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bobfff

join:2005-08-13
Berkeley, CA

Comcast tech: "Never heard about the HDMI problem"

I just spoke with a Comcast 2nd level tech, asking if they were working with Motorola on resolving the problem of DCT6412 Series III HD cable boxes not communicating with HDMI-equipped AVR receivers (mine is a Denon 2807) that pass-through HDMI signals to HDMI capable TVs (in other words, connecting the cable box's HDMI output to the receiver's HDMI input and then from the receiver's HDMI output to the HDMI socket on the TV). As far as I know, there are no cable boxes that successfully do this, and most experience an HDCP copy protection error message.

The tech (SF Bay Area) said I was the first person who had called about this issue, which I found surprising given the number of complaints about this issue on a number of AV forums. So, if you are a Comcast cable subscriber and want to use HDMI to connect your home theatre components, it might be helpful to call Comcast to get this issue higher on their list of priorities.

Thanks.

Bob


haamster
Premium
join:2002-12-02
Monroe Township, NJ

1 edit
It has nothing to do with Comcast. The box is unable to do it. It is Motorola's (or by extrapolation, the MPAA's) issue. They are closing the analog loopholes to copy-protection and HDMI switches (receivers included) are on the list.

I guarantee you this is not an issue that anyone is working to fix in your favor. It is by design.

As for being the first to call about it, there is no inter-MSO database for common issues. That was probably the first time that phone support tech had heard of this issue, but certainly not the first time it's been reported.

edited because I just noticed I missed the word "no" in the paragraph above. Changes the meaning quite a bit.


DreamWraith
Premium
join:2004-04-07
Mount Vernon, WA

1 edit
reply to bobfff
somehow i posted this in the wrong thread.


MoxyDrink

@comcast.net
reply to bobfff
bobfff, hey man, listen to Haamster this guy knows what he's talking about.

bobfff

join:2005-08-13
Berkeley, CA
reply to haamster
True, the firmware fix needs to be developed by Motorola, but it would help light a fire with Motorola if Comcast started pressuring Motorola for a fix.

As to the argument that the fix won't be in our favor: The AVR receivers that can act as repeaters are just passing the signal and won't infringe on the copy protected material they're passing. This is neutral for the copyright owners. Not fixing the problem and preventing a "one connection" to the TV solution is likely to create more friction with interested parties (AV manufacturers, because it's harder to sell AVR receivers with the promise of HDMI pass through; consumers because folks setting up home theatres looking for a simpler cabling solution are going to be frustrated that the latest and greatest solution doesn't work, and so on).

So, my note was not meant to suggest Comcast is the reason for the problem, only to suggest that they have substantial leverage with the cable box manufacturers to push for a solution (btw, same problem apparently for SA boxes according to posts in the AVS forums). Hence, the more folks calling tech support to ask for a solution, the more likely that something positive will happen.

Regards,

Bob


JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL
reply to bobfff
Who enforces the copy protection? The Cable Box? the repeater? or the TV? If it's the Cable Box then I see the issue in that it's probably restricted to passing material only to a TV and not a repeater. It the TV is tasked with enforcing the copy protection (DRM) then the cable box shouldn't really care if there is an intervening repeater and let the device (TV) handle the DRM issue.
--
"Have I said something amiss?"


Loker
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Fargo, ND

1 edit
reply to bobfff
get HDMImax....they work really well! Basically the box has its DHCP chip and once the HDMI signal hits the box the box responds with its key and they handshake...then while the box is amplifying the signal it inadvertenly strips out the DHCP....

»www.spatz-tech.de/spatz/hdmimax. ··· imax.htm

they do not come cheap but they work well! (go to the main page you should be able to order from there)

(also I think this switch »www.spatz-tech.de/spatz/HDMI3x.h ··· MI3x.htm does the same thing but I do not know for sure)
--
"While preceding your entrance with a grenade is a good tactic in
Quake, it can lead to problems if attempted at work." -- C Hacking


haamster
Premium
join:2002-12-02
Monroe Township, NJ
reply to bobfff
said by bobfff:

As to the argument that the fix won't be in our favor: The AVR receivers that can act as repeaters are just passing the signal and won't infringe on the copy protected material they're passing.
Now I didn't mean to make an argument that this shouldn't be fixed, I was just stating my prediction that it won't ever be fixed. The cable box manufacturers will feel much more pressure the source side than they will ever feel from the cable companies.

A cable box can enforce HDCP from the box to the repeater, but after the repeater the box has no control over the signal. The box manufacturers decided to please the content providers by closing the loophole completely. Comcast has NO leverage because there aren't any manufacturers they can turn to even if they wanted to switch.


haamster
Premium
join:2002-12-02
Monroe Township, NJ
reply to JimThePCGuy
said by JimThePCGuy:

Who enforces the copy protection? The Cable Box? the repeater? or the TV? If it's the Cable Box then I see the issue in that it's probably restricted to passing material only to a TV and not a repeater. It the TV is tasked with enforcing the copy protection (DRM) then the cable box shouldn't really care if there is an intervening repeater and let the device (TV) handle the DRM issue.
The box is the enforcer. Everything connected to it has to be compliant or no signal is passed.


DreamWraith
Premium
join:2004-04-07
Mount Vernon, WA
reply to bobfff
the box he linked is compliant. it is "HDCP compatible". This implies it has its own HDCP handshaker, and thus, the signal is already "secured" once it hits the box, as far as the cable box would be able to tell. If the box then outputs a non HDCP signal, as the poster claimed, then everything should be kosher.


Loker
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Fargo, ND
said by DreamWraith:

the box he linked is compliant. it is "HDCP compatible". This implies it has its own HDCP handshaker, and thus, the signal is already "secured" once it hits the box, as far as the cable box would be able to tell. If the box then outputs a non HDCP signal, as the poster claimed, then everything should be kosher.
I do not think he was talking about the stuff I linked to....but yes there is a dip switch on the HDMI amp that allows it to pass on the TV's EDID or generate its own if the TV does not have one....but basically like I said to begin with the price is a little steep but if you want to run into your own equipment you can not go wrong because it strips the HDCP out of the signal it sends out....
--
"While preceding your entrance with a grenade is a good tactic inQuake, it can lead to problems if attempted at work." -- C Hacking


CableTool
Poorly Representing MYSELF.
Premium
join:2004-11-12
reply to bobfff
said by bobfff:

True, the firmware fix needs to be developed by Motorola, but it would help light a fire with Motorola if Comcast started pressuring Motorola for a fix.

Although this is of major concern with you I can gaurentee this is probably not even known or cared about by the majority of DVR owners which by default drops it off of Comcasts radar.

If Moto cant fix the myriad of other bugs that at times can render the box useless I dont see this even making it to the table.
--
*´*)
¸.•´¸.•*') ¸.•*.
(¸.•´ (¸.•'
Technicians -Unplugged


JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

1 edit
said by CableTool:

said by bobfff:

True, the firmware fix needs to be developed by Motorola, but it would help light a fire with Motorola if Comcast started pressuring Motorola for a fix.

Although this is of major concern with you I can gaurentee this is probably not even known or cared about by the majority of DVR owners which by default drops it off of Comcasts radar.

If Moto cant fix the myriad of other bugs that at times can render the box useless I dont see this even making it to the table.
There are a boatload of TV's out there with a single HDMI input. As HD DVD players become mainstream this year and require HDMI the addition of HDMI switches will also become commonplace. I think Comcast's HDMI enabled DVRs will need to play correctly in a switched HDMI environment.
J
--
"Have I said something amiss?"


DreamWraith
Premium
join:2004-04-07
Mount Vernon, WA
reply to bobfff
agreed. there are countless mid range surround sound receivers now which will accept multiple HMDI inputs and send them out a single output.


JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL
said by DreamWraith:

agreed. there are countless mid range surround sound receivers now which will accept multiple HMDI inputs and send them out a single output.
But the whole premise of this thread is the Comcast HDMI equipped DVR's won't talk to those receivers that act as HDMI repeaters.
--
"Have I said something amiss?"


DreamWraith
Premium
join:2004-04-07
Mount Vernon, WA
reply to bobfff
and that is why i agreed with your statement. i will quote what you said, for reference:

quote:
There are a boatload of TV's out there with a single HDMI input. As HD DVD players become mainstream this year and require HDMI the addition of HDMI switches will also become commonplace. I think Comcast's HDMI enabled DVRs will need to play correctly in a switched HDMI environment.


JimThePCGuy
Formerly known as schja01.
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-27
Morton Grove, IL

1 edit
withdrawn


CableTool
Poorly Representing MYSELF.
Premium
join:2004-11-12
reply to bobfff
And I still stand by my statement that the average customer who is ordering a DVR doesn't even know what HDMI is. Obvioulsy they wouldnt be represented on this board but it is what it is.

I think if Comcast wants to solidify its place in the average home theater set up then something has got to give...
--
*´*)
¸.•´¸.•*') ¸.•*.
(¸.•´ (¸.•'
Technicians -Unplugged


comcastgirl

@comcast.net
reply to bobfff
In the market I work for we no longer provide the box with an hdmi port. All our boxes are component wire boxes now. Some customers have the older boxes but no new boxes have it.

Cable Guy is right. While some customers are quite technically savvy, most are not. And most of them tell us when they call they are not. Only the savvy customers have noticed the change.


comcastgirl

@comcast.net
CableTool I mean, not Guy. Sorry.


haamster
Premium
join:2002-12-02
Monroe Township, NJ
reply to comcastgirl
said by comcastgirl :

In the market I work for we no longer provide the box with an hdmi port. All our boxes are component wire boxes now. Some customers have the older boxes but no new boxes have it.
What box model is this? SA? Motorola?

Haven't seen a new Motorola model without a DVI/HDMI yet.


Loker
Premium
join:2004-07-11
Fargo, ND
reply to comcastgirl
said by comcastgirl :

In the market I work for we no longer provide the box with an hdmi port. All our boxes are component wire boxes now. Some customers have the older boxes but no new boxes have it.

Cable Guy is right. While some customers are quite technically savvy, most are not. And most of them tell us when they call they are not. Only the savvy customers have noticed the change.
are you sure? because from what I have been able to find all of SA and Moto's new HD boxes or HD-DVR's come with at least DVI....
--
"While preceding your entrance with a grenade is a good tactic inQuake, it can lead to problems if attempted at work." -- C Hacking

MoxyDrink

join:2006-03-29
Franklin, TN
reply to CableTool
I'm with Haamster on this one.


DreamWraith
Premium
join:2004-04-07
Mount Vernon, WA
reply to CableTool
This coming from the person who claims STB's will soon be dinosaurs because everyone will be using cablecard, even considering their TV's do not support them. Heh.


CableTool
Poorly Representing MYSELF.
Premium
join:2004-11-12
We are not talking about next week.
Where do you think the whole CABLECARD mandate came from? And where do you think it is leading to? I know not all TVs support DCR but there is also a digital mandate fast approaching and what percentage of TVs are compliant with that without a box?
Now look ahead at what is rolling off of the assembly line television wise. The move is an all in one tuner, decrypter etc etc.

Im not saying boxes will not be able to be offered, Im saying that downloadable conditional access through the set will also be offered as well as cablecard and a consumer purchased STB and that the security access will not be able to be processed SOLELY through the cable box.

Every step the industry takes is leading AWAY from the STB. In any event the FCC is making sure that the consumer is not locked into renting/leasing or even owning a STB. They are setting mandates in place to ensure there will be other choices.
The more advanced the sets get, the more intricate systems are the less you will see the STB in the set up.
Not tomorrow, not next week.. but it is the nextgen.

p.s.
Where the hell did I say everyone will be using a cablecard?
--
*´*)
¸.•´¸.•*') ¸.•*.
(¸.•´ (¸.•'
Technicians -Unplugged

bobfff

join:2005-08-13
Berkeley, CA
reply to bobfff
The latest, this time from Motorola about the problems with HDMI and AVR receivers. I asked when they (Motorola) would have a fix for Comcast to implement.
****************
Unfortunately, this is proprietary information. We do not have
any information on the updates. You would need to keep in
contact with your provider to find out when an update is available.
Motorola is constantly striving to better their products but
your provider is the best place to keep up with the latest
firmware.

I do apologize for the inconvenience and I hope you have a
pleasant day.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to reply to
this email or call us 24/7 at 1-877-466-8646. Thank you again
for choosing Motorola and have a nice day.

*************

Well, I can't say this message contributed to my having a "nice day."

So Comcast is dependent on Motorola, Motorola treats news of a fix as a trade secret and suggests I ask Comcast....

Bob