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New Here! Cable box questions

 
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chico_woodhill



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2003 7:14 pm    Post subject: New Here! Cable box questions Reply with quote

Hi! Just found this site and the Yahoo groups site. Very cool stuff.

I understand the technical parts and expect to be building my cable real soon now.

OK then...my questions (which brought me to this site):

I have a Comcast digital cable box (DCT2224). I can't find ANY vcr that will change the cable box channel for programmed recording.

Q1) Does anybody know how to program either the cable box or ANY vcr to change the cable box channels for unattended recording from different channels? It appears vcr manufacturers aren't updating their IR-blaster firmware to include the recent cable boxes. Am I wrong about this?

Q2) Barring a successful answer to Q1, I'd like to have my pc control a remote to perform the channel change. Is there a means to have a pc talk to one of these remotes to send out IR codes? I can handle the hardware and software design, I just don't want to reinvent what's come before.

Thanks for any insights...

Chico
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18402
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2003 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can get your hands on one of the old Radio Shack or One For All remotes that have the 3-hole connector (rather than the current 6-pin connector) there is are designs in existance for a cable and software to let you control the remote from a PC, see these sites for more info...

http://www.hifi-remote.com/ziggr/
http://www.hifi-remote.com/wasser/

But, I should warn you that these remotes are very old and pretty hard to find. I'm not sure if the modern remotes can be hacked to work in the same way, nobodies really looked into it.

As an alternative, you could pick up an old Producer 8 (URC-8800, URC-8080, etc). These remotes have timed macros that might suit your needs. Then there's also the 15-1996 "VCR Programmer" at Radio Shack that was specifically designed to do this.

Of course, a more expensive but way more satisfying option, would be to ditch the VCR and get ReplayTV or Tivo!
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Rob
www.hifi-remote.com
Please don't PM me with remote questions, post them in the forums so all the experts can help!
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chico_woodhill



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2003 11:22 pm    Post subject: Just Gettin' Started Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply and the info. Yeah, the Replay or Tivo would be good, but I also read on various boards that they have some problems controlling my cable box (they spit out the codes a bit too fast). Plus I don't watch enough that I want to pay a monthly fee just for a TV schedule. I just want to grab a couple things on a regular basis. Plus I like to take tapes up to our remote cabin (no pun intended...) Confused

The Panasonic DVR looks good but it doesn't have an IR blaster. What were they thinking?

Glad to have found this site. I will be grabbing a JP1-compatible remote and getting started. I searched the archives for "best remote" and "recommended", but there isn't much of a consensus. Any recommendations for a full-featured meat-and-potatoes starter unit that I'll keep using for years to come?

Thanks again. Nice site....Chico
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18402
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you'll find that whenever someone asks for a recommendation for the best JP1 remote, the concensius is generally either the OFA URC-8811 or the Radio Shack 15-2116, both can be had for between $20 and $30. Both of these remotes are fully supported here and both are learning remotes, so they can be used to create upgrades for stuff you buy 10 years from now. The 15-2116 has 2 IR-LEDs and an LCD screen, the URC-8811 has just 1 IR-LED but more buttons. Personally, I prefer the 15-2116 because it looks like the classic 15-1994.

As for ReplayTV, if you buy one of the older units (which have more stable hardware too) there is no monthly fee, it was built in to the purchase price. Even with the newer units, you can buy a lifetime subscription if you want. Even for people who don't watch much TV, these things are a godsend. Just think about it, you can set it up to record those few shows that you really like so that you can watch them whenever you feel like, no more dependance on network schedules! Plus, if you read a review of a new show that sounds interesting, you don't need to make a note on your calendar for it, just quickly set it up and forget about it, then one day, you'll turn on your Replay and see that it's there. And hey, maybe you try it for 5 minutes and decide it sucks (as most new shows do) and you dump it. (Btw, I have a ReplayTV Panasonic Showstopper that been upgraded to 125 hours of recording time for sale, if you're interested, no subscription fees)
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Rob
www.hifi-remote.com
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mr_d_p_gumby
Expert


Joined: 03 Aug 2003
Posts: 1370
Location: Newbury Park, CA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
As an alternative, you could pick up an old Producer 8 (URC-8800, URC-8080, etc). These remotes have timed macros that might suit your needs.

BTW, I saw that Fry's was dumping a bunch of URC-8800's by the cash registers for $19.90.
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chico_woodhill



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Robman wrote:
(Btw, I have a ReplayTV Panasonic Showstopper that been upgraded to 125 hours of recording time for sale, if you're interested, no subscription fees)


I'm interested. Do you know if it controls a Comcast digital cable box (dc-2224)? You can contact me off-forum if you wish.

Chico
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The Robman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2003
Posts: 18402
Location: Chicago, IL

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are really Motorola boxes. I have Comcast cable also and I tried out digital for a while. I think I had an older box than that, but I got Replay to control it correctly about 90% of the time.

They have added several different versions of the CBL/0476 code to the Replay boxes, each with a slightly different tweek, so one of them should work properly.

But, these are generally problem boxes in the first place.
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Rob
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chico_woodhill



Joined: 05 Oct 2003
Posts: 45

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2003 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess 90% is acceptable. It's better than I've got now (0%) Wink

What price (with shipping) are you asking for the Panasonic?

Chico
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rhm5757
Advanced Member


Joined: 03 Aug 2003
Posts: 33

PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2003 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure that a high end Sony VCR that supports their "cable mouse" has the ability to control the Motorola digital cable boxes. The cable mouse itself actually uses offset UEIC code numbers. I have an SLV-N81 VCR, which they don't make anymore, but I assume it's replacement would work the same. I don't know if anyone is willing to pay as much as they charge for one of these high end VCRs anymore, since it's just a VCR.
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