transition date so the clock is ticking. I believe sacramento has converted more channels to .h264 than the bay area at this point so maybe there are answers from users there??
     
  18. Jul 9, 2016 #18 of 256
    tivoyahoo

    tivoyahoo New Member

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    are the recordings from channels that are showing as h.264 in tivo diagnostics? that's probably the easiest check.

    and then if you want to confirm the type, do you use any tools to pull files off the tivo? e.g. Tivo Desktop, pyTivo, kmttg If so, you could examine the file in more depth - there are numerous tools which will report the encoding.

    or without any tools, the tivo web server may report the file type (definitely the size) in a web browser and will give you the option to download the file in a screen like this:
    http://s299.photobucket.com/user/ilovehdtv/media/Other/TiVo/tivoweb3.png.html

    there are probably how to's on this site about the tivoweb server built into tivo, but quick how to on accessing it is:
    Get the IP address of your TiVo from the Network and Phone Settings screen
    Using a browser, go to https://< IP address of TiVo> (note the "s" in "https")
    You should be prompted for a user name and password. Use "tivo" without the quotes for the user name and your 10 digit Media Access Key for the password

    Do any show as mpeg4? maybe a more knowledgeable user can confirm that the file type shows differently for mpeg4 files from the tivo web? or it may just show for all files:

    Download MPEG-PS
    Download MPEG-TS

    if that's the case, smaller file sizes would be a good indication as mentioned by previous poster. and then you can download from those links. and use a mediainfo tool (many out there for all OS's) to get the encoding
     
  19. Jul 10, 2016 #19 of 256
    murgatroyd

    murgatroyd Don't stop believin'

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    Fascinating.

    I went to live TV, tuned to OWNHD on 820, and recorded a minute of the show by pushing the record button.

    I can see the recording I made in the Now Playing list on my TiVoHD.

    I can transfer that recording to the Roamio (Basic) and it plays with no problem.

    I repeated the experiment with the Roamio. The Roamio acts like it is recording the show, but once I stop the recording, I can't see the partial recording in My Shows.

    When I look at the Roamio from the TiVoHD, it doesn't appear in the list of the Roamio's shows.

    Test #2: Recording on the Roamio, kmttg says that the show is currently recording.

    The red recording light is on. The progress bar is stuck at the timestamp where I started the recording and isn't progressing. I let the recording stop at the end of the timeslot.

    The recording doesn't appear in MyShows. I pulled up the list of shows on the Roamio with kmttg and the show is not there.

    Checking the history on the Roamio -- I see three entries for the show that say "Not Recorded" and one "Can Recover" (the one transferred from the TiVoHD -- I deleted it after playing it on the Roamio).

    The reason it gives for why the show wasn't recorded? 'Not authorized'.

    The listing on the website for my zip code says OWNHD 820 is in both Digital Starter and Digital Preferred.

    I have Digital Preferred. I'm supposed to be authorized for this channel.

    Edited to add: I don't remember where the flag is that would show whether I'm actually authorized for this channel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  20. Jul 10, 2016 #20 of 256
    tivoyahoo

    tivoyahoo New Member

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    That is likewise fascinating that the TivoHD succeeds where the Roamio fails and adds another twist, and may help with isolating the issue.

    The above mirrors my experience. essentially becomes a faux recording that disappears with only a trace under history as not authorized. I was hoping someone would be able to replicate my results and rule out it being an issue specific to my roamios. and you did - Thank You.


    Yes, it's a Digital Starter and above package channel. The fact that the channel can be viewed on screen tells me it's being received and decrypted properly by the cable card, i.e. authorized. and that on the comcast side things are working properly. but it seems something on the roamio side is flagging the content for not being able to record. yet somehow that flag / non-authorization to record isn't present/interfering on the TivoHD's ability to record. And that successful recording was not flagged in a way that copy protected content would be in preventing transfer, such as HBO and premium movie channels in the case of Comcast. Must be some other type of block that prevents the recording of H.264 streams.

    I went into Account & System Info
    => Cable Card Decoder
    => Cable Card Options
    => Cable Card Menu
    => Conditional Access

    and using the select button you can toggle ("next") through the 6 tuners, numbered 0-5 matching the Tivo Box Diagnostics screen. For channels I don't receive such as (h.264 / mpeg 4 channel 677 677 beIN-HD), I see "Auth: NS" and for channels that are part of my package I see "Auth: S" or "Auth: FWK"

    according to this:
    https://support.tivo.com/articles/T...ooting-Roamio-Series-and-Premiere-Series-DVRs

    "Auth (should say 'S')
    If this field contains any other value than S, the CableCARD has not received proper authorization for the channel"

    so if Auth is S on the tuner number tuned to 820 OWN, then it would be appear to be a non-comcast issue and isolate it to being a tivo issue, and more specifically roamio. I've tested both a pro roamio and base roamio with the same results. I wonder how the other series - bolt and premiere handle that channel?

    Unless there's something else being sent on the comcast side that is flagging the content as unrecordable. The bay area isn't the first mpeg4 transition market so this must have come up before I would think.

    Also, channel 677 beIN-HD (one of the transistioned mpeg4 channels), is available with the add on sports and entertainment package ($10/mo):
    http://www.xfinity.com/corporate/programming/sports/sepackage.html

    I wonder if anyone is able to successfully record from 677 beIN-HD or if the roamio behaves similarly as with the 820 OWN case now documented. Or if anyone can find other H.264 channels not yet identified as the August 2 date nears. If comcast throws the switch on a large block of channels all at once and sends them in the same fashion as 820 OWN, roamios may be unable to record those as well.
     

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