Quantcast Recording TV program (Comcast HD DTA) - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
03-28-2014, 10:00 PM
ieee488 ieee488 is offline
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I have Comcast TV, and they just switched to encrypting basic cable.
I received a free HD DTA from Comcast which has a HDMI output, so watching TV isn't a problem.
However, my Magnavox DVD recorder appears to be recording a 16:9 picture in 4:3.
I mean that the sides are literally cutoff.
I set the Magnavox DVD recorder's tuner to channel 3 and set the HD DTA to the actual channel that I want to record.

Before the HD DTA box, the programs were being recorded properly.
In other words, when I play back the recorded programs on my TV they were in 16:9.

What do I have to do to be able to make the Magnavox DVD recorder record correctly?
I know I am not understanding something.
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  #2  
03-29-2014, 04:16 AM
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Have you tried to change the DVD recorder to 16x9 input mode? (Assuming it has one.)

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  #3  
03-29-2014, 08:40 AM
ieee488 ieee488 is offline
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The setting I have for the Magnavox is for setting the video of the TV it is connected to.

My Magnavox is the older model that I bought from Walmart.
It has a 120GB hard drive and the DVD recorder and a digital tuner.
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04-02-2014, 06:49 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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First: I do not have COMCAST, or know which HD set top box (STB) you have (they do have several makes/models they use). With that in mind I offer the folowing speculation:

Many HD STB offer options as to how analog and RF outputs are configured for the viewing device (TV or VCR). It sounds like yours might be set to 4:3 PAN/SCAN which keeps the 480 line picture height and lops off the sides to fit a 4:3 screen. Check the cable box menu/options and see which are present.

With luck there is a setting that will give a normal 16:9 (anamorphic) NTSC SD signal to the DVD recorder. (Personally, I would make the RF (Ch3/4) connection my last choice.) At DVD playback the viewer may need to experiment a bit to find the right combination settings on the DVD player and TV settings to upscale it to properly fit a 16:9 screen if the recording is not identified as 16:9.

When all TV was 4:3 with only a RF conenction life was simple, we only had to sort out PAL and NTSC, and where we live generally did that for us. Now it is beyond the skills set of the average Joe and Jane Sixpack - well beyond what was required to program a VCR. Too many choices in too many places: RF, composite, s-video, component, DVI, or HDMI; 4:3 or 16:9; and 480i, 480p, 720, 1080i, or 1080p just to name a few. (At least with HDMI sopem of this is automatic.)

Also there may be some level of digital rights management (e.g., copy protection) implemented in the STB for certain program material so this could add a complication.
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04-02-2014, 09:04 AM
ieee488 ieee488 is offline
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Because Comcast is encrypting even basic cable, the digital tuner on the Maganavox is useless.
The Comcast HD DTA has only HDMI output and the RF output.
Since the Maganavox does not have a HDMI input, the only choice is to connect the RF output on the DTA box to RF input on the Magnavox.

I have found with some experimentation that the Magnavox will record the program correctly if the picture is a box within a box when that same channel is viewed on my HDTV. In other words, the TV program has black borders on all four sides.

This webpage http://blog.trebacz.com/2013/09/comc...ce-dc60xu.html shows the Comcast HD DTA that I have.
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  #6  
04-02-2014, 09:56 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Thanks for the DTA link. I guess we get what we pay for.

Does changing the DTA's TV aspect and TV Output Resolution settings have any effect? (I would try settings of 16:9 and 480i). While this will likely down-res the HDMI signal to the HDTV set, it might solve the problem while recording. But I can't test it and am not optomistic.)

The black bands all around sounds like the DTA RF output has letterboxed a 16:9 signal and stuffed into a 4:3 format for viewing on a conventional TV. Using a HDTV set's "zoom" function to fill the ecreen does not provide an especially pleasing image.

A full up digital converter box "might" solve the problem with additional output options, give analog outputs which should be better for recording, and provide a full-up program guide - but at an additional cost ($10 per month?).

(Content provides do not want us to record their material for later viewing, they want us to buy it on a PPV basis, or buy their commercial DVD/BD release. Thus they dumb down the recordable signal and/or copy protect it.)
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04-02-2014, 10:05 AM
ieee488 ieee488 is offline
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I can't figure out why Comcast felt it necessary to encrypt basic cable.
That's what I have. Just the network channels.

Even after the DTA box was activated.
I had to call up Comcast and get the tech support to activate the HD channels. It was a joke.

The channels aren't all the same.
Some have the black border all around.
Some have the black border on the sides.

The HD channels are fine.

I don't record a lot of programs.
Just some of the Live from Lincoln Center programs on PBS which are broadcast only a few times.

And the bad thing about having to use the DTA is that I have to remember to set it to the channel that I want to record. The Magnavox DVD recorder is always set to channel 3. What a pain the butt!
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04-02-2014, 01:18 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
I can't figure out why Comcast felt it necessary to encrypt basic cable.
Money - reduce$ cable $ervice piracy - only folk$ with a box can get it, and $tolen boxe$ can be deactivated once reported.

They were encrypting the pay-for channels already, so encrypting the rest cost them little extra. And all digital would need a decoder box of some sort feed older devices from the analog era.

The programs with the black bars on the sides only were probably 4:3 SD shows, not letterboxed 16:9 wide. In many if not most areas cable still carries a number of SD/4:3 channels. In my FIOS area channels below about 500 are 480i SD, and many are native 4:3 programming. Above 500 tend to be 16:9 HD, but some program material may still be 4:3, especially old movies and classic TV reruns.
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