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sirtoast
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Joined: 06 May 2002
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Location: Halifax, NS

PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 1:55 am    Post subject: Digital Cable Reply with quote

I have digital cable (mpeg2) via my telephone/internet provider (DSL). They stream the mpeg2 to a settop box which I bought, and I'm wondering if it's possible to pick up that stream from my linux box as well? I used to have the computer and the TV in the same room, so it was never a concern, however, now they're on different levels, and I'm finding that while emerge'ing and getting to know Gentoo (intimately?) I wish I was able to at least listen to the news, sports, or music channels.

I have my IP (obviously) and because the settop box also has a built in browser, I got it's IP from my apache logs when I pointed it to my box. Is there a way for me to 'sniff' the traffic coming from the streaming server to my settop box, and then point a multicast/mpeg2 player to the same address?

The other question, is there a player which will allow me to do this? Right now, I'm emerge'ing xine, which is my best bet as far as I can tell.


The settop box model is the PACE DSL4000
(http://www.pacemicro.com/products/products.asp?id=321)

The physical setup is as follows

DSL Wallmount
|
Comtrend Modem -- DSL4000 Settop box
|
PCI Ethernet Card on desktop PC
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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

**update** I've used sniffit and gotten the IP address of the server that is streaming the video to the set-top box. I've installed xine, but I don't think it's gonna do what I want it to, play the live stream from the server.

**question** As far as the different 'channels' go...it all seems to come from the same port, and it's destination is the same regardless of what channel i'm watching on the set-top. if this is so...even if I can get the video player to work, how might one change channels via the streaming player?


Maybe this can't be done via linux...hoping someone can prove me wrong in this concern.
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 3:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm just guessing, but you'd probably have to decode the stream coming in. More than likely, it is not just plain video data.
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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 3:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

correct, it's gonna be mpeg-2 encoded. I'm compiling VideoLAN client, hoping it might do what I'm looking for. DAMN nice piece of freeware written by some french students. www.videolan.org
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pjp
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 3:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I meant mpeg-2 or whatever with a proprietary wrapper around it.
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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ahhh...gotcha
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klieber
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PostPosted: Wed May 22, 2002 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me get this straight -- all this is running over baseT ethernet and TCP/IP? Damn -- that's cool.

Assuming the video really does stream over ethernet and TCP/IP, then you should be able to intersperse your linux box in between the wall jack and the settop box. Then, by setting your linux box up as a router, you can capture the stream directly on your box if you want, or send it off to the settop box should you so desire.

However, I have never seen a cable TV company operate on such open standards, so as kanusplus suggested, I bet there's some sort of digital rights management in the stream somewhere. (then again, I live in the US where our IP laws are obscenely restrictive, so maybe things are better up north, eh?)

If you manage to get this working, please let us know.

--kurt
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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2002 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

klieber, just to verify your question, yes, my DSL and my television both feed directly from the telephone company, over tcp/ip. My settop box has an ethernet jack, for input, and coax / SVideo for output.

It is pretty damn sweet. Here in Nova Scotia we have old school telcos offering digital television, and cable companies offering phone/internet service. Makes for some OK competition.

oh, and yeah...it is pretty cool:)
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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2002 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd let anyone who was interested know, that I got it all working. used ethereal to get the packets which were being broadcast to my set top box, and using VideoLan, I'm able to grab the stream right to my desktop.
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gladbach
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 12:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow, thats actually pretty freaking cool....

hows the quality? any skipping, degradation?

kev
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klieber
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's it. I'm moving to Nova Scotia...

--kurt
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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quality? It's not quite as good as what I used to get with windows and my old ATI-TV card, but that was a single purpose card that did no decoding, just converted TV signal to something the monitor could use. Because this is an encoded MPEG2, there is a tiny bit of missed frames, primarily, i'm sure, due to my processor. There also seem to be 'scan-line' type stuff going on when I'm watch full screen, which is annoying when sitting right at my desk, which can be attributed to immature video drivers maybe, or again processor issues, as when it's not full screen, it's wonderfully clear and crisp.

Generally I like to have the window less than a quarter than my desktop space, as it allows me to absently watch/listen to the TV, whilst gentoo'ing the night away:) If anyone would like screen shots, I can try and get some posted, although obviously it loses some of it's effect as a .png:)

I haven't used a windows based client yet to test it, and doubt very much I'll even bother, as I'm not inclined much at all to boot into Windows to begin with.
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gladbach
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was actually referring to its quality verses your set top box?

how is that in comparison?

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sirtoast
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 19, 2002 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd have to honestly say that the settop quality is better, but that may be because the TV screen is much more forgiving than a monitor. If I step back 4 or 5 feet from my monitor it's nearly indistinguishable.

If I have the MPEG2 running on my desktop, AND the settop box at the same time, then I've noticed similar problems in quality degradation on both systems equally. 8O
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