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temporalrift

@sbcglobal.net
reply to gpatrick900

Re: When & how often does comcast update the dta?

said by gpatrick900:

Comcast has figured a way to program DTAs for limited service as well as the digital starter service. That have not figured a way for the digital economy yet.

It's not so much that they haven't figured a way, just that they haven't implemented it (yet). Although DTAs are receive-only devices, every unit is uniquely addressable, and upon activation, each DTA is sent a configuration command that tells it which set of channels to tune.

As to your original question, it depends on what you mean by updating the DTA. There are several different kinds of updates, but it's all transparent to the end-user and initiated upstream (as it has to be, since the DTA doesn't transmit anything)...

Broadcast updates:
Firmware - very rarely changed but continually broadcast (DTA automatically applies if it's out of date)
Channel maps - continually broadcast, this tells the DTA which frequencies correspond to which channels. There are multiple channel maps (for different areas/tiers); the DTA uses whichever one it was told to use during activation

Uniquely addressed updates:
Configuration - upon activation, this tells the DTA that it's authorized for use and which channel map to use
Keep-alive - sent daily to tell the DTA that it's still authorized (720 hours without this message will cause the DTA to deactivate)

You can look through the DTA diagnostics mentioned above to get a feel for what's happening.

andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL

said by temporalrift :

Keep-alive - sent daily to tell the DTA that it's still authorized (720 hours without this message will cause the DTA to deactivate)

Are you sure about this? Unless it's a recent update, I never noticed any issue leaving the DTA powered off for weeks at a time. (I picked up mine when they became available, but it was several months before the analogs were removed.)

Also, in some areas, even basic analog is being dropped to make room. The "MAY" require a DTA probably means you must have a TV with a QAM tuner.


temporalrift

@sbcglobal.net

said by andyross:

Are you sure about this? Unless it's a recent update, I never noticed any issue leaving the DTA powered off for weeks at a time.

Yes, I found a relative's DTA had deactivated itself after being left plugged in but disconnected from cable for an extended time. It behaved like a fresh unit, with the diagnostics showing no channel map, no VCT ID, etc. I had setup the unit initially, so I knew it worked previously.

I'm not certain of the exact timing, though (i.e., if there's a grace period). The timeout very well may be 720 powered-on hours (30 days), which would make sense to prevent unneeded re-activations in low-usage environments.

Anyway, the countdown timer is visible in the diagnostics, along with the timestamp of the last addressable message. No doubt that this mechanism exists to ensure that stolen/resold DTAs shutdown without intervention.

gpatrick900

join:2008-08-30
New Castle, IN

said by temporalrift :

Anyway, the countdown timer is visible in the diagnostics, along with the timestamp of the last addressable message. No doubt that this mechanism exists to ensure that stolen/resold DTAs shutdown without intervention.

So what happens if the counter gets down to 0 with it plugged in? I notice mine saying 706 left. Does Comcast send a reset signal before then?


beachintech
There's sand in my tool bag
Premium
join:2008-01-06
kudos:5

said by gpatrick900:

said by temporalrift :

Anyway, the countdown timer is visible in the diagnostics, along with the timestamp of the last addressable message. No doubt that this mechanism exists to ensure that stolen/resold DTAs shutdown without intervention.

So what happens if the counter gets down to 0 with it plugged in? I notice mine saying 706 left. Does Comcast send a reset signal before then?

Yep, there are a few chances when it gets lower where it starts looking for the keep-alive, as long as it sees it, no issues.
--
Retired Tech at the Beach.
I speak for myself, not my former employer.