A few last questions

Going to pick up my cable card tomorrow and begin my HDHR Prime journey with my HDHR Prime. A few questions for the HDHR ninjas out there....

  1. Any general tips for someone setting up their system for the first time?
  2. Can I set up my DVR recording to the SSD on my Mac and then later move the folder to an external hard drive?
  3. If a channel broadcasts in 4K and I have a 4K ATV, will I get receive the signal in 4K?
  4. Any other tips/tricks?

Thanks everyone!

Who is your cable provider?

Verizon FIOS

Cool. CableCARD should be easy to setup and you'll get everything except Fox News, Fox Sports and HBO/Showtime/etc.

Yes you can move the DVR's folders over and update the configuration under the DVR checkbox to point to the new drive.

Most providers aren't doing 4K broadcasts, but FIOS does some and yes they will record in 4K.

Thanks! Will the 4k channel also broadcast live in 4K as well?

  1. I just got a Prime myself. You first have to setup the Prime itself by plugging in the cableCard and the coax, ethernet, and power cables followed by browsing to the Prime's IP address in a web browser where it guides you through the setup and channel scanning process. (I had to go to my router's admin page and look at the list of attached devices to find the Prime's IP address) After that you go into the ChannelsDVR configuration and add it as a source.
  2. You can move the ChannelsDVR recording directory by going into the ChannelsDVR config, temporarily disabling the DVR by unchecking the DVR box, copying the directory to the new location, choosing the new location as the DVR directory, and then re-enabling the DVR.

With regard to step 1, what do you do if you do not have coax? I did not have TV service before I changed plans. Can I do it with just hooking up Ethernet?

Not really. Your CableCARD must be able to communicate with the headend to authenticate. Otherwise, how do you get your cable or antenna streams if you don't attach the coax to your antenna or cable feed?

I've never seen a FIOS install, so I Googled it and got to this page...


From what I see there, if you have a Cable TV package over FIOS, then there should be a coaxial cable drop somewhere for you to connect to. Perhaps they need to roll a truck to install one if there is none?

The ONT should have both an ethernet jack for you data, and a coax for your video.

Yup, I see where I have to connect the coax. Of course my wifi router is no where near the FIOS box. I do have a way to get the coax feed up to the area where my router is (weekend project). Once I have the coax from the FIOS box and the Ethernet from my router plugged in to the HDHR Prime, any other pieces of advice? I assume the channels program running on my laptop will recognize the new HRHD Prime. Any issues with having it communicate with the cable card? Is it easy to update the firmware on the HDHR Prime? Thanks for everyone's guidance, this is going to make my set-up run much more smoothly this weekend.

Firmware updates can be handled from the Prime's web UI (assuming it is currently running a firmware from the last 18 months or so). Channels scans for HDHR devices when it starts, so as long as both the server and the Prime are in the same subnet, there should be no issues there.

The Prime talks with the CableCARD, and your cable provider must pair the CableCARD with the Prime on their end, so that it can authenticate with their headend and you are able to decrypt the channels you subscribe to.

Any advice on what to tell the tech department when I call to pair the CableCARD and HDHR Prime? The guy I picked the CableCARD up from in the store told me it should work without issue once it is put in (obliviously he was wrong). What am I looking for on the web UI or on the Channels app to see if the CableCARD has actually been successfully paired? Thanks again everyone!

When it is inserted in the Prime, the Prime's web UI will guide you through (IIRC; it's been years since I paired a Prime). Basically you call their tech support line, tell them you're pairing a CableCARD, give them the Prime's HostID, and the CableCARD number.

When I've done it with Spectrum it took minutes. I believe Verizon may even have a website form that handles it, making it even easier.

SiliconDust uses their "my.hdhomerun.com" site provide a walkthrough, too.

I was able to pair my Prime and CableCard without making any calls. The Prime guieded through the process and it only took a few minutes. What took a suprisingly long time was for the Prime to do a channel scan. It took something like 20 minutes and found >300 channels.

What I don't know is if you're supposed to do the scan with the Prime first, and then add it to the ChannelsDVR as a source, or if you can at it to ChannelsDVR and then Channels will take care of the channel scan for you. (I did the former)

You did it right. Scan with the Prime first, then add it to Channels DVR as a source. How is it working??? I'm planning to do the same when (if) the Prime 6 is released.

Great to know the Prime guides you through pairing a CableCARD. Most cable providers do offer web and telephone pairing support, but they've probably never heard of a Prime.

If the Prime 6 will support premium DRM channels as promised, even if only for live TV and not recording, a call to the cable company may still be needed. Not looking forward to that.

That's part of the requirement of CableCARD devices, they must support DRM. The Prime 6 cannot be released without DRM support, otherwise it would be lacking CableLabs certification.

Software support is totally separate. SiliconDust supports DRM viewing on iOS, Android and Windows. DRM recording is only available through Windows 7 and WMC.

(They have indicated they may support DRM on tvOS, but that's still a ways off, as they don't even have a tvOS client. Also, DRM recording is still missing from SD's software.

Linux support is technically possible since the kernel supports HDCP for Intel graphics—and AMD HDCP was just added, too—but they don't seem to wish to invest any resources into investigating that route.)

Thanks. Probably one cause of that product's repeatedly delayed release.

If it does get produced, and if one does subscribe to premium channels, then one may have to call the cable provider for card activation. And then put up with limited software support. Ugh.

I suspect the vast majority of Channels DVR users do not subscribe to premium cable channels though. In fact at my house we only watch a few shows that are not available via OTA, and none of them are on premium channels.

No, you need your CableCARD activated to decrypt the channels received. The process goes like this:

  • The cable provider "pairs" the particular CableCARD with a particular receiver (in this case, a Prime) using the receiver's unique HostID
  • When the receiver powers up, it contacts the cable provider to authenticate and validate its CableCARD to ensure it can decrypt the customer's subscribed channels
  • After a receiver has authenticated and validated, it can then tune channels that are listed in the CableCARD. If a customer has subscribed to that particular channel, then the receiver uses the software on the CableCARD to decrypt the channel's stream so it can be viewed.
  • Some cable systems provide more channels than can easily be sent via the cable system, and require a tuning adapter. This is a separate device that connects to the receiver via USB to tell the cable headend to switch the streams it sends to the receiver to contain the requested channel.
  • Cable streams sent to the receiver can be flagged with DRM indicating what rights the attached to the channel:
    • Copy-Freely: This is essentially no DRM, and you can view and record the stream as you like
    • Copy-Once: You are permitted to make one encrypted copy of the broadcast. This is what most people think of as DRM for cable. Only devices meeting specific requirements for a protected path from reception to display are permitted to view this content.
    • Copy-Never: No recording of the content is allowed, but it may be viewed live. The same protected path requirements for Copy-Once content applies in this case. This is most often used for PPV content, such that you can't make a recording of it.

I think much of the confusion regarding this is the difference between encrypted content and protected content. A (validated) CableCARD is required for both encrypted and protected content. However, some cable providers deliver unencrypted cable feeds; in those cases you can use something like a Quattro or other regular tuner to receive the channels. The Prime is only required for encrypted content. (And, all protected—or DRM—content is by definition also encrypted.)

Hopefully this helps clear up some of the confusion. Channels (and other software) has no problem with encrypted channels, because the receiver handles all of the decryption. However, special certified software is required for protected content because of the protected path requirements; Channels (and most other software) does not meet this second requirement. (And because of the cost of certification and development, most likely never will.)

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Thanks, that helps ensure we're all using the same terms here. It will be interesting to hear from @adk749 if, after setting up the card through the SiliconDust guided process, all channels in his FIOS package are available.

From his post that seems to have worked, but the last time I checked my provider (Comcast/Xfinity) offered unencrypted, encrypted, and protected channels, often in the same package. A call to Comcast was required to authorize a CableCARD for the encrypted or protected channels.

A while back Comcast set up a dedicated hotline for CableCARD activation, which made a big difference in reducing the aggravation factor.

In the recent HDHR consumer lineup only the Prime models can receive cable, and they are CableCARD devices. All their other consumer models are for OTA. So at the moment, for cable the consumer options are either buy a 3-tuner Prime on eBay/Craigslist/etc, or wait for the Prime 6.