Back on Black Friday, Newegg had the Ceton InfiniTV for $260, with free shipping. For a quad tuner card that’s a pretty good deal, considering it originally retailed for $400. On that Saturday the price dropped to $220 (still at that price), which is an absolute steal. Having the card for most of December, I just got it working fully (decryption all the channels we pay for) last Thursday. Here are some tips I learned from the experience.
CableCARD was created by Cable Labs after their hand was forced by the FCC to develop a system that allows consumers to use their own equipment to receive encrypted digital channels. The push for encrypted digital channels was made by the same folks that are brining you SOPA and Protect IP act. Through their ignorance, they have created a system that is more difficult for legitimate users to use than just pirate.
CableCARDs are a one way device, signals can be sent to them, but they can not talk back to the cable company. This makes diagnosing issues very painful as the technicians at the cable company can not get direct feedback on if they are sending the correct signal sequence to initialize and pair the CableCARD.
Your Cable Company Will Not Support You
Since CableCARD devices are only one way, and a royal pain for both parties involved, your cable company does not like supporting them. My cable company only officially supports CableCARDs used in TV sets. Personal DVRs such as TiVos, and tuner cards such are the Ceton InfiniTV are not supported. If you talk to a technician or technical support person that knows what the Ceton InfiniTV is, consider yourself lucky.
Better cable companies will have all the CableCARD information already entered in their system before associating it with your account and handing you a card. However, you will still have to call them to have a CCV signal sent to your tuner/CableCARD. There are 3 signals that need to be sent, and there is a specific timing sequence that must be obeyed. Depending on the support representative you talk to, they may have no problem sending out a CCV, or they may want to send a technician out, who will just end up calling in and requesting a CCV be sent (a waste of everyone’s time). My cable company is known to not send the CCV correctly (Ceton has run into this before).
Ceton’s Support Rocks
After going through two support representatives that both tried to send a CCV which the card never acknowledged, the technician that was sent out said it would be best to go through Ceton to get things working. After filling out the support ticket form, I received a phone call Saturday evening from a Ceton support representative, explained the situation, was told that the CCV not being acknowledged problem is usually due to the cable company not sending the sequence with the required 1 minute delay. Ceton support reached out to their contact at my cable company, on Thursday the CCV signal was received and on Friday I was able to watch all of the channels I pay for.
The InfiniTV Needs Airflow
The InfiniTV doesn’t like temperatures above 60°C. While it will still operate, you are risking reduced reliability and lowered device life. Ceton’s diagnostics tool will complain if the temperature is too high. Sitting in a low profile case, heat from the four tuners will build up quickly. While it would have been a better design choice to include a heatsink on the device as part of the RF shield, direct airflow will keep the temperatures at around 45°C. Positioning a fan to take care of this may not be practical for all HTPC cases.
[end of transmission, stay tuned]