Saturday, October 17, 2020

One Last Chance to Buy a New HDHomeRun Prime

SiliconDust, the manufacturer of the of the HDHomeRun Prime will be providing new three-tuner Primes for a limited time after it was decided to discontinue the development of the six-tuner Prime 6.  It was previously reported by SiliconDust that the three-tuner Prime has not been available new due to some of the hardware components not being available to produce the device.  At that time, it was decided to not develop new hardware for the three-tuner Prime and have a gap in time in which no Prime device would be available from SiliconDust.  The six-tuner Prime 6 was discontinued after some development setbacks and after the Federal Communications Commission announced there is no longer a mandate that requires cable television companies to provide CableCARDs.  The new three-tuner Prime is currently in production according the SiliconDust as of the date of this blog post, and since it is the same as the original Prime, it has already gone through the required costly certification process.   

SiliconDust indicated that support will continue for the Prime, which includes guide data and DVR software from SiliconDust.  Until the new three-tuner Primes are available, used three-tuner Primes are sometimes available on Amazon here.  An alternative device by Hauppauge with two tuners is available new on Amazon here.

HDHomeRun Prime Description


The Prime is a device that connects to a home network instead of connecting directly to a television as is done with some other DVR solutions.  It allows the user to eliminate the cable boxes and DVRs that are available from the cable television company, and it allows the user to stream the content to multiple devices in the user's home.  Software that allows the user to view and record content is available from SiliconDust and was previously available from Microsoft.  Additionally, the Prime is compatible with open-source DVR software such as MythTV.  With MythTV and currently with SiliconDust's DVR software, the cable television content can be encrypted, but it cannot be copy restricted.  

The History of the HDHomeRun Prime


The three-tuner Prime became available in 2011, and it remained available to purchase new until approximately 2018.  It is difficult to identify the date when the Prime ceased to be available new because some smaller resellers continued to sell them after the larger providers depleted their stock.  In September 2020, the Federal Communications Commission ended the CableCARD mandate.  Shortly after this FCC rule change, SiliconDust announced the six-tuner Prime 6 would not be produced.  In October 2020, SiliconDust announced the three-tuner Prime will once again be available for a limited time, and SiliconDust indicated the production is possible due to the discovery and procurement of a limited supply of hardware components needed to produce the device. 

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Easy Setup and Save Money with Motorola MG7550 Cable Modem and WiFi Router

This video explains how easy it is to get this modem-plus-router device up and running, discusses compatibility with Comcast and other cable internet service providers, and discusses some common things to consider and check.

Motorola MG7550 Cable Modem and WiFi Router Video



Save Money and Easy Setup with Comcast Xfinity


The Motorola MG7550 will allow you to eliminate the monthly cable modem rental fee.  Connect the power cord and coaxial cable, and you are ready to authorize the device with Comcast.  Simple instructions are included with the device and by Comcast which will allow you to register the device with Comcast using a browser on a device that has WiFi.  The video explains how to change the default username and password.  Additionally, the video explains how verify that it is connected properly and correctly positioned in your home.  If you want to replace some of the splitters in your home and you will be using MoCA, Antronix splitters optimized for MoCA are a good choice.


Saturday, October 10, 2020

MythTV v31 Example Installation Steps with Ubuntu 20.04

I used the steps shown below to install MythTV v31 on Ubuntu 20.04.  MythTV is open source media center software for a home theater or television computer, and it is most often used to watch and record TV content.  Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux operating system distributions.  

The MythTV frontend and backend were installed so the system can be used to watch and record TV content, and the system can be used by other MythTV frontends in my home.  An Asus H110T was used with Intel graphics.  A single hard drive was used for the operating system and all other files.  Also, an HDHomeRun Prime was used with Comcast Xfinity.  

The guide data source is from SiliconDust and TVMaze, and this differs from the more commonly used Schedules Direct source.  The steps below indicate when Schedules Direct users need to do something different.
  1. Install Ubuntu using the minimal install option.  The installation iso file and instructions for installing Ubuntu Desktop LTS can be found at https://ubuntu.com.
  2. Boot into Ubuntu and start Software Updater.
  3. Install all available updates.
  4. Reboot, and repeat steps two and three until Software Updater indicates there are no more updates.
  5. Set a static IP address:
    • Left click on the network icon on the top-right of the screen, left click on the right arrow next to the network connection, and left click Wired Settings.
    • Left click the gear icon next to the current working network connection.
    • Left click the IPv4 tab.
    • Left click Manual, and enter appropriate values for the address, netmask, and gateway.  The netmask and gateway values match what my Android phone lists when connected to my home network by tapping Settings, Network and Internet, Wi-Fi, gear icon, and Advanced.
    • Left click the toggle to turn automatic DNS off, and enter appropriate values for the DNS addresses.  For example, 75.75.75.75,75.75.76.76 is common for Comcast.
    • The automatic routes can be left on.
    • Click Apply.
  6. Reboot, start Firefox, and verify the connection is working.
  7. Install Mythbuntu Control Panel (MCP) by following the instructions here.
  8. Start MCP, click Repositories, select version 31, and click Apply.
  9. Close MCP, start Software Updater, and install any updates found.
  10. Start MCP, click System Roles, select Primary Backend and Desktop Frontend, and click Apply.  There is no need to select the XMLTV option for the guide data sources noted above.  Schedules Direct users need to select the XMLTV option.
  11. Close MCP, and reboot the computer.
  12. Start MCP, click Setup, and do the following:
    • Do the first several steps here to add the current user to the mythtv group and add a link to config.xml.  The option to run MythTV Backend Setup as the mythtv user is not needed if using the guide data sources noted above.  Schedules Direct users can use this option to use MythTV Backend Setup to configure XMLTV.
    • Always select the option to stop the backend if it is running.  This item will remain grayed out if the backend is not running.  At this step, the backend will normally not be running.
    • Click the MythTV Backend Setup button.
  13. Setup the backend (part one):
    • In General, set the security pin to 0000.
    • In General, set the IPv4 primary IP address to the address used in setting the static IP address above.
    • In Capture Cards, press enter with new capture card highlighted, press the down key to highlight new capture card, and press enter.
    • Select HDHomeRun networked tuner, press the right arrow key, press enter with use HDHomeRun... selected to enable it, and in Recording Options, deselect EIT scanning.
    • Repeat the above step three times for the three available tuners.
    • In Video Sources, create a new source, name it NG, set the listing grabber to no grabber, the CF table to default, and the network ID to -1.  This step will be different for Schedules Direct users.
    • In Input Connections, create three connections, set the display name to Prime1, Prime2 and Prime3, set the name to MPEG2TS, and set the source to NG.  This step will be different for Schedules Direct users.
    • In Storage Directories, set the default to /var/lib/mythtv/recordings/, and set live TV to /var/lib/mythtv/livetv/.  Do not copy and paste the path text.
    • Save, and press Esc to exit myth-setup.  Do not start the backend, and do not update the database when prompted upon exiting.
  14. Reboot the PC.
  15. Start MCP, click Setup, and apply the option to enable networking.
  16. Scan for channels and add channels to MythTV:
    • Start Firefox, and access the HDHomeRun Prime's web page interface by going to http://my.hdhomerun.com.
    • Left click HDHomeRun Prime.
    • Left click Channel Lineup.
    • Left click Detect Channels, and give it about 20 minutes to detect all channels.  The channel numbers should appear as the scan progresses.  Channels marked "DRM" will not work with MythTV.  With Comcast, only premium channels such as HBO are generally marked "DRM".
    • Add channels to MythTV using the hdhrchan2myth.py script.  The usage instructions can be found here.  This script is compatible with using the guide data sources noted above.  If Schedules Direct is to be used, using this script is not recommended.
  17. Start MCP, click Setup, stop the backend if running, and click the MythTV Backend Setup button.
  18. Setup the backend (part two):
    • In Channels, delete the channels that are not needed by pressing the D key with the channel selected.
    • In Input Connections, set the starting channel to the desired channel number.
    • Exit myth-setup.  Do not start the backend, and do not update the database when prompted upon exiting.
  19. Reboot the PC.
  20. Optionally start MCP, and install Mythweb.  The developmental modules will need to be enabled for the version of MCP that is current at the date of this blog posting.
  21. Set the sound output in Ubuntu:
    • Left click the lower left Show Applications icon, and left click Settings.
    • In Sound, set the output to HDMI/displayPort-Built-in Audio.
    • Close the settings window.
  22. Setup the frontend:
    • Left click the lower left Show Applications icon, and left click MythTV Frontend.
    • In Setup, select Setup Wizard.
    • In the wizard, choose an audio device, and select Test Speakers.  Change the audio device and test again until the test sound can be heard.  
    • Also in the wizard, choose VAAPI Normal for the video playback profile.  After this step, it should be possible to watch live TV.
    • In Video, select Playback.
    • Use the arrow keys to highlight Current Video Playback Profile, and press the right arrow key.
    • For the vaapi entry, deselect Deblocking filter, and set the primary and fallback deinterlacer to none.  I have all 720p channels, so I do not need deinterlacing.
    • Set the deinterlacer quality for both rates to none. 
  23. Install hdhrepg2myth using the directions shown here.
  24. Install mythrecmaze using the directions shown here.
  25. Start MCP, click Startup Behavior, and apply the option to automatically start MythTV Frontend.