Ok, I finally had some extra cash, and the fact that the Ceton InfiniTV 4 tuner dropped $100 in price, so I went ahead and ordered one. I’ve been using 4 ATI Digital Cable tuners for a while now, and had very few problems, but I figured if I could cut my monthly cable bill a bit, I might as well.
Now, there’s good news, bad news and really good news.
First the bad news. Of my four Comcast CableCARDS, two were M-Stream cards. Ok, I figured this was great. Take one of my existing cards, pop it in the new tuner and call Comcast to have it re-paired. Well, the card wouldn’t authenticate. No matter how many times the rep sent the validation signal the Ceton’s included diagnostic program showed Not Validated and Headend has not started service messages.
Ok, no big deal. Maybe the card fried on being powered down and back up. So, I took my other M-Stream card and put it in and had them try pairing that one. Ok, it Validated. But the “Headed has not started service” message wouldn’t clear.
So, now its time for a truck roll.
Now, for the good news.
The tech showed up in the allotted time frame, and as requested had brought two M-Stream cards with him.
Now for the really good news. The Comcast tech actually knew something about CableCARDS! He said he had only done one PC install, looked at the Ceton tuner and said, “Yep, that’s the same card.” We put the new card in, he called into ATS and had the card paired in a couple of minutes. And now I’m using one PCI Express slot taken up, 4 USB ports opened up and I get all 4 streams of the M-stream card in stunning HD. Well, ok, its HD and not the greatest thing since sliced bread, but all in all not a bad day in the living room.
I hope to have the money in the near future to pick up another Ceton InfiniTV 4 card and another NEW M-Stream card. I’d love to play around with their Network Tuner software. According to the documentation, it allows you to assign specific streams from the tuner/card to another Media Center PC. That “remote” PC can access the Ceton tuner, over your home LAN just like the tuner was local to the machine. The caveat is “A Gigabit Ethernet Network is recommended if more than one tuner is assigned to the Network.” So that’s another upgrade to my house before I can play with this functionality.
If anyone has played with the Network Tuner functionality, I’d love to hear your story!