Silicondust HDHomeRun Prime

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HDHomeRun

The HDHomeRun Prime, by SiliconDust USA (a wholly owned subsidiary of SiliconDust Engineering, New Zealand), is an external HDTV tuner for personal computers. It has three or six independent tuners, interfaces to the computer via ethernet, and supports a multi-stream CableCARD. Support has been added as of the 0.24 release. The Hauppauge DCR-2650 is a similar, USB-based CableCARD tuner manufactured by SiliconDust.

Description

The Prime is essentially SiliconDust's HDHomeRun tuner with over-the-air ATSC support removed and CableCARD support added. (It thus retains the HDHomeRun's ability to receive clear QAM channels without a CableCARD.) Unlike the Ceton InfiniTV 4 the Prime does not require a PCI slot; it has an Ethernet port instead.

Full support of CableCARD requires that every device and software in the recording chain be certified as enforcing the copy protection mandated by the software. For insurmountable technical reasons, MythTV cannot comply with this. Because of this, the HDHomeRun Prime will only allow MythTV access to those shows that are not copy protected. These copy freely shows may be encrypted and inaccessible to a standard QAM tuner, but will be decrypted and made available through the HDHomeRun Prime. These are the same shows that can presently be accessed through firewire capture from a cable box.

While a digital tuner, CableCARD does not support the kind of access needed by multirec to record multiple shows from a single tuner. This device can only record three (or, for the rackmount version using two CableCARDs, six) shows at a time.

Initial Checkout and Registration

Complete the first four steps shown in the Quickstart Guide:

  • Connect coax cable between HDHomeRun Prime and cable wall outlet or splitter.
  • Connect Ethernet cable between HDHomeRun Prime and router.
  • Insert M-CARD obtained from your cable provider.
  • Connect the power adapter to the HDHomeRun Prime and a power outlet.

On a Linux computer command line:

Install development tools and prepare build directory

   sudo apt-get install build-essential
   mkdir HDHRP
   cd HDHRP

Copy sources from CD (or download from http://www.silicondust.com/support/hdhomerun/downloads/linux/) and unpack

   cp /media/CDROM/linux/* .
   tar -xzf hdhomerun_config_gui_20120405.tgz 
   tar -xzf libhdhomerun_20120405.tgz 

Read installation instructions for the library

   cd libhdhomerun
   less README 

Build and install the library

   make
   ls
   sudo cp libhdhomerun.so /usr/lib

Read installation instructions for the GUI

   cd ../hdhomerun_config_gui
   less INSTALL 

Start build

   ./configure

Install missing development package

   apt-cache search gtk+-2.0
   sudo apt-get install libspice-client-gtk-2.0-dev

Restart build

   ./configure
   make

Install the GUI

   sudo make install

Check out the options for the command line tool

   hdhomerun_config --help

Learn the IP number for the HDHomeRun Prime

   hdhomerun_config discover

The Prime has an internal Web server that provides configuration and status information such as signal strength and copy protection.

Point a web browser to the address you just found (in my case, 192.168.1.104). You should get a very simple web page like this:

HDHomeRun Prime Tuner
Model: HDHR3-CC
Device ID: 131A48E8
Firmware: 20130528 
    Status Menu
    Channel Lineup
    CableCARD Menu
    Tuning Resolver Menu
    Download drivers
    Installation instructions

Click on "CableCARD Menu" to get this menu:

HDHomeRun Prime Tuner
CableCARD™ Menu
    Conditional Access
    CableCARD(tm) Status
    Network Setup
    CableCARD(tm) Pairing
    DSG
    Interactive Info
    CANH Status

Click on "CableCARD(tm) Pairing" to get a menu like this:

In order to start cable service
for this device, please contact
your cable provider
        1-888-266-2278
.
CableCARD ID: 000-003-561-604-3
Host ID: 064-120-489-704-2
Data: 115-335-810-26 
.
UnitAddress: 000-00035-62504-045
Card S/N: MA0708CAVE15
eCM MAC: Unknown
Host MAC: 00:18:DD:13:A4:8E
Host Type: One-way
            REFRESH

NOTE: This display is for a CableCARD that has been paired, so yours will be different.

Open a second browser tab and navigate to the HDHomeRun Prime log page (e.g., 192.168.1.104/log.html).

Contact your cable provider's CableCARD registration service and recite numbers from the pairing status page as requested. When they claim the card is paired, refresh your browser and note any changes.

Switch to the log page and refresh the display. It should look something like this:

19700101-00:00:00 System: reset reason = headend reset command
19700101-00:00:01 CableCARD: M-CARD inserted
19700101-00:00:02 System: network link 100f
19700101-00:00:04 System: ip address obtained: 192.168.1.104 / 255.255.255.0
19700101-00:00:05 CableCARD: Motorola card (0000:0625)
19700101-00:00:05 CableCARD: authentication status: authentication in progress
19700101-00:00:05 CableCARD: authentication status: authentication success, activation success
20131109-01:30:00 CableCARD: time changed from Thu Jan 01 00:00:12 1970 to Sat Nov 09 01:30:00 2013

Install VLC if necessary

   sudo apt-get install vlc-nox

Try out the hardware using the Silicondust GUI

   hdhomerun_config_gui

Select the frequency set appropriately (e.g., us-cable in the U.S.) and hit the "Scan ->>" button to find the first physical channel with TV programs. Hit the "Program" button to show the programs packed into that physical channel. For example, in the Nashua area the first channel has these programs:

10 839 VELOCITY (encrypted)
11 863 ANIMLPL HD (encrypted)
12 871 HIST HD (encrypted)

The first number in each row is the program number within the physical channel. The second number is the virtual channel number assigned by the cable provider. Click on one row, then "View" to start up VLC on that program.

After viewing a program, return to your browser and navigate to the status page for the tuner you have been using. You should see something like this:

Tuner 2 Status
Virtual Channel 839 VELOCITY
Frequency       177.000 MHz
Program Number  10
Authorization   subscribed
CCI Protection  unrestricted
CGMS Protection n/a
Modulation Lock qam256
PCR Lock        locked
Signal Strength 93% (-4.5 dBmV)
Signal Quality  100% (37.1 dB)
Symbol Quality  100%
Streaming Rate  14.571 Mbps
Resource Lock   none

You can use the command line tool to record a channel scan.

   hdhomerun_config 131A48E8 scan 0 /tmp/thescan

A channel scan will take quite a while. You may want to monitor progess in a second terminal

   tail -f /tmp/thescan

MythTV Configuration

Overview

Important.png Note: This guide assumes that you have correctly set up and configured MythTV itself, including setting up a working database and all the other setup steps common to a working MythTV setup

Illustrated Guide (Master/.25)

In mythtv-setup, navigate to Capture Cards. HDHR Prime Setup 1.png
Select New Capture Card. HDHR Prime Setup 2.png
It's time to create our HDHomeRun Prime devices. Select the HDHomeRun DTV tuner box card type. From the Available devices list, select the first autodetected tuner device, with a string like: "0123456789-0". HDHR Prime Setup 11.png
Select Recording Options. HDHR Prime Setup 12.png
Change Max Recordings to 1. When in CableCARD mode, the HDHomeRun is only able to record one program per tuner. Press Finish. HDHR Prime Setup 13.png
Press Next, then Finish to return to the tuner list. Repeat the last three steps until you have a capture card representing each tuner in your HDHomeRun Prime device. Press Escape to return to the main menu. Select the Video Sources menu item. HDHR Prime Setup 4.png
Select New video source. HDHR Prime Setup 5.png
Give your Video Source a name. Here we named it "My New Source." Select Schedules Direct as your listings grabber. Input your User ID and Password from Schedules Direct, then press "Retrieve Lineups." In a few moments, you should see the Data Direct lineup box filled with values representing the lineups you have configured at the Schedules Direct website. Select the one which contains the channels found on your HDHomeRun Prime. This Lineup should be the one with channel numbers which are the same as the ones found on a cable box. HDHR Prime Setup 6.png
Press Finish to return to the main menu. Select the Input Connections menu item. HDHR Prime Setup 7.png|-
You should have a list of HDHomeRun tuners which looks something like this. Highlight the first tuner and press Enter. HDHR Prime Setup 16.png
Give your tuner a descriptive name. Change the Video Source to the one we just created. Press Fetch channels from listings source. You will see Starting channel read Please add channels to this source. You can press Next, then Finish. Press enter on the same tuner, and you will find that you can now successfully set a starting channel for this tuner. HDHR Prime Setup 15.png
Repeat the last step until the video source you created is attached to all of your HDHomeRun Prime tuners, and each is set to a valid starting channel, as in this screenshot. HDHR Prime Setup 16.png
You only have one more step to go! Bring up a terminal and issue this command. This will pull in the listings for all of your channels. You can now start mythbackend again and your HDHomeRun Prime tuners should be ready to go! mythfilldatabase --dd-grab-all

Troubleshooting

  • I'm not able to tune any of my channels! The OSD simply says "Partial Lock" and "LAMc". What gives?
    • A lock message of LAMc indicates the channel is encrypted and untunable. There are multiple possibilities. Either the channel might not be copy-freely, and thus is uncapturable in MythTV, or your CableCARD may not have been properly activated. Check your HDHomeRun Prime's Web page (by bringing up its IP address in a Web browser). Click Status Menu. You should be able to see the tuner which is currently recording, and the channel to which it is tuned. Click the link for that tuner number at the top. The value for Authorization should be subscribed (A valid value in some cases is "unspecified". If a non-working channel says "unspecified", see what appears for nearby working channels before assuming that it indicates an error.) and the CCI Protection should be unrestricted. If either of these values are different, and you are certain your CableCARD and HDHR Prime are properly paired, then this channel may not be capturable in MythTV. A value of "unknown" most likely means that your card is not properly provisioned. For clear QAM channels (channels which can be tuned with any QAM tuner), Authorization may be unknown, but the channel may still be capturable.
    • Because many technicians (even those allegedly trained on the subject) are unfamiliar with CableCARD setups, particularly with devices like the HDHomeRun Prime, there is a good chance that you will have to call your cable provider a couple of times to get things worked out. If a regular reset doesn't work (sometimes it can take more than one to "stick"), ask for a "Cold Hit", "DAC Init" or "Grand Slam Init/Hit". For some reason, the phone representatives are hesitant to try these, so be insistent.
      • The direct number to the Comcast CableCARD activation line is 877-405-2298, which should connect you directly to a human. Don't bother calling the number that your device recommends; that is just the normal customer service number.
  • I have defined my tuners by IP address, but when I try to use more than one of them, all my recordings fail!
    • You must update to (at a minimum) latest .24-fixes to use the HDHomeRun Prime. Numerous bugs, notably one which caused failed recordings when defined by IP address, have been fixed.
  • I want to use the Prime only to tune in Clear QAM channels.
  • My recordings are being mysteriously truncated.
    • Try increasing the network buffers: sysctl -w net.core.rmem_max=1048576
    • There is a bug in certain HDHomeRun Prime tuners with the 20120405 firmware which leads to it dropping off the network, leading to truncated recordings, broken LiveTV streams, and glitchy recordings. The workaround is to continuously ping the HDHR.
    • Check for packet loss, see the Troubleshooting section on the SiliconDust HDHomeRun page.
  • My HDHomeRun Prime cannot tune certain channels
    • You can get a lot of information from the web interface on the hdhomerun prime. You can look at the logs, and if you are tuned to a channel you can look at information about the channel. Also you can get a listing of all of the channels that the hdhomerun knows about. If you know the ip address of your hdhomerun, just point a browser to it.
    • If that doesn't work, you can tune to virtual channels and see what the CCI and other information is using the hdhomerun_config tool.
    • I had an issue where some of my channels weren't tuning, and I powercycled the hdhomerun and it started working.
    • Sometimes DRM may affect tuning some channels. The channels you lost are likely being protected with the "One Copy" protection scheme (or other) that requires DRM to allow access to the stream.
  • I am having trouble configuring MythTV 0.24 with the HDHR Prime
    • If using MythTV .24-fixes, it is currently necessary to use some "tricks" to get a working lineup, and to use all three tuners on each HDHomeRun Device. A summary of the steps needed in the older version of this page.

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