"Aftermarket DVRs"

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by Greg Bockelman, Feb 4, 2017.

  1. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Got a technical question for all you CATV folks. The cable system I am on comes into my house on the same line as my phone. The optional DVR system that the provider supplies is rather expensive and very limited in what it can do, so I bought a Magnavox DVR that does all I want it to do. The model number is MDR867H.

    Here's my problem. The input to the DVR has to come from a coax cable, not the phone line. Is there any sort of adapter that can take the signal from the phone line and convert it to something that the DVR can use? What I have in mind doing is running a parallel system with the provided cable signal going into one input on the TV and the aftermarket DVR going to another input on the TV. That part seems fairly straightforward, but splitting the signal seems problematic.

    If there is no way I can split the signal, is there an aftermarket DVR that will do what I need?
     
  2. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Is it a fiber system using Ethernet from the ONT to feed all the devices?

    Rich
     
  3. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Don't think so. Guam isn't that advanced as far as I can tell. The signal comes in via phone line into a router box for the wifi system and then on to the; what, modem? then on to the TV via an HDMI cable.

    I don't know what ONT means and it is only feeding the one TV.
     
  4. EppyGA

    EppyGA Final Approach

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    Greg, can you post a picture of the equipment or at least the name plate? Generally anything running off twisted pair at the house is gonna be some version of DSL. Who is the provider?
     
  5. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    ONT is Optical Network Terminal. I assumed it was fiber because I've never heard of cable TV being piped over POTS. Most ONTs have an Ethernet port, but it's usually not used if the subscriber also has TV service. They just go with coax in that case. But there's no reason that they couldn't use Ethernet if they wanted to. A lot of STBs can use either one.

    It sounds like you may be getting your video service over DSL. It's probably doable with ADSL2+ or 3, but I've never heard of being done that way before.

    Rich
     
  6. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Well, theinput to the box does say DSL.

    So is there an aftermarket DVR that I can get that doesn't use a coax cable?
     
  7. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Most of the DSL DVRs are very network specific. Often there's not enough bandwidth to send ALL of the TV channels down the ADSL pipe to the home, so the company's DVR is sending upstream "channel switching" signals to the head end to tell it which streams to send down.

    How many simultaneous channels will the company's DVR record and watch at the same time? That may be a clue as to how big the ADSL pipe is.

    It certainly could be very big. At least on an island your size, cable foot distance from the CO or a DSLAM probably isn't super duper far, and they can probably cover everyone and keep all the end units less than 15k-20k cable feet.

    CenturyLink (as awful as they are) has a limited number of neighborhoods with a similar offering here. Their boxes are the only readily available things that will talk to their proprietary system. Unlike cable modems where DOCSIS is generally a standard, there's no guarantee the whole thing isn't proprietary coming from a telecom.
     
  8. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    You can watch one and record one on the company supplied DVR. I would like to at least be able to record 2. But maybe I am dreaming.
     
  9. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If it's DSL, then I would say it's unlikely that you can run three simultaneous streams due to throughput limitations.

    But then again, I never knew that they ran television service over DSL at all until I read this post, so I could easily be wrong. Most of the places where I've lived and worked had cable television over coax (but not cable Internet) long before DSL was commercially available, so there was never any need to run television over DSL.

    The last time I had DSL was about five years ago when I lived in a really rural community that had no cable service. I had Internet through Frontier DSL. The best throughput they could provision me for was 3 Mbps / 1.5 Mbps -- and mind you, I lived less than a hundred feet from the DSLAM. But they were talking about improvements to DSL that would increase download speeds over the existing copper to the 20 - 25 Mbps neighborhood, or possibly up to 50 Mbps with upgrades to the copper. I don't know if they ever got there because I moved.

    Maybe they've gotten there where you are, however. If there were no alternatives, it certainly would be worth the cap costs to upgrade the copper and the DSL infrastructure to support the higher speeds. It's a hell of a lot cheaper to upgrade copper than it would be to build a fiber (or even a coax) infrastructure from scratch.

    Because of what Nate said, however, I suspect that even if you have the theoretical throughput to stream more than two simultaneous video feeds, you're almost certainly going to be limited to what the TELCO says you can have.

    Rich
     
  10. masloki

    masloki Line Up and Wait

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    Long term uverse subscriber - essentially correct above. The DVR requests the video stream and records it. Check upgrade packages - depending on technology I have seen 4 simultaneous video plus 25 mb internet. If two is your cap, grab an Over the Air antenna and TiVo and you can record additional shows that way. You get all the main ones absent CBS.
     
  11. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    CBS is what I want most. And living on a small island means few OTA stations.
     
  12. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    You might see if they make a "dumb" box for the system. Something that can just watch a single channel. Then ask if there's a way to have two (or more) of those for "different rooms".

    Then install them in a central location and make up a custom built DVR out of the various options out there, with IR controlling those two (or whatever) dumb boxes that can take an HDMI feed from each into the central DVR machine and control what's fed in.

    But it'd take a lot of homework to see if the boxes they're using are supported by one of the self-build DVRs/media centers like Plex or similar, and some "build time" to get it all right.

    I've seen people do this with dumb cable boxes and IR transmitters off of their home brew DVRs black electrical taped over the IR receiver ports on the dumb boxes in a closet or similar, then using whatever playback devices on each TV.

    Too much like real work for me. But some people enjoy building such things.

    You also have to make sure you can buy a subscription to guide data that matches your local system's times for airing stuff.