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IR Code for Comcast DTA30
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brobin111
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I'll play around with that and let you know what happens.
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brobin111
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE: Thanks again for the tip on the channel with too many shows per hour (and for pooping Grimm to me yesterday!). Channel 56 here is a Vietnamese channel with new shows starting every 5-10 minutes. I deleted just that one, exited setup, then went back in and deleted the other 900+ irrelevent channels. All working well now.

The rest of the DTX9950's that I ordered will arrive today so I'll have everything in order tonight. Since I have to reprogram the shows anyway I've decided to use one machine per network, i.e. all CBS shows on one machine, ABC on another and so forth. There won't be any conflicts to resolve that way. One side benefit to this project is that the OTA picture quality is actually superior to Comcast's even against their digital boxes.

The total costs for this little project entailed $29 for the antenna (Channel Master 2016 from Amazon), $17 for the mounting bracket ( Winegard DS-200 from Amazon), a six pack of IR Blasters for $11 on ebay, and 5 DTX9950 boxes for $100 on ebay for a total outlay of $157 which is a payback of less than 11 months versus renting an additional 5 DTA boxes from Comcast. Four of the boxes are for RTV's and one for an old analog only flat screen.
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hdonzis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

brobin111 wrote:
Since I have to reprogram the shows anyway I've decided to use one machine per network, i.e. all CBS shows on one machine, ABC on another and so forth. There won't be any conflicts to resolve that way. One side benefit to this project is that the OTA picture quality is actually superior to Comcast's even against their digital boxes.


I went with a similar approach, which meant that I didn't actually have to do anything with IR Blasters nor programming codes into the RTV nor special channel lineups. I'm using the Zenith OTA STB, which requires code updates in the RTV, but I just leave it on all the time on NBC and only record NBC shows on that unit. It also meant that I didn't have to do anything special with channel lineups, I just picked a normal basic cable lineup with NBC and use that for selecting shows to record. Since I don't have the IR Blaster hooked up, and the STB always on tuned to NBC, all I need is the one channel of NBC programming in my Channel Guide (and just ignore the rest). I'll eventually update the IR Blaster codes since that was the purpose of my setting up that experiment (several years ago, now! ), but it has worked just fine leaving it on all the time on NBC and only recording NBC shows. And, as you say, the picture quality looks great!

Henry
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TakeTheActive
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:39 pm    Post subject: One Network Per ReplayTV... Reply with quote

  • brobin111 wrote:
    ...Since I have to reprogram the shows anyway I've decided to use one machine per network, i.e. all CBS shows on one machine, ABC on another and so forth. There won't be any conflicts to resolve that way. One side benefit to this project is that the OTA picture quality is actually superior to Comcast's even against their digital boxes.

    The total costs for this little project entailed $29 for the antenna (Channel Master 2016 from Amazon), $17 for the mounting bracket ( Winegard DS-200 from Amazon), a six pack of IR Blasters for $11 on ebay, and 5 DTX9950 boxes for $100 on ebay for a total outlay of $157 which is a payback of less than 11 months versus renting an additional 5 DTA boxes from Comcast. Four of the boxes are for RTV's and one for an old analog only flat screen.


  • hdonzis wrote:
    I went with a similar approach, which meant that I didn't actually have to do anything with IR Blasters nor programming codes into the RTV nor special channel lineups. I'm using the Zenith OTA STB, which requires code updates in the RTV, but I just leave it on all the time on NBC and only record NBC shows on that unit. It also meant that I didn't have to do anything special with channel lineups, I just picked a normal basic cable lineup with NBC and use that for selecting shows to record. Since I don't have the IR Blaster hooked up, and the STB always on tuned to NBC, all I need is the one channel of NBC programming in my Channel Guide (and just ignore the rest). I'll eventually update the IR Blaster codes since that was the purpose of my setting up that experiment (several years ago, now! ), but it has worked just fine leaving it on all the time on NBC and only recording NBC shows. And, as you say, the picture quality looks great!
This is the same 'method' I went with for my Magnavox DVDRs - each is dedicated to a network (CBS, NBC, ABC) and until I install the RID file that I've already created (the BOOT HDD on my IVSMagic / WiRNS Server decided to go south a few weeks back - ~03/24 - along with the BOOT HDD on my DVArchive File / Print / MP3 / Video Server - ~03/23 - *AND* the BOOT HDD on my WinXP Home Laptop - ~03/22 - last backed up on 03/02 ), each is MANUALLY set to record (@ SLP 8 hour mode to save HDD space since the output via the S-Video remains the same PERFECT 16x9 Anamorphic regardless of the speed):
  • 18:30-19:00
  • 20:00-23:25
...which gets me:
  • World News @ 18:30-19:00
  • Prime Time from 20:00-23:00
  • Local News from 23:00-23-35
I use WiRNS 2.x.x.x to serve the FiOS BASIC (~20 channels) lineup to each ReplayTV and then manually select just the 1 channel each. Works GREAT (until I install the RID file).

Are you fellows getting 16:9A or 4:3PS from your CECBs? I had this discussion on the Poopli Forum - it seems that only a FEW folks care between viewing 4:3PS @ ZOOM (magnified -> lower quality) vs 16:9A @ FULL (unmagnified -> best SD quality). 16:9A uses ALL the bits for picture information while 4:3PS (with 4 black borders) wastes bits.

I have 12 various CECBs "In Storage" waiting for me to build one of those "2x4 w/Coat Hangers" antennas since I'm ~24 miles from the Empire State Building and 'should be able to get decent reception by putting the 'Home-Brew' in the attic. If I have to, I'll put a 'Real' antenna (i.e. Channel Master or Winegard) on the roof, but, at my age, I'm just not that enthusiastic about going up on the roof anymore.

One thing that I have to admit, that I suggested jlv to at least research, is that the picture quality of the (now discontinued) Magnavox DVDRs @ SP SD / 2 Hour via 'Clear QAM' FiOS (which I expect to be even better from 'FREE OTA') is simply superb. So, years from now, if/when my stable of ReplayTV 5XXXs give their last breath, it won't be as convenient, but at least I will never be dependent on "someone's" MONTHLY RENTAL PVR. stick out tongue self-satisfied smirk
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hdonzis
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:50 pm    Post subject: Re: One Network Per ReplayTV... Reply with quote

TakeTheActive wrote:
I use WiRNS 2.x.x.x to serve the FiOS BASIC (~20 channels) lineup to each ReplayTV and then manually select just the 1 channel each. Works GREAT (until I install the RID file).


I don't know why you need to use WiRNS nor use a FiOS lineup. Picking any lineup using DNNA direct which contains the national network guide data will work fine. The FiOS basic may work just fine, but I would look for the provider that has the smallest lineup containing the national networks...

TakeTheActive wrote:
Are you fellows getting 16:9A or 4:3PS from your CECBs? I had this discussion on the Poopli Forum - it seems that only a FEW folks care between viewing 4:3PS @ ZOOM (magnified -> lower quality) vs 16:9A @ FULL (unmagnified -> best SD quality). 16:9A uses ALL the bits for picture information while 4:3PS (with 4 black borders) wastes bits.


Quite honestly, I've never looked. For me it's just an experiment. I have a dial tuner 19" CRT TV with a ReplayTV 3060 using an old VHS VCR to convert from composite to RF running channel 3 on the TV (and an Atari 800 with dual floppy drives and 48K of memory!). I didn't want to bother to run cable to this location for this purpose and I have my attic antenna sitting around doing nothing, and I got two CECBs at the beginning to see how difficult it would be to make WiRNS update the blaster codes (which I never totally got around to)...

Henry
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brobin111
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got the rest of my DTX9950's today and just finished setting them all up. The last RTV just wouldn't let me remove the nasty channels with all the shows starting every 5 minutes. After about the 7th reboot I decided to change the 'DirecTV Houston' lineup to 'Dish Houston' instead. Same local lineup but without the problem listings. Missed a couple of recordings tonight since I wasn't ready - thanks again for pooping those over so quickly Henry!

I now have a total of 6 drops off the attic antenna and still have no reception problems. The signal meter on the DTX9950 is in the orange at about 63 so I've ordered an 8 port PCT drop amp that I snagged on ebay for 7 bucks delivered. That ought to reduce the chance of dropouts during heavy rain or other propagation anomalies.

I opted for the drop amp instead of a mast mounted pre-amp since I'm already getting a strong signal to the splitter. Sitting in an attic in Houston in the summer just can't be good for any device so having the drop amp in an air conditioned space seemed like the better choice. And did I mention it was only 7 bucks?
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TakeTheActive
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 7:55 am    Post subject: Preamps - Not Too Big, Not Too Small, But Just Right... Reply with quote

brobin111 wrote:
...I realigned the antenna using a compass and now CBS is coming in fine with a 70% signal strength without a pre-amp. No dropouts. I still may add the preamp at some point...

A couple of points that I learned over the years regarding preamps:
  1. You can't amplify what's not there.
    i.e. a preamp can ONLY increase the strength of an EXISTING signal. Thus, if you hook up a signal strength meter / television / etc... at the point in the line where you intend to install the preamp and the signal is sufficient, the PROPER preamp will be able to nullify the losses of the cable length / splitters / etc... such that the television / CECB at the end of the line can have as nearly the same signal as the one temporarily tested with in the attic. If the signal strength is insufficient at that point in the attic, you need a better antenna.
    .
  2. Digital Signal Strength is different from the Analog Signal Strength that many of us are accustomed to.
    i.e. Weak Analog Signals result in snow, interference results in herring bones, etc..., and strong signals are usually attenuated by the television's AGC. But, according to what I've read, weak Digital signals result in nothing (Go / No-Go), while interference and strong signals can cause 'Channel Lock' problems. Thus, too strong a signal might produce similar symptoms to multi-path signals to the non-technician.
My personal plan is to drag an old Black & White portable TV, along with a CECB or two, up into the attic to AIM the antenna and attempt to determine a 'Base'. Then, considering the cable length and type, number of splitters, etc..., compare the results at different points down the line. If you need to purchase a preamp, you need to know approximately how much gain you need to compensate as closely as possible for your losses. It's also handy to have a few different size attenuators handy - I have a 6db and 10db and use a 2-output splitter with one output terminated by a resistor in an F-Connector for 3.5db. For receivers located closest to the preamp, you may need to reduce the signal.

Good Luck!

EDIT: Spelling
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Last edited by TakeTheActive on Wed May 02, 2012 9:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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TakeTheActive
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: One Network Per ReplayTV... Reply with quote

hdonzis wrote:
TakeTheActive wrote:
I use WiRNS 2.x.x.x to serve the FiOS BASIC (~20 channels) lineup to each ReplayTV and then manually select just the 1 channel each. Works GREAT (until I install the RID file).

I don't know why you need to use WiRNS nor use a FiOS lineup. Picking any lineup using DNNA direct which contains the national network guide data will work fine...

I need WiRNS to:
  • 'Filter' the UN-subscribed channels and rename the sub-channels on the ReplayTV connected to the FiOS STB.
    .
  • Keep the 55XXs happy with CA/IVS.
So, it just seemed simpler to run EVERYTHING through WiRNS. I now need to move IVSMagic and WiRNS off of the Pentium 4 2.4GHz 'Power Sucker' onto something more economical. I've been re-allocating PATA HDDs the past few months, installing 1 or 2 SATA, where possible, and freeing up MULTIPLE smaller PATAs for my older PCs with crashed Boot HDDs. Keeps me busy...
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brobin111
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:48 am    Post subject: Re: Preamps - Not Too Big, Not Too Small, But Just Right... Reply with quote

TakeTheActive wrote:
A couple of points that I learned over the years regarding preamps:
  1. You can't amplify what's not there.
    i.e. a preamp can ONLY increase the strength of an EXISTING signal.

Good advice and I agree on all points. My concern is that 'go' might intermittently become 'no-go' during heavy rain resulting in dropouts. I had the same problem with HD Radio signals till I moved the dipole antenna to the attic a couple of years ago.

I have a fairly good and quite usable signal at the mast that runs about 40 cable feet to the 6 port splitter. At 7db loss at each splitter drop plus an average of 75' of cable to each RTV, I'm looking at about a 12db loss. The drop amp I ordered delivers a gain of 15db per port so it should be about right. I do have a variety of attenuators on hand if needed. The amp will be delivered today so I'll report the outcome tonight.
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hdonzis
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 11:24 am    Post subject: Re: Preamps - Not Too Big, Not Too Small, But Just Right... Reply with quote

brobin111 wrote:
I have a fairly good and quite usable signal at the mast that runs about 40 cable feet to the 6 port splitter. At 7db loss at each splitter drop plus an average of 75' of cable to each RTV, I'm looking at about a 12db loss.


A 6-port splitter would only have 2 ports with a 7dB loss and it would have around 10.5dB loss on the other four ports...

Henry
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brobin111
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I installed the 8 port amplifier this evening with good results. I have five drops off the the amp to the RTV's/TV's with terminating resistors on the remaining three ports. One of the drops has a splitter for two DTX9950's for a stacked pair of RTV's.

Before the amp was added the DTX9950 signal meter indicated a signal strength of between 41 and 71 (on a 100 point scale) based on the channel being measured, which is the low end to the high end of the "orange range" of the meter (40-70). Now, with the amp in place, the meter is indicating 76 to 90, all solidly in the green.

So is the picture quality any better? No, I didn't expect it to be. Being digital it was perfect before and remains that way but now I have a more robust margin against dropouts during times when the signal might be compromised by weather which is what I wanted to accomplish.

One tip regarding the DTX9950 that may very well apply to other boxes: Be sure to change the "Power Off" menu setting to "Off" or the box will turn itself off after 4 hours of inactivity! I think the default is set to 4 hours to qualify them for the Energy Star sticker. Not a good feature when you're using them with RTV'S! Also, Plug them into UPS units as they won't power on automatically after a power failure.
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