Ceton InfiniTV Tips

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 Sucks

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.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

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4 thoughts on “Ceton InfiniTV Tips

  1. Sorry to bust your bubble. But after a while you will likely see issues. I can install and setup the card and it will work well for a time. But eventually lockups and tuner error messages pop up. Just so you know, I have installed with different hardware and I have heat sinks and a good fan, my card is always under 50c. It is possible that their card has problems with cable errors, but the crappy box the cable co installed and TIVO both deal with it well and do not have to be restated. I wanted this to work more than you can imagine. I gave the card 4 stars at first on Amazon but had to later reduce it to 1 after 6 months of living with the card. As for their support, they may be good at getting it set up for particular providers, but when you have issues later they are useless.

    • How long did it take for issues to arise? Do you have the newer hardware revision (single board design) or the older multi board design?

      I’ve dealt with bad cable signals in the past (cable modem was the most finicky), and within the past two years I re-ran RG6 coax, with a central 8 way splitter and amplifier. The unused taps have terminators on them, and all of my devices get very good signal strength and SNR.

      The card having issues after awhile, if fixed by a “reinstall”, sounds like some sort of software/firmware issue. Otherwise, it would be a hardware issue with a component that is stressed and fails after “extended” use. Unless the issue is a one off thing where the one component happens to be defective (it happens, though not often), this would be indicative of poor engineering. Of these the poor engineering possibility concerns me the most, the other actual hardware failure is not really their fault (a RMA would resolve that). Software deficiencies, while not acceptable, are fixable without exchanging hardware.

      -John Havlik

      • In reference to “There are 3 signals that need to be sent, and there is a specific timing sequence that must be obeyed. ” what are the specific steps and timing sequence? That Ceton Support told you to have cable company use? I am asking because my cable company Knology can not seem to get it right. I just came across your site in google (first Site in search) and it would help with out sending a trouble ticket to ceton support. Any help would be appreciated(Very few techs get it right.

  2. Sorry for the late reply, I didn’t know you had responded. I had the card about 4 months with relatively few problems. Not sure which card, haven’t looked recently. Installation was a breeze. TW ran rg11 from the tap to the house and split rg6 runs directly to TV, Cable modem and Wideband router, SNR is always good, I Get 30m internet not a signal problem, no problem with digital phone or TW DVR, just issues with MPC, they even left me an extra TA just in case. The problem is so bad now, worse than the original post, I have to reboot three or more times a day and recording if you are not present is worthless. I have spent three weeks with support and even tried BETA firmware and now I have additional problems. Just so you know, I have over 25 years in IT, 5 now in Home theater install and I am a TIVO resaler. I have even written code for several years. Also, I have reformatted and reinstalled OS as well as changing all the other hardware excluding case and PS. And of course reset the card using standalone and network configs. With the same results. My conclusion is that either the upgraded drivers and firmware are causing problems, or the card is not resilient. Also I have a strong fan on it and it rarely reaches 50c, they say under 65c, I think. Which seems high to me. So far I have been working with support ever day or two for two weeks, sending reports, when no card is found and trying all kinds of things that just seem to be delays, I would like another card this one is just over 6 months old. I may have to use the BBB to get a replacement, as they don’t seem to want to RMA, that scares me to. Understand, I want a repeatable experience that I can sell to clients in the Home Theater world. I want this to work very bad. Stay in touch, email if you like, I would love them to get it together, or maybe another company will get it right. One caveat though, we still have Mickeysoft to deal with, but I am impressed with Win7. Oh yeah, I am also a MS partner, MSCE, UNIX cert as well as Cisco.

    Take care


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