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An updated guide to recording HDTV signals
Authored by: Beorn on Aug 31, '10 08:13:28AM

Just a clarification on the encryption issues mentioned in the article. In the US, the FCC does indeed have a mandate against service providers encrypting the over-the-air channels. However, some of the broadcast companies (like CBS or ABC) do set a "copy once" flag on their media, which in theory shouldn't prevent you from transferring the shows to your Mac via FireWire. Unfortunately, Motorola set-top boxes see this flag and subsequently encrypt the stream before sending it out over FireWire. In theory, the box should only encrypt things set with the "copy never" flag, but this appears to not be the case.

The original stream from the provider is not encrypted, it just has a bit set in the data stream that triggers Motorola to incorrectly encrypt the stream on-the-fly before sending it out over FireWire. I ran into this a year or so back, and ended up switching to a TiVo with its "TivoToGo" and the iTiVo application because I got so fed up with the lame Motorola box that Comcast gave me.

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