Spectrum cable tuner options for MythTV?

JimS

Active Member
Currently doing OTA TV with MythTV as the DVR. Also have some streaming services but recordings for those are in the cloud and only for some services. Probably getting Spectrum for internet soon when they run the cable in the street here so looking at what I would need for recording. This is in the USA in case there is any doubt on that. We have 3 TV locations. Haven't done cable in many years so need to get up to speed on set top boxes or similar hardware being used today. Think Spectrum has a cloud based DVR so that may be an option. Then there is Silicon Dust HD Home run Prime that uses a cable card that might work. If I could get the recordings into MythTV then a myth front end at each TV would be easy. Is DRM an issue on most channels or just on the movie channels like HBO? Does the STB have only HDMI out? I suppose I could try to get an HDMI splitter and recorder hardware to strip DRM (If DRM is even an issue) and use an IR blaster to control the STB but would really like to avoid all that.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
I use SageTV and have Spectrum. I use a cable card tuner like the Silicon Dust device.

The biggest thing you have to know is how Spectrum has the "Copy Control" settings set up. This varies from geographic location within the Spectrum foot print. Our regular channels are coded "Record Freely" so I can use the cable card tuner just fine. However the "premium" channels like HBO are coded "Record Once" and I cannot use the cable card tuner to record those shows.

I live in an area that was Charter before Spectrum bought them. These codes are how Charter had then set up and Spectrum simply hasn't changed them. My understanding is that if you are in an area that has always been Spectrum or Time Warner, there is a good chance that all of your channels are coded "Record Once" which will prevent you from recording shows with the cable card tuner.

I believe there is a way to see this code yourself using the cable box and some setting, but you could always call Spectrum and ask as well.

If they are coded "Record Once", I believe you can still use an HDMI encoder to record the output of your cable box. The downside to this method is that you have to rent a cable box for every encoder you want to use while the cable card tuner gives you multiple tuners through the cable card rental. I think I pay about $6/mo for my cable card and can record up to 6 channels at a time through my tuner. I don't even rent a single cable box which saves me a ton of money each month vs renting multiple boxes.
 

pete_c

Guru
I still have the MythTV box set up with an OTA and Cablecard HD Homerun tuners. I do not have cable TV these days and only utilize cable for Internet. I still have Direct TV and Direct TV recorders.

That said been using my Kodi boxes mostly to record IPTV stuff if I record anything. Wife prefers to utilize her DTV recorder for recording everything.
 

pete_c

Guru
BTW @JimS when you get Spectrum cable then you can go a la carte with the Internet purchasing a modem and using your PFSense box.
 

pete_c

Guru
I thought most cable companies were doing away with cable cards. I do not think that they sell any TV's these days with cable card slots.
 

JimS

Active Member
BTW @JimS when you get Spectrum cable then you can go a la carte with the Internet purchasing a modem and using your PFSense box.
Pete, The main reason to get Spectrum is for internet not cable TV. So, yes, the pfsense box will be connected via Spectrum. Cable TV is something additional that I am considering.

As for the cards, it's not for a TV. It's for a network tuner box. But you may be right about cable cards going away. That's what I am trying to figure out.

I am probably just going to switch internet from Starlink to Spectrum initially and push the possible addition of cable TV to later...
 

pete_c

Guru
Understood. I have have the HD Homerun Cable Network tuner that required a cable company card to function.

These days with XFinity provides no free channels which would be available with a direct cable connection to your TV and you must use an XFinity cable box or a card with an HDHomerun tuner to watch XFinity cable TV.

Still utilize OTA here.

Happy with Direct TV and recorders for Wife's TV watching / recording. She will not touch the Kodi / HDHomerun streaming stuff. I liked it better with the Direct Tivo boxes from years ago. It was traumatic for wife to switch from Tivo to Direct TV DVRs.

So here Internet is XFinity and T-Mobile (for backup) and TV is OTA and Direct TV.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
The is no question that cable cards will disappear one day. The FTC used to require cable companies to support them and offer them to their customers. That requirement was removed a while ago (a couple years now). The cable companies certainly don't have very many customers using cable cards (I'd expect that number to be well below 1% of total customers - probably below 0.1%). It's not worth the cable company's time and money to continue supporting technology for such a small fraction of their client base.

The saving grace is that many of the cable company's own devices (cable boxes, etc) actually utilize cable cards in them - they just aren't user removeable. So while the cable companies are likely ready to drop support for cable cards completely, the also do not want to have to replace all of that equipment outside of it's normal life cycle. However once that equipment does hit EOL and is replaced, I think we will definitely see the cable companies drop support for cable cards. How long that will take is anyone's guess. At the moment, it is still the best method to record broadcasts IMHO, so I'll be using my cable card until the day it is cancelled.
 

JimS

Active Member
I saw a posting of a letter from Spectrum to a customer saying they were being phased out but going to Spectrum web site I found a page that describes them and states the rates and that they are available from Spectrum. I would need to get a tuner that supports the card - have a simple silicon dust dual tuner now. Probably will go this route until it no longer works.
 
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